Monday, October 29, 2007


Forget Graceland...

I got to visit Lizland this weekend!

I've talked about Liz Mamorsky in previous posts; she's a tiny woman with a huge vision and an even bigger collection of stuff that she uses to create anthropomorphic sculptures, along with gigantic canvases full of wild images and bright colors. Her current work is small, on amate bark with colored pencils. I got to see all of it, and you can too if you visit her site.

One of the things I got from my pilgrimage is that inspiration can come from anyplace. Liz collects everything from plastic toys to antique pinball parts; it reminded me that the things I find and save have value to me, and that's where to start: found wire that's bent in weird shapes, and old fence boards, and the occasional piece of globby dried paint... all things I can use in some capacity, no matter how trivial they seem. It also seems like an all or nothing affair: either you keep it all, or none of it matters. I don't know why that is. You either keep the piles of "treasures", or you toss out all the "junk"...

Fortunately for her, she's also extremely organized...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Alien Eyeballs

How would you feel about "" as a personal email address?

Well, I liked it too, but my seven year old son, who suggested it, was outvoted...

But cheer up! I've used it here to describe the piece that happened in my studio this morning, while I was trying to create some fall-type pieces for a show entitled (oddly) "Falling". The leafy-themed piece never got done, but I had alot of fun messing around with this piece... It's got a resin base, with a wire that makes it kind of bouncy (always a plus!). The top is papier mache with a recycled silk yarn from Nepal. And, of course, alien eyeballs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Little Things

It's the little things, really it is. I received my order from, which they always wrap in a little piece of purple tissue paper. For some reason, that little piece of purple tissue makes the order seem special and important... although Luann Udell once mentioned ordering from a company that includes a Tootsie Roll with each order...


Anyway, I received the Swarovski crystal beads for the new batch of earrings, and they're so gorgeous, I just wanted to include a photo here. I'll be working on those in the coming weeks. I'm thinking of trying out an Etsy shop as an outlet for my earrings and necklaces.... I'd be interested in hearing any thoughts on Etsy if anybody cares to comment!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I Know, I Know, It's Getting Ridiculous

For those minions who read this blog regularly, YES, I changed it yet again. I woke up at 4 am and the "width" issue was bugging me. And the only way I could see to get back to the original layout was to start from scratch. In the process, I moved a few things around, changed a few colors...

I would appreciate any feedback on readability, etc. because I've looked at it so much, I almost can't tell anymore.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Need Blogger Help!

Can anybody out there tell me why my Blogger layout is so wide?
I think it started out narrower, like the original template. But now it's FAT. Too fat.
I want it to have that slender look...
I checked my screen resolution; it's at the highest setting. And it seems like it would be a "formatting" issue, but I can't find anything!
Any suggestions?

Artisan Shop Adventures

Sometimes, on my way to write a post, I check out the blogs that the Blogger staff finds interesting. Today I clicked on Bonobo Handshake, because I wondered what the title meant. And I found out. I'm not going to reveal it here, you'll have to visit the site.

It has NOTHING to do with art, of course, but art and life are one, right? And inspiration can be found anywhere. So we have to look.

Anyway, I worked my first day at the Artisan Shop yesterday. My workday started like this:

I put in the correct code to retrieve the front door key; so far so good. The key doesn't turn in the lock. Damn! Okay, redo code and try other key. Of course it's not the other key...says so right here on my notes: "plain key"... I redo code again to retrieve the correct key; this time it works, after much fumbling. I now have 30 seconds to type in the alarm code so the alarm doesn't go off. Okay, piece of cake....just type in the code: XXXX ... oh no! where's the OFF button? WHERE'S THE OFF BUTTON!? .... OMIGOD that's a loud sound! And look! Here's the off button right here, in the most unbelievably obvious spot! Fabulous. Only a mild heart attack, and already I'm inside!

Where'd I put the front door key? THE KEY! I had it, I opened the door, didn't I? Search of pockets ensues. (Three times, last time quite frantically.) Search of purse key. Okay, no matter. I'll just start my day and the key will turn up later. Get that tall flag that goes out it! Don't hit any of the original artwork on the walls with end of pole...oops! that was close. So, flag in place, and back inside... See, there's the key! I knew it would turn up! Right in the keyhole....

By this time I am feeling a bit of an idiot. But I know that I'm not, so when one of the other artists calls to check on me, I don't even tell her about the alarm going off. But then I do. I tell her, but I don't tell her about the key...until later, when she actually comes in, bless her, to make sure I'm doing okay. She's very nice, and has been a part of North Tahoe Arts since it started about 15 years ago. And everything is great, even though she has a little dog. (I'm not a "little dog" fan. I prefer my dogs BIG. A BIG dog is a real dog....) anyway, I'm okay with the little dog, because she seems to love it so much. Until....this is so gross I can almost not write it, but you have to know...she picks off a bit of it's "eye goo" and, ugh....feeds it to the dog!!! Is it me, or is this incredibly disgusting? I felt nauseous. I feel nauseous right now, just thinking about it. I'm sorry if I ruined your day. Anyway, that's not my point. She was a very nice woman and I appreciated her coming by. Except for that bit.

Then there was Hockey Man, late in the day. I was getting really sleepy by this time, because I haven't been sleeping well. Luckily for me, Hockey Man walked in. I didn't know he was Hockey Man, even though he had on a hockey jersey. But I said, "Hi, how are you?" and he said, "I'm 66, I play hockey, and I'm GREAT!" Which impressed me to a large degree, because I recently started mountain biking, I'm alot less than 66, and when I fall I sometimes land on sage or small shrubs, which is a lot softer than ice. Anyway, we proceeded to have this long discussion about art and the upshot of it was this: when one is truly being creative and pushing one's envelope, it's always going to be a bit uncomfortable. I found that comforting.

The giant pumpkin cookie (with chocolate chips) that I got from Tahoe House Bakery was comforting too, and the day ended uneventfully. I suppose it helped that I was able to lock up without setting off the alarm again.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Don't Ride Your Bike in a Boa

The boa was not enough.

I tried wearing my boa on Thursday, but apparently, it was more than a One Boa day...
maybe the boa and a miniskirt? Because the one boa did nothing for my attitude. And after all week in the house with sick kids, I sure needed an attitude adjustment... Except now I'm feeling a bit under the weather myself. Tomorrow is my first day to work at the North Tahoe Artisans Shop, so I may be pulling out the boa again, and wearing it with something outlandish. Or maybe I'll go in my pj's and fuzzy slippers: comfort clothes.

Since I just re-watched "The Secret" this week, I've been thinking alot about my thinking. In my mountain biking class yesterday, I realized how easy it was to move through and around obstacles, or go over some small bridges that we encountered, by, as Ted told us, keeping your line of sight focused way ahead. I was so amazed at how well this worked for me. I made it over and through things that, before this class, would have caused me to panic and run right into the very thing I wanted to avoid.

In terms of art and life, this translates into keeping one's sights on the long-term goals, and not getting tripped up by focusing on any immediate obstacles. If we focus down the trail, instead of on the narrow, rickety bridge, we'll find ourselves at our destination, rather than landing in the drink, entangled in a boa.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Moonshine Ink Link

Sara Zimmerman, an artist and friend who works for Moonshine Ink (a great community newspaper in Truckee, CA) told me awhile back that I was going to be included in an upcoming issue. The new issue is out, and here's the link:

Carole Sesko's article on confidence and fear in the process of making art is here. Thanks, Carole, for some great advice.

Mirrored Heart, Happy Feet

A while back I posted a photo of this heart I was working on. It's one of those pieces that I go back to every once in a while, and never seem to finish. Since the last photo, I added bits of broken mirror (this is the back view). I like the look but hate the process, and don't know if I'll finish it. It's changed so much from my original sketches...My mistake was in only doing one. I'd like to start over and make a few of the forms, then be able to make different choices for each. I think these could be cool. Originally, they were going to hang, but I did some wire stands for my helmets, and I think these could also be displayed that way.

This week was focused on taking care of my thirteen year old; he has a cold with a very tenacious cough... it kept me up all night, for the last few nights; and with little sleep, I didn't have much creative energy. So, with apologies, here's another photo of my happy, happy feet as they sit perched on our new (to us) ottoman that goes with the comfy chair, that goes with the couch, that goes so much better with the rest of our house!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Big Hair and Big Helmets

I need an editor. Or, I really need to read my previous posts before I start writing. I repeat myself alot. My kids and I started watching "The Secret" again last night, and if it's really all about our thoughts and feelings, then I'm not going anywhere until I stop cycling through the same thoughts over and over, and start down a new thought path...

We did alot of "watching" yesterday because my oldest son is sick... and so we also watched "Labyrinth", which I somehow managed never to see in the 80's. It was recommended to me by my friend Shelley Hocknell, who insisted (in a nice way) I see it; she says my helmet series reminded her of the costumes.

Lots of BIG 80's hair, and lots of really cool helmets. Brian Froud was the designer, and I loved seeing his sketches in the "making of" feature on the DVD... That's one very cool thing about art: inspiration comes from so many different places, sometimes places you'd never expect. I don't consider myself inspired by fantasy art, but I do love his work, and there is a part of me that loves costumes (even though Halloween isn't my favorite holiday). I believe we all dress just a tad on the boring side, and should be costumed on a daily basis. Life would be much more interesting if we were brave enough to wear tiaras or boas to the grocery store, at the very least. (When I had my Harley, years ago before everyone and their grandmother had one, I used to love walking into Raley's in my leathers. People looked at me VERY differently.) But if we ALL felt free to dress up whenever we wanted... okay, it would be wierd. Maybe not "dress up" but be more creative in our clothing choices. (I feel a rant against Old Navy coming on.)

But I've got to go, when you get dressed today, make some cool clothing choices. Even if you're sitting around the house. Do it in your boa. You'll have a totally different experience of the day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Don't Give Up

This morning I ordered beads for a new batch of the earrings. (I'll be posting photos of those when done...). I had a whole internal struggle while the mouse rested over the "submit order" went something like this (I"ll paraphrase): "Do I really want to be making earrings? Is this REALLY what I'm supposed to be doing with my life?"

So, I'm still in that place of struggle, but now it's feeling more familiar, and I'm not totally freaking out about it. I'm realizing that, since I've really committed to making art, I'm going to do it. I'm not sure what the outcome will be, but that's not a bad thing, as long as I just keep working.

I'm also realizing how very normal these feelings of doubt are; after all, I've been out of the work force and haven't earned an income for over a dozen years, I've been focused on raising kids (even though I never stopped making art) and I'm unsure of myself as a result.

It's an uncomfortable feeling, but to me it means that I've reached a certain point. In the past, I might have just walked away, yay, me. I'm not giving up.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Artist Mom

Besides being an artist, I'm also a full-time mom to two boys. We homeschool (more specifically, "unschool") and some days I just don't make it into the studio, even during my "studio hours". Yesterday both boys got sick, and I was busy trying to move the exceedingly ugly couches we've lived with for the last year OUT of my house, to make room for something newer and less esteem-destroying...

So here's a photo of my feet; it's the most creative thing I've managed so far this week...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Uphill Art


I guess I'm back at that point where I go into the studio to begin working again, and nothing works. It's a clumsy, uncomfortable time, but it's beginning to feel familiar. Which is actually good, because it means I'm working more and more. It's okay. I'll get back into the swing of things. It's like in my mountain biking class: it's that steady, difficult uphill part during which I am cursing my otherwise very likeable teacher, and myself, for being foolish enough to think this would be fun...and then, then! I get to the top of the hill, and there's a slight downhill and I can shift into third, and start to cruise...and all of a sudden, hey! this is fun! this is great! I take back all those horrible thoughts of violence I had only moments earlier!


Here are some photos of the mayhem that is currently ensuing in my workspace...I didn't get much work done, but I had alot of fun with the camera, giggling to myself in one could almost say a maniacal way.

coming unglued

OH my GOD.
I'm so glad I'm not a designer anymore... I've spent way too much time on the look of this blog, and that's with an existing template; all I'm doing is changing colors and font sizes. I think I'm done though. I'd better be, or I'll really be coming unglued. Haha!

(An unrelated aside, and a testament to the power of the internet for time-wasting: "haha" was a word used to describe a sunken fence found in rural England during Jane Austen's was called a "haha" because, apparently, when people came upon these, one assumes somewhat unexpectedly, it made them laugh. "Ha ha!" See?)

Okay, so back to the subject at hand, which, moving on then! I'm obviously NOT in the studio working; I'm in that wierd down-time between shows, events, or what-have-yous. Truthfully, I'm in major house-cleaning mode, as in divesting myself of anything less than beautiful, unless of course it belongs to my husband (who still likes to bring up the time I threw out an old pair of boots - I swear I didn't know they were his, as we were living in an old cabin that came "furnished" - and that had been inhabited by mice in the not-so-distant past) OR if they are rocks that are owned by my two sons. I am not allowed to throw those out. But, everything else is coming under careful scrutiny. I feel better already. Ha ha!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's NOT Like What You Did in Kindergarten

I'm determined. I'm determined to make this blog into something that feels like me; feels "right" and says what it means. And describes and presents itself as such. So I've (yet again) changed the color: I'm decidedly NOT an orange person, and the color was beginning to get old. I'm working on a new blog title and description, and I know it doesn't have to be earth-shattering, just show up on the radar, but I'm looking for the clever thing, and it's not appearing yet. No boring blog titles here...Art Notebook; egads! What was I thinking! Of course, I'd read something about having the "right" words in the title, etc etc...

So the blog is still evolving, as am I. And after a recent comment by Luann Udell (if you haven't checked out her blog and site yet, do so NOW), I've determined that I'm ready to stop being evasive about the papier mache. I'm an ARTIST, dammit. It doesn't matter what medium I use, and the fact that I create in paper does not discount my vision. Do I sound defensive? Oops. I'm not, really. But I am tired of hearing people say, "oh, like we did in grade school!" It's bloody well NOT the same thing! (I'm learning to swear like a Brit.) That's like saying that a Picasso is like something you did in kindergarten with your tempera paints. With the nose in a wierd place.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hallows Eve Art Helmets

Okay, so, the Art Helmet series is now actually a series...

The Hallow's Eve Helmets include the "Grand Poo-Bah", "Mini Poo-Bah" and "Candy Corn Conehead". All are meant to be slightly silly, while conveying an air of exalted ridiculousness.

The "Grand Poo-Bah" is the first of the series. I added some epoxy resin along the bottom edge, which did away with the flexibility of the papier mache. So it doesn't actually fit on anyone's head (nobody on THIS planet).

The "Mini Poo-Bah" is a shortish roundish helmet, and fits nicely. This was directly inspired by my bowls that everyone loves to wear so much, so it's actually bowl-shaped. With bells.

The "Conehead" also fits splendidly...with the added bonus of some cool beaded fringe along the front. Depending on the circumference of your head, the fringe might be in your eyes; just adds to the silliness levels...
They can be seen (and purchased!) at Riverside Studios in Truckee through the month of October!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Form vs. Function

Feels like a good time for a nap... still fighting off that cold. But I haven't posted in awhile, so here's something I wrote a few weeks back:

I just realized something....
I like functional objects, and functional art, but NOT necessarily for their functionality.
I like them for their forms, color, design.

I may never even use them.... I'm reminded of a visit to some old friends of my husband's back in New York. The first time we visited their home, K. showed us around. In the bedroom, on her walls, was a beautiful collection of vintage hats. This woman lives in rural upstate New York; not Fifth Avenue. Does she wear these hats often? I'd guess not. But she displayed them for the gorgeous pieces that they were. No hat boxes here.

It's like my burgundy velvet spaghetti strap dress that I bought at the local thrift store this spring. I wore it once, to the final Harry Potter book release party. I can't bear to tuck it into the still hangs on the door, because I love it. It makes me happy just to look at it.

So it is with some of my work, like the clocks, which DO function, but as it says right on them, "Does anybody really know what time it is?", and there's not a number to be found on any of them....And there's the bowls. Again: limited functionality. They ARE bowls, so of course you can put things in them. But not the lemons. DO NOT put your lemons in there, because when you forget about them and they go moldy, you won't be able to stick the bowl in the dishwasher... You can, however, put the bowl on your mantle, and admire it, in all it's lemon-less loveliness, as you stroll by on your way to dump the moldy lemons. OR, as has been demonstrated, you can turn the bowl upside-down, and stick it on your head. Hence, the new art helmets.

These may be the most functional art I've done yet!
(Besides the earrings. Photos of those to come.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Upcoming Art, Upcoming Posts

I haven't posted for a few days; I was rushing to finish the Hallow's Eve Helmets for the Riverside Studios First Friday, and get everything ready to deliver to the North Tahoe Arts Artisan Shop. And now I'm putting together some new necklaces and earrings for Riverside Studios First Friday (see sidebar)...
and fighting off a cold.

More soon. Photos too...