April 23, 2014

Kumi Yamashita Light & Shadow

I am completely in awe of the creative thought-process of Kumi Yamashita!
Objects are placed in precise locations in relation to a source of light.
A portrait materializes from the resulting shadow.
Think positive and negative space.
As the artist says, "The complete artwork is therefore comprised of both 
the material (the solid objects) and the immaterial (the light or shadow)."

See more at the Kumi Yamashita website.

April 21, 2014

Gwen Murphy's Foot Fetish Sculptures

Now, here's an artist who thinks outside the box. Shoebox, that is.
How imaginative for Gwen Smith to take a pair of shoes, add clay,
and then working her sculptor’s magic, bring them to life!
Her collection is titled “Foot Fetish.”

Bizarre? Uh...yep.
Innovative, modern and fun? Absolutely.

Above: She's Not There
Big Lebowski

Big Mouth Twins


Greatest Shoe on Earth

Edgar & Erwin

Toe Shoes

Blue Suedes

Golf Pair

Ruby Slippers

See many more at Gwen Murphy Studio,
and here she is on Facebook.

Images used with direct permission from Gwen Murphy.

April 18, 2014

Sweet Mice Friends by Felting Dreams

These cute little felt mice were brought to my attention by my friend Carolyn.
Felting Dreams is the dream-come-true of doll artist Johana Molina, of Chile.
She adds charming details that give personality to each of her "little friends", as she calls them.
A tiny button, an acorn cap, wire spectacles.
Aren't they the sweetest? Irresistible, to be sure.

Not just mice-
Here's a sweet bunny family...

...and a darling little fox!

Good night! Sleep tight!

You can find Felting Dreams on
EtsyTumblr and Facebook.

Images used with direct permission from Johana Molina.

April 16, 2014

Attending a Pysanky Workshop


After writing my previous post on the Ukrainian art of Pysanky Easter eggs,
(see that post HERE), I knew I'd just love to try my hand at it!
As luck would have it, I heard about a workshop offered by our township's
Parks & Recreation department and signed right up!

Above are samples that Jenn, our instructor, brought to show each step of the process.
We were each given a kit, containing instructions, dyes,
a square of beeswax and the stylus tool, called a "kistka."


We were asked to bring our own candle in a holder.
Jenn gave us each an egg, which she had "blown out" ahead of time.
Also due to time limitations, she had pre-measured and marked our eggs
with simple geometric designs to be used as guidelines as we were learning.

Paper plates became collectors of excess wax drippings,
and, with wires fitted through them, stands for the eggs at the final stage.

Although this post is not meant to serve as instructions on how to make Pysanky,
I hope that you'll enjoy seeing the process and maybe be inspired to try it yourself!


The metal funnel end of the kistka is heated in the candle flame.
You can then shave off a bit of the beeswax to fill the funnel.
The melted wax flows through and allows you to sketch the wax onto the egg.


As I began, I noticed that the beeswax turned black from the soot of the candle.
No worries; this will later be removed, and in the meantime, is easier to see on the shell. 

I found it wasn't easy to keep a steady hand
and quickly saw wax blobs foil my plan for thin straight lines!


 Keep in mind that Pysanky is a wax-resist technique.
You may be familiar with this as "batik."
Where ever you place wax, the color under that wax is what remains.


On to the first round of dye.
Notice the white plug that is used to fill the blowing hole
to prevent the dye from leaking inside the shell.


Next came green...


 ...and then orange, as I gradually added wax to build the design.


 Hmmm. It's starting to look quite ugly!


And uglier still.
I was hoping for a swan underneath this duckling.


A crafter's heat gun tool was used to melt away the wax
and reveal the beauty underneath.


 Holding my breath as I waited for Jenn to unveil my egg.
I was quite happy with the results!


Next came the final step of spraying a coat of shellac
to give it that high gloss finish that looks fabulous!

And there you have it - my first attempt at Pysanky!


Here are the lovely results from some of the ladies around the table~





What a fantastic experience!
I got to hang out with friends and meet a few new ones.
Each of us had a unique type of creativity.
We cheered each other along and were excited to see one another's final results!

Jenn, thanks for showing us the ropes, for your patience and encouragement!
And thank yous to Lynne, Jean, Debbie, Stephanie, Darlene & Rachel for the photos!

I quickly realized that in contrast to those exquisite works of art featured in my other post, 
how awfully brave I must be to share my beginner's attempt with my blog friends. ;)
And as if I didn't have total respect for Pysanky artists before, I sure do now!

A shout-out to Northampton Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania,
and its Parks & Recreation department!

April 14, 2014

Peeps & Company


A road trip to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania!
How timely that, only a week before Easter, we'd come upon a store 
made famous by none other than the Easter Bunny himself!

Peeps! Those sugar-coated marshmallow treats,
without which, no Easter basket would be complete!

Here's a quick history of Peeps, and Just Born, Inc., the company that makes them:
Sam Born came to the U.S. from Russia in 1910.
He invented chocolate sprinkles (aka jimmies),
plus a machine to insert the sticks into lollipops,
 for which he was given the key to the city of San Francisco!
The Just Born, Inc. manufacturing company began in 1923.
In 1953, Sam acquired a company that made marshmallow chicks by hand.
A year later, his son Bob started mass-producing them much faster by machine
and officially trademarked them as Peeps.
In the early 1980's the Peeps marshmallow bunnies were added.

Sharing my photos of this bright, colorful, super-sweet shop!


Rainbow gift-packs of Peeps ~ "It's not a party without the chicks!"


A Peep mug-shot.


Lots of Peep novelties: magnets, stickers, socks, key chains, and more.


Plenty of plush!



Lots of novelty tee-shirts!



Our favorite~ Imagine World Peeps!


The shop's centerpiece is this display, topped with a giant, lighted...


...color-changing Peep!


Peep-mobile sighting!


The Peeps & Company store is at 77 Sands Boulevard in Bethlehem, PA.
There are 2 other locations:
Mall of America in MN
National Harbor, MD.

Here's the Peeps & Company website!