Ginny Eckley and Susan Ennis made it out to see my studio and it was great to hook up with old quilting buddies. We had 2 groups of people come up from Galveston for the night. People came from Spring and Spring Branch and Katy and Friendswood. Mayoral candidate of many times, Ralph Ulrich, spent some time around the pool chatting with old friends.
The art cars that turned out were fabulous (who wouldn’t want to ride around in a giant 12 foot chicken like Smitty Regula’s Hen-a-Tron). Nicole Strine’s mirrored car twinkled, while Deb Elliot Pterodactyl car glittered. My art car Must Tangle is a painted peace vehicle while my husband John’s Peace Expediton lights up the night with rope light and a glowing dome and globes.
The inside gallery showed my newest dragon quilts, and two dragon quilts by Deb Elliott. Some of my glass work and jewelry was on display along with firecracker hats by Erik Kolflat, Terry Brooks, and Kenny Browning. Tisha Browning lent us three watercolors for the evening and installed her “Piece of Fly-Pa-Cat” giant glowing metal butterfly in the main gallery. Kelli Walker’s “Untitled” a mixed media painting, her beaded shawl and her Magpie Chandelier graced the main gallery as well.
The newest art installations for the yard we have commissioned glowed, literally. The Oil Barrel/Water Barrel change colors and give a nice ambience as they flank the residence steps. The giant Richard Cranium installation by Scrap Daddy with fire poi overlooks the pool, the 10 foot goat torch by Kenny Browning lights the back of the garden, while the new Time Ma-Shrine by Joseph Buttle stood by ready to beam prayers into other times and spaces.
Also installed in our yard, are the lighted Magic Mushrooms by Kim and John Ritter. The front gate, ramp and door are by
Dolan Smith. The 30thAnniversary Boat Fender was salvaged by Shay Fyre and Justin Khine, The Dancing Girl at the wooden gate is by Mark David Bradford. Inside the fence are the Horse and Dog on Side of Gallery by Mark David Bradford. Spot the Dog by the quilt studio door is also by him.
The Cement Women in back porch posts of the gallery are the creations of Dolan Smith. He also created the Dome, The Man of 10,000 Nails outside gallery back door and the Pillar by the dome . The Pet Cemetery Wallis is also by Dolan Smith. The Peace Fire Pit Cover was made by metal-smith Christopher Gorman
I appreciate all the artists who lent work for the night and look forward to having other open studio events. Thanks also to my volunteers Christopher Gorman and Shannon Abernathy.
3 lbs beef stew meat
Preheat oven to 325 with rack positioned on bottom third.
Spread meat on paper towels for 20 minutes to dry all excess juice.
Brown in very small batches on high heat in a 6qt Dutch oven, using a small amount of vegetable oil. Remove and drain.
Add vegetable oil as needed and add
1 chopped onion,
2 medium celery sticks
3 cloves garlic minced
1 medium carrot
and cook until softened 5-6 minutes stirring and scraping pot.
Add 1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried chilies
and cook for a minute or two more.
Add one cup red wine to deglaze the pan, raise heat and scrape pan, boil and reduce by half about 5 minutes.
Add 2 1/2 cup homemade vegetable stock and the meat. Cover and place in oven and stew for 1 to 2 hours
Add vegetables stew in oven, cover and simmer until everything is tender …about one hour.
Vegetables: parsnips turnips rutabaga, golden beet, carrot, celery, onions, potatoes.
Use the peelings and ends of parsnips, turnips rutabagas, golden beets, carrots, celery, onions, and add some lettuce if you have it.
Add all to a big pot and cover with water. You can add a ham hock if you are not a vegetarian.
Add cracked pepper and a small amount of salt. You can add thyme and lemons cut in half if you wish or any herb. 1/2 bunch of cilantro is optional but good.
Bring to a simmer slowly and put on lowest setting and cover and cook for a few hours or all day.
Strain out the vegetable stuff and use as a base for vegetable soup or beef stew or it makes beans tasty with some cilantro in the broth.
I am repainting my art car and am writing this so I won’t forget what works for the next time!
This is my current paint job. The yellow and pink are One Shot, the blue is the color of the car. I used painters tape to mask off the areas. I wish I had masked off all the rubber, too. Most of the details were created using Sharpie Paint Pens. They worked great for a few months but eventually faded to white chalk. I Mod Podged them to make them more permanent but that didn’t work. The chalky residue washed off completely with Goof Off. Which is a nice feature if you want to make a new incarnation of your art car often. I used stick on labels to mask off the peace signs and the hearts before painting the car the first, so they are permanent.
Goof Off also works well for cleaning your hands and brushes and any mistakes while wet. I mixed the One Shot 9 parts paint and one part hardener. The paint thickens slightly with the hardener and a skin will form overnight even in a small sealed container like the tiny mason jar I used. Mix the paint with hardener in small quantities that you can use up within a few hours. Wrap your paint brush in plastic wrap if you are taking a short break.
I will post picture when I am finished!
Jill Johnson from originally from Venus Salon in Houston, and now at her own shop on White Oakhttp://bombshellhairshop.com gave me the skinny back in 2008 when I made my first art car.
The first thing you have to do is bleach your hair platinum! Not blonde, not ash, but white as snow is best.
For me with my very dark brown hair with lots of grey, that means 5 one hour sessions of whitening over a week or more.
My hair is stubborn and goes orange, yellow, straw and finally white. The trick here is not to damage your hair. I do it at home but if you don’t have the know how, this part is best handled by a pro.
I usually spend a week as a platinum blonde as it is interesting to see how people treat me as a blonde as opposed to a brunette.
Next comes the color. I have tried many brands of color and love Rage N Color. It is very bright and lasts a long time. Manic Panic is also good but fades faster. But if you want color that really lasts try the new Ion Color Brilliance Brights Semi-Permanent Hair Color in all the bright colors. Warning! This stuff lasts!!!
Pink in all brands fades fastest of all the colors. After that in least fade resistance is purple. Blue lasts fairly well and teal lasts longest.
After years of living in the suburbs, driving a normal grey car and living in a grey house, I love having colorful hair, driving a colorful car and living in a colorful house!
It makes me happy!
1. Can you still DRIVE that thing?
2. How are you going to get that OFF your car?
3. What does that DO to the resale value of your car?
4. Can you get this THING inspected and insured?
5. Why did you do THAT to your car
These five questions are music to my ears when I am out and about in my art car. The answers always lead to fun conversations. To me, it seems the answers are fairly obvious, but given how often I am asked them, they must not be.
“Can you still drive that thing?” Well, of course I can. That’s what makes it an art car, not a sculpture. It can be driven. There are many variations on art cars, but the goal is always the same: to have a vehicle that drives. Some are Mutant Vehicles and are driven in the dessert at Burning Man. Some are parade vehicles driven in parades. Some are daily drivers and are driven every day.
“How will you get that off your car?” is a question that always baffles me and makes me laugh. I have just spent 4 months gluing this stuff on and you think I WANT it to come off? Just the opposite is true! I have researched how to make this stuff stay on as long as possible!
“What does that do to the resale value of the car?” Well, I used to wonder about that as well. When my car was flooded during Hurricane Ike, I got a settlement worth MORE than the blue book value!
“Can you get this thing insured and inspected?” As a daily driver I must be insured and inspected, so I researched the laws in my state and made sure I didn’t cover up my license plate, head or tail lights or exceed the height or width limits for driving on the roads. Getting the car inspected is usually another fun outing, with the inspectors taking pictures of themselves and the car. I make sure that my vehicle is maintained just like any other car and understand that safety is always important.
I keep insurance on the car. Those with parade vehicles who do not routinely drive their cars can even qualify for inexpensive parade insurance. Susan Wingfield was driving her Miata that is a painted art car when someone rear-ended her. The insurance company of the other driver paid her to repaint the damaged portions.
The last question is my favorite. “Why did you do that to your car?” I made my first art car as a rolling advertisement of my artwork. But it in the end I found it was that and so much more. The art car is a smile generator of the most amazing kind. People wave at me as I go by. Teenagers stop to take a pic with their smart phone. Crowds gather around me wherever I go. It’s almost impossible to be in a bad mood when I am driving my art car.
A Paz… Galician
Aman… Malay, Urdu
Amniat… Persian, Farsi,
Der Frieden… German
Ets’a'an Olal… Maya
‘Éyewi… Nez Perce
Fois… Scottish, Gaelic
Fred… Danish Fride…Swiss
Hoa Bình… Vietnamese
Kwam Sa… Lao
La Pace… Italian,
La Paix… French
La Paqe… Albanian
La Patz… Aranés
La Pau… Catalán
La Paz… Spanish
Lapé… Haitian Creole
Nabad Da… Somali
Pokój… Polish, Slovak
Sai Gaai Òh Pìhng… Yue
Salam… Arabic, Persian
Shalom… Hebrew Shîte
Sìth… Gaelic, Scottish
Solh… Dari, Persian
Tuktuquil Usilal… Kékchí
Or Just Say
Every artist should have an art car! This is the startling realization I came to in 2008 when I started my first art car, the Piecemobile. As an art quilter living in Houston, I was in the perfect place for worlds to collide. Houston is the Art Car Capital of the world and also the home of the biggest quilt festival in the world. When worlds collide, magical things happen and new worlds are created.
I had toyed with making an art car for years, having seen a few art cars around town. I had never been to the Art Car Parade and didn’t even know any art carmakers. But I was looking for something new to spark my creativity and was frustrated with results of the normal ways of promoting my work as an art quilter. So I decided to take a chance and create an art car.
I envisioned the Piecemobile as large rolling canvas to showcase my work. I decided not to make a quilted car but to use my large format printer to print large panels of my drawings and to attach them to the car. The drawings were of women quilting and sewing and once they were attached to the car I embellished them with pincushions, needle cases, and thousands of buttons.
Art car making and driving is an experience!
One of the unique things about building an art car is that it is hard to hide in the studio. I worked on my first car for four months in my driveway. In process, I met many neighbors that I would never have met and got to talk to them about my work.
I also had to reach out to other art car artists about how to do what I wanted to do. That meant finding the art car groups on the web and asking questions about processes. When no one knew the answer one of my questions (how to attach fabric to the car without getting bleed through and how to protect it in the sun) I had to use my knowledge from art quilt making to solve those problems through trial and error. I also found out there was an art car club, so once I had a start on the car, my husband and I attended a few meetings and made lots of friends.
I was not really prepared for the attention being a daily art car driver can bring. It’s a little like being a celebrity. Every time I leave the grocery store, I find people crowded around my car. Teenagers look up from texting to snap a photo of me when I pass them at the bus stop. I am a one-car parade wherever I go.
Driving my car to an art opening or a local festival brings lots of photo ops and opportunities to hand out business cards, postcards and to talk about my work. I am getting better about talking about my work as I have ample times to practice on the people stopping me in parking lots to ask about the car.
I also garnered lots of new invitations to art openings and other artsy events by having the notoriety of being an art car artist. Art Car artists are unique even in a city like large city like Houston, which is the Art Car Capital of the World. There are less than 100 dedicated art car drivers in Houston, even though the annual Art Car Parade in May rolls several hundred cars in the parade, many are temporary and just made for the parade by local schools and other groups.
Art cars are a standard feature in many local Houston parades, so those artists with permanent cars find many times to parade in their vehicles. There is now an illuminated art car parade called Gloworama.
Local schools and hospitals and retirement homes often ask for art car artists to visit and show off their cars while galas and other VIP events sometimes offer honorariums for the artists to bring out art cars to act as party props.
Because the art car is basically a rolling piece of art, it can reach a whole new audience. It can be taken to many unusual events like Renaissance fairs, and Burning Man type outdoor festivals. One artist I know, Bonnie Blue, uses her car Women Who Rock as part of her booth when she sells her hand painted rocks and boots.
I have driven my car to local car events and well and have received warm receptions from the drivers of classic and vintage cars. My second art car “Along Came a Spider” has lace and lacing and lighting and is a 1982 Fiat Spider with a giant metal spider on top that my son Perry and a friend, Ben Gibson built.
The images I have collected of my car make great advertising. The postcards I printed with pictures of my art car on one side and my quilts and website address on the other side were very popular when I was an Artist in Residence at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Other people enjoy capturing my car in photos and I have found my car on blogs and websites. I have been interviewed for the Houston evening News and I was even seen for a fleeting instant on a recent episode of America’s Got Talent in the opening section about Houston.
Making and driving an art car is truly a life changing experience. The total overall effect of the thousands of smiles I have gotten as I drive the streets of my hometown in my various art cars has made my life better. The drudgery of a trip to grocery is transformed into an adventure. And I always arrive in style at every party if I come in an art car! When my husband and I took my first art car out to a local Burning Man type Festival, we found friends that we will have for life: people who live life with a real zest for fun and creativity. They drive their art cars out for Santa Rampages and for off the grid Illuminated Cruises.
But watch out! Because they are just so much fun, art car making is catching!
“You missed a spot!” was the taunt that my husband and son made when I was making the Piecemobile.
But now a few years later after riding in my art car, my husband has created the Peace Expedition and my son has made the Kia Pet, both art cars. My son’s friend Jerred drives a new art car. My friend Chris has an elaborate first art car in the making, and entire group of friends in Galveston created an art truck that they drove in the last Mardi Gras Parade.
I have recently bought a VW Beetle that I am going to make into an art car. Should it become a Lightning Bug? A Lady Bug? These are the questions that keep me up at night! Maybe worlds will collide again and it will be a Bed Bug. Whatever happens, I am sure it will be magic!
PS…The Bug got traded in for a Mustang…..stay tuned!