Saturday, November 21, 2015

happy collaboration

Fumiko Koga is a dear friend I know through etegami exchange, but whose talents and curiosity are most brilliantly expressed in cut-paper art cards and paper crafts. (Do a search for Fumiko on my mailart gallery blog to see many, many samples of her work.)

A couple days ago, she sent me four pieces of origami paper folded into narrow triangles, along with a diagram showing how to insert the points of those triangles into one another to form a picture frame. I followed her directions, which resulted in the square frame shown above, with a tilted empty space in the middle. I filled the empty space with some origami paper of my own and decorated it with snowflakes and an etegami fox in his snowy den. Then I glued the whole thing onto a stiff board so I could hang it more easily.

I forgot to take a photo of the materials before I put the frame together, so I've attached one taken by Linda Austin, also from our etegami group, who received similar parts from Fumiko to make her own frame. Such a fun collaboration!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

etegami phone cases

I was thrilled when two customers who had recently ordered etegami smart phone cases from my RedBubble shop sent me pictures. Unless my RB customers tell me themselves, I have no way of knowing who they are. So it was gratifying to be able to thank them directly. Now I crave one of those etegami phone cases for myself...only I don't have a smart phone. Maybe I need to discuss this with Santa.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

a harvest of etegami

Considering that autumn is my favorite season in Japan, and that it provides an abundance of inspiration for etegami, I have no excuse for posting so little of my new work these past few months. So today, let me give you a peek of some of the fruit of my autumnal labor.

The top photo shows the fourth and last in the series of seasonal recipe sets I was asked to create this year for the bilingual newspaper, The Japan Times- ST. The series began with a set of four lily bulb (yurine) recipes published in January; continued with the edible wild vegetable (sansai) set in April and the pickled plum (umeboshi) set in July; and ended in October with the persimmon (kaki) set. Each set stretched my meager artistic talent and taught me a lot about problem-solving. I received some often-encouraging, always-stimulating feedback from readers and newspaper staff. It was a wonderful job.

Half-way through the year, I came to realize I was not going to find the time to create a new desk calendar for 2016. Once I accepted that fact instead of fighting it, I felt lighter and happier. And guess what? At the end of September, everything suddenly fell into place, and ideas that had been percolating in the back of my subconscious allowed me to capture and express them in etegami. 

Combined with a few works from my archives, I ended up with two new desk calendars. No doggies or kitties-- or even barnyard animals-- this year. My theme this year is impactful quotes from the Bible. One calendar is a collection of all Japanese etegami, the other is all English. And though the theme is the same for both, the images are completely different.  They will not be listed on Etsy except by private reservation. Contact me by email, Etsy message, Twitter, Facebook message, or whatever, for a reserved listing.

I was also kept busy this year with more than the usual number of custom orders, a trend that may take over the bulk of my work next year. The final photo is of a very special custom order, a project of which I was honored and moved to be a part. The Japanese words say "Strength and Courage." And that's about all I am free to tell you for now.

Monday, October 5, 2015

sneezing iguana

Last month I googled "how many times do I have to sneeze in a row before it kills me?" I'd been sneezing so much, I was starting to suspect I'd be dead by now if it weren't for my cardiac pacemaker. But I guess that isn't so.

I did learn that the longest human sneezing spree on record is 978 days, and that iguanas sneeze more often and more productively than any other animal.

So today I became inspired to paint  a sneezing iguana. (I know I know, it looks more like it's singing opera.) Yes, I am still sneezing. But not everyday, and not all day. Must be the change of seasons. Recently acquired allergies. Dry air. Or maybe I'm part iguana.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

carrots by any other name

I recently made a new friend by overcoming my natural desire to fade into the woodwork, and instead, reaching out to someone who looked like she felt even more out of place than I did.

Yesterday she brought over a huge pitcher full of freshly-made carrot juice, the tastiest carrot juice I have ever, ever had. I've always liked carrots, but I never loved carrots until yesterday. To celebrate this life event, I made some carrot etegami.

The card at the top says "Mr.Carrot, I had underestimated you." I'm sending this one to my new friend. I have no doubt that she will pick up on the double meaning-- a reference to my happy surprise in our new friendship.

The second card says: We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. (I Thessalonians 5:6)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

calling earth

I find that I need a break from the internet (specifically social networking sites) more and more often these days, and the string of September holidays called Silver Week has given me another excuse to go offline. People can still call or text me... unless I lose my stone-age cell phone of course. In which case there's always the good ol' postal service. I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: I sure do love the Japan Postal Service. Now that's a civilized way to stay in touch.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015