Monday, March 30, 2015

Some Brief Comments about Women in the Arts and the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Thanks so much to my dear ladies who accompanied me yesterday to Picturing Mary: Woman, Mother, Idea.

I had never been to the National Museum of Women in the Arts before. I also had no idea the building started out as a Masonic temple. This created a gorgeous space, but also a lack of substantial exhibition space. Aside from most of the pieces in the special exhibition, all of the art works are by women artists, and this made me think about what it means to have a museum like this. The gaps
become all the more obvious, and you realize that nothing by an anonymous artist can be included. But, how anonymous are the named artists in this collection? In all of the non-special exhibition spaces, I only recognized the names of 14 artists. This number was higher than that of several of my companions, but I credit my greater name recall solely with the fact that I've been cleaning up an art history database for months. I could only truly tell you anything of substance about ~3 of these female artists. As a woman and as an art historian, I felt a bit ashamed to realize my knowledge falls squarely within the "canon." While most of these amazing women artists were a mystery to me, I had no such trouble standing in a small contemplative room in the special exhibition space dedicated to one painting by Vasari. That was familiar and normal. 

The special exhibition itself was filled with marvelous loans from all over Italy and elsewhere--mostly by male artists, though I was surprised at the number of items by female artists such as Orsola Maddalena Caccia and Sofonisba Anguissola, the latter's self-portrait perhaps my favorite piece in the show--of course, one depicting female agency. How fascinating that an exhibit at this museum focusing on a woman and depictions of that woman also serves to glorify the traditional male artistic canon--the poster image for this exhibit being a gorgeous Botticelli

Unfortunately, the exhibit was marred by poor lighting (it was hard to see many of the paintings), difficult to locate labels, and confusing layout design. Each room was meant to represent a different theme dealing with the Blessed Virgin, but to my mind, most of the pieces could easily have resided in any of the rooms within any of the themes. 

My favorite find of the entire museum was an artist I had never heard of before: Remedios Varo. Check out a sampling of her work here

My women's studies theory may be lacking, but this experience certainly made me ask certain questions: How does one study women in the arts? How do we tell this story with available materials and space? How do we reshape the canon?


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter Inspiration, Part 1: Inlay

Howdy, Everyone. 

Today will be the first post in a series of Easter cards made with the basicgrey Aurora 6 x 6 paper pad and the EK tools Bunny and Egg Punch Set, Mini. Each post will have two similar cards and an "extra." 

Basically, I couldn't stop! I had way too much fun making these cards. Honestly, I've always especially liked Easter decorations. I love the color palette, and I love the coming of spring, but this probably began in my youth because I used to be obsessed with rabbits. I wanted one very badly, and at one point in time I knew everything about almost every breed. (I have since lost this information to random information about medieval manuscripts, I'm sure.) I also had a large collection of plush rabbits. I think I only let go of my rabbit love when I got my first cat (Kristina Joy Destiny Gypsy Ensor-Cat aka Tina)...oh boy, I'm revealing too much today! It was only in college when I became an art historian and studied Christian art that I really learned about the true meaning of Easter. 

So, please enjoy my first handmade Easter cards since grade school! 

Here, I did some more inlay, making rows of inlaid eggs and creating a little scene with popped up bunnies. 

Today's extra: A simple card with some fun layers. 


Thanks for looking,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Also, I made this thing for a friend last week.

The Gathering Place, Denver

Dear Readers,

As you may or may not know, I went to Denver for a conference during the second week of March. One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was my visit to the Denver Art Museum which is now one of my favorite art museums ever. I was floored by the art quality, mountain views, mind blowing architecture, and the sheer number of interactive learning and creating areas for both kids and adults.

Now, I've been linking to other paper artists and posting my own work for the last few months--all of the paper crafts you've seen here up until now have been made by people with the luxury of having a side activity and the ability to obtain some pretty nice art supplies. So, there I am in the Denver Art Museum gift shop, and I saw a rack of cards from The Gathering Place. According to the site, it's "Denver’s only daytime drop-in center for women, children, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness." The three cards I bought and show below were made by individuals at The Gathering Place. The info about their card project can be found here, and I honestly love these cards. If you'd like to contribute/obtain some of these unique cards, you definitely can without making a trip to Denver. 


Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Blank Card and a Bookmark

Howdy, Everyone!

Today I share with you a blank card and a laminated bookmark I made. The bookmark is double sided. I was inspired by this winnie &walter blog post. Once again I saw something using die cuts and thought of a way to make it work for me. The best part of paper crafting is just how much fun I have doing it, and I really think these pieces fit my own paper cutting aesthetic a bit more than some of my earlier attempts. I'm getting somewhere, gang! 

Until next time, 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Experimenting with Inlay and Patterned Papers


Today I present ten mini journals made with punches and patterned paper. I wanted to work on my technique in making journals and to experiment with inlay. 

I saw this YouTube video by Nichol Magouirk featuring the 2015 Simon Says Stamp February card kit and got inspired. I wanted to try some sort of inlay technique, too, but needed to come up with a way to test it out with the supplies I already had. So, I decided to do simple designs with punches on patterned paper to make mini journal covers. Each cover also has an interior cover to keep everything nicely together. 

I am generally happy with the results. I made ten mini journals in total. I show you all of them, both when I initially made them and a few days later to show how well they flattened out, and highlight the covers I especially like, as well as the fancier interiors. I think these mini journals are more functional than the earlier ones I've made. By doing the inlay, the covers are flatter and less likely to come apart when actually used (in theory!). 

Most importantly, I had a great time making these. Here's to practice and experimenting! 


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Welcome to Our Place

Howdy, Everyone!

I have been busy thinking of projects to try with paper, and I have also been looking for a spring wreath or other door decoration. Everything I've liked has been really expensive, so I decided to try to make something, and I'm really pleased with the inexpensive result.