PICK YOUR POISON: DESIGN INSPIRATION

I’m particularly fond of the strange and unusual.

With furniture, that means I like it to ‘pop’. When I walk into a room, I’d like it tell me a story. The genre of story, doesn’t necessarily have to be specific, but  knowing a story exists …now that’s the holy grail of design.

My usual method of inspiration (being the age of technology), is the internet. Specifically, the image selection on the search engine. When I need a muse, I surf!

Today’s search started off with #coffee furniture.

 


This of course led into retro, contemporary and future furniture. Some of these designs are still in the ‘concept’ mode.

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For the designs that are still stuck in concept mode, I’d like to think a little hard-work, determination and a credit line at Home Depot will correct the issue at hand.

The issue being: I want said furniture. Solution: Make my own. (Or at least get close to it).

Of course if I make my own, I can’t sell it. The concept wouldn’t mine. But I’m not a furniture dealer…so who cares? And the futuristic items are just that…in the future. I can’t buy them!  But the overall design or theme, already exists.

Hmmmm….where will I go from here?

Who knows?! It could all just be wishful thinking.

But damn…it sure is fun to dream!

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Art And Empathy On The Younger Generations

 

I’ve used a lot of art mediums throughout my life’s journey. Honestly, I’ve scribbled…painted…glued…carved…molded…well, basically I’ve done it all. And I’ve come to the realization that my obsession isn’t with art, but more the freedom that it grants.

In any other avenue of life, there are rules and parameters.

How dull is that?

Rules and parameters mean…it’s been done before. Someone has claimed it. It’s theirs. They have shaped it to their liking, slapped a patent on it and now if you wish to re-create it…you are ‘borrowing’ an idea.

But with art there are no rules, regulations, parameters. Instead of a process void of thought and critical thinking, it’s the exact opposite.

People talk of the vanishing art programs. Education is slowly becoming strictly math, science, language arts and social studies. Such a strict focus on the ideas of others. Sadly, this is a mistake that will one day create a pit of regret.

The assumption is made that math creates a critical thinker. I propose that art creates critical thinking, enabling to use of math. It’s the reason why often time music=math minded individuals. It’s the ability the see the beauty in the numbers. Minus emotion, void of desire…who the hell actually wants to do all of those repetitive assignments created by minds past. If you love math…that’s an emotion. It’s a desire. Desire drives the art process. As well as the ability to calculate. These things take a sharpness. An ability to figure it out. As an artist can look at a blank sheet and envision a vast multitude of ways to give the paper a life of it’s own…So can too a mathematician, who views a series of random numbers and attempts to make sense of them.

Language arts, while teaching the works of others,  goes on the inclination that this will teach you how to create your own. True…Language arts does teach the necessary tools of the trade. But your creation comes from emotion. To grab the entire spectrum of emotion, you need to find the emotions first. You need empathy.

You need a trigger.

Triggers can be visual, heard, tasted, touched and smelled. And some people seem to feel an entirely new sense. A 6th sense. And in order to utilize these crucial senses, you must have an ‘artistic vision’. You need to become skilled at exploring your own mind. Unbutton the top button, so to speak. Basically…broaden your horizons. Be OF the world, don’t sit on the sidelines.

One of my most…if not the most, important lessons I’ve tried to instill in my kids is to keep an open mind. Experience the issue at hand, prior to casting judgement. And in some instances, it may not be possible to experience an event. Some events we truly wish to avoid! But we can relate out of empathy. Empathy can be awoken with art. It can bring tears and an understanding, as in these works by Bansky. His attempt to cast a light on the darkness that war brings to children, was sadly and  completely accomplished.

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Bansky

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While some argue that the photos are too graphic for children, I would argue that closing their eyes to history creates a path to repetition. Social Studies classes of today, are watered down ‘incomplete sentences’.  How about throw in some Bansky?  

Throw in truth…

Allow the future generation to visualize the consequences of their future actions. Allow them to empathize. It’s like the child who asks “Is the stove hot?” You say “Yes. Don’t touch it.” And of course, just to see if you’re jerking their chain, they touch it <—Insert screaming child here. 

They need to personally experience the sensation. Verbal or physical…they need a trigger.

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Bansky

You know… if I were a government hell bent on creating a generation of  loyal, non-empathetic and  unquestioning followers….I’d remove the art….

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33 Amazing Sculptures From Around The World

33 Amazing Sculptures From Around The World

I’m smack in the middle of the biggest artist’s block known to man. I’ve got  canvas, acrylics, oils, brushes etc…and my mind is blank. This is typically when I Google search ‘madness’, so to to speak. Randomly typing in the first words that come to mind. The ‘images’ feature, by far, is my favorite Google feature. Today’s search was so fascinating, I feel the need to share. Maybe it’ll help you with your artist’s block, inspire a novel or just help you unwind. Today’s search : Odd Sculptures

Which ones are beacons of hope, fantasy and illusion? Which ones are the artist’s amazing rendering of their waking nightmare?  You decide. 

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I don’t know about you guys, but I’m either sleeping with the lights on tonight….or grabbing a bowl of popcorn and watching Stephen King movies…but I’m definitely inspired.

etc. special things for special people

For the next month or so, I’ll be showcasing family-owned businesses and small business owners.

This is an effort to show the amazing creativity thought up and fully executed by some incredibly talented individuals. Owning a small business requires an artistic streak and a beautiful imagination. A small business holds the owner’s heart and soul. They’re giving us full access into their creative thought process every time we walk in the door.

Whether it’s a chef, a bar owner,  a photographer, a painter or a farmer, by owning a small business, they’re showing the world their canvas.

Small businesses tend to produce better products. Their name is on the business and they know it. They know the vast majority of the people who walk through the door. They maintain ongoing long lasting friendships with many of them. The sense of community in a family-owned business is very telling.

PLUS: Shopping local greatly increases town revenue which =more local jobs=local manufacturing=higher wages=more money for the consumer. 

The owners of local businesses are more likely to make darn sure they’re handing you a great meal, great service or strong long lasting products. 

Large corporation owned businesses, generally don’t have the same mindset. Just ask a cashier at a chain store (if you can find one), what a certain item does or where it’s made. Ask how long that item is said to last and who you can call when it breaks. Will the phone-call  require you to have your phone not only charged, but plugged in so it can outlast the wait time? Remember…  we get what we pay for. Saving to buy a sturdy item from a local business, is obviously better for our wallets. Being pulled in by dollar delights, means we generally just bought more junk. In no time at all, we’ll be running back to replace that same junk.

 So without further delay, let’s talk gift shops! 

 etc. 

Yes. That’s the name! etc. is a quaint family-owned gift shop, located in the heart of downtown Amherst, Ohio.

At first glance, this little shop is full of color and vibrancy. From clothing and accessories, to cards, gifts and decor, it’s honestly just chuck-full of fun! Personally, I’m rather fond of the jewelry. There are just so many unique and genuinely  creative items to choose from. You’re pretty much guaranteed to find a one-of-a-kind gift. And the vintage lovelies? Oh my! Of course, my readers know,  I have a thing for vintage decor and old-world style. And this place has plenty.

For those of us who love visuals, I’ve included some photos below:

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For more information on etc. or to browse their products:  www.shopatetc.net , stop in at 215 Park Ave. Amherst OH 44001 or call: (440) 985-1999.

And a big thank you to the owner, Erin Link, for allowing me to photograph her wonderfully creative brain child. (And I think I left my coffee on a shelf).


 

 

 

 

iPhone: Photography

My job took me on a walk-about today. Spring days like today,  are the reason my phone is glued to my hip. While I have had an android, I prefer the iPhone for photos. Yes. I’m an Apple gal. For a while we had an ongoing battle in this house, pertaining to cell phones. Sort of like the Twilight thing….Team Jacob vs. Team Edward. Eventually, I persuaded them all over to my side.

The first four photos are of our town cemetery. While many go to mourn, twice as many go for the beauty. My family is buried here as well. Often I have both visited family and sat down to read.

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I think it goes without saying, that this particular cemetery is rather photogenic. Although I suppose for all of us, one is favored above all others.

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As a child, this was a fascinating place. Not only because my mother brought me here to visit family, but because of the multitude of little hiding places. I suppose that is why I took the photos. The existance of this place, shows the human frailty that will one day keep me from visiting.

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Park Ave……

I think I have stood on this street, more than any other. It’s the center…the little space that brings the town together. The buildings are magnificently kept up. And when I say everybody knows everybody…I mean it. Small town America is not just a phrase. It genuinely exists.

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I’m not thrilled about the lines in the next one. Believe it or not, the left wall is actually bowed a bit. I hate it when that happens. It’s misery to line up.

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The barber…actually, we have several. This one just happens to be very photogenic …and it was in my line of vision today.

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That’s technically half car / half train, below. Don’t worry…it wasn’t a nut riding down the tracks…

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Thanks for checking out my photos.

Follow my Instagram for a constant photo stream: @homefreekids

His Painting

He finally finished. I posted last week about giving him his first large canvas. It took him a bit. But he has poured his heart, soul and mind into this lovely picture.

Initially, it started with the birds. Then the shark. Followed by  the abstract idea of a brilliant red tunnel slide, jetting into the ocean. To add emotion, he created a storm.

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His painting is very thought provoking. There are multiple ways to interpret the grand design. Two simple birds, sitting on a perch, surrounded by an ocean. They’re seemingly oblivious to the danger below. With a storm kicking up, the eager predator is circling beneath….waiting to swallow them whole. And what of the tunnel? Humans sliding elegantly between both worlds.   Walking a line between eminent thrilling danger and a brilliant soulful beauty.

Again… his painting  could be interpreted in so many ways. But if you ask him….“I just like sharks and birds”.

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“Art & Chocolate”…and maybe wine…

 

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My dog…

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This was taken at a catering venue….

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Also part of the insanely artistic catering venue…

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This one was done in jest. It’s often said that my neighborhood is like a quirky version on Desperate Housewives. That’s me, rolling around with a box of wine, protesting the idea of clueless PTO moms.  This photo was taken by my friend, Charlene.

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Two of the paintings I’ve been working on…

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This one, my daughter took as that’s me in the photo.

 

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This tree is in the family cemetery. We buried my grandfather this year. His initials he carved during childhood…are on the tree.

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The Art Studio …Thanks Grandpa

We have been having a lot of fun in this little room in the basement….


And since we technically don’t have to cleanup …. I’ve decided this messy little corner of the world, is my new favorite space. When we originally left this room in the basement unfinished, the plan was to use it for storage. However, I then later realized…. I hate messes and therefore don’t keep anything!?!

Last week , I was able to take some photos in a beautiful spot  downtown. And one kind of stood out. Maybe it was the conversation with my grandfather a few weeks before he died. He died this past December 2015. One of his favorite things to speak of, was his youth. My town is rather small, and my family was part of the group of original families to take part in making the town what it is. So when my grandfather would tell me his stories, I hung on to every word.

One of his last stories, involved the town hall. Which, as luck would have it, can be viewed from this upstairs room.


And the decor up there… Well… It’s right up his alley….


Called “the Sinatra Room”, it intrigued me from the start. But what really hit close to home, was the realization of where I was standing.

According to grandpa, this place used to be an old warehouse. They used it as storage. Sometimes it was a go between space for the extra stuff from the Town Hall. And my grandfather liked to tell me about how ringing the bell in that old building, was equivelent to taking your life in your hands and chucking it out a window, in hopes that you could fly. And the kids who made it up the staircase, were mighty brave indeed.

But here’s the irony… The day we said goodbye forever ? We came here, to this old warehouse. It’s a restaurant now. Well, technically 1/2 is. While they’re joined, one part is a casual pub and the other is on the higher end with a large wine selection. It’s a wrap around, joined by the kitchen in the center, both sides owned by one person. And the upstairs  from the photo also has a banquet hall. The bonus is, one of the original doors from the warehouse is still in use.

So somewhere between taking the photos and finishing the editing… I found this one to be my favorite….


And then, I sort of thought… How can I stick that spot… That spot that my grandfather probably stood while moving things about ( he was also a police officer , a mason, tool and die maker and on the town council)… How could I stick that spot in my living room?

We’d just built and art studio in that stole little space, in our basement.. That tiny little waste of space…that is now….my heaven….

  
And pulling elements from the photo onto a canvas was probably the most fun I’ve had swimming about in my own brain, than I’ve had in over a decade.



So I guess for now… I’ll sit right here and glance towards that old town hall. Maybe I’ll even hear that old bell.

I really hope  you’re watching back…