Saturday, August 30, 2008

Press Pause


Has information overload set in yet? Is your pulse racing? Can you believe we are only in the middle of the third survey question out of seven? Time to Press Pause! In honor of Labor Day in the States, I am going to take a time out on postings until Tuesday September 2. Take a breather or spend the weekend catching up on the previous posts. Either way, find a comfortable chair and a jumbo cup of coffee because there is much more to come!

I want to extend a thank you to everybody for helping The Pulse start off with a bang! And I hope that you are all enjoying the insight and inspiration that the participating artists are offering. To those of you who asked to join the survey after it started...so sorry that I am not adding anybody to this project at this point. However, if any artist with an online presence is interested in joining the next edition of The Pulse, please email me and I will add you to the group.

I also want to extend a personal thanks to Steph Mcatee, Debbie Overton, and Steph Bouwers for passing on blog awards to me. It means a lot to me to be acknowledged in this way. Rather than passing on the Brilliante Weblog Award and the Arte Y Pico Award to the "suggested" 7 blogs per award, I will just say that everybody should click on the links to these three artists' wonderful blogs! Inspiration is waiting there for you.

Enjoy the weekend and I will see you Tuesday morning!

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Pulse: In the Groove 1

Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. For links to the sites of the participating artists, please click here.


Today's question comes courtesy of Debbie Mihalik: How do you get your creative groove? The following is the first of four posts to answer this question.


Suzan Buckner I know this sounds crazy, but I get creative watching reruns of the Gilmore Girls. It is like it puts my mind at ease, and their constant bantering makes my mind work. Weird, huh?

Andrew Borloz I try to live in the present moment. I observe things, and ask myself what it is about them that capture my attention. I also ask myself what I can do with them to create another item that is more aesthetically pleasing or interesting. There’s so much out in the world to see – there’s so many dots, lines, and shapes – how can one run out of ideas or inspirations? Yes, there are times when I am not at my creative best, I just keep on going by doing something and most times, good ideas often come up unexpectedly.

Teresa Abajo Middle of the night, overdosed on caffeine, trying to be as quiet as I can lest I wake the children or even worse, the husband. The same CD playing over and over (it’s Gorillaz ATM). I’ll have a ghost of an idea that’s milled around in my head for a few days. I usually start with a shape, then add colour, then decide on a medium. I also take into account the recipient, and the reason I’m making something.

Marissa O'Brien I generally get into my creative groove after a day in the office. I love to come home to my studio and make something whether I am working on a journal or I make a piece of jewelry. I crank up the ipod and create away.

Angela Cartwright It usually appears in a dream…I mull it over for days…I find myself thinking about it constantly, I jot down notes…titles…thoughts…Then one day I just have to start the project I have been dreaming about or I will explode. Once I get going there is no stopping me. I can work late into the night and then find I get up really early full of energy dying to get back to work. Making art is exhilarating.

Roben-Marie Smith This can come in so many forms. There are times when I have a dream that inspires me or lately, it is after spending the day shooting pictures.

Stephanie Hilvitz I seem to always be in a creative groove….but I do think working in series helps keep my groove going. An idea is sparked from objects or patterns or an idea I may have seen on a blog that really excites me. I’ll take elements of this and play with it, expand upon it.

Nina Bagley i don't "get into" a creative groove. i just go sit down at my table (my very messy table!) and begin to pull things together, willy nilly - a strand of beads here, an antique focal finding there, some words snipped from an old, old book - the groove gets me into it, rather than the other way around.

Leighanna Light I grab a cup of coffee & sit down in my studio, that's really all it takes!!

Linda Woods I just open my eyes!

Jessica Gonacha It's best when I can be by myself with no interruptions, and lots of music playing. That way I can get into my own world and lose track of time. I look at a lot of books to get inspired, and going on a walk always gets my creative juices flowing!

James Michael Starr I'm often inspired to go to work by reading or watching films about other artists, but the only disciplined way is to simply make myself go into the studio with the intent of being productive. There is no muse, no big high that starts it off, just the desire to push myself toward that creative act which in the end is so much more rewarding than anything else I could choose to do.

Kim Logan I get into the ‘creative groove’ by listening to favourite music, and drinking copious amounts of coffee..!!!....if stuck, I just go visiting museums and galleries, and hit my art books, sadly of which I have a huge collection... I am fortunate to have London on my doorstep and visit regularly, each month brings a new exhibition somewhere in the city and I find myself compelled to go..!!.....Its my professional duty you understand..!!!

Max Ackerson Usually it just comes to me. I will be watching Television or reading a book and all of a sudden i get this great feeling, and i just need to draw or build (Lego). With all the ideas rushing around in my head i just have to draw them out on paper.

Kathy Wasilewski Most of the time, I get into the groove to create when I have either been surfing the net or looking at magazines and see something that triggers me to sit down and play. However, I find that if I don't do it right away, the moment is lost and so is the idea. I generally work better when I have a deadline. Then, I know that I can't procrastinate and need to sit down and get the job done. If I play too long with something, I generally don't get it completed as I'm too picky about what I'm trying to achieve. However, with a deadline, I somehow break loose and end up with something that I'm happy with, but in less time.

Binky Bergsman This is a toughie. I really struggle with it. I have the laziness gene and to do something I have to fight my natural impulse to sit and read or watch TV. It also happens at the last minute when I have a deadline. I’m looking forward to seeing how others go about getting down to work. I tell students to go into the studio and start cleaning or piddling. Do anything as long as they are in the studio. Before they know it they will be creating. It drives me nuts that I don’t take my own advice.

Jennifer Gordon It just happens, it's so much a part of my day to day life that it is just there, if I need to jump start it though all I need to do is listen to Damien Rice or read some Anne Sexton and it starts happening. I also have a very rich imagination life that I visit to find stories to tell in my work.

Lynne Hoppe For the most part I don't feel like I'm in charge of getting in the groove... its the groove that's in charge and it lets *me* know when we're ready to roll! Oh I can try and encourage it by looking through art books or walking in the woods, but if the groove isn't there, that isn't going to do much. I've always felt like the groove, or muse, is in charge, not me. And without it I can't even decide what colors to use, much less where to start.

Ro Bruhn Visiting blogs and web sites and reading art books helps, but sometimes just walking into my studio and starting to clean up the mess gets me going off on a tangent and 'forget the mess' it can wait.

Dawn Sokol Finding the mojo can sometimes be difficult for me, since my full-time job is a creative one as well. Sometimes I need to just shut down for a day or two and veg from it all. Other times, that's not so easy to do because I'm on a deadline and need to get something done. Those times, I will look at blogs for inspiration, or magazines and books. If I've hit a MAJOR block, I find that the very odd combo of dark chocolate and iced tea work! I don't know why...it's almost like it turns my creative bulb on...I love when I hit the groove and I feel unstoppable. I turn on my iTunes and go with it (and my music tastes range all across the board!)... The only thing that stops me at that point is tiring out! It's great to look back on a day of work and know that I got much more done than I had planned.

Angela Rockett Ever since my studio was moved out of my home, just the act of entering my studio is enough to get me started. But to really get into the groove, I've got to have music playing, and each day seems to require a different type, from classical to international to pop. Yesterday it was the Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the movie Rabbit-Proof Fence, today it was Depeche Mode. Go figure. Something with a strong beat usually works the best.

Kelly Kilmer I get out my glue stick, my papers, pens and open my journal. I don't get 'creative block'. I make art. I push. I pull. I work hard. I do what I love. When this stops being fun and stops making my heart go pitter pat, I'll close the journals and walk away...but I've loved paper since I was little and can't imagine NOT working with it. I try to make something every day...if I don't, I get antsy pants. Creative work keeps me happy (and sane!).

not mass produced it's just there all the time and very rarely goes away.

Cynthia Gaub I work best with deadlines and challenges. In many ways I am a very linear, organized, list-making type of artist. But usually if I just go up to my studio and sit down at my sewing center or collage desk I can start creating pretty quickly, getting TO the studio takes some inspiration. I will search the net, look at art books and doodle ideas in order to get myself into the head space for studio time.

Robyn Gordon I work best in solitude knowing that the whole day is mine. I get my creative groove just by knowing that I am totally free to work for as long as I like without interruptions. Paging through books, sketching in my idea book, sorting through my found object collection and diving straight into what I'm doing gets the juices flowing. I've learned that waiting for the muse to strike is hopeless. I'm a firm believer in Albert Einsteins quote "Nothing happens until it moves."

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Pulse Spotlight: Sarah Fishburn

Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals.

Today's question: Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures.

This Pulse Spotlight is brought to you by the creative, unique, soulful, and generally amazing Sarah Fishburn. As soon as you read this post...go to her sites and definitely order Pasticcio, her wondrous art zine she creates with Angela Cartwright.

http://sarahfishburn.com
http://lulu.com/cartwrightandfishburn
http://ragtagsf.blogspot.com

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Sometimes I think "Ahh, to live the life of a minimalist aesthete. . ." then I remember who I really am.

When I was a kid, we moved ALL the time, back and forth across the country, occasionally just across town.From kindergarten through 11th grade, I lived at maybe 20 different addresses. By the time I was 17, I was out on my own, with a scant dozen books and a deck of tarot cards the only remnants of childhood. For a while, I still didn't have much more than a black cat, a brown dog, a backpack full of books and the clothes on my back. I DID buy postcards at museums, whenever I had a few cents to my name, and propped them on the windowsill where they looked VERY arty next to velvet plants and wandering jews rooting in old Ball jars, or planted twining out of old tin cans. I was madly in love with someone who was deeply spiritual, a Capricorn, for whom material goods were of little value. To prove my commitment to his ideals, I smashed my pottery as fast as I made it, and buried my tarot cards in the backyard. What can I say? I was young and in love.

Soon I ended up with a different guy, a flute player, a Leo, more down to earth. We had a bunch of kids, and my true nature, that of a VISUAL JUNKIE, surfaced with a vengeance. I began squirreling away grocery money to buy gorgeous illustrated children's books, started making books for my babies myself, borrowing camerasto take their photographs, constructing funky frames to put those in, hanging beaded prisms in all the windows and doorways, and scooping up small folk art treasures, especially anything horse related (1954, a Year of the Horse) at every junk shop we came upon. I've had friends to trade with, and a couple of my own kids to contribute their evocative photographs and some graphic, eye-catching stencil art. From wherever I travel, I bring home pieces found or bought, and each time I see them, I remember the unadulterated, revelatory joy of discovering that particular place, at that particular time. I was a desert dweller from an early age, now living at the edge of the Rockies, yet crazy for everything beach. One of my most favorite collected bits is a small shell fossil found on the Oregon coast as the wind blew through my kids' hair and the surf pounded against the rocks. Someday maybe I'll travel further afield, to Canada, Scotland, India. . .

In this life I've been lucky to live where artists flourish, and been blessed with an appreciative eye. Our home is a rich pasticcio of colors, textures, sounds, smells - an ongoing and precious narrative of so many things - books, music, movies, photographs, fascinating art, spirited conversation, fresh baked bread, incense, flowers, laughter, tears. . .










Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Pulse: Show & Tell 4

Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. For links to the sites of the participating artists, please click here.


Today's question: Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures. The following is the last of four posts to answer this question.


Stephanie Hilvitz ONE collection, eeeckk, that tough. I have many collections, but will talk about my chickens. I have works that include folk art, fine art….found art. Now that my city has changed the laws about keeping chickens who knows I may have the real thing. I am attracted to indigenous art and collect what attracts my attention because of color, form and liveliness. The chickens and roosters from Mexico and South America really catch my eye….including my 4 ft blue rooster.

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Julie Prichard Shopping at the Long Beach Flea Market a couple of years ago, I came across a couple of antique cricket balls. The hunt ensued. Shortly thereafter, prices on the balls skyrocketed and supply became limited. I am in love with their rich brown color. (Artist will trade paintings for cricket balls.)

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Fran Meneley This is a hard one, because I am such a gatherer. But my biggest “collection” is probably my beads. I have been collecting them for about 10 years. They are my treasure trove. My vintage ones are my favorite. I collect them mostly from bead shows, but I am always on the look out. I found this cabinet at a flea market and had it built in to my book case wall to house them all. I love that I can see my collection, they aren’t stored away somewhere.

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Denise Lombardozzi my partial collection of bits,bobs and notions. i have been collecting buttons and things that might be found in grandmama's sewing basket for as long as i can remember. anything shiny, worn, old & ivory has always been very attractive to me.



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Gillian McMurry My collection is a collection of treasures - literally. I have a small selection of ancient artifacts - coins, pots, arrowheads, a few fossils, an oil lamp and even a funeral urn. It doesn't bear any relation to art and they don't inspire me to create but I love looking at them, passing them through my fingers and feeling a connection to the ancient world. If only I had a time machine - sigh. I have always been interested in ancient civilizations. As a child some of my favourite stories were the myths of the Greeks. I was hooked. At school I was told many times I was not clever enough to go to university. Even after I left school others had little faith in my ability. But I wanted to know about ancient history! In my mid 20s I signed up for a university course on Homer for fun. I did well, applied to university full time, got in and now have a degree in Classical Studies. The moral of this story is, if people are continually telling you that you cannot do something - don't listen!!! Give it a go and see what you CAN do. My collection grew with my knowledge and is my own tiny museum dedicated to my stubbornness and desire for knowledge.

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Chris Miser I have to admit I horde pressed paper in the form of drink carriers. I have some idea that eventually I'm going to find an idea for altering them.



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Lynne Hoppe I've been picking up bones for as long as I can remember... I love their graceful lines, their color and texture, and the fact that they're the last thing to leave this world once the material form dies. I love that while we're living they not only hold us upright, but also create blood cells and are an important component of our immune systems.

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Marie Otero I have all sorts of weird and wonderful collections - as do most mixed media artists that I know. My biggest collection of anything though would be books - all shapes, sizes, vintage, antique contemporary and hand made. I also collect antique tools, paintbrushes vintage alphabet sets and letterpress stamps....and that's just the start for the artroom!

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Cynjon Noah One of my main artistic loves are art dolls, so over the years I've acquired a rather large collection of them from various artists around the globe...and in the mode of most collections, it continues to grow on a regular basis. As you wander the rooms of our home(s) you're likely to stumble upon a little pile/display/etc of them time and again. The ones pictured here are the ones that live in the bedroom...just a small sampling of them!

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Teresa Abajo I try not to collect things anymore. I had some collections of things as a child – trivial things like swap cards, babushka dolls, interesting rocks, whatever. The grief and sense of loss when something happened to one of these collections is still very fresh in my mind. I recall the frustration of not being able to acquire the final piece of a set, and how ridiculous it was to hunt for a piece just because it completed a series, and not because it was beautiful or desirable in its own right.

Having said that, I’ve inadvertently amassed a collection of ATCs. I don’t keep them all in a binder, but a box so that I have to touch them to see them properly. I love that each has been handmade, more often than not by someone I know and have spent time with. I can remember some of them being made before me, as a bunch of us sat around a table and laughed and gossiped and created together. This to me is a meaningful collection.

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Marilyn Gallas I really have tried to downsize and rid myself of unnecessary "things". I'm in my Zen stage. I have two passions -- art supplies (there's always something new on the horizon) and Buddhas. The art supplies came about because of my hobby. The Buddhas have been given to me - I love the serenity and peaceful feeling they give me. I attached a pic of one of my Buddhas. He's about 25" high without his rosewood base.

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Terry Rafferty I'm not much of a collector, really - I do collect stuff for still life paintings, and books - Lots of books! This picture shows why my clothes live in various odd places - most of the closets look like this one, plus stacks on the floor, tables, dresser, most any flat surface! Art books are primary, maybe 20% on "how-to" and the rest about various artists and art history. Travel books, picture books, cookbooks. Always a stack of good reads - interesting commentaries on humanity. Especially liked The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell and We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Both fascinating, but very very sad. As kids, my older sister and I read endlessly - so much so that my parents made a house rule: no books at the dinner table. I do my best to keep passing books along as I finish with them... but somehow it appears that more arrive than leave.

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Dina Wakley I mostly collect art supplies, papers and ephemera, and little bits and baubles I can use in my art. I have an obscene amount of ink and graph paper. When I travel, I love to bring back odd bits of papers, maps, receipts, and office supplies. When we went to China in 2005, I visited a wonderful Buddhist temple in Qingdao. I walked into the bookstore and wanted to buy an inexpensive prayer book (the red book in the picture). The employee didn't want to sell it to me because, as she indicated, it was in Chinese and I wouldn't be able to read it. I told her I really, really wanted it...but she would only sell it to me after I agreed to purchase the Buddhist "Cause and Effect" book, which is partly in English. So I came out of the little store with both books.

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Deryn Mentock I have an affinity for old and worn items with a history. Anything interesting or unusual is fair game to be included in my artwork. I've always collected antiques so to include these things in my art is a natural progression. I'm also fond of rusty junk. My kids and I used to go for parking lot treasure hunts and afterword we'd all show our junk finds. That's when the fierce trading commenced!

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Kelly Parker I collect among other things, books. I have a 14’ by 14’ room, floor to ceiling filled with book shelves that are overflowing with all kinds of books. Art books, gardening books, teaching books, children’s books, and many novels are on my shelves. I generally hit garage sales, book sales, thrift shops, and the local Barnes and Noble for books. I began collecting books at a young age and have always been an avid reader. I remember reading my moms trashy historical romance novels at about the age of 11 years old and never looked back and to this day, but not very often I will read a trashy romance novel!! They are good no-brainer candy for down time inspiration when life is too busy for anything else! I think part of my obsession with books is the feel of the paper; I love paper and have collected many boxes of paper over the years. My other obsession with books is I like to read scary/horror books, not gory with blood and guts but things that can go bump in the night kind of things. Of course, vampires have always held a fascination for me, even as a kid. I remember watching old scary movies with Vincent Price and the Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock but this by no means is a limit on my reading genre, I will read anything. Some of the more popular authors I read are Janet Evanovich, Diana Gabldon, Jim Butcher, Clive Cussler, Piers Anthony, Susan Vreeland, Charlaine Harris, Tracy Chevalier and many others. I am an eclectic and avid book collector and reader!

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Kate Strickland I am a collector of natural objects. I am particularly drawn to objects that seem vulnerable or fragile. Many of the objects that I collect inspire my work and are often used in my work, specifically my remnant reliquaries (http://www.artveinstudio.com/reliquaries.html). The objects pictured are a pair of snow goose wings which are very special to me because of the way in which I acquired them… they were a gift. And the place where I acquired them…in a landscape that really touched my soul. In May 2007 I was delivering some training in Akulivik, a small community located in the Eastern Arctic in Northern Quebec, and while wandering on the tundra on a very crisp day, I came across two lovely Inuit women happily plucking snow geese on a rock outcrop. They were doing it with utter joy. I showed interest in the feathers and they very generously offered me two whole wings, severed before my eyes using a traditional Ulu. They told me that these wings were good for sweeping when you are “out on the land”. I keep them in my studio for inspiration and to lift my spirits. For photos of the plucking, follow this link to my blog: http://artveinvessel.blogspot.com/2008/06/story-of-wings.html. And to see some of my other natural collections and their stories, follow this link: http://artveinvessel.blogspot.com/2008/07/collections.html

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Kathleen Botsford I have collected images of the Blessed Virgin since I was a child. I find them on all my travels, especially in Europe. I really opened to the depth of my devotion to Her in the last 10-15 years. Before that I thought of her in the traditional way I was raised as a Catholic. I wrote a short essay on my blog with the newer insights I have come to know on May 22, 2008.

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Sarah Whitmire What do I collect…hrm…do art supplies count? ;) Seriously though, I have accumulated quite a massive amount of stamps, found objects and various other supplies. I have old windows and junk stashed in my garage, in my kitchen and exploding out of my closets.

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Paul Sears About the only thing I collect anymore it seems is postcards. I've always had a thing for kitschy postcards from some of the places I've been off the beaten path.

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Joanna Olson It would be easiest to say "Anything that pleases me" -it may be only one of a kind or justified because I can include them in a still life that I intend to paint. But I do have numerous small collections, the ubiquitous teacups in a cabinet just to the right of my computer. Vintage tools (that's one of the things I love about jewellery making is that the tools are just so basic, they transcend time) - vintage children's watercolor sets in those colorful tin boxes(I'm using the word vintage but they are from the decade in which I grew up in!). My collection of porcelain puppies - they look wonderful in my bookcase (I try to ignore the "old lady" connotations associated with that one). And finally a collection that's growing of my journals and sketchbooks. And now that I've assembled this list, I realize they are all very nostalgic.

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Lisa Dalke
I have so many treasures, but my biggest is probably my collection of other artists work. I think I started collecting other peoples art just because I fell in love with what other people just like me could produce. They mean a lot to me, some remind me of people in my life or feelings I may have felt. Most of my bought art has been through Ebay.

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Trudi Sissons
I collect boxes and old ‘containers – suitcases, chests, jewelry boxes. I can only make sense of is a lingering childhood dream of finding treasures inside. I especially love boxes with the lids attached. My family thinks it’s a wee bit eccentric. They’d be right.

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Doreen Grozinger I’m a collector. One of my collections consists of stones. I collect them when we go on vacation and place them around my home. Some I paint mandalas on and others just sit in piles on the floor or window sill. They make me feel grounded and are comforting to me. Sitting among these river rocks are gemstones, crystals, amethyst, geodes, carnelian...My other collection is feathers. I cannot resist picking up a perfect feather. On my birthday this year, I was given a macaw feather. This spring during a trip to Peru, I was gifted with a condor feather. I love to fly, can be flighty at times… thus, the rocks! And then there are the frogs which I just love so much. Frog jacket, candlestick holders and just cute little frogs sitting on the shelf.

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Roxanne Stout There are several things I collect: old crocks, pitchers, art books, Putumayo music antique perfume bottles, treasures I find outside and old metal hardware and bits from the past. I like to display all these things together on shelves in my studio. Most of the artwork pictured is my own...

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Seth Apter There are many things I collect, not the least of which are found objects and vintage & handmade paper for my art. Aside from art materials, my biggest collection consists of containers. Boxes, small cabinets with lots of drawers (like watchmaker's cabinets), tins, wire baskets, and the like. I also collect what in Flea Market parlance are called "smalls" - odds and ends of all sorts, most often with a distressed and weathered patina.



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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Pulse: Show & Tell 3

Welcome to the third edition of The Pulse: an artist survey. This collaborative project aims to introduce you to new artists, help you get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals. For links to the sites of the participating artists, please click here.


Today's question: Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures. The following is the third of four posts to answer this question.



Shona Cole I don’t really collect things, unless you include art supplies! I love and treasure my art supplies – paints, paper, brushes, oil pastels, 4B pencils, my Canon, my Mac.

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Andrew Borloz I have so many collections, and most of them are in storage. I have puzzles, architectural elements/sculptures, pop-up books, ampersands (new), and cookbooks, to name a few. One collection brings out the most number of memories is the Christmas ornaments that I made, collected from my travels, bought for a specific theme, or got from my friends. I never decorated a tree the same way again in any given year – it’s always different every year.

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Mary Buek I don't collect anything. I have too much stuff as it is. If a collection is having a lot of one thing, it would be reading material: books, magazines. But I don't consider those collections, because I take what I need from them and then give them away.

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Marissa O'Brien I am inspired by my friend Joy Raskin's collection of hammers. I've been to her studio and was amazed by all the older hammers she has. They have all been gently used. they feel comfortable in your hand, like they were meant to be used. I am on a journey to find recycled metalsmithing tools and to use them in my work.


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Angela Cartwright I have had several collections over the years…but lately it’s random postcards arriving in the mail from friends, the more obscure the better…. snowglobes…the airport kind…


and most recently, chairs…I’m really into chairs right now.



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Barbara Kleinhans I collect stones and shells from different places I’ve travelled or explored, displayed in small bowls around my apartment. The colors, shapes and textures vary from place to place. While the surfaces appear quite different, they share a similar core essence.



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Martha Marshall The only things you could say I really collect are bits of anything that might be incorporated into art, or might inspire my art. Things from nature, old lace, vintage fabrics, old well-played-with and broken dolls. This is a digital collage using two of my dolls from childhood, many of which I collected until last year, and then gave them to a great artist friend, who will do great things with them.

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Cynthia Gaub As I decided what to pick to show, I realized I have a lot of little collections. Of course there is the fabric and paper collections that seem to accumulate for the purpose of doing art, but some of which I can't bear to use. But I don't think those should count. I have been collecting artwork from swaps and trades for years now. One of the things that keeps me creating consistently is participating in these swaps. My walls are filled throughout the house with artwork of people I know from on line art communities. But I think the collection of things that I have in fact purposefully collected over the years is my pottery. I used to manage a gallery that was originally ALL fine art pottery (but grew over the years to be a retail gift shop of artsy home decor.) There I really became interested in the art of clay. I collected from local artists some functional and decorative pieces. I have since added to it with my own work as I explore creating in clay.

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azircaDoes collecting junk count? I have plenty of that! I don't have a huge collection of anything really just little pieces here and there that I've kept because they make me smile or hold precious memories for me. Things like an my Nana's vintage costume jewellery that I could never part with as it reminds me of her and instantly takes me back to my childhood. I have quite a pile of old buttons that I found in an opportunity shop, I'll probably never use them in my art but they make a lovely display in my studio.

I guess what I collect the most of would have to be metal and rusty bits and pieces that I use in my assemblages, so I've included a photo of these items. I've lost count at the strange looks and raised eyebrows that I've had when I've been collecting bits for my art. People can't believe that I actually want their 'junk' and when they ask me what I'm going to do with it, and I respond by saying that I will use it to create an assemblage or piece of altered art, they honestly don't know what to say. Often their response is just to say as politely as they can muster, "Oh really? That's different!" When truth be told they are more than likely thinking, "strange, crazy woman get away from me!" Some people really just don't get it, they don't share my joy when I find a fabulous piece of junk and that's okay with me, as long as they let me buy their unwanted junk!

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Max Ackerson I have always collected fossils and crystals, ever since I was around 5 years old. It started when my uncle gave me a piece of slate which was full of fossils, and ever since I have kept my eye out for different fossils or crystals. A few in my collection I have bought and others i have found or they were given to me.

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Marion Bockelmann I love to buy old cabinet cards and photos on flea markets. When I discover a booth that sells them it takes me a long time to go through all those pics - each of them illustrates a whole life, and I always buy those that are telling a story to me. Mostly I use the original photo for my artwork, but there are some pics that seem so precious to me that I cannot alter them. BTW, sometimes I avoid telling the seller what I´m planning to do with the photos I buy; you never know what they think about altering old things ... (photo attached: These two are too wonderful to put my hands on - I´ll only use scans of them.)

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Sarah "Flo" Harris I'm not convinced I have a collector's mentality. Although I do like completeness - for example I love to have all the available colours of a certain type of paint or ink pad, even if I know I'd never use some of them. I do love the sun though, and so have a fair collection of rubber stamps with suns on - the mounted ones are in the photo. There are perhaps twice as much again unmounted. They cheer me up on rainy days like today (you have to love the English high summer - it hasn't stopped raining for days, sigh.....)

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Patty Szymkowicz I have collections of swans, mermaids, wooden shoes, buttons, cabinet cards, odd jewelry pieces, doll parts, books, rocks, bowls, items from India, along with rusty bits of this and that...I could go on…. On a weekend trip to see a Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, my husband and I were entertained for longer than I would like to admit collecting metal clip on buttons from the grounds around the museum area. These are handed out as you enter the museum. Imagine people just tossing them away afterwards!!! We even had to dig up a few just peeking out of the dirt and almost stopped traffic for that cool fork. One man’s garbage is definitely another man’s gold!

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Debbie Mihalik Each day I wander around the property I live on and
search for nature's flotsam and jetsam. To date I have gathered: bird's nests, feathers from ravens, magpies and pheasants, an abandoned quail's egg, a dead salamander and the claws of what I assume is a gopher. Even though I am not sure how I will use all these items, they were too good to leave behind. Now they live in test tubes, petri dishes and drawers in my studio.

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Debbie Overton The old sewing machine drawers filled with antique and vintage photographs and postcards has been growing for 20+ years. This is just a very small group of them. The drawers and many of the photos are from my Great Grandmother. Even though many of the photos are adopted from antique shops and flea markets many of them have come from family and friends. Then the old wooden rulers were my Grandfathers. Because of those I started collecting them years ago and use them in my art, but those you see in the photo will remain as inspiration and remind me of his strength and character.

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Ginny Carter Smallenburg I am so drawn to numbers and letters, especially if they are big and graphic. For some reason, I keep finding the number "5", maybe it is the curve of the number that appeals to me. My homes have always had signs hanging on the walls. Right now I have a 7 1/2 foot high subway train destination sign on one wall plus several smaller sections hanging on others. When we went to pick up the framed 7 1/2 foot sign, we discovered that my Balzer wasn't big enough to bring it home. We had to go rent a big van! I have numbers on the walls, old post office windows with words still on them, gas station numbers and now that I am noticing it all, maybe too many words and numbers in the house! It also seems as I look around, that I am drawn to little people figures, but that will have to wait for your next survey! Oh, and clocks! Hmm...and old English post office banks...and.....how many more surveys will you be doing? Here's a photo of one of the train signs. The jar on the table has ceramic balls with letters on them.

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Elis Cooke I used to collect rocks and candle holders, but now the only thing I collect with any dedication is art supplies :)

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Valerie Foster Do I collect? Yes. Do I have any specific or unique collections? No! What I collect is just "stuff". Stuff I intend to use, or hope I can use for my art. And given the fact that I live in a small house, with not a lot of extra space, getting into altered/mixed media art four years ago has not helped me at all with the lack of space issue. I collect fabric, fibers, papers, paint samples, ephemera, junk mail, pizza cardboard, found items, rusted found objects, sardine cans, old jewelry, books, magazines, twigs, leaves, seeds -- need I go on? These are not specific "collections", but rather just a lot of miscellaneous stuff, or a lot of people (who are not altered artists) would call it mere junk. I don't consider it junk, per se, if I can use it in my art. But in any other respect, yes, most of it would be considered junk, that most "normal" people would never save or collect, but would quickly throw in the garbage. (But rather than throw things in the garbage, I retrieve things from the garbage. As a lot of artists do, right? I mean right?, because I need to know I'm not alone or weird in doing this.) And I don't have a specific "collection" of things I can photograph, because they are crammed into space all over my house, so I don't have photos of my so called collection.

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Lelainia Lloyd I am pretty obsessed with buttons. I can't help buying them whenever see them at garage sales or in my travels. When I look at buttons, I know that every human being down through time has worn a button in some form or another. It's the one humble little object that connects us as a human race.

I've have acquired my collection not only through my own relentless hunting and gathering skills, but also through the generosity of friends. One friend sent me boxes of them from Wyoming, another from an estate sale in NYC and yet another bartered her personal stash for a private art class.

There's nothing I love more than dipping my hand into a jar of these little treasure. I have a whole jar of brightly coloured Bakelite buttons. Did you know that you can discern Bakelite from plastic by running it under hot water and then rubbing it? After you warm and rub it, if you smell formaldehyde, then it's genuine Bakelite! I also have vintage celluloid buttons that came from NYC in white and cream that are beautifully designed. Each one is different and a good number of them are floral themed. My most favourite kind of button are really old mother of pearl that have left over bits of thread still running through the holes. Those are the buttons that speak to me most and when I find some, I feel like I've hit the jackpot.

My obsession with buttons stems from my love of vintage sewing Ephemera. It connects me to my prairie upbringing and to one of my great grandmothers who was a seamstress. Buttons are my signature in my work-I use them whenever possible.

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Kathy McCreedy My husband and I both collected green Fire King dishware, waaaaay before Martha made it popular. We actually love any sort of pottery/glass ware/dishware from that era. I knew he was the man for me when one day in conversation, neither one of us could recall the name of the company that made
Fiestaware; and about two weeks later, in the middle of the night, he sat straight up in bed and said "Homer Laughlin". The strange thing was, without explanation, I knew exactly what he was talking about!

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Kelsey O'Mullane Masks have always intrigued me. I’ve been collecting them since my first trip overseas about 25 years ago and luckily my parents have travelled a bit so I have masks from different cultures. After my last acquisition of a wonderful Indian mask in Alaska recently, my current count is 27!

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Gina Petterson We have a fantastic flea market in out town and a very large population of elderly people. There are lots of eclectic and personal items that end up in the store. My fixation right now are cabinet cards and old post cards. Most of them are original issues from the early 1900's to the late 60's, They have personal messages in several foreign languages or the name of a studio where a distant relative may have been photographed. I have amassed a few but only use copies in my art. I feel compelled to savor the history of the items, even if I don't know of their origin.

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