Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eternal Sunshine

 I experimented with a white colored pencil to capture the basic design on my little plate.  Not happy with my first attempt, but I'll try it some more.  Also I made a new katakana "charline" rubber chop... which is also still in the works!  I'm not happy with it either, so it might get scratched or remade.

More orange with a new "char" rubber chop that I made.

The problem with drawing while hungry...

After drawing and eating my orange slice, I moved onto something else that was interesting on my kitchen table.  My beloved pepper mill. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to peppering my food.  I love having a mix of peppercorns in there.

 Last, but not least, this is where I've been keeping all of my rubber chops.  This was an empty matchbox from my grandmother's house!  I loved the color and the lion design more than anything.  It happened to be a good size for now.  Hopefully I'll get another box soon because I have a feeling I'll be making more chops in the near future.


A few connections...

I'm happy to share the following links to the websites of friends who have received my etegami that I've posted on The Char Makes.

The first is Carole in Australia's website.  She had an etegami exhibition at a hospital this spring, and extended the invitation to submit work to her etegami community.  I gladly submitted, and was happy to see that my postcard made it!  Carole's Etegami InBox, Hospital Exhibition

The next is the King of Kindness himself, Shungo's website where he displays the etegami he receives: Shungo's Etegami Thank You

The third link is the Etegami Maven, Dosanko Debbie's Mail Art Gallery.  She is the coordinator and leader of our online etegami group, and through her kindness and dedication she makes it possible for many of the solely Japanese and English speaking members to interact with one another.

Following Debbie is my friend Ron who I met through my husband, by happenstance was an artist and introduced Mail Art to me several years ago, hosts ongoing submissions to his residence in Heebee Jeebeeland.  It's always a pleasure to visit Heebee Jeebeeland and even more exciting to receive a message from there!  I've been diligently checking the post box!

Lastly is my new blog dedicated to the mail art that I receive: The Char Gets.  I'm still tweaking the layout and such, but I'm really excited to share the wonderful surprises I find in my post box.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

a fruitful walk

I decided to take advantage of the non-rainy day and went for a lovely walk this afternoon; on which I picked up a couple things along the way.  The first flower, is called nejibana.  The botanical name is Spiranthes sinensis, but the Japanese name translates as spiral/screw/twist flower.  I remember close to 25 (Yikes!) years ago my grandmother digging some white ones up from our house in Yokosuka, and they still come up in her yard every year.
Three of my botanical muses.
nejibana envelope
more nejibana
 The other thing I "gathered" is some relative of the strawberry that seems to grow everywhere there is a lawn, and has been growing since the spring into summer.  I don't know whether it's edible, but even if it were the Japanese name for the plant is hebi ichigo which translates as "snake strawberries".  Not very appetizing, but it's still very cute.
hebi ichigo
I also painted my cyclamen that is back in action after taking a 3 month break from blooming!  It has been sitting out on the balcony since April or May after blooming all winter inside my house, and the fresh air, rain, and sunshine must have been just what it needed to recharge!

 Lastly, I could not help myself from doing a couple more splatter cards!

"rainy season"

more splatter fun!

Thankful for the linoleum floors today!
happy healthy summer

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Busy busy busy...

After nearly a month of no classes, this week has been quite busy with them!  Monday's Ikebana class was followed by two consecutive days of etegami classes.

The two below are etegami that I made in Chigasaki on Tuesday.  The pink hydrangea says "tsuyu", the word for the "rainy season", which we are just about to enter.
6/12 Hydrangea
The broad bean card says "fudemame" which is a term for someone who writes letters a lot.  The word "mame" means bean also.
6/12 Broad Beans
Yesterday in class, one of the students Mrs. Ito who is 82 years old!!! brought all the other class members these shirt shaped pocket sized tissue covers that her friend had made.  They're made of recycled kimono fabrics.
Pocket sized tissue holder
Today in class, we used a broken chopstick dipped in sumi to draw our etegami.

broken chopstick
I decided to make an etegami of a different tissue holder, to send as a thank you to Mrs. Ito.  The card says "I like this fancy pattern".  Mrs. Ito, though widowed at 55, is still in love and very respectful to her darling. She also likes to accessorize herself and always has a fancy broach, ring, or necklace to show us.  She is active despite her arthritis, along with witty, interesting and open minded despite her age.  Mrs. Ito is a fun lady to know. I feel very grateful to have met her and to be taking a class with her!
6/13 Tissue holder drawn with chopstick
 The second chopstick drawing from class today is this japanese pumpkin or "kabocha".  The words "AMAI" means "sweet".  I love kabocha, it can be eaten so many ways but my favorite are: grilled, pan fried with a warm vinaigrette, tempura, soup, or simmered Japanese style.
6/13 Kabocha drawn with chopstick
 The second activity from class today was to make some splatter post cards.  This was a lot of fun, and as you see I made 4 of them.  I had to stop myself from starting more.
6/13 "AME" - rain 

6/13 "NATSU" - summer 
6/13 "MIZUTAMA" - polka dots

6/13 more splatter 


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

weekend etegami

Houkou Utsugi


 The problem with painting similar things, is that you might get the subjects in your images confused... and that is exactly what happened to me this weekend.  I drew 3 white flowers from my grandmother's yard, and 2 were pretty similar, especially once they were painted.

The first etegami is of a flower called HOUKOU UTSUGI.  It looks almost like a hibiscus, has four thin crinkled petals, is the size of a ping pong ball, and is very fragrant.  The message says "hello".

The second flower etegami is of another 4 petalled white flower called YAMABUKI.  This flower isn't fragrant, but is similar in size to the first one.  When I was writing the caption, I mistook it flower for the first one and I wrote "You wouldn't know the fragrance just by looking at this...".  Indeed.  I'll just mail it to my mom, and hopefully she'll like it despite the mistake!

The third flower is called DOKUDAMI.  It has a cute little flower about the size of a quarter ($0.25).  The striking thing about this flower is the reddish purple splotches on and around the rim of the leaves.   This plant does not smell good what so ever, but lasts a long time after it's been cut and will not stink up your home.  The message says "Summer has arrived".
Teacup on recycled paper: not so much nijimi
Teacup on higher nijimi iron on: but it doesn't have as much as I like

Teacup on etegami postcard: lots of nijimi, A+

Willow ikebana on postcard with border: again, lots of nijimi A+
These last four postcards were tests on new paper!  New paper again?  Yes, I went on another shopping trip this weekend, this time with my aunt to an art store called Sekaido in Tachikawa.  I was a little disappointed in the lack of nijimi (bleed) in the recycled paper card, and the iron-on because they were labeled as having nijimi.  The iron on tea cup says "tea time".  This might just inspire me to get into paper making on my own... but for now, I'll use up the post cards that I have. Stay tuned!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Paper Testing

Cool Hand Luke on etegami postcard

Cool Hand Luke and Moby Dick on hand made post card: Japanese Knotweed

Campanula on linen post card

Last week was a busy week.  After shopping trips, airport drives, committee meetings, project days, movie night, lunch dates, and bicycle hunts things have finally slowed down enough for me to post my creations from last week!  These etegami are made on the papers I acquired last week from my shopping trip with Senior.  I bought the linen one (campanula) and the card on top (one fish) at the Yuzawaya art store, but the Japanese Knotweed card was hand made and given to me by my etegami friend Senior.

This is a good time to introduce my new pets Cool Hand Luke and Moby Dick who were given to me for my birthday this year.  They are little minnows, the Japanese name for the variety is called Akahire.  It's funny because the fishes are very hard to distinguish from one another, but one seems to be a lot more comfortable hanging out in the plant (Cool Hand Luke) while the other (Moby Dick) is hungry and always searching for food near the surface of the water.  Tough luck for M.D. because they only get fed once a week. 


My day with Elvis

Elvis' origami kite 
Elvis crafting a photo stand of rocks shells and sea glass

shell rose made by Sensei's Darling
Shoko sensei invited me to spend the day with a neat guy who is close to her heart, Elvis.  Elvis, 11, is visiting Japan from Hawaii (well, his grandparents) on his own for the summer and I found out that she has a very creative family.  After a nice lunch on Friday, we went over to Sensei's house and I finally also got to meet her Darling who makes beautiful sculptures out of sea glass and other found objects from the beach.  Elvis and I both made little photo stands, and when I got home, I drew this etegami to mail to Shoko sensei and her lovely family.

My sea glass & shell photo holder

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