Friday, December 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
You have to remember the 80's to really understand what "generic" means. Imagine turning your shopping cart down the aisle of your favorite supermarket. Suddenly, you were shopping in a Orwellian nightmare. Every can, box and package bore a white label with stark black lettering. Imagine the horror of generic Spam... a white label with black text announcing the contents as "processed meat product". You get the idea.
People can be generic. This term coined by a good friend describes someone wrapped in a plain white label. It's the person who is a doppelganger to a total stranger. A case of mistaken identity.
I am generic. Always have been. I have that neutral look that always reminds someone of someone else.
It almost got me in trouble at beauty school. I was the spitting image of a gal who stole the boyfriend of another student. I swore this chick stalked me! She showed up at the fast food restaurant where I worked and stood by the door, shooting visual daggers through eyes of hate. You can imagine the tension! It wasn't until the same girl showed up as a fellow student at school and learned my name, that her hatred turned to sheepish embarrassment.
As awkward as that was, it was nothing compared to the episode of a "walk-in customer" at a salon where I worked. I walked up to introduce myself, only to see her face drain to white. I looked identical to the woman's murdered niece! Now that is creepy.
Even my husband is generic. Like all good hairdressers, I kept a picture of my handsome boyfriend tucked into a corner of my mirror. One customer became incensed. She started to drill me about his name and how I knew him. Each question becoming more and more accusatory. You can guess it. Mark looked exactly like the woman's philandering son-in-law. Once the truth came out, I never saw her humiliated face again.
I guess the gist of this post is how basic characteristics remind us of someone we know. A white label marked as "person". As I started this particular sculpture, I wanted to play with a mustache. But, a 'stache this full and luxurious must come at a price. Hence, the narrow rim of hair. As I stitched in the narrowed eyes, it struck me. I knew this person! He looked exactly like my high school social studies teacher! Just to be certain, I contacted a few high school friends. As I had expected, they agreed that it looked exactly like Mr. Baggett.
I really enjoy putting this piece out for display. Everyone knows someone who looks like this. From a high school teacher, to a beloved uncle, to the man who works at the local supermarket, he strikes a chord in our memory.
Sometimes, it's a pleasure being generic.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
So, why zombies?
I actually took one of my zombies on a recent visit to my shrink. A lifelong battle with depression has shown me that even a small giggle is a triumph of existence. Besides, I actually wanted to see if he would insist that I be locked up in a padded room, once he saw one. To his credit, he was actually intrigued. His opinion was that during dark times, people gravitate to darker images. Hence, the latest zombie flash mobs or a possible explanation of teen girls screaming "Team Edward"!
I like zombies. Think of it! You could mindlessly eat whatever you want and not worry about any consequences!!! Brains? Hell no. I'm headed for an extra thick brownie sundae with oodles of hot fudge.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I answered the ad for a local shop specializing in vintage, recycled and art. Boy, sounds like my kind of place. And just down the road too! So, I popped in to absorb some inspiration, and perhaps drop a bit of cash.
There I met Mary.
My years of hairdressing immediately grasped a head of hair, bleached to the end of its life. Heavy "cat's eye' make-up accentuated her suspiciously narrowed eyes. But her physical appearance was nothing compared to the waves of animosity that flowed from her petite fame. She had recognized me as being a vendor from another local show. Ok... there is nothing wrong with that. As an artist, I maintain a monthly curcuit of 5 to 7 shows. But this pushy pansy started to accuse me of showing up to her show merely to steal her ideas.
My whispered voice did nothing to match her frantic screech. After a good 5 minutes of her diatribe I was able to cut in to my defense. I asked her if she remembered my work. While I doubt that she actually did, she claimed that she knew it well. I then asked her in my scratchy voice, how in the hell would someone that specialized in cashmere zombies with exposed brains compete with "romantic french country"? Unable to answer, she huffed off. The encounter leaving me with the makings of...
Title: "Mary Has A Snit Fit"
Contents: Cashmere sweater, wool sweater, "green" wool roving
Status: Adopted by a very brave, patient woman. I wish you luck.
Monday, August 30, 2010
"Wow! These are amazing! I had no idea you were so talented. You just don't LOOK like an artist!
Rapidly, I felt the glow leave me and be replaced by a prickle of irritation. I drew upon my 20+ years of customer service training to thank her for her kindness while hiding my annoyance.
As I packed away my work and left the store, I had to ask myself. What, exactly, does an artist really look like?
Is it like my art friend Valerie Bailey? A fiesty senior citizen, she wears her long white hair in a tidy braid. Her long flowing skirts are in a crazy quilt of satin and velvet, topped by a dark hat.
Is it like my art friend Pam Pitts? By far one of the best lampwork artists I have ever met, Pam's tiny frame is accented in baseball caps, blue jeans and hippie-chic tye-dye t-shirts. This suits her fave phrase of "Far out!"
Is it my Art Friend Debi Beard? Pretty and petite, she looks wonderful in soft and romantic vintage clothes. A class act.
Or, is it my favorite Rottengirl Keri Stanton? Her exotic features accentuated in a Gothic "Alice in Wonderland' dress.
My point is: exactly what the hell is an artist supposed to LOOK like?
I made a decision a while back that I no longer owed anyone a specific "look" to suit their views of what I should be. At fourty-freakin'-four I have earned that right. Granted, I never show up at a show in a t-shirt and sloppy shorts (I have seen it folks!) but neither do I feel I need to try to totter across a grassy yard, setting up a 10 by 10 canopy while waring 4 inch heels. My plus-size frame deserves comfort these days. As a former hairstylist, I have smelled enough chemicals to know that there is glory in salt-and-pepper hair and I wear my white streaks proudly. I enjoy wearing something offbeat to give the element of surprise, like showing up at a 4th of July show with an electric blue wig. But, I am just as home in a simple dress with my hair pulled back into a ponytail.
So, I have to ask. Does the dress make the artist? Or does the artist wear the dress?
Monday, August 9, 2010
Time to get a bit sandy and revel in the surf. Then, come absorb the fun and funky vibe of the Leucadia artwalk!
I love doing this show. This year, ALL participants were juried, so you can be assured that everyone is a wonderful, talented artist in their own right. No mass produced imported junk here. Oh no. just the best that San Diego has to offer.
This year, I am again in the parking lot of Le Papagayo. Leucadia Artwalk will be held on August 29, from 10am to 5pm. Come say hello and check out my latest creations!
Friday, July 16, 2010
As I sorted through the boxes and rooms, a few things started to come out. The daughter must have been a majorette 'way-back-when', as boxes of trophies and competition programs were found. And judging by the boxes of sequins, trims and beads, most of her costumes must have been lovingly sewn by hand.
Back home I started sorting through my new treasures. I found some of the most beautifully beaded vintage trim that I have ever seen. A few glass beads were found carefully tucked away in a medicine bottle from 1985. Some tiny plastic babies gave me a smile. A teddy bear trivet was too saccharine for my taste so I will pass it off to another. A sealed bag of sequins shows that we shop at the some Los Angeles trim store.
And its here that I began to lose myself in thought.
When we die, we know we leave our earthly possessions... no matter how hard we may cling to them. Heirlooms may trigger wars between brother and sister. Appliances and cars are sold off. Houses vacated and placed on the market... the resulting profits carefully divided between family. But in almost every case, it seems that these lovely vintage treasures of beads, findings and supplies are simply boxed up and cheaply sold, if not given away. They seldom have a sentimental value, and frequently, not much of a monetary value as well.
I am now starting to sort my new pretties for use in my studio. I pour myself a cool drink to ward off the hot summer day and somewhere in a different realm, I am introduced to another artist. It's almost like she is there beside me. I can hear her tell me about the cute outfit she made her daughter using the gold sequins. The fantastic sale she found on embroidered patches... at a quarter each, she couldn't resist buying a dozen. I can hear a soft laugh as she tells me as she tells me about a partially made set of earrings that she tucked away in disgusts as she couldn't get the beading to lay flat. Those plastic babies were from a baby shower and she couldn't bear to part with any extra, since they were so cute.
It's a language that all artists understand... but those of us who work in vintage and antique media are the most fluent. We love and appreciate these treasures. You can't find these in aisle 3B at Michaels after all.
You can't help but wonder about your own mortality at these times. While my finished designs may be sought by a future grandchild, I can't help wonder about the supplies that I will leave. The scores of antique buttons. The tiny faience beads that adorned an ancient mummy and now sit behind a glass frame. My hand-made molds for my ceramic pendants. All the things that make my art and soul my own.
I wonder if my sons will host an estate sale. Will a future artist find my supplies as compelling as I do? And will we have a mystic conversation about the things that I may leave behind?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
When we are at the age when it is time to chose our career paths, the advice is always the same: Do something that you love.
Such a no-brainer, isn't it?
But some things in life are never that simple. I was raised in an environment where work automatically meant some kind of sacrifice. To be truly employed, you must have an undercurrent of dislike and toil. To paraphrase my hubby's beloved Pink Floyd... "You can't have any pudding until you eat your meat."
To me; art has always been dessert of the best kind. Something decadent, sweet and sticky. But all good girls know that you must eat those yucky green veggies before you get your dessert.
So, for years, art was the last thing on my extensive "to do" list. Dishes must be washed, floors swept, family obligations met... to clean my plate as it were... so I could get to that dessert of creativity. And as any mom of 3 boys will tell you, a mom's plate is never clean.
But slowly, I started sneaking in small tastes. How could something so wonderful as artistic expression be wrong? With my husband's encouragment I began to branch out. The seeds took root and began to grow. Before I knew it, my art was not a forbidden treat. Instead, it became water to my spirit. Something that if I denied it to my parched soul, I would wither.
Now, in the 44th year of my life, I understand! If we make that choice to follow our hearts instead of our sacrifices, we will grow. I never imagined the feeling of deep satisfaction as my humble sculptures become treasured possessions, or my delight when someone tells me of the compliments they get when wearing my pendants.
Life is short. Eat dessert first.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
I have to confess, I was stunned speechless (a rare thing for me) when I spoke to my longtime acquaintance. "Why would you want to talk to Goths?" she asked me. "All that black! We are a visual society and they should know how evil they look!" Another person chimed in "You know, they all worship the devil!"
I was bitterly disappointed in them. They were buying into a terrible stereotype and an ignorant one at that. You see, they didn't know about one of San Diego's most powerful and positive forces: The Gothic Volunteer Alliance. Fortunately I do.
I saw my first Goth when I moved to San Diego nearly 17 years ago. My husband pointed out a couple of black clad girls and commented that he didn't know it was Halloween yet. But I was entranced. For one: it looked like fun. I loved their expressive dresses! A part of me felt wistful. How I wished to be 17 again, dressed in their black Victorian lace.
As I have matured and found my artistic muse, I discovered that had I been born in another time, and raised in a more tolerant community, I would have been Goth. So much of my work hearkens to my dark humor. I have been known to spend hours in old cemeteries, straightening flowers and touching the stones. My music of choice ( HIM, AFI, Marilyn Manson) doesn't sit well with most of my contemporaries, who brand it evil. So, I have cloaked my Gothic soul and share it with few.
A couple of years ago, I was cruising the Internet and came across the most incredible group called the Gothic Volunteer Alliance. Troubled by recent violence, both locally and abroad, they had banded together to raise awareness and tolerance. The held fundraisers for charity. They cleaned local beaches. They were amazingly civic-minded and were determined to raise a positive profile to the community.
Yeah.... right. Evil devil-worshippers indeed. Somehow the words of the 2 well-dressed society ladies seemed far more poisonous to me. In a world where we deem everyone of equal worth, why does our choice of something as trivial as dress or music seem to threaten some people?
Sometimes, the good guys wear black.
Monday, May 24, 2010
So, once in a while, I take on a show with something exciting, making it more of a "working holiday" for all involved. maybe its at the beautiful Tierra Miguel Organic Farm where they can run through the fields and catch bugs. Perhaps, the Music Festival at Poway Heritage Park where they can play in the creek, watch the little trains and listen to wonderful music (the Marine Jazz Ensemble is the BEST). It becomes less of a job and more of a family day out.
This year, it hit me that my sons were getting older ( as in, I will have a teenager this year!) and chasing butterflies in the meadow just isn't "cool" anymore. That is when the idea hit me...
Our first Renaissance Fair brings back amusing memories to my husband and I. With a fresh engagement ring on my finger, I convinced him to take me to one. Oh lord... Mark was not happy. He moped the entire drive. He dragged his feet to the entrance. He walked through those gates like a man condemned. But, then the energy caught up with him. Fresh strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream? (Sounds yummy!) A chance to learn how to shoot a real bow and arrow? (Why not!) Pretty girls with heaving bosoms laced into tight corsets? (No comment.)
So, it didn't take much convincing when I suggested to my endearing hubby that a Renaissance Fair might be a perfect venue for my handmade ceramic pendants. Our only challenge would be logistics. It doesn't make much sense to lease a full booth space, as the fees are usually steep and I didn't know how to arrange our wares appropriately. Upon research, I discovered the terms of a "wandering vendor". Fees are generally much lower, with the added advantage of following the crowds. But how can we manage to do this, when juggling 3 kids, mom's Fibro and a mess of necklaces?
If we could design a wagon that would allow us to display my wares, while hiding the necessities like food and comforts, plus be beautiful to boot, we could manage this!
The first step is designing a wagon that would be functional. Another point: it had to fit into a Sienna minivan. Finally, it had to be sturdy since I had no plans of making multiples!
I purchased a good quality garden cart with a metal frame and large wheels. Then I designed a plan that would allow us to dismantle the cart for transport. Mark constructed a wood box that would sit inside the cart frame. We allowed areas for posts which would display our inventory and an interior to carry all of our supplies. I then chose a paint palette that would be bright enough to attract attention, yet still be historically accurate. A set of shutters was sacrificed to close off the storage area.
I used a selection of both new and re-purposed fabrics to construct a skirt that would hide the wagon base. A carefully placed velcro base makes it removable. Then, a tiny table was added for business transactions. I painted the wagon to include an acorn theme and she was named Lady Fortune.
We had carefully considered all ways for he use. After a bit of consideration, I even painted the interior, which in the proper setting, could be used for display. I am still a bit reeling by the amount of time, energy and money she took!
Lady Fortune made her professional debut at the Mermaid's Mercantile in Solana Beach on May 23, 2010.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
But, as Lume di Luna grows, I realize that having a website will be a necessity. I meat so many great people from all over the world, and they ask if they can purchase additional items online.
Uh oh.... no more excuses, I guess.
So, I am working on a new website. It will feature new works, as well as some of my former creations. I will also have an Online Boutique that will feature one-of-a-kind works for purchase.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Name: Muscle Head
Created: May 5, 2010
Biography: More brawn than brains, he runs around with his magic bracelet, hooting a lot. Harbors a secret desire to dance Bollywood routines in Abu Dabai.
Contents: Cashmere sweaters, wool, recycled ribbon and button
Status: Ready for adoption
Name: Monkey Boy
Created: May 7, 2010
Biography: An ape with an attitude. Screeches and flings poo at random. But at night, when he thinks no one is watching, he plays with his banana while singing Celine Dion songs.
Contents: Cashmere sweaters, wool blanket, recycled ribbon and buttons
Status: Currently at Stampington Press ("Stuffed" magazine) for publication submission.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Voting starts June 1st!
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
I am sure that someone is reading right now thinking "What the hell?!? What does moonlight have to do with hysteria?" But to me, it is a simple play on words, nodding to the craziness of my business, Lume di Luna Designs. In ancient times, the moon was thought to be responsible for madness. It is no coincidence that the term "lunatic" has the word "luna" in it. It was thought that the moon's touch brought insanity. It is also no coincidence that while I frantically spend my day running between sewing room to kiln, pausing to pick up my sons from school, then run back to my washing machine, trying to remember which number I am on in my wool scouring process, that I jokingly call my business "Lume di Lunatic".
So... sit back, have a cup of tea and join me in admiring the moon and the hysteria.