Workshop video – we learned so much

It’s astonishing how much happened in two short days. Here’s the complete video of our weekend workshop at the Studio. Michelle Belto’s spiritual and physical energy took us on an unforgettable journey of artistic discovery!


Weekend Workshop Wrap-up

It’s not *really* a wrap-up – the whole weekend was so rich with experience and creativity that it will resonate in a lot of ways for a long time to come. There were eleven participants in our Hildegard: Art and Soul Journey and we got to know each other pretty darn well as we worked with Michelle Belto, our amazing artist-guide. There was a lot of soul-searching and laughing and eating and playing and writing during the two days. There was also a lot of sharing – what a generous group!  I’m working on a short video of the weekend’s process which I’ll post here later in the week, but in the meantime, I’ve uploaded a few photos and I send a heartfelt thanks to Michelle and the other creative women who came and made amazing art – wow.  You transformed the Studio into an honest-to-goodness place of creative belonging for two whole days. Group Hug!!

I need to, I should . .arg!

It’s one of those “I need to” mornings right before the Hildegard: Art and Soul Workshop which begins at 10:00 this morning at the Studio – incredibly good timing, because it is much needed.  “I need to post a Friday Freebie – oops, too late – I need to fold up the laundry – oops, forgot to put it in the dryer, it’s probably all stinky – oh, no.” Have you ever been swamped by so much stuff that you can’t talk yourself out of panic mode? I’m not quite there yet, but am on the outskirts. However, after visiting with Michelle Belto yesterday about the workshop plans, there’s hope, because she could calm and refocus anybody. Check out her blog post on Viewpoint and Perspective. It makes me wonder why we don’t give our own selves permission to chill out once in a while, like Michelle did at the Spurs game. I’ll report back from the workshop as a new, improved serene ME.

On that very topic, Here’s a link to upcoming Studio events – lots of cool stuff- actually, being frazzled is sometimes productive. I keep telling myself that the best research papers I ever wrote in college were the ones I did the night before they were due. Yeah, sure.

Your Saturday order-of-the-day is to do something relaxing for yourself. Get a pedicure – guys, too! Eat some gelato, that yummy salty caramel kind! In the meantime,convincing myself that things are getting done, I did finish the five Guardian pieces – they will go to the Cathedral House exhibit on the 19th of this month along with some other small paintings. Here’s a phone shot as I was leaving the Studio last night – whew! Happy Saturday 🙂



Inspiration time . .

It’s happened again – another artist has taken my little shard faces to new heights! Hooray!! Look at these Bohemian-inspired wrist-wrap bracelets made with sari silk by Janet at Anvil Artifacts – you can see more of her fabulous work at her Etsy Site and on her Blog! Janet, these are amazing – thanks so much for sharing your beautiful work.  janetbracelet3





Work aka Play in Progress

I think it’s fun to see artwork in progress, whether it’s mine of somebody else’s. Here’s what going on in my Studio – remember the fired clay parts for the Guardian series? This is how those are coming together. I’m preparing the board back structure and putting together the pieces on small canvases. I’m using more color than usual in the finishes for some reason.

heads and bodies

heads and bodies



little guardians in progress

little guardians in progress

 I’ve also been experimenting with a new-to-me transfer paper called TAP. It’s kind of pricey but I like the results so far. Here are a couple of preliminary experimental mixed media pieces on 300 lb watercolor paper that I did yesterday:


TAP copy

 Right now I need to switch hats and head to Trinity.  it’s a Teaching Day – semester’s over soon, though, so more Studio time! Whoopee 🙂

Earth Day 2013 – and a sneak preview about artist Pablo Solomon

earthday 2013My memories of the first Earth Day involve getting in trouble at Alamo Heights Junior School (I was a *very* young art teacher) for organizing an activist march for my students. My principal, Mr. Ivy, was not pleased with my rabble-rousing, mini-skirt-wearing, hippie ways. Forty+ years later, how things have changed – or have they? Thoughts? Pablo Solomon, internationally known artist and designer, featured in National Geographic for his part in the first Earth Day in an article by Mark Anderson, lives for the earth’s conservation. In a recent interview, Pablo says, “Do what you can to obtain a green freedom, a philosophy that there is no greater freedom than energy independence.” He created the first Earth Day poster and has done another one each year since 1970. Here is this year’s (left)

But wait! There’s more! Pablo Solomon with be at the Studio in June for an informal lecture, exhibit and sale of his work. I am really excited about his visit. Mark the weekend of June 21-22 on your calendar.


In the meantime, celebrate Earth Day – as Marshall McLuhan reminds us, there are no passengers on Spaceship Earth – we are all crew.



Sunday and Spirit Boxes

Another beautiful Sunday workshop at the Studio – this afternoon, we created Spirit Boxes, small wall sculptures with a hidden compartment on the back. Each one has a special “heart stone” jewel or symbol in the center and lots of other adornments The artisan participants were very original and imaginative. Nobody fought over stuff, everyone got along – gee, you guys,  you play well with others! Thanks ♥♥♥

Pieces of clay

I unloaded the kiln yesterday and took out lots of little puzzle pieces. The new Guardian series of mixed media constructions is getting assembled for a show at Cathedral House in mid-May, and I need to get these little guys completed. I hope they are not too pagan-esque for the venue! The fun part is matching the right face with the right bodies. Somehow, they know who goes with what. Here’s a picture of the just-unloaded earthenware tiles and shards:

pieces of the puzzle

pieces of the puzzle

And here’s the first yet-unnamed Guardian piece assembled:

Untitled (so far) Guardianassemblage

Untitled (so far) Guardian construction



Discovery: The Blue Stuff

I am passing on to you a tip about something which, until this morning, I had never tried and is pretty amazing – it’s blue (and white) stuff. I ordered it from a place called Cool Tools, which specializes in supplies for metal clay artists. This is a mold-making compound – technically it’s called Mega-Mold Silicone RTV Molding Compound and it uses a process called RTV, which means room temperature vulcanizing. Vulcanizing is a chemical process that converts polymer into durable material. Who knew??

So, you squish the blue part with the white part and push it against something you want to make a mold of. I swear, five minutes later it’s ready to go! Jan Longfellow told me that she has used it to make molds for her silver clay jewelry. it’s pretty amazing – here are some photos – I don’t know quite where I’m going with it, but it is sooooo much fun to play with! You could make a mold of your big toe, or your car key or a favorite brooch – the possibilities are positively goofy!

The Kit - one blue, one white - squish together equal amounts

The Kit – one blue, one white – squish together equal amounts


The mold after five minutes, the original object, and the clay copy

The mold after five minutes, the original object, and the clay copy

The mold setting up on a sculpture's hand

The mold setting up on a sculpture’s hand

Taking off the mold

Taking off the mold

A molded wing off the same sculpture

A molded wing off the same sculpture

More molded clay objects - the mold makes the clay oily - weird

More molded clay objects – the mold makes the clay oily – weird





Kay Simpson, Fiesta Finery and FashionAbility

I am so proud of my long-time friend, Kay Simpson! She had the vision to recognize a need for attractive outfits for women with disabilities, so she started her own company, FashionAbility, not long ago. She designed and sewed the clothing herself, adding caring touches like Velcro and custom closures that make these outfits both beautiful and convenient to put on. Kay and FashionAbility will be featured at Fiesta Especial, an official Fiesta San Antonio event created for children and adults with physical, cognitive and developmental differences and the family and friends who love them. Watch for Kay on a live remote segment by KABB Fox 29 at 7 a.m. Friday from Fiesta.  I put together a video (below) for her to use at the event to show off colorful and comfortable clothing line. The model is Ms. Wheelchair America, lovely Mariah Kilbourne.

Yay for Kay! Her design skills and compassionate caring are awesome!