Inspiration Food Chain

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTg3MTkwODEy.html

So I was on the phone with my dad and he was so excited to tell me about the little “prank” the Philadelphia Orchestra did in the Reading Terminal Market recently, that he practically sounded like a chirping bird on the first day of Spring.  When I got off the phone I Googled it so I could figure out what exactly tickled him so pink.  And I found this video http://player.youku.com/player.php/sid/XMTg3MTkwODEy/v.sw0, which opens in a new window.

And that video instantaneously made me think that the Philadelphia Orchestra, or the person responsible for that performance was most definitely inspired by the relatively famous commercial by T Mobil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=] will open in a new window).

And this T Mobil commercial was most definitely inspired by the strange little phenomena called Silent Disco, and perhaps specifically to the Silent Discos at Victoria Station.  By the way, Silent Disco is when people get together and dance using their iPods or some other personal music device instead of having a singular sound system.  So everyone is dancing to their own music, to their own rhythm, and with their own volume. (click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWQpDaC0T-s for a new window)

And although Silent Disco has been around since the sixties, I personally think it’s present day popularity (especially in the UK) has been inspired by the artist, Gillian Wearing and her video ‘Dancing in Peckham,’ which is a 25 minute video of Gillian dancing to the music in her head in a busy shopping center.  When the song in her head changes, her style of dancing changes.  (see below)

And this performance piece by Gillian Wearing makes me think of the book ‘Being and Nothingness’ specifically when Sartre writes about our perceived relations to one another, and (without getting my college notes) when we make observations, we tend to see ourselves as an object in an attempt to get an insight to how we are being perceived by others.  If you get a chance to see the Gillian Wearing video, you can see the video isn’t just about Gillian dancing by herself with no music in a shopping center, but also about the people (passer-byes/background folk) sharing that space with her and their relationships with one another.  It turns out that the people in the background are more important than Gillian.  The Sartre-esque question, who is being observed and who is the observer, becomes prevalent in the video because ultimately the audience starts to pay more attention to the people in the background and how they are observing Gillian and observing each other in relation to Gillian.  Then in terms of gallery voyeurism, this question becomes more complicated because not only do you have the relationship with the viewers in the gallery and the video itself, but also the relationship of the gallery viewers to one another and how they observe each other watching the video, becoming more or less like the people in the background of the video.

I guess with all of these videos, in a Sartre sort of way, people are observing other people, who in return are observing them, and everyone ultimately reduces each other to what subjectivity they perceive in themselves.  (Insert thumb-twiddling here)

I’m not about to be a complete a–hole and compare my textile designing to Sartre’s philosophical thought, but making art for people on a commerical level, artists have to be conscious of different relationships during the creative process, which inevitably is reflected in the success of the artwork.  If you go into a shop, the items for sale are not as important as the people looking at them.  The artist has to be sensitive to the desires of an audience (or buyers) and be in tune to what is visually appealing for them. The artist has to be aware of the relationship between him/herself and the design, the design and the object it is for, and the object to the person who buys it.  I can’t just sit around designing what I like, or else, I’d forgo drawing cupcakes and owls, and would be making things that only a few people would want.  The masses seem to love cupcakes and owls, and lots of artists are competing over their interpretations of owls and cupcakes to please the masses.  Even the trendiest of shops like Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters who appear to be unique with their vintage inspired stuff have, yes, cupcakes and owls rolling around on their clothes and housing decor.  Anyway, to get back on track, artists have to rely on their audience, just like the performances in the videos above, and the content of their art work reflects this dependancy.

(This is where I edited my rant on how people do not really want to be different and support individualism, even though they think they do, thanks to the marketing world stuffing capitalism in our faces and making people feel inadequate without looking a certain way or having certain things.  Ugh, nevermind)

At any rate, here are some new samples of fabric I designed from Spoonflower I recently ordered.

(This image is a total of all the fabrics I have printed so far, thanks to Spoonflower.com.  For more information on these fabrics click http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/babysisterrae)

And below are new ideas that perhaps will become fabric.  These past few weeks, I have been mainly designing for the Spoonflower competitions (a mild addiction), not to mention breaking all the rules and designing for no one else other than myself, and what I think would be cool to see on people, tables, chairs, notebooks, lampshades, pillows, and just small token things that would make a person or a space that much more special (in the eyes of me of course).

campersforweb
iloveyouporgyforweb
summerflowersforweb
sweptawayforweb

The campers got 6th in the ‘travel’ competition on Spoonflower….so that’s a small woo-hoo.  I just received some of my upholstery tools today, so I’ll work on the old chairs I have soon.  I’ll upload pics about that little adventure next time.

Next are my ‘shout-outs’ to cool people, books, movies, blogs, and things to do:

Firstly, I have tattoos, and I think most tattoos are amazing.  It’s a form of dedication to self expression that tells a story and reflects more character than most things people wear, including clothes, make up, jewellery, etc.  If you, too, like tattoos, you should check out the book Body Type: Intimate Messages Etched in Flesh by Ina Saltz.  Also, Heidi Kenney (www.mypapercrane.com) is an artist who is super creative and quirky, and she also uses tattoos for inspiration .  Here is a doll pattern Heidi created that you can buy at Spoonflower called ‘tattooed together’ (http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/260973).  Also, a photo from Heidi’s site of one of the completed dolls.

Two movies that are a must see (both documentaries) are Gasland by Josh Fox (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8)and Capitalism: A Love Story by Michael Moore (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhydyxRjujU).

And if your out and about in Philadelphia, then stop by the Franklin Institute (because it’s cool anyway) to check out the Cleopatra exhibition and look at the artifacts that are mind boggling old, and learn about the history and complicated politics of that time (www.fi.edu/cleopatra/index.html).

And lastly, if you like cakes and architecture, then you might enjoy this article about the tallest cake in the world www.dwell.com/articles/tower-without-hunger.html.

Ahhh, take care 😛

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14 June (pregnancy dance video here)

Wow, so much to write about. Above is a really cool desk that nanna bought Ade for his birthday.  When it’s not in use, it fits together in a cube, and the chair can store lots of bits and bobs.  Awesome.  By P’kolino.  Check out these weather ponchos (below) I found Parmalee, at a native american cultural festival we perused memorial weekend.    All the way from Ecuador, not so much native american, but cool comes from anywhere.  (Buffalo!!)

Vegan much?  Probably not.  But just incase, you may think that vegans can’t get their cake on, well, I have news for you.  This great cookbook (or cakebook) titled ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World’ has given me the ability to make the best cupcakes…..and I’m not saying vegan cupcakes, I’m saying best cupcakes ever full stop.  Generally speaking, I have the talent for making an error when baking, and it was no surprise that I would mess something up in this recipe, which I did.  The sugar stash was low so I also used molasses and they came out cracking anyway…..seems foolproof.  I made them for my son’s third birthday.  My fancy flower cake pan was finally broken in, too.

So here’s the recipe=
Ingredients: 1 c. soy milk, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, 1.25 c. all purpose flour, 2 tblspn cornstarch, .75 tsp. baking powder, .50 tsp. baking soda, .25 tsp. salt, .50 c. non-hydrogenated margarine, .75 c granulated sugar, .25 tsp. vanilla extract.  (.25=quarter, .50=half, .75= three quarters)
directions:
preheat oven to 350 F, and sort out tin with cupcake liners.  whisk soy milk and vinegar and set aside a few minutes.  sift flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl and mix.  in a separate bowl, use a handheld mixer (or blender as i did) to cream the margarine and sugar for 2 minutes.  beat in vanilla, then alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients.  stop to scrap the sides every so often.  fill cupcake liners two-thirds and bake for 20-22 minutes.
for icing:
bring .25 c of soy milk to a gentle boil in a small sauce pan.  immediately remove from heat and add 4 oz semisweet chocolate chopped and 2 tblspn of pure maple syrup.  use a heatproof spatula to mix the chocolate until smooth, and set aside at room temperature until ready to use.
These recipes are from the book ‘Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World’ by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.
The equivalent to being a vegan is better than driving a hybrid car, and as we count down the weeks we have tons and tons of oil gushing into our ocean, perhaps being a little more earth friendly and eating a bit more vegan stuff is worth it….especially when it tastes exactly how it should.

Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World 75 Dairy-free Recipes for Cupcakes That Rule

Not long ago, my friend Diane posted a youtube clip of James Brown tearing up the dance floor, and it inevitably led to me thinking about pregnant women dancing, so I did a search on youtube and I found some genius clips.  I took my favorite bits and made a little movie of these women dancing to no one other than James Brown.  It’s rough, but too bad I don’t have the hours to edit seconds.   You get the idea 🙂

Even though this is pathetic and small, it felt great to make a little video, as it’s one of the things I focused on in art school.  And using youtube clips was like using the old super 8s and found photos I primarily worked with before motherhood.  So it felt, just a little bit, like I was wearing old comfy shoes.  Unlike the new weird shoes of design, which I am learning more and more about each day.  Here are some new fabrics and designs.

(the last one is a design from a drawing of a robot my son did back in January.                                                                                        all of these can be seen on http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/trebligrachel)

It’s one thing to design fabric, but what next?  Well, I am putting the fabric to use, and I am learning how to upholster traditional style.  No foam, no rubbish, just good old fashion upholstering with the real long lasting materials.  I have actually found my tools from the flea market up the road, and I have purchased three chairs to work on.  Two are a set of hand made wrought iron bistro chairs that are level one in terms of difficulty.  The other one is a bit more tricky because it has springs and shananagins going on inside.  I’ll post their after photos next blog.

I’m going to end this by saying it’s true what they say about inspiration, you can find it in odd places.

This drain has got me thinking pretty things.

Take care.

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20 May

I’ve been focusing on helping my big sister, Jess, and making children friendly fabric designs.  She’s been creating really cool tees, and twirly skirts for girls.  As of now she’s on a hiatus from her business but will be back in full force for the fall.  And right now we are experimenting and working towards making the most righteous designs.  Here are some of the things I’ve been playing around with.

Above are Parmalee and Evie in the number and initial tanks my sister created, and the images below that are the fabrics I designed, which my sister made into a reversible twirly skirt and then a pair of bloomers for Parmalee.  These little clothes have given me much to think about.  Love the bloomers but I’m not feeling my designs so much on the twirly skirt.  The roller skate disco design above could be a cool twirly though.  The roller skates will be definitely be on some tees.

I also submitted this cocktail design to one of the Spoonflower competitions……which placed in fifth.  Nothing to brag about really.  It’s an A-Z of cocktails and recipes.  I think it would work for napkins, place mats, or perhaps an apron.

In terms of normal life, which I do not seem to write about often.  I am going to shift direction to something that makes my life, as a mother with two children, much easier.  When something makes my life easy, I think it’s important to spread the love in hope it may make someone else’s life easier, too.  This item as of now is my Phil&Ted’s Dash pushchair/stroller.  It truly makes getting around, especially in cities and shopping centers, easy and most important, enjoyable.

If you haven’t read the Visual Miscellaneum by David McCandless, then you should because it’s a really great reference that relates really interesting facts in different graph like charts, which are very aesthetically pleasing.  This book truly makes information beautiful.

Here’s a peek:

click here to purchase Miscellaneum: A Colorful Guide to the World\’s Most Consequential Trivia

This blog is greatly about exploring inspiration and creativity in the midst of motherhood, and also the things I find along the way that make life easier or add just a bit of mental nourishment.  Hopefully it is!  Until next time, take care.

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18 April

Well, I cannot believe how long it’s been since I’ve updated my blog.  It seems like I added the gnomes a couple of days ago and it’s been over a week.  The everyday grind seems to consume some days more than others, and as of late I’ve mostly been keeping up (barely) with the daily grind.  This past week I have abandoned the computer and have just been sketching in my sketch book, which I enjoy more than anything at the moment.  I can just turn off and draw.  I have been working on a design for yet another Spoonflower competition.  The newest theme is shoes, and so I was looking at shoes from the Victorian era for inspiration.  I am going to write about my creating process, because it’s really awesome when artist show there methods to their maddness.  For this particular project, I started with a simple mechcanical pencil and my sketchbook and I drew some shoes.  Then I scanned my drawing in the scanner and went straight to my best friend Photoshop.  In photoshop, I changed the brightness/contrast to make my drawing lines much bolder and then I used the photocopy filter to give it more of a sketch feel (believe it or not).

You can see my other sketches, too.  (I am also working on a paisley design as well.)  Anyway, I cleaned up the shoes with the eraser tool to get rid of the noise.  Then I switched from Photoshop to Illustrator to make a pattern tile.  I used a 21 inch squared box for my tile.  I changed the view to show the grid so I can accurately match up the tiles when they repeat, and then I worked from the outter edge inwards until it’s as full of as many shoes as I wanted.

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9 April

I like kitsch things, and I think garden gnomes are super kitsch.  So I created a design I think would work well for a pillow or a duvet, or even a little sleeping bag….all for children.  Or a cool dog bed, or a tote bag for non children items.  God I wish I had a sewing machine, more time, and more money.  I love Spoonflower, but they charge so much to use their services for custom fabric.  They must be absolutely creaming in the profits.  I also wish there were a company that could print your designs on other non fabric surfaces.  I know of Zazzle, but I don’t know if my stuff is right on mugs either.  Will search for other companies.  Here is the fabric swatch for this design.

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4 April

Happy Easter…..or for us at least, happy egg hunting and chocolate eating!  I have been a bit MIA in my blogging, however my design creating is alive and well.  I have been working on my England theme collection a bit.  Right now I’m working on a design using the icons of London, primarily using pastel outlines.  I have so far made an image for: a London telephone booth, a British guard, Tower Bridge, Big Ben and parliament, a double decker bus, a black taxi, St. Paul’s cathedral, and Nelson’s column.  I don’t know if I’ll use them all, but I will start working on the pattern tonight.  It’s taken a bit of time, especially as my son sabotaged a few of my drawings because I left them out and exposed next to my drawing materials, which he helped himself to and the rest is history.  I do get side tracked in other ideas, too.  This is a sketch of a garden gnome I’ll be working with in the near future.  He clearly looks like he’s from the Gilbert side of my family.

Also, I have been preoccupied with the Spoonflowercompetitions, which is the reason I created the tessellation (on the top) that I titled, ity-bity birdies blue.  It’s a layering, sort of like roofing tiles, where the one bird is layered over the next to create the previous birds tail.  I was inspired by the cartoon Peppa Pig where the animal faces’ have a strange perspective where both eyes seem to be on the same side.  My son adores Peppa, so it’s crept into my creative world where the artist and motherhood lines blur.  Fish status (from ‘feeling rather inadequate’ entry): we named them Sid and Nancy.  Nancy is thriving very well, but Sid on the other hand, is struggling.  Perhaps this is will be the methaphor for my mother/artist balance.  Let’s hope Sid pulls through, as I really want to be a flourishing artist.

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29 March

So, I am plugging away with painting, something that I have found to be rather therapeutic, despite my lack of skill.  Today, I created this design of pears and blossoms using water colors, and I find them pretty difficult because there is little room for error.  I decided it’s best to go for a loose and messy approach.  Not that I have any choice in the matter.  As I finished painting the pear, I skyped my dad and he gave me the idea of including blossoms in the pattern, so thanks Dad!  This one is for you.  I have just submitted it to the Spoonflower competition, so hopefully the voters find it appealing.  I’m not sure when voting actually starts, but the site is full of amazing and talented people, and you can also check out past competitions, www.spoonflower.com.  If you want to check out this design in more detail, just click on it.  Who-ha!

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28 March


‘this isn’t the typical art i do, but it’s they typical way i feel about you.’ well, this is my new painting, inspired by one of the Spoonflower competitions, and i think it will make a great fabric (but a bad tile). I finally got my brushes out and painted with gauche, which is my favorite type of paint. I also added some pastels at the end to give it a bit more depth. I need to find better pastels. I like the ones that are more buttery and less crayon like the ones I used here. I am not sure how well it works as a tile, because it doesn’t blend as well as I’d like, but it’s not too shabby. I can’t wait to buy a sample and see what I can do with it; I love the colors. I decided to paint wildflowers because I think they are so delicate and wonderful. There is a beautiful wildflower garden in the Priory park, Reigate, Surrey, England. Close to wear we lived, and a place I miss terribly. Well, I miss Surrey in general, and I do still consider it to be home. Perhaps the only way to keep it close to me is to keep it in my art work.

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25 March, fruition via samples


I photographed my fabric samples and here they are, in the flesh. The metamorphosis of an idea, to something printed out for you to hold, see, smell, and feel is quiet magical. It also gives you a quick self gratification feeling of accomplishment. I can see ordering my own designs will tap into my freudian narcissistic side. The fabric above, called daffodils around, has been submitted into the Spoonflower design competition. You too can vote in any Spoonflower competitions (http://www.spoonflower.com/contest_voters/new?contest_id=22), and should only vote for the best fabrics, which is not me. I only do it to force my work upon people to see it, so then I can call myself an artist. Below are other samples I ordered which can be seen on my Spoonflower site http://www.spoonflower.com/profiles/trebligrachel. Some are up for sale there, too. I put one of my son’s matchbox cars in it just for scale. I like all of them, but I need to tweak scale sizes. I knew I’d like the Suffolk beach house print so I bought a yard and I think I’m going to make a pillow. These may not seem ambitious but I have no sewing skills, so for me it will be Everest.






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24 March, feeling rather inadequate


Okay, so technically I have missed two days of blogging. Sunday was full of family visiting, and I also failed to find slippers for my son (2), who unfortunately stepped in dog poo outside with them on. I chucked them out and then my son, bless, decided to wear his shoes to bed that night because he’s a freak about bare feet. Monday, which ended 13 minutes ago has flown by thanks to the handful of tasks I had to tackle. One of those was trying to catch 12 goldfish from a pond (that I am filling) in the pouring rain before I had to take my car to get fixed. Still no slippers. Oh the glamour!!


Despite the lack of time to create, I have managed to finish a design (see above and click) that will be apart of my English collection, which I have yet to properly name. The theme is biscuits, particularly ones that are great with a cuppa tea. The dots on the lines represent an abacus for those of us, like me, who have to count their biscuits because I could eat myself silly. I did keep to my palette, however, I did not hand paint a stitch with this design like I originally wanted to, but this is due to lack of time (and confidence). I shall hand paint eventually. The computer is my tool of choice primarily because I can put it down and pick it up throughout the day when I have spare, children free moments, so painting will require more of a plan.


Tomorrow (really today as it’s a little past 12am) I will get my fabric samples and I will post the good ones.

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