Friday, March 28, 2008

Tactile Color

"Tactile Color" was inspired by an art show I went to of visually impaired artists. There where lots of things I wasn’t use to: for example, next to each art work there was the artist’s statement in print and Braille. There where lots of guide dogs. And a booklet was handed out about the artists that could be read by the sighted and the visually impaired.

Even though I want people to touch my art, at the show I couldn’t bring myself to feel the oil paintings. The visually impaired touched them but I couldn’t. I think that’s because of conditioning from galleries and museums. Feeling the art helped to understand the meaning and create an experience, where as I just used my eyes.

Another surprise at the show was the use of color. It was everywhere! It reminded me of a children’s book in Braille called “A Color of His Own” by Leo Lionni, transcribed by Dorthy Johnson. The pages are printed on thin, white plastic. The pictures are raised, just like the Braille, so they can be felt. The tactile illustrations are by Marcy Meyer. At the beginning of the book, Meyer, created a texture legend, that assigns a color to each texture. The pictures are highly textured, making them exciting to feel and beautiful to look at. It is so much fun imagining the colors of the pictures by the textures.

These experiences inspired me to make a sculpture that allows touch in a gallery setting. The sculpture is a table and chair covered in soft, knit materials. It is entirely white. I picked Braille to be an integral part, because it’s agreed upon as an acceptable thing to touch. To further encourage interaction, I used a variety of textures, such as super fuzzy yarn and soft clothes line.

Paying homage to the creator of Braille was also important to me because of his tenacity and generosity. Louis Braille, the inventor, experimented with writing his code using knitting needles. So I chose to knit a large majority of the sculpture.

The Braille book of “A Color of His Own” made me question what a sculpture would look like if it had a texture legend. On my sculpture, the desk drawer has a legend where each texture represents a color. The clothes line is turquoise. The poofy boa is yellow…

Elizabeth Symington, Tactile Color, 2008
53" x 27" x 20"
Mixed Media
Special thanks to Carolina Huerta
Photos by Luke Goodman

Monday, March 24, 2008

Art residencies

Art residencies. Say what? It's a place for artist's to temporarily live so they can have uninterrupted time to create art. Some residencies offer free room and board and materials plus equipment to borrow. They're not just for visual artists but dancers, writers, composers... And there are residencies all over the world!!

I am starting to apply. The requirements are all different: number of images of resent art work, artist's statement, bio, letters of reference, proposal for what Iwant to create while there.

Check out residencies at:

Alliance of Artist's communities

NYFA Source

International Association of Residential Arts Centres

Res Artis

Adam Reeder

Site of the week:

Adam makes amazing figures out of clay, then casts them into bronze. His knowledge of anatomy is very impressive. What I like best is the gesture in the pose. Even though they are metal, they feel like they have movement.

George loves this type of realism. We both admire the amount of time it takes to develop the knowledge of the human form and then to sculpt it!

Adam's art is very impressive. Check it out.

Cheap nuts and sun tea

Adding to my list of handy, random tips:

1. Cheap place to buy nuts and dried fruit- Trader Joes! While you're there grab a bag of semisweet chocolate chips (by the sorbet which is also divine). The chocolate is about $1.50 a bag and they're dairy free!! Throw them in with hole cashews, dried cranberries, walnut halves.

2. Need wire? What about skewers for a camping trip? Go to the dry cleaners and ask if they have any coat hangers. They will most likely love you for taking them off their hands.

3. What about used bike inner tubes? That rubber tube is great for tie downs. They have so many uses. Just think. Ask for old ones from bike repair shops or REI. They will be grateful that they are being reused instead of being put in the landfill.

4. R U a painter? Find the cheapest, good quality canvas at a theatre supply company.

5. Don't have a glass pitcher but u want to make sun tea? Use your bender instead. Put the entire thing out side in the sun. It looks delightfully bizzar.

Logo inspiration

I've been designing a logo with my bf. It's a logo for myself as a sculptor. "Print's best letterheads and business cards 6" has been very inspiring. It's an annual of the best of the best. I found it at a thrift store for a dollar. You can buy it on Amazon for $8.

Car Rental

I have a friend that hunts for the absolute best deals, like I did with finding prescription safety glasses. She swears by Dollar Car Rental. I think Enterprise is good too.


I've rented from Dollar and Enterprise.
With Dollar, if you are under 24 they add $25 to rent a car. Now I am actually looking forward to my next birthday.
In SF, their store is open 7-7pm, which is a pretty early closing time.
I has the hardest time trying to talk to an actual person on the phone.
I never did find the # for the SF location, just the national 800 #. So frustrating!
My bf reserved the car online the night before. I picked it up and they were out of compacts, so they gave me a convertible with no extra charge! It was so much fun driving it in Napa!

With Enterprise, at the San Francisco International Airport, they're open 24 hours.
There is also a 20% tax renting from the airport!!!
When I returned the car, I was asked what I thought of Enterprise. I told them I couldn't get through to the SFO location when I called on Saturday and Sunday. They took off $25 from my bill.
They didn't clearly explain the charges when pre-paying for gas from them.
No extra fee for being under 24!
If you call a branch and they can't answer the phone, it redirects you to the national #. If you want to borrow the car for an extra day, like I did, you have to talk to someone on the phone or in person from the location your rented from. For your reference the SFO enterprise direct # is 1-650-697-9200 ext 8.

Both car rental companies were super polite in person and when I could get a hold of someone one the phone! The cars I drove were practically new and handled great. I can't wait to be driving again!!!!!

Start a blog

What do u do with all the random bits of knowledge that you acquire? Do what I did- start a blog!!! Afraid you don't have anything interesting to say? Just start typing. I have an ongoing list of things to post; one topic leads to another. I am pretty sure I won't ever catch up. I don't think I want to either.

Blogging is super easy. It's just like sending an email. You can use a standard layout (like mine) or you can customize it.

It's fun having a counter on your page to see how many people visit your site. You can get on for free by signing up with Bring traffic to your site by participating in Works-for-me-Wednesday, where you post a tip that works for you.

Another option when setting up your blog is to have new comments emailed to you. That way you don't have to search through all your posts looking for comments.

You can change the name of your blog after you have set it up. I didn't like my first blog name, so I changed it. I then sent an email out to me address book notifying friends of the change.

Lastly, pretend that you are a visitor to your site. Is it easy to leave a comment? Do they need a user name or can they post anonymous?

Beware, blogging is addicting. I have to limit myself so I can focus on my art. But I need to blog to keep my readers happy. Happy blogging!

prescription safety glasses

They're here!!!
My first pair of prescription safety glasses.

Whenever I put safety glasses over my regular glasses I'm in a bunch of pain. My ears can't handle 2 sets of glasses. Ouch! On top of that, both pairs like to slip down my nose, making it very difficult to sculpt. It is such a bugger to adjust 2 pairs of glasses when wearing a face shield, big old ear muffs, respirator and leather gloves. I also don't want to scratch up my nice, everyday lenses from metal shards.

Now that I have decided that I am a professional sculptor, I need tools that work for me. I don't want to dread certain steps because I have to wear safety glasses.

For a month, I researched online the cheapest place to buy prescription safety glasses. My search criteria:
OSHA approved lenses. My brother is a carpenter and he said I need the strongest lenses possible. Look for ANSI Z87.2
2. They need to look sporty. The cheaper frames look like old man glasses. I am not going to spend $ on something I'm not going to wear. Plus, the old man glasses didn't seem to fit close enough to the eyes (which is the whole point).
3. Not to pricey that I can't replace them next year when my prescription changes.
4. A decent return policy since I'm buying online and I am not sure of the fit.

I went with

Typically, it's difficult finding glasses to fit my narrow face. So I was worried about which frame to buy.
I called them to ask which pair fits small heads. I also asked where to type in my astigmatism. I don't remember what he said, or else, I would share that info with you.

When you order frames you need to know the distance between pupils. When I went to Lenscrafters for my annual exam I asked them to measure
that for me.

Here's the specs on my glasses: (Can u tell I'm excited?)
Polycarbonate lenses: it's a plastic that is the most impact resistant material available for glasses. Polycarbonate is UV resistant and about 50 times stronger than other lens materials. Why would you want anything but the best material protecting your eyes?
AR Coating: A coating that improves both the vision through the lenses and the appearance of the glasses. The coating reduces the reflections on the lenses themselves.
Scratch Coating: A clear, hard coating that makes lenses more resistant to scratching.

Grand Total: $165
This is about $100 less than anywhere else I've looked!!!

Return policy: (dumbed down version)
If you don't like the frame you can return them for a full refund.
For the lenses you get 50% back since they cannot be reused.

Prompt. It was about 2 weeks.

Some of the frames you can try on at local optometrists. You could go to the store, find the frame that fits best, then buy online.

Some companies that require you to wear safety glasses can get you a discount. Ask at work about that.

I've been sick all week, so I haven't had a chance to use my new glasses. One huge improvement is that they don't slip off my face when I look down! The only problem is that they are too big at the temples. They aren't loose, just visually they look big. I keep telling myself they are just safety glasses. So far I am very happy with my investment.

needle holder

My spin on a cave man tattooing needle holder.

Pop quiz

What are these? Any guesses? Post your thoughts.

Still sick

Everything I need when I'm sick:
1. Hot water bottle (hidden inside Raphael "pillow case")
2. Arnica- pain relief gel
3. Purell hand sanitizer
4. Chloraseptic Spray to numb throat
5. Lots of pillows
6. Tissues
7. Vitamin water
8. Airborne
9. Heating pad

Not pictured:
1. Cowboy Bebop
2. Tons of fruit
3. Antibotic for throat
4. Lots of water
5. Water with salt for gargling
6. Blankets
7. Bed Time Bear
8. Warm sun to sleep in
9. Cough drops
10. Odwalla juice
11. Someone to bring me these things. Thank you George! I appreciate you for taking care of me. I am so thankful that you where home yesterday, when I was doing very badly. Thank you!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

grad school

I've been gleaning words of wisdom from former and present sculptors in masters' programs for sculpture.

When looking for Grad school ask yourself...

1. Having the entire day open to work in the studio is key. If you have no place to work, why are you there? Do you have 24 hour access to your studio? What about during spring break? Do you have to move your stuff out in between semesters?

2. Each art school is known for a different style. Look for schools that are a line with your art. Do they have the equipment that you need? What about instructors to ask questions about a particular media?

3. How big will your studio space be? Would you have to share it? Do you get a bigger studio after passing mid-point? Is the door big enough to get your art out the door? Is it quiet, warm, well lit and safe?

4. Limit your commitments. You are there to make art, so make it. Don't make excuses. Find a way to make it happen. Just decide and do it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Amazing Aunt!

My Aunt entered a contest with a radio station in Sacramento. And she won!!!! Her photo was described to be good enough to be on the cover of the New York Times. I completely agree!

Here's the photo on the 1530 KFBK. Click on "Week ending February 29."

Check out her other photos and leave a comment. She'd love that.

Monday, March 3, 2008

History Channel

I've been making props for a documentary on the history of tattooing. I made the cavemen tattooing props. They are all ceramic. There are 7 bone needles, 1 large, flat needle holder and a bone mortar and pestle. Hopefully the documentary will be on the History Channel by this summer. I'll keep you updated.

Weather Stone

Extra points 4 effort

You need to check out

She's a friend of mine through fencing. She has a great sense of humour. She was worried she wouldnt have anything interesting to say and that her blog would go neglected after the initial set-up. She convinced herself to do it anyways!!! Yah!!! That's extra points 4 effort.

It's a mixture of very funny and random youtube videos and photos of her latest crafts. She is learning how to crochet using kid's art kits, which I love that idea! Keeping it simple. Cake decorating is another skill she is working on.

She loves getting comments so make her day! Her site is defiantly worth checking out.