Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Feeling Tropical? TAG A UKELELE!

Excuses, excuses- but the weather is still inspirational (for the optimist in the room).
This past week, my husband, daughter, and I traveled South (yes, a capitalized "S") to visit my in-laws.  Traveling to "THE" South is truly a unique experience, if you have never been.  You can purchase fireworks almost anywhere (where you can also pick up a confederate flag and a mammy piggy bank), you will eat more fried foods than you thought possible (Krispy Kreme is actually a dessert after the Hardee's breakfast...), and you will be snacked upon by the largest and strangest looking bugs imaginable.  One thing you can almost certainly count on is the unbearable heat and humidity.   It was hot.  
Even though we enjoyed our visit, I was looking forward to getting back to our hometown of Chi-town (deep dish pizzas have got to be better than Hardee's... right?)  on Friday and... well... it was hot!  Ridiculously hot.  It still is.  In fact, the temperature today is a high of 98 with a heat index of 111, which is hotter than The South right now.  

What does this heat wave have to do with making art?  
I can't even imagine what my encaustic wax would look like right now if it wasn't in an air conditioned environment.  Ok, I could.  Regardless, I have put the encaustic-ing on hold until next Monday (since the real reason I am not working on the encaustic pieces is because I did not purchase the quilting iron that was a tip given to me by our local earth friendly children's store, Green Genes.  The owner works with encaustic and creates some beautiful collages!  So, I'm staying indoors and, with the tropical theme in mind, I have tapped into my inner hula to begin working on (what I like to call) a TAG for my 3-year-old niece's new instrument of choice.

The little guitar.
My niece playing her Ukelele.  Photo courtesy of Clark Maxwell
For her birthday, she really wanted a little guitar that they love to play with during her music classes.  I went to the Old Town School of Folk Music near me where I was greeted by an "official" musician.  I may be confirming those stereotypes out there, but there stood in front of me, a short confident woman, with dreads pulled back into a ponytail.  I asked, "so... umm... my niece takes your class and she really wants a guitar?"  The woman pointed to the small colorful ukeleles hanging above the door.  I couldn't help but be jealous of her tattoo sleeves and I turned my head up towards the stringed instruments.  "I guess those are them."  I replied.  They had a dark red, navy blue, forest green, and a bubblegum pink.  Hmmm... those colors were not what I had imagined for my niece.  While I could make the bubblegum pink work, I just felt like it wasn't quite my niece's personality.  The woman noticed my hesitation and said, "We also have an orange.  Let me pull one out for you."  Yes!  That's what I imagined!  Spunky funky orange!  The woman grabbed the little ukelele and tuned it right then and there.  That is something that always impresses me... being able to magically and instantly tune an instrument... and then without a skipped beat, she plucked a little hawaiian tune.  

I purchased the ukelele, which came with a really cute matching guitar bag, and decided to create a tag for my niece.  When I gave it to her for her birthday, I was a teensy bit nervous that she might have wanted a different color, so I waited to decorate the instrument.  Apparently she didn't care (though, you just never know with a 3-year-old!), and immediately (and for days after) strummed and strummed and strummed.  Now that I know she loves it, I am creating a tag for her little ukelele.  

What kind of person graffitis on a 3-year-old's ukelele?
A really cool person, I think.  But, I'm not THAT cool, so I am just decorating the back with her name.  Personalizing, I suppose.  I prefer TAG.  I am really into vintage images.  I have always loved the whimsy and simplicity.  I researched vintage fabrics, and chose a pattern to work with for Piper's design.  
Here it is in progress.  I am planning and designing with pen and paper and adobe illustrator, and then plan to transfer the design to her ukelele.  After, I will 'probably' use sign paint to make the image permanent and add some color.  I'll update you on the finished product!