Category Archives: art show

P is for Pocket Watch (Art Nouveau – #AtoZChallenge)


by Lillian Csernica on April 19, 2017

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Swiss Gold Diamond and Pearl Pendant Watch circa 1905.

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Gold, cabochon emerald, diamond and green enamel lapel watch. Marcus & Co., circa 1900.

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Museum Quality Enamel and Gem set Lapel Watch by Haas Neveux. 18K Yellow Gold with Fine enamel, gold chasing and accented with numerous Rose cut Diamonds. Stem set Jeweled Nickel lever movement. Porcelain Dial with sunk seconds chapter and Gold hands. Matching case and Movement Numbers and also having the name of Boston Retailer Smith Patterson & co engraved on the movement.

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Gold and enamel lapel watch, circa 1900.

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Art Nouveau 18kt Gold, Enamel, and Diamond Open Face Pendant Watch, the case with enamel flowers and rose-cut diamonds, the cuvette with guilloche enamel, hammered gold accents, the white enamel dial with Arabic numeral indicators and subsidiary seconds dial, stem-wind and stem-set, 27 mm, and suspended from a conforming watch pin, total lg. 2 1/2 in.

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Antique art nouveau Moon Celestial Pocket Watch holder stand. Solid bronze.

 

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B is for Bat (Art Nouveau – #AtoZChallenge)


by Lillian Csernica on April 3, 2017

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Of the many popular motifs in Art Nouveau jewelry, I have to say bats are among the strangest. Flowers? Sure. Insects? OK. Abstract geometric designs? No problem. But bats?

Thanks to the erudite Jewelry Nerd, you will find some possible answers here.

There are plenty of examples of this particular critter done in various precious metals and gems. I’ve included only a few. I guess the fashionable ladies of La Belle Epoque must have included some Goths!

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Bat pin of plique-a-jour enamel, pearl, diamond, with ruby eyes, 18k gold, 4″ wing span

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Bracelet by Philippe and Marcel Wolfers.

From 1stdibs.com: “A superb and iconic art nouveau portrayal of a Parisian goddess of the Demi-Monde. She has style roots going back to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar. The very revealing décolleté, flowing hair, bat wings and diamond Aurora head dress suggestively alludes to pagan pleasures and entertainments of the night, the practitioners only heading home with the dawn.”

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Art Nouveau Japanese Inlaid Damascene “Bat and Crescent” necklace in gold and silver.

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Art nouveau Czech bat pin with vaseline rhinestones.

Yes, that’s right. Vaseline rhinestones. Prior to the Cold War, jewelers could use uranium in the creation of certain types of art glass. The results resembled the appearance of the petroleum jelly as it was produced at that time.

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5 Ways to Improve the Action in Your Story


by Lillian Csernica on August 13, 2016

Writers tend to be visually oriented. We see our stories playing out much like movies inside our minds. Whatever we can do to enhance the clarity of the images and information we want to convey to the reader will improve the strength of our stories. That clarity begins with making sure we can see exactly what’s going on.

Map out the key locations.  Start with just the distances between the major settings. If you want to get into topography, go for it. Bear in mind there’s a difference between miles on land and nautical miles.

Draw the important action. Draw one scene between two characters on a stage. You could also look down on the action, using an aerial view to keep track of items or characters outside of the protagonist’s sight lines. Split the page into four sections and take the comic book approach!

Storyboard the whole plot. Here’s yet another instance where the index card is the writer’s best friend. I recommend 4×6 size. A cork board, some push pins, and you’ve got your whole story laid out in front of you. On Pinterest you can find another definition of the novel storyboard which might also be quite helpful.

Illustrate the main character’s state of mind. Color can be very powerful on the intuitive level.  Put aside realism for the moment and have a go at the Impressionist school of art. Give the character’s dominant emotion a color. If emotions are clashing, assign a color to each and show that. Does the primary motivation suggest a particular color? Is there a Dark Secret lurking in the back of this character’s mind?

Color code the wardrobes for the major characters. This might sound silly, but if you have more than half a dozen characters to keep track of, you’ll be glad to have an easy way to keep this straight.  This is an even higher priority in historical fiction, where the clothing gets a lot more complicated, along with the fabrics, shades, and appropriate accessories.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t require Da Vinci level drawing skills. The whole purpose of the exercise is to get a clearer picture in our mind’s eye so we can choose the best words to describe the action. Have fun!

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How We Survived a Three Convention Weekend


by Lillian Csernica on June 4, 2016

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Hi, gang. I made it through all four days of Clockwork Alchemy, BayCon, and Fanime.I would have written this post sooner, but the sudden discovery of John being WAY behind on preparing his Final presentation/exam in one of his classes caused me to devote what energies I had to making sure he met today’s deadline. I love that boy dearly, but some days he makes me crazy.

The weekend was packed with memorable moments.  This was John’s first time really participating in conventions.  (He did make a brief appearance at the Meet the Guest Reception of one BayCon about ten or twelve years ago. We had to keep him away from the buffet and out from under everybody else’s tables.) It was a spectacular weekend!  John even won a Hall Costume Award for his steampunk attire.

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Technolo-John meets Mega Man!

John had quite a few adventures, including playing the communications officer aboard the Starship Artemis. He made a light saber in one of the DIY workshops, and he discovered the joys of hanging out in the Hospitality Suite having munchies and watching “Wheel of Fortune” on a big plasma screen.  That might sound silly, but I was pleased to see John guessing the solutions with everybody else.

At Fanime, all the people in costume blew John’s mind. He’d been hoping to meet some of his favorite superheroes. Sure enough, one man was dressed as Nightwing, and one young lady wore a Raven costume. Raven told John how much she liked his steampunk outfit. That had him walking on air!

Business was good. I sold all but one of the anthology copies I brought with me.  Gave away all the beaded space-theme bookmarks and the Japanese art print bookmarks, all of which had this here blog’s URL on the back.  Shameless Self-Promotion! John got to see people asking me for my autograph as I signed their copies.  This is my idea of Take Your Kid To Work Day. Now John knows that I really am (kinda) famous.

Yarn Doll

Courtesy of Leigh Flynn

At Clockwork Alchemy on Sunday morning I had a good time teaching the Victorian Yarn Doll DIY.  Yarn colors included forest green, wine red, and navy blue, as well as what I like to call the “steampunk rainbow.” This is a yarn made up of several jewel tone colors suitable for the steampunk era. Traditional Victorian yarn dolls are either boys or girls.  Out of respect for the gender fluid community, I wanted to provide materials that were both inclusive and diverse. If you’re interested in making yarn dolls, Pinterest is a gold mine of methods, styles, and materials.

Mixy Award

This is the Mixy Award, created by Steve Mix in honor of those people who he feels deserve recognition for their ongoing contributions to fandom and the convention community.  At this year’s BayCon, Steve granted me the honor of presenting the Mixy to none other than my best friend and co-conspirator, Pat MacEwen.  Convincing her to bring the spiffy clothes and dress up on Saturday night was a bit of a challenge, because of course I couldn’t tell her why.

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Steve Mix was also responsible for the D20 challenge.  Several of us who are gamers past or present brought our best D20s to the con.  Whenever some of us would cross paths, we’d roll against each other. Best of five was the general rule.  Whoever won got to keep all the dice involved in that particular round.  I brought five D20s with me, and I left with five D20s, so I broke even.

In the bar of the San Mateo Marriott, the tables are glass.  That meant that in the evening when we had anywhere from three to seven people rolling at once, we made a glorious racket!  (I have to give the staff of the hotel credit.  They embraced the weirdness that is fandom like good sports.  The valets were having a great time collecting badge ribbons.) Steve has the best D20.  It’s made of some kind of metal, and it rolls high and hard.  I told him he should name it the “Deathstar D20”!

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The Snow Jedi

I’m going to break one of my own rules here and post a photo of myself in my jammies. That is indeed the very light saber John made.  This goes to show how much fun I was having. I actually asked Pat to take a photo of me looking like this. This had to be my best Clockwork/Fanime/BayCon ever!

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See Me Live and In Person!


by Lillian Csernica on May 27, 2016

Come one, come all!  See me make a public spectacle of myself in the best sense as I talk about writing and history.  I’ll be demonstrating the making of Victorian yarn dolls!  Looking forward to seeing you there!

 

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BayCon 2016: It’s All About Space!

Magic Vs. Religion

Friday 13:00 – 14:30, Collaborate 2 (San Mateo Marriott)

Does it matter to the characters? Does it matter to the readers?

Jay Hartlove (M), Lillian Csernica, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Maria Nieto, Teresa Edgerton

Monks in Space

Saturday 10:00 – 11:30, Synergy 5 (San Mateo Marriott)

Many monastic traditions stress the importance of silence and solitude. Leaving behind all the material comforts of Earth for the “final frontier” of dwelling in a monastic community or as a hermit in space would take on additional significance and spiritual impact. Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism all have monastic traditions. The First Nation Peoples the traditions of solitude, fasting, and appealing to the spirits to grant a vision of that person’s purpose in life. The mission into space could be a vision quest, or the result of it!

Lillian Csernica (M), Mrs. Laurel Anne Hill, Jennifer Nestojko, G. David Nordley

Autograph Session: Csernica, MacEwen and Wade

Saturday 14:00 – 15:00, Convene Lobby (San Mateo Marriott)

Juliette Wade, Lillian Csernica, Patricia H. MacEwen

The Space To Move Forward

Sunday 16:00 – 17:30, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Using creativity to counter depression, PTSD and survivors guilt

Steven Mix (M), Lillian Csernica, Margaret McGaffey Fisk, Fr John Blaker

So You’re Ready to Publish

Monday 13:00 – 14:30, Connect 1 (San Mateo Marriott)

Do you Self-Publish or Traditiional Publish? Get an agent or try to go it alone?

J. L. Doty (M), Lillian Csernica, Teresa Edgerton, Kyle Aisteach

 

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Clockwork Alchemy: The Arts of Steampunk
The Undiscovered Countries

Saturday 7pm – 8:50pm Location: The Academy (San Martin Room)

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DIY Victorian Yarn Dolls

Sunday 10am – 11:50am Location: The Workshop (San Juan Room)

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The 3 Rules of Writing Historic Fiction

Monday 11am – 11:50am Location: Author’s Salon (Monterey Room)

 

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Z is for Zippers


by Lillian Csernica on April 30, 2016

My one great nemesis during travel is zippers.  They don’t like me, I don’t like them.  Nevertheless, they do come in handy at keeping things closed.  At least, that is, until one of us breaks a foot, loses a tooth, or rips out a seam.

 

 

I hate it when this happens.  Only rarely do I get lucky enough to work the zipper foot down to the end of the zipper where I might have the slightest prayer of making the teeth mesh again correctly.  The other problem with zippers is how easily my long hair can get caught in them, especially under windy conditions.  Trying to pry my hair out of a closed zipper is not the most pleasant experience!

 

Much like my comb, once a zipper has broken or lost teeth, that’s the end of it.  Time to get a new one!

 

And then there’s the problem of the torn seam.  This can be mended, but it’s tiresome work when time is short and I’d much rather be out and about enjoying my latest  adventure.  On my most recent trip to Japan, I bought a rather large purse in the hope that it would function as a carry-on bag as well.  It does, but there’s so much room in there you’d think this was the luggage version of Dr. Who’s TARDIS!  I am forever zipping it open and shut, which has put some strain on the seams to either side of the zipper itself.  I suppose some reinforcement is in order.

 

And there you have it!  All 26 letters of the Alphabet, under the theme of Travel.  Thank you for joining me.  I hope you’ve had fun!

 

 

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F is for Folk Art


by Lillian Csernica on April 7, 2016

 

MEXICO

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One of the aspects of traveling in Mexico I really enjoy is the vibrant color to be found in the clothing, the flowers, and especially in the art.  I’m a big fan of El Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.  The folk art and pop art imagery that has arisen from the traditional El Dia De Los Muertos decorations, sugar skulls, etc. is, if you’ll pardon the expression, positively alive with color!

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BELGIUM

I passed through Belgium on my way from the Netherlands to France.  That took me through the northern part of the country.  Belgium is lovely, and in the summer it’s quite sunny and green.  Most of the tourism in Belgium happens in the south, so I myself was something of an oddity as a lone American teenager riding along with a bus tour of Dutch folks!  You know how much I love history, so here are some fascinating facts about Belgian folk art and handicrafts.

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From Countries and Their Cultures:

Wooden shoes called sabots (Walloon) or klompen (Flemish) were traditional footwear for men, women, and children. Like the people of Belgium, they wore these shoes outdoors; they were left by the door when entering the house. Some immigrants brought the knowledge and the tools for making wooden shoes with them from Belgium. Belgian Americans who could afford them wore wooden shoes decorated with carvings of leaves and flowers. Children sometimes used their wooden shoes as skates or sleds. The early immigrants were usually clothed in homespun cloth and caps. Belgian lace, the fine handwork which originated in sixteenth-century Flanders, was often used to trim religious vestments, altar cloths, handkerchiefs, table cloths, napkins, and bed linens. This fine art was practiced by Belgian immigrants in every area of settlement in the United States. When celebrating the Kermiss, which is a Belgian harvest festival, the organizers of the Kermiss wore red, white, and blue sashes while leading the people of the community in a procession to the church to give thanks.

Pennsylvania, UNITED STATES

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Pennsylvania Dutch folk art is often referred to as “hex signs.”  People who live on working farms have a lot to be worried about, from crop failure to cattle disease to the illnesses that plague human beings.  It’s no wonder these good luck charms and protective symbols came into being.  Painting one’s barn led naturally to decorating it as well.  There is some controversy about whether or not these hex signs have any actual talismanic power.

My mother-in-law lives in New Jersey.  At one time she was right across the Delaware from Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  On one of our visits to her, my husband and I bought this particular hex sign:

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Doves, heart, tulip = Peace, Love, Faith

 

 

 JAPAN

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Kokeshi dolls are everywhere in Japan.  On the Sannen-zaka, the outdoor shopping mall that leads to Kiyomizudera, there were several shops that sold kokeshi dolls.  The variety is staggering!  I was so amazed by all the sizes and the designs I could not decide on a favorite.  I had much the same dilemma when looking over all the maneki neko, or good luck cats, available.  (Upon reflection I do wish I’d bought the good luck cat lying there on its back as if asking for a tummy rub!)

The history of kokeshi dolls

 

 

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North By Norwescon


by Lillian Csernica on March 24, 2016

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Hi there!  I come to you from Seattle, Washington, home of Norwescon, the finest science fiction convention in the Pacific Northwest.  We’re here at the DoubleTree Inn by Hilton at SeaTac.  Lovely hotel, somewhat confusing at first, given that there are 7 wings and plenty of event spaces.  Yes, the hotel does still give out chocolate chip cookies when you check in.  That’s my kind of welcome!

This adventure began on Tuesday at 1 p.m. when I hit the road for Stockton.  That’s a two hour drive from my house over the Altamont Pass.  I haven’t driven that far all at once in almost 30 years.  Neither have I driven on Interstate 5 North since late August of 1987 when I was in the car accident that left me for dead on I-5 South.  Was I jittery?  Oh yeah.

Pat and I have made many a road trip together.  Stockton to Eugene, 6 hours’ sleep, then Eugene to Seattle saw us arrive here at the hotel an hour or so before Pat’s first Programming item.  There was joyful chaos all over the place as people checked in, other conventions passed out ribbons and promo materials, plenty of folks were already in costume, and we were clearly ready to party like the book-loving fan boys and girls that we all are.

Tonight’s highlights:

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Lots of fun on the Alien Communication panel.  Did you know giraffes can hum?

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Crossed paths with Dean Wells, one of my favorite people. I met him many years ago when I was a pro in his section of a writer’s workshop.  He’s gone on to publish in markets such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  I am very proud of him.

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The Art Show reception was a total blast.  Gorgeous paintings and sculpture and jewelry and housewares.  Pat and I went nuts over the Tarot of Brass & Steam.  Oh my stars and garters!  I would LOVE to have those artists illustrate my steampunk stories from Twelve Hours Later and Thirty Days Later!

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Now it’s after midnight.  I’ve been up for 18 hours and I haven’t gotten a whole lot of sleep in the past few days, so it’s time to take advantage of my queen size bed and call it a night.

Tomorrow:  More adventures from Norwescon 39!

 

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On Tour in My Own Back Yard


by Lillian Csernica on October 18, 2015

This weekend Santa Cruz County held its Open Studio Art tour.  The city of Santa Cruz is known as a haven for artists of all kinds.  What people often don’t realize is that up here in the mountains we’ve got a lot of artists as well.

John’s ceramics class had a serious project to complete.  Each student had to go to at least three of the studios on the tour and do what amounted to an interview.  The project worksheets included questions about what mood the artist was trying to create, comparing two different pieces by the same artist, and how the artists the student chose to visit could inspire that student’s own artwork.

John comes from a long line of artists on my mother’s side:

His great- great-grandmother ran a modeling agency back in the 1930s.

His great-grandmother wrote a society column for the newspaper, raised some amazing roses, and created artwork using textiles and ceramics and other media.

His great-grandfather was a professional photographer and filmmaker.

His grandmother sketches and paints, as well as creating multimedia artwork.

His mother (that’s me!) has worked as a professional bellydancer, and actor, and currently as a professional writer.

John is primarily a graphic artist, but he’s learning how to use computer graphics, clay, and other media.

I steered John toward three artists who live here in the San Lorenzo Valley.  John and Michael have lived their whole lives in this area.  It’s good for John to know he doesn’t have to go to a museum to see art.  What’s more, on the tour you’re allowed to see the artists’ studios where they create the pieces on display.

First Studio: Janet Silverglate.  Ms. Silverglate creates art by using found objects, many of which are what most of us would consider scrap materials or just plain junk.  Her style of art is called assemblage.  Each work of art is one of a kind.  John and I were both drawn to a circular artwork that included pieces from several different games such as Scrabble tiles, chess pieces, old Bingo cards, and even some Pick-Up Stix.  The overall look and feel put me in mind of the Kachina dolls I’ve seen in the southwest.

Second Studio: Larry and Pat Worley

Larry Worley takes basket weaving to a whole new level.  My favorite piece was a woven seashell the size of a small suitcase wound around a piece of redwood driftwood.  Simply stunning.

Pat Worley is a textile artist.  One side of her display featured long, rectangular silk scarves dyed in rich, vibrant colors such as fuschia and aquamarine.  The scarves all had leaf patterns running the length of the silk in either silver or gold.  The other side of the display showcased what I thought of as small quilts because of the many pieces of fabric arranged to form patterns or scenes.  The dominant color scheme was black, brown, and rust, with maple leaves as a frequent motif.  Ms. Worley explained the method she used to make the fabric for these as “reverse tie-dye.”  Starting with black cloth and using bleach, she would coax a variety of shades out of the material.  Impressive!

Third studio: Bob Hughes.  To say that Mr. Hughes makes wooden boxes is to say Monet liked to paint flowers.  My favorite box was shaped like the diacritical mark called a tilde, used to denote the palatal nasal sound of the “eñe” in words such as mañana. Mr. Hughes makes more than just boxes.  His vases and candle holders combine varieties of woods, or woods and metals.  Mr. Hughes was kind enough to explain to John, using a guide with step by step images, how he made a particular vase.  John is a visual learner, so this really helped him understand Mr. Hughes’ artistic process.

The artists were all happy to know I wanted John to get a wider understanding of how many ways people create art, and what’s inside them that wants to be expressed.  Getting a good grade on the project is important, but more than that, John has so much potential just waiting to come out through his drawing skills.

Take a look at your local community arts news items.  You’d be amazed what’s waiting for you in your own back yard!

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Filed under art show, artists, autism, creativity, Family, family tradition, home town, homework, Writing