Thursday, December 29, 2016

Playing along with Project Runway

Long time readers of this blog know I'm a fan of Project Runway.  This year, I discovered that a number of my Facebook friends (some art teachers, and some who are not) are also fans of the show.  Some of us decided to design along with the contestants each week, trying to come up with our own solutions to the weekly challenges (but our solutions were done by drawing, rather than sewing). I was aided by the use of a little fashion design sketchpad (with pre-drawn models in it) kindly sent to me by one of these friends.  It will be easy to tell which of these drawings were done with that sketchpad, since my people-drawing skills aren't so good on my own.
The final challenge of the season was to create a collection of 10 runway looks.  My collection incorporated the contrast of black patterned fabric with vibrant colors, using a somewhat bohemian aesthetic, with lots of bead embellishments in black and metallics.  Many of the outfits incorporated ribbons of fabrics to create movement.   By the time I was done, I realized that I had way more than ten pieces in my collection!
The judges always ask "who is your girl?", as in, who are you designing for?  I think my girl is somewhat free-spirited, not afraid of wearing bright color, with fabrics that move.  But she is also practical.  She wants clothes that are comfortable to wear.  The collection is mostly casual and party clothes.  Not really office-wear, but I wasn't designing for an office-type person, I don't think.  In my heart, I think I was designing for a taller, skinnier me. 
 I'd be  happy to wear a look like the one below for a day of teaching art, if my legs were longer and my hips were skinnier!!  All in all, this is my 12-look collection. 

 While I'm at it, I'll share some of my ideas from the challenges earlier in the season.  For example, there was a bathing suit and cover-up challenge.  I never fully realized my cover-up ideas, but I'd definitely want to wear my bathing suit design. 
There was a 'real woman' challenge where the contestants designed for their mothers or friends. I chose to design a casual and comfy outfit for a certain pantsuit-wearing former presidential candidate.  Please excuse my amateurish drawing. 
And there were challenges using non-traditional materials, too.  The outfit below (two attempts to draw the same general idea) used rope, assorted bolts, leather horse harnesses, and such.
This crazy outfit on the left below was an avant-garde design using non-traditional materials.  There were some flexible metallic tube-things shown in the challenge, that I used in my design, along with some multicolored ropes.  And the wacky design on the right?  I wish I could remember what the specific challenge was that inspired me to come up with this outfit!  
 I don't recall what the weekly challenges were that inspired either of the two drawings below, either. Both incorporate metallics - a silky silvery dress on the left, and some coppery leather on the right. 
 There was a challenge that incorporated glow-in-the-dark products that would look totally different in daylight and in the dark.  It was hard to show do this in a drawing, but I came up with the two silly designs below.
There were a couple other weekly challenges that I don't have pictured in this post, but I'll close with the drawings from one week where the challenge involved creating two companion looks.  I can't remember the theme of the challenge, but here they are.
I never specifically desired to be a fashion designer, but I spent a lot of my childhood designing clothes for paper dolls and Barbie dolls, and I have been sewing my own personal inventions now and then for years.  So maybe I'll make myself one of the outfits on this post!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

This will be a quickie post.  For my loyal readers who like to leave comments on my blog, I want you to know I appreciate you.  I do NOT, however, appreciate the spammer who recently has been leaving links to some really inappropriate garbage in comments on the blog.  I have tried  using a word verification thingy, where you have to type what you see, but somehow the spam gets through.  Anyhow, I know it makes it much more of a pain for those of you who want to leave an honest comment.  So word verification has not been on the blog for a while and will not be returning.
Instead, as of today, I have added 'comment moderation' to the blog, which means that no comment will appear until I have approved it.  I believe I can handle these approvals quickly and easily, so there isn't much lag time until your comments appear, as I appreciate your desire to have your comments posted immediately.  This way, at least I know that these blatantly offensive comments with links to inappropriate comment will NEVER be seen by a reader of this blog.
So thank you for sticking with me.  If you are wondering about the photos in this post, they don't specifically have anything to do with the content of the post.  Though my cat does look pretty annoyed sometimes, doesn't she?  Beware to anyone who wants to mess with her; her veterinary chart has the word "WARNING" written across the top!   Seriously!  (Though usually she's a sweetie-pie.)
Speaking of pies - as for the blueberry pie above, the face on it does look pretty formidable too, I think.  It's an old photo; the face on the pie was pierced in the crust by my son, after I asked him to cut some lines in the pie for air to escape.  And this was what he did. 
Thanks again!  Next post will be back to some artsy stuff! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Gingerbread Interlude

Our holidays are filled with artsy endeavors! One of my favorites is making and decorating gingerbread cookies for my husband and his family.  The recipe is my husband's, long ago given him by his mother.  When he first introduced them to me, he was a gingerbread purist - he believed that they should have raisins for eyes and buttons, and that's it. 
He should have known that if I was going to make these cookies, that I could not leave them simply with raisin eyes.  He also should have known I wouldn't be happy simply making gingerbread BOYS, as you can see by the tray of gingerbread ladies above.  So nowadays, he just leaves the kitchen and tries not to come back until I'm done decorating.  I don't think he even cares for the the taste of frosting, but to me, gingerbread is nothing if not an art project. 
 And of course, there's the fact that I'm Jewish, and that the first night of Hanukkah is on Christmas Eve this year.  So I made some Chanukah cookies too.  (By the way, you might notice I used two different spellings for Hanukkah.  That's because it is a Hebrew word.  I grew up with the 'Chanukah' spelling, but the 'Hanukkah' spelling is the most popular/accepted right now.) 
 This year, my husband insisted that I always make a double recipe.  I foolishly believed him, and about 10 dozen cookies later, I was seriously overloaded.  To move things along, I made 5 of the giant boys, pictured below, and on the top right of this post.  Usually I only make two of them because they use up so much dough.
I also made a batch of these silly reindeer.
And of course there's the standard size gingerbread boys.
When I had been decorating cookies for many hours, I started getting silly and started putting them in bikinis (such as the one pictured at the top of the post and on the tray above) or underwear (also on the tray above), and also making 'diaper babies' (pictured below) and aliens (below) out of the smaller gingerbread boy cookie cutters.
You may notice a hand on the tray above, too.  My attempt was to put the fingers in the Vulcan salute, that means "Live Long and Prosper".  I also made a number of little houses, and this year I cut out the windows and melted Life Savers and Jolly Ranchers in them to look like colored glass.  It was my first attempt at this, and it worked so well, I started cutting out everything in sight, including a heart out of the chest of the big boy at the top of the post. The photo below is some of the houses.  I neglected to get good pics before they got packed away. 
And I'll close with a few close-ups.  Next year, it's back to baking a single batch of gingerbread, unless I suddenly have a lot of help getting it all done.
 Happy Holidays, everyone!!! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

The conference photos I forgot to share!

It's been about a month since my state art teachers conference, and I already told you about the workshops I taught, but I totally forgot to share some of the other conference photos I took!
I was particularly enthralled with the inflatable sculptures of conference speaker-artist Beth Giacummo, who referred to herself as a "mixed media installation artist" in her slide talk.  When I first saw her inflatable sculptures being installed in the courtyard, I was intrigued.  But when I heard the artist speak, and share the stories of her work (the inflatables are called "Hormonamalies"), I doubly enjoyed/appreciated them.  And after the Saturday night dinner banquet, my dinner table got roped into participating in a mannequin challenge in the courtyard around the sculptures.  (I'm gonna spare you from having to watch the poor quality video, but it was fun.)

 Among the workshops I attended was a hands-on workshop on glass etching.  I chose a simple design to etch, in order to finish it in a short time, since I was trying to fit a lot into my conference schedule.  And what I discovered was that it was easy!  And fun!  It's not something I would do with elementary students (the presenter does this with a high school glass class), but I thought it would be a fun adult craft night activity.  It requires a minimum of materials and was not hard to be successful. 

On Friday night at the convention, there was an "art party" with hands-on activities.  One of those included using alcohol ink and other paints to decorate tiles.  Here's what I made.  Since then, I have sprayed them with a gloss sealer. 

There was a display of student artwork at the conference, with a lot of lively and interesting work.  Here's a few pieces that particularly intrigued me, from elementary through high school.  
I absolutely love the kindergarten painting below!
 And this print below is amazing, but became even more amazing to me when I discovered it was done by a 4th grader!!
 And this drawing below just makes me smile. 
 And a fabulous expressive piece:

Every year, I'm in charge of the "Bling Your Badge" table.  I came up with the idea about 4 or 5 years ago, and we've  doing it ever since!  It's a favorite place at the convention. The pic below is a bit of aftermath...
And a couple of name tag closeups that have some terrific 'bling'. 

A couple of people stopped by the table to show off the "art-bots" they had created in a workshop. 

 And of course there was a bit of art teacher funky fashion and accessories. 
 Dramatic in black and white
 Look at the heels and bottoms of these fabulous shoes!

I think that's it for my convention sharing, until I go to the NAEA convention in NYC this coming March!  Maybe I'll see you there?