The Spirits of Austin

Sometimes the timing and the place are exactly right for creating together. The two-day Spirit Doll workshop in Austin was one of those times, shadowed by the Uvalde tragedy, inspired by the wish for immersion in making art as spiritual healing.

There were ten of us in the workshop and by the time it was over, we were a bonded community. Some came from Austin, some from Dallas, Houston and other places, but the Austin School of Fiber Arts was our heart-home for the weekend.

Lynne Brotman, director of the ASFA, has a wonderful space available for workshops in the newly-arty southeast section of Austin.

The first day, we worked with the basic spirit doll armature construction.

Everyone talked about how the word “doll” connotates a toy, but figures like these are ancient and profound. No one had a better word, however – it’s always problematic describing this art/craft genre of figure-making.

We all completed our figures, all started the same way, all finished in different ways reflecting the intentions of the makers.

On Day Two, we broke out the plaster and the air-dry clay and built armatures using a different method still with sticks and very basic, natural materials – like our toilet paper rolls!

Patrice put feet on hers!


At the end of the second day, we looked at all the spirits we had created. They mirrored the community that we had made over the weekend – a group of like-minded people coming together for a purpose that revealed itself most clearly at the end of the process. I am so grateful to each of the artists in the workshop for teaching me lessons about ingenuity and generosity.

I’m inviting you to share in the workshop experience by watching this video of how we started, what we did, and how we finished.


I’m planning another Spirit Doll workshop in San Antonio in July. Let me know if you might be interested and I”ll put you on the email list. In times like these, we need all of the good spirits we can get!

Thanks for reading SHARDS – take good care, and stay cool.

New critters on the block . .

Oh, boy – the First Friday Art Walk in Marble Falls is this week (February 2nd, 5-8 pm), and as part of it Marta Stafford’s gallery is having a bee-youtiful celebration featuring jazz, honey wine, valentine-inspired jewelry, and my beeswax photocollages and B Beautiful dishes.

I wanted to do something extra and different for this show, something that uses beeswax in a new way for me, and I came up with these five fun wall sculptures using earthenware, gauze, sticks, wire and beeswax and Secret Sauce (aka walnut ink).

Here’s the first one, called “Sacred Sentry”.

I’m calling this series “Earthen Wax & Wings,” and I have a feeling that I’ll be doing more of these. This one’s called “Cloudhopper” – a very happy creature.

Each piece has a tag with its name – and each one has a story that you can read in the faces if you use your imagination. Here’s “Icebound Angel” – so what’s HER story? You might not want to mess with her.

And here’s the “Messenger” – kind of androgynous? I guess they all are. Wings are non-gender specific!

Finally, here’s my fave – “Peacemaker.” Simple and serene – I may keep this one.

It’s funny how things work – I made the little earthenware “blanket” faces weeks ago  without knowing exactly what I was going to do with them. Then I got an idea from Linda Rael that turned out to be the perfect extension for the earthenware.

And when Marta announced her “bee and honey” theme, I tried beeswax and walnut ink on the exterior and it all works together beautifully. Trust the process!

PS – the cataract surgery went very very well! Thanks for the good wishes – I practically have X-ray vision now!



Studio visit – James Wyatt Hendricks, SAAL&M 2017 Artist of the Year

James Wyatt Hendricks has been named the 2017 Artist of the Year for the San Antonio Art League & Museum. Lucky us!

And lucky me to get to visit his Alamo Street studio yesterday. Wow! I encourage you to mark your calendar right now for the opening of his exhibition at SAAL&M on Sunday, September 10th, 3-5 pm. It’s going to be a blockbuster!

James’s sculpture in progress for Laurel Ridge Hospital – huge sheet of metal balanced by incredibly detailed birds

James’s works ranges from mammoth steel sculptures to incredibly delicate Prisamacolor drawings. With 30 years of experience as an artist and craftsman his art is expansive and eclectic.

Frida lamp by James Wyatt Hendricks – I’m in line for the next one!

In a recent interview, James said,

“I work at my studio on a wide range of mediums that include oil painting, stone carving, forged steel, cast bronze, printmaking and traditional welding. I am considered a master craftsman, and I take my work very seriously.”

We talked about the fact that both of us share a background in commercial design – and that both of us worked as illustrators for the Express-News. James has an amazing ability to switch from teeny tine detail design on his Mac to welding huge sheets of steel.

It’s impressive to see him at work in his studio. Here’s a short video of some of the cool things I saw yesterday during our visit.

Studio Visit with James Wyatt Hendricks from Lyn Belisle on Vimeo.

James is so engaging and talks about his work with an insight and sensitivity that is totally authentic – you will enjoy meeting him. You can read more about his work in this article from the Express-News.

As I said, this is going to be a blockbuster exhibit at the San Antonio Art League & Museum on September 10th. Invitations will go out later in August. Email me if you’d like to be on the list.

And you are not to late to catch the last two weeks of “Visions of Summer”, the current exhibit  at the Art League – through July 30th!




Creating with invisible directions

It’s hard to explain how it feels when the parts take over and show you where they need to go – sounds kind of weird. But I just finished a Shardian assemblage that did just that. This figurative piece had never existed before, so there were no directions, but the pieces fit together so smoothly that every piece that was put in place felt exactly right. I love it when that happens! Hmmm . . .this piece started right after my visit to Papa Jim’s . . . (hearing theme from Twilight Zone) . . .


Where will you be a week from today?

the bow LBWell, if it’s between 6-9 p.m. on Friday the 20th, I hope you’ll be at the Studio, at least long enough to have a drink and a nosh and meet the amazing artist, Pablo Solomon. He’ll be here in San Antonio celebrating Solstice Weekend with us – it’s becoming an annual tradition – hooray! When I visited Pablo and Beverly at their beautiful historic ranch and studio, we selected some stunning and very collectible sculptures and drawings for this show – for example, Pablo’s sculptures of dancers are exquisite and priced (unbelievably) under $200. Here’s your very special invitation:


If for some crazy reason you can’t come by next Friday, darn it, Pablo will be at the Studio from 2-4 on Saturday afternoon the 21st for an informal Show and Tell session to discuss the art market, the creative process, and what it’s like living in (and taking care of) one of the most historic houses in Texas. And the lovely Beverly Solomon can discuss what it’s like to be a muse and model for those wonderful sculptures! Please help us celebrate summer Solstice, dance, the arts and interesting people by coming by Lyn Belisle Studio this coming weekend. Cheers and TGIF!

Kim Bernard and the Boston Sculptors Gallery

It has been a gorgeous afternoon in Boston, and I took a break from preparations for tomorrow’s Beacon Hill Art Walk to head over to the Boston Sculptors Gallery. Before I left San Antonio, I had gotten a email about an opening there and  knew it would coincide with my Boston visit. It sounded intriguing even before I found out that Kim Bernard, one of the artists, is a friend of Michelle Belto‘s, my good pal and workshop collaborator. The sculpture gallery space is wonderful – very large and light. It was dominated by Kim’s installation of 100 lead balls suspended in a 25′ line from a very high ceiling. Kim handed me The Special Glove and let me start the ball rolling, as it were, and the whole sinuous line of little spheres danced along a curving path. Pretty cool! Click here to read more about Kim and her work – and also look at the work of her exhibition partner, Donna Dodson, whose female hippo sculptures are both powerful and endearing. It is such an adventure to seek out new art in new places – –  and now, back to work for tomorrow’s show. I’ll send a report afterwards!

Saturday morning discovery time

Hooray, it’s the weekend! My exhibit opening at the Carver was great – thanks to all who came, images to follow. This morning, I turned my attention to the upcoming ADC workshop at the Studio on March 23rd. This was the image I used for that workshop – it’s a fun little piece I did using clay on canvas:

Surfing around, I found this amazing work by Joanna Mozdzen, a sculptor from Ontario who who was born and raised in Poland. Isn’t it fantastic? But wait, there’s more if you scroll down.

I followed the trail to one of her videos on You Tube and was just blown away by her five-minute tutorial on sculpting a female head. Take a break and watch this. It’s totally mesmerizing. Yay for Saturday surfing and awesome discoveries like artist Joanna Mozdzen! Have a lovely weekend.


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


Horse Totem & Dreams, Driftwood Sculpture

It is always such a delight to see how other artists use my face shards – here’s a small one on the left of a larger sculpture. The amazing wood is naturally colored in reds and oranges. The artist, Debra Bernier from Victoria, British Columbia, sent me this photo. See this piece and more of her work at her Etsy shop, Shaping Spirit.