Thursday, December 18, 2014

Stockings Hung With Care

Stocking Mixed Media Accordion Fold Mini Books, 1st edition
Each holiday fills us with excitement, and the school kid in me knows that means arts & crafts time! Stockings are ripe (no pun intended?) for creative license - and here I went to town making a funky little book to display their holiday flair. Glue and threaded needles were gathered.....

The stockings and even the background - yes, that's my calligraphy copy of the first stanza of The Night Before Christmas - are made from fabric. Each sports a random play of hand-sewn clear and silver beads plus a button flourish.
Opened, each book measures about 3" x 12". The covers are tissue-textured mat board, and vintage Santa-themed tissue reinforces the heavy watercolor paper pages (both sides). Organza ribbon tipped with a silver jingle bell keeps it tied together.
These little buggers are a blast to make so I plan to have more in stock in my Etsy shop next year. They'd make great little gifties, just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

In A Fowl Mood

Rooster 'n Hen House

Confession: I secretly like country-inspired d├ęcor - barnyards, wheat fields, calico, etc. - although as a city-born girl I should be too sophisticated, right? Phooey. Life's short, I'm owning up and following my eclectic Muse. This piece is another experiment combining paper cutting, vintage imagery, embroidery, and this time, buttons (next time, beads perhaps, we'll see). I am planning to make handmade artist's books featuring pages like this one. It would be lovely on a coffee table waiting to be thumbed through again and again.

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Psych - no furniture here! Actually "couch" refers to a technique whereby threads (yarn in this case) are layed on top of fabric and tacked in place with other thread. This piece is an experiment of layered sheer and semi-opaque fabrics combined with couched yarns and simple embroidery. Frankly the soft colors don't show well here despite my best efforts with photo editing. However I'm quite satisfied with the basic idea - color and texture that invite touch.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


My most recent mixed media journal entry. I hope the colors read delicate rather than somber as it was a delight to create. A few ideas came fluttering into my head, nudging me this way and that. Tried to not try beyond a willingness to give what ever inklings a go.
Been experimenting quite a bit lately just to answer a list of questions in my head - what happens if.... The results may not be readily apparent - it was as much exercises of what won't work as what might. And here I'll include another journal entry that gave me a bit of satisfaction:

Pumpkins Chiffon
You would be correct in concluding I have a "thing" for pumpkins.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Celtic Pumpkins

Celtic Pumpkins Mixed Media Artist Book
 This is my second generation of Celtic-themed pumpkins (these designs are adapted from the early La Tene period) - and I am even more pumped. I have gathered them into a 6x8 accordion-fold book which looks stunning when fully extended for display. Just as easily it can be folded right back down and be nicely protected by its heavy duty front and back covers.

Celtic Pumpkins Mixed Media Artist Book, front cover

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pumpkins Spice It Up

Bounty Paper Cut Harvest I Series
 I am mad for pumpkins! They are my favorite autumn decoration, carved or not. And since I've been on a tear lately for paper cut art it seemed fitting that the voluptuous Cucurbita pepo be the vehicle for celebrating the harvest. In my first series I am "decorating" each fantasy pumpkin with a Celtic knot which for me is a symbol of the perpetual  cycle of life and death. It is also my nod to Halloween and its precursor, Samhain, which vividly mark the change of seasons. To emphasize my theme I have sewn the word 'harvest' or one of its synonyms: plenty, abundance, and bounty. All the other decorations whether multi-colored ink splatters, buttons, paper punched edges, or contrasting foundation fabric contribute to the festive atmosphere. These four paper cuts are 5"x 7" and show best in a simple white frame.

Harvest Paper Cut Harvest I Series

Abundance Paper Cut Harvest I Series

Plenty Paper Cut Harvest I Series

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Say It With Flowers

Dream Flowers Accordion Fold Book/Card

Here's a portable way to display art: an accordion-fold book that opens out to show off all those juicy images. I collected prints of my first Dream Flowers series and put them on sturdy 140# acid-free watercolor paper (which measures 6"x8" folded). When wall space is limited but your eyes (like mine) yearn for more pretty pictures (like mine) this book is just the thing to plant on a tabletop or a shelf. With its words of inspiration (think of growing flowers and unbridled imagination) it also makes an extra special gift card. On the backside of each page is a delicately handwritten line about each word on the front.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bloomin' Metaphors

Imagine from  Dream Flowers Series
These are the final two collages in my first Dream Flowers series of four. They have been a delight to make -- so much to play with: designer papers, vintage textbook pages, pigment inks, organza, free-motion stitching, buttons, and fancy paper punchers and edgers. I think any creative-minded person can relate to having all sorts of ingredients and therefore all sorts of combinations possible. It's that potential which sets imagination soaring. For me the Dream Flowers are a reflection of that enthusiasm.

Play from Dream Flowers Series

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weight-Bearing Flowers

Grow, Dream Flower Collage Series
Flowers carry a lot of symbolism around no matter the culture or the era. They're fascinating, and few tire of giving a second look or more. Our hearts are touched and we are inspired to communicate that through art. In the spirit of such messaging, this is "Grow" from my series, Dream Flowers. (Two entries ago was "Bloom"). It is a mixed media collage that combines vintage text, designer papers, and fabric through the techniques of papercutting and free-motion stitching.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Ooh La La!

Grapes Sewn mixed media collage
An  homage to French wine...featuring a free-motion sewn and painted portrait of grapes collaged on a 1912 partial map of France. I highlighted the Rhine River with beads, layered a coordinating strip of rust colored satin and added more machine stitching. Cheers!

Thursday, April 24, 2014


Bloom from Dream Flowers collage series
First in my new collage series, Dream Flowers. Three more planned. I'm delighted with this casual combination of papercutting and free-motion sewing on text and scrapbook papers. Hard to see but that's fringed mint poly as final "framing" layer which sets off the colors nicely.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lively Conversation

Purple and orange, paint and netting, sanded and shiny - all these talking at once! I was playing around in my art journal experimenting with this technique of contrasting colors, patterns, and textures, and it remains one of my favorites. That's the soul of collage for me - juxtaposing different elements to see what kind of conversation it'll spark. This particular page though would make a great background for handwritten or printed text. If you - yes, you - have a suggestion of what you'd like to see, I'm open. I'm always on the lookout for a good quote and am thinking of showcasing them on handcrafted backgrounds like these to put in a small folding book. You'd get tons of my appreciation and a coupon for a 10% off in my Etsy store,

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Santiago Rocks!

Public art in Santiago, Chile - detail
What language barrier? Public art in South America is so vibrant and inspiring that anyone can "read" it. This art journal page is an elaborate frame for one of many pictures I took of a construction wall mural in Santiago, Chile. What a crazy atmosphere that must've been creating it- imagine all these toys, paints and well, goop flying fast and furious. Would've loved to have met all these energized arists. This urgent, playful style is challenging me!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Inner City Field Trip!

Should I need material for seven veils...
'Stead of blogging last week I hightailed it to the LA Fashion District with fellow fabric-holic, my daughter Lina. We wanted to just case the textiles area which covers several square city blocks but only managed to explore a couple streets. This area is HUGE and it's only a fraction of what the District offers (women's clothing, jewelry, flowers, party supplies, housewares, etc.) Mainly what I found were clothing and drapery/upholstery fabrics which is fine as I have ideas for room dividers and window panels (more on that later), however no source discovered yet for quilting fabrics. Sigh. The area definitely merits further exploration. PS There's even a bitchin' app for LA Fashion District.

Is there an unsold fabric graveyard?

Lina scored pelts for a luxury throw

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Flower Happy

I needed a make-some-art-now fix and adding a page to my art journal is a good place to do my business. The page was already prepared with swaths of blue paint leftover from a previous project (a great way to get a head start) and something yellow or orange seemed to be called for. Spring must be on my mind because a flower was as far as my imagination wanted to go. Who can argue with flowers - nobody gets tired of them. I was playing with a new technique using deli wrap paper and couldn't resist combining it with one of my 'old' techniques - cut-outs of printed text. Think it 'reads' well - expressing anticipation of a glorious season.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Welcome Easter Luminaria

I am welcoming Easter and Spring with this playful (and foldable!) mixed-media luminaria. I constructed it out of heavy duty watercolor paper textured with layers of acrylic paint. The light openings are cut-outs of chicks and folksy dots, and this has been embellished with free-form machine sewn fabric eggs, hand sewn beads, and decoratively edged corners. I based it on the X-Book design. Opened, it measures 10"w x 3-3/4"h x 3"d. It'll fold to 5"w for storage. There's room for at least two LED tea lights. I made three total, and they're available now in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Girl Just Can't Help It

I'm an occasional doll collector, and lately smaller plastic ones from early to mid-20th century have really piqued my interest. They're affordable, can usually stand upright, and have a charm all their own.  Dolls in general have such history and cultural import. (Don't want to analyze that too much.)Their imagery, I think, could add an interesting element to my own art. (Don't want to analyze that either.) So here's a photo of a recent acquisition which I juiced up in Picasa. Have nothing in particular in mind except to experiment, see where it leads. Think I'm having more fun playing with pictures of toys rather than the toys themselves!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Chicks In The Rain

Chicks In The Rain I

Upcycling - go me. I was inspired to do this piece when these chicks were left over as cut-outs from another project (Easter luminarias). Their final destination is as source imagery for two cross-stitched pictures (thanks to PCStitch software!). I've been needing some piece work to zone out to, and while I admire traditional cross-stitch - yes, really, roses and all that- I want the challenge of designing a splashy, very two-dimensional picture. It'll be interesting to see how the uneven texture translates - may be a bust. Have to try because the scrap quilt is no where near ready for hand quilting

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Holiday on Edge

The challenge to myself was to try some new techniques making an "edgy" holiday themed page in my art journal -- all within a day. Hallmark may not be calling anytime soon but I'm pleased with how the eggs turned out and the fun of tearing layered paper off. Wish my purple paper didn't morph into ultramarine because I wanted to keep the traditional Easter colors, ah well.

Easter On Edge, mixed media collage

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

For Your Inner Child

La Boquita at Manzanillo,Colima, Mexico
Are we past winter's midway yet? Spring still isn't around the corner (yes, even here at drought central) but we can dream. And so I offer up one of mine taken couple years back. The bright colors are cheering and it's one of my favorite techniques: close-up, filling the frame. To highlight details and block out the background can get you to look at ordinary things in a whole new way. These sand toys pressed my kid button - play time is happy time!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Gettin' Scrappy

The holidays and houseguests took me out of the Art Zone for quite awhile, but I've plunged into a new project: a scrap quilt! The large plastic tote box of fabric scraps set aside for some day has been ripped open and to put it mildly, organized. What you see here is the first round of piecing blocks. My "m.o." is to make a series of strips of varying widths and link them together to make a quilt top. I think the non-specific pattern is named, Lazy Gal. It'll be a feast of color and pattern. While I am machine-piecing it, I plan to hand-quilt namely because I enjoy the physical process.

My inspiration to just go for it - as yes I am quite aware and capable of precise design - stems from  African-American quilts I've seen in museums and in books. The exuberance and improvisation they show are deeply inspiring. These ladies (and even some gentlemen) un-self-consciously sewed up some awesome. And while my circumstances are different, I can't resist trying to be so creative.