Monday, October 31, 2011

Mask Parade!

In horror of All Hallows Eve, I bring you a coven of some of the ghoul-est masks I’ve found from around the spider’s web. Happy Halloween, everybody!

Red Fox Felt Mask, $12, from Opposite of Far on Etsy

Snowflake Leather Mask, $39, from Tom Banwell on Etsy

Day of the Dead Leather Mask, $68, from beadmask on Etsy

Crocheted Beard Beanie, $35, from Kylie’s Crochet Corner on Etsy

Deer Mask and Tail Set, $30, from Seven Feathers Tribe on Etsy

Luchador Wresting Mask, $35, from RomeroAP on Etsy

Vintage Halloween Masks, $6.95 each, from Niftic Vintage on Etsy

Make Your Own Parrot Mask with this Martha Stewart How-To
Make Your Own Owl Mask with this Martha Stewart How-To

- Cathleen 

Friday, October 28, 2011

2010 &

How much time have you spent thinking about ampersands? Probably not much. However I think today you should kick off your weekend by enjoying 365 different ampersands on 300&65 a website that spent 2010 celebrating each day with a different ampersand image. It's linked so you start at the end of the year.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Minimal, Usually Mundane, Objects

I could just crawl into that picture and live inside it. There is something so quiet and pleasing about this image. All these items are from Daniel - Emma and can be purchased each separately. However I think they are best together. 


 Polished brass paperweights. 

 Cork cone. (Because everyone needs a cork cone- come on!)


Pencil box- probably my favorite. 

Have an inspiring day!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Artist of the Week: Jason Munn

These past two months I’ve been spending my Tuesday nights in a silkscreen class at SVA, the fruits of which I promise to share here one day soon. Printmaking as a practice has made me think about creating work in a totally different way. Building an image in layers and thinking in blocks of color, all while constructing a dynamic illustration is a challenging balance.

In researching ideas for prints of my own, I came across the striking work of Jason Munn, or The Small Stakes as he used to be called. His screen prints inspired by music and film are simple and straightforward. His color choice is always subtle, yet strong. Here is a smattering of his best work:

- Cathleen

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back to Cool Part Deux


This sensational pencil bench was designed in 2007 by the UK firm Boex and is made up of 1600 pencils that can be removed and used (just don't sharpen any).


Monday, October 24, 2011

The NESTING Series, Part Four: Edible Nests

Today I bring you the next chapter of my Nesting Series: Edible Nests!

Image from ANET

The edible-nest swiftlet is a bird native to South-east Asia whose name says it all; the nests they build are a delicacy in China, highly prized (and priced) for their supposed health benefits. Constructed by the male of the species, the nests are made from interwoven regurgitated strands of the bird’s saliva, solidifying into half-cup shaped nests that are attached to cave walls, ceilings, and in the eaves of roofs.

Recently in Indonesia there’s been a big business in building brightly colored “birdhouses” where owners blast birdcalls over a loud speaker to attract the swiftlets to roost inside.

Photo courtesy of The New York Times

The nests are built in a human-scale house that has anything a bird could want—bird feeders, birdbaths, and protection from predators. Even air-conditioning (of sorts) in the form of misters that simulate the cool, cave-like environment the birds are used to. 

Once collected, the nests sell for upwards of $1,000 a pound. They are dissolved in water to make a gelatinous cure-all soup that can purportedly do everything from strengthening one’s immune system to stimulating the libido and helping new mothers regain their figures after childbirth. And how!

I don’t know about you guys, but if “regurgitated saliva” didn’t get your mouth watering, I bet “gelatinous” sure did!  

- Cathleen


Friday, October 21, 2011


Sometimes I find myself daydreaming about my future. My future hooome. My future front pooorch with my future porch swiiing hanging from my future raaafters. My future backyaaard. And my future studio. But instead of staring into space with that far off look in my eyes, I troll Pintrest for "studio sheds" and save all of my best finds in a huge folder on my computer called "TO MAKE"
You thought it was going be called FUTURE, didn't you?

All I want in this future life of mine is a small space of mine own—separate from the rest of the house, so I will be able to ignore the siren call of dirty bathrooms and dusty bunnies—where I can art and craft until glue and scissors come out of my eyeballs. Oh, in the future I will also be able to make glue and scissors come out of my eyeballs. It's going to save me a bundle on art supplies.

Here are the most inspired studio/shed spaces I've found:

One studio, three ways:

- Cathleen 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Last Friday

Let me start by saying I had the weirdest Friday. Last Thursday I was thinking about what I would blog about for the next day. I couldn't think of anything so I pulled a trial post I had sent Catie/Cathleen way back when we were first forming Swings and Arrows to show her how I thought the blog should work—thus the Friday Bull's-Eye post. Well after putting the post together I got all into Bull's-Eyes and started looking through Kenneth Noland's body of work. After being totally inspired by Kenneth Noland I decided that the next day with my 8th grade boy art students we would do a KN inspired art project. The project went well and I created two demonstration bull's-eyes that I ended up rolling up to bring home to hang in my house.

During the day at my teaching job I kept being reminded about how young kids make mistakes and how we must forgive them because I probably made the same or similar mistakes when I was their age and the generation before me forgave me and I learned.

I promise this is going somewhere.
I then went and picked my kids up from the babysitter and drove home. As we walked into the house, my freshly painted bull's-eyes in my hands, I stood in shock as I stared at this:

Yep, my window had been broken. After the shock wore off I looked around and realized nothing had been stolen and that a ball had smashed my window causing the entire frame to crash into my house. 

So this is where things get weird. Brian comes home from work and we decide to board it up ourselves to save money. We have one piece of wood in the house that I had painted years ago that fit perfectly. Here's the piece of wood we had: 

Yes, it had a bull's-eye on it.

Brian then reminded me that we can't be too mad because it was obviously just a kid who made a mistake and kicked a soccer ball into our window.

Things came full circle like a bull's-eye, all on Bull's-Eye Friday.



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Artist of the Week: Hollis Brown Thornton

VHS, permanent marker on paper, 22 1/2"x 30", hbt10-p002, 2010

Hollis Brown Thornton is an artist from South Carolina that I first discovered on
20x200, an awesome online gallery chock full of affordable limited edition art prints. I actually purchased a print of his very cool VHS drawing above as the gift I gave my video-editing hubby on our wedding day this past April.
The tall stacks of videotapes reminded me of the precarious piles that used to collect on the shelf of the entertainment center under our boxy TV set, with titles that told the story of my youth. Dirty Dancing and Footloose shared the same tape, recorded without commercial breaks off of HBO, while Ladyhawke always had to be fast-forwarded through to get to Grease. I cannot think of one movie without the other. Same with Beetlejuice and Back to the Future.  
Osiris Mountain, archival pigment print, available in various sizes on 20x200
My Galaxies, permanent marker on paper,
8 1/4"x 10 1/4", hbt08-p051, 2008, $600

In these drawings, Thornton uses permanent marker to create portraits of defunct technology. I like the striated effect of the magic marker, another vestige of childhood. I especially appreciate the idea that the material itself is not exactly archival; it will fade away (if left in direct sunlight and not framed properly) just like the technology that he so lovingly depicts in his work. 
He works with acrylic paint as well, and also employs a process called pigment transfer in some of his drawings that he provides step-by-step instructions for on his website.

Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe, pigment transfer on paper, 8 1/4"x 10 1/4", hbt10-p056, Edition of 5*, 2010, $100

Toucan Sams, 
pigment transfer on paper 
8 1/4"x 10 1/4", 
hbt10-p061, Edition of 5, 
2010, $100
While I did like the print above, I don’t totally love his manipulations of old family photos. Especially the pixelated paintings that he describes saying, "They represent the idea our physical reality is becoming more and more intertwined with the digital world. There is also a transformation that is almost cartoonish when the image is manually converted to a pixel image, reminiscent of childhood as well as old video games."
I think it’s probably just a personal prejudice of mine, but I’m kind of tired of nostalgia as a subject matter (as well as the idea of revering technology that is becoming obsolete). This definitely became clearer when reading various statements he'd made in my searches on the internet. And I quote:
"It relates to how the beliefs or values of one culture or time period are going to change or be completely obsolete in the future, and how our relationship with reality changes, with reality becoming more and more of a virtual or digital one today."

Sometimes an artist's explanation can really ruin the work for me, either over-simplifying it or being too purposefully vague. But I do love the idea of portraits of old objects as a representation of someone’s interests, as a way to read a life. Then again, I might be reading too much into it.  
- Cathleen
[Photos courtesy of the artist’s website, his Big Cartel shop, and 20x200]
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