So Crafty

 

woman carving lacquer

We might as well start with this;

 I’m not ‘Crafty’.

A confession that might come as a surprise to some, as I’m a visual person who can draw and paint passably well, but you would be very, very wrong in assuming this translates to ‘craftiness’, at least in my case.

 Have you seen any photos of that hot pink antique lantern yet? Say no more.

When I do attempt something in the crafty vein it usually takes me about 974 hours to complete the task and I’m seldom happy with it.

I never even learned to sew or knit.

It’s all my mother’s fault.

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 I was instantly reminded of this when taking photos (this one in particular) at the silk weaving centre we visited in Myanmar last week. A flashback to ‘Mom’s Sewing Kit’  growing up. It was small and oval shaped in green brocade-they used to be called a “Train Case”, complete with tiny mirror and 4 lipstick holders sewn under the lid. It ran a very sad popularity race against her infinitely more exciting ‘Manicure Case’ and housed a thread monster much like this one. More than anything though, the sewing kit was a repository for safety pins to hold the things begging to be sewn together and more importantly, as time moved on, pimple-popping needles. Sorry, but The Truth isn’t always pretty.

silk weaving Burma slimpaley.com

  I did, only because it was mandatory, study sewing in Home Eck.  in junior high. I might have mentioned this before (I’m like my mother in more ways than one :-) ) Our big project was to design and sew a stuffed animal-draw and cut the patterns and everything. I sewed a snake. I glued on spots, eyes and a long tongue and failed the class. Seriously-how long did she expect that tongue to stay on? Aren’t snakes supposed to shed their tongues anyway? Personally I thought my stuffed animal was pretty edgy. I don’t think I ever finished the second assignment; an apron ( micro mini of course) but I did learn to type, whipped up a ferocious Baked Alaska, achieved my future sun damage like nobody’s business leaning against the back wall of the building and sold one of my paintings to the Industrial Ed. teacher for $100.

A stellar scholastic year to be sure.

So, you can imagine my shock and awe when we visited a few of the Burmese craft houses I’m sharing with you here.

blue thread slimpaley.com

Did you know that thread has to be made??

Like the individual strands of thread are M-A-D-E ?

As in there’s no such thing as a Thread Forest.

Lotus plants for weaving slimpaley.comHere Lotus plants are harvested from Lake Inle

Lotus stem, slimpaley.com

Each individual stalk is cut several times and the fibres are gently pulled away by hand and rolled…

Check this out; (video might take a minute to load- but patience is everything, as this perfectly demonstrates)

After the lotus stalks are cut and the thread has been removed, the rest is fed to the pigs.

Of course there is also the controversial Mulberry tree silkworm spit method of creating silk but we did not see it being done here.

fabric dyes slimpaley.com

The threads are then dyed and the weaving process begins.

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Bags of dye waiting to be mixed. This part looked like fun to me but you can’t even imagine how hot these rooms were.

weaving loom in Burma slimpaley.com

Seeing the process from start to finish truly gives you a newfound appreciation for this timeless art.

If your travels ever take you to Burma, I think Lake Inle appears to be one of the best places to buy silks and lotus leaf fabric.

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lacquer bowl Slimpaley.com

Heretofore I would have picked up a lacquer bowl and said with all certainty it was made out of…lacquer.

With no irony. I’m not proud, but there it is. I expose my foibles for the sake of honest journalism.

bamboo being made into lacquer bowls slimpaley.com

It actually involves, oh, about infinity different stages and starts out as bamboo.

You probably knew that.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere, starting from bottom left to top right and snaking back, you can see some of the stages that the bamboo passes through, each one by hand, before it becomes the finished product.

making lacquer slimpaley.comHere the bowls have received an initial coat of lacquer and are being sanded for the next coat.

men working on a lacquer tableThese gentlemen are working on the lacquer table in the following photo

lacquer & mother of pearl table slimpaley.c

After each coat of lacquer the pieces go down to a very hot, dark and dust-free cellar to dry.

lacquer slimpaley.comThe finishing touches being made to dinner chargers. We ordered some of these to be shipped back home. I was never really that attracted to lacquer before. Now I can barely stand to wait the 7 months it will take to receive our chargers and set a chic Burmese themed table!

(yes, 7 months)

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This particular lacquer maker ships to clients all over the world- including a very well known, upscale store in San Francisco which we won’t name, but starts with G.

and ends in umps.

Young man painting lacquer

I think this might be one of my favourite photos-even if I do say so myself.

carving lacquer, Burma, slimpaley.com

Ladies quietly carving and painting the lacquer bowls.

hands carving lacquer , slimpaley.com

This is just one of the reasons why I love traveling so much. It’s both inspiring and humbling…

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place You occupy in the world.” Gustave Flaubert

PS. I’ll add the name of the silk & lacquer makers as soon as I find the receipts!

PPS. Does anyone on WordPress know how to make the new video format smaller?!

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This time last year… Opulence Moroccan Style

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Can We Talk? (#3)

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I‘m just going to come clean and confess.

I’ve had such a bad case of blogging ADD lately that I’ve worked myself into a corner (bed)

   My computer desktop is a mosaic of partially finished posts I can’t quite ferry into port.

Meanwhile, Life’s clipping by at an almost comical speed and the end of each day sounds a chastising gong;

‘You didn’t accomplish enough!’ gonggong

February 6th and already my New Year resolutions are in the “Fail” column.  I know that’s pretty much a given, but man, Feb. 6 is early-even for me.

Nike Fuel Band , slimpaley.com

My Nike Fuel band has registered this just once since January 1st :-(

I’m not proud, but there it is.

I think it’s broken.

The re-design of Slim Paley remains inert and that, my loyal readers is truly just the tip of the iceberg.

Patagonia slimpaley.com

Speaking of icebergs, I’ve yet to go through my Patagonia pics to write the two more travel posts I’d been planning.

 I sit down at my computer, commence a blogging and then perhaps Pinterest, sultry siren that she is, curls her comely finger at me.

BTW, did you read this on Remodelista? How I learned to Love Pinterest by Diane Keaton (don’t read it ’til you finish my post!)

See what I mean? You peeked, didn’t you?

(I know I’m not the only ADD person around here )

Then, oh, I don’t know…the phone rings, the dishwasher breaks, my credit card gets hacked, more emails & texts pop up.

 I go back to editing photos…hold the phone, wouldn’t this look great Waterlogued?? Wow-that looks so cool-I should have it printed!

In fact, I should print a bunch of them as gift cards, or maybe a book of Waterlogue photos on Artifact Uprising

Are you Waterloguing your face off?!

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“Oh my — In the past 24 hours, I have Waterlogued EVERYTHING … old family snapshots, my friends’ houses, flowers, palm trees, sunset/sunrise, postcards, impressionists’ paintings, my toes, and on and on. Truly an impressive amount of fun for $2.99. Did you know that the creator has two other photo editing apps: percolator and popsicolor? Percolator looks kinda klimt-y.”

(Thank you to Slim reader Susan Hodges for her comment above on my last post)

Are you also aware of the oil painting App Glaze”?

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and, and, and,

 That book mentioned in the NYT’s this Sunday sounded fabulous, I should download it on my Kindle-whoah-what’s this? A choice of a free book a month as well as one from the Amazon Prime Lending Library…what else should I get? I’ve never read “Middlemarch” and this one recommended on Instagram looks good!

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This could be the answer to all my problems

Wait, is that the time? I have to get to physical therapy!

797142e90277f393a9e3d0769fc426d3 I continue to make good progress-this is just about my range at the moment.

I haven’t even touched on the fact that it’s hockey season (I’ve switched allegiance from the Vancouver Canucks to the LA Kings who are killing me-nope, I take it back, they just scored! I have to go on Twitter for a minute)

Yes, I am watching hockey as I post.

K, I’m back. We won! Where was I?? Oh, and the Olympics are starting tonight.

Are you going to be watching?  I’m torn. I’m worried that Sochi’s like the kid who has a birthday party and nobody comes. Crap cake, bad party favours.

I want to support the athletes (not just the hockey players!) BUT it’s  just…

Let’s face it, it’s another thing to DO.

It will keep me from…DOING other things!

And believe you me,  I haven’t even touched on all the boring sh#%

Not going there.

Is it the weekend yet??

Have a Focused one :-)

x0xSP

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Past chats

Can We Talk?  07/09/2012

Can We Talk?? (#2) 11/12/2011

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A Hat, an App and The Fab Four…

watercolours slimpaley.com

Newport RI. slimpaley.com

It’s Friday and

I’m in love…

with a new App that I must share, in case you haven’t discovered it yet.

 It takes your photos, like the one above

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and does this.

bookshelf slimpaley.com

Painted in Waterlogue slimpaley.com

and this. In like 10 seconds.

It’s called

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 Here’s the link;  WATERLOGUE

Amanwella, Sri Lanka slimpaley.com

The Amanwella hotel, Sri Lanka

Waterlogue slimpaley.com

The watercolour I did not paint when I was there.

The Ivy slimpaley.com

A very blurry and rushed iPhone photo

Painted in Waterlogue slimpaley.com

just became a little more interesting.

Here’s Waterlogue’s story;

waterlogue

vintage ice machine slimpaley.com

Original iPhone photo

ice machine slimpaley.com Instagram

makes its way onto ‘Instagram’

Painted in Waterlogue Slimpaley.com

and then ‘Waterlogued’

I’ll admit it’s a bit of a cheat, and certainly doesn’t come close to a real hand-done watercolour (except, ya it does!) but it’s so much fun!

Perhaps it might even inspire one to really paint.

marble kitchen  counter slimpaley.com

Our kitchen counter

Painted in Waterlogue

becomes a sweet little vignette

slim palsy beach house

A bedroom at the beach house (photo via House Beautiful)
Painted in Waterlogue

Ta-fricking-da!

There are plenty of options to play with; depth of colours, brush strokes etc.

 for example,

Waterlogue info

but don’t let this scare you in any way- click 3 times Dorothy and bam, you’re an artist.

It’s THAT easy.

beach house slimpaley.com house beautiful

Another pic from the beach house (photo via House Beautiful)

Painted in Waterlogue

You can get as abstract as your little artistic heart desires

Waterlogues may be instantly emailed, tweeted, Tumblr-d, Instagramed, even sent as snail mail postcards directly from your account (for an additional $1.99)

The Front Porch, Sun Valley, slimpaley.com

  “The Front Porch” store in Sun Valley, Idaho

Painted in Waterlogue slimpaley.com

I really like this one, even if I do say so myself, but that’s part of the fun.  You never know how the pics will turn out. Some photos I think will be great don’t translate well and vice-versa. I’ve only just begun to play.

‘Waterlogue’ may very well have created their ultimate monster in me.

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Lastly, as my post title promised, a flashback…

Not sure how many of you caught the Grammy Awards last Sunday, but much ado was made of Pharrell’s choice of “chapeau”

Now I’m not one to toot my own horn ( except every possible chance I get :-) ) but the moment I spied that HAT I was transported right back to 1980′s London faster than you can say “Kajagoogoo”!

I couldn’t resist chiming in to the Twitter Universe immediately ( I believe I was the first to call it-cue horn) to inform all the haters that, in fact, Pharrell was sporting an uber cool vintage Vivienne Westwood/Malcom McLaren “Buffalo Girls” hat.

Yes, I’m that old and also apparently proud of it on occasion!

Pharrell's Vivienne Westwood hat

Pharrell's hat

These were early, East Coast feed tweets, People!!

BTW, Ronan never tweeted me back. Whatever…see if I watch his new show now.

Although I realise Malcolm McLaren & Vivs Westwood weren’t as well known Stateside, if you’re young and even vaguely interested or, um, perhaps just wish to ignite old memories too, you can click to view the original video HERE

As I hash-tagged in my tweet…nothing’s ever really new, just re-intrepeted.

Pharrell  Beatles special slimpaley.com

PS. Pharrell wore THE hat again the next night at the taping of ‘The Night That Changed America; A Grammy Salute to the The Beatles’  which I was most awesomely lucky enough to attend.

The Beatles 50th anniversary show , slimpaley.com

And what an brilliant show it was. I don’t want to spoil the surprises-just watch if you possibly can. It airs February 9th on CBS-50 years to the day The Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

50 years.

George Harrison slimpaley.com

Have a FAB weekend and we’ll chat again…

in February!

xoxSP

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PS. I have no affiliation nor receive any free stuff from Waterlogue

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Oh #$&^*%(#… It’s December!!

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Wait

Does the calendar say December 8th already??

et moi, without a single post up yet for the month?.

I guess that old kidnapping story won’t fly again.

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or  “the dog ate my computer” excuse.

To tell the truth, the days have flown by and I’m as surprised as anyone that Christmas is just a little more than two weeks away.

I’m out of my sling, driving again and continuing physical therapy but, with no offense (my therapist is adorable) the process alternates between being boring, guilt provoking and painful (insert your old relationship’s name here)

The upside is I’ve found I have a ton of company. I’ve joined a ‘Torn Rotator Cuff Society’ where we all give secret “Live Long and Prosper” salutes, albeit with awkwardly hunched-up shoulders.

Christmas will be different in our home this year. I’m not decorating in our traditional fashion, so unfortunately, I won’t have my usual Christmas fare to share. It would be impossible for me to get on a ladder to dress the tree. Let’s get real, I still can’t even tie up my hair.

OK, let’s get really real, did I mention I gained 10 lbs? NO JOKE, therefore not at all funny so stop laughing!

Who would imagine that months of no exercise, a steady diet of comfort food and a newly acquired penchant for red wine would be so deleterious??

But I don’t really like to talk about weight, diets and yucky things so we’ll leave that there.

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December sunset in Santa Barbara

Changes are afoot for ‘Slim Paley’. Good changes (hopefully)

After 4 years it’s time.

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Somebody forgot to tell my roses it was December.

I’ll be tinkering with my entire format and design, so please bear with me in the following weeks.  I need to address issues such as my crowding columns and “Category Cloud” disappearance.

Let’s face it-”Slim” needs a lift

I’d like to return to shorter, more frequent posts and possibly include some short videos too.

2014 Baby!!

In the meantime, please do visit my past December posts in the Archives,

as well as The Popular Kids,

and my Travel tab which I’ve been updating slowly but surely.

More new travel coming soon!

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Keep your cool in the crowds, don’t let the holidays make you crazy, and remember…

Christmasshopping.slimpaley.com

to breathe.

And feel free to comment with any great holiday tips for us :-)

Happy December!!

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Dog photo via Pinterest

Amongst the Shadows

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silhouette [ˌsɪluːˈɛt]

n
1. the outline of a solid figure as cast by its shadow
2. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Art Terms) an outline drawing filled in with black, often a profile portrait cut out of black paper and mounted on a light ground
 
 

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So, I was going through my blog’s draft files on WordPress the other day and came upon this 1/2 finished post.

(one of 99 no less, speaking of Short Attention Span Theatre :-()

 I’d been inspired by a shot I’d taken of my older son’s girlfriend cooking in our Sun Valley kitchen last winter.

With the light behind her and the sharp angle of her pretty hair, I was reminded of those old fashioned silhouettes.

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A hundred years ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a home that didn’t have a silhouette or two hanging on the wall.

jenny fowlerjenny lee fowler

They were insanely popular the world over, from the grand salons of France to ‘Little House on the Prairie’ cabins across America.

gramophone silhouette

107453141081341090_syL7gzLS_cI remember making silhouettes in art class back in elementary school and having my own silhouette done at a fair…

Don’t you?!

remodelista---chapel-lane-irish-linen-winter-feast-here-tea-cloth-b3-jpegLinen napkin image via Remodelista

of course once I started writing the post I began to see images of silhouettes everywhere.

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 Was it just that my radar was up, or were they enjoying a revival?

armfield_rchmnd-17Leta Austin Foster

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Someone once showed me how to take a photographic silhouette with the settings on my camera. Unfortunately I neither practiced nor wrote the settings down, so that info’s gone….poooof!

I googled it, but most internet directions involve using ‘Photoshop’ after the fact.

and there’s another thing I’ll never learn.

983c596395acf25d73997e164d8f68f1How do you do get the light at the front and dark right behind it??

wedding-photo-by-minneapolis-wedding-photographer-geneoh-photography-19via here

or this effect?

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Custom Chalk

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Marie Antoinette silhouette via Janelle McCullogh’s “Paris” book

IMG_2127slim paley photo

framed art restoration hardwareRestoration Hardware

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perhaps they are having a bit of a renaissance.

Graham MossThis image via Graham Moss is a nice example of how silhouettes can be used to  ‘modern’ effect.

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Jenny Lee Fowler

Indeed, they have changed with the times.

630.x600.art.openerContemporary artist Kara Walker turns the traditional concept of ‘Silhouettes’ on its head with her cut-paper images that critically address gender, sexuality, race and power within an antebellum tableau.

9910_12-kara_walker_6442_GoneKara Walker

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Passers-by in the Raval, Barcelona by geoffbcn on Flickr

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More recently, I caught our young sweethearts in another fun moment at the Chicago Museum of Modern Art.

*Note; a few days later my son cut off a full foot of his hair to donate, so I’m happy to have this ‘vintage’ silhouette.

The moustache…I’m still working on. :-)

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an almost comical silhouette warns of pickpocketing on the streets of Portugal

Banksy

Last month, the NYC Police vandal squad were busy searching for the elusive British artist Banksy, who’d promised to unveil an installation a day during his month long ‘residency’ in NYC.

Mayor Bloomberg was not amused.

with perfect irony, Banksy’s work of art was tagged right after it was finished…what’s good for the goose…

supporters of Banksy supposedly removed the graffiti.

streetartnews_banksy2013The question (which arose once before on my “Graffiti” post) as to whether these clandestine installations, both on public and private property, constitute ‘Art’ or not is an interesting one.

Though I appreciate arguments on both sides of the aisle, I found myself chuckling at this comment left on one site;

Mike: “…If you want to make art you need to buy materials. brushes, paint, whatever. If you want to make art then buy a canvas, If you want to paint a wall then buy a wall. My wall is not your canvas. If you can’t afford to buy a wall then cry me a river. I want to make landscaping sculptures and so I’m going to come over to your house and dig up your yard to make my sculptures…”
 
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You see how this argument could get heated-
Is there anything more subjective than “Art”?!

BanksyUnfortunately (actually, he probably doesn’t give a toss as it only brought him more publicity) Banksy lost many supporters after he harshly criticized the design of the new World Trade Center.

and usually the British have such good manners!

a15483e27346956f38d9de56a0c40fbdphoto by Ara Guler

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Slim Paley photo

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I’m still rather chuffed with the Instagram ‘silhouette’  I took in Utah a few months back.

It’s always all about the light, isn’t it?!

peter pan

Jenny Lee Fowler

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Leaf  silhouettes via Jenny Lee Fowler

Blast from the Past: PHySicAl GrafFiTi 

all other uncredited photos via Flickr or Pinterest