Monday, December 31, 2007

The Three Little Kittens

Ms. Muse came upon Dexter, Gilbert, Dorothy and Mother who were singing:

The three little kittens,
They found their mittens,
And they began to cry,
Oh, mother dear,
See here, see here,
Our mittens we have found.
What! Found your mittens,
You darling kittens!
Then you shall have some pie.
Mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow, mee-ow.
You shall have some pie.

Ms. Muse admired Mother’s cherry pie and got her recipe. She scolded Gilbert for teasing Harvey the Mouse. Gilbert hung his head in shame and let go of Harvey's tail. Pretty soon Harvey was racing off over the hill trying to catch-up to his friends when lo’ and behold he found them stealing The Three Little Kitten’s Mittens!

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Gang's All Here

At the Holiday Party, Ms. Muse sang with the others. She was slightly off key and slurring her words considerably:

Roll out the barrel,
We'll have a barrel of fun
Roll out the barrel,
we've got the blues on the run
Zing Boom Terrara
Join in a glass of good cheer
Now it's time to roll the barrel
For the gang's all here

A good time was had by all and Buddy the Elf got her back home before the sun rose the next morning. Of course she did not get out of bed until 1:00 P.M. with a big hangover and was completely worthless as an inspiration for me!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Holiday Ride

Ms. Muse’s car would not start and she was late for her Christmas party. She had on her best holiday party clothes, her hostess gift was wrapped with a pretty green bow and her “dish to pass” was packaged tightly against spillage. “Oh what was she going to do?” she thought.

Quickly she dialed up the host and asked him if he could send someone over to fetch her and in a blink of an eye, she opened her front door to find Buddy the Elf ready to zip her away on Santa’s sleigh. And off they went into the night without a minute to lose.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ticket to Anywhere

We got together to create after she had been gone for a few days. While brainstorming for new ideas, Ms. Muse kept singing the lyrics to the Tracy Chapman song, “you got a fast car and I want a ticket to anywhere, maybe we can make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere.”

Naturally Ms. Muse won out as usual and we created a Ferrari.

She got her fast car!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thank You

I asked Ms. Muse if she was ever thankful. She stated that required someone to whom she could say thank you. I asked her if she was happy. She thought about it for a minute and she stated that required examining her thoughts and she didn't have time. I asked Ms. Muse if she felted joy? "Constantly," was her reply. But then she stated she understood failure, incompleteness and disappointment also.

"Well then, if you can feel all those emotions, you could probably feel thankfulness."

"Hmm," she thought about it, looked me straight in the eyes and said, "thank you!"

This time, for all her stinginess, I felt rather smug and it was not what I was expecting.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Trick

Colleen was busy stealing flower colors when Ms. Muse came upon her in the flower shop. Colleen is a mischievous leprechaun and was playing tricks on the human inhabitants who owned the delightful shop.

Ms. Muse asked her what she was planning on doing with all the lovely colors and Colleen opened her bag slowly to let Ms. Muse peak in. Putting here finger to her lips, “Shh, she whispered. The shop keeper is coming.” Colleen grabbed Ms. Muse’s arm and pulled her outdoors laughing hysterically because she was not caught.

“I’m coloring the rainbow, of course” she stated to Ms. Muse.
Ms. Muse was quite impressed and even liked the all white rose spray she had seen in the shop. And so, she went back inside to purchase it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A New Friend

Ms. Muse found a new friend the other day and introduced me to her. I had never met a faerie face-to-face and I was rather taken back. The faeries are wee little ones and would be easily missed under most circumstances. According to legends of yore, the most popular pastimes for fairies is music and dancing especially during the evening of the full moon. Flower fairies bless the land and are attracted to shiney bright objects.

Ms. Muse captured the attention of the Shirley-Poppy Faerie the other evening when Ms. Muse was taking a short cut through the woods to my home. Shirely-Poppy Faerie was dancing to the full moon and sprinkling pixie dust on the flowers to make them more attractive. Ms. Muse was wearing her silver jewelry and attracted the wee one. Shortly afterwords Ms. Muse introduced us and we all have been having the time of my life in a folk legend dimension.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Critique

"What did you think?" I asked Ms. Muse.
"Dreadful," she replied.
"Daphne," Ms. Muse looked at the wood nymph turned tree, "what did you think of the art show judge comments?" she asked. After a deep harrumph, Daphne looked at Ms. Muse in total disgust.
“He told me that I disturbed him,” she stated matter-of-factly.

Well she should I thought. Just imagine, one minute you are a wood nymph and the next minute you are being chased by Apollo for no good deed. Then just at the point of capture you father turns you into a tree. I think that would disturb many people.

“I wanted to remain a virgin, while my father wanted grandchildren.” She turned away from us to control her revulsion and her leaves shivered in disgust. "Now another man wants to change me! Just think - he wants me bigger! Shame on him," Daphne stated bluntly and to the point.

"Exactly," agreed Ms. Muse. "Hasn't he ever seen the Food Network, you simply could not survive the trip in this sweet sugar state you are in."

"Not only that," cried Daphne, "but I have met the Venus of Willendorf, why here is a picture of her."
"Oh she is exquisite," I sighed.
“But did you know she stand only a little over four inches and fits comfortably in a human’s hand.” Daphne exclaimed. If she is special, I am also,” cried Daphne.

The words of my first year art school teacher came back to haunt me, I remembered. He always said to make it big and make it red. “But let’s be fair,” I stated. “He did say that if you were placed higher it would have been better.” The curators did the best they could with the space they had.

Ms. Muse looked at me and said flatly, “Small and intimate is never respected and will always have a hard time being appreciated in the art world.”

How could I not agree?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

21st Annual IMAGE Art Show

Ms. Muse and I would like to invite anyone interested to attend the 21st Annual IMAGE Art Show from Saturday to Friday, October 20 to 26, 2007, at the North Branch Library, 6355 – 379th Street, North Branch, MN. The show opens at 2 pm on Saturday October 20, 2007.

Please come meet Daphne the wood nymph who was Apollo's first love. She in turn did not love him and cried for help from her father Peneus, the rivergod. In answer to her plea, she was turned into a Laurel Tree.

Both Ms. Muse and I truly believe that Apollo should have been turned into the tree, but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

Ms. Muse gave Daphne, our sugar paste sculpture, a golden egg, for her rebirth, which Daphne will hold in a nest during the art show. We hope this will bring about another transformation, now that Apollo is long gone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

At the Hop

Ms. Muse and I went to our Fall Sock Hop fling. Ms. Muse was stunning in her bad girl, Pink Ladies “Rizzo” outfit. She brought her new Leopard Handbag! I wore my, good-girl “Sandy Dumbrowski” outfit with the pink poodle skirt and saddle shoes. We danced the night away at Rydell High where the TV show, National Bandstand, broadcasted live from the school. Except for some Diva moments with Cha Cha stealing Danny away and dancing with him to win the dance contest and then Sandy leaving all teary eyed, most everyone else had a blast!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


We hopped into Ms. Muse’s car and went shopping for some new accessories at our favorite store. We have a fun Fall Fling coming up and we didn’t want to appear dowdy. Ms. Muse scored on a lovely leopard print handbag. She was so excited as she got it on discount!

Monday, September 10, 2007

In Honor of Emily

Emily was unable to come over and play because she was ill, so Ms. Muse and I went to her house and had a tea party. All the usual guests were invited. Dolly, Mr. Bear, Emily, Ms. Muse and I had a lovely time. We used Emily’s lovely Victorian tea set with an antique lace cozy and had cake! We could not stay long because Emily tired out quickly, so we left her in the early afternoon with good book and the late summer sunlight dancing on her comforter.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Cakes by Fhoa 2007 Hmong Cake Decorating Challenge

Ms. Muse argued with me all day. She wanted me to compete, since I was asked to compete as a last minute challenger for a new Cake Challenge. I had less then 24 hours to prepare and I finally agreed, because I didn’t know if an opportunity like this would ever present itself to me again in my future. I had to thank Ms. Muse for her wisdom.

Four things I learned about my sugar art are:
* I don’t work well under pressure and make a lot more mistakes then normal.
* I don’t like to be rushed through tasks and prefer to be slow and methodical.
* I prefer to take time in between tasks to reflect and make changes.
* My health doesn’t allow me to push so hard without consequences.
* I do not like working in buttercream at all.

What I learned about Cake Challenges in general:
* TV camera’s in your face can make you physically ill.
* Looking up and seeing tons of people watching you can make you physically ill.
* If you look up and see that one challenger is finished at the half way point you probably will become physically ill.

But I got my terrible monstrosity to the table in one piece, came in second, regardless of being physically ill - had a lot of fun, and met new people that I really enjoyed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Up North

Ms. Muse and I spent the afternoon playing catch with a squooshie ball in the lake with my pup, Georgie Girl. Exhausted from swimming and playing in the water all day we were sunning ourselves on the dock and sharing new secrets while nibbling on some yummy candy bars.

“I’ve had a blast today,” Ms. Muse exclaimed. “Why haven’t we come to the lake more often this summer,” she asked? Not waiting for my reply she stated matter-of-factly, “We will have to do this again before autumn comes.”

I nodded in agreement.

That evening we sat out by the campfire sitting on logs for chairs hugging our knees to keep our balance. All of a sudden, Ms. Muse squeals in delight as she has discovered a firefly. She grabs my hand as we jump up scrounging for an empty mayonnaise jar. Quickly we were out and about chasing the whimsical little glowing wee things.

Later, tucked into our bunk beds, Ms. Muse admiring the firefly we caught, whispered to me about the events of the day and the last thing I remember was hearing her voice tell me how the lake was so lovely. And I dreamed beautiful idyllic scenes.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Day at the Fair

"Oh come on," she whined. "You know you'll enjoy yourself," stated Ms. Muse.
"No!" I replied adamantly. I could not bear the height I thought. Ms. Muse wanted me to join her on the Ferris wheel, but heights always bothered me and I wasn't winning our argument either. She wouldn't be happy until we were both up in the air. We would both squeal, Ms. Muse out of delight and me out of panic.

When we finally touched ground again, my stomach was doing a topsy-turvy dance. Ms. Muse picked this particular moment to introduce her next agenda item. "Let's get some mini-donuts. Mmm doesn't that sound yummy," she laughed as she grabbed my hand and started dragging me down the avenue. I groaned in disapproval.

A moment later we bumped into Fairborne, the Minnesota State Fair mascot. I introduced Ms. Muse to him and pretty soon we were all chumming about the Midway. He was a lovely tourist guide and showed us numerous venues to try a new food item on a stick or a crazy ride. For a gopher he certainly could hold his own with the bossy Ms. Muse.

Twilight fell and the Midway was aglow with multicolored lights, which began popping on one by one. Ms. Muse exclaimed what a great day we had and proclaimed our next sugar piece we created would be dedicated to our new found friend, Fairborne. That gopher had truly left his mark.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Muse for Another Artist

Come, said the Muse,
Sing me a song no poet yet has chanted,
Sing me the Universal.

In this broad Earth of ours,
Amid the measureless grossness and the slag,
Enclosed and sage within its central heart,
Nestles the seed Perfection.

By every life a share, or more or less,
None born but it is born — conceal’d or unconceal’d, the seed it waiting.

From Song of the Universal published in Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (1819–1892).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Instead of Playing Games - Locked Away on a Lovely Weekend

Ms. Muse came to visit early Saturday morning and did not leave until Sunday evening. Having company that long tends to tire me out, but she did help in the studio and not make me do all of it by myself so I was not alone in my creation marathon. We created two rather intricate but very different pieces.

Originally she had planned to spend only Saturday with me and to go swimming, but we got to talking about the success of the Rose De Toilet Spray Atomizer and started discussing a new technique for the Smocked Cake. Then we stayed up late on Saturday just talking about my need to create a doll again. This would be my fourth. Ms. Muse mentioned a ragdoll design so……into the studio we went on Sunday morning.

We finished both of them, but I am rather pooped out and we never got to the lake to swim, which was the original reason she came over to my studio in the first place!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Girl Things

I was playing with my ‘Lil Sis and Ms. Muse came over to visit. We had fun treats to eat, a lovely evening and we thoroughly enjoyed each other. We did what all sisters and girlfriends have done through the ages…...we talked about make-up and perfume. Eventually Ms. Muse could not contain herself and she got busy helping, yes helping, create a beautiful perfume bottle. (She rarely helps, usually she just comes up with the ideas and leaves me to carry them out.)

We played with the fondant Rose Eau De Toilet Spray Atomizer, and the lace. Ms. Muse loved the smell and sparkle dust and ‘Lil Sis really needed to play with her fabric. I know her muse friend was around somewhere, but was really shy about taking a lead. Anyway, ‘Lil Sis even captured the cake photo.

We eventually tired out around midnight and went our separate ways. But the pleasant evening and good time with everyone left me with lovely little roses dancing in my dreams all evening long.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fighting through a Dry Spell or Just Taking a Break

I have been in a creative dry spell, because of family commitments and Ms. Muse has been a little under the weather.

Unfortunately my Mapplethorpe/tulip tribute did not make it into Art Kudos. I do realize it is hard for me to cross artistic barriers and have judges actually look at the piece from purely art for art sake instead of a baked product, but I do know that my sculpture’s representation could have been better executed and next year I will devote more time and effort to bring it to a higher level.

Recently I have been experimenting with cake and frosting recipes, because I have submitted my official entry to my State Fair and the competition will be quite competitive. The actual design of the cake is rather simple in its execution and in order to follow the rules, which call for a round cake up to 9 inches with up to three layers tall, my greatest challenge would be the recipe itself and not the design. I have been going through some of grandmother’s recipes. Hopefully I will find the right combination. The rules state that there should not be fresh flowers, fresh or canned fruit in the entry. According to Tish Boyle and John Uher author’s of The Cake Book there are at least eight types of cakes.
1. Angel, Chiffon and Sponge
2. Pound and Coffee
3. Butter and Oil Based
4. Fruit Based
5. Flourless
6. Cheesecakes
7. Mousse and Ice Cream
8. Meringue

For this competition I have eliminated numbers one, four, five, six, seven and eight in order to either to follow their rules or because they are not the right type of cake to use along with Fondant icing. That leaves only number two the Pound and Coffee, and number three the Butter and Oil base cakes, which cuts down my recipe options considerably.

Besides the State Fair, I have searched out two other art shows and will be submitting sugar sculptures; both of them are due in September. So between the art shows I have previously identified, the two new shows I have just recently identified and along with the State Fair competition, August and September will be very productive months. I will have to call on Ms. Muse to see if she is feeling better and seek out her advice.

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Mini Surprise Idea

Ms. Muse was staring at the fish tank when I approached. “Look at those little fish under the plant, do they ever come out?” she asked.

“Well of course, when they are grazing the floor of the aquarium for food they do,” I replied. “Sometimes you will also see them dart to the top of the water for a gulp of air,” I said.
“Really,” she commented completely mesmerized at the fish tank.

“Just look at the lovely, tiny blue and pink fish, hanging around together,” she said. Her statement trailed away into a thought I was putting together. As she put her finger the the glass and gently coxing the fish to follow her movement.

“Ms. Muse, I have a friend who has a birthday coming up and I would like to make him a mini-cake, but I don’t know what to make him?” I inquired.

“Let’s put on our thinking caps,” she stated. “What is he like?”

“Hmm, he is quiet, unassuming, a good coworker, and seems to be a loner.” I replied.

She was looking at the snail moving up the wall of the aquarium. She turned and looked at me while pointing to the snail and said, “That quiet, unassuming critter just might be your answer.” “Put some color into him like those blue and pink fish,’ she said.

I looked at the school of Neon Tetra’s and thought of rainbow colors. The new creation was formed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Finished

The tulip piece is complete. It is called Ode to Mapplethorpe or It’s All Just Beefcake.

Sometimes I wonder if the end piece of my creation is appropriate or not. Ms. Muse seemed very entertained by the tulip piece, but I am less then please in the end. However, the sculpture has been submitted and I did all I could do and that is enough.

Ms. Muse had the right idea, but sometimes she is so literal that I think she takes the fun right out of discovering something new through the peeling back of many layers and revealing its soul. She is only concerned about the conception of the idea. Maybe, though, a one dimensional fun piece can be enough.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Road Down a New and Old Path

I came upon Ms. Muse walking on the bike path. It was a well known spot for agate hunting. She was carefully examining one she had just picked up.

“Well hello Ms. Muse,” I called to her, screeching my bike to a full stop. As I jumped off she plopped the stone into a coffee can she had brought. “I’ve been looking for you.” I stated. She looked up and smiled. “What I am doing next with the tulips?” I asked.

She sat down on a dead log and patted the spot next to her. Because we were in a sandy area, instead of putting the kickstand down on my bike, I moved it off the bike path and laid it down in the grass. The back wheel was still turning as I sat down beside her.

I anxiously said, “I have three sugar tulips and three leaves finished. Now what?” I asked her.

“We are going to create a tribute to Mapplethorpe,” she said while rummaging through her stones in the coffee can.

“What?” I exclaimed rolling my eyes. I was so disappointed. Every hack photographer has created a flower still life similar to Mapplethorpe’s, just as every aspiring painter has painted a piece in honor of Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers, I thought.

“It’s been done.” I stated matter-of-factly in the best uninterested voice I could muster.

With a twinkle in her eye her voice barely above a whisper she said, "Not the way we are going to do it." She cupped her hand around my ear and began sharing her secret.

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Delightful Announcement Morphs into Future Pieces

When I came across Ms. Muse this morning, she was lying idly on the knoll, gnawing on a piece of grass watching the white cloud from the airplane exhaust dissipate into the brilliant blue sky. I plopped down beside her.

“Remember when we played Tag last month,” I asked her.

“Yup,” she replied without breaking her concentration on the exhaust.

“Remember the Cowboy that became Lady Liberty and the cookies shaped like an elephant and donkey that became white chocolate,” I asked again.

“Mm hmm,” she nodded still not looking at me, while the grass blade bounced up and down in the air.

“Remember how we turned the sculpture into a brick wall with graffiti?” I asked again. “Well,” I continued, not letting her reply to my last question, “We won Best in Category — Sculpture in the International Juried Art Show — America,” I exclaimed in absolute delight.

Over 15 years chasing the creative bug in photography with nothing to show for it at all and during the last year and a half learning how to create in sugar I’ve been in three art shows, received an arts grant and now this honor along with being in the show! I couldn’t be more pleased with myself, I thought.

Completely indifferent, Ms. Muse sat up and wrapped her arms around her knees and took the piece of grass out of her mouth. She looked directly into my eyes and said, “That’s nice; now shouldn’t you get busy and finish your tulip sculpture?”

Stunned with her reaction and sucking in my breath, I got up from the ground and started to walk away shattered. A ship with the wind taken out of my sails, I thought.

She called after me, “Getting the honor is not the end you know, but the beginning.” “You were trained well and you had the talent all along,” She acknowledged. “But you were using the wrong medium. You have a lot to say, now get busy creating your new pieces.” She stated matter-of-factly lying back down on the grass.

I agreed and continued to walk away and began to think about the tulips.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Latest Trends or Over the Top Sugar Art

The average person off the street does not normally have the chance to see the trends happening in sugar art, formally known as cake decorating. They usually purchase boring “ready-mades” from the locally grocery mega-store and have someone write the innocuous “Happy Birthday” in frosting in the space provided on the cake. (The writing on cakes along with the lighting of candles is in itself another topic for discussion.) The most recent airing of the Food Network’s Cake Challenge “Villain Cakes,” provides viewers with hints of the next levels of our sugary consumption. Adding the likes of animated cake parts, one might think the taste sensation rather boring in comparison. This is not a new trend in the over all scheme of the affluent.

For instance, in a review of the a Shelburne Museum doll exhibit there were 31 mechanical pieces being exhibited and made in Paris during the last half of the 19th century, The New York Time’s Tuesday, June 12, 2007 article mentions that, “Automata first appeared in Europe in the early Renaissance. They were virtuoso demonstrations of the great skills of goldsmiths and of the new discoveries of engineering and science…” And like todays over the top sugar art consumers interested in the latest trends like movable cake parts, the expensive dolls were marketed as toys for adults, and according to The New York Times, “most likely displayed to entertain guests.”

As like the Automata of the 19th century that inspired engineers and drove technology forward, this new trend with sugar, which usually has marked very special occasions such as pending birth, christening, birthday, wedding and finally death and shared with family and friends, is challenging the world with new creations showing the talent and skill of its artisans elevating it to heights greater than just a simple cake to eat, but rather a variation in entertainment for guests.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A New Game

“He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, and he loves me not - - - aha!” Ms Muse cried. She was holding onto a stem that use to look like tulip. She was sitting under an old Elm tree and the six petals were strewn all about her. “How have you been?” She laughingly asked me as she waved the headless flower stem at my direction.

I looked at the decapitated flower and stated, “That ugly thing reminds me Ms. Muse, You wanted to talk to me about bugs?” I asked as a dragon fly flittered onto the stem top.

“Not right now, later in the summer.” She brushed away the question hanging in the air. “We must create some tulips and cake slices.”

“What? Tulips and cake slices?” I asked incredulously. How do they fit together as one piece? I just hated how she would jump from topic and new piece to another idea entirely.

“Not together silly” she replied as she admired the lovely green and violet translucent bug.

“Well how then?” She had such a way of aggravating me drawing things out just to tease me.

We are going to create an artist book of cake with cake slices! Then we are going to deconstruct Mapplethorpe through sugar tulips of course.

Oh, sure of course, I thought sarcastically. Sometimes her statements made absolutely no sense at all. I sat down beside her as she handed me a fresh tulip to decapitate. “Loves me, loves me not, loves me”, she started chanting. “What colors do you think would work for Mapplethorpe, since he worked a lot in black and white photography?” I asked. “And, how are we going to create the cake slices for the artist book?” My mind was racing at the speed of sound and thus began our next game.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

It's Done

Yahoooooooo, the sugar sculpture "American Melting Pot" is done.

Ms. Muse, please tell me what is next?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Art-A-Whirl Art Crawl

Ms. Muse and I along with one of my friends went to the infamous NE Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl (an art crawl) this past weekend. During the foray sometimes I pushed and prodded Ms. Muse to join me in the studio and at other times, she excitedly swept into the space and squealed with delight at her new discoveries. Unfortunately my friend was so engulfed with the new experience; I did not have time to get her together with Ms. Muse for any in depth conversation.

What I did notice was Ms. Muse’s total lack of enthusiasm for anything created as a flat two dimensional piece. I was absolutely shocked how quickly she tired of the black and white photography. I did manage to get her into a couple of studios in the beginning of the day, but now that I think back on the whole Art Crawl expedition, she literally wanted to run by them. No, wonder I never had any real success in creating new exciting work with the medium. What she commented on was the total lack of creativity she found in photographing yet another dilapidated building, barn or some rusty Minnesota prairie icon. At one point I caught her reflection in the glass of a framed photographed barn and she placed her index finger against her nose and twisted in the American Sign Language symbol for boring, stuck out her tongue at me then ran off into the hallway completely mesmerized a huge hanging wire fish mobile installed in the hallway.

When we began the crawl, she fell in love with a lovely eclectic prayer card and it is now hanging upon my refrigerator. At another point we talked with an artist who in her own words was jokingly “squatting” in the warehouse corner. She was actually teamed up with another member in the NE Artist Association. This "squatting" artist introduced us to Christians in the Visual Arts organization (CIVA) and Ms. Muse whispered in my ear, “Perhaps there are more visual stories we can wrap around these Christian ideas?”

During two points of the trip she discovered a hopscotch grid and tried to engage a game for our amusement. One hopscotch grid was in a very large two dimensional mixed media piece, which she enjoyed because it had three dimensional found objects affixed to it. The other hopscotch was actually chalked on the steps to on of the warehouses entrance and she did hop, hop double hop her way into and out of the building.

All in all Ms. Muse was extremely satiated and our “Feed the Eyes” art crawl outing for the NE Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl art crawl.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It is Dry Enough to Paint

The brick wall and Lady Liberty are dry enough to paint. I will add the royal icing as filler and will spray paint them this week.

Ms. Muse has been extremely quiet the past few days…. Sometimes she is very selfish and forgets to tell me when she goes on vacation. She usually disappears for a few days to recharge her batteries after we have had some intense brainstorming games. It must be one of those times.

I am hoping to see her sometime this week to talk to her about the cockroaches from Animal Planet.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Beginning of the American Melting Pot Sugar Sculpture

The stand has been purchased! It is not what I had envisioned but sometimes these little surprises turn into happy compromises.

Last evening I went into my creative zone. It is an intense time where what is happening around me does not matter and the only thing I see is my vision.

Lady Liberty part of the "American element" and the wall were created and are now drying. They are at the ugly stage of conception for The American Melting Pot sculpture. This is the point in the creative birth process that I hold onto my faith and vision tightly, because if I don’t I will abandoned the piece, usually the next day when I look at it with fresh eyes. Hopefully my very ugly, bald headed, toothless, drooling, rubbery infant creation will start to emerge as a butterfly.

My next sequence will be to paint it and then start creating the other visual elements as the "melting element" to the piece.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Issues with the Stand

I’m not sure if other sculptors have issues about sculpture stands, but I am not sure what type to use for my new sugar piece. For my Sacred Heart I figured the stand was the piece of the sculpture that was actually going to be used to hold up the sugar and wood was the best logical choice.

The American Melting Pot has me flustered. I have checked out creating a candy "plate", or buying flat marble, acrylic trays, plastic bins, tile, or flag stone and I am now more confused as ever. Next is the big super do-it-yourself stores where I will walk around in a daze not knowing which way to turn. This decision really needs to be worked out in advance and not look as a complete afterthought. Sometime the piece even needs to be created around the stand/support structures.

I’m so very lost and Ms. Muse only comes out to play when the idea is being created. I really could use some of her advice right now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Starting the actual piece

The design for “America the Great Melting Pot” has been worked out with Ms. Muse and all the material has been purchased for the sugar sculpture. The only thing left is to actually create it. I will begin with the piece this evening. The “brick” wall will need a few days to dry out before I am able to manipulate it in any fashion. I believe I will paint it also…….so back into the studio for a stint.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Watching Animal Planet with Ms. Muse

Ms. Muse gets very bored easily. She fidgets and turns, she twists and bounces. Very seldom does an actual television program capture her attention. She once told me television was a middle-of-the-road, common place entertainment babysitter for adults and children alike. I replied, “Yes, but some pieces created with the mediocre video or film turn out to be the some of the most interesting things.”

“True.” She quipped, “but it takes so long, and has too many commercials to get to that point with a majority of the creative endeavors.” I gave up the argument and handed her the remote control, “Fine, here switch to something that interests you,” I said.

Ms Muse flipped the channels until she landed on the Animal Planet. “Look at those bugs!” She was very fascinated. Ohhhhhhhh, cockroaches! She asked, “What could we do with cockroaches?” She turned and looked at me and asked her eyes large and dilated with excitement, “And what art shows do you see coming up on the horizon.”

I am working on “America the Great Melting Pot as you know,” I said. She rolled her eyes, and in her most prissy voice whined, “I know, that is completely done and created in your head and we can actually see it finished. Now all you have to do is make it and that is that,” she sassed while brushing the invisible crumbs from her hands and looking at me as if to say, “Done with that project and onto the next one.”

I wasn’t sure where she was going with the cockroaches from the Animal Planet, but I’m sure it will be interesting; the television program was forgotten and she was talking a mile a minute with new ideas popping and our world was once more electrified.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Playing Hopscotch with Ms Muse

Ms. Muse tossed her rock into square eight. Hop, hop, hop, double hop. She picked up her rock and hopped back again.

“Your know Ms. Muse, we can’t have a plain white wall for Lady Liberty formerly known as Cowboy. Right?” I said.

"Mm hmm”, she agreed and nodded.

“I was thinking that the back side of the piece should be a brick wall with graffiti.” I broached cautiously, however she was winning at Hopscotch so she would be more agreeable than usual, “and I have a saying to spray paint on the Lady Liberty sugar sculpture.” I tossed my rock onto the square.

I turned slightly to watch her face and said, “What do you think of saying, All the Warning Signs Were There & Nobody Cared?” I asked as I hopped two, three, four pick up my rock, turn around and look at her again and hopped back.

“Wonderful!” she was so delighted in my plans she actually clapped her hands together. “Then let’s spray paint a wavy flag and the words United We Stand on the other side.

I never actually asked her about the donkey’s colors the other day….but I could see she was not very interested after the wavy flag decision. It’s a done deal I thought. All that was left was to actually create the piece and she is hardly ever interested in that process.

“Ms. Muse” I said, “have you thought about the show called Dirty Little Secrets yet?” Oh yes, she replied, but we need more time, I will come over to play a new game with you and we can talk about it. Right now, I won at Hopscotch, because you step out of bounds.” And so I had. Goodbye, we will play later.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Hey Ms. Muse can you come out to play?

Hey Ms. Muuuuuuuuusssssseeeeeeee, where arrrrrreeeeee youuuuuuu?

I want to tell you about another call for artists for a show call “Dirty Little Secrets.” Haven’t we created pieces in installation photography around this theme? Margot Asquith once quipped, “She tells enough white lies to ice a wedding cake.” Wouldn’t that make a great theme about little secrets?

Please come out and plaaaaaayyyyyyyyy.

Ms. Muse Plays on the Swing

Ms. Muse came over to my house today. She wanted to swing on the swing set and see if we could touch the clouds with our toes.

“See that big, fat, fluffy cloud over there?” I pointed at it with my toe as I went up, up, up meeting the sky. Ms. Muse giggled and said, “Yes, I see it.” “That cloud looks just like a cookie elephant for our new sugar sculpture.” I stated.

No, no she shook her head and stopped swinging. I dragged my feet and stopped swinging also.

“Maybe,” she started twirling her swing this way and that, “maybe it looks sort of looks like a melted white chocolate elephant instead of a cookie.” Then she smiled. It was the brilliant dazzling smile of one of her secrets she shared.

“Hmm, what about a tiny bit of color…a little blue and a little red so it is not all white?” I asked. “Yes that will do.”, she mumbled over her shoulder as she ran home, because she was done playing with me for the day.

Thank goodness that is settled I thought and started thinking of all the chores left for me ……but at the back of my mind nagged the question, “Would she agree that the donkey would be white with a bit of blue and red also?”

I wondered.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Playing Tag with Ms. Muse

Ms. Muse wanted to play with me on a new piece. It is an artist’s perspective of America.

I suggested cookies shaped like the political symbols for part of our sugar sculpture and she declined. She thought we were getting a bit fat. But now she was “IT” and we played our game of tag……she ran and laughed and then thought she would introduce the Cowboy into our game to add more fun. He was hidden in a bronze sculpture. She pushed him forward and said, “What if we create a new sugar sculpture like him and turn this Cowboy into Lady Liberty?” Then she shoved Cowboy into me and shouted, “Tag you’re IT!”

Now I had Cowboy in my hands and I turned him this way and that. Yes, Ms. Muse was right. He would make a great Lady Liberty. But I still want my donkey and elephant cookies. Should I throw a tantrum I wondered? Sometimes she wants to play the game with only her rules and other times she will share my rules.

“What mood was she in today?” I thought.

Ms. Muse, I yelled over to her, I still want my cookies along with Lady Liberty. She laughed at me and over her shoulder she yelled back, “But they will break.”

Yes, she was right.

Tired of the game, I grabbed Cowboy by his bronze stand and told her we were going into the house. We can play later.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Little Girl and her Muse

Once upon a time there was a little girl who loved to draw and play with her imaginary friends. Many people including her best imaginary friend Muse, told her the pictures were lovely and that she was naturally creative. Then she grew up.

When she went to art school, many, many people were more creative, more talented and better equipped at this art thing then she. The little girl who grew up tried ceramics, paper making, drawing, watercolor, oil paints, video, film, and finally got her BFA with photography and all the instructors were exacerbated and glad she was finally leaving. She was a mediocre art student at best, a half – artist fledgling who had some potential.

Over the years, she tried to keep up on black and white photography and she worked a big project or two and showed her work a couple of times, but knew she was an average run-of-the-mill photographer. And she was very lonely. There wasn't anyone to talk to about her average oh-hum pictures. Eventually the photography product became too difficult to find and purchase. She eventually stopped creating.

Her imaginary best friend Muse came back home to stay and got very angry.

The Muse chased, tormented and teased her for years, until one day the little girl who grew up saw a program on the television about cake sculptures and thought, “Hmmmmmm, I could do that.”

She suffered through some miserable local craft store classes and thought, “Why?” Her Muse gored her onward teasing her with promises of lovely creations. Finally she signed up for a special sugar cake sculpture and she was excited, that was until she saw the class prototype. It was ugly and she cried.

Hating her Muse and her desperate desire to create something worthy, she planned her own similar cake sculpture and then made it. It turned out nicely and was a decent attempt to create lovely things again. She has never looked back.

Everyday, her Muse whispers fresh new innovative ideas and thoughts into her ear. And they share secrets. She knew that Edgar Degas stated: “"Everyone has talent at 25. The difficulty is to have it at 50.” The little girl who grew up just turned 50. The two of them, the little girl who grew up and her Muse are dancing to the song of creativity. She is very happy with her lovely pieces and finds others are inspired also.

She and her Muse live happily ever after while creating lovely sugar sculptures with lots of newly found 50 year old talent.

The end.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Getting ready for another show

Yesterday I delivered my Cake of Soap to the Altered Esthetics gallery for the upcoming show “Art for Other Senses”. I created a cake based on an antique box of Ivory soap working with a play on words. This show really intrigued me and even though it was actually my first application for submission to a call for artists’ entries it was my third piece in an artist show.

The whole system fascinates me. The show I had my Ninygo Artist Doll in Mora last November was a juried show, meaning there were show awards but was open to all artists. This show with my Cake of Soap is a selected show, meaning the gallery had to select my work. The show with my Sacred Heart is a selected/juried show, meaning my piece was submitted and selected for the show and the show also had awards. Whew!

For my Cake of Soap, I created an actual cake sketch and photographed it and was thrilled when I was selected for the show about a month ago, prior to my submission and subsequent opening of the Sacred Heart Sugar Sculpture for the Christian Art Festival last week. On the artist “Call for Entries” The gallery printed,

A familiar smell can trigger stronger memories than a picture. Our fingers can sense tiny details our eyes cannot always see. Music and sound have been said to reach the deepest parts of the soul. And yet, most noted artworks address primarily a visual aesthetic. Altered Esthetics would like you think outside the visual box and join us as we hold a truly unique and innovative exhibition, "Art for Other Senses."

The "Art for Other Senses" exhibition will focus on interactive artwork developed not around sight, but around smell, touch, taste, and sound. Special features of this exhibit include art you are encouraged to touch and art you can smell, “Art of Coffee” and “Art of Wine” cuppings and tastings and a variety of music and sound studies!

I thought sugar art was particularly well suited for Art for Other Senses and especially a cake.

For some reason, I have gotten very bold and thought why stop there? Why waste your education? Your have found a medium that is truly sensuous and fascinating at the same time. So, I have researched several possible avenues to show my work and will be very busy with upcoming deadlines.

Monday, April 30, 2007

My First Selected/Juried Art Show

Saturday was the opening reception for the Christian Art Festival. It is my first selected and juried art show I have ever entered. A few of my friends and coworkers attended and ohhh ahhh'd over my Sacred Heart Sugar Sculpture. For a little bit of time I was by myself reflecting on how small the show really was in light of the fact they had a wonderful traveling exhibit showing at the same time.

I counted the pieces - - - hmmmmm, 22, wasn't my entry number 36 I wondered? Wasn't there a wonderful sculptor who submitted three wonderful bronze pieces standing right behind me the day I turned over my baby? Wouldn't that make it 39? I counted again, one, two, three........20, 21, 22.

Just where was that beautiful bronze sculpture of "Mary had a Little Lamb" from the sculptor who came after me when we turned in our pieces? I got up from contemplating and went to the show greeter and asked her where it was. She replied, it never made it into the show. "What?” I cried incredulously! It was lovely piece.

Going back into the sanctuary, it dawned on me; my piece might not have made it into the show. Wow that thought had never, ever occurred to me.....I had created and sent out numerous invitations. What would I have said to my family, friends and coworkers if it didn't make it into the show?

I'm lucky. I thought my piece was lovely enough to be in the Festival and the curators agreed. Next time, I might be so lucky and I can not take it for granted and must remember that there is the possibility that my next sugar baby may not be acceptable.

About Me

Artist Statement: As an alternative sugar artist, it is my intent to surprise and delight my audience with sculptures that depart from everyday boundaries, thus creating rich dialogue around objects of edible art.