Traveling with Text

With my aquisition (thanks to birthday bonanza from Linda) of a NEW iPad with the camera, I am afire with digital imaginings. Here are some of my most recent experiments using several iPad apps one on top of another, as well as a few text-based Mixel collages.

The one above was a "physical" collage made with text cut from magazines (one of the exercises in my Text on Textiles courses, like that I am teaching on Joggles right -- and in the summer semester, too). I then photograhed it with the smart phone, sent it to the Cloud and my iPad and altered the colors with an app called PhotoPad (free, and a good photo editing tool). Then I drew on top of that saved image with some other tools and also erased part of the  image -- it looks to me like "Pollock takes on text."

Below is another physical collage that was altered, first with an iPad app called ArtistaHaikuHD that gives one a variety of watercolor effects/filters to use on photos.  Then I loaded that saved image into the PhotoPad App and played around with the colors. Que Cool!

Here's the watercolor versions in ArtistaHaikuHD:

How did I start? You can see the original here. 

 Or, rather the intermediate stage that was done on Mixel. The first product was actually this little 4 by 6 collage (shown here with two copies taped together):

WOW! It's amazing how these tools can morph one image SO MANY ways. I love to play with the possiblilities -- so the challenge is not in fluency, it's in when to quit and put my hands back on the wheel, so to speak. Where does what I can do only with hands happen?

Here's one way:

Print it with inkjet transfers on an old piece of tablelinen:

 

 

 

 

More Fun on Mixel

OK admission. I am addicted to Mixel now. It's totally taken up all my FB time (thank you). And the chitchat is minimal. Mostly you just make stuff sort of together. Now the warning. Anything you upload becomes public property. I am mostly just adding a few detail images and nonart snapshots to the process. But I love the cropping and layering soooomuch. And I am printing some of these on fabric, too.

I have figured out how to use the software to  make collages (fun-- crop with your finger or a sylus from any of your own photos or web images or images other Mixel users have contributed) without making images public or getting involved in the public arena of this software. You do have to have an account (no longer only possible with a FB account) but you do not have to post to "the world." After making a Mixel, just go to the upper left corner and take a photo -- saves to your ipad. Then DELETE the image. 

 

 

Designing with Type Shapes

As part of my online Joggles course (get the full story here) I'll be doing an occassional post here that my online students can use for further ideas; maybe those of you reading along can pick up a tip or two as well.

I've been pondering collage design with type and "found letters," those cut from magazines and newspaper or even spit out in differing sizes from your computer font library. Putting them together quickly, then arranging, rearranging and copying out bits and pieces in differing sizes is how I like to work on these random text collages -- I am not necessarily going for a literal message, more just the feel of type as shape and form and texture. But there is also an interesting challenge in using the letters of a meaningful or intriguing word that you might want to have as a kind of hidden message in a piece.

For example, this piece, while primarily a strong and bold composition, with text that pops out -- mas (Spanish for more) and LIFE from the classic magazine title -- also includes the "hidden message" "music." Each horizontal pieced  band of fabric is a repetition of each letter M, U, S, I, C in order. 

Here are some tips that may help you make some interesting collages with your type collections:

1. Work with CONTRAST:

SIZE -- Use as wide a variety of sizes as you can. Collage the letters with varied sizes as neighbors to those of other size.

VALUE -- Use strong contrast in value for the best copies -- black on white, red on white, dark hues on light pastels (AND vice versa) Avoid type -- or limit it -- that is too close in value to the background. Yellow reads as white and pale blues disappear on almost all copy machines

DIRECTION -- GLue the letters down in different directions, try to make a "patchwork" of letters facing different ways, upside down, left to right, right to left.

2. PATTERNS

Try these different ideas as ways to glue down a text collection -- think of different rhythms and different patterns to develop collages that have different feelings and messages in their composition:

swirling letters

marching across the page letters

letters lined up and making another shape

a tornado, a wave, a spiral, a crawl, a race, a path, windows in a house, people in a crowd, letters arranged to make animal shapes or objects. (Like concrete poetry, but letters only) See the alphabet video here for examples:

Letters on stage performing for other letters

3. Follow the rule of 3s

Use similar elements or copies of the same letter forms in odd-number arrangements: 3s, 5s, 7s. For some reason odd numbers of related shapes (etc.) always seem to work better in compositions.

4. GROUPS not POLKA DOTS

Arrange letters and elements close enough together that your eye "reads" the design with continuity -- just enough space between the elements (shapes, lines, dots, stripes, letters, etc) that your eye can easily leap to the next element, especially if it is a repeated element. Also, try to vary elements spacially, paying attention that you don't set up too regular a pattern (like polka dots) unless that is the rhythm you are trying for.

 

 

 

 

Art on the iPad

These are a few of the art experiments I've made on the iPad this week, part of the iPad Art Studio online course that I am taking -- it's great and the tutorials that Jessica has included as the materials are so good -- she is really good at explaining technological steps and issues, and I'm learning a lot in that respect, too!

Meanwhile, these were made using iPastel and Doodle Buddy. I really love the stencil features in DoodleBuddy, worth exploring those for fiber application alone...

Loving the Internet, another reason

Ok, it's a pill. And a time-suck. You can hear it just take the energy out of your day. But on the other hand, I just spent a little time in a discussion, bilingual, with a former student in Guatemala about the change of government now occurring. Example one of the connectivity. That was on Facebook with instant messaging.

But even more to the point (as far as time spent), as a traveler who loves adventure, I have found a new tool for finding the perfect place to stay: Airbnb. As in Air Bed and Breakfast -- though the listings range (in theory) from treehouses to shared flats to luxury apartments. We are planning a trip in Spain this summer and I just booked a week long stay sharing an apartment in Barcelona and a private apartment loft in Madrid for three days. In between, we will be walking the last stage of El Camino de Santiago, St. James Way, a pilgrimage walk that has a long history, and was recently spotlighted in the Martin Sheen film THE WAY.

After a day of exploration, yes, a day, I found just the right spots. These are places you can't find anywhere else on the web. I reccommend the process, and the reviews -- and recommendations from friends -- seem to suggest that this tool is right on target. I'll let you know when its all in the box!

 

Still Mulling, but Mixel Makes Me Giggle

I'm still mulling over my journaling  choices for the new year, and here it is Jan. 2 already.  I think I will sort it out soon, at least by the time I figure out to remember writing 2012 on my checks, datebooks, etc. (Since I don't write that many checks anymore (do you?) it may take me a while for that task to settle into a new date, though.)

Meanwhile, I did find a fun tool that is almost as interesting as cut-paper, old magazine collage making journaling -MIXEL, an iPad app that is a very simple, free-form cropping and layering collage tool with a social media twist --  Which is the downside actually, since any image you use in a collage, even cropped, becomes freely available as an entire image, and usable by any other Mixel user. 

I am not highly protective of my art images since I long ago realized that anyone who wants to steal an idea or image from work of mine could do so pretty easily. My attitude towards art that I make, whether the reaction is scorn (I don't like that work... who does she think she is making fused quilts?) or theft (they must like it, huh?), is similar to that of composer/lyricist Cole Porter -- "there's thousands of more where that one came from."

BUT, you do need to realize that if you sign on for Mixel, and use your photos, or pictures of art, or other computer generated or accessed images, those become "free" content for other users to rearrange, add to or otherwise appropriate.  And it's intentional, being an app that the inventors think of as a kind of round-robin, remixing visual conversation.

 

I'm enjoying it, uploading consciously, and having fun with the visual remixing I see. I hope to get better at the process, but the photos above and below are some of my first tries. So my first couple of days of journaling have been online and totally word-free. I am saving them in a EVERNOTE notebook, called JANUARY JOURNAL, so I guess this is a start!

Filmmakers in the Making

Linda teaches Mass Communications at Northwest Vista College, part of Alamo Colleges (community college) in San Antonio. As a final (three-day!) project, her students had to write. produce or otherwise create a public service announcement that addressed both some form and structure instructions  as well as recent research information about the impact of texting on student sleep deprivation and school performance.

Several of her students did outstanding work, and I can't resist sharing it with you -- note, these are not necessarily done by students taking any courses in media production -- just the  I think they are a wonderful example of how new media, the technology of YouTube and Vimeo, access to inexpensive media tools and an understanding of creative composition, design and how to use them. These are the New World Kids, growing up. This is their language and it shows.

For more about the assignment, see Linda's blog at http://cuellarsblog.blogspot.com/

Night the Living Stayed Up Instead from Jorge Alvarez on Vimeo.

 

 

Bookmaking with the Maestros/Maestras

We're doing another round of book-making here at Palo Alto with the international program scholarship teachers in Group 4. Everyone is writing and illustrating with photo collages their own "me books," as models and to take back to their schools as examples when they return to the classroom. The creativity is exciting -- and everyone is enthralled withusing copiers and photo printers -- technology not necessarily at hand back at home. But, as the digital world gets broader, as tools become more accessible, these teachers will return with the knowledge and experiences to dream with their students. And, the basic book-making and writing and illustration exercises can be done with low-tech supplies and tools, too.

 

 

Drawing Together

Now this is fun. Anyone want to draw with me?? Send an email via the comment form and let's see what happens. It's an interactive by email drawing and writing collaborative tool.

http://www.imaginationcubed.com/

I think its got great possibilities for work with kids, teachers and colleagues!I found it while looking around for tools to use on my upcoming trip to Central America and an interactive, somewhat digital exhibit I'm designing.

Must See/Do/Listen Fun Stuff

I am easing back into blogdom with some fast-and-simple posts just to get myself back in the habit of posting. If you are looking for more substance I'm sure you'll find plenty of great sites  -- including the ones listed in this little mini-review of fun and games. These were all new to me, though none of the sites are exactly new. (BTW if you got one of those spamy invitations from me to join some kind of health site, believe me it IS a total spam-capture-email ploy that happened by stupidity. I am trying to get my name and info off the site, pronto.)

Here are the sites I've had reccommended to me over the past few days, all from good sources and all worth the follow-up when you have some scrolling around time.

GROOVESHARK -- http://listen.grooveshark.com/

 

Sort of like Pandora, one of my all time favorite ways to listen to music, Grooveshark is more direct in its choices. ie. You like Leonard Cohen, it finds all the music in its library by Leonard Cohen, covers of songs by Leonard Cohen, etc. and plays them for you in a live streaming playlist. (With Pandora, you put in an artist's or composer's name, you get music by many others that has similar sonic qualities to that artist's work.) With Grooveshark, you can save playlists, tag favorites, reorder the playlist, etc. Last night I painted the hallway listening to every know imaginable Beatles cover. It takes a lot more time than I was willing to give it to really get the interface, but that's ok. You can start listening to favorites immediately and without fuss. You can get an ad-free VIP version for $3.00 a month/$30 a year (also that includes a mobile ap for free for the time being, anyhow.)

TYPEDRAWING

An absolutely fun and wonderful addition to your computer design tools. It's easier to see than to describe, so jump on over to TYPEDRAWING and have some fun. You can upload to their gallery, email the results to yourself and then print, or, do as I did here and make a clipping.

BLOCKPOSTERS

Friend and artist Pat Schulz reminded me about this program, one that will turn any jpeg photo image into a tiled version so you can download each panel as a pdf, print it in pieces and assemble the art as a larger photo or drawing. Great for enlarging images to use as patterns for art quilts.

AND finally, a TED talk from Sir Ken Robinson.