Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Makoto Tojiki's glowing creations

I'm back, and I've got a ton of great stuff to share with y'all, including this cool lamp by Makoto Tojiki:

I also love his Archimedes' dream. Look closely and you can see numbers running the entire length of it. 

And if I were in Tokyo right now, you'd better believe I'd be headed down to the SaloneSatellite to see The Man with no Shadow, a life-sized LED sculpture:

[via MoCo Loco]

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

back soon

If it's seems kind of quiet around here, that's because I'm spending my week teaching epidemiology and biodiversity to gifted 4th- and 5th-graders. Between teaching, cleanup, commuting, and revising the next day's lesson plans, I haven't had much time for blogging. I'll be back next week, after the classes and this upcoming craft fair: 

Until then…

Monday, June 15, 2009

Crafting for a cause: Made4Aid

Another craft site launched today -- but this one is different. Made4Aid auctions off quality handcrafted items to raise money for charity. Right now their proceeds benefit the World Food Programme and are earmarked for refugee camps in Darfur -- the situation there is still terrible even though it's not in the news as much these days.


So how can you help? Easy!
  • Bid on one of the items being auctioned here. Right now they're featuring this handmade felted wool bag: 
  • Donate handmade items to be auctioned off. Info here.
  • Spread the word! Blog it, tweet it, tell your mom.
  • Make a cash donation. Info here.
I'll be donating some handmade jewelry. Best of luck to Made4Aid in getting this cool venture off the ground!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Janet Waters, macro photographer extraordinaire [Sunday shout-out]

I love cafes that serve tea in clear mugs because that gives me an additional view as the milk swirls in. So imagine my delight at finding the work of Janet Waters, who specializes in macro photography of liquids. Swirls and bubbles all day!

Janet finds grace and mystery in the combination of everyday liquids. Each of her compositions tells a new story. Take a look:  

Division, by Janet Waters (jedw.40cat on Flickr).

Heliosphere, from the "Greetings from Jupiter" series.

Shoot, from the "Cosmic girl" series.

Being, from the "Figurative" series.

Janet was kind enough to answer a few questions in addition to letting me use her photos here. After you read the interview, be sure to check out the rest of her photos on her Flickr site.

BMCB: How did you get your start in photography?

JW: I began taking photos from a young age - more seriously when I was about 11. I always thought of it as a hobby and didn't really make a connection with earning a living! It was only when a very dear friend of mine suggested I should go to College (at the age of 25!) that I decided I was going to try to make a career out of it. So I got accepted for a foundation course in art and from there went on to do a degree in Documentary Photography - both at Newport Uni, Wales. I then went on to complete a PGCE in secondary education at Bristol UWE.

Have you always been drawn to macro photography?

I only recently started enjoying macro photography - because I bought a Ricoh GX100 and discovered the amazing macro range it has.

What inspired you to start taking photos of liquids?

I was experimenting with light and texture to begin with. Then, one day I was having a bubble bath and realised how odd-looking the foam was. This inspired me to set up a shoot immediately after the bath and try to capture what I had seen….

I suppose it was a natural progression to begin using liquids - I wanted to capture bubbles and their intricate structure, but incorporating colour - and liquids seemed the best way forward.

What goes into one of your liquids & bubbles series photos? How planned are they?

I have always enjoyed painting, but lack the discipline and perserverence necessary to become accomplished. I also get frustrated because I cannot translate my ideas easily onto canvas. 
Using liquids as my "photographic paint" has opened up the best of both worlds for me.

When I'm thinking about a new series of shots - I go shopping! I investigate and buy cheap liquids available at my local pound shops and then play around with them to see how they react with each other. If something interesting happens, I spend a couple of hours playing with the medium and trying out colours, etc.

What's the creative process like for you in general?

Generally, I have spurts of huge creativity and then a couple of weeks or even months when I produce nothing. I can physically feel the ideas building up within me...

Who are your artistic influences?

My influences come from numerous sources. Parr, Lux, Pollock, Rothko, Monet, Meyerowitz, Van Gogh - anywhere and everywhere. I am also hugely into quantum mechanics/physics (although my depth of knowledge is extremely shallow) and the writings of the wonderful Deepak Chopra. There are too many influences to name - my students often play a part. They can inspire me to come up with ideas and suggest new approaches.

Do you have any advice for the beginning photographer?

First and foremost advice to budding photographers is to take A LOT of photos. Get used to trying out different compositions, move the camera around the subject, play with your white balance and shutter speeds. Don't be afraid to try out ideas - it doesn't matter if it doesn't work as long as you understand WHY it doesn't work.

Oh, and get used to using tripods - they can make such a difference to any type of image.

Finally - photography is the best skill I ever learnt. It has stood me in good stead - and earnt me good money too. It is a fantastic hobby and you can pick it up whenever you feel like it.

Anything else you'd like to share with my readers?

I would recommend taking photos to everyone. My dad didn't start til he was 60 - now he is 74 and retired, but has so much [to] work on, he has to turn jobs down!


Past Sunday shout-outs:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Call for art! Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP

The Re:Vision Gallery at SCRAP is a fine re-use art gallery in Portland, OR. I think they're pretty damn cool, but I'm biased: I volunteer there. Check out their website for more info. Please feel free to forward this call for art. 

Call for Art
ReUnion: Self

Show dates: July 1-31, 2009
Opening reception: Friday, July 3rd, 6-8 pm
Format: wall mounted work in a salon style exhibition
Size: one inch to 6 feet
Content: 75% reuse materials

Submission Guidelines: Artists may submit up to three separate pieces of work; however, only one may be included in the exhibition. Please send up to two jpeg images per piece. Include a description of each piece, including size. Please include a statement in direct response to the show title and how your work fits with that theme.

Email this information to scrapgallery@gmail.com

Deadline: Monday, June 22nd at 5 pm
Decisions: Work will be juried by the SCRAP Art Gallery Committee and selected artists will be notified by Wednesday, June 24th.

Reunion - Re*un”ion
1. A second union; union formed anew after separation, secession, or discord; as, a reunion of parts or particles of matter; a reunion of parties or sects.
2. An assembling of persons who have been separated, as of a family, or the members of a disbanded regiment; an assembly so composed.

Self - (sělf)
1. a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one’s own self.
2. a person’s nature, character, etc.: his better self.
3. Philosophy.
a. the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
b. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

What does it mean to you?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Scotland highlights, part 1: Glasgow to Oban

I'm back in Portland after a wonderfully relaxing vacation in Scotland. I've pared down my photos as much as I can…this will be post 1 of 4 about my trip. Bear with me. 


My mom and I flew into Glasgow and spent three days exploring the city and recovering from our our jet lag. A guide book might call Glasgow "up and coming" or "transitioning." I'll call it awkward. The city was like one big shopping mall spread out in the lower floors of the city's Victorian buildings. Most things were only open from 9 to 5, which made for a lot of bustle in the middle of the day. Glasgow lacks the grandeur of many European cities, but it has its charms if you look a little closer.

My favorite part of Glasgow was the huge necropolis ("city of the dead"). I'm always interested in how different cultures treat their dead, and this sprawling cemetery was fascinating. Plus, the weather was perfect for walking.  

This is one of the many ornately carved gravestones that we found throughout Scotland.

My second favorite thing (a very close second) was tea at the Willow Tea Room, an Art Nouveau building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904. The tea service included smoked salmon, cucumber, and egg sandwiches (bottom tier in the photo), scones and shortbread with cream and jam (middle tier), and ginormous meringues stuck together with cream and served with fresh fruit (top tier). We were very stuffed, and very happy. 

Things got more exciting on day 4, when we rented a car and headed north along Loch Lomond. 

Driving on the left wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but I never quite got used to it. The signage was hard to get used to, too. We got a little lost between the rental car lot and the freeway, but once we were pointed in the right direction it was smooth sailing. 

We stopped for lunch in the picturesque village of Luss, on Loch Lomond. 

We passed a lot of rugged hills… 

…and a nearly infinite number of sheep. The lambs were a little camera-shy. 

We stopped for the night in Oban, a beautiful harbor town in the Southern Highlands. This was the view from our room at the Invercloy Guest House (which I highly recommend). 

Looking back up from the city center, you can see our guest house just to the left of the smokestack. The big Roman-looking structure is called McCraig's tower. 

And here's a view of Oban Bay near sunset. 

From here we headed north toward the Isle of Skye, but that will have to wait for the next post…