Friday, June 18, 2010

Where This Blogger Creates!

Hi Everyone,  

What fun to be included in Karen's Valentine's Blog Party! I can't wait to visit you all and your spaces and your blogs. We are an art colony - my dreams are coming true!

I'm Sherry from Rustique Gallery. I live in a sweet little town in Western Massachusetts in an old post and beam hardware store which my brother split into two apartments. I have lots of space, which I fill with way too much stuff-stuff that speaks to me, stuff with sentimental value. Stuff to create with. My brother Dave made the trunk below with vintage linoleum surfaces. the small one was my great grandma's doll clothes trunk, which Mom gave me when I was small.

But back to my space: I've tried and tried to partition off a corner of the living room, but it gets too crowded to work. My table tops get too cluttered and things pile up in all the corners!  I end up working in the kitchen or on a tray on the porch. This Blog Party opened up the doors to my mind and I realized that the whole living room is the studio!

So my studio, Rustique Gallery, is a big room - 20x24' with a few big windows. The floor of the old building is crooked, scrappy, painted plywood - no need to worry about making a mess! There is an odd boxed-in pillar in the center that I have installed shelves on. I have lots of shelving and cubbies and I try to keep things relatively organized. Two vintage porcelain-topped dinette tables are my favorite work surfaces. When I get glue, paint and tape all over them, I scrape them down with a window scraper and they are all clean again. A third dinette table holds my new sewing machine, which I purchased after donating two old ones that needed work. A baby changing table makes great storage for oversized books and boxes and creative scrap.

A large desk with my IMac, scanner and printers sits opposite the art area. Here I do my blogging, keep up with friends and manipulate pictures and ephemera for my collages and greeting cards. I also run a small pet-sitting business, so an office is essential to keep it all organized.

Another corner holds my altar - a quiet place for meditation, which helps me focus and keeps me centered and inspired.

A big dream is to have a group of artsy friends over for afternoons of creating, chatting, snacking and exchanging ideas. So I have a big comfy sofa and loveseat in my favorite color, purple!

I've always put together collages in one form or another. Now I am reasserting that art form and have begun to make assemblages with old, used things. I love working with paper--old sheet music ledger pages, sepia photos, old postcards and ephemera, even distressed cardboard. I have recently started adding dimension to my art by using old wooden boxes, pieces of doors and windows, hardware, old tools--you name it!

Finally doing what I love, in what spare time I can, I find that the creative process is not confined to the studio. My eyes are always open for things to use in my collages; textures and oddities to photograph, old junque on the side of the road, a dusty freeby from a friend's barn. When I walk, I look down and find seed pods, bird's nests, butterfly wings and interesting twigs and rusty things. Tree fungi, owl pellets, old books and rotten old leather. These things tell me stories and make my imagination come alive!

In the next few months I plan to do a giveaway, open an on-line shop and set up a booth in a local antique mall (and petsit and take a trip out west and...oh, yes, work 4 days a week!)  I look forward to your visits and am anxious to begin cruising through each one of your exciting posts!  Thank you Karen Valentine, the Where Women Create team and everyone who has joined the party. Let's have a blast!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vacation, Day 5: Hanging Around

I'm Back! Back to Blogland, that is.  The bulk mail went out, the Alumni Banquet is over, nursing home visits, a wake for a neighbor...Today is for me.  Even my vacation week is packed with stuff to do, and cleaning up my studio hasn't figured in yet!  I took a ride with Mom on Monday-it was cool and breezy and beautiful out that day--took these pics at a favorite beaver pond. The flowers are mountain laurel, which is blooming up the hillsides now.

The most common ones are very pale pink, but they vary to darker pink in some places.  The buds look like frosting stars. 

Monday morning at 7 am the road construction crew was banging and rolling and driving trucks up and down our road. As if the vehicles aren't loud enough, they have that incessant beeping while backing up.  There was a roller that went up and down the street and got the whole neighborhood vibrating.  It's like an earthquake--the whole house starts shaking, banging, humming, and things fall off shelves or walls. One whole wall of pictures fell from my bedroom wall and crashed into a pile of laundry, nothing broke!  Finally, the paving equipment came:

and rolled,

and made us a new road. Well, that was the first coat, anyway. Today they are doing other work, scraping the sides to match up with the edge of the road, working on the other side of the bridge, etc.  They will eventually do a finish coat, but not for a while! I think they will be around for a few more weeks.

This morning I wandered around the yard with my coffee and took a few pictures of my flowers. We had rain yesterday and through the night. It's still cool and cloudy.

 I'm hoping it will warm up so I can soak my feet here:
and maybe get out on my kayak. I haven't been out yet this year. 

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement! I love blogging (Have I mentioned that before?), but I have cut back a bit to make time for other things.  I promise to show you some more art soon. I have a couple of great encaustic pieces that I can't seem to get good pictures of. When the sun comes out, I'll hang them outside, capture their images and tell you all about them. Now, I'd better turn on some music and work on my studio!  

Take care of yourselves and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My favorite Time of Day

Afternoon rain, two hours without power. Came home early from work and sat on the porch watching the rain come down. Good book, my cats going in and out. They don't like thunder but want to be near me.

After a while it stopped raining and the birds got louder and louder. The sun came out as the clouds broke up. By 7:30 there was magic in the air. I ran outside and took a few pictures. This is my favorite time of day!

Pictures can't capture the magic of the early evening light-the fresh smell of wet earth and growing things, the flutter of wings as the swallows feed over the driveway and lawn. The sun slants, making whatever it hits glow pinkish gold.

Today's humidity has lifted. The air has changed. My knees and feet no longer ache! I take a short walk and revel in the moments.

This is a super busy week for me. At the office, I have 7100 copies of our quarterly newsletter to package up and deliver to the Bulk Mail Center. I have a website to update, minutes from the board meeting to type, bills to pay - and more - by the end of Thursday.

As secretary of the Alumni Committee of my high school, I've been gathering up registration forms and checks for the annual buffet that we have at a local banquet hall. People call, email and facebook me every day to add their names to the list. The deadline was last Friday, but I take their reservations till the last minute. Then I compile lists and arrange to have tables for each reuning class and get my donation ready for the raffle. When the doors open the rush is on-about 150 people will attend this year and I will try to remember who they all are and have something to say to each one. The event is Saturday--I'll be ready for it!

 Then, blessed relief is on the way! I have a week off, and just in time, too, as I've entered Karen Valentine's "Where Bloggers Create II." (see sidebar) While many of the rest of you will be fluffing your studios, I will be trying to repurpose my whole living room into a really cool place to work. I never use the living part of the room, only the office and the storage space and a couple of overly cluttered tables. Earlier this spring I did a makeover, but it was only 85% finished. But enough said! I hope to make a great space and get way more "into my art!"

Remember the Stoic Robin and her chicks? As of last week they were big, hungry, and loudly peeping. She's doing a great job!

I hope you all have a great week, and as the Mammas and the Pappas used to sing, "Go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do, with whoever you wanna do it with..."