January 29, 2014

Photo Diary 001

Camera phones, in my opinion, are the one of the most fabulous inventions of the century for a couple of reasons. Cameras, especially DSLRs, can be bulky and the battery will likely die at the exact moment of the perfect shot. Cell phones, however, were clearly intended for portability and convenience and at this point people are rarely without their charged phone. While they may not be engineer-sized print quality, they can help ensure you never miss another great photo op. I'm constantly thankful I have a camera on my phone because sometimes I just can't quite describe that shirt or I need to remember what that sign said or that there's a Kodak Moment (ha ha I couldn't resist). End Rant. 

I believe you can learn a lot about a person based on their Camera Roll or Photos app. They're a lot like a wordless diary; there's some pointless junk you thought was important and things you don't want people to see and some strokes of genius you want to share. I never really kept a diary when I was younger but the media makes it look like a blast to look into people's diaries (as long as you don't get caught!). Think of this as an open invitation to snoop in the diary your sister used to hide under her pillow...without the consequences of course! 
For whatever reason, I'm actually relatively excited for Valentine's Day this year. I think it may just be all the cute decorations out or it could be the perfectly cheesy plans I have for Kyle. How cute is this elephant basket I thrifted this winter break for only 50 cents? I knew he would be the perfect addition to my room.

It was tough at first, coming back to school and adjusting to the downgrade from a queen to a twin bed. However, the colors and string lighting in my room give off such a warm, cozy feeling that helped me settle back in pretty quickly. I always joke about how my room makes me feel like I'm living in a fuzzy little cave.

Since I've gotten back to school, I have been making smoothies almost everyday for breakfast and lunch I love that there are endless combinations. This single-serving blender was such a perfect buy for me, it keeps me from making too much and it's designed to be able to drink directly from the blender jar which means less dishes!
Only 24 days until I get to wear this little mini number to the bar. The geometric cage is super fun and different, I couldn't resist buying it (especially for the price!!). I can't wait to pair it with some tights and a pair of booties.

I found these awesome gold-toned, faux-croc Sam & Libby tuxedo flats at Target this past week for under $20 (they're on sale in stores). I'm dying for all of this snow to go away, the anticipation of wearing these is becoming overwhelming.
This semester I decided to go an extra step in organizing my notebooks: color-coordinating. Each class has a specific color that is used for notebooks/ folders, notes, and writing assignments in my agenda. Can tell you I like to stick with a cool color palette? 
HS Art Education // Art History B // Interpersonal Communication // Intro to Sculpture // Photography Studio
I finally got a chance to see my Melting Cup on display in the lobby of the art building It's exciting to see it on display, although I am a little bummed you can't really see the handle melting off into the puddle on the back. To learn more about this cup, visit this post.
I love my new statement necklace display because it gives a little bit of shine when you first walk in my room while making them easily accessible.

Sources: Elephant Basket: Thrifted// Sheepskin Pillow & Blanket// Single-Serve Blender & Tervis// Minidress // Tuxedo Flats & Sheepskin Rug: Home Goods Similar// Rag Rug: Kohls (Unavailable Online) & Label Maker & Bow Binder Clip & Pens and Agenda: Target (Unavailable Online) // Necklaces: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 all from Target Clearance & 4

January 22, 2014

Digital Portfolio: Fall 2013

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of the spring semester but lucky for those of us who were not mentally prepared for classes to begin, there was enough snow to close campus after 11AM (even some of our earlier classes were cancelled). However, the beginning of each new semester means new studios which means I am presented with the question of  "what am I going to create to fulfill the assignment?" One of the things I like to do when approaching this topic is looking at my other work and seeing if I can find a common connection and thinking of how I can expand upon it for this new project. My most common theme between a vast majority of my work is nature. It's something we experience in some way every day and I constantly find myself incorporating or representing it when I look back at my work. Even though I didn't start my classes today as planned, I still started brainstorming for the assignments I already know about and I thought I would share some of my work from the past semester. Be prepared for a very lengthy post as I will also discuss details of my process in creating these pieces. 
Self-Portrait Collage: This was another one of my photography projects that I decided to save for this post because it fits in the nature theme. For this assignment we had to use a scanner to collect imagery to create a collage that was descriptive of us in some way. Another requirement for this project was to print on an alternate substrate, in other words, something other than photo paper.  I had a really hard time thinking of objects to scan but I kept coming back to these fabric leaves I had in my stash of supplies. I decided to try to make a sheet of "paper" out of these leaves by gluing each one of them together. The print ended up being about 13.5"x 19" and composed of a little less than 200 leaves. Going into the printing of this one was extremely nerve-racking because I didn't know if the ink would set properly, luckily it did. Each piece of this collage is meaningful to me in some way.
Pyramid Luminary: I took my first Art History course this past semester and it covered early cave paintings to parts of the Renaissance period. The time period that stuck with me the most was the Egyptian. This has always been one of my favorite periods to study so it really didn't come as a surprise when I decided to create a pyramid slab box for my ceramics class. I decided to make the box a luminary by carving a more modern damask pattern on all three sides. For the finish, I wanted create the look of the shiny limestone finish as it was aging like the great pyramids might have looked  years ago. I wanted to create something functional that showed things I learned in my art history class while also adding a modern element to fit my style. 
Nature Mugs: Three of the assignments for my ceramics class were to create mugs. We were required to hand in a hand built mug (left), a thrown mug (right), and an artist's mug (not pictured). 
In creating my hand built mug, I had a really hard time deciding what I actually wanted to do with it. I didn't just want to make a standard cylindrical mug with a standard handle. I started thinking about all sorts of ideas but the one I kept coming back to was a tree mug. I made the standard mug shape but added some knots and lines for bark to make this typical shape into something less ordinary.
Throwing on the wheel is just not something I am very, well, good at. I'm clumsy and the wheel is not great for clumsy people. However, I don't let silly things like lack of coordination stop me from trying. I got this decent sized mug one day while I was practicing so I decided to go with it and gave it a little feather handle to stick with my nature theme.
For the artist's mug we were required to choose an artist and create a mug that would be consistent with their style of work and we had to use an alternate finish- something other than glaze. To complete this assignment, I chose Salvador Dali and The Persistence of Memory (the melting clocks) as my inspiration. I created a melting cup that actually curves over the edge of a block of wood as if gravity is pulling it down. It was finished in a high gloss black spray paint to make give it the appearance of melting plastic. This piece is currently on display in the art building so I was unable to photograph it for this post. 
Toadstool Sculpture: My sculpture assignment for my ceramics studio required a lot of thought for what I wanted to create. I was thinking how fun it would be to have a larger than life toadstool in my room just to bring a little more of the outdoors in. The sculpture had to be hollow to ensure it wouldn't blow up in the kiln. I constructed the cap by piecing together bits of slab inside a very large bowl and smoothed the inside and outside to prevent cracking and when it was dry enough, I placed the cap on another piece of slab to create the base of the cap. To create the stalk, I used the coil extractor to produce very thick coils which I stacked and smoothed. The cap and stalk had to sit for a few days to stiffen before putting them together to prevent warping. This gave me time to think about what else I could add to my toadstool. I had recently become infatuated with Monarch butterflies and decided that was what I wanted to add to my sculpture. After the assembly, I decided to add the gills to the underside of the cap for realism (not pictured). Once this was fired, I used alternate finishing materials, spray paint, acrylic paint hot glue, and a pipe cleaner. The mushroom was spray painted using four different colors, thanks to my dad. The scale (little white bumps) were created using dots of hot glue and watered down acrylic paint. The butterfly was painted using acrylic paints and a little pipe cleaner body was added to mimic a butterfly's fuzzy torso. This sculpture stands about 9" high if measured to the tip of the butterfly's wings and about 8" wide if measured by the cap.
Flower Hairpin: The first assignment for Intro to Metals was to create a fastener. I had no idea what type of fastener I wanted to create so I just sketched ten ideas without thinking into what they would potentially become. My teacher chose this flower to be the strongest sketch and we discussed fasteners and settled for a hair pin. This hair pin is two pieces of 16 gauge copper sheet metal sweat soldered to give depth as well as to add structural strength. The pin was made with a piece of 8 gauge wire formed and forged to slide through the back loops and stay put. This piece measures about 3 1/2" by 3 1/2" not including the pick which is 5" long.
Feather Cuff: The second assignment for my metals studio was to create a piece with a set stone. I went to the bookstore to pick out a stone before beginning my sketches to give me a starting point. I decided to go with a turquoise stone which also helped me decide I was going to work with nickel silver. I began my sketches and one of the early ones was this feather cuff. I don't know what it is but when I sketch out my ideas I tend to get fixated on one and can't think of anything else. I had to made this simplified feather cuff part of my jewelry collection. I sawed out the feather from a piece of 18 gauge sheet metal and began filing and rounding all of the edges. Then I soldered on a piece of 16 gauge wire to act as the quill before I formed the sheet metal into a cuff shape. Once it was formed, the tricky part began, filing down the bezel to match up perfectly with the shape of the cuff to hold the stone. I love the simplicity of the feather with a little added embellishment of the stone.
Butterfly Box: The final two projects for metals were hollow construction and linkage. I decided to try to tackle both assignments with one project (which was an option) and came up with this box shaped like a butterfly where the hinge acts as the body. As I said before, I was seriously infatuated with butterflies. The trickiest part of creating this box was creating the sides of the boxes which had to be perfectly aligned with the base. This part of the project probably took me about two weeks (four classes) to get perfectly aligned and soldered together. I decided to use a piece of copper tubing to create the hinge and instead of a typical hinge where the pin doesn't stick out much, I used two pieces of wire to mimic the butterfly's antennae and a fancy abdomen. This piece measures 4" wide at its longest point and 1 1/2" tall and was made of 18 gauge copper sheet.

Thank you so much for stopping by! 

January 17, 2014

A Sunny Place for Shady People

I'm typically a leggings all day every day kinda girl and on the rare occasion that I do wear jeans, I'll change into sweats the minute I get home.

At the beginning of my break I found these jeans in my closet and aside from loving the super dark wash, I loved how soft they were without ever being broken in. I decided to wear them out shopping a few days later and I forgot I was wearing them and was convinced I was wearing leggings. I quickly remembered when I tried to pull a pair of pants over them in the store like I always do with leggings (I'm not a fan of fitting rooms). These definitely are my new go to jeans when I want to stay comfy all day and you'll be seeing a lot more of them in future posts.

I'm also still getting used to being in front of the camera and realizing how difficult it is for me to stay serious long enough for my picture to be taken. I'm so thankful Janice (who took these pictures) was so patient and really got into the shoot. I wouldn't be able to do these posts without my great friends (and little sister).
 
Muscle Tee: Cotton On
Pleather Jacket: Forever 21 (old) Similar
Jeans: White House Black Market (old) Similar
Booties: Target
Necklace: Target
Belt: Betsey Johnson (old)

Have a Great Weekend!

January 14, 2014

Farm Show

I thought I should let the pictures speak for themselves to start out this post before I go into a further explanation for those of you who don't live in Central PA. The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest agricultural exposition in the nation and this past week was the 98th annual farm show. There is plenty to do for farmers and non-farmers alike. There is an overwhelming amount of locally produced food although I can't go to a farm show without getting the mozzarella cubes (first picture) and a milkshake. There are thousands of animals and breeds you would never imagine-who knew there were chickens with such beautiful afros or bunnies the size of a small dog? The animals are definitely my favorite part because some of them seem like they're posing for me. There are always amazing competitive crafts exhibits, which I forgot to photograph, but I am hoping to enter something for next year. There are also many competitions and events going on throughout the week that are always a fun insight to the agricultural community. Every year there is a life-size butter sculpture made of 1,000 pounds of Land O' Lakes butter and this year paid tribute to the 60th year of the milkshake. The farm show is one of my favorite things about the new year and I always have to go more than once. Clearly just these few pictures don't do a week long event justice as there is so much more to see and do and I just posted a few of my favorites. 
Don't forget to mark your calendars for January 10-17, 2015 ;)
Thanks for stopping by!

January 8, 2014

Charpography

As an Art Education major, it is required to choose an area of concentration. In high school, I took all three levels of photography (Intro to Darkroom, Advanced, and AP) so I knew going into college that I was going to concentrate in photography. With the way my scheduling worked out- and all of the prerequisites- I wasn't able to take my first college photography class until this past semester. I loved my class and I always find it super exciting to learn new (and sometimes easier!) techniques for using my camera and software. I thought it would be fun for you to see some of the projects we were assigned in my intro to photography studio and how I went about completing them.

Urban Landscape:
What is an Urban Landscape? An urban landscape is a traditional landscape with the sign of human activity.
For this assignment, we were required to turn in two prints of an urban landscape. One of these prints had to be in color and the other had to be in black and white. Both of the prints were to be retouched in a way that it was not apparent that we changed anything at all. We were also required to use leading lines, a normal vantage point and a normal lens (how it appears in real life). Basically the pictures were supposed to invite the viewer to enter the photograph as if they could actually walk around inside of them. I chose to use a shaky looking shed in my friend's yard and went up to the top of Kutztown to capture as much of the town from above as possible.
To see the color photo click here
Environmental Portraiture:
This assignment required that we photograph at least two people in their environment. This meant we had one photograph to show one or more characteristic of this person in a way that would be clear to someone who may not know the sitter. I chose to photograph my boyfriend and one of my roommates. To further explain, I am extremely OCD about everything being put in its proper place and my boyfriend is not quite on the same page with that. I also felt this really captured him because it was pretty apparent he was getting tired of me taking pictures of him, as usual.
 For my second sitter, I had a really hard time thinking of who I was going to use and what characteristics I was going to portray. In typical art major fashion (absolute procrastination), I decided the night before the project was due in the last hours of daylight to use one of my roommates. Thiroommate loves the Hunger Games and we joke about her being Katniss. As soon as I told her my plan, she changed into her best tribute outfit and printed out a paper Mockingjay pin while I ran outside to find some sticks to make into a bow and arrow. Then we rushed to the top of Kutztown which acted as our "arena". Thank goodness both of my sitters were such good sports.
Creating Spaces: 
This assignment required us to utilize all of the skills we learned during the semester to create a space out of photographs and make it a believable space. We had to have a ceiling light, a window, and at least one other light source. This was one of the more tricky projects as you really had to plan everything before you shot it so you had to take multiple angles of the same thing just to make sure you have every possible option when you go to put it together. It was very time consuming as well because I used stone walls with grout, I had to be sure to put "grout" (use a grey paintbrush) around everything that was connected to the stones. Overall it was worth the effort and helped improve some of my technical skills.
Photo Essay:
We were once again tested on all of the technical skills we learned during the semester for this project. We followed the Life magazine photo formula to create a digital book that documented a specific event or cultural situation in its entirety. I chose to photograph Paisley & Company Bath Boutique and Fragrance Bar. The ladies there were kind enough to let me take photos of them creating and packaging their products in the back room as well as photographing the store front. This store smells amazing, everything is organized in rainbow order (which I absolutely love), the products are wonderful and the staff is so friendly so if you're ever in the Kutztown area you have to stop in. Unfortunately the link for the digital book isn't working but I will get that posted as soon as I'm able!
To see more of my photography be sure to visit charpography.tumblr.com
Thanks for stopping by!

January 3, 2014

The Beginning

Hello! Welcome to the first post of Charpology.

Blogging has been something I have been debating for the last few years. As the new year approached I realized I wasn't able to come up with a resolution- that if I'm being honest, I wouldn't keep longer than a few months anyway- and I decided I would finally go with my gut and start this blog. If nothing else, this site can serve as a record of the choices I make over a period of time, you know like Myspace and early Facebook profile pictures (hopefully not as bad as those choices). So as scary and awkward as it may be, its time for me to come out from behind the lens.

Also I forgot to take compression into account and the pictures ended up with darker bottoms than the original files -we're off to a great start!
Dress: Target
Tights: Target
Booties: Target
Necklace: Sheinside
Earrings: Betsey Johnson (old)
Similar: Betsey Johnson

p.s. I actually wore this dress backwards because I didn't like the placement of the keyhole.

Thank you so much for stopping by!
I hope you come back soon!
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