Wednesday, December 31, 2014

7th Graders Going Strong

charcoal & colored pencil

These little ones are going to town as they joyfully give me everything they've got to put into each and every assignment.
They  did such a wonderful job learning to use the charcoal pencils, 
conte' and vines. 
This first one with the fabulous backdrop was done by Solyana Chan.

Love the touch of colored pencil in this one by Cameron Szendzial.

And see if you can figure out what words Charlotte Park has smeared into her background. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Chemers Gallery Artisan Faire

If you are an artist living in the southern California area, 
make sure to check out Chemers Gallery in Tustin on 17th St.
They are known for their beautiful children's illustrations,
along with the books the illustrations came out of. 
Usually once a year they have an artist's signing, 
but this year they decided to showcase all their new artists in jewelry, clay, fibers and paint. 
And a special treat were the food artists booth this year,
giving out free yummy samples.

Good friend and mentor,
Lori Lawson of Capistrano Fiber Arts was there with her hand dyed, 
hand spun,
hand knit and felted works.
It's always such a pleasure to see what she's been creating.

But the artist I was really interested in meeting was fine artist illustrator, jeweler and clay artist Lisa Mertins.
Jimmy Finds His Voice and Gingko and Moon are two of the children's books she has illustrated, 
but it's her work in clay (porcelain) that stops me in my tracks .
Delicate as a feather with soft surface designs and barely any there glazing,
her clay pieces are exquisite. 
I own several of her works that I teach with so my students can see amazing quality 
and whimsical spontaneous designs. 
It was a pleasure to meet you Lisa.
I hope our paths cross again.
There was another clay artist whose work was fascinating as well, 
Maria Counts.
I especially liked her totem poles.
I'm hoping one of these years before I retire
that I will get lucky enough to have a student sign up for a third year in clay.
Totem's would be a perfect challenge for that level.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

It Had Seen Better Days

This 1980's Guess Jeans shirt served my ex-husband well for many years until he decided to donate it to my school for the students to wear as an apron when they threw on the potter's wheels.
Three decades and several washings later,
my T.A. Josh Berger used it as a mop to clean up Kaili Hamada's accidental tye-dye spill
after I tossed it to him and I said "Hurry before the dye spreads all over the floor".
This all transpired last school year.
So I saved the shirt hoping to do something special with it.
During our Eco-Dye unit this year I looked at the beautiful color in the shirt 
and felt like experimenting over top it with eco-bundling to see what would happen.
I went to my home garden and found lots of possibilities for dye pigment.
 gardenia leaves, 
mandevilla blossoms,
and other interesting plants and flowers.
I bundled it over a copper tube
 and steamed it for a couple hours,
then let it sit outside the classroom door for a couple of weeks to stew and do it's thing.
After a couple more washings,
with many hours spent stitching embroidery designs on collar,
pocket top lapels,
and cuffs...
I gave this bad boy to Josh this year for his Christmas present.
(he has since graduated and is now my second paid assistant,
coming in a couple hours a week to help me with the heavy stuff)
Below is a better pix of the colors. 

It was worn thru in a couple of places,
so I did a bit of Boro stitching to patch it back together.

And since the eye enjoys asymmetry, 
I stitched a bit differently on each section,
but still managed to tie it all together visually...
thru repetition and color.
The bits of cotton sting I used to stitch with were actually eco-dyed right with the shirt so they would flow.
I told Josh he couldn't open his present till Xmas with his family, 
so I'm hoping he will like it,
and that it fits.
Wouldn't it be cool it he wears it when he comes back in January?
These are my favorite kinds of surprises to give at the Holidays.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Nutty Knitters

handmade knitting needles & hand dyed yarns

Earlier this year we saw the colorful yarns these gals dyed up on their handmade knitting needles.
Well the next step was to teach them to knit with them,
and to purl & crochet too.
All of these are global skills, like learning to ride a two-wheeler,
so they are difficult to learn.
But once learned, 
you have them for the rest of your life.

Here are two of the three Intermediate girls getting started,
seniors Kaili Hamada and Daphne Chiang.
Daphne took to knitting like a duck to water because she had learned already at an earlier age,
so she was able to brush up on her skills,
but for Kaili and Bianca,
it was a bit more challenging.
I taught them 9 different patterns,
and then they had a choice whether to make a scarf or a pillow with those nine.

Kaili made a scarf with a double crocheted edging.

Daphne did a nine patch pillow with single crochet edging,
and senior Bianca Tolentino made a two sided heart pillow sampler.
I'm so proud of these three for hanging in there and learning this very difficult new skill.
Bianca loves it so much that she is making several knit scarves for friend's Xmas presents.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Joy of the Season...

is taking this sweet, 
misshapened little tree...
and turning it into a work of art with all of my children's favorite ornaments
that we've given each other and made over the years.
And it's also watching my children grow, finding love and being filled with the Holiday Spirit.
My daughter Dani and her boyfriend Garrett

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Holidays from My Whitney Family

Where the Dean of Discipline spends 3 hours stitching on his ugly Xmas sweater
that lights up and has dingle balls on the cuffs...

where the students are family because they spend 6 years together,
 and showing love and kindness to one another...

where the seniors put up their own Xmas tree,
and put out a table so that all can make their own ornaments to hang on the tree...

where a favorite student and her mother will fight with the counselors and figure out how she can take 6 years of art with me...

where 30 7th graders will jump up at a moments notice,
and quickly arrange themselves so that they can wish me a Merry Christmas
and have their picture on the blog...

and where 3 more favorite students will take the time to pose and clown around with one of their favorite teachers.
I love this place where I have spent the last 35 years of my life teaching
these wonderfully bright young people art,
but more importantly,
life & social skills
and how to have fun learning,
and not to take life so seriously.

Happy Holidays,
 and thank you all for coming along for the ride this year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Xmas School Garden 2014

I thought they were daffodils coming up in Josh's garden, 
but I'd forgotten that he had put in paperwhites last year.
I'm really pleased by how much they've multiplied.
Also on the rise are either ranunculus or anemones.
I guess we'll see when they bloom.
What I do know is that the garden has really enjoyed the recent rains that have finally fallen.
Just wish the ants would disappear.

Monday, December 22, 2014

In The Nick of Time

My beautiful Step Daughter Julie is having her first baby in February.
His name will be Sydney 
and we had his baby shower last weekend.

I asked Julie to look thru all my knitting books
 and pick out something special that she'd like me to knit up for Syd.
She picked out the "Little Old Man Cardigan" from
What to Knit When You Are Expecting
by Nikki Van De Car,
and she asked me to do it in a heather grey.
And of course the only way I finish something is with a deadline hanging over my head,
so two nights before the shower I finish,
 get the buttons on,
wash and block it.
It finishes drying the morning of the shower,
in time for me to wrap it up.
Phew Shuuuu,
it was a close one.
The buttons I found in Julie's grandmother's sewing box.
And I found the Carter's romper with penguin shirt at Kohl's.
But the best part was I got to feel Sydney move in her belly.
Can't wait to meet our little guy!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Artisun Studio


Our little barn/loft/studio is really starting to take shape.
I found a beautiful rug at that's pulling all the colors together.
I'm able to drape my collection of antique quilts over top the loft railing.
And we found the most adorable handmade table and chairs from the 1920's with leafs on the end that fold out.

I've got a lot of built in storage for textiles and books.

And Jim has a place to practice to store a couple of his guitars and amp for when he uses the barn to practice with his new musician friends.
It's nice to come home to, 
music wafting thru the trees.

We found an old hutch for the corner with display space and more storage.

But my absolute favorite is the loft sleeping area.
We've put up a queen air mattress with more of my antique blankets and quilts to keep us warm, 
a hand hooked rug for the floor, 
and if we need it,
 another air mattress for the other side where the cradle is at.
Now all's we need is company!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Let It Snow

Last weekend up at the cabin we had our first light snow.
We drove up to a higher elevation to see the snow at the top of Big Bear
which at is 7000 ft.
We are only at 5000  in Crestline.

This was how much we had at our place in the morning.Tiny little patches of ice.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Blue Ribbon Award

Last Wednesday,
 December 10, 
our school celebrated with the community our 5th National Blue Ribbon Award.
The Cerritos Mayor, 
Mark Pulido, (a Whitney Alum), 
came and spoke to our students,
as well as several of our District Board Members.
1000 + T-shirts arrived, 
one for each student, staff and faculty member,
1000 scrumptious cupcakes were delivered, 
one for every student.

And at the end of the assembly,
Mr. Z, 
our beloved physics/photography teacher used his wide angle lens to capture the event.
Congratulations Whitney High School!
I'm proud to have been a part of 5 blue Ribbons with you.