Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

February 9, 2016

My new custom phone case!

I upgraded my smart phone in January, and wanted a new case for it. I ordered this one and had my own artwork printed on it. It arrived today and I love it! It is so 'me', and nobody else in the whole world has one like it smile emoticon 

I made this art piece at Tonya's last stamping retreat in April 2015. I searched around a bit before I found a company to do this. Uploading and sizing my art was easy. I didn't have any problems with billing or shipping. For all my many artsy and crafty friends, if you want a customized phone case, check them out:  

December 12, 2015

My Ceramics 1 Class

I wanted to share everything we did in my Ceramics 1 class at COD in Fall 2015.  Our instructor was Marina Kuchinski.  I learned so much in this class, and really enjoyed the medium of clay.  This will basically be a listing of projects with photos.  I'll show the items after the raw clay construction phase, and then again after glazing.  I really enjoyed this experience.

Project 1:  Geometric & Organic shapes -- at least 18" tall (Handbuilding)
I used the slab technique with coils and carving on these.  I used stains (not glazes).

Project 2:  Representational (realistic) and Large Scale  (Handbuilding)
I call this my "Ode to Shadow"
The large tennis ball was formed by a slab around a playground ball and textured with slip.
The stick started as an extruded coil and was then carved.
The German Shepherd was carved.
A combination of stains and glazes was used.

Project 3:  Cylinders thrown on the Wheel
I was having trouble picking up the wheel skills.  Very challenging for me.  All my cylinders were short and with imperfect form.

Project 4:  Drinking Vessels thrown on the Wheel
(The assignment was one for Coffee/Tea, Milk, Water, Wine and Sculptural)



Milk (inspired by the book "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie"):

Sculptural: #1:  Cityscape Killing a Tree
This piece had a cylinder base.  I built a city skyline with slabs and stencil impressions.  Then I put a dead tree in the middle.  It had a social commentary message.  The glazing on this turned out so awful I'm not even going to show it.

#2:  Calla Lily (inspired by Mom's love of lillies)
This started as a very lopsided thrown cup which was then added to with handbuilding techniques.
Glazed in white, celadon and taffy.

Project 5:  Bowls and Plate thrown on the Wheel
The assignment for the first plate was to used the scraffito technique (cover with layers of slip and scratch through).  It had a social commentary theme of "deforestation".

The "hand" plate was a bonus and was done by tracing my hand; covering with black slip and Zentangle carving.  Finished with clear glaze.


Bowls -- all thrown on the wheel.
Timoku glaze and wax resist brushstrokes used on the dark ones.
Dip technique in celadon, long beach blue and teal used on the smaller bowls, with a portion left as natural clay.

August 7, 2015

My Painting I Class

This summer, I took a two month Painting I class at the local community college.  It was a condensed semester for summer, so it was 8 weeks instead of 16 -- but we met for 3 afternoons a week (4 hours daily).  So it was pretty intense.

The instructor was Dan Gunn, and I leaned quite a bit from him.  I don't think I really have a natural talent for painting, but enjoyed it all the same.    Here's the work we did, in order.  The first 3 pieces had strict rules/constraints designed to teach us certain concepts.  After that, our personality could show through more.  All the canvases were 18x24" unless noted, and we used oil paints for all of them.

Assignment 1:  Black and White Value Study from instructor-set still life

Assignment 2:  Cool/Warm Tones Study from instructor-set still life

Assignment 3:  Still Life with Painted Fruit of our own choosing.  In this one, we brought fruit and painted it (I used grapefruits, oranges, limes & lemons and my stencils for the stars and circles).  Then we set up a still life of our own, and painted the painted fruit.  The tablecloth is one I bought in Switzerland when I was a college exchange student.

Assignment 4:  Impressionist Landscape - we chose a section of the lake that was outside the art studio windows.

Assignment 5:  Glazing (with Galkyd) over a grey-tone background; a technique used by old masters to save on pigments.  We started by doing a collage and then our glazed painting had to replicate the collage.  Very time consuming method.

Assignment 6:  Geometric Abstraction.  I also added encaustic wax and layered canvas strips.  This was inspired by the cliffs that have mineral striations on the shores of Lake Superior -- in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Assignment 7:  "No Hands" - for this work we could not use paintbrushes or similar utensils.  I used an empty wine bottle to "paint" this -- I applied the paint using the wine bottle like a rolling pin.  This turned out to be my favorite piece from the whole semester.  It's big, 2 x 3 feet.

Assignment 8:  Final.  We had free rein on the final painting.  I chose to do a scene of the Clarion River (with a very big sky) in autumn, from my Pennsylvania hometown.  This was also a big canvas, 2 x 3 feet.

July 21, 2015

My Altered Book (a la Seth Apter)

In mid-July, I had the absolute pleasure of taking a two day workshop from mixed media artist, Seth Apter.  My friend Trena told me about it and we signed up together months ago, and spent a fun weekend at Crystal Neubauer's studio in Gages Lake, IL.

Seth taught us a simplified form of bookmaking, using covers from a real book and a new spine to which we attached our own altered pages.  For the pages, we cut up commercial scrapbook papers in to small squares and glued them on in a grid pattern for the background.  My "grid" ended up looking more like a quilt :-) .  Then, we broke the symmetry of the grid with faux stitching, circles, and non-linear collaged shapes.  It is time consuming to glue all those little squares of paper, but it does make for a visually very rich background.

Below is my book, which took me almost two weeks after the workshop to finish.  Trena and I started with exactly the same book cover, and it was fun to see how our different styles showed in our work.  Trena's book is here.

The front and back covers, and the full book:

All the individual pages:

"Whatever you are, be a good one" and "Dream"
"Dreams come a size too big so we can grow in to them" and "Sing"
"Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry and you cry with your girlfriends."
"Dreams are whispers from the soul."
"Find your passion"
"Love & scandal are the best sweeteners of tea."
"If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished."
"There is nothing better than a good friend, except a friend with chocolate."
Beauty (Vanity Fair)

"Once in a while...right in the middle of an ordinary life, Love gives us a fairy tale."
"Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we might as well dance."

Breathe and Fly
"Occasionally her afternoon tea ran right in to cocktail hour and there was just nothing she could do about it"

I had a great time with Trena at the workshop.  Seth is a great artist and instructor!