Friday, April 22, 2011

Everyday it is a different beach

After seeing the crocheted star fish, I arrived at the beach in South Carolina and there were real star fish everywhere.  Or as one little boy kept correcting his big brother "sea stars".  On that first day they were in all of the tidal pools.

But of course, the beach is always unpredictable.  Since that day, I have only seen a few mangled dead ones in the surf line.  Where do they go, under the sand, out to sea?

On another day I found many sand dollars.  Of course there were many broken ones, but I was walking along the waters edge and found at least eight whole one's within half an hour.

They are very fragile, and I'll be lucky to get any home.

The conch shell is always the elusive prize.  While running on the beach I found a pretty decent one, but it is old and blue.  Today as I ran I found three perfect ones, but they were all still occupied by their rightful owners.  So I apologized and shoved them back in the sand.  How can I find so many when I am busy, and none when I come back later totally focused on uncovering more?
Everyday it is a new beach. One day it started out sunny and warm and then fog rolled in so that we couldn't see down the coast at all.  Beautiful.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Today I met a friend and went downtown to see the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at the Museum of Natural History.  They call it the "intersection of mathematics, marine biology, handcraft and community art practice."  It's way cool.  Begun by two women in their apartment, it has grown into a world wide art/environmental installation.  Although their website does a much better job explaining it than I do, I can try.  Mathematicians were aware of a third kind of geometry beyond planes and spheres they named it hyperbolic, but didn't know how to make models that showed the intersection of lines.  A woman mathematician discovered she could create a model with crochet.  It has to do with algorithms, fractals, repeated sets and increasing stitches.  Well I can't really explain it.  But it made me want to crochet.
There is a large central reef full of different colors and textures. There are also several different satellite reefs that are more thematic.  One is made of plastic cut into strips and crocheted with garbage accents, surprisingly sparkly.  Another is all white.  One case is full of beaded pieces.  Some really exquisite corals were made of really fine and delicate wire.
A crocheted starfish

A live starfish in Maine last summer
The only thing I didn't like about the exhibit was that you couldn't touch it.  It is just so tactile, you just want to squeeze handfuls of it.  Maybe I'll just have to order their book and start to make my own anemone and jellyfish.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Drawing more

I had dinner with some art school friends a few weeks ago.  We were talking about how important it is to keep working on art and of course, how easy it is not to work at all.  My friend Maria said she had taken an illustration course and her teacher had stressed the importance of drawing every day. Maria had been trying to do that and showed us some of her work, which of course was beautiful.  We all resolved to try to draw every day.
A week later I was fretting that I hadn't pulled out my sketchbook once and wished I had time to draw.  As I dug around for a pencil, I started thinking about what to draw and thought of doing some more perspective examples.  And then it occurred to me, I draw all of the time, and during the week, pretty much every day.  So what was I worried about?  I draw examples for the kids, I draw with the kids, I make signs and diagrams for them all the time with drawings all over them.  Wasn't that why I wanted to be an art teacher in the first place, so I could keep my hand in?
Another thing I have started doing is keeping a notebook for when I visit my Dad.  I try to ask him about something from his life and write it down.  When he is not cooperating, or when he starts repeating himself, I do line drawings of him or the other residents.  They don't move around much, so they are pretty easy to draw, and all of those lines and wrinkles make interesting drawings.
So I am drawing everyday and sometimes a little bit more, tonight I'm drawing into the ground on my etching plate which is a pretty cool surface to work on.
I rarely photograph my sketchbook, but I have some of my beach drawings.  This one is from Sandbridge, VA a couple years ago.