The Unicorn of the Sea

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The Milton Art Center has a community art project known as Art in the Windows. It all begins in the late spring. Teachers are matched up with groups of kids, usually Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. We create a piece of art that will be displayed in a prominent location outdoors. This year I was paired up with a great group of lively girls from Saint Agatha's Catholic School. The theme this year was ANIMALS.

My group of 4th grade girls were all about fairies, make believe and magic. There was one girl who was obsessed with pigs, but as brainstorming began... things turned mythical. Soon there talk was all about about unicorns. However some of the girls really liked the idea of the ocean. We eventually settled on the narwhal.

We decided we would have a magical narwhal swimming amongst a school of fish.

We used found materials, milk jugs and a spare sheet of vinyl board that was hanging around doing nothing. It was all looking fine until we painted the milk jugs. You see, the milk jugs were cut out into fish. We decided to paint the fish from a light teal blue to a deep blue (to have a gradated effect). Well, I learned something very important about milk jugs! Paint on milk jugs is not waterproof. Even if you spay fixative on them. Even if you ModPodge them to death. Sad to say, after a few good rainstorms are colorful school of fish turned milk jug white. On the bright side, the narwhal survived and looked awesome.

 

Toucan Success!

Otomi Toucan pattern to be featured on BucketFeet shoes.

Otomi Toucan pattern to be featured on BucketFeet shoes.

BucketFeet and Spoonflower have come together yet again to help artists put their best foot forward, literally.

This particular Spoonflower Challenge asked its design community to create animal inspired themes based on 4 specific habitats (desert, mountain, jungle and aquatic). This colorful design was my "jungle" submission. Let me just say, I didn't think this was a winner. (I didn't think it was leafy enough.) However, I'm so happy to have won. Thanks to EVERYONE who voted for me.

I also need to mention that there are SOOO many talented Spoonflower artists out there. I love seeing how different artists interpret all the themes that the folks at Spoonflower throw out there. It is because of Spoonflower (& the artists who submit designs) that Thursdays have become one of my favorite days of the week. It's the day I can see all those nifty iterations on a single theme. (Fridays and Saturdays become my favorite days when I'm busy.)

 

 

Cats vs. Ravens

Recently, my "Yellow Eyes" design was featured in a Spoonflower email. (It's on the bottom left.) Spoonflower is a sight for independent surface designers to sell and showcase their patterns. 

Art in the Windows

Daisies and me brainstorming.

Daisies and me brainstorming.

This spring I joined up with the Milton Art Center's fourth annual Art in the Windows project. This year, 183 kids participated in this community art project. The kids were divided into 15 groups. Each group worked on an art installation that were then sprinkled throughout the town of Milton. Just so you know, Milton is a medium-sized town that borders with Boston, Massachusetts.

My young group of artists were in the 1st grade Daisy Scout Troop 69267. Daisy Scouts are the younger version of Girl Scouts. Like the Girl Scouts, each Daisy Scout works on specific activities which is then commemorated by a special pin or badge. These get added to her uniform. This project coordinated to one of their community-related badges.

Art in the Windows has always revolve around a theme. This year the theme was "Up in the Air". Milton residents have been very concerned about the noise and air pollution caused by the airline flight paths running over the town. The art instructors worked with their group and brainstormed how they would represent "Up in the Air".

Well, if you didn't know 1st graders, they can be extremely literal or way out there. After some discussion we decided on the sun and flowers.

These are some more of the Daisies

These are some more of the Daisies

I came up with a few ideas. We all agreed that we would use as many recycled materials as possible. So, we decided to construct a sun/flower out of hoops and plastic bags. We bought some hoops and collected A LOT of plastic shopping bags. (The girls collected over 200 bags!) We trimmed the bottoms and the handles of each bag. We did this so that the bags would be foofy when we knotted them to the hoops. We also divided our bags into different colors. FYI, A large majority of our bags were white and red bags from Target. I sketched our project and shared it with the troop, the troop leaders and the Milton Art Center (MAC). The girls liked that we left the inner most circle open, especially when I said they could take pictures inside of it. I made sure to mention math to the girls and how I used geometric formulas to estimate how many bags we needed. I know it was too advanced for 1st graders, but I just wanted to show that math and art are connected.

Here's the sketch I shared with my Daisy troop. Too complex for the 1st grade crowd, but I needed to also share it with grown-ups. I explained it in simpler terms to the Daisies. I caught one of them counting the loops (representing bags) around the hoops to see if I drew 200.

We met a couple more times. I showed the girls how to tie a lark's head knot. It's a very simple knot and eventually almost all of them figured out how to tie one. The girls got to knotting and I think they had some zen moments. Repetitive stuff can sometimes do that to you.

Once we finished, the MAC, the troop leaders and myself figured out where it would go. I then figured out how to hang it between 2 long garden stakes. When completed, many commuters enjoyed ours and other "Art in the Windows" installations while driving through town.

All of us after installation.

All of us after installation.

"Stretching Trees" reached #4

I love experimenting with repeat patterns. I enter Spoonflower contests when I have time or a great idea. Well, the Weekly Design Challenge for November 12, 20015 was themed "fitness". Although I'm not a fitness guru, I do yoga three times a week and try to go on a small run twice a week. That doesn't always happen, but its a weekly goal.

Yoga has to be one of the best things ever created by human kind. It makes you feel awesome afterwards. I also like running, especially outside. I like experiencing nature's transformation from season to season. There are also a lot of little creatures scurrying away when someone is about to cross their path. So cute and fuzzy (unless its a skunk).

This design merges yoga and nature. It's the tranquility you feel after a work out.

It's a Baby Carrier!

I love this fabric in green and white!

I love this fabric in green and white!

Cari Slings is a small family business located in North Carolina. They create and manufacture high quality, boutique style machine woven wraps for carrying around little bundles of joy. They are currently selling a favorite pattern design of mine. It's a double helix sort of pattern and it's available in a few colors. Check out some more carriers here.

 
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A Winning Toile!

This fabric got in at #10 on Spoonflower's Winter Toile Design Contest.

Back in December 2014, I noticed the toile contest but I didn't have much time on my hands to generate a pattern. Fortunately, I had a pattern started with THESE trees. I really liked THESE trees... simple stripe triangles. I worked until the wee hours and put this together. Plenty of deer, birch trees and yetis around here for inspiration. Yes, there are a few Yetis left in New England. ;)

Click here to purchase.

 

The snails have won!

I love Spoonflower! Every week independent surface designers can show off their mad skills by designing a pattern based on a specific theme. This specific pattern made it to #4 on the week themed "Lilies". This design is now for sale on Spoonflower. It's available as fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap.