Friday, May 19, 2017

Calligraphy at The Marriott

Every two years the Houston Calligraphy Guild reserves classrooms in the Marriott Westchase offering discount rates for over-nighters. I last attended in 2011 when I taught Zine-Making - see my prior blogs about Zines:
I attended the HCG Retreat last weekend & really enjoyed myself.

There were 9 classes (2 & 1/2 hours each) to choose from. Forty HCG members each picked 3 classes. Saturday morning I chose Journal Contour Drawing with Shirl Riccetti: 
Shirl exhibits her drawings & watercolor art at the Archway Gallery in Houston.

My quick portrait of Shirl Riccetti - left / Lobby sketching - right

Shirl liked timed drawings of 2 and 3 minutes! First we drew a chair copying from an upside down drawing from Van Gogh - I liked that! We practiced outlining and filling in while copying from magazine photos. 

I loved using one of my Paris photos for a timed journaling exercise. Finishing up, we actually went out to the lobby & sketched - fun & daring.

My Saturday afternoon class was Pointed Pen Uncials taught by Cindy Haller, a talented local calligrapher for hire: 

The class was modeled after Michael Kecseg who was bringing this historical letterform into the 20th century. 

Cindy’s class would have been better for me if my bottled ink had not exploded in my art supply bag - ugh! Cindy suggested I use a pencil first and go over it with a monoline tool (no thicks or thins). I will practice these letterforms since done correctly, they are very pretty.

On Sunday morning I took J.B. Banzon’s class, another talented local calligrapher. This was his first time teaching and he was excellent! Snowflake Flourishing was lots of fun with attention to detail. How long ago had I used this compass!?!

On Friday evening we dined at a lovely French restaurant, La Madeleine. During the weekend the Marriott provided two breakfast buffets with yummy crispy bacon, and a fine lunch and dinner on Saturday. The cookies that afternoon were a treat! Plus I actually had two good nights of sleep. 

Saturday night there was a raffle for calligraphy prints from a legacy left by Helen Shinpaugh, a most beloved HCG member. I was lucky enough to win the print above by Mark Van Stone.

All in all it was a fun weekend of making art and being with my calligraphy tribe.
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, May 5, 2017

Africa Travels with Beads

I bought lovely beads when I was in North Africa - called Trade Beads. I used one for this necklace. I visited Casablanca & Marrakesh which I found other-worldly. 

This is my photo of the entrance to the souks, the Jemaa el-Fna in Marrakesh. The buses arrive here too.

The Souks - the open-air marketplaces - are like a continuous craft fair. Having a local guide is necessary in the maze of shops. The guides meet the buses, arriving from Casablanca to Marrakesh. My guide told me to call him Mohammed Charlie Brown.

Besides beads, various kinds of clothing, shawls, household goods, rugs, slippers, and handbags are bargained for and sold. Many of the slippers and handbags are made by the nomadic Bedouin tribes that roam the Sahara desert.

I bought this handbag in Marrakesh - made from goatskin by a Bedouin tribe member.
I created this blog a year and a half ago (this is my 62nd blog) and I love traveling, so I was recently involved with editing a friend's travel web site.
My friends use this site for flights, hotels, car rentals and cruises and everything goes smoothly. They are opening the site to the rest of the world.

A postcard I bought in Marrakesh shows a display called “Fantasia” usually combined with dinner for the tourists.

I’ll continue blogging about art and crafts. And I'm planning more travels combined with crafting. Please let me know if you have any thoughts to share in the Comments section.
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

Focus on Book Arts

I attended the wonderful Focus on Book Arts conference held near Portland, Oregon in 2005. It's held during odd-numbered years - this year June 20th to 25th.

I made four books in four days! Jana Pullman taught the Nag Hammadi book - click here:
And the 16th Century Limp Paper Binding book - click here:

Doris Arndt taught The Artistic Exploration Journal - I absolutely loved this and made several more of these too.

We cut into the cover board - dragon fly on mine - before gluing the Black Pearl paper (crumpled after we rubbed on colors). We also worked on a few journal pages.

Doris Arndt also taught The Woven Metal Book. Had to be very careful working with metal pieces. Drafting tape was used on the back to hold the metal pieces together.

We folded pockets to hold pretty book marks we made. The Woven Metal Book was a challenge - this is the only one I ever made! Plus, we wrapped the ribbon around skewers we colored with ink.

Jana Pullman is teaching at FOBA this June. Click here:

I also sewed the style of the Exploration Journal when I entered & was a finalist for the Southern Methodist University book competition in 2006 for. Click here:

My husband, Kevin Taylor, collaborated with me for the SMU competition. He had taken a two day Marbling class taught at FOBA by Galen Berry & he made this lovely marbled paper I used for end sheets.

At the Focus on Book Arts we did so much each day. It was truly a memorably experience & I recommend going if you have the time, money and desire to learn. Have you taken any interesting classes?
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

Album Bookbinding Revisited

A member of my family is getting married next month. She had her wedding shower last week and received two guest books I made, one for shower guests, another for wedding guests to sign & write greetings.

You can see full instructions for Creating a Photo or Guest Album with this Arnold Grummer kit.

Click here for my June 2016 blog:

For the 2nd album I used a spiral binding. I bought The Cinch machine by We R Memory Keepers at the Archivers shop a while ago (sold at Hobby Lobby where I found the heart-shaped doilies too). 

I made sure to use my awl to punch holes through the first layer of paper - after the glue dried on the cover - before I glued the back piece, to know where the holes were located.

Lining up the spiral bindings and pushing down the wire binding to close it are two valuable features of The Cinch.

I found this lovely Happily Ever After ribbon at Michaels. I used it on both albums. LOVE this modern look for a young couple.

The Cinch comes with great instructions, plus another page of helpful tips and sells for around $75. So worth it for bookbinders, just for hole punching multiple times in a straight row!

My family was very pleased with the Wedding Guest Albums. Please let me know what you think of them too.
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

Paper in Paris

It was fun to search for art supplies when I visited Paris. I mapped the paper stores and they were not far from Notre Dame.

Since there were huge crowds in front, I walked over two foot bridges, about a 15 minute walk, to the paper stores on Rue Pont Louis-Phillippe.

They are located in the hip neighborhood  (the 4th District) known as the Marais. I bought Faber-Castell color pencils and this lovely little pink journal at Paper Plus.

They also had this lovely Italian paper on my "How to Meditate" book I sell on Etsy: - I buy the paper at Paper Source in Houston.

Les Exprimeurs offered pretty stationery where I bought these wonderful bookmarks for souvenirs. Everyone loved them!

Calligrane sold colorful Japanese papers, greeting cards, and journals; their elegant books and paper were pricey.

The cheapest machine-bound small blank journal book was $55. But I did get some ideas for binding my own journals.

After Notre Dame, I walked around the corner to the bookstore, Shakespeare & Company.

The aisles were crowded, of course I bought a Paris postcard and looked at the books.

Another shop, called Tse Tse, across the street from my apartment in the 1st District on Rue Saint-Roch sold home accessories and notebooks. 

I bought this lovely Fabriano notebook, 8 1/4 by 11 1/4 inches.

I also bought this pretty gilt edged book with silver elastic - tres chic

Did you find any art supplies during your travels?

©Anne Rita Taylor 2017

Friday, March 3, 2017

After Degas' Ballerina

I visited Degas’ ballerinas. The exhibit was at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston in December. I wanted a ballerina of my own.

I tried to figure out which ballerina I wanted; I especially liked the woman bowing holding flowers in her green tutu.

I bought a Tracer Projector several years ago & tried it once. The postcard sized photo goes under the Tracer and projects about 2 feet away to about 18 inches tall. 

The projected shadowy screen image frustrated me.  I thought I’d try to use it again before I gave it away.

This time I used it in a darkened room; it gave me a good outline to follow as long as I did not move the canvas too much. I had to re-position it a few times.

And I worked in the dark!

Pastels seems to work OK. 

Plus these earth tones:

After drawing an outline I turned off the projector and drew in the details with the pastels. 

It came out similar but it is an Anne Rita Taylor, not a Degas. I was pleased anyway. It is 16 inches wide by 20 inches tall. It hangs in my bedroom. What do you think of it?
©Anne Rita Taylor 2017