first sketch...

In case you've been checking out my current projects list, here is the first sketch for the costume design I am working on.  The backdrop for the show is sort of zoot suit era meets OZ meets the future.  If I had 45 minutes, I'd explain further.  For now, this is my starting point.  

now for something new...

This is a close-up of a painting I recently finished.  It has been on my project list for way too long... so it feels good to know I will now be able to move on to new things.  Just in time for the new year!


packages with string

Today I started my morning with 9 am yoga.  I don't think I should mention here how long it's been since I've shown up to a class - what counts is, I was there today.  After that, I picked up some wine for dinner tonight and treated myself to coffee and a pecan cinnamon roll - it's Christmas Eve, after all.  Now I'm adding a few final touches to some gifts.  I have to admit, every once in a while, I get more excited about the "final touches" more than the gifts themselves.  Okay, it's pretty often that this happens.  What can I say... I like wrapping.
Next, I'm headed to the studio for some painting and then I'm catching a train to go see my family.  Merry Christmas!


getting dumped by the cta...

Today I had a moment when I felt like I was in Russia.  I've never actually been to Russia, but I have watched Dr. Zhivago numerous times.  At it's best, Chicago was zero degrees today; 30 below with the wind chill.  How is it, that it is always a day like this that the green line train kicks you off at Pulaski because it has suddenly switched to an express train?  About 30 of us got off after the conductor announced that there would be no stops until Ridgeland and that there was another train right behind us.  The thing he didn't mention was that the train right behind us had also switched to an express train.  It whipped passed, seemingly faster than I've ever seen a CTA train move, horn blaring, kicking up snow and an icy gush of wind... leaving us on the platform like a bunch of suckers.  There was a collective groan as we all realized our fate.  
What I noticed during the wait for the next train, was that there really isn't anything tall around the Pulaski stop.  Which means that there are miles and miles of space for the wind to get revved up and then slice right through you.  This is when I felt like I was in Russia.  Or at least in my Dr. Zhivago version of Russia.  Thankfully, this didn't last too long.  And honestly, it made the arrival home to my toasty apartment that much sweeter.  I put the kettle on, got under a blanket and nestled in to read the next chapter in Eat Pray Love.


getting ready...

Today is my only day off between now and Christmas Eve, so I'm busy getting all of my gifts ready and sending out cards.  In the past couple weeks of shopping, there are a couple of treats I've gotten for myself, including an ornament or two and some Hannah Silk ribbon... for which I have what I consider a healthy obsession with.  This morning I finally pulled my box of Christmas decorations off the shelf and went through my ornament collection.  It's fun to discover them anew after not having seen them for a year.  Here are a few from the old collection along with this year's additions...


warming up with morning coffee

When I woke up this morning, it was zero degrees fahrenheit outside.  Coffee, turtleneck, boots... and I'm about to head to work.  Plans for this weekend: work, Renegade, mulled cider, Christmas decorating, craft night, and staying warm.  Have a good weekend!


What time of year is it?

Currently I've been keeping myself busy with a slew of projects... some of which are firsts for me.  This week I completed my first logo design... and began my first costume design job.   I've also been adding more jewelry to my shop.  In the meantime, I need to keep reminding myself that Christmas is just around the corner and maybe now would be a good time to start preparing!  

The cold has officially set in here in Chicago, so more and more I'm getting cozy inside with movies and books... If you are looking for a movie recommendation,  go see Slumdog Millionaire.  It opens the door to a different reality, has great rhythm, and a main character you want to root for!


happy holiday weekend!

I hope everyone is having a good Thanksgiving weekend... I am off to work soon, but just wanted to post a peek at the latest jewelry project I am working on.  Today through Monday I am giving a free gift with purchase and waiving all shipping fees in my shop.  I will also be donating 5% of my sales to Trees Across the Miles.  


the good news and the bad news

I just posted a few new necklaces in my shop.  The one shown above is also appearing in a group ad in the Dec/Jan issue of BUST magazine.  
The last few days have been a major wake up call on exactly how attached I am to my computer.  For those of you with a MacBook, I hope you never see a little file folder with a question mark flashing on your screen like I did.  Bye-bye hard drive.  I lost everything on my computer.  Had I backed up any of my files, you ask?  Nope.  Lesson learned.
Along with backing up my files, I also learned that I need to back away from the computer a little more often too... and go down to my studio and create more work.  It was somewhat refreshing actually.  As a result of being unable to use my laptop, I got more painting done, and was able to post more necklaces to my shop.  
And sometimes, starting from scratch is a good thing...


thousands of steps

thousands of steps 
to now
filling up the fields
then, after the final word
thousands of steps
criss crossing with light 
across broad city streets
toward home



Hard to resist taking a picture of fall foliage on a glorious Sunday.


remnants on the bloomingdale trail

Yesterday, I took my first hike on the Bloomingdale Trail, an abandoned elevated railroad track that runs through Chicago.  The tracks are overgrown, having been out of service since the early 1990's.  Twisted in the overgrowth are wildflowers, industrial remnants and signs of pranksters and transients.  There are future plans to turn the path into a public park, but for now, there are only a few entry points to the tracks and they remain pretty isolated.  

It was a cool, gray day, but it was fun to explore.  I found myself collecting and photographing things I might usually ignore.  Here are a few photos of remnants I found on the trail.

new on The Studio List

New on the studio list: Emily Wharton.    I first met Emily last winter when I joined a group of artists to coordinate Art Show Chicago.  Emily is a designer, painter and potter.  She also has work being shown in the upcoming Icons exhibit at womanMADE gallery in Chicago.  The show runs November 21 - December 18, so if you are in Chicago, stop in!


laundry day

Yesterday was beautiful and somehow I found myself inside doing all my hand washing... trying not to create puddles in the bathroom as everything dripped dry.  The sun coming through the window made this dripping blouse look like a stained glass window.  Once I checked this chore off my list, I did get out into the sunshine and sat in the park working on jewelry sketches.  I'm excited to try out some of my new ideas.  


by the way

For those of you who are interested in seeing some of the work from the Chicago International Poster Biennial that I referenced in an earlier post, I now have a link to a slide show the winners' work.  Some of my favorites include the works by: Farhad Fozouni, Tomasz Boguslawski, Emek, Christian Helms, Mehdi Saeedi, and Iman Safael.
What's new in my world?  It's time to balance the scale.  Life is getting in the way of dishes.  I've got the whole rinse-and-stack method down pat... now they patiently wait in the sink for actual washing.  Mail sorting?  Not happening.  Phone calls returned?  Almost, but not quite.  I haven't watered the plants in a week.  Three of my last five dinners have centered around popcorn and pretzels.  The good news: I still have clean under ware.


Flying: feathers, planes, biscuits...

Last week I posted a few new necklaces to my shop, including the one shown above.  I recently acquired large spools of recycled leather and have had some fun playing with it.  I used it to make the little metallic tabs for this necklace, and plan on using it to make some bracelets as well.  I love the colors of this feather, and somehow found myself thinking of The Island of the Blue Dolphins when I made this necklace.  Anyone have this on their school reading list?  It's funny the things that stick in your mind... I read that book nearly 20 years ago, but I still remember how Karana makes a skirt out of cormorant feathers at the very end before she leaves the island.
I flew to Atlanta this past weekend for work.  The weather was beautiful and I was working in the Virginia Highland district, which is a really cool spot.  If you are ever in Atlanta, I recommend you visit this area.  While there, I wandered into a shop called Bella Cucina where they had old french magazine pages strung from the ceiling like banners.  I bought one that has a beautiful painting of geishas stringing calandars (?) to a tree.  I'll have to find out for sure.  Another thing I would recommend if you are going to be in Atlanta, is to go to The Flying Biscuit Cafe and order the fried green tomato BLT sandwich.  



Spicy Honey

Sadly, today is the last day of my vacation.  To punctuate the coming of an end, it is raining and gloomy outside after a week of perfect weather.  It was good while it lasted...  I got to enjoy the sun, see friends and family, work on some projects, and wander around town.  
The Hideout Block Party posters I mentioned in my last post led me to do a little online exploration, in which I ended up discovering the first Chicago International Poster Biennial was opening in Grant Park.  I went on Friday morning to take a look.  There are 127 posters up on display, representing artists from 22 different countries.  If you live in Chicago, I recommend taking a look.
Saturday morning, I got up early while it was still misty and cool and took a walk to the farmers market.  Since I got there early, there was still plenty of the freshly made donuts and coffee!  Everything was so beautiful, I filled my bag to the top with vegetables and flowers.  Probably, I was a little over zealous with my purchases... I have a lot of tomatoes to eat now.

So, what to do with these last few vacation hours?  I'm thinking with all this rain, it's time to put in a movie and curl up on the couch... and eat some tomatoes.



I am on vacation!!  Or, what some may call "stay-cation".  This is what someone told me the other day when they found out I was going absolutely nowhere during my time off.  I have a lot of projects on my plate to keep me busy while I am home.  I started out on Monday by building a model for the set design I'm working on for The History of American Film.  Right now it's in it's more skeletal stages so I can plan the structure of the set, from there I'll start working on surface details.  I've also been working on painting and some new jewelry for my shop.
It hasn't been all work though - Sunday I went to the Hideout block party, which was a good way to kick things off.  The weather was beautiful, I ran into a few friends, had a really good black bean burger with mango salsa, and saw the New Pornographers and Ratatat perform.      
Here are some of the posters that were printed for the party.  Unfortunately, they were sold out by the time I arrived.  The bird poster is a print by Alana Bailey, the telephone pole poster is by Judgeworks.                                                                                   



This has been the week of 2 am.  Up until 2 am e-mailing, up until 2 am finishing my bracelet order, up until 2 am because I just can't sleep, up, up, up.  It felt good to get the bracelets done!  There they are above, snuggled in packing peanuts and ready for California.  I'm still working on the set design for The History of American Film, but that will be done by Monday.  My goal tonight: don't stay up until 2 am.



A few weeks back, I stumbled across the blog, Book by its Cover.  It is the creation of Julia Rothman, who is an illustrator and pattern designer in New York.  She features art, design, illustration, comic books, and more... including a sketchbook series.  This is a photo of a sketchbook belonging to designer Isaac Tobin.  I realize that sketch books and journals seems to keep resurfacing over my last couple of posts!  Chris Bruch and Noriko Ambe's art both used, or constructed sketchbooks, and now I find myself peaking into other artists' sketchbooks as well.   I've really enjoyed looking through.

Here is a peak at some of my sketchbooks.


August Blues

I spent yesterday in Michigan with some friends.  As the day was ending, we climbed atop one of the dunes and watched the sun set into the lake.  It was clear and windy and the water was warm and turbulent.  We left the beach while the horizon was still orange and I felt the pang of the august blues, of summer always slipping through my fingers... 

School is coming back into session, which means set design season is coming.  I have two scripts I need to read in the next couple of weeks so I can get started.  Time to dig in.


charting the interior landscape

This is not a landscape photo.  It is a work of art by the Japanese artist,  Noriko Ambe, who has created a series focused on mapping the interior emotional landscape.  She formed this piece by making cuts in a sketchbook.  In her artists statement, Noriko states, "It looks like annual rings of a tree or topographical map or waive, but it isn't.  It is absolutely the traces of actions of a person, which is me... So to speak, I have been mapping the mysterious land between physical and emotional geography."   I was really inspired looking through her website, especially because I had created a series of drawings with a similar goal for the art show last April.
Maps: charcoal, conte, ink 



This past week... working, olympics watching, birthday celebrating, painting, reading (Sorry, Sophies's World, I've been unfaithful - but I really like Divisadero), and checking out the art of Chris Bruch  online (first and third image above), and listening to Alexi Murdoch.