Saturday, April 23, 2011

signs of spring

I'm so excited to see signs of spring everywhere, just in time for Easter. My daughter couldn't join us this year for our traditional Easter gathering with family. She's adjusting well to her new life in Florida but I have a feeling that she is missing our Easter traditions and the beautiful signs of spring here, perhaps just a little. These photos are for you Andrea! Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

color inspiration found in pysanky

I have to admit that Easter is my favorite holiday and part of the reason is because of Pysanky or Easter eggs. Decorating pysanky is a tradition I grew up with and one that has been handed down through generations of the Ukrainian heritage. The meaning of Pysanky is "to write" and a wax resist (batik) method is used with patterns drawn on the egg with wax. The wax protects the covered areas from the dye that is applied. A multi-colored pattern is created by repeating this process with different colors of dye. To give a pysanka was to give a symbolic gift of life, which is why the egg had to remain whole. The designs and colors on a pysanka are meant to convey to the recipient protection and good fortune. 
The colors used in pysanka are rich in symbolism:
WHITE – purity, birth, light, rejoicing, virginity
YELLOW – light and purity. It is the color consecrated to the light deities, and the sun, stars, and moon. It the Christian symbol of reward and recognition.
GOLD – spirituality and wisdom
ORANGE – endurance, strength and ambition. It is also the symbol of the everlasting sun.
PINK– success and contentment
GREEN – fertility, health and hopefulness; of spring, breaking bondage, freshness and wealth. It is the color of Christmas, Easter and the Epiphany.
RED – the magical color of folklore signifying action, charity and spiritual awakening. It also represents the sun and the joy of life and love. In the Christian era, it represents the divine love and passion of Christ, hope, passion, blood, fire and the ministry of the church.
BLUE – blue skies, the air, good health, truth and fidelity
PURPLE – fasting, faith, trust and patience
BROWN – Mother Earth and her bountiful gifts; earth, harvest, generosity
BLACK – eternity, the center of the Earth and the darkest time before dawn. Black also signified death, fear, and ignorance.

Combination of colors
BLACK and WHITE – mourning and respect for the souls of the dead
BLACK and RED – ignorance arising from passions
RED and WHITE – respect and protection from evil 
FOUR or MORE COLORS – family happiness, peace and love
Each symbols also have their own meanings. The most popular ones are geometric such as the triangle (the Holy Trinity and the elements of air, fire and water), diamonds (knowledge) and dots (tears of the blessed Virgin). 

My dad's family must have been from the Lembo area of the Ukraine because the eggs we created were the drop-pull style using a pin-head as shown above. I remember spending hours with my mother, aunt, siblings and cousins creating our beautiful pysanky for Easter. My mother and aunt since have passed so it has been years since the rest of the family spent a day decorating pysanky. But if I close my eyes, I can still see the vivid hues and intricate patterns of those beautiful pysanky.
Information on symbolism, traditions and even instructions on how to create these beautiful pysanky can be found on Luba Petrusha's web site. Her pysanky are amazing and she was kind enough to let me share these works of art with my readers. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

spring fever

Winters are very long in Northeast Ohio and by March, I'm counting the days until spring. I have spring fever really bad this year because winter has been extremely longer than usual. Nothing is in bloom here and it doesn't feel like April at all! At least the snow has melted and that's the only good thing I have to say about the weather!

Here are some things I do to cheer me up when I have spring fever. I hope they work for you too.

Purchase spring flowers for your home or office. My flower beds are overflowing with flowers in the summer so I always have fresh flowers in the house but unfortunately, not in winter. I bought yellow tulips last week and daffodils this week. Just looking at them makes me happy!

Spruce up your home or office with some new accessories. I bought these colorful pillows from Target for the family room and studio. The green adds a little bit of spring to my very neutral family room. And the orange one is for marigold's studio!

Change out your artwork to something lighter. I changed the artwork over our fireplace in the kitchen to something that felt more like spring. My friend actually made these prints for me with ferns from our woods. I will share the technique with everyone in a separate blog!

Treat yourself to a new purse. I found this colorful Coach tote. It's perfect for client meetings or traveling. I'm really picky with my purses—just ask my daughter who said she will never go shopping with me again when I'm shopping for a purse! I like lots of pockets and it has to be roomy enough for traveling so I can throw my sketchbook in there.

Treat yourself to some fun shoes or sandals for those spring days ahead. Who can resist a new pair of sandals or shoes! I've been looking for months for some fun and colorful flats and finally found these at Nordstrom. I hate to admit that my daughter won't shop with me for shoes either!

Good luck with your spring fever. Hopefully everything will be blossoming soon!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

finding inspiration in quilts

I attended a quilt show—the North Coast Needlers biennial show in Westlake—this past weekend with a very dear friend who is an avid quilter. I used to quilt, back when I was a stay-at-home mom and before technology overtook my life (that's another story for another blog). So it has been years since I sewed or even attended a quilt show and I didn't know what to expect. I was not disappointed because the quilts were truly amazing, to say the least! I loved the combination of techniques and patterns along with their bold use of colors. Some were truly works of art and would look wonderful hanging on a wall—if only I had more wall space!

Here's a peek at what I saw at the show. I hope these quilts inspire you as they did me. Enjoy!

I apologize for not writing down the names of the quilts and who created them. If you recognize any of these, please email me the information and I will post the proper credit due for each one. I promise to take a pad of paper with me next time I attend a show! Also, please note that many of these have been cropped so you can see more details.