Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Fair Pictures

Here is my little booth at the SF Waldorf School winter Fair, Sadly this year my booth was on the other side of the school from my friends, so I missed their fine Company, but I did get to meet lots of people and some that I see there every year. I think I've been going to this show for 20 years now but anyone can tell you that I'm not good at dates. The School always makes everyone feel welcomed and it's always a pleasure to attend.
Well I'm off to work at the toy shop now, you see alot of different parenting styles working in a toy shop, at this point I think I've seen everthing, but no, there's always something to amaze me.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

caterpillar line up

These caterpillars are already spoken for, but the rest are filling up a box. next I will be making leaflings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Getting ready for my Holiday show

Every year I take some of my little toys and wares down to the wonderful holiday fair at the San Francisco waldorf school. It is the only show I do in the year, and it gives me a chance to catch up with friends and students.
     I LOVE THIS FAIR. The school is always magically decorated with cedar and holly, the children are totally enthralled! There are concerts and fairy grottos felting workshops and candle dipping.
And this is San Francisco, so the food is amazing and there's great coffee. this year it's held on the 5th of December. come and say hello! I'll post more details and show you what I'm making later.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Little Red Riding hood.

Inspired by the beautiful work of Salley Mavor, and the fairytale atmosphere of Castle in the Air, this is the doll that I've been working on today, I'm also creating a little forest shadowbox for her to live in. 
look in tomorrow to see how thats going. then join me at Castle in the air on October 7th to make one of your own!
all materials supplied, you just bring a sharp scissors and your fabulous creative little self.







Monday, August 9, 2010

Cube puzzle Sample

This is a class that I will be teaching soon at Castle in the Air, lots of work as usual, but I promise you CAN do this, and think of the creative possibilities!

Drawings from the portrait class

These are the drawings from the bird portrait class last week. Thanks everyone for a truly delightful day, I had a blast, and loved seeing your work.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bird Paintings

Yesterday was wonderful. We had the most lovely day at Castle, drawing and painting. Here are some of the photos. forgive me if the color is a bit, off my camera is on the fritz. I'll post more later, the drawings were beautiful and deserve their own post.



Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pinecone box

I finally figured out the pattern for this pinecone bag/box thing, It's been in my head forever to make this and it's nice to see it come to life at last. It's about 5 inches long and is lined with silk. Almost makes me think I'm good at finishing things, but there are too many unfinished things around for me to beleive it. what I need is a cupboard where I can shut those little guiltmakers away instead of the open shelving I have.

The paragon of animals

I've been thinking about the economy and how so many people who were only just making it have now lost their jobs and homes. I wonder if we will learn to be more compassionate as a culture because of this, I want to see this sense of, we're all in this together, like after the war in England, but I'm not real hopeful.
I have to tell you this little story because It happened about ten years ago and it still haunts me. I was standing in line at the checkout, I think it was Safeway, I was about third back in line. The woman who was being checked out pulled out food stamps to pay for some of her shopping, and as she did this the woman behind her physically stiffened, I watched her take a swift visual inventory of the groceries, among which I noticed a bar of chocolate and some little treat items. And here's the BIG crime, she also bought a lottery ticket, $1 cash. Then, under her breath, but loudly enough for all of us to hear, her the accuser made a nasty little comment, something about using HER money to buy junk and gamble. and how it shouldn't be allowed. The accused hurriedly left the store with her groceries in one plastic bag while her accuser treated the checker to her opinions on the matter, she was disgusted that her taxes funded the stupidity, laziness and wastefulness of these people.
    At the time I was struck dumb by the rudeness of this assault. why did she think she had any right to insult this woman she didn't even know. When you have very little chance of things getting better, when life seems impossible a little treat is a sign of hope. A lottery ticket is a tiny chance at freedom, for exactly $1 you can fantasize and plan the possibility of security, a home a car, and insane amounts of presents for your children. I'm not touting the lottery here, I'm just saying, this is why the vast majority of people who buy the tickets live well below the poverty line.
       The worst thing to be in America is poor, In America the poor are culturally looked down upon without pity as though they did it to themselves, deliberately, (unlike the far away poor, in Africa and Asia who we can have compassion for and give help to while looking good doing so).
 If you are poor here you will be assumed to be morally and intellectually defective. If you are a single parent doubly so, especially if you are a single mother.
      Never-mind if you feel alone and scared and are desperately trying to do the best for your children, you and not the partner who left you will be perceived as the parasite if you ask for help.
so here's my question, because it hurts my heart to see how cruel we can be sometimes when we have the potential to be so utterly amazing.
      How can kindness and community and compassion be seen as strength in a place where these values are seen as a sign of weakness.
No really! I want to know how we can change this blame the victim mentality. Any thoughts?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Baby hedgehogs! and birdlings

There were only three for my class on wednesday night, but as usual we had a great time, and just check out these cute little hedgies chatting among themselves! 
At the end of class I demonstrated how to make a little nest
and this morning I had an e-mail from Lynnette (on the right in this photo) with pictures of the lovely little bird in a nest she made after class.  this needle felting thing is so addictive!



Monday, July 5, 2010

Cat Lady

My daughter just returned from her exchange program in France and I have to admit that I only got round to cleaning the bathrooms two days before she returned.
     I had those big plans for spring, going on autumn, cleaning that never materialized, and the grand organizational plan also didn't happen. I did host a craft night at my house and did some illustration and took care of a complete medical check up that I've been putting off for years.  I refuse to beat myself up for not getting more done, I want to, but I refuse.
      After all, left to my own devices I learned a few revealing if unflattering truths about my little self, things like..... I will eat corn from the can rather than cook. I can't get rid of craft stuff even if it's been unused for years. I have a book hoarding problem, I hardly ever make my bed,. I talk to myself in public! and this is the worst... I talk to the cats, I have two, Daisy and Bijou. I'm just pointing out that there are two just encase you think I hoard cats too. I was brushing Daisy yesterday (who sheds enough fur to make a whole new cat every other day) and Camille and I happened to make eye contact as I was warbling on in that singsongy voice to the CAT! and I suddenly saw what she must see, DEMENTED CAT LADY! nattering away to an animal who, lets face it, only tolerates me because I feed it.
     Now don't get me wrong, I like to be a considered a little odd, but cat lady? that just isn't the kind of odd I was going for. I believe I had something more romantic and artsy in mind.  I may need to get out more.
  

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cute little animals

It's such a pleasure to see what my students make in the classes I teach, but the icing on the cake is when I get pics a week or so later of the things people have made following the class using their new skills. These totally adorable little creatures are made by Gail of GailysRoom on etsy.
http://www.etsy.com/people/GailysRoom

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Blossom fairy pocket class

this is one of the fairy pockets we'll be making in my next class at Castle in the air

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fabulae Faciles

These are the crows that appeared on the paper when I tried to write a story. My mind says write, and my hands go ahead and draw or doodle (is there a difference?) they just can't help themselves, perhaps they are telling me I should write about crows, but I think they're just messing with me.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Still Life with Plate of Cherries


    My daughter left today for a two week trip to France. This time tomorrow she'll be arriving in Paris. she will see the Louvre and the Orsay and so many other places and paintings I'd love to share with her some day. I'm so happy for her and I already miss her.
But I plan to make the most of time to myself.
    The house is very quiet, I want it that way. I went to the store and bought fish and lettuce and san pelegrino for dinner, I have been trying to please my children's taste's for so many years that I may have to rediscover what I like to eat when I'm alone.
I have so many Ideas for things I will accomplish while she's away
partial list just off the top of my head:

Pull up the carpet in my bedroom and lay pergo.
Learn some sign language.
Make some dolls for my winter show.
Design a fabric and have it printed on spoonflower.
Re-write my children's story.
Get new moo cards printed.
learn to draw hands better.

I love to make lists, I feel as though I've accomplished something even though I've only written a list of things to accomplish. Tomorrow I will make a real list, one that includes all the commitments I already have for the time she's away. This time I have a new strategy, and this is so new to me it knocks my socks off to think that I've never tried this before! this time I will attempt to edit the list down to what is actually physically possible in the allotted time.
Now I'm going for a walk. will wonders never cease!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

too much of a good thing

 I was at a meeting at someone's home this evening. My hostess's collections of ceramics and masks and textiles were tastefully displayed, her photos and paintings in frames on the walls. Her home was a cosy orderly nest of art.
       My collections are are forced to live in boxes and untidy piles all over the house, Old encyclopedias under my bed, paint brushes, crochet hooks, knitting needles, pliers and pencils fill jars and vases. Stacks of old books that are missing their covers or water damaged hauled home because of the wonderful engravings they contain. (see the odd gem above). In my defense, I feel the need tons of visual stimulation to get through my day, but If I don't do something about organising it soon I'm going to end up like one of those people you see on tv that have to have the authorities come and dig them out from their hoarding ways.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bird Portrait Class




I'm still puttering about with my bird portrait painting example, and you can see that this little owl is pretty exasperated with me." OMG!!! just put the paintbrush down Caron and walk away..." oh but the egg is not quite right! and you need a little more light green in that eye.... 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

summer classes

This is miss mouse, she is completely articulated and poseable and made from needle felted wool.
this is the first class I will be teaching for the summer session at castle in the air in Berkeley

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Summer class prototypes

I've been working on these little flower pockets lately, inspired by Omiyage, (little handmade gifts) but more bluebell woodsy than Japanese in style. It would be a lovely package for a ring or any jewel or even a sweet tooth fairy bag. Next I'm working on a Camelia, I love figuring out the patterns for the petals. these are all hand sewn and the little bag inside is made from silk.





Friday, March 5, 2010

Hedgehog

This is the sample for the Hedgehog felt painting class coming up in
April at Castle in the air in Berkeley
I'm looking forward to everybody making something uniquely their own and lovely.
I've been moping about the house with a cold and I cheered myself up yesterday by finishing this up.

Tomorrow I'm taking a class in Sacramento with Mira Reisberg
 It's called
Write, Illustrate and publish childrens books for fun and profit.
I'm hoping it will help me bring some form and order to my kids book dream. Perhaps it will all come together and perhaps I'm just not cut out to do a book, currently I haven't one good idea.
But I'm going to give it the old college try and I'll write about how it's going here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Camel


     I had a friend years ago, who had a name for that moment when everything shifts under your feet and you see the world as if for the first time, he would say that he had seen a "camel".
 A "camel" lasts only a moment, but it takes you completely out of time and space, none of the normal rules apply.  Things settle back into place and you go on with ordinary tasks, but something subtle has changed in you. and you are a little more opened up, fragile and alive somehow. Sometimes a color or a smell can trigger it, sometimes its music, it could be almost anything."Camels" are very rare and precious.
     I've been longing for a one, and thinking about the amazing things I've seen in my life, and as I feel I'm in a bit of a dry spell camelwise Iv'e been hoping that there will be more in my future, something to take my breath a way and amaze me.
The pictures above are of the little giantess, a giant puppet made and operated by  Royal Luxe.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Bird in a nest

I'm working on my samples for classes at castle in the air, this is the one for the bird in a nest. I can't decide wether to do glass eyes or not? I think I'll take them along just encase. the class is on the 18th of march.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Velveteen, politics and the afterlife


I have been working recently on turning the main character from Karima Cammell’s new picture book, Commonplace mouse, into a soft toy. I thought you might like to see the prototype. Several of his descendants are on display at Castle in the Air in Berkeley along
with the book and an exhibition of Karima’s Illustrations.
Taking a 2d painting and re-imagining it in 3d is an adventure. I’m getting to the place now where when I look at the picture I can see all the pattern pieces in my head before I begin. After I’ve sketched out the pieces I will still make the prototype several times over changing the pattern adding and subtracting darts and seams, changing the placement of parts till I’m happy. These days I don’t hesitate to re-make and start over, I’ve had to teach myself that if it’s not quite right I stop and remake, no regrets.
 Now if only I can apply that to other areas of my life….
        
 These days I’m working on the Molly Ivins plan

                                                    "The first rule of holes: 
                                            When you're in one, stop digging."

I miss Molly, I never met her but I thought of her as family, she cracked me up and made sparkly pools of wit and laughter and sense in the desert of the endless Bush era.
      I have to pinch myself when I remember that there is a beautiful smart caramel colored family in the white house now, Molly would have loved em,  I expect all the born agains thought she was going to hell for her views, if that’s where she is sign me up. If I’m going to be somewhere for all eternity the room mates are going to be important, I wanna be with Molly and Wilde and Wolf.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

chick chick hooray!

I know, I'm hopeless, it's been weeks since I wrote anything. I was sick over the holiday with some nondescript malaise that dragged on for weeks, but now I'm better. I've also been desperately searching for a day job.

 It's been soooooo rainy here, and gray a lot of the time, but that is in fact the best weather to work with wool, it just seems right somehow.  The photo Is the almost complete prototype for a class I'll be teaching at Castle in the air in the spring, just in time for easter. I'm really into making the little copper wire feet so fiddly but worth it I think.

   My baby, who is a junior, just finished finals week, she wants to go to art college, and I'm caught between being thrilled about that and worrying that she'll struggle financially as I have.
I can't Imagine Art not being the hub of my world, but it's not been easy. Like any mum I want her to be happy and loved and intellectually challenged, I'd also like her to be financially secure.
I LOVED Art school, it was the best time of my life. I felt as though I was among my tribe, I learned so much and thrived on the intensity of it all.  I'll just try my best to do what I'm supposed to do, be there for her and support her decisions.

 And possibly.... move in to the dorm with her and go back to art school, hey, we could take classes together! surprisingly she doesn't seem particularly keen on that Idea