Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Welcome to the world of Etsy

Hey, after all the talk, I'm finally on Etsy!  I just posted my first few items for sale, concentrating on some notecard sets.  But eager to add more things over this next week, as I continue to sort out how to get some good photos etc.  Here is my set of wee gift cards.

Check it out here!
Or more directly, the website is christisobel.etsy.com.  And tell your friends...and check back often because there will be lots more on there soon...

Otherwise, it seems that when the summer season really hits, my blog suffers as I become busier with such things as:
a) working frantically on keeping my farmers' market booth fully stocked 
b) continuing with the freelance projects, which just ramped up again
c) summer also equals wedding announcement work for all those happy couples!
d) having fun outside!  storing some rare Ithaca sunshine in my bones for the winter

(What is Etsy, you ask?  It's an online marketplace for artisans like me, there are tons and tons of interesting things on there, from clothing to pottery to toys to soaps to original art to vintage items, etc etc.  I just purchased a couple of catnip toys shaped like eyeballs, for example.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forked Lake

I just got back from a few days in the Adirondacks, for my annual June trip with my pal Jean Elizabeth...she celebrates her birthday at Forked Lake, and I join her when I can get away.  If any of you are looking for a beautiful camping place this summer, definitely check out Forked Lake, it's located between Blue Mountain Lake and Long Lake.  The caretaker, Ted, is a great guy too.  I took my lovely little solo canoe (her name is the Nutmeg of Consolation, after a Patrick O'Brian book), and we had the coveted small island site.  Not much happened, except for a windy expedition down the inlet between Forked Lake and Raquette Lake.  Here's a photo of as far as we got in the canoe, to where the river turned into a small impassible rocky stream.  Great spot for lunch, and it would be a great spot for a swim too except the water was mighty cold.

On the way home, my efforts at tying on the canoe slacked, and I had to keep stopping and securing.  It's a newish car, you see, and all of these systems need to be worked out...

On the art front, the quest to join Etsy continues, I took a lot of photos of my cards today and designed my banner.  I also sent cards to a new store in Stone Harbor, NJ.  The store is named Alice, and I'm pretty excited about being part of their collections!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Travel sketchbook

Yup, it's a computer-y day for me, two blog entries and research into the brave new world of Etsy...plus getting my car packed up for market this weekend.  I should be working on that label project, which I will do next, before heading over to Gary's studio to learn how to make mug handles.  Then off to dinner at my favorite Ithaca restaurant (Just a Taste, yummy...those garlic braised greens are to die for!) with a birthday friend, and there's big talk of catching some African music at the State later!

Since I'm scanning things today, here's a page from the larger of my traveling watercolor sketchbooks, with a recent quick painting from my time in Michigan a few weeks ago.  This is one of my favorite spots on the Au Sable land.  I love these brush tip markers and quick watercolor washes.

So yeah, I'm on the verge of being on Etsy...will keep you posted...


Scenes like this are not uncommon around my house when I'm trying to get work done.  I have several small graphic design jobs to work on, and I don't mind computer work so much when it's raining outside.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

So much thyme on my hands

I just got the garden weeded yesterday, so here it is.  Please note the gigantic thyme plant in the foreground, it was so tiny last year and now I'm trying to sort out how to divide and conquer it.  Other than thyme, my garden contains: salad mix, swiss chard, various basils, assorted tomatoes (including sungolds and brandywines), a couple kinds of yummy summer squash, sweet bell peppers, nasturtiums, a few kale varieties, and marigolds.  I have some sunflowers started and will plant them soon, once they are too big to be tempting to chipmunks.

All this yard and garden work, no wonder I haven't been inside blogging.  Summer is really coming to Ithaca now.  In my opinion, June is about as beautiful as it gets, warm but not too hot, cool nights, those first swims of the year, early season bike rides.  This makes up for the dismal grey of November just a little.  Strawberries are in season too...

And while I'm on the bucolic theme, here's my chickens in the compost pile too.  They're better than TV, really.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

It sits in the center and knows

What's up with the spiral imagery in my paintings, anyway?  I get asked this all the time at the Farmers' Market.  It's kind of complicated and organic, so here's a cliff-note style summary of how the spiral fits in my personal iconography.

The first time I really became aware of spiral imagery was during a family vacation to the west coast, where we stopped at some petroglyphs in New Mexico.  There was one image of a line of people dancing under a huge spiral.  This resonated with my worldview and faith, and stuck with me.  Next, a few years later I was painting a chair for a friend of mine in Oregon, and had some extra paint, so I signed the piece with my handprint on the underside, and noticed that a spiral would tuck nicely into the space in the palm.  Hmmm...a logo is born...my hand and my creativity in one image.  Then I started seeing this hand-and-spiral design everywhere, in many native traditions around the world.  THEN I started putting it into my paintings, usually under trees...at some point I realized that in these paintings the spiral meant the life coming from the earth and growing into the trees.  On a more shallow level, spirals simply make a really nice design element, sometimes art just looks cool and doesn't necessarily have a deep meaning.

I make one of these stone spirals on the lake beach outside my cabin in Michigan every year.

In other news, I've been back from vacation since Friday night, after a long drive, a tiring evening of packing for market, a busy weekend of selling cards, and now a few days of generally getting my house, garden, business, and life back in order (shedding cats!).  Took down my show at Korova on Monday too.  Summer is here!  I jumped in a creek yesterday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Au Sable again

OK ok, this is just a funny photo, working in the kitchen is actually very fun.  Not to mention sanitary, well-lit, and non-violent.  

I spent much of the morning today working on another letter to the Au Sable board of directors.  They are meeting this weekend, and will be again discussing the future of this place.  In a nutshell, they are in dire financial straights, and almost decided to shut down, since the endowment has been decimated without anyone really knowing it.  There's been a fierce reaction from former students and staff and academic partners, saying how Au Sable can't close.  New plans are in place, and some fundraising efforts, all of which have managed to keep it limping along.  Obviously, since I drive 10-13 hours each way and spent my vacation time here not being paid to work in a kitchen every year, I care about this place and love being here.  There are trees here who I consider to be friends.  If I were rich, I'd give them more money, but I'm not so instead I make dinner.  If you'd like to read more, or wish to learn about donating, please check here.  

I've been having lots of deep thoughts lately about paradigm shifts.  But I need to go work the dinner shift, so that will have to wait until next time.  ha ha ha!  That's a cliffhanger if I ever heard one!