Making Our Own Books: Together!

Making Our Own Books: Together!

I had the wonderful experience of teaching “MAKE YOUR OWN BOOKS’, an enrichment class offered at Franklin Elementary School in Santa Monica by the CREST Enrichment program.

webaThe sweet and talented students ranged from first to fourth grade, and had a blast making books of different sizes, structures and materials.

webcThey first bound together their portfolios, made of hanging file folders, then designed and developed the outside covers of these,

webegetting acquainted with each other, their materials, myself, and their own creativity and imagination.

webdThen we began our book projects…which included accordion fold books, flag books, fan books,

webbsingle signature bindings, and side “stab” bindings.

webfTo celebrate our achievements, learning and fun, we had a “last class” family event.

webtFamily and CREST staff were invited to Make Books Together!

webkDid we have fun making “double” single signature books, learning the pamphlet stitch, and embellishing up a storm!

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webmMoms,

webh

webi

weblNannies,

webo

webs

webpand Dads got into the act,

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webr

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webvalong with our delightful students…

webwand CREST staffers who got to take a creative break!

i will miss this class, and the open, fluid creativity of the students. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them again!

 Wishing everyone a creative and healthful New Year…and a celebration of the positive power of the Imagination. Let us imagine a better world…and Make It, Together.

Celestial Gaze

Celestial Gaze

As many turn their gaze heavenward to see the proverbial firework displays inherent in the annual Fourth of July celebration, let’s turn our gaze to the myriad of ways decorative painting  can celebrate the wonders of the heavens, celestial bodies and space…. and transform the environment we see everyday into magical spheres limited only by the imagination.

Moon, stars and planets on the “sky” of a child’s room know no limits.

And it flies too…in the realms of the imagination!

A black hole in celestial space has a function…

enjoyed by some favorite young “clients”…and budding artists.

Up close and personal…stars from the heart.

Planetary glories…

can provide an astronomical teaching moment.

Stars bend onto the ceiling,

and a sun surrounded by”mini-mes” shines down beneficently from an illuminated corner.

Even the light switch plate gets into the act, playing a starring role.

“When you wish upon a star….” is an inspiring message for a young girl.

In a bath with a star-studded ceiling, you can star gaze while you shower!

On a portable mural, view custom planes whiz through glazed skies.

Or watch a stork carry a newborn home right on your very own living room wall.

Stencils, custom designs, glazes, color, murals of all sorts, lettering, and so much more can transform your walls and furniture into celestial realms that celebrate  the mystery and majesty of the heavens, and express your inner space in ways as  limitless as the outer…and as boundless as the skies.

HAPPY (albeit belated) Fourth!

LA Stories VI: A-door-ing


LA Stories VI: A-door-ing

What is a door? A magical portal into worlds of fantasy, mystery, magic and even mayhem?

Recent explorations of LA area beach towns have yielded some a-door-able results. Please see below some examples of the door that keeps you coming back for more.   Turn the key of your  perception,  and prepare to have your imagination turned on!

This amazing find in Venice near the storied Canal District looks straight out of Alice in Wonderland. What extraordinary creatures are playing croquet on the lawn beyond?  Privacy seems to be the goal here.

Here is a more rustic version on a delightful street in Mar Vista, minus the hedge, and plus a “half”  wall! The house and yard are in full view beyond.  The door seems to be there for the sheer joy of it.

Energetic red animates a cottage-like Santa Monica residence, set off by soft yellow, and the colors of nature.  A visual target, our eye is drawn to this door like a magnet to metal.

The red door is used again here to great effect, as a “real” element in the midst of a children’s mural.  Red elements all around it integrate it into the scene, yet it stands out as a strong element, letting us know where to go to get to the other side of a seemingly safe and self-contained world.

Venice’s Canal District is home to many remarkable architectural design gems and delicious creative elements, including mosaic-ed columns which lead us down the path to the door to the door!

Giant bowling balls? Well, maybe. At any rate, these strong forms direct us to the portal of  “UMG”,  the  Universal Music Group Offices in Santa Monica, where some of the giants of the music industry do business.

Who says a door has to be real? And what is “real”, anyway? Madame Chou Chou Bistro Patisserie on Main Street in Santa Monica is the perfect place to indulge your appetite for fantasy, and  your sweet-tooth.  Highly recommended for an elegant, yet fun indulgence.

What magical doors have YOU opened lately, and what fantastical worlds have You entered?

If you so choose,  please share about it with us here.

We love to hear from You.

Remember, we are all opening the doors to this thing called Life, together.

Niki, Too

Niki, Too

Poet and Muse

Mosaic sculpture by Niki de St. Phalle., near the entrance to the Mingei International Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

Who is the Poet, and Who is the Muse? Does the Poet hold up the Muse, or vica versa?  Both are monumental, in Niki’s eyes.

“My feet’s too big….” Not in Niki’s eyes, or hands. Certainly not in her soul.

Nikigator

Mosaic sculpture by Niki de St. Phalle., also adjacent to the  Mingei International Museum in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

The elaborate, fantastical “Nikigator” provides fun and fantasy for the young at heart. thrilling their imaginations.

Who needs a playground, when you have a Nikigator?

Too friendly to be ferocious? OR, Too ferocious to be friendly?  An easy or uneasy balance between the two?

The Nikigator is encrusted with brilliant “Niki “gems”…

…wild and fantastical designs and patterns that adorn her extravagant creatures…

And delight our souls.

What is your response to “Niki”?

If you feel so inspired, please share it with us here.  We love to hear from you.

Remember, we are all creating this thing called Life, together.

Here’s to Imagination…Creativity…DeLight….
Listen “Charlotte Talks“…all about Nikki…her daughter and granddaughter share about this wondrous being… and .prepare to be inspired!









Reconnecting to Our Joy…In Praise of Sitting

Time out of Time…Reconnecting to Our JOY

As artists, entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs, and art-preneurs, we have the tendency to either procrastinate, or work until we drop. To avoid a decision or an issue, or to wrestle and wrastle and wreak havoc upon our brains and our senses until we do or do not find an answer, or a solution.

But can we think to much?

Perhaps what we tend to forget, is that our work  is creative, and inspired by the imagination. I have found that when dealing with imagination lock down,  brain drain, or creative blocks, one of the best things I can do is get the heck out of there.

By “there”, I mean the circular pattern created by going over and over the same issue to no avail, the overload that can happen with too much input, or the standstill that fear, resistance, aggravation or frustration can create.

When this happens, I have learned that if I can get myself the heck out of “there” and back into my joy, to the central passion that brought me into my endeavor in the first place, I can move through the challenges at hand with that much more grace,, joy, and fun, to say nothing of success.

Chihuly in yellow...ain't we got fun...

I betake myself to the source,  inspiration central: the Art Museum. Blessed to live and work near The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The De Young and The Legion of Honor, in their magnificent natural locations, are a constant, offering up continual visual fare.  But here’s the thing: when I go to The Art Museum,  I rarely look at the “ART”, though fascinating, provocative, and inspiring art there is to be found.

Crushed Cans Creation

When I go to The Art Museum, (aka, The Art “Muse”),  I betake myself to the cafe, or the sculpture garden, or the patio, or the bench, and I sit.

I sit, often with eyes closed (nobody cares), and let my  mind simply drain away, basking in the warmth of absolute nothingness.  It’s a ready, set,  stop  kind of experience,  and when it can be achieved, it feels cleansing, rejuvenating,  divine. To  sit without anything required, even for a short time, can permit  the mind to unwind and  allow  insights, ideas and inspirations to reach the lizard  brain and break the gridlock.

Just to sit...

It can be difficult to allow oneself to do this, to take this “break”, but even a limited time of it can yield wonders. Give it a try. Find your own “inspiration central”, and go there for a time out of time. Just sit. Ask nothing of the experience. You stand to gain everything.

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