A number of years ago I wrote some articles for the publication Bound & Lettered. They published my articles and photographs but it was clear that they wanted higher resolution photos  as well as photos shot in the RAW format.I was not in a position to upgrade. I stopped submitting articles.

I formally studied photography in college for four semesters. Equipment has changed so much since then that I have to keep figuring things out.  Lighting has always been an issue. Today I went to Home Depot and spent $40.00 on lights and I’m pretty happy.  Here’s what I have found that works.

LED light bulb facts, 5000k

LED light bulb facts, 5000k

I’m convinced that LED lights are the way to go. The greatest thing about them is that they don’t get hot. The most important consideration is the LIGHT APPEARANCE number. Warm light is yellowish, and it’s what feels good for lighting our living rooms. Cool light tends towards blue, and is more like daylight but it feels harsh as indoor lighting. The cool light, though, is better for photos. You can see that I picked out the light bulbs with  a 5000 k rating. This is why I went to Home Depot. The grocery store and the hardware store just don’t carry these. I wouldn’t have found them at Home Depot if I hadn’t been helped.

Daylight, 5000K bulbs

Daylight, 5000K bulbs

I didn’t know which wattage equivalent would be good for me, so I bought both 100 W and a 60 W.  I tried them both out and it’s clear that the 100W  is what I need. I bought two different brands, just to see if they were any different. They both seem completely fine. The Ecosmart cost significantly less than the Cree ($15. 12 vs $20.97 for a four pack).

Clip-on Work Light

Clip-on Work Light

I’ve always liked using clip-on work lights for my lighting needs. Hardware stores carry them. They cost between $7 and $14. They last forever. I always use at least two of these. I rarely use more than two.

I’m not going to go into much more detail about photography. Just a couple more thoughts.  First, whenever I want really good photos I use a tripod. It’s such an annoyance to deal with a tripod, but the results are so much better than hand held.

My books with a 3D piece by Dan Anderson

My books with a 3D piece by Dan Anderson

Last tip:

I prefer, when I can, to avoid using Photoshop to do my photo editing,  It just takes too long, and generally I don’t need to use such powerful editing tools. Oh, and it is expensive and tough to learn. Fortunately there are many alternatives to Photoshop. I have a favorite, and you probably have it on your computer already.  Many people don’t know that Microsoft Office Suite comes with a great photo editing program. If you have Word, you probably have Microsoft Office Picture Manager. Go ahead, type this into your program search bar. It’s a really excellent program. Not hard to learn. I recommend it heartily.

Accordion Book with Fancy Spine

Accordion Book with Fancy Spine

I am so happy with my new lighting set up.

Am all set to start submitting articles to Bound & Lettered again!

 

 

Bubbles & Connections

August 10, 2017

Sometimes it feels like the universe is conspiring to remind me of connections.

Years ago I played around with decorating papers with colored bubbles.

“Bubble marbling” is a simple technique that can create some really fun images. I’ve hardly ever done this with kids because it can get really messy. I did teach it in an adult workshop at Dieu Donné Papermill, NYC many years ago. It caught the eye of Helen Heibert, and, in 2001, she included an image I made with a brief description of the technique in her book, Paper Illumninated, which is a gorgeous collection of instructions about making paper lanterns.

hey, look, I’m in this picture!

Yesterday I showed this bubble technique to groups of kindergartners. By delightful coincidence, I also heard from Helen Hiebert yesterday.

Helen is still making paper lanterns. With the proliferation of LED light strips and other safer options for illumination, paper lanterns make so much more sense now then they did it 2001. Helen was telling me about the on-line course she is teaching, which sounds fabulous, so I am sharing this info with you, too before going on about bubbles any further.

Helen Hiebert's Shadow Lantern Screen

Helen Hiebert’s Shadow Lantern Screen

While it doesn’t appear that she showing any bubble marbling this time around, she is teaching an impressive array of projects that include paper cutting, tessellations, and pop-ups. I am happy to spread the word about this. You can allow yourself to be inspired by looking a video she made at http://www.helenhiebertstudio.com/classes/

You can learn about the bubble marbling from me. Now.

 

Dressing up to do something special

Dressing up to do something special

While it’s not required, it’s not a bad idea to dress up before making a mess. This sets a mood, but it also protects clothing.

Bubble Marbling in action

Bubble Marbling in action

Here’s what to do: put about a tablespoon of paint (tempra, acrylic, any strong pigment but not ink because you would need too much) in a fairly shallow container, preferably round. Add bubble mixture. I buy this ready made, or make it with Ultra Dawn, water, and a touch of glycerin. Now mix the paint REALLY REALLY well with the bubble solution. Place a straw in the bubble solution, blow gently, like blowing bubbles into milk. Make the bubbles just high enough to be above the rim of your container. Then GENTLY lay a piece of paper onto the bubbles and remove.

Bubble Prints

Bubble Prints

That’s it. They dry fast. You can overlay colors on top of each other. So much fun. But there’s more. There’s something to notice.

Three fold symmetry

Three fold symmetry

Yesterday, doing this with these kids, I reminded them of the three-fold symmetry projects that we did a couple of weeks ago…then

Looking at the symmetry of how the bubbles meet each other

I showed them that the shape we used to make the our three-fold symmetries is the same as the shape that the bubbles make where they meet. And everywhere they meet they make this same shape.

Now that’s a connections worth noticing.

They loved seeing this. Then they said, It looks like a soccer ball!

 

Symnetry like a soccer ball

Symmetry like a soccer ball

I’m learning that anything that looks like hexagons reminds kids of soccer balls. I can live with that.

 

 

Flower petals, leaves, rock and corn

Flower petals, leaves, rock and corn

 

 

It’s summer. We’re surrounded by nature here in rural upstate New York.

There’s no question that I want the kids that I am working with to play with plants.. I haven’t had much practice with using summer-time foliage in my workshops. Well, I have more practice now.

holding yellow flower

I tried out a couple of ideas with my groups of soon-to-be-kindergartners. The little figures pictured here are the second project we did with things gathered from my backyard. I can’t stop looking at them, I like them so much.

Stick and petal figure

Stick and petal figure

I have goals that this project fulfills. I want the children to use their fingers mindfully, which is necessary to place the materials just so. I want to notice the shape of plants, including learning that most plants have round stems but mint plants have square stems, which they can feel when rolling the stems between their fingers. I want to talk to them about the names of plants. One of children surprised me by knowing the names of many of the plants: his “Nona” taught him.

The first plant related project I did with these kids had to do with geometric shapes. I found out that straight lines and plants don’t go together well.

Foliage, squared

Foliage, squared

Because I’ve done projects like this with numbers and letters, it seemed just fine to me to expand into doing shapes. Wrong.

Making Shapes

Making Shapes

I realized too late that doing geometry with plants is different than using plants so make numbers. The defining difference for these projects is that a wonky number 5 is still a five, but a wonky square is something entirely different from a square.

Rectangles

Rectangles

I compensated for the geometric imprecision by photoshopping in the requisite shapes.

I brought these photo reproductions of the childrens’ work in the week after we made them. I loved how the kids were up for me challenging their logic: What are these shapes? Triangles! Are they the same shape? NO!!! Huh? But you just told me they are both triangles, so they must be the same shape?!?! NO!!?! They’re different shaped triangles!

Tomorrow is the last day I see these kids. I will be bringing in cards with the flower people on them, and we’ll play a game with them that works on using words that describe relationship and position. I’ll be taking notes and writing about how that goes.

Sorting

Sorting

In the meantime, I’m just loving looking at these pictures.

This is how I wonder.

After learning the folds of the stacking boxes of the Zhen Xian Bao, then making them out of precious papers, making careful, deliberate decisions slowly, I’m ready to become more familiar with this structure. The way I do this is to just hang out with it.

To me, hanging out with structure means folding everything I can get my hands on using all the folds that I know, and learning some new ones too. This way I get to explore how each paper works out for me, I get to ask different questions of the structure, and see what happens when I release control of the many decisions.

Wondering about Chinese Thread Book 2

 

Along the way new question occur to me, I develop preferences, and interesting materials seem to find their way to me.  The more I do the more questions I have. I have a long way to go here, but wanted to share this part of the journey.

 

 

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