Barbie and The Spirit Women

Spirit Woman, Barbie Koncher

I get to meet the most amazing artists through my Etsy shop. In the last post, you read about Brita, and now – meet Barbie!

Barbie Koncher lives in Hawaii and uses banana fiber as an element in creating her Spirit Women. Indigenous materials add authentic magic to her creations. She sent me some photos of her work along with some great notes:

Hi Lyn,

I’m happy to share my techniques. I have always shared ideas with fellow artists. Inspiration and sharing is critical to artists. I am working on shaping some banana fiber for a Spirit Doll who will inhabit it. I am using this instead of a stick body, using your techniques in my own way. This banana fiber has been soaked overnight then cut to size and scrubbed clean. You can only cut and shape when wet. Then I’ll wax with encaustic before I begin to build my doll, Shaman or Spirit woman. You have shown me an entirely new path!

There’s a lot more to know about this remarkable woman:

I have been creating jewelry for 35+ years and am best known for my large bead creations and fused glass jewelry (20 years). I designed for Saks Fifth Avenue, numerous cruise ships (traveled with them as a guest artist), and my glass was sold at the Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

But wait, there’s even more!

I also had a 25 year career with the Department of Defense and capped that career working at the Pentagon and State Department.

I am a certified Art Clay instructor and am toying with the idea of making faces with bronze Art Clay, if I can keep it light enough. I also torch fire enamel on steel beads or copper screen. I am retired in Hawaii and 75 years old but I can’t stop creating. I am an active member of the Kona Palisades Artists and the Las Vegas Artisans Guild.

I just made some lovely cheese cloth painted fabric! I’m having so much fun with the Spirit Woman series.

In this last photo, Barbie accents the Spirit Woman with a cracked glass Christmas ornament and some sea glass. There’s something mythical about it all.

I love Barbie’s work. Many thank to her for permission to use her photos and her thoughts. If you’d like to get in touch with Barbie, you can email her here:

It’s such a pleasure to see how the Earthshard faces travel around and inspire so many fantastic artisans. So, now I have the words to “It’s a Small World After All” running through my head!

Happy Holidays – and dare it say it? Happy New Year – yay!!!!

Small Comforts

Don’t know abut you, but I have felt pretty disheartened and non-productive during the last two weeks. I look at all of those articles and posts about what to do when you’re at home, and yet, somehow, my energy has shifted to hibernate mode (“Wahhhh . .just leave me alone!”). But knowing in my heart that it’s important to keep busy and creative, I started cleaning out my studio shelves. That’s always a recipe for inspiration.

I found lots of duplicates of things I thought I’d lost, and then bought more of – right? Every happen to you? Case in point – a bunch of bar magnets. I must have three dozen of these guys!

Why? Back in 2014, I taught an online class with Artful Gathering that featured little clip-on art-to-wear pieces that also function as displayed artwork. These pieces were one-of-a kind mixed media collages designed with a super-heavy-duty bar magnet on the back so they can also be displayed in a frame. I called them “Magnetic Adornments”.

Here are some examples from an old class worksheet:

Those re-discovered magnets were the kick-start for me, and I decided to play with that project again. I needed something small to work with, something that I could use as art therapy, something that was fun and had no real rules.

The base of the little collage is archival matboard. You choose a focal piece and just start building a miniature assemblage. I used my clay faces, but you could use an old piece of jewelry, a shell – whatever!

Once the magnet is glued on the back, you can wear the assemblage on a scarf or a hatband. You can also clip them into a frame by putting the back piece of the magnet on the back of the frame. Here’s one that I just finished:

A few more of the “Magnet Adornments” I’ve put together the past couple of days:

Here’s that last piece taken out of its fame and clipped onto a scarf:

Small magnetic assemblage clipped on a linen scarf

OK, that’s it for today. I may go hibernate for a bit – I hope you’re well, staying inside and still staying in touch with friends in whatever way is best for you. I’ve been Zooming a lot with my family. Who even knew what that meant last year??

Please find some small comforts to work on today in your own creative space. It really is good for you. Better than Cheetos. Maybe.





Two delightful workshops by requests

I got to teach not one, but TWO workshops-by-request this week! The little studio was a busy place.

The first workshop was on Sunday, and it was a family affair. My friend Marilyn had gifted her son and daughter and their spouses with an encaustic collage workshop. They all brought photos that were near and dear to their hearts to incorporate into their compositions.

We did a practice collage first in which we discussed basic composition and safe beeswax techniques. In their second collage, the made personal statements with their artwork. My favorite was a photo of their Grandmother Winnie standing in the snow in her bathing suit! (If you can’t see the images below, click here)


I loved working with this family. The men seemed especially adept at expressing their feelings through their art. Marilyn’s husband created a beautiful collage of his mother and her sister. We all got a bit teary as he talked about them during our critique time.

Thursday’s workshop was quite different. Another talented friend arranged it for her writing group. We made talismans with paper blessing beads – the secret notes the writers wrote on the inside of their beads must have been glorious! But the words were rolled, waxed, and gilded, never to be revealed!

Making these beads is everyone’s favorite part. It’s meditative and relaxing, surprisingly easy, and unexpectedly beautiful.

Here’s the video (If you can’t see it below, click here):

Wax and Clay Talisman Workshop from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

I’m going to make a list of available workshops-by-request on my website, and if you want to get a group of four to six together, I think you’ll enjoy it.  Special thanks to Marilyn and Pamela for arranging for these enjoyable and creative afternoon workshops!


Lessons in metal from a master teacher

I will never again underestimate the artistry that goes into a pair of earrings designed by nationally-known artist Dale Jenssen – her skills are impressive. She taught two days of detailed metal jewelry techniques at the Studio this weekend, and her students produced some amazing work (see the video, below).

I have been a fan of Dale’s for years and have collected some of her work – earrings and a treasured mirror – but working with her gave me new insights into her talent and experience as a designer and craftsperson. She provided an array of materials for students to choose from, then led them through the process of cutting, finishing, and assembling their pieces using tools like the drill press, grinders, punches, and wire brushes. It was cool!

Dale’s metalwork is featured in Artful Home as well an  in galleries and public and private spaces through the United States. Here are some of her iconic sconces. She also does custom work and special commissions. I am profoundly grateful to her for sharing her skills with us!

Sconces by Dale Jensses in Artful Home

Sconces by Dale Jensses in Artful Home

Wasp Sconce by Dale Jenssen


Dale Jenssen Workshop at the Studio


Contemporary mirror by Dale Jenssen, 2015 – owned by me! Yay!

Dale Jenssen is a multi-talented artist whose work I love. I have one of her iconic mirrors and several pieces of her jewelry. Whenever I wear the earrings she created, other artist friends always admire them and say, “Dale, right?”

Exciting news – Dale is coming to Lyn Belisle Studio in June for a one-time afternoon workshop to show you how to create these wonderful earrings from metal, beads and small found objects. You will NOT want to miss this. You can find the details here.


I met Dale several years ago through the Fiber Artists of San Antonio – yep, she’s an amazing fiber artist as well as metals sculptor. Check out two of her creations for FASA, below, and don’t miss the chance to work with Dale at my Studio on June 12th. I’m so excited!! Thanks, Dale, and TGIF, Y’all.

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 –

Far-flung faces and una mas Friday Freebie

I told my Trinity students that if they finished their websites by class time yesterday, we wouldn’t have class on Tuesday of next week and they could travel home for Thanksgiving. Worked like a charm! Which, of course, means *I* don’t have class next Tuesday either. Yahaha.

And speaking of travels, the little Face Shards that I make and sell on Esty sure get around. I love getting photos of how people use them. This first batch shows detailed spirit dolls made by my friend Ginger Quinn in New Mexico (some of you know Ginger) – and check out the neat mud-cloth jacket she made, also:

These photos come from Karen Anderson in Sacramento, California. She created these lovely necklaces using my face shards for her Etsy shop, Catching Waves:

I’m grateful to all the artists who get inspired by these little faces and use them in the most creative ways – and I’m also grateful to you SHARDS subscribers, so here’s the “una mas”  Friday Freebie. It’s a sister piece to the Friendship Bridge purse given away a couple of weeks ago with a face shard inside. And if you are a SHARDS subscriber by this coming Monday morning, you’ll have a chance for your name to be drawn. Good luck and have a lovely weekend!






Spring Fling: the Trailer (approved for audiences of all ages)

Alison, Lesta, Jan and I had the best time setting up for today’s art show. Here’s your special sneak preview – I took some photos with my phone as we were finishing up and made this little video. My three fellow artists are just amazing in their versatility and creative talent – please come see for yourself – 10-5 today at the Studio, and here’s a map for you so you won’t lose your way!



It’s showtime! Come fling with us . . .

Spring Fling springs open tomorrow morning at the Studio. My pals Lesta Frank, Alison Schockner, and Jan Longfellow will join me in our first show and sale of the year – hope you can drop by. There’s always lots to see, and lots of ideas and techniques to steal – er, I mean, emulate. I’ll have some new small textured earthenware adornment pieces, most around $8 or sotext1 text2 text3. Here’s are a few samples:

I’ll also have the new Milagrito hanging constructions and the first series of Shardian Angels (what a name).


Anoba, Celtic forest goddess

Anoba, Celtic forest goddess










Check out this elegant necklace that Jan Longfellow will have tomorrow – love the stone! And Lesta and Alison will have a huge assortment of gorgeous fibers and watercolors and treasure of all manner. See you tomorrow, 10-5, at the Studio for Spring Fling!

DYI Friday Freebie . . . Shard Adornment Kit!

Howdy, and happy All Saints Day. I always think of old San Fernando Cemetery  on Nov 1. Lots of families will be there this weekend having picnics on the graves of loved ones and generally hanging out with them, which I think is pretty cool. Most of my earthenware faces come from San Fernando, so today’s Friday Freebie is a Shard Adornment Kit with everything you need to create a magnetic art-to-wear pin like this one:

pinfreebie2For the kit, I’ve put together a small shard face, some feathers and mat board, beads and cord, interesting paper pieces, and a strong bar magnet for you to use to create an adornment for yourself or a friend. You can see lots more examples at this YouTube link, and I’ll have some new Shard Adornments at the stupendous Studio Art Sale next Saturday, NOV 9. Please come!

pinfreebiekit_edited-1To be eligible win this kit, be a SHARDS subscriber by Sunday at midnight – yay for shameless self-promotion! A random drawing will take place Monday morning. Oh, yeah – I’ll even include directions! And if you’d like to come to a workshop and make them with me and several other creative people, sign up here for the Nov. 24th workshop at the Studio. It’s your Place of Creative Belonging – mine, too :). OK, go forth and doing something small and saintly for someone to celebrate All Saints Day.