Tag Archives: art

Valentine to My Own Dear Heart

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Coyote Sue told me about the contest.

A local coffee shop was holding an art contest with the theme “Sacred Heart” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Oh yeah, I thought. I can collage it up to that theme.

I grew up Catholic, so I was familiar with the imagery of Jesus and his Sacred Heart, but if you’re not, here’s a picture from Two Heart Design (http://www.twoheartsdesign.com):

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_Heart) says,

The Sacred Heart is often depicted in Christian art as a flaming heart[3] shining with divine light, pierced by the lance-wound, encircled by the crown of thorns, surmounted by a cross, and bleeding. Sometimes the image is shown shining within the bosom of Christ with his wounded hands pointing at the heart. The wounds and crown of thorns allude to the manner of Jesus’ death, while the fire represents the transformative power of divine love.

Somehow the teachers at my weekly Catechism classes failed to teach me what the Sacred Heart was all about, and I had to turn to Wikipedia again. The aforementioned article says,

The devotion to the Sacred Heart (also known as the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Sacratissimi Cordis Iesu in Latin) is one of the most widely practiced and well-known Roman Catholic devotions, taking Jesus Christ’s physical heart as the representation of His divine love for humanity.

This devotion is predominantly used in the Roman Catholic Church and among some high-churchAnglicans and Lutherans. The devotion is especially concerned with what the Church deems to be the love and compassion of the heart of Christ towards humanity, and its long suffering. The origin of this devotion in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions to her between 1673 and 1675,[1] and later, in the 19th century, from the mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, a religious of the Good Shepherd, who requested, in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Predecessors to the modern devotion arose unmistakably in the Middle Ages in various facets of Catholic mysticism.[2]

I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I started the project. I knew I wanted to make a collage, and I knew I wanted to profess the sacredness of my heart. As interesting as a heart pierced by a lance wound and surrounded by a crown of thorns may be, I decided not to go the Jesus route with my project. Yes, in the collage for the contest, I would make the sacred heart in question my own.

Most of my collages are small, usually about 4″ x 6″, postcard size. The minimum size accepted for this contest was 8″ x 10″. OH! This was going to be a big one.

I started gathering materials at my favorite purveyor of inspiration, the thrift store.

I took this photos showing the original wall ornament after I painted about half the border with red fingernail polish.

At the thrift store, I found an inspirational plaque with the saying “Home is Where the Heart Is.” I liked it because the words were written on a piece of heavy cardboard that projected from the frame. I also bought half a bottle of red fingernail polish which I used to paint a copper colored border. Finally, I found a big red cardboard heart to use as the focal point of the project.

After painting the border, I started collaging the areas within and outside the border. I used mostly images I had on hand. I also collaged the big red cardboard heart. I went back and forth between those two parts of the project.

Royalty Free Images Anatomical Heart Vintage

This is the royalty free anatomical heart image I got from http://thegraphicsfairy.com/royalty-free-images-anatomical-heart-vintage/.

I wanted my sacred heart to be somewhat realistic, so I found a royalty free image of an anatomical heart from “a Vintage Circa 1884 Science Book” on http://thegraphicsfairy.com/royalty-free-images-anatomical-heart-vintage/. I used colored pencils to color the body of the heart red and the blood vessels a purply blue. Later, I used purple and red glass beads to accent the parts of the heart and the blood vessels.

My final touch on the anatomical heart was to add words of inspiration and aspiration next to the letters marking the different regions of the heart. For example, the letter H shows the part of my heart where “breathing with joy and ease” occurs. Part C of my heart is “joyous.” The letter I points to the area from where my compassion flows.

In addition to the images I cut from magazines and catalogs, I used real stones on my collage. I added turquoise (which is said to stimulate romantic love), rose quartz (the stone of unconditional love and infinite peace) and quartz crystals (a powerful healer and energy amplifier) I dug up in Arkansas. In the middle of the anatomical heart, I glued on a cubic zirconia a friend sent me last summer. The cubic zirconia and the self-stick “jewels” I bought at Wal-Mart give the whole project a bit of bling.

I pierced the representation of my heart with little skewers which once held tea bags from the shop sponsoring the contest. Those skewers sport little red hearts. I think the skewers evoke the piercing by the lance in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I attached  metal spirals which I painted with glittery nail polish, as well as a large red glass heart which had been crookedly glued to my dash. (I used three different kinds of glue to make this collage! Is that some kind of a record?)

The queen of hearts represents me, and the pink image of Guanyin (or Guan Yin) represents the compassion and mercy I want to offer to myself and others. (For those who may not know, Wikipedia [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guanyin] says Guanyin

is an East Asianbodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. She is commonly known as the “Goddess of Mercy” in English.)

Since I’m a word person, I couldn’t let the piece go without a written explanation.

My heart is sacred, fragile, and precious.

I used the definitions from an old dictionary Coyote Sue gave me to explain the meaings of the words “sacred,” “fragile,” and “precious.”

I call this collage “Valentine for My Own Dear Heart.” It’s a reminder to me that my heart needs to be treated with reverence and care. Anyone who gets close to my heart better be prepared to treat it kindly.

Remedios Varo

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I first learned of Remedios Varo while reading an article in a feminist newspaper about a rare exhibit of her work. I became fascinated with her and her work and started learning more about her. Remedios Varo was soon one of my favorite artists.

UNEXPECTED JOURNEYS: The Art and Life of Remedios Varo
I learned a lot about Varo by reading the book Remedios Varo: Unexpected Journeys by Janet A. Kaplan. Here’s a review I wrote of the book:

This book is incredible, awesome, amazing, fantastic, and wonderful. I do not have the words to say how good this book is.

It’s the biography of Remedios Varo, a female surrealist painter of whom most people have never heard. I found out about her when I read an article in the now defunt Sojourner newspaper about a very rare exhibit of her work in Chicago. From that moment, I was fascinated.

I don’t understand why I have heard of Magritte and Dali and Duchamp, but never Varos. Her work is just as good (better) than theirs. Hmmm, I wonder if it’s because she is a woman and hasn’t been taken seriously.

In any case, this book is a biography, and also includes many full color reproductions of her work. I go back to it again and again and just look at the pictures, which are mesmerizing and beautiful. This is one of those books that I want to hang on to forever.

Unfortunately, I was not able to hang on to the book forever, so I had to do some internet research to find information to share about Varo today, the anniversary of her birth.

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Image of Mujer saliendo del psicoanalista (Woman leaving the psychoanalyst) by Remedios Varo from https://theartstack.com/artist/remedios-varo/mujer-saliendo-del-psicoanalista

According to the Totally History website (http://totallyhistory.com/remedios-varo/),

Remedios Varo Uranga, one of the world famous para-surrealist painters of the 20th Century, was born in 1908 in a small town called Angles in the province of Girona in Spain.

Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remedios_Varo) says,

Remedios Varo Uranga  was a Spanish-Mexican para-surrealist painter and anarchist.

Born in Girona, Spain in 1908, she studied at the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid. During the Spanish Civil War she fled to Paris where she was greatly influenced by the surrealist movement. She met her second husband, the French surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, in Barcelona. She was forced into exile from Paris during the German occupation of France and moved to Mexico City at the end of 1941. She died in 1963, at the height of her career, from a heart attack, in Mexico City.

Nacer de nuevo

Image of Nacer de nuevo ( Born again) by Remedios Varo from https://theartstack.com/artist/remedios-varo/nascer-de-nuevo

A website dedicated to Varo (http://www.remediosvaro.org/varo.html) lists her influences:

Remedios Varo’s artistic influences included the work of Hieronymus Bosch…She was also influenced by styles in other realms including Picasso, Francisco Goya, El Greco, and Braque. Andre Breton was a formative influence in Varo’s understanding of Surrealism. Further artistic influence can be seen in her paintings of the modern Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico. While in Mexico, Varo became influenced by the primitive art ancient Columbian culture…

Philosophically, Varo was influenced by a many [sic] mystic traditions of both Eastern and Western society. She studied the ideas of G. I. Gurdjieff, C. G. Jung, Ouspensky, Sufis, H. Blavatsky, and Meister Eckhart. The legend of the Holy Grail fascinated Varo along with sacred geometry and alchemy. She believed that through each of these there was a path self-enlightenment and the transformation of consciousness.

Although I was most attracted to the beautiful yet creepy quality of Varo’s art, I was also attracted to her as a person. She had a variety of lovers throughout her life (although she never divorced her first husband), and she was an anarchist and a feminist. The aforementioned Totally History webpage says,

[Varo] was not only a surrealist but also an anarchist. She believed that the state was an unnecessary evil that opposed the conduct of human relations…This philosophy was also reflected in her isolationist art style…

Feminism was another school of thought that influenced the art style of [Varo]. At the time when she was a surrealist painter, the male surrealist did not see their female counterparts as talented. T[h]is created an environment where female artists were isolated. The misconceived talents of the women were reflected in her art as images of sad women in isolated and confined places. This was her way of responding to the feminine injustices in the world of art at the time.

Although nothing can replace viewing art in person, it’s easy to see much Varo’s work just by doing a few web searches. In honor of the birth of Remedios Varo, I hope you will seek out more of her art and maybe come to a better understanding of why I appreciate it so much.

 

 

Play Me, I’m Yours (Part 1)

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In the spring of 2016, I was exploring the public art on Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. One of the coolest things I saw was a Pepto-Bismol pink piano labeled “Play Me, I’m Yours.” What was this about? I had no idea, but loved the presence of a piano out on the street available for anyone to play. As I walked further east on Main Street, I encountered two more street pianos. Very interesting, I thought. I figured the pianos were part of downtown Mesa’s permanent sculpture collection and didn’t think much more about them until I sat down to write this post.

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Front view of piano #6

According to the Street Pianos website (http://www.streetpianos.com/),

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, I’m Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. Reaching over 10 million people worldwide – more than 1,500 street pianos have already been installed in over 50 cities across the globe, from London to New York, bearing the simple instruction Play Me, I’m Yours.

Located on streets, in public parks, markets and train stations the pianos are temporarily available for everyone to play and enjoy. Play Me, I’m Yours invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment. Decorated by local artists and community groups, the pianos create a place of exchange and an opportunity for people to connect.

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Back view of piano #6

It’s really cool to find out the pianos I encountered are part of a global phenomenon. But wait, it gets better!

The page of the Street Pianos website dedicated to Mesa (http://streetpianos.com/mesa2016/) says,

Mesa Arts Center presented Play Me, I’m Yours, from March 1 until April 9 2016, as part of the celebrations of a major milestone: 10 years at their beautiful location in Downtown Mesa, AZ.  24 playable and artistically enhanced pianos were featured, in Downtown Mesa and at other satellite locations throughout the city.

What? Those pianos were there for a limited time only, and I got to see them? How cool is that? (Very cool, I think.)

I’m going to do three blog posts about the three Play Me, I’m Yours piano I encountered in Mesa.

Today I am writing about piano #6, which was located on Main Street, east of MacDonald. According to the Street Pianos website (http://streetpianos.com/mesa2016/pianos/6-main-street-east-of-macdonald/, where you can also view videos of people playing this piano),it was decorated by artist: Kyllan Maney  and students of the New School For The Arts and was donated by Myrna Horton.

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Left side view of piano #6

According to Kyllan Maney’s website (http://www.kyllanmaney.com/about/), she

works with aspects of nature that reminds her of the feelings of tranquility, discovery, spirituality and awe that exist when looking at plants and objects closely.  The visual foundation of Kyllan’s work is rooted in scientific illustrations, religious icons, human relationships and inspiration from past and current artists. Kyllan enjoys the inventive, creative process of working with mixed media, oil painting and large scale murals.

There’s so much I like about this piano. I think its bright, eye-catching color is grand. I like the individual portraits decorating it. As I said before, I think it is so cool to see pianos out and about, available for anyone to play.

Unfortunately, I don’t know how to play the piano. Music lessons were not something my parents

Right side view of piano #6

Right side view of piano #6

could afford when I was a kid, and by the time I took a piano class in high school, it was too late. I realized I basically have no musical talent, and it was going to take way more effort than I was willing to exert to learn to play the piano (or anything else).

That evening in Mesa, I was sad I couldn’t sit down and coax a song from this instrument, but I was glad to know it was out there waiting for someone more talented than I .

I took all the photos in this post.

To read more about public art in Mesa, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/07/the-big-pink-chair/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/15/booked-for-the-day/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/11/14/quackers/.

Detail from piano #6 for all my Bowie homies.

Detail from piano #6

Street Art in The Mission

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An important question, written directly onto the sidewalk. What’s your answer?

I spent a few days in the Mission District of San Francisco this fall.

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Stencil art I encountered in one of the mural alleys.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_District,_San_Francisco,

The Mission District, also commonly called “The Mission”, is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, United States, originally known as “the Mission lands”[4] meaning the lands belonging to the sixth Alta California mission, Mission San Francisco de Asis. This mission, San Francisco’s oldest standing building, is located in the northwest area of the neighborhood.

I did a lot of walking between 16th and 24th streets and Guerroero Street and South Van Ness Avenue. Mostly I was looking at murals, but I was also enjoying the hustle and bustle of big city life. It had been a long time since I’d been around so many people and been able to do such intense people watching.

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Stencil art I encountered in one of the mural alleys.

There are murals all over the place in The Mission. I took a lot of photos of a lot of murals, planning to do a lot of blog posts featuring the often political art. Alas, while I was researching the murals, I found a disclaimer on the Balmy Alley murals page (http://www.balmyalley.com/Murals.html):

Please remember that murals are copyrighted works of art. Photographs are for your personal enjoyment only. Any photos OR video taken of copyrighted murals for the purpose of reproduction (including t-shirts, album covers, web sites, guide books, music videos, commercials, etc) can only be used with written permission from the muralist(s).

I’ve contacted the community-based mural arts organization, Precita Eyes Muralists Association, to get permission to use my photos of murals in my blog posts. Before they will grant me any permission, I have to complete a multi-page form. Completing the form is on my list of things to do, but I haven’t been able to get to it yet. There will be no photos of the murals of Mission District alleys for my readers for a while.

In the meantime, I will share some of the examples of street art I encountered while I was exploring the neighborhood.

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Mushroom drawn directly onto the sidewalk, on Mission Street, I think.

The artrepublic website (http://www.artrepublic.com/art_terms/39-street-art-html/) defines street art as

Street art is any art developed in public spaces. The term can include traditional graffiti art work, as well as, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, flash mobbing and street installations.

Whereas traditional graffiti artists have primarily used free-hand aerosol paints to produce their works with ‘tagging’ and text-based subject, street art encompasses many other media, techniques and subject matter including: LED art, mosaic tiling, murals, stencil art, sticker art, street installations, wheatpasting, woodblocking, video projection, and yarn bombing.

(For a cool list of Top 10 Types of Street Arts, go here: http://listdose.co/top-10-types-of-street-arts/.)

Some people wonder if there is any difference between street art and graffiti. The Herron School of  Art and Design (http://www.herron.iupui.edu/blog/06042012/street-art-vs-graffiti) says,

Graffiti limits an individual to what he or she can do with a spray can, on the spot. Street art, on the img_7250other hand, while employing some of the application techniques of graffiti, often involves a finished product that is ready-made and brought to the location -think stickers, wheat paste prints, and stencils.

Street art and graffiti are both powerful forms of public art that use visually striking, bold images and metaphors to convey a message. And in both cases, artists are risking legal punishment for spreading these messages.

Most of the art pieces I saw were created from stencils and spray paint. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stencil_graffiti,

Stencil graffiti is a form of graffiti that makes use of stencils made out of paper, cardboard, or other media to create an image or text that is easily reproducible. The desired design is cut out of the selected medium and then the image is transferred to a surface through the use of spray paint or roll-on paint.

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I think these fish were created using multiple stencils.

The process of stenciling involves applying paint across a stencil to form an image on a surface below. Sometimes multiple layers of stencils are used on the same image to add colours or create the illusion of depth.

My favorite part of street art is the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) ethic. Street artists don’t need a museum or a gallery or an agent or a patron. Street artists just need their art supplies and an empty patch of sidewalk or wall.

I also appreciate encountering street art for free, while I’m out and about. I don’t have to pay admission to a museum; the whole neighborhood is a museum for a street art aficionado.

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Turtles swim across a white wall.

Folks who want to learn how to cut a stencil or to connect with stencil, street, and graffiti artists should check out the Stencil Revolution website (http://www.stencilrevolution.com/). To see examples of street art from around the world, go to the Street Art Utopia website (http://www.streetartutopia.com/).

I took all the photos in this post.

Teaching Children Since 1878

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I’ve written before about the sculptures on Main Street in Mesa, Arizona. (Read about The Big Pink Chair here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/07/the-big-pink-chair/ and Booked for the Day here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/10/15/booked-for-the-day/.) Today’s featured sculpture is called Teaching Children Since 1878.

According to http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID:siris_ari_316604,

The sculpture is the central piece of a larger plaza setting, which includes 16 bronze or brass relief plaques on surrounding stucco wall with inscriptions on the history of education in Mesa and 4 columns from the original Mesa High School (formerly known as the second Abraham Lincoln School).

The brochure (https://res-5.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/mesa/DMA%20Sculpture%20Guide%203-2015_7bd31763-551d-4e7d-8dac-5cdcc56c8d24.pdf) with information about the self-guided tour of the Mesa’s sculpture collection lists the sculptor as James Avati, but the img_5842aforementioned Smithsonian Institution website lists three people as sculptors of this piece: James  R. Avati, C. L. Harding, and Dennis Tidwell.

While writing this post, I learned James R. Avati is from a family of artist. According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Avati,

“His [grand]father was a professional photographer in New York City and his father was “James Sante Avati…an American illustrator and paperbackcover artist. ”

James R. Avati’s biography on the Utah Artist Project website (http://www.lib.utah.edu/collections/utah-artists/UAP-James-Avati.php) refers to Teaching Children Since 1878 as a “major commission.” It also says,

James R. Avati of Redbank, New Jersey, and Salt Lake City, is an excellent and sensitive sculptor who img_5845studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, at the Arts Students League in New York City, at Ricks College in Idaho, and at Brigham Young University. He was also a graduate student in the Department of Art at the University of Utah where he earned his M.F.A. in 1988. While there he worked with Angelo Caravaglia in the development of his frequently powerful art.

This life-size bronze sculpture is located on the south side of Mesa’s Main Street, on the corner of Sirrine Street.

I enjoy the juxtaposition of the fashions worn by the teacher and her students against the backdrop of modern buildings and cars, motorcycles and traffic lights. The teacher reminds me of a statue of a pioneer woman in Austin, TX a friend and I once used as the star of a short film.

Next time you’re strolling in downtown Mesa, be sure to checkout these scholars.

I took all of the photos in this post.

The Big Pink Chair

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Mesa, Arizona is a very strange town in the greater Phoenix metro area. Mesa is full of Mormons and meth and…art. Well, at least downtown Mesa is full of art.

According to a brochure that goes along with the self-guided tour of the town’s sculpture collection (https://res-5.cloudinary.com/simpleview/image/upload/v1/clients/mesa/DMA%20Sculpture%20Guide%203-2015_7bd31763-551d-4e7d-8dac-5cdcc56c8d24.pdf)

Mesa’s Growing Permanent Sculpture Collection features 39 fine pieces, most of which are displayed downtown (four privately owned sculptures are also on loan). Enjoy a FREE self-guided outdoor walking tour of the sculptures any time of day or night, any day of the week.

(Do what you want, but I wouldn’t recommend hanging around Main Street in downtown Mesa in the middle of the night.)

My favorite piece in Mesa’s sculpture collection is The Big Pink Chair. The above photo does not do it justice. It’s not just a big pink chair. It’s a BIG pink chair. An adult sitting in it looks like a little child. When I sit in it, my legs don’t hang down. When I sit in it, my feet stick straight out.

And yes, folks can climb up and sit in the chair. It makes for a great photo op, so visit it with a group of friends (especially if you time your visit for 3am).

img_5918The Big Pink Chair is a work by Mary Consie. It’s located on the north side of Main Street, between Morris Street and Robson Street.

I took the photos in this post.

New Hats for Sale

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I’ve been using up small bits of yarn in colors that don’t fit the schemes I have in mind for infinity scarves. In a few days, I made seven hats.

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Esmerelda is modeling a large white hat with a finished edge. In this photo, the finished edge is folded up. This hat features a variety of blues and is topped by a pompom. The hat costs $13, including shipping.

Sometimes I get so excited about making hats, I don’t want to do anything else. Who needs to sleep, cook, eat, clean? Not me! The most important thing in my life is making hats!

In this photo, Esmerelda is modeling a large hat with a finished edge. The edge is folded down in this view. It's a bright hat with lots of shades of oranges and yellow. The hat is topped with a pompom and costs $13, including shipping.

In this photo, Esmerelda is modeling a large hat with a finished edge. The edge is folded down in this view. It’s a bright hat with lots of shades of oranges and yellow. The hat is topped with a pompom and costs $13, including shipping.

In this view of the same hat, the finished edge is folded up.

In this view of the same hat, the finished edge is folded up.

Other times, I don’t even want to think about yarn, much less making a hat.

I can’t pinpoint any reasons for why I feel one way or another. Sometimes that hat benders are brief, and sometimes they last for weeks.

In any case, I’ve been making hats, and they’re all for sale. Each one costs $13, including shipping costs.

I know it’s September, and most folks won’t need a warm hat for a couple of months. But as fans of Game of Thrones are reminded, winter is coming. Now is a good time to prepare. Your head will thank you.

This large hat has a finished edge. In this photo, the edge is folded up. The main color of this had is purple, with some yellow, but the purple variegated yarn has some green in it too, so it won't quite make for the straight up LSU fan.

This large hat has a finished edge. In this photo, the edge is folded up. The main color of this hat is purple, with some yellow, but the purple variegated yarn has some green in it too, so it’s probably not for the straight-up LSU fan. The hat costs $13, including shipping.

 

The large hat Esmerelda is modeling in this photo has an unfinished edge. The color scheme is primarily blue, but it has some orange near the top as well. The cost of this hat is $13, including shipping.

The large hat Esmerelda is modeling in this photo has an unfinished edge. The color scheme is primarily blue, but it has some orange near the top as well. The cost of this hat is $13, including shipping. (This hat is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.)

 

This large hat has an unfinished edge. It is primarily yellow and orange, but there are some blue in it as well. The cost is $13, including shipping.

This large hat has an unfinished edge. It is primarily yellow and orange, but there are some blues in it as well. The cost is $13, including shipping.

 

This large hat features a variety of colors: blue, orange, yellow, purple. It has an unfinished edge and costs $13, including shipping charge.

This large hat features a variety of colors: blue, orange, yellow, green, purple. It has an unfinished edge and costs $13, including shipping charge.

 

This photo shows another large hat with an unfinished edge featuring a variety of colors. The hat is mostly a light blue, but it also includes orange and yellow. The price is $13, including shipping.

This photo shows another large hat with an unfinished edge featuring a variety of colors. The hat is mostly a light blue, but it also includes orange and yellow. The price is $13, including shipping. (This hat is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.)