Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy Summer Solstice!

Here is how I spent the summer solstice...In the Fremont Solstice Parade. It is truly one of the highlights of the summer in Seattle. People wear body paint and ride bikes, others are in colorful and imaginative costumes. It is a creative event I participate in every year. The Solstice Parade is one of the reasons I'm glad I live in Seattle.

Me with the Sol Train group at The Center of the Universe Photo by Brent Smith
Sol Train Ensemble

Sarah Lovett and her wonderful Elephant

Naked Bicyclists Are Ready to Start the Parade

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Monday, June 17, 2013

10 x10 x10 and Might Tieton

I've just finished submitting two pieces to the 10 x10 x10 art show at Mighty Tieton near Yakima.
To qualify, each piece can be no larger that 10 inches in any dimension. I submitted two of the handmade books I made last summer at Penland in Laura Wait's class.

Here are some photos.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Imagining Other Careers....

I read an interesting article today by Delia Lloyd where she asks her readers to "Imagine Five Alternative Careers".

This is food for thought.

When I was younger I wanted to be a:
1. Ballet dancer
2. Nurse
3. Dental hygienist
4. Stewardess
5. Librarian

I took ballet lessons, but found out I didn't have the right body type to be a ballerina (or the talent).

Nursing was out because I wasn't good at math and science and was intimidated by having to take classes in those subjects.

My father discouraged me from being a dental hygienist ("Why would you want to clean people's teeth?" Good point.) and the science issue was still there.

I became a stewardess (that's what we used to call flight attendants), which I enjoyed for many years. I liked the job because it was never the same, I got to travel to new places all the time and meet interesting people. After a while I was bored by the actual job, I flew the same route to Toyko every week for five years. I started looking around for alternative careers and because I love books and libraries so much, I started checking into becoming a librarian.

I did apply to library school and was accepted to the program at the University of Texas. It would have meant moving from Seattle to Austin and when push came to shove, I wasn't ready to make the move.

A few years later I took an early retirement package from my airline employer and decided to study graphic design and illustration. I had taken some interior design classes and liked art. I got my degree in Graphic Design and Illustration and have I been a practicing designer for fifteen years this month.

But the graphic design industry is changing. I keep having to update my skills to learn how to design for mobile phones and tablets. They want UX and UI, wireframes, Ruby on Rails, jQuery and javascript.

It makes my head hurt. I got into this profession because I like art and wanted to do something creative.

Most clients and employers just want the work done fast and cheap instead of thoughtful and inspired. I am once again considering a new career. If time, money and energy were no object I would like to be a:

1. metalsmith and jewelry maker.
2. fashion stylist for high end clients.
3. buyer and seller of antiques, treasures and textiles from around the world.
4. textile, stationary, licensing artist selling my art and designs to be applied to products and fabrics.
5. personal assistant to a celebrity.
6. travel photographer

If the truth be told, I really want to do all of these things! I'm going to keep thinking about this. The universe seems to be leading me away from graphic design.

What alternative careers would you like to have?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Enameling Metal Jewelry

I've been taking metalsmithing classes for the last year. I started with metal about 15 years ago and then stopped when I started working full time. This last year I haven't been working as much which has been a gift in many ways; one if those ways is more time to work on my art.

The current class I'm taking is an Enameling. Enameling a process where ground glass is fused to copper or silver when heated at high temperatures (1500 degrees). You can heat the metal in a kiln or through a process called torch firing where you apply the flame from a torch underneath the metal until the glass melts and fuses to the the copper or silver.

I am in love with enameling! I love color and experimenting with transparent and opaque enamels is so much fun. I'm never quite sure what I'm going to get because the powdered enamel colors look very different than the heated and cooled enamel. Here are a few recent samples I made.

Friday, May 10, 2013

20 things you can do to kickstart your creativity

This post comes from the website of Maria Whetman. She is a jeweler in the UK who works with silver and recycled tin. Her website is here:

Maria has some great ideas and I already do some of them like looking through old journals from years ago to get inspiration. I also like her idea of taking the train someplace I've never been or a class in something that's out of my usual foraging for edible mushrooms!

Her work is delightful and inspiring.

My kitty Delilah is inspired by Peonies

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I've discovered Doodler's Anonymous which is a good 12 step program for me since I've discovered Zentangles and Zendoodling. It's always good to spend more time in my sketchbook than in front of a computer screen and I love the look of black ink on good paper. Here are a few recent entries from my sketchbook:

KCRW logo - pen & ink with watercolor crayon
copyright diane tchakirides 2013

Heart Mandala
copyright diane tchakirides 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The world isn't such a sweet place today

News of the bombings at the Boston Marathon bring sadness at the state of a world where people plan to kill other innocent people. Prayers go out to the families of the dead and to the victims of yet another senseless tragedy.
Ship Canal blossoms: Seattle Spring

I was lucky enough to take a walk in the sun today.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Zentangle aka advanced doodling

My new discovery is Zentangle or Zendoodling as some call it. It was invented by Rick Roberts and Maria Thomas and it's really easy to pick up. You create cool patterns by using repetition and line. It is also really easy to get addicted too! But sort of a healthier addiction because it's art. My problem is once I start I don't want to stop...or go to bed. If you want to learn more the website is here:

Here are a few of my zentangles....

Monday, April 1, 2013

In Praise of Idleness

I love this article printed in the New York Times. Read it!

Life is too short to be busy.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Freestyle embroidery

I took some cotton fabric, needles and embroidery floss with me to Mexico to practice handwork. I didn't use a pattern, just played with colors and shapes. I started with the palm tree, then waves and sun. I was inspired by the colors I was seeing and also the shapes of fruit in the market so I began stitching some freeform circles and oval shapes. I call it "doodling with thread".  This was a great project for airplanes and the beach. It doesn't take up much room and the whole deal fits easily in a purse or beach bag. So fun! I want to continue now that I'm home.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Muy Bueno Bucerias

I moved from Puerto Vallarta to Bucerias yesterday. It is a much slower pace and I am settling in. I like it here. Esta muy tranquilo! There is a fabulous, long beach with waves and surfers... food is great too.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The colors of Mexico

Hola! I'm in sunny Mexico where blue skies and sunshine are plentiful. This is a nice switch for a Seattle girl used to gray on gray. I spent a week in Puerto Vallarta and wandered the streets taking pictures. I also enjoyed some really good food which I'll tell you about in coming posts. Today I headed north to the small town of Bucerias. It has miles of unspoiled beaches and big waves with surfers. I'm having a hard time getting used to the lazy pace here after frenetic PV. A few days here will slow me down.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Designing a poster

I'm working on a poster for an art fair in the midwest. One of the requirements is that it has to have a goat on it. Here are a few of my ideas so far...I will have to add more text and details of the event but now I am in the experimentation phase. All images Copyright Diane Tchakirides

Monday, February 25, 2013

Painting with wool and heart felt

More needle felting samples. Painting with wool and making hearts.

I still have space in my Needle Felting Basics workshop on March 10 and Space to Create in Ballard. We'll be there from 1-4pm.