Thursday, September 25, 2014

1950s in a Box

Someone gave me a Marilyn Monroe tin for inspiration, and it was sitting on my shelf for several months before I realized it could be used as a 3-D canvas. Considering Ms. Monroe on the front, it was only fitting that anyone who peeks in the box should see a glimpse into her world.

I don't know what her vanity specifically looked like, but this design is a composite of period bedrooms I studied, adjusted for the materials I had on hand. Those materials include patterned papers, aluminum recycled from a beer can, fabric, thread, ink, and pencil.

See it on Etsy.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Here's a collage inspired by a 1930s photo booth snapshot. The woman, who is identified as "Ann," looks like she ducked inside to get out of the cold. I gave her a coat made from felt and velvet, and a decorative button for the lapel.

I also used a paper-like fabric with green and gold, various patterned papers, a feather I found, thread, gel pen, acrylic, and ink. Her face is done with watercolor pencil and prismacolor.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Embassy Festival

The Hague, Netherlands

Where can you watch a traditional Thai dance, eat Pakistani chicken and rice with mango sauce for lunch, and then learn about Tango over a cup of Argentinian tea, all within a day? The Hague's Embassy Festival is a chance to do all of this and more! Last weekend was the second annual festival, showcasing the different countries who are represented in the International City of Peace and Justice.

The festival was crowded with curious visitors.

A large crowd turned out, with many of the tents packed with people tasting wine, collecting travel brochures, and buying handcrafted souvenirs. This was a chance for countries to show off their cuisine with aromas of fried coconut balls, shish kebab roasting over coals, and tortillas on the grill beckoning visitors every which way.

Slovakian majolica pottery.
Performers entertained throughout the day. I walked from one tent with dancers from Thailand to another featuring a French flutist. Along the way I picked up some Filipino recipes, tried a lightly seasoned fried bread ball at the Haiti tent, and perused Russian nesting dolls.

Thai dance. Their colorful dresses really brightened up the overcast day!

Despite being right next to the U.S. embassy along the beautiful Lange Voorhout promenade, the Americans didn't make an appearance.

In a city full of embassies located in beautiful, historic
buildings, this has to be the most foreboding one I've seen...

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


The 20th century is, I think, one of the most fascinating periods of history. The changes during the last century had distinct and direct influence on our society today. We may be tempted to take these changes for granted, forgetting that we only got here through the work and bravery of people such as Helen Richey, a pioneer of aviation and trailblazer for opening male dominated fields (such as piloting) to women.

Growing up near an airport, Richey was inspired to earn her pilot's license at age 20. She learned stunt flying and competed in races.

In 1933 Richey teamed up with fellow pilot and friend Frances Harrel Marsalis to embark on an endurance flight of nearly 10 days in the air in an attempt to break the record for a female pilot. A third of the trip was completed when the plane's wing was torn during midair refueling. Richey found herself crawling out onto the damaged wing with her needle and thread and successfully repaired the tear to finish the rest of the flight.

On the heels of the good press she got from her flight, she became the first female pilot hired by a commercial airline. However, she was rejected by the all male pilot's union and the company was more interested in using her publicity than her skills so she left after a short time. Amelia Earhart learned of her treatment and protested, but Richey did not return to commercial flying.

Instead, she and Earhart teamed up for the Bendix Race, where they finished in 5th place. Richey continued to push the boundaries of flight, and in 1936 she set records for travelling 77 mph in her class of light plane, and for reaching an altitude of 18,000 feet in a plane weighing less than 440 pounds.

By the early '40s, she was working as an instructor, being the first woman to earn a teaching license and also to train military pilots, until she went to England to join the Air Transport Auxiliary, a British civilian organization which ferried aircraft and personnel during WWII. She returned to the US and joined the Women Airforce Service Pilots.

After the war, she grew despondent, believing her flying days were over. She died in 1947, tragically by her own hand.

This portrait honors Richey's passion, determination, and bravery. The phrase "Spread your wings and fly" is meant to inspire us to find these things within ourselves.

Acrylic, gel pen, india ink, Sharpie, fabric on canvas.

Learn More:

237 Hours 42 Minutes In The Air ! British Pathe, 1934

Helen Richey Collection on Flickr. San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives.

Krivyanski, J. Michael. Pittsburgh Area History: Female Aviation Pioneer Helen Richey., 2012.

Merry, Lois K. Women Military Pilots of World War II. McFarland, 2010.