GIVING IN TO YOUR IMPULSE
Inspiration comes in many forms. For Margaret Elizabeth Hulse, the owner and designer of Charlotte St. Charles and Mpulse Studio, inspiration came in the form of a direct and honest text that brought her to tears.
“A woman I have the utmost respect for brought to my attention that I had been behaving in a manner that didn’t represent my best, true self,” remembers Hulse. “I realized right then that my intuition and judgment had been so clouded by sadness and anxiety that I wasn’t aware that my spirit was being consumed by grief.”
While the text was written in graceful and forgiving words, it awakened Hulse, setting her on an artistic journey that has culminated in a trio of creative ventures. The result is an amazing trifecta of various media, from salt-scrubbed watercolor paintings to jewelry and a written story, which ties everything together.
“With tears rolling down my cheeks, I took my laptop out of my bag and began to type. I had no idea where my words would take me, but before I knew it, I had written Part I of Sketches from the Heart of a Texas Artist,” Hulse says.
This was the jumping off point for her paintings and jewelry. Each painting represents a location that Hulse’s character (and alter-ego), Mona Lamar, travels to and experiences on her pilgrimage to wholeness. Each piece of beautiful handcrafted jewelry is a physical manifestation of the emotions her character, and in turn the wearer, embraces as she moves towards self-actualization.
As Hulse continues to write her novel, she also creates the unique geographic paintings and the corresponding jewelry for each step in the journey. Hulse works with the finest semiprecious stones and minerals to create all of her handcrafted pieces, which include necklaces, bracelets, earrings and rings in a series of collections that take their names from the various chapters of her story.
They say life is a journey not a destination. Margaret Hulse’s creations are a visual representation of that journey and may just inspire the wearer to venture forth on her own odyssey. If she does, she will do so in style, wearing the stunning work of an artist who is not afraid of baring her soul for her art.
MAKING ARTWORK OUT OF AN ANTHILL
Nature is God’s canvas. Sunrise, sunset, a lush forest, the open prairie, a field of wild flowers, the list of beautiful scenic artworks goes on and on for anyone interested enough to enjoy.
For Cindy and David Gleason nature, and the many wonders it has to offer, is a fascinating adventure waiting to happen as well as an excuse to hike, camp and fish. “As a family, we have always loved spending time outdoors together and admiring everything God’s earth has to offer,” says Cindy.
It was this love of nature, along with a fortuitous, if not completely incidental, stumbling upon a YouTube video, that led the couple on an artistic journey that now brings some of nature’s art into any art lover’s home.
“I stumbled upon an old video of a professor casting an anthill,” remembers David. “The opportunity to preserve and exhibit such beautiful masterpieces for everyone to admire just fit everything we were looking for … an opportunity to do something together as a family in the great outdoors.”
After a series of trial and error experiments, the Gleasons have perfected a method for pouring molten aluminum into anthills, then retrieving and mounting them into incredible abstract works of art that rival anything sculpted by human hands. Once the couple locates an area “good” for anthills, they move their portable kiln, which David built, to the area and prepare to melt the aluminum, which is poured directly into the hill. After an hour, or longer, when the aluminum cools and hardens, the couple begins the long, laborious process of digging the hill out and cleaning it to prepare it for mounting.
Depending on the complexity and size of the anthill, the process can take anywhere from two to six hours to dig out and another equal amount of time to clean. Currently, they cast fire and harvester anthills. The fire ants produce a very dense, twisting clump of tunnels, many often bump right up against each other or wrap around large debris, such as tree roots and rocks. The harvester ants produce an elongated, chambered structure, which the Gleasons fondly feel resemble futuristic or alien home complexes.
“Because of the structure of the harvester ant tunnels, you basically have to treat them as an archaeological dig in order to keep as much of the anthill intact as possible,” says Cindy. “While the harvester pieces are much harder to dig, they are much easier to clean, which is completely the opposite of the fire ant pieces. The fire ant hills require much more effort to remove the dirt and debris from the densely clustered tunnel maze.”
Working with nature is not without its risks. Between the handling of the molten aluminum, which liquefies at 1200 degrees, and the angry ants that they come in contact with, the Gleasons must wear protective clothing and be prepared for any circumstance. “It is Cindy’s job to make sure neither I nor the grass catch on fire!” says David.
Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration for artists, and for the Gleasons it produces work that is every bit as beautiful as something found in an art gallery.
INTERACTING WITH AIR
The new wave of virtual reality and augmented reality is cresting, and the world of architecture and design is already being touched, pun most assuredly intended.
One company in Dallas is developing an augmented reality product that could change the way we purchase products and interact with them at work and home. Spacee is designing spatial experiences using a digital, projected overlay that is fully programmable and interactive through touch.
The first working version of the platform was used in a partnership with Mercedes-Benz of Plano and showcased at the Willow Bend Mall. In this test, Spacee created an overlay on the latest Mercedes-Benz. Customers could interact with touchable icons made of light to explore available information simply by placing their hand on the virtual icon, triggering content in the form of an animated video. Once the video was complete, the customer could select additional icons and explore more information about the vehicle.
The touchable icons were not limited to only one spot on the vehicle and, in fact, the space around the vehicle could be active as well. Imagine walking onto the surface of an enormous iPad and using your body as the stylus. Now you begin to get an idea of how Spacee allows you to interact within its world.
The company is developing a wall-size product that is able to transform any 2-D surface into a touch screen. This includes any existing table, other piece of furniture, sculpture, appliance, etc. Using projection technology, a camera and computer, the Spacee wall can turn any existing surface into an interactive display system. The system is simple to install, easy to move and does not require permanent installation.
Imagine sitting on a sofa and being able to order pizza from the cushion or ordering food and drinks from the surface of the table in a restaurant. Sculptures at events can interact with attendees and become digital signs.
“Interaction without additional devices creates a more seamless experience,” says Skip Howard, CEO of Spacee and former web manager for Hillwood and the Perot Companies. “You interact with your environment and the objects within it directly, not indirectly through a third-party device. It’s post-mobile technology and 100 percent frictionless.”
Spacee is the brainchild of co-founders Howard and Marc Gilpin, along with Larry McNutt. Howard Gilpin developed the technology as a way to make the physical world digitally interactive. He then took on the role of chief creative officer and developed a method for artists and designers to showcase how Spacee technology can be implemented.
“By merging products, media and intelligence into a physical space, Spacee is able to deliver an experience that is unobtrusive, magical and simply elegant,” Gilpin says.
The possibilities for a technology like Spacee are only limited by the imagination of the designers utilizing it. In the 1990s the promise of virtual and augmented reality was dampened by the lack of computer power, but today, an iPhone holds more computer memory than most desktops of years past. Spacee is taking advantage of this progress to create advances of its own in marketing and design.
Step into the future. Step into Spacee.