Studio notes – including a remarkable student

shard2Studio note 1: Congrats to Yvonne Baca, lucky subscriber #54, who won the Friday Freebie Scent Shard

Studio note #2: The video from Sunday’s Explorations in Air-Dry Clay is up on YouTube – we had a great time!

Studio note #3: Most of you know that I teach at Trinity University in the Computer Science Department (part time now since I opened the Studio) . My class focuses on basic concepts such as networking and Internet ethics as well as graphic applications and web design. All of my students this semester have been smart and funny and ready to learn, particularly Will Lin from China. Here’s a link to the introduction he wrote at the first of the semester (it’s wonderful), and here’s his final project, a built-from-scratch website – I have his permission to share it with you (click on the graphic) – thanks, Will:


Where has this week gone? . . .and Friday Freebie

Did this week disappear as fast for you as it did for me? Yikes – so little time, so much to do. As promised, a SHARDS subscriber (new or old or ancient) will receive a Scent Shard of his/her/its very own if his/her/its name is drawn on Sunday night by the Magic Randomizer. Here’s the lovely Shard, a classic face with spirals.shard2

Looking ahead, I’ve just posted a new Celtic Spirit Doll workshops for February – I’ve been doing a little research on the subject, and this should be fun – you, too, can Create a Spirit Doll whose roots lie in Tír na nÓg , the Celtic place of eternal youth and beauty. It should be fun – spirit doll workshops are really such a favorite of mine and everyone else’s.

And if you’re a writer (aren’t we all in one way or another), please consider Nancy West’s Creative Writing Seminar and Workshop at the Studio on two Wednesday evenings, January 15th & 22, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. For just $40, this two-part workshop is the literary bargain of the new year – Nancy is funny and creative and a delight to work with. Plus there will be good snacks – yeah! I might even make some of my pal PJ’s Saltine Toffee. It’s sinfully addictive. Happy weekend, All!

Friday Freebie! Threads of Blessing tapestry

Last Sunday I visited with the Threads of Blessing people at Cathedral House and am sharing one of the wonderful embroidered tapestries with a SHARDS subscriber (thanks to all of you guys). Subscribe by this Sunday evening to be in the drawing. If you don’t know about Threads of Blessing, it was founded a group of Episcopalian women from the West Texas Diocese who organize workshops in Honduras, Mexico, and Uganda that encourage the local women to share their creative skills. Pretty cool. Here’s a photo of a workshop on the grass in Uganda.Workshop on the grass

Today’s Friday Freebie is a fanciful embroidered tapestry by Ugandan artisan Esther Byaruhanga depicting a group of people planting a garden. The little seeds are tiny white stitches – maybe corn? The colors are vibrant and the people are happily working – it’s a labor of love, for sure.


After receiving her gift of payment, one of the Ugandan women on the Threads of Blessing site wrote, “With the second gift I was able to get the school results for my second child and buy land for them. How to build a house was a problem. With this third gift I can now continue with building our house.” So the Friday Freebie will be a gift to you! Thanks for supporting artists everywhere, including me :). I’ll announce the winner of Esther’s tapestry on Monday morning.

Friday Freebie: Spirit Box Kit

To celebrate the publication of my article, Spirit Boxes, in the Sept-Nov issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, I’m putting together a one-of-a-kind Spirit Box kit for a Shards subscriber. Subscribe before midnight on Sunday and you’ll be in the random drawing. So, YAY! The kit has a shard face, the matboard frame, some decorative paper, and tin to hang the project. Oh, yeah, and directions.

Also, for your weekend viewing pleasure,, I just finished the video of Sherrill Kahn’s workshops at the Studio – what a great time we had! Sherrill and I are fast friends now – that’s the best part of all! Thanks to everyone who came – oh, and don’t forget, there’s a shard face workshop this Sunday with spaces left! Send me an email if you want to make your own Spirit Box faces.

Friday Freebie – Threads of Blessing

When the Sathreads1cred Ground exhibit opened at Cathedral House Gallery in late May, I met a woman named Helen Schnelzer who sponsors a wonderful program called Threads of Blessing, an annual needlework workshop for the women of Uganda. These workshops are designed to encourage women to gather as a community, learn organizational skills, and help develop personal esteem. I purchased five of the embroidered tapestries and wanted to share one with a SHARDS subscriber as a Friday Freebie. This one was embroidered by Abby Thorciba, who writes in her statement, “I have orphans I care for . . .the Lord has given me this to feed, clothe and care for them and myself.” Look at the great expression on this face!


Here is the full tapestry – it’s about 18×18″ on unbleached muslin and could be stretched to frame or sewn into a hanging or a pillow. It’s signed by Abby Thorciba. I’ll wait until Sunday to do the Friday Freebie drawing but will let you know who the winner is Sunday night. All subscribers will have a chance to win, and I thank you so much for reading my blog.

And here’s the brochure – click on it to read it, and if you’d like to donate, you can write to The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, Attn: Threads of Blessing, PO Box 6885, San Antonio, TX 78209 (or just email me and I can give you more information – I’m not affiliated with the program, but I definitely support its philosophy and will continue to threads3purchase these unique works).



Friday Freebie – Silver Shards for a subscriber –

mirrors1The kiln and I have been busy for the last few day. I’ve done two firings since Tuesday with new designs. Here are the first few pieces of earthenware with silver Gilder’s Paste which I order on Etsy. I love this combination or terra cotta and silver. Check out the little shard mirror! The Gilder’s Paste is a metallic wax that you can rub on with your finger to highlight texture, and it becomes a permanent patina-like finish on the unglazed clay.

Today’s Friday Freebie is one of the little B Beautiful shard dishes like the two in front. You can use them for tea bags, rings, whatever – or just look at them as a small one-of-a-kind work of art. I put a honeycomb texture on the clay that looks very cool, if I do say so myself. If you are a SHARDS Blog subscriber before midnight tonight and your name is drawn by my number randomizer app , I’ll send you one of the little B Beautiful dishes – free tea bag included 🙂 Subscribe by adding your email on the top right on the page – thanks! And thanks to all of you loyal already-subscribers – you guys are awesome.

Also, as a PS, since I’m talking about ME, I was asked to submit my digital portfolio for consideration as San Antonio Art League’s Artist of the Year for 2014. Now, chances of my being chosen are about as likely as flying pigs, but it was nice to be nominated. I didn’t have a digital portfolio so I put one together with some work from the last couple two years. The nomination made me smile because my work was rejected by the juror in the last Art League show, but you gotta roll with rejection, keep calm, and carry on!


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.