Thursday, August 15, 2019

FINALLY GOT STARTED

off-white cashmere baby blanket

This past year and a half I signed up for 3 of India Flint's online workshops.
The first was Bagstories which I showcased here several months ago,
and now I'm finally getting started slow stitching on the 3rd one called A Clearing in the Woods.
 Today I'm basting all these piece down.
If you are wondering about class No. 2,
I'm stuck on it right now and can't seem to move forward.
But I will cuz it's nagging at me. 

It was so much fun setting up to get started.
India had us cut 29 circles in wool, linen and silk
then fill each one with anything that might have pigment in it:
leaves, twigs, fruits, veges, rusty objects etc.
We bundled each one with embroidery string that would also take the dyes.
I posted the beginnings of the Preliminary Circles here

And here are the glorious threads from the bundles along with some India sent to us
on the far left.
Remarkable right?

And here is a delicious close-up of my favorites of the 29.











If you are wondering why the number 29?
After bundling we preserved these sweet little bundles in glass jars for a couple of months.
When February came we got to open one bundle a day 
for a special treat to look forward to.
So much fun with such wondrous results.
If you've never taken a class with India,
I highly recommend it.


Monday, August 12, 2019

FIRST GRAPES

Potted this Chardonnay grape vine about 4 years ago.
But no grapes year after year.
So I asked my son if he had any thoughts on it.
He asked if I cut back the vines every year. 
Yes.
Don't.
Ok.
And it grew grapes!
Nice sweet ones!!
I picked a bunch last week and brought them to my grandson Syd
who thought it was so cool that I'd grown them.  
He ate every single one on the bunch.
How about that!!!

Friday, August 9, 2019

BABYSITTING DUTIES CALL

Oh Boy,
Jim and I got to do our first all day long with our newest 8 month old grandson.
We had a ball,
but it worn us out let me tell you.
Anthony is crawling now, 
but not with all fours. 
 He's only using his forearms and elbows.
He hasn't quite figured out the knees yet.
But he and Jim raced all over that house.
I was in charge of the all the walking around the neighborhood,
feeding and diaper changes
which suits me just fine.
The most challenging part was getting him to go down for his nap. 
He is a stubborn fellow.
hee hee
but I managed to get him down.
And man oh man can he eat.
He likes everything his mom set out for him.
I'm pretty sure I've not mentioned it
 but Syd and Anthony's daddy has been diagnosed with a stage 3 Brain Tumor this past February.
He has been battling it with such grace and dignity
and just recently was allowed to go back to work.
He is a proud Orange County Sheriff.
When he got home last night from work 
I could tell he is still really struggling to feel well and beat this thing.
So I'd like to  reach out to all of you and ask for your thoughts and prayers.
It has been really hard on the family as you can imagine.
Especially his wife,
my Jim's daughter.
She is truly exhausted.
He never complains and puts up the most brave front for all of us,
but I saw it yesterday on his face that it is a real struggle.
Thank you all.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

A WONDERFUL SURPRISE

Two years ago in her senior year at Whitney,
I had the privilege to once again teach 2018 alumni Inna Sikar in the Beginning 3-D class.
In addition she was in the 7th grade Art Wheel her first year at Whitney 
and in the Beginning 2-D course her junior year.
During her last year with me she was one of my most outstanding 3-D students
and we formed a very strong connection and love over crafting.
So recently she got in touch with me and caught me up with her life
and told me she'd been working on something special for me and could she have my address.
This remarkable embroidered pillow arrived a few days later.
Oh My!
Inna, it's spectacular!
She has combined her 2 and 3-D skills in stitching this lovely design.
Notice how she is moving her colors from light to dark in the neck and wing areas.

I'm so thrilled and impressed with how you've taken your skills to a whole new level Inna!
And you've also taught yourself ribbon embroidery,
something we didn't cover.
I just love my pillow and will treasure it always Inna.
Thank you so very much for this extrodinary handmade gift!
Sending you so much love,
and looking forward to keeping in touch.
xoxoxoxoxoxo

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

HAIL TO PUPPY SCHOOL

Little Miss Tatum graduated puppy school at the head of her class last night.
I couldn't be a prouder puppy grandmother.
LOLOL

Sunday, August 4, 2019

SUMMER BEAUTIES

I get so jazzed every summer when these gorgeous looking and smelling lilies open up.
And they just keep multiplying every year which is another added bonus!
This year they drew the most ginormous butterfly
who flew into each flower.  
She wasn't afraid of me and I was able to get really close for the shot below.
Then she traveled with me as I made my watering rounds at the cabin
(taking me 3 hours to water the entire place this summer).
This will sound crazy I know,
but I'm pretty sure it was my dear Aunt Elena dropping by for a visit.
Every Easter she would bring me a pot of lilies.
So many wonderful memories come back to me as I post. 

 And below are a special variety of Plumeria that I got about 3 years ago with my son
at an extrodinary nursery by his home in Canoga Park called the Green Thumb.
I had never seen this lovely apricot color before while in Hawaii,
only the white/yellow and the pink/yellow.
It was just a baby stick when I bought it
and after 3 years it's the first time it's bloomed.
I thought I'd lost it earlier in the year when all the leaves fell off.
But it's come back strong this summer with more flowers to open soon.
Makes my heart so happy!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

TOO BEAUTIFUL TO USE

Recently I received this gorgeous handcrafted pillow in the mail 
from a remarkable Mixed Media Artist,
Jen Mullen of Bayou Quilts and Dolls.
I have showcased a couple of her pieces over the years under Professional Fiber Artist Jenclair,
but she is so much more than a fiber artist!
I hope you are able to take the time and pull her up in my search engine
 to see the pieces she has made for me over the years,
and to visit her blogsite to  see all that she does.
Her work is exquisite as you can see here in the close-ups.
When she read on my blog that I had retired she created this amazing piece for me.
It's too special to put on a couch or chair 
so my husband suggested I put it in a shadowbox type frame
and display it on a wall in our home.  
Brilliant idea!
The only thing about that type of display is you won't be able to turn it over
and see this very cool hand holding a pen writing with Kantha stitch around it.
Love that detail Jen!!
Thank you,
I adore your work and so appreciate all your time and energy you put into this.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

DISPLAYING ARTWORK

This tiny & stunning piece of hand stitching (4" by 4")
was done by one of my favorite Fiber Artists,
Hazel Montes of Handstories.
I purchased it from her shop about a year ago
 and finally figured out how I wanted to frame it out.
I have used this technique now a couple of times with Hazel's tiny Sailing Ships,
and love that you can hang them in a window to enjoy.
I also love the fact that I'm re-purposing 
these vintage crochet doilies.
Now I'm going to send this off to one of my all time favorite students 
whose coming to visit in August from her second semester abroad studying Architecture,
Karisma Dev. 
While with me for each of her 6 years at Whitney,
she studied all the Fiber and Sculptural Arts,
Beginning thru Special Studies 3-D Art,
as well as Beginning 2-D art. 
I know she will love and appreciate Hazel's handwork & design as much as I do.
If you have the time or interest,
insert Karisma's name into my search engine
 and you can see many of the pieces she created for me over the years.
She is also top in her class at Syracuse University
and I couldn't be more proud of her!

Friday, July 26, 2019

MY APOLOGIES

to my students & blog followers for not keeping up with my posting.
I will try harder next week.
I still haven't finished off from 2 school years ago.
Funny how I get so much more done when I'm working and on a schedule then during the summer.
See you soon!!

Monday, July 15, 2019

BABYSITTING DUTY CALLS

Because of the long days both my daughter and her boyfriend put into their jobs,
they are still not trusting their baby's,
Penelope now Tatum and Granger to be home alone for hours on end,
so my ex and I have been alternating days & pitching in to check on the little ones about midday.
And I'm in puppy heaven.
These two crack me up!
On the day I took these pix a couple of weeks ago,
Tatum was just starting to want to play with Granger and not be scared of him.
He is a year old now and the kids brought him Tatum (11 weeks) to keep him company.
Above you can see that Tatum is not quite sure of Granger there.
But the more she prods him the braver she gets,
until they are rolling on the grass together
and playing with the ball.
But that's a lot of hard work or them so their mommy bought them a pool to cool off in.
Instead, 
Granger is using it as a large water bowl,
and the little one tries but ends up falling in with both front feet.
Oops!
This grand-parenting business is so much fun!

Friday, July 12, 2019

FACE FORMULA TIME

 BEFORE & AFTER PORTRAITS
BEGINNING 2-D ART
chalk on chalkboard

Every year I like to invite 2 of my students up to the board during their spare time at lunch
to decorate either the Frontal or Profile Formula Heads that I lecture and diagram with,
before we start the actual drawings of each other.
I never know what I'm going to get so it's always fun.
Last school year (2017-2018) senior Jessica Mones and junior Manishka Ranjit
volunteered for the honors.
The girls spent several lunches working on the Profile Head
and it actually turned out resembling one of the students in the class,
senior Alyson Tam. 
How about that!
I thought it was pretty cool,
anyways.
LOL
Thank you ladies for that bit of fun.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A VERY PROUD TEACHER!!

Class of 1996,
Alumni Brian Kesinger has really hit the big time.
A retrospect of his work is being featured at the Oceanside Museum
with the reception this Saturday nite from 6-8 p.m.
Dang Brian,
you are in a museum,
and your artwork is
 FLYING ON BANNERS THRU THE STREETS OF OCEANSIDE.
This is HUGE!!!!!!!

I have spotlighted Brian before if you'd like to read more about his journey and work
with the Disney Studios,
just slip his name into my search engine.

These words are Brian's that I pulled off Facebook.
I hope that some of you might be able to attend!
If I was still teaching I'd say Extra Credit for sure!

Wow guys! It’s getting real now! Serious goosebumps when I saw these banners go up on the streets of Oceanside! My #dreamityourself exhibit sponsored by @spectrumnoir opens this Saturday at @oceansidemuseum! The opening reception is from 6-8pm go to briankesinger.com to get tickets. The first 100 people to say the secret phrase “Otto sent me” at the reception check in will receive a very limited edition Otto and Victoria medallion! See you there!
I couldn't be more proud of this amazing and extremely talented artist.
And to say I knew him when;
I was his art teacher from 7th grade thru his senior year.
Wow!!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A FAREWELL TO ARMS

photo from 1993 in Newspaper article titled Teaching Art with Her Heart

Dearest Whitney Family,
Friends and Blog Followers,

I think many of you knew this was coming,
some of you even guessed it was soon,
but I turned in my retirement papers this last week Tuesday.

To the students who have signed up to take my classes,
the District has flown the vacancy and I'm sure many qualified teachers will be banging down the doors to teach Art here at Whitney.
I know many of my ex-art students have been asking me for years when I'll retire
because they want to take over for me.
Whoever is chosen,
know I will make myself available to help them get started if they want me to.
So no worries right!
(in fact I just lined up one of my former art students who teaches art already in Arcadia,
he will be in for an interview,
 and I put word out to others who I know are interested as well)
You will be getting someone who is so much more current and fresh,
and who probably knows Digital Art as well.
So please don't bail out of those art classes you signed up for,
or else the numbers might go too low to continue the Visual Arts at Whitney.
Do you hear me!
Stay put!!!!!!!
And Eliana Lee,
yes,
 I will write your Letter of Rec. this year when you need it.
Just let me know.
You know I love you dearly
and it would be an honor to do this for such a creative young artist.

Here is the letter I composed to my staff at Whitney which I think explains it all:

Dearest Staff,

It is with great difficulty and profound sadness that I have finally decided to retire after 39 years of teaching all the Visual Arts in room 18.  This past Monday, my Doctor had a Come to Jesus with me about how unhealthy I am after several blood tests and x-rays were taken mid June.  Of course I knew this was coming because she had warned me after last summer's physical that I better get my act together and get healthy.  I only made it half way though when it was time to start this last school year.  I was tired much of this year, dragging and even falling asleep a couple times when driving home. Scary stuff.  And most days after work instead of making myself go to the gym, I'd take a nap instead.  So I knew it was time.  Every year when someone would retire, I'd always ask them how did they know it was time.  The answer was always the same.  They just knew.  I guess I knew it too but had a really hard time facing and accepting it.  For me, this is so very bittersweet because I feel incredibly blessed to have had such a long and exciting career doing something I love so much.  And I'm extremely thankful it was at Whitney where the students pushed me hard to be my very best. I have learned so much about life and about myself amidst these cardboard walls.  But it's so hard to leave.  A huge piece of my heart will always be here.  My classroom has been my second home for a long, long time.  

It has been such a pleasure to have worked with so many of my ex-students, to watch all of you grow up, get married, start your families and become Whitney teachers.  To see you happy and fulfilled has been such a joy.  And how lucky I have been to have worked with so many exceptionally gifted teachers over the years, many of you the best in your fields.  Whitney High is a magical place, it always has been for me and I know it will continue to be so.  I want to thank all of you for your continued love and support over the years; supporting our art students and buying and hanging their pieces in your rooms and offices.  For trusting me to teach you to draw, craft and build with clay Donna Hall,  & Deliana Park. The thought of leaving all of you as well as our students fills me with extreme sadness but it's time.

I'm hoping that the next art teacher will be a former Whitney Grad, who understands the rigor of this exceptional school as well as it's culture, and will make the art room and program a haven to relax, decompress in and critically create.  To learn how to access the Right Hemisphere of the Brain, to learn to see all the beauty around them in nature, in the cracks in the sidewalk, and the patterns on manhole covers.  To learn to produce this beauty with their hands, hearts and minds.  There is beauty all around us but sadly so many of our youngsters haven't had a chance to learn to see it or record it.  They need the arts in their lives.  It's so very necessary to be a well-rounded human being.

I want to give a special shout out to Suzanne, Donna, Jodi, Virginia, Rod, Mike, Deliana, Paul, Derek, Stephanie, Eileen, Yen & Brennan, for being my rocks when I felt I needed an ear, and to Javier for being the best man for the job of cleaning up an art room, my hat goes off to you, you are such a wonderful person, and Juan for making me laugh every afternoon when you stick your head in my door to say hello.  And to Dave, my dear friend for many years, all that you have helped me with and done for me, thank you.  And I can't forget my best friend of all and drinking buddy, Dennis Brent, former Whitney English teacher extraordinaire.  And Cindy, I wish I would have been able to stay a bit longer to have gotten to know you even better.  You have such a special vibe about you and are so much fun.  And to former Whitney student Bill Sevedge, Class of 1984, for coming back to visit years later and teaching me to use a computer and building my blog for me. 
Lastly, but most importantly, to former 8th grade science teacher Virginia Pooler, who passed way too soon, thank you for talking me into getting my Master's Degree with you at USIU in 1985.  That's where I met my 1st husband and because of you came my beautiful babies Zach & Danielle.   You were such a strong presence on our campus teaching our students so many important life lessons, not just science. and not afraid to tell them the truth.  All of our hearts were broken when you left us.  You were one of my early mentors and I still think about you everyday,

So many of you who have touched my heart over the years, please forgive me if I have left anyone out.

Well, I wish all of you a relaxing summer.  Gotta tell you the one thing I won't miss is doing another accreditation.  Good luck with that my friends.  You know where I'll be, spending lots of quality time with my husband, my own children and their young ones and animals, traveling to art shows and workshops (and hopefully teaching some of those), at the cabin, in my gardens, at the gym, reading voraciously, creating art and on my blog.  OH, and still continuing to take as many new art classes as possible since I am a life long learner.  I hope you will stop by for a visit.  

 Hail to Whitney High!

With much love to all,
Debra A. Price Agrums Sposa
Former Art Teacher 1980-2019
Whitney High School

Sunday, June 30, 2019

SHIBORI GIRL - GLENNIS DOLCE

A friend that I made thru blogging,
a local So.Cal. expert in the art of Shibori,
takes an eager group of students to Japan every year and always returns with treasures.
This year in her shop,
 I was able to purchase many of the pieces listed below in her letter. 
She bundled the letter around the precious remnants,
and they did not disappoint.
Below are shoots and close-ups of all that I bought.
I've been thinking about what to use them for.
 So far I have a favorite pair of jeans that the holes have become too large in,
 I think I might cut off a piece of each fabric to mend them with.
After that I'm not sure.


the family crest button a top an indigo dyed loosely woven fabric


a vintage piece of boro cloth

two different pieces of Ikat dyed and woven fabric
close up below

two more pieces of Ikat
Just a note.
I did learn the art of Ikat dyeing and weaving in college (1979),
and I remember how extremely time consuming and difficult it was 
so it is fabulous to see the real thing in person.

honestly, I'm not sure what this cloth is called.
got to do some research.
but isn't it lovely?
you can see how old it is where the two worn areas are.

This last one is my favorite because it's my go-to technique to do with my students
in the Beginning 3-D class.
The favorite of all the Shibori techniques that Glennis taught us.
This cloth was all all hand stitched, pulled tightly then dipped into the Indigo vat.
When dry the stitching was removed to reveal the design.
This piece was so expertly done,
so clear in it's design, and the dye so perfectly applied,
rich and dark.
When I saw it in the packet my eyes just popped with happiness!

And I already know the first thing I will do with snall pieces of each remnant,
I'm going to mend/patch a loved pair of holey jeans.
Anding it to my list right now!