Nov 26 2013

Finding Your Voice
(Or Not!)


Finding your artistic voice is a common topic in artistic circles. Wanna have a solo show? Ya gotta have a voice. Applying for a grant? Need that voice. Being recognizable is something we strive for. Artist Shea Hembrey has taken a different approach in his conceptual project entitled Seek. Seek is a biennial or Biennale—pronounced “be a nolly”—the hoity-toity term for a huge art fair that takes place every two years. You haven’t heard of the Seek Biennial? It could be because the show, the curators, the 100 artists, and over 400 works of art are all inventions of Hembrey.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or something stronger and watch Hembrey talk about the project and the artists in this 16 minute TED talk. If your browser blocks this embedded video, click here to go directly to the link: (

If you don’t have time to watch it now, check out the work of three of his artists (note that two are fiber artists!). Then come back and watch the video.

Fae Akinola (Shea Hembrey)

Fae Akinola (Shea Hembrey)

Azar Rezazadeh (Shea Hembrey)

Azar Rezazadeh (Shea Hembrey)

Nell Reynold (Shea Hembrey)

Nell Reynold (Shea Hembrey)

So why are the Pixeladies writing about this? We tell stories in cloth. We love the stories behind the art. We love to listen to a good story. Shea Hembrey’s Seek combines all of these things. And besides, maybe we don’t have to struggle to come up with a single voice from two distracted minds. What do you think?

Nov 12 2013

Tech Tuesday: Cropping Is A Good Thing!


We often have students ask us something like “How come my photos don’t look as good as the ones I see in the magazines?” Setting equipment, talent, and training aside for a moment, you can dramatically increase the impact of your photo simply by cropping it. Photoshop’s cropping tool is very easy to use. We have a recent photo we can use as an example.


Well, we’re all smiles, but what’s going on elsewhere in the photo?! For example, salt and pepper shakers have sneaked into the foreground and need to go. The guy on the left looks like he’s trying to take a bite out of Kris’ arm, and we won’t even get into what the guy on the right seems to be staring at! Yes, we could spend hours erasing them from the photo, but the quick and often best solution is to crop.

CropToolOpen your image in Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) and select the crop tool, shown here on the right. Click and drag the cursor in a diagonal direction and you’ll see how the image will be cropped. Don’t worry about letting go. You can click and pull any of the small squares on the bounding box to change the width and length. Click inside the bounding box to move the box around.


Want to start out with a definite size for your cropped photo? With the crop tool selected, go to the Options bar (pictured below) and enter the dimensions you want. Photoshop will do the rest!


So here we are with fewer distractions. Now we might look and see about getting rid of that little devil sitting on Jeanne’s shoulders, but that’s another lesson!


P.S. The photo is of us and Jeanne Marklin, our good friend and fellow artist from Massachusetts. We went to the De Young Museum in San Francisco last week to see the exhibit called David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, which runs through January 20, 2014. (Another Tech Tuesday post?) You don’t want to miss it!