Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hoofer

 

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Hoofer: noun. Slang. A professional dancer, especially a tap dancer. (Dictionary.com)

When I did my Fosse imitation a few weeks back, Karina, one of our commenters, suggested that I try to do a Gene Kelly imitation. I’ve tap danced before, I thought. No big deal. Continue reading Hoofer

Art Is Everywhere

DSC08766Have you ever been in a library or bookstore, glanced at two books shelved next to each other, and realized that their titles formed a phrase or sentence? Today, I turned this phenomenon into art by stacking books so their titles made two short poems.

DSC08764This project was quick, easy, and only required books and a camera, but it reminded me that opportunities for creativity are all around us. Even if you are not a fan of writing, I would strongly encourage you to try incorporating art into your everyday life.

Here are three tips that will make it easier for you to get involved with art:

1. Start small
Sometimes creating art feels like an enormous undertaking, but you don’t have to start with oil painting. Instead, choose one easy project (like stacking books) and a short amount of time (like ten minutes in the evening). You might be surprised by how much you can enjoy in short, simple projects—I know that I was.

2. Ask friends
If you have friends who are involved in genres that intrigue you, ask them if they’ll teach you. This can be pretty scary, but most people enjoy talking about things they enjoy, so they’ll most likely say yes. I would never have tried ceramics or violin without my friends’ help.

3. Try improvising
You won’t always have the exact supplies that you need to follow directions, and that’s completely okay. You can often find something that will work just as well—like trading an awl for a thumbtack. This improvising just gives you another way to enjoy being creative.

Art is everywhere. You just have to know how to look for it.

Right Side Up and Wrong Side Down

I spend a lot of time upside down. It increases the blood flow to the brain, so it really helps your creativity.

Daphne Guinness

We’ve already talked about photography in the mundane, but how about photography from another angle? What if you took pictures of the mundane and did it while being upside down? For example, it’s easy to photograph a table, but have you ever tried from being underneath it?

Continue reading Right Side Up and Wrong Side Down

Ice Dancing and . . . Vivaldi?

By now, most people know that Americans Charlie White and Meryl Davis won a historic gold medal at the Sochi Winter Olympics 2014 with their beautiful skating. This was the first gold medal that the United States has ever won in ice dancing.

Did you know that Charlie White also plays the violin?

Earlier this year, he promised the Today show that if he won gold, he’d play violin on their show. They made sure he kept this promise.

In honor of our fabulous ice dancers, I decided to take one half-hour violin lesson from a friend. I spent the first seven minutes just trying to figure out how to hold the bow correctly and still be loose enough to move my arm.

Continue reading Ice Dancing and . . . Vivaldi?

Brazilian Cooking

By Anna Rose Meeds

ingredients
Some of the ingredients

What might happen if you try your hardest, but that is still not good enough? Can you accomplish something great even if you make a mistake? Do you need to be perfect to leave a great impression?

The Brazilian bobsled team in the Sochi Olympics showed that it is possible to not win but still win over hearts and inspiration. Impressive fundraising helped them get there. While in Russia, the teams continued to work hard and inspire fellow athletes. Finally, the women survived a horrific crash. Obviously, they accomplished much although they did not place first.

The beans being soaked before being boiled and soaked for an hour
Measuring and rinsing the beans

In honor of them, I cooked a Brazilian recipe: Coconut Beans or Feijão de Coco. This soup-like recipe blends sweet and salty. Although it did not end up perfect, I learned from my cooking and gave my family an unique supper.

Continue reading Brazilian Cooking

One Tip to Help You Write More

Photo courtesy of Pinterest
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

One of the issues that plague a lot of writers is the feeling that everything you write is terrible. And that leads to not writing from fear. Brienna talked about this a few weeks ago, and what applies to poetry, applies to writing.

One thing I’ve learned from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird (besides having “crappy” first drafts), is to just do short assignments in order to get into the habit of writing. Now don’t cringe – these aren’t awful homework assignments but writing prompts. A major problem that many of us face when it comes to writing is just sitting down and doing it. Writing prompts are meant to pull you from that slump and just have fun with writing.

Continue reading One Tip to Help You Write More

5 Ways You Can Get Involved with Art Without Going Broke

Credit: Dale Chihuly
Credit: Dale Chihuly

We’ve been talking a lot about art you can do yourself. Sometimes, it’s just as rewarding to enjoy art that other people have created. This can get expensive (opera tickets aren’t cheap), so here are five ways you can experience art in the Minneapolis area without breaking your bank.

1. Visit an Art Museum

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a free museum where you can see jade sculptures from ancient China, portraits by nineteenth-century Romantic artists, and contemporary abstract paintings.

2. Hear a Concert at a Coffee Shop

The Coffee Grounds is a local coffee shop that brings in musicians ranging from folk to hip-hop on every Friday evening for a free concert. Sometimes they even have comedy troupes.

3. Watch a Ballet

The Landmark Center offers free ballet performances by members of the St. Paul City Ballet on Tuesdays at noon. They also have free classical music concerts and art exhibitions.

4. Listen to a Reading

The Loft Literary Center brings in local and national authors to read poetry and prose, sometimes from one author’s book, and sometimes from several authors’ works about to explore a theme or celebrate an award.

5. See a Film—Fifty’s Style

The Riverview Theatre still has the architecture, decorations, and furniture it did during the 1950s. While not completely free (tickets cost $2), this theatre makes you feel like you stepped backward in time.

Creating a Board Game in 7.5 Simple Steps

By Anna Rose Meeds

How often do you sit down and play a board game? Growing up, I loved this family time. Why is it that we play less as we grow older? Sure, our lives become more busy, but sometimes taking a break to play a game releases stress. Even better is to use creativity to make a board game.

Creating your own game might sound overly ambitious. However, it can be done with a bit of creativity and 30 minutes. To prove that point, I will show you how in 7.5 simple steps.

Continue reading Creating a Board Game in 7.5 Simple Steps

Painting to Relax

Remember how fun craft time was when you were a kid? There was something so wonderful about being able to pull out the paint supplies and go wild, without any pressure to create a fantastically beautiful piece. Today’s art burst is about recreating that feeling.

As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, my paintings tend to look the same as they did in kindergarten; however, I do love the feeling of a brush in my hand, so for today’s post, I decided to paint rocks. This is a pretty flexible activity since paints and brushes aren’t hard to find at Target or Michael’s and little stones are scattered all over the place. (I dug mine out of the snow in front of the dorm.)

Continue reading Painting to Relax

Getting My Hands Dirty: Adventures with Ceramics

Even if we’re involved in art, we tend to stick to mediums that are familiar. For example, my college campus has a ceramics studio in their art building, but I have never been inside in all my three years at this school. Until now.

DSC08746This weekend, I strapped on an apron and got my

sister, who is an art minor, to give me a tour. She began with the bucket of wet, slimy clay (called “slip”). After this clay has the excess water removed, it’s usable for projects. Next, she took me to the wedging tables, where artists knead the clay until it’s solid enough to work with. When I tried wedging, I was surprised by how fast the clay dries out.

Then I got to try wheel-thrown pottery. First, my sister showed me how to center the clay by bracing my palms on the rapidly spinning wheel. I couldn’t get my lump centered. Then I pushed too hard and pulled it completely off the wheel. After a couple more tries, we decided I should just make my object by hand.

Continue reading Getting My Hands Dirty: Adventures with Ceramics