Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Butterfield New Year Traditions

Well, New Year's has never really been that big a deal in my house... so there aren't many traditions that we uphold.

The main tradition that you have to keep in mind is that we all hold a piece of silver in our hands as the new year turns, usually some coinage. Holding a silver coin is supposed to bring you luck and prosperity for the new year.

Other than that... we just sit around and watch movies, eat shrimp cocktail, drink wine, and generally relax.

AND, our other major tradition is for New Year's day... we eat pork and sauerkraut for dinner. Sauerkraut because we're Polish, and pork because for some reason or another, eating pork on New Year's day is supposed to be good luck as well.

So, I guess the short of it is... our traditions are about bringing luck. Amen.

What is the World Coming to?

Yesterday, I was shopping a department store and I saw a Steelers thong... a black thong with the Steeler's logo on it. AND it wasn't even in the underwear department... it was on a gifty-type display in the middle of the men's apparel section of the store.

I mean, really...

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Doggy Under the Tree

Aaaawwww... :)


Matt made pancakes this morning... second time this break. He is growing into quite the little chef. Awesome :)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Butterfield Christmas Traditions

Well, all the good traditions start with Christmas Eve dinner... the table must have at least 7 different foods on it (why 7, I couldn't tell you): three different kinds of homemade pierogies (sauerkraut, potato, and cottage cheese), pickles, olives, and fish (2 different kinds this year). The table must have fish because my Granny always said that fish (and almonds) are the Lord's foods... it's always been smelts in the past but this year it's smelts and crab cakes, and thank God because I hate smelts, all those little bones, gross.

Then, after dinner, church. That is a relatively new tradition, we only started it after my dad left... and it is the one time a year that I go to church. I like it though, we go to the candlelight service. I know this sounds cheesy, but every single time we sing "Silent Night" in the dark, it makes me cry. AND, I have a bell that I wear on my coat when we go to church, my Gran gave it to me, it used to be hers... I wear it once a year and then it lives safely in my jewelry box for the rest of the time... a very "It's a Wonderful Life" kinda thing.

Then after church, we always watch Scrooge with Albert Finney before we go to bed. My Mutti always waits until after Matt and I go to bed before she puts the presents under the tree... I like that, I think it keeps the magic alive. Sweet.

Christmas Day, we wake up and open gifts then have a big breakfast then we start cooking dinner. I cook pounchkies ("poonch-key"), polish donuts. I only make them once a year because they are so labour intensive. You have to fry them in grease, so I'm sure they also majorly clog your arteries as well. This is another tradition that I took over for my Gran... she used to make the pounchkies, but she taught me before she died, and now I make them.

And my Uncle Jimmy and his family usually come over for Christmas dinner...

And that's Christmas in the nutshell, good food and lots of good times. Family to the fourth power and just lots of tomfoolery. Yeah.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Baking Day!

Today is Baking Day... I'll be making mini-oatmeal cookie sandwiches with buttercream icing in the middle and mini-cherry tarts with cherry pie filling and whipped cream. Yummy. This is the first time I will have tried these recipes, but don't they sound really great?

Also, Uncle Bob and I are making dinner this evening as well: lasagna.

AND, I'm making ice cream today... Kahlua/Amaretto ice cream.

Good times in the Butterfield kitchen.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

3D: foam carving project

These are pictures of my final projects for 3D Design. We were studying organic forms... making pieces with edges and folds and transitions in and out of both. There were two pieces required for this project, one larger and one smaller. Both pieces had to have at least one edge and at least one fold.

Both of these pieces are made of housing insulation, obviously not the pink fiberglass stuff, but the blue foam-type stuff. I worked with Hacksaw blades and sand paper. They were very messy to make. Once you started working, there was blue dust, pieces, brap all over the place. My lint brush was my new best friend when I was working on these pieces.

They were fun, but I'm glad that I don't have to work with the foam anymore.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

2D: final project

Our final project for 2D was to create a book of about 10 images. The books did not necessarily have to tell a story (although mine did, what's the point if there's no story?). The object of the project was to use good flow and design sense, and the images had to connect to one another visually, that is to say, you couldn't turn the page and feel like you were in a different book all together. Text was basically no allowed, it could only make up about 10% of the finished book. Although, I know plenty of people who used no text at all, myself included.

Just some examples of the books people are making: one girl is making a book about different types of houses, another girl is making her book about sensations and she has lots of pictures of hands holding ice, holding gravel, etc, one boy is making his book about pirates (and that's all I know so far, but what I've seen looks really cool), and another boy is making his book about superheroes (and it looks awesome). And that's all I've got so far, but I can not wait to see every one's finished project.

The project was incredibly open ended, your book could be about anything that you could possible think of (as long as you could make it visually interesting). The book could be any dimensions that you wanted and be bound any way that you wanted. The only real "rule" is that you have to use two different surfaces. My two were glossy card stock and acetate. One boy used scratch board and Bristol board. Lots of people used Bristol board and construction paper.

My book is a story, as I said... kind of a mythology story. The mythological creation of water. I created all my images in Adobe Photoshop. I didn't include any images from the front of the book... but, basically, the story begins in the desert, and a blue wolf enters the landscape. As he walks across the desert, his footsteps fill with water and storms come in behind him. Eventually, the desert is overcome by an ocean and lush green replaces the red sand of the desert. My book had 11 pages and I've included pictures of my favorite 3. Trust me when I say the color is much more vibrant and impressive in person.

3D: foam core projects

Alrighty, I turned these projects in about a month ago... sorry that I'm just getting to them.

None of these are very big: the tallest is maybe 7 inches. The object of these projects was to deal with plane: how it divides space and how one plane maps onto another.

All of us turned in 6 foam core projects: 1 dealing rectangles and set up in a grid-like way, 1 with rectangles and triangles set up in a grid-like way, 1 with just triangles no longer in a grid-like manner, 1 with all curves, and 2 using any shapes or techniques that we wanted to use. I've included pictures of my three favorites from the project.

The rules for the project were as follows: planes could only be glued face to edge (not edge to edge or face to face), they had to be built to stand in a certain way, each plane had to be broken be another plane (meaning there could be no clean faces that could be placed on the table like a pedestal), and there had to be at least one plane in each of the three axes. To understand the axes, just imagine a desk: the table top is in one axis, parallel to the floor; the wall is in another axis, perpendicular to the table top; and the legs of the desk (connected front to back) create the third axis, perpendicular to both the table top and the wall. I hope that helps you visualize. I had a hard time with that concept at first too.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Triple Planetary Conjunction

"Starting" December 6th and "ending" December 13th, Jupiter, Mercury, and Mars pass closely to each other in the eastern, pre-dawn sky.

So, of course, I got up this morning to see it. AOL said the best time to see the planets was 45 minutes before sunrise, and according to, sunrise was at 7:38 AM, so I got up around 6:40ish. I saw the conjunction, but at first, I wasn't sure that it was the conjunction because Mars kept winking (so I thought it was a star) and I couldn't see Mercury. So I thought maybe it was stars just haning out in the pre-sawn sky. BUT, I found a picture of the conjunction online, and it was what I saw. So, yay, I didn't get up before dawn for nothing :) I tried to include the picture, but sorry, no go on that one. Just imagine bright stars that form a tiny triangle to the left of sunrise. The brightest and left most intersection is Jupiter, white... the top of the triangle is Mars, cream, not as white and winking. Mercury, the least bright, sinking into the sunrise and barely visible. Also according to AOL News, these plants have not been this close since 1925 and will not be again until 2053.

Now, let me just say that as an astronomical event, this one wasn't too stunning. I mean, intelectually, I understand why it's scientifically significant, but visually, not really so impressive. I wasn't even sure that it was what I was seeing, I thought I was seeing stars and turning them into plants because that's what I wanted to see.

I saw the conjuction between the Mars, Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon in June 1991, and as both a scientific and visual event, that was much, MUCH more impressive. All the bodies were easier to see AND it was an event that only happens about once every 600 years. PLUS, it was an event that happened in the western, post-sunset sky, so there was no getting up involved. I remember seeing it with my Gran and reading about it in the news paper. Good times.

And that's it for now. Much love...

Friday, December 08, 2006


This first picture is the view from the front door of my building. White, isn't it?

And just in case you couldn't tell, that's my car with over a foot of snow piled on top. Nice.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

This According to

Tonight (Wed Night)
Rain and snow showers this evening transitioning to snow showers overnight. Low 27F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 70%. 2 to 4 inches of snow expected.

Tomorrow (Thurs)
Cloudy with snow. Colder. Morning high of 28F with temps falling to near 20F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 80%. 4 to 6 inches of snow expected.

Tomorrow Night (Thurs Night)
Periods of snow and windy. Low 17F. Winds WNW at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 90%. 5 to 8 inches of snow expected.

Please pay special attention to the amounts of snow that will be falling.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Winter Wonderland

Hey gang,

I know that I haven't written lately, but that's because there hasn't been much of anything to write about.

Thanksgiving break was fabulous, although not nearly long enough. And now I'm simply back at Edinboro, finishing out the semester: working on final projects for both 2D and 3D, studying for Golf/Wellness, Computer Sci, and Accounting tests. And that's what occupies my time at the moment.

Although, in other news... there must be at least a good 7 inches of snow on the ground here. We got about about 3-4 inches two nights ago and another good 3-4 inches last night. So, everything is very white and wintry looking. Just what I need to get into the Christmas spirit.

I know I shouldn't be telling you this because Annie will be appalled, but I don't have any Christmas lights or decorations in my room, not a one. I just didn't feel the need for some reason. Christmas is what happens at home, and this place isn't my home yet.

And that's it for now, much love...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Mini-movie Review: The Fountain

Don't waste your money. As a movie, it was well crafted and beautiful looking... but as a story, it sucked, not worth the 95 minutes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Chimera Soiree

Well, it was a good night. I included a picture of myself, but as you can see, it's blurry. I have no idea how it became blurry because as is a prerequisite of using the self-timer, I set it on something, so it's not like it was going any where. So, my apologies... but don't I look hot? I'm surprised that no one asked for my phone number.

The second and third pictures are of the gallery space in the Erie Art Museum Annex, where the party was held. It was a really cute, intimate space that was subdivided by a wall; the gallery space and all the art that was accepted into the book was on one side, and we had the food and Chinese auction on the other side. And let me just say that the food was fab... most of our dishes were made by the Multi-Cultural Club and they were great. The Soiree had a Mediterranean theme this year so there was a lot of hummus and bruscetta flying around, but there were also some very nice rice dishes and some spanicopitta and salmon rolls. And there was this spinach/roasted red pepper dip that was yummy to the Nth degree; if there weren't other people there I seriously could have just grabbed the tray with the dip and fresh bread and just eaten the entire thing. But alas, I didn't, maybe next year.

The forth picture is of the gallery on the second floor where the poetry/prose readings were held. If you didn't read the previous post and you don't know, three of my poems were accepted into the book, so I was in the reading. I think the mag accepted about 12-13 writers this year, and 6 of us read, so it was a really nice, intimate reading. I only read two of my poems because the third is a suedo-Haiku and the explanation of the poem would have been longer than the poem, so I figured the audience could just read it for themselves when the book comes out in April.

And the last picture is of a band from Erie called Mr. Gnome... they were a two person band and actually quite excellent. A little bit loud for the space, but they're music was pretty fab. There was another group on before them, based in Edinboro, it was a student group... much calmer in tone but just as excellent.

All in all, I had a really nice evening, eating and listening, etc. Good times. I would do it again.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Brother, The Musical Genius

My mom and I went to visit Matt at Penn State over the weekend... to hear him play in PSU's Bandorama: both the Symphonic Band and the Blue Band played.

Matt is in the Symphonic Band, the second best band at Penn State. AND he is the first chair oboe, over juniors that are also in the band. So proud. He had solos in three out of the four songs that the band played... and let me tell you, he sounded maaaarvelous. So proud. The first picture is of him and Mutti, notice how saucy he looks in his tux. And the second picture (you're just going to have to take my work for it) is of Matt standing for recognition of his solo in the forth and final song of the concert.

It was a football weekend, vs. Temple... lucky I had my PSU Tee with me, there were armies of people in blue and white. And I got to see a little bit of Penn State's campus. I liked it... I don't think it would suit me, but Matt is very at home there; he fits. And I am happy to see him happy.

Chimera Submissions

All three of the poems that I submitted made it into the book, although one of them just barely.

Two of them were on the cusp... so both of them were read aloud to the group (by the faculty advisor). I know I should be complimented by the attention, but I'd rather they were in outright.

Work harder, write more I suppose. But I am on my way to being a literary success :)

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

The Next Time You're on Jeopardy

I learned an interesting little tidbit of information to day in 2D: how to "grey" down a color.

When you're painting, you don't add black or brown to a color to "grey" it down because then you will end up with muddy colors that look icky. Instead, you add a color's compliment to it to make it into a "grey." But that's not all, even if you a color's compliment (red/green, blue/orange, yellow/violet), you may still end up with a muddy mess. SO, you add that color's secondary compliment to get a nice grey.

For instance, in the painting I'm working on now, I have a shade of Yellow-green (actually, it's green, but to get that color, I had to use a heck of a lot more yellow than I did blue to get it) that my teacher told me was too saturated (too pure). So, he told me to add Violet to grey it down.

How, may you ask, did he arrive at that descision? Well, simply refer to the color wheel... to arrive at the correct greying compliment, find your color's actual compliment and then take one step counter-clockwise on the color wheel (always one step counter-clockwise) and you have the correct mixture.

Example: the color I'm working with is Yellow-green. Yellow-green's actual compliment on the color wheel is Red-violet, BUT, take one step counter-clockwise, and the correct greying compliment is Violet. Viola!

So, the next time you're on Jeopardy and Alex Trebek is grilling you about the greying compliment of Yellow-green, you'll know the answer: Violet.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Via Air Pollution

Thanks to Andrew, I've just discovered Quizilla. I have a feeling it is going to be one of my new favorite sites.

Which Jane Austen Character Are You?

You are Eliza Bennett from Pride and Prejudice! Yay, you! Perhaps the brightest and best character in all of English literature, you are intelligent, lively, lovely-- in short, you are the best of company. Your only foibles are that you stick with your first impressions... and your family is quite intolerable.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

Winter Hits Overdrive

Lake Erie dropped 4+ inches of snow on Edinboro last night between 3-9PM. You know how I know? I was driving in it.

I went to my class in Meadville around 5:30ish... and it was snowing profusely, but the roads were still passable. THEN, on the way home, my trip took me 2 hours. That trip usually takes me 30 minutes.

It was still snowing profusely, and it was sticking to the roads (I saw more than one person in a ditch off the interstate). THEN, when I did reach Edinboro, the main road into Edinboro was closed (as to exactly why, I'm not sure), so some firemen directed me along another route, which I had never taken before, and it was dark, and still snowing, and there was snow on those roads as well. I was terrified that I was going to end up in a ditch for the night as well.

But I did make it home... and when I made it to my room, I was shaking. I had myself a mini-panic attack over the thought of being lost and stuck. But you live and you learn, if I had been smart enough to check the weather when it started snowing at 3PM, I might have known that last night would have been a good night to skip Accounting I.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

2D: interference patterns

These are three parts of one assignment that I turned in yesterday... we were working with interference patterns: where you take two (similar or different) patterns and lay one on top of the other, the interaction of the patterns with each other creates the illusions depth and movement in 2D space.

I created all three of these images in Adobe Photoshop... although I could have painted this assignment if I had wanted to. I created three because in the time it took the painters in the class to create one image, I had time to create three different images. All three images are roughly the same dimensions, although it doesn't look like it here.

The first two images were created by laying two fields of pixels on top of each other and then rotating the top layer until I got interference patterns that I liked. The line pattern was made by laying one wave pattern on top of the other and then rotating the top layer... then I created a diffusion in the color underneath to push the middle out.

All three of these were more work than I make it sound like... but I did have fun creating these. The only reason I could create three images in the time that it took the painters one is that the computer created all the accuracy and color gradients for me... others had to create image like these with tape and color mixing by hand.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

2D: grid-based design

This is an assignment that I turned in before the collages but I didn't have enough time to take pictures of it before I turned it in, so, it appears here instead of in chronology. Sorry.

For this assignment each student chose an object, drew that object, and then worked up a grid-based design based on the drawings. This piece was really complicated, had many parts before the final drawing, and I'm not sure that even my teacher knew exactly what he was asking for because he did not do a very good job of explaining it. Suffice it to say that I think this was the most difficult assignment of the semester thus far. However, this is what I came up with... and I never want to do anything like this again. I hated this assignment and was glad to be done with it even though I like the final result.


You don't have to be a poet to say true and moving things.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Brave Heart

Well, I submitted poetry to Chimera this evening... I'll find out in a week or two if I made it in.

The last time I was brave enough to submit poetry (to HIKA!) was freshman year of Kenyon.

On the flip side, I'd like to believe that I've grown as a writer since then... but wish me luck anyway.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Cappy Counard

Today, I met my advisor for the first time. We've exchanged emails and talked over the phone, but this was the first time that I've met her face to face. And you know, she looked exactly the way I pictured her... is that funny or what. Oh, except, I pictured her as a brunette, and she was actually a blond, but other than that, she was as I imagined her: slightly taller than me, petite, shoulder length hair, glasses.

BUT, I was most fascinated by the fact that her art work is so totally different from the jewelry that she wears. I was stunned by this because that fact seemed so foreign to me. I envision myself making jewelry that is utterly me, as I am (small and gentle:) and that I want to wear just as much as my customers... but with Cappy, most of her art work is as above: bold, geometric, imposing but soft at the same time. I'm not sure that I like what she makes, only because her aesthetic is so very different from mine. Yet I respect everything she makes and I can't wait to learn from her. BUT, back to the point, the jewelry that she wears is small and precious looking, like today, she was wearing a silver chain with a tiny charm. And her art is so other worldly compared to the jewelry she wears.

So, even though I could picture what she looked like, I could never have pictured her art by looking at her.

If you would like to see more examples of her work, she has her own website:

Monday, October 16, 2006

2D:Color Exercises in Collage

These are pics of exercises that I turned in today... from top to bottom, the problems that these images are the "solutions" to:
1. warm/cool contrast
2. must contain at least 3 hues of the same value, those hues must touch
3. make one color look like two different colors
4. complimentary colors, and mixtures of those compliments
5. a collage of mostly low intensity greys with the design including 5% of the page intense hue
6. analogous (meaning next to each other on the color wheel) colors and mixtures of those hues
7. this was supposed to fit the "one color to look like two" but my professor told me that it didn't quite fit the requirements because the peach color of the spiral has a gradient. He's very picky, sometimes annoyingly so. Oh well, I guess that's why Edinboro pays him.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fall/Winter/Fall Comes to Edinboro

Okay, so about three weeks ago, it was still summer, shorts weather. And it was still "summer" as the leaves started to change. Yesterday, it was in the 60s here... Today: it is 41* (feels like 34 according to and we're getting snow flurries. Welcome to life near Lake Erie.

My 3D professor paid me a huge compliment today. Not only did I receive my second 'A' of the class for my gesture piece (pictured here), but he said that he really wanted to see me in one of his sculpture classes next semester because he thinks I'm really good at this. Warm and fuzzy may be an accurate description of how I felt. Pompous may be another word, but we'll see. I just have to keep reminding myself not to get too cocky, that's when stinky art starts to happen.

You're just going to have to take my word for it that my piece is a little bit more impressive in person. The spaces that the blocks create are of course in three-dimensions, and pictures just flatten everything out. Plus, scale is difficult to see in these pictures as well.

But anyway, I am so pleased that I'm doing so well in this class... at the beginning of the semester, my teacher said that he rarely gives out A's, and here I am with two already. AND, not only the grades, but a man who I would describe as brutally honest and in your face about whether or not a piece is working, thinks that I'm good at this. Now you see why I have to protect myself from being pompous. I'm just really excited about the whole situation.

And that's the story with that... Chimera is jurying the art work for the magazine this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing some amazing pieces. And other than that, no news, but much love, JB.

Monday, October 09, 2006

First Friday in Mt. Lebanon

So, I went home last weekend and was in a craft fair... it was only a slight success for me. I was on a part of the street where I was the only vendor, and it was a little bit chilly, so I think that kept some people away. The reason there were no other vendors is because First Friday (so named because it is a fair that occurs on the first Friday of every month, June-October) happens because businesses on Washington Rd sponsor craftspeople and clubs to have tables on the sidewalk outside their storefronts. I think that, again, the weather was a contributing factor, but also since it was the last fair in the series, a lot of the vendors might have been deterred. Oh well.

I had a good time, and got a lot of compliments. I simply wish I had gotten some more business along with those compliments. But hey, as you can see, my table looked beautiful.

I also included some pictures of a few pieces that I created this summer. The first is a simple multi-stranded necklace made of peridot and green pearls with a fancy frog box clasp. Very fun and kickin' (still for sale:). And the second piece is a handmade pendant on black silk cord. I got the idea for this piece out of one of my jewelry magazine... actually, I got the idea for the technique out of the magazine, but the design is entirely original. The exterior tree shape is made of Precious Medal Clay (fired, now 99% silver) and the interior "sky" is made of polymer clay... of the pieces that I've made, it's one that I like the best so far.

AND, when I went home, the fam and I went to Trax Farm for the fall essentials... good times, I have so many good things to eat in my room right now that it's not even funny: apple cider, homemade apple pie (courtesy of Mutti, this has to be the best pie she's ever made:), homemade fudge from Trax, Kalochie cookies from Trax (a seasonal favorite), AND (this is really the best part) homemade kettle corn (made in an actual copper kettle right in front of your face (perfect)). I know you're jealous, try to contain yourself.

I also came back with a small pumpkin for myself. Also nice. I had a great time at Trax with the fam... we went to the Apple Cafe and had lunch. I had hot apple cider and a corn dog, Matt had a corn dog and his customary apple cider slush, and Mutti had a funnel cake. I tried to get a picture of Matt actually eating his corn dog, but he got mad at me, so that didn't happen.

And that's all there is to say about the weekend, I had a wonderful time.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Another Word for your Vocabulary

This post is for Annie, mostly because I know she would love to have a post dedicated to her but also because I think this is an important word for her to know.

Kismet: noun. kiz-mit, -met
Fate, fortune, destiny, serendipity. A happy mistake or happenstance.

Where I found this word: it's in my general vocabulary, I can't remember where I learned it.

Usage: Kismet brought us together.

Not as elegant as Christopher Moore, but it does the job.

A Thanks to the Golf Gods

So, I went golfing this morning... I walked the course for the first time in my life, and I think that I may have been converted. Getting up at 7:30AM to go golfing wasn't really my favorite, but the added exercise of walking the course was actually quite pleasant.

AND, it was a gorgeous morning. I wish that I had taken my digital camera so that I could have included a picture with this post. But alas, it was cloudy when I left my room at 8:00AM, and I did not have the foresight that the situation required. How was I to know that the clouds were going to clear and yield one of the most beautiful fall days that I've ever seen?

I suppose you'll just have to rely on my abilities to describe: imagine rolling hills and trees, trees that have just begun to change their leaves, gently rolling out of the horizon like waves of yellow and red. And image the last remnants of clouds, grey against the blue, drifting close to the trees like flattened sails who have lost their ships. Imagine green grass, wet from all the rain and bright from the slanted morning light. And sun, imagine lots of sun.

I'd get up at 7:30 again if it meant this.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My Life as a 3D Artist

My life up until now has been taken up with paper and rubber cement. I have been doing nothing for my 3D class except make paper blocks and tape them together.

For my first two assignments, these blocks have been my media. The first assignment was based strictly on pattern, meaning I could combine the pieces in away way that I wanted as long as the piece had a pattern. My second assignment with these blocks was a gestural piece, meaning that I had to abandon the notion of pattern and create a piece that was built to rest on the table top in a certain way and that it had to form a complete gesture in space.

Now, the block that I've shown is a pyramid, but I had other blocks to play with: my pattern piece was made of pyramids and tetrahedrons (pyramids with triangular bases instead of square bases). And for my gesture piece, I used pyramids, tetrahedrons, modified cubes, and wedges. Good times, long process.

This week, we're starting something new. I just turned in my gesture piece today, and so we're moving on to another assignment: this one dealing with plane instead of volume. We're going to cut foam core into rectangles and square and combine them gesturally. They must be made to sit on the table in a specific way and they must be hot-glued plane to edge.

More on that as it develops :)

A New Word for Your Vocabulary

Poleaxed: (verb) pohl-aks
1.a medieval shafted weapon with blade combining ax, hammer, and apical spike, used for fighting on foot. ax, usually with a hammer opposite the cutting edge, used in stunning and slaughtering animals. ax with both a blade and a hook, formerly used in naval warfare to assist sailors in boarding vessels.
–verb (used with object) strike down or kill with or as if with a poleax.

Where I found this word: in Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore

Usage: "So it happened that on an autum-soft sunny day, not two weeks after his thirty-fifth birthday, some twenty years after he had run away from home, Samuel Hunter stepped out of his office onto the sidewalk and was poleaxed by desire." pg 16.


Friday, September 22, 2006

One Answer vs. A Multitude of Answers

I've been thinking about this post for a long time (since I came back to school actually) but am just getting around to writing it now... I really started thinking about it the first Tuesday of classes because that was the day that I had my first 3D Design class and my first Accounting I class.

The two seem like they shouldn't be in the same semester, but to my way of thinking, they compliment each other perfectly. And this is why: each class requires such a different way of thinking from the other.

In my first 3D class, my professor talked about visual problem solving: the problems that I face in that class cannot by taught with words. To learn in that class, I must learn a different way of seeing and make visual decisions based on what I see; can I make this space more interesting, can I improve the overall shape of my piece, can I make the space inside the piece twist more? These are problems that I can solve only with my eyes and with my hands, by doing and not by thinking analytically.

However, I am faced with very different challenges in Accounting I. My professor in that class confessed the first day that in accounting he always feels as though he is teaching a language course, a new vocabulary by which the students can understand the language of numbers and accounts. This way of learning is not new to me at all.

Words have been my life for such a long time: books, poems, papers. But this brings me to my point: words are specific and have their own agendas. One of the first things they teach you in grade school English is the difference between denotation (the dictionary definition of a word) and connotation (the feeling that a word implies). To be right, you must find the right word. And this is the main difference between accounting and design for me: an accounting problem has one answer (one word, one sum, one balance) but a design problem can have an infinite number of solutions and finding the right solution (or at least solution that satisfies) is a matter of trial and error, no way around that fact.

And this is why I like having both problem sets in my semester: words are my life, but I am a visual/spacial thinker. This truth is one of the reasons I think I can't write a short story to save my life but I'm a decent poet; when I sit down to write, I see scenes in my head, I don't feel words, they come later, but I see images and feel feelings. The challenge of poetry for me is finding the right words to accompany the images in my head. This challenge is why I'm so excited about being an artist and why I think I probably would have failed as a writer (though I would still love to be published one day). Creating as an artist takes on less step, one less move for corruption: what I see in my head, I can try to create without having to describe it. From my head to reality, all I need now is time and experience.

2D: Shape Based Assignments

Okay, the second round of art-related posts. These are three designs that I did for my 2D Design class that were shape-based, but that's only half the assignment: the challenge of these pieces was to have a complex figure-ground relationship between the black and white shapes so that it looked like there was no figure and no ground, meaning that your eyes would shift back and forth equally between seeing the black shapes and the white shapes. Does that make any sense the way I've described it?

The whole point of these drawings is that the white does not overwhelm the black and the black does not overwhelm the white. Any combination of the white shapes in the composition should be equally as intersting and engaging as any combination of the black shapes. If that doesn't help, then I'm not sure how else to tell you about the assignment... I didn't really understand it in writing myself, but I think I got the hang of it once I started working.

This assignment included three versions of the same principle: a curviliniar design, an angular design, and an organic design.