About Me

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Somewhere in the Mojave Desert, California, United States
Gazing into this abyss called Life and wondering.....what's next !?!!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Unsung heroes...

Home again. It was a treat to get away to a place that nourishes my creativity and rests the weary bod. Not only did I gain some valuable experience and insight on a whole new twist for my images, but I found a gallery willing to carry my work. And then, after a warm welcome from all who dwell in my humble abode, the mail has brought me a book, a publication on women's history in California that used one of my images to illustrate one of our local famed pioneer spirits, Minerva Hoyt.  Pretty exciting to see one's work published and in an insightful, historical document at that.

For those of you interested in history, particularly of the trailblazing kind, you may wish to check out Women Trailblazers of California: Pioneers to the Present by Gloria G. Harris and Hannah S. Cohen. This book is published by The History Press. (You can learn more and purchase the book from clicking the highlighted link - and no, I do not get royalties so I'm not pushing this book for my benefit. It's just great nonfiction literature.)   

I found this a rich, informative read that is easy to understand. One gets an intimate feel of the architects, settlers, activists, community leaders, entertainers, and suffragists - all women - who worked tirelessly to help shape the social and physical landscape of California with little to no recognition. A few names may be familiar in this book. Many will not. I am seeing this state, in which I live, in a whole new light - in spite of our current political and economic status....

 Hot off the press!



This photo of Minerva Hoyt, the woman responsible for preserving this special piece of desert now  Joshua Tree National Park, is the mural that graces the front wall of JTNP Oasis Visitor Center/Headquarters in Twentynine Palms. In real life, this mural is quite spectacular. The colors are vibrant and change with the direction and angle of the sun.

If you do order and read this book, I'd be curious to know your review of it.
Thank you for reading my post today....

2012©Diana Shay Diehl / Mojave Light Studio

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Soaking up the city...

I have been housesitting for a dear friend 'in the city' for the past several days. While many people like to escape the constant vibrations of city living to unwind in the country, I am one who needs occasional doses of that energy to rev up my creativity. So I escape the country to come to the city! This particular area I am in reminds me strongly of my years in Columbia, South Carolina - the surrounding neighborhoods and village areas around the university where I attended. No track housing. Everything has an ambiance of its own with lots and lots of green. I'm soaking it in....

One thing I was able to do while here is visit the way sweet studio of Lumi  and meet its young, highly professional, and vibrant creators. Remember how I mentioned in a previous post that I was going to start putting my images on fabric and wood? Well, this is the start of all that. I just know it's not only going to be great fun but a success as well...

I was the sole visitor this particular afternoon so I got some wonderful one on one time watching them in action. It helped me tremendously to see the process and be in their space even though their training videos are very well done and quite explicit. For those of you curious about this company and their techniques, follow this link to get the whole scoop: Lumi Co.  The possibilities are endless.  And yes, for my readers living across the oceans, they do ship world wide......

So thank you, Brittany, Bud, Jesse, and Stephan - for taking time out of your busy day to share a bit of your fabulously fun and innovative world with me. I look forward to watching your progress and participating in more events with you. Cheers ~ See you again soon!

Here is a glimpse of my personal demonstration by Jesse, the CEO of Lumi....


This is the front of their studio located at the Brewery in Los Angeles. The Brewery is a city block of warehouse buildings converted to art studios. Many artists live here as well. I believe they have 2 HUGE art events a year, fall and spring, when the studios are open for milling about and thousands of people come. Block party!





Here is Jesse, rolling on the Inkodye which will use the sun to permanently imprint the image onto the fabric. In this case, it's a canvas tote bag. Inkodye is a cool story onto itself. Jesse rediscovered a process used in the 1950's and pretty much forgotten. She has brought it to the present with the help of Stephan and the Lumi team. Here is their story:

(the kickstarter campaign mentioned in this link is now fully funded but the video is a great source of information...)

Inkodye and Lumi








Using sun power to activate the dye and start the "printing" process   ---------------------------------------->

It was unbearably hot. They rolled up the huge garage door and slipped the pieces out in the bright sun to do it's thing..... within mere minutes, the color popped up. I think this set out for about 8-10 minutes.















Here's the fun part - peeling back the negative to see how your image turned out...



















Yea! My cow parsnip image from the recent trip to Alaska! (see previous blog post for original) I emailed Jesse my image from my iPhone. She printed it onto the transparency. Total time from sending her the image to this frame? Um, maybe 20 minutes?

Last step is to immediately wash the piece using their special detergent. This stops the developing process. Any leftover Inkodye will keep developing in the light and may distort your final result in not the way you really wanted...

Jesse used the red dye full strength. They also have blue and orange. All can be diluted or mixed to achieve all kinds of spectacular color combinations. Stephan gave me all kinds of great tips on playing with color combinations and creating my own color palette for what effect I want to achieve.




And here are Jesse (left) and Brittany (right) working on a larger print. This is a special project they are working on, integrating art and history for a place in Utah. These large fabric prints will be upholstered onto period furniture pieces.

Brittany is the creative mind behind the photography and video editing for Lumi as demonstrated on their website.



What's my next step in this grand adventure? I've already started shifting usable images into files, ready to print on the transparencies as soon as my products arrive. I've found a great supplier with a nice assortment of natural fabric items. All I need now are my Inkodye products, some time, and a few minutes of the glorious sunlight in the Mojave....

Mojave Light® products with iconic desert images.......watch for them very soon!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pixies, sprites, and fairies...

Going simple today. Getting low and looking up.... Might this be from the perspective of a garden fairy, a mischievous pixie, or a playful sprite? And where might I find this lacy flora? Too hot in my desert for these kinds of delicate blooms - not to mention, they wouldn't exist here anyway unless they are in someone's well watered garden.....

Native to the Pacific Northwest, these are Heracleum lanatum - cow parsnip.


© 2012 Diana Shay Diehl

Monday, August 13, 2012

Alaska sojourn, part 3...

My 100th post! Life has suddenly become very busy with school starting up very soon; my daughter coming home on leave next week; and my middle son preparing to move out (again) and start school near the coast. The fledglings are spreading their wings and flying into the big blue yonder. I think I'm over the empty nest thing.....

I'll leave you with an assortment of shots from my trip to Alaska. Just random snapshots and commentary - an essence of Alaska from the inside...



<----These folks were on the ridge at Hatcher Pass, waiting for their paragliders to land. I think I posted a shot of that area including Summit Lake in a previous post to give you a better idea of the landscape.












Fireweed - the roads and hillsides were exploding with it --------------->
















<--------Christmas in July? Nope. Used snow booties for the sled dogs.  This is at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla, AK.  Fascinating history around the use of dog sleds and the relationship between the musher and their dog team.  It was quite brutal 'back in the day'. It still isn't a cake walk but the event, held every winter, now has support teams along the 1000+ mile route.

Here is a good link if you wanted to know more about the history as well as current status of the 2013 Iditarod.











And this is Toby, sporting his new snow booties, ready to go snowshoeing with me this winter. The bag on the floor is an authentic food drop bag for the sled dogs. The name on this bag, Shaktoolik, is one of the checkpoints along the trail...--------------->

















Our fav pit stop - the Burger Bus!  These kinds of places were all over where we traveled on the Kenai Peninsula. Funky vehicles converted into eateries or drive-thru coffee hutches or ice cream stops. This place has fabulous burgers and fries, and when it's chilly and dreary out - which was most of our trip - it warms the tummies well.....  I assumed these places would only be open once the snow melts. Not so. Many are open year 'round - even in minus zero conditions - the ice cream stops were the most popular - in the winter!



And finally, the image below, not a great one as I used my iPhone and zoomed in. Our national bird, the Bald Eagle. Magnificent. There were 2 pair on the beach right outside our room every day. This one allowed my son to get within 15 feet of it. It flew just a few feet farther away and was joined by, I believe, its mate. A short time later, another pair landed not too far away. They were 'talking' to each other.  It was fascinating to watch. There were maybe a half dozen people on the beach, at low tide, quietly taking photos and just watching. The eagles didn't seem too perplexed that we were there. These graceful birds are huge compared to the gulls and crows that were on the beach as well.

What a treat to be in their presence.....



All images 2012 © Diana Shay Diehl / Alaska












Friday, August 10, 2012

Alaska sojourn, part 2...

Greetings to all my readers melting in the August heat. I'm listening to my air conditioner cha-chinging away, wondering where I'll shave of some funds to pay a most undoubtably high bill for this past month. It's been humid here in my desert which means the evaporative cooler just makes it worse. Ah well, I'll count my blessings that I even have an alternative to keeping sanely cool during this hottest part of our summer........

Here is one image of glacial ice etched with spires and crevices to help cool your mind.

And, yes. It is that vibrant of a turquoise blue in real life - even more so up close, which we were able to get. You could hear the creaking and groaning as the ice shifted. And the size is deceiving in this photo. The glacial ice in the foreground is probably 4-5 stories high. If our ship were photographed next to it, we'd look like a pin dot. Massive energy.

The miracles of the natural world.....


2012 ©Diana Shay Diehl / Prince William Sound, Harriman Fjord - AK


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alaskan sojourn, part 1...

Summertime. That means opportunities for a change of scenery. I just returned from nearly 10 days on the Kenai Peninsula/Anchorage area of Alaska. We lucked out with rare sunny days the first 4 we were there, yet still cool enough to don the lightweight fleece. Aaahhhhh......such relief from the hot, hot monsoonal days of my desert.


On one of those sunny days, we explored some trails along the Hatcher Pass near Wasilla where we were staying with friends for the first 1/3 of our trip. The expanses in Alaska always amaze me. You could be in a community one minute and a bit farther down the road the universe opens up with nothing but massive snow tainted mountains and valleys and passes as far as your eyes can make out the horizon...













This was my second trip to this part of Alaska. Actually, my first to the region just 50 miles north of Anchorage but my second trip to this part of the state. Luckily, we have friends scattered all over which makes it fun to explore from an insider's point of view. I've always enjoyed getting to know the places I visit from the perspective of its inhabitants....a much more intimate feel of the landscape and culture for me. Several other friends were visiting this great part of our country as well but they chose the 'cruise' route - taking a ship up to the inside passage from either San Francisco or Seattle/Vancouver. It seems Alaska was the place to be this summer....


There was a cool lodge and cafe at the summit of the pass. This was our view from our warming up-lunch spot.  A pot bellied stove was burning away - taking the chill out of the mountain air.










A view of the parking lot and trails near Summit Lake at Hatcher Pass...the snow patches were quite deep..... Did you know that Alaska alone has more than 3 million lakes?



We liked the Hatcher Pass area so much, we braved the bumpy, steep gravely road in our economy rental car 2 days in a row to explore. On this particular day, there were several paragliders silently hovering over our heads and guiding the ridge lift to take them along the mountain edges and sweeping along the valley below us to glide back and land softly right where they jumped off. If you look carefully on the bottom right near the dirt road, you'll see a fingernail view of a paraglider hugging the edge of the lower hill along the lake. This seemed to be a favorite recreational area of those living in Wasilla and Anchorage as the parking lot was fairly full with picnickers, hikers, paragliders, and mountain bikers scattered all over the hills.  The lake was ice cold and crystal clear. There were no power lines to distract you. No tacky billboards. No traffic or noise to clutter your head. Just a manmade road, some well worn trails, and limitless views in all directions....




























I have so many additional shots of our trip and diverse experiences we had during our stay. Stay tuned for a few tidbits more of our largest state - very well the last American frontier. Alaska was officially proclaimed a state by the United States Congress just 10 days before my birth. It is a fascinating place....

All images 2012 ©Diana Shay Diehl