Sunday, July 27, 2008


Hi! We had a great weekend! We went to the biggest festival of the year yesterday, Belle Chere - an art and music fest held downtown. We met up with some new friends and enjoyed the excitement, music and interesting crafts.
I've been in nesting mode, cleaning and organizing. My studio is now bright and cheery with only a few beads left to put away. I'm beginning new projects and have to have everything just so.
During this nesting, I've also experimented with making my own flavored sodas. I made this vanilla syrup (poured into a repurposed Chambord bottle) with madagascar vanilla pods from Arizona Vanilla Company. It is so fragrant and lovely! I pour a little syrup into a tall glass of ice, fill with seltzer and top off with a touch of cream. It tastes like an ice cream float. I'm a big fan. I tried making blueberry soda, that was only ok, but blood orange is really nice.
I haven't made much art lately, on account of all this soda making and organizing. But I have been planning a lot in my sketch book. I picked up some bronze clay and have spent some time arranging my workspace (apparently, one must not cross contaminate tools that have been used on silver clay) and making new tools from wood. I have to admit, I'm a touch nervous about opening the pack, it seems like such a persnickety material - the epitome of fussy. It looks beautiful in the samples from Art Jewelry! It has to be easier than actually casting bronze ( a thing I focused on in art school, only then I made figures!) so we shall see what happens. Maybe I can make tiny figures, or little orchids....or even a nesting doll! I can't wait to play!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Look at these! Greg bought them for me on from Vancouver based Savage Artworks. I love the meticulous attention to detail. The artist hand paints the wooden blanks with acrylics, then finishes with a coat of lacquer. I can't wait to receive them!

Folks are probably wondering what the obsession is with owls for me and my brother, so I will happily tell the story.

When we were kids, we used to play in a maroon barn situated in the weedy, jungle area of our property. My sister and I made the loft space overhead into our fort, complete with supplies, snacks and toys. We loved exploring the barn, as there were relics from the previous occupants, tiny bottles (we thought for magic potions) dusty books, doll parts and bits of costume jewelry. Our days were spent reading, pouring over ancient copies of 'Pack O' Fun' (an old craft magazine from the seventies, with the intriguing tagline of "turn trash into treasure!") and making little books from scrap paper and index cards. These books were our prized possessions, we drew pictures of fairies and unicorns, wrote stories and traded them with each other.

Late one afternoon, as we busily constructed a new book of lost treasure (complete with a map of our yard), my little brother asked what the 'whirring' sound was. We hadn't noticed it before, but then became aware of the low noise and decided to look for the source. We searched around the nooks, then climbed down to look near the floor, silent all the while. My sister thought it might be a squirrel, I thought it could be a sick cat, but my little brother was quiet, determined to find out for himself. Suddenly, as if the creature grew tired of being sought, began rustling its near soundless wings, and the movement drew our attention. There at the top, where the roof points upward, a great barn owl nestled on a shadowy beam and observed us with bright, wide eyes. It stared at our gaping faces for a moment, then flew off its nest in an elegant swoop right over our heads. We ran out to watch it disappear into the twilight, hoping to see more of the beautiful owl. We watched the sky for a long time, smiling and pleased - our little brother seemed the happiest, refusing to come in even after night fall. We never saw the owl again, but the sighting seemed to infuse us with the need to look for them wherever we went, or to draw pictures of them, as if our eyes would always long for a glimpse.

So, that is why I am obsessed with owls and birds and have loads of books on them. Our house sits high along a hill, so trees fill every window, blocking the view of the mountains, the shade preventing a garden. All so I can watch birds. I always carry binoculars and a bird guide, so I am prepared to document and draw. Well, we all have our quirks!

Friday, July 18, 2008

settling in

Acrylic gouache on watercolor paper.

Wind-ups from Roto-Fugi.

Azalea and Kira.
Hello! We are finally home! It feels so great to be back. We had such a good time in Cincinnati and Chicago, it was hard to leave our friends and family. We stopped by Saki Silver to see our friends Liz and Sak and their daughter Kira. Azalea became her shadow for the day! We had a good time catching up and hanging out at their gorgeous home, eating lots of thai food and little tangerines. They are such nice people and as an added benefit, they make beautiful pieces! If you have a chance, check out their new shibuichi clasps, they are so pretty!

Aren't those wind-ups sweet? Roto-fugi (a Chicago based art toy shop) have a couple more in the collection but I just got these. They are from Nathan Jurevicius' line called 'Peleda'. I love them. I buy things that I wouldv'e loved to have as a kid. Having a child is a good way to play with stuff without getting queer looks.
The little painting was one of the quick pieces I made at Jeremiah's studio. Acrylic gouche is an interesting medium, it dries matte and you can add more paint without lifting the previous layers. I think this would be nice on wood or maybe on plexi to make a background for a diorama. Do people still make those? Maybe I should. Sounds like fun. Anyway, I made that piece as a test and sketch for a possible painting in egg tempera. I have a weird habit of doing loads of drawings and quick paintings of a subject until I'm happy with the color scheme and composition - sometimes they never make it to the finished piece. I also agonize over the symbolism, story and the 'bones' or history within a painting. For example, this piece features a child in the woods riding a stag, which is old symbolism, fairy tales and our deep anxiety of being left alone. But she is not alone, surrounded by creatures (possibly our instincts?) and they have their own meaning. Its facinating stuff! I think that many artists have a visual dictionary of symbols they consistently use to convey a message, which we understand without any need of text. Art is so awesome.

Carter Seibels

Blue Helix by Carter Seibels.

Hey everybody! Check out the fancy and gorgeous work of Carter Seibels! I had the pleasure of getting to know this lovely lady at Bead and Button and I have to say I am not only impressed with her, but with her work as well. I think she is one of those people that radiates creativity, as natural and effortless as flying is to a bluebird. She is also very sweet and incredibly positive- a very charming artist! I hope Greg can pick up some of her work for me at the ISGB Bead Bazaar on Sat. Aug. 9 in Oakland, and the Pasadena Bead and Design show the following weekend. I have a few ideas of using some of her color-saturated beads with my new clasp that is coming out soon. Have a great day!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Resting in the Krohn's Conservatory.

Americana miniatures at the conservatory.

Candy shop in Hyde Park.

Hello! Here we are in Ohio, enjoying the lovely gardens and wonderful toy and book stores of downtown Cincinnati. I couldn't get enough of The Blue Manatee bookstore and cafe next to The Kings Court charming and the selection of hard to find items was awesome. I can't wait to go back! We also went to the conservatory, which was a first for me and I found it beautiful and peaceful (and it was free!) There was an exhibit of famous american historical buildings constructed of twigs and plant material- little domes made of gourds and leaves arranged into roof tiles. I loved them, it made me want to run out and collect seed pods and dried grape vines to create my own fairy dwellings!
I bought a new laptop last night, after it was clear my old one (which fell off the roof of our van going 65 down the freeway and still worked another 6 months) was not coming back on. I love my new fancy pants computer, it has a sweet swirlly design on it and its really fast. I can't stop admiring it. I was so used to my old one, I was so sad when it refused to work. I kept hoping that it would magically work, saving me the trouble of getting used to another piece of equipment. Oh well I love my new one.
Today we drove down to Columbus and I met up with some old friends and picked up my 66' Ford Mustang! Yay! It was in restoration for ages and now she looks hot, hot, hot! I had her painted candy apple red. It took a little coaxing to get her to run properly but eventually we got her going and she is so awesome. A gas guzzling beauty, heavy and fast, my lovely college car. I have so many fond memories of road trips in that car- music blaring, packed with friends, rushing back to school. Its time for new adventures in The Red Hot Comet Car!
After a long day of driving, Greg and his mom Ann, brother Mike and Azalea and I went to see Wall-e, the new Pixar movie. I was blown away with the animation and loved the music! The message was a good one and the story utterly sweet. The robots were little confections of cute goodness! Azalea has been running around talking like a robot and singing 'domo arrigato Mr. Roboto' (I don't know where she picks this stuff up!). Greg loved it, but hated the chatty girls behind him. He is unfortunate to always sit near the talk-aholics when we see a movie. I can't stand it and usually ask really nicely, if they could please be a little more quiet, then thank them so profusely they feel guilty and stop. That works better than flipping out and hissing rudely-trust me. We spent the rest of the evening fiddling with our lap tops since Mike, The Computer Genius was around, he helped us solve our technical woes and now we are in tip top shape. He is so smart!
We may drive back home tomorrow, or not depending if we finish business here. I am certainly enjoying myself and wouldn't mind staying a little longer. After all there is an Ikea and I do love there meatball platter almost as much as bacon.


Wedding finery.

Navy Pier ferris wheel.

Greg and Charlie.
Hi! We are in Cincinnatti after a great trip in Chicago. I haven't walked that much in ages. Everyday we walked to fun places: the Childrens Museum at Navy Pier, the Lincoln Park Zoo and various playgrounds in between. Not to mention shopping! I visited my favorite shops and discovered some new ones- my favorite being Threadless, a tee shirt company that produces artwork sent in by folks all over the country. I had the best time stopping at every cute cafe and sampling cookies and sandwiches. Lucky for me, we walked or rode the train most of the time! Then in the evening, we would go to Jeremiah's tower-like studio space and paint or draw. I really enjoyed watching the progression of his paintings and how his style was similar and different from my own.
The indian wedding was a lot of fun, the food was great (very spicy!) and the outfits were amazing! It was also extremely elaborate, fraught with rituals and ceremony- the opposite of my wedding, which was a simple fairy masquerade. Wings and a costume were highly recommended. It wasn't regal, but our humble celebration was magical. It will be four years this October. Where has the time gone?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

on the road...again

sketchbook page

bamboo sculpture at Amboy Park

Hello! Its been a busy week for us! We had a lot of catching up to do after our trip to FL, so Greg occupied himself with the large task of filling the massive pile of orders (yay!) and I worked on cleaning the house and designing new goods. I pretty much do that everyday, I don't feel like my day is complete unless I draw something. I went to Sam Flax while I was in Orlando and now have tons of new products to try: the elusive acrylic gouche (see lioness above), shimmer watercolors, gel pens and new papers. I experimented with about half the stuff I got, the rest will have to wait. I think trying new materials and exploring new color palettes is the best way to stay creatively charged.
We took a break from work and had a party for Greg's 32nd birthday on Saturday and enjoyed loads of good company and yummy food. I even baked key lime pies from scratch! After feasting, we played cornhole and lawn golf till it was dark then proceeded indoors to play music. It's fun to have musicians as buddies, as there is no need to fight over who's Ipod to use. As the night continued, we had a great time enjoying new friends, listening to good music and making things around the dining room table - the creativity was palpable. Good times!
We went to Charlotte yesterday to take Bob to the airport- it was sad to see him off, but we comforted ourselves with the fact that'd he'd be back in September for more metal madness. We will be representing his work on our website, so if you get the chance check it out (we will continue to add new work). Good. After the airport we ran around Charlotte, stopping and shopping anywhere that struck our fancy. It is such a pretty city! We then returned home to get ready for a late afternoon picnic with some friends. That turned out to be the perfect end to the day, grilling food and playing frisbee. We spend a lot of time working, either on our writing/art or on the business- work that can be very isolating, especially when self-employed. I think all this socializing and fun has actually improved my productivity! No hemming and hawwing here, just making stuff and getting on to something else! I like this new schedule.
We drove all day today, making our way up to Chicago. It was a good drive, no traffic and amusing stops at craft centers (I love me some wooden spoons!). Greg is participating in an authentic Indian wedding on Saturday, so we thought we'd spend an extra couple of days with our best buddy Jeremiah Ketner and his charming family. We've been good friends since my first year at art school and have that kind of friendship seems like no time has passed and we continue right where we left off...which is usually wacky, weird and always inspiring. His work amazes me, it always gets better and more beautiful everytime I see it. That's why I love collecting it, I think I have more of his stuff than my own! Well, its late here and I think Jeremiah plans to walk all over the city tomorrow... hopefully, I can keep up.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

back from Florida

Miniscule cuteness.

The best pic taken of me in ages!

Gettin' sassy.

Dockside mojito's and key lime pie.

Cypress tree in Lake Jesup.

A pretty pic by Bob Burkett.

Airboat fun.
Finally home! I have to say, getting out of the van and into the crisp, cool air of the mountains was sweet relief. We had the best time, everyday another adventure-shopping, riding around in an airboat, then to the beach. We also worked on projects, went to bookstores and made gallons of espresso. So much fun!
Florida usually brings out my cranky side, as I spent my formitive years being gawky and strange, self-concious and angst-ridden. I really did not enjoy those years, so naturally, the place stirs up some of that discomfort. These days, most of the reminders of my youth are gone, replaced with shiny new everything. I don't mind. The thing that is troublesome with new growth, is the disappearance of nature. Florida has an abundance of amazing creatures (gators, rosy spoonbills, ibis's, armadillos, toads...) and mysterious plants (spanish moss, airplants and waterlilies). Our old house used to be surrounded by moss-laden trees and almost grown over with bougainvilla and crepe myrtle. There is something wild and primitive about how fast things grow and take over.
The two shows were excellent for us - thanks to everybody that stopped by to say hello! I think the Bead Mercantile Shows bring together a good mix of artists and importers, perfect for shoppers. I like the big shows, but it seems easier to shop at the smaller ones. I tend to buy from the same people (the vendors with the best prices, quality and friendliness) so for me, it doesn't matter if there's fifty stone dealers, I'm going to my favorites. Anyway, we had a great time, the shows were good and we ate like kings. What more could we ask?