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{Inspiration} Fisher Price Toys & Chris Theiss

{Chris in his studio – 2012 }
There has been so much inspiration that I’ve wanted to share in the last few months but deadlines, mom responsibilities, and studio time have been my top priority. However, the art making of my studio neighbor is a constant, creative wonder that I’m lucky enough to witness daily. There is so much work that needs to be seen and today seemed like a good day to post. Chris Theiss is one of those artists that is dedicated, talented, hard working, disciplined, knowledgable, and completely underexposed. He teaches ceramics at Western Washington University and at Skagit Valley College while holding a design job (designing toys no less) as well. Juggling three jobs and a family hasn’t stopped him from finding time to make his work, although it isn’t easy. He hunkers down and works even on those days when I’m sure he’d rather be sleeping. He’s the real deal…
{Oh No Pinky & Perky Loves to Spoon – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Devil Dog – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Puffy Takes a Bad Turn- whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
As you may know from past posts, I love Vintage Fisher price toys. They hit a nostalgic chord with me and before I knew it, I had a little collection of toys lining up on my studio shelves. It wasn’t long before I noticed toys missing from their spot in my studio – only to find them in Chris’ studio. Chris started working with vintage toy imagery in his work – which not only am I excited about on an aesthetic level, but in my mind, it justifies my crazy need to collect and search out these vintage toy gems.
{Doctor Doodle – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
{Work Play – whiteware, vitreous slip, sgraffito}
Along with his love of vintage toys, Chris’ ceramic pieces incorporate his interest in interior
spaces, drawing, and story telling as well by utilizing a technique called sgraffito. Sayer’s room is a favorite space in the house and you can see glimpses of it pop up often in Chris’ work. 
Last year, Chris was a part of a show at Red Star Studios called He Said, She Said with ceramic artist Kathy King. The show is reviewed in June’s issue of Ceramics Art and Perception Magazine and as if that wasn’t cool enough, Chris’ work is on the front page!  Nice work Chris – I’m so glad to let the creative energy that you exude wash over me.

{Glimpses} Remembering to Breathe

Do you own a sketchbook? Better yet, do you use one? I have many – one in every room in in every bag. You may remember me mentioning a few posts ago that I’m teaching at the college again. Class started last week and I required every student to start using a journal to collect inspiration or “glimpses” for our drawing class. Every week, I want them to document something that they see in their everyday life that inspires them – like a texture, color, shape, mood, or image. I thought it would be fun to do the same thing but to use the klt:sketchbook to document my observations weekly.  So here are my five  Wednesday glimpses.

Glimpse 1 – I love old barns and peeling paint. While driving the backroads today, I spotted this little barn like building up on short stilts. There was something that struck me about it- maybe it was the little ladder and the idea that I would have loved this space as a fort when I was a kid. The peeling color was wonderful too. 

Glimpse 2 – I’m trying really hard to find balance right now. The addition of teaching night classes is throwing a monkey wrench into my daily schedule. The fog was so pretty today and I found that I just started driving after a post office drop off. I pulled over for a short walk on the river dike and spotted a heron on a log and I slowly made my way towards it. I was too late get the heron in this photo, but you can see him leaving. The photo is to remind me to breathe.

Glimpse 3 – There are so many trumpeter swans in the the valley that I live in – particularly these days. I really love them. I get excited when I see them on the side of the road and if I can, I’ll  pull over.  I also really enjoy fog – the combination made me giddy today. The roads were empty as well. I just sat on the side of the road, up against my car and watched these guys for awhile. This photo was to capture color.

Glimpse 4 I have driven by this building so many times and I always give it a double glance almost as if to see if it’s still standing. Today the foggy light gave it extra appeal. The window, the weather vane,  the green/yellow pollen on the building, and the fog lifting is why I took this photo. The spindly trees lined up behind the swans was a bonus. 

Glimpse 5 –  When Sayer and I walk to school in the mornings, the swans are often honking and flying overhead. There is always one point during our walk that we stop and look up. I am fascinated in not only how they fly, but their formations (I was in marching band so I can completely appreciate the complexity of what they’re doing). These two flew over my head today when I was walking and I was quick with the camera. This picture is for perspective both figuratively and literally. 

Did you see anything noteworthy today?

{Inspiration} The Sketchbook Project…

Do you need a reason to create? Well, this might just be the catalyst you need. I just stumbled on this great organization called the Art House Co-op that “builds art projects and communities”. Housed in the Brooklyn Art Library, is their flagship endeavor called The Sketchbook Project which a place where sketchbooks from thousands of creative people around the world are collected and formed into a traveling library of artist’s books. Anyone can participate- their youngest sketchbook creator is 4 or 5 and the oldest is about 87. Check this out… 

I absolutely love this idea – the concept behind the Art House Co-op is brilliant. Such a fun thing to find on our way into a new year. I think kiddo and I might have to start creating our sketchbooks soon how about you? Click here to participate. 

Hope you are having a nice, relaxing weekend. 

{Inspiration} A Toy Train in Space…

When I see things about little boys, boys & their dads, toy trains, space, & fun experiments- I  stop what I’m doing & pay attention. So, when I ran across this video on the oeuf blog today & was immediately interested & smitten. Of course Sayer & I have watched it many times today…

We sent my son’s favorite train “Stanley” to space in a weather balloon with a HD camera and an old cell phone for GPS. He was recovered 27 miles away in a corn field and we got some great footage of the trip. This video documents the journey from liftoff to landing.” 

Isn’t this fantastic? It made me smile & I felt like sharing…
Hope you are having a great week! 

{Illustration} experiments with pencil shavings…

What do you do with your pencil shavings? Marta Altes experiments with them! I kept seeing these fun & clever illustrations pop up on pinterest & I finally looked up her website. It appears that she has a cool picture book coming out in February called, “I am an artist”. I’m interested in seeing more of her work- I like her style. How about you? 

Hope you had a creative weekend!

Marta Altes Illustration: here

{Inspiration} Caine’s Arcade…

By now you probably know that my husband makes a lot of cool stuff with cardboard. This last weekend he had a booth (representing a local gallery) at an arts festival where he made a house out of pieces of cardboard in 2 days (I’ll get into that more later). During this presentation, he was able to chat with many interesting people & one of them recommended that he see a short film called, “Caine’s Arcade”.  After he watched it, he immediately shared it with Sayer & I. Of course, I was taken with Caine – the 9 year old that made an arcade out of cardboard. So much so, I had to share his film in case you hadn’t heard his story yet. The short film is about 10 minutes long & it’s sure to inspire – check it out…. 

This was just what I needed to see this week. What a nice reminder of the power of creativity & human kindness.  Hope you are having a great week! 

photo credit: 
follow Caine’s Arcade:

{Inspiration} 141…

It’s been a little quiet here on the blog lately – in part due to some eye issues that I was having. It seems that my age & my habit of not taking many breaks in the day have taken their toll on my eyes. Nothing to worry about however, I just need to step back a bit & learn to close my peepers every now & then. I took a little break from taking  & editing massive amount of photos & blogging to rejuvenate & learn some new habits. The cool thing, is that through this whole process, I discovered an awesome NW company (out of Portland, OR)  called 141 Eyewear. Their philosophy & design is top notch! 

While searching for a new pair of glasses at Eyes on Fremont  in Seattle (my favorite place to get glasses), I was introduced to this fantastic company. I actually fell in love with the frames (particularly the gorgeous blue inside) before I knew that they give glasses to kids in need. It was a complete bonus! I’m also really tickled that they are based in the NW too! Giving glasses to kids in need is an issue that is so close to my heart. I’ve been a social worker & worked with a variety of underprivileged populations over the years – plus,  I wore glasses when I was 4 & Sayer got glasses when he was 3.  I get shivers when I see this video & really wanted to share. 

I love my new glasses & knowing they are made by such a wonderful company is icing on the cake. Thanks Eyes on Fremont for the introduction!  Ok, now I had better get back to work… 

{Inspiration} Charley Harper….

Today I was in the mood for some Charley Harper inspiration so I headed to my book shelf. I love flipping through the pages of my Charles Harper’s Birds & Words book. The illustrations are gorgeous & always leave me feeling ready to work in the studio when I’m through. When thinking about different palettes, the top three illustrations in particular stood out to me. Do you have a favorite?  

photo credit: scans from Charles Harper’s Birds & Words
1. Water Turkey
2. Flamingo
3. Western Tanager

{Inspiration} LaLa love…

“Curiosity is the main driving force in my life. I’m like a four-year-old. I look at things, at the world, at life, and ask, ‘Why?’ Curiosity is satisfied by learning, so the more you learn, the more curious you get. I’m happy to know there is no end to that.”  

“I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. It never occurred to me that other people didn’t do the same in their free time. ”  
“Creativity and inspiration don’t come from idleness, but from continuous work.” 

“I’m constantly inspired by the new things I learn, by everything I see, hear, and read, by new places I visit, by long discussions I have with my husband (who is an artist), and by the good work of my peers. Anything can make my brain tingle.” 

Every now & then, I read or listen to an interview & I literally get goosebumps & wish  that I had a chance to meet that person being interviewed – convinced that we would become fast friends. This is definitely the case with the recent, “Featured Seller: Daria from La La Shoes”, interview that was published on Etsy last Monday. However, this time when reading about this cool & “true blue” woman… I didn’t wish that I knew her or wonder if we’d be friends. Instead, I beamed with happiness because I do know her & we are close friends. Daria is the real deal- funny, talented, hard working, & extremely intelligent. But what you may not know, is that she has the biggest heart in that tiny body of hers. She is the kindest & most supportive friend a person can have. I don’t know about you, but it makes a difference to me if I like someone’s work, what kind of a person they are. So much so, that I often don’t want to meet someone if I love their art or design- because if they are a jerk, it will affect how I view their work. I want to assure you that in this case… it’s all fantastic – the work & the person.
This is such an informative, inspiring, & honest interview- I just wanted to share. Click here to learn why I adore Daria & LaLa Shoes. 

Hope you are having a great weekend!

All images – Daria Ausenak

{Inspiration} Kevin Clash

It’s Friday… & being true to my 2012 self, I hunkered down with another good documentary tonight. Nothing like rounding out this week of “Muppet Love” with  Being Elmo. A friend on facebook recommended this documentary to me this week after seeing  my “Muppet or a Man” post. (Incidentally- we’ve been singing that song along with the whole Muppet Movie soundtrack non-stop for days.) I’m so glad she brought this film to my attention- as I’m not exactly sure how this one slipped by me.  Learning about Elmo creator, Kevin Clash’s puppeteering journey, was exactly the kind of inspiration I needed to start the weekend. While it’s true, I’ve always dreamed of working for Jim Henson, you don’t need to be a puppeteer want-to-be, to love this movie. So, Being Elmo gets my “inspiration” pick of the week.  Happy Weekend!

photo credit: beingelmo.com