What was shown, what was told

Silvia shows Otomi paper

Silvia shows Otomi paper

The first Saturday Studio Show and Tell was great – filled with inspiration and ideas. Among the showees were Lesta Frank, who demo’d  a great paper peel and transfer technique, Rosemary Uchniat, whose embossing demo turned metal into unbelievably intricate collage textures, and Bonnie Davis, whose tar paper painting had everyone brainstorming. She learned this method from KenT Youngstrom from North Carolina. His website is fascinating – lucky Bonnie!

Take a look at our video (and pay no attention to the date in the title – it’s not really 2915 – is it? ..arg)

We’ll have another Show and Tell in February, date coming soon.

facesnuevaWinners of the Friday Freebie face shards, one for each, are Susan Calkins, Rosie Rojas, and stitchingalways@gmail.com (familiar email, but darned if I can remember who it belongs to). If you’d like to come to the Studio and pick one out, great! If you need it mailed, send the info and it will be on its way to you!

What to do with your face

Kiln-Fired Earthenware Shard Faces, unfinished

Sometimes people who come to the Studio and see a basket of my little earthenware shard faces say, “These are interesting, but what do you DO with them?” Need ideas? This week, I received photos from two California artists who incorporate these faces into their pieces.

Erica Seelig, from Ukiah, CA, has a beautiful Etsy shop called A Gathering of Good. She sent photos of these two pieces – astonishing craftsmanship! I told her she has elevated my faces to stratospheric status!

Terra Cotta Woman

Spring Woman

Also from California (Sacramento), jewelry designer Karen Anderson  sent these photos from her Etsy shop, Catching Waves. Karen has such a great eye for matching the shard color and texture to the beads and theme – look!

Sea Goddess – glass beads, earthenware pendant, silver plated brass chain, pearls, moonstones, vintage glass pearls, sterling and enamel earring, crystal dangle, vintage glass seed beads

Wild Coral Sea Goddess – sterling silver clasp, raw coral branch beads, turquoise nuggets, African silver beads, antique silver plated solid brass chain, vintage silver beads, clay face shard, seashell

It’s pretty nifty seeing these inclusions of my face shards in such stunning work.Thank you, Karen and Erica, for sharing your artistic vision.

fluffheadBut enhancing an earthenware shard face doesn’t have to be elaborate – last night, I got a photo from dear friend Carol Mylar, a fiber artist from Colorado, who added a bit of fiber fluff to her Sprig Shard – voila! Instant mini-clay-and-fiber wall piece!

For today’s Friday Freebie, I’m giving three little unfinished shard faces to three SHARDS subscribers, one for each – not a biggie, but lots of potential for creativity, as you can see! And as usual, you can go to my Esty shop, Earthshards, to get ideas for surface finishes. Stay safe and warm this weekend!






Carol Mylar –

Lesta and Lyn, spooky spots, and Friday Freebie winner

Lesta Frank and I did a repeat of our Surface Design on Paper half-day workshop this past Sunday at the Studio. It’s totally amazing to watch eight creative people take the same concept and make an astonishing assortment of gorgeous one-of-a-kind artisan papers. We used the enhanced paper to cover small Lotus Books, each one a work of art in themselves. Wanna see?

 On Saturday, the day before our workshop, I did some video footage in the Olmos Dam Basin for an upcoming Artful Gathering online class – I can’t tell you much about the class yet, but it involves Spirits! That’s big hint.

DSC00267You can read an interesting article about Olmos Basin, and about author Whitley Streiber, here in the archives of Texas Monthly – kinda spooky. The author said he made contact with strange beings here. But my online class will not be scary, honest (although it may deal with strange beings). Stay tuned for details, and visit Artful Gathering for info about Early Bird Registration for all of their cool classes.

Kantha Cloth Bag with Florentine Shard Face

Kantha Cloth Bag with Florentine Shard Face

Last, but definitely not least, congrats to lucky subscriber #86, Joanne Desmond, who won the Friday Freebie in the random number drawing – Joanne, contact me and I’ll get your freebie to you ASAP.

Have a good day, everyone – and watch out for strange beings.




Newsy week and Friday Freebie

Roll the newsreel – it was an eventful week!

  • MONDAY: At the Fiber Artists of San Antonio Meeting, plans were announced for the 19th Annual Fashion Show – it’s always a sell-out! Get your tickets early cause they go fast.
  • TUESDAY: Whoopee – my friend Sherrill Kahn, the super-talented mixed-media artist, emailed me to confirm she’d be at the Studio in late May for two workshops! Stay tuned for details.
  • WEDNESDAY: Had an amazing painting session at the Studio with pal Gloria Hill – here’s her latest large abstract – great work, Glo!
  • glo
  • THURSDAY: Got a call from Pablo Solomon, sculptor and designer, whose annual Solstice Show at my Studio will coincide International Yoga Day! We’re planning a YogaArt Celebration the weekend of June 20th. Also on Thursday, my classes started at Trinity University looks like a super-bright and friendly group of students.
  • FRIDAY – hey, that’s today! Monika Astara, fashion designer and dear friend, is coming down from Austin for a visit to brainstorm some new ideas with me – and to shop the Niche Warehouse Sale, of course.

OK, enough about MY week – how about a Friday Freebie for YOU! I found these little Kantha cloth bags at Ten Thousand Villages right before Christmas, and I’m adding one of my Florentine Face Shards to it as this week’s Friday Freebie. If you are a SHARDS subscriber before midnight on Sunday, you will be in the drawing. These Florentine Shards are available in my Etsy Shop in case you want to see more of them. Good luck and happy weekend!!

Kantha Cloth Bag with Florentine Shard Face

Kantha Cloth Bag with Florentine Shard Face

Living and learning

learning copySchool starts for me this week – as a teacher and a student! I go back to Trinity to teach my course in Essential Information Technology, and I’m taking an online photo-encaustic class from Clare O’Neill. The tuition for that one is rather steep, but I expect to learn a lot of new skills in both photography and encaustic that I can pass along to my own workshop participants. (Did somebody say “Old dog, new tricks?” – arf.)

If you’d like to experience an online class, do I have a deal for you! Michelle Belto, encaustic artist extraordinaine, and I have teamed up in an online offering called “Wax and Tissue.” You can see details here at Roses On My Table. It’s a good way to gently discover the encaustic process, and if you take a look at the materials list, you can see it’s not all that complicated. It’s a lot of fun, too – we had a great time making this video.

Online classes are easy to access and view (you get specific easy-to-follow directions) and you can look at them as often as you need to or want to. I like to watch the ones I take in sections so I can have “think breaks” in between.

“Wax and Tissue” has a lot of information (and a certain amount of goofiness – you know Michelle and me) and you can email us questions through the forum with the other students. The course costs $55, which is a *lot* less than the encaustic class I’m taking with Clare O’Neill – and definitely less than my Trinity students are paying for *their* tuition! Lifelong learning in the arts is truly priceless, especially when you can do it in your jammies. Think about joining us – OK, I”m off – gotta head to class!

Words on Wings by Lila

lilaTalented friends – dang – they are such a gift. Lila Walker cracks me up and makes me think, along with about a million other people. Lila came to the Studio on Thursday to do a presentation on her collage cards for the Amigas group, and she had us in stitches.

Lila is a hunter-gather of the best sort. She puts unlikely images with well-chosen quotes and collages them into greeting cards called Words on Wings. Here’s an example:

She cuts out every quote and arranges every image, goes to a local copy service to duplicate the collages in small numbers, then assembles the cards herself. It’s an inspired business of one.
This is Lila in a nutshell (no pun intended, Lila):“Lila Walker is a wife, mother, grandmother, animal rights advocate, loyal friend, good neighbor, retired teacher, artist, reader, gardener and docent at The McNay Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas.”
You can buy her cards in San Antonio at the Twig Bookshop, the McNay, and Viva Bookstore, and you can visit her website for more locations across the country – and to order cards directly from her.. Click through her selections and I guarantee it will brighten this gray winter day.
I’d like to send the one below to Lila herself.





“boring tuna” is neither – web design help is here!

btWouldn’t it be nice if there were someone who could help you get your art images digitized and up on the web? Someone who understands artists, maybe an artist/photographer? Then let me introduce my former student, now dear friend and tech adviser, Kevin Dome of Boring Tuna Photography and Web Design Services of San Antonio.

Kevin is as original as his company name. He’s that rare combination of art and tech (he worked for years at Rackspace) that all of us envy. He’s just taken the leap to full-time independent web designer for artists and other small businesses.

Last week, Kevin came to my studio for a photoshoot. I had not seen him work before, but it was impressive. His first concern is lighting the story. In 15 minutes, he had a complete professional photo setup in my studio and was ready to take some photos of ME! Take a look at the setup and results.

I love the photos Kevin took – they make me feel authentically artistic and happy. You can see more of his work in his online portfolio.

Kevin is a joy to work with – I am going to ask him to help me rework my own online portfolio. He hosts websites and is the most user-friendly tech person I’ve talked to in a long time. His fees are reasonable – he can digitize images for you and upload them to your own site for around $250 (Kevin can tell you more about what all of that includes). I’d like to say I taught him everything he knows, but that would be a big fat lie <grin>.

So get yourself some boring tuna before Kevin gets swamped with requests for artists’ websites! You can contact him at http://www.boringtuna.com/

8PS – the winner of Friday’s Freebies, the Shisk-ka-barbies, is brittdesign@cableone.net – if you’ll email me your info, these little creatures will be on their way to you!

Happy Monday, All – bundle up and keep warm.


Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘to do’ list

8I shoulda posted yesterday’s Friday Freebie (the Shish-ka-barbie dolls, which you can win if you’re a subscriber by midnight Sunday) but I forgot – darn. OK, yet *another* New Year’s Resolution: start keeping a daily a “To-Do” list and follow it!!

While looking for ways to remember stuff better, I found out that Leonardo da Vinci wrote To-Do lists! And they are very cool – nothing like “post to blog” or “stop by HEB.”

Nope, his were more like, “obtain a skull, to get books on anatomy bound, observe the holes in the substance of the brain, describe the tongue of the woodpecker and the jaw of a crocodile, and give the measurement of a dead man using his finger as a unit.” And he illustrated his To-Do lists, meticulously and beautifully:

You can read more about his To-Do lists on Open Culture. I love this site – it’s so worth exploring, lots of free courses and images and ideas,  but make sure you don’t go down the Rabbit Hole of fascinating links and end up like I did, watching a free 1934 B Western John Wayne movie from their archives called The Lawless Frontier. (Don’t click that link – you’ve been warned).

I’ll announce the Friday Freebie winner on MondayI’m putting it on my To-Do list.  Happy 2105, everyone!

(Note to self – rewrite resume . . . . . . . . . . .)