Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Egg: Traditional Scarlet Poppy

I'm busily getting ready for the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which starts next Wednesday.  I have to be ready to load in by Monday, so I have only three days left to get everything sorted both for the booth.

So the Friday Egg today is short on words and long on pictures, but I think that's what you like anyway, right?

This poppy egg was started on a white goose egg and went through the traditional steps of light to dark.  I really like the orange tips on the petals and scarlet inner petals.  One mistake that turned out interesting was the black spots on the petals - that was me being in a hurry and not covering all the areas with wax so that the final dye bath of black got on those parts of the flower. I think it adds some interest and texture, so will have to figure out a way to incorporate that idea in future eggs.

The poppy is a popular motif in traditional pysanky.  It is the national flower of the Ukraine. I personally enjoy it because it is fun to draw.  The flowers has a definite structure, but within that structure I can make a lot of different choices.  The petals can be ruffled or straight-edged.  I can do one solid color or choose different colors like in this egg.  I can do a straight-on view of a flat poppy or a side view. I also like playing with buds and seed pods.

Hope you enjoy it!

I will be taking the rest of the year off unless I get a wild hair and post another egg.  Most likely I will be too busy with the Armadillo to get back to this until the new year

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Egg: ‎"the earth laughs in flowers." — Ralph Waldo Emerso n

I saw this quote this morning from my friend Jackie on Facebook that I loved (Houston friends should visit her shop: Mariposa Flowers.)  I thought it was totally appropriate to the subject of the Friday egg.

‎"the earth laughs in flowers." — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks for the great quote, Jackie!

Big Announcement today:  I will be participating in the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar!  I am very excited to be a part of this Austin tradition, while at the same time being completely freaked out by how big the show is!  It is a 10-day art show at the Palmer Events Center in downtown Austin that goes from December 15 to Christmas Eve, December 24th and is open each day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Live music daily, food and drinks;  it's going to be tremendous fun. You can check out the music schedule here.  I have been busily getting my storefront set up for the show, and am really looking forward to being done with the preparations and getting on with the SHOW!

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for:  FRIDAY EGG!

Today I want to show you how a simple change in color scheme can dramatically alter the mood and feel of a design.  The first design was done starting with a white goose egg.  I chose bright colors and a black background to make the flowers really pop.  Next to the egg is a second egg I did where I started with a dyed-black goose egg, then washed it back down to white and proceeded with dyeing approximately the same colors as I did on the black background egg.  When I was done, I etched the eggshell back down to white so that the outlines would stand out.

Isn't the contrast interesting?  One is a sweet floral, the other is a 1960's hippie extravaganza (this descriptor came from a co-volunteer I work with at the Harry Ransom Center - thanks Lysa!)

Sweet Floral
1960's Hippie Extravaganza

Do you have one you prefer?  I really like both of them for different reasons, so I am finding it hard to choose. 

Happy Friday!

P.S.  The Susan G. Komen Ostrich egg is up in the Holiday House Easter Room!  And the Ebay auction is up and running, with all proceeds going to directly to the Susan Komen Foundation.  Please take a look and bid for it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Friday Egg: Cherry Blossoms with Red Outlines

A simple little egg today for Friday, but making it wasn't as simple as it looks.  I started with a locally farmed chicken egg with a blueish shell.  It was a lovely color that I wanted to accent, so I decided to do an etched cherry blossom design.  Because the colors between the etched and non-etched areas were so similar, I accented the edges of the etching by dipping the etched egg in red and then washing the dye off as completely as I could.  Especially with red and pink colors, the edges of the etched areas soak up the dye and it is difficult to wash it off completely.  On this egg, it becomes a very delicate red outline that makes the design stand out.

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Egg: Donation to the Susan G. Komen Holiday House NYC

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Today's egg is currently winging its way to New York City to be a part of the Susan G. Komen Holiday House.  My old friend Robin Wilson is a "green" designer of interiors and products and is a participating designer in the Holiday House.  When she found out she was designing the Easter dining room, she knew who to call!  We came up with a lovely design for an ostrich egg which will be a part of her display and will also be an auction item to raise money for breast cancer research. I am honored to be able to participate, and I can't wait to see photos of the display!

I started with an ostrich egg for this because Robin wanted something big, bold and eye-catching!  After taking the shiny outer layer off with acid, I waxed the outlines of the pink ribbons, blue bands and floral motifs on top and bottom.  Then I proceeded through the layers of waxing and dyeing.  I had some difficulty with the darkest blue.  The dye "took" but wasn't absorbed into the egg, so as soon as you touch it, the dye would wipe off.  Very frustrating, especially after all that work!  Sometimes an egg just gets exhausted and doesn't want to play anymore. Usually this happens when I do a lot of etching, which I did on this egg to make the designs really pop.  I let it rest overnight, then gave it a vinegar bath to refresh the shell and was able to get one more good blue dye bath and finish the job.

As for the design, I think the interlocking pink ribbons work great as a communicator of the brand but also as a pretty design element.  The robin's egg blue background is a perfect foil to the bright rose pink.  My favorite part is something I added later in the process.  As much as I like the floral garland around the top and bottom, I thought it needed some life so I added a few fluttering butterflies for interest.  Love them!  See if you can spot them as you look through the photos.

This egg is going to be a part of the auction, so if you are interested in it, please contact the Susan G. Komen NYC Chapter for more information.  It's a great cause and a lovely egg, so bid high!

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Pink Ribbon Pysanky for the Susan G. Komen Holiday House 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Egg: Pygmalion! Etched and Dyed Brown Chicken Egg

I am always delighted to see the humble brown chicken egg transformed through etching and dyeing into something gorgeous!  Of course, I love the plain brown shell too with its freckles and speckles, but it's nice to see it dressed in party clothes.

Short post today as I am doing some last minute preparations for the East Austin Studio Tour.  If you are in Austin, please come out and say hello this weekend and next weekend from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.  Search for studio #125 on the website for the location.

Happy Friday!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Line by Line in the New York Times

Line by Line

I am loving this series! It is a series of drawing lessons that is actually quite helpful. My favorite is the lesson on how to draw plants, trees and flowers.

I would highly recommend that you take a look whether or not you are an artist. It is fascinating to see an artist work, how they work, the choices they make, all the things that go into creation.

Friday Egg: Protective Red Ram

Red Ram Traditional Pysanky with Wolves Teeth Motif
Red Ram on Black Background

I like the ram motif in traditional eggs. Spirals are traditionally seen as a protection symbol and the ram has it built right in!  This egg has a lot of protection motifs:  the "wolves teeth" that encircle the vertical eternity band as well as the tiny wolves teeth within the eternity band.  I have always like the color combination of red and white. It is so strong and jaunty and cheerful with no doubts about itself.

Red Ram Traditional Pysanky with Wolves Teeth Motif
Side view

Red Ram Traditional Pysanky with Wolves Teeth Motif
Top View

Red Ram Traditional Pysanky with Wolves Teeth Motif
Bottom View

Red Ram Traditional Pysanky with Wolves Teeth Motif
Penny for scale

I hope you have a lovely Friday.  The weather here is beautiful - sunny and in the 70's. I'm going to go have lunch with my husband and then come back and do a quick housecleaning for my daughter's birthday party tomorrow.  We are very happy that Scottyroo and Christini are coming to entertain the 22 cupcake-and-juice-fueled three-year-olds who will be running amok in our house tomorrow.