Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Embroidered Portrait of McKenna & Grace

Can I just say that I'm probably the best sister ever? Because it's true. Haha. This is a picture of my sister McKenna (on the left) and her friend Grace at their freshman homecoming a few months ago. Well, this weekend, McKenna realized she still needed a gift for Grace and had no money. I offered to make a pocket friend, and instead, McKenna had me do a portrait. Which takes a LOT more time, not to mention skill. Oh, and patience. Up until this point, I've just been doing sketches, nothing completely finalized. But Kenna needed the gift in a few days, so I put on my safety goggles (Did I mention I wear safety goggles when I sew? Haha, I'll explain later.*) and went to work.

This is made doing free motion machine embroidery, which means I'm using a sewing machine, but moving the hoop around myself (as compared to having a computer move it around). So there's a lot of opportunity for mistakes, and with such tiny stitches (most of the time) it's almost better to start over than try to rip them out. So I really have to be patient and take my time. This piece has 5 different colors of thread (which means changing the bobbin all the time) on symphony broadcloth, stretched on an 8" wooden embroidery hoop lined with purple ribbon.

Here's how it turned out!



Tight little stitches.

This seems dorky, but I get really excited when I can sign my name on something. I mean, you can't really sign animations, and I'm really apprehensive about calling something art/worthy of being signed. I guess. But I figured I might as well go for it.

There are a lot of things I would have liked to fix, but it's pretty difficult, not to mention time consuming, to rip those stitches out, and I wasn't getting paid (like I said, best sister ever). I'm going to try to do a few more finished pieces and sketch some more. And when I put up my Etsy shop (another one of my projects for break) I'm going to have listings for custom embroidery portraits. I just need to figure out a few logistics first.

Luckily, Grace really liked this, and I've gotten a lot of great feedback. I'm hoping the same is true when I finish this next one. Hahaha, I can't wait to show you!


Yikes. Somehow, the never ending semester ended. Somehow I survived. And I'm really proud of what I accomplished. I finished my critiques on Wednesday the 8th, and spent the rest of the week wrapping up my life in Cleveland and letting things wind down before returning to Detroit. That's always the best feeling in the world-when everything just stops and you don't know what to do with yourself, so you end up finding a hill on the side of the road and sledding on still life paintings with a few good friends.

I've definitely been keeping busy, though. After my last critique, I still needed to render out a file in animation compression and 1080p, plus there were a few [barely noticeable] things I wanted to tweak, just so I don't go crazy every time I watch it. But the rendering process has been a nightmare (why is that always my luck?). I had 52 GB free on my laptop, so I cleared off even more, to the point where I had 170 free GB. Which worked better, but the rendering still failed. Everything that rendered was huge. The file that was the closest to finishing was 52 GB! That's a new record for me! I finally had to render out 15 second segments (of a 6 minute piece!), hoping to splice them together on a new timeline (but that failed as well). For the time being, I managed to get a 1280x720 movie file that plays beautifully, that I will live with until I can have some teachers look at the file next semester. I'm hoping to have it online next week for everyone to see. Why the wait? The one thing I reallyyyyyy wanted for Christmas was a Vimeo Plus account. And I'd rather wait and upload it at the larger resolution (Plus accounts have HD capability!) because it looks so much better huge.

Part of a scene from my animation, which isn't really in black & white.

Since I got home, I've made 6 Sculpey monocles, 5 Shrinky Dink necklace charms, 4 pocket friends, 3 animations with Mia, 2 little sketchbooks, 1 embroidery portrait of my sister McKenna and her friend Grace, and half a legwarmer. And that wasn't intentionally like the 12 days of Christmas until I realized I had sequential numbers and put them in order. Haha. But I'll do a few separate posts on these little projects. And there are many more to come, because I have a lot I want to accomplish!

I always think it's funny that so many art students can't wait until break so they can make art they want to make. Not that we don't make art we want to. We just don't always have time to make Shrinky Dink portraits of Revolutionary War heroes or detailed illustrations of UFOs. Haha, well I am definitely enjoying my break so far, but I'm already itching to go back!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Not much has changed.

When I was in kindergarten, I liked owls, unicorns, and bunnies.

When I was in first grade, I asked my teacher for more homework because it was too easy and not enough to entertain me.

I'm now a junior in college.

I love owls, unicorns, and bunnies.

I take on projects that are way too big because otherwise, I get bored with them.

Not much has changed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Reasons December is Pretty Great:

1. Sometimes snow can be pretty. Granted, I don't really appreciate snow. I walk far too often and wear far too many layers to really look forward to it. But today, Cleveland got it right. Aside from our little incident at the beginning of November (oh yes, the one day the bus didn't come, making me walk to school in the snow that was coming down so hard that my hair was literally dripping wet by the time I walked inside, only to realize that I left my laptop charger in my apartment and had to go back), this is our first snowfall. And it's barely there. Just enough to coat the ground and cover the grass. At least, that was the case before I got to my studio. I guess we'll see what happens later tonight when I get kicked out of my studio and go home to work.

2. Mittens are really cute. Especially ones with bunnies.

3. Christmas creatures are some of my favorite animals. Especially when they include owls!

3. Handmade ornaments are probably my favorite thing I wish I collected, because I collect collections. But unfortunately, being on a student budget and not having space for a tree in my apartment, I haven't gotten into it yet. I have, however, started making my own ornaments! (But more about that later.)

4. One week from today, I will be done with critiques, which means I can hibernate, which I'm looking forward to.

5. My 21st birthday is in 23 days! The holidays are sure to be very jolly for me! Ha!

6. Christmas!

7. I get to go home and spend a few weeks with my best friend.

If there's one thing Holden Caufield taught me,

It's that sometimes it's easier to just pretend your deaf. I know. That's a horrible thing to think. And even more horrible to do. But when you're the kind of person that people (complete strangers, mind you) just love striking up a conversation with, it would be so much less painful than being polite. Unfortunately, if it's someone you see frequently, it's a little harder to get away with. And it would probably be easier if I really was deaf. Or if I had noise-canceling headphones. That' would probably be better. Especially since it's December 1st, which means I'm allowed back on Pandora! (Did you know they limit how much you can listen each month?! I was kicked off over a week ago! How else am I supposed to listen to 1950s Christmas music?)

Ps. Holden Caufield taught me other things, too. To be fair.

Monday, November 29, 2010

My room is a mess.

Today I decided to take the bus home at a time I normally never do. I saw shadows I normally never see, and I am quite taken with shadows lately. I think this infatuation started when I began tracing shadows of grass and dandelions in my sketchbook, which is a lot harder than it sounds. There is a window in the library, with a shade that is damaged on the opposite side. By what, I am not sure, but I know that the stain creates a beautiful pattern, especially on days like today, when Cleveland is confused and finds itself abnormally sunny and smelling of spring. These intricate shadows are my favorite. Ones that are so fine, lines that are so anemic that it's hard to distinguish between cobwebs or tangled threads or marks in graphite made by an artistic two year old or these dances between light and dark. Hot glue trails make lovely shadows. Lace, of course. Anything knotted or twisted or interlocking. Branches with leaves. Branches lacking leaves. I often find myself tracing them with my eye, but if I had my way, there'd be graphite all over my walls, recording the departure of autumn as the tree outside my window shed its summer skin.

Today I decided I would sew. Not embroider, although I've been tempted, and am still contemplating it... Just sew. I have a garment to make for my fibers class that will (if all goes according to plan) reveal invisible forces. I'll talk more about that another day. This garment, a dress, actually, is to be made of layers of chiffon, which, although incredibly lovely, is the biggest pain the butt to work with. So tomorrow morning, bright and early, my roommate and I will head out on an excursion to Joanns so I can purchase a rotary cutter and even more fabric.

My room is currently a disaster area. I have pocket people hiding everywhere. Storyboard contact sheets spread across my bed. Photo history flashcards spilled next to my record player. Record sleeves resting on nearly all horizontal surfaces. Chiffon fabric everywhere. Scraps everywhere. A nice pile of loose threads clumped on my drawing table. Newsprint pad leaning on my closet door. Patterns made of said newsprint for said garment shuffled across my floorboards. Scissors. Tape measures. Crayola crayons. Sketchbooks. Rulers. Pins. Spools. Saddle shoes and red sneakers and rainboots and vintage boots and warm autumn boots kicked to the side. Winter coat and autumn scarves hanging off my bed.

It's a good thing I never have time to sleep, because I don't have any room to.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pocket Friends!

Really, I don't have the time to be posting on here at all. But since I didn't go home for Thanksgiving and instead stayed in Cleveland and worked, I figured I could take a few moments (a.k.a. procrastinate a little longer) and share some of what I have been up to.

Earlier this semester, I decided to experiment with free motion machine embroidery in my fibers class. I think it took all of two seconds before I was completely in love with the process. It seems strange, but as I was free handing my name, I realized that this was the way I think sometimes. A lot of times when I can't fall asleep or can't pay attention or otherwise can't do what it is I'm supposed to be doing, I end up daydreaming about all sorts of silly impossibilities. What if this room was upside down? What if there were waterfalls spilling through the windows? What if the entire room moved instead of my pencil? Well, that is more or less what this form of embroidery is. I move the embroidery hoop around while the needle stays stationary.

I started making portraits of all sorts of people: characters, celebrities, imaginary friends. And in the process, I accumulated a library of images to reference. Maybe I'll share some of those another day. But I really started getting into it. And with each person I looked up or discovered a beautiful picture of, I ended up reading all about them. There are some fascinating folks out there, let me tell you.

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire

Buddy Holly
Sara Crewe from A Little Princess
George Harrison
Alice Liddell
Oscar Wilde

The next step for me was to make something with these portraits: Pocket Friends. How cool would it be to reach into your pocket and pull out James Dean? Pretty awesome, right? But it doesn't have to be James Dean. It could be Bob Dylan or Holly Golightly or Arthur the Aardvark. Really, you could have anyone you wanted as a friend. Please don't think I'm crazy, now. This idea actually evolved from one of my earliest (and favorite) imaginary friends: Pocket Bunnies. When I was younger, I was INCREDIBLY shy. Too shy, in fact, to play with my imaginary friends. Yikes! So I'd invent these friends, give them personalities, write stories about them, draw pictures about them, but never actually play with them. But pocket bunnies were great because they were just that: tiny little bunnies that I could fit in my pocket without anyone knowing. So before I embarked on making pocket Vanna White or Rod Serling, I made some pocket bunnies and a LOT of pocket owls! There's something quite comforting about having a little owl in your pocket. I've been carrying a little purple guy around for weeks now!

After having a process down, I used this as the basis for a project in fibers. We had to create a gift. That's it. Preferably one that keeps on giving in some way, but it's really out of our hands after a certain point. So I decided to make a gift for Mia, my 4 year old sister and sometimes siamese twin. Here's the thing with Mia: she never sleeps in her own bed. She always falls asleep next to someone else, wherever they are. And she has nightmares a lot. But she tells me that she's brave. She calls herself "Bravey Girl," except when bedtime rolls around. As you can imagine, this disrupts the rest of the household when they have a kicking 4 year old mid-nightmare next to them. So here's how my gift would pay off. I made Mia a little pillow, just her size, with 5 pockets in the back. Those pockets would be used to hold the 5 little pocket friends I made her, all brave girls in their own right. So when bedtime came, she could rest easy with 5 little friends under her head. But she could always pull one out and hold it in her hand, as they were sized to fit perfectly in her grip. A bit like worry dolls, I'm hoping she'll find them comforting. I guess we'll find out in a few weeks when I give them to her!

My typical set up: sewing machine, laptop, record player all close at hand. And a pink ukulele under my table for when I need a break.

Here's the beginning of the process: I use a Mark B Gone pen to draw the characters on the fabric, then embroider them one by one.

Eventually, I end up with a collage of people. You can see the blue ink from the pen, as this was before it had been washed out. Next I backed them with flannel in corresponding colors and stuffed them.

I sewed the pillow, which is smaller than a regular pillow. Use my sewing machine or laptop for scale? Oh, and I ended up on Tumblr for a bit. Haha

Here's the pillow with the 5 girls in their pockets. You can see traces of their lines.

And here they are poking out.

From left to right: Sara Crewe from A Little Princess; Wendy Darling from Peter Pan; Samantha Parkington the American Girl doll; Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden; and Pippi Longstocking.

Here's a better scale reference!

And here they are in action! Haha, this probably gives it away that I finished these around 4am! By the way, have I mentioned that I love aprons? Check out all that extra pocket space! Just think of how many pocket owls I could carry with me!

By the way, this is Fiona, my sewing machine I got last month. Have I mentioned that nearly all of my inanimate objects have names? Halloween candy in the background :) And the embroidery hoops have frames from an animated .GIF.

My mom warned me against certain brands and lower models of sewing machines. She said that I go to art school and would probably end up doing something weird. Well, less than 48 hours after bringing Fiona home and I was embroidering on leaves. Good idea, Mom.

In my studio at school, where I spend 17 hours a day a lot of the time. The PC comes with our studios. Then I bring in my MacBook Pro (Hello Pandora and Conan and Barn Owl). All sorts of images collaged on my wall before they end up animated or in my sketchbook. Some embroideries hanging up. Not safety scissors. OCD embroidery floss. All the little rectangles are part of a contact sheet of all the scenes for an animation I'm finishing up. Animation narration typed out and taped on the computer tower. Stacks of library books for one of my papers (that thankfully is already out of the way). Obese sketchbook filled with collages of sorts. Moleskine calendar/planner that I can't live without. Vintage saddle shoes that Nicholas bought me. I'm in love with them.

Anyway, besides living in my studio and listening to Pandora enough that I have Conan's commercials memorized ("Why? I need a job..."), and besides editing animations like crazy and getting ready for finals (I'm already done with classes!), I've been getting ready for the CIA student holiday sale, where I will be selling (you guessed it) Pocket Friends! Of course, I'm going to add little ribbons so they can serve as Christmas ornaments! Who wouldn't want a pop culture Christmas tree? So far, I've embroidered 4 different images of Alice (of Wonderland), based on the John Tenniel illustrations; the Mad Hatter; The White Rabbit; The Queen of Hearts; Amelia Earhart; Anastasia Romanov (I love missing persons); Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow; Buddy the Elf; Clark W. Griswold (Christmas Vacation); Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol); Gizmo (Gremlins); Jack Skellington as Santa Claus (The Nightmare Before Christmas); Kevin McCallister (Home Alone); Ralphie Parker (A Christmas Story); Scott Calvin (The Santa Claus);  Sara Crewe (A Little Princess); Samantha Parkington (American Girl doll); Dorothy Gale (The Wizard of Oz); and Lady Gaga, who, by the way, was Mia's favorite.

So I have to ask, if you could have ANYONE as a pocket friend, who would you want?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Things I Have Been Up To Lately Besides Dropping Off The Face Of The Earth

  1. Living in my studio. More or less.
  2. Paying 75 cents for coffee and getting 80 cents in change. Thank you, vending machine, for supporting my caffeine habit.
  3. Sewing pocket owls. They're as magical as they sound.
  4. Making pocket friends.
  5. Free motion machine embroidery. I love it.
  6. Buying a sewing machine. See #5.
  7. The opposite of animation. What's that mean? Instead of animating objects and people, I'm animating the camera used to capture them. What's that mean? You'll have to wait until I put it on Vimeo, which will hopefully be December 8th.
  8. Talking with amazing visiting artists like Brent Green and Jim Campbell.
  9. Trying to figure out programming and coding and other stuff that involves math in order to create an interactive installation. Yikes.
  10. Doing the pythagorean theorem. Remember that? Yeah, I didn't. I couldn't even remember what it was called. I just knew there had to be some mathematical way to figure out how to connect a chimney to a roof. Wait, what? Oh yeah, see #11.
  11. Building a fort, 4 foot by 5 foot by 4 foot high, a roof that peaked at 6 feet, and a chimney that was just under 7 feet.
  12. Shedding cardboard.
  13. Sitting in my fort.
  14. Having said fort collapse on me less than 10 minutes before my exhibition started.
  15. Still sitting outside in my collapsed fort for 3 hours.
  16. Not writing my paper that's due Monday. Oops. I guess that's what I'll be doing tomorrow.
  17. Buying beautiful chiffon fabric for a garment I'll be making that I really don't feel like explaining right now.
  18. Not sleeping enough.
  19. Thrifting.
  20. Realizing that the majority of the clothes I own previously belonged to either senior citizens or small children.
  21. Skyping with my favorite 4 year old. We like to talk about boys.
  22. Visiting my family for a weekend.
  23. Enjoying delicious apple cider & donuts at the cider mill. The highlight of autumn, as far as I'm concerned.
  24. Playing flute like crazy. I missed it. And now whenever I take it out, I lose track of time. At least now I have a project related to it. That's an excuse, right?
  25. Listening to Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson, Dion, and friends.
  26. Scheduling classes for next semester. I'm so excited!
  27. Re-reading parts of my absolute favorite book ever. Not that I have time for that.
  28. Writing down my bucket list instead of just verbally announcing things I hope to do before I die.
  29. Wearing beautiful vintage saddle shoes.
  30. Making legwarmers.
  31. Hula hooping. But that's nothing new.
  32. Making mix tapes for Mia, because I gave her my walkman, which she calls her iPod.
  33. Trying to figure out how to use an iPod, since my roommate passed her old one onto me. I've never had one before!
  34. Enjoying CS5. It's beautiful.
  35. Collaging. More than I had the chance to last year, but not as much as I'd like to.
  36. Watching Love Actually even though it's a little early.
  37. Getting into George Harrison.
  38. Wishing there were closer to 32 hours in a day. Think of everything I could get done!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mia has a new boyfriend.

Michaela: So are there any cute boys in preschool?
Mia: Yeah, Sam Wobinson!
Michaela: Sam Robinson? What's he look like?
Mia: Well, he has brown hair and a great smile, and even when he's not smiling, he is soooo cute!
Michaela: Really? What color eyes does he have?
Mia: Blue and orange!
Michaela: Does he have a girlfriend?
Mia: We sing together and play together and he picked me to be his girlfriend!

(She's probably my favorite person to Skype with.)

Thursday, October 7, 2010


For the past few weeks, I have been running off of little to no sleep. I have been juggling 4 studio classes, 2 liberal arts classes, a job, and a side project that is now officially up in MOCA Cleveland until January. And now, I'm finally caught up with all my work. I kept telling myself that I just needed to get through Wednesday. So yesterday, after class, I came home, had some food, watched The Princess Diaries (heck yes), and slept for 13.5 glorious hours. I feel so much better.

I have to get ready for an animation I'm working on tomorrow. And then hibernate some more.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Just a little bit longer.

It may take a while longer than I expected to get back to updating regularly here. I'm drowning in things to do and have a lot of things to deal with that my brain just can't process right now.

Ps. I officially have work in MOCA Cleveland! I worked with some amazing people over the last two weeks, and I am so thankful I was given this opportunity. If you're in the area, you should come to the unveiling party tomorrow at 7pm. Once I'm a little more coherent, I'll tell you about that, plus some other projects I've been working on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rip van Winkle

I've had awful headaches lately. I'm starting to think that it's all my ideas that I've been trying to get out. But they're not coming out. There stuck inside my head, bashing into my skull. And one day, they're just gonna fall out my ear, and it will be this horrible, gory mess.

I've been incredibly busy lately. I have so much to do for my studio classes. And so much to do for that MOCA project. We're down to the wire now. I'm so exhausted and just want to spend a day sleeping in, sitting outside, thinking, and not doing much else. But I'm worried that if I go to sleep, and not "nap" as I've been telling myself every night (or morning at that point), I'll sleep through the next four days. And that would be tragic. I have too much to do.

Things have been going well, despite my stress level and state of business. I met one of my favorite animators yesterday. I discovered a technique I really, really enjoy. I thought of something to sell on Etsy that I would enjoy making and that would (I think) make people happy and also help make me happy by making my bank statements slightly less depressing. I found out about an awesome job that is perfect for me. I met with my wonderful scholarship donors tonight. I was given an amazing compliment by someone pretty important. And I found out about some great opportunities. And in just the last couple weeks, I've learned a lot about my work. It seems silly to not full understand your own art, or why you do it, or what drives it. But I think I'm really close to understanding it.

I'll elaborate more about some of this later. After Wednesday, most likely. Just gotta get through Wednesday.

I'm about to burst. I'm about to eat dinner.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What I Did The Night I Was Kicked Out Of My Studio Because The JMC Caught On Fire And They Didn't Know How To Turn Off The Sprinklers

by Michaela Lynch


Sorry, I don't normally type like that, but at this point it is necessary. Around 6pm, shortly before anyway, I was trying to get work done in my studio and get ready for a meeting about our MOCA project at 7. I began to realize my eyes were twitching, and then, upon looking up, realized that the fire alarm was going off. Never mind that I couldn't hear it in our studio with obnoxiously loud air vents. Anyway, I noticed the incredibly flashy, ADD inducing light and figured I might as well go along with it. So I grabbed my laptop, left everything else, and headed outside. Meanwhile, the voice of the fire alarm (some incredibly calm robot woman) told us something like "If you would like to leave the building, please exit through the stairs." At least she gave us a choice.

Now in a school where performance art is a regular occurrence, it was hard to take this seriously. We all stopped 2 feet outside the school and began to gossip. The security guards had to shoo us back. They, however stayed in the building. It couldn't have been that bad. So here we all are, sitting in the back of the parking lot, waiting as firetrucks showed up. Firemen, with open jackets and in no hurry, entered the building. Is this just some big joke? Apparently there was an issue in the ceramics department with a kiln catching on fire. And then the sprinklers went off. And then they couldn't turn them off. And then they had to call important people who make decisions. And then they had to pay some people to come out and clean up all the water. Because it supposedly flooded.

Meanwhile, we watched some of the old 50s Coronet films that I may or may not be using in an upcoming project. We watched stop motion Lucky Strike cigarette commercials. We listened to barbershop quartet style tv show theme songs. We sang "Down by the bay, where the watermelons grow." We watched "Llamas in Hats" and "Llamas in Hats 2" and "Lamas mit Hüten" which is "Llamas in Hats" in German. Then we watched "Charlie the Unicorn" in German. Apparently, there's no German translation for Candy Mountain.

We walked around, anxious. We became irritated. We asked questions. We were told to go to Starbucks for some $4 coffee. People freaked out about getting homework done. People freaked out about getting home. Car keys were left inside. Backpacks were left inside. Purses were left inside. Cell phones. Sketchbooks. Laptops. Portfolios. Everything. The Cat Man (this friendly guy who carries his cat in his backpack and is supposedly a CIA graduate) came by and asked what was going on. He returned and brought several loaves of bread. I thought it was like Jesus, with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. Some people thought the bread would be poisoned. Some thought it was made of cat. I thought it was made with basil and was delicious.

At this point, people were really irritated. Not just irritated. Frustrated. Annoyed. Mad. Angry. Furious. Pissed off. Not only were we not in our studio for all that time, but we couldn't go home and be productive there. We couldn't relax because they didn't know what time it would be, if ever, when we would be allowed back in. The security guards were so nice and patient, but really, I was getting angry for not helping us out more. I just wanted to get my backpack and go home. I asked if they would escort us up, or just grab our stuff. But they told us to go back outside. I was angry. Partially because they were getting paid to sit inside. We were paying money to use our studio. That we were kicked out of. Therefore, we were losing money while they earned theirs.

That MOCA meeting never happened. Homework assignments were unable to be completed. Everything was going wrong. And those bugs that are everywhere showed up. Finally, I was severely annoyed and called a teacher, who called her boss, who called their boss, who called the head of Facilities, who, minutes later, showed up and spoke with the security guards. HALLELUJAH. Not really. But a little bit. They told us we could go back in at 9pm. So we still had 40 minutes to kill. So we went to Starbucks and bought overpriced beverages. We went to the dorms and visited freshmen friends. We came back and pressed our faces against the glass. And finally they let us in.

And then I had to wait another half hour until the bus came. Just to go home and expect to find another 100 bugs on my ceiling, knowing that tomorrow, they would all fall dead on my stuff.

The End.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Grace Harlowe's Golden Summer

(Part of the collage animations I was working on yesterday.)

Today was uneventful. No exciting stories from the bus. No exciting news about projects (except that I'm still excited about that MOCA collage). Nothing really great happened. Nothing really terrible happened either. I worked in my studio. The building seemed practically empty. I did trade a Qdoba card for a pack of gum, though. I think it was someone's project. There was a piece of paper that said to take a picture of your trade. And next to it was a disposable camera. (I miss those.) So I traded a Qdoba card for some Juicyfruit.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rock. Paper. Scissors.

I've been pretty good about staying on top of assignments. So I was able to go to juggling club yesterday, which is awesome. And today, instead of just making a 10 second (and only 10 frames per second) cut paper animation and calling it a day, I stayed for...several hours longer and played with animated collages (part of a little test above). It was wonderful.

I also went to the opening at MOCA Cleveland. We went a little earlier for an artist talk with Duke Riley, which was really interesting. I learned about hobos and nickels and dismembered body parts and old Cleveland and hopping on trains, which I really want to try. Oh, and we checked out the collage ilegítimo by assume vivid astro focus. Why does that matter? Because I'm taking part in this: Another Vibrant Art Fight. Five CIA students are working together to make a collage (6 feet by 10 feet) to go opposite the original collage. Four other schools are participating, and it's somewhat of a competition. Which is cool, but I'm more excited about the fact that I will get to work on something that's going to be in MOCA! We have less than 3 weeks until we install it, though, and the 5 of us are so different. Some of us just met for the first time yesterday. There are 2 Sculpture majors, 2 Painting majors, and me, from T.I.M.E. Digital Arts. I'm sure getting started will be the most difficult, but I think that in the end, it could end up being really great.

Also, I'm excited because I'm going to bed early tonight. Maybe even before 1am!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Some Projects

I have some great projects coming up. Some for classes. Some just for fun. Some really exciting ones. Some that involve cats, cats, cats, cats like the one pictured above, scanned from a 1960s book entitled Cats, Cats, Cats, Cats. Some that involve going through oodles of encyclopedias and magazines and other paper products. Some that require me to read the Missed Connections on Craigslist. Some that require me to make hinged paper dolls. Some that mandate I take a break and crochet for a while. Some that involve collaborating with 4 other students for a show at MOCA.

I love art school. Things have been going really well for me lately.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Final Answer

I finally decided on which narrative to work with: Pinocchio: The Tale of a Puppet by Carlo Collodi. I want to depict the central themes based on a psychoanalysis of the original Florentine rendition, first by dissecting them, and then by reconstructing them in the form of an animated collage. Using contemporary images competing and collaborating with vintage ephemera, and enhanced by meticulous, hand drawn accents, I hope to convey the still applicable morals. I aim to keep a series of seemingly unrelated scenes strung together by a consistent aesthetic and underlying theme. It is my goal for each composition to look first like a collage, then like an animation, as I re-appropriate images from various sources and bring them into the narrative I weave together, reflecting on their original context. This animated collage will be driven by music, as drastic choreography subdues into delicate movements, entrancing the viewer with melodies and motion. Most likely, in order to keep a contemporary spin on the tale, I will use the original ending which Collodi was not allowed to publish due to its violent nature in the fate of Pinocchio. However, the idea of prevailing justice may just be needed to drive home the central theme: don’t be stupid or you’ll make an ass of yourself.

Ok, I cheated a little bit. I had to write up a plane for my project last night. Copy+pasted it here, as I was not going to rewrite it. Oh, and did I mention how late it was? I hope this is coherent enough for you to understand. Anyway, Pinocchio it is. The deciding factor: I wanted to animate marionettes. I'll go back to Rapunzel for another project.

Alright. It's already my weekend, and I think I need some sleep. After, of course, working on a few more projects.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I'm probably going to have nightmares.

Currently, just five feet away from my bed and on the ceiling lies one of the most horrid beasts I have encountered in this apartment yet. There was, of course, a silverfish one of my first nights, that not only crawled across the window sill, but then lost its balance, fell onto my bed, and disappeared under my comforter. I didn't sleep under it again until this weekend, after washing all my bedding. But this one, this horrible creature with hundreds of legs, trumps the little (terrifying) silverfish. It started off on the other side of my room, when I opened a window, awakening it, and causing it to crawl behind my bookshelf. Naturally, I worried it would find its way inside one of my favorite books, so the next time I decided to catch up on the adventures of Sara Crewe, I would be greeted by a carnivorous family of centipedes. But then it continued up my wall and across my ceiling. Now, this centipede, I'm quite certain, is watching me panic, and plotting its perfect attack. What if it crawls across the ceiling, right above my bed? What if it's there when I wake up, just so I know it had been watching me all night? Or worse: what if it falls from the ceiling, crawls across me as I sleep, crawls into my mouth and then I eat it? And THEN, what if it has babies. In my stomach. So that when I go to say something highly intelligent, instead, a million centipedes exit my mouth. How absolutely horrifying would that be?

Bugs terrify me. I do not recommend Googling one just because you don't know what it is. Then you become paranoid, and have that creepy crawly feeling.

You know what else freaks me out? Moths. I don't like the way they fly towards lights so frantically that they don't care how many people the run into on the way. So naturally, being afraid of them, I decided to make a mini-animation of that exact phenomena. Because I was supposed to play in After Effects for one of my classes. Maybe I'll share it with you tomorrow.

Also, I made this. It's a little less scary. You can check it out on Paper Airplane .GIFs, if you'd like.

Pleasant dreams. (Oh dear.)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Goodnight Moon.

If today had a color palate, this would be it. Not so much because it was dreary outside. It was actually quite lovely, my perfect weather, really. My apartment is sleepy today. The lights have been off, the door has been open, and the wind could be heard throughout. I have devoted much of today to brainstorming. I have so many ideas, so many projects that I want to complete, that it's hard to decide on just a couple. When I got stuck, I decided to take the bus to Walmart. I bought a hula hoop. They didn't have any Skip-Its. I was a little disappointed, until I found out that the only place you can really find them is on eBay and obscure online shops. I never had one when I was little. Perhaps I'll get one for my 21st birthday.

I went into Borders next. They were closing that location, so everything was on sale. I bought some Moleskine sketchbooks as they were the cheapest I have ever found them.

I came back, and I hula hooped. And I read some more, and did lots of researched, and hula hooped. Finally, I turned on my bedroom light. I could so easily go to bed early tonight, but I'm still hoping for that sudden burst of energy and inspiration. I'm deciding between 2 stories right now: Rapunzel and Pinocchio. I'm indecisive, I know. At least it's better than being fickle.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Pop-Up Book Theory

When I was younger, maybe about 6 years old, I had this children's Bible. It was hard cover with a yellow spine, labeled in glossy red serifs; and on the cover was a colorful illustration. There were similar illustrated scenes throughout the book, but the only one I remember now was the first one. It accompanied the first story, the very beginning of Genesis: the story of creation. And in this illustration, a giant man resembling the popular Caucasian Jesus, stood among the stars, and hovering between his hands, ever so delicately, was the Earth. His size dwarfed our little planet, which looked like a mere toy to Him. I thought about that illustration frequently. I thought about how powerful God must be. I thought about how tiny we are compared to Him. I thought about how smart He must be to have made all this, and how He must have the most nimble of fingers to make everything so beautiful, no matter how small and insignificant it was to Him.

Gradually, this scene evolved to one where the Man in space held a pop-up book, with each of the pages being part of the world. I thought about how easy it would be for Him to close it, and to take that book and put it on some bookshelf made of stars. But He never did.

I still think about that pop-up book. I'm not really sure why, and I'm not quite sure what it means. But whenever I'm brainstorming project ideas, I think of these kindergarten daydreams of mine. I can hear the pages turning, and the thick paper squeaking slightly as the next scene comes to life. For all I know, God really could be standing out there, in the middle of space, bouncing us around and shooting us through a hoop made of constellations. Or He could be standing peacefully, turning the pages, and watching us try to figure things out. Watching me, sitting in my studio, wrapped in a blanket, sipping Starbucks, and thinking about cramming my life into a very condensed pop-up book.

And what if the world was just a pop-up book? I'm sure it would be a rather dense volume. Constantly growing, in fact. And the illustrations would be entirely animated, requiring you to hold the book completely still in order for everything to freeze. And the images would be so precisely, so delicately cut, that if you exhaled too close, it would begin to fall apart. But it hasn't. And I think that says something.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Autumn is my favorite season. I'd just like to wear a few more dresses without tights.

(Another part of the gesture study flip books I made last week. Posted on Paper Airplane .GIFs.)

I think autumn is here. Or at least it has been visiting for a couple of days. Last week was spent walking to and from class in 90+ degree heat and obscene humidity. And once I got to class, it was either a) not air conditioned and in the room covered in windows where the sun comes in; or b) my wonderful studio that requires a parka. Luckily, yesterday was breezy, and today was outright chilly, that crisp air with the scent of Halloween around the corner. But Tuesday it should be 90 again, and I'll be back to wearing dresses to class and keeping a blanket in my studio.

Today was fairly productive for me. I slept in (well, til 9am, but that's wonderful nonetheless), did a bunch of homework, and fit in a trip to Target. As far as animating, I made another little flip book, played in After Effects (a.k.a. worked on a little piece whose working title is currently "Moths Are Scary"), and researched public domain narratives. Again. Just when I think I narrow it down to 2 options, I'm up to 4. Oh, I am so indecisive. I'll let you know when I officially pick a story. Of course, that could be a while. Ha!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Sometimes scanners aren't animator-friendly.

Well, it seems as though I may have broken my scanner. Which certainly puts a damper on things. Especially since a) I need to scan flip books for class; b) I need to scan frames for Paper Airplane .GIFs; and c) I need to scan pictures from books like CATS, CATS, CATS, CATS for a collage animation I'll be working on this week.

Note to self: scanning 50+ pages of beautiful 1960s felines and then proceeding to scan a 38 frame flip book is not good for your scanner. Not at all. At least I was able (after much troubleshooting/fighting/yelling/exclaiming "Why, God, why?") to scan in this flip book, one of 5 gesture studies I did for my animation class last week. We'll see what happens tomorrow when I scan Two Little Bears and The History of American Sailing Ships and Ancestors in Silhouette. (I plan on making some very serious animations this semester. Ha!)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Emit! Emit! Emit!

Tonight was the opening reception for the CIA Faculty Show. It was even better than last year, though I didn't see all of it just yet. I'll go back later in the week when things are...not so hot and sweaty and smelly. Ha. But it's really wonderful to see all of the talent around us, and to think that these people are our teachers.

The reception was great, though I got there when most of the dill havarti cheese was gone (my favorite). It's a great time to catch up with people you haven't seen all summer, talk with favorite teachers, like Kasumi, who are now on sabbatical, and see people that have since graduated.

And after the reception was Emit, the student film festival, which has a little of everything, from hand drawn to stop motion to experimental video. I really enjoyed this year's show. I think my favorite part, though, may have been the in-between motion graphics that tied it all together. Did I mention I had a few pieces in it (including the one below)?

I was at my studio for a bit today. I'm researching possibilities for a semester-long project that requires us to start with a public domain narrative. And, well, some of my favorite stories of all time are public domain. Which makes it all the more difficult to decide. Not to mention, I'm on the fence as to what I will make with these stories. What do you think: should I do a collage animation? Or should I do another shot from above like the end of this piece?

Well, I do have a collage animation to do this week, so I guess I better get to work cutting out dozens of kitties.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Oh, Hello Exciting News.

Oh, hello 5 day weekend.
Oh, hello embroidery book that arrived today.
Oh, hello new yellow external hard drive that the mailman brought me.
Oh, hello 88° Cleveland, such a nice improvement.
Oh, hello organized Safari bookmarks (such an accomplishment).
Oh, hello oodles of animation ideas.
Oh, hello almost complete blog makeover.
Oh, hello brand new project!

This summer, when I was far too exhausted to make a proper pixilation with Miss Mia Rose, I found myself creating animated .GIFs. But these weren't the typical dancing-teddy-bears, sparkly-hearts .GIFs you see in those emails forwarded to you by your family members. I realized that these little tiny animations, sometimes a mere 2 frames, had a lot of potential. Creating these .GIFs helped me brainstorm ideas and kept me constantly thinking about motion. So I decided to make it official.

THE RULES FOR ME: Create at least one animated .GIF every day for a year, with the majority of them being hand drawn or stop motion (I'll have a few lazy/busy days, I'm sure.) Post them to the Tumblr blog set up for the project as they are completed.
THE RULES FOR YOU: Grab a .GIF! In this page, I will post (as many as I can) with codes for you. They are formatted to be 220 pixels wide, perfect for a Blogger sidebar. All you need to do is copy the code in the box, go to edit the layout of your blog, add a HTML/Javascript widget, and paste the code. You are welcome to grab them off of the main blog and a higher resolution and post wherever you'd like. HOWEVER, please link back to me! Part of this project involves me exploring what people are interested in and how these will spread. So help them spread by sharing them (and the source!) with your friends.

Got it? The first couple will be logos of sorts, but then I'll start mixing it up. If you're on Tumblr, feel free to follow me! And definitely reblog all you want.

In other, related news, you may have noticed I've been working on the design of this blog. The main reason for this was to make it more animated. I have a new header, which, if you rollover, it changes to another image. Similar buttons for external links (like if you wanna watch some of my animations) and pages have some fun images when you hover over them. I set up a proper ABOUT section, a page dedicated to PAPER AIRPLANE .GIFs (where you can copy & paste the code for your sidebars, and also read more about the project), a CONTACT page, to which I am also adding [somewhat redundant but animated and thus justified] external links. I also have a BLOGROLL in the works, which will also include links to some great artists I admire.

So please, have a look around. And tell me... What do you think of the new layout and animated features? What do you think of the new .GIF project? Do you have any ideas for animated .GIFs you would like to see? Leave a comment and let me know!

Happy September!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It's hot in Topeka.

I've been trying to get back into the swing of things lately, and start blogging everyday. However, at the same time, I've been trying to organize my room (it's done now), keep up with homework, and not die from this ridiculous heat.

Yesterday, I had a decent case of the Mondays. I was up...late the night before, and up for an early class. I need to look into purchasing a gallon and a half coffee thermos. I was exhausted, and having four classes doesn't help. And these aren't hour long classes, either. I'm booked solid from 8am til 10pm. At least my studio classes are fun. And then I get to relax on Tuesdays, when I just have my fiber class, which I love more and more each week. (I know, it's only the second week. But still!) I have bunches of ideas for that class, and one may or may not involve an embroidered rotoscope (we'll see how attached I am to my sanity in a few weeks).

And tomorrow's Friday! Well, ok. It's not literally Friday. But I don't have classes Thursday or Friday. Or Monday this coming week. (Thank God I get to miss my crazy day!) Oh, hello 5 day weekend.

A feather I embroidered today. Does it remind you of Pocahontas a little bit?

Part of my viewmaster collection, my stereoscope, and some nice green buttons that match my room.

Estaban. Or, the cat previously known as John Cougar Mellancat.

If I'm not working in my studio, I'm probably sitting in this little corner.
(Click to enlarge a bit.)

Well, I still have some reading to do for tomorrow. Also tomorrow, I'll be starting a new side project, but more about that later. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Friday, August 27, 2010

Clean apartment!

Finally! Except for a few knick knacks that haven't really decided where to live quite yet, my room is clean! Would you like to see some pictures?

Ok, I lied. I have no pictures. My room isn't as exciting as these. Just a small bed that my dad built and I painted yellow, a plain ol' dresser, and, ok, some pretty rad furniture from Ikea, including my beautiful drawing table. Really, I manage to cram a lot of stuff into a tiny room. Oh, but it is a green color similar to that first image of Lisa Cogdon's home. I like to think of it as a nice Tinker Bell dress green. It looks quite nice with my framed sketch of Tinker Bell (that Nicholas bought me for Christmas in 2005) hanging above my desk.

I still have a fair amount of work I want to accomplish before I sleep. Tomorrow I have to work on some flip books, and some embroidery, and some embroidered flip books (I'm insane, in case you didn't know). Oh, and I have to disrupt or interrupt something. Any ideas? I have a few. It doesn't necessarily have to be rude. Just, you know, interrupt the normal order of things.

Today, CIA had it's opening year convocation/inauguration ceremony (followed by free food, of course) since we have a new president. We had a brass quartet of students from CIM (Cleveland Institute of Music) that played really fun, jazzy music, and there was this big procession, except art school style. No ties needed. Just 192 freshmen in bright orange shirts, following the previous president who carried the presidential mace, which, as we discovered when it was passed on to the new Mr. President, lights up. Holy elaborate flashlight. They knew a big stick wasn't enough to keep our attention. I love art school.