Our local Whole Foods is displaying a few of my art works in their cafe area as part of their EcoBration extravaganza (EcoVaganza?).
Ok, so the event was actually called "EcoExpressions," but "EcoBration" is a way cooler name, so that is how I have been referring to it all month.
When a Whole-Foods-employee friend of mine asked me to submit work for the EcoBration, I was worried. Husby and I are in the (apparently very long and uncertain) process of buying a house and moving, and in a fit of impatience and fear of unpreparedness I went into a "PACK ALL THE THINGS!" frenzy and boxed up pretty much everything we own. Most of my art is tucked away and not easily accesible. What would I take to Whole Foods?
Luckily the show at the CentreGallery wrapped up the night before work had to be dropped off at the cafe. I went to the gallery, put my art in the car, drove right to Whole Foods, and dropped off a few pieces for display.
The show highlights local artists who use repurposed materials in their work, or who create work with a message of sustainability and protecting the environment. It is the exact same theme as the show at the CentreGallery--repurposed art is so en vogue!
The black frames in the top-ish left of the photo are my favorite pieces from another artist in the show. The brown shapes in the frames are bits of wood mulch, which the artist collected and split to create silhouettes reminiscent of butterflies--what a beautiful use of natural material. The idea of a tree being cut down, chopped up into mulch, spread in a garden around flowering plants that attract butterflies, and scooped up to be displayed like a butterfly in a Whole Foods makes me chuckle.
I am quite possibly the most awkward human when I'm taking pictures in public. Free-spirited college girls come in to Felicitous Coffee & Tea all the time and just start intagramming away the second their foot crosses the store threshold--I always feel the need to wait until no one is looking at me and I can just sort of snap a phone pic really fast before anyone realizes what I'm doing. The unfortunate result is that none of my pictures turn out very good. Sorry.
Overall, it was fun to be able to sit and eat lunch while looking at my art in a location that was not my own house or place of work. If that is some sort of milestone for an artist, woohoo! Achieved.
I originally posted this tutorial as an instructable. I was just making another one of these watches last night, so I figured I would post the DIY project here as well.
A friend of mine saw this "always exactly accurate" watch online for $50 and asked me "do you think we could make this out of an old watch?"
This classy upcycled watch will inspire you to seize the day and fight any procrastinating spirit. "When should I ask that cute girl out on a date?" NOW. "I really should study for my test, but..." DO IT NOW. "If only I could quit my boring job and follow my dream of starting a successful online travel program that shows viewers how to visit exotic locations on the cheap" (this is what my friend who wanted the watch actually did. You can see his show at www.TheHostelLife.com).
Stop procrastinating; NOW is the time!
Even if you are not interested in making your wrist say "NOW," this project will show you how to turn your old, broken watches into wearable wrist picture frames. Juist insert any image or saying into the gutted watch.
Tools and Materials
- precision flathead screwdriver
- exacto knife
- broken or thrifted watch. This very manly leather-banded style is easy to find and great for guys!
- black foamcore
- "NOW" design (or whatever other graphic you want to put inside the watch). I've uploaded a page of "NOW"s in different sizes for you to print off and find the best fit for your watch.
- rubber cement
Gut the Watch
Examine the back of your watch to see how to remove the backplate. Some have tiny screws, some you need to pry open. I have the pry open kind. After trying to get the back off for an hour, I realized that this watch was jammed shut far beyond my opening abilities. I took it to WalMart's jewelry section and the employee there opened it up for no charge, which is really great because I hate spending money at WalMart.
Once you get the back off, carefully pull out the watch pins on the side and lift the whole time mechanism out of the watch body. Set aside for later disassembling.
My watch had a plastic band on the inside marking the 12, 3, 6, and 9 spots. I grabbed it with pliers, bent it back and forth a bit to loosen it up, and yanked it right out.
Now you have a beautiful, wearable picture frame ready to be filled!
Cut Foamcore to Fit
Cut a piece of foamcore down to snugly fit inside the back of the watch. Don't worry about cutting perfect rounded corners- just cut a rectangle and notch off the corners until the foamcore fits right in.
Glue on Your Design and Wear Your Watch!
Print out your design. If you are using my "NOW" sheet, put the paper on a table, move the glass watch frame on top of each "NOW" until you find the size you like. Cut out the best sized "NOW", leaving a generous amount of black space around it.
Brush rubber cement on one side of the foamcore and center the "NOW" on it. The easiest way to center the word on the foamcore is to hold the paper and foam up to a light, move the paper around until the word is in the right spot, and let the glue dry.
After drying, turn the paper and foamcore upside-down and cut the excess paper off with an exacto knife.
Fit the foamcore into the glass watch frame and put the backplate on. You may have to trim a bit of the height off the foamcore to get the backplate to lock back into place.
Wear your watch and get motivated!
Now that you have your watch gutted and the backplate loosened, it is easy to make interchangeable images on foamcore for the inside. You could change out the word or picture daily to match your mood or style and use your new, upcycled watch as a custom wearable picture frame!
Our friends Katie and Ryen are getting ready to start foster parenting babies, so they asked me to come over and help paint a mural on the nursery walls.
The inspiration for the tree and owls came from the huge array of vinyl wall stickers featuring trees with multicolored leaves and owls that Katie found online. By the way, when did this become popular? I don't regularly check out trending baby decor, but as soon as I googled "tree owl nursery" my eyes were nearly assaulted with seemingly hundreds of variations on the theme. Thick trees? Yes. Curly trees? Yes. Owls on branches? Obviously. Owls on swings? Yes; also, why is that a thing? I'm not complaining (after all, it is pretty cute), but I am astounded by how universal owls-in-tree nursery design has become.
Fueled by Pandora's Disney station and Cheese-its, we managed to finish the whole room in six hours and used about $20 of supplies. The best part was that Katie and I got to spend the whole day together and she made delicious flatbread pizza for dinner, so all in all it combined many of my favorite things into one lovely day (painting, friends, pizza, Disney songs, and babies. No babies were actually present, but I preemptively love Katie and Ryen's future foster kids wherever they are right now).
I hope those babies are getting ready to have some seriously awesome foster parents!
Last week I was asked by the Student Environmental Association (SEA) at USF to submit work for their upcoming RecycleFest and gallery show. The conversation (heavily, heavily paraphrased) went something like this:
SEA: "Hey Emily, would you like to include some of your work in our upcoming Activart gallery show? It is about recycling, sustainability, and the environment. Most of the other pieces are made from recycled or reused objects."
Me: "Definitely! How many pieces? When? Where?"
SEA: "Basically as many as you want. We had a lot of people drop out. We need them to be at the CentreGallery by 1pm tomorrow."
Me: "............I AM SO PREPARED FOR THIS MOMENT!"
That conversation took place at 9pm (fifteen hours before drop-off time), so after a high-five selfie I began madly grabbing art off the walls of our apartment. I knew that the space would be filled mainly with my work since many other artists has dropped out, so I decided it would be best to submit works in a few mediums to maintain the variety originally intended for the show.
Because I often work with acrylics on reclaimed wood, many of my paintings fit perfectly in the show and were ready to go with no additional preparation. I chose five to take to the gallery.
Since my drawings are deeply rooted in environmental issues I though they would also be a great fit for the SEA. I framed a collection of six pieces from Past and Future Travels of Here Right Now for the show--the six drawings each feature planets in various states of human development/takeover. This piece was the most work to prepare last-minute: the frame has been sitting in the lab for a few months (I grab big frames whenever I can thrift them for cheap) and needed to be painted, and I had to cut a mat for the pieces as
well. This went to the gallery along with two of my larger drawings.
Three of my encaustic monoprints were also prepared for display that race of a night. Of all my pieces I have ever made, these ones transform the most through the act of framing.
An old sculpture of mine is in the gallery as well, although it is not one of my favorite pieces. It was made for a "found object" project in college, and while I consider it to be an important work for me contextually my aesthetic has changed a great deal since its creation. However, it is a marvelous fit for this show, and I love seeing it side by side with other recycled art pieces.
These cool clutches are also part of the display--plastic grocery bags were fused together and sewn into a fashionable object. The material looks like hide, and the texture of the fused bags creates beautiful patterns. Why go for a leather purse if these bags are waterproof, durable, expressive, and made with a recycled material?
The CentreGallery is entirely student-run, and they do an absolutely fantastic job. Displays are well-placed and organized. Everything flowed together through the space.
I was unable to be there for the install, and walking into the gallery for the first time was unreal. I felt like I was on a weird home-improvement show where someone took things out of my house, put them somewhere else, and revealed it to me with a "Surprise! We made your stuff look incredibly beautiful through the magic of proper lighting and spacing." I looked at my work and couldn't believe that it was mine.
Dave also was impressed. "I mean, I've seen these paintings every day since you made them, but they just did not look like this before." I guess we need to get some better lights for the house!
The New Felicitous Website is LIVE!
I've been busy putting together a new website for Felicitous Coffee & Tea, and it is up and running!
Felicitous had been using their facebook page as a website for the past six months, so the shop was definitely in need of an online overhaul. It came together pretty quickly--it is so much fun to develop a site for a business with which I am already deeply involved. Rani (owner of Felicitous/awesome human) wanted the new site to be professional, whimsical, organized, and full of personality. It captures the spirit of Felicitous as well as giving a glimpse into the wonderful community that surrounds this little local spot.
I can often be found vicariously scoping out local coffee and tea shops around the country via their websites, and it amazes me when I get a real sense of what it feels like to stand in that coffee shop solely from their online presence. To capture the atmosphere of Felicitous, the zeitgeist displays a smattering of photos taken by customers using instagram. What better way to capture the spirit of the times than through the crowd-sourced lenses of camera phones?
Seeing the shop through the eyes of the customer has been enlightening for Rani and I as well--people seem to love drinks heavily laden with whipped cream, nerdy superhero mugs, and anything served in a mason jar.
New Hostel Life Headphones from OrigAudio
The Hostel Life always has something super exciting going on, and this past week was no exception. The new rolling article feed I helped design went live on the site's homepage, encouraging visitors to be a part of The Hostel Life's community of travel writers.
The creator of the Hostel Life, Mehdy Ghannad, is one of my favorite people to work with. Ideas for new avenues of advertising and partnership spill out of his brain like crazy; because of this, Mehdy always has requests for me that are just downright cool.
The Hostel Life is partnering with OrigAudio to make some super-sweet custom headphones as promotional giveaways, and Mehdy asked me to do the design!
I am going to feel so cool when I whip out this sweet ear candy on an airplane. My ears have suffered greatly since my old noise-canceling headphones broke--I have resorted to blasting my music through iPhone earbuds to cover airplane noise. Maybe, on a magical day in the future, I will be seated next to another lucky receiver of headphones from The Hostel Life and we can bond over our matching love for travel.
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