Tag Archives: AlyZen Moonshadow

Hanging up my (Facebook) boots

Today is April 1st. And apparently the joke’s on me. Facebook has decided to make me its latest victim of its half-baked “real name” policy. After apparently backing down last October about users having to use their real names, due to the great outcry by the world’s LGBT community, and then again this year when Native Americans spoke out, the great cogwheels of Facebook have proven impossible to stop. On and on they go, crunching underfoot millions of users who dared, for one reason or other, use a name they were not born with.

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I’m not LGBT or Native American. I am not a drag queen, celebrity or some other famous personality. I have no financial clout, no millions of followers, no influence over Mark Zuckerberg or anyone at Facebook. I’m just someone who, for personal safety reasons, does not use her real name online. (There’s an abusive ex-partner and the threat of murder and child abduction in the background, but let’s not go into that here…but if I’m found dead and The Kid abducted, Facebook is to blame).

This morning, when I tried to check my Facebook Timeline, I got a message saying I had to change my username to my real name. Not only that, if I wanted to keep my current username, I was required to provide 2 forms of ID, one of which has to have a photo and my date of birth.

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“AlyZen Moonshadow” is obviously not my real name. I’ve only been using it for the last 5 years, as a professional name for my mobile photography art and design. This very blog is under that name. My email, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Etsy, eBay, Society 6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, Fine Art America, deviantArt, ArtHog, Room, Bridgeman Studios, Kess InHouse Designs pages/profiles ALL bear the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. On Facebook I have never been known by any other name. “AlyZen Moonshadow” mobile photography Art has thousands of hits on Google. I have over the years carefully built a reputation or brand under the name.

And yet Facebook is demanding that I use my real name. As if “AlyZen Moonshadow” is less real than “John Smith”. I’m not sure if someone with a grudge against me reported me to Facebook, or whether my time just came up. After all, to implement this insane real name policy, Facebook has to employ hundreds of people to look through every one of its more than 1.35 billion users, so it could be months or even years before your name came up for scrutiny.

I searched online for others who had had the misfortune of becoming similar victims of Facebook. Jay Smooth (obviously not his real name), a famous DJ and blogger, tweeted an engineer at Facebook, Jeff Ferland in February, when his account got frozen, and in return had his Facebook account reinstated pronto, with an apology for the inconvenience. You can read about it on Lux Alptraum’s blog here.

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Lil Miss Hot Mess, one of the LGBT protestors who had had his account frozen during the Facebook LGBT fiasco, is still waiting for reinstatement, 6 months later.

Lil ole me, on the other hand, who is no one in the big bad world, and who has no strings to pull, won’t stand a chance. My request for reinstatement will simply go into the slush pile and never see the light of day. I’ll have no choice but to let Facebook beat me into submission.

Facebook is Big Brother, with emphasis on Big – big marketing, big advertisements, selling your personal details to other companies for big profits, claiming your photos and artwork posted on its platform as its own, Facebook does everything in a big way.

And when Facebook fails, like now, it does so in a spectacularly big way too.

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So I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for my Facebook account to get reinstated under the name “AlyZen Moonshadow”. I’ve tweeted some people about my plight, sent some messages on Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn, letting friends know the reason I’ve suddenly vanished off the face of Facebook, and telling them to make others aware of what’s happened to me…but in the end I’ll just have to put in my real name.

I just hope my friends still recognise me when they realise my username is different now.

And if anyone finds me dead and my son abducted, Facebook is to blame.

I think it’s high time to hang up my (Facebook) boots for good now…what’s Ello like?

My Gelli Plate Is No More!

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That’s right. You’re looking at the remains of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

No, I did not chop it up for my dinner last night. No, the dogs did not get to it. The Kid did not destroy it.

I have a confession to make. I did it. With a pair of sharp scissors. In my studio. On the table. But I did not do it in a fit of anger. Rather, I did it in the name of Art because I wanted some round or circular Gelli Plates and they were going to cost me upwards of $35 for a small one. And here I had a nice 8×10 inch rectangular Gelli Plate. Actually, make that 2, because I bought 1 for The Kid. His is still pristine in its clamshell packaging because we’ve been sharing mine.

So, instead of buying a circular Gelli Plate or three, I decided to sacrifice mine and see how many new Gellis I could get out of it.

Use scissors, as due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of the Gelli Plate, it is very difficult to cut it accurately with a knife. Even with the scissors, I found it hard to get a perfectly smooth edge, and so my circular plates have small imperfections.

Which won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, as I now have not 1 Gelli Plate but 15 different pieces of varying shapes and sizes, that I can use as stamps for monoprinting.

Note of caution: only resort to this drastic surgery if you are okay with having some imperfections on your resulting plates. Who knows, you might have a steadier hand than mine, or a better and sharper pair of scissors, and your new plates might come out perfect.

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These are the sweet tins I used to mark my circles. In this photo you can see I’ve already cut out part of the large circle. I feel a song coming on: 🎶🎶🎶Past The Point Of No Return🎶🎶🎶.

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Here’s what I got out of my 8×10 inch Gelli Plate.

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Reassembled back onto its original protective acetate sheet. The Gelli Plate is stored sandwiched between 2 of these acetate sheets, and then in a clamshell case, to avoid drying out.

Coming up next…what printing with these new Gelli Plates and stamps looks like.

Artist Inspiration : Anne Moore

Anne Moore is a printmaker specialising in monotypes. Monotypes, as the name suggests, are singular prints which are not repeatable; each one is unique.

I came across Artsy Shark’s write-up about Anne Moore last week, and my interest was piqued enough for me to find out more about Anne’s wonderful and fascinating work. I particularly love Anne’s use of scribbled text using her own invented “language”. It certainly adds an air of exoticism and mystery to her art.

For more information about Anne, check out her website.

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Every artist has their own set of marks. I need to find and create my own marks. And that will only be possible if I keep practising my artistic endeavours. Thanks to Anne Moore, I have a lot of inspiration to keep me going!

Life’s Simple Pleasures

Okay, first things first. I did not take any of these photos, they are the work of many talented photographers with a great eye for detail, colour and composition. Also, I can’t claim to have tried any of the food portrayed herewith, I can only say I have drooled over their images lol.

It’s Sunday, and a day for lying in, food, family and friends. Maybe “lying in” isn’t a word in my vocabulary, as our household generally gets up with the birds. And these days, food means simple fare, and family means my son and our menagerie of animals. As for friends, most of mine are virtual…meaning you, you and you. So who better to share my favourite food porn photos of food with than you all good people around the world. ;-)

You are all invited to my virtual Sunday feast. The weather is ideal, sunny with a slight breeze. Best of all, it won’t cost you a penny to join in the festivities. Why, even as we speak, here you are!

(All photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Let’s start with table settings. Shall we have rustic? I love the idea of mismatched chairs and benches. This setting would be ideal for a Madhatter’s Tea Party a la Alice in Wonderland.
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Or, perhaps something more cottagey and formal? I’d love a whitewashed house with sash windows like in this photo. So romantic, sigh.
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Or, maybe let’s go all Bohemian Rhapsody and enjoy some bright splashes of colour? I love the blue and turquoise canopy, and the vivid red tablecloth and runner.
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And now for the food. As it’s still early, some of you may prefer something light, like this, perhaps?
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Then some salad and appetizers:
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Mmmm, yum! Next, we have a selection of hot cooked food. For those still in the mood (or time zone) for breakfast, we have these:

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And now, a medley of heartier fare:
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Not forgetting liquid refresments:

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And, to round it all off, some dessert:
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Mmmmm…I’m liking this so much, I think I’ll host another virtual party like it next month. Enjoy! Thank you for coming to my party! :-)

Oxymorons

I often get peeved when people use English words incorrectly, because they never bothered to look in the dictionary. Ignorance these days is no longer bliss, my friend…the internet is at your fingertips, so why not look up the definition of something first, before opening your mouth and inserting your foot?

Very recently, I heard an Australian politician (who shall not be named, mainly because I’ve forgotten who it was) make a statement to the press, where he used the word “Oxymoron” to imply stupid people. He probably thought he was being clever.

Umm…Mr.Politician. The joke is on You. “Oxymoron” does NOT mean stupid people. What else did you not research before you took office in politics? Now, because you’ve used that word incorrectly and the papers have printed it, thousands of readers will be following your example and using their new word with great glee, unaware that they’re the blind following the blind. Congratulations on successfully spawning a whole new generation of “English speakers”.

Don’t even get me started on spelling mistakes.

For those who don’t know, the word Oxymoron means a phrase in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined. Here are some of my favourite examples of oxymorons, courtesy of Google Images.

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As for Mr.Politician, he is either clearly confused, or an honest politician. :-)

Feminist Quotes

Following on from my post yesterday about being a Feminist, here are some quotes I found on Google Images.

Some will make you laugh. Others will make you think. All are relevant to understanding the importance of women being understood and acknowledged as being equals of men.

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I am a Feminist

I was talking to a friend the other day, and I asked this question:

“Why do men always think that if a woman is well-travelled then she’s slept her way around? Why does sex always have to be involved? Can’t men like and admire a woman for her intellect and wit?”

(I should frame this question within its context: I have moved 22 times in 44 years, and I have lived in 6 different countries. I have worked as a Piano tutor, retail assistant, Music Teacher, Library Assistant, administrative assistant, Social Security Officer, Executive Officer and Higher Executive Officer for 2 different Government bodies, and Customer Services Representative for 2 different banks. The countries I have lived in are: Malaysia, Singapore, England, Spain, Ireland and Australia).

This friend, who happens to be male, insinuated that only Feminists think that way, and that not all men think of women as sex objects. (If so, why does he keep making sexist jokes at my expense? Why did he insult me by implying that the reason I moved around so much was because I worked as a prostitute, perhaps?) Joke, right? NO. I not only felt greatly insulted by his remark, I felt unclean, like he was undressing me with his eyes, and I was just a sexual object to be toyed with and not a real person.

Well, I am no Barbie doll.

What my friend was saying is that Feminists hate men and blame everything on them. A statement which is NOT true. That is Misandry (female misogyny). Also, I don’t hate men or blame them for everything – I love the idea of an ideal Man, who is loving, intelligent, kind, generous with his time and money, supportive, fun, adventurous, who knows how to treat a Woman as his equal and at other times places her high on a pedestal to worship at her feet. For a man like that, I would happily reciprocate each and every ideal).

Trouble is, I have yet to meet such a man.

The quote that “What Man Does Not Understand, He Fears, And What He Fears, He Destroys” springs to mind, when wondering why Men have suppressed and oppressed Women for millennia. And yet, despite all Man’s efforts, Woman has survived.

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I never thought of myself as a Feminist until now. My friend’s misconception has led me to read up on what Feminism stands for.

And, rather than think of Feminism as a dirty word, as some men will have you believe, I choose to embrace it, as it simply means I choose to stand for and with my sisters all over the world.

So yes, I am a Feminist, and proud of it. You can throw your sexist remarks at me and make jokes about my gender, but I am Woman, hear me roar!

More Letterpress Stamp Artwork

I don’t know what it is about Western Australia, but it seems to me that the only place I’m able to find Size 8 Shipping Tags is at Stamp It in Victoria Park, which takes me over an hour to get to by public transport. These are the big tags, measuring 10 x 16 cm. They’re the ideal size for practising mixed media art on. I bought a pack of 20 from Stamp It, and only now am I realising just how rare they are.

None of the stationery shops near me have them. Not even my local Spotlight. All they stocked were the usual small tags with the string attached. My local scrapbooking store, Made With Memories, had them…but only in brown or black. I wanted white or cream.

They’re not easily available on eBay either. But luckily I managed to track one lone listing, and by gosh it was a multiple lot too, so I bought 2 lots of 40. Which should last me, oh, til midweek next week.

Meanwhile, I did find some white cards at a very nice size, 10 x 15 cm, very close to the Size 8 tags, at a newsagents.

They’re called “System Cards” and the brand is Panther. Here they are nestled hand in glove inside a thrift store box I got a while back, that had been sitting empty until now. A perfect fit!

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And here’s what I did. I used Tim Holtz’s “White Picket Fence” Distressed Paint for the stamps, and the backgrounds were done and blended using Distressed Inkpads.

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The alphabets that I used to make the letterpress stamps are wooden. The numbers are made of corkboard. Corkboard has a dimpled texture, different from wood, which is smoother. This difference is evident in the prints above, especially in the last one, which looks mottled.

Artful Tags

Yesterday I wrote about how I made my own alphabet and number Letterpress-style stamps using thrift store drinks coasters.

One of my favourite YouTube videos is of the awesome Tim Holtz demonstrating his equally awesome mixed media techniques with his Layering Stencils. What struck me in that particular video was not so much the stencils themselves, but Tim’s explanation about the difference between using paints and inks in relation to resists. I had trouble at first digesting the idea that paints act as resists to other media over it, while inks sink.

Here is that video: Tim Holtz Layering Stencils Part One – CHA Summer 2013: https://youtu.be/KKSvhCT2ZYk

I learn best by doing, so with Tim’s video playing on my computer screen, I followed the steps he showed.

I used my new handmade Letterpress stamps, and one of T Holtz’s layering stencils, “Clockwork”. Another stencil I used was one with gears by Artist Cellar. I used Tim’s “White Picket Fence” Distress paint to daub my Letterpress stamp, which I then stamped over two Size 8 Shipping Tags. I also used Tim’s Distress Ink pads in various colours and blending sponge pads to get the inks onto the tags. Then, finally, using a damp piece of tissue, I swiped over the tags to remove some of the inks and to reveal the white paint resist underneath.

I had 3 cute little ethnic stamps made from mango wood, a bird and 2 leaf designs, so I used them to stamp over the tags.

Very pleased with my efforts, and greatly encouraged to practice even more.
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Homemade Letterpress Stamps

One of my favourite pastimes is searching for bargains at my local thrift stores. Depending on what I’m into at the moment, it could be books, canvasses, Art, bric-a-brac, dressmaking patterns, picture frames, teacups, toys…your guess is as good as mine. If it looks like I could use it somehow, or modify it to suit my purpose, I’ll buy it.

Last year I’d bought a set of 4 square melamine-coated MDF drinks coasters. Which I never got round to doing anything with.

A couple of months ago I’d bought a set of wooden alphabets. Which again I never got round to doing anything with.

Last week I bought a set of cork numbers. I’d been in town looking for stamps and stencils and had come across the set, and for some reason my mind did this calculation:

Coasters + wooden alphabets + cork numbers + acrylic medium = handmade upcycled letterpress stamp.

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I’d always admired Letterpress-style stamps. But they were always way too expensive to buy. So why not have a go at creating my own?

And so I did. Not just one, but 4. 2 with both letters and numbers, 1 with just letters and 1 with just numbers. The acrylic gel medium worked a treat as an adhesive. I also sealed the letters and numbers afterwards with a layer of the same acrylic gel medium.

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And now for the question – how would these stand up to being used as stamps?

I used acrylic paints and spray ink on my handmade letterpress stamps. They came out a treat, with minor imperfections, which just added to the charm.

Have a look:

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The next test was – would cleaning up these stamps be easy, or would they fall apart if they went under the tap for too long?

Turns out I was able to wash them under warm running water without any problems. I used a stipple brush to get into the cracks and spaces.

Very happy with my new letterpress stamps! I have big plans for my babies. :-) Oh, and by the way, I’ve discovered that old drinks coasters make ideal mounting blocks for stamps, so guess what I bought next from my thrift store…