Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ceramic Masterpieces Revealed!

I'm back in my hometown for a family reunion and a new little nephew who will soon be on his way. I just had to hit up The Painted Plate, a paint-your-own ceramics shop with a lot of heart. It was a wonderful day, and everyone had fun, even those of us who felt a little less "artistic." My son has made handprint plates in the past, but this was his first time manning his own brush. I think he did pretty dang awesome, don't you?

Here are our masterpieces after being glazed and fired!

Techniques used: My son painted his bowl after layering strips of contact paper on the sides, which we pulled up when the paint was dry. My husband used strips and punched out circles of contact paper, and then painted in the circles. My sister used contact paper for her flower silhouettes, and used a crystalized paint to create the cool effect on the turquoise inside of her cup. Her boyfriend used foam stamps for the rose and checker pattern. For the blue flower bowl, I gradually added water to my paint and used single brush strokes to create a petaled effect. For the henna-style elephant, I painted the entire plate yellow, then painted a solid red elephant, and scratched out the details with a toothpick while the paint was still moist. 

I recommend the Painted Plate to anyone coming or going through Olympia, Washington. It's a comfortable, cozy place. You can even treat yourself while you work! They sell wine, cappuccinos, italian sodas (my favorite is Irish Cream), and locally made ice-cream! My son is eating "cake batter" flavored ice-cream in the video. It's ridiculously delicious. It even has rainbow sprinkles. 

Thanks for sharing in my family's awesomely crafty day!
What are your favorite hobbies?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tip-toeing Along the Void

I recorded and erased a vlog today. I get so camera-shy I’m shocked at myself. 

I love public speaking. I love performing. I have been in so many plays. 
So I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what was clamming me up. I can do videos about Japan just fine, sing a stupid parody about writing, cook bread like a moron just fine...so why not the video I was trying to record today?

And you know, it didn’t click until I started writing this. 
The video was “27 Random Things About Me.”
I could act in highschool plays because I was pretending to be someone else. 
I can show you around Japan because hey, it’s just Japan. 
I can talk about bread. I can talk about writing. 
But you know when I clam up?
It’s when I’m revealing myself. 

In real life, I consider myself a very open person. Maybe too open. Scratch that hesitation. My friends would probably vote me most likely to enthusiastically reveal Too Much Information. 

When I write, I can hide behind the words, at least. The text. The photos on the page. 

But these videos...I feel so bare. It looks so easy. 
And yet Youtube feels like a giant mass of people predisposed to dislike me. Angry people. Teenagers.

You know, I’m not so worried about the trolls as the people that, if we had met in real life, may have liked me. But because I’m speaking into the void, feigning confidence to a mass of millions of varying viewpoints, they won’t troll me, they’ll SEE ME. Or worse, they won’t see me. I’ll disappear. 

It’s not like I’m worried about...

What am I worried about?

What am I worried about?

What am I afraid of?

In real life, I have faced so much rejection. Rejection from boys who didn’t like me back regardless of the many comics I drew for them, haha, rejection from friends as we parted ways, rejection from classmates as I failed to graduate in the same system, and a lot--a lot--of rejection on my mission. And you know what? I never take it too hard. In real life, staring down rejection isn’t so bad. It’s negotiable. It’s reasonable, maybe unreasonable, but obviously so. It’s HUMAN. 

It’s there, right in front of me. I can manage it. I advocate. I assert. 

One time in highschool, I was handing out copies of a funny comic I’d drawn. A boy came up and asked for one, and then crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. 
I said, “Why’d you do that?”
And he said, “Because it’s stupid.”

You know what my reaction was? I LAUGHED. I laughed because he was so negative it was weird. I thought to myself “this is what rejection must feel like.” And I was amped. I felt like a real artist. 

But here on the internet, I can’t grapple it. I can’t figure the numbers into people. I can’t see the surreal negativity suddenly become funny. I can’t cope with the noise. Twitter literally makes me nauseous as I try to digest all of the bajillions of conflicting sets 140 characters. 

Tumblr, well, I don’t even know how to use Tumblr. 

I get scared. I get so scared of the masses all hooting and twooting angry things, and what’s more, it seems the internet loves to celebrate anger. 

I don’t like anger. I don’t think it’s productive at all. If you stay angry, you’ll never start to understand. 

And I try to understand everything. I try to listen to everyone, even, especially, those I don’t agree with. And it’s so noisy. And I’m so anxious. And the thought of showing my face in real-time and talking directly to that void, oh gravy that void...and telling them something about myself. “Hey, I like to paint ceramics. It’s something that is important and special to me.”

That’s terrifying. 

Admitting I’m terrified is terrifying. 

I would rather hide behind the good days and the confident posts and the voiceovers on my travel videos. Because then the void ignores me. Like a beast devouring skeletal prey in the dark, it leaves me be while I am quiet. 

But then, in that void, I feel like there are a few minds who shine like little stars in the dark, and they want to hear what I have to say. They would actually prefer it if I came out from behind the voiceovers and the specially selected profile pictures and called loud enough into the void for them to hear. 

And the void might roar back.

But they’ll have found me. 

I’m about to call into the void.
Please find me, little stars.

Image courtesy of [image creator name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, April 29, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snow Sculptures, Sea Kings, and Silk Kimonos

Videos from Sapporo!

Our first stop and main attraction is the Sapporo Snow Festival, a huge event that attracts 2 million visitors worldwide, and doesn't disappoint.

The next morning we get up to see the snow sculptures demolished. This is disappointing.

The next day Chiaki pulls some strings and I get to drop in on a kimono modeling workshop. I try on an authentic silk kimono and attempt to use my runway skills. That part is at least entertaining.

Which was your favorite video? What would you like me to make my next vlog about?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do You Suffer From World-building Disease?

This is a pretty severe case.
Also known as my childhood.

What do you think I should do with my 1996 Han Solo notebook?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Harajuku Adventure

Have you heard of the wild and wacky district of Harajuku?
A friend and I set out on an adventure down the famous street of Takeshita in the second episode of my new vlog series.


Did you identify our mystery item before we did? Or were you just as surprised?