I recently traveled to Jerome, Arizona (AKA “the largest ghost town in America”) and had a chance to visit one of my favorite shops. Nellie Bly is an incredible store dedicated specifically to kaleidoscopes. These are not just your average, run-of-the-mill kaleidoscopes, but out-of-this-world, amazing, magical kaleidoscopes. Some incorporate massive crystal rock structures embellished with copper and brass. Others are made of stained glass panels embedded with glass beads (the rotating element) which makes vibrant and colorful glass patterns when it is spun around. All are whimsically constructed by extremely talented (and highly collectible) kaleidoscope artists. I don’t think there are any two alike in the whole store.
I have two small kaleidoscopes from Nellie Bly, but would love to own more. I especially want to have the giant kaleidoscope seen at the store’s front door. Botanica is a large sculptural work with a planter basket that is ideal for an outdoor garden. You can fill the planter with virtually anything: flowers, cactus, glass globes, stones…well, really just anything you can think of–even lace and yarn skeins. The removable mirrored scope mechanism focuses on the planter’s contents. The planter bowl itself rotates 360 degrees which makes the patterns and designs change. The scope, though stationary in one place on a circular arm, rotates, too. Botanica is pricey, but one of these days I will definitely have to take the plunge.
Here are a few photos I took at Nellie Bly by placing my trusty little P & S camera lens up against the viewing glass of a rather large kaleidoscope.
All images copyright by Janet Towbin, 2014.
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Another Tuesday spent in the print studio at Mesa and I was able to see (and capture) a few more wonderful chalk abstractions. They appear on a cement wall in the courtyard outside the print studio just for me (I am not kidding–I doubt anyone else notices them!) Last week’s rain created some interesting nuances; there were drips and smudges in the chalk which, to my mind, made them even more interesting. To me these wall drawings exemplify the Japanese aesthetic of wabi wabi as they embrace the qualities of impermanence, transience and imperfection.
According to Richard A. Powell, wabi sabi acknowledges “three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.” I love that concept and can easily apply it to life, art and beauty.
I also like this quote from Leonard Koren’s book Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers, Stone Bridge Press (a book I highly recommend) about how one can achieve wabi sabi in their work: “Pare down to the essence but don’t remove the poetry.”
I keep wishing I could paint or draw something to resemble these chalk drawings. But I guess I will have to settle for capturing their transient beauty with my digital camera.
ChalkStract 1, 2014; Digital photography
ChalkStract 2, 2014; Digital photography
ChalkStract 3, 2014; Digital photography
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What happens when you combine and layer two unrelated images in Photoshop? Magic!
PansyPool Mandala; 2014; Digitally manipulated photography; size variable.
Below are the two images I merged together. The final creation (above) is so much better than the two images in their original form. Talk about synergy!
Pansy Mandala (Inverted); 2014; Digitally manipulated photograph; sizes variable.
Mirrored Pool; 2014; Digitally manipulated photograph; sizes variable.
I wonder what will happen if I merge the pool water image with an agave? Or, maybe a…????
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Here are a dozen photos of hearts I’ve taken over the past few years. They are being sent to you along with my wishes for a lovely Valentine’s Day.
A Heart Filled with Goodness; 2012
Love in the Abstract; 2013
Dear to My Heart; 2013
I Heart You; 2006
Love Locks; 2013
Heart Milagro, 2011
Love Is In the Air; 2009
My Newest Love; 2012
Paper Hearts; 2009
Shadows from the Heart; 2013
City Hearts; 2005
I Heart Banksy; 2012
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