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Showing posts from June, 2013

Finally Saturday!

This week was a little crazy. Not anything major, just busy. Next Thursday (4th of July) I'll be at Picnic in the Park in Batavia NY selling bags, journals and copies of Azure Maris as well as pre-orders of Azure Lights. It's that process of preparing for the fair that has left me busy this week.

The other fun project for the week was creating a Regency era tunic. I took the Simplicity pattern, but cut the material short for a tunic than long for a gown. It's rather comfortable even after spending the day at the local historical village. Today was their Celtic themed day at the Genesee Country Village and Museum in Mumford NY. I enjoy visiting the place on a somewhat regular basis even if it is only every other year or so. Since they place the village primarily in the 1830s-1850s, I can visit for research at the time period ... roughly. Most of my American novels are earlier than the 1830s, but they at least give me an idea. Of course, Williamsburg VA is better for the Am…

Designing Light

The title sounded like an interesting way to describe the woven transparencies, though with some of the finer items, it could be gossamer veils or faery wings. It's always interested me how people design: some ponder and talk as the idea forms; others draw or dive into the medium. Normally, I ponder and write for books at any rate; plain woven items are often designed on the loom, but I realized that transparencies would be different - more like a tapestry in the designing process.

Those who design on a regular basis gather their ideas from a variety of locations then take the ideas, ephemeral as they might be, and form into a solid mass from whence they can begin to build. The process involves a few items: a good concept of the idea that wants to be portrayed (if creating a piece for a particular message) as well as the mediums strengths and limitations. There are strengths and weaknesses in tapestries, transparencies and knotted pile rugs. Taking the limitations into account in…

Woven Transparencies

The weaving process took less time than I thought it would, which was a huge praise considering that most of the past week I've been down with a cold of some sort. The weather's been cool one week; warm the next; cool again ... my body couldn't handle the changes.

The above image is the basic style of the transparency that I wove over the weekend, and what I used as my cartoon. Since it was set at 7.5 dpi, the weaving took less time than if I had a finer sett. To create the weft, I ended up using two threads of cotton (for the green) and cotton and acrylic for the flowers. This provided a little interest since the acrylic yarn had metallic ribbon with it.

The overview shot of what I created. When you look at the two photos together, you can see that they remained fairly close together. Since I used such a large space, it became difficult for detailing, but part of the purpose of transparencies is to provide the illusion of the item, not the details.

A second photo, a lit…

Summer changes

Since today is the first full day of summer, I thought it would be nice to change around the blog's template. What do you think of it? I chose hummingbirds because we always seem to have several around the house during the summer.

In New York (where I currently live) I see hummingbirds on a regular basis; in Pennsylvania (where I spent my childhood), I rarely saw hummingbirds. It's funny how certain animals are more common in one part of the country as opposed to another, though they animal lives in both parts.

When I was little, one of the nightly activities was to catch lightning bugs, usually in our hands since no one ever seemed to have a jar handy. Night falls earlier in southeastern Pennsylvania than it does in Western New York. Eight/nine at night down there is quite dark, even in the summertime; up here, we have light until almost ten it seems. Lightning bugs exist here, I just rarely have a chance to see them.

What are activities that you remember as summer activit…

Woven Transparencies

When I first learned of this concept: woven transparencies, I had to stop and ponder what was meant. I knew tapestries and kilims, but as far as woven transparencies I was confused.

In July or August, I'll write a review about one of my all-time favorite books: Sheer Delights, but for now, let me explain about woven transparencies. I will warn you: the book is currently out of print, therefore the prices on Amazon (where the link takes you) are over-priced. If you can find it elsewhere, do so. They are often woven with a linen warp and weft, as seen in the photo below:

The transparencies are woven at a wide sett, for the linen that I'm using on my rigid heddle looms, I have it set at 7.5 dpi (as you can see in the photo)

Since I just began this project, I only have the two photos, but I will add more on Monday with the beginning of the project. Think of these transparencies as window tapestries: they are meant to have light shine through them thereby creating the image. If you…

Newspapers and History

Troubles in Mexico; troubles in Europe; earthquakes, floods, and other natural disasters. Countries talking about going to war ... sounds like modern day, but no, I spent yesterday morning reading newspapers from 1915.

I'm currently writing a black box theater play about my area in Western New York, so yesterday morning, I scrolled through papers from the time period that the play is set: Spring, 1915.

Some interesting facts that I learned:
The Lusitania had already collected undue attention for flying an American flag in international waters (the ship was British)Teddy Roosevelt was sued in a Syracuse courthouse then had to spend the last week in April and early May there defending himself (only trumped by Lusitania sinking)Photo from the Cordelia Biddle and Angier Duke wedding. I state this only because I like the film the Happiest Millionaire which is based upon their courtship.Women's suffrage meetings held in the area were widely supported by both men and women. It'…

Taking Time to Create

No one entered the contest, so once again, we do not have a winner. Next month, we'll see if it is true that the third time is the charm.

I've decided to take up photography again as a means to expand my artistic abilities. One thing that I am learning is that as an artist we need to have fun and enjoy our artistic skills. Sometimes, that involves learning, or reacquainting ourselves with a favorite activity from the past.

We use loose leaf tea, and the other day, I looked at the tea leaves floating in the water while they steeped, and thought that they appeared quite interesting, so  I took a photo of them. I liked the colors and light reflected on the water and leaves.

It's the little things that make the bigger, overwhelming problems fade away, at least for a few moments of happiness. Look out for little pieces of interest throughout this week. Take a chance and develop your inner artist. I firmly believe that every human is created to create. Some paint; others write…

Ides of June Contest

Today is the 15th of June and therefore, it is the Ides of June Contest. Today, we're trying something different from last month and having the contest on the blog. Since it is Saturday, you'll have the entire weekend to enter for a signed copy of Azure Maris.

In the comment section below, tell me a city you've always wanted to visit. This contest will close on Sunday, June 16 at 11 PM EST, so make certain you have your entries in. On Monday, I'll announce the randomly drawn winner.

Art and Healing

It's been one of those weeks: homeschooling fair on Sunday, sitting at a booth yesterday afternoon, receiving two rejection letters and trying to write a business plan for class. The business plan deals with an artisan business I want to start that focuses on teaching young women about weaving and business so they can start a business of their own.

One of the aspects of this business deals with healing since art is a powerful avenue for healing. We might pray for healing; we might visit the doctor for healing; we might even scream for healing, but the aspect of throwing color onto a canvas or the meditative aspect of weaving can heal in ways that medicine and science can never reach.

This video is ten minutes long, but visit the Foundation for Art & Healing if you want a shorter version of the video. I think it offers a good explanation as to why we need art.

A quick reminder that tomorrow is the Ides of June. Check back here tomorrow to sign up for a signed copy of Azure Ma…

Art Series: Christian Fiction

This is a part of my on-going look at Christianity and Art. The Arts are not limited to painting, drawing and music, but include literature, drama, film and the artisan crafts as well. How we define our art needs to be addressed. The first, is Christian Fiction.
What constitutes "Christian fiction"? I had a conversation with a fourteen-year-old last night at a homeschooling book sale concerning this topic. It's an interesting topic, and one that I find necessary since my first three books are all classified as Christian fiction (i.e. you'll find them in a Christian bookstore, and they are published by a Christian publisher). That being said, should I write  a book for a non-Christian publisher and a non-Christian bookstore would that make my book non-Christian?

Azure Maris is a Christian fantasy/science fiction (speculative in some cases) because the series begins fantastically without magic, but as the series progresses, science becomes more prevalent. Azure is a pr…

Writer's Toolbox: Genres

I'm going to start a new series today that focuses on different aspects that a writer needs - the toolbox. The first part of the toolbox focuses on genres: brief definitions, uses, and some famous books within each genre.

When I was in elementary school, I had monthly book reports due so I learned about genres in books, but not always within fiction. Genre refers to a set of expected characteristics within a story: a mystery always involves some sort of element to be solved; fantasy has magic; science fiction must contain science; romance ends with a kiss.

Under each broad stroke of genre are sub-genres. For example the mystery genre includes: amateur sleuth, hard-boiled and soft-boiled, private eye, political and historical. Today, I'll provide the broad strokes then we'll look into the sub-genres as we proceed through the series. A caveat at the beginning of the series: many of these genres overlap for example one can have a historical romance or a romantic mystery. 

Why Journal?

Journaling is one of those activities that people sometimes do or wish they did. There is a large group who've never journal, have no intentions of journaling and believe it's a complete waste of time. I'm not talking to the latter group, but to those who wish they did.

A collection of journals - not all by any stretch of the imagination. The very top one was used in the 2007/2008 time frame, the bottom two are both from 2011 (beginning and ending of the year) and the brown one is the one that I just finished using. I have others that I have misplaced, but as you can see, I bind my own journals simply because I don't like the ones out there.

Since I've started journaling on a regular basis, I've watched five aspects develop out of journaling:

Organizing my thoughts. Journaling helps me process what bothers me whether about life in general or a story in particular. Through writing it out, I can argue with a problem while allowing the creative juices to flow. Sinc…

Back to Writing

The author talk went well last night, not as much as I expected, but it turned out well. Next week I will be at a homeschool curriculum sale in Bath NY. I'll have more information later on this week for that event if anyone is looking for homeschool curriculum.

A pleasant view from Ireland. Has a place inspired you to write about it?  It's a new month, a new book. This month's book is the sequel to one I wrote back in August 2012. It takes place in Lancaster County PA and follows Keast, a former Amish man now Lancaster PD detective as well as Aloysia who grew up near Keast. In the first book, Aloysia and Keast are the targets of a murderer while in the second book they deal with human trafficking there in Lancaster County.

Having grown up in the area, the feel of the county and culture is easy for me to recreate - it's my hometown. The feel of the police and the Amish communities are a little harder since neither are areas that I am familiar with. So, research, writi…

Storm Coming

We had storms come through last week (nothing like those out West, of course) but I took a photograph of the storm as it came into the area.

If I could paint this image, I would. I can paint (took a year of classes in college), but photography gathers richer colors some days. Personally, I just prefer photography since I can always delete the image that I don't like.

While writing is my main creative outlet, as is weaving, photography is another source; sometimes I cannot describe what I see therefore I photograph it. Are there any other creative outlets that you use to relax from writing or another job?

Author Talk Tomorrow