The art and craft of pysanky

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The Fall Show 2016

rcartsThe City of Rancho Cordova is doing a great job of promoting the arts!  Visual arts, public art, and performing arts all are celebrated and supported well by the Cordova Community Council.

 

The Fall Show 2016 Opening Reception will be held Thursday, October 13, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in the lobby of the Rancho Cordova City Hall, 2729 Prospect Drive, Rancho Cordova, California 95670.  Stop by to meet the artists and enjoy the great variety of art on display .

 

I have three eggs on display at this show and as an added bonus I’ll be playing Baroque music with the string trio Camerata Cordova at the reception beginning at 5:30 PM.

It’s a God Thing!

Let me show you just how much God loves me.  First I have to take you back a few years when Dave and I were at the REI Raincoatgarage sale shopping for raincoats.  Sorting through all the racks of styles and sizes we came up with a dark grey coat for him but the only coat in my size was an incredibly ugly green.  I’m not kidding, the color on the tag said “Bog/Moss.”  At 50% off I figured I could live with it, but I was definitely not a happy camper.  We bought the coats and when we got home Dave had the brilliant idea of checking the online outlet.  Miracle of miracles, for the same price they had the same coat in my size, but it was brown with rose accents on the sleeve.  We bought it, returned the ugly green thing to the store and I breathed a great sigh of relief.

 

bootsFast forward to 2016 which finds Dave and I preparing for a long walk in northern Spain, the Camino de Santiago.  This, of course, involves properly equipping ourselves for the journey which means REI is now our new favorite store.  First off we needed sturdy, lightweight boots.  One more a trip to the REI garage sale and Dave got great boots in his size at half price but this time there is nothing for me.  As we waited in the incredibly long check-out line I found a good pair of boots on the clearance rack in my size.  And they were brown with rose-colored laces.  It’s a sign, I just know it.

 

 

backpackNow to find our backpacks.  Dave did weeks of research to find the perfect balance of size, style, and weight.  Off to REI once more and we discover those backpacks come in male and female versions.  And the female version sitting right there on the shelf is a lovely shade of rose.  Wow, it matches my boots and my raincoat.  God loves me!

 

traveltowelSince we will be carrying everything in our backpacks we needed to buy small lightweight travel towels.  And so we can tell ours apart we bought two different colors.  Dave got blue and mine is…you guessed it rose pink.

 

Lastly I knew I needed some sort of close-toed sandal to wear as an alternative to the boots.  Scouring the shelves on all the outdoor stores in our local area we came up empty.  Then one afternoon we happened to be in Roseville and stopped into an outdoor store we rarely frequent.  Without much hope I asked at the counter about the sandals.  As the sales clerk quickly walked to the back of the store, she called over her shoulder, “What size?”  Now you have to understand here that while I am about 5 foot 4 inches tall, I wear a whopping size 10 shoe.  I am definitely under-tall for my feet!  The store was practically empty so when I yelled back, “Size 10,” it felt like it echoed endlessly off the shelves.  Talk about embarrassing!  By this time the clerk had reached the shoe section and she called back, “Wow, we have one pair here on the sales rack and they’re your size.”  I ran back to find her holding up a box of closed-toed Keens and guess what color they were?  A beautiful shade of rose.  I am not kidding.  These big boats match my backpack and my boots, and my raincoat perfectly.  Unbelievable.sandals

 

And that’s how God showed me just how much He loves me.

Two More Classes Coming Soon!

This just in…Two Ukrainian Egg Workshops on Saturday March 12, 2016

9:30 AM to 12 PM — Introductory Class

Darkredradiatingstarlarge1301413This basic class is for anyone who wants to take the first steps in making these colorful eggs.  No previous experience or skill needed.

1 to 3:30 PM–Trypillian Egg Decorating

1600313webIn this class we will use the same layering of wax and dyes as in the introductory class, but work on a very different style of Ukrainian egg.

To sign up contact Carmichael Recreation and Park District.  For more details and to register, click here.

Working in Series

Sometimes design ideas just pour out of my head and onto the eggs and I can’t find enough studio time to complete them all.

 

Then there are other times when I sit staring at a clean white egg and experience what I call “Blank-egg-o-phobia.”

 

You know the feeling.  You want to create and yet you sit and stare at that unstarted project and the longer you sit and stare, the harder it is to get started and pretty soon you realize that your studio is a mess and you should really organize it better but first you need to move everything off your table and you discover it is incredibly dusty which requires a trip to the kitchen to get the cleaning supplies where you remember that you forgot to unload the dishwasher and two hours later you finally come back to your studio and decide you’ll try again tomorrow.

 

Please tell me I’m not alone here.

 

So how do I get past this?  Artists everywhere have discovered that working “in a series” can help unleash creativity again.  A “series” just means creating a body of work with a common theme.  It doesn’t even matter whether you decide to link all your work by color, texture, subject, or style, a series will provide definition and boundaries.

 

It’s very counterintuitive, but limiting my choices requires me to think more deeply about the subject.  It’s an opportunity to explore those ideas fully and to learn from each step.  The same rules that limit me will keep me on track but free me to get creative in discovering new solutions to design problems.  Fear of ruining a piece can keep me stuck but working in multiples can get me unstuck.

 

As I started thinking about this topic, I noticed that God also works in series.  Think about trees, for instance.  God designed all trees with the same basic parts… roots, trunks, branches, leaves.  That could get boring pretty quickly but God, the infinitely creative artist, started playing with all those parts using color and shape and size.  I’d venture to say there is an infinite variation in the tree world but all within the boundaries of those same boring parts…roots, trunks, branches, leaves.  Take a look around you.  It’s not just in trees, it’s in everything…clouds, rivers, rocks, and people too.  Absolutely everything shows God’s creative handiwork within a set of rules.

 

The lesson here?  Rules are your friend both in art and in life.

 

Returning to my studio here…Let me give you a peek at my latest series.  Quite a contrast to my usual multi-colored eggs with lots of fine lines, these Trypillian-style eggs require only three colors…white, brown and black.  The designs are very bold, simple and repetitive but as a group I find them fascinating.  Hope you enjoy them too.

NewTryp01

Save the Date!

It’s never too soon to start planning for summer fun.  And if you want fun, friendship and unhurried time to explore the art of pysanky then this retreat should go right to the top of your list.  Beginner to expert skill levels are all welcome.

 

Pysanky USA Retreat 2016

July 12-16, 2016

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Jim's new toilet seat

A little unabashed advertising here…I will be teaching “Quilt-inspired Eggs” and “Egg Mosaics” classes at this retreat and there are lots of other great classes by a variety of very experienced teachers.

 

Here is the website for more info.

The Northern California Eggstravaganza

The Northern California Eggstravaganza

March 5 and 6, 2016, at the Crown Plaza Northeast, 5321 Date Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95841.

 

VA56_Pysanky-15This annual egg show and sale is coming quickly so mark your calendars now.  I will be teaching two classes on Saturday, March 5, as well as selling pysanky eggs and egg jewelry in the showroom all weekend.

 

Click here for details on these classes.

It’s Calendar Time Again

This just in…the 2016 Incredible Egg Calendar is finished and it’s beautiful.  So many wonderful artists around the world contributed photos.  I’m honored to report a couple of mine made the cut.

IE2016calendarcover

Clicking on the above photo will take you to the calendar page at Lulu.com and once you are there click on the tiny word “Preview” directly underneath the cover photo to scroll through the month by month photos.

 

Enjoy!