Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Italian-American Festivals : Bringing out the Italian in Us All : Updated for 2011

It's been months since April, when we celebrated Al Pacino's Birthday. Tony Bennett's birthday has passed, too. Robert DeNiro's birthday was August 17th. Understandably some of you may be craving a little spaghetti, a little tiramisu?

Are you slapping your forehead in disgust because there you sit, realizing that you forgot the cannoli?! Careful. The boss might frown if you spontaneously explode into a tarantella.

Hey, paisan! Here are some Italian Festivals and gatherings to soothe that raging passion inside. Misenti-Despres Designs has got you covered. :-)

* Dates updated for 2011 *

08/26-28 West Suburban Italian Festival, Chicago, IL [Beer/Wine, merchandise from Italy, children’s activities]

Cucina Bambini, Hands-on cooking school for children and adults in downtown Willow Glen, CA presents an Italian Dinner cooking class

08/25-27 Festa Italiana, Portland, OR [Pizza Toss, Strolling accordionists, The Carter Family Marionettes]

08/26-29 St. Anthony's Feast Boston, MA 

08/27-28 Italian Family Festival 2011, San Jose, CA [Chris Gardner as Dean Martin; a World Champ Pizza Acrobat]

09/13-19 San Gennaro Feast Las Vegas, NV Carnival rides

09/22-25 Feast of San Gennaro, LA, CA [Jimmy Kimmel, Adam Carolla Nick D'Egidio & the Dry Martini Orchestra, Genealogy & Culture booth, Bada Bingo]

09/23-24 Festa Italiana Seattle, WA [Nick Stellino, Rossella Rago, World-Famous Grape Stomp, Wine Tasting, Italian and Italian-American arts and craft, Pizza Toss]

10/09  Italian Heritage Parade North Beach - San Francisco, CA, 2011 marks the 143rd Annual Celebration!  Nation's Oldest Italian Heritage Parade Takes to the Streets of San Francisco on Sunday, October 9, 2011

10/14-16 Festa Italiana, Houston, TX [Grape stomp, pasta eating contest, Italian-American Idol contest]

Where's your town? Visit an Italian Festival. You'll feel a lot better. :) 

Italian Film Festivals and More

July 8-Aug 18, 2011: Visit the PFA Theater in Berkeley, CA for the film series,  Bernardo Bertolucci: In Search of Mystery. The theater is on the UC Berkeley campus.

The 2011 is the San Diego Italian Film Festival. A special Gala is on the final day.

* Cannot guarantee any of the event information listed as it came from various sources online.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Scratching the surface of new media: False fingernails in artwork, fashion and more

Sandra Ono, Amy Orr, Sally Heller, Nela Ochoa, Enrica Borghi, Laurel Roth, Jose Antonio Hernandez-Diez, Fabienne Laserre, Daniella Dooling and Andrea Vadner Kooij are among the artists who've been known to include this atypical medium to create their artwork.

Make tight fists and squeeze. Stretch your fingers. Repeat. Aaaaah. Look down at your hands. You may be wearing them right now! I'm talking about fingernails. Fake acrylic fingernails.

Sally Heller's pin-up girls originate from 1950s images. She also has a series of portraits of women created from painted false fingernails. These allude to pop art.

Enrica Borghi’s artistic quest focuses on the use of salvaged materials obtained from what is conventionally regarded as the women’s universe.

In 1995, at Alberto Peola Gallery in Turin, Borghi presented a collection of Venus busts, statues of classical tradition, clad with false nails, feathers or embellished with hair curlers and press studs.

Laurel Roth's Peacocks are adorned with rich, multi-colored plumage made of dime store beauty accents. Hair clips and false nails, heavily covered in nail polish, have the dynamism and vitality of a peacock's feathers.

Artist YaYa Chou, who is known for using unusual items in her work, incorporated false fingernails into her Gummi Bear Rug.

Kasey Cargill had fingernail art featured in a university art gallery in 2008. She said that she'd "steered clear of conventionality and created a series of work that's done entirely on fake fingernails. Attendees are handed magnifying glasses at the door, helping visitors to better see the tiny pieces."

Some of John Moore's lovely anodised aluminium jewelry pieces have been said to be reminiscent of the curve and shape of the nail.

At the top of the page, Jin Yu, a nail technician in South China's Nanjing city, created a 2008 Olympic-themed creation featured the Fuwa mascots, the emblem of the Beijing Games. Jin used more than 28,000 fake fingernails for the image, 3.7m long and 3.1m wide.

Want some clawful gloves?  High-end designers such as Dominic Jones has leather gloves with nails. There are times when we just want to show our claws. For a more budget friendly fun pair, be they for a costume, a special date or not, try a pair of stylish black gloves with silver nails. Meow!
Maybe you're thinking costume, Wolverine or Freddy Kreuger? Or it's time for a Cosplay, Anime or Furry convention? Consider a DIY project ahead of time.
Do you want to be Catwoman or another feline come to life? You can find some children's mittens and gloves with little claws. So cute.

Daniella Dooling's work reminds us that "Enhancements to what’s natural about our bodies constrict us and perhaps we feel not good enough naturally. Our culture can be insanely obsessed with its image and how it’s presented to others." She participated in the Dangerous Beauty exhibition at New York's Chelsea Art Museum where one of her photos depicted a straightjacket made up of hundreds of fake plastic fingernails.
Sandra Ono uses inorganic and utilitarian products that are intended to be in close contact with the body -- materials like balloons, acrylic fingernails and Band-Aids -- to make sculptures that straddle the line between beautiful and grotesque.
Ono's work is somewhat in the same realm as that of Mitra Fabian, which I talked about in my Tape Art post in May.
False fingernails don't limit themselves to visual arts. The artist, Linda Ganjian has created Hand Dances. "Each dance is a microcosm of a production: the costumes are sculptural fake fingernails; the audio element is music or found noises; the set is carefully selected locations in the home; and the performer is the artist's hands."
In the song Nine to Five, Dolly Parton is said to have used her acrylic fingernails as an actual musical instrument that's credited on the CD notes.
Do you use fire in your process? Are you into lampwork, etc.? This is for those rare times when you do NOT want to include nails in your artwork. A warning from The Carlisle School of Glass Art: "Clothing -Long sleeves and long pants are the safest. Preferably natural fiber, synthetics melt. False fingernails are Synthetic, They will IGNITE!!! NOT RECOMMENDED FOR BEADMAKING!!!" Good idea to check on this if you're unsure.
So don't be afraid to go outside the box when looking for items to use in creating your art. And maybe consider smashing the box itself and using the pieces to make something fabulous!

Since someone out there is probably wondering: Artificial nails were first developed fin the 1930s for use in Hollywood films and photography. They were however, incredibly false-looking at this point. When Jean Harlow appeared on screen with long red nails they were seen as very glamorous and many women tried to emulate this look.
Red nails remained the height of fashion well into the 1950's. The 1950's manicure required a very steady hand because it involved painting the lower half of the nail red, but leaving the half moon section free of polish.

Nothing to do with art or craft but the Dr. Oz program had a quick and surprising mention of false fingernails in November 2009 in a segment on supermarket safety

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Artists' Law Links

Assorted Basic Artists' Law Links
This list is far from comprehensive. I'm not at all affiliated with any of these organizations, nor have I had an opportunity to work with any of them. These are offered as examples of possible resources or starting points. Information given about each comes from their respective web sites.

The Washington Lawyers for the Arts will be holding a Brown Bag Seminar: Model & Property Releases for Photographers & Videographers on August 19th in Seattle.

Volunteer lawyers for artists
: VLA delivers legal services and information to over 10,000 members of the arts community each year. MediateArt pairs artists with mediators to mediate or resolve arts-related disputes outside the traditional legal framework.

Since 1983, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts has supported artistic expression and creative innovation by serving the legal needs of Washington, Maryland and Virginia’s arts and cultural communities.

Artists' Legal Outreach (ALO) Program
provides artists, arts administrators and arts organizations in all disciplines with access to resources and experienced lawyers to address arts-related legal issues.

The California Lawyers for the Arts (C.L.A.) program, Arts Arbitration and Mediation Services (A.A.M.S.), has been an alternative dispute resolution to artists and entertainers since 1980.

The Art Promote web site has a page links, Legal Help for Artists. They also offer a Copyright Help for Artists page. ArtGally also has an Artists' Copyright page.

The Art Law Group
is "a Bay Area law firm dedicated to providing innovative, practical advice to clients with arts, entertainment, technology and other intellectual property-related issues. Our goal is to find cost-effective solutions for clients of all sizes, tailored to their particular situations."

Colorado Attorney Liz Meyers, Artist Contract Law. "I value art and recognize the unique issues that confront artists, art galleries and creative businesses. As an attorney who practices Art Law, I can assist you with contract law issues, general business and intellectual property protection."

Photography and Art Law is a page by Attorney Bert P. Krages II. He also offers The Photographer’s Right: A Downloadable Flyer Explaining Your Rights When Stopped or Confronted for Photography. "The Photographer’s Right is a downloadable guide that is loosely based on the Bust Card and the Know Your Rights pamphlet that used to be available on the ACLU website."

Harvard Law School's Image Rights page.

Protect yourself from Art Scams.

Film London Artists' Moving Image Network has some Legal Advice & Information. "The following organisations can provide general to specialist advice on a variety of legal issues that you might encounter. It is important to be informed about your rights as an artist, the rights you have over your work and the consequence of contracts and other legally binding documents you may be presented with in the course of your career."

Auckland, New Zealand's Bluevibe Studio has a page, Legal Advice for Musicians and Artists.

Brian Cave's Art Law Blog
: "We help people make, sell and monetize art, and we back our clients in fights over art. Our team of 40 people helps art happen around the world."

You may also check out
The Art Law Blog and Art Law for Everyone: "The arts affect us all. You may work in the creative industries as a visual artist or a musician or a writer. You may operate an arts-based business." calls itself "the launch pad for artists and writers looking for self help legal information."

The Artist Help Network offers
information, including a variety of publications for purchase.

HG Worldwide Legal Directories offers a list of links in a Guide to Art and Cultural Property Law.

Barbara Brabec's Handmade for Profit
: Cashing in on your creativity! has a Legalities links page which covers basics such as licenses and permits, business name registration and zoning laws.

8 Ways to Find a Good Advisor
, Whitewall Contemporary Art and Lifestyle magazine, by Whitewall’s Art Advisory Expert, Heidi Lee. "It was recently published in The Art Newspaper that anyone can be an art advisor. It is true. Anyone can be an art advisor just like anyone can be a financial adviser or real estate broker."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Craft Smackdowns: Out of the studios and into the streets!

A dictionary definition of the term, Crafty: Skilled in or marked by underhandedness, deviousness or deception. Whoa. Some of the crafty and the artsy among us have started to get a little testy, a little antsy, even a little rowdy.

Quilting bees, sewing circles and such are going stronger than ever. There are other types of crafting gatherings that have been emerging over the recent years, and people might want to leave old stereotypes at the door.
Look out for painting posses. Stamping slams. Collage combat contests. And you know that if you mess with a knitter she (or he) will mess with you. Can the WSOPC (World Series of Polymer Clay) be far behind?

The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art (above)

2010 Update: Visit San Jose Museum of Art's Art Rage, their new after work "social networking" event July 22nd. For a chance to chill out, The Bead Factory in Tacoma, Washington offers Bead Rehab the third Saturday of the month.

The American Craft Council show is held in San Francisco this August 14-16 and each day of the show, they're having a special Craft Gym in the demo area in Festival pavilion. Crafters will be toughing out Tea Staining and Rug Prodding on Friday, getting pumped up with Paper Quilling on Saturday and buffed up by Basic Metalworking Techniques on Sunday.
Consider Craft Guerrilla in the UK. Their aim, according to their manifesto, "is to join forces with other creative individuals and set up craft events in vacant or unused venues,associate with friendly businesses,provide a community to link and cross promote independent designer makers,sister armies in other cities,share web traffic,and provide realistic information and resources to our designer makers. Craft Guerrilla serves both as a resource and a viable platform to showcase up and coming designer maker talent."

Consider wild and crazy San Jose, California, There's A Work of Heart, a seemingly mild-mannered arts and crafts studio. They offer a Craft Rave.

"Craft the night away. All varieties of crafters are welcome. You have full access to our tools and supplies for scrapbooking, stamping, altered art and much more. Coffee and tea are included. Feel free to bring a bottle of wine and/or snacks to share."

The 'net is peppered with mentions of Craft camps, Craft parties and sleepovers, drop-in crafting events and a Craft Social in Chicago that looks like it will be a blast. One of my faves, guerrilla crafting, is to be the subject of a future blog post.

Through the Urban Sewing blog, they have loads of information including cool tutorials, and you can purchase informative books such as Subversive Seamster: Transform Thrift Store Threads into Street Couture

What may sound like a mealtime isn't even rest period for this sturdy group. The Spring Valley Library in Las Vegas offers the Craft Buffet.

Stacie Tamaki's Fun & Flirty Wedding & Lifestyle Blog had a Crafters Throwdown contest earlier this year and there is a hint that the contest may e held again. Bam!

Think you feel the earth rumbling beneath you? Maybe a Craft Uprising brewing? It's true. The Urban Craft Uprising was just held in early August. It began in 2004 and is Seattle's largest indie craft show with over 130 fabulous vendors.

The situation has become so widespread that if you wish to Craft you shouldn't have to go far... Wishcraft offers Acting Up! A Craft & Theater Camp in Chicago...
"Environmentally considerate parties & events - Esteem building creative camps - Unordinary craft classes & workshops."

The Godmother of Life Coaching
, Barbara Sher, has a prolific book, WISHCRAFT: How to Get What You Really Want. In honor of the book's 30th anniversary, fans recently had a Twitter Idea Party!Back to food, it often comes back to food, doesn't it? The restaurant ’wichcraft is a trendy and temptation-filled eatery in New York. It's a part of chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio's Craft empire.

Colicchio's site speaks of "the Craft ethic of great ingredients and careful execution." Regardless of your craft, the goal usually is to make the item the best it can be and to put your own personal spin on it. Working hard so we're proud and can proclaim that we "Stand behind our dish."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gummi Bears: The Colorful and Tasty Artists' Muse

If you're a fan of Gummies, you know it. No one has to tell you. 

Actual chocolate-covered Gummi Bears sound good? Milk Chocolate Covered Gummy Bears (1 Pound Bag) Yum!

Back in early June, I covered the opening of a Palo Alto, CA art show where I saw some Gummi Bear paintings done by the artist, Jeanne Vadeboncoeur. Little did I know at the time the important role that candy, and specifically Gummi Bears played in the art world. Sticky subject, indeed. 

If you've always wondered what's inside a Gummi, but didn't know who to ask, Jason Freeny of Moist Productions is here to make it scientifically clear with the Gummi Anatomie chart.

Maybe the most prolific artist I've found who incorporates Gummi Bears themselves into a series of impressive variety of sculpture is YaYa Chou. She has a Gummi Bear Rug and her Gummi Chandelier (above) is from 2005.

From her statement: "In this series, I explored the relationship between food consumption and class. The bright colors and soft texture of children's snacks construct a romantic scenario which draws my attention to the dangerous ingredient behind them.

"By rearranging the embellished snacks in the forms of luxury commodity, I wish to pose the questions: Who consume these foods? Who has the choice to choose?"

The William Castle movie The Tingler with Vincent Price was released on July 29, 1959. If you're having a viewing party, consider a giant gummy worm as a substitute Tingler! William Castle would have been 100 in 2014, his birthday was April 24, 1914.

There's also a version for lighter shirts:

Gummy products have taken over our fashion, accessories and our homes. Where did it start? Nightlights? Greeting cards? Those tiny but addictive earrings? Who knows. They're here to stay.
Gum Me? Canvas Print
Gum Me? Canvas Print by straightarrows
Choose not only size & frame type but
Customize the number of panels and effects you'd like.
View more Gummy candy Canvas Prints at

Looking for a big, clean Gummi that'll come in handy after all your art exploring is through, something that smells as sweet as it looks? Gummygoods' Gummy Bear Soap.

World's Largest Gummi Bear cherry: 4.5 LBS World's Largest Gummi Bears, Bigger than a football? Yes, it is. Multiple Colors and Flavors available
Yellow Gummy Bear Posters
Yellow Gummy Bear Posters by bewarethecheese
Is it Gummy Bear Cheese on the Moon? Lunar Gummi?
View another fine art print at zazzle 
Zazzle's t shirt designer use your own designs/photos

Etsy Bloggers Treasury, Anniversary Contest Underway!

Etsy Bloggers Anniversary Treasury
Stressed out? Suffering from Icky Creeping Cubicle-itis? Why not try a shot at the Etsy Blogger's 2nd Anniversary Mega Give Away?! Over two dozen handmade items are about to be given away! Don't let that person in the cube next to you win everything.

** August 9th - August 14th. **

In my ImagineMDD Etsy shop, click on EtsyBloggersMegaGiveAway, the section link, to get more info on the earrings that we're offering. They're also in our Flickr account.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Work in process, Francois' Skinny Leg Table: Orange

One of Francois' Skinny Leg Tables
... before being finished ...

Besides making guitars, Fran does other woodworking projects.
The tables and furniture he makes on a regular basis, though they're limited editions and each is unique.

He often uses scrap and salvaged woods and lets their natural shapes guide the design of the piece.

~ ~ ~

He makes the tables in all different shapes, heights and uses many different types of wood

Ivory & Silver Style - Etsy Treasury to Impress, C Honors

Celebrate August Weddings with pretty C Honors Etsy Treasury

DCHStudios has included my Go with the Flow necklace in a pretty white and ivory Treasury on Etsy!

There's an earlier blog post about Go with the Flow in the Same Name Game series!