Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lisa Vollrath is once again offering a Christmas countdown of images. Go here to read about how to download her linkware images.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm In!

Just registered to attend a summer workshop with Beryl Taylor at the wonderful Valley Ridge Art Studio in southwestern Wisconsin! I've been thinking about this and planning it for months, so you can be sure I was signing in at precisely 9 AM today when registrations opened! I've attended Valley Ridge for two previous workshops (Lesley Riley and Kathy Malkasian) and had a marvelous time on both occasions. You really can't ask for a more comfortable and idyllic setting offered by the proprietors, Kathy and Bill Malkasian.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I can finally get back to do some artwork - the two week jury duty is over, contract negotiations are all I have to do is deal with the car issue - hit a deer the other night, so I'm off to get estimates and talk to my insurance agent.

These are two examples of the second set of Skinny book journal pages I completed for the swap at Arttechniques . The theme for this set was "Goddess". I used a wallpaper sample again, coated with gesso and various acrylic paints and overstampled with Stazon inks. The goddess shape was cut from textured wallpaper and sewed on, couching some colorful yarns in the outline. I'm happy with the results! More later!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Tonight I joined an art and photo sharing/selling based in Australia - RedBubble

I posted 4 of the Goddess series images as I was learning the ins and outs of the site.

I've also been working on a set of journal pages for a swap on the Arttechniques group. This first set is for the "color" theme. I used wallpaper for the base, gesso and acrylic paint over it, layered with sheer ribbon, painted paper towel, tyvek, watercolor paper, sequins, beads, and a bit of stamping. Lastly I added some machine stictching to bring it all together. I know most people add images of people or text, but I wanted something a bit different.

Hopefully my partners will appreciate a more abstract journal page too!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Not too much time to work on art this week, which bugs me because I've many things to work on! This morning I got up after 11 hours of sleep (guess I needed it!) and played with heavy gloss gel and paint to add texture to a color block piece I started a couple of weeks ago.

I ran across this quiz and the outcome was apt, considering I drink coffee once a week!

You Are a Cappuccino

You're fun, outgoing, and you love to try anything new.
However, you tend to have strong opinions on what you like.
You are a total girly girly at heart - and prefer your coffee with good conversation.
You're the type that seems complex to outsiders, but in reality, you are easy to please

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Today's been one of those unexpectedly busy days in which I didn't get any art work done, but I indulged myself with two "gifts". One was a 2 1/2 hour nap this afternoon that I didn't know I needed! I thought I would get up after 20 minutes, but I was zapped, so I thought, what does it matter - sleep!

The other gift was the arrival of two books I ordered through Amazon, so I spent time after the nap reading Acrylic Revolution by Nancy Reyner. This is one amazing book for anyone using acrylic paints, mediums, and gels in their work. I was familiar with some of the tips and techniques, but this spiral-bound book that opens flat for easy reading and reference has many techniques that I've admired in other artists' work, but didn't know how to accomplish. So, now before I go to bed, I'll be prepping some 16" x 20" canvases for play tomorrow.

The other book that arrived today is Simple Soldered Jewelry & Accessories: A Crafter's Guide to Fashioning Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets & More by Lisa Bluhm. That one will be perused in bed later tonight. (My usual routine is to bring a magazine like Quilting Arts, Cloth, Paper, Scissors, or Somerset Studio, or a book to bed, read until it drops from my hands as I doze off, then laugh, turn of the light, roll over, and go to sleep.)

Tomorrow morning is the weekly meeting of the Sunday morning art group that convenes at a local Starbucks (still nameless after months and months of meeting!) I'll bring the above- mentioned books to share as well as the package of journal pages from a recent CPS swap. What a wonderful array of 10 pages from some talented artists in the group!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Today and tomorrow I plan to devote to creating some art pieces. Yesterday I found out I can have a spot in a Sycamore, IL business for the traveling art show of KVAL (Kishwaukee Valley Art League). So, I need to get three pieces ready for that. Melissa asked if I would create something for her dorm room, as she and her roommate need to "art-up" their room! And, just because I've been busy with the start of school for the past two weeks and have not created anything artistic, I need to get cracking.

This past week the new zine, Fibre & Stitch, debuted and it is lovely! This one sounded like a good match for me because no matter what art medium I explore, I tend to gravitate back to fabric! There's also a new yahoo group for the subscribers to the zine, The first challenge is exactly the technique I wanted to try, Carol McFee's "Lutradur and Lace". I'll post it later - first painting is still wet.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm just now getting to posting my four mixed media goddess art pieces that were accepted in a local gallery's juried show. The Next Picture Show Gallery in Dixon, IL has a current exhibition hung until September 11, 2007 entitled "She". "The “She” show displays artworks that explore the diversity of womanhood – earth mother, wise woman, mother/daughter, goddess, spirited souls."

It was such a thrill to have my artwork accepted for this show as it was the first time I entered work in a gallery. I've been working on a goddess art series to honor the heritage of my grandmothers whose families hail from Ireland and Slovenia. So when I happened into the gallery earlier this summer and saw that there was a woman's art show coming up, I thought this was a sign that I should finish the pieces and enter them!

There was a reception on Friday evening, August 17th to which several of my friends accompanied me, making it much more fun! I arrived there about 30 minutes after the opening, and as I made my way toward the back of the gallery where I saw Barb, Wally, Judy, and Colin mingling, I passed my work, noting red sticker dots on three of the four pieces. I thought it might mean "something", but didn't have much time to dwell on it when the gallery director, Bonnie Kime, came over to tell me she had a young woman who wanted to talk to me about the art. "Cool", I mused, and when Bonnie then added that Bridget had just purchased the pieces, I'm sure I broke out into a big smile! We had a lovely chat amid the din of the crowd and then I had a bit of time to view the other 60+ pieces before the winners were announced. I'm thinking about going back later today or next Saturday to have more time to appreciate them.

This first piece with the flames and goddess reaching to the blue sky is entitled, "Belisama". It's a 6" x 12" canvas of acrylic paint, handmade, and commerical papers collaged with gel medium. Belisama or "Summer Bright" was a goddess of the ancient Celts. She was a goddess of fire, forge, and crafts. There is evidence that she is related to the Roman goddess Minerva, which makes sense if you consider the interrelatedness of cultures during the expansion of the ancient Roman Empire into Gaul and Britain.

This next piece in greens with a dryad emerging from a tree is "Sidhe Draoi". The name refers to the Irish tree faery of Druid lore who lived among the trees in the sacred grove. Tissue papers were collaged as a background and then I cut a free-form tree from fabric paper I made from muslin and assorted brown papers. The leaves are snipped from assorted handmade and commercial papers and fabrics. The dryad, or wood nymph, is fashioned from a polymer clay face attached to a body made of vintage and new laces glued, sewn and painted on cotton flannel. The hair is strands of floss, ribbon, and fibers.

The piece on the far left of the weaving in a handmade frame is "Brigid's Loom". It is pasticcio of fibers, yarn, ribbon, and handmade papers woven through wires colored with alcohol inks and then twisted when taken off the loom. The frame is a foamcore piece gessoed, layered with molding paste, handmade paper, acrylic paints, and embellished with small beads. It is part of a series of about 20 pieces in a similar vein. There is a nice tutorial for the frame in Somerset Workshop by artist Diana Twedt. (Diana is very inspiring and has shared her tutorials and art in many of Stampington's publications.)

The last piece I've posted here previously is "Airmid", one of my favorites. Now that it's sold, I've begun a smaller version to keep for myself!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

What a nice surprise I just received! My "Airmid" goddess piece was chosen to be the home page art on the Yahoo group "cloth paper studio" for this week!

I created Airmid in honor of one of my grandmothers. I used a vintage photo of my grandmother, taken when she was 18. The photo is of her sitting in bright sunlight, wearing a dark colored dress with a sailor collar. I loved the high contrast of her face and how she is looking down, so I cropped her head and printed it on paper we made from cornhusks.

Airmid is the Celtic goddess of herbal healing, and she stood guard over the Well of Slaine in Ireland. She is said to live in the mountains of Ireland yet today, healing faeries and humans who need her help. Water is her element.

Like so many other grandmothers, mine had a cure for whatever ailed you. I recall her favorite remedy to slather over us was "Mentholatum", a sticky menthol rub still sold today.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Two examples of using scrim (cheesecloth) in mixed media work. The first one is "Lost Love", a fabric and paper collage. The fabric on the right side covering the lower corner is purple scrim, purchased at a local Joann fabrics.

The piece on the right, "Pasticcio 2", has the same scrim along the top of the weaving. Displayed at an outdoor art show, it is the second in a series of collages exploring weaving over a variety of warps with an assortment of threads, fibers, paper, and ribbons. This piece is 12" x 8" on watercolor paper with a foamcore frame that I constructed with molding paste, embossed papers, and painted with acrylics.

I'll come back to edit this later today. I've got to run to a meeting!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Kate's Remembrance is an assemblage of precious bits of vintage treasure nestled in a brass pendant in honor of my grandmother.

The central figure is a small bisque porcelein unjointed doll known as a "frozen charlotte" or "penny doll", which were popular in the late 19th to early 20th century. My doll is a vintage German find about 1.25" high.

The bent nail symbolizes illness.
The mother of pearl buttons are from my grandmother's collection which I inherited. Mother of pearl (or MOPs) buttons have fascinated me for years. When I discovered that Muscatine, Iowa, on the Mississippi shore was the center of mother of pearl button making in the early 1900s, they became even more interesting to me, as they originated just a couple of hours from here. The buttons were made from shells of mussels, abundantly available in the river.

I found my Frozen Charlotte on Ebay from a seller who had a lot of 5 with broken limbs. Their disrepair made them even more interesting to me, so I was thrilled when I won the bid at a very reasonable price!
Here's a bit of Frozen Charlotte lore from "Yesterday's Toys"
"The name came from Fair Charlotte, a well-known American folk ballad attributed to William Lorenzo Carter. It is believed to have been composed some time between 1833 and 1860. The ballad tells the tale of a beautiful young woman who set out in a sleigh with her lover, Charles, on a bitterly cold night to attend a ball fifteen miles away. Her mother warned her to wrap herself in a blanket to keep warm, but:
"No, no, no," fair Charlotte said
And she laughed like a gypsy queen
"To ride in blankets muffled up,
I never can be seen."
The couple rode off into the cold and, after traveling a mere five miles, Charles remarked:
"Such a night as this I never knew,
The reins I scarce can hold."
Fair Charlotte said in a feeble voice
"I am exceeding cold."
Away they ride through frozen air
In the glittering starry night
Until at length the village inn
and the ballroom were in sight.
They reached the door,
Young Charles stepped out
And held his hand to her
"Why sit you there like a monument
that hath no power to stir?"
He called her once,
he called her twice
She uttered not a word
He held his hand to her again
And still she never stirred
Then swiftly through the lighted room
Her lifeless form he bore
Fair Charlotte was a stiffened corpse
And word spoke nevermore.
Of course there was a lesson to be learned from this tragic tale, and many young girls who later played with Frozen Charlottes probably were warned:
"Now, ladies, when you hear of this
Think of that dreadful sight,
And never venture so thinly clad,
On such a winter's night."
Can't you just hear your grandmother's advice ringing out, "Take a sweater with you!"

Monday, June 25, 2007

Shame on me for not updating this blog for the past 4 months! I've got lots of things to show but the scanner is out of commission until I replace the monitor downstairs (thank God for the laptop upstairs!)

More later.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Vintage image with permission from TenTwo Studios.
Vintage image my dad and one of his cousins, circa 1929.

Here are some of my latest ATCs.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year to all.

Just a bit of updating what I've been creating lately. You can also see images of my work on

The mixed media image to the left is a 9" x 12" piece inspired by an article in ClothPaperScissors. I'll update the details later.

The image below "Inspire" with the red heart is a 4" x 6" acrylic on canvas board with copper wire, beads, buttons, watch parts and paper ephemera.

The "Sisters" piece was a gift to my sister at Christmakuh. It is similar to "Inspire" but with a photo of us when we were quite young printed on muslin. Both pieces were also inspired by an article in ClothPaperScissors, but again I need to get the magazine to check the details!.