Every Wednesday I share a quote that resonates with me in some way. This is miscellany‘s thirty-fourth installment of WoWW…
I’ve really been trying to focus on positivity recently. And to my surprise, as I’ve ALWAYS considered myself a pessimist, it’s working! I’m not sure if I’ve ever been happier, actually! I love this quote; it resonates with me in one cohesive way, yet it also works in two parts for me…
“Instead of using your mood to decide your action…” For this first part, I take it as a reminder to not let my mood get the best of me. If I am having a rough time at home or in my personal life (mood), it should not effect my work (action).
“… let your action determine your mood.” This second part reminders me to do the things (action) that make me happy (mood)!
“Instead of using your mood to decide your action, let your action determine your mood.” With both parts together this quotes says, “When I feel like shit (mood) and want to do nothing (action, or lack thereof), I need to get off my ass (action) and do something I love (which will make me happy – mood).”
Every Wednesday I share a quote that resonates with me in some way. This is miscellany‘s thirty-third installment of WoWW…
Today is the day I have been waiting for… two bags packed and a one-way flight to Colorado. I never expected to uproot my sub-par, standard life and move across the country to live and work on an organic farm, but now I have the wonderful opportunity to explore this part of myself. I’m proud of the courage I’ve managed to muster up to do this. And I am SO excited to start this new adventure with Nico.
You can read more about Miss Rikki Rogers here. And SimpleReminders.com is filled with so many wonderful, inspirational quotes. I find myself browsing the website regularly.
Nico has really fallen in love with this super simple recipe adapted from Julia Child. In fact, he just made some potato leek soup last night and sent me the photo above! Only four more days and I can try it for myself! YUM!
Status: Nico approves and I’m sure I will, too
Makes: a big pot
1 lb potatoes
1 lb leeks
1 quart water
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Parsley, for garnish
Chop potatoes and leeks (watch this video if you’re unfamiliar with leek preparation).
Combine potatoes, leeks, water, and butter in pot and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Blend soup until creamy, although Nico likes to leave his slightly “chunky.” There are plenty of ways to cream the soup: immersion blender, regular blender, a hand mixer, a potato masher, or even just a vigorous stir with a fork.
Mix in the cream.
Add salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with parsley.
Welcome to the twentieth artist interview on miscellany!
(1) Tell us about yourself:
I live in Corona, California.
I am the mother of a wonderful 29 year old man, Louis, who is a tech at BWM Ontario. He is my pride and joy and my only family.
I really don’t have a typical day. It can vary so much due to what I think needs to be accomplished. Depending on what I am trying to accomplish my day can consist of research (new color trends, stitches, yarns, etc), social media (have to keep up with it but not always easy to do), crocheting (new projects, finishing others and developing patterns), photographing items that need to be listed in my shops and looking for new shops to write about in my blog (this is a new endeavor for me). Occasionally my son and I will go on Pokemon runs. This is always fun and filled with laughter. When I’m not working on my craft or social media, I enjoy reading, some of my favorite authors are Clive Cussler, Jayne Ann Krenta, Lillian Jackson Braun, and Rita Mae Brown, just to name a few.
(2) Tell us what you create:
I create whatever I can with a crochet hook and yarn. Most of the time it’s dish scrubbies, beanies, scarves, cup sleeves, ice cream pint cozies. I also do custom orders for afghans and clothing (some of which I have designed myself). My grandmother started teaching me to crochet when I was about 5 years old. She was so patient but also very insistent that I learn to crochet the proper way. She started teaching me to do a chain and wouldn’t teach me the next stitch until I could chain repeatedly with the same tension. She did this with all the stitches. I am so thankful that she did this. As a result, I get comments from people all the time about how professional my work is and they wish their stitches looked as even as mine. Through the years I have taught myself other crafts, everything from tatting to quilting but, always stay with crochet. When I was in school, I crocheted to de-stress, now I do it full-time. I believe my work stands out because my items are so unique, I have yet to see scrubbies in the shapes that I make, and have never seen a rasta beanie with crocheted dreadlocks like the ones I create.
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business:
My shop got its name from my grandmother who taught me to crochet and who also taught me to never give up my dreams. Thus the name Dreams Of May. I started my Etsy shop years ago with prodding from my then boyfriend (now friend). I now have a shop on ArtYah and do the Corona Farmers Market in the Fall and some craft show around the holidays. My scrubbies (which are a huge part of my repertoire) were the inspiration of my son. I used to make the really large dish cloths. He asked if I could make something smaller that he could fit inside a glass, with his hand. He also wanted to be able to use them to scrub the pots and pans. Yup, he actually does dishes by hand.
My studio is anywhere I happen to be. I take a bag with me wherever I go that may involve a wait of over 2 minutes so I can pull out a project and work. I don’t do waiting well. At home a have a really comfy chair that I park myself in to crochet. I have my yarns stashes in bookshelves, bins, closets, drawers and cupboards (wherever I can find room). My patterns are in my computer, flash drives (yup, more than one, in case I lose one, which I have), shelves, file cabinets, binders, boxes and binders. Well, you get the idea, it has kind of taken over my space.
(4) Tell us about your customers:
My customers are anyone who wants something fun and unique. I have all ages and genders. I was at a model train show (long story but I had my scrubbies there to sell) and my first customer was a gentleman who came up to me and said his with told him he could buy what he wanted as long as he came to “The Scrubbie Lady” first and got her some scrubbies.
(5)Tell us where I can find your art:
DreamsOfMay can be found on ArtYah, Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.
During the fall and holiday season and sometimes in the spring, I do the Corona Farmers Market and the Holiday show at the American Legion in Norco, CA.
I am a member of a couple of teams on Etsy, the primary being The Goal Miners. They are a wonderful group that is so supportive and helpful. Also, the ArtYah community is wonderful. My son and a couple of very close friends are my main support in person. They are always willing to give me honest feedback on new items and color combinations. My son even helps me set-up and tear down at the farmers market and keeps my vehicle in great working order so I can get to shows, the post office (to ship orders) and shops (to buy supplies).
(6) Tell us about your favorites:
I have so many favorites that it’s hard to pick just one or two. If you follow my on my social media sites, you can see who I favorite. But, if I had to pick a couple, I would say,
My favorites from my shop differs all the time. Right now, I would have to say it’s my Mr. and Mrs. Piggy Dish scrubbies. When I make the, I can’t help but smile, seeing their faces come to life. Also, the snowman, dish scrubbies and cup sleeves, their faces are always different and again, make me smile.
(7) Tell us anything else:
My advice to others would be the advice my grandmother gave to me, follow your dreams and never give them up. You can do anything you set your mind to. Just keep trying. A couple of inspirational sayings, “Don’t be the cause of your failure. Be the reason for your success” and “One smile. One kind word, one simple act of kindness, can be like the ripples in the water and spread to the farthest shores. Start a ripple.”
On a final note, my first book of patterns is being published by Leisure Arts and should be available sometime in August of 2016. It’s called, “So-Cute Scrubbies.” Look for it at LeisureArts.com and your local craft supply shop.
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the interview with Robyn! Please take a look at all the cute and practical crocheted goods in her etsy shop (and elsewhere) and consider purchasing a piece or two!
Today’s recipe comes from one of my most favorite chefs in the world, Alton Brown. I love his scientific approach to cooking/baking/etc. It really helps to understand how it all works at that kind of level. I have transcribed this recipe from Food Network. On the website there is even a video of the process! Although I’ve tried another handmade mayonnaise, I look forward to trying Alton’s recipe sometime soon. And honestly, mayonnaise is so easy to make there becomes no need to buy it at the store any longer! (This is perfect to use in last week’s coleslaw recipe, too!)
Status: Curious to try
Makes: 9 fluid ounces
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon of fine salt
2 pinches sugar
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 cup oil, safflower or corn
In a glass bowl, whisk together egg yolk and dry ingredients. Combine lemon juice and vinegar in a separate bowl then thoroughly whisk half into the yolk mixture. Start whisking briskly, then start adding the oil a few drops at a time until the liquid seems to thicken and lighten a bit, (which means you’ve got an emulsion on your hands). Once you reach that point you can relax your arm a little (but just a little) and increase the oil flow to a constant (albeit thin) stream. Once half of the oil is in add the rest of the lemon juice mixture.
Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours then refrigerate for up to 1 week.
I wrote this paper for the Renaissance course I took while studying abroad in Florence, Italy the summer of 2013. The first time I walked around the corner in the Uffizi and caught Botticelli’s Birth of Venus in the corner of my eye, I could have fainted. I would have never expected myself to react so strongly and feel so passionately about the painting.
When I first decided I wanted to study art history, I thought I’d focus on the Renaissance. First and foremost, it is beautiful. Renaissance (quite literally “rebirth” in French) art breathes new life into antique ideas. For me, the scenes were clear and realistic, easily understood visually. While Renaissance art is ascetically pleasing, it can of course be understood on a deeper level, that of symbolism. Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere is a fine example.
((Here is a great online glossary to help with any terms that are not understood.))
Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere
What is Botticelli trying to say to his audience in painting the Nascita di Venere? What is he trying to convey in the presentations of the characters and their environment? The Nascita di Venere was painted in 1484 and most likely commissioned by the Medici family for Lorenzo the Magnificent’s cousin, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco. It does not appear in any of the Medici records or inventories in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, but in 1550 Giorgio Vasari does mention, with some certainty, that is was hung on a wall in the Medici Villa di Castello, alongside Botticelli’s Primavera.
Sandro Botticelli, the youngest of four sons, was born in the Florentine neighbor hood of Santa Maria Novella in 1445. His father was a tanner and the family lived comfortably. Botticelli was a restless and somewhat rebellious child, so by age thirteen his father made Botticelli an apprentice in a goldsmith’s workshop. By about 1464 he was working under the already well-know painter, Fra Filippo Lippi. Lippi was favored by the Medici family and therefore, Botticelli became familiar with court topics, most importantly, Neoplatonism. By the 1470s, Botticelli “became [the Medici court’s] official painter” (Basta, 36). In 1481 Botticelli travelled to Rome where the pope trusted him to paint part of the walls in the Sistine Chapel. His time in Rome surely influenced the work he created thereafter.
Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere (Birth of Venus)was painted in 1484, just after his Primavera (Allegory of Spring). Starting from the left of the painting Zephyr, embraced by a nymph, blows a modest Venus on a half shell from the sea to the shoreline, where a maiden awaits to clothe her. Botticelli is most certainly a master of luminosity & smoothness. The figures seem to softly glow from within and the paint seems to blend effortlessly across the canvas. His style is clearly an adaptation of his apprenticeship under Fra Filippo Lippi around 1464. Lippi is known for the “realism of his compositions resulting from both his skill use of perspective and his precision in treating every decorative detail.” In Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere, every little detail is significant. For example, the violets that dot the shoreline symbolize love, the trees to the right are blossoming and will soon produce the Medici oranges, the laurel wreath around the handmaiden references Lorenzo the Magnificent, and the reed fruit (seen at bottom left) allude to Uranus’s genitals which were severed from his body and used to fertilize the sea.
Botticelli has incredible control of his line although, particularly in the body of Venus, his anatomy is not perfect. Botticelli is more concerned with presenting an idea (namely Neoplatonism) in addition to an ideal version of Venus as the “origin of poised universal Beauty.” The composition is horizontally linear and, in typical Botticelli fashion, the figures are pulled forward in the space and appear on the same plane. The dissipation of the waves and the curvy coastline do offer the viewer at least some sort of depth, but the action of the painting is most certainly in the foreground. Botticelli beautifully captures movement in Nascita di Venere. He actually paints the wind coming from Zephyr’s mouth and shows the movement it creates through Venus’s hair, blowing it softly to the right. While the garments of Zephyr and the nymph blow to the left as if they just swooped in, the maiden’s own garments and the cloth she is about to dress Venus with are pushed to the right by Zephyr’s breath. The waves, though painted simply, also create movement and help to pull the scene forward in space. Quite honestly the viewer can almost hear the waves gently lapping on the shore and the winds blowing through the garments and vegetation.
For Nascita di Venere, Botticelli diverged from some of his typical techniques. He did not paint the standard Tuscan green layer called verdaccio which is used to create more convincing skin tones, and yet he still creates incredibly luminous figures. Botticelli also did not use a white primer “so as to allow the translucent alabaster gesso to give the colours an extraordinary effect of clarity and lightness.” Botticelli also used “expensive alabaster powder, making colors even brighter and timeless.” The “diluted pigments with light brushstrokes” of Nascita di Venere make for a tremendously transparent painting. Upon close inspection of the lightest parts of the work, the grain of the canvas can even be seen. In contrast to the “brilliant and solid colours used for the Primavera,” Botticelli creates a masterpiece using a technique that gives “it an apperance similar to that of a fresco.” Interestingly, the Nascita di Venere is not painted on wood like his earlier Primavera, but rather on rare canvas nailed to a wooden frame. In fact, it is the “first example in Tuscany of a painting of canvas.” Scholars explain this suggests a domestic setting for the painting, and most likely somewhere with an “elegant ambiance, and possibly also dark” because of the delicate gilding.
Nascita di Venere was not painted by Botticelli for fun or inspired by his own imagination, but rather commissioned and specifically planned by a patron; in this case it was the Medici family. The mood is definitely awe inspiring which seems to fit in nicely with Neoplatonic philosophy what was most popular among the Medici court. Neoplatonism worked to blend Christianity and ancient philosophy. It was believed that “nature, in all its forms, becomes the reflection of the Superior Idea that governed creation.” And as Chiara Basta says, the “intellectuals at the court of the Medici gave Botticelli the job of interpreting the Neoplatonic culture and bestowing body, faces, and colors upon the ancient fables and myths that nourished the circle.” This is why such a pagan theme is so acceptable and reinterpreted in a Christian context. In other words, it is “possible to push the identification of the goddess toward one of Neoplatonic Humanitas.” In Nascita di Venere, carnal love is transcended into divine love, from physical beauty to spiritual beauty. “The qualities of atmosphere and mass that so interested Renaissance artists are irrelevant in this picture, which is dependent on the delicacy of Botticelli’s line. His proportions show here their greatest exaggeration, yet despite this, the long neck and torrent of hair help to create an entrancing figure.” The pudica, or modest,stance of Venus can be seen anciently in the Medici Venus and the Capitoline Venus, as both could have been sources for Botticelli’s representation. The contrapposto, or balanced body position, also pays homage to ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.
Botticelli would have been familiar with Neoplatonic ideas from his involvement in the Medici court, so surely he would have been knowledgable of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Poliziano’s Stanze, and the writings of Marsilio Ficino. In the tenth book of Metamorphoses Ovid details the story of Venus’s sea birth and arrival to land by seashell, which Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere follows very closely. It is true too, that Poliziano, tutor to the Medici children, discussed a Vulcan sculpture of the birth of the goddess in his Stanze. A close “study of classical texts was central to this humanist culture. In describing the imagined reliefs cast by Vulcan, Poliziano was employing a literary form that became popular in the Late Antique world known as ekphrasis, where one artistic form emulates another artistic form.” Botticelli would have certainly been familiar with Marsilio Ficino, a leading humanist thinker and the first one to translate Plato into Latin. Therefore, these three men (Ovid, Poliziano, and Ficino) are reasonable, textual sources for the visuals represented in Botticelli’s Nascita di Venere.
Although the painting is labeled as Venus’s “birth,” the scene is better described as Venus’s “arrival.” The title for which it is famous comes from the 1800s. It is “based on a faulty interpretation of the subject as Venus Anadiomene (“arising from the sea”), a subject which the painter Apelles made famous in antiquity.” In myth she is arriving most likely in Crete, but art historians tend to interpret the land she arrives at to stand as Florence. Most scholars also agree Venus is symbolically Humanitas, while others suggest the beauty and values of Venus are arriving in Florence thanks to the powerful Medici. It is not such a far fetched thought, as it was typical to include family symbols in works of art to assert and represent the family’s power. In Nascita di Venere, the Medici orange trees are easily spotted. Whether scholars can agree on the specific people presented or intended interpretation, Botticelli definiately created a masterpiece with his Nascita di Venere. Although often out-shined by its sister, Primavera, the Birth of Venus is still exemplary. While most renaissance artists transcended the flat art of the middle ages, Botticelli focused more on precision of line, appropriate use of color, and the presentation of a singular, yet ambiguous, subject. Commission by the Medici, Nascita di Venere.
Works Cited and Consulted
Basta, Chiara. Botticelli. New York: Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 2005. Fossi, Gloria. The Uffizi: Official Guide. Florence: Giunti, 2012.
Hartt, Fredrick & Wilkins, David. History of Italian Renaissance Art. Place of publication: publisher, year. “Sandro Botticelli, Birth of Venus (circa 1478-1485),” Mediateca di Palazzo Medici Riccardi, 2007. (Link)
“The Birth of Venus by Botticelli,” Guide to the Uffizi Gallery Museum.
Welcome to the nineteenth artist interview on miscellany!
(1) Tell us about yourself:
I live in a small town in the beautiful mountains of Northern California. My immediate family is quite small and consists of my husband and my sister.
We have no pets at this time. Our last two dogs were black labs and they were such clowns; not a day went by that they didn’t make us laugh. They’ve gone to the Rainbow Bridge three years ago and we have decided that we won’t have any more dogs, at least for now. They were the last of many we’ve had over the years and we just don’t want to go through that pain again, but we will always treasure the time we had with them and the memories they left with us.
As far as a typical day; two years ago, I retired from my job as an elementary school secretary and can’t begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my new found freedom. A typical day starts without an alarm clock going off which I absolutely love. Once up, I savor a cup of tea while checking email, my shop, a jewelry forum I help moderate, my blog and the news. I usually make it into my studio between noon and 1:00 and call it a
day around 6:00. The rest of the evening is spent making dinner, spending time with my husband, taking care of business related tasks and winding down before bed.
We also enjoy traveling and have much more time for it since retiring. We spent three months in Asia last winter visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It was a wonderful time and we plan to go back in a year or two.
(2) Tell us what you create:
I started making jewelry in 2006 after receiving a handful of charms in the mail from a friend who was living in France. They charms were from Lascaux which is the location of several caves that are well known for their prehistoric cave paintings. I wanted to make them into a charm bracelet but had no idea how to go about it so I visited my local bead store to find out. The wonderful employees there showed me how to crimp a crimp bead on beading wire, helped me select beads and a clasp for my project and helped me put it all together. I was hooked from that moment on!
Not long after I started beading, it occurred to me that I might be able to combine my love of painting with jewelry making so I started painting miniatures not much larger than an American quarter and turning them into pendants that were then made into necklaces.
I also found myself fascinated by wire wrapping. After trying my hand at it, I realized that I am not a natural wire wrapper, but I spent hours experimenting, practicing and consulting tutorials online. After a while, I started getting decent results and now feel pretty comfortable working with this material which is a good thing because I love playing with wire!
I work mostly with copper because I love it’s rich, warm color, but sometimes venture into silver, brass, bronze or gold if the design calls for it.
Most of my inspiration comes from nature. Because I live in the mountains, it is not unusual to see wildlife and all sorts of plants both native and domesticated and this is where I get most of my ideas. Jewelry making is a very competitive field, but I believe my little paintings help my work stand out from the crowd. Jewelry design started out as a hobby, but I hope to grow it into a successful small business.
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business:
After much thought about a name for my business, I realized that it was right in front of me the entire time. I make jewelry and art and my name is Dawn, so Jewelry Art by Dawn seemed like a really good fit.
My business got its start when friends and coworkers and even strangers started noticing my jewelry and wanted to know if it was for sale. These local sales led to consignment arrangements with several local art galleries and gift shops and eventually to me opening my online shop at Etsy.
My “studio” started out as a 3 x 3 foot drafting table in a corner of my husband’s office. As my skills, techniques and bead stash grew so did the space I needed and it wasn’t long before it was just too small a work area. This led me to claim an unused guest room that was slowly turning into a storage room. I painted the walls in shades of bright blue, chocolate brown and light mocha. My work bench is in front of a window and I often look up to see deer looking in at me! I absolutely love having this large space to call my own and feel that I’ve grown as an artist since moving in.
(4) Tell us about your customers:
It’s a hard thing to identify a target audience and I think most artisans struggle with this part. I certainly do. If I really think about it I’d say they are nature lovers, gardeners or animal people. Putting an age on my target is something I really don’t like to do as I don’t feel there are age limits when it comes to art.
(5)Tell us where I can find your art:
Currently, my jewelry can be found in my etsy shop. I also write about my jewelry journey, travels and collaborate with other jewelry designers at my blog which is jewelryartbydawn.blogspot.com and moderate a jewelry design site that is geared towards supporting and encouraging independent jewelry designers. It is known as the Jewelry Artisans Group and can be found on the internet at jewelryartisans.proboards.com
(6) Tell us about your support:
My support system comes from my husband, who happily runs packages to the post office, helps me build displays and who played a key role in getting my studio up and running. Another source of support is from one of my best friends to whom I will always be grateful she is a cheerleader, sounding board and my best customer! I would not have had my first consignment arrangement if it hadn’t been for Bonni.
(7) Tell us about your favorites:
There are two blogs that I currently follow; Echoes of Ela at WordPress and Cat’s Wire at Blogger. Both of these ladies are friends and very talented jewelry designers whose
work is very different from mine and I enjoy following their artistic ventures immensely.
(8) Tell us anything else:
Because everyone’s businesses and goals are different, my only advice to other sellers is to do what feels right for their business/hobby and to stay true to themselves and their art.
I’d also like to thank you, Margeux, for providing this opportunity and for featuring me and my work in your fabulous blog. Thank you!
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the interview with Dawn! Please take a look at all the wonderful jewelry items in her etsy shop and consider purchasing a piece or two!