Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I admire this picture everytime I use my phone. It makes me so happy to see my babies so loving and sweet. I wonder where they get it from? In many ways, my little brother Andrew and I are alike. One thing we have in common is our sensitivity to the 'outside world'. We tend to cacoon ourselves, carefully avoiding the ugliness and sensationalism that plague our society. Everytime I hear about something terrible, it seems like all I can do is think about it for days and days, wishing I were more useful. Of course that is a fairly depressing line of thought, but is unavoidable when you make pretty things for a living and the world is in need of heroes. So, Greg and I try to use our skills in creating beauty for good. We are very pleased to have contributed 300 dollars from our last two shows to help the tragedy in Japan. Greg has spent a lot of time on the road these past couple of months, which means my studio time diminishes quite a bit. He is so nice to take Max for a few hours to let me have some time to myself. I took this pic from the top of my studio stairs, after spending a pleasant afternoon making a little teddy bear. I guess they wore temselves out! I made this bear from a pattern I found on an etsy store called The Old Pincushion. I was inspired to sew it after gazing at vintage Steiff bears I saw at a toy show. They felt different, sturdier, heavier, with jointed limbs. I've always found stuffed animals charming, a sweet symbol of childhood innocence. It was a tactile pleasure working with the fur, cotton stuffing and wool felt. This was my first creature and I have a feeling I'll be making more.

win this owl!

Hi! I've decided to extend the contest deadline for another month, since it was pointed out that a couple of weeks isn't a lot of time and the short deadline wasn't conducive to creativity. I think it will be fun and inspiring to see what people make. I will post a quick tutorial of the studded bead if you don't have Enchanted Adornments and also some examples of the technique. Send in your pics and see if you win this sweet mechanical owl, which is only available at shows at the moment.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


A week ago I was all afire to win a contest, excited and anxious as a teenager. Well, I didn't win, or even place. At first I was disappointed, since I spent a good three days making my submission. Its easy to forget that with any gamble, there's a better chance of losing than winning. At any rate, I really enjoyed taking a break from my regular routine, forcing myself to paint when I would've rather carved. It really is refreshing to switch gears, stretch out and allow oneself to experiment. It got me thinking about contests in general and how they really can be useful and fun (if you don't take yourself too seriously!). *****I'd like to propose my own contest: make a piece using the first project from my book Enchanted Adornments (the studded polymer beads) and at least one piece from our collection. It can be anything you'd like, so have fun! Three submissions per person. Send a pic to my email ( and post it on your Facebook (to spread the fun, of course). The winner will receive one of my new mechanical owls and a pile of other goodies!
The winner will be chosen May 2! Have fun!

Monday, March 14, 2011

staying creative

One of the most popular questions that folks ask of me is: how do you make time for creative endeavors (jewelry, art, crafts, etc.)?I'm by no means Martha Stewart and have loads of unfinished projects on my desk, but I think I get a fair amount done in a day. I don't have a nanny or babysitter, so its a bit challenging, but there are ways to sneak in some time for your projects. Here are a few things I do:

*Bring a small notebook and pen everywhere. That time spent staring at the tabloids while waiting to be checked out, could be used making lists, drawing designs or jotting down an interesting color combo on a pack of gum that would make awesome earrings.

* Choose projects carefully- work on things that will revive you and provide instant gratification- smaller, quicker projects you can finish in a sitting. Working on large projects in chunks is o.k., but it gets depressing looking at lots of unfinished work.

*Find creative projects the whole family can enjoy, that way your not holed up in your studio while everyone is having fun in the living room.

*Ok, here's my number one strategy....have containers filled and ready with supplies in a handy location. I have various decorative toolboxes and tubs on the lowest shelf of a bookcase, easy to put away and take out. I have one packed for wax work, polymer clay and pmc, a small sewing basket, a little rolling storage cube with drawers for paper and pens and a bigger basket tote for jewelry. Nothing wastes so much time as hunting for your tools! The very second those kids fall asleep and I bust out one of my kits!

Anyway, those are the most helpful to me. Have any other suggestions for busy artists to make time to create?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Enchanted Doll Idea

The wonderful doll artist Marina Bychkova of Enchanted Dolls is celebrating her birthday......and giving away one of her beautiful porcelain ball-jointed dolls! To pick a winner, she is holding a contest to pitch an idea for a doll you'd like to see made. For my submission, I made a paper doll of the lovely sea nymph, Ondine. Here she is posing with her long black hair on a background painting of the sea.

Here's Ondine with her jewel encrusted crown and fancy wave belt. My printer made her flame red hair extra vivacious!

Here's the original head/bust painted in egg tempera on watercolor paper taped to the sketch of details. I worked on this project for a solid four days (as solid as one can work with a baby up to all manner of mischief!). I can't believe how intensely I want to win. Its going to be a long wait to hear the winning name. Anyway, here's accompanying explanation for this piece:


The inspiration for this design concept is the legend of Ondine and the symbolic connection of women and the sea. The tale of Ondine begins as many fairy tales do, as a love story and ends almost like a tragic cautionary tale. The handsome prince vows faithfulness to his last dying breath to the beautiful sea nymph, who trades immortality to become wife and mother. Eventually, Ondines beauty fades and the prince strays. Upon discovering his betrayal, she demands the fulfilment of his promise by cursing him so that the moment he falls asleep, that breath will be his last. Although likening a woman to the sea (in all its tempermental and life-giving beauty) is an ancient and universal idea, it remains intriguing.

This design features many layers of symbolism, from the crown of coral and shells to the tattoos of sea plants entwined around her lower body- as if unwilling to let her leave the depths, by binding her with reminders of her roots. The belt is a series of links, patterned after waves, ending with an eye-shaped clasp set with a moonstone and tear-like pearls. The paper doll is meant to be cut out, assembled with brads, then dressed in the accoutrements. It was painted with egg tempera on board.