WINDOWS & LIGHTBULBS

MY STORY IN 6 WORDS: Days are warmer and more springlike!! 🙂

Hope you’re all healthy and continuing to be safe. It looks like several places throughout the world are opening up…not fully, but at least it’s a hopeful start. My wish is that we won’t be far behind…

Strange title for a blog posting…I know. But those two things are what the post is about. My online art challenge groups…two of them…have called for art including those specific items. Just a quick post to enter the challenges…

First, for TAKE A WORD, (takeaword.blogspot.com,) the theme is WINDOWS.

…And, for THE THREE MUSES, (thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com,) a LIGHTBULB needed to appear somewhere in our art. This was indeed a challenge..

That’s it…short and sweet! Stay safe. Hope you’ll check in next posting.

Big Hugs, abbyj

MIXED BAG

MY STORY IN 6 WORDS…One day is like the next!

The days seem long and there’s little variation from one to the next. Is that how it is for you as well? For me, art heals all…as does getting lost in a good book, some good music, some conversation with my honey…the truth is I don’t mind being home as long as I can go out for necessities. Staying home and safe makes good sense to me! It’s much more difficult if you don’t have things you enjoy to keep you busy! Rock on, dear ones…we’ve still got some time to go before we’re “unlocked.”

On the art front, my online art challenge groups have been busy…and I’ve been busy getting reacquainted with old cyber art friends. It’s fun and challenging to create art in accordance with themes declared by each group.

TAKE A WORD (takeaword.blogspot.com) asked participants to include at least one EYE in our creations…OK- I did!

THE THREE MUSES (thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com) requested a bit of MAIL ART…

DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flickr.com/groups/digitalmania/) introduced us to a Romanian artist who works in mixed media…Emanuel M. Ologeanu. Our challenge…to create art inspired by this artist. Here’s some of his art…

…and here are mine…

SUNDAY POSTCARD ART CHALLENGE (https://sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com/) called for an unusual theme…TYPEWRITER! This was indeed a challenge, but enjoyable.

Thanks again for checking in with me. Hope to see you next time as you continue to stay safe!!

Big Hugs, abbyj

FISH and the CORONAVIRUS

TELLING MY STORY IN 6 WORDS…The Coronavirus continues its killing spree!

I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathy to all those affected and infected by this dreaded virus. It’s leading us through some unprecedented times of stress and sorrow. Please stay in and stay safe…let’s fight this TOGETHER.

Eyes mesmerize me

peeking over our masks

Incomplete faces…

This week’s challenge from THE THREE MUSES (https://thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com/) is all about FISH. This is the whimsical piece I submitted…

Take care of yourself and do think to reach out to those who are dear but far away and those who are alone in their struggle to maintain calm. We’re all in this together…no matter where we’re located!!

Much love to you ,

abbyj

Learning Something New


TELLING MY STORY IN 6 WORDSWe struggle in quarantine…stay connected.

We’re fighting a different kind of war now…all over the world…a world in quarantine. Keeping busy, doing meaningful things that are constructive and feel good are key for me. I’ve spent some time learning of an art movement about which I knew little. Born out of World War 1, the DADA Movement reacted against the carnage of that war. It was anti-art and had a strong negative and destructive element. DADA artists and writers were concerned with shock, protest and nonsense…rejecting all tradition, they sought complete freedom. Online art group, DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flickr.com/groups/digitalmania/), has declared this week’s theme to be DADA art. Very interesting period in art and literature…I wouldn’t have done too well creating art in that period, as it made no sense and was not concerned with all the properties usually associated with art. In any case, here are my DADA creations…

SUNDAY POSTCARD ART’s challenge theme for this week (https://sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com/) is one of my favorite…theatre!! I’m honoring one of my most beloved live theatre shows that eventually became a movie…WAR HORSE. It was very emotional for me…and a great learning experience. I found it incredible that a mechanical horse…lifesized…became so real to me. It was an excellent story and stunning production. I highly recommend it if it comes around again and you haven’t seen it!

Another production impressed me with it’s acting, it’s unique staging and an excellent storyline. We enjoyed this in Toronto, Ontario, Canada…THE BLUE DRAGON…

Thanks for checking in. Do enjoy your week and try to reach out to loved ones as well as those alone. We must fight this war together!

Big hugs (from a distance,)

abbyj

HATS FOR EASTER

My Nana used to wear hats!

With Easter right around the corner, hats are a topic of discussion in some circles. In two of my art challenge groups, THE THREE MUSES CHALLENGE, (https://thethreemuseschallenge.blogspot.com/) and SUNDAY POSTCARD ART, (https://sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com/) they’ve declared their theme this week to be HATS!! Here are my entries…

Couldn’t resist doing this… apologies where necessary!

…and, HAPPY EASTER to you and yours, dear ones!! Perhaps with spring’s renewal will come a leveling off of the Coronavirus- we can hope and pray. Sending love and hugs… abbyj

PLAYING AT ART

TELLING MY STORY IN 6 WORDSCreating art always soothes my soul.

It’s such a pleasure the have the luxury of time, to once again create art with my favorite art challenge groups. This week’s challenges were fun. I had the opportunity to look back at a past journey (to Mongolia) for TAKE A WORD (https://takeaword.blogspot.com/) who’s theme was JOURNEY. The nomadic people who hunt with eagles in Mongolia were fascinating and spectacular to see…

and to create a piece of art inspired by the style of young French graphic designer, Florian Nicolle for Flicker’s group, DIGITALMANIA (https://www.flickr.com/groups/digitalmania/.) I put one of his next to three of mine…

By Florian Nicolle
By Abby Lazar
By Abby Lazar (I DID go a little crazy with this one!)

By Abby Lazar

Still learning and experimenting…and loving the processes. Thanks for checking in. Be safe…

Hugs,

abbyj

TRUMP Revokes First People Reservation Status

“We all share the earth together.” Audrey Shenandoah

In response to the Trump administration revoking reservation status to Massachusetts’ MASHPEE WAMPANOAG tribe, I opted to make this my entry for the Sunday Postcard Art Challenge (https://sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com/) this week. In 2015, President Barack Obama bestowed special land designations to the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe. In taking this action, Trump is undoing yet another piece of Obama’s humane legacy…a further slap in the face for our country’s First People and to former President, Barack Obama!

I’m posting this poem of peace and unity, written by my friend and international Iroquois spokeswoman, Deer Clan Mother, Audrey Shenandoah. RIP, dear friend. You are missed and loved.

BACK TO ART

Social distancing…part of today’s lifestyle

With travel wings clipped, there’s lot of time for the gentle side of life. For me, that’s reading, writing, listening to music and creating art. I’ve happily rejoined some of my old art challenge groups and below are some of my creations.

For SUNDAY POSTCARD ART (https://sundaypostcardart.wordpress.com/) they challenged participants to create art with the theme “alchemist.” The art of alchemy was handed down through the centuries from Egypt and Arabia to Greece and Rome, then finally western and central Europe. The original aims of alchemists were to find the Stone of Knowledge, to discover the medium of eternal youth and health and to change the form of ordinary metals into more valuable forms like gold or silver. In medieval times, alchemy was associated with sorcery and witchcraft as well.

TAKE A WORD (https://takeaword.blogspot.com/) is the next art challenge group I played with. Their theme was “botanical” so I chose to examine mushrooms…delicious with almost anything!!!

Finally, a piece of art that just made me feel good…

Stay safe and try to do things that make your heart smile during this time of lockdown! Sending my love and best wishes to you all… abbyj

ARTFUL READERS CLUB

OUT OF MULBERRY STREET by Jacob A. Riis

STORIES OF TENEMENT LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY

It’s an American version of Dickens!

Imagine it’s 1880. The Lower East Side of New York City is the most densely populated place on earth…block after block of tenements house the working poor as well as unemployed immigrants of the city, including Italians, Irish, Germans, Jews, Czechs and Chinese. Imagine the darkness of an unlit hallway in one of those tenements, a hallway that’s lined with windowless rooms, 10 feet square, where entire families live and may even work…sewing, laundering, making hats, etc. At this time, 40% of New York City’s population is foreign born. (I think it’s about the same today.)

This is the backdrop for the written snapshots of life in the Lower Manhattan tenements of the 1800’s, as seen through the eyes of someone who was an immigrant …the author of this book. Although Riis’ writing style is different from our norm, it’s well worth the effort to read the different stories of the individuals who lived in this area. The lack of decent housing, medical care, education, sanitation and life’s basic comforts for these immigrants bordered on criminal. Most of the clips this journalist, reformer and photographer shares are sad…some are heartbreaking…all are factual.

*Please CLICK on each photo to enlarge.

Any reader whose ancestors immigrated to America through Ellis Island in New York City- whether they stayed in New York or passed through to other cities- should have a greater appreciation of what these people endured to provide for their families…and build a future for ours. While these Lower East Side neighborhoods that Jacob Riis documented have been transformed into fabulously lucrative real estate, his work still resonates on a global level. I really enjoyed the in-depth look at pieces of the lives my ancestors endured, but this book isn’t for everyone…only those who are curious about the beginnings of city life in big cities in the USA.

A GLIMPSE OF SKY

TELLING MY STORY IN 6 WORDS Distant shores opening arms to immigrants

Searching for new home…

Freedom across the ocean-

Tears flooding the seas

Michael and I visited New York City recently…before the Coronavirus scare exploded…and we spent quite a bit of time exploring the Lower East Side of the city…the area where most immigrants coming to our shores settled, at least, for a time…

Note: Click on each picture to enlarge

In the 19th century, more and more people from across the oceans and seas began piling onto ships, like sardines in a can, only to crowd into American cities… thousands of newly arrived immigrants came to New York City seeking a better life than the one they’d left behind… hoping for a new beginning in their new land. They came from Ireland, Germany and later, Italy, Eastern Europe, Russia and China, among other places…a veritable melting pot of nationalities, races and religions…a fine example of cultural diversity.

The population doubled every decade from 1800-1880 and buildings that were once single-family dwellings were increasingly divided into multiple living spaces to accommodate this growing population. Known as TENEMENTS, these narrow, low-rise apartment buildings, concentrated in the city’s lower east side, were all too often cramped, lacked indoor plumbing, proper ventilation and enough windows to provide needed light. They occupied nearly all of the lots on which they were originally built…usually 25 feet wide and 100 feet long. In 1872, there were about 20,000 tenement houses containing about 160,000 families-about 500,000 people. Some buildings contained as many as 126 families-about 700 inhabitants…in a narrow structure only 5-7 stories high. An individual apartment sometimes housed a family of as many as 10 people.

By 1900, about 2.3 million people, (two-thirds of New York City’s population at the time,) were living in tenement housing, longing for just a GLIMPSE OF SKY from their small rooms. Their only “escape” from the dingy tenements was the streets where they could enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and the other new immigrants with whom they could share common experiences as well as news from back home. In addition, they could shop from the pushcarts of enterprising newcomers who sold goods of all kinds. The streets were their arteries of life.

Many families worked out of their cramped apartments sewing clothes, rolling cigars, fixing shoes, making hats, constructing collars, taking in laundry…they called it “piece work.” The atmosphere was suffocating! These tenements were in multi-use neighborhoods and situated close to factories, docks, slaughterhouses and power stations that provided employment to some of the residents. Convenient to get to work, but it meant living with increased air pollution, loud noise, and putrid smells. There were also issues with rats, mice, and roaches. The occupants of these buildings frequently emptied their filth and refuse into the public streets. HOWEVER, the rent, though a major expense for most residents, was cheaper than they could get anywhere else. In 1892, 2 rooms in an attic cost $3-5 per month; 3 rooms cost $6-12 per month and 4 rooms ran about $12-16 per month. As a family’s financial position improved, they often sought better housing…and as it worsened, they were forced to seek cheaper quarters.

In the early 1900’s, with the help of social reformers who put pressure on the city to pass city housing laws, the lot of the tenement dweller was greatly improved.

Today, in modern times, it’s the Latin American and the Asian communities that continue to experience harsh living conditions in tenement areas of New York City…especially in Chinatown.

Almost all of us have relatives or friends who came from someplace other than the United States. Imagine how hard it was for them to learn English and find a job to support their families or themselves while living in such horrendous conditions…yet they did, building a city known for its cultural diversity- indeed a country built on the strength and hard work of these early immigrants. They came, not only to New York City but to Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland and other pockets in the U.S.A. They made their new streets and neighborhoods the very arteries of their new lives and built on each hurdle they overcame. I’m grateful for all the early immigrants built for us…and continue to contribute to each of our lives as new immigrants join us today.