Feb 15 2017

What We Found at the Met

deb-of-pixeladies

Yesterday I told you about the Met joining forces with Creative Commons. Click here to read the post. Today I’ll show you some of the goodies I found. By now you know Kris and I both love text. We don’t even have to know what it means to like it. My favorites (this week) are illuminated Persian manuscripts.

“”Abu’l Mihjan and Sa`d ibn Abi Wakkas Before a Ruler”, Folio from a Khavarannama (The Book of the East) of ibn Husam al-Din”
by Maulana Muhammad Ibn Husam ad Din (Persian, died 1470)
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art licensed under CC0 1.0

Here’s an excerpt from Met’s description:

This manuscript of the legendary exploits of ‘Ali, nephew and son-in-law of the Prophet, is illustrated in a style associated with the White Sheep (Aq Qoyunlu) Turkoman dynasty ruling in the western part of Iran during the last third of the fifteenth century. Within a conventional framework, the artist of this miniature has combined a harmonious and balanced composition with sureness of drawing, crisp forms, pleasant colors and a variety of decorative patterns. (To read more, click on the link below the image.)

I like the flat look of it. After you learn about perspective and how to realize it in your own art, it’s fun to see examples of really “flat” art. I like the text in the next piece I found.

“Anthology of Persian Poetry”
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art licensed under CC0 1.0

The diagonal text on the border is very different. For some reason the text made me think of Dancing in the Louvre by my quilting idol, Faith Ringgold. 

Then I broadened my search and found other art movements with interesting text.

“Design for a certificate, awarded by the city of Vienna for the most beautiful floral balcony decorations (balcony below text)”
by Erwin Puchinger (Austrian, Vienna 1875–1944 Vienna)
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

“Chinese Junk”
by Utagawa Yoshitora (Japanese, active ca. 1850–80)
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

“Story Title Page,”Maria Morevna”, verso: text”
by Boris Zvorykin (Russian, Moscow 1872–1942 Paris)
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

“Wind among the Trees on the Riverbank”
by Ni Zan (Chinese, 1306–1374), China
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

I finally stopped when I came up with this one. No text, just beautiful colors

“Blue and Green Landscape with Figure”
by After Chen Hongshou (Chinese, 1599–1652), China
via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

But I did have to lighten it a bit so I could see the beautiful design. 😉

Blue and Green Landscape with Figure (cleaned up)

To go directly to a Creative Commons search for art from the Met, follow this link. If you sign up for an account with Creative Commons, you can create lists of images and tag your favorite pieces. Oh yeah, I sure loved using the links Creative Commons provided to credit the art.

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Feb 14 2017

Tech Tuesday: The Met Goes Public–Domain, That Is

deb-of-pixeladies

There are real advantages to collaborating. Here’s one I hadn’t thought of. Kris and I don’t read the same articles, websites, and blogs. So when one of us sees something exciting, we share it with the other. Kris stumbled across a good one. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) has partnered with Creative Commons to make images of public-domain art in the museum available for free and unrestricted use. So why is this such a big deal? Let’s say you are creating a class on digital design (we are), and you would like to have some great examples to use in your class (we do). And let’s say you want to use these images for commercial purposes (yep, that’s us). We don’t have to contact The Met to get permission to use these images anymore (Are you kidding me?). And, the images come with text and html credits. (OMG! Do you realize how much time that saves us?)
So here’s how it works:

Go to this website: https://ccsearch.creativecommons.org/themet. I did a search for lotus textiles.

Creative Commons Page

When I click on an image, I am taken to another page with Creative Commons information. Click on the “How to use this work” link,

“How to use this Work” page

and I’m taken to the Met’s webpage and I get a wonderful 3811 pixel x 3009 pixel image that I can save to my computer.

Kyōgen Costume: Jacket (Suō) with Design of Lotuses

And I don’t even have to make the citation. Click on the “Copy credit as text button,” and when I paste it I get this:

“Kyōgen Costume: Jacket (Suō) with Design of Lotuses” by Japan via The Metropolitan Museum of Art is licensed under CC0 1.0

When you paste it into a document, it comes with the italics, etc. But even more impressive is when I use the “Copy credit as HTML” button I get this:

Which, when copied to my blog post, gives me this fully formatted link and caption:

“Kyōgen Costume: Jacket (Suō) with Design of Lotuses”
by Japan via The Metropolitan Museum of Art
is licensed under CC0 1.0

It almost makes you want to go back to school and write research papers, doesn’t it? The Met also has a “Print” button that will allow you to print (or print to a file) all the information about the artwork with links to related objects.

If you know anything about us, we can’t just stop at one image. We browse and search, and pretty soon we’ve wasted the whole day. So you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see some of the cool things I found. Until then, back to work.

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Feb 8 2017

Classes At The Schweinfurth

Pixelkris

There are so many quilting classes out there that it’s sometimes difficult to sort through them all to find one that is most suited to your needs and desires. We recently came upon the summer class schedule for the Schweinfurth Art Center in Auburn, NY (near Syracuse). If you’re looking for serious artist teachers, you need look no further. We’ve taken classes or heard lectures from both Rosalie Dace and Maria Shell, so we think they would be great. Because we are working on our new design class, and I keep thinking about line, I am particularly intrigued by Kathy Loomis‘s class called “Fine Line Piecing.”

In this class you’ll learn how to sew very thin lines of all types, including straight, curved, and swoopy, and then incorporate them into an art piece. Kathy is also teaching Improvisational Strip Piecing, so that might be more up your alley. If you do have the opportunity to learn with Kathy, ask her about her flag quilts. I still think they’re among her best work.

And a little P.S. from Deb: at our Studio Art Quilt Associates conference in 2016, Kathy spoke about the benefits of working in a series. While she showed examples from abstract artists, it made me want to go back and examine our text pieces, and see if I noticed changes over time. And, no, I haven’t gotten around to that yet!

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Feb 1 2017

Pixeladies Class Contest: We Have A Winner!

Pixelkris

Last week we held a contest to give away a Pixeladies online class. We asked our readers to leave a comment on our blog post about inspiration and documentation. Well, today we randomly drew* a winner: Kit Vincent! Kit wins a Pixeladies online class. Now, Kit can enroll in any Pixeladies class she wants to, but we think she might be interested in our Digital Designing class because:

  • she already knows how to use of the basic tools of Photoshop Elements
  • she is a fabulous fiber artist and might enjoy learning how to digitally create the elements of design
  • she would meet other students and get as inspired by their work as much as we do
  • and she’s from Canada. Actually, that’s not really a reason to take the class; we just love having students from all over the world!

Some of our scarf designs

If you are interested in enrolling in “Digital Designing,” registration starts April 1 for the class that begins May 1. Click here for more information. Thanks again for everyone who left comments. You’ve really inspired us!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* This is how we made our random draw:

  1. We cut and pasted everyone’s email address into a spreadsheet.
  2. We then used a random number generator to assign a number to everyone.
  3. Then we sorted the list by the random number.
  4. Then Kris pulled out her telephone book (yes, she still has a few in the living room!).
  5. Deb, who was at her home talking to Kris on the phone, told her to open the phone book to a particular page.
  6. Deb then called out a random column and then a random row, like “seventh row from the top.”
  7. Kris then called off the last two digits of that phone number, and voilà, we had our winner!

Total silliness but some retro fun with the telephone book!

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Jan 24 2017

Tech Tuesday: Fabric Printing, Part 3

Pixelkris

We are often asked to recommend a good online fabric-printing service. A few years ago we wrote a couple of reviews. You can read them here:

Online Fabric-Printing Service Review 1
Online Fabric-Printing Service Review 2

This past summer we had the opportunity to write a more comprehensive article about online fabric-printing services for the SAQA* Journal. Click here to read it. The upshot of the article is that you need to identify your needs (such as type of fabric desired and the importance of black to your image) before deciding on a particular company. And, we found that different companies excel in different areas. We hope our articles are helpful to you. Leave us a comment, if you would like us to review a different online fabric-printing service .

SamplesFabricPrinting

Sample image from the article

* The SAQA Journal is one of the many benefits of membership in Studio Art Quilt Associates. You can view back issues (older than two years) without membership, but we think the journal alone is worth the price of our membership! Thank you, SAQA, for permission to post the article on our website. Click here to view more SAQA Journal articles.

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Jan 17 2017

Inspiration and Documentation

deb-of-pixeladies

Kris and I are revamping our Digital Designing class. Sometimes it takes us quite a while to formulate a class, but this one came together in an afternoon. I just love it when that happens. So while Kris was fleshing out the outline, I was looking for inspiration for projects. I’d really love to have our students submit images of what they’d like to learn to create, but sometimes when a student is given such an open assignment, they freeze up. It’s sort of like having a new sketchbook; sometimes you just don’t know where to start. Someone once told me they took an art class where the instructor made a mark in the student’s sketch book, just so it wasn’t blank. But I digress.

I keep folders of ideas. I’ve never been a journal-type person. I wish I were, but it’s just not in my DNA. I scrawl notes on scraps of paper, rip ideas out of magazines, keep Pinterest boards, make written and audio memos on my phone, etc.

 

Last year I did manage to put most of the ideas on paper into a large binder, but it’s not organized at all.

Idea Binder

Idea Binder

Here are a few of the things from my idea book I thought might be helpful for our design class.

 

 

 

 

 

How do you document your inspiration? What would you want to learn in our Digital Designing class? Leave us a comment below by January 31, and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a free class! The winner will be announced on February 1, 2017.

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Jan 10 2017

Tech Tuesday: Duplicate File Finder

deb-of-pixeladies

As promised in yesterday’s blog post, I’m going to show you why I’m in love with Duplicate File Finder by Ashisoft.com. You might notice that I have the Pro Edition. The free version looks the same; some of the features are just deactivated. More on that later. Sorry Mac peeps, this is a PC-only program.
Once I installed and opened the program, the interface was pretty intuitive. It opened with a tip I found very comforting. (Just click on any image to enlarge it.)

Helpful tip

Helpful tip

When you close the tip box, you are presented with the “Search Locations” window. Add a path and you’re ready to start. The default search is “Find Unique Files.” When you press Start Search, DFF will find all files that are NOT duplicates.

4264 unique files

4264 unique files

In this example, I’m searching the one folder I didn’t clean up while Kris was vacationing: “Presentations” on my E drive (7764 files). Finding the unique files is helpful if you want to copy those files to another location. Because I really want to find the duplicate files in order to delete them, I need to change my search settings.
At this point, I’m going to concentrate on the first two search options. You can search for files by file name or contents (byte by byte). What’s the difference? Below is a screenshot where I chose “Match File Names.” When you click on that option, you have more choices. For this example, I chose “Same File Names” and “Same File Extension.”

Compare by file name

Compare by file name

DFF found 2408 duplicate files. Can I simply delete all the duplicates? Not with these settings. Consider the next screenshots. In the first one, it found 2 files called scarf.jpg and Scarf.jpg (DFF sees upper and lowercase letters as being the same). But look at the preview of the images. They’re not even the same image. I don’t want to delete either of those files.

Same name, different images

Same name, different images

In the next example, DFF found two files named deb.jpg, but look at the file sizes. They’re vastly different. I don’t want to delete either of those files, because they’re technically not the same. They just have the same name and file extension (.jpg).

Same name, different size

Same name, different size

It’s easy to compare .jpg files—there’s a preview window. Other types of files aren’t as easy. If I have to open and compare each file and choose the duplicates manually, that defeats my reason for using the program. Fortunately, DFF has the option of finding real duplicates—files that have the exact same bytes. This time I’m going to select “Match Contents (Byte by Byte).” Again, when I choose that type of search, I have more options. This time I’m not going to check any of them. I want to find all the duplicates, no matter what they are called or what date is associated with them. Below is the screenshot showing I now have 2210 duplicate files instead of 2408. Note there are fewer files that are true duplicates.

Byte by Byte comparison

Byte by Byte comparison

Let’s look at the files that are duplicates. DFF found 5 files that are physically the same: 4 with the same name (bettie54dish1.jpg) and one called slide0093_image020.jpg. I can delete 4 of those files. To do that, choose the Easy Marking tab and click on Mark All Duplicate files. By default DFF keeps the newest file in each group (the groups are numbered and differentiated by the color in the file list). The screenshot below shows 4 of the files marked for deletion.) Now I feel confident I can click the Delete button. If I were really paranoid, I could copy or move those files to another location. But I really want to get rid of them! (DFF tells me I could gain up to 7 GB in disk space just by deleting my duplicate files. Wow!)

Same file, different name

Same file, different name

The free version of Duplicate File Finder has saved me hours of work! So, why did I purchase the Pro Version? I did it for the marking options. If you recall from the preview post, I said I had files on two computers along with CDs, DVDs and external hard drives. With the Pro version, I can choose to keep all the files on a certain drive (a DVD, for example) and delete the ones on all of the other drives. Or, I can choose to move all the unique files to my internal hard drive. Or . . . . The Pro Version gives me more options. For most of you that won’t be necessary. But for me, $50 was worth every penny. The price depends on how many computers you want to search. Here’s a link to the pricing schedule. Also, the Pro license gives you free updates for a year (but you can use the program forever), and you can transfer the license to a different computer in case you buy a new one. Oh! Did I mention there are tutorials?

Online tutorials

Online tutorials

If you try Duplicate File Finder, let us know what you think. And, if you know of a comparable program for Mac, leave us a comment.

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Jan 9 2017

Tech Tuesday Preview: Duplicate File Finder

deb-of-pixeladies

Well, it’s not Tuesday yet, but I just thought I would begin today because you can’t get started on this stuff soon enough! If you are paranoid, like we are, you’ll save your files in different places. For example, we might have Project1.psd on my computer, Kris’ computer, and our Google drive. We tell each other, “We’ll delete the duplicates when we have more time.” We periodically back up the files here in the Pixeladies’ Studio. I keep one of the hard drives here in the studio, and Kris takes one to her house. I just keep backing up files, but I know many duplicates exist. So when Kris and her sister took their vacation to Japan, I decided “more time” had arrived.

I wanted to back up 13 years (yes, 13 years!!) of Pixeladies’ files and get rid of the duplicates. First I ordered three new 2 Terabyte hard drives. Then I pulled out all of our CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray disks, hard drives, and yes, even some floppy disks. Yep, we’re old.

Cords everywhere!

Cords everywhere!

Having investigated duplicate file finder programs years ago, I had an inkling of what was possible. But now we had files not only on all the above-mentioned media but also on two desktop computers (networked), our Google Drive, and Dropbox. Egads! I wanted to be able to find all the duplicates, no matter where they were located, and delete the duplicates.
After doing some research, I found Ashisoft’s Duplicate File Finder (DFF). It appeared it would do everything I wanted, and it was free! So I hooked up all the hard drive docks and Blu-Ray readers I could find to our computers; each computer has a CD/DVD player. There were USB wires and power cords everywhere. I started Duplicate File Finder and went out to dinner.

Out to dinner

Out to dinner

When I returned, I saw that DFF had found gajillions of duplicate files. I started to delete the duplicates, then noticed that if I purchased the Pro version of DFF, I would have some automated methods of deleting files, such as deleting all the duplicates from Kris’ computer. Hmm, so maybe I should buy the Pro version. Tune in tomorrow, when I’ll not only reveal my answer but show you how Duplicate File Finder works!

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Jan 4 2017

Ahh, The Company We Keep!

Pixelkris

I regularly check out the website of Studio Art Quilt Associates because they frequently change their homepage banners. For me, it’s a weekly art fix. Well, wasn’t I surprised to check in the other day to find this amazing collage:

Jan 2017 SAQA Banner

Jan 2017 SAQA Banner

Wow, our Obama quilt is in great company! These artists have produced some amazing work, and we hope you click on their names to view more of their work. Let’s take a closer look at these “faces.”

Zazen

Zazen

Margaret Abramshe‘s “Zazen” is an explosion of color. She works with family photos to create compelling stories. Even subjects such as a pallbearer and immigrant are striking in their use of color.

Trusting

Trusting

One of our oldest SAQA friends, Mary Pal works with professional photographers in order to concentrate on portraits of older people. She is able to achieve remarkable and sensitive portrayals using . . . cheesecloth. Mary molds the cheesecloth into a story right on the person’s face, even if we don’t know exactly what that story is.

Masked Self Portrait

Masked Self Portrait

Kate Themel is known for her ability to create light. From the camera lens in this self portrait to her street scenes, look for her brilliant lighting effects. And, remember, she’s doing it all with fabric and thread.

Romancing Red

Romancing Red

Michelle Jackson often uses text in her work. In this case, she does so to great effect by interspersing words for the color red throughout the piece. It’s also an evocative portrait, creating other sensations associated with the color red.

The Picture is Only Half the Story

The Picture is Only Half the Story

Have you seen the Pixeladies‘s gallery of text art recently? We’ve been working away on pieces in our Language of Color series and our Walk a Mile in Her Shoes series. We use text to subtly influence meaning with specific word usage.

Always curious as to how things get done, I wrote SAQA’s multi-talented assistant executive director, Jennifer Solon, and asked her how these collages are selected and assembled for the SAQA banners. “I am still the person creating the banners. I select the artwork using the selections from the most recent online gallery,” Jennifer replied. We must note that among her many duties, Jennifer is still SAQA’s website master!

This month’s online gallery is called “Faces and Expressions.” You can access it by clicking here. Please take a look because there are so many other fascinating works of art in this gallery. Hats off to SAQA member Shruti Dandekar, who curated this particular online gallery!

Note: SAQA is always looking for guest curators. If you are an interested SAQA member, contact galleries@saqa.com for more information.

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Dec 28 2016

The Power Of Word Of Mouth & Ohio

Pixelkris

We’re in the middle of registration for our next series of Photoshop Elements classes, and we’ve noticed a curious thing. The last time we taught online, we had several Canadians enroll. This time around, 26% of the Elements 1 students are from Ohio. Ohio!! Over 1/4 of our students . . . so far . . . from the same state. We don’t know if folks in Ohio have been talking about us, but we do find it extraordinary to get so many students from one US state. This is the fun part about teaching online. We get to meet people from all over. Besides the US and Canada, we’ve had students from as far away as Sweden, Australia, and Greece. And in 2017 we’ll have our first student from the Dutch Caribbean. (By the way, the Dutch Caribbean has quite an interesting geopolitical history. Read about it here.) Needless to say, we don’t have the marketing budget to reach out to all these countries, so we have relied heavily on word of mouth. When students talk about their good learning experiences in our classes, it makes all the difference. Take fiber artist Kathy Loomis, for example. Her blog entries have steered several students our way. Read one of her entries about our classes here. Thanks, Kathy!

Back to Ohio. Ohio is special to us not only for the online students we have had. Some of our first exhibition opportunities happened in Ohio. Since it’s the end of the year, we thought it would be fun to talk a quick look back.

In 2007, when Sacred Threads was still located in Reynoldsburg, “Owuo Atwedee” enjoyed its premiere. Some nice person even sent us a review of the exhibition in the local paper because they had published a photo of our quilt with the review! We have another quilt traveling with Sacred Threads 2016 because our first experience was so wonderful.

Owuo Atweedee

Owuo Atweedee

In 2010, we had the honor of having “The Picture is Only Half the Story” exhibited in “The Journey of Hope in America: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama” at the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center in Wilberforce. We felt so welcomed. This artwork has recently sold, marking the end of a special time for us.

The Picture is Only Half the Story

The Picture is Only Half the Story

In 2013, “American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation” premiered at the Dairy Barn’s Quilt National ’13 in Athens. We loved the artist reception and the opportunity to meet and network with such talented artists.

American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation

American Still Life: The Weight of the Nation

We’re looking forward to teaching again in 2017. Photoshop Elements 1 begins January 16. Whether you are from Ohio, Europe, or Timbuktu, we’d love to have you join us. Click here for more class information. And if you are a student who has posted about our classes, thank you for spreading the word! Your good word is our best recommendation. Here’s to a creative, productive, and remarkable 2017!

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