Many of the extracurriculars I did in high school have come to define who I am today – Art, Orchestra, Journalism, Debate, Spanish Honor Society, and oh yes, Knitting Club. When I was in high school, I was constantly frustrated by the lack of funding for these activities that were so integral to who I became as a person – in Texas, all of the funding goes towards sports such as football. I put a ring outside my former debate coach’s classroom to represent how much I valued these teachers and activities in my life, but I also wonder, beyond just the metaphorical act, could we possibly use this idea of the ring and financial value to agitate for real, significant funding of arts education?
I always moved around as a kid, so I was very cynical about this possibility of having a BFF (best friend forever). But Ashley and I have been best friends for over ten years now, through moving to different states, through different milestones in our respective lives. She has always been there for me and supported me with her kindness and wisdom. It gives me hope that maybe I’ll have a best friend forever after all. These pictures are taken at Spiderhouse Cafe, where we always return to catch up after long periods of not seeing each other. The great thing is, no matter how long we’ve been apart, nothing ever feels like it’s changed since the first day that we’ve met each other. I love you!
I’ve never had to go farther than home for 5-star Chinese food. These are recipes that my mom carried across the ocean with her from our homeland, and it’s part of what connects me to my personal history and extended family in China. And, because I’m functionally a vegetarian (except at Mom’s house, of course!) I never learned how to make most of her meat-based dishes. Her food will always remain a mystery to me, a welcome treat every time I visit home.
This is a ring on the corner of 6th and Lamar. Or, as I like to call it, hippie mecca. There are several businesses at this corner that for me embody Austin’s independent, earth-lovin’ punk rocker vibe. Pictured is Waterloo Records across the street, an independent record store. There’s also Amy’s Ice Creams, a local ice cream franchise with a photobooth in many of their locations. Then across the street there’s the original Whole Foods, y’know, started back before they became corporate. And last but not least, there’s a three story independent book store, Book People that hosts author readings and signings on a regular basis. Simply the greatest.
- A ring at Toy Joy's former location
- A ring inside Toy Joy's current location
- Just one of Toy Joy's many racks of toys and curios!
Oh, Toy Joy. Toy Joy is the toy store for the kid in all of us, with walls and walls of offbeat toys that you can’t find in a big box toy store. Recently, because of finances, Toy Joy moved from its iconic location on 30th and Guadalupe to 2nd street downtown. The new business at the 30th street location painted over the colorful mural outside to a dull, puce green, which to me represents the sad passing of that beloved location. I decided to make two coordinating rings, one for its old location, and one inside its new location. My hope is that Toy Joy continues to inspire wonder for years to come.
Barton Springs is my absolute favorite place in Austin, Texas. It is a local creek that stays 70 degrees year round. The water is a clear blue-green and when you swim in the creek, you can see/feel the river grasses along the bottom. During the hot Texas summers, people come here to cool off! And during the winters, people come here to prove their mettle. There’s such an immense sense of freedom and connection that you feel to other people when you’re swimming at Barton Springs.
I chose Watts Towers because of its iconic stature to LA and yet so many Angelenos have not gone to see it. Last year, I began working on a sound project linking the towers with Antoni Gaudi’s work in Barcelona so it’s been heavy on my mind lately.
Ring: Recycled Metro vinyl on vintage fabric, shoelace
Sewing machine: Last year, I started taking sewing lessons at Sew LA in Atwater partly in honor of my late Grandmother who was a seamstress.
The jewelry district is a historic district in downtown L.A. with more than 5000 businesses, some of which are located in buildings dating back over 100 years. And yes – they sell jewelry, making them a perfect site for Put A Ring On It! We encourage you to spend an afternoon getting lost in all the different alleyways with their hundreds of independent vendors behind the historic facades. The markets and districts of Downtown LA are places that you can return to over and over again, and always find something new.
Our house faced west, and we would actually sit outside and watch the changing colors of the sunset until it got dark. Many of those sunsets and dramatic skies are captured in Arizona Highways Magazine from the late 60′s & early 70′s.
Like most places, development has completely changed that landscape. I miss it, I think about it a lot sometimes. You used to be able to see the Milky Way at night, and you can’t anymore. But, do I miss that time in my life? Oh hell no! I wouldn’t want to go back in time for anything. I’m much happier now, and I love where I live. I guess what I’m really putting my ring on is the treasured memories of that spectacular landscape.
My ring is crocheted using double and triple crochet stitches. The “jewel” is a small piece of hyperbolic crochet.
—Julie, Los Angeles
Using some yarns remaining from other crochet projects, I crocheted the jewel and affixed it on top a yarn wrapped foam frame.
I “put it on” my family; my husband and our son. I took this picture in the field behind our home, which is a view I have grown up with my entire life. This field allows me to have a constant contact with nature, area wildlife, and the open, fresh space that reflects within my own artwork and designs. Nature sparks my creativity, my family fuels it.