Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Problems with Pictures

I have all these pictures of Italy and Halloween but it tells me there are problems and won't post. Hopefully this will work itself out and then you will be inundated! :)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Most Days

One of the things that is pretty cool about my job is that I’m upstairs in the editing bay working on our artist Ratindra Das. Downstairs I can hear Susan taking a phone order for DVDs that were edited before I came here but I still know their stories. (One is my grandmother’s DVD and I really remember the process for that one.) This is what is so fun about being a part of a small business: you can see your work materialize. The video I’m currently editing will travel downstairs to Lynn for the first check. From there it will travel back upstairs to Zach and I will get to hear everything I’ve already edited a million times as he cleans out all audio bumps and works color. Then it will go back to Lynn and a cover will be designed while Zach takes all of our edited work and create chapters and the DVD itself. Zach sends a DVD to the artist to check and when it comes back it goes off to the duplicator somewhere in California. Zach makes a trailer that will be put on the web and then a test DVD comes back and Jim and Zach check for errors and anything we may have missed. And then with one more send off, we wait for a few weeks and a giant pile of boxes cheerfully arrive from our UPS guy. And then I get to hear the phone call and Susan talking with customers about something I helped create. Some days pass really slowly (as all jobs occasionally have this) but other days (most days really), there is such and excitement in the air and I feel very lucky to be a part of a great team.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ant Colonies

If I could make a sound for Florence it would be a lawn mower crunching bone.

The streets of Genoa seemed busy this morning as we waded through to the train station and Florence beyond but nothing could prepare us for the birthplace of the Renaissance. Swarms of tourists move as relocating colonies from one section of town to another. An American man pushed through a crowd calling out before him, "Coming through! Comig through!"At our lunch restaurant we were seated elbow to elbow at the same table as another group of Americans and handed menus in English. We guard our pockets like the guidebooks say. We avoid certain parks at night. This is the off season.

Architectually Florence is amazing (David and the Duomo) but it seems traveleres come here to shop. Store after store after store tempt leather and glass and stockings (hot comodity) to the tourists. Gelato drips to the ground as noses press to glass.

My travel companion and I spent most of the day grumpy. Hungry or claustrophobic or both. It wasn't until the evening when wind shifted a candle's flame into a woman's napkins and restaurant patrons jumped to the small blaze armed with water glasses and stamping napkins did we finaly relax. Maybe it was a fellow American's surprised, "Shit!"at seeing fire on a nearbye table. Maybe it was knowing we'd survived Florence day 1 and had a plan for day 2. Who knows. But we are feeling better. Guidebooks and maps drawn like jousting swords, we will join the throngs. Pusy Americans. Pushy Italians. And we will begin to explore the city anew.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

City of Second Impressions

The first impression of Genoa is deceptive. From the sky your eyes are drawn to the masive coastal barges and characterless skyline. There seems to be a lot of grey cement. The small airport (no customs) leads you to the buses. And when you miss the bus that will for 3 euros drop you practically doorstep to your hotel because the guidebooks don't tell you that it leaves once every hour, you take a taxi for 20 and follow the grey streets to where the Genoa signs lead. You think your photo album could say USSR and people might only wonder why there is no snow. Silently you and your companion think, "Was this a mistake?"

But wait, because the Genoa of postcards takes a little more work to fnd. Not a lot of work, but a bit more than a first impression. Put down your heavy bags. Find a map. Begin to walk. Flat walls slowly deepen and shape into Italian facades. Fountains errupt around the most unexpected corner. Gelato stands and coffee stands and focaccia everything stands can be found along any winding street. Become lost in Genoa that's the only way to truly see this city. Even if it means walking into a few dead ends and up a giant hill with a road that seems to end only at the sky. Par for the course.

The guide books say you love it or hate it. I know which camp I call my own. I think being here on a weekend in October aids the adoration. Crowds -mostly locals and Italian tourists- form a bit into early evening but the rest of the day you are mostly free to get lost without any witnesses.

All business cards here have tiny maps on the back. As if this will help but it is indicative to the chaos a deep history brings to the European street grid. It's impossibe to explain the labrynth of alleys. You see tiny Italian cars disappear into streets that would optimistacally fit a go cart.

Genova is divided into Old Town and New Town. Different families controlled different areas and they tried to out build one another. Great deal for the future siteseer. Apparently layering different stones was expensive and one family had spare change to sink into such an endeavor. In one section of Old Town, each third building is an impressive repeating oreo of black and white stone.

Tomorrow our still-time-adapting bodies board an 8:26am train to Florence. I will spend the 3+ hour train ride memorizing food item vocabulary extending beyond, "Is there vegetarian dishes" and "AHK! I don't speak Italian."

Please forgive the typos and spelling errors. The keyboard varies from the States and well, there is no spell check. Ahem.

San Lorenzo square and church. This sort of black and white style of building was really expensive and is used as a show of wealth for the various families who controlled the different sections of Genoa. Oreo arms race!

I wish I had visual proof of the alleys in Genoa. Some were no wider than two shoulder lengths and they seemed to appear and disappear without warning. You'd be in a tight plight of winding and then come around a corner and BAM hit a giant fountain. Spend a few hours in Genoa and you and Alice (Wonderland) would have something to discuss at a party.

An open air shopping area. This was shot on a sunday when everything was closed but come back on a Monday and you'll see stores with inexpensive names like Gucci. I felt a bit out of place in my sneakers!

I've never eaten so much Focaccia in my LIFE! More please!

More Oreo architecture. This was in a tiny tiny square. Italians use every inch of city space.

You don't even need to know the language to understand the message here.

The replicated home of where Christopher Colombus probably lived. Genoa was the biggest shipping port in Italy during CC's time. He went to the Genoa rulers and asked for money for his little voyage. They said, "No!" and so he went to Spain. Spain said, "Si!" Someone in the Genoa court probably got seriously fired. Genoa became a backwater of ports and Spain ended up claiming South America.

Right outside of the CC house. A few fellow tourists try and figure out where the heck they are. I know the feeling!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

This time tomorrow...

...I'll be on my way to Genoa, Italy. And then, this time the day after tomorrow, I might *still* be on my way to Genoa, Italy. The two 5-hour layovers don't speed up matters but I think I'd rather have too much time than miss a flight.

I'll post as I find internet...pictures (LOTS of them) will most likely arrive after I get home on the 23rd. The bulk of my photos will probably be patterns and designs.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Viva Italia

Preparing for a trip is like walking across a bed of nails for some REALLY good chocolate cake. My cake is shaped like Italy. So it's ice cream cake. Gelato. And pizza. And wine. It's a wine pizza ice cream chocolate cake. But even though I know it's going to be really good, I still have to walk across the nails. I'm currently between the "oh, crazy, I *totally* will have extra space!" and "What ALL am I bringing? I can't NEED all of this. Where did all the space go?!" phases of packing.

While I wait for laundry, I'm posting, well, random random things including what I should just call quite artistically, "The Leaves of CCP." Or rather, "The Back Sides of Leaves of CCP." Oh yes, very profound. Really I've just discovered how to use my macro setting. It's like I'm in preschool and I finally learned how to tie my shoe and I'm running around showing EVERYBODY that I can tie my shoe.

Ahem, without further ado...The Back Sides of Leaves of CCP...And other stuff.

Monday, October 09, 2006

More Portland Pics

The leaves have been falling like CRAZY outside my office window today. The first full throws of fall.

Today is incredibly busy trying to work on the newsletter and wrap our thoughts around the incredible time we had in Portland. I think tomorrow I'm taking off to prepare for my upcoming trip to Italy. (Eeek!!) My good intentions of learning Italian seem laughable in that I'm currently on the "How are you?" section of my Italian book but at least I'll be able to say that. Looks like I'll be speaking a lot of Spanish in Genoa.

Totally unrelated, I thought I'd pass on these photos of our hotel room transformation. It was pretty wild. Just imagine three people carrying all these supplies (cameras, tripods...WALLS) through the lobby of a fancy hotel! Ha!

Before-------->After (background sink is proof) ---------->

Also- if you have any suggestions of good books for the long flight I should either get in hard copy or on tape, please let me know. I have TWO FIVE HOUR layovers and good distraction will be very much appreciated!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Portland Wrap Up

We filmed our last artist, Leslie Parsons, Saturday. Afterward we set up shop among a sea of incredibly talented artists at the vendor night portion of Art and Soul. People were lining up over an hour before the doors opened to the public. And looking around myself I understand why. What amazing work! I think I managed to keep my purchases within the reasonable zone but I will be keeping my eyes open for a few of the artists.

Sunday (I guess that's today) we packed up the room and headed back home. I can't wait to get started on editing our new artists.

Art and Soul Vendor Night

The CCP booth

Jacqueline Sullivan and her booth

Lisa Engelbrecht and her daughter

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bali Lanterns

Today was day 2 of filming at Art and Soul, Portland. We spent the day with Californian multimedia artist Lisa Engelbrecht. Her workshop's focus is Bali Lanterns and one of her big chapters is on the basics of calligraphy. After seeing her letters, I will be self conscious every time I hand address a bill.

Not really but Lisa sure had beautiful outline notes. The photo here is the paper she demonstrated on and I was crouched to pounce if she made any movement to crumple it and throw it in the trash. Luckily she made no such move.

She uses acrylics and pens to write (paint?) words onto fabric for a beautiful end affect. Even if you don't know calligraphy, Lisa stresses that this project still can be stunning and a lot of fun.

This one is definitely going on the "try this at home" list.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I love cheese cloth

Before I start a note on the mundane: audio is going to be great. Yes, we occasionally had to stop Jacqueline Sullivan and ask her to repeat things due to a low flying JET but for the most part, no problem.

OK, so onto cheesecloth, sort of.

What amazes me about all the artists we meet at Creative Catalyst Productions is that when you first see their work, you think, "How the hell do they do that?" And then you watch them do it and you think, "Wow, OK. I get it." And this is always followed by a short pause, maybe a slight head scratch and another, "How the hell do they do that?" Because there is a distance between understanding what it is they show you (technique, etc) and then being able to do it yourself with the ease they exhibit. I am reminded again and again that art is about experimentation and practice. People come from all over the country to see Jacqueline teach. You understand why within minutes of her workshop. It's inspiring to see her do what she does so beautifully and know that it hasn't happened over night. I think it's inspiring because it gives me hope than with enough hard work maybe some day I too will be able to put paint on canvas and impact people as Sullivan's work does.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Art and Soul

We arrived in Portland ready to roll on set up for our make shift filming studio. Energy ready. Excitement building. Coffee surging through our otherwise probably-still-should-be-in-bed-sleeping-bodies and BAM! "You're hotel room is still being cleaned." We looked at each other not totally sure what to do with this information. I mean, we were *ready*. But alas, it would not be. (And really would not be for another couple of hours) but we made good use of our time by checking out the cool lobby of Embassy Suites and eating food. Can't deny the merits of food.

Once we got into our room we moved all the furniture out and set up shop. I had a moment of discomfort when Jim had to saw through two metal pipes (ours, NOT the hotels) to do the final touches on the structure that held our cameras and lights. I can just see hotel staff looking around and saying, "wait, now is that a *saw* we hear?" Yes. Yes it is.

Speaking of noise, our sound guy can't tell which to roll his eyes at more, the waterfall in the lobby or the jet planes over head coming to land at the airport. I don't think it'll be too much of a problem. We'll know more tomorrow that's for sure.

Wide Awake

This is not exactly how you want to look a few hours before leaving to film some of the coolest craft artists at one of the coolest craft events in the country. Let's just say the to-do list of:
-Find checkbook
turned into
-Clean office desk
-Clean room
-Clean craft closet
-Rejoice at finding lost pair of scissors
-Eat egg sandwich

I still haven't found that checkbook and well, I've got my socks packed and that's about it. Tomorrow is going to come early but it won't take much to find energy for the day. I'm part of a team filming at Art and Soul Portland. To say that the event is going to be fun is a complete understatement. We'll spend Wednesday setting up and then film three artists Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Saturday night is a market where vendors sell their wares. I'll be working a booth meeting people (very excited) but will hopefully have a moment in order to browse all the incredible artwork.

So on the docket for the next 5 days? Crafts! Crafts! Crafts!...and, ahem, caffeine.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Learning Curve

Most crafters know that learning anything new is a challenge. Even after you've watched the video, read the book, purchased the supplies, you *still* have to sit down and hike up the learning curve.

It doesn't matter how many times I try to follow a recipe or instructions, I always forget this at the beginning. "Why isn't this as EASY as it LOOKS?!?!" And everytime I forget it comes back full force. Enter blog. It might take me a bit of time to master the blogspot software but I'm determined. After this, maybe I'll take on sewing! (Now THAT IS a learning curve hike).

But I digress. I'm excited to enter the world of blog...especially among the community of craft blogs. It's exciting to see what is out there. Luckily I have a job that supports me in my creative endeavors and I'm excited to learn from all of the talented people on the web today.

Thanks so much for visiting me!