Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Sweet Paul Makerie Day 2

See - I wasn't lying. We LOOK like it's 1am..
and sure enough, there's Elmo

A very Claire-ified Day Two!

So Aimee and I might have awoken slightly hazy thanks to the 1am trip to Times Square from the night before. HELLO!? 1-We were in New York and  2-we'd heard the talk of these mythical 24hour clothing stores and for sake of being female AND on vacation, we had to investigate this situation.

If curious - yes. There are in fact clothing stores, in New York, open 24 hours. If that doesn't blow your mind, then try understanding the 24hour Elmo's. The red dancing Sesame Street creatures? Yup. That's the guy. Who knew they apparently flock to Times Square much like visiting crazy Caymanians ;)

Let's start Day 2

Breakfast: BAGELS!
Yes - there were bagels for breakfast and you better believe that the Cayman Co-alition were slipping those bad boys in our pockets for later. There are certain things you just can't get on an island: 24 hour shops, 24 hour Elmo and BAGELS. Here, the rock hard bagel subsitute would be better used as weaponry for the locals (or against the locals depending on your mood). You better believe that those bready delicacies made it into my account of the trip. I'm only sad now that I didn't take a picture. I believe this is professionally called 'Carbohydrate Regret'

Morning Class: Paper Perennials with Elise Dee.

Also known as: Paper paper everywhere and not a drop to drink
The End Result: Sweet Polka dotted paper perfection
You guys may not know this, but I'm actually a superhero ceramicist by night, (bandit mask and all) - and a pixel-bending print-master (aka, magazine designer) by day. It's hard to believe right? Between the glaze covered clothing, the epoxy stained socks (don't ask), I somehow manage to churn out a couple pretty sweet publications and even with all the stress involved - I love print, patterns, paper and everything in between.

You know who else thinks paper is pretty rad? Elise flippin' Dee!

Aimee's attempt at dying 600 filters. I don't even
want to know what 4,000 filters would look like
So, I'll admit. I geeked out a bit at the thought of actually meeting a real life Anthropologie window designer in person. I mean, am I the type of person to stand by Anthropologie store windows looking wistfully in the distance yet, extremely hard at work? Am I the person who secretly prays that perhaps one day, maybe someone will mistake lil' ole' me as the window designer? Ok - so I've never gone that far (at least without some sort of bubbly libation). But, Elise is the real deal. Not only that - but she owns the art of paper flowers, has a pretty sweet website you should peep here AND she can actually make floral tape do what she wants it to.

sidenote: If you've never worked with floral tape, I highly recommend you make that a bragging point from now on. It sticks only to itself and nothing else. But, get this, it doesn't always stick to itself. It's really quite a picky beast choosing to basically adhere to whatever it wants
Action shot!
and NOT adhere to what you want it to. Or it breaks. And then the sh!t really hits the fan. But I digress.....

So Elise! This class Aims, Erika and I took was based around the art of paper flowers (in case I hadn't mentioned that). Not only paper flowers, but the art of DYING coffee filters to make said flowers. Elise dyed something like 4,000 paper flowers for the event (a big shout out to Rit Dye!). I still don't know how she didnt have multi-coloured fingers, but like I said - when you're the real deal, you've got mad skills.

The skinny on the Flowers
So, we sat amid a sea of crunchy coloured paper, with only our meager weapons in hand: Floral wire, floral tape and needle nose pliers. No, we aren't making bombs here guys (jeez), we were gearing up to get elbow deep in paper
flowering. Surprisingly! NOT the easiest of arts.
Now of course, my girl Elise made the situation
look easy as pie - the cutting, the folding,
the petaling...or whatever you call petaling?
And I admit, my first couple tries perhaps ended up not making the final cut (aka, trashed) But, then things got real!

Even more than real, they got polka dotted! (Yup! Those sweet dotted blooms in the above snap are totally mine)

So the point here is, the coffee filters, once they becoming a blossoming paper bud are then dipped in wax! This is the game changer. This is what makes them sincerely art. While the wax adds a new dimension of opacity, it also adds the element of frailty - it's no longer a paper flower, it's something precious, breakable like a real flower and equally as beautiful.

Zee master at work!
Do I still have my wax dipped flowers you ask? Well, let's just say Aimee and I found out the hard way that they don't exactly travel well. And unless you want a lap of wax on the airplane - perhaps you leave the wax dipping to your final destination.

Or just move to New York.

Afternoon Class: Food Photography with Paul Lowe & Colin Cooke

Also known as: you can't eat the food being photographed no matter how delicious it looks and how hungry you are.
Remember earlier when I mentioned that I design magazines? Well, when not ceramic-king (ok, so I made that word up), I'm the lead designer for a Foodie Publication here in the Cayman Islands called 'Good Taste' - hence like ants to a picnic - I was all over this class (see what I did there? Foodie reference and all!)
the dreaded cream/white photo

Believe me, if anyone knows how flippin hard it is to make food look good on film - it's me.

So here I am, Island girl in New York watching the two masters at work. Paul Lowe is actually a Food Stylist by trade and from the choice rented props to the 'ooops did I just strategically spill salt there?' repetoire - the guy is an inspiration. I still haven't quite figured out how I'm going to trick him into coming here and styling our local food issue - I mean, good luck making a head-on fried fish not look like, well, a dead fish - or making goat look way more remarkable than.. goat? But, you know, where there's a will there's a way - right?

How the class was set up: Paul put together a couple different scenarios, where he, the styling master, would lay out the set perfectly explaining color and texture usage, and then colin would step in and explain why he was taking a photo from a certain angle, why certain colors are harder than other colors (as you will see, the cream/white photo set-up was a B!) and voila!
Salad set up with turquoise background
where they were using magazine proofs
as tablecloths
Photo magic! He would then let the to-be photo-gods (us students), take a crack at it and snap a couple of our own...
that we then came home and heavily photoshopped.

(Pretend I didn't say that)

Now: The meat and potatoes of the class (yup! The trade secrets!) I think my fav trick of the trade was that Paul said cigar smoke is one of the best 'smokes' to photograph and steam happens to be an absolute headache to get in a picture. The remedy? You got it - keep a cigar smoker around just long enough to strategically blow some smoke by way of the steamy food.

The second trick will blow your mind. So... picture Dunkin Donuts. That delicious round delicacy, the freshly poured (cigar smoke) steamy coffee with perfect soap bubbles on the top. Mmmmmm!

You read it cuz I said it. SOAP! I mean, think about it, when was the last time you poured coffee with perfect bubbles!? So yeah - trade secret is that you dump a lil' bit of dishwashing liquid in there to get juuuust enough froth. Too much, and you could possibly
 have a caffeinated inferno on your hands -
Blue set-up with the most ridiculous
smelling cheese ever!
but if you 'baby bear' it, then it'll be just right.

Third trick is more on trends in food photography in general. Colin was telling us that where previously, clients would demand studio photo shoots - they have now quickly fallen from being the norm. In fact, natural light is now almost always preferred. Not only has this trend affected his personal business, but it's affecting photography studios everywhere. Without the necessity of a studio and studio time, think of the amount of people that no longer have thriving jobs? Moral of the story kids: Don't play indoors!

The Almost End

So that brings me to the end of the journey (sniff!). I'm not going to lie - I already can't wait for next years Sweet Paul event! I am STILL in awe of the people we met, the places we saw... and the screwy crafty confidence I feel like I gained. Dude! I can sew an owl, ice a cookie, take photos as good as Colin Cooke (ha!) and personally, can't wait for my boyfriend to mistakenly sip a coffee laced with dishwashing liquid...

Til next time friends! Keep it crafty y'all ;)

Claire xx

* Sweet Paul Magazine is a quarterly publication of the finest things in life, made in the simplest of ways. Created from the brilliance of Paul Lowe, Sweet Paul invites readers to create extraordinary from the ordinary. The pages are filled with artisans making beautiful things, recipes that will ignite your passion to cook, and home goods
you will want to run out and buy (or make!) to put in your living space.
Please visit their website for more information and how to get
Sweet Paul delivered straight to your door.

** The Makerie is…….. Well, you just have to experience it. Once described as "A pop-up community of creators", Ali DeJohn's idea of bring like-minded people together for a weekend of making is extra-ordinary to say the least. A must do for those that want to expand their creative brains and meet people who can do amazing things. See for yourself at themakerie.com.

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