Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mamita's Kappogi

I made this piece for the Young Women's Caucus Apron Show. This little apron packs a lot of memories. It's embellished with passages from mom's letters and postcards. On the pocket, a little card with a very un-momlike formal congratulations on my engagement. The only English letter that's on this apron is her description of all the types of animal excrements she encountered in Burma. The rest are in Japanese: snippets of important milestones and events.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Amazing piece by Jane Woolverton at Hunter's Point. Plastic six-pack holders and plastic strings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Low tide at Dillon Beach exposed these sand-speckled sea squirts. Gem-encrused in this photo but in reality they are rubbery and shrink back and squirt sea water when you touch them. Some were small, others huge. Fabulously creepy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Frida #2

I am responding to the first piece sent by Judy J-W. My favorite materials source, Thrift Town had a perfectly shaped pocketbook that I converted into covers for my accordion book. I tried to include all the elements in the Frida painting, from her mustache to butterflies, dragonfly, snake-like neck, hummingbird, monkey, black cat and the necklace of thorns. For the book I painted with Golden fluid acrylics, which gave a lovely transparency and used permanent black ink to draw in the faces. A very enjoyable project!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Abaca Project

Prototype transparency people inside unpapered cages

Cages covered over with paper

Cages un-nested

I found these rickety-looking cages at SCRAP a few weeks ago. They come in a nested set of 5, with the largest one being perhaps 12 inches or so, the others sized progressively smaller. I couldn't decide what to do with them - perhaps Christmas-themed objects for sale at the Art Explosion holiday show?
Without knowing where I was going with them, I dyed the cages with walnut ink, then coated them with glitter. That was a dead-end.
Then I had the idea of covering the cages with paper. I have a stash of thin Japanese rice paper bought at a Flax warehouse sale a few years ago. I also used sewing pattern paper and old Japanese copybooks, anything that was thin and pliable enough to cover these cages. I traced templates for each size birdcase, cut various types of paper and glued them with gluestick. Turns out gluestick is not the best adhesive for these things.
Sleeping over these disappointing results, I realized that gel medium might work better. Sure enough. The gel adhered the paper seamlessly and turned it into a second skin around the cage's skeleton. The afternoon sun in my studio created a lantern effect that led to the next step.
There needed to be something to illuminate these lanterns and something inside to be illuminated. I used transparency sheets and traced around photographs of people, which I filled in with black. The first batch was made with acrylic paint, which was too dry a medium. The side of the transparency sheet that has texture to absorb inkjet ink sucked the paint dry before a smooth layer could be applied. I started over using India ink and got much better results.
Right now I am researching ways to illuminate these lanterns. There are many options available in battery-operated lights - anything from tiny tea candles to neon-like lights to fanciful fiberoptics. I am still in the thinking process over how much light I want inside the lanterns and how much outside. Also being investigated are sound effects. I just downloaded an app that plays Japanese summer sounds.