Last week I was featured in the “Meet the Maker” series on Lucky Break Consulting’s very useful blog. Remember last month I said I needed a new headshot? Yeah, it was for this. The interview was a fun opportunity to reflect on my process and my work a bit more than usual, including why I’ve decided that the whole “quit your day job” idea that gets floated around a lot in crafter circles just isn’t for me. Oh, and I also reveal my favorite Kurt Vonnegut quote (how to choose!).You can read the full interview here, and I’d encourage you to check out the whole Meet the Maker series for some great advice. Also, a big thanks to my friend Jason of Burton and Levy— himself a Meet the Maker interviewee a few months back– for suggesting me for this series.
Besides maybe The Golden Girls, there aren’t a lot of role models for how to live like a badass as you get older. I firmly believe that we don’t lose our coolness just because we age– it’s just that that’s not a story that gets told very often.
Luckily there are people like crocheter Grace Brett. At 104, she proved that contemporary art need not be just a young person’s game. Grace participated in yarn bombing her UK town with her colorful, crocheted creations. Fanciful and vibrant, they are still most definitely cool.
Henry and I started watching Pee Wee’s Playhouse together a year or so ago. It has honestly been a dream come true for me that he loves the show as much as I did when I was a kid (and, heck, still do). When I was a kid, I never wanted the show to end. I distinctly remember feeling so bummed out when the credits started to roll; thirty minutes was no where near enough time to examine every intricately-designed and decorated corner of the space, or stare intently at the puppets, trying to figure out how they were made. Now that the show has been re-released, the picture quality is astonishing. There are so many new details to take in, now in their fully-realized, HD glory. It’s a feast for the eyes, and the show itself totally holds up as well.
When Henry decided on his Pee Wee costume a few months back, I wasn’t totally sure it would stick. Three year olds aren’t exactly known for keeping their word. I’d check in with him every few weeks just to make sure he was still on board, and since he wasn’t wavering, I decided back in September that it was time to get to work. Since Henry’s blond hair is clearly not very reminiscent of Pee Wee, my mind went to the crazy helmet that he wears at the end of each episode of the show. Just like last year, the costume hinged on some crazy headwear to make it complete.After a lot of research and a lot of searching (this thread was particularly helpful), I eventually collected most of the toys needed for the helmet– giant eyeball, squeaky bulldogs, dinosaurs, cowboys, clown heads. I decided against the flame stickers only because the helmet was already pretty full. Besides the helmet, the rest of the costume was thankfully pretty easy by comparison: The same gray “robot pants” Hen wore last Halloween, a vintage gray jacket on Ebay, white Tom’s knock-off shoes, red bowtie. Henry had a bike helmet that he’d almost outgrown that we decided would be a good base for his headpiece. Though it was already red, I thought that trying to glue toys onto the slick surface probably wouldn’t work very well, so step one was covering the top in papier mache. From there, I painted a few coats of red paint and started gluing. Gorilla Glue is great for sticking weird things like this together, but because it takes a while to cure, I had to rig up an elaborate web of tape to keep everything in place. And since that stuff puffs up like crazy, there was a fair amount of chipping away at the extra glue afterwards, too.Next was another layer of papier mache to make the eyelid, and then a few coats of paint to touch everything up and hide any extra glue. The final step was then covering the whole dang thing in glitter– a bottle of clear sparkle paint left over from the mural I painted for my niece 15 years ago. Sometimes being a packrat pays off!The final product is everything I could’ve hoped for. With the kiddo suited up and on his scooter, it was pretty much unmistakable who he’s supposed to be. (It helps that he’ll sing you the “Connect the Dots” song at the drop of a hat, too.) We tried out his costume over the weekend at a local kiddie Halloween parade and only lost one dinosaur over the course of the evening. I consider that a success!
I’ve been in need of a new headshot for a while now. The photo that I’d been using to represent me and my business was, well, sorely out of date. It was taken back in 2009 or so, and basically everything pictured, besides me, is gone now– the apartment, the dog, the laptop, even my old studio chair. Plus, I’m not even looking at the camera, which is sort of rule number 1 for an engaging headshot.I’ve been scheming for close to a year to hire a photographer to come take some shots, but I’m a world class procrastinator– not to mention I never want to clean up my studio– so, down to the wire on a deadline, I had to take matters into my own hands.
Last Saturday while the kiddo was napping, I asked my boyfriend to come take photos of me. He’s no photographer, but I figured I could get everything into place and have him focus and press the shutter. When I was finally set up and went to look for him, I heard the distinctive sound of snoring coming from the living room. They tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps, and it’s clearly a habit we’ve had a hard time breaking three years in. So, I was on my own.
Left to my own devices, I decided to see if I could rig up a photo on my own. Armed with my delayed shutter, a stack of empty Amazon boxes, and some nice afternoon light, I’m pretty happy with the results. Who needs a photographer when you can Photoshop the mess out of the background yourself ; )
There’s nothing like the wind in your hair and sun on your skin. Like, all your skin. Some fun and funky pieces celebrating body liberation–
Running Lady by Amy Victoria Marsh.
Ceramic figure by Laura Berger
Illustration by Cecile Dormeau
Kama Sutra paper dolls by Maria Dubrovskaya
Naked holiday ornaments from Liv & Dom.
Boob pillowcase from Gravel & Gold.
Let’s Get Cosmic by Laura Berger
As a new everyday bus commuter, I’ve come to appreciate the humble bus shelter more and more. Chicago bus stops, if they have a shelter, are all pretty much identical. There are a few in the Loop that get transformed for special events, but overall a bus stop in Bronzeville will look the same as one in Logan Square.
While functional, the structures are pretty forgettable, which makes me really appreciate the quirky Soviet bus shelters captured by photographer Christopher Herwig. In his book, “Soviet Bus Stops,” Herwig chronicles the many idiosyncratic an avant-garde structures he passed while biking through Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Latvia, and other former Soviet states. From intricate mosaic and tile work, to brutalist concrete shapes, we could learn a thing to two about making waiting for the bus this much fun.