Sunday, November 28, 2010


Hello Gentle Artists.

Well, I am here today to make an announcement: I am moving my studio back home. This studio on Route One was in many ways a dream come true. And yet, the timing isn't quite correct.
So here are some of my plans:
***To continue as an art party and retreat planner. Please call me (207-323-1629) and we will work out something wonderful for you.
***To continue teaching classes at community and retail venues in the area.
***To get back to writing books: craft how-to books.
***To re-engage my presence.
***And certainly to keep blogging. :)
I liked working with all of you who came to the Studio very much. That was fun and something I hope to do again someday. The short answer is that I need my schedule to be dictated by my homeschooling demands. Blessed Be.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Art Journal 1231

I worked on binding my journal for Dawn Sokol's 1231 journal making class over the weekend: I was able to work out the math for a cross stitch binding for both of the journals. The blue one had two signatures...
and it also has all of these great flip open pages. Lots of room to work.
The green one has three signatures, and I wasn't sure that I could make the stitches work, but they did. Yay. I like how they look. The spines are structured with duct tape - DID YOU KNOW that Wxxxxxx (THAT store) has a zillion (OK, like 15) colors of duct tape? I never imagined! Flourescent colors, and teal, and bright red, and hot-rod-flame and even a tye-dye pattern. Now I have to go check out the local hardware stores to see what they have...
The covers of the big green journal have modeling paste/spackle stars on them. I painted them gold for the long winter nights ahead.
Oh! And we have a new benefactress: she brings us wire spools. They are free and you are welcome to come stake a claim on one or two. Tables? Chairs? Bookshelves in the round? A spine for a book or a scroll? What would you do with one??
And I am thinking of making a Knitting Spool with the cardboard tube. Make hats, or blankets...
Did you know that Sunne Spot will be open all during Thanksgiving week? (Except the day itself.) Sunne Spot can also be rented for parties, and even inpromptu gatherings. What are you doing with your in-laws all week? Call me. We'll set up a couple of hours for ornament or present making: 323-1629

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homeschool News

We had a lovely bunch of homeschoolers at the Studio today. One child took a look at the paper chains hanging from the ceiling and directed us hither: so we spent some time figuring them out.

A colorful tabletop of bits and pieces: A lavender and violet chain:
In the top photo, the red-green-lightblue chain belonged to the boy who's interests we were following. I love working with other people. We all have our own perspectives (of course) and when I work alone I can go some distance before I reach the end of my view, but still: I can't push any further than what I can perceive from where I stand. None of us can. Its only natural. So then when you all come into my studio and you are working from your point of view, if we are paying attention (and I mean that spiritually and emotionally, as well as intellectually) then I get to travel to your horizon.
Teaching is often portrayed as one know-it-quite-a-lot pours facts into the brain of somebody less knowing. I keep finding, both in homeschooling my own children and in opening my studio to others, that if I make it more like a walk that we are taking together then I get gifts to take home too. Plus, you are sooo smart, and creative. I love learning from you.
So the boy who took us all on this paper chain walk today put one of his almond/mandorlas on the side - which looked cool, but set the construction of the chain askew. I knew that there had to be a way to reconfigure the link. I used up a few little papers (as Thomas Edison would have said) figuring out how not to do it, and then I figured it out. We worked it into his chain and when he was setteled, I went off to personally test the properties of this new link.
When I had a few pieces tucked into a chain I held it up to show everyone .. and then it slipped out of place .. and into this marvellous curve. Check it out:
Oh. My. Heavens.
A whole new Point Of View. Thanks, J!
The rest of the room was working on crayon paper. I wish that I had had the presence of mind to take a second picture of the later stage of this mother-daughter picture. The part after the acrylic wash and crumpling. But here, earlier, it was already an intriguing piece. Maybe they will bring it back next time they visit the studio to show us. Yum.
So. I am blessed by your presence. It was a good day.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Catch Up

I have been at work on a couple of different projects. I am in Dawn DeVries Sokol's 1231 Art Journal class again this year. Making journals to get us through the end of the year. Here are two sets of the collaged and painted covers. A small one in blue: And a bigger one in green:
Binding is actually done on them and next come the signatures...
I also wanted to show you how the big crayon paper piece is going.

Golden beads:
and some blue seed bead filler:
A different kind of bead filler pattern:
I have a great little fringe going - I will have to get some process photos to show you.
Hey, I have a question: I want to try using corporate publishing (rather than self publishing) for my next craft how-to book. Does anyone out there have information on how to find an agent? I will appreciate any suggestions on how to cull the Google possibilities.

Friday, November 5, 2010

a morning of color

Good morning for painting at the Studio. Please do come share in the fun. It is all play - to shake the sillies out: I have been beading all week. :)
So: 461 Commercial Street - that is Route One. I am upstairs in the red, big, Cheese Co. building just up from Fresh Farm. 8:30 - noon.
Come play. This is good for us to look at color for a while.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


I have been working on a couple of projects ...

Today I want to show you how Inanna turned out. I decided that the stacked painted papers that I had been working on looked like jewels to me, and my Bible class had been getting me into thinking about the royalty of Heaven ... So I decided to paint the former Queen. I'd been curious about who everyone was worshipping before Adam, Abraham, et al, got the idea to worship just one god. Nobody seems to have ever thought of that before. For the 35,000-plus years before that, all cultural artifacts seem to point to a many starred Heaven. I figured that if I painted the Queen I might begin to understand more.

Firstly, I finished layering and sewing my miniature collages. I hand sewed them together, using my sterling and goldfill beads to add a little bling. This was all going to be for the Queen of Heaven and Earth after all. I sampled an arrangement of how they would look around the edge of a canvas. I measured the result and went down to the art store for a 24" x 28" canvas.
Meanwhile I had been practicing my drawing of Inanna
Did you know that about 1000 years before they say Lilith and Adam and Eve were, uh, made that there really was a drought? That a whole lot of the world had been greener and much more lush, but then the Atlantic currents changed, temperatures dropped, various things happened - and not just in the Middle East, but in the Americas too. The monsoons in northern Africa, for example, slipped south and the Sahara region which had been forested became a desert.
Thus the background colors for Inanna's painting.
So was there really an historical weather event that booted some folks from an Eden-like habitat? And I wonder: if I was the "recent" inheritor of a much harder lifestyle would I too wonder if my tribe and I had done something wrong? Would I too dream and be wooed by a god who promised never again to leave me and mine "in the desert"? Would I, like Abram, think strongly about the offer of settling down in "my own land", no matter what violent crimes I had to commit to get it?
As I am now, living in the lush environs of grocery stores: nuh-uh. No way. But if my recent ancestors had been scratching it out with the sheep in the wilds ... maybe so. (And I read somewhere in the internet that Adam and all of Abram's Semitic ancestors were maybe, probably, desert shepherds in the time before Abram and his family were living in Sumer, the Fertile Crescent, between the rivers.)
So in curiosity of these times, of this prior culture surrounding the decisions of a few famous men and their visions, I transferred the drawing to the canvas and painted this Lady. The daughter of the Moon God who visited her sister, Queen of the Underworld. Who died and was reborn. Read one version of her story.
I gave Her the seven attributes of civilization that She relinquishes at the seven gates to the Underworld, including her dress or breechcloth which I made by laying on pleated tissue paper and lightly painting over it.
And Her golden hip girdle and crown which I made by covering paper cutouts with candy wrapper foil. (It is gold on the other side.)
So here you see her laid out with her breastplate, her measuring rod and line, and the paper medallion jewels.
I backed the layered papers with sticky-back craft foam after I sewed them. It gave them a little heft and made them seem like pins - that's when I started thinking of them as jewels. Little treasures of story.
The etymological root of the word "bead" is the Old English word gebed or "prayer".
Were the stories and prayers told to Inanna very much different from those told to Adam's YHWH?
And here She is: this Queen of Heaven and Earth who was one of the Heavenly Community listening to our stories before Adam heard YHWH.

With Her magic and lapis earrings.

And what I still don't know: what did Inanna demand of her people? Was she a jealous goddess? Or was the abundance of the Fertile Cresent a training in divine generosity? Did she graciously accept the altar offerings from her shepherds? Did she ... well ... is the god that the Christians worship now the same as the one Abraham struck a deal with 4000 years ago? Do the Episcopalians and the Baptists believe in the same divinity?

This is a 4 year course: I suspect that there are a few more paintings on the way.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Birthday Party Art Village.

Oh! Yay! It was birthday party time today!

Sunne Spot was invited to provide the entertainment for a lovely 8 year old's birthday party today. Her mom chose the Art Architecture project. At the end everyone gathered the houses into a fabulous little village of the coolest and most avant garde architecture that you have ever seen.
There were roof-top star gazing platforms, origami wallpaper, and one clothespin person got wings!
Below you can see a balltop tree, a lovely pin doll with naturally curly blue hair, a spinning silver ball hanging from the ceiling, a front door jingle bell, dollies with pink tissue paper skirts and metallic tops, and glass bead stepping stones leading to second floor stairs.
Down at this end of the village one house has a bejeweled rooftop, and a chimney with smoke coming out of it. Blue carpets and glass drops on the stairs furnish one house and just on the left edge of the photo you can see how the Birthday Girl hung a star from the peaks of her roof.
Oh, there is the angel next to his second floor ladder.
In the back left of the first picture you can see the armoured castle and below is the back where there is a ladder that takes one from floor to floor.
What a champion collection of child architects and their artistic parents! Everyone came up with such wonderful ideas for their houses - and each house was such an excellent voice for these parent and child teams.
Thanks to the mom and her daughter. Love to you! A good time was had by all. :)
If you ever want to throw an Art Party, just let me know. Visit the link at the top of this post or email me. (We discussed how this would make a great grown-up party too!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I Should (or shouldn't) Be Doing

Well, first of all Sunne Spot will be open today. I would love to see what art you have up your sleeve. :)

And second of all, this is what I should be doing: It is the crayon paper that I am using to answer the question: "How do you know when you are done?" I have finished the painting for now (after the machine and hand stitching, after the writing and paper cutting, after the original crayoning). I am ready to get to the beading with my tiny little size 12 needles.

But I got distracted. While I was at my desk I flipped through an old issue of Cloth Paper Scissors to an article by Beryl Taylor about layering papers. It was soooo yummy.
I had to see what I could do with my painted brown paper bag papers.
And then I hand stitched and beaded them together. I couldn't stop myself.
"Help! I'm hunched over zillions of pretty paper bits and I can't tear myself away!"
This is so thrilling. I even brought my 14K goldfil and sterling silver beads. I brought in some georgous stone beads too. One whole table is covered in small paper stacks of .. yes .. juciness.
I backed them with sticky craft foam which almost made them into pins or jewelry of some kind ...
But I think that they might be better on some kind of art quilt ...
Or painting ...
I might have come up with an idea ... I am taking a class on the Bible (who me??!!). I have been pondering on the culture and religious climate of the middle east before Jacob got rich and had all of those boys, before Abraham got headed out on his Walkabout, before Adam lost control of Lilith ...
I have been planning a piece that might need a few little color jewels around the edge ...
To pay homage to the goddess who was there before. Just to get my spiritual ancestry clear.

This is seven kinds of luscious.
Come in to see.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More crayon paper instructions...

Jan wrote me a comment in the last post and it got me to thinking about why I like the way my crayon papers are working out. So, to be more helpful maybe I will give you all a list of steps and materials that gets a little more specific.

1. Draw and color. I have been drawing in these grids, which is fun, but maybe I should try landscapes, or portraits, or something...

2. Then I fold the paper in half and iron with a high, dry heat. I noticed that when I used a covering protective paper a lot of the color would come off on the protective paper, so I got the brainwave to fold the brown paper so that when the crayon melted onto something it would at least add to the effect on the brown paper rather than subtract. The wax of the crayons melts through the back of the brown paper so protective papers under and over are a good idea.

3. Brush or spray a wash of very diluted acrylic pait over the surface of the paper. Rub it in and then off. Dry naturally or by re-ironing.

4. Crumple the paper several times. The goal is to make lots of tiny creases, so crumple and flatten several times to get the wrinkles small enough. It makes the stiff brown paper bag feel more like cloth.

5. Color again, but this time with gel crayons or metallic crayons. Cray-Pas, oil and watercolor oil pastels make great marks too. Also try changing colors: accent something that you drew in red with yellow - like that. Oh! And Crayola makes these crayons called "slick sticks" They are so much fun to color with.

6. Iron again.

7. Draw again but with markers or gel pens. Again, think of changing and accenting colors as well as overdrawing patterns on top of the original shapes.

8. After that I layer underneath the paper with a piece of felt and machine sew through the main lines of the drawing. I have experimented with free machine drawing on a couple of pieces and also played around with pattern stitches on the machine.

9. I hand embroider, bead and embellish with buttons, or felt, or found objects as a last layer.

Post pics on your blog of your papers and leave your blog address in my comments. I'd love to see what you are doing.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Crayon Paper 4Ever!

I needed new art on the Studio door so I got out some colored paper...
I love the layered look.
And I just had to make some more crayon paper. :)
1. Draw and color.
2. Crumple.
3. Iron.
4. Draw-over.
5. I tried out the fusible again ... (shiny, but it only got the top of the wrinkles ... still not so sure about fusible-ing)
But I am sooo glad about the beading!

Hey: This month I will be starting to book art parties and gatherings. I have some great party projects set up. Go take a look. Book your party by email: