Friday, February 21, 2020

A Walk Through History on Off the Wall Friday

The View from Blasco Library, Erie PA on Wednesday


Sometimes projects are straight forward.   Others....well they're not.  Of course,  I've landed myself into the later.  I normally like my projects orderly and organized.  Not this one .... nope, I've just begun and its gotten totally out of hand.



I spent my day off this week at our amazing Blasco Library.  I thought I would just stop quick and find a couple of cool headlines to go into my piece.  The next thing you know, I have a box of 35 mm film reels reading a the year of 1945 in the Erie Times.  It's so easy to get lost reading columns of stories that seem so familiar but yet so far removed from today's news.   It left me thinking how so many things have changed and so many things have stayed the same.

While reading the papers, so many ideas started flooding my mind.  It was really hard to keep focused on what I was there for.  All these pages could be cropped or resized .., scanned  and printed right there or saved to a thumb drive or emailed to yourself.  The plan is to further edit and manipulate them.  How....no idea.  Well actually I do have an idea.  In fact too many ideas.  Sigh, is this what they call a #firstworldproblem ??

I thought I would share some of the pages that I saved.

So What You Been Up to Creatively?


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Friday, February 14, 2020

Digital Fiber Art, A Review on Off the Wall Friday



You would think looking at my bookcases that I have enough art, quilt, surface design books.. Apparently not.  This week, I finally gave in to my wishlist and bought, Wen Redmond's Digital Fiber Art. I've been wanting it forever but hadn't had the right project where I really needed it.

Boy, so glad I did!  I've watched Wen's classes, seen her work and basically love the whole mix media vibe, but was too afraid to stick my toe in.  Reading through book, not only do you stick your toe in but she manages to throw you into the deep end!!

Most of my fiber art books contain about 75% things I already know  with 25%  new information I need to learn.  Not this one!  Even though I'm not a novice to the whole digital fabric thing there is a ton of concepts, techniques and inspirational pieces that really can get you started.  The thing I like the best is that Wen has managed to put all the odds and ends I've learned and organize them in a fashion where I can find them all in one place.  THEN she shows me how to put it all together!

PRO's
  • Well written, in an easy understandable manner.  Not too much fluff
  • Techniques are organized in an effective way for easy future reference
  • TONS of great pictures illustrating the techniques and lending inspiration
  • Goes from the beginning of the process right down to the finishes
  • C&T Publishing.... so the book is of the highest quality - love the "feel" of it 
  • Not limited to just fabric....many materials are mentioned throughout
CON's
  • Not a book for beginners.  A good foundation of the tech world AND design fundamentals is helpful.
  • There is so much material it could be overwelming
  • There is no page of resources or links so you're left hunting down the many, many materials mentioned
  • The inspirational pictures all have one "mood".  More is More seems to be on every page
  • Techniques requires access to art supplies, online or downloaded software programs that won't be in the average person's sewing room
  • There isn't a lot of mixing  of the digital with the traditional.
So if you always wanted to know "How does she do that???"  buy the book.  Wen tells you in a easy understandable manner.  But be warned,  this isn't a book that you read and start making work that looks like the author makes.  She gives you the techniques, the inspiration to experiment on your own and come up with your own voice.

For me this was definitely worth the $$ and I can see myself having a lot of  fun with it!

On to .....Things I Like.....

Normally, I don't much care for the Facebook kind of games that seem to pop up in people's statuses.  But this one showed up in my friend's Joyce's this week and I found it funny and interesting.  It's easy enough you just tell me the latest book you've read and add WITH DINOSAURS after it,  I love to see what people are reading and always looking for suggestions.




I have two books going right now.  I'm rereading the whole Mary Russell series with Laurie R. King which I highly, highly suggest.  My favorite series by far!!  So I just finished Locked Rooms With Dinosaurs which is 8th in the series.

The other is a non fiction book that was inspired by Locked Rooms.  It's San Francisco is Burning With Dinosaurs ...the Untold Story of the  1906 Earthquake and Fires.


 PLEASE play along and let me know what you've been reading!!


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Friday, February 7, 2020

Ideas Lab on Off the Wall Friday

You know I'm never really short of ideas.  They seem to pop into my head all the time.  The problem is that they tend to pop right out.  I know that sounds strange but life is loud and it can drown out the ideas.  Not to mention, was that idea really any good anyways??

I know you know what I mean....you finally get  some creative time....there's a quiet studio ...all clean... filled with all the wonderful fabric and goodies you got over Christmas ... and you got nothing.  So you start looking for inspiration ... you jot down a few ideas that might or might not lead to somewhere and the next thing you know your 4 hrs of allotted studio time is over.  And you still are not sure that your ideas are worth your time or effort or even if its really yours and not derived from someone else's work and suddenly you're stuck in this design delay because you can't decide if your idea is even feasible! And your studio is still clean.  And you still haven't used all those great supplies from Christmas.  UGH!!
nothing.  Nothing like just a clean empty table and plenty of art quilt books and pattern books filled with other people's ideas  but you, yourself got

So after listening to one of my favorite podcasts Creative Pep Talk , I have a new plan.

  1. Grab a small idea notebook.  Make sure its the kind you'll really like to use, because that way you'll, you know, use it.
  2. Don't put off thinking of ideas until the day you really need one.  Think about them whenever you got a quiet moment or feel inspired.  Yes, I mean put down your phone when you're in line and just think.
  3. Think about things that really have resonated with you in your life.  These are the things that really have made you stop  in your tracks and say wow that's amazing.  Its the kind of experiences that made you just want to look and look or listen or feel.  Try to think about things YOU love not the things you think you should love. Start with things from your childhood and work forward from there.  My example was years ago, I took a 2nd grade class to see the movie Curious George.  We were sitting in the dark theatre and the movie started and the screen was just a mass of amazing colors...the whole move was that way.  Just these joyful bright colors and simple shapes.  I couldn't tell you what the movie was about but I still remember how I took an intake of breathe when the screen went from  black to color. 
  4. With those experiences jotted down, think about what it was that reverberated in you.What is at the emotional core of the idea.
  5. Take those emotions and those inspirations and let them lead you into your next piece. Don't let yourself get involved in the HOW yet...start with the WHAT and move quietly into the WHY.  Once that is clear the how will become naturally. 

Now I know that takes a lot of introspection, when really you just want to just get after it.  Still if you take some time and really look at what makes you tick, your pieces will convey the real you and not something was derived from someone else or something you think you should be making.


Speaking of  Ideas.....Two years ago, our county library built an Idea Lab.  The lab consists of a Makerspace, Media Lab, workspaces known as “collaboratories” and a community classroom with two dozen laptops.  They have a TON of great equipment that artists, students, new businesses and yes the general public can use free of charge.

Included are several 3-D printers, 3D printing pens, a computer equipped with design software including the whole adobe suite, a Cricut Maker, an Easy press, a vinyl cutter, two sewing machines, a VHS-to-DVD converter, a large-format printer, a green screen and recording studio, a thermal laminator, a handheld label maker, fiber art supplies and jewelry-making equipment. Not to mention there are drafting supplies, and art supplies.

So they give classes and instructions on how to use the equipment - especially the 3-D printers.  The only thing you pay for is the materials you used...the equipment is totally free.  You can preschedule time on the equipment or drop in and use it if its free.


Let me tell you, you walk in there and its amazing.  So many possibilities at your hands.  This weekend I plan on going in and using the photoshop  to come up with my final design of my history project.  You can literally scan old pictures up in the Heritage Room on their oversize scanner, bring the thumb drive down to the idea lab to edit on photoshop and then print out a full size pattern on their large format printer.  At least that's the plan!!

Now isn't that a good use of our tax dollars??

So What Have Been UP to Creatively?



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Friday, January 31, 2020

It's All About Erie, PA......Off the Wall Friday

If I could  I would take the whole month of January off from life.  While the whole world is making New Year's Resolutions, I'm struggling just to complete my daily routine.  After 50 years of it, I don't fight it because its really only 31 days and sooner or later it will be February  This year it was a little worse than normal but as the days get longer, the sun on the banks of Lake Erie is out a bit more  and I slowly come awake.

With that, I was looking for new project that would excite me.  I have a to-do list but nothing has grabbed me enough to get me back into the studio.  Until now.    With all the Christmas sales, I managed to snag a quick online class with Leni Wiener. I've admired her work for years and was interested in her creative process.  Well....in on afternoon I watched the class....perused her webpage....and finally, read her book.  (Its a little amazing what you can do from your bedroom these days!)



Well to say I was inspired an understatement.  For the next few weeks, my mind has been ruminating on how to use what I learned.  Since last summer, I've wanted to start some pieces that would reflect, the history of Erie County, Pennsylvania.  I really love living here.  It has just the right mix of beauty,  community, and blue class flavor that I wanted to celebrate that.

hmmmmm but HOW??



So I started at one of my favorite places in the whole world, Blasco Library in Erie, PA.  Now all libraries, any libraries have always been and will always be my happy place.  (That and Wegman's in the morning but that's a whole other post!)  From when I was little girl, I'll walk into a library and all I see is a world of possibilities at my finger tips....for free!!  I always say that its the best use of my tax dollars and Blasco is no exception!

It was built about 23 years ago right on the lake front.  Naysayers at the time said who would want to go down on the lake front just to visit the main library?  Well apparently....a lot of people.  Attendance immediately shot up.    We do have a nice smaller branches scattered throughout the city and county but Blasco is the mothership.  Its kinda of like Erie - concrete, brick and glass and looks over the lake.  Its light and airy inside (although kinda echoey for a library!) and has two big stories.  I love the layout with non-fiction on the first floor and fiction and The Hertiage Room on the second.

The Hertiage Room houses the history resources.  They have genealogy, local/state history, newspapers back to 1822 (yes 1822!!) etc etc......PLUS all the tech to go with it.  There are plenty of computers, Database software subscriptions, Microfilm machines, scanners and printers.  Plus its QUIET!!  Here in an hour, I found all the inspirational photos I needed plus some seeds were sown (pun intended - LOL!) for some additional projects.

The best part??  Its all free ...well free due to my tax dollars and donations.  The library is open 7 days a week to everyone...from the homeless getting a nap out of the rain to the well to do retiree
looking up her families geneology.  LOVE IT!!

This is only the first half of the treasures found at our local Erie County Library.  I'll finish up this post next week!!  If you haven't explored your local library  recently I highly suggest it.  With the advent of the internet, I know its easy to think we have the world at our fingertips just by opening up your laptop but sometimes its nice to go out into your community  and actually look at the material in person.

This year I decided I'm going to add a new part of my blog....Things I Like and Don't Like.  This week, tragedy hit our small part of the county.  22 year old Alex Cavanah was shot and killed while working a Saturday afternoon as shift  manager at our local Wendy's.  By all accounts, he was a special young man and husband who was studying to be a minister.  Bad things happen all the time in
this world and in a blink of an eye a person's life is gone....but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

What I do like is...that in this time of Democrat against Republican...Blue against Red....a country divided, my community came together to celebrate Alex's life.  On Wednesday, Wendy's reopened to donate all proceed's of the day's sale to Alex's wife and family.  Wendy's also would match all the sales plus had donation buckets at all county Wendy's (that would be matched as well).  Between social and local media, the word got out.  From the moment the store opened at 10 am to when it closed at midnight there were lines and lines of cars waiting to get in.  The cars stretched for miles with over 2 hr waits in the drive through.  Lines in the restaurants round around and around inside sometimes reaching out the door.  It was crazy and heartwarming at the same time.  My husband and I splurge on calories to show our support and waited 1.5 hrs for our meal at 9 pm at night.  In the midst of it all people all celebrated Alex and community and a good hamburger all in one!  (Alex's GoFundme Page)

I really think that these two events  woke me from my January funk!!  Life is too short to sit around waiting for the sun to come out.

So What Have You Been Creating???
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Friday, January 24, 2020

Off the Wall Friday



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Friday, January 17, 2020

Off the Wall Friday

. Thanks everyone for your kind words. I will back to normal soon. If there are are any issues please feel free to contact me at ninamariesayre at g📭. Thanks!!
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Friday, January 10, 2020

Off the Wall Friday


So sorry every one I've been a mess!

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