Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I mentioned to my son Zach (the Plant Science Major) the other day, that I wanted to start composting so I'd have some awesome fertilizer for my plants. But I told him I didn't know how to get started. So he did some research and this is what he came up with. A simple plastic lidded container from Target for $4.99. I'll let you know in a couple of months if I'm in the composting business or not. LOL We started, up above, shredding newspapers and then dipping them in water and squeezing out the excess, and then lining the bottom of the bin with them. Zach had previously drilled holes all over the bin which allows oxygen in so the thing won't smell so bad. (Unfortunately it's also allowing in little annoying flies)

Zach had sent away for some worms (only $15 - what a deal!) that he then opened up from the bag they were mailed in (I was a bit nervous during this step and a let out a huge scream when he threw one of the worms on me - YUCK!!! It stuck on my leg!!!!!!) You can see all the holes he drilled in the shot above. He even had to drill them on the bottom and we have to place a pan underneath to catch I don't know what - again - Yuck!

And lastly, we feed the worms our table scraps, peels from fruit and vegies, just all kinds of nasty stuff. He hasn't given me a list yet of what I'm not supposed to give them. Anyways in a couple of months, the worms will have multiplied and eaten and pooped out wonderful fertilizer. Yeah, right, we'll have to see how it goes. I'll keep you updated. Bette, guess where I'm storing this thing? You guessed it, Jimmy's garage. Hee! Hee! He's such a good sport. :) If that isn't love than what is?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thinking About You Seniors from 2010

As I'm scrolling thru my pix and figuring out which ones to blog today I came across these 2 shots from Senior Awards Banquet Nite, and of course I started thinking about all you seniors from last school year. I just want to wish you the best as you all start your college journey. Know I'll be thinking of you as I share your work with the new art students. But mostly I'll be missing you. Especially you Kyoung! I heard you hung your bird feeder that you made on your patio. I love that!! Keep me posted all of you. I send you off with lots of love, kisses and hugs. And if you need any of that in person, you know where to find me HA! HA!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lori Lawson - Capistrano Fiber Arts

My dear friend, fiber artist Lori Lawson invited my 3-d students, Brittaney Lee and Hilary Chan, and I to visit her in her home studio in San Juan Capistrano yesterday. She is a knitter, spinner, weaver, dyer, feltmaker, clothing designer and so much more. The girls and I were blown away by all the work she has on display, and we especially loved her feltwork. You can see what she's designing and making right now in the photo, this amazing felt jacket in the most glorious colorways. Lori sells her work and her fibers in her home studio so the girls were able to pick out some beautiful wool roving that they are going to spin up. Can't wait to see what they will make out of their yarns. Thank you Lori for letting us visit, and for taking the time to show us around your studio.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Clay Masks - Student Work

These masks were made by my Beginning 3-d kids, and for many it was their first time to work in clay. They draped their slabs over a newspaper mold and I asked them to design their pieces with a lot of surface embellishment both before and after firing. These two were my favorites. The top one was made by senior Kevin Ni, and the lower one by senior Anne Guu.

I loved how both kids used raffia as accents, and Anne even added some seed beads. I also asked the students to try to bring in some kind of expressive quality, and I feel both kids did just that! Terrific job you two.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Another Road Trip

This last Friday and Saturday, Jim had to drive up to the California Central Valley on lots of business, so I told him I wanted to tag along and help him with the driving. It was a 4 hour trip that included taking the 5 Fwy thru the Grapevine, a winding stretch of road that goes from sea level to 4000 ft in a really long uphill battle. Whenever I travel the Grapevine I'm always afraid that the radiator will overheat. You see so many semi's on the side of the road cooling their engines down. We always stop in Gorman (at the top of the Grapevine) to stretch our legs, and get something from Mikey Dee's. Yummy!

When you drop down from the Grapevine this is what greets you (above), miles and miles of endless flat, scorching hot road that takes you thru Bakersfield, with rows and rows of cropland. We saw lots of pepper plants, grapes on the vine, olive trees, pomegranate trees, fruit trees and cornstalks this time round.

If you continue up the 5 you drive thru Fresno then on up to Sacramento, but we took the 65 Fwy cutoff that headed us right towards the Sequoias, our destination being Portersville, one of the many towns at the base of the great mountains. The drive up the 65 was even more dismal then along the 5 we had just departed outside of Bakersfield. Tumbleweeds and oil drilling equipment, yuck! But as we neared Portersville, the landscape grew more lush because of all the agriculture. Once we left there we headed up to Lindsey where Jim had more business to see to. Lindsey is a more rural and smaller farming community then Portersville.

Our final destination for the night was Tulare, a huge agricultural and farming area, where Jim had even more stuff to do. On the way into town I mentioned that I could really use some cow manure for my ceramic sawdust firings that I do at school, so Jim pulled off to the side of the road and we collected many fabulous specimens of cow dung; actually, Jim did most of the collecting while I was busy talking and cooing at the sweet cows. Poor things, the flies were eating them alive.

All these towns we visited had wonderful old time downtown areas with fascinating architecture. This was Tulare.

This was the 99 Fwy that took us into Visalia that evening for a scrumptious dinner. What a beautiful sunset! Visalia is considered the heart of the Central Valley. It's the largest town around and it's farms and crops are spectacular. Lots more money in this community. And what beautiful farm boys we saw in the restaurant. Clean cut, strong and good looking I must say. :)

This is the theater in downtown Visalia. I was impressed with the groups that were performing there. That night was Los Lobos and on Sept. 2 the Doobie Brothers were coming into town. I want to see them, but I sure don't want to make that drive again anytime soon.

Another shot of the sun setting as we were walking the town, and then we lucked out, a live group was performing in an open air venue in town . We stumbled across them, as we were walking off our dinner. They were pretty good too, we sat and listened for awhile until they got a little too loud for us when they started playing some heavy metal. See ya later boys!
On our trip home I asked Jimmy to take me to 3 fiber stores that I had located in downtown Bakersfield. He's such a good sport, but by the time we got to the 3rd one, he had pretty much had it. LOL I think he fell asleep. When my son heard that he had taken me fiber shopping, the first words out of his mouth to Jim were "I'm sorry". Can't tell you how many stores poor Zach has accompanied me to, and barely survived.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Designing to Music

For my 3rd year 2-d students, their final for the year consisted of picking out a piece of music then creating a design that worked with it. The kids were able to interpret their work in any media they felt would flow best with the song. So all 3 of these pieces are very different. I have to tell you that it's been almost 3 months since I heard the songs these kids picked out, so I won't be able to tell you what their music selection was. Sorry. The top piece belongs to junior Jason Kwon. He worked on a piece of clear acrylic sheeting that he cut to size which was very difficult since I had never done this before and had no idea what tool to use. But Jason figured it out. I believe he put the strips down with masking tape from the back side and then he monoprinted in acrylic on the front. I felt the piece was very bold and exciting, and extremely original and fit his music well.

This next work was done but senior Jullian Kho, and she incorporated graphite, monoprinting and collage. I felt she achieved a beautiful contrast within her design that really worked with the contrast in her music. Plus I really loved the layering of the monoprinting over her drawing.

And this last one belongs to senior Hannah Park. I feel she really worked with content in this piece and was definitely able to convey a message to the audience. She also combined monoprint with collage and I believe she brought in some watercolor as well. All 3 of these kids did really original, well thought out designs, and I'm pretty sure if I'm remembering correctly, they only had about 7 class days to pull them off in. Amazing, I can't wait to see what these 3 are going to do with the rest of their lives. I'm hoping it will revolve around art. Good luck Hannah and Jullian, Jason I'll see you in 2 weeks :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Caroline Ma this is for YOU

This last Wednesday night Jim took me to Open Mike Night at Main Place in downtown Yorba Linda. Jim's best friend and Rockits band member Danny wanted Jimmy to jam with him (Dan's on saxophone in left corner). Anyways, I wasn't paying any attention to the guitar Jim took with him that night, but when he got up on stage I realized it was the guitar that ex-student from 2009, Caroline Ma, had refurbished for him. She made several mosaic tiles and collaged both front and back as well as sides of this guitar, and it's spectacular! To see more of what she did, click on either Alumni Art or Guitar Art then scroll down a bit to see Caroline's very cool design. Just wanted you to see that he's playing it and enjoying what you created Caroline. :) And so is the audience.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Buried Treasures - Student Work

Esther Wu, a junior last year in my Ceramics I class, recently sent me this pix of her dad's fish tank. She told me to look carefully and find the five different pieces she had made in my class. Her dad had used them to create with when putting his fish tank together. Ok Esther, here I go, your carved glass plaque, slab wrap , lump box, pinch pot and bird feeder. What a crack up, tell your dad I give him an A+ for creativity! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Vegetable Garden

Because of the move to the new place I wasn't able to do my usual vegetable garden in the backyard, so this summer on Jimmy's patio I've got several different lettuces growing, along with a few tomato and pepper plants. But I really wanted to show you my crazy lettuce stalks. They went wild, and grew higher than any I've ever planted before. And now the tallest one has gone to seed. You can see the flowers on the tip. My son Zach and I picked this pot up at our favorite nursery, Roger's Gardens, in Newport Beach, which has some of the most healthy and gorgeous plants around. Well this has been one super duper batch of lettuce this year. Everyday since June I've been harvesting from the 5 different varieties and using them in our salads and sandwiches. Delicious!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Rockits and Highlites - Concert on the Green

This last Saturday, late afternoon and early evening, Jimmy's band performed in Cypress, Ca. for their annual summer concert series. There must have been over a thousand people there, young, old and really old LOL, and a lot of puppies too.

Speaking of the pups, here are a few of them dancing with their owners. It was too cute!

This was just one section of the crowd that I was able to fit into the shot. And below, the aisle was lined with dancers of all ages. We had a blast!

The group will be performing at Java Joes in Yorba Linda on August 28 from 8 till 11. Come join us.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Recycled Blanket - My Work

Those of you who have been following my blog may remember this pillow (above) that I posted last Sept. It was such a fun project, I got to use up a lot of my scrap yarns, and it knit up real fast in a log cabin style. Well I still had so much extra yarn left over after this pillow that I thought I'd make a throw to use on the couch to go with it. So whenever I had a chance to do a bit of knitting this last year, I'd make random squares and rectangles to be sewed together at a later date (below).

But recently I felt a need to start sewing them together to see how many more I needed to make (a lot) before it was lap size. So below is a shot of the first couple that I put together. The mitered squares were swatches that came from another project. They were the rejects and I've been saving them forever, so I threw them into the mix. Bette, do you recognize the ones I made when I was in Florida? They are the 3 darkest ones in the pix above.
When I finish this up I'll post the result. Probably in another year or so. LOL

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Just wanted you all to see the sweet boy that lives across the alleyway from Jim's. His name is Dexter and he's just about a year old now. He's just the cutest boxer ever, never barks and watches us as we go about our business. Sometimes when his owner is away for long periods of time I toss him up a doggie treat cuz he just looks so sad. Wish he was mine.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Golfing with My Girl

Jim took Dan and I golfing at Birch Hills in Brea for a round of 9 last Saturday afternoon. This is the first time Dani has seen me on a course (I've been practicing up for this moment), and I could tell she was expecting me to be horrible, but I think I surprised her by paring a couple of the holes. Hee Hee The best part was getting the grilled hot dog with all the toppings at the end of the round. Yummy!

Friday, August 13, 2010

More Planters - My Work

Thought I'd show you the 2 planters I made this year as demo. pieces. You saw my students planters on yesterday's post. I try to keep my demos between 15 and 20 minutes, otherwise I oftentimes loose half the class's attention. So this top one took about 15 mins. to assemble and then after the kids left for lunch I added a few applied decorative roses and vines. And the bottom one I made the next day in about 10 minutes for a few of the kids who were absent the previous day. These pieces were so fun and easy, also really spontaneous. They are one of my favorite assignments that I do with my beginners. The top one blew up when I was bisque firing them, but I was able to save it by making a new back piece and then using glaze to glue the 2 pieces together during the second firing. Phew-shuu.

Instead of glaze I finished them off with a stain of red iron oxide and cobalt carbonate. Jim confiscated them for his home and he bought some beautiful ferns to put inside. He thinks I should market them. We'll see. LOL

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Clay Planters - Student Art

For my Ceramics I students, this planter was their final exam for the year, the glazing and the planting. They were to use a thump and drag technique to produce their slabs that they had learned on a previous assignment. The piece had to have a highly textured background, be a certain size so the seedlings would fit in on the day of the final, and also have some kind of a nature theme going on thru applied decoration, stamping or incising. As an end of the year gift for all their hard work, I bought each student 2 plants to put in their planters. They were able to choose between sun and shade plants. I might have even given them a horticulture lesson so they wouldn't kill the poor things. LOL These were the results. The top 2 belong to junior Typhena Liu and senior Anthony Nguyen. The bottom 2 were created by junior Tiffany Wang and senior Chris Shishido.

The 2 above were made by seniors Bryant Min and Justin Currlin, and the last 2 were produced by seniors Ester Lee and Janet Hurtado. I hope your plants survived the summer. Gosh, I miss you guys. Hope you all are having a great summer.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fractured Frontal Portraits - Student Work

My 2nd year 2-d students were required to find an interesting frontal shot from a magazine or picture they had taken. They were then to fracture the face in some creative way, enlarge it and execute it in oil or waterbased pastel, and then to mount it in an interesting format. These were some of the results. The top piece belongs to the talented senior Brandon Liao. Brandon's piece was so very beautiful, I'm pretty sure that he sold it at Open House to one of our teachers. And the bottom one was done by superstar senior Ashley Chang.

I took a couple of close ups so you could see her attention to detail in the stitching that she brought into this work, and the decorative holes she cut in the mat, as well as her beautiful use of the pastels.

This next one belongs to the exceptional senior Ann Lee. I shot it from the side as well so you can see the various levels that she glued the pieces down and makes it look a bit 3-d.

And this last one was done by the very gifted senior Anne Guu. Again, love the text these kids are bringing into their works. It makes the piece even that much more interesting. Look at how she didn't glue the pieces flat but rather in a wavy sort of way. I love how how much thought and effort went into each of these works. You guys are amazing!!