04 December 2009

"ONIF"! (oh no, it's Friday!)

Quite a strange sentiment. I am working on accepting my life for what it is and how it progresses. Standing aside and allowing it unfold. (Thanks Gail :-) So, yes it is Friday and no, I haven't been in the studio all week. So much else to attend to! And so it goes. This is life. Trying to balance the demands of my life with the demands of my art. Sometimes, the artistic and the everyday merge and energize the other. Synergistic. And other times, one excludes the other.

My interests go in so many directions that I am continually distracted. This is who I am. I live in a chaotic world that is challenging at times, but also creative and unpredictable. I work on trying to focus my attentions to be able to enjoy some continuity in my life and in my art. The purpose of a large goal - the 52 weeks.

It's all about BALANCE- the intuitive sense....

"There's no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves: - Frank Herbert, author

01 December 2009

the first day of the last month of the year

Time goes faster and faster, spinning us throught the universe at a dizzying clip! I work on this and that, and the day is done!

Time slows down when I watch the entertaining show of squirrels, birds, dogs, and cats outside my office window. This small corner of the yard is a vortex, drawing in all nearby animals.

Time becomes suspended when creating art. No-time. An altered reality. These times also become part of my spiritual practice. Now that is a revelation!

I haven't been in the studio for 2 weeks, although I have done some felting in the house. I am longing to go out and work/clean up after my 2 week avoidance. Perhaps not so much an avoidance, as a change in priorities. I find myself drawn to work in the studio and totally disregard other responsibilities. So sometimes I choose to go that direction, then I follow up with a period of catching up on eBay, cleaning, etsy, friends and family. Although, I must say that if my daughter or granddaughter are around or need/want me to be with them, that usually is my priority. I also like to feed my husband John well after he returns from a day at work, bringing home the bacon.

I hope to make room in the studio for work on Ribbon Angels. And perhaps, also do a bit of wire bending in 3D.

In love and light.

30 November 2009

NOVEMBER 30 - what's been happening....

The month of November has proved to be a difficult one for me as far as keeping to my 52 weeks goals. I have been distracted by life- visitors, my granddaughter, cooking, cleaning (not so much), shopping... My appreciation for the devotion of artists who can manage to adhere to a daily or weekly regimen of art has increased greatly. I suspected that this would be a difficult, but worthwhile practise for me to establish. So hard to focus, easy to move on to other pursuits.

I have finally overcome my guilt (yes!) enough to return to my blog and re-establish a flow. This past month, I have done a lot of needle-felting- Santas, angels and a hat for Maya. I am so pleased with these felted projects. At the craft faire I showed at mid-month, I didn't make money, but I did meet some wonderful and helpful people. Jamie sent a link to a wonderful website - a line of boiled wool, embellished coats. Amazing! http://www.coveloclothing.com/index.htm

I also met the most lovely woman, Linda, who complimented me on my work and encouraged me to go to a quilt show as a vendor, where I might be better appreciated. She was absolutely positively inspiring!

I must add that my fellow vendors were kind, friendly, and more suited to this kind of craft faire. I remembered why I haven't done this kind of show for such a long time; it's hit or miss. I prepared for a big hit & I missed. However, the connections I made were serendipitous. Some new paths have appeared before me....
  • Shall I try to sell my crafted work at a Quilt Show in the Bay Area? A new venue out of my comfort zone, with the possibility of success.
  • I am drawn to the idea of coat designing and embellishing out of wool...New techniques and a serious new area of study.
Before I can delve into these possiblities, I feel that I must decide how to proceed on my 52 weeks project after my Month of Distraction.
  • Shall I dive back into the project? Which direction? Medium?
  • Do I want to pursue a particular course of study for a more prolonged length of time? (such as designing & felting large scale projects)
  • Has the project served its purpose? Or do I need to continue?
I will continue with the project...hopefully for a full year. The weeks that have gone by without any particulart clear focus or projects have served as learning experiences. I am learning so much about the creative process, MY CREATIVE PROCESS. Rises and falls. My mode of operation. Having a goal like this is a good way to push myself to explore options and ideas in a timely manner. So many years of saying, "I'd like to try that someday." Someday is here!

This week I want to try to make some Ribbon Fairies which I saw on Lisa Volraths website, http://www.tentwostudios.com Thank you Chris Em for the link.

Enough words for now.

02 November 2009

A Messy Studio

Sometimes the studio work is organizing and TIDYING. I tend to be very messy when I work. When I run out of room, I clean up. As I prepare for a craft show, the studio becomes chaotic. I work on many projects at once. I was hoping to make some more metal embossed mirrors, more felted Santas, more hair clips (to finish), and some cards. Pam has asked me to help with the awards for the Lodi Art Center's Small Works Show; we like to make wonderful small "ribbons"/awards for this show. This year we are going to make wired awards. I made a few prototypes this morning. We are hoping to work on them tomorrow. Wednesday through Sunday, we will be having guests and doing some visiting. I will be attempting to continue work on the above projects when I can.

Today I must also do some house cleaning-aargh!!!

01 November 2009

end of week 13 and on to week 14

it's been a busy week: felting and finishing polymer wreaths. had to take down my mask show on tuesday. have to find new places for them as i filled the wall space with other work for the studio tour. i have been working on my displays for the craft fair. i am putting the felted barrettes on halloween wigs. here is the unfinished display for the small hair clips with zinnia. she loves to pose for pictures! the wig is attached to a large gourd which i have had for years... i have 2 more wigs to display hair clips.

29 October 2009

oops! & yahoo!

worked on finishing 2 wreaths yesterday. attached one upside down to base and cracked a piece of the other one while gluing on spanish moss! (both similar circular red/green) i made about 8 marbled clay ornaments, which looked so beautiful. upon seeing them again, they are so plain, no depth. so today, i will attempt to attach gold foil, emboss, and stamp these to add some more dimension.

i created some Xmas ornaments when staffing the community art center on tuesday. i am so
pleased with these felted santas! i needle felted them using Wendsleydale curly wool. beautiful stuff!!! it's hard to see: they are embellished - eyes and mouth- with beads. not sure whether to use these as ornaments or pins...

25 October 2009

trying to be patient with polymer clay

i love the colors, the texture when still soft, the look after baking, polymer clay takes detail so well and patience for the detailing i have not. at least not in this area. i love mixing colors and achieving a tye-dyed, swirled color effect -each time unpredictable, beautifully different.

but working small in this medium is almost a must: so i use it in special situations. i have made a couple of masks from polymer clay, and now working on 3 wreaths. the first 2 are a series of overlapping circles. made of skinner blends - red to yellow and yellow to blue. each circle will have a half of a rolled bead on it. i used a special gloss varnish from fimo as i was not sure about using any of my other finishes; i under
stand that pieces can become sticky and this is not a good thing. i sprinkled some gold metallic perfect pearls powder over the first group of circles and mixed the powder and varnish then applied it, on the second set. 2 coats. should i coat the back???

third set is cooking: an angel and stars in a mix of silver and red, textured with a piece of lace. interesting and unexpected. if a common holiday theme.

and onto polymer wreaths

i began working with skinner blends using a pasta machine to roll out the polymer clay (sculpey) i was using what i had (not much) to make 3 " circles and had to piece pieces of blended clay, which is time consuming and not really a reliable way to do this. but mostly lovely. i also just undermixed the colors so that the blends weren't continuous gradations, but with a bit more steaking of colors. i finally made it to Joann's and renewed my supply of clay to finish this first and maybe, more wreaths. only bought red, blue, yellow, and a bit of green ( to facilitate some color blending).

i will continue to work on this project. i am finding the goal of completing one medium a week is quite impractical, but a good starting point and also a guideline, not a rule. because i am enjoying the wire so immensely and working with it in a satisfying way, i am continuing on that particular path while the inspiration is there. forays with the polymer will be completed this week - for the wreaths. hope to use more skinner blends, cookie cutter shape and perhaps some image transfers.

as i have committed myself to a holiday craft fair in mid November, i am also continuing to finish some beaded necklaces and earrings, and more of the felted barrettes, which i adore! i bought a glass head and added a voluptuous halloween wig to display some barrettes, and also a gourd with purple sticky-uppy hair to display others. i want to attract some interest with the display.

so i have once again gone in many directions at once. my goal was to focus on one medium or technique at a time, but this is just not a possiblity in my world! it's what i aim for, but often the materials take me on an adventure. i must go! i feel good if i am working in the studio, enjoying the work, and hopefully, the results.

it's all good.

more wire sculptures

i am really having fun with wire faces: all one continuous piece of wire- annealed black 16 gauge. these are hanging on the side of my garage/studio. orbs are another group of assorted sizes i have made and continue to make. i am picturing a room full of hanging orbs; many hanging wire spheres with special lighting. cool! but a big project. will continue to cogitate on this one. the images have been altered; i am liking the ones that become a line drawing with no dimension... i need to take a few more photos with my camera instead of my phone. (couldn't find the camera this morning and instead of searching endlessly, i opted to go with the alternative).

20 October 2009

studio tour is over and now....

i had a very fun and successful studio tour, if tiring. met lots of wonderful people, sold some jewelry and cards, and my two wire sculptures: the face and the fish.

i was asked to make more wire sculptures, which i hope to do this next month. but, for my 52 weeks project i am hoping to make some small wreaths for which i have forms: 2 wire hearts, and 3 rattan (?) circles. i am thinking perhaps felt and beading, but i will do some research today to see if i can incorporate some new materials.

i see now that in order to devote myself full-time to my 52 weeks project, art-wise, is not really possible as new ideas inspire other new, but maybe unrelated ideas. plus, life just has other things in store: my granddaughter, for example. and studio tours, art shows, housekeeping (not high on my list, but still there.)

i have also noticed how difficult it is for me to write daily. but in reality, this is the truth of my personality: if i don't have anything to say, i remain quiet. there is also the factor of getting back to writing after not writing for a bit. out of the groove and getting back in.

c'est la vie!

11 October 2009

Hooked on Spheres

orb in the sky and orb in the zinnias. my shadow to the right!

I have made 4 wire spheres of varying size this week; the first 2 are made from annealed wire (baling wire) and the 2 smaller ones are made from a copper wire. Both wires are 18 gauge, stiff yet pliable. I wind them as if I am winding a ball of yarn. I have tried to make small wire rou
nd beads, but have not yet been successful. They are not even close to being round. But I have not given up! I have also made a small 2 dimensional wire bird.
I bought some materials to make a 3 dimensional wire marble track, which I will continue to work on, as well as more wire twistings.

While the wire is great fun, it is also very hard on the hands. My thumbs do protest!

09 October 2009

I took a photograph of my wire sphere in the sunlight and was taken by the way the wire reflected the light- it is black. So I altered the photo a bit further, saturating the color. I also love the unintentional shadow of myself at the bottom of the photo.

I am hoping to create some more wire sculptures today. Not sure what....

I also have a felted project which I began, but have been uncertain how to finish. I am thinking of embellishing with wire. I'll be certain to post results.

08 October 2009

Wire wrapping and sculpture

I have been working very small with 26 gauge wire, knitting & crocheting. I decided I needed to move on and go BIGGER! But I really had no idea what I wanted to do... So, i went online and started looking at wire sculptures from other artists. Inspiration! I have a roll of baling wire- it's thick, malleable, perfect for bending and holding a shape. I decided to do a face, starting with the eye and then on to the nose, ear, and the rest using only 1 piece of wire. I remembered when a high school class exhibited their 3D fish sculptures of baling wire at the Art Center. They were fabulous! Really creative, simple, and excellent when hung from the ceiling.

I had always wanted to try my hand at wire sculpture, but just never got around to it until now. This 52 weeks project definitely keeps me moving in new directions. And it's gloriously fun!

I also made a wire ball, wrapped like a ball of yarn. I intend to enter it in the Art Center's Small Works Show. Working with wire is instant gratification! Good for us impatient sorts.

07 October 2009

a beautiful fall day

cool morning. a perfect day for working and feeling the sun.

i am readying for the studio tour. began to set up outdoor tables and think about layout. because i love to move furniture so much (really), i want to change my studio around a bit. first, i am going around the room discarding, sweeping, finding new homes for stray items. it seems there is always piles of unfinished projects - not necessarily a bad thing, but seeing the same old projects unfinished can be demoralizing or a call to action. i did finish a wind chimes that i began when i first started fusing glass; completed it and hung it up! that really juices me up!
i'm ready for more!

finished another knitted wire band. also managed to crochet a bit of wire, just simply, as well. want to create a piece with these, but no ideas yet...

06 October 2009

it is about time! week 10

it's amazing how fast time flies by when you are trying to adhere to a schedule! i am not a disciplined person; i find it difficult to follow a set routine. boredom? undisciplined? i prefer to think of it as the wacky way of the creative personality! however, this project is my attempt to learn to work consistently while also exploring and expanding my boundaries. this is certainly challenging.

of course, life does affect the keeping to the challenge: i have spent almost 2 weeks out of town in september.

week 9 and part of week 8 are lost... i hope to make up those 2 weeks, or perhaps this is part of the experiment? life happens. ipart of the time was spent drawing zentangles (just a few). on the last trip i made no artistic efforts other than to deliver my felted lollipop flowers wall hanging to my sister-in-law and her new husband! also, how can one possibly work with an adorable granddaughter around?

can work hard in my studio, but life holds other experiences that make the accomplishment of portions of this work nearly
impossible to complete. that is certainly a valuable lesson.

Week 10 is a meshing of work i have started in the past and not completed with some wire work with which i hope to finish these projects and perhaps begin some new ones. i love to needle-felt wool and have made numerous flowers to use as bracelet/cuffs. the problem was making a band which was adjustable.
i began with a felted strap held closed with velcro for some room for adjustment, but wrists just vary too much to make a band one size.

my daughter, emi, suggested i crochet the strap and use a button to slip through the stitches to close the bracelet. brilliant idea! my crochet skills are very limited. my knitting skill is a bit
more elevated: i can knit. i did want to use a more durable material than yarn, so i used a 26 gauge wire. i have wanted to play with wire knitting and crocheting after seeing some bracelets made of wire and beads. the work becomes lacy and weblike, yet strong.

i will try to do some crocheting- wish me luck!
i will continue also to clean and tidy the studio for the studio tour on the 17 & 18 of october. it's a wonderfully busy autumn!

16 September 2009

In the groove

so good to be home and working in the studio. most of my masks are faces only, no hair, etc. so i have been re-examining them to see which ones need tweaking. the garden goddess has received green wool felted hair. i am happy with the result (i think). she needed some softening. i have a tendency to keep on embellishing, overworking- not knowing when to stop. it is a difficult balance to achieve: just enough, but not too much.

There’s no secret to balance. You just have to feel the waves

Frank Herbert

(American science fiction Author and Writer 1920-1986)

14 September 2009

i believe this is week 7

my trip to chicago interrupted week 6. my intention was to zentangle myself silly. however, not much time was devoted to drawing. i have posted my meager efforts. it is different working out of one's home environment. disciplin becomes much more important: setting up a time and a place to work.

this week i will be finishing up masks, labels, etc for my solo mask show october 2-31 at Hutchins Street Square in Lodi, California. The reception is on October 2 from 5:30 -8:30pm- with wine, music, and friends.

my theme for this week will be felting- i will work on creating a few atcs, and finishing up some hair clips, brooches, and perhaps fashion a felt mask of mira's lovely face!

i am flexible with my themes. what i work on is affected by what is going on in my life, not just a projected creative work flow. hence, since i need to work on felting projects, that is what i shall work on! i am happy as long as i am creating, experimenting, and learning.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
- Ursula Le Guin

10 September 2009

back home

i'm home again. my visit to chicago was filled with lots of other stuff; not much time for drawing! i did some zens in the airport and on the plane.

upon my return, i also completed my 2 sewn paper masks:

i decided they needed some "hair". i believe this was an improvement. i sewed some shredded money onto the masks.

02 September 2009


must leave soon for plane with sister Andrea to Chicago for cousin's wedding. my plan for my 52 weeks is to draw zentangles. doodle meditation. a sketchbook and a pen. easy peasy. will try to write while gone....

i did manage to complete a wonderful mask made from papier mache and bark with a small embossed metal eye. this mask assembled itself with a bit of help from me!

the bark is from a river birch tree from my friend amy's house and sycamore bark from my local park- gleaned from the ground.

27 August 2009

clean up /finishing day

when i am in between projects, cleaning my studio clears my head. my work space becomes very chaotic which is fine when i'm in the midst of the chaos. but when i am not involved in a bunch of projects, i look at the wonderful mess and feel the urge to tidy up. clean up and create some space for new ideas. it's a matter of the physics principle of entropy:

from Wikipedia - "Entropy has often been loosely associated with the amount of order, disorder and/or chaos in a thermodynamic system . The traditional qualitative description of entropy is that it refers to changes in the status quo of the system and is a measure of "molecular disorder" and the amount of wasted energy in a dynamical energy transformation from one state or form to another.

"In Greek myth, Chaos is the original dark void from which everything else appeared. According to Hesiod's Theogony (the origin of the gods), Chaos was the nothingness out of which the first objects of existence appeared. In a similar way, the book of Genesis in the Bible refers to the earliest conditions of the Earth as "without form, and void."

Out of the disordered, dark state of chaos comes everything! That's my story and i'm stickin' to it!

25 August 2009

sewn paper mask 2

i used the shimmery watercolors by luminarte to paint the mask. beautiful colors and beautiful glimmer. they are solid watercolors in small jars. i wanted the gold stitching to show up more prominently. i'm not sure if this was the result, perhaps a bit more visible. the colors are exciting! it's either all or no color for me!
i finished off the outside and inside with a polyurythane varnish for extra shine.

24 August 2009

a thread of connection

i have discovered in an aha moment that my work involves creating a whole from many dissimilar parts. paper collage certainly is in this category, as is the mosaic work which i love to do (my patio, small mixed media pieces).

i love the idea of patchwork: making sense of a jumble of different materials, images colors, textures. to make order out of the chaos. that is what i do. i looked up patchwork in the thesaurus and found the word "salmagundi". a wonderful word. i reintegrate salamagundi- take the pieces and put them together to create a new "whole".

week #4 already?

week number 4 and i am thinking about is my solo mask show the first friday of october, the art center studio tour that i am participating in mid-october, leaving for chicago in 1-1/2 weeks and going to bend, oregon at the end of september. lots to do to get ready and lots of time spent going other places!

i am excited about my travels- to chicago and bend for weddings. i finished 2 felted pieces for wedding gifts. (see august 14) i have framed the one for my cousin Rachel. it looks wonderful! i need to figure out how to wrap it so i can bring it with me on the plane. the piece for my sister-in-law isn't yet framed but will be going to a wonderful local framer before i leave for chicago. i am recycling an old frame that i can use with a double matte.

i have a sewn mask made of paper from an asian poetry book, an old textbook, old sheet music, and my 1800s 2-volume dictionary. i used gold metallic thread, which doesn't show up well on the white paper. i am thinking of using my shimmery watercolors to show off the stitching. although i do love just the effect of the white and black of the text. i was so tempted to just glue the collage mask with matte medium, but i decided to adhere to my method for the week and sew the mask in sections which i then glued down onto the papier mache mask. i will be taking this week to finish this mask, and the other sewn mask, which needs something....

the 3rd papier mache mask which i started is being covered with sycamore bark. the bark was waiting for me at the park and it just called to be made into a mask! it is leading me away from my paper sewing, but also leading into this week's new material, BARK!!! i have already made several of my sewn atcs with river birch bark which is very layered and papery. it works wonderfully well with the paper. the sycamore bark is too thick to be sewn through, though i may be able to wrap it and stitch on the paper base, in addition to using heavy gel medium.

i am going where the materials and projects are taking me, in an unexpected direction, which i love! this is what 52 weeks is about! so, finish up all three masks: painting, embellishing, and glueing and sewing bark.

21 August 2009

a good week

i completed 3 papier mache masks: my face, my mom's and one from my daughter as a child. papier mache is so easy: flour, water, and newspaper. i usually have these ingredients.

my mother's face is almost complete. i sewed the faced in several sections, then sewed them all together before placing on the mask. this mask came together easily. i have included a photo of my mom and sisters, a mailman to represent my father, and several related texts.
i have begun work on my face: i gathered some sycamore bark from the park which when broken into 3 pieces seemed to fit the face. i adhered them, hopefully with heavy gel medium. i haven't checked to see how that went.

more sewing atcs and 2 felted ones. i am hoping to improve my ability to capture my work in photos .

17 August 2009

masks today!

i have 2 plaster life masks - myself and of my mom. i have covered them with aluminum foil and will get to covering them with papier mache and then sewn paper. the paper sewing is becoming fun. i have sewn multiple small sewn collaged pieces together to create the first mask. it all came together so fast! i just started sewing paper that was in my reach and the creative juices led me on!

15 August 2009

yes, it is the end of week 3!

whoa! the last 2 weeks were spent struggling with the sewing of paper to fabric and to paper. paper to fabric is more difficult, unless of course the fabric is not too thick and is stiff. i discovered that machine sewing paper to paper can be fun and have wonderful results. i did have trouble with free form sewing on the machine.... i didn't drop my feed dogs! must try doing this today.

my project for week 4 will be the creation of a mask out of stitched paper affixed to a plaster life mask. i believe i now have a few skills to be able to accomplish this.

more machine sewn atcs

the first 2 cards were tacked onto parchment paper
with matte medium, then sewn when dry. the next atc was built from the top down: sewing 2 pieces together, then adding another piece below it, etc. this was a good way to sew together paper without having to tack or preplan design. it took shape more organically than the others.

the last atc shown here was built with 2 larger and sturdier pieces of paper - the green paper and the sheet of music. the other pieces were just sewn on top without a need to tack into place.

14 August 2009

sewing small paper collages

i decided to scale back my sewing collage projects and worked on card size collages and atc collages. here are 2 of the atcs. the card collages on posted on my flickr.

i realized that is was so much easier to keep the small work organized for sewing by dabbing a bit of matte medium on each piece which i then attached to a piece of cooking parchment paper. this helped to give these small collages a bit of stability and so much easier to sew. today i will work on a few more small paper sewn pieces.

felting on the side

i have been felting the last month and cannot seem to stop. i ordered some wonderful felt from sara's texture crafts on etsy. the colors are amazing! i have become enamored of felt squares and circles. http://sarastexturecrafts.blogspot.com

i am attending 2 weddings in september and decided to make the gifts - felted wall hangings. i have made them both. i haven't decided how to frame them; but will take them in to be framed next week. perhaps in a double matted glassed frame. i am hesitant about leaving the felt open to the elements (dirt/dust in particular).

the felting itself is very calming. i love forming it with my hands. fiber sculpture, sort of...
and of course, i am continuing to make brooches and hair clips from felt. i am documenting all this here so i don't forget that i was busy with other projects beside the main 52 week projects. a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

i have a very clever friend, mira, who has reminded me that if i look back on what i have done, i will be able to see the common threads which run through my work and define me as an artist. one revelation i had this morning while driving in the car, is this: i work in bold strokes and am less interested in the details, than the whole. i have been looking at some beautifully detailed and crafted needle felting with embroidery. i love the hand sewing detail, but it is just not my thing! i become too impatient! i am more of an expressionist in my work. the process is my focus and what excites me most, especially when it expresses my vision.