Wednesday, December 26, 2007

For Ann

I made this gouache (opaque watercolor) painting of Azalea and Brandie for my mother in law Ann. She is so amazing with Azalea, reading to her and always being so attentive. So this is a little token of appreciation and love for her.

Sea Quilt

My friend Jessica Wiesel started this quilt for Azalea when she found out I was having a girl and she just gave it her for Christmas (three years later). It is so beautiful. Its fun, too, because I recognize some of the fabrics from our travels, collected and used years later for something really special. I think that is half the magic of a quilt, bits and pieces gathered, carefully selected and stitched together with all the thoughts of the happiness and comfort it will bring. My mama and grandma used to quilt and I can remember at a young age sitting with a group of women teaching me and my sister how to quilt. The lessons were about patience and doing a job with care and love. I seem to remember hearing someone say 'If you sew with love and prayers, your thread won't knot'. I liked the idea of a thing retaining your good wishes as you worked them in.

more polymer

Hey, look! Glass eyes! I'm such a nerd. These polymer pieces were made this weekend while we were visiting family in Cincinatti.
I brought my traveling studio so we could make stuff while we talked. I think one of my early mentors, Mrs. Bassett used to say 'Busy hands are happy hands!'. I think that phrase stuck. I am really liking all this colored clay business. The birdgirl, pug and deergirl are mostly colored polymer, hardly any painting required, just washes here and there, then a few highlights. I saw all these cute mini sculptures of babies on the internet and wanted to make one as well, so this is my second attempt. I'm having trouble keeping my clay pristine while I work (fuzzies get on it, or dark spots from other clay) so I have to paint it afterward, ruining that porcelaine finish. Its easier with faster pieces that I can make quickly then bake, but if it requires multiple firings, things start looking a little murky. I will have to do more experiments.

Jenny's Gift

Isn't this nice! My sister -in -law Jen Ogden made this cool painting of me and my brother Andrew. I think it looks exactly like him.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Glass Eyes

Hello! What your seeing here are some tests of glass eyes on wire. The weird little ball with an eye is a test to see if the these little peepers would crack or shatter in the oven as they fired. It did not and I am pleased. This little project consisted of me ransacking the garage looking for my Hot Head torch. Hours later, I found it and remembered how slow it was, so I opted for the minor bench burner ( a much bigger torch). Now I haven't touched glass making since before Azalea was born so I was slow and clumsy at first and made more of a mess than anything. Gradually, I made what you see here, but it took awhile, even though they are tiny (smaller than peas). Now my hands are killing me- tiny things can be so hard on your hands. It was fun and I'm curious how my dolls will look with new eyes. I'm thinking about making some small bird girls to hang around or attach to branches. I think they will look super cute. Now I just have to mix some nice colors.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

House Sprite

Hello! Look what I finished today! Sheila watched Azalea so I had the whole day to play. This little lady (about 3" tall, knees to hair) is a house sprite, a fey creature that borrows things when your not looking, making it impossible to find your keys. I made her out of polymer clay and wire, then painted her with acrylics. The hair is wool and the clothes, velvet and suede. She will live in my cabinet of curiosities, along with my other strange beasties and dollies. Note to doll makers: I don't recomend smoothing the polymer with sculpey dilutent or liquid sculpey as this makes very strange boils on the surface. Very annoying. Anyway, I'm trying to think of a good way to do the eyes so they look more realistic. I looked up tiny glass eyes and didn't like the prices. Maybe I'll get the torches out and make my own. I haven't made anything with glass in years. Now i have an excuse. I have procrastinated to my hearts content today, narrowly avoiding all the work thats piling up for Tucson. Yes, in a few short weeks it will be upon us. Tommorow I shall make more ornaments because they are loads of fun and I don't want to make originals yet, I'm still thinking.

Polymer experiments

Here are some things I've been playing with lately, all in polymer clay. I made the beads from directions out of the book Making Polymer Clay Beads. I think they look better in person (so much glare!). The little doll head ornaments took most of this evening to make and I'm really pleased with them. I was inspired by the head ornaments on strange dolls and found them so much fun to make! I could sculpt doll heads all day, but I don't like making the bodies, so these ornaments are perfect to make.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cat Girl

Look at who's coming to live with me! I've admired Beth Robinson's work for some time now and I am so happy to add her work to my collection. She makes her dolls from polymer,acrylic, vintage fabric, and human hair. Very creepy in a good way.

Monday, December 10, 2007

New Sketches

These are a couple of sketches done with gouache (an opaque watercolor) picked up after the urging of my painter buddy Jeremiah. He suggested acrylic gouache, which I thought was some sort of witchcraft, but he assured me it was magical. Well, after scouring every art supply store around, I gave up and bought the regular, inexpesive stuff. I had my doubts, as it was the main tool of torture at CCAD (where I went to school) and thought since I wasn't painting a color concept asignment, it might be nice. Glad I tried it. It gave my sketches a finished quality thats satisfying to see in my sketchbooks. I've been thinking alot about painting recently, tentatively putting down thoughts, in hopes the feeling doesn't flit away. Its scary, sometimes, to make art and then show it. Sharing it on this blog is a little easier, as I'm more comfortable here. But the goal is to make this new work, show it, make prints. These are just sketches of things to come...

New Fabric

Look at this pretty fabric I picked up at Asheville Cotton Company! Nice for pinafores and dolly dresses. Today was so nice out! Almost 70! It was nice walking around and enjoying the weather. We finally finished putting up the tree, which has a sort of enchanted forest, folk lore effect. After I clean tomorrow I will show it off.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


We are back from Florida, it was a good time! On the way home we stopped at the beach to walk around and hunt for seashells. Very refreshing after sitting in the car for a couple of hours. Later we got back on the road and took another break at the Jacksonville Zoo, which proved to have a large selection of interesting birds (my favorite!) and the cutest, tiniest monkey I have ever seen. Now I'm obsessing how to make a doll that small and fur covered (the pygmy monkey was about 6" ! Amazing!). Its good to be home.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

I found Kathleen Lolley on Art Star and would love to own all her work! I can see we share many influences: owls, pods, Remedios Varo and strange beasties. Looking at her work puts me in the mood to paint!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lake Lily

Happy to feed the ibises.

Look at my baby girl in action! It is a family operation- note my mama, inspecting our work.
The show was a little slow today, so we went outside to walk around Lake Lily (which is right outside) to feed the birds. We saw loads of red striped turtles, black cormorants and my favorite, white ibises. Oh, and one gator.
I bought some simple cut green amythyst and coin shaped smokey quartz to add to my ginormous collection. I also bought a couple of fancy cut crystals that are 'tools for enlightment' or 'magicians stones'. I like things like that, the hang tags so full of hope, so sure of there amazing powers. Descriptions are so much fun to read! Catalogs with carefully worded descriptions are some of my favorite things to read, I love Sundance Jewelry and
Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs...the way they describe the products make me want everything. Why wouldn't I want a 'mermaids hairpin' or smell like 'spun sugar'? I really need to work on our descriptions, I used to make a catalog with folklore and stories, but that would be outdated within a couple months. I will add it to my things to do list.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Small and sweet

Look at my new acquisitions! I bought these lovely gems from the talented Jeremiah Ketner. They are about 5" x 6" and painted with acrylics on woooden board. His work will be available this weekend in Miami at the Bridge Art Fair represented by his co-op gallery GardenFresh and also at the Red Dot Fair represented by Melanee Cooper Gallery. You have to see his work in person to really appreciate how luminous his pieces are, there are layers of irridecent paint the camera just cannot pick up. I showed them to my girl and she said "Oh, that's a painting of me! See? Look at my belly." So dang cute.

In Orlando

I'm in Orlando, sitting in a bookstore, amazed yet again at how much things change around here. I grew up in these parts, so its weird to pass once familiar places and see them transformed into slick, commercial outposts. I passed our old house and was surprised to see a new building in its place. I was instantly reminded of afternoons spent up trees and in the rafters of ancient barns, investigating the nest of a speckled owl. I'm reminded of what little it took to entertain me, to make me happy. I didn't need much, a good book, a shady place to rest and maybe a few tangerines from our grove. Its easy to forget how beautiful it is to live simply, to be grateful for small blessings. I think of myself as a kid and remember its ok to play, to make things, to enjoy this life. Interestly, these small shifts in thinking have lifted the fog that has settled around me. So, with my new clarity, I'm off to spend some time with my sketchbook.