AimeezArtz: I live in Cloverdale, Canada with my husband and my little Jack Russel, Mini. I have been creating mosaics, big and small for seven years. My work has been in shops as close as Langley, BC and as far as New Mexico.
Every mosaic is different, that’s why I’m drawn to this medium. I never get tired of the beauty and complexity and I’m always trying quirky new things to bring light and movement into an ancient art form.
I recently spent a few days in the midwest to see family. Some of you might know this already, but certain parts of the midwest are really more like little Scandinavian outposts. My family originally hails from Sweden, so I always feel myself drawn to all things Svenska.
West Coast of Sweden: LillaJizo
On the west coast of Sweden, scientists recently discovered the bones of a 10,000 year old whale… and I discovered the very fine designer LillaJizo and her little pieces of art that she creates on broken pieces of pottery. Historically, Jizo is a Buddhist helper/bodhisattva. He is considered to be the helper of all beings, especially children, women, and travelers. LillaJizo painted this “healing shard,” as she calls them, with Roku Jizo, or the Six Realms Jizo. I wish I had this healing shard to carry with me in my pocket when I was on my recent trip. LillaJizo also has a blog, where you can read more about her dedication to the yogic path.
Sverige, Sweden: Jealousy Designs
This hammered silver man’s ring is such an amazing gift for the guy in your life. I always love inside out rings–rings with the good stuff on the inside. Jealousy Designs’ use of natural, raw, and uncut stones, as well as the hammering of the metal results in pieces that are both masculine and feminine. Actually, many of her designs are one of a kind because she works around the natural shapes of the stones. Most of the metal materials she uses are recycled, and the only pieces of her jewelry she does not make herself are clasps and tiny chains.
Eskilstuna, Sweden: MayaLee on Etsy
Finally, how could I resist this simple photograph of a heart–it is almost Valentine’s Day, after all. To me this image is a perfect expression of how I see the Swedish aesthetic, always with color and light playing together in a crisp and fresh way, but with an appealing warmth to it too. MayaLee has other photographs in her collection where she captures the simplest of things, set against a light infused background. But I think this is my favorite, the little dappling light and the stick pins, like a metaphor of what love often is–not necessarily fleeting, but certainly not permanent–And oh how we wish it was.
Laura’s back :) She is a watercolor artist and blogger who is writing two columns each week. Here’s her first photography column (her first painting column was yesterday), and I know she’d appreciate any recommendations of your favorite photographers. Just leave them in the comments and welcome her to Try Handmade!
If you are looking for beautiful inspiration, look no further. Charlane Griffith of Three Parts Whimsy will take you to a dreamy place. I was excited when she agreed to an interview about her work.
Do you prefer black and white or color?
This varies so much. I know people that are definitely in one camp or the other but with me, I started out as a strictly BW girl – Inspired by the photographers of the 40’s and 50’s – loving Ansel Adams, Henri Carter-Breeson, Dorothea Lange, Dianne Arbus and such. Who could argue with Adam’s landscapes, Bresson’s motion and the emotionality of Lange or Arbus? Their stuff can stop you in your tracks. But then…color, wow – there are just some amazing artists out there. So, like I said, on any given day I could tell you one or the other. But truthfully – I love them both.
What inspires you?
I’m all across the board with that question – light inspires me. The play of it across the trees, the landscape, someone’s face. Children because they are all out there with their emotions and they see the world in such a mixture of whimsy and then, literally too – what a beautiful combination. Colors – I take a lot photographs of flowers due to the colors. Textures – I’m a tactile person. I love the touch of different textures and I like the juxtaposition of contrasting textures. And then, odd things that are out of their normal environment.
How important is lighting/ composition in your work?
Lighting is everything. I’m constantly intrigued and enraptured by watching the light play on various things throughout my day. The right light can make the ugliest thing beautiful under the right circumstances.
I always play with composition – because I work during the week, and most daylight hours, I love to set up vignettes/still lifes. My room mate teases me about my ‘studio’ corner – he never knows what he’s going to find sitting about there. But…seriously, that window gets the best light.
What kind of camera is your favorite? What do you use?
I’m a Canon girl all the way – it’s funny how the photography world works. Most people tend to pick a brand and are completely loyal to it. It’s rare that photographers change once they’re using an SLR/DLSR due to the lens cost. I’ve seen it…but it’s rare. So, I’m shooting mostly with a Canon 40D – I got it on sale when the 50D was released. I have the old film rebel that I had in high school but never did much with. When I decided to “be serious” about photography, I upgraded to the XTi and then the 50D. I also have an old Kodak Brownie, a 50mm SigmaTech ‘toy camera’ and have just ordered a Fuji Instapix which I’m very excited about.
My oldest daughter refuses to eat beans. As a matter of fact, she can pick through a bowl of chili eating everything but the beans with incredible accuracy and persistence. Ask her to clean her room and it “takes too long, Mom”, but she will sit for hours picking the beans from any dish without blinking an eye.
The rest of us, on the other hand, adore the musical fruit. Entire meals can, and often are, be based around beans — of one variety or many, we’re not picky. Black, dark and light red kidney, great northern, navy, white, and yes, even lima. Soups, stews, salads, pasta dishes; the options are endless.
And why not? They’re not only essentially a super food — packed with protein, fiber and nutrients galore — they’re easily grown and even easier to store. Whether canned, frozen or dried beans keep well for months and lend themselves equally as nicely to both hearty winter and light, yet filling summer fare making them prime candidates as a year-round local eating staple.
My favorite for meals is the black bean (chick peas, for obvious reasons — hummus! — win out for snacks.) Tossed with onion, sundried tomatoes, roasted corn, a generous handful of fresh chopped cilantro, a pinch of ground pepper and the juice of a freshly squeezed lime — or three, we love limes — they’re always a hit. Served warm next to fish tacos or cold as a mid-summer lunch all their own after a night spent marinating in the fridge, it’s versatile to boot.
What are your favorites? What beans must I try this year and in what inventive ways should I prepare them? Share with me your tips, tricks and recipes — my oldest daughter will not appreciate your kindness, but the rest of us sure will, and who knows her taste buds just might come around someday.
Mia Joie Boutique: To quote Lord Byron, every bride should “walk in beauty… and tender light.” These shoe accessories are designed to take any simple bridal shoe and make it extraordinary. The t-straps have a small clear elastic loop that the second toe slips into, and they stay quite securely and comfortably in place by tying them around the ankles.