Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday!

I found Cut N Glue on Etsy. She has a great shop, and I just LOVE her collages. She's my Tuesday feature, so check her out!

Please give us a little background of you as an artist.
I have been artistic my whole life. As a child I could be found sitting quietly in my room coloring in my coloring books, cutting bits of paper and gluing them to things, or designing clothes for my Barbie dolls with scraps of fabric from my mom's sewing projects. I majored in Art in college and have a minor in Crafts. I think I am the only person who actually DID take a class in basket weaving (not under water though as the old joke goes)

What materials do you use for your collages?
I use magazine pages, cardboard boxes, and anything else that I would otherwise have to throw in the trash. Even though I will be the first to admit I am not a "tree hugger" I am just trying to do my bit to help the environment. I know there is so much more I could do but my art work is my first tiny step.

How long does it take you complete a piece? 
If I sat down and just did one straight through I could do it in about 7 to 10 hours. I normally take about 3 days to do one. My back starts to hurt if I sit too long. I have to move around a good bit.

Who or what inspires you? 
I had this set of Sesame Street books when I was a child. There was this little town made of boxes and construction paper. I always wanted to make that town. Now, I am doing that in 2-D. One day I will make a 3-D town. That is my goal. I am also inspired by Folk Art. Being from the Mississippi Delta, there is a ton of Folk Art around here. I have always admired it.

What time of day are you most productive? 
I work days, so I am mostly creative at night. My most creative day of the week is Thursday. I work 6 days a week in a restaurant and Thursday is my day off. I like to spend Thursday being creative.

Your pieces have so much energy. Do you listen to music while creating them? If so, what? 
Yes, I am either listening to my husband (Aubrey Holman) who is a singer/songwriter playing guitar or listening to Pandora. I love the diversity of Pandora. I discover so many great artists I would have never heard of if not for Pandora. My new favorite band is called "Iron and Wine." I also love Amos Lee.

What is your favorite item in your shop right now? 
I have 3 pieces I love. Main Street, which is only available in print now (the original is in France), Downtown, which is also only available in print (the original is in Texas), and Square Dance (the original is still available and is currently on my dining room wall)

What is one thing you can't live without? 
I would say my husband is the one thing I can not live without. We are like two peas in a pod.

Where do you see yourself/your art/your business in 5 years
I just hope I am stillbeing creative and productive. I do not have a huge business plan. I once had a very successful pottery business. I stayed so busy with it, the joy of the process was taken from me. I just hope to never lose my joy in my art again. The day I stop having fun with it, I will have to quit. For the first time in my life, I am creating for the love of the art and not the love of the money. Sure, I love it when I make a sale, but I am just enjoying myself right now.

Anything else you would like to share? 
I just want to tell everyone to stay true to yourself always. Find the joy in your art, craft, or hobby. We all go through slumpsand that is okay. If you do not feel creative one day, one month, or one year, it will come back to you. I think it just runs through our veins. Sometimes my creativity comes out in a meal I make, or the way I dress, or a post on my blog. It doesn't always come out as a piece of art.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Something to Sing About

I recently finished this picture, and I had to share it. The original picture was done by a girl named Abby. Her friend's mom, Sherryl, ordered it as a surprise for her birthday party this weekend. I don't know if the girls in it are singing, but that's what it looks like to me. Their mouths are my favorite part. They just look so happy and joyful. Besides raising up the mouths a bit, the skirts and the hair accessories/crowns are also raised, making them pop ever so slightly.

Speaking of hair accessories, Sherryl is the owner of Skylar's Candy Clips, a great shop with adorable accessories for little girls. She also runs a great blog. Check them out now, and be sure to check back next week to learn more about Sherryl and her candy clips....on Oct. 6 she will be interviewed for my Talk to Me Tuesday feature.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's Cookin'-Week 3

Well our oven is still broken, but I was just craving some homemade bread (must be the colder weather coming on). So I made challah in the toaster oven. I had been making mini loaves for awhile, even when the oven worked, because it kept me from eating a whole big loaf with one meal. I keep the little loaves in the freezer and pop them out when needed. Since I started using whole wheat flour, the kids haven’t been as crazy about it, so this time I used about 50/50 whole wheat and white flour. And in some of the rolls, I tucked in some chocolate chips. Big success.

Though meatballs might not seem like a big deal, cooking anything for me kinda is. So, I made my mom’s meatball recipe for the family. But I don’t eat meat, so I made myself a tempeh, tofu, spinach sweet potato combo. Now, it doesn’t look great, but I absolutely love it. I had seen a recipe I thought was appropriate for the Jewish New Year: Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Apples and Honey. It called for canned yams and apple sauce. Instead, I used fresh sweet potatoes, and I made my own applesauce. Then I just added cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. It was good enough for dessert. 
     Hoping to go apple picking with the kids so I can make more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Under the Influence-Week 2

We had another great week at “Under the Influence...of Art.” This week we learned about Vincent Van Gogh. The kids learned that “Starry Night” was his most famous work. We looked at his brush strokes and saw how effectively his swirls depicted the wind.

The students then created their own Starry Night. We used paints and finished off the pictures with some silver glitter (maybe Van Gogh would have been happier had he used glitter too!).

I’m sure you’ll agree that everyone did a fantastic job. : )

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday!

This week I am showcasing the work of Shari Imbo. What amazes me about Shari is the variety in her work. Check out all of the mediums in which she works. And they’re all fabulous! See more at her web site: www.imbogallery.com
Please give us a little background of you as an artist.
I got my BFA from University of Florida. My projects include community pieces such as murals for the City of Chicago and pieces created for Jazzfest, Printer's Row Bookfair, Chicago Symphany Orchestra, Chicago Public Schools, and Latino Film Festival.
In what mediums do you work?
Paint, clay, drawing materials such as pastels and charcoal.
Which medium is your favorite and why?
Right now I'm working in porcelain and I'm creating sculptural pieces for a series called "Dwellings".
Do you try to convey a message with your artwork? If yes, please explain.
I don't have a particular message in my current works. However, they are strongly female/fertility-themed pieces.
Who or what inspires you?
My daughter and my husband undoughtedly inspire me 100%.
What is your ideal job or commission?
I love being involved with Chicago's diverse communities, and creating artwork that reflects or expresses the personae of a specific culture.
What time of day are you most productive?
The early mornings.
What is one thing you can't live without?
My family and... my coffee.
In what direction do you see your art going in the future?
I'll explore specific cultures and will create works that reflect their characteristics. 

Saturday, September 19, 2009

What's Cookin'-Week 2

There is definitely an art to photographing food... The top picture is Cheese Tortellini with Pepper and Almond Sauce. As you can see, the picture in the cookbook is much more appetizing (though I think some of it has to do with the fact I used some green tortellini in mine). I've made this before, and it was delicious, with lots of leftovers....especially since the kids didn't like it that much.

The second picture is supposed to be Orange-Miso-Glazed Tofu and Edamame, a recipe I got from Shape magazine. It only called for a little miso, something I've never bought before. At the store, I found out miso was more money than I wanted to spend for the little bit I needed. So, instead I got some Soy Vay Wasabi Teriyaki sauce. This dish was delicious as well, and the kids even liked it. Bonus. : )

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Giveaway Winner Transformation Revealed

Two weeks ago today I announced the winner to my first giveaway, Michele P. She had sent in a picture her 7-year-old daughter drew. Through e-mails, I worked with Michele and her daughter to come up with the picture you see above. 
First, I sent them a jpeg of what I was working on. I asked if Deja, the artist, wanted any colors changed or anything added. She liked the colors, but she wanted some clouds added, along with some heart apples on the trees. She also decided to send me her name, in her own writing, so I could incorporate that into the final piece. 

One of the e-mails I received from Michele during the process:
“Deja had a look at this earlier tonight before she went to bed and she agreed that it is just wonderful! I admit, it has been lots of fun emailing back and forth and seeing the results of her artwork transformed into a keepsake that will last for many years. I do appreciate all your attention to detail and wanting to make sure everything is just right... and as we can tell, everything is perfect!  Thanks so much! Have a wonderful week!”

The picture was mailed out a week later, and I just got the e-mail that it has been received:
“I got it yesterday and we opened it when Deja came home from school so we could see it together.  Even grandma was there for the occasion....and we all loved it! I just love the raised texture to the drawing itself...I definitely want to do this again, because it is so fun and also such a lovely keepsake of her artwork. I thank you so much because before I saw your site I never thought that something like this actually existed, I have never seen something so unique before. These also would make lovely gifts...”

Thank you to Michele for the kind words and to Deja for actively participating! 

And speaking of gifts, if you don’t have a little one of your own, I also offer gift certificates. These are great for a sister or a friend with a child. They can pick out the drawing they want me to transform, and I’ll be happy to work on it! Feel free to contact me at rachel@raspberrykidz.com, jrswits@sbcglobal.net, leave a comment here, or convo me on etsy....thanks for stopping by! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Under the Influence-Week 1

Well, yesterday was our first afterschool art class, “Under the Influence (of Art),” for Kindergarten-3rd graders. I thought the class went really well, and I’m so happy with what the kids drew! We learned about Marc Chagall. I showed them some pictures and explained that Chagall often painted his childhood memories or dreams. We discussed how we could tell his paintings were of dreams, and the kids had some great answers: the animals were wearing clothing, the people were floating or upside down, sizes were distorted, colors were blended, things looked “weird.” They learned that “weird” was also considered “surreal.”
Then everyone made their own dream pictures. Since it was the first day, we just used markers (they were sent home with a form that they should bring a smock in the future if they don’t want clothes to get messy). After they drew themselves floating over houses, trees etc., I encouraged them to fill in the whole page with colors. Then they each got a paintbrush and cups of water, so they could “paint” over their drawings, which created a blended look.
I was really happy with the outcome, and I hope they are too! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Talk to Me Tuesday!

This week I'm featuring Bootsie Marie Boutique. I met Jill, the owner, at an art festival. Though I was only at her booth for a few seconds, I took her card and knew I wanted to know more about her beautiful bow business. What struck me was not only how beautiful everything was, but how reasonably priced! My daughter is in kindergarten, so it's her first year wearing a uniform to school. I am planning on dressing up some of her navy blue and white outfits with some goodies from Bootsie Marie Boutique. Have a look yourself!

How old is Bootsie Marie Boutique?
Bootsie will be a year old in October!  YAY!

How did your business start? 
I had been purchasing bows for our daughter, Josie (who Bootsie Marie Boutique is named after, it is her nickname), even before she was born and many times I was disappointed with either the price or quality. I have an Art degree and thought to myself, “I can make this!” I went online looking for bow instructions and started making my own korker bows for Josie. We would get stopped everywhere we went by people asking where I got her bows. I would let them know that I made them and they would ask if I sold them and I always answered, “no.” Finally one day my husband answered, “YES!” and the rest is history! I thought it would be a nice hobby and maybe bring in some extra income to use as “fun money”, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would get this big in such a short period of time.

What did you do before Bootsie Marie Boutique? 
My resume reads, too many years in Real Estate and Construction, a few in Corporate Banking (YAWN!), and lots of Mommy duties! It is hard to believe that I have an Art degree! :o)

Describe a typical work day. 
 My Bootsie Marie Boutique’s work day doesn’t start until the kids are in bed either for a nap or for the night. I am not a late night person but for some reason my best work is done then. 

How do you promote your business? 
I have been fortunate that I haven’t had to do any promotion. Word of mouth and repeat craft show customers is where all of my business comes from. I write a silly blog but it is more informational than promotion.

What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten? 
To not be afraid. (Even though I panic the night before every show. No joke!) It is sooooo hard to put myself out there, but if I don’t do it, I will never know.

Where do you see Bootsie Marie Boutique in 5 years? 
My 2 year goal is to have one of my hair accessories mentioned in People magazine because it is being worn by a celebrity’s child, My 4 year goal is to be on Oprah’s favorite things, in 5 years....sheesh, I thought Oprah would be the highest point of my career. :o) I would love to have a cute retail store or a mall kiosk but will settle for a rockin’ website.

What is your favorite part of your business? 
Ahhh, so many to choose from, I can put, my creative energy to use or as my Dad says, “It is about time you use the education we bought you!” I also love meeting new friends who are also customer and fellow crafters at shows.

I met you at the Glenwood Arts Festival. Do you do a lot of fests and fairs, and what do you like most about them? 
Wasn’t the Glenwood Arts Festival so much fun?!?!?! That is all I do right now, fests and fairs. I usually participate in 1 a month but I am hoping to take part in Farmer’s Market’s on Saturdays next year. Please see answer #7. Seriously, the people who come to my booth are always so complimentary and so much fun. I love to help the little (and big!) girls rock out with some bows. :o)

Anything else you want to share? 
GO HUSKERS! :o) Oh yeah, and please become a fan on Facebook!