Spirit Dolls, Opening Night

The second big Studio event in two days was just as enjoyable as the poetry reading in a different way – a nice crowd of artisans and friends gathered to see the Spirit Dolls and to ask questions about their construction and uses. There was lots of curiosity and admiration for the work, especially when the guests learned that the dolls had been constructed in just two hours during the workshop. Once again, many of the people who came tonight saw old friends that they hadn’t seen in years or discovered new connections with people they hadn’t met before. I love it when that happens! There’s something about that Studio space that encourages those kinds of connections . . ..  . and here’s a video from this lovely evening:


The Solomons: wisdom and art

Last October I had the good fortune to meet artist/sculptor Pablo Solomon and his designer/creative director wife Beverly at an art opening at Marta Stafford’s gallery in Marble Falls. Pablo’s sculptures were captivating – very organic and fluid in stone and clay. We started talking and decided we needed to stay in touch. And we did! This weekend Beverly and Pablo came to San Antonio and we spent two days with them exploring galleries, talking, eating, laughing and discovering lots in common. They are amazing people who took the leap of faith to leave the city and make their home on 1856 historic ranch for sale in the Texas Hill Country north of Austin. You can read about it in an article about Beverly (and Pablo) here. If you visit their websites, you’ll be as amazed as I was with scope and depth of their talents. And they are both passionate conservationists and ecological crusaders.

I’m especially grateful to both of them for the good advice they gave me about my Studio space. I hope to have them back soon for an evening lecture about some of the things we discussed over the two days of our visit. Here we are at the Botanical Garden‘s Art in the Garden yesterday evening – a perfect venue for a sculptor!

solomonAnd here’s Pablo with Miro (thanks in advance, Beverly, for letting me swipe this great photo from the website) – some of the best stories we heard were about Miro the Amazing Cat with three legs – hooray for Miro, Pablo and Beverly!




Sunday Wrap-up

Today’s Mala and Spirit Flag Workshop felt like playing – wonder if there’s such a thing as a Playshop? It was like summer outside where we splattered our prayer flags with paint. We didn’t get much more done with the flags because sitting around the table stringing mala beads and talking was a lot more relaxing. One of the things we discussed was creating with intention, which seems to elevate and enrich any project.

Congratulations to Barbara Weitbrecht, the winner of the Mala meditation bracelet. Barbara, email me and let me know if there’s a favorite color you’d like me to use for the tassel. I’m still far from perfect at making these little wrist Malas, but it will be made with much love.

Here’s a video from today’s workshop – you can see what the parking lot around the Studio looks like! It was deserted on a Sunday afternoon so no one ran over our prayer flags. Yay!

Studio mascot?

Today was a workday in the Studio, painting walls and rearranging artwork. I bought a new rug for the front door area that was cheap and colorful – yay. But the most amazing thing was moving those hawks wings (some of you have seen them) to a new wall above the drafting table. After they were mounted, I remembered a lonely deer skull that was high on a wall in the guest room of our house – we brought it to the studio and hung it with the wings – just look! It is a mythical guardian creature! I hope it doesn’t scare me to death when I walk in tomorrow morning – but I think it is more protector than predator. Just keep that in mind if you’re coming to the Mala workshop tomorrow.

Deer skull and hawk's wings

Deer skull and hawk’s wings


Faces in new places

I’m wrapping up the weekend with some photos from other artists who have used my shard faces in their work. Two of these are Spirit Dolls (we’ll be making our own in the workshop on March 3rd). One is from Otter in Canada and the other is from Angela, who lives in Maine. The other photo I just got today from Chris, who took the shard face workshop on Sunday (there’s another one on Feb. 17th) and finished her necklaces today. Nice work! It’s inspiring to see how others use these little faces.

Joanna, Spirit Dolls and new faces . . .

Joanna Powell Colbert appeared in my life at a serendipitous time – she ordered some of my little faces for a Spirit Doll workshop last year and, in doing so, opened a door to lots of new connections for my shard faces. You’ve seen some of the photos of Spirit Dolls that people have sent me – now Joanna has made her booklet describing how to make these small spiritual sculpture available to everyone. What a cool gift!
How To Make a Spirit Doll by Joanna Powell Colbertspiritdollbook

I’ve had lots of new orders for faces and, as a result, I spent last night making new ones, about 100 of them. Every one of them seems to have a different story to tell. It’s kind of meditative to work the clay and see the expression in each face. Here are a few, ready to finish drying and go into the kiln. Thank, as always, to Joanna for her example and inspiration! We’ll be making Spirit Dolls at The Studio in the spring 🙂White clay faces before firingWhite clay faces before firing

Terra Cotta faces

Terra Cotta faces


San Antonio Art Educators Workshop

Thanks to the SAAE for inviting me to teach a workshop to art teachers! We met at the North East School of the Arts where I did a session on collage using three of my favorite art materials, walnut ink, gold leaf and rice paper. I printed some of my own collage images on rice paper for the teachers to experiment with, but despite this, the collages they created were all different. Here’s a video I made of the process as I was planning the workshop – it’s really pretty easy and the results can be surprising.

And here are some of the great collages that were done during the enjoyable workshop this afternoon.

ws5 ws6 ws4 ws3 ws2 ws1


Alice Ballard

I’ve just come across the work of potter artist Alice Ballard. It’s one of those revelation “aha” moments – this came right after my favorite local nursery, Shades of Green, requested my work for their shop yesterday. They are putting air plants in my Sprig Shards (thanks, Gloria, for showing them) and it’s made me rethink the form and function aspects of my earthenware. Take a look at Alice Ballard’s work, particularly this Pod series. Beautiful.



Collage on Canvas – Gina and me

Gina and I had scheduled an unannounced Collage on Canvas workshop several months ago, and it ended up being a very enjoyable one-on-one afternoon. Gina is a talented crafts-person in her own right and has made some beautiful journals for me – today she brought photos and mementos from her trips to Ireland. The hardest part was deciding on the central image. She chose a Irish beach photograph she had taken, and she also had shells from that same beach, including a razor clam shell that ended up being an integral part of the composition. We had a great time going back and forth about colors and textures and her collage is just lovely, organic and serene. Take a look.

Spirit Doll from Louise

I love receiving comments and photos from other artisans who have used my faces in creative ways, particularly in Spirit Dolls because there is so much meaning, positive energy and symbolism in those constructions. Look at this photo and read the comments from Louise in Washington state, and you’ll see what I mean – the face and body have almost come to life:

Several months ago I purchased some of your lovely face shards and although it has taken me a while, I finally completed a Spirit Doll which I named, “Plant Woman of the Pacific Northwest Woods”, in honor of my commitment to deepening my knowledge of the medicine of the local plants. ~ Louise