I've always dreamt about being a gypsy. Something about their nomadic lifestyle has always fascinated me, even as a kid. Although as a kid, I wasn't exposed to many gypsies in my fairly tame suburban life, so I latched onto the next best thing, Carnies! Carnies were far more accessible, kind of like the suburban gypsy, not quite as exotic, but just as interesting. Breezing into small towns all over the country, setting up shop for a few days, then simply vanishing in the middle of the night..with only the remains of a deflated balloon or an empty popcorn container to prove they were ever there. Something about the way they seemed to magically appear and disappear, within the blink of an eye, was always hauntingly fascinating to me. You would see their trailers set up along the perimeter of the midway and I always wondered what went on after hours. It all seemed very mysterious to me at the time. As a teenager I hatched this plan that I was going to disguise myself and somehow join a Carnival family, living amongst them in hopes of learning their secrets. I would travel with them throughout the country for one year and then write a book detailing my adventures. It seemed like a fantastic idea at the time, although my mom was quick to point out that I probably wouldn't have much luck convincing them I was a true Carny, and also that it would be unethical to pose as something I'm not in hopes of infiltrating their camp and writing an expose on their way of life. (I also had a similar plan around that time, same scenario except that I was going to disguise myself and live in one of the "hollers" in Appalachia, live there for one year, write a book, blah blah, blah, my mom shot that one down as well). As an adult I realize the unethical nature of my old plan and now know that their are cultural anthropologists that do that sort of thing for a living (without all the clandestine cloak & dagger disguising business, of course). I never did get to join a Carnival family, or live in Appalachia for that matter, but I continue to be fascinated with those kinds of small, fringe, subcultures. And I did have an encounter with real gypsies several years ago when I was visiting Florence. Well not an encounter "per se", but I did SEE them (encounter just sounded more interesting). There was a whole gypsy clan, men, women, and children, spanning an entire sidewalk while we were shopping one day, sitting on several blankets strewn about. The women kind of looked how you would expect a gypsy to look. They weren't wearing bandanas on their heads, large gold hoop earrings, and handkerchief hem skirts, like I used to wear when I would dress up as a gypsy for a Halloween...no, not how you would expect in THAT way, but rather they were wearing lots of layers of clothing. They had dark features, complexion, and hair, one of the shop owners told my friend and I that they were from Romania. I remember that they had several chihuahuas with them and I was disappointed that one of them was on a cell phone...(in my fantasy gypsies DO NOT use cell phones) They had the children begging for money from all the tourists shopping, it was actually very sad, a more exotic version of our country's homeless population. Definitely not the romanticized vision I had as a child. But despite this knowledge, there's still a part of me that's intrigued by their nomadic spirit, enchanted by the seemingly simple nature of their lifestyle...not being constrained by physical possessions, homes, mortgages, car payments, etc. and having the ability to go wherever the spirit moves them...I guess in that way, I'll always have a bit of wanderlust in my bones...
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Ok, so I'm no quick draw mcgraw, but believe or not, I just discovered the beauty of clipping masks a few months ago. Despite using photoshop for years (completely self-taught), I've somehow let this little wonder tool escape my radar. Now that me and clipping masks have been formally introduced, it's been love at first sight and we are currently involved in a pretty racy affair...I mean I use them every night just about, I can't get enough of them! Do you guys know what clipping masks are? The answer is probably yes, you've probably all known since like kindergarten, but for those of you like myself, let me explain. The clipping mask tool in photoshop is this fabulous little function that allows you to literally "clip" select layers to a base layer. In doing so, any layer that you "clip" to your base layer will stay contained within the shape of that base layer. For instance, if your base layer is a heart shape and the layer above your base layer is a scanned piece of antique lace, you simply "click" the lace layer to the heart shape and it becomes a lacy heart! Amazing I tell you! Did that make any sense? I'm not always the best tutorialist, ( I'm pretty sure I just made that word up, but I like it, so I'm going with it ). In essence, the lace layer will only be visible within the confine's of the heart's shape. And it's very simple to do, I'm not sure how it works on a PC, but on a Mac you simply highlight the layer you want to "clip"and press the "option" key while left clicking on your mouse. When you do that you will see a little icon appear that looks like two interlocked circles, and voila! You've clipped two layers together! Very simple in theory and process, but the possibilities in using this function are truly endless, allowing you to create little worlds within the shape of your base layer. The two designs featured above this post were created using multiple clipping masks and "clipping" several layers to the base layer of the silhouette. Can you tell what is making up the profile of the 2nd design? Most people I've asked have a hard time at first and really need to look at it a few times before they get it. Post your comments on what you think it is and the 1st person to get the correct answer will receive one FREE Dollface Design Digital Download of their choice from my etsy shop , yippee! Is that bribing you for comments? I'm pretty sure it is, and I'm ok with that...there's no shame in my game ♥
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Ok, It's now March 16th, 2011, or at least I THINK it's March 16th, 2011...if it's not I'm sure I'm only off about a day or so...but that means I have officially not blogged in over a month! Super sad, I know...I may be just about the worst blogger in the blogosphere, or at least the worst blogger in town...either way I'm up there. But I think I'm safe because I'm pretty sure no one is reading this anyway, so I guess I can be an irresponsible blogger without consequences...it's kind of liberating. I was just about to make some potentially false promises about "being a better blogger" blah blah blah, but decided against it in the nick of time. That way I can keep on being a slacker and if I actually do get my act together my one reader (Hi Mom!) will actually be surprised...I like to keep you guys on your toes. I actually do have some important information today, I bet you were wondering if all this rambling would eventually go somewhere and it will, lucky you! In honor of my cultural heritage I'm offering 20% off EVERYTHING in my shop to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, whoopee! Take a stroll over to my etsy shop, make a purchase (fingers crossed) and simply enter coupon code ErinGoBraless20 upon checkout and YOU will receive 20% of your entire order! Why? Because I LOVE YOU! Oh yeah, and I was lying about my heritage, I'm actually Portuguese and Italian, not even a tiny bit Irish, although I do love leprechauns and rainbows, which should count for something. So that was a lie...but there really is a coupon code, I swear! Happy March 16th (I think) ♥
Monday, February 14, 2011
Love is in the air over at Dollface Design! And I've got a bevy of Valentine Treats that can't be beat over at my etsy shop, including a whole bunch of Valentine Digital Downloads that you can download and print lickety split! And if you're a bit of a procrastinator such as I am (just ordered my husband's Valentine's Day present last night, yikes!) then these digital downloads are the perfect antidote! Why subject yourself to getting bumped and bamboozled in the card aisle of your local big box store (with all the other last minute lucys!) when you can get an original handmade Valentine from the cozy comfort of your casa? Perfect for the non-traditonal Valentine enthusiast, each design is lovingly collaged and created by me for YOU! And you can be sure that you're sweet will be getting a Valentine just as unique and original as they are ♥ And if love's not your thing this year, I've even got an Anti-Valentine perfect for those folks in your life that just can't seem to get the hint (you know who I'm talking about!). Above designs are just a small sampling to whet your whistle, but you can bet there's more love where that came from, take a peek!
What are you guys doing for Valentine's Day? Me and my BB4L (best bud for life, aka. husband) are staying in and he's cooking me my favorite meal, shrimp scampi with homemade pasta, yum! I'll be picking up a delicious desert for us to share, I'm thinking I'll get this mongo chocolate peanut butter cupcake I saw at Whole Foods over the weekend, and we'll just gorge ourselves on sweet treats and love! Are you puking yet? Sickening yes, but we are still newlyweds :) Wishing you all a wonderful day full of sweetness and love!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Why, yes it's true! In fact, I've probably believed and dreamed as many as six hundred impossible things before breakfast...most as I'm lying in bed at night, trying to fall asleep (albeit unsuccessfully) as my mind is awhirl and atwirl with so many ideas I can barely keep them straight! But that counts as before breakfast...don't you think?
After a long hiatus, (too long), I'm back. I seemed to have separated from my art in the last two years, wandering down a different path, but now that we've found each other again, things seem to be even better...I believe that creativity and the process that inevitably follows, feeds your imagination and one idea seems to bloom into another, and another...and another...and before you know it, your mind is swirling with all the impossibilities you dream of making possible. When I truly began making art two years ago, I was at a bit of a crossroads with myself, it was a time of transition, exciting and unsettling all at once...fast forward two years later and I seemed to have settled into myself. I met the love of my life, fell in love, moved in together, got married, and have a fantastically amazing five year old stepson. All of a sudden it wasn't just me anymore, I had a family, and responsibilities to people other than myself. I thought it would be difficult to settle into, I always thought of myself as a bit selfish...sleeping till noon, wandering wherever I pleased, whenever I pleased, without a care...but it was a role I fell into easily...I guess that's the way it goes when things work out as they're meant to be. But all of those experiences led me back to where I am today...exactly where I'm supposed to be, and I've never felt as settled or as ME as I do right now. I guess I needed that time and that space, uninterrupted by the creative process and the tempest of thoughts and ideas that follow (as I tend to be rather obsessive that way) to allow myself to believe in something other than the possibility of art... and believe in the possibility of love, trust, and family...But in retrospect I realize that it's really not that separate after all...it all intertwines and weaves together, forming a tiny path that you can only see if you look really hard and and believe in the possibility that it might lead somewhere...I'm glad I was paying attention.