Daily Prompt: Childlike

The writing prompt on the Daily Post @ WordPress yesterday was “Childlike” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/daily-prompt-childlike/).  That seemed pretty perfect for how I spent my weekend… at NYC’s Comiccon.  It wasn’t exactly my idea (okay, my wife had to pretty much drag me), but it certainly did remind me that there’s still a bit of child left in every adult (or at least every adult I saw that day).

A lot of the people who are serious about “Cos Play” are actually really talented- you should see what they create.  They’ll walk around and pose for pictures and this is clearly their chance to shine.  I’m more of a hip-shot kind of a photographer than a pose-for-the-picture photographer, but here are some of the photos I got (I have no idea who more than half of these characters are:

IMG_8759These were my favorites, but the picture came out terrible.  They looked absolutely amazing (no idea what characters they are.)

IMG_8752No idea who this guy is, either, but holy-moly.  He was being led around on a leash (not sure if that’s part of the character, or just because he couldn’t see out of that thing).

IMG_8755My friend Diem, who we went with, and a Stormtrooper.  There must have been at least 100 Stormtroopers in the building at any given time, of all different shapes and sizes (and her husband took pictures of at least half of them).

IMG_8762The family that plays together, stays together.

IMG_8764Even cartoon characters need lunch, too.

IMG_8765My friend from work.  I knew she was going but we hadn’t planned to meet up.  It’s amazing that we happened to run into each other, amidst the 30-40,000 people there (the overall attendance for the 4 day event was 130,000).  And, yeah… she’s a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning

IMG_8685For me, a good morning is a Sunday when I’m at church, drinking in the beauty of the music, the sanctuary, the words.  It renews me, refreshes me, and helps me pack up the week I just had and get ready for the week to come.  For me, that’s what Sabbath should be about.  Sometimes, though, the rest of the chaos and work I end up having to do on Sundays seems to get in the way.

International Day of Non-Violence

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I learned from Amar Naik’s photo blog that today, October 2, is the International Day of Non-Violence (http://amarnaik.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/international-day-of-non-violence).  Commemorating the day that Mohandas Gandhi was born, it was first recognized by the United Nations in 2007.  This day, and what it represents, couldn’t come at a better time.  It seems that every time I turn on the news I hear of another homicide, terrorist attack or threat, or mass murder.  We’re struggling to create gun legislation that preserves a constitutional right to “bear arms” yet is balanced by the good sense and honest intent with which it was written.  Certainly, however, our forebearers could not have envisioned the kinds of weapons that are available on the streets these days and the senselessness with which they are used.  My own city has had 3 murders in the last 2 weeks, bringing our total to 15 this year.  We’ve already surpassed our total of 12 from last year and 2/3 of the people killed have been under 30.  Three of them were 19- not even old enough to legally drink.

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The city has reached out to local organizations and faith-communities to create Peace Flags as a sign of its dedication to teaching and striving for non-violence and they’re going to be hanging them along the parade route for our annual Thanksgiving weekend Balloon Parade.  The chorus that our boy sings in (and my mother co-founded) will be singing at the event and I look forward to it being an uplifting, powerful day.  Granted, it’s only a symbol, albeit an inspirational one, and there’s still so much work that needs to be done.

I was lucky enough to be able to work with my church’s Chapel Kids group (the alternative service for kids ages 7-12 at our church) to help create them.  The organization that’s sponsoring it supplied muslin rectangles and a rope to hang them from but allowed churches to decorate them with whatever materials and in whatever ways they wanted.  As inspiration, I found these beautiful prayer flags that Kate, from Ramblings from Utopia, made with her kids.  (http://www.ramblingsfromutopia.com/2012/05/wordlessful-wednesdays-prayer-flags.html)

We prayed on the topic and looked at some picture books about peace for inspirational images, and then the kids just had at it.  The week before, they had sketched ideas onto paper, the this Sunday I gave them Sharpies, fabric markers, and fabric to cut up and glue on (no one actually ended up using the fabric).  It was a really fun service (despite the mess) and the flags, and the hopeful message they represent, are beautiful.  Here are some of my favorites:

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If kids understand and value the concept so clearly and openly, why can’t our world leaders?  What are we doing wrong that has bred so much hatred, fear, and self-loathing among the members of our community that are so often party to this kind of violence, both as victims and as perpetrators?  Most important, when and how can we finally mend/heal/soothe the wounds and move forward into a civilization that truly values and is capable of non-violence?

Art in the Orchard

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Here are some more photos from our adventure to the “Art in the Orchard” exhibit today (http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art).  If you’re anywhere near the Western Massachusetts area, I highly suggest you come check it out.  It’s totally worth the trip.

The one above was my favorite, I think.  I’m kicking myself for not taking a photo of the title card, but it’s called “Living in Landscape” by Lyn Horan (http://www.carolynlyonshoran.com/).  I just found out that she’s an instructor at one of my favorite local artist retreats/studio communities, Snow Farm (http://www.snowfarm.org/instructor/items/lyn-horan.html).

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This one is amazing (and the reason I desperately to learn to weld).  And there’s the info on it (I actually remembered to photograph the card.

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The piano hanging from the tree was super cool, but the title, “Death of Music” made me sad.  He said that he was trying to represent censorship in music, but all I could think of was the loss of another instrument in the world (it might also be because my mom was a piano teacher when I was growing up).

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I sent my brother a couple pictures as we were leaving and he went to the exhibit later that afternoon and took some amazing photos.  Here’s his post of a photo of this one (with a rainbow that he was luckily enough to catch):  http://lorrinbaker.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/rainbow-and-horse-sculpture-art-in-the-orchard-easthampton-ma/.  These weren’t my favorite sculptures (they were called Ghost Horses in a installation titled “Herd” by Joe Landry) but I love the view with the clouds rolling in.  It actually started raining just as we finished picking our second basket of apples.  I think we must have gotten almost 1/2 a bushel.  The wife’s going to have a field day in the kitchen tomorrow while the boy and I are at church.

My favorite part of the day was this huge red frame created by a local frame shop, Eastmont Custom Framing.  (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eastmont-Custom-Framing-and-The-Elusie-Gallery/175553662476120)  They challenged people to photograph themselves in and around the frame and post the photos on their Facebook page.  We had a blast with that:

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Up, up, and away!

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Arabesque.

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The family.  🙂

My boy’s favorite part, he said, was getting this close to a chicken.  It’s the simple pleasures!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: From Lines to Patterns

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The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is “From Lines to Patterns” (http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/lines-patterns/).  Today we went to a pop-up sculpture garden in a nearby orchard called “Art in the Orchard” and had an amazing time.  (http://www.parkhillorchard.com/art)  I took this photo of a shed that was covered in mirrors on the outside and the inside was a huge, walk in pinhole camera obscura.  It was amazing.  I think this fits the theme with the lines on the reflected image from the seams of the mirrors (part of the cool part of the mirror panels was that they were all different sizes, seemingly “found mirrors”).  I took pictures of several of the little signs detailing info about the pieces and the artists, but am kicking myself for not getting this one.  All I can find about it on-line is that it’s called “Shed” by Maggie Nowinski (http://maggienowinski.com/)

Here are a couple of my favorites from this week’s collection:

Illuminating the Invisible posted a series of black and white photos from the Otago University campus and wrote about her experience in such a beautiful way: http://illuminatingtheinvisible24.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/from-lines-to-patterns/.

Women Who Think Too Much has a few, very different, entries.  One groups is of aerial photos, which I love.  This one is a pattern of palm branches and maybe some kind of starfish?  I can’t tell, but it’s beautiful (and reminiscent of a mandala).   http://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

And these, from WryGrass, are of Fort Macon.  They really remind me of a fort that we had an amazing time exploring on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico (El Moro in Old San Juan).  I took several pictures with similar angles and viewpoints.  I love her perspective.  http://wrygrass.com/2013/09/21/weekly-photo-challenge-from-lines-to-patterns/

Hope you enjoy exploring some other photos from these week’s prompt.

Found poetry

I posted a couple days ago about getting a Gelli plate, which I’m totally thrilled with.   I used my art journal to try it out and made a couple really neat backgrounds, which I used tonight.  Here’s my post about making them:  https://craftymadre.com/2013/09/11/gelli-madness/.  This month, Stampotique Designer’s Challenge is challenging people to “Try a new technique” (http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/sdc116-try-new-technique.html), so I did.

Not only was the gelli plate background new to me, but I also tried my hand at “Found Poetry“.   I first heard about it on this blog, http://slowdownsunday.org/2013/08/06/color-this-quote/, but have seen it a few times since and been really intrigued.  She kindly included this really great guide on how to write them, as well:  https://secure.ncte.org/library/NCTEFiles/Resources/Books/Sample/18488chap1.pdf .  It’s basically taking words from an existing piece (a book, a newspaper article, a magazine cover, the bathroom wall) and rearranging them to make your own poem.

My first attempt at found poetry was on my new prayer journal, an idea I got from one of my favorite bloggers:  Molly Lolly Loo (http://mollylollyloo.blogspot.com/search/label/Art%20Journal).  I’ve been reading Jan Richardson’s “In the Sanctuary of Women” (http://www.sanctuaryofwomen.com/) in preparation for a retreat I’m attending that’s being led by her at the end of the month.  It’s such an inspiring book that I wanted a dedicated place to keep my thoughts as I’m reading.  So, I took a plain old Composition Book (thanks to the $1 back-to-school sale at Staples) and decoupaged some pictures from National Geographic on it as my “canvas”.  I used words from the catalogue of the retreat center to create “poems” on the front and back.  The whole process was really amazing.  Here’s what I ended up with:

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Well, I loved the process so much that I tried it again in my art journal on top of my gelli prints, this time with cut out words from “The Wisdom of the Hindus”.  (I created an altered book with it about a year ago but had several pages left over that I cut out to give myself more room for embellishments.)  Here are both pages in tonight’s gelli plate spread:

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I decorated them both with black Sharpie and White Pitt Pen after, and I really like them.  The sun was actually ANOTHER new technique.  I used my new brayer (gotta love 40% off at Michaels) to put yellow acrylic craft paint over a piece of scrapbook paper to kind of “alter” it.

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I cut out the sun and glued in on the middle of the page, pasting the cut-out word “grace” in the middle.  So simple yet so satisfying.

Mandala Monday

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Happy Mandala Monday!  I stole some time away from dinner tonight (it’s actually Sunday, don’t tell) to work on this mandala before the sun set.  My boy’s a notoriously slow eater, so his other mom sat with him while I puttered in the garden clipping some of my beautifully blooming plants.  Here’s what I used:

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The marigolds are from a huge bush that I put in my garden to help ward off pests from the tomatoes, but it’s kind of taken over (it’s okay, though, it was in the corner with the cucumber and that’s done for the year).  I love how vibrant the orange is and I really love the way it looks with the purple.  And the vine is growing up the side of my back porch. I love the way they look, but I know they’re not at all good for the siding (which was pretty poorly constructed to begin with).  When I first tried to shape it for the outside of the mandala, it made a kind of a loose heart shape.

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Have a beautiful week!