Girly Garret

Living cute in a small space. That seems to be the fashionable way to live these days. Not only young people but also established and retired individuals and couples are downsizing to reduce the distractions in their lives. Many are choosing the “tiny homes” or lofts that offer a few hundred feet of living space over the previous thousand-to three thousand square feet former family homes. Some even create a small individual nook or cranny to call your own in the larger family home. We call this the Girly Garret because for us this is a creative space.

When living in small places the need to coordinate the furnishings becomes even more important than in the bigger places; a guest can see everything in the home the moment they walk in.

We all know our favorite colors, textures, styles although sometimes to have a professional providing a well coordinating eye can be a help. What are some of the things you love best? How can you make a space to show it off?

Often the tiny homes have limited wall space so a wall decal is a good purchase because it will stick on a cabinet or door, no nails just removable adhesive keeps the poster/print in place until you want to move it again.

Or perhaps you want to bring in touches of your colors or hobbies into your home by means of upholstery. Or throw blankets or pillows that you can change out when the mood suits you. Sometimes even dishes and towels can help coordinate your tiny space.

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Earth Mirror: Light

As autumn begins to settle in we notice the days are shorter and the sunsets come earlier. Soon we will notice the colors in our neighborhoods changing from bright green into the exuberant yellow, golds, and oranges of the season. The light that shines through the golden maples is often heart-wrenching beautiful, and we all stop for a moment and pull out our cameras to capture a piece of it. Light is important.

Light is a primary feature in art. Northern light is different from southern light. Desert light is different from tundra light or mountain light. Light on cold days is different from light on hot days. All of these differences create variations in art.

Then there are categories of overcast, sunburst, and dappled light. Each type of light sets a new tone for a painting, and that light is constantly changing. When he grew older, impressionist painter Claude Monet would set up a row of canvases. Every hour he would set the painting aside to wait for the next day’s exact time to catch the same light. Then switching to the next subject in a different series, paint in that hour’s light. His Rouen Cathedral series shows his interest in capturing the beauty of each hour of the day.

Photographers know all about light, it is one reason the good ones get great photos and the rest of us get what I call “snapshots” rather than “award winners”. The same is true for all forms of art, even stained glass windows, sculpture, and architecture—when the light hits at the right angle and the right intensity we gasp at the beauty at sights we have never bothered to notice.

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Sarah’s Eye

Clean lines, balanced placement, just the essentials are the marks of Sarah’s eye. After she began her wondering about Min’s eye, I began wondering about hers. Fair is fair after all, and I was curious what I would find.

I looked back at her early drawings, and later drawings, and her design work and began to notice the style. This became an easy task when our parents downsized from house to retirement home. The project allowed me to look at our old work and I began to differentiate between my old school pictures and hers with ease.

Sarah’s were drawings that told stories: there was William Tell shooting that arrow at the apple on his son’s head, there were the three pigs in their homes, and there were the ghosts of Halloween crossing our back yard. All the stories told in one image each. The characters had feet and hands and facial expressions, details were noted.

As for my old work? Sheets of just colors flowing together or layered, the suggestion of mountains by areas of pattern and color, a yellow blot of sun, a blue streak of water. A head and feet showing above and below a brightly painted garment, the hair on the head being purple, or orange or Crayola’s midnight blue.

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Deconstruction Reconstruction

Deconstruction by whatever name (demolition, chaos, ruins) we use sets a stage for new things to begin. We can take the rubble that is left and form it in new and interesting ways to create something new. Nature does this all the time.

Consider a volcano. When it erupts there is ash, lava, and the lahar. We are all familiar with ash and lava, but when you live down-valley from a 14,000 foot high volcano you become well aware of the lahar: melted glaciers rush down creating rivers of debris, trees, boulders, water, and mud adding to the ingredients everything that gets in its way, buildings, homes, animals. Everything. When it stops nothing that had been there is there anymore. It is a jumble of chaotic destruction. But it doesn’t remain that way.

Over a hundred years or so, the reconstruction of the new begins to show: the boulders grind down into soil, the trees decompose and add nutrients to the soil, and the rivers of fresh clean water run though the valley. Things begin to grow. Moss, vegetation, trees, wild flowers. People move there and suddenly the valley is filled with farms with animals and crops. Our Valley, created by Mount Rainier, was filled with hops and tulips as the primary crops, a gentle flat place in the midst of foothill sloping down to Puget Sound.

Now, as progress moves forward, the valley is no longer a small town near large towns and cities. The town expands each month, the farms are gone and warehouses are built on the fertile land. Houses, apartments, business replace the hops and the tulips and other crops. No longer are there serene views out the window, but rather traffic, the highway, the trucks that come with life as we know it.

And we ask ourselves: Is it deconstruction or reconstruction? The question of our era, the question of our days.

These are the issues Volcano Alley plays with in its designs. Is it deconstruction? Reconstruction? One on the way to the other?

::by Min Jarrett

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