Public Space, Public Art

May 12, 2011

Last week I watched the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop Door and I’ve been obsessing about the artist Banksy ever since.

I’ve been wanting to stencil some designs on a few of my favorite stained clothing items. You see, I spill a lot and can’t manage to throw away much, well at least not soft cotton items I may want to wear some day…

Here’s my homage to Banksy.

Here is the official movie trailer.

Great film, check it out and be inspired.

Teresa + Mitch = Married in St. Paul, MN

February 28, 2011

I loved working with Teresa and Mitch as these two couldn’t stop smiling.   The smiles were infectious!

Without further adieu, here is their Featurette.



Teresa & Mitch from Amy Sparks on Vimeo.


January 7, 2011

Today the wind is racing across our frozen field dusting all the trees, and the patio furniture I left out after summer days long passed, with stale snow.

It’s cold out there.

So I knit something to keep my neck warm and protected from the icy gusts, it’s a “cowl” and I’m using it as my windshield.

The fiber was hand-spun by me on my Kiwi double treadle spinning wheel.  It’s 100 percent Merino wool and it’s as soft as it looks.

Jen + Brian = Married. Cancun, Mexico

January 5, 2011

I think traveling to Mexico should be mandatory for busy Minnesota folk.

We had a great time celebrating with Jen and Brian in Cancun, getting to know this fabulous couple and hearing their unique love story.

Without further adieu, here is the video we created. Enjoy this escape to paradise, I know we did.

New Year Yarn

January 4, 2011

It is cold here in the deep freezer, today is one of those Minnesota days where the weather literally hurts.

Consequently, I’m staying inside loading video footage into the editing machine, while the cats and I are playing with yarn.

Here is some Merino wool I spun a few days ago, I wish this stuff grew on trees. Olive (the cat) agrees with me.

I think I want to make a Grecian-style one shoulder strap tank with this, and send it to my dear friend in Albuquerque. The color reminds me of the desert adobe. For now the yarn is quietly resting before I knit it up. Seriously. There are so many kinks in it from my tendency to over-spin, a hint I’m wound a bit too tight. A New Year’s resolution for me? Relax.

Meanwhile, the blue cookie-monster-looking thing underneath the yarn, is my newly knit “wooly mammoth tee shirt,” inspired by Rodarte’s famously expensive man repelling bizarre knits.

It’s made from two Be Sweet Magic Balls, which include hand painted mohair, Merino wool, and ribbon. As you knit you are constantly surprised by new texture and change. I’m a process knitter, so the experience is more important to me than the end result. Be Sweet is a very cool company to support as all the yarn is hand painted and spun by impoverished African woman who are receiving a fair ethical price for their artistry.

Be Sweet works with several job creation groups that give artisans the confidence and the means to support themselves and their families in otherwise economically depressed regions. The groups have grown to include almost 200 artisans, mostly female of the Xhosa tribe who live in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. Many of the women now depend on the work for their survival and with the help of creative program directors, the artisans are in stable enviornments where they can earn a fair wage, learn new skills, and enjoy their work. This makes a huge difference in a person and a community.

Sounds pretty sweet to me. Trouble the wise cat, thinks so too.

In Minnesota during the winter, furry sweaters grow on trees.

Happy 2011 everyone.

My Three Sons-Pleasant Lake, MN

November 9, 2010

It seems like only yesterday we received a phone call from Lee and Danielle, requesting a casual, relaxed family photo session by the lake.

Meanwhile, I noticed a few days ago there was a teeny bit of ice on our pond.  This is November and the lakes will be frozen before we know it…

Consequently, beautiful summer days in Minnesota are fleeting. Most likely why we embrace activities by the lake with such gusto.

It was a pleasure to spend some time with Danielle, Lee, and their busy boys.

Mom and Dad wanted to be sure we captured some special pics of their youngest, Charlie.  He was so proud to show us how far he could toss the really big rocks into the water.  I think my kids spent endless time doing the same thing when they were his age.  In fact, they still love our July trips to the North Shore of Lake Superior, where they skip rocks for hours.

Music Monday

October 25, 2010

MN is a wonderful place to be a musicphile.

First, we have great public radio stations like MPR’s The Current and super college radio (I listen to SCSU’s KVSC). Secondly, we’ve got top performance venues (First Avenue, Ordway, Orpheum, Varsity Theater, Pantages Theater, Fine Line Music Cafe, The Turf Club-just to name a few) which attract fantastic performers.

Meanwhile, the greatest musical treasures are the ones we’ve home grown. Most folks know Prince and the great Bob Dylan are from Minnesota, but how many other bands have you listened to from the great Hotdish state?

I know that there are many, many more for me to discover, but today I’m focusing on ten of my favorite local musicians.

Here they are, in no particular order.

Happy Monday!


Solid Gold

Har Mar Superstar

Brother Ali

Tapes n Tapes


Mason Jennings

The Hold Steady

The Soviettes

Total Babe and they really are “babes,” I can’t believe they are so young!