Book Arts & Bamboo Earrings

Check out my collage for class. The images above are borrowed from the “Carpe Denim” spread (p. 244) in the November 2013 edition of Marie Claire

I’ve been working all day to learn a Turkish fold so I can create a book for my book arts class. If you’re interested in what that would look like, check out this quick YouTube tutorial: After a few rough drafts I feel confident that at least for today I can recreate this fold style, reminiscent of pop-up books; so exciting! 

After grasping the Turkish fold, I applied applied images and text for my book using the theme ‘lost’. Well that turned out to be easy since I lost an earring from a set of hoops made  made for me eight years ago by my friend (shout-out to J. Canning!) They were my bamboo earrings! Let me school you about the bamboos, they are cited in L.L. Cool J’s “Around the Way Girl.”** Nuff said! Check mine out: 

I lost one of these earrings. Afraid I’d only have one forever I tried to choke down my heartache. I discovered the loss when I ran my fingers through my hair, snagging them on a strand tangled in the hook of my left hoop. This didn’t happen on the other side so I patted my earlobe realizing the other was m.i.a. I checked my scarf, the inside collar of my coat, my pockets, the walkway to my car, under my seat, nothing! I’d just left the MICA screening of “12 O’Clock Boys” so I wondered in horror, is it under the theater seat, in a bathroom stall? Days later when opening the passenger side door of my car  a twinkle caught my eye; it was one of the crystals sparkling in the noonday sun. Found!

So back to the first picture, my experience has been represented via collage and a few choice words for my book. The plan is to photocopy the collaged piece for folding dexterity, then create my book boards for class on Tuesday. This has been a fun project mostly because I’m being me and not checking for what other folks are doing. A little background on that introspection: when it comes to visual art, it is not my go-to skill so I historically have always looked at someone else’s skill and felt like I had none. Then I realized we all have a unique perspective just like we all have unique DNA. So instead of making my lost book some ‘deep thoughts’ piece I embraced my love for my hand-made bamboos gifted to me by friend. Sparkly jewelry is a thing for me. 

I’m signing off so I can get a little rest and relaxation before the week begins. (muttering under breath) We really should get 3 days off and 4 days on, I just start feeling like me by day’s end on Sunday.

***Here’s a treat to get you through the rest of the weekend:

LL Cool J’s video for “Around the Way Girl”:

Changing the Game: Reflections on Work

I hate how I react whenever anyone asks me where I work or about my job; I tend to flinch. Truth is I don’t hate my job, I don’t have nightmares about it nor do I dread coming into work so why the flinch? I’ve realized that I’ve hit a wall, I’ve been in the same position for going on eight years! I’d been under the impression that I was only six years in which goes to show how disconnected to real time I seem to be. Thanks to LinkedIn for automatically tallying the years and startling me when I updated my status during the Christmas holidays.

I’d love to blame leadership for why my great potential and abundant talents haven’t been recognized or exploited, but truth be told I have no one else to blame but myself for remaining stagnant for so many years. Most of my thirties have been spent in this position.  Yeah, marinate on that! Almost a decade working with the same employer (that’s not the problem), in the same position. I might as well be sleeping beauty, snoozing away in a castle far far away or driving  cross-country on cruise control through plains where the horizon meets the sky for infinity.

 So earlier today I was checking out the February Marie Claire , reading an article in the  @ Work section “Sweat Equity” about Sarah Robb O’Hagan, president of fitness chain Equinox.  She said, “Careers are more like jungle gyms than ladders— sometimes a sideways or backward step can propel you forward.” This is such a powerful statement and one that I needed to see. At age 38 I’m finally attempting to redirect the trajectory of my life; I’m embracing my creative self, attending graduate school despite the constant ‘starving artist’ jokes, and forcing myself bit by bit out of my comfort zone.

When I think about job opportunities particularly in Baltimore it’s a bit daunting. Then when I talk to some of my friends they make it clear that when the move to another position, the only trajectory is up. They’re not telling me what to do rather what they would do, but sometimes those comments seem judgey and I allow that to sink in and render me action-less.  My  mental block is the fact that I think I should be in a far more financially successful place in my life, I should not be renting an apartment and definitely not fading away into the grey walls of my cubicle.

There are plenty of people that joke fine arts degrees but the collective creativity of many is a massive financial engine for the US and I want a piece of the action. After all writers come up with the stories for all of this original programming we’re seeing on HBO, Showtime, Netflix etc. The rules for our parents: go to college-get a job and stay there aren’t relevant today which brings me back to my original flinch. When asked about my job my reaction reflects my disappointment with myself and the fact that I’ve coasted and part of why I’ve coasted is fear;  fear of making less, fear of not having a job, which leads to fear of homelessness, my car being repossessed, no heat due to high energy bills, etc. What O’Hagan’s quote did for me today was to still the voices  within and those around me; her quote gave me permission to be more open to possible opportunities wherever they may be.

“12 O’Clock Boys” Screening One Night Only in Baltimore and LA!

Last night I saw Lotfy Nathan’s documentary 12 O’Clock Boys at the Maryland Institute College of Art. I’m so glad I went, not only did I get to learn more about this crew I’ve seen around Baltimore every summer for the past ten years but I was also able to witness another view into this fascinating city I dwell in. The production and editing are powerful as well, layer that with the beautiful ethereal chopped up boys choir soundtrack consistently looped with the slowed down images of the wheelie/stunt street scenes and your emotionally and visually yanked in.

While there is a wealth of action and a dash of city politics (brown kids vs. police) the story is about Pug, a 12-year-old Baltimore city kid who yearns to be a 12 O’Clock Boy, a dirt bike group known around Baltimore for tearing through the city streets mad deep popping wheelies and performing stunts to the delight and chagrin of passersby. Nathan follows Pug and his family over a period of three years, the audience is invited to witness his growth and follow along as he tries to achieve his goal of catching up to the crew and being able to consistently pop a wheelie to 12 o’clock (yep, straight vertical like the hands on a clock at 12).

Now I can’t pretend like I’ve been down with the riders all along; in fact I used to be aggravated if I was driving and then got surrounded by a group of dirt bikers. I’d be like  ‘who the haile are these guys zig-zagging through traffic, cutting me off and coming up the street the wrong way?“  I was mostly irritated because the roar from the pipes of a pack of 30 or so dirt bikes is so loud it will erase your thoughts, plus I constantly worried about hitting one of them. I’ve softened up quite a bit over the years and thanks to a lecture from my guy about city kids not having a place to go to run these bikes, etc, I understand better where the riders are coming from.

Do yourself a favor and buy or go see this movie.

Link to FB page:


AMC Owings Mills 17 

Los Angeles (today only, 2/1/14):

The Crest Theater-Westwood

Laemmle Playhouse 7-Pasadena