Bridge Work

I had an opportunity this last weekend to do a bit of exploring.

Covered Bridge 3

About 40 minutes north of me is a smallish town called Cedarburg.  Their claim to fame is ice cream (Cedar Crest) and being a little, picturesque town in Wisconsin close enough to Lake Michigan to attract the tourist dollars in the summer, but far enough away from it to avoid the worst of the Lake Effect snow in the winter.

They also have a thing for wineries, pottery, and they have a hot-glass studio.  I may have to take a class or 2 sometime soon, as glass artwork is something that’s interested the muses for a LONG time.

The other thing they have the the last standing covered bridge in the state.  The township has turned it, and the surrounding riverlands, into an historic landmark, thus protected for picnickers and visiting history buffs like me.

It was a fantastic day – not too terribly cold, no wind, and sunshiney.  I got some fantastic shots, and the kids and I mapped out some plans to go back with the proper camera and props in the spring.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Art Abandonment Project – 7th Drop

 

Art Abandonment logo

The weekend of August 12, the kids and I took a little trip half-way across the state to Madison…the justification being a new bra.

Once we tried on all kinds of over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and selected the ones we wanted – it was time for fun.

Not that bra shopping in an upscale boutique-y place isn’t fun when you get to embarrass the hell out of the lady assisting with the sizing, selection and trying-on of the things…but I digress.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit ‘coarse’ when discussing boobage.  ESPECIALLY my own.

We ended up on State Street.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Wisconsin’s Capital city – state street is the connecting street to the actual capital building and UWM’s campus.  It’s filled to the brim with an eclectic offering of tiny mom&pop shops:  eateries, bars, glasswares, clothing, artistic gifts, metaphysical stuff…etc.

It’s also interspersed with an amazing number of very well thought out urban ‘chill’ spaces – fountains, greenery, water amusements, seating areas, and the like.

Because Madison has taken such care in creating an attractive space around the actual Government building(s), State street is a magnet for a very interesting class of people.

To put it bluntly – you get the hippies.

I don’t mean this in a negative way – I LOVE the hippy vibe – these are people who, in any day and age the tag has been affixed, go against the standardized social ‘grain’ of the time.  These are the thinkers, the dreamers, the rebels, and the artisans.

In short – my kind of people.

With such an eccentric gathering, how could I NOT bring along a few little artworks to abandon?

Grouping

I picked a total of 5 pieces for this little trip – an offering of some of my best…and some forms that hadn’t been chosen for abandonment before this.

We’ll start with this little teashop on State Street.  The kids wanted something kinda sweet to drink, and I badly needed a bathroom – Sencha Tea Bar served to fulfill both functions.  I laughed so hard at the signage in their restroom, I HAD to leave an offering…so the multi-colored fin whirly was perched on the sign.  Although my little twiddle isn’t as beautiful as Beyonce – I hope whoever found the piece treasures it as much as I loved making it.

We then wandered down State Street in the direction of the college quad.  One of my favorite things about State Street is the mix of old & new.  Here…some ancient storefront architecture bracketed with modern high-rises.  Perfect if you need some bohemian foodstuffs 😀

20170805_163638

Once we emerged into the quad – we found a gathering of flow artists…doing their thing to the beat of a small drum-circle.  I don’t know if you can really call 2 drummers a ‘circle’…but I was willing to just go with it.  Besides – the beats they performed were infectious – I couldn’t keep my feet still throughout the entire performance.

I managed to drop the dude and the inverted whirly in the quad – the dude ended up between the railings behind the drum circle, and the inverted whirly on one of the concrete seating areas surrounding the quad.

 

The kids spun things along with the group…after all, they’re flow artists and knew some of these people…and I wandered about the quad with my cell phone camera.

20170805_163413

 

 

 

Art comes in many forms – this storm grate isn’t your standard piece of cast iron.  This kind of detail is what makes the State Street area something special to visit.  And look…I took a selfie of my feet 😀

 

 

 

 

 

20170805_170916

 

 

You know I live in Wisconsin – we worship cows ALMOST as much as we worship beer.  I couldn’t help but snap up this little cutie.  She was quite intrigued by the flow artist spinning his hoop in the grass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20170805_165158

 

 

 

 

I don’t need to go to Europe to see a castle…we have one of our very own!

 

 

 

 

 

The last piece to be abandoned in the quad was the full Persian keychain.  This wasn’t my standard abandonment, however.  One of the flow artists was having a birthday.  The group stopped in the middle of their performance, and offered impromptu birthday wishes and a pretty green present.

As green was her favorite color…the FP keychain was just the thing – it had green scales attached.  S duly presented my little twiddle to her…and she ran over to give me the biggest hug I’d had in quite some time.

FP Keychain

We had 1 more stop to make.  Mimosa Books & Gifts on State Street is a familiar haunt for the kids – they offer a lot of metaphysical stuff, some Eastern-themed tchotchkes, and tumbled, carved and shaped mineral stones.

Lots of those.

I slipped my final whirly on a corner of the counter when we were checking out.

We then grabbed a bite at the Which-Wich.  I tell ya – their lettuce-wich’s are HUGE – and very keto friendly.

We then made our way back to the old cheap-jeep.

But first…

When a building demands a good goosing – who are we to disappoint?

20170805_193542

And the last shot I’ve got from the Madison trip?  This little gem, spotted as we were getting into the car.

20170805_193916

If there were ever any doubts about how Wisconsinites feel about their beer, their football team, and their major religion – I believe this photo has erased all of that – the only thing missing from the signage was an advertisement for bratwurst.  We worship hops, the Packers, grilled brats, and Christianity in this state (well, the majority do…I’m the weird one!) and in that order.

 

Art Abandonment Project – 5th Drop

Art Abandonment logo

Now that I’ve got my new cards for the Art Abandonment project – I like dropping stuff a lot more.  This time, I’m taking advantage of the kids going far and wide on their summer camping/festival runs, and I’ve sent a couple of things along with them to drop.

They have three:

Drop weekend of 7.27-7.30.17

These little pretties will be abandoned in Harmony Park, MN, as part of the Campfire Flow Fest going on the weekend of 7.28-7.30.17.  I don’t know where the kids are going to do the specific drops, but S has said she plans on doing the ‘deed’ early in the weekend, to allow plenty of time for my little pretties to be found.

Now…I can’t post pics of the actual drops yet, because they haven’t happened – but I’ll give you a little background on my pretties.

 

Chainmaille 8 point Byzantine Star Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

Yes, it’s another Byzantine Star pendant.  These are happy little charms – they’re some of the first forms I was able to make when I started chainmailling, and I just love to make ’em.  This is another 8 point star, in mixed copper & aluminum.

Chainmaille Whirly Bird Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

Whirlys also feature on my favorite things to make list.  This one has a reddish marble in it, from S’s big bag of antique marbles.  I added some red aluminum connector rings to accentuate the marble’s color.  These are my favorite little fiddle toys.  Because the cage is slightly loose around the marble (but not too loose to allow the marble to slip out) it can roll around in your hand or between your fingers.  The form is fluid and alive in your hand or wherever you play with it.

Chainmaille Celtic Pendant Abandoned 7.27-7.30.17

And lastly – the 4 point Celtic Star.  This little guy was an early experiment in Maille.  I don’t think I’ve ever made another.  I do remember looking over the piece as I dragged it out of the storage case, and saying “Man…that’s a bad closure.  Oooooh – there’s another one…”  So pliers were applied to fix my ‘student’ closures before tucking him in his bag.  I might have to revisit making these stars, as they do look nice, and were fairly easy to put together.

 

Wish the kids stealth as they drop these pieces for the festies to find and cherish.

Lights…Camera…ACTION!

 

Camera work.  For me, it’s an on-again, off-again obsession.

A lot of times, I get a satisfactory dose of camera work whenever I finish up a new chainmaille piece…after all, the thing has to be properly photographed and listed on Etsy.   Using the smart phone and a tiny tripod, it’s become semi-regular to set up the shot, frame, shoot, edit, and post – all from the comfort of my work station.

It isn’t often the Camera Muse stirs from her hibernation for purely artistic reasons – but when she woke at the mention of an event going on in Hales Corners – she REALLY woke.  Not only did she roar through my mind like a toddler hyped on sugar & the Muppets, she organized the other muses with more vengeance than the Greek Furies.  At one point, the whole lot of ’em were picketing the command center of my brain – DEMANDING I get my buns and the big camera to …

The China Lights Event.

Now – granted – it didn’t take that much persuading.   The China Lights event at the Boerner Botanical Gardens is a traveling display of Chinese Paper-lantern artworks.  These are brightly lit, intricate displays set against the velvet dark background of nighttime – My personal favorite when it comes to art photography…

The rest of the household?  It didn’t take much persuasion to get the kids to agree – they’re always searching out new and exciting things to look at – and with them being fire-spinners, night-time light shows are already a part of their psyches.

The SQO was less enthusiastic, but he was pleased to see the creative flows boiling over in me, so was ultimately happy to come with.

So the whole lot if us jumped in my Cheap-Jeep and off we went to the wilds of Hales Corners.

In retrospect- my use of the words ‘wilds’ may be a bit…off.  Hales Corners is a perfectly urban city-type population mass on the south end of the Milwaukee Metroplex.  The only ‘wilds’ are in my imagination…

Traffic was heavy once we got close.  Got even heavier once we saw the squad car with full party lights spinning blocking the entrance to the botanical gardens – announcing a full parking lot at the event and waving all us wanna-be light-show viewers to the side streets.  I managed to find a parking space about a half-mile away.

Here’s where I do an overt nod to the keto efforts of the summer.  I’ve lost some of my excess poundage, which has allowed me to be a bit more active.  I survived the walk TO the entrance, and the walk up the slight hill (another good half-mile) to the ticket booth without collapsing in a heap from the exertion.

The heavy traffic, the crowds, and the walking were totally worth it.

I’m sharing my favorite pics of the thing…

a-img_4713

 

 

D taking the time to stop and sniff the extremely illuminated flowers.

 

 

 

 

a-img_4749-c

These flowers look like they’re spilling from the basket.  This was set on a slight slope, so the basket is at the top of the hill.

 

 

 

 

a-img_4765

 

 

 

In case you were thinking ‘Botanical Gardens=floral displays ONLY,’ They didn’t JUST do flowers.  This zebra is sporting what can only be called a “Da Fuq YOU lookin’ at, Bro??” face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

a-img_4763

 

Or maybe the zebra was just upset because the pandas appeared to be having WAY too much fun on the seesaw!

 

 

 

 

 

a-img_4774-c

Of course – it wouldn’t be a China Light show without a resident dragon…

Here with D in the foreground for scale, and trees in front for a stained glass look.

 

 

We also had a detour into Holland, with various tulips and pinwheels.

a-img_4786

This has to be S’s favorite light sculpture…she’s been obsessed with praying mantis bu
gs lately, and she squealed in delight when we ran across this little guy.

…..

…..

a-img_4798

I think this one was my favorite – they had a walkway covered with these flower-forms.

….

….a-img_4808

Here’s the whole gang (minus myself, who prefers to be behind the camera) under the flower-walkway.

a-img_4827-a

I’m fairly certain that the fan was their show-piece.  They had a little wood ‘stage’ set up in front of it for people to pose at.  D didn’t disappoint.

The fan deserved multiple shots…

As we were leaving the event, a bit footsore and a very sated Camera Muse in tow, I had to stop for one last shot.  This grouping was outside the ticket gate, in front of the Garden’s welcome center – and had a frog with, again, the ‘what chOOO lookin’ at’ expression.

Because it was ‘outside’ the gardens and not well-watched, D crossed the little rope ‘fence’ to get up-close and in the toad’s face.  Gotta love my Rebel 😀

a-img_4846

A Simple, Pretty Thing

This afternoon, I had to take the SQO to the airport.  He’s visiting a friend in Texas on a 4 day weekend.

 

On our way in – they had this sculpture thingie in the corner of the breezeway.  At first, we thought it was construction materials.  Once we got closer, we realized…

 

face-close-in

These are HUGE face masks – the flag flying out the window is sort-of a scale measure…but to really nail it down, I’d guess they were about 6 feet across.

 

pair

 

There were three of them.  This translucent green one was my favorite…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

full-sail

 

And making it even neater, was the rest of the sculpture…

 

 

 

 

All three are stylized sailboats, crafted from some translucent material.  Too bad it’s an overcast day – I’ll bet these three are stunning in full streaming sunlight.

 

 

 

I also got a bonus when we were separating – him going to the x-ray machines and me watching from behind the glass (non-boarding-pass people aren’t allowed past this point), when D pulled one of my newest chainmaille creations out of his pocket.

dude-2

He wanted to let me know he was bringing a little piece of something I’d made with him on the trip.

Gotta love the man!!!!

Chicago has a New Problem

chicago-sears-tower-night-sauronI.  Hate.  Driving.  In.  Chicago.

Just needed to put that up front.  Because I’m just north of the Windy City – everyone I know occasionally goes down to Chicago for a weekend of partying, fine dining, touring, shows, etc.  It’s common knowledge ’round these parts that Chicago is quick to get to, and offers a lot more diversity and entertainment than Milwaukee.

We just don’t like to admit it…

Driving in Chicago, unfortunately, is neither diverse nor entertaining.  It’s closer to running the bulls in Spain – blindfolded, naked, and with both your kneecaps shot out.  I could write an entire post of things better than driving in Chicago, but it would take me the better part of a year…so I’ll behave myself.

You’re welcome…

The last time I girded my loins for the battle that is traffic on the Kennedy – I prepared myself with a quick run to Best Buy for a GPS.  I firmly believe he’s the only reason I managed to see Chicago from my rear-view mirror on my way to Ohio for a weekend of Wisconsin solidarity with a long-time friend.

My little plastic savior!  Long may you tell me where to go!

Naturally, the kids were up for a long road trip, so I didn’t have to do all that driving alone.  When we were coming back home after this weekend of alcohol and hugs and alcohol and tears and alcohol and music and, did I mention alcohol?  – we once again found ourselves in enemy territory with Chicago surrounding us on all sides.   From the backseat came the most delicious suggestion from my oldest son:

“Wouldn’t it be funny if someone ‘shopped Sauron’s eye in between the uprights on the Sears Tower?”

He may not have meant it as a command – but how could I resist?