Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Dawn of Helena's Liberation

The Dawn of Helena's Liberation, a #metoo collage by June Anderson, collage art by June Anderson, papercuts, papier colle

Hello Friends! As I was combing through my file folders of images cut from magazines for the February One Little Word collage I came across a particular image that I have been meaning to use for quite some time. Knowing that the intake for a spring art show at a local gallery was coming up soon I decided to make an idea I had for using the image a priority and worked on making it happen.

The image I found in my stash, a two page spread from a National Geographic magazine, is now the background of the above piece. As I recall the caption in the Geographic stated that the photograph is of an abandoned house in a desert somewhere. Months ago, as I cut the image from the publication, I had this idea that someday I would like to create a scene within this intriguing magical space.

And what scene could be more intriguing or magical than the transformational moment when one receives specific knowledge of a coming event that will alter their life for the better in significant ways?

Meet Helena, whose name means bright shining light, and is the subject of the assemblage I'm sharing with you here today. I call this piece The Dawn of Helena's Liberation. Her real name is Young Girl from Anzio (Rome) and she is a Roman copy of an Hellenistic sculpture. Helena features prominently in this collage because she represents the women of the Hellenistic era (323 BC - 31 BC) who welcomed new laws that gave them legal, social, economic and cultural freedoms as well as educational opportunities, making them smarter, legally freer and economically stronger. This is my ode to that moment in time.

During the Hellenistic era, new philosophical schools of thought influenced the loosening of social constructs for women. For example, women were allowed to draw up and sign their own contracts and legal documents that protected their social status which made the exploitation of them more difficult.  And a prominent improvement in women's lives was that they were no longer required to have an escort or chaperone in legal matters or to enter public spaces or gymnasiums.

Being able to leave their homes unescorted, women became integrated into society and in the workforce, albeit in their more traditional Greek roles such as weavers, pot makers, launders, grocers and barmaids.

With education, women became literate in subjects such as mathematics and literature and worked as philosophers, poets, writers, architects and musicians.

Young Girl at Anzio was excavated in 1878, having been found in an early Roman Imperial villa, and is thought to be a priestess. When I first saw her in my vintage Art of Classical Greece book several months ago, I knew she would be perfect for some as yet unknown collage project. Then, as I was flipping through the book again, looking for an image to cut out and place on the mound of sand in the Geographic magazine spread, I knew she would be perfect.

I thought, what better recipient of a life changing event than a priestess named Helena? And how about the spiritual significance of a luminous silver bird that symbolizes the coming of the new rights bestowed upon women and who intimately delivers that message? I felt that this noteworthy dramatic story of transformation is best told in the midst of an azure colored temple and that it only seemed right that an event of this magnitude should take place within a powerful golden 'other-world' atmosphere. There, Helena sat, ready, waiting, clock ticking away. And when the moment came, she stood and formally received a grand and historic moment.

Are there significant moments in the history of women that you are fond of? What stories of women's transformation do you enjoy? Leave me a comment or send me an email. 
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Little Yellow Couch Style Manifesto

June Anderson Style Manifesto, On The Little Yellow Couch blog, Style Matters podcast, Do YOU show up in your home?, self improvement essay questions, styling, vintage styling, style manifesto, learn to style, how to style your home

Hi Friends! Do you listen to podcasts? I listen to several, and one of my favorites is Style Matters, hosted by Karen June Grant and Zandra Zuraw of the interiors blog Little Yellow Couch. When I first heard Zandra say "we believe that your style comes from knowing who you are" and that their mission on the podcast is to "get to the substance behind the style" I was immediately hooked.

On the weekly podcast Karen and Zandra interview designers and stylists to find out why style matters to them. And each week I am continually amazed by how much I learn about style as I listen to stories from people who are passionate about not just decorating their homes, but how their homes are a reflection of their personality, interests and lifestyle.

My own journey of home decorating and styling is a fairly recent one but my passion for collecting vintage home wares has been going strong for years. The truth is that my home has been more 'junk store chic' than purposefully collected and aesthetically decorated or styled. Life has been so busy with work and the raising of children that I just never had the energy, brain space or 'know-how' for anything more.

But life is different now, changing. My children are grown and I strongly feel that it's time to get serious about style and why it matters to me. I found a great place to start is Karen and Zandra's Style Manifesto, a discovery tool designed to identify how your personal values align with how your home looks and functions. It's rather scary to realize that the clutter in your home can be considered a reflection of the clutter in your head! But face it, I must...

Through a series of five essay questions, Karen and Zandra take you through an inspection tour, so to speak, of your home. I have always felt that being self analytical is one of the harder tasks in life, but what I have also discovered is that journaling is the key to working out issues. The first part of the writing exercises take you through identifying your values and where your personality shows up in your home. Then you will be asked to pinpoint the elements of your personality that are missing in your home and encouraged to brainstorm ideas that will bring those characteristics you would like to make visible into the foreground.

Once you have finished answering the questions the fun part is creating your own manifesto - an actionable plan for how you will achieve your newly found style goals! And since a manifesto is a public declaration, I'm sharing mine here with you:

June Anderson Style Manifesto, On The Little Yellow Couch blog, Style Matters podcast, Do YOU show up in your home?, self improvement essay questions, styling, vintage styling, style manifesto, learn to style, how to style your home

And of course, I'm always in for a fun art project and the blank space at the top and bottom of the manifesto were just begging for a little bit of collage.

I hope you will consider listening to the Style Matters podcast and signing up to get your own Style Manifesto. I'm sure Karen and Zandra will be delighted if you did!

Thank you for letting me share.
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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Under The Plum Blossom Tree - An Etsy Affiliate

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Etsy Affiliate, Esty Affiliate Program, Etsy Affiliate Program announcement

Hello Friends! A quick update for you. I'm excited to announce that Under The Plum Blossom Tree has been approved to be an Etsy Affiliate. What that means is that you will now see the official Etsy advertising banner on the sidebar or within certain posts in this blog. If you click on the link and make a purchase I may earn a commission.

To more fully understand what affiliate links are and how they work, please visit http://paidforadvertising.com/. Also, by law I am required to have a Disclosure Policy which is now posted at the top menu bar of this blog. You will also see my disclosure policy on any blog posts I may write that promote Etsy products.

Thank you for supporting Under The Plum Blossom Tree!
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

One Little Word - February

Collage, Collage by June Anderson, One Little Word Collage by June Anderson, One Little Word Build, One Little Word, February One Little Word, OLW, Ali Edwards One Little Word,

Hey everyone! Welcome back to month two of my year long journey through the online One Little Word workshop, taught by designer, blogger, and teacher Ali Edwards.

The February creative prompt is to create a vision board that reflects your word. A vision board is, according to Ali, "a visual intention - a collection of images and words and phrases that speak to you for one reason or another in your life right now."

I am a collage artist and my word this year is BUILD. And if there is one thing I love, it is a collection of something! Over the years I have assembled a library of images that I've painstakingly cut from a variety of magazines. This 'library' consists of file folders labeled according to subject such as floral/fauna, letters/phrases, and home/garden. For instance, some of the images used in my vision board (above) are from Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, Better Homes and Gardens, National Geographic, Vogue, and some scrapbook and art publications that I don't remember the names of.

It was so much fun looking through my file folders while at the same time focusing on my word. It actually was a bit uncanny how many images I catalogued that reminded me of the word 'build'. In fact, at that beginning stage, I had chosen enough images to fill a board twice the size of the finished work and was seriously thinking of going out and buying a larger canvas. But eventually I talked myself out of the idea realizing it was crazy to make a huge collage simply because I was having a hard time whittling down my choices.

The piece, 18"x24", consists of both literal depictions and symbolic imagery.

The literal depictions are easy to spot: Gehry tower in the lower left corner; the scissors, camera, typewriter and paintbrushes are my go-to 'tools of the trade'; the watering can, bird house, roses, and Japanese-style garden lantern indicate essentials in the garden; the 'blue onion' patterned dinnerware plate calls to mind my newest interest in collecting vintage and antique dish ware; the tiny blue tassel reflects my obsession with the ever popular chinoiserie style of home decor; the textiles, wallpaper samples and hanging pendant bird lamp help to remind me of the home improvement and decorating projects I want to make happen.

Some of the symbolic imagery can be quite obvious as well: the plum blossoms stand for this Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog and the cup of tea stands for my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures. As well, the image of women and books is characteristic of my feelings for all the awe-inspiring creative women I've met on Instagram, in particular through #collectandstyle, a hash tag project I started; the watch and the clock - obvious reminders of time passing, time running out and making the most of the time that I have.

You may have noticed the minimal use of words and phrases on my vision board. The truth is I am an introvert. I prefer quiet, solitude and contemplation over crowds, noise and nonthinking. Even the aforementioned file folder marked 'words/phrases' is quite scant compared to the other folders, but I was pleased with what I did find: 'fun' because that's the way it should be; 'on a roll' to keep my spirit up; 'presence of mind' to keep me focused; 'power' to help me be strong; 'Pleasure, purpose, pride - the three strands of happiness' because, like in mathematics, there's an order of operations, right?

My favorite images are the free-form style white buildings with birds and flowers encircling them (upper left corner) and the whimsical people-like creatures riding unicycles (lower right corner). These represent a subjective symbolism for me because of their made up structure. They remind me that life is constantly full of new opportunities and new ways of seeing the world. They allow me to re-imagine a new way of living. And that is the kind of thinking that gives me hope, helps me to keep going in my endeavors, and enables me the willingness and the courage needed to look towards an unknown future.

Also, too, the fact that several of the images I've assembled on my vision board are collections of objects is a strong reminder that it takes practice, time and a caring attitude to build anything significant in life. I'm reminded of the many other words used to describe 'build', such as construct, oversee, incorporate, compile, establish, and develop.

I'm sure it's easy to conclude that my love of Mother Nature is evident. But on a deeper level my fascination with, and respect for, the natural world is steeped in the wonders of the essential 'building blocks' of nature; isn't it amazing how unseen particles and matter, coupled with the abstract concepts of time and space, unite and produce the physical elements that create beautiful life forms like the wing of a dragonfly, the feather of a bird or the perfect shape of an egg? The infinitesimal array of shapes, patterns, and colors delight the eye, command our awe and can inspire us to contemplate our very existence.

June Anderson, June Anderson and collage, original collage artwork by June Anderson, One Little Word February creative prompt, One Little Word BUILD, One Little Word creative project, One Little Word February prompt

My favorite part of Ali's words in her description of the project was that "it's a way to connect your head, your heart and your hands". I'm always in for a good art project, especially one with rich meaning, so I couldn't agree more!

Thank you Ali Edwards, and thank you dear reader! If you feel inspired to make your own vision board, I'm happy to answer any questions you may have. You can leave me a comment here or send me an email.

And if you like this series, please visit me next month for the March One Little Word creative prompt. If you would like to be informed when I publish the post you can sign up for an email notification at the top of this blog - look for 'subscribe' under my profile photo, enter your email address, and Blogger will send you an email. 
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

Vintage Tea Treasures, Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy, Vintage Tea Treasures Etsy Shop, Crown Dorset teapot, pink rose Crown Dorset teapot,

Hi friends!

Just popping in with a quick reminder that in my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures you'll find timeless, classic, and fun teatime china ware from name brands such as the Crown Dorset teapot and the Duchess teacup and saucer shown above.

The Crown Dorset teapot has a unique cube shape, a 40 ounce capacity, and will make six 6-ounce cups of tea. Adorned with beautiful fully-bloomed pink roses, green ivy, and a graceful scroll-like finial, it will be the perfect center of attention on your tea table.

The wild roses in pink with greenery on the Duchess teacup and saucer duo are a subtle reminder of the cherished rose in its natural state. An interesting egg-like oval shape sitting elegantly upon a gold gilded foot, this set is sure to please those of you that love styling your tea table in the shabby chic and/or vintage lace and roses themes.

Both pieces (and more details) are available now in the shop, where you can see even more delightful vintage teaware for sale, all at reasonable prices. And if you visit Vintage Tea Treasures and enter code PLUMBLOSSOM10 you can get 10% off your order.

As always, thank you for your support!
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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

One Little Word - January

One Little Word, One Little Word January, January One Little Word, Ali Edwards One Little Word, Ali Edwards One Little Word class, One Little Word 2018, One Little Word January 2018, #OLW, #onelittleword, One Little Word The Beauty of Becoming, One Little Word Show Up, One Little Word Do the Work, One Little Word Build

Hi friends! How is your new year going so far?

In a blog post earlier this month I mentioned that I was signing up for One Little Word, a year long online workshop, taught by designer, blogger and teacher Ali Edwards.

I have known about One Little Word for a long time and always thought I would like to try it, and finally, I am! And I'm excited to share this journey with you.

The purpose of the class is to invite one word into your life that will act as a year long guide and an investigative tool. It allows you to concentrate on different aspects of daily experience and apply your word to real life situations. Each month there will be a new creative prompt to help bring your chosen word into focus.

For 2018 my word is BUILD. The reason I chose build is because it feels as if there is still so much more in life to accomplish. I am blessed in that I have a solid foundation on which I have already built my life - a comfortable home, a healthy and happy family, and employment. I now wish to utilize that foundation to grow independently and thrive in ways different than what I am accustomed to. I want to challenge myself to experiment with new ways of thinking and doing.

Build feels action oriented, creative, and encourages me to be self-initiating. Build has plasticity, allowing me to decide what form it will take in my life and give me the freedom I need to shape events. Build will help me to develop ideas into actionable steps and to learn how to expand and refine those ideas. With build I can incorporate my own unique style. And lastly, build has a cumulative effect - starting now I am giving myself the permission and the opportunity to engage with life in new and unexpected ways in order to expand on that which I have already established.

And it's going to be hard! Having now answered all the prompts for January, I am now rubbing up against the challenge of diving deeper into these questions: What do I want less of in my life? What do I want to let go of? What do I want more of? What do I want to invite into my life? I don't know if you are like me, but faced with having to sit down and think critically and objectively about such questions and the act of having to write something down on a blank card is a bit intimidating.

But necessary!

Another prompt for the class is to find a quote containing your word that resonates with you. I will close with this one I found by His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

With the realization of one's own potential
 and self confidence in one's ability, 
one can build a better world.

Thanks for reading!



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Friday, January 26, 2018

#collectandstyle - @annld60

Instagram #collectandstyle, #collectandstyle Instagram, @annld60 Instagram, Instagram @annld60, collecting vintage, styling vintage, vintage collectables, styling with vintage collectables, styling with flowers and collectables on Instagram, floral styling, vintage styling, vintage collecting

Hello #collectandstyle community, how are you? I hope you are doing well. Thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog to view the #collectandstyle favorite. There are now over 14,000 images posted to the tag! If you have contributed to that growing number, thank you! And if you haven't yet I hope to see you there.

Today I'm featuring one artist from among an ever growing array of talented photographers that post their styled images of vintage, new or antique collectables to the hashtag.

Embracing the moment is, I think it is safe to say, Ann L. Davis's 'cup of tea'. Ann's Instagram feed (@annld60) is akin to having your best friend put the teakettle on the stove and invite you over for a relaxing cup of tea and interesting conversation. Her warm, open and welcoming manner summons us to accept her invitation to comment about our day sharing experiences, feelings, and moods.



Instagram #collectandstyle, #collectandstyle Instagram, @annld60 Instagram, Instagram @annld60, collecting vintage, styling vintage, vintage collectables, styling with vintage collectables, styling with flowers and collectables on Instagram, floral styling, vintage styling, vintage collecting

Indeed, it is Ann's stunning images of her floral displays that drive quite a bit of the conversation. These range from a single flower to store purchased bouquets and the newer popular seasonal and wild floral arrangements.

Instagram #collectandstyle, #collectandstyle Instagram, @annld60 Instagram, Instagram @annld60, collecting vintage, styling vintage, vintage collectables, styling with vintage collectables, styling with flowers and collectables on Instagram, floral styling, vintage styling, vintage collecting

And Ann's followers and friends are always curious about her interesting assortment of styling props. She's fond of vintage and antique enamelware, as well as teacups, secateurs (Japanese bonsai scissors), sheet music, stationary, and ribbon spools.

Instagram #collectandstyle, #collectandstyle Instagram, @annld60 Instagram, Instagram @annld60, collecting vintage, styling vintage, vintage collectables, styling with vintage collectables, styling with flowers and collectables on Instagram, floral styling, vintage styling, vintage collecting

Once you've visited Ann (@annld60) on Instagram, I'm sure you will agree that embracing the moment in such lovely company is indeed a pleasure worth revisiting.  
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