Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sustainable, Eco Friendly, Enviro Conscious

The driver from Finca Rosa Blanca drove us
through little villages and farms to our final destination
in the beautiful Central Valley mountains of Heredia, provence in Costa Rica.
It is surrounded by towering "Higueron" trees and exotic flora.
There are views of the cloud forest, volcanoes and coffee plantations nearby
from it's 4000 feet above sea level location.

Each of the 11 private suites is architecturally interesting
with it's curved windows, doors, hand made tile
and bright colors. Our room was an inspiration in
and of itself.

Leo took us on a 2 hour tour of their very small but
productive organic coffee plantation.
They grow 30 acres of Arabica hard bean coffee which is
certified organic by international organization called OKO Garantie.
It is also certified sustainable by the Rain Forest Alliance and ICAFE.
Native banana trees planted within the coffee rows provide
shade and nutrients while rows of lemon grass
filter run off water for recycling.

The rain fell mid afternoon into the spring fed infinity
pool that features solar heated chemical free water.
Organic banana leaves nestle my
warm & inviting gallo pinto, sauteed bananas
and locally raised scrambled eggs
This "tipico" Costa Rican breakfast is
prepared each morning by this amazing chef,
Jose Pedro Alas Villafranco.

The show continues...

The ONE and ONLY mixed media sculpture
found in San Jose, Costa Rica.
Looks to me like they are still working on it.

A couple that we met here from Charlotte, NC
call these the camouflage trees. Up close the
muted colors of rust, ochres & chartreuse blend
with the brown earth tones. LaSabana Park in
San Jose is filled with these trees and no one seemed
to know, or care, what they were.
What a great background for art work, huh?

Each night we sat here on the terrace and played
cards, read, visited with other Americans & Canadians.
The peacefulness of the night overlooking the pool
was always a soothing way to end the busy day.

But, during the day, this crystal clear pool was
my respite.

Another flower market on Avenida Central in Downtown San Jose.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Costa Rican Observations

While enjoying the lush grounds at the
Finca Rosa Blanca coffee plantation in
the provence of Hererdia, Costa Rica,
these unusual plants caught my eye.
These unique flowers filled with water as the rain fell
and continued to look as though they stayed full
the entire day. Quite an amazing plant in my estimation.

In San Jose, Costa Rica, the capital city, we spent
much time walking through the sometimes
hazardous sidewalks & streets. Hazardous to us because the
driving practices are clearly dangerous and
hazardous because every sidewalk, anywhere you go
has holes in it... BIG holes. Holes big enough to
lose a child, even an adult. No marking, no covers,
no warning, just a hole.
I could do an entire photo essay of the holes
found in and around San Jose.
So, while avoiding the holes and the
possible broken bones we would duck into
interesting museums that we found enroute.
That was part of our adventure
and in the Teatro Nacional, we found a lovely
exhibition that included textile work by
Dinorah Bolandi
along with a friendly tour guide
from Overseas Adventures that was happy to
include us on the tour.

A simple path leading to the spa
at our hotel in LaSabana Park, San Jose.
Simple, clean, undisturbed, nurturing and silent.

On the wall grew contrasting vines that
grew profusely as grass and created instant
attraction. Inspiration for color choices in an
upcoming journal page? Maybe so.

The colorful display of local flowers spill
over into the Mercado Central in San Jose.
Everyone has fresh flowers in their house and why
not? With the temperate climate, only 9 degrees from
the equator, of course everything would flourish.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Believe it ....or not.

See that rusted wholey paper as the background?
That is how I started this project.
I thought that it would make really nice rolled
paper beads with a coating of UTEE (ultra thick embossing powder)

In my spare moments at the show in Blowing Rock, I
started the process and lucky for me I had the
gentle guidance and expertise of jewelry artist, Louise Mc Clure
to assist me along the way.
She knows everything about connections and wire
and beads and design and composition so having
her by my side was a big big help.

So, off I went on my adventure to create the beads
and I must say it was quite fun.

I distressed a shiny chain in Blue Patina
and watched it turn dingy. What a concept huh?
Rinsed it in water and wiped it off.
Presto, a distressed finished to along with my beads.

After each bead was rolled up, I applied embossing
fluid and UTEE. Then I heated it each one
with several applications of UTEE.
You can see the shiny-ness of that process on the
dull, rusted wholey paper.

With Louise's assistance I created multiple beads with
some African trade beads, recylcled glass beads and copper
It was an NO RULES experiment in full force for me!!!
What fun and I love the results.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The crowds loved us!

This past weekend was great fun in Blowing Rock, NC
as we unpacked our "assorted goods"
for the Believe in Yourself retreat.

Returning friends from past retreats enjoyed the
weekend shopping frenzy with us.
Many thanks to all of you.

Happy, creative shoppers enjoyed demonstrations at
our booth along with
seeking out the perfect items to include in their
nature journals.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Who's your Da da?

Linda & Opie's book is finally here! Actually it's early as the release date was in October.
The first time I heard of this husband and wife team was in a studio publication written by Teesha Moore. SHE discovered them and that was it! Then they "happened" to be in Saluda for some unknown reason and spent the weekend at our place. It was pretty primitive back then but they didn't seem to mind. ( you know artists) Then Opie and I discovered that we have the same birthday, June 10th. Gosh that was long time ago, at least one other book ago Now we see them from time to time at different shows but we are pleading with them to come to our new studio to teach for a weekend - heck! Why not a week?

What about their new book?

Inspired by the "Dada" notion of making art from materials
that would not typically be combined or expected to go together,
and driven by a similar sense of irony and humor,
this exciting book by Linda and Opie O'Brien
shares their unique approach to making mixed-media dolls.
It is not only a "must have" volume for anyone interested
in found object art and the human form,
it is a thoughtful and provocative exploration of the power,
symbolism, and cultural significance of dolls and representational figures.

Wait ! ! ! There's more.... full color pages, lots of ideas
tips, techniques and way out fun!

Friday, September 04, 2009

Color this, Journal that...

Just in!
New book written by Diana Trout is here!

It's all about mixed media techniques for "free expression".
One of the first things that Diana writes is
"forget about the labels such as artist or writer"
Just do it... no pressure to "be an artist".
She suggests that you leave the the labels out
and simply be a person who enjoys making art and writing.

Her book also contains great step by step, full color instructions
will make the process of art journalling
easy with full color techniques throughout such as...

I like the matte feel of the paper and I enjoyed
deciphering her scribbles around

the book pages. It shows me that she is just like
us, trying to figure what goes where & when & how.

Each page of instructions and how-to's are clearly
written with a common sense approach to materials.
All in all I would definitely recommend this
book to someone looking for some simple,
no frills approach to putting the paint down.
And, the side dish of encouragement
goes a long way.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Egg Crates + Sparkle = Wow Factor

What do you do with vintage egg crates?

You create a window display with other organic
elements such as handmade paper
& vintage, leather luggage.

Then you add unique jewelry pieces created
by local North Carolina artists
and you have created an amazing window.