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I bumped into my stained glass instructor, of many years ago, Mrs. Rachel Bissette, at a garage sale.  Rachel is a talented stained glass artist, a good, dedicated teacher, and a beautiful human being. Not only has she been a good instructor, with loads of patience, good advice, and humor, but she would also make sure the class have plenty of glass scraps to work with, always an extra soldering iron or anything else that’s needed (and we always needed something), coffee and cookies, and… class trips to glass factories,  which is the equivalent of Disney World for a kid. Not less.

After we had our laughs, and brought up shared memories, I made up my mind to go back to her class next Fall. I got that stained glass itch again…

Meanwhile, here are some of my stained glass creations. Nothing grand, but certainly fun. I gave some as gifts, and did not have the sense to photograph beforehand.

Enjoy.

Bzzzz

Bzzzz

Put on your dancing shoes

Put on your dancing shoes

The very hungry caterpillar

The very hungry caterpillar

Fall Leaf

Fall Leaf

Tiny Fairy

Tiny Fairy

Coffee Jar covered with mosaic

Coffee Jar covered with mosaic

Colored Feathered Bird

A lighted Chanukia, for Chanukah

and… a  lit Chanukia

Mr. Owl

Mr. Owl

Mosaic at my (then) kitchen window

Mosaic at my (then) kitchen window

Sea Scene- given as a gift to my neighbor

Window Sea Scene- given as a gift to my neighbor

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You may recall an earlier post, where I wrote with astonishment about Agata Olek’s art. Well, she did it again. She does not stop. This time we visited the open studios @ the AAI– down at the Lower East Side.

It started off at the corridor, where my kids discovered 2 crocheted figures, standing and offering toasted cheese sandwiches.

crocheted people serving stringed toast

with the artist, Agata Olek

The cheese seemed to be part of the display, being melted into a long, continued piece of (cheese)yarn. Thus, my very own little guy became part of the display by accepting (more like grabbing) that toasted sandwich, curiously gazing at the crocheted people, and munching, only to find out the sandwich is connected by (cheese)yarn to the very next sandwich, and so on. After three (!) such sandwiches, I stepped in to stop it. The reports from the battle field state that the sandwiches were yummy! Also, a passerby dog was caught eating the string (cheese).

dog enjoying the crochet display

We later stepped into Olek’s studio to find more crocheted gems.

shorthand crochet

crocheted balloons !

crocheted slide

Our magical journey continued with a musical setting, crocheted of course.

crocheted drummer

Our final surprise came as we left the building. The kids just loved the bicycle. You guessed it. It was crocheted.

crocheted bicycle

For a balanced justice, I must also bring your attention to some other talented artists that I especially liked:

Elaine Carl at her studio

Linda Byrne's recycled plastics

Tutte, oil on linen, from the Self Deceit series by Jennifer Mazza

Check out Linda Griggs interesting use of Walnut Ink she produces herself:

paintings with walnut ink- Linda Griggs

Finally, a little word about the Lower East Side. Walking the streets at that part of town is fun, lots of little stores, cafes and even galleries. A very nice place to have either lunch or dinner, with the kids, was the Noodle Bar at Stanton & Orchard. Decent sized dishes at a decent price. Kids and noodles- you can’t go wrong.

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woodblock printing

Casbah, woodblock, reduction, color

I took a course that involved traditional printing methods with woodblock, and linoleum. The art and craft of printmaking is composed of three main branches: The creative idea or the composition, the planning, and the execution that results in a final print. Thanks to my teacher I was hooked. These are my very first prints, a bit naive perhaps, but I am ready to explore and experiment more and more.

Lior, woodblock b/w

monoprint b/w

monoprint color

Abstract 1, woodblock b/w

Abstract 2, linoleum b/w

city, woodblock b/w

Shteitle, linoleum b/w

tree trunk, wood, b/w

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floating gracefully

floating gracefully

So we had a party coming up. A BIG party. We needed to decorate a large hall. I schlepped around some party stores that sell a tiny decorative item for at least $2. For a larger item, the price blows up like crazy. I wasn’t ready to spend a lot of money, though I must admit that I have bought some decorations. Call it party fear factor.

Making it a family project, we sat around the table and started to prepare some decorations. we had fun and laughs  making them. Whether or not they’re cool, they sure are original. I call it: the jellyfish decor. That’s what they remind me of.

jellifish decor

jellyfish decor

wait, don’t throw: colorful plastic bags, plastic bottle (such as your empty organic apple juice).

to do:

  • Flatten the plastic bag, then cut off the top to remove the handles, and the bottom to remove the closed end. Fold the bag lengthwise several times,  then cut strips (between an inch to 2 inches wide) thus creating plastic rings.

making plastic rings

putting my brother to work into cutting plastic rings. he's good.

  • now that we have many colorful rings, we’ll take our empty, clean and dry plastic bottle and cut it into… aha… more plastic rings. On second thought, it’s more like slicing the bottle, like so:

plastic slices

plastic slices. Use a utility knife or scissors

  • now, we need to tie the plastic bag rings onto the plastic circle we created. Wrap the ring around the circle and pull out through the ring itself. Nothing like a picture to demonstrate:

wind plastic rings around plastic slice

wind plastic rings around plastic circle

  • cover the whole circle with many colorful, dangling rings, till it looks like- a jellyfish when you play around with it. You then attach a string to two sides of the circle, to be able to hang it high up on the ceiling. Make many jellyfish to brighten up any party.
  • and…we also managed to create yet another cool colorful chain from the plastic bag left-overs- by tying them to one another, and tying balloons on.
balloon chain

balloon chain

did I mention recycle?

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glued in place cardboard

glued in place cardboard

I’m getting there. Still, lots to do.

Hmmm, what’s it gonna look like?

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At last, I finished all the measuring, the cuts, the pieces. Next step would be assembling it all together.

first revelation of my new project

cardboard pieces standing like soldiers

I am SURE some of you have ideas, right?

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Agata Olek crochet art

Agata Olek crochet art

I was lucky enough to visit  the Williamsburg Art & Historical Center in Brooklyn, for the Women Forward show a few months back. Art creations were quite varied from one another and were distinguished by ideas, material, and medium, yet their only common denominator seemed to be that they were all created by women.

The most striking art piece(s) for me, was the one created by Agata Olek, a polish artist, who has re-discovered her crochet skills in NY, and the rest is history and miles of yarn. Olek crocheted a living room and some living… people. It was absolutely fascinating, colorful and creative. I kept thinking how long it took her to crochet.

I strongly suggest you peek into Agata Olek web site to enjoy her great concepts, sometimes real humurous.

any comments?

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