“Building Your World”

“Building Your World”

In a recent program at the Westwood Branch Library, children created their own worlds inspired by architecture, repurposed materials, and their own imaginations!

Participants engaged concepts of architecture, design, engineering, construction and environment, finding new uses for cast-off items, and recycling what could have been trash into  fanciful constructions of joy, wit, whimsy…and always, creativity.

Creating and using color…pipe cleaners, a wooden clothes pin, plastic and paint samples and cardboard ribbon spools!

Arranging a wooden cutout (left over from a furniture-making class) and a pipe cleaner on a project board…ready to add other materials.

Another young maker using the same wooden cutout in a whole different way. Clothespins and empty spools become hooks and clips for jewelry.

Drawing combined with unique packing material and plastic tiles topped by small spools form the visual structure for this young boy’s world.

Here the project board is used as a flat base, and din=mension is added with a gift box top, straws, and yet another employment of empty spools.

Participants worked flat on tables in the library’s multipurpose/community room, and most came at the start of the program, and stayed for its 1.5 hour entirety, allowing them time to truly play, design, experiment and build.

Lawrence worked what looked to be upside down on his project,

perhaps turning his project board base around to see how it was developing from both vantage points.

This lovely world of color, flowers animals and doors/flaps which lift up was created by a young girl of preschool age, working quietly in a corner with her mother. She made beautiful use of the materials, arranging cardboard, tile and paint samples and pipe cleaners to beautiful effect.  I would love to visit this world for a bit!

It was exciting to see children visualize wolds in real time, then create them concretely. I have to believe it was wonderful and empowering for the children and their adults as well.

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To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

To Build a World…Inspired by Louise Nevelson

WEB1What a wonderful experience to introduce young artists to the wondrous wood work of the artist Louise Nevelson…and what better way than for them to create their own (mini) wood sculptures!

WEBaWorking on simple cardboard bases, students worked with an assortment of new and repurposed wood objects, in a variety of shapes, thicknesses and sizes.

WEBbPlaying with shape, space, form, pattern, dimension and design, they arranged their chosen pieces into sculptures (“built environments”), and secured them  using “tacky glue“.

WEBcSome used aspects of symmetry to create harmony and balance.

WEBddSome built their pieces up,

WEBfinto elegant and contained structures,

WEBhsome out, into strong, repeating patterns,

WEBeand some built up and out producing a magical sense of movement that is a joy to behold.

WEBgThey used the color, texture and utility of the materials to establish strong compositions, sustain visual interest

WEbiand just plain have fun!

It was beautiful to see them build….their worlds.

Gratis Louise Nevelson.

Behind the Mask 2

Behind the Mask 2

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB2The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB6made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB3The stitched, or “lashed” edges are inspired by

WEB4medieval clothing and lacing, and of course…color.

WEB5The books tie together, and the pages are blank…

all the better of stashing secrets!

 

Behind the Mask 1

Behind the Mask 1

It has been fun integrating my Mom, Judy Disman’s “mini-masks” into a series of my handmade books.

WEB3The series is comprised of small (approximately 4.5 x 6 x1-1.5″), single and multiple signature books,

WEB5made of repurposed board, paper, jewelry parts, and raffia,

WEB1as well as hemp cord, linen thread, and Eco-fi felt (made of recycled plastic bottles.)

WEB6The bound edges are inspired by

WEB7medieval clothing and lacing,

WEBaand of course…color.

The books tie together, and the pages are blank…all the better of stashing secrets!

Architectural Gem Series 1

Architectural Gem Series 1

Santa Monica Self-Styled Eclectic

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Piecing Our Story

Piecing Our Story

FAITH_art2Faith Ringgold

Inspired by the “Story Quilts” of Faith Ringgold…I incorporated fabric collages into some classes and programs I  had the privilege of  teaching and leading.

WEB1The idea was to piece together elements of fabric…cloth…to express or depict aspects  of the maker’s life story. To “fabricate’ one’s story…to “cloth” one’s story in visual details…the definition can be rather loose.  Above, my sample expresses something of house and home…a broad theme that could encompass almost anything.

WEB1This fun and evocative piece created by a 17 year old makes beautiful use of aqua-blue wool…at least I think it is wool. As I get many of supplies at a place called “Trash for Teaching” , where companies’ left-overs or overstock is donated to be resold to teachers and others at very low cost,  I am not always sure of their origin. This artist did use paper for the face…extrapolating from a previous lesson on how to draw the face in proper proportion. She is also interested in becoming a make-up professional, so this piece may have played into that ambition and interest as well.

WEB2_2Totally different, but just as evocative is this piece that functions almost like a banner, celebrating the maker’s daughter. Balanced through the elements of color, shape and composition,  the use of the symbols of heart and arrow are  arranged to create the strong center of a radial design which continues and expands the motif of the arrow.  Arrow pointing to directly the heart? Seems like a rather clear story there.

WEB5These brilliantly colored feathers almost appear to emit light against the dark background.  Arranged in a repeating color pattern, the artist is careful to begin and end with pink,  containing the composition within that color horizontally, while flanking it vertically with luminous green, and thus employing the tension of opposites. Pink is a permutation of red, “light” red, (red plus white) which is the compliment, or opposite of green. The color story expresses the human story as a whole.

WEB3Two uses of the heart motif, one created through stitching, and another through the cutting and gluing of material define these two pieces.  Both hearts are tilted to the left, which gives them a dynamic feel of being on movement, and which in turn adds movement to the composition. Above  the deceptively simple composition of white and red on black belies the powerful associations of those colors. Below, warm hues of the  cool color of blue are offset by the soft pinkish-purple (which contains blue) in the center of the color scheme.  The piece is further enlivened by sharp dashes of back in the corners which radiate outwards, and black letters in the center set off by white, another system of opposites.

WEB4The use of the heart shape / symbol, as a central motif, the combination of different kinds of cloth/textile/fabric media, and employment of framing as a compositional device characterize the works above. Bows, pom poms, a scattering of smaller hearts and butterflies, and imaginative color choices are all at play, adding a layer of magic and whimsey to the feelings of hope and longing expressed in these pieces.

Web1AA Mom of two created this piece, which depicts her two children who also attended. Although she came in towards the end of the project, she was able to put together vibrant colors, and strong shapes which speak volumes about her commitment to her family, and tell at least a piece of her story. One strip of patterned ribbon is added which reflects the flowers, and ties the composition together by adding complexity and interest right in the center of the piece. This artist was very specific about which  ribbon she was going to use to achieve this, and with good reason, as the results are stunning.

 

Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole

Material Girl 3: Many Parts Create The Whole…FLAG BOOKS!

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The fun and innovative Flag Book  structure can be a powerful  form to express thought, feeling and idea through word and image.

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Within the flag book…there can be a

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We all know that…

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Above are Flag Book front and back covers..with a “found writing” title..which employs  text,  color, the font/typeface, the design, composition, and space between the words for cognitive and emotional impact.

WEBn2A single word or phrase can pack the proverbial punch, when paired with color and placement.

WEBn3Putting together “found” words and phrases can yield unexpected poetry…the poetic power of  Found Writing.

Found Writing can help us define our vision (or one of them…)

WEBoWEBo2and give us a hitherto unknown directive of sorts.  We  find that we can advise ourselves…

WEBo4within the context of numerous ideas.

WEBo9The layering of words, colors, shapes and text

WEBo3creates new meanings,

WEBpand may tell us something important…

WEBp3about something we want,

WEBp2or need

WEBp6to know…

WEBp5or experience…

WEBp1or try….

WEBp7You may find that you make a promise…to yourself…

WEBp8That must be kept.

Something new…has been born.

Wave those flags!!!!

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Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

 

Material Girl 2: Many Parts Create The Whole

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Preparing for bookmaking programs at the West Hollywood Library, the Diamond Bar Library, the Fairview Library, and the Montana Avenue Library isn’t just a labor of love…it can be pure joy.

WEbaWEbbThe spread of papers of just the right thickness, ready to be folded into the versatile accordion/concertina spine.

WEbc1Pages are attached to each fold of the spine. More folds = more page possibilities!

WEbe1A rainbow of front and back covers cut to the same height as the spines.

WEbe3Mottled” book pages.

WEbdHigh contrast, and “grey on grey” spine-cover color designs. The effect can be elegant!

WEbgWEbg2The glory of your basic colored construction paper…not just for kids.

WEbfAssorted papers…Japanese patterns, parchment, and ‘plain brown wrapper” card stock. Variety is the spice of life…and bookmaking!

WEbf1Let’s take a closer look at those papers!  Now…what can we do with them?

WEBmFront cover design…

WEBm1Use of paper heart found at “Trash for Teaching” in Los Angeles, on inside front cover.

WEBm2“Fan” page designs! The pages will be attached to each fold of the spine, and will “fan” out when the book is opened by pulling the back and front covers away from each other.  The “fan” book can also be opened ‘traditionally”,by turning the cover, and moving through the pages by turning them consecutively.

WEbiPutting it all together….a family theme.

WEbi1“Doors” and Windows” can be cut in pages and covers, to reveal the unexpected beneath and behind!

WEbj“Fan” pages are attached to the accordion /concertina spine, seen here in a variety of colors.

WEBkWEBk1WEBk2 WEBk3“Heart” openings on the “fan” pages  (“Windows/Doors”) reveal surprises behind and beneath…which can deepen and expand the theme of the book.

WEBl1WEBlCardboard shapes, another treasure found at Trash for Teaching, create a slight three-dimensional (“relief“) effect, and can be used to create visual frames for photos or other treasures added to the book.

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Don’t we all?!!

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

Secondary Colors are Primary Too

After posting last week about the Primary Colors (in the paint, print,  dye sense…as opposed to the “light” sense)…I had to give some color time to those marvelous combos of primary colors…the ever-loving, and equally important secondaries!

Web1Purple = Red + Blue

Web2Green= Blue + Yellow

Web3Orange = Yellow + Red

Color WheelInterestingly…the complimentary colors are comprised of colors that are directly opposite, or across from each other on the color wheel.  They are diametrically opposed…complete opposites. These dramatic duets are composed of the pairing of one primary color, and one secondary.  Since each secondary is composed of two primaries, complimentary pairs contain all three primaries between them, and effectually “cancel out” each other’s color properties (I.E.- “neutralize” each other), when mixed.

Web7On the contrary, when placed next or in proximity to each other, secondaries can create brilliant, arresting, and “can’t get enough of it’ color palettes. Seeing Green, orange and purple all together, adding brightness to a house exterior, well, it just wakes up your senses, ready or not!

Web5Purple and orange share a red “parent” color in common. The other two primaries, blue and yellow, are expressed within them as their other color “parents”. That brilliant, hot orange packs the proverbial palette punch as an unexpected accent and frame to the softer purple house body color.

Web6Here we have a pale orange (salmon), with a teal green, punctuated by bright purple flowers. Without the exuberant purple blooms nestled amongst their own green leaves, this exterior color palette might descend into the realm of the ho-hum.

Web8Orange (here with a rosy glow) and green share yellow as one half of each of their wholes.  It is almost impossible for yellow not to add warmth, relating, as it does, to the radiance and heat of the sun. The palette here is integrated with the green leaves of the foliage, which makes the warm rosy orange stand out all the more.

Have You designed solely with secondaries?  What have You come up with?  Working with secondaries, which express, but indirectly, the primaries they contain within them, can create strong, edgy color designs.  Perhaps not for the faint of color heart, but guaranteed to move your blood. A powerful way to tell a color story.

Compliments of the House, Inside and Out

Compliments of the House Inside and Out

Thinking about systems of opposites..which is exactly what complimentary colors are..colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel.

Sets of compliments are created from the combination of one of the three primary colors (those which cannot be mixed from any other colors: Red, Yellow, Blue), and one of the secondary colors (a color created from a combination of two of the primaries: Green, Orange, and Purple).

Color Wheel

Red and Green, Blue and Orange, and Yellow and Purple are the complimentary sets.  These powerful pairs play together in any number of ways. Like the relationship of black to white, they set each other off when placed next to each other, and “neutralize” each other when mixed together, creating potentially gorgeous  hues of gray.

Pairs of compliments can be used to great effect, and are big fun to design with. They can be used as accents, as a background and an accent, to create a sense of drama, or just to wake up our senses.  They can be found in nature…think of a field of red poppies amidst green grasses, a glowing orange sun sinking past a midnight blue horizon, a creamy yellow moon rising against a velvety purple sky.

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Green leaves outside and green window shades  inside set off the red and cream hand-painted design atop a Northern California Benihana Restaurant.

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We can almost taste the predominant apple green in this San Francisco Blush Organic Frozen Yogurt, and its intensity is heightened by the streaks of red framing the counter.

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“Pale” red…or, pink…sets off the strong, brilliant, almost fluorescent looking green. Because this pink is softer and paler than red, the intensity of putting the two together is mitigated, and gives the sense of Springtime holidays, rather than those of Winter!

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Here it is the green that is softer than the red…a minty, slightly earthy hue that relieves the strong pinky red, but also allows it to remain dominant.

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Copper, a form of orange, frames the mottled blue of this entryway and makes it pop.

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The strong orange accent brings the weathered blue into focus, and is framed by it, the whole softened by white.

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Copper against blue, mottled with a rusty hue illustrates the opposite effects of complimentary pairs: The orangey copper stands out against its blue compliment, which is  toned down by the addition of orangey red sponged over it.

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Orange and blue, the colors of fire and water (themselves opposites), work together to create a sense of drama in this otherworldly setting. or is it a film set?

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The new Dunn Edwards Paints Store in Marina Del Rey, CA uses the tension of opposites between orange and multiple blues to great effect!

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Turquoise and brick red, another version of the blue and orange complimentary pair play well together on this house in the foggy Sunset District of San Francisco.

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Gold and purple, a version of the compliments yellow and purple, are both associated with royalty, which add to their sense of drama, intensity, and just plain awesomeness when paired.

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The yellow ceiling gradates to orange, and provides sharp contrast to the purply-wine walls. Those who live here would have to love strong color!

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Creamy yellow both accents and relieves the dominant  periwinkle hue making it easier for our eye to rest upon it, and also more visually arresting. A beautiful combination!

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The yellow/purple compliments of ochre and wine, relieved and softened by white, accent the multitudinous ornament of this Victorian in glorious detail.  Without the white though,  the intensity might be tiring to our eyes. The white soothes and frames the punch that the complimentary relationship packs.

How have You used compliments, and the complimentary relationship in your creative endeavors? Architecture, design, color consulting…personal art and craft pieces?  Please share and enjoy, compliments of the house!