Friday, February 28, 2014

Matsuri, a Japanese Festival

This week the city began to come into bloom.  The orange blossoms from the multitude of desert citrus trees fill the breeze with their perfumed aroma and the season here has begun to turn away from winter to warm spring winds in the morning and evening and hotter afternoons. We're deep into festival season here in Phoenix, so we took advantage and went to one of the most popular events I've ever been to in this city, The Japanese Festival downtown.

It was the biggest crowd I'd been in since comic con in San Diego.


You can see Chloe, Naomi and I weaving our way through the throng of people in the lower right corner of this picture.

We stopped to watch the Taiko drummers perform on the ASU stage.  It must have been pretty intense for them in the direct sun, but they have incredible energy.  They moved constantly, dancing and pounding their drums.  It was really pretty exciting.

These people are making gigantic Japanese ices.  The biggest snow cones I'd ever seen and selling them like mad as it was pretty hot that afternoon.

This young woman began a fan dance directly in front of me (Mike took this photo as we walked towards him).  


There was of course an amazing bonsai display.  I don't garden and I kill most housplants, so bonsai is nothing short of a magic trick to me.

It took a bit of wandering but eventually we found a patio area, out of the sun to walk around in.

This seems to be an ancient Samurai warrior.

And an interesting looking warrior's mask and helmut.

This man is "The Candyman". He is making an beautiful bird sculpture entirely out of candy.  He's heating colored sugar and painting it on in this photo.  His creations were too stunning for anyone to eat.

Phoebe and Chloe are standing in the crowd while we all decide what kind of interesting Japanese food to try.  We needed Chloe to guide us as she was familiar with all of it (her best friend in San Diego is Chinese and her family has served her a huge variety of Asian foods).
After eating Mike, Naomi and Oscar found some shade on the edge of the crowd (Just a note: Naomi is not a 10 yr old giant and Oscar isn't a teacup chihauhau, our camera has oddly distorted this photo to make Naomi look huge and Oscar tiny).


On our way out we caught one final performance. This one was more traditional.

Chloe has also been working on a mutant piñata for the show next week.


She finished it on Monday... It's a rabbit/mermaid!! I think it came out awesome!

Today we drive out to California and tomorrow we'll be attending a memorial service for a friend's husband.  Bound to be a rather intense experience, but at least we'll see some friends and family.  Have a great weekend.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Final touches on my mutant piñata

Another week has passed. Mike is home from his big trip to San Francisco (which sounds like an amazing city I'd like to see someday), and now it's the weekend and I'm back at work finishing up my piñata.  I decided to add more dangling strings to make it look more like a jelly fish.  All I had around was some white string, but I do have some red dye, so I got to work with it....


Then I prepared the dye on the stove, as it requires some very hot water...


Here you can see the string in the dye bath...


And after it was done....


YAY! Red string.... I know I can just buy some, but I like to use the things I have around before buying anything.  Anyway, then I attached it to my Jelly Monster....


Then today we hung the piñata to get a feel for how she looks...


From below...


From the side...


and the other side...


Now she's all ready for her dropoff on March 4th at the Frontal Lobe Gallery!!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Presidents Day weekend with the Jelly Monster


This weekend I made great strides in finishing my mutant piñata.

This is when I started to paint the face.

On Saturday I created the fins that dangle down.  Sunday I started to paint them as well.

By Sunday afternoon I'd made some good progress.

Here I started adding iridescent paint on the spots.

Iridescent paint on the fins.

By Monday I'd nearly finished painting and just added the black lines.

She was starting to look pretty good.

I added details to the fins.

 Then I worked on her lady parts.... I mean... I added the tentacles. 

With Naomi's help I managed to hang her on a nail on the awning....


....For all of 3 minutes till the nail fell out and she fell on her face...  So I need to repair an eyelash, but the good news is that the ball inside still bounces!   I think I'll be adding more tentacles as well, but that's for next weekend!


Monday, February 17, 2014

The Arabian Horse Show

At the fiesta bowl parade, a long line of horses rode past that hot December day and a young man running and sweating alongside them ran up to me and handed me tickets to "The Arabian Horse Show" which just happened to be this past weekend out in Scottsdale.

Here we are at the entrance, after getting slightly lost trying to figure out their sprawling complex.


After we walked in we found ourselves in the middle of a western themed craft fair.


There were also things like these grass pellets for horses.



This saddle was either a quail or an eagle, either way it was very impressive looking.

Ed Roth, an amazing wood carving artist was showing and selling his work.

Incredible bronze sculptures of regional wildlife.

This sculptor worked by assembling various objects to create horses.

One artist had this clay sculpt in progress.

Chloe thought these would be great as dining room chairs (the rest of us didn't agree).
Finally we found the arena with Arabian riders.

The blue rider had an impressive costume.

These were all kids under 14 in this section. Later after we'd been walking around the whole complex for an hour and a half we collapsed into the cool plastic chairs in this spot.  Horses drifted past us while tranquil music like Enya was blasted into the arena.  It was very peaceful... I almost drifted off!

We went for a hot, sunny walk outside to the stables.

Here they were training or practicing, or something (I don't know much about horses).

They're beautiful animals.

 This is a view of some of the stables.

The kids all got ice cream which took the edge off the heat.  Some of the horses looked pretty hot as well.


The horses out in this arena looked the most uncomfortable.

Chloe at the exit by the super cool lion sculpture.

Yesterday Mike flew off for his big trip to San Francisco.  To keep me distracted I did a ton of work on my giant piñata for the Mutant Piñata show, but I'll share that progress tomorrow... Cheers!!



"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut

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