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Ketchup 2014 Part I

24 Jan

Happy New Year Everyone!

Since I haven’t posted to my blog since November, it’s safe to say the past few months were a total blur and as well as a blast. I did manage to snap a few photos and explore some awesome new things since November, so here is Part I of the great Katie Thompson Ketchup of 2014.

Photo Nov 27, 10 16 32 AM

I recently started a new series of “wood paintings” using my beloved wood shavings. I developed this technique from my Art with a BANGS project in which I first used the process on a pair of tennis shoes.

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We celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families and had a lot to be grateful for. We enjoyed a week of “rest” before Joseph and I headed off to…..

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Chicago! One of my favorite places in the world. Joseph and I exhibited our Joseph Thompson Woodworks designs at the One of a Kind Show at the Merchandise Mart again this year.

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We did manage to sneak away to find some fun and inspiration during our visit. We enjoyed a comedic performance over a cold beer at the famous Second City, and upon our arrival we were promptly placed in the front row and both heckled accordingly by the comics. Our faces hurt for the next 24 hours from laughing so hard.

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We also saw some really interesting wooden items during our stay. A delightful visit to our space at the show wore this amazing Big Leaf Maple Burl vintage top hat:

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Also spotted at The Field Museum was this breathtaking woven shawl made from tree bark. It was exhibited back at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

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While at the Field Museum we also enjoyed an exhibition of rising contemporary Native American artist Bunky Echo-Hawk’s work, “Modern Warrior.”

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Other highlights of the trip included a magnificent meal at Chicago’s new Peruvian delight, Tanta. The Clasico Ceviche was amazingly balanced (I actually ENJOYED eating a habanero pepper) and the service was outstanding. Also on the walls are some amazing work by the talented contemporary muralist Jeff Zimmerman.

Upon our return, we dashed down to SpaceCraft Studios in Charleston for the Avondale Holiday Winterfest. While torrential rains shook the event up, we made the best of it and had a blast meeting new local makers and sharing some Black Swamp jewelry.

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I also had the pleasure of making a quick day trip with friends to Columbia, SC to enjoy Annie Leibowitz’s “Pilgrimage” exhibition at the Columbia Museum of Art (no photos were allowed, sadly.) We also enjoyed a unforgettably delicious and locally sourced lunch at Motor Supply Co. Bistro.

Finally, the Christmas holiday arrived and Joseph and I enjoyed out very first Christmas tree together. After speaking with friends who have purchased potted trees for years, we decided to get a potted Deodara Cedar from a local grower for our Christmas tree. We bought our first set of vintage recycled Christmas ornaments from maker Beth Dalton of Charleston, and will be planting the tree before winter is over so we can enjoy our first holiday together in our new place for years to come.

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Phew! That was quite a few weeks. I’ll be back to share updates from the new year next.

Springtime wanders into the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

30 Apr

I recently had the pleasure of staying a weekend in Chapel Hill, NC. Expecting to be completely run over by students all day, it was a nice, quiet paced weekend to roam about the historic University of North Carolina campus.

Our friends in the area raved about the beauty of  the UNC campus and could not wait to give us the grand tour.  Needless to say we were not disappointed. Being the oldest public university in the United States the UNC at Chapel Hill campus boasts examples of numerous iconic architectural styles. Walking through campus is like a tour through the ages as a wide variety of species of trees all over campus drape your path. There are also fantastic little architectural gems hidden along the way – an unexpected tunnel, a gargoyle curiously perched along the side of a building it was not originally built into…..the sights on campus can even get downright weird sometimes. What’s even more spectacular is that there are stories – fact or fiction – for nearly every building, plant, or unique quirk on campus.

We started off by visiting the legendary Moorehead-Patterson bell tower surrounded by lush, green gardens. What really caught my eye as we got closer was the stunning blue tile that lined the Gothic cathedral ceilings of the breezeways.

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An obligatory long hallway shot:

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What is especially brilliant about this location of campus is that right behind this very traditional red-bricked structure is a fabulous science building with a strong industrial-brutal style. The building is also connected to several others built at different times.

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And then not far up the road – almost within shouting distance – is this brand new, gorgeous modern glass building.

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We then strolled further it across campus, taking note of the magnificent Greek Revival-style Louis Round Wilson library and it’s surrounding buildings – a few were built as early as 1793, others at the beginning of the 1900’s or later.

We eventually made our way to the Coker Aboretum, which is filled with plants and trees form all over the world. This entrance to the arboretum is so fantastic you almost feel as though you are entering another world.

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Other highlights of the arboretum included an impressive collection of Japanese Maple trees, and also this guy:

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These beauties made a little “ring” when you shook them.

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I could go on forever (and post about that many pictures, too) about how truly fantastic the arboretum was. As we finished up the path the light was getting lower we decided to make moves towards Franklin St. We of course stopped and saw the iconic Old Well which doubles as the symbol for the university. I was also particularly taken with the fantastic harvest crown on the top of the columns in front of the Playmaker’s Theatre.

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We eventually made our way to the Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery for some local brews. I recommend their award winning Ram’s Head IPA or their Blueridge Blueberry Wheat for something refreshing and unexpected.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll have noticed in the past weeks I have shared my fascination of this campus several times over, however this post merely scratches the surface of an impressive array of the buildings, character, and the award winning design of the UNC campus. If you are ever passing through I highly recommend a long walk and a quiet moment to enjoy a wonderful display of history and architecture.

Layers of Lisa Bick

19 Feb

Everyone has a story to tell. What sets the different tales we tell apart is obviously 1. by how interesting the stories are and 2. How well we are able to tell that story. When it comes to artists their stories are best told by looking at what that person creates. Each brushstroke, angle of a shot in a photograph, even a character’s costume in a movie can be major players in the role of expressing their creator’s tale.

Dolci pericolosi
Encaustic and mixed media on panel. 18″ x 18″

There is little doubt that encaustic artist Lisa Bick’s story is best told through her paintings. When you first see a piece of Lisa’s the story just starts unfolding in front of you, unraveling like a magical thread that glows as it comes to life through the senses. And if you have the pleasure of speaking with her about the piece she will tell you about every little fiber of the painting, the motion of her strokes and the efforts behind the pieces. Her face will light up, her voice becomes almost musical and passion exudes from her.

Originally from Washington D.C., Lisa now resides in Zionsville, Indiana. Lisa credits her childhood of wandering the National Gallery of Art, the Renwick, and many others in D.C. with inspiring her to become an artist. After graduating from Indiana University with a Fine Arts degree focusing on textiles, Lisa has woven her love for textiles and photography together using encaustic painting as a medium.

Lisa Bick - Helene

Helene
Encaustic and photograph on panel. 24″ x 18″

Encaustic painting is an ancient practice, and works are created by using melted beeswax with a combination of pigments to create layers and layers of wax as the “paint” in a piece.  The many layers of wax combined with other materials create a fantastic texture that allows the artists to create an enjoyable tactile as well as visual experience for the observer.

What captivated me the most about Lisa’s work was that she doesn’t hold back any details in her “story.” She intertwines her world travels, spiritual experiences and intimate moments of her life into each piece. She is not afraid to expose those personal feelings to the world, rather she encourages people to interact with them. She lays them delicately on the canvas, and allows observers to touch them, experience their textures and also tells them a magnificently beautiful yet simple inspiration behind every stroke, every piece of cloth or photograph.

VaranasiEncaustic on Panel 16" x 16"

Varanasi
Encaustic on Panel 16″ x 16″

For instance, Varanasi (image above) depicts Lisa’s inspirations from her travels to India. The poles represent the boaters in Ganges, transporting their goods up and down the river. The white cloth in the upper right is a piece of fabric from India that Lisa brought back with her. Lisa shared that she was inspired by the life, death, and filth that fills the Ganges and serves as a invaluable resource for so many. Hearing about the poignant moment that inspired this painting from Lisa herself as she traveled up the Ganges seeing women and children bathe and wash their clothes in the river has made this piece a personal favorite of mine.

Lisa Bick - Leaning Into The Afternoon

Leaning into the Afternoon (2012)
Encaustic on panel. 20″ x 16″

About Leaning into the Afternoon Lisa shares that “A part of a Pablo Neruda poem is written into the side. It says something about ‘casting my nets into your oceanic eyes.'” A former significant other of Lisa’s “had eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea. It was all about him.”

Vivaldi (2012)Encaustic, paper and oil on panel. 36" x 16"

Vivaldi (2012)
Encaustic, paper and oil on panel. 36″ x 16″

Another spectacular piece of Lisa’s is Vivaldi, with an incredibly personal influence. “My dad played Vivaldi the whole time I was growing up. He loved it. In it are scribed important dates to me….I have hung it in my house. It is an important piece to me. The cross is outlined clay tools that I use for scratching into wax and a cross symbolizes the strength needed to move on alone. Always alone.”

Lisa is currently working on a new set of paintings, mainly triptychs while preparing for a prestigious show at Encore Sotheby’s International Realty in Indianapolis. The opening reception at Sotheby’s is March 14th from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at 9510 North Meridian Street, Suite 200 Indianapolis, IN 46260-1315

In the meantime, you can see more of Lisa’s work at LisaBick.com, or you can interact with her on Facebook and Twitter where she provides some wonderful behind-the-scenes photos of her process quite often.

Flavor of the Week – February 14th

14 Feb

Since I want this blog to showcase the fun, quirky, and positive slice of life, I’d like to do a weekly post highlighting what I’m REALLY loving that particular week, called the Flavor of the Week. Since there simply aren’t enough hours in the day already, Flavor of the Week posts will feature a quick breakdown of a random assortment of inspirations and unique finds that have amused me recently.

Ready? Let’s Go!

What I’m loving this week:

Pilot’s B2P Be Green Retractable Gel-Ink Pens

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I’m a writer. No really. I am constantly writing notes, thoughts, and other randomness all over my planner, wood, and even my napkins all the time. Being as I write a LOT, I am loving these pens not just because they are made from recycled water bottles but mainly because of their smoothness. A great pen is oddly gratifying to me, and this one gets double the loving for being an excellent writing tool AND an Eco-friendly product. Snag some for yourself at Staples.com

Chiffon Bridesmaid’s Dress for Wtoo by Watters

In other realms of my world, I have a dear friend getting married this year and I am honored to get my first go at being a bridesmaid for her. We were reviewing our dress options this week, and the bride herself suggested this beautiful design from Wtoo by Watters. Frankly, I’m obsessed. The belted waist, chiffon, flowery skirt and one-shoulder top work in blissfully symphonic harmony and make this dress an instant classic. And look at all of those color options!  I sincerely mean it when I say I’d wear this dress again after her big day.

New Orleans

I am also loving (and missing) New Orleans a lot lately. Seeing all of the amazing costumes and king cake from my pals in the Big Easy celebrating Mardi Gras this week has me yearning for another visit.

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New Orleans has this weird vibe about it. And I like weird. I’ll admit to being creeped out by the aura of the city sometimes, but the love for life (and death, for that matter) felt throughout Nola is so remarkable and one of a kind, it’s almost difficult to put into words. Also: ‘Po Boys. Crawdads. Gumbo…..

Overall, I think New Orleans’ creative scene is bursting at the seams. Take for instance Propaganda New Orleans, Nola Fashion Week, and of course, the FOOD. The bloggers, designers, doers and thinkers that are coming out of Nola right now are simply fantastic. I personally recommend following @ChristyLorio, @JhesikaMenes, and @NicholasLandry to get a good pulse on the Nola fashion, arts, food and culture scenes. I know I am merely scratching the surface here, perhaps a more extensive post on New Orleans will come later.

I’m keeping it short and sweet for this first installment. Valentine’s day seems like a good a day as any to launch a series on things you love though, right?

And whether you have a Valentine or not, I am sending you all lots of love today, and every day.