Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tea for Two

Lately, it has been difficult for me to find any inspiration for my art projects.  I loved Tamara's "Tea for Two" theme.  Here is how she explained it: 

A song from the musical "No, No, Nanette" (1925) where two characters imagine their futures.  This song is one I was familiar with growing up and reminds me of all the great conversations and moments that occur while enjoying a cup of tea or coffee with a loved one.  My grandmother who I love dearly has also let me pick out tea cups from her collection over the years and I am often blown away by the colors and detailed art on these dainty dishes. Whether it is the act of having a cup of tea (or other beverage of choice) or teacups themselves, I hope you will find some inspiration in my theme.

 I do enjoy the pleasures of sitting with a friend over a cup of tea or coffee and catching up.  Those few hours together really strengthen the bonds of friendship and more importantly, make us feel connected.  But how to illustrate this in a chunky page?

To get over my mental block, I began by simply tea-dying my watercolor paper substrate hoping that would spark an idea.  I had some old 3-D stationery featuring a teapot, teacup and puppy which I decided to use as my focal point.  From there, I selected a few lace swatches to incorporate.  I selected a few quotes saved from used teabags to hang off of the teacup.  I assembled these pieces into the composition you see here.  On the back I hand-stamped a quote about friends and tea:

Past, present and future
Are in a cup of tea
Shared with a friend

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Tribute to the Aloha Shirt

I had the hardest time trying to come up with my spread for Diane's "Mid-Century Modern" book.  Months ago, I had gotten this idea to make origami aloha shirts from Alfred Shaheen prints.  Alfred Shaheen was a pioneer in the field of fashion here in Honolulu in the 1960's and 70's.  His prints were bold and iconic.  Today, the aloha shirt remains the standard attire for Honolulu businessmen.

Also about the time I was making all of these origami aloha shirts, I bought a Tim Holtz  filmstrip die.  I started playing with the idea of fashion contact sheets and took several images of Shaheen and his design team, their factory, the models and fashion sketches and created a "filmstrip" by  reducing their size and printing them out onto transparencies.

I liked all of the elements that I had created, but I just couldn't figure out how to pull it all together into a cohesive Mid-Century Modern piece.  Since Diane's book is nearly full and only a few blank pages remain, I turned my focus to creating a larger space in which to work.  After all, I had already made 16 aloha shirts and 9 filmstrips!

I grabbed a stack of pages that I had removed from another altered book and to my surprise, there were two chapter pages that had been removed which were titled "The Craft" and "The Men."  Well now THAT got me thinking...Shaheen, the Man and the Aloha Shirt, the Craft.  I used those two title pages to create a foldout which gave me a large enough area to work with.

As you can see, I used the filmstrips to illustrate the "craft" and the "man."  Those title pages open up to reveal a four-page spread.  I used an old map of downtown Honolulu for the background and sprinkled my origami aloha shirts all over town.  Thanks to Alfred Shaheen, the aloha shirt was and still is Honolulu's official business attire.