Bristow at the Studio

Last night I fbristowsepiaelt as if I had been transported back forty years to my undergraduate art major days at Trinity – there was my Prof, Bill Bristow, teaching us all how to draw at my Studio. He had the class of 16 scribble a ball of twine, and before we knew it, we were drawing horses. But best, perhaps, were his stories about fellow artists and old friends. He also spoke of being profoundly influenced by the great Japanese artist, Hokusai. All of us loved learning from Bill and are looking forward to the next time!



Sunday inspiration

Don’t you think this is a great quote?

“What is ‘no’? Either you have asked the wrong question or you have asked the wrong person. Find a way to get the ‘yes’.”

This applies perfectly to our doubts about our own worth as creative people – I have heard so many stories from friends who say they are not “creative” or “artistic” because someone in the past criticized their attempts . Seems to me that you just have to approach it from another direction that is your own, and create with joy that feels right to you and not be influenced by someone else’s judgment. Find a way to get the “Yes.” OK, off the soap box, but I really get frustrated when creative people don’t realize how talented they can be.

This quote came, via a friend in England, from a book that I just ordered,  “Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?” by Jeanette Winterson (2011). You can read some of her thoughts about this book on her blog. Here’s an online review excerpt:

It’s a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.

I don’t often talk about a book that I haven’t read, but this one sounds like a keeper – will let you know what I think about it a little later. In the meantime, I’ll remind myself that there are different ways to get to “Yes,” and that if my work (below) that I took to the juried Art League show yesterday is rejected, I’ve just been asking the wrong people!

sombrassm copy



Freebie winner & weekend updates

Congrats to my old pal Clif Tinker for being the lucky random-number draw-ee for the Shard Faces. Clif’s work is colorful and fun – here’s his cactus painting:Clif's Cactua

Clif abristowsepiand I share a love for Bill Bristow, Trinity Art Professor Emeritus, who is coming out of semi-retirement to start a series of drawing classes at my Studio next week. The first class filled instantly, and there will be a second one on March 6th. Email me if you want to be included in Bristow’s class info and schedules.

Other cool things happening at the Studio – I’ve scheduled a second workshop for Spirit Dolls – these little soft sculptures are resonating with so many people. this one will be on Sunday, March 24th, from 3-5. You can reserve a spot on my PayPal page or Email me. I think there are three spaces left. And there are poetry readings, a guest lecture on Creativity and Intent by TOCI founder Heather Ash Amara, and a very special two-day workshop with renowned encaustic artist Michelle Belto in April, so stay tuned. Thanks so much for subscribing to Shards and being a part of the Studio happenings – happy weekend, y’all!! ♥♥♥

Friday Freebie: Faces!

I just unloaded the kiln and – whoopee! – it was a most successful firing, thanks to the kiln gods 🙂 To celebrate that (and Friday), this week’s Friday Freebie is a pair of unfinished faces, one white, one terra cotta. You can use these for pendants, for spirit dolls, or just to put in a pretty bowl on your desk with a drop of essential oil. All blog subscribers are in the drawing, name to be drawn before the stroke of midnight.

FYI, When I don’t have a friend around to draw a name, I use a online random number generator. It’s also the way I select the order for my my students’ presentations in class. Digital equal opportunity! I’ll be around most of the day at the Studio tomorrow – if you’re in town, drop in and say hello-

PS – Speaking of Spirit Dolls, I opened a second Spirit Doll workshop on March 24th! It’s not full yet, so sign up and celebrate spring with a cool soft-sculpture creation.



Clay to jewels

I promised to show you the results of the Sunday workshop. After everyone made their clay adornments, we put decorative finishes on them at my Studio, then went next door to Ann Pearce’s to *really* transform them.Her jewelry shop is packed with gorgeous crystals and cord and chains and findings and carved beads and stones  – it’s amazing. The hard part is always deciding what to choose. Here is a short video of the work in progress. Ann has an expert eye about color and texture combinations, and her input insured that each piece was unique and stunning.

Sunday earthshard workshop

There’s something about the new studio space that is inspiring – either that, or I had some incredibly talented clay workers in yesterday’s workshop. Could be a bit of both, but take a look at some of the earthenware ornaments they made –

I love the combination of clays and the embellishments! These will be fired late today or early tomorrow, and then we will meet at Ann Pearce’s Jewelry Design next door to pair these works with beads, leather cord and findings to make one-of-a-kind necklaces and pendants. I’ll take pics of the final creations.

Next workshop, March 3rd, Spirit Dolls, is already full but I’m going to have a second one later in the month on March 24th – email me if you’re interested.

Ye olden days

Way back in the late 50’s, my dad (everyone called him “The Colonel”) was stationed in London. We lived there five years before I came to San Antonio in 1959 – culture shock when I saw my first glob of guacamole :(!

Anyway, at the last Open Studio, my friend Marilyn told me she had been to the same school in London about the same time (amazing synchronicity) and put me in touch with the alumni page. I found my picture in the London Central High School annual – here it is – check out those white collars that were guaranteed to make you look geeky. And FYI, if you find your own old photos, here’s a great link to repairing and restoring them – if you actually want to!




Friday Freebie

Look! It’s a Little Lotus Book! This is an example of one of the books we made in the Books and More workshop we did at the Studio on February 3rd. It was everyone’s favorite because it’s easy to make and very unusual because it opens like a lotus flower, sort of like unfolding one of those crazy maps. Anyone subscribed to my Shards blog by midnight tonight (how dramatic) will be in the drawing to win this book and the directions on how to make more. TGIF, fellow artisans!

Lotus Book Lotus Unfolded Lotus Book


A film for all of us

When you have a couple of minutes, please watch this film trailer from Shine Global – I really want to see this documentary. I wasn’t aware of this organization until I read about it in Alyson B. Stanfield’s post – thanks, Alyson!

Shine Global’s Mission

Shine Global is dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of children worldwide through films that raise awareness, promote action and inspire change.

Shine Global is a 501(c)(3) non-profit film production company. All contributions to Shine are used to produce our films and are tax deductible. Net profits are returned to the children we document through local non-governmental agencies.


I’m doing a presentation to the Trinity University Women’s Club on Valentine’s Day about establishing places of creative belonging, and I came across this poem describing one woman’s feelings about her own special place. Read it if you like, then at the end I’ll tell you about the poet:

At Home in the Summer Mountains

I’ve come to the house of the Immortals:
In every corner, wildflowers bloom.

In the front garden, trees
Offer their branches for drying clothes;
Where I eat, a wine glass can float

In the springwater’s chill.
From the portico, a hidden path
Leads to the bamboo’s darkened groves.
Cool in a summer dress, I choose
From among heaped piles of books.
Reciting poems in the moonlight, riding a painted boat . ..
Every place the wind carries me is home.

xuThis was written by Yu Xianji, a Chinese poet who lived in the 9th century during the Late Tang Dynasty.. It’s amazing how women have always expressed a need for a special – even sacred – place of belonging. To read more about Yu Xianji’s remarkable life, click here.