Thinking Of:

Right now I'm thinking of ways to add to my art musical notation, dotted auras, and stitching.

Monday, March 2, 2015

3.2.15 "Susurrus" Collage Journal Entry

"Susurrus" collage with stitching - Toile La La journal entry

"Susurrus" with collaged envelope - Toile La La

Friday, February 20, 2015

FutuRead...A New Way to Read

Hundreds of turning pages - flip after flip, rustling... the sound of something good to read.  Page upon page of shiny and matte... crescendos of blooming color, interspersed with easy-on-the-eyes black and white, and historic hints of sepia and inks of blue-black and green-black.  My eyes enjoy photography, paint, engraving, text - images produced by a variety of processes.  The artwork and text create a visual landscape - which emanates a satisfying creative calm... as I linger over this article, or that picture - skipping ahead to the end, or returning to pages already-read.  

I return later to this book and find skipped or irrelevant pages are replaced with new content.  Articles of interest remain to enjoy again.  The book has feel appeal - it's chunky, but compact and lightweight.  No scrolling.  No inner-glowing... its images appear in the light I provide - outdoor sunlight, indoor daylight, or a soft lamp.

As its archives grow, and as dismissed articles are replaced, my replenishing book reaches a certain page count - and weight.  Then, it's time to add another book to my library.

Is it a book of the future... a marriage of digital and tactile... .  It is one of my imaginings.  If you've ever wondered if there's any significant benefit or advantage of real page-turning-reading - versus that of digital books - you may like a Scientific American article "The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper Versus Screens" by Ferris Jabr, 4.11.13. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reading-paper-screens/

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Bee in Mable Ringling's Rose Garden.

My husband surprised me with a visit to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art recently.  I loved seeing the Tibbals 3,800 square-foot miniature circus model, loved exploring the grounds, the Ringling House, the art museum (very top-notch), but - much to my husband's dismay - I do believe my favorite thing was zipping about in Mable Ringling's Rose Garden.  To discover roses in bloom in winter, was for me - heavenly.  It wasn't enough to photograph the roses... of course I had to sniff them too.  Ah, the Outrageous, the Fragrant Cloud, the Ambridge, and the Windermere offered scents I would gladly roll in.







An observer in Mabel's Rose Garden - with a patina of dirt and mold in all the right places.
This rose reminds me of Vreeland's search for the perfect red.
Many of the paintings inside the museum are from the late Gothic and early Renaissance periods.  My husband interrupted my bee-like activities to hurry me inside to see the artwork, but my mind, heart, and nose were still with the roses.  Gazing at Ludovico David's The Judgment of Paris, I studied Athena's drapery and thought of its similarity to the rose I had photographed earlier... the rose which appears in the first and last photos above.  I think David must have achieved this red through the technique of glazing.  It's not a single, even layer of red - but a red achieved with many layers.  How nature achieves this red - I don't know.
All photographs Toile La La.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Interview: Collage Artist Kathleen Sawyer

collage artwork by Kathleen Sawyer - available at her Etsy shop thebackoftheboat
Traveling here and there on Etsy, I regularly drop by Kathleen Sawyer's shop the back of the boat to see what's new.  Kathleen's collages - for me - evoke unfamiliar stories and to view her work at times reminds me of remembering - with clarity - an unusual dream.  Taking time from her collage work, Kathleen shared a bit about herself and her work through my Q and A interview.

Toile La La: Do you have a story or scene in mind, then look for images to illustrate your vision - or do the images come together as you peruse your collection of clippings?

Kathleen Sawyer: The collages assemble themselves in different ways and over different spans of time. Sometimes they are triggered by a piece of paper of a certain color, another time it maybe one small image. It could be a conversation I have had during the day on an outing, or a passage I have read in a book. A collage may acquire its layers all in one day or may sit on the cutting board for months until it is completed.
collage artwork - Kathleen Sawyer, thebackoftheboat - Etsy

Kathleen Sawyer - collage artwork

Kathleen Sawyer - collage artwork
 Toile La La: Was there anything special which prompted you to begin using library cards in your artwork?

KS: Books have played a big part in my life starting as early as childhood. We had a small airplane when I was a child and much of my childhood was spent in the back seat of a single engine plane reading to pass the hours in the clouds.
Our libraries provide adventure, hope, mystery to anyone of any age regardless of their economic standing.
I began using the library cards in my work when I learned that libraries were removing them to protect the privacy of their patrons. Even very small libraries have adopted this policy and are pulling the card from the rear of all the books in circulation. My local libraries started saving them for me to use in my work -  instead of tossing them. I have had a show at two libraries with the “library card collage series”.
Kathleen Sawyer - library card collage artwork

Kathleen Sawyer - thebackoftheboat library card collage art
 Toile La La: During your time as a collage artist, are there favorite pieces you decided to keep?

KS: The only pieces I have are ones that were made early on before I started my company in 2001 that were made annually for family and friends at the holidays and were about my son. The original collages which I kept were printed into large format cards. My son also has some original pieces that I made for him. I have not kept any other work.

Toile La La: Are there particular themes to which you return?

KS: Water, houses, and the color blue.

Toile La La: How long have you created collage artwork? I know you created cards for family and friends, but wondered if you created collages prior to making the greeting cards... and if you studied art or any other forms of art as formal training, or if you trained yourself by experience alone.

KS: I have been making collages for about 25 years. I took only one or two studio art classes in college ( intro level drawing, color ). My focus in college was Art History and English Literature and I immersed myself in every course offered in these subjects.
Self taught… yes.
I have been asked many times over the years to give workshops about collage. I have declined for two reasons: One, I cannot talk in front of a group and two, I believe it is not an art form that needs instruction. There is no wrong way to collage. Everyone can do it. You gather ten people in a room with scissors, paper, glue and recycled papers, ephemera, photographs and they will each come up with something extraordinarily unique.

Toile La La: Simply estimating, how many art collages do you think you've created - including the ones you created during time spent as owner of the greeting card company?

KS: Approximately 600.

Toile La La: Were you in any way trying to recycle when you began creating art collages?


KS: At the beginning, and I still am. I use only items in their original form. I do not make copies. I cut them up and use them as is.
I try and use only things that have been gleaned from recycle bins, free bins, library book sales, charity sales and thrift shops. I will occasionally buy a suitcase of old paper and photographs or the odd cabinet card to spark my creativity and to add to my gatherings. I also recycle things I have gathered when I find they have been in my studio for awhile and I have not put them to use - sharing them with other artists who may have a use in their collage or assemblage work.
collage kit gathered by Kathleen Sawyer - available at Etsy shop thebackoftheboat
Kathleen also offers collage art subscriptions, so if you are a mail art lover (like me!) - this is something to consider.  Her prices are truly fair... 5 dollars for a collage art kit and only a little more to own a one-of-a-kind handmade collage built by Sawyer. 
Kathleen Sawyer - thebackoftheboat collage subscription, available at Etsy
I recently purchased one of Kathleen's library card collages, and a collage kit too - and am delighted with both.  Already, using vintage postcards from the collage kit, I created 2 collages to send to friends as mail art.  And, just look at this fascinating library card collage handmade by Kathleen!  It has both Old World classical charm - and a surreal look.  I study it and think... "Is she holding the cloud over her head for shade - like a hat, or is she removing it... and, does the hand belong to her... or someone else".  I look at the various layers, carefully snipped with scissors - and enjoy the three-dimensional effect.  I try to pinpoint the origin of the images... some parts look almost like a photograph.  The images are so clear and colorful... the lady's rosy cheeks, the beautiful blue sky,the delicate hand.  I admire the way in which the top part of the image can be tucked into the lower pocket via Sawyer's use of the recycled library card.  This is a great little piece of artwork, which I absolutely love!  Visit Kathleen's shop via this link, to see more of her one-of-a-kind collage art.
Kathleen Sawyer thebackoftheboat library card collage artwork

Monday, February 2, 2015

Collage Postcard for E.

The female image is from a vintage museum postcard - Musee du Luxembourg - called "Au Crepuscule" - twilight, by Paul Chabas. She was standing in a shallow pool of water, looking cold - so I transported her to a forest, interlocking foliage and postcard - clipping in a way which left the girl free, so that she projects ever-so-slightly from the green background. The stump and bush are courtesy of a Giorgione colourplate from a vintage art book in my stacks. The garden belongs to someone featured in Architectural Digest - with a wonderful green thumb, or a talented gardener.
Collage Postcard by Toile La La.



I found the vintage postcard in an assortment of maps, postcards, and interesting antique ephemera which I purchased from Kathleen Sawyer's the back of the boat shop at Etsy. The blue link will take you there - where you will enjoy Sawyer's collage artwork and her amazingly affordable collage art kits - (5 dollars!).

Mail Art - Creative Correspondence.

Lately, my mailbox bulges with happiness... lots and lots of mail, and my camera is stuffed full too. More mail art, and more posts to come soon - and, perhaps - a guest, but for now - some photos, and Number One Good Luck - my Project Inspector tabby.




The seal of approval from my Project Inspector - Good Luck Number One.



Toile La La stitch-altered story for mail art correspondence. Image Toile La La.

Toile La La button collage.

E, my most long-standing mail correspondent sent me a Keats poem on a vintage envelope with stamps dated 1944 - and she sent a card bearing 3 pearlescent buttons. Sometimes she returns something I've sent her - with commentary. I had mailed her a snippet of an antique photo strip with 2 men and we wondered if they were brothers - maybe even twins. One frame bore only one man, so I decoupaged him to a pearly button. I mailed to E, along with the button collage, a page from a 1930s story - which I edited with machine-stitching and paint (to create a poem of sorts). And, I included a china fragment from my grandmother's back yard and a china fragment I found on the riverbank while canoeing. In the second photo, you can see E's very clever envelope closure she created - using a metal button, attached with a cotter pin. That was one of my favorite things!