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So I bought this painting today.

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crankie
Last spring, when my friend, Irish fiddler Tom Robison, told me he was making a crankie, I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he sent me this link to Meg Chittenden’s “The Wheel” performance, and I immediately knew I had to make a crankie.

Basically, crankies are like those “movies” you made in grade school where you poke a couple of cardboard tubes through holes in a cardboard box with a “TV screen” window cut out of it, then reel a scroll (which you’ve painstakingly illustrated in crayon) from one tube to the other, creating a moving narrative.

Those were cool! And crankies are even cooler! You can add a backlight for added drama and contrivances (such as crank handles with knobs!) to make the scroll crank more smoothly. Apparently, moving panoramas have been around a very long time, which I learned more about from Sue Truman’s Cranky Factory web page. To my delight, it seems that making and performing them has emerged in the folk music community, where people create beautiful pictorial scrolls (often set to story songs) and show them with live acoustic music. Some add layers and shadow puppetry, and some are quite simple.

I guess there are even cranky festivals cropping up all over the place, where you can see people performing their crankies and music live. What could be more enticing to the folk art lover? I can’t imagine.
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Anyway, it took me a while (let’s say a year?) to get around to building my first real crankie box. (Last year I made a test mini-cranky in an old SLR camera. It held some challenges and my illustration was a little bit half-assed, but it satisfied my crankie fever, at least temporarily.) My test crankie was to my original tune, “The Angel of the Ukulele Cabaret,” performed by Seattle ukulele busking legend, Howlin Hobbit.

This spring I was teaching a ukulele class for a group of 9th graders and, desperate for ways to keep them interested, I tossed out making a crankie as an activity idea. In the spirit of “if you build it they will come” I brought black paper, glue sticks, scissors and a roll of baking parchment to the classroom before I even had my cranky box made.

I asked the students to brainstorm words to the Barenaked Ladies tune, “If I Had a Million Dollars” by providing five or six answers to each of the questions, “What would you do if you had a billion dollars, superpowers, or magical powers?” Each student picked their two or three most visual answers and set to work drawing and cutting out their segment of the scroll. My only advice was to make things big and bold, since it would be shown in silhouette, and to include some kind of continuous horizon line through their illustration to help tie together the motion of the story. They did an amazing job and I loved how their art turned out! (It’s shown later in post.)

Meanwhile, while the students were on Spring Break, I got busy and made the crankie box. David stood by, handing me power tools, making suggestions, and generally tempering my impetuous nature. For the first box we made, we used a dresser drawer (amazingly, I found a dresser for $5 at a thrift store!). I loosely followed the instructions provided at Sue Truman’s Cranky Factory web page, but simplified it a little. We just cut a window in the bottom of a drawer with a saber saw, drilled some holes to insert dowels, and assembled it with screws.

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The dresser drawer box was my “test drive.” I envisioned using a suitcase, but I didn’t want to ruin the suitcase if I messed it up. Here’s the test drive (to me singing part of the Louis Jordan song, “There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.”

It worked pretty well, but the black paper shapes did not stick to parchment paper. Nothing sticks to parchment paper! Luckily, I had read that clear adhesive shelf paper can add strength to cranky scrolls, so I added clear shelf paper to the students’ illustrations and then lifted them right off of the parchment paper and transferred them to tracing paper (which worked ok, but I’m still looking for a backing I like better. Some people use Tyvek.).

I learned that it’s much easier to apply the adhesive shelf paper if you don’t try to do too big of a piece. I started using vertical pieces, 6″ or so wide, (this tip thanks to the inspiring crankie artist, Dejah Leger check her out!) overlapping them slightly, all my wrinkle worries were over. I adhered the students’ scenes to the tracing paper scroll, combining them with my own additional scenes to make one big scroll. I used a credit card to apply Yes! paste to the backs of areas that had quite a lot of black space. Otherwise, it didn’t take too much glue, since the shelf paper helps hold everything down.

Here’s the finished suitcase crankie, with my students singing their Million Dollar parody. (There’s another version of the song on my youtube channel where the kids are cranking and I’m playing the ukulele, but I enjoy hearing them sing it by themselves. 🙂

Now, to get back to the studio and finish up those chickens! After that, I’m going to try a different style of paper in an even smaller crankie box that I’m hoping to make in an old Emerson radio case. And Tom and I are putting our heads together to host some type of community crankie event in Bozeman soon. Stay tuned…

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MusicMnemonic

Having never learned to read music as a young person, I always wished for a mnemonic system for reading music that made sense to me. The illustration above might look complex, but to me it’s simpler than memorizing a bunch of different mnemonics for each of the two staves (which look basically alike and are connected in one grand repeating pattern).

Maybe this won’t work for everyone (or even for me!), but I had to give it a try. I give you two all-purpose mnemonics that work for the both lines AND the spaces on the bass and treble staves. One for going up the staff – Fucking All Cows Eat Grass By Daylight – and one for descending – Found Dead Because Got Evil Cat And.

No matter where you start, on a line or a space, in the Bass Staff or the Treble, these two mnemonics provide quick reference for the ascending or descending lines or spaces.

For example, if you start at the F (F3) on the Bass Staff, (the line with the two dots of the Bass Clef symbol on each side) you should be able to name the lines, going upward or downward, using the appropriate mnemonic. (Fucking All Cows Eat Grass By Daylight goes up, Found Dead Because Got Evil Cat And goes down)

Or if you’ve memorized one or two note positions on each staff (I’m shooting for the B in the center of the Treble Clef and the D in the center of the Bass Clef) you would start in the middle of the mnemonic on whatever letter you’re at, and repeat as needed. (e.g. if counting downward from the D in the center of the Bass Staff, you’d think Dead Because Got Evil Cat And Found Dead…

Sorry about the profanity, but trying to learn to read music puts me in a profane mood.

My music vocabulary is pretty shaky, so feel free to correct me if you see a usage error or (heaven forbid) a mistake in my image.

“Untold Stories,” a series of works by Lori Keeling Campbell and Marla Goodman, will be on display at Wild Joe’s Coffeehouse in Bozeman Montana, July 2018 with an artist reception during the July 13 Downtown Bozeman Artwalk. Campbell and Goodman share a vibrant aesthetic and an interest in artistic storytelling. Their exhibit eulogizes the dead and the living through collage, printmaking and mixed media works.

 

 

Lori Keeling Campbell

Lori Keeling Campbell is a print maker and illustrator who studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and has lived in Bozeman for 25 years. She has worked at the Community Food Co-op ever since, where she has done design work and coordinated the Co-op’s art gallery, as well as showing work in group art shows there. You may have seen her working at the Customer Service desk and checkout.

Campbell has done freelance work, been a member of cooperative art galleries and worked with art projects in local grade schools. She spent more than a decade volunteering at Big Brothers Big Sisters and currently volunteers at Sacks thrift store, which benefits the Help Center. She and her husband enjoy traveling by motorcycle here in the U.S. and on their boat in Europe.

Campbell’s works in the “Untold Stories” show were inspired by her “Day of the Dead” style handmade book of block prints and prose, which honors loved ones who have passed away. She will also show block prints she created for her ongoing participation in the Global Art Project.

Marla Goodman

Marla Goodman is a painter, performance artist and community art activist. She was raised in a rural area south of Bozeman, where her early influences included artists Bob and Gennie DeWeese and Dorothy Newton Semple. In the late 80s, she graduated from MSU’s School of Art with a degree in painting, but opted to remain on the fringes of the art community, working to bring art to non-traditional venues.

Best known for her dark sense of quirk, Goodman’s figural paintings often juxtapose quaint images with unexpected or ominous visitors. Her photos, dioramas and paintings sometimes incorporate dolls, which she describes as “existentially troubled.” Other works celebrate the unsung by studying vernacular photos and personal iconography.

Goodman’s paintings in the “Untold Stories” series extract personal imagery from the lives of real people, re-attaching it to found Storybook dolls, which she sews directly onto the canvas. She describes her experiment as a type of life story transplant, entrusting the dolls with the earthly baggage of real people.

In addition to painting, Goodman promotes nonprofits, organizes art outreach exhibits, teaches art and music workshops and appears as the street performer, “Polly Vinyl, Art Thereminist.”

 

 

 

 

Last summer I applied to have one of my paintings included in the Montana Arts Council’s 2018 Art Mobile of Montana show, a traveling exhibit that reaches audiences in grades K-12 all over Montana.

When the exhibit came to rural schools near Bozeman, Curator/Educator Tess Fahlgren invited me to come to one of the visits. It was beyond fun, beyond inspiring… It was the kind of heart-melting feel-good experience that just makes all the yucky stuff in the world disappear like a bad dream.

I fell in love with the incredible kids at this tiny rural school, and their cool teacher, and their toddling siblings, and I was not a bit surprised at how deftly and intelligently Tess handled the presentation, discussion and art activity. I knew I would enjoy going, but it was even more wonderful than I imagined. (A shout out to my friend, artist Angela Yonke, or “Miss Angela” as she’s known by the students, who taught art as a visiting artist at Pass Creek School for several years! I bet you miss these guys!)

Here’s a rough collection of video clips that I caught:

And below is a little photo essay taken with my phone, since my camera card was on the fritz.

Thanks so much, Tess, for the invite and to Tess, Ms Rider, and the students for including me in this great day. Happy travels, Art Mobile!

I’m doing a collaborative journaling project with some of my Etsy friends, and today’s entry seemed fit for general consumption, so here it is.

We watched “Liberation Day” last night, a documentary about the concert in North Korea staged by the “radically ambiguous” ( i.e. hopefully ironically) pseudo-fascist Slovenian band, Laibach. It’s mind-blowingly weird, and more than a little depressing. It has been described as “the most bizarre concert ever,” which I can’t really argue. The fact that the concert happened at all is completely mystifying.

Laibach is David’s favorite band. They play sophisticated, industrial/classical/martial style music, and their lead vocalist, Milan Fras, sounds pretty much like my imagining of the prince of darkness. I think David finds their covers of sweet songs like “Let it Be” and “Across the Universe” refreshing. I get that. But it’s not exactly the kind of music I want to listen to while in my home with a cup of tea, crocheting.

In North Korea, after much confusion and censorship, they did covers of “Edelweiss” and “The Sound of Music.” Here’s their somewhat terrifying rendition of “My Favorite Things,” which we watched on Youtube, later.

The documentary was artistically filmed and had that disjointed/redacted character that all films that make it out of North Korea do. We had watched Álvaro Longoria’s “The Propaganda Game” a year or more ago, and it gave me that same eerie feeling of a dream you wish you could wake up from, and you keep realizing, “Fuck! This is real!” So, one North Korea film a year is enough for me, tops.

The weirdest parts of “Liberation Day” for me were the is he serious? comments made by Laibach’s Ivan Novak, who famously said in response to Orwell’s quote, “All art is propaganda,” “All propaganda is art.” You just don’t know whether he really thinks totalitarianism is a good idea, or if he’s being provocative. It’s discomfiting, but thought provoking, which I chose to think was his intention.

The North Korean audience looks about as thrilled by the performance as I imagine any given audience in fly-over Oklahoma or Montana* might look when presented with Laibach. How did they pick these audience members anyway? Was it a punishment or a treat? Did people just choose to come of their own accord? Did they love it, but carefully hide their emotions? Did they have post-Laibach stress? Were they monitored afterward? *Which brings to mind a question. Has talk radio created the propaganda equivalent of our own little North Korea, right in our midst?

Anyway, after checking the laundry, I realized I felt like crying. We call the movie you watch after the weird, upsetting one a palate cleanser. Last night’s palate cleanser was an episode of “Laugh In.” It was the first time I’d seen it since I was about 6 years old. That was a trip in itself. I could smell the warm polyester of our 1970s living room the minute Dan Rowan and Dick Martin started swizzling their martinis.

Afterward I went on a Spotify safari to find songs for next Wednesday’s ukulele cabaret play-along. I had decided on the theme “Good, Bad, Ugly” after hearing “Only the Good Die Young” on the oldies radio station in my car. Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” helped to wipe out the cobwebs of totalitarian ambiguity angst, followed by “You was a Good Ole Wagon, but you Done Broke Down.” I don’t think we’ll be doing any Laibach songs.

Marla

Over the past weeks I’ve been charging up for the Bozeman Open Studios Tour (10-4 Sat-Sun Oct 21-22 2017).  Pop in and see me! I’ll have tour maps on hand, or use the online map.

coloring

Drop-In Hands-On Workshop I’ll be doing a very easy-going drop-in gelatin monoprint workshop. It’s super easy and fun to make an ink monoprint from a reference image, using gelatin as a printing plate. I’ll have it all set up so you can try this 5-10 minute activity if you want. You can make a coloring page, or notecard, or do like I do and just call it art.

pendants

Art Merch! I’ve got new prints, pendants, magnets, patches, wee ditty bags, matchbook sized print booklets, Marla art comics, cards and even a few oddities & cast-offs to purvey, so you can shop for your friends & family, be they geeks, angry feminists, inconsolable peaceniks, or just normal weirdos. (I will also have a few items from the sweeter, cuter, more mainstream side of my personality, which my sister Jana will like.)

FTS

New Originals! If you missed out on the chance to express your feminist outrage through an embellished monoprint from my “Fuck This Shit” series, I’ll have some new ones at a variety of smallish sizes and delightfully affordable prices, while they last. Who knows, I might even have a few surprises lurking around here.

swimsuitOld Originals! Perhaps you’re interested in something On Fire? Or a PINK painting based on vintage photos of women? A Caroline Kennedy figurine or baby doll embellished found-painting? A vintage swimmer? Or that weird painting of Captain Kirk carrying Spock’s head in a basket? They’ll be here, too. I’ll probably be ready to do a little wheelin and dealin on older stuff, so don’t be shy about asking for a discount.

apoca

Sneak Peek at the first few items to emerge from my newest creative outlet, Apocalypta’s Sewing Circle. Give me your input, or buy original embellished clothing if it fits your style and/or your body.

My “Pink” painting series will be at Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, 18 W. Main, throughout September 2017, with an “artist hangout” (i.e. super chill reception) during the Friday, Sept 8. However, these extra special “FTS” pieces (and some other surprises!) will be on public display only during Bozeman Artwalk 6-8pm Sept 8. Here’s a secret link for anyone who might like to purchase early: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kitschatorium

This is a sneak preview of my “Pink” series, which will hang at Wild Joe’s Coffee Spot, 18 W. Main, throughout September 2017, with a reception (ok, more like a hangout) during the Friday, September 8 Downtown Bozeman art walk. They are available for purchase beginning Sept. 1 and available for pickup the first week of October, after the Wild Joe’s show closes.

I’m posting these images for press reference. Press can use these images (with artist credit Marla Goodman) online, or if you want a high res version for press use, please contact me through my contact page.

Artist’s Statement: Pink Statement – Goodman

Additional works will be on display only during Bozeman Artwalk Sept 8. Secret pre-display link for early purchases: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Kitschatorium

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Our family participated in the Women’s March on January 21 2017.

As a writer, I think words matter. Especially words spoken by people who call themselves leaders. Saying ugly things about innocent people is despicable.

When I learned that a person of despicable character had been elected as the U.S. president, it was like getting the news that a loved one had died. The loved one was the ideal of American democracy. How could a government by the people elect a person of low moral standards: a liar, a cheater, one who demeans the helpless, one who insults instead of conversing, one who flies into a senseless rage at the slightest challenge to his ego, one who seeks to aggrandize himself at any cost?

The day after the election was one of the saddest days in my life. How could anyone vote for a sleazebag who treats women as objects? How could they care so little about the people this creep demeans: A whole religion? A neighbor nation? An entire gender?

To me, the election of this sad walking spectacle of human failings seemed to mean that the majority of voters couldn’t care less about the things that make life more than just breathing. It seemed that for whatever reason, they didn’t place a high enough value on character, generosity, compassion, decency, pride. Yeah, pride. It allows you to feel good about who you are, without feeling the need to fear and destroy others.

But the brighter news is that the majority of Americans did not vote for this poisonous, greed-crazed charlatan. He may insist on pretending that he is admired, but that’s just another lie. That’s why many of us who are usually pretty quiet felt a need to stand up and be visible, at least for a day, and show we won’t accept empty promises of prosperity at the price of normalizing belligerence, cruelty and outright stupidity.

I didn’t march because I thought it would cure some pitiful narcissist’s deeply ingrained personality disorder. I didn’t even do it because I thought it would change anything. I did it simply to be seen and heard for a moment.

I stood up to express my conviction that the words and actions of a few ill-mannered bigots don’t stand for the values of equality, justice, compassion, intelligence, acceptance and teamwork that my family, our friends, our neighbors, and millions of Americans (yes, the vast majority) care deeply about. And the world stood up with us!

America’s democracy is founded on the peaceful inclusion of all. It promises liberty and justice to all races, all genders, all lifestyles, all beliefs. It learns from skeptics and dissenters, instead of silencing them. It’s founded on the ideals of helping each other, providing equal opportunities, welcoming those in need, and taking care of each other, even when personal beliefs differ, and especially when personal resources differ.

Inclusiveness and peaceful cooperation are American values. And I’m willing to stand up for them.

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Please note that I do not endorse—and in fact may condemn—advertisers who appear on this blog. This is a free blog that WordPress (i.e. not me) monetizes through ad revenue.

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