Saturday, December 29, 2012

Swedish Institute Inspiration

I like to chose a museum to visit on my birthday and this year I chose the Swedish Institute near downtown Minneapolis.  It began as a Swedish family's castle-like mansion that later became the Institute and this year opened the very modern Cultural Center attached by a hallway to it.  We weren't offered a 'swedish discount' for being a Lindgren but went anyway. It was very busy with holiday visitors checking out the Nordic Christmas exhibit and lace making exhibit.  I took pictures of images, patterns and colors for inspiration.  

main dining room

Ceiling pattern

The Salon

Detail of corner

Lace making

women had this on their lap to hold their lace work

 fireplace detail

tile on one of the many fireplaces

Norwegian Christmas setting

cookie ornaments

paper cut ornaments

paper cut border at base of the Christmas tree

Iceland table setting

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grandma's Christmas Candy

Grandma's original recipe
My Grandma Rieniets was a great cook and baker.  At Christmas time, we all looked forward to her Crispie Chunkie candy made with Rice Crispies, Corn Flakes, peanuts and held together with a chewy glaze. I don't know why but we could never get enough of it, but it was addictive.  She wrote the recipe down and her tradition has been passed down to my generation.  I made two batches and ate most of it myself!  My Mom had it waiting at our family Christmas get together this week.

For Christmas I decided to make her beloved recipe into a special gift for my Mom and sisters.  I took her handwritten recipe and scanned it into the computer.  Then I made it into a digital file and sent it to Spoonflower, a digital fabric printer, and had it printed onto cotton fabric.  The results were amazing!  To see her handwriting on the fabric, enlarged to fit a 12 x20" towel, with all its character, was just what I hoped for.  There wasn't a lot of border left around the recipe since Grandma wrote right to the edges, so I added a top piece of fabric.  I wrapped them up and took them to Iowa for Christmas.

Her recipe printed on fabric

My Mom with her tea towel

My sister Cathy with her gift
My sister Connie holding her gift
Mom and my sisters opened their presents up at the same time and it took a second to figure out what it was.  "That's Grandma's handwriting!  How did you get Grandma's handwriting on fabric?"  They were really excited to have this personal gift of a cherished memory of Christmas preserved.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Show Time!

My booth at No Coast Craft-o-Rama.
It was a busy month of shows this year with No Coast Craft-o-Rama, Bloomington Theatre & Art Center, Master Framers, and Women's Art Festival.  More than once, I'd run out of a certain card or print not knowing what would be popular this year.  The Twin Cities landmarks were very popular including Minnehaha Falls and the St. Paul Conservatory because people got engaged there or married there, shared a first date or family picnic.  It's always fun to hear people's personal connections with my art subject matter.  The same is true with my flowers or vegetables. The strawberry cards reminded people of picking them at their Grandma's garden or the blueberry card reminded them of hunting for wild ones and we'd share where we had success by our cabin. I found that the Cardinal is a very popular bird and I really enjoyed the little boy who picked out my fox print to hang in his bedroom.  My baby snow owl art and cards sold out quickly.

My fabric fat quarters were equally popular with customers. I cannot believe how many quilters there are!  Many people bought them for their quilter friends who said they can never have too big of a 'stash' and admire unique designer patterns.

I get asked how I create my art and have a booklet to show them how I draw everything by hand in pencil first and then scan it into the computer and redraw all the lines into solid flat color shapes in layers that resemble a silk screen print.  It makes more sense to see the actual pencil drawings and digital stages of the process.

I always take notes at the shows of what people like or want to see next year.  One guy wants to see two more cardinal illustrations to make a grouping.  Many people buy multiple cards to group and frame and some want to see much larger prints in the future. It's always humbling to hear how they love my style and have my work framed in their home, or hear from bungalow home owners that they want to add some of my pieces to fit the architecture yet it looks modern to fit today's style. My mission is accomplished!

So thank you to all who came out to my shows this month.  I enjoyed getting to meet you and see how you respond to my art. Now it will be fun to get back to creating new art for next year's show.