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Among the Garbage and the Flowers

Meet Michelle Stitzlein,an artist who searches for beauty in the mundane. She creates myriad varities of exotic moths spanning as much as 11 feet across from humble found items such as license plates, car parts, piano keys, broken china, rusty tin cans, electrical wire, bottle caps, mirrors, trash can lids, bicycle tires, scrap wood, aluminum siding, faucet handles, oil drum lids and phone hand sets.

She prefers materials that bring the experience of personal associations to her work over those that are “shiny and new.”

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She writes in her statement: “As an artist and as a person, I ask myself to look closer, lest I miss the one exquisite trait in something oftentimes regarded as distasteful, old, tired, unimpressive or just plain ugly so that I may see it again with fresh eyes.”




Stitzlein has also written two books outlining projects for children, families, schools and non-profits utilizing recycled, plastic bottle caps

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Sustainability

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Incendiary Instruments

Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire

In my post of Sept 2, I wrote about Polynesian body ornamentation that was the inspiration for two of our new Luna ukes pictured above. I used this picture to showcase them because of the obvious juxtaposition of body and instrument ornamentation but I mostly used it because of my fascination with fire dancing. Have I mentioned that incendiary is my favorite word?

This post actually has nothing to do with ukes other than a lame attempt to tie in fire dancing. The element of fire has existed as a part of tribal dancing for ages. What we think of as firedancing is largely influenced by the Maori people of New Zealand (called poi) and more recently a Hawaiian tradition where the element of fire was added to a traditional knife dance. These two “fire poi” videos are among my favorites! They make me fantasize about having fireballs at the ends of my braids! Enjoy!

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Peace,
Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

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Instrument Inspiration

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Following the Elvis Dream

I cannot let August run out without marking a significant event. I met Elvis Presley in August of 1961…..48 years ago. At the time, I never guessed that I would end up designing guitars. I wish I could both rewind and fast forward my life at the same time so I could have presented the King of Rock with a Luna guitar!!!!!!!!!!

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

Elvis and his Luna on location - 1961

My girlfriend Jeannette was (is) the ultimate Elvis fan. Because I loved her, so was I. When Elvis was filming “Follow That Dream”, a 1962 musical filmed in Inglis and Yankeetown, Florida, it was the perfect opportunity for Jeanette to follow her own dream to meet Elvis. On Aug 8. 1961, we set out from Tampa with her mother Dorothy and her Italian Grandmother “Nana” in an ancient, powder blue 1952 Cadillac. It somehow took all day to drive 75 miles.

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Dorothy, as always, was dressed like a Hollywood Goddess and Nana was her stately and imposing chaperone, parting the way like a lead ship parting the waters. Jeanette and I were both sailing behind dressed like preteen dorks…..me in bermuda shorts and top that I made in Home Economics, (with green rick rack trim adding insult to injury) , and Jeanette in an equally embarrassing gold bermuda shorts outfit.
Halfway there we stopped in a diner with a “Welcome Elvis” sign and were forced to gulp down our burgers under the threat of turning the Cadillac around and heading for home if we didn’t finish our food. When we were finally in Crystal River at the Port Paradise Motel where the crew was staying, Elvis stepped out of his 1961 white Cadillac after his Yankeetown shoot at precisely 6:45 PM. Jeanette kept a keen eye on her little wristwatch to mark the time that her Dream came true.

Jeanette asked Elvis to move next to me for a picture when she saw I was shyly standing in the shadow of his light, and this snapshot was taken after his face had moved down to kiss my cheek  and was on it’s way back up (thus the blur and the silly look on my face) My autograph book was clenched firmly under my arm, but I never had the nerve to ask him to sign it.

Yvonne and Elvis

Though I was there that day for my friend Jeanette, in retrospect, I realize I was in the presence of a seminal force who influenced many of my own heroes.

Paul McCartney declared Elvis Presley as one of significant influences behind The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’ album. After the release of the 1967 record the band chose to stay at home rather than tour, and McCartney explained they got the idea from The King. “We had this idea that we’d make a record, and the record itself would go on tour for us,” McCartney told Rolling Stone. “That came from a story we’d heard about Elvis’ Cadillac going on tour. We though that was an amazing idea: He doesn’t go on tour, he just sends his Cadillac out. Fantastic!”

The day that he died, John Lennon, my all-time music hero, exclaimed, “Before Elvis, there was nothing” and so it was for the era of rock and roll music.

For those of you that have managed to read my entire nostalgic musings, I have one thing to say. “Thank you very much!” And don’t forget to “Follow Your Dream…..wherever that dream may lead!

Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

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(Yankeetown is known for it’s “no-see-ums”…it’s really amusing to watch him scratch himself throughout the song)

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Ukulele Dreams

I have been diving deep in Ukulele waters while designing a new line of Luna Ukes the past few weeks and came across a delightful artist, Amy Crehore. Her latest show is entitled “Dreamgirls and Ukes” and her canvases are vintage ukuleles!

I am including closeups of some of the bodies and headstocks below for your entertainment and amusement. They brought a much needed dose of deep play into my day!

Peace, Yvonne www.lunaguitars.com

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