Friday, February 29, 2008

Daily dose...for 21 days

For those of you that have read this blog for awhile, you know that I'm all about daily inspiration. Feeling inspired in your everday life by things around you. You also know that I love going to estate sales and find that other peoples junk inspires me to no end. Last night at the library a copy of Lynne Perrella's new book Art Making: Collections and Obsessions came in for me. This book truly speaks my language. She says "Whether we call it collecting, accumulating, scavenging, scrounging, gathering or junking, it's all about the urge to surround ourselves with our stuff, our loot, our stash, our hoard, our mother lode of treasures, and to reap the inspiration that these sometimes inexpicably irrisistable objects provide." I have sometimes struggled with the question and the balance of becoming too material and consumer minded. Lynne says that "....nor do we need the quantities of things we amass. And yet, like the art process itself, there is something rewarding about trusting our instincts and letting each discovery unfold. Keeping our inner radar tuned to the innate possibilities of each object is an important part of the game, a way to keep energized and engaged throughout a whole lifetime of creativity." Mati wrote today about daily inspiration.. she said "it all calls into question: what makes us feel most inspired? alive? motivated? it's these little nuggets of inspiration that fuel does that translate to painting and creating art? most of us would agree that it is part of the process. of noticing the shade of pink & the contrast of the bright green of the ranunculus against it's robin's egg blue vase."
Here is my sweet daily muse (below).
Then I found out that Rhonna was once again spreading her magic and starting up another 21 Days Challenge. Read all about it here!

So I am combining all of these ramblings about collections, inspiration and art into this challenge. For 21 days I am going to try to form a habit of keeping tabs on my daily inspirations and growing collections in a journal. I'm entranced with the idea of documenting where I get ideas from and what inspires me. Keeping an inspiration journal should be truly delightful. Speaking of documentation, have you seen the new inspiration ezine by Erin of Design for Mankind? Vol. 2 is out and it is amazing!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Looking for spring...

Finally my family and I are coming back to the world of the living from the haze of two weeks of cold and fevers. Ready for spring to make it's grand arrival, the sun to shine and the grass to grow green. Then I look outside and see this....snow...grey...cold.
Luckily, I came across Vintage Indie's Dream of Spring swap and it seemed like just the ticket out of my winter state of mind. I coupled my answers with bits of spring I was able to find around my home and my favorite local store. Here are my answers to the swap questions...

What types of vintage do you collect or look for? Millinery flowers, trim, fabric, party accessories, anything I can use in my crafts. Vintage children's books, toys, holiday items, kitchen linens. Retro embroidery, paint-by-numbers.
What types of hobbies/crafts do you enjoy? Mixed media collage and assemblage mostly.
What's your favorite part of spring? In early spring venturing into the woods and finding the tiny spring wildflowers shooting out of the moist earth. What are your favorite flowers? Poenies, any spring flowers such as crocus, forsythia, runicula.
Any allergies or things that you absolutely can't stand? Anything with an overpowering floral scent. Dare I say this, I'm not into lace...of any kind.
Gabreial will take my answers and pair me up with someone fabulous, I'm sure!
Tomorrow is leap day...come back for some fun on this extra special day of the year.

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's official...

Here's what I'll be teaching at Sweetpeas and Snapshots on Saturday, March 29th! See here for all the details!!
This is a fun spring inspired banner that looks like its made with antique ceiling tiles. I'll reveal my secret in class! You can do any word you'd like on it. I made this one with GROW and another with NEST. I am bringing a trove of Minnesota vintage treasures to share! Along with tips and tricks to get the most out of your stash. These will include: vintage crepe paper, millinery flowers and leaves, wallpaper, trims and more. It would be fun for others to bring spring embellishments and we can all trade:)
You know how I love swaps!

Found these fun vintage honey labels recently. Tons of great stuff and everyone will personalize their own banner to their hearts content.
Can't wait to meet all you southern California girls!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

She's at it again....

I've been gathering supplies for my class at Sweetpeas. Yep, you heard it here first... I will be teaching at Sweetpeas and Snapshots in LA on Saturday March 29th. Mark your calendars! I'll have sneak peeks here soon of what I'm going to turn all these goodies into. I plan to bring lots of fun junk from Minnesota to share and create with. Hope to meet you there:)
So it couldn't be a better time to run across a motherload of vintage supplies at an estate sale today. I filled up this adorable trunk with amazing velvet millinery.
The colors on this old stuff just made me swoon!
And I really couldn't pass up this funky purse. It's so ugly it's fantastic!
Hope you're having a great weekend!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Artist In Depth~ Katie Runnels

All photos copyright Katie Runnels
I came across Katie Runnels blog The Constant Gatherer a few months ago. I was intrigued with her unique style and her creative way of putting together natural and vintage elements. I fell in love with her yarn wreaths and nests. I wanted to know more about her creative journey and her work, so we "sat down" for a chat. I thought you'd enjoy what she had to say...

AM: What is your art background?

KR: I went to graduate school for painting at Savannah College of Art and Design. It was hard for me to situate myself in the Fine Art department as I have always been a crafty girl at heart. I came to find out that there was a movement in art towards craft and I particularly became interested in creating art about women and their handicrafts and other issues. I read one artist who said, “All d├ęcor has subtext” and that was my Oprah aha moment! If I just look at all the things we women do and have done to create our homes, our world, and make it a better and more comfortable place for our families and ourselves-there is endless fodder for examination. I know that for myself, and most women I know, that our environment plays a huge role in our emotional and physical well-being. Our “nesting” instinct is very real and the creativity that ensues can be just as amazing as it can sometimes be wacky. I’m especially inspired by the “Gee’s Bend” quilters, who through amazing hardships, persevered in their homes by decorating the walls with any magazine pages they could find and by sewing extraordinary quilts from whatever scraps were scavenged or leftover after years of wear and tear.

AM: Your work contains lots of vintage and found objects. Tell us more about how these things inspire you.

KR: I think my use of the bell jar came from a love of creating dioramas or little environments- not much different from the ones I made for my Barbies or dolls when I was little. I also hate to draw and have always struggled with it- so tracing, collage and assemblage became my methods. My mother influenced my collecting instinct. I used to accompany her, begrudgingly, to many an antique store and our home was always warm with her artistic and decorating efforts. She is a fantastic painter-her style somewhat like the Russian Impressionists-and she continues to produce work that is becoming highly sought after! (We kids try to steal the works she hides or wants throw away!) I think I most admire my mother’s perseverance. She continually strives to learn and practice more, even though she could easily teach classes of her own!

AM: You have a blog, an etsy shop and now your own shop. How has that progression gone?

KR: I began shopSCAD with my best friend, Amy Zurcher after I graduated SCAD. I was married last October, which brought me to Columbia, South Carolina and in search of a new place to work. I ventured out into the country outside Columbia, to a quaint little town thirty miles north called, Newberry. Much like Mayberry, Newberry has a Main St. filled with charming mom & pop shops and restaurants. I settled into my new studio on Main Street where I had more than enough space to set up a studio. I decided to try to become part of the community by opening the front portion of my space with its original glass display windows as a small gallery/shop. Also- to help pay the rent I began a little online shop at Etsy which between that, and blogging, has opened up a huge new world of artist friends and connections.

AM: Your blog is The Constant Gatherer, that seems so fitting, how did it come about?

KR: I wish I could say I thought of “The Constant Gatherer” but I have a fondness for always being on the lookout for fantastic shop names- and this name was the title of an article in one of my magazines that I clipped. I’m afraid I don’t remember which one.
I thought the name pretty much summed up what I do in this life. I think most people can relate to it as well! I began my blog after being so impressed with Design*Sponge, Poppytalk and especially artist’s blogs like Housemartin, Wee Wonderfuls, and Posie Gets Cozy. Before that, I though blogs were only for the self-obsessed, my-space kind of person- whom I, of course, was not! But these blogs became addictive! I thought that it would be the perfect means for me to continue communicating with friends, family, and clients that I have had to leave behind. I have always fantasized about being involved in magazine publishing, and I think this sort of plays on that as well. Blogs are fantastic for me too because I used to collect magazines, off the rack, like a drug-fix, and I really cannot afford it. My favorite blogs keep me in touch with the design world-and I don’t have to buy special storage containers to house them!

AM: What impact has blogging had for you?

KR: I think blogging helps me get my day going. When I discover all the inspiring things that artists are doing, and that women are building, it puts a fire under my butt to get busy! I think all the eye-candy on the internet truly is addictive!

AM: Your home was featured in the November 2006 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. That must have been a great experience. How was that?

KR: Better Homes and Gardens featured me back in November, 2006. I was completely broadsided when a friend of mine and shop-owner in Savannah, Alicia Minton, told me she was going to tell her friend, an editor for BH&G, to scout my house for the magazine. I wasn’t even finished moving in at the time and looking back at the spec photos she took- I am amazed they gave me the chance! It was very fun but nervewracking! I didn’t have much money and there were still wires hanging out from the kitchen walls where my friend Amy and I had done some “remodeling”. It was the nicest my place ever looked-as it was usually a wreck littered with 12,000 diet coke cans, clutter, and dog hair.

AM: Who are your favorite artists?

KR: My all-time favorite list of artists and designers: Christian Boltanski, Joseph Cornell, Marlene Dumas, Frida Kahlo, Anselm Keifer, Eva Hesse, Cezanne, Rebecca Purcell, Alabama Chanin, Julie Heffernan, Justine Vranian, Tamar Mogendorff, Bettina Speckner, Tara Donovan, Trish Andersen, Monica Cook, Lauren McIntosh, Brian Slagle, Nathalie Lete, Colette Calascione, Lyndie Dourthe, Jill Schwartz, Denyse Schmidt, Giselle Potter, Manon Gignoux, Todd Oldham, Amy Zurcher, my mother-Bonnie Runnels, and Denise Falk (my mentor at SCAD)-and lucky for you I know I am forgetting some!
AM: As far as your art being very nature-oriented. Has that always been a common theme in your art?

KR: I think that the natural element in my work is something I came into after school. I primarily identified with "girlie" things- e.g. paper dolls, doll clothes, fabric, needlework, and crafts.As I got older and had a home of my own I started caring about the yard and creating a garden and caring more about the animals. I think it spilled over into my work. My parents garden is a huge part of their life, as was their parents, and I only recently started to appreciate the hard work that went into them. My grandmother was very much a bird enthusiast, as was her mother. I inherited a collage my great-grandmother made sometime in the thirties with flowers, leaves, birds and photos of her family. It is one of my most prized possessions.

AM: Where do you find your goodies? Do you go to estate sales..antique shops…flea markets?

KR: Yes- I'm always on the lookout for pieces to use in my work. Sometimes I'll realize that something I've had for awhileis the impetus for a new work. I like to go to antique malls: the dingier, the better! I only recently started really going to auctions and antique fairs. It takes a lot of stamina! My favorite fair is Metrolina in Charlotte, NC. I also comb Ebay everyday and rely on saved searches and my favorite seller lists.
AM: I noticed on your flickr that you also paint. Do you find your moving more into that…or away from that…or is it just on a whim?

KR: I go back and forth between painting and mixed media assemblage. I thank Robert Raushenberg who invented the 'combine' painting which allows me to do both!I realized in my art classes that there needs to be content behind which method I use. Sometimes, an image can be translated best for my story by painting it, other times the original image can stand on its own. It all depends on the story I'm telling or my reasoning for using the image-or truthfully-if I can paint it or not!
Katie's Contact Info: Katie Runnels-1202 Main St. Newberry, SC


Thanks so much for all the inspiration, Katie!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Books, books, books..

Still working on my book. Many of you have asked how it's going. It's been great. Here's a teaser of the cover that Hope came up with using a piece of my art work. Love it!

I'm at the editing and final re-working stage and hope to have one off to the printer in the next few weeks to make sure it all looks good. Then I will have it available for all of you. Hurray!
Just want to make sure everything is good to go.
So that's the update...

In the meantime, here are a couple of fabulously fun books I recently came across about making books. The Book Book by Sophie Benini Pietromarchi and How to Make Books by Esther K. I heard Amanda talking about them both here.

I also have some really exciting news coming soon about publication and a teaching date in March (in LA), so stay tuned. Just when I thought February seemed dull and dreary and life flipped into high gear. Careful what you ask for, huh?!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The day after...

So much love yesterday from all around. Thank you! Still basking in the afterglow today. We could certainly use some color here in the gray, cold north.
Flowers from my hubby definitely put a smile on my face:)

Thanks for the comments on my vintage crepe paper cones. They are still in the shop.

The kids received so many wonderful cards and goodies.
So many heart-felt sentiments were given. Isn't it wonderful to have a day that we tell one another how much we really mean to each other. That definitely needs to happen more often.

Hope you all had a wonderful, love-filled day!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heart Day and shop update!!!

It's Valentine's Day...welcome to the party!
What a fun day today is. First off, being Valentine's Day and all and that means it's the day for the big reveal for Cheryl and Jenn's Secret Admierer swap. I'm posting late and I don't think my partner had figured out that I was her admierer yet, so hopefully these pics will help her!I sent this pocket of goodies to Sandy at Quill Cottage. These are the treats that I received from my partner, who kept me guessing until the very end. Turns out it's the lovely and amazing Lori of Vintage Flair. Thanks, Lori...I love it all! Since it is a sweetheart kind of day and you are all sweeter than any candy imaginable, I decided to have a little party. Be sure and scroll down to the end of the post for some party treats I posted in my etsy shop! I hope to have lots more spring inspired goodies in my shop in the near future.Finally, a little surprise...I created some festive party cones made with my vintage crepe paper and millinery stash. I love how these turned out and they totally got me in the mood for spring. I had a ball figuring out how to make flowes with crepe paper and these blossoms turned out beautifully. The crepe paper opens on top and you can put a gift inside, or just hang as is. They're in my shop now!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!