Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friendly Plastic and Irene


This is a piece that evolved from a mistake I made on the project we made in Leslie Altman's Friendly Plastic class at Stamping Details in Poway.

Leslie had taught us how to stretch the plastic and as I stretched it trying to save it, I found it looking like a tag. I also found that you can embed almost anything in the plastic while it is soft and pliable including a photo and the Swarovski crystals.

Since I have done so much with my mom, Nadine and her photos. I thought I should do something for my natural mother, Irene. I had this photo that she had taken and given to her girls.

In Somerset Apprentice there was an article called Love Baby by Lisa Martin-Bowman where she dangled little tags off the bottom of her house/collage. There wasn't enough room to put "Irene" on the tags, so I decided to name who she was, "Mom." The wire wrapping was the most difficult for me. I have done so little of it and had to do some of them 2 and 3 times before I got something that was acceptable to me.

I hope that someway she will know that I do think of her often and feel that greatest un-selfish gift she gave to me was realizing she could not care for me at that time in her life and gave me up for adoption. I know it had to be very difficult decision for her. I found out that no one in her family knew what she had done in 1944 and until I found her in 1980. She then contacted all her sisters with the news that her daughter, Lana, had an older sister. From that, a wonderful network of aunts has open their doors to me and my family. I have "mom" to thank for all of that. God Bless her soul.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

West Point Revisited

About 6 weeks ago I started taking an online class through San Diego Continuing Education. We work at our own pace at home and on Monday and Wednesday night from 7-8 pm we come together through a special computer program and get to see each other's work in regards to that week's assignment. There are about 25 of us in the class.

This week assignment was to pretend that we get a call, "Can you design a graphic Book, CD or Video cover for us?" and you respond, "Yes, when do you need it?" " Well, we needed it last week but we had to fire the designer. Due to the tragic circumstances our Publication date has been moved up. Do you think you could bring in some thumbnails tomorrow around 10:00am?"

We can choose to design the graphics for a book cover, a CD/DVD Case or Video Box. (Choose one). That's hard enough, but, Jane, the online Hands-On-Print teacher did not give us the choice to pick our titles. Each of the 25 students had different titles to work with and decide how to interpret those words visually. My title with no explanation was "GRAND AND VIVID DAYS." Now what exactly is that conjuring up in my little brain?

The first night after the assignment, one student had already completed his task. It was very cleaver and looked great. His title was Leap and Pause. He used a beautiful photo of a very green lily pond with lily pads that were in bloom. Then he found a big old green frog and planted him artistically in the foreground on a big lily pad. He used a font he found called simply "frog font" for the title. It really looked great and so creative.

Back Cover - spine - Front Cover

Here is what I came up with after much deliberation and thought. First I went to the dictionary and looked up the words "grand" and "vivid". Grand: most important, admirable. Vivid: striking mental images; clearly perceived by the mind as a recollection.

I immediately thought of my son's experience and graduation from West Point. Erik was there from 1994 to 1998. He was on the football team that went to the Independence Bowl in 1996. His wife to be, Shannon also graduated from West Point the same year and was Captain of her Softball Team. They both went on to be Captains and Army pilots. Erik flying the Apache Attack helicopter and Shannon flying the Army Blackhawk helicopter.

I have already made 4 complete scrapbooks covering those years. But, I have videos that need to be compiled into one DVD. Hence this is the front and back cover of a DVD case for just that DVD.

Sidenote: They both served 7 years and then resigned their commision. They are currently living in Oceanside and work in San Diego. Neither of them fly for a living.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Genealogy Art Doll

Genealogy Doll

My Family- 4 generations

This is the first altered alt project I made in my life. It is also where I met my wonderful friend, artist and teacher, Georgia Lichon. She taught the class in Carlsbad at Geegee's which is a stamp store on State Street. She had taken this class at ArtFest.

It is my most special things I have ever made. It is approximately 4x12 inches. I had never painted before and she started me off using Lumiere Paints for the background. I wanted all the photos that I was going to use for their heads to be proportionate. So, I waited to add them at home when I could work with them in photos shop and choose carefully which head shots I really wanted to represent the female side of my family.

Georgia provided and incredible amount of something I had NEVER heard of: ephemera. I was to come and love this word and all it represents.


This is my grandmother, Helena Gorszczyk. For my grandma, I was able to find a Statue of Liberty charm in her box of trinkets. She was very religious and Catholic - hence the picture of the Sacred Heart of Mary. She was very intelligent and the first in the Polish neighborhood of Elizabeth, NJ to learn to speak English! She came to America as a young adult. She died when her 10th child was only 5 months old right after my grandfather buying her a washing machine. So sad for all her children.


The next doll is my natural mother, Irene. She loved to sing and one of her favorite songs to sing was I Left My Heart in San Francisco. There is also a photo of my natural father, Joe Ferrara. My mom was his mistress her entire life, never married and bore him two girls.


Next is my mom since I was 9 years old - Nadine. Again, this is the photo of her taken the night before she died out at sea on the Norweigen ship, The Sagafiord. She loved to sew and made a lot of her clothes. She only sewed Vogue patterns. That is actually a piece from her cloth tape measure. The flower pin is a pin I made her in Campfire Girls back in the 50s.

Me, Silly Sal

Next is me and my high school yearbook photo. Plus, I photo of me in 1st grade. There's a skinny photo of me in the suit I bought with Carole in Palmsprings off the rack for Erik's football banquiet that year. Then there is me in my yell leader's outfit from Glendale Jr. College. Lastly is a photo fo the night I met my natural mother for the first time. Thanksgiving evening at my natural sister's home in 1980. This was a poloroid photo and very hard to clean up. I love to play MahJong and I taught piano and organ from when I was 15 years old until my mom, Nadine, died in 1983.


The last doll is of my daughter Kari Irene La Com. What is so bizarre, is that we named her before I was ever told anything about my natural mom and sister. It turns out, my natural mom's name was Irene. . . An athelete of all sorts including gymnastics, varsity volleyball and water skiing team at USD. What a "cutey patootey" our friend Suzanne would say. We have so much fun together. I am so glad her first home she purchased is only 20 minutes away. She is a character and we said the other day at my son's, that we invite her so that we have some entertainment. Her stories are hilarious!

On the back of each doll I have written their birthday information and a little bit about each person. The ribbon I choose is so feminine. It runs between the two pieces of chip board that Georgia had already cut out for us. I hope you enjoy this genealogy dolll and it provokes you to want to make one of your own!