April 30, 2013

Comic Art, among other things


This is my friend, Leland Wong.  He's an artist and a photographer, with a body of knowledge of San Francisco Chinatown's culture and history, a sort of know-it-all in the most humble guy you'll ever meet.  You know how some people ooze talent and creativity?  And you wonder why you didn't get a bit of more of that since you grew up in the same neighborhood and ate at the same places in Chinatown?  And you hate them because you could never be that good if you tried?  That about sums it up for me where Leland is concerned.

I look at Leland's work and I go, "Damn... that's awfully clever," such as when saw the above self-portrait.  Take this painting on glass at the Chinese Historical Society of America in SF.  How did he come up with that?!  It's so smart to make a whole painting out of two parts:  the glass wall behind him and the glass bannister with the fish.  And it's brilliant and beautiful.


The other thing about Leland's creative output is the way he mixes modern, funky, manga with traditional Chinese.  And that is precisely why his artwork appeals to me.  It speaks to my similar sense of creativity:  then and now.

For what seems like ages, I have been trying to get my hands on Leland's original artwork.  Today was my lucky day because I got two pieces.  One will come by Pony Express and the other is the digital portrait below.  He took my slightly-cartoonized image (see sidebar) and comic-booked me further, with one of his fabulous paintings in the background (Leland, can I buy that one too? Please?).  Leland will make a comic book character out of you for $25.   You'll get the high-res version as well.  Contact Leland directly via his website.  Much of his artwork and posters are also for sale -- just ask!  (Two versions, below.)



As for my work, I will be at the Talmadge Art Show this Sunday.  I'll be hawking my wares.  Find my booth with your nose -- I'll be selling lavender-filled pillows made from vintage and new Chinese brocades, Japanese kimono and obi cloth, and new shibori-dyed fabrics.  Pillows are approximately 9" x 5".  Through the month of May, buy four lavender pillows and get one more ($88, plus CA sales tax and shipping).  A new series of bookstrings will be available too.  Stay tuned for those because I haven't photographed them yet.  You can see a few of the previous ones here.  

April 24, 2013

Making Beads


This is what I'm working on, little 2" beads with Chinese opera figures on them.  Tomorrow I'll add something to the back.  What creative work have you done today?

April 18, 2013

Adornments for Books

Save your place in a book with a bookstring:  an assemblage of handmade elements and various beaded components.  Each one has a vintage Peking glass teardrop bead, surrounded by a metal sleeve decorated with snips of brilliant blue Kingfisher feathers, plus a tiny Peking glass bead on top.  At the other end is a narrow, wooden bead collaged on one side with an image; on the opposite side is a quote clipped from classic literature, most often by Shakespeare.  Additional elements are noted beneath each photo.  Apologies for the blurry images!

Each one is $18, plus CA sales tax and shipping.  I can accept credit cards and personal checks.  Email me with your phone number and I will call you.

Back of wooden bead reads "as gentle as a lamb"
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass, wood and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 8.5" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "verily I should dream"
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 12" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "wouldst though have me?"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 7.5"
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "like soft music!"
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass, wood and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 9.25"
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "your sweet presence."
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass, wood and new glass
Accommodates books up to 9.5"
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "my true love is grown"
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass, wood and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 10"
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "Go, get thee to thy love"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood and new glass
Accommodates books up to 11" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "and toil in your delight"
vintage Peking glass, brass, faux cinnabar, wood and new glass beads
Accommodates books up to 8.5" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "bless your grace!"
vintage Peking glass, brass and new glass
Accommodates books up to 9.5" 
Back of wooden bead reads "Peace, speak softly"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood, faux Chinese coin, bone and new glass
Accommodates books up to 10"
Back of wooden bead reads "Fare ye well"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood, bamboo and new glass
Accommodates books up to 9.75"
Back of wooden bead reads "what says my love?"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood, bone, faux Chinese coin and new glass
Accommodates books up to 11" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "I thank you, gentle love"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood, faux cinnabar and new glass
Accommodates books up to 11.25"
Back of wooden bead reads "the duchess' jewels"
vintage Peking glass, brass, bamboo and new glass
Accommodates books up to 9" 
SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "with thy tears,"
vintage Peking glass, brass, wood, bamboo and new glass
Accommodates books up to 12"

SOLD Back of wooden bead reads "I pray thee, kiss me."
vintage Peking glass, faux cinnabar, brass, wood, bone and new glass
Accommodates books up to 8"

April 13, 2013

Bookstring Assembly


Bookstrings save our places in books made of paper.  There are still 15 more to put together.


These old Peking glass teardrops came with metal sleeves embellished with snips of Kingfisher bird feathers.  I sealed the feathers so they would not come off.  This required taking apart each bead, as the metal wire holding the three pieces together was old and brittle.


Peking glass teardrop beads are now secure and ready to become one end of each bookstring.


These dark stained bamboo pieces were joined together to make a placemat.  I took the placemat apart, drilled a hole in the top, collaged images and quotes from classic literature, then waxed each one for protection.  One will hang at the other end of each bookstring.



With all my ducks in a row, I can begin assembling.  I see light at the end of the tunnel. 

Finished bookstrings will be for sale at the two shows listed on my sidebar.  I am taking pre-orders now ($20 each, plus shipping).  Any remaining after the Spring shows will be listed in my online shop.

April 8, 2013

Spring Shows


Chinese court necklace, an ABC Rags version, of beads worn by Qing Dynasty courtiers
Handknotted cultured pearls and other semi-precious beads

Happy Spring to you! Mother's Day is around the corner. In celebration of Mom, gift items from the workroom of ABC Rags will be available at two shows. Please see the sidebar for addresses.

The first event is a trunk show featuring seven artists and held in the home of glass artists Eric Cantrell and Kevin Childers. Just-stitched lavender pillows and string bookmarks will be on my table. Some pillows are Chinese brocades made from silk brought to the U.S. from Hong Kong in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Other pillows were sewn from a stash of Japanese kimono silks, forgotten deep in a box at the back of my closet. Ooh, such luscious fabrics, each one of them. I'd keep them all, but it is more fun to share with you. (And now I have a bit of space to buy more for all of us, wink!) Every pillow is stuffed with lavender from the South of France. String bookmarks have a centerpiece of old Peking glass beads embellished with brilliant Kingfisher feathers. Jewelry for tomes very nearly makes one want to give up ebooks.

The second event is the Talmadge Art Show at the Liberty Station Event Center. I will have my full complement of textile treats: Lavender pillows, altered dolls, string bookmarks, happy houses, kimono silk rag baskets and Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet 'fridge magnets. Chinese court necklaces, like the one in the photo above, will also be for sale.

If you can't make it to shows, treats are available by mail and we can work together to make appropriate choices. Email me with your phone number and I will call you so we can talk. If you like, studio appointments are available for in-person selections too.  Make the pledge to buy handmade and local. I send my gratitude for your support of an independent artist.

, Lauren