Paris thus far.

I apologize in advance, but for this post I'm going to tell you about what happened in getting to Paris and allow you to follow the link to Picasa for my photos.

So Monday morning we packed up and got everything ready to go to Avignon to catch our train to Paris. And it poured. Raining for the second day and we had to carry our bags/backpacks down the hill to the bus to ride for an hour to Avignon. Nice and easy no complications. The train station was more modern with the platform above everything. Very nice and clean. We took the train, which was 3.5 hours, and ended in the Gare de Lyon and walked 35 minutes to our Hotel, the Hotel Home Latin. We're in the 5th Arrondisement, the latin quarter, a huge college student area. Notre Dame is north of us, and the Eiffel tower is to the northwest. Pretty much in the middle of everything.
We got in safe and sound, no mishaps. So we went exploring around Rue de Saint Germain, a main boulevard in the area and found ourselves at the St. Severin, an area where mom and I had dinner on several occasions.

A beautiful night to a long day.

Yesterday, I didn't have any previous engagements to Carly, Bridget and I went straight for the 20th arrondissement where Pere Lachaise cemetery is. Quite a few famous people are buried here, including Oscar Wilde! We found his grave and gave it the traditional gesture of respect, a kiss! Kisses or rather lipstick, covered the grave with various words of thanks and quotes. I think Oscar Wilde would have appreciated it all.
Beautiful cemetery, and HUGE!! We walked in there for an hour, it was like walking in a neighborhood with all the family graves. Awesome place!
Afterwards, shopping of course!! We walked through the 19th, 11th and 7th arrondissement shopping and meeting all kinds of people.

We met up with our printmaking classes and went to the BNF the Bibliotheque de Nationale France. Years and years of prints and photos are kept at the building from all kinds of artists. We saw Rembrandt, Goya, Durer, and other French artists. Absolutely amazing. Prints that are 500 to 300 years old placed right before our eyes, no glass or panels. Absolutely amazing.

Once we finished there, more shopping and walking, so much walking. Once we got back to the hotel, we went back to the hotel changed into our finds and went out to the Long Hop, a local college bar and had a nice easy going night. Got back late, slept, and woke up bright and early for Museums this morning.

First the Louvre and then the Musee d'Orsay. Both amazing and inspiring. The Louvre used to be a Palace while the d'Orsay was built for the World Fair in 1900, and was later used as a train station. During WWII, it was a Post sorting center. In 1989, they renovated it to the current museum. Long day but great.

Walking, walking, walking. Had a tasty gyro for dinner and am now updating. Soon, we'll head back to the Long Hop, walk around and buy a few postcards and other nifty things.

Bonn nuit!
Check Picasa for photos!


une petite mise à jour de photo

Les Arenes, View from the top.

Les Arenes, from the outside.

A monastery nearby with a huge Aloe plant outside.


Lauren, Helene, Rebecca and Sunni at Menerbes.

Some of the photos that were missing from the last update.
I'll continue to post them on Picasa.



Time to play Ketchup.

Been a while since the last post, and have I been busy busy busy. While in Lacoste, my fellow Working Class Studio participants and I have been making little Blabla dolls. Not exactly Blabla, but working on different designs for a limited edition doll. I chose to make a fish and have it's mouth be a zipper so it can eat stuff. I'm so happy with it so far, and I'm almost finished. I'll post pictures ASAP, because my camera and myself are in two different places.

All work and no play would make this trip very boring. So to start from last post, I have been exploring, walked and biked to Menerbes (a nearby village), and made a group trip to Nimes and the Pont du Gard.

Lacoste is centered between two villages, Menerbes and Bonnieux. The former is a bit smaller and has more gardens and vineyards. My roommates joined me on the 14km (9 mile) round trip hike there, and it was gorgeous!! A beautiful warm day and very very sunny. I'll be back there soon.

Nimes is an ancient Roman city where many ruins still stand. While there we visited les Arenes, an arena :), just like the Roman Colosseum only smaller. We were able to climb all the way to the top and look out over the city. They still hold performances inside, including bullfighting. After that we continued to the Carre d'Art where we saw a few contemporary exhibits. After that we were free to explore and sketch.
Friends and I went straight for a cafe for a beer and to sit and relax, it had been a long morning :). We had fun being the weird Americans watching everyone. We kept wandering around and a lot of Nimes looked like a little Paris. There was a small river running through an avenue which led to a garden with the ruins of an old temple and a park within it. Absolutely beautiful. (Mom, just like the Luxembourg Gardens!)

After exploring for a bit, we all herded back to the bus and left for the Pont du Gard. AMAZING!!! It's an old Aquaduct, one of the largest and few left, which runs over a river. It doesn't carry anymore water, but we were able to walk across and then go swimming in the ice cold water. Think, Lake Michigan even in the summer. We ended up swimming up river and under the Pont. I was able to swim on my back and look up as I passed underneath, one of my favorite memories thus far!

Sadly, all I can post is a description. However, photos will be up ASAP and posts will be closer together. I'll try for every Tuesday and Friday.
Until the next post! Au Revoir!


Hey y'all

Been a busy busy busy bee here, and only the first week. To continue from my last post, which was about Bonnieux, I have now made 2.5 trips to there and am feeling it today. It has rained in Lacoste, so everything is very slippery and tricky.

To recap:
I had my classes this week, Treasures of Provence and Working Class Studio: Printmaking. First of all, for Treasures we began the second class with a Field trip to Casaneuve, "New House" a village on the other side of Apt, so pretty much through a valley over a mountain through a valley to the next mountain. It's a famous city from the Plague because only 2 people died during the entire time. Anyway, we went there for art of course. We met with Jean-pierre Soalhat, whose wife Helene is our connection with everything and everyone French, meaning she'll arrange trips for us and make sure we get everywhere as easily as possible. Jean-pierre is a Mosaicist (just for you mom) and makes beautiful tables, walls, floor inlays, etc. for people internationally.
Jean-pierre's studio space. Check out his website for more images or Picasa.

After showing us his studio, he gave us a tour of the town and then took us to his small, but gorgeous home, feeding us chocolate croissants, coffee and French Milky Ways. He showed us the ancient Roman coins and artifacts he has found just by walking around the area and all the other amazing things he has collected. He was a spectacular host and a wonderful artist.

The entrance to his home, which has a terrace that looked out to the valley.
(Marissa heading in.)

Once we got back, we again headed for Bonniuex, making dure to take the correct way. Helene (one of my roommates and fellow fibers gal), Alexa and Marissa headed out fully geared up for the trek.
Marissa had to take the picture, but here we are in the Bear cave on the way to Bonnieux.

Up next is Menerbes,only about 10 miles round trip. All of these villages are in the Luberone Valley, and on the map draw lines between Menerbes and Apt, then Gordes and Bonnieux and you have Lacoste at the cross.

I've posted all of the images on my Picasa Account so feel free to check them out whenever.

Bonne Nuit y'all, time for bed here. (View from MY terrace!)


Bonnieux et Lacoste

Sunrise from my window

Update from yesterday and today. Both days have been heavily ladened with exploring. Yesterday, once we were finished with orientation, a group of us went down the beaten path to Bonnieux. We followed the previous trails, but eventually ended up taking the backwards way around the hill to the village. Best thing to do. We walked through the woods, through fruitful vineyards and cherry, pear, and olive orchards, along old stone walls, and right through the locals' backyards.
View of the valley from Bonnieux
The Ruins

Once we arrived in Bonnieux, we went our separate ways and went to explore the shops, restaurants, the churches, and the castle on top. While Jesse and I wandered we found some beautiful ruins behind a big wooden door. Staircases only went halfway up a wall, vegetation grew over old walls, and the stone ceilings were slowly crumbling. It was amazing. Walking back was much faster, 1) we took a different way, and 2) we had Lacoste in sight. The two villages are across from each other in the Luberone valley, so either way you must walk down, across, and back up. Beautiful day and sleep filled night.

Today was the first day of classes: Treasures of Provence 9am, or 3am for you back home. WE all sat around an board room style classroom, in a medieval building of course though, and discussed class objectives and the amazing place we'll be traveling to. It's going to be hard to get work done on these 85 degree days with blue skies, I already have a sunburn!
After class and lunch, I ran off down the road and went looking for another way to Bonnieux, instead I found several ponds with creeks running to them, Figs trees (which were perfectly ripe) and grasshoppers jumping everywhere. Unfortunately, it isn't the season for Lavender, however there are small gardens with rows of them. you can smell them a mile away. however you have to differentiate the smells form the dirt, grapes, water, figs, and the cleanest air.

One of the creeks I found that may lead to a potential swimming hole!
An old tractor in a Cherry Orchard

Exploring caught up to me this afternoon, and I took a 3 hour nap. After, everyone (including the locals) went to the Cafe du France to meet for a performance piece. It was about an hour and a half, and took us around the village, unfortunately it was in French, but it was a humorous dance about the Marquis de Sade and his victims.
Tomorrow is another day of class: Working Class Studio:Printmaking 1pm-4pm (7am-11am)
So I plan on getting up early to start working on homework and sketch.

Bon Nuit!


Je suis arrivé dans Provence!

Safely and soundly at that. No casualties, no lost documents, and no pickpockets, only a few lost pieces of luggage. Provence is amazing, Lacoste specifically. All the towns are on the mountain sides (which we are surrounded by) and the pastures and vineyards lay out before us in the valley. My view from the room is gorgeous. The sunrise this morning began my day perfectly.
I'll start from the beginning though. From Detroit I flew to Charlotte NC, to Frankfurt, Germany, and finally arrived in Marseilles, France where I waited with several others for about 6 hours for our bus to arrive, pack up and leave. The road to Lacoste was beautiful, I dozed for the most part, but what I saw I loved. We winded through the fields and hills, and arrived in a valley full of wildflowers, small homes, and three white chateaus overlooking us. One of them Lacoste. We took it easy for the day: some went to nap, some lounged in the local cafes, and others went hiking through the small footpaths surrounding the chateau. I found so many beautiful spots, each one either overlooking the valley and the opposing town of Bonnieux or looking down into the winding streets of the town. Where ever we went we were welcomed with open arms and smiling faces.
A view down Rue du Four.
The stairs to my dorm are on the left, not quite visible.
The terrace above my dorm.
We share this with Olivier upper, Mercier Upper and Lower.
The front door, on the right.
The other is a separate sitting rom.
And my view from my window.
A picture of the sunrise is soon to follow.

After finding some nice spots to chill, we all headed to dinner where they served a comfortable heaping of lasagna, salad, yogurt, vegetables, and coffee. We stuffed ourselves and continued to the Cafe du Sade for several glasses of wine and beer. Affligem is a delicious beer to try! Even after all this, most of us retired around 9:30. The others continued to the Cafe du France and enjoyed the rest of the cool summer night.

This morning everyone woke at about 7am with the aid of Jetlag. Nice and cool, we made our way to breakfast (cereal, fruit, bread, yogurt, and coffee). We loaded on a bus and drove about 20 minutes to Apt, a larger town with more a bustling business area. Saturdays are Market days, so hundreds of people pushed their way through the tiny alleys, trying not to trip over stalls of cheese and meat, lavender soap, and handmade clothes. They let us free and we explored every inch of the market. I cannot wait to go back. That's where our supermarket and basic supplies are sold, so we'll make a weekly trip if we aren't on field trips. After an hour and a half of wandering, we loaded back on the bus and continued to the Pont du Julien for a French Picnic of baguette sandwichs, fruit, and potato chips (not completely French, but hey). We all sat under the bridge, dipping our feet in the water, and later jumping from rock to rock.
Although we lost some girls in Apt, we were able to find them later and all head back to Lacoste for a midday siesta (at least I did), met for some coffee and explored some more secret streets.

Update and upload soon! Time for dinner!


Summer Vacation

Back in the Mitten and so excited and pumped to start working. I have big plans this summer, and already they growing into beautiful possibilities.
I have continued working on my portfolio and will be submitting it to several companies. Hopefully this will open up internships next spring, because I'll be done early!!!
Next, I'm job hunting so I can save up for France this fall, and of course Italy, Spain, and Morocco this winter. Not only am I looking for jobs, I'm trying to make my own job. I'm starting on several projects to start selling to different stores around my hometown. Business should be blooming soon.

In my spare time knitting, friends, and reading have been taking precedence. I have started a sweater vest, caught up numerous friends, and have already finished one book and onto the next.

Several letters have been written, and I hope al who get them enjoy them immensely, because I immensely enjoyed writing them.

Till the next update (with photos!)


Mid-quarter review

In need of an update: This quarter has been going quite well. I have Advanced Fibers I, Villa and Gardens, and Introduction to Printmaking. Most of my time and effort has been going into Printmaking because of the time and effort that is needed to complete each assignment. Fibers is always on my mind, however it is nice to get my hands dirty with other areas of art.
Our first project was working with relief prints, i.e. Woodblocks and Linoleum prints. I chose to work with wood, and based my ideas off of a fun weekend with my friend Nick, and the various items that can be found in my kitchen.

The Press I have been working on. The Text plate is on the press.

Working on my edition, or the finals prints which are numbered and therefore part of a collection.

The plate inked up.

Part 1 of 2, on print 1/5

Part 1 of 2, on print 2/5

All together I had an edition of 5 prints, each print with 2 layers.
Edition Post later.


Now it's time for Screen printing. I spent a long time last night working on these yardages.
This was my work space for about 8 hours last night.
These padded tables are meant to maintain a suction between the screens and the fabric so it makes a clean, accurate print of the image.
It's kind of hard to explain the process of preparing my screen and exposing my image onto it without an example. So, sometime later : )

These are some of the practice prints I made on muslin. We do these to make our registration (alignment) of our patterns are correct. Mine wasn't, so I did it by eye, which ended up working to my advantage.
One yardage: BEFORE
One Yardage: AFTER
I decided it was too boring after printing two color ways (below), so I added the green rectangles. I messed up in one spot, but that's the beauty of screen printing: it really is handmade and one-of-a-kind because of the mistakes you find here and there.
The first two color ways I did. Black on White, and Mauve on Mint.

I plan on making these into skirts or shirts of some kind. Maybe in time for Critique??

More later...

Winter quarter update

First, an update with my glass molding. In this class, we're using billets of glass which are small slabs of 3-4 pounds of glass and fitting them into plaster molds of various forms we make. The pictures below are from the first project. We needed to utilize texture and light to create interesting perspectives throughout the piece. Instead of making a physical texture, I wanted to make use of a visual texture.
The glass is called a tint, where as it becomes denser, the color will change. This one is Rhubarb tint, and changed from a lite blue to a darker amber color. It looks green in these photos.
This would be a 'back view'. This was polished after about 15-20 hours of grinding and polishing.
'Front view'. This was the bottom of the original clay model. I was lucky to get the natural polished surface of the melted glass, and only needed to grind the edges.
'Side view' I guess. This was the ground texture of the glass, done with a dremmel and belt sander.

And a final angle.