On February 17th, 2011 I first blogged about the inside security tint envelope, also known as the security pattern envelope. Little did I know that it would be such a popular post! As of publishing, that original post has attracted 1,043 views, making it the second most popular subject on my blog, and the third most viewed page of my blog! I sure am glad to know I’m not the only one who finds these patterns interesting.
After my Envelope Inspiration post I wrote about security patterns a couple more times, sharing my growing collection (and other people’s collections) and a Father’s Day craft using the patterns. Despite these posts, the original continues to be the most popular to date. After posting on the subject I began to collect the patterns in earnest. Since those posts about two years ago, my collection has grown substantially. Tonight I spent some time scanning my collection, and I have 77 different patterns.* My collection has been amassed through my personal mail as well as envelopes acquired through the family business. To this day I continue to be on the lookout, and opening mail to discover a new pattern is always like finding hidden treasure.
*The number of patterns I have in my collection is disputable because I consider patterns of the same motif but different in scale, ink color, or print density to be different patterns. For example, a weave pattern in blue and black I consider to be two different patterns, and a tight weave and a loose weave I consider to be two different patterns. (As a disclaimer, there is the possibility that I accidentally scanned the same one twice because I was too tired to notice.)
Because my viewers find the security pattern envelopes to be so fascinating, I’ll treat you with an update of my collection. I encourage you to visit my older posts on the subject, as well as the collections of other people listed on a separate post. If you know of a sizeable collection of envelope security patterns available for viewing on the internet, I’d love to hear your recommendations! Just post in the comments below.
Recently the Sustainability Stewards, TERRA, and student government at the College of Idaho worked together to bring us the event TOMS Style Your Sole. In case you’re unfamiliar, with TOMS, it’s a shoe company dedicated to sustainable materials, and for each pair of shoes they sell, they give a free pair of shoes to barefoot children in developing countries. So buying a pair of TOMS shoes is not only a way of procuring fashionable, comfortable, eco-friendly shoes, they’re also guaranteeing that you’re helping someone in need.
The idea of the Style Your Sole event is to buy basic, plain white TOMS and then decorate them with your own signature style. When groups or organizations do this, they’re ensuring that many pairs of shoes will be donated. This spring the College of Idaho held a Style Your Sole event. I bought a pair of white TOMS to decorate. I made it my first art project of the summer to decorate them with my interpretation of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Now I have a pair of comfortable shoes that convey my love of art to anyone who sees them.
I realized I still haven’t posted the final jewelry pieces I created for my class in winter term. It’s time I did so. Part of my hesitation was the rather poor quality of the photos I took, but I realize now I don’t have time to stage them nice. These will have to do.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. This brings with it an instant love of owls, keys, and fleur-de-lis. Our chapter also happens to be pretty crafty. We like to have craft nights where some of the girls get together and do craft projects.
Our most recent craft project was making miniature owls out of baking clay. We were inspired by a picture of clay owls based on the owls of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. I’m not sure who created the owls in the picture which originally inspired us, so I’m hesitant to post the picture without giving credit. I can however direct you to similar clay owls I’ve found on Etsy (two shops).
Here are some owls by GryphOriginals of Etsy.
Then there are clay owls by Calicoowls of Etsy.
We figured these looked like they would be pretty easy to make. They were so adorable we couldn’t resist. So I bought some plain white Sculpey baking clay. We shaped the clay into little balls and added some details with our fingernails and the back tips of paintbrushes. Then we baked them and painted them with acrylic paint. The end result is pretty adorable. I’ll share some pictures, but I didn’t get pictures of everyone’s work, and not everyone painted their owlies.
The owls my sisters and I made.
On January 6th I had the unexpected pleasure of visiting Fusions Glass Studio in Eagle, Idaho. Because it was the first Friday of the month, I also was able to experience what they call “First Friday.” The first Friday of the month they are open for extended hours and open up their studio to crafters of all experience levels. Their tools and materials are available for use, and knowledgeable studio helpers are on hand to help out. The best part is all visitors are welcomed to make a free glass pendant during their visit on First Friday. Other projects are available of course, for varying fees.
I greatly enjoyed my experience at Fusions. The staff was very helpful, including the owner’s very knowledgable daughter. She was so friendly, enthusiastic, and professional, for a ten-year old (I think that’s what they said her age was)! The helpers were very attentive, and the atmosphere was great. A lot of people, like myself, chose to make pendants. After agonizing over my design for what seemed like forever, I made my first pendant. Then, because I had so many other ideas, I chose to make three more for $15.
Aside from the pendant project, they also offer a variety of other walk-in projects on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays:
- $15 – 3 jewelry pendants or magnets or 3×4 suncatcher
- $25 – picture frame
- $25 – night light
- $25 – 7×7 sun catcher
- $25 – 4 drawer pulls
- $25 – 3 wire wrapped Christmas trees
- $30 – draped votive holder
- $35 – 6×6 dish
- $35 – Name Sign
- $35 – Pencil holder or treasure box (NEW)
They also offer Technique Tuesdays, open studio, and classes. Check out their website for more information, including specific days and hours. If you’re interested, also follow their facebook page.
If this post wasn’t clear enough, I really enjoyed my experience at Fusions and I recommend them to you. I hope I’ll be able to return and experience more of what they have to offer.
So we have a really neat resource on campus, called the Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History. It’s right here on campus at the College of Idaho, under the math and science building, Boone. It has a lot of fine specimens available to study. I’ve visited this museum a few times with art classes, and used the museum’s displays for sketching practice and inspiration.
On my most recent visit I was charged with creating a portrait composition, inspired by things on display. I ended up settling on a sketch of our model sitting in front of a stuffed and mounted zebra bust. Later, when I went to pursue the project further, I ended up blocking out the values of the stripes and the shadows on the model’s face, comic style. As I was doing so, I was inspired to combine the stripes of the zebra with the hair of the model. I flushed out the idea with water-soluble pencils. It took me about three days to finish the very tedious piece, but I very much like it. The most difficult part for me, aside from the stripes, was deciding how to capture the value of the model’s face. I felt like the face needed three values – white, gray, and dark gray – but I was limiting myself to only two. It was challenging for me to ignore the mid-tones. I don’t think it’s my usual style, though the illusionistic morphing of the model and the zebra reminded me of my figure drawing final project.
It’s the end of week two of our month long winter term. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s wearing on me. I used to say “I could do art all day long!” or “I wish art was the only class I had.” I still love art, I truly do, but having art classes for six hours a day is beginning to try my patience. It becomes physically exhausting, being hunched over a drawing board, fingers tightly gripped around a small pencil, eyes straining to see details. When I’m not drawing I’m making jewelry, and my finger tips are covered in tiny nicks and cuts from the sharp ends of cut wire.
But all griping aside, I feel that I’m making a lot of progress in both classes, especially so in the portraits. I’ve been practicing drawing the features for most of my homework assignments (in a sketch book), and I can see evidence of this practice showing up in my live-model class drawings. The features are looking more realistic, and I’m getting a little bit closer to making my pictures accurately resemble the models.
Since this homework has been helping me a lot, and it’s fun to watch my progression, I thought I’d share some of my practice in my sketchbook. Keep in mind that I do better at replicating portraits from 2D photos than I do with real models. Some of the drawings are studies of David Cobley’s paintings, and were assigned by my professor.