Tuesday, September 28, 2010

More works in progress

I've added two more images to my new set of personal work.  I changed a few things around technically to bring my point of view better conveyed through the imagery.  By cropping in, I find more focus on distortion which is my main goal in the project.  I debated over the .gifs and whether or not they gave too much information or not enough.  I was pretty set on wanting to show transformation from magazine ad to unreal imagery but again, I think I'll forgo the process and show the end results.  Sometimes too much information can hurt a project rather than help it.

I find color to be important too.  Color casts give a mood and feel.  In this case, I want these images to come across as alien and foreign.  They are something unreal and surreal.  Selective focus helps me achieve direction in the imagery and I think I'll keep that around too.  (If only for my beloved 45mm tilt-shift!)

Overall, I'm beginning to see more of my unrefined vision become something that is coming together and more complex each time I shoot.  AKA progress, horray for that one little word!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I want to go to there.

This past weekend was one of those great fall-themed kind of weekends.  There was lots of brisk weather, sweater wearing, gathering of friends, homemade applesauce, hot tea and of course pumpkin picking. 

Thom and I had a wedding to attend on Saturday and you would think since I am a professional photographer, that I would remember such important things like a camera...but I didn't.  We were [of course] running a bit late and rushed out the door to drive down to Livonia, New York when I realized that not only did I forget my camera, but the wedding gift!  Whoops.  Well, the gift will have to now be shipped and we ended up having a great time that day anyway, meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, eating and dancing into the night.  A huge congratulations to Nicole and Ben!

Sunday was a bit warmer than Saturday, so we decided to head out and pick some pumpkins at Wickham Farms in Penfield, New York.  Wickham Farms is one of those really awesome kinds of fall places to visit for not only pumpkins and gourds but also apples, preserves, mums, corn mazes, petting zoos, food, etc.  I grew up in Western New York and places such as this are dime a dozen but having never been to Wickham Farms, Thom suggested that it would be a great place to go to for our pumpkins. 

What he also failed to mention was the awesome jump dome that they also had.  Once we pulled up to the place and I saw for the first time the sheer awesome-ness of that jumping dome, instantly I cried out, "I want to go to there!" based from oh-so-funny Liz Lemon played by Tina Fey on 30 Rock.  Every childhood instinct in my being was crying to go on that thing or just to watch the small children being flung up into the heavens and back down on the huge canvas dome.  Sheer awesome-ness.

Needless to say, I had a great time and would recommend those in search of pumpkins to stop by Wickham Farms and perhaps take a jump on the dome.

Later I tried to cut out a pattern for a dress...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Homemade granola

As mentioned before, I decided to make granola...only I did it last night instead of a week ago.  I found the recipe from this site here and was pretty satisfied with the results.  Perhaps next time I'll add a bit more honey and less salt.  (Not sure why, but there was a big call for salt in the recipe.  Though, my mother always told me never to add as much as the recipe calls for in regards to salt.)  O well, lesson learned once more and for next time. 

It makes me happy to know that I won't have to buy super expensive/gourmet granola anymore since I can easily make it on my own.  Thom and I had this conversation last night on people being sustainable vs buying everything at a supermarket.  And while I still choose to buy things like laundry soap and shampoo, I have found some blogs of people who actually go the whole nine yards and make things from house cleaners to their own deodorant!  Perhaps in some small ways, I have been a little bit less consumer dependent and more home-savvy.  (Examples include my small potted garden of herbs and tomatoes)  It would be interesting to see how far I could go before my neighbors start the jokes about me being a crazy hippie...

Recipe for homemade granola:
(From "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito via www.amateurgourmet.com)

2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (I would add a dash or pinch, not a tsp!)
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey (Add a bit more for a better hold)
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole almonds

Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the oats with the cinnamon and salt.

In a medium bowl, stir together the oil, honey, brown sugar, and vanilla. Whisk until completely combined.  Thom and I bought this honey locally at an apple farm in Victor, NY.

Pour the honey mixture over the oats mixture and use your hands to combine them: Gather up some of the mixture in each hand and make a fist. Repeat until all of the oats are coated with the honey mixture.

Pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread it out evenly, but leave a few clumps here and there for texture.

Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a metal spatula to lift and flip the granola.

Sprinkle the almonds over the granola and return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake for 5 min. more. You can later add any dried fruits of your choice afterwards. Just add, stir granola around again and bake for 5 min. more. I added some craisins here.

Allow granola to cool completely and then store in an air tight container. Granola should keep for about 1 week.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Untitled present works in progress

It's been a bit too long.  The wait has left me feeling disconnected and full of anxiety but as a lot of people say, you cannot rush art.  I haven't found a muse or inspiration in well over a year but who can really blame me for having other things on my mind, especially post-graduation and job searching/procuring.

But now the wait is over.  I've found my muse and it's wonderful to find myself once again lost and consumed in my personal work.  I miss it.  I miss the rush and the excitement to just create, create, create.  I miss being able to focus on something that is mine and not worry about other things.  It's even nicer to be out of college and away from it's influences.  I hated to create art then just because my peers were creating art in this or that certain way.  One feels that they too must try and do the same.  It was all overrated bullshit honestly but it's hard to break out of the cloudy haze of your peers, professors, environment and influences.

My current works are very much still in progress.  It's also hard to open up this early in the process and let others see the rawness of an unstructured idea.  For me, this is pivotal; as hard as it is to be honest and exposed for others to criticize, it's also beneficial for the progression of a project.

So here it is.  A project based on consumerism, beauty, society's opinions on beauty and my own criticism on the whole thing.  This is my reaction to the industry's standard of beauty.  I find too many times, of articles of misrepresented women photographed for beauty's sake.  I find it so thin, transparent and easily manipulated, much like a piece of paper and specifically a beauty ad found in a magazine.  I, as a woman and consumer, see this artificial ad.  I hold it in my hand, take a glance, flick the page, see another.  Repeat.  The industry thinks that they know beauty.  They think that they know what we want and how we want to be seen.  But their sly ploys of beauty are just these fragile pieces of printed paper.  Beyond just looking and admiring these 8.5x11 works of art, we also tear them apart, cut them out, bend them to our will and/or fold them.  And when you do so, you find these images of beauty become distorted.  They were only meant to be admired from a flat two dimensional perspective, never as a three dimensional observation or in real life for that matter!  So I mock these beauty ads and manipulate them to my will in three dimensional forms.  And from my camera, who can only reciprocate back as a two dimensional space, I found myself creating revised beauty ads.  They are once again thin, transparent, easily manipulated and more over, exposed.

So please help me out, give me some feed back.  Do you like?  Do you understand?  Ps- Those that happen to read my blog posts via my Facebook feed:  You won't be able to see my works unless you scroll down and click the "View Original Post" link that will send you directly to my blog!

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dress #2

Since I had successfully completed my very first dress a week ago, I had no problem creating a second one rather quickly (three days) but with actually following ALL the directions!  So here is dress #2, (from the same pattern) unaltered. 

I actually finished up the hem tonight and will wear it out tomorrow just in time for UB's Fall Fest, featuring Jason Mraz!  Can't Wait!
Update:  Photo of me at the concert, photo courtesy of Thomas

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whoops! I made a dress instead...

So a week ago or so, I posted on how I recently bought my new sewing machine.  I had mentioned that I was taking sewing baby steps and after creating some cutesy simple craft projects for my nephew, I was going to move onto clothing, specifically, a skirt.

Well, I can say that those were my intentions.  But after getting caught up with Burda Style and their awesome website for sewing noobs like me, I ended up printing out the directions for a skirt and a pattern for a dress!  Whoops.

That was about a week ago and was not such a great starting off point for my journey in sewing.  Being up past midnight trying to sew probably didn't help either. And shamefully, it probably took me a good hour to figure out my pattern/direction mishap. Fuzzy-headed and with a crazed look in my eyes, I was starting to think that maybe I wasn't cut out for this "Sewing thing" until I put the pieces [literally] together and realized that they were starting to look more like a dress rather than a skirt!  Well when life gives you lemons...

So I ended up making a dress out of a skirt-kind of material.  Now that I'm finished with it, I found it a fortunate mistake.  The dress itself is supposed to be a light, summery sundress.  But the material I had chosen was a bit stiff, thick and a very neutral gray...not very light and summery if I must say.  In the end, the dress looks more formal which is perfect for the wedding that Thom and I are attending at the end of September!  I ended up altering the look of the top strap of the dress, shortening the hem a bit and sewing in the cups of an old bra for support.

I am definitely happy with the outcome and can't wait to wear it out!  Yesterday, I went back to buy some more fabric and this time, with the proper intent of creating that light and airy sundress.  This time I purchased a caramel-tan colored cotton blend with a burgundy floral print on it, perfect for that nice fall layered look.

Today, I'm going to try to make some homemade granola and later homemade tomato sauce, part II [Explanation on that later].  More on that to come.  Today definitely is called "Ambitious Sunday".

Friday, September 10, 2010

Differently the same

I'm sure if you ask anyone that has ever seen the hit movie, "Mean Girls" directed by Mark Waters, you'll know that the movie was based on all the characters placed in their own unique groups and how those groups interacted with each other.  It's funny to think that these stereotypical types or groups of people carry far out of the high school realms and into everyday realities.  No matter how we try to become that highly unique individual, we are always based upon some other idea or person.

So when I came across the photography exhibit called, Exactitudes, I was instantly amazed.  Rotterdam-based photographer Ari Versluis and profiler Ellie Uyttenbroek came together over a long course of many years to create this unique look at groups of people.  I'm not sure why it's all so fascinating to me, perhaps there's a funny sense of irony in it all.  I find how when we all try to stand out from others around us, we end up just being like someone else instead.  There are dozens of other people trying the exact same thing!  I guess the question is, what group would you like to be in?

Check out more of the Exactitude works at it's respected website.  It's almost overwhelming to see all the similar groups of individuals.  Also, make sure you turn on your sound.  Once you click on a certain group, a small sound bite will tell you a short description of that particular group.

All images courtesy of www.exactitudes.com

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sew Inspired

Perhaps it's just been the recent discovery of DIY blogs but I've been pretty inspired by other people to start making and creating things for myself...and loved ones.  Other relating factors like my occasional disappointment in store bought clothes and their lack of a "perfect Erin fit" also pushed me to become a bit more sewing savvy and less Gap Store dependent.   Plus, nothing beats making something for myself that fits perfectly and/or costs less than a pair of jeans at Banana Republic!  So I've decided to become more self reliant on how I obtain my clothing and make a few pieces here or there on my new sewing machine!

Now, to give you some background information, I really am not a master seamstress.  Actually, far from it.  I've personally never sewed a piece of clothing using a sewing machine.  But I do have a lot of initiative and drive to accomplish something, so I hope that eventually I'll be using my seam ripper less and various new functions on my machine more.

The machine I happened to buy is a Brother CS-6000i.  When I was younger, my mother had taught me some basic sewing on her old Singer, so I've had some basic know-how on sewing machines, how to set them up, etc.  I can say with absolute confidence that my Brother is a great machine for a once again beginner sewer like me and will also give me the growing ability to become a [hopefully] master sewer one day.  There are a lot of stitches to choose from (over 59) and has some really nice computerized features that make back stitching a breeze.

A lot of people put down newer sewing machines like mine, since a lot of the parts are now plastic instead of metal.  Well...I have sewn on an old HEAVY DUTY Singer and I don't think having a huge 50lb machine is the best for a youngster like me, who seems to move every single year or so.  It would, without a doubt, become a tedious task.

And also to comment again on my purchasing decision, I was initially interested in buying a Singer, since that it was what I had already known.  But after some in-depth research, I found that the company was actually sold to one overseas in China and now all the parts were made of cheap plastic resulting in a short life span for the machine overall.

Over the past weeks, I've successfully accomplished making a couple simple pillows with an applique leaf design and a small crafty project for my darling 1-year old nephew back home.  (Can't wait to give it to him!)  This weekend, I am hoping to start a simple A-line skirt pattern.  Eventually my goal is to make a dress...we'll see about that.
 Horray for 2 day shipping!  (Thank you to Thomas)

My new Brother CS-6000i

Connor is more interested in my discarded box...
My machine. You can probably see my slide film project tossed to the side in the upper right hand corner. I was too excited to sew, which is why the slide film project took me so long to finish...

A look at one of my unfinished pillows with the leaf applique

Leaf detail. I found a woman make a quilt out of this design and after talking over it with my mom and figuring it out a bit on my own, I was able to sew the pattern...without buying the book.

Finished Pillows

Cute little owl project I made for my nephew, Oliver. It was really simple to do and make. I only regret not making a post out of it since I did not take any photos during the process.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Slide Film Lamp Shade, Part II

So over the past week, I've been able to "finish" up the rest of my slide film lamp.  To read up on the first part of my lamp shade check out my last posting. 

To recap, after I had drilled all the necessary holes in the slide film, I had to fix up the lamp shade structure and attach the slide film.  In all, I'm happy with the outcome of the lamp shade but I'm just looking to switch out the lamp itself since it's a bit too long and tall for the shade.  (I suppose you'll see in the pictures and decide for yourself.) 

This weekend is Labor Day Weekend and I'm sure to find some great bargain lamp bases around Rochester!  And speaking about bargain finds, I'll have to do a post on my other recent miscellaneous projects and furniture that we purchased.  To be continued...

Here's what the structure looked like once we tore off the original generic lamp shade. The edges were rough and still had some glue stuck on.

To fix that, I bought some medium grade sandpaper and sanded the rough edges away. The sanding also helped to prepare the structure for painting too.

Thom decided that he wanted some part in my project and offered to sand down the frame.
Ta-Da! All smooth and clean.
Next we added a few coats of spray paint.

All finished and much, much better.

Next, I bought a few bags of craft jump rings and began to attach the slide film together with needle-nose pliers. Originally I think I only specified one pair but realized that I needed two in order to properly manipulate the jump rings. I attached 5 long rows of 11 slides and then attached the rows to each other from top to bottom.

I ended up migrating over to the TV since it was all pretty mindless work. But here you can see the rows that I created and later attached to each other.

And here is the final result!
A close up

Like I said before, I'm really happy with the outcome but perhaps not on this particular lamp base? The shade does look a bit dwarfed on the stand, don't you think? I'm still unsure but I have enjoyed just turning on the lamp and looking at the pictures!