Inspirational Circle #9 – Found Art

Remember being given a word, an idea or a theme and using that as inspiration? Remember the excitement that ran through your mind and traveled to your fingertips as your idea came to life?

The Inspirational Circle is back! This month’s theme is “Found Art!” Go find some cool stuff and make a collage or a sculpture. Go walk around the streets and take photos of street art and graffiti, or make a photogram. Go find newspaper scraps and magazines and create a poem from it. Let go of your creative block, and let the Inspirational Circle inspire you. So go ahead and brainstorm brilliant ideas and share them here with your fellow peers on our Facebook Event!

All creative work will be considered – drawing, painting, photography, poetry, prose, mixed media, sculpture, etc. If you post the work of others as inspiration, please cite the original source to give the artist credit. Please spread the word and invite others to join in.

To get you started, here are some links that you can visit:

Street Art Utopia on Facebook has a lot of inspiring art done on the streets all over the world, utilizing the landscape to the fullest aesthetic beauty: http://www.facebook.com/streetartutopia?fref=ts

Etté Studios has beautiful butterfly sculptures composed of found art: http://www.ettestudios.com/2010/02/found-object-art-michele-stitzleins.html

The Broken Doll series has some interesting pieces
http://karenswhimsy.com/found-object-art.htm

And for the writers, here are some ideas on how to write Found Poetry: http://www.creative-writing-now.com/found-poetry.html

Collage work that I previously made in college:

collage

collage

collage box

collage box

Photos taken at the NY MOMA

coke bottle sculpture

Blanket Collage

Chair on the Wall

 

 

 

Random Food Posting

Last month’s Inspirational Circle was food, so i have some random postings for you 🙂  While I didn’t have time to do anything “amazing,” it’s nice to realize how the simplest of foods can appear beautiful under the right circumstances.  It can be pretty melodic.

Here is a simple image of lettuce and tomatoes in a bowl.  The contrasting colors and the juiciness of the tomato makes it very refreshing and appetizing.

lettuce

refreshing vegetables

This following photo was taken from my camera phone and not under the best lighting, but it deserves to be posted because it’s a sushi called “Little Jenny” (which reflects me) and also tastes pretty good.  This can be purchased at Cha Cha Sushi in San Jose.

Little Jenny

Little Jenny sushi dish

This next image was taken at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse for a friend’s birthday dinner.  The candle on top of the pizookie glowed in the dark and looked magical.

birthday pizookie

birthday pizookie

Now for something interesting, my friend found this link about S’mores Spaghetti, which was pretty awesome.  It’s a new twist to a traditional snack.

http://www.foodiggity.com/smores-spaghetti/

s'mores spaghetti

Inspirational Circle #8 – Food

Remember being given a word, an idea or a theme and using that as inspiration?  Remember the excitement that ran through your mind and traveled to your fingertips as your idea came to life?

The Inspirational Circle is back!  This month’s theme is “food!”  Let go of your creative block, and let the Inspirational Circle inspire you.  So go ahead and brainstorm brilliant ideas and share them here with your fellow peers on our Facebook Event!

All creative work will be considered – drawing, painting, photography, poetry, prose, mixed media, sculpture, etc.  If you post the work of others as inspiration, please cite the original source to give the artist credit.  Please spread the word and invite others to join in.

Food is a wonderful subject as you see it multiple times in a day and everyone loves it.  Food is one of the elements that brings people together – strangers, family and friends.  You can never go wrong with food (well, unless it tastes bad).  So go ahead and do cool things and inspire everyone with your thoughts and images of food.  Make us hungry, make us happy, make us sad, just feed us with your ideas of “food.”

While looking up food – I found two really cool websites that I know you would love 🙂
Amazing shots of yummy food – http://experimental-food.tumblr.com/
Cute Japanese food (so adorable) – http://www.xcapedcat.com/28-pictures-of-cute-japanese-food/

Here are also some random photos I got off of Google

In addition, here is a poem that I wrote about German Chocolate Cake.

like no other

sniff, sniff, inhale,
take a whiff
of the sweet aroma,
an addiction
like no other.

the scent of cocoa
drifts in your nostrils
as you tremble
with longing,
salivate
with desire,
reaching
for the cake
of your dreams.

soft
and gentle
to the touch,
crumbling
in your hands,
melting
on your tongue
a sensation
like no other.

sandwiched between
layers and layers
of coconut pecan frosting.
cool, crisp, rich,
super, super, creamy,
a burst of flavor
in your mouth.

tickling
your taste buds,
tingling
your tongue,
a lingering moment
of bliss.
savor it!

shut your eyes,
more, more, more,
you just can’t resist
licking your lips.

licking your lips
in orgasmic pleasure.
no one does it better
than betty crocker.

While looking up German Chocolate Cake, I also came across this website that was pretty cool – http://barbarabakes.com/2010/05/easy-german-chocolate-cake/

There is Magic in the Mundane

There is Magic in the Mundane

Timing is the “magic” that encompasses every important moment in life.  That first kiss that you had wouldn’t be as special if it didn’t take place at night in the park, under the stars.  That song may not have been memorable if you didn’t hear it on the radio after you broke up with your ex while you were driving in the rain.  That adventurous trip wouldn’t have been amazing if you didn’t see lightning in the sky and took a photograph of it.  Photography, art, music, and poetry all utilize timing to create a special moment – making mundane events and imagery seem magical.

Who would have thought that a simple plastic water bottle could look “magical?”  I didn’t, not at first.  Since last month’s theme for the Inspirational Circle was texture, I was just randomly hanging out in my porch taking random photos of things that had texture.  While walking around, I came across my dad’s recycling bin where he kept water bottles.  There were a collection of bottles that had condensed water that looked like dew drops clinging to the surface.  With the sunlight shining on it, the dew drops sparkled like magic, mesmerizing to the eye.  With the macro setting on my camera, I took a shot.

condensed water in a plastic bottle

It was a simple beauty, but clearly recognizable as a water bottle.  To make it a little more abstract, I decided to crop the image and remove the “red wrapping” and add a little bit of contrast in Photoshop so that the image will only detail the “texture.”  At first glance, you may not know what this image was.  One friend guessed jewelry and another friend had guessed rain on my windshield.  What do you think?

Climbing to Great Heights at Castle Rock State Park

 

I have always enjoyed indoor rock climbing because it feels empowering.  Having your mind communicate with your body, watching your arms and legs crawl up the rock, and finally reaching the top is rewarding.  It’s definitely not a motion that you do in everyday life.  I had dreamed of taking that hobby outdoors, but never acted upon it until I saw a Groupon for Treks and Tracks and decided to take a climb.  Yesterday was my big milestone day and I definitely didn’t regret it.  The experience was awesome (I mean every sense of that word and am not just using that adjective because it sounds cool).

Daniel, the co-owner of Treks and Tracks, was our guide for the day, so he emailed the group a list of things to bring and a description of what to expect 2 days before the event.  Knowing that we would be taking a moderate hike to the climbing spot, I got some new hiking shoes and brought the trekking poles that my boyfriend got me from REI.  A normal person wouldn’t need the poles, but since I had weak knees and am still on a physical therapy plan, I reckoned I would be prepared.

We met up in the parking lot at Castle Rock State Park in Los Gatos at 9:30 am.  Daniel gave us climbing shoes, a harness and a helmet, and had us sign a waiver.  Lucky for us, since it was Labor Day weekend, 4 people had canceled and 2 people didn’t show up, so the ratio of guide-to-student was 1:5.  For most of us, it was our first time climbing outdoors, so we were a little nervous and little excited.

We hiked downhill for a mile until we reached our spot.  I took my time hiking down with my trekking poles and slid down squatting style in the very steep part at the end.  It was definitely not the most stylish hike on my part, but I was proud of myself for making it there in one piece without hurting my knees.  It looks like all the exercises my therapist gave me helped a lot and gave me the strength and confidence in pursuing this adventure.

We reached the climbing spot – a beautiful cliff of sandstone, with a nearby waterfall that we can hear, but not see.  Here, Daniel took the time to explain the role and responsibility of the belayer, as well as how to safely attach yourself to the rope with the figure 8 knot.  He mentioned how important the belayer was and how the belayer is often not pictured in the photographs in rock climbing.  After experiencing it myself, I definitely realize that the climber and belayer work as a team and that the belayer plays a crucial role in the climber’s safety.  It’s not an easy job.  The belayer has to constantly work the ropes so that the climber doesn’t have a lot of “lag” and wouldn’t fall and s/he also has to catch the climber if they do slip.  It looks like an easy motion to work the pulley system, but it’s really not.  The rope has a lot of friction and moving your arms up and down constantly for the duration of a climb, is no easy task.  As one of my classmates said, “it’s a workout.”  My left shoulder and arm is completely sore today, and I believe half of that is due to belaying.  If you do decide to rock climb with the belay system and are a fast climber, it’s wise to team up with a belayer that’s responsible, strong and has a long arm span (someone small like me, with a shorter arm span and lesser strength will require you to climb slower so we can go at the same safe pace).

Anyhow, you probably want me to get to the meat of the story, which is the climbing itself.  One wise tip that Daniel gave was to “trust your shoes and to trust your feet.”  The more nervous or afraid you are, the harder it will be.  For the first climb, our route was along a crack (where 2 sides meet in the corner).  By using the amazing rubber soles (which beautifully danced with the rock), and the faith in our feet, all of us were able to literally walk up the rock without too much difficulty.  Higher up, we experienced some difficulty as there were less things to hold onto and we really had to trust our feet and work our way through.  Being smaller than everyone else, I had to take 2 breaks along to the way to regain my breath and strength.  There was one area where we were under a big boulder and Daniel had advised that we hold the bottom of the boulder like a couch and work our way around.  It was really helpful as there was a good grip there and offered more stability.  We all made it up there, so that was amazing.  I was totally out of breath by then and ready to come down, but I made it!

The second path was more difficult.  My classmates made it look easy, but I knew it would be more challenging for me, and it was.  Being that it was my second climb, I was already slightly tired.  This one didn’t have a crack to walk on so I really had to find the right places to put my feet and also use a lot of upper body strength to pull myself up.  There was a part where I literally had to let go of the wall and trust the rope to swing me across to the other side.  It was scary and I had to do it twice since the first time, I couldn’t get a good grip.  Then there was the part where my shoe came loose and I was like “uh oh, let me down.”  They didn’t let me down, but just told me to lean back so I had space to tie my shoe again.  It was a difficult climb, there was one area where I just had no idea what to do and sat there for a while.  Finally I found a hole that was hiding by my right foot.  It took a while before I could gather the strength to push myself up.  There was another part that had a nice cave and I seriously wanted to just stop there and say “I made it to the cave.”  But they didn’t let me down, so I kept going.  I’m sure it took a while and I really didn’t think I could have made it to the top, but I did.  I lost my grip a couple of times and slipped and swung around for a bit.  The important thing was, I made it and I didn’t quit.  At the end, the view was amazing.

Just like in life, good things take work and it takes time, but if you keep going and don’t give up, no matter how slow you go, you’ll make it because you believe in yourself and in the people who support you.  After climbing this cliff, you feel as if nothing is impossible.

Of course, since we hiked down there, we had to hike back up to the parking lot.  That was a tiring hike just because I was already exhausted from everything else.  By the time we got back, it was about 2 pm and I only drank a bottle of water.  I was dehydrated and starving and craving some Jamba Juice.  By the time I got home, I was so exhausted I just wanted to lounge around and do nothing for the rest of the day.  Today (the day after), I’m sore from my shoulders to my fingertips, and my thighs hurt too.  It takes effort to switch from sitting down to standing up and vice versa and I literally cannot do a single push up, but it’s worth it 🙂  I even got a few bruises on my legs as a souvenir.

Rock climbing is an extreme sport, similar to skydiving or bungee jumping, which requires a lot of courage and trust.  It takes courage to go to great heights and come back down and also takes a lot of trust in the equipment and the people who will support you.  In the end, they all help you build confidence.  However, the one thing rock climbing gives you that the other 2 sports don’t is the ability to believe in your own strength and determination.  To trust your own instincts every step of the way and knowing that when it gets rough and you want to give up, you shouldn’t, because with a little time, you can get back into the groove and reach the top.  It’s a very empowering experience, and one that I would recommend for anyone who likes to climb.

I will definitely try more indoor rock climbing now that I know how to belay.  I would also recommend that if you do, you should fork out the extra $3-$5 for shoe rental, as you can literally feel the difference as you climb.  I may try outdoor rock climbing again at different locations too.  If for some reason, this ends up as the only time I go outdoor rock climbing, I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.  Climbing at Castle Rock – exhilarating, exhausting, empowering, exciting, ephemeral, but timeless.

 

Discovering Fleece

In honor of this month’s Inspirational Circle, I have written a poem inspired by “texture.” I hope you enjoy this simple, elegant piece. 🙂

Discovering Fleece

Soft and warm like fur,
I wrap my blanket around me
like a Tootsie roll.
It falls on the bed with
the softest sound,
light as a feature.

I stroke the blanket
from edge to edge,
feeling the little bumps
and waves that go in and out,
so subtle and so soothing,
like stroking the back
of my loved one’s neck
and feeling the blood vessel,
feeling the pulse.

It’s like running
my hands through pebbles
of sand, feeling rhythmic dots,
swirling and soothing
against my fingertips,
my very own
zen garden.

I wrap the blanket
around my arms,
around my legs
and imagine a puppy
beside me
with fur so soft.

As the fleece brushes my
cheeks, I feel content
and dreamy,
mesmerized
by the softness
that engulfs me
as I fall asleep
on fleece clouds,
drifting away
into Utopia.

Breathing Life into Clay

 

Ever since I fell in love with making clay figurines in July starting with my turtle (see Clay Creations), I wanted to improve my craft and do more complicated sculptures.  For my most recent batch, I attempted to make a Bobby Head 🙂  What’s that?  Well, a couple of years ago, my friend gave me a Bobby Jack plush toy that I just came to love dearly.  I decided to make a little bobble head figurine of Bobby and call it a Bobby Head.

I have to admit that the journey wasn’t completely smooth.  The vision of what I wanted to mold was all in my head and I was ready for action, knowing that I may face challenges.  I first started off by molding Bobby’s head and then adding the ears and cheeks.  Unlike drawing or photography, you really need to understand ever angle of the subject/object to capture the 3-D form accurately.  I worked on it late at night and when I finally got it 90% complete, I noticed that it was a little uneven on the bottom.  In attempts to make it 100% perfect, I added some more clay.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of clay, if you change one area, there is a very high chance that another area would be affected.  When you fix the other affected area, it will affect another area and so forth.  Anyhow, by trying to make it 100% perfect, I messed up my entire bobby head.  After 1.5 hours, I was just exhausted and called it a night.  I was so discouraged that I had to send a text to my boyfriend and close friend to vent lol, and of course a tweet about the irony of perfection.

Alas, I did not give up.  I came back to it another day and started from scratch.  This time it was a little easier since I was familiar with the form.  The head wasn’t perfect, but this time I settled for that 🙂 and continued with the body.  After 1.5 hours, the sculpture was complete and actually bobbles.  What do you think?

Little Bobby Head

Bobby Head Complete

bobbyhead

Bobby holding his head

Bobby Mini

Bobby holding his Mini Me

Save Me

Mini Bobby looks scared, save him

Bobby Balance

I love how the back view looks

With my leftover clay, I decided to make a Linny (the guinea pig from Wonder Pets) as well.  I didn’t have that much brown, so I only molded her head.  No worries, I went for a pencil decoration and added her cape as well.  It turned out really adorable.  I just wished I made her cheeks more wide to match the actual stuffed animal.

Linny presenting Mini Linny

Linny presenting Mini Linny

Hello There

Linny facing her Mini Me

Face Off

Linny facing her Mini Me

Let's Fly

Flying Off to save the World

Next, my brother wanted me to make a Stitch figurine. Since I wanted to save my blue clay for a beaded necklace, I decided to make him a Leroy instead. The red clay was difficult to mold because it was so soft and would mush together or stick to other colors. It was a real hassle. I think it turned out well, except that one of his eyes was rotated incorrectly, so when I actually drew in the eyes, he didn’t look as “smart” 🙂

Stitch and Mini Stitch

Stitch and Mini Stitch

Lil Devil

Lil Devil

Presenting Leroy

Presenting Leroy

Tag Along

Tag Along

After making all these figurines (with an average of 1.5 hours a piece), I decided to make something simple, clay beads. I picked my favorite colors: light blue, blue, and a whitish silver. It looked awesome. I’ll model them in a later post 🙂

Baking Beads

Baking Beads

Bead Necklace + Bracelet

Bead Necklace + Bracelet

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the pieces. My next clay projects will include a purple squirrel and a glowing Jack-O-Lantern. Until then, Bobby, Stitch and Linny would like to say ta-ta!

Ta-Ta

Ta-Ta