Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Artist Trading Cards

I started making Artist Trading Cards or ATCs about 10 months ago. ATCs are about the same size as a baseball card, specifically 2.5" x 3.5," are used like calling cards, and have become wildly popular over the past few years. I was introduced to them on Flickr, and have been trading on Flickr since my discovery. In the beginning I was a bit shy about my approach, afraid of messing things up, and was reserved and critical about each little image, stamp or drawing. After a couple of hours and a few throw aways, I immediately became addicted. I soon realized, and am now in love the small and manageable size of ATCs. One thing I've learned from art making is that things are never too precious. Working something out is always better than not, regardless of the final image, and often its the process that is most valuable. ATCs are a great way to unblock your creative flow, to get you in the routine of making something, in the habit of drawing or painting regularly, even on a small scale. After you complete a few, you can trade them with other artists.

Imagine receiving a unique small painting or collage in the mail, perhaps sent from a country far away, crafted through images by an artist they may or may not speak your language. Its fantastic! Especially now that I'm an adult (begrudgingly), and I mostly receive bills in the mail, occasionally I'll get an envelope dotted with foreign stamps, a treasure waiting inside.
If you're interested in making ATCs check out flickr and other websites. If you're interested in trading ATCs you can find swap groups on line, on Flickr, or even meetups in your area. If you'd like to trade with me, check out my flickr page, or send me an email!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A bit tired tonight, so this post is a list of some of my favorite craft and art supplies, both new and old...
*Twinkling H20s by LuminArt (a new find, pictured above)
* Black Gesso (a staple)
*Colorbox Chalk stamping ink pads
* Permanent double sided tape
* Bone Folder (eveyone needs this, if you don't have one or haven't used one, go out right
now and try one!)
* Tea for dying (tea colored inks work well too)
* Roller ball pen with chocolate ink, my favorite is the Signo by Uniball in size .5
* Business cards size blank cards in Curry and Gravel colors for impromptu notes
* Baker's twine in red and white
* Ribbons, threads, and buttons
* And of course... Duct Tape and Dental Floss (hence the name of this blog)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My apartment is very small but it has character and lots of interesting things inside. Its curry colored walls hold many pictures and paintings, and a collection of antique red furniture houses unique objects of all kinds. A small table by the front door is laden with natural objects collected and gathered from nature with care. Above, thin shelves keep small rusted tins and paper ephemera. A French landscape painted by a friend reminds me to make a trip back there sometime soon. Bottles, jars and other vessels hold small objects made precious by their presentation, and butterflies with brilliant iridescent wings hold still in their frames. This is my house, my tiny space in which I share my life with the people I love.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Alphabet Books

I love books of all kinds, especially ones with vibrant pictures like the ones found in good kids books. I collect all kinds of kids books, but I especially love alphabet books. The search for a good alphabet book is one of my regular quests. Occasionally a new alphabet book will be published that is different and interesting, like "An A to Z Tresaure Hunt" by Alice Melvin, but usually thrift stores and used book stores yield the the best finds. Small book stores and museum stores will also have more unusual, "arty" abc books like Bruno Munari's ABC. Above are some photos of some of the favorites of my collection. Below are descriptions and links on where to find these guys.

I found Ryan Heshka's ABC SpookShow at Cody's books which used to be on 4th in Berkeley, and is now on Shattuck. I love the imagery (spooky yet childlike) and its small size. You can buy it from Amazon here.

I happened upon The A to Z Treasure Hunt at Books Inc in Alameda. Its published by the Tate Museum, and is the first ABC book I seen that's interactive. The designs are graphic, simple and engaging, plus they urge you to collaborate with the author in the search the for ABC treasure!
Buy it from Amazon here.

Lettered Creatures is one of my best finds! I visited Portland in Oct 2007 just to go to Powell's Bookstore. I picked up this treasure there. Its authored and illustrated by a two brothers, and the content and pictures are stunning! A must have for any book collector. Buy it from Amazon here.

Anermerotics features a side of the alphabet you never knew existed. The imagery depicts an "a forbidden cabaret in 26 acts." The monochromatic images are gorgeous, soft and dreamy and a bit naughty. The remind me a bit of Michael Parke's paintings. Buy it from Amazon here.

PS- I buy books from bookstores all over, and sometimes Amazon too. I've included links to buy through Amazon because people are familiar with Amazon and its easy. But you can request these books from your local bookstore just as easily if you prefer. Happy Hunting!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Activities and Curious Collections

I collect many things, and one of my new interests is vintage tins. I started collecting tins in France, after finding the bottom of a decorative food tin one Sunday after the local Marche aux puces (flea market). The next weekend I continued my hunt for forgotten treasures and found the top to the same tin. I took it as a spot of good luck and a sign to keep collecting. The pic above is of the tins in my kitchen (I have a few more in other parts of my house). This weekend I went to a "Bottle Show" (a bizarre and specialized show of western whiskey and wine bottles from the turn of the century and before) with my dad and picked up a few more tins, including the Sanka Coffee one, as well as a few spice tins.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

More Birds, Nests and the Like

Above are some images from the current window of Tail of the Yak, a wonderful curio shoppe in Berkeley situated on Ashby at College. This store houses a myriad of oddities and beautiful, antique objects including gorgeous French ribbons, paper trims, handmade crepe paper surprise objects, and antique jewelry. Their collection on antique santos figures is reason enough to visit the store. Their hours are a bit selective so call before visiting.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Birds, Nests and Eggs

I ate at Le Cheval the other night with my boyfriend and something we ordered got me thinking about the topic of birds and birds nests. Among many of the Vietnamese vegetable offerings was a dish called a bird's nest. I was immediately drawn to the possibility of this dish as birds and their nests have been an interest of mine (and the whole worlds) as of late. Moments later a plate of golden fried noodles arrived arranged is the shape of a nest, a mound of stir fried veggies snug and steaming in its center. The "birds nest" was delicious, but more importantly it made me think of all the images of birds and nests that keep popping up all over, in art, in retail, in my life. So, for my first post I am including some images and links to noteworthy birds and bird nest themed things that I enjoy and covet. Among the list are some of my favorites including...

Birds and Nests rubber stamp set by cavallini *
which you can find a many boutiques including Paper Source and other stationers

Various birds nest themed items for sale at ETSY including paper goods and unique finds offered by the following etsy sellers:
estatesaletreasures *
FoundObjects *
dovegrey *
luxedeluxe *

Cool fibre nests made by textile artist Kirsten Chursinnoff *