The Commons

So, here is a little fun fact you might not have know about me. I went to school for event planning and I love creating and planning events, parties, etc. I really enjoy every detail from the invitations, to the décor, food, dessert and everything in-between. I have also taken lots of classes on cake and dessert decorating and it’s another hidden hobby of mine that contributes to my event planning. So when I was asked to work with The Commons and contribute my esthetic to the look and feel of their next event I couldn’t resist.  The Commons is a music and performance showcase that aims to bridge the gap between the classical performing arts and contemporary culture. They put on annual outdoor events featuring music, dance, poetry and more. They pop up all over San Jose and have a wonderfully magical feel to them.

The theme of the upcoming event is harvest, and will be celebrating the autumn equinox. I really wanted to reflect traditions, abundance, nature, and colors of autumn in my contributions. Below is a sneak peek of some of the things I am working on, laser cut book page lanterns, book page apples, lots of reds, gold, oranges and browns.

I am really looking forward to creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I hope you can join us on Friday September 25th  - 6pm - 10pm in St. James Park, San Jose.

lights lanterns beads apples

Thank You

I want to thank everyone who came out to the opening reception of Diary of a Naturalist. It was such a great evening. I met and talked with so many wonderful people. Its always great to be able to talk to strangers about your art and give them a little insight and background into your process. I have really enjoyed my residency at TechShop, it has opened up a whole new world for me and I cant wait to experiment and try other areas of the shop.

If you didn't get a chance to come out to the opening the exhibit will be up until Sept. 26th.

Here are some images from the exhibit and opening.

In the final stretch

There is only 2 weeks until the opening of my exhibit at TechShop. I am in the final stretch of prepping everything. This is the time where all of the behind the scenes stuff happens - titling, labeling, pricing, figuring out the hanging configuration, etc. You can learn more about the exhibit here. I am very excited about the show. I have learned so much and had a lot of fun during my TechShop residency.  There is so much more I want to learn and try out too. For those of you who don’t know about the TechShop it is an amazing place. Their tag line is “Build your Dreams Here” and boy can you. Imagine a place with every tool you can ever want; laser cutters, 3D printers, full wood and metal shops, sewing, embroider and quilting machines, vacuum formers, water jets, a variety of software and so so much more. They teach classes on how to use all of the equipment and are open 24 hours. So needless to say it’s pretty fantastic and I have had access to everything during my residency.

 

Teen Book Art Workshop

I had a great time last week teaching a book arts workshop to teens at the Sunnyvale Public library. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I have taught small workshops with adults and young children but never young teens and never more than 10 students.  It turned out to be a really cool experience. There were about 18 students mostly young women but a few creative young men as well. I started by telling them about the anatomy of a book, talked about how to check if a book is first edition or valuable and then showed them different things they can make with old books. Then we made a bunch of paper feathers to get comfortable with cutting, gluing and shaping. Then we jumped right in and started making the hanging book mobiles. This is where they had a chance to get really creative picking out the book they wanted to use, how they wanted the pages to hang and the finished piece to look. Some got through the project really quickly while others took their time and were more meticulous. One fun thing that I didn’t anticipate was that several of them decided to use the feathers they made to decorate the outside of their mobile.

The staff and facilities at the Sunnyvale library were fantastic too. I appreciated all of their help. I am really glad I had the opportunity to teach the workshop and hope I can do more in the future.

Teen Bppk Art worksop

book arts class

This and That – A week in the life of…..

Here is my latest edition of This and That – A week in the life of…..  A recap of what I have been up to, hope you enjoy. Listening to: I have been enjoying the Art for your Ears podcast by The Jealous Curator. She interviews a new artist every week. It’s fun to hear their stories and processes of each artist and has a bit of humor in each episode. It’s a quick and funny listen.

Art for your ears

Places: We brought the wee one to Children’s Fairyland in Oakland last weekend. It’s a really cool kitschy place that is lots of fun. Got to see a puppet show of the Wizard of Oz and enjoy lots of cute little attractions.

fairylandPhoto by Bobb Amidon

Practicing: I have been doing a 10 min mindfulness guided meditation each day through an app called Headspace. It’s a good practice to help clear my sometimes cluttered mind. I usually have a hundred things, projects, and obligations going on at the same time. It’s nice to stop and forget about all of those things for 10 min. I am hoping to slowly increase that time but for now 10 min is good.

Doing: I am still plugging along with my Tech shop residency. My featured exhibit has been moved to Sept. (thank goodness) so now I have more time to experiment and create my artwork. Here are a couple more of those experiments.

Cut Outs

Reading: I started reading The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. At first it was a little hard to get into the book but I am about halfway through and am enjoying it more. She makes some really insightful and informative points on artists and our relationship with our patrons/fans. Personally I have always had problems with asking for anything, especially help. I want to do everything myself, sometimes to prove I can do it or that I am self-reliant and don’t need anyone. It’s something that I have been working on because we do need others and help from time to time. I have been running into my limitations and don’t want those to keep me from crating, doing or accomplishing things.

Asking

This and That – A week in the life of…..

In an effort to blog more regularly and to share a little more with you, I have decided to start a weekly blog with an overview of what I have been up to the past week. Its part journal part resource and I promise to try and keep it concise and hopefully fun. I got this idea from an artist friend Frances Marin. She started it a couple of weeks ago and I thought it was brilliant. I love reading about her adventures and new things she is trying. Hopefully she doesn’t mind me borrowing her idea.

Doing: This past week was a busy art event week for me. One of my favorite events was showing my artwork with Frances Marin at the Glass House in San Jose. We were invited by Freya Seeburger a wonderful musician and arts supporter. The event was a combination of music and art to help support Downtown Streets Team, a group that helps homeless men and women find employment and housing. glasshouse

Listening to: I got the new The Vaccines and Jamie XX albums. I really enjoyed the last Vaccines album and absolutely love the XX. I usually have to listen to an album several times before I decide if I like it or not. I will let you know what the verdict is in a couple weeks.

albums

Reading: A book that I recently finished and fell in love with is The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert (note, I haven’t read her previous book Eat, Pray, Love). I am terrible about giving reviews, words escape me and I just know what I felt reading it, plus I’m an artist not a writer. Here is a bit from a review on Amazon that I though was good. The book is sooo much more than this though, for me it is one of those books that will stay with me for a long time.

Set in the 18th -19th century, the story revolves around Alma, the daughter of the very wealthy Henry Whittaker. From her father, Alma has inherited a penchant for plants. She spends most of her waking hours trying to make sense of the botanical world around her, perhaps in an attempt to understand her own existence. But through the course of her life, she is made to realize how little she knows about her own world, her own self.

The story has been skillfully woven into a rich tapestry of adventure, emotions and science. Something also needs to be said about the amount of research that must have gone in; the book is peppered with facts that have been laid out in a manner almost poetic.

"Alma learned to tell time by the opening and closing of flowers. At five o'clock in the morning, she noticed, the goatsbeard petals always unfolded. At six o'clock, the daisies and globeflowers opened. When the clock struck seven, the dandelions would bloom. At eight o'clock, it was the scarlet pimpernel's turn...."

book

Traveling: The past weekend we took a quick road trip (4 hour drive) down to Solvang, a cute little Dutch town in Southern Ca. We were visiting old friends and had a great time. Be warned it is a very touristy town. You can’t walk 5 feet without running into someone trying to take a picture of something. We enjoyed strolling down the little streets and popping into the little shops. Lots of yummy food and pastries too.

On the way home we decided to stop by some antique shops, looking for art supplies of course. Next to one of the shops I discovered a really cool little working studio/gallery Rainbow Hut Studios. It was home to 5 women artists and was really great. I picked up a little treasure (see pic) by artist Peg Grady who also happened to be working in her studio when we were there. She was great to talk to and I always love meeting new artists.

art solvang

Eating/Drinking: I tried Kombucha for the first time and it wasn’t as awful as I expected. It is pretty bubbly with the fermentation and all. Not sure if I could drink it every day but occasionally would be good. I have been eating everything which isn’t so good. Sugar has a strong hold on me. Working on fixing that.

no sugar

Hope you enjoyed that, more to come next week.

Flying Book Art

Books have always been sacred to me. I can remember from a very young age my Mother reading to me or encouraging us to read.  Reading has always been  an adventure, a daydream, a way to escape or learn.

So many books are discarded or recycled now in favor of lighter digital versions. They are abandoned in boxes at garage sales or stacked up in lonely piles at thrift stores.  I have no aversions to e-readers, I have one myself. I enjoy the freedom and convenience of having thousands of books at my fingertips, able to escape at a moment’s notice. But I still love the smell and feel of a book in hand. There is something comforting and familiar in the sound of a page turning.

I get such a thrill searching for and rescuing books. So far one of the best places to find a variety of interesting books is the monthly library book sales. A lot of the time you can fill a whole bag with books for $5.00. Now most people go to find things to read, current fiction, etc. but they always have a few boxes of strange old books with sturdy covers and well worn pages that are just waiting for me.
 
My love of reading has naturally evolved into creating art from old, discarded or unloved books. For many years I have dabbled in book art, using pages in mixed media pieces or folding books to make free form sculptures. This past year or so though I have really been focusing on creating artwork with discarded old books; creating a variety of sculptures that sometimes include encaustic wax, inks, and other natural elements. I have been making books the focal point of my artwork rather than just an element. I give these abandoned friends a new life, a second chance to shine and impact someone. Every once in a while there is a book that’s subject begs to be interpreted, but most of the time I try not to let the title or text influence my creation.
I recently added a new section to my website with my book art. You can see it here http://www.shannonamidon.com/book-art-collection.html
Below is a new piece entitled Flying Book Family. It was inspired by a wonderfully magic short animation titled The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, “Morris Lessmore” is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story.

Flying Book Family
Book Sculpture 2014

Flying Book Family - Detail of baby books
Book Sculpture 2014