Thursday, March 08, 2007

I've Moved

But not far, just over to here.

This is my new blog where I'll be adding new photos and articles -- but I've also moved all my archives there so you can still read the old stuff too!

I'm still trying to figure out how to change all you who have subscribed, so you will get emails from the new blog.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Getting Back on the Horse

PaMdora's back!
Maybe not in full strength, but she's getting there...

In cleaning up my hard drive, I happily found this old template for the blog. It's a couple of years old so it doesn't have my blog links, but it will do for now. However I wasn't too worried about recovering it because I've been working for a couple of weeks to learn WordPress.

So far I've created this new site for my group Uncommon Threads using WordPress. I hope the members will be able to use it to publish their own art. And I converted another blog RuBert Studios to it. I've been trying to get the courage to tackle PaMdora's Box. It has over 300 posts, and seems like a lot tougher nut to crack.

The reason I was cleaning my hard drive was a package that I've been anxiously awaiting has arrived.

I've never really been a Mac person, but disaster struck our studio and several computers needed to be replaced. After shopping around for a month, I decided it was time to make the leap. Don't worry Windows-lovers, I'm still a fan too, and if Russ works the same magic on this laptop as his did on another, I'll be running Windows in Parallels. Because I just love Picassa and can't give up a few other favorites.

We've always seen technology as something to help us in the wild weird art world, and there's nothing like a little trama to make you re-think, re-group, and recharge. Besides, how can you not love something that is packaged so beautifully. Can you believe that's the styrafoam under the computer?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Art of Quilting PBS program

Next Saturday, the documentary The Art of Quilting will air on our local PBS station. Check out Lisa Call's quilt in the background of the PBS website, hopefully it will be on the cover of the DVD when it's released! Last March a crew from Wisconsin came to my studio to do an interview. I haven't seen the show yet, but I've been told by the producer that my interview will appear in the first segment. Check your local PBS schedule, because this program is supposed to be airing nationally in March. For Springfield, the PBS - KOZK schedule is:

Saturday, March 3 at 8 a.m.
Thursday, March 8 at 12:30 afternoon
Saturday, March 17 at 12:30 afternoon

Coincidently, that first showing is the same day that 50 art teachers will be touring our studio as part of their spring state conference. Yikes, next week is going to be a scrabble to get things in some kind of order. I had this idea to get a bunch of tarps, cover everything, and label them "Top Secret Projects", but I don't think that will work!


Saturday, February 24, 2007

More Bright Lights

Although our studio is still a wreck, good things keep happening. Yesterday afternoon we had our third photo session with Bob Linder of Signature magazine for a feature article that should come out the end of March.

We did the session in the back warehouse with lots of Russ's metal cutouts in the background. It's hard to know what to wear for these things, and the lighting was so wacky, I couldn't take anything very good, except for this photo of his beautiful crinkly light umbrella. But Bob is such an excellent photographer that I'm excited to see what he's taken. But I did get this photo of Russ and Bob on a website I'm using to learn WordPress.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Squirrel Tree

Humans weren't the only people who suffered in the January 2007 ice storm. I think a lot of wild animals struggled too. Yesterday I saw a disoriented racoon sitting in the middle of the road in the bright daylight, so I imagine he was sick or hurt. And in our own yard, there has been lots of ruckus in the old squirrel tree.

Sometime during the storm, the big north branch crashed to the ground. Then third-story squirrel apartment broke and fell over. Next there was lots of activity in the second-story apartment, and Russ said he thought the squirrels were adding a extra bedroom for their third-story relatives.

Now that we're cleaning up the yard and trimming the trees, I know a professional arborist would say this old tree has to go -- it's in too bad of shape to save. But can't you just see it in Mochi's eyes, she's saying," Please Dad, save the squirrel tree. I won't have anything to watch all day long if you cut it down."

Honestly, it is better than dog TV.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Tiki Trivia

I’ve gotten messages from Myra, Merrilee, and Diana in Maui to tell me that the spelling is PuPu, not PoPo. It helps in research to spell things correctly, so I after spelling it PuPu, I did learn something new about the Tiki craze. Apparently it was started in California by a guy who changed his name to Don the Beachcomber, to match the name of his restaurants that were popular in the 1940’s and 50’s. But then here's another story...

As I read about Tiki’s origins, I realized that the common attraction then and now is, people are looking for a fantasy escape. Moving back to the warehouse has not been so easy, especially working by torchlight (heh, just kidding.) But at the same time, it’s reinvigorated my interest in the Tiki Lounge that we built in our studio several years ago. We built it after an inspiring trip to a San Francisco swing club that had a cool Polynesian bar, the kind of place that serves drinks in coconuts with little umbrellas.

When we returned home, we put together our own version of a Tiki bar / Art Lounge in a side room of the warehouse. Russ topped the bar with metal, I covered the sides and roof with bamboo from our garden, and the stools came from Target.

Oh look, we even got Austin Powers to tend bar. It was a great place to hang out, play pool and host Halloween parties. But then we got busy, and the dust accumulated, and the Tiki Lounge fell into shadows.

But now, moving back here and looking at all this stuff everyday has revived my optimism for the strange fantasy world of island life, mysterious objects, and far away places. I’ve decided to embrace the decor, and actually enhance it! As a matter of fact, when all this renovation is over, I might just move the Tiki decor up front for a more prominent place.

So far, I’ve newly acquired a fake banana tree, a retro Metal Art Desk, Hawaiian music box, coconut cleaver and assorted funky lamps. I dug the Hawaiian Hula girl and bowling trophies (my grandmother’s) out of boxes, and dusted off rocks, baskets, and Asian masks. It’s been fun! Okay, but I wouldn't go this far. For the more adventurous DIYers, here's how to make a Tiki fireplace using foam. It's even got eyes that glow.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Totally Tiki

I’ve been collecting lots of Tiki memorabilia for the Tiki office. Here’s a monkey with wire glasses. He's made out of coconuts, and has a slash on his stomach because he’s also a bank. Next to him is a girl with pigtails made out of some kind of nut. She’s also hollow and her hat lifts up -- so I think she’s meant to be a little purse.

The most fun thing so far has been filling up this Hawaiian serving tray with office supplies. It has a cute carved pineapple on the top and individual trays spin around. I thought this was called a popo platter, but can’t seem to find out for sure. Help Myra -- what’s it’ really called?

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

2007 Missouri Arts Awards

On Wednesday, we were at the capital for the 2007 Missouri Art Awards. Here is Russ standing between Missouri State Govenor Blunt and the First Lady, just after he received recognition in the Individual Artist category -- the highest honor an artist can receive in the State of Missouri.

The ceremony was held at the State Capitol building. Although I grew in near this building, and it was always a part of our hometown landscape and culture, I don't think I really appreciated it when I was there.

Since then, I've read some histories of the building. Most surprising to me was that 25% of the original architectural budget for the building was earmarked for decoration. Decoration! Do you realize what that means? That means ART! It does put some of our current 1% for the arts programs to shame, and remember that many building budgets don't even have that.

This explains a lot about the building -- the fact that there are statues, carvings and paintings everywhere throughout the capitol. Most famous are some large murals painted by Thomas Hart Benton. Above is a photo looking up through the rotunda, but I don't know who painted these murals. There also should be a huge chandelier in the center, but it got dropped during cleaning and maintenance last fall. I think it's going to take $600,000 to replace.

After the ceremony, we all traveled a couple of blocks to the Governor's Mansion for a nice reception. Many friends of the arts in Missouri were there to celebrate because Governor Blunt has recommended $8 million in his budget to go the Missouri Arts budget, up from $3 million last year and up from zero in 2004. Yay! All in all, it was a good day for the arts.

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