Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I'm a-Pickin' - and I'm also a-Grinnin'!

(Hee hee - sorry for the terrible "Hee Haw" reference in the title - but it's pretty appropriate!)  :D

HOLY MOLY!!  I had the most amazing experience a couple of weeks ago - a real, live pick!

My friend Suze has a friend in Milwaukee who recently purchased a building in Milwaukee's trendy Third Ward.  This area used to be known as Commerce Row, and there were many wholesale grocers and produce warehouses there.  The building we were in just so happened to house one of these wholesalers for over 100 years!

And some of the items we found were almost 100 years old.  Oh my goodness gracious me.  You can see us picking through one of the ENORMOUS boxes in the warehouse, here:

I can honestly say that I've never been so filthy in my whole life.  There was also 100 years of dirt in that warehouse!  :D

Alright, enough talk - onto the actual ephemera we picked!!

Some of the items we found were in bulk, like these fantastic new-old stock cellophane celery wrappers:

Most of the ones we found were in packages that have never been opened, even though they appear to be 60-70 years old!  Here is the package, with a FANTASTIC Du Pont label on its side!  We must have about 1500 of these!  :D

We also found a couple thousand of these Schmidt-Gaertner tags.....

....also in their original boxes!  We have THREE full boxes of these!  :D

I also have enough checks for every ephemera collage that could ever be created from now until Rapture.  :) These are only 25 years old, but they'll be cut up or shredded anyway.  Plus - three colors!  :D

We also found TONS of these old Western Union and Chicago, Milwaukee and Lake Superior Telegraph Co. telegraphs!!  SO cool, and some of them even have those fantastic cinderella stamps still affixed!  :D

The most varied thing we found were dozens and dozens of these envelopes from the '20s and '30s....

....and each of them has different ephemera!  Here is what was in the above envelope - check out that AWESOME thermograph!!

There were also HUNDREDS of fruit crates.  The crates themselves were not in the best of shape, but we managed to salvage the side with the labels.  Here is the container with the best of them:

As you've probably figured out, I got that "I'm on crack" feeling when doing this pick.  The three of us kept saying over, and over, "Look at this!", or "OMG!  Check this out!!".  It was SO fun.  And it was so nice of Suze's friend to let us have first dibs on this incredible ephemera!!  WOO HOO!!!

As soon as I create any collages with this amazing stuff, I will post it.  Now, I'm off to the studio!  :D

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Useful Ephemera!

Have you ever picked up ephemera at an estate sale, rummage sale or salvage store purely for its design and nostalgic qualities, only to discover later that this thing you bought actually serves a useful purpose?

That very thing happened to me last night!

I was packaging up my new stamp sets (available HERE!) and was using these bags that were the perfect width, but were far too long.  I had to cut off about half of it in order to put my customized wrapper on top. What a waste!

But wait......

TA-DA!!  Isn't this AWESOME?!  I bought this lovely thing about three years ago at one of my favorite stores - American Science and Surplus in Milwaukee.  It is in PERFECT condition - I'm willing to be that this was sitting in some warehouse somewhere for the last 40 years.  I paid $2.95 for it and was planning on using it solely for the awesome kitch factor here on the box....

See the 1970 copyright at the bottom?
I was 2 when this product was made!  :D

....and in this instruction booklet, too!  But because I didn't want to waste the other half of the bag, I thought I'd give it a try.  

You can tell that this product is from 1970 - check out the directions!  There's no idiot-proofing, no legalese, no ridiculous safety precautions - in fact, on the first page it says it's so easy, even a child can use it!  That would NEVER fly today - can you imagine the lawsuits?

Oh, and take a gander at this two-pronged plug - YIKES!!!  When's the last time you saw one of these?  And thanks for letting me know that's it's a plug by including the universal sign for "shock" right on the thing!  :D

My kit didn't come with the roll of plastic that was supposed to be included, but I didn't need it anyway and after 43 years, I'm sure it would've been as brittle as old cellophane tape.  

Okay!  I'm ready to use the machine!  Ready, set....nothin'.  (Oh, but can we talk for a minute about the AWESOME "wood" paneling paired with the au courant avocado fashion color?  SWOON!)

I'm ashamed to tell you that apparently this idiot needs those new-fangled instructions - I waited for the little light to come on before I tried it.  Well, that didn't work because the only time the light is on is when it's sealing the bag.  DERP. 

After some tinkering (and yes, I did burn my finger slightly when I checked to see if the coil was working), SUCCESS!  

See that nice sealed line?  That's American manufacturing quality at its finest!  

Best $2.95 I've ever spent.  And now, if you purchase one of my stamp sets, you just might get one of these self-sealed bags, 43 years in the making!  :D

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Part of a Team

Greetings, everyone!

Oh my goodness - I've been gone too long!  It's been an incredibly busy summer!  I've been teaching a lot, and taking classes, and organizing exhibits, and giving tours of the new MOWA - WHEW!  But it's great to be back!  :D

Another of my newest projects is being on the design team for Arnold Grummer's Paper Making!  I'm THRILLED to be a part of it - it's a 6 month gig, so I get to make projects using handmade paper (created the AG way, with recycled materials!) every month until January.

I uploaded my first blog post yesterday to their blog (read it HERE!), and here was the project I created!

Not only did I get to use my stash of handmade papers, I also incorporated my own stamp set!  :)  The theme was "Christmas in July", so that's why everything is in red and green.  :)

I am so grateful to the Arnold Grummer family for letting me in on the fun this year - Kim, Greg and Mabe, you're all such wonderful folks.  Thank you so much also to Terri Sproul, who heads up the design team and keeps us all in line!  I'm already having a BLAST!  :D

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Lifetime of Travel

Oh my goodness!  I have to share with you the most amazing pile of travel ephemera I've ever received!  Here is but a fraction of the loot:

Incredible, no?  Well, the story behind it is pretty cool, too - 

My artist/professor friend Chris was having a tag sale this past weekend.  She let me know about it and I said I wouldn't miss it!  When I responded she said, "I'm glad you're coming, because I've been saving some stuff for you." (Believe me, it was all of this and MUCH more.)

When I got home and opened it up, I was floored, as you can imagine!  Here, in the bag, were so many of Chris' husband's travel ephemera.  Tony had passed away within the year and it was time to clean house.  He was a lifelong traveler, and look at the places he'd been!  Iceland!  Mexico!  Luxembourg! Brazil! Japan! Russia!  

I was so inspired by all of this wonderful stuff, I just had to create a collage:

I went a step further this time and made it encaustic - it added a lovely sheen to it.  As you can see, I did a bit of tearing and ripping, and had some small bits left over.  So I made one of my latest pendants - a shadowbox pendant!

It's only 1.25" square - I think it turned out pretty nicely!  :)

I hope I've done justice to Tony's ephemera.  I'd like to think that it's been given a fresh start!  :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stacks of Wax!

My oh my!  The time does fly!

I can't believe it's been almost three weeks since my last post - so I'm remedying that now!  :)

A lot has happened in the last three weeks!  I've been away on vacation - I attended a very intensive 5-day workshop, sponsored by The Mill Paper and Book Arts Center in Rhinelander and held at Circle of Life Studio in beautiful Eagle River, Wisconsin (as we NE Wisconsinites like to call it, "up north") making Japanese handmade paper and dyeing it.  The AMAZINGLY talented Tatiana Ginsberg taught the class.

It was HEAVEN, and made even better by the fact that Brian and our Pomeranian, Dudley, were able to come up too!  I also taught a "Papermaking with Recycled Materials" class!  Oh, and I've been elected the chair of Wisconsin Visual Artists - NE Chapter, not incidentally!  :D

Before I left, I knew I wanted to get a lot of work done so that I'd be ready to go for tonight's Arts Around the Bend, a bi-yearly gallery walk held in West Bend, Wisconsin (I'm at the same place where I was last year - the Apple Barrel!).  I had been toying with the idea of trying encaustic, so I just went for it.  Here's the result:

This is one of the FIFTEEN pendants I made for the gallery walk this evening - I'm having a BLAST!  Talk about ephemera - each of these pendants (you can see them ALL here)  was created using layers and layers of "scraps".  I just started going through my piles and piles of ephemera - not caring about color, content or age - and just began pasting tiny bits onto the masonite forms (the pendant you see here is only an inch square!).  I then brushed on beeswax in a very light layer - you sure don't need much - and this is the end result.  I'm really happy with the way these turned out!

If you can make it to West Bend tonight, I hope I see you!  :)  If not, stay tuned for more ephemera scrappy-goodness!  :D

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Slidin' Away!

As Ferris Bueller so succinctly put it, "Life moves pretty fast."  You can take that many ways, but one of the ways that clearly emphasizes how quickly things can change is the way we take pictures.

Let's think about this for a second - we've gone from all film to all digital in the span of a decade.  I'm sure the folks at Polaroid and Kodak feel like they've been punched in the face, metaphorically speaking.  Truly, digital photography has changed our world in innumerable ways.

Take the ubiquitous slide, for example.  I guarantee that my nieces and nephew have NO idea what these were used for originally.  And how many of these little babies are out there, forever relegated to the obsolete wastebasket?

I've always loved slides because of their miniature nature, so it's probably no surprise that I've been stockpiling these unused slide frames.  Thanks to places like Manto Fev and The Paper Flea Market, my supply keeps growing!

I've been collecting them for years, but never had a concrete idea for them - until now.  Introducing - SLIDE PINS!

"bird" Slide Pin - available here

The idea is so simple, I can't believe I didn't notice it before.  But I've been wanting to do something different with my jewelry line, and these little guys fit the bill perfectly!

"Sacred' Slide Pin - available here

I'm having a total blast making these.  I've only begun this week, but I'll have many more to come - stay tuned!  :)

"Peaches" Slide Pin - available here

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lesson Learned

Have you ever had it happen where you're just going along, minding your business, when someone bursts your bubble?

It could be a rude cashier at the grocery store who interrupts your otherwise pleasant day, or a snide remark on Facebook that you weren't expecting.  I'm sure we've all had that happen to us at some point in our lives.

A few days ago, I had my confidence shaken about my art.  I was just going along, minding my own business, when I had someone say some not-so-nice things about this piece, which I had just finished:

I quite liked it.  I liked the way the yellow matched the frame.  I liked the bursts of red here and there.  I liked how the theme carried throughout the piece.

And hey - I totally understand that my art isn't for everyone!  Ephemeraologists, you may run into this more than other, more "conventional" artists - some folks just don't understand the appeal of the vintage ephemera or why we'd deign to cut it up and use it in art.  I'm used to that, and it doesn't bother me at all!  In fact, I use the confusion to educate people on collage as an art form, or the importance of ephemera in our lives.  :)

But the comment I received was much deeper than that - the person said, "It doesn't look like you care at all about what you create."


Instead of following this rule (thanks, National Art Shop!) -

I threw out the piece.  Yep, it is now in the Big Recycling Bin in the Sky.  

Even though I had an existential crisis this weekend, I don't regret the toss.  I still have the image and although I no longer have the physical piece (plus a couple more that I also threw out), I have the reminder that I should never apologize for the work that I do.  I liked this piece enough to send it out in the world, and I should've stood my ground.  But it did allow me to think about new directions my art will be taking, and for that I'm grateful.

Ephemeraologists, I didn't write this post to garner sympathy; quite the opposite!  I wrote it to serve as a reminder that you should never apologize for the work you do.  Just keep rockin' the vintage ephemera and putting it out into the world - we need artists like you!!!  :D

Monday, May 6, 2013

Summer Relaxation, 1973

I think with any generation, there are certain items that will always bring about a feeling of nostalgia.  For me, it's those lawn chairs from the '60s and '70s.

You know the kind I mean - the nylon-webbed chairs that always left an impression on your be-shorted legs, and which were quite uncomfortable, actually.  But for those of us who were born in the US and Canada between 1950 and 1980, whose parents didn't own at least a pair of these babies?

So when I found a picture of one in this fabulous Loblaw catalog from 1961.....

 I knew I had to do something with it:

I used watered-down acrylics for the background, and sewed the grass and sun.  But I wanted the lawn chair to be the star of the piece.  And yes, I did X-Acto out each of those tiny square from in between the webbing.  It took an hour, but I think it's worth it.  :)

I'm happy to report that this piece has already sold! :)  I have a few more photos of lawn chairs I can use, so I think I'll make more collages and celebrate this iconic piece of lawn furniture.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Putting my Stamp on it!

Good morning fellow Ephemeraologists!

I am back after a 4-week hiatus. April was insanely busy, in a good way. In the interim I've made some changes to the blog - I've decided to focus on what I initially intended the blog to be - "taking the discarded and making it arted." So without further ado, let's go!

I've recently started carving my own stamps. I've found that I can "draw" much better by carving than I can with a pencil or brush. A couple months ago I carved this set:

And with that set, I made this collage:

I used handmade (by me!) paper, and vintage tickets and ration vouchers.  I love the different colored buildings and papers - it definitely gives it a big-city feel to it!  
In the meantime, I had also taken my carved stamps and sent them in to Market Street Stamps to have my own sets of silicone stamps made for resale!  Market Street Stamps is located in my hometown of Green Bay, which I love because from start to finish, the whole project was hyper-LOCAL.  Here's how they turned out!

The larger set contains stamps that are the same size as those I originally carved.  But the tiny stamps?  They all fit on a square that's only 2X2"!  When you create wholesale stamps with Market Street you have many different options for sizing, and I wanted to go as tiny as I could!  SQUEEE!  Here's what some of the tiny ones look like stamped out:

On vintage lined paper, of course.  :)  Oh, and both these sets are available for sale on my website - they're only $5 and $10, respectively! :)

The other day I carved some olive stamps for a project I was making - we have an exhibit coming up called "Olive Art!" that I put together with my friend Julie at Ollie's Olive Oil Haus.  It's going to be a combination art show/olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting!  I'm really excited about it - lots of local artists submitted wonderful pieces!  Here's how my hand-carved stamped piece turned out:

I stamped the three different olives but then added strips of vintage newspaper below, accented with some decorative stitching on my sewing machine and then framed.  I'm quite happy with how it turned out!

Look for more stamped pieces in the future - I'm having a BLAST.  :)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Road Trip Ephemera!

How many of you have "road-tripped"?

If you have, you know the joys (and sometimes, perils) of the open road.  I daresay it is the quintessentially American way to travel!  And for most of us over the age of 40, it was the only way we vacationed as kids. I don't know anyone who actually flew back in the '70s - no, we got in the car, sans child car seats and possibly even safety belts, and we saw this great land of ours via highway.  And if this is a memory for you, no doubt you were warned, at some point during the trip, that the "authorities" of the car would just turn it right back around if we didn't behave.  :)

My sister Jen, her husband Mike, and their two daughters Natalie and Mia have just returned from such a journey.  They saw much of the middle portion of our country, from top to bottom, starting in Wisconsin: Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas.  They logged over 3500 miles and 60 hours in the car.  And they loved every minute of it!  My niece Natalie, who will be 16 in one month (!), also practiced some highway driving, leaving mom and dad to relax for a change (okay, maybe not relax, per se, but it took the onus off for a bit).

One of their many stops along the way was the great city of Austin, Texas.  There, Jen and Mike encountered an AMAZING antique store called Uncommon Objects.  Oh boy - MY kind of place!  While they were there, they found some wonderful little artifacts, like this Glory cereal sample bag:

I know - it's like an Aaron Copeland song come to life, isn't it?  :D  My guess is that they gave out these little samples at the grocery or general store.  As you can see, it's from the Teichgraeber Milling Co. of Gypsum, Kansas.  Seriously - is there any more "American" name than Glory?  The whole item just screams early 20th century patriotism.  Judging by the fonts and colors, I'm going to put this at the late teens-early '20s.  It's in astonishingly good shape!

The other wonderful find that I was given is this little notebook with *GASP* grid paper!!

It's even got some handwriting in the book, dated April 6, 1934 - almost exactly 79 years ago!  Jen bought it for me not only because of the cover and handwriting, but for the front and back inside covers as well:

*SWOON*!!!  She was right - I LOVE them.  I don't know how I'm going to use them yet, but they are definitely going to find a place in my artwork.

You can be envious - I do indeed have the most thoughtful sister EVER!  :D

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Story Continues!

Happy Monday, Ephemeraologists!

I hope you all had a wonderful week!  I have, due in large part to this still-developing story that I first brought you last week!

If you haven't read the Korn Kinx story yet, read it first.  But to summarize, I had been randomly contacted by a gentleman named Larry, who found me via Google search - turns out I have (had!) a vintage bag with some historical meaning.  I decided that Larry and his family needed the Korn Kinx bag more than I did.

Shortly after I wrote the blog post last Monday, I mailed that bag.  Well, last Wednesday, I received this wonderful e-mail:
 Just wanted to let you know that the bag arrived today. Mom was so surprised and excited!  My father used to say that you are grown up when you realize the adults are just old kids. My Mom was as excited as a twelve year old at Christmas. Thank you for your generosity and for letting my mom feel like a girl again!  I will get a photo to you tomorrow. She wouldn't let me take her picture until she got her hair done. She has an appointment in the morning so I'll swing by when I get off work and get a shot for you. Anything in particular you want for the shot?  I thought at least I could get a shot of her holding it for you.
  Thank you SO MUCH!
To say that my day was made when I received that e-mail is a gross understatement.  Even better was when I received the e-mail with the photo of Shirley holding the Korn Kinx bag:

The wording on the bottom reads, "For some
reason, we sometimes called them Korn Kinx,
but maybe that was just a name "us kids"
thought up."  No, Shirley - you were right! :)
See what I mean?  :D  But to me the absolute BEST part of this whole story is the fact that I was able to help prove that Shirley's recollections were indeed correct!  Remember in the last post when Larry said that his mom SWORE they were called Korn Kinx but there was no evidence to support her memory (and as you can see, even wrote down that recollection for posterity)? VOILA! Here's the proof - in a 70+ year-old cellophane bag.  Maybe, just for a few minutes, I was able to transport 83 year-young Shirley back to her 16 year-old self, just like Larry's dad used to say.  :)

In one of Larry's most recent e-mails, he wrote, "This whole experience has been the highlight of my year (so far at least)! I don't believe in "luck" but I do believe in Divine providence. I just love the way things "work out" and I am so happy to have made your acquaintance. This story isn't quite over yet. I'll keep you posted."

I can't wait!  Stay tuned for more on this AMAZING connection!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ephemera Connections!

My best friend/sister Jen and I were having a very in-depth discussion the other day about the Internet - or, namely, how it has completely changed the landscape of our lives.  It has touched everything - how we're entertained, how we read, how we watch TV, how we shop, how we socialize - the list is endless.  And even though my husband makes his living off of the Internet (he and his brother own a website development company), I would be lying if I told you that the conversation was optimistic and rosy.  It was not.  We were sitting in a bookstore at the time, prematurely mourning its demise.

Fast-forward to Saturday night - I had been gone all day to a class in Milwaukee (I was a student this time!) and was checking my e-mail when I returned home.  Well, what follows not only made my night, but my entire week!  Here, paraphrased, is the fun e-mail:
"Hello. My name is Larry and I live in the town of Darien, Wisconsin where your Cheez Korn Kinx bag was made. My mother (who is 83 years young) had been telling the story for years about when she was in school, they would walk across the street to where the Korn Kinx were made and fill their 3 cent paper bags with fresh warm Korn Kinx. We are currently in the process of researching the history behind the Korn Kinx and stumbled on your blog showing the bag. My mother found it first but her dial up connection is very slow and she wasn't able to follow the link to your web page. She was so excited to actually find an image of the bag as it proved that her memory of calling them Kinx wasn't faulty. The name was changed in about 1940 to Korn Kurls when Melbourn Reed bought out his competitor Edward P. Wilson who had been called back to active duty in WWII.
Both men worked together at the Beloit, Wisconsin company Flakall, where the raw material was accidentally produced from a machine that made flaked animal food. Yes, they are the original cheese flavored puffed and flavored snack that all others followed. Because Flakall patented the process, all Cheetos, cheese doodles, Chee Whees, etc. were licensed by Flakall of Beloit. You quite possibly have the only remaining bag in existence and it carries some historical significance. PLEASE take good care of it in its original state if you can. Edward P. Wilson's son is still alive at 92 and I spoke with him last week. He told me stories of how he worked for his dad at Flakall in 1939 when he was 17 and how his dad brought home some of the puffed corn to their kitchen and all the flavors his mother tried before she came up with the cheese flavoring. The Wilsons baked their Korn Kurls, whereas Reed fried theirs in butter. Anyway, I was wondering if you could scan the front and back of the bag and send me the image for our research project. The Wilsons are very excited that someone after all these years is interested in telling their story which might have been lost to history. Edward Wilson told me that he eats cheese puffs every day and he had a bowl of them next to his chair even as we spoke."
*GASP*  Isn't this INCREDIBLE!!  All because I happened to write that post and feature this bag:

Well, the minute I finished reading the message I drafted one of my own, which I will share with you:
"Oh my gosh - your e-mail made my night!!  What a wonderful story!!  See, now THIS is why I write my blog.  I firmly believe that these little bits of "throwaway" ephemera MATTER.  And as your story attests, many times these little bags and doodads and whatnot actually have important historical significance! 

Larry, I would love to scan the bag for you, but I would actually like to do something else instead - can I send you the bag?  I want you to have it.  I can tell how much it means to you and your mom and the Wilson family, and it would give me much pleasure to give it to you - it's the VERY least I could do after the lovely e-mail you've sent me!  :)

All I'll need is your address and I can have it in the post on Monday morning.  :)

Thank you, Larry (and please thank your mom, too!) for reading the blog!!!  I'm THRILLED that you found this particular post and that it might help you out!"
Larry and I exchanged a few more e-mails with addresses and the like, plus another fun surprise which I will post as soon as I hear the outcome.  Isn't this just so fun!?!?

So - from the bad part of our Brave New World, to one of the best parts - there is NO WAY that this could've happened if it weren't for our Internet.  But because of one little post, I am now reuniting a family with a little slice of personal nostalgia.  Like I said in my e-mail to Larry - THIS is why I write this blog, and I'm so grateful that we live in an age where I can connect with folks who feel the same as I!

Monday, March 11, 2013

A 175K Giveaway!!

Good morning Ephemeraologists!

Happy Daylight Saving Time!  I hope you're all adjusting to the time change - and if not, here's something that might make it easier to swallow ----

I'm doing a GIVEAWAY!

Last week, the blog hit a milestone - it now has been viewed over 175 THOUSAND times!  I can't believe it.  I am filled with awe that this has happened - I mean, I'm pretty sure that some of these views are because of spam, but still!  I know that I have wonderful readers, and I thank you so very much for that.

And I'm very excited about our prize pack!  Our good friends Trina at The Paper Flea Market and Annie at SilverCrow Creations, have agreed to give out awesome gift certificates - you won't want to pass up the opportunity!  If you enter the contest and win, you will receive a $15 certificate from Paper Flea, and a $20 certificate from SilverCrow!  That's a whopping $35 to spend on awesome ephemera!!

Here are the details:

1.  Comment below, or on the Facebook page (but not both), and tell us your favorite topic on Ephemeraology!  It can be a certain decade you love hearing about, your favorite post, ephemera you've noticed here, what you'd love to hear about in the future - whatever!  I can't wait to hear what you have to say!
2.  I will be drawing a name at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.  I will let you know via e-mail, so...
3.  IN YOUR COMMENT, YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS USING THE name(at)domain(dot)com FORMAT!!!  If you don't include it, I will assume you didn't read the directions at all and that you don't want to win.  :)

Okay!  Let's see those comments start rollin' in!  :D

A HUGE thank you to The Paper Flea Market and SilverCrow Creations for being so wonderful.  Thank you so much, Trina and Annie!  :D

Monday, February 25, 2013

Getting the Word Out

Photo credit: Taima Kern/The Reporter Media
Good morning, dear readers!!  It's so nice to be back!  I apologize for my lengthy absence but many of my art deadlines have passed and I'm able to write again.

And speaking of writing, the tables have been turned on me - I have been the subject of a very lovely article in our local paper!  MOI!

When I learned that The Reporter was starting a series entitled "The Artist Next Door", I hopped on that bandwagon as fast as I could.  I must've sent them a message the first day I was able, because I'm only the second artist in the series!

Essentially, the column is a bi-weekly look at artists in our community.  I thought this would be a PERFECT way to preach the ephemera gospel to those who haven't heard the good news (and showcase my art in the meantime).

And while I obviously was there during the filming of the video and I helped write the article, the end product is so much more wonderful than I could ever have imagined!  I was a little overwhelmed when I saw the video AND read the article!  The reporter who both filmed and interviewed me, Taima Kern, was extremely generous with her descriptions of my work and my community involvement.  Even better?  You now get to see where I work (and hear my Wisconsin accent, tee hee) AND the ridiculously bountiful amount of ephemera which surrounds me every day.

I still can't believe that I am able to write about ephemera on a weekly basis and make art from my collection every day.  It's a dream come true!  And I want everyone to know what you and I already do - that you can "take the discarded and make it arted"!  Here's to more and more folks discovering the joys of Ephemeraology!!!  :D

Monday, February 11, 2013


I'm going to credit (blame?) this entire post on the Fond du Lac Public Library - Terri, if you're reading this, it's all your fault!  :D

Okay, a little back story - Terri Fleming, the community liaison for our library, knows that my friends and I like using books in our collages.  Not just the pages, either - the spines, the covers, the vintage library card pockets you sometimes find in the older books - we utilize everything we can find!  So when a big shipment of Readers Digest Condensed Books came in to The Book Cellar recently, guess who she notified immediately?  :D

Oh, the Book Cellar (get it?) is FANTASTIC!  It's a used book store located right in our library!  I have found more books (and collage fodder!) there than anyplace else in town.  The prices are insanely cheap, too, and all proceeds benefit our wonderful library!  It's a win-win-win!  :D

Collage artists - you know how you start with a base, and then you just happen to find the PERFECT pieces for your new work right in front of your nose?  Well, that happened to me today!  It was like kismet, I tell ya, because right after I had dismantled the RDCB for my cover, I noticed this vintage German bag (from Present and Correct) staring at me:

Okay!  Now we're getting somewhere!  
After that I just found a couple of images from a vintage American Magazine, and I now have all the makings for my collage!  But wait....what if I SEWED some of those images?! 

 And what if I used some wording from this 1954 British handbook called "The Highway Code"  (also from Present and Correct - MUCH more on this little booklet later!), and SHAZAM!!!!  We're all set!

Here is the finished collage - I'm really happy with how it turned out!  Wish me luck - I entered it in an exhibit called "Juxtaposition: The Madness of Collage". Keep your fingers crossed that it gets chosen!  :D

Monday, February 4, 2013

Retro Home LOVE!

Isn't it funny how trends come and go?  I remember so clearly when Victorian homes - those lovely "Painted Ladies" - were all the rage about 20 years ago.  I recall thinking that this trend would NEVER go out of style, because really - we're never going to appreciate mid-century design, right?

Thankfully, WRONG!  :D  Mid-mod is back in fashion, and it has been for at least the last 5-8 years.  Deep down, I know that this trend will also subside, but I hope it stays with us for a good long while.  In reality, I don't think it's hit its apex yet, which makes me happy.

In a way, I can thank this trend for my full-time art career - indeed, it was creating mid-mod collages for my friend Pam Kueber at Retro Renovation that allowed me to pursue my art as a career in the first place!

Some of you may remember the post I did last January about my first-ever Retro Renovation collage - well, I still love those mid-mod homes and started a new series this weekend:

I call it "Living on the Grid" and I have plans to create many more of these, in all different colors.  :) I got a sewing machine about a month ago and I'm having a BLAST using it with my collages!  I'm also a huge fan of that vintage graphic tape, so I made sure I used it here.  I wanted to create a collage with clean lines and lots of white space.

I have all sorts of house designs from which to choose, too!  There's something so comforting about this house design - whereas the Victorian was very stately and proper, these homes allude to a front yard full of kids, a backyard patio and a TV with rabbit ears.  At least, that's what I get out of it.  :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Game, Set, MATCH!

I LOVE great design.  If you're on Pinterest, you'll eventually run into someone who is posting images of these fantastic Czech matchbox labels from the 60s and 70s.  I have quite a few and they're my favorites of all of my matchbook labels, in a collection that is getting embarrassingly large.  :D

Not only is the design wonderful, but they serve another purpose for me - they have a lot of teeny-tiny illustrations I can use in my work!  Let's take a look at some labels that will most definitely be used at some point:

*SWOON*  They're all so lovely, aren't they?  Striking design, wonderfully illustrated, awesome colors - they just don't make 'em like that anymore.  And they all have teensy little images that I could use in my tiny work!

Here's one label that's chock-full of little pictures:

You may notice that a couple of images are already gone - why, yes!  I DID use them in some recent work, work that I had never attempted before last Thursday:

I took the pear and the glass/pitcher from the matchbook label (which measures 1 1/3"W x 2"H) and made some collages with them - each of these tiny collages measures less than a quarter inch square.  Here is the collage shown at approximately the actual size:

You may ask yourself if I am a masochist.  Maybe I am!  But when you've got such great design elements to begin with, maybe they were just BEGGING to be used in a challenge!  :D

I am teaching a class at the fabulous Moondance Studios on February 21 called "Tiny Works" and I wanted some examples for the folks who attend the workshop.  In the blown-up shots of the collages, you can see that my cutting isn't up to my usual standard, but you can't really tell once you see the collage in its actual size. So I'm going to cut myself some slack for these.  :)

I'm kind of hooked on these collages now - they're easy to start and a bit wonky to execute, but I love a challenge!

Thanks to Retro Cafe Art Gallery for making these little masonite squares available - you can find them here!  :D