I’m a creative, experienced, multi-purpose artist and art director
who can take projects start to finish in a variety of styles.

Good designs sell –
my designs sell out!

Friday, January 30, 2015


I had breakfast with a friend this morning.  I told her the word for the week was "jagged" and she talked about the candle holder I gave her some years ago which is now in her china cabinet.  I was scratching my head about this, trying to remember it while she wondered aloud about how I can consider myself strictly 2D when I make so many 3D things.

"Yeah, but the candle holder is just four 2D sides that I stuck together."  She gave me one of those endearing, exasperated looks and rattled off a bunch of other examples of 3D stuff I've made.  Okay, maybe she's got a point, especially since I've been obsessively making Sculpey flowers lately, and I did make the deer hide drum in the photo behind the candle holder.  (Skinned, butchered, cooked, and ate that deer for that matter.)

I don't take any of my 3D stuff very seriously, and I guess that's the point.  I started doing stained glass because I hired someone to teach stained glass classes when I was Arts Administration Director for Wickliffe Civic Center (WICCI).  Mom and I thought that might be fun, so we signed up together.  While breathing lead fumes and burning my fingers on "real" projects, I ended up making a lot of jagged shards of pretty glass.  Since I didn't want them to go to waste, voilĂ , candle holder.

But I don't think of myself as very good at these kinds of things.  It's just the stuff I do in between "real" paintings, often things I do obsessively like Sculpey flowers.  More shards of stained glass live next to the Sculpey in the closet.  I wonder what else might be in there?  Loops for making pot holders for sure, and a bead loom...

(...time out to rummage through closets... candle making, leather crafts, embroidery, yarn, beads... a lot of rivets, fabric, buttons...)

Okay, okay, maybe I do make some 3D things?  But I stick to my original premise that I approach these things in a 2D way -- which must be untrue since now I'm looking at some metal circles that might improve my Sculpey atom and some glass beads I could string on fishing line...

On top of all that, now I also have a big pile of stuff on my floor that seems to distress my puppy.  I suppose she knows a new pile of stuff means more obsessive craft projects and less petting and cuddling, but I think my brother might get a new leather wallet unless he's wants to stick with his latest duct tape creation.  Maybe I should take a time out and get some new duct tape in snazzy patterns?

Sometimes non-artists seem interested in how artists think.  I can't speak for all of us, but I think a lot of us follow some variation of the above?  My friend makes a comment, and now I have piles of weekend projects with which to amuse myself.  Maybe I said something that inspires a pile on her floor too?  Maybe just my laughing at her when she talked about shelving her creative aspirations?

See, we can't turn it off.  Creativity is a part of us.  Sometimes a messy part with periodic disappointments and misdirections and changes of plans, but we will keep creating, whatever the medium.  And that's good.  Mess up your own house this weekend!

P.S. I found out that you can resuscitate crumbly Fimo clay with a little vegetable oil + found out it turns black if you forget it in the oven.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


I was walking back to my car today after yet another funeral when I saw a decal on the back window of a pickup truck, "Girls like big racks too!".  Yup, that just about sums it up for Earl's funeral -- and where is your mind?!  There was a picture of deer antlers on that decal.  I'm pretty sure this is the first funeral I've been to with antler decor, but it was apropos. 

Earl was big on poaching, hunting, fishing, camping, etc.  Earl's son, my nephew, gave a heart-felt talk at the funeral and said he would see his father in the water of the river when he fishes and feel him in the breeze when he's in the woods.

My secluded childhood neighborhood in the woods didn't provide many neighbors.  When Sis married Earl it was like she married our step-brother, especially since the Glen is an inbred place where everyone is related in one way or another.  An old lady told me how the Hendershots are related to the Huggs to the Mortons... but all roads lead to the Noonans like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon -- who is probably related to the Noonans too.

The word of the week, "Passion", caused me to journal angry thoughts about Earl.  Happy memories would force their way into my thoughts and I'd get pissed off all over again that he was messing with my clear-cut, justifiable anger, but I suppose things aren't simple when we're talking a lifetime of memories?  My moments of grief made me even more pissed off when thinking of his sudden heart attack this week at age 59.

I hate funerals, and despite my vow that I wouldn't go to any more, it seems like I've been to a lot of them lately.  This one seemed to do what funerals are supposed to do though, it helped me feel more at peace.  I hugged my nephews and caught up with people who live in my heart's memory.

I'd rather remember stuff like parties, picnics, serious talks about fishing, the halo of sunlight on Earl's red head as he played with his laughing red-headed boys in the river.  Or how he tried charming Grandma and Dad, who both looked formidable despite Earl's best efforts until he got them laughing and they had to remember to look formidable.

I want to sort people in clear slots in my mind.  Good/bad.  There's a complexity that defies classification when you've known someone always, and another loss when I realize that another piece of my childhood, my life, is dead.

I feel for my nephews.  Earl loved them, and it's hard to lose a parent.  I think he loved Sis too, despite their divorce.  I'm wishing all of you the good memories in the light of antler lamps.

It's been a hard week in more ways than one, and then I got something in the mail that made me smile and feel grateful.  Dosanko Debbie sent me a lovely New Year's piece of art that lifted my heart at a time I really needed it lifted.  I just love the jar full of little sheep!  Totally adorable, and I'm going to frame it to celebrate this ovine year of the Chinese calendar.  Even the envelope is beautiful.  Check out her website here.  Each of her paintings is a truth of life and quite a gem.  THANK YOU!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015


Does Play Doh count as a toy?  I love the smell and the cool feeling of the stuff.  Something I love quite a bit less is Sculpey or Fimo clay, but that has the benefit of hardening in the oven.  It doesn't smell nearly as good though, raw or cooked.

One of my coworkers has been clearing out a house lately, and she's been bringing me presents every day.  Amongst the many interesting things that she's brought me is Fimo clay, and like the child that I am, I've spent my evenings making completely useless items with oven-hardened permanence.

There's a little sadness behind the house cleaning.  The adult daughter, got cancer and died.  A couple of years later, her mom got another kind of cancer and died.  No more family, the friendly neighbor inherited, and the house full of stuff is getting cleared out by my coworker -- and I get Christmas every day in January.  Woo hoo!  I'd like to think the daughter is happy her things are going to a kindred spirit instead of to the dump.

I haven't been in the house, but there's a castle room where medals from Pennsic wars tell a silent story of medieval wars in Pennsylvania hosted by the Society of Creative Anachronisms.  I'm told the proper way to display those medals are in cleavage.  I passed the medals on to someone with more ample cleavage and actual Renaissance costumes.

I've gotten a turtle quilt, necklace, and coffee cup, a smiley cup, giant sketch pad, a pointy silver thing that I was told to use on my voodoo dolls... Just to be clear, I don't actually have voodoo dolls, but my need to vent frustrations is obviously apparent.  I may have made stabbing motions after a meeting recently.

In any case, I have some new toys, and tv time to play with them.  I made feathers.  I made an atom, a flower... who knows what else will get oven-hardened next?

I'm a bit frustrated with my atom.  I wrote recently about my bag of copper wire that's begging for an art project.  My brother whipped out a tree, and I suppressed some 3D jealousy.  The best I can say for my wire projects is that I embedded wire into my atom parts so the electron bee has a stinger and antennae and all the atom parts have copper loops to hang them.  What I really wanted was wire circles for them all to rotate around and jiggle, but I was foiled by my lack of technical expertise to make this all work.  Now I'm intimidated by my greater goal to make a copper wire mobile, perhaps with Sculpey adornments and counter weights.

He who taught me about atoms might argue with me about my atom interpretation.  The parts all have names of people who play those kinds of roles in real life.  I figure the feathers are illustration in another form because I just painted with clay instead of paint.

What kind of toys do you play with?

Friday, January 9, 2015


"Nefarious" is a tricky word.  It's unethical, evil, scheming... and I suppose I've known people like that, but they seem like light-weights compared to leaders of people who inspire others to shoot up Paris.  Sometimes I think the world sucks when we even need to have words to describe such people.  I'd rather not think about it.

I suppose that's part of the problem with the world.  I'm not the only one who'd rather not think about it, and if we aren't outraged, does anything change?  But I don't know anyone in a terrorist group, so I don't see what I can do about it.  Maybe the Germans felt that way in WWII?  I have a fascination with that period of time, not the nefarious people like Hitler and Goebels, but the regular people who let things happen.  I'd like to think I'd be brave enough to hide Jews, but would I?  Look at how many people didn't.

It's all abstract thinking anyway.  I hope never to be put to that challenge.  I feel sorry for the French victims this week, but that's abstract too.  It's not the same as when a crazy person broke into a recording studio and murdered one of my friends in a shooting spree.  One of the nicest guys ever, he'd been in my house earlier that week.  It can be a violent, sucky world.

My sis told me to quit keeping my death list, people I've known closely but died too young.  I know way too many of them, but I don't want James forgotten.  I guess I'm not the only one.  I'm glad to see him remembered in this newspaper article.  They talk about him as a "ladies' man", but I remember his shy questions about girls and his generous hugs, things I got for being a perpetual big sister to young guys with a world of potential never reached when I called my house "my home for wayward boys".  I miss the laughter and guitars, but not the tattooing on my dining room table.  Kind of funny when I think of it in retrospect, but I just might've threatened to kill them all that week for despoiling the place where I eat.  Who knew?

Well, enough of death lists like Sis says.  She and I did something fun this week, partly to celebrate her birthday.  She works at Progressive, the insurance company with Flo.  Progressive is a big deal in Cleveland, with giant campuses all over the place.  As luck would have it, Sis and I work about 2 minutes apart and she gave me a Progressive tour.

Peter B. Lewis, Progressive's founder, was married to a woman who is a big supporter of the arts, and the campuses are filled with mostly contemporary work.  I wish I'd taken more pictures now that I'm writing about it, especially the giant origami birds, but I was busy enjoying what I was seeing instead of thinking about sharing my experience.  Maybe I'll go back and take more photos.  Sis passes this giant hot tub sculpture every day and loves it.  We both like the electronic sculpture that plays music when you get close enough to it.

Peter B. Lewis was probably nefarious to make such a big and successful company, but I don't know that he was.  I might just be cynical, but I am very glad he supported his wife's passion for art.  We need more art supporters!

Friday, January 2, 2015


My lamp broke.  It's a cute lamp so I wanted to fix the stability of the rod holding the bulb and shade.  I've tried to fix it before but the parts are too old and worn out for a lasting repair.  This time I figured I'd fix it with copper wire because there's been a bag of old copper wire by my door ever since the electrician was here and said "Recycle this.  Copper is worth decent money these days."

I suppose he's right, but I looked at the messy pile and envisioned cool projects which would be wasted in recycling.  I encouraged my brother to do something with it, but it's just been in the doorway without becoming art.

I fixed the lamp, no problem.  A stupid amount of time later I kept asking myself why I kept stripping the insulation off the old wires, especially since it's probably asbestos or something.  When I got a blister I thought surely that's time to quit stripping wire.  I couldn't help myself.

Part of it was the vivid memory of Grandpa's basement and seeing his supple wire with cloth insulation.  The memory was so vivid that I wanted to stay in that place, smell the familiar smells, feel the immediacy that Grandpa is still alive.  It just felt good, and I kept tearing my hands up on wire, but I didn't actually create anything.

Sometimes I think that I'm neither creative nor inventive, and respect the people who are these things.  Then I realize that since I know a lot of creative and inventive people, my comparisons are skewed.  I'm more inventive than some people in the wider world, I just don't notice it in myself because my inventions are little, problem-solving things.

The handle on my tea kettle broke?  No problem, I'll make a new handle.  I want to put all my computer stuff in a tiny room?  That's not a problem either.  I'll make some shelves out of boards and metal electric boxes.  And so on.  See, I'm cheap and won't go out and buy a new tea kettle or a custom shelving unit, therefore I have to be inventive.

It's part of the fun for me at garage sales.  I saw a metal grate with a heron on it and liked it.  Maybe everyone else who went to that garage sale just saw something heavy and impractical.  I turned it into a garden gate which I see every time I pull into my driveway.

Grandpa was like this, Mom's like that too, and so I figure it's in my genes or in my examples that there's no good reason to spend money on stuff that you can do for cheap or free.  And then I spend too much time stripping insulation off copper wires with some vague thought that there's a gem in the mess.  I also think wouldn't it be cool if I electrified my unknown gem. 

Yeah, sure.  The wire is back in its bag by the side door.

Not sure how the snowflake factors in, but IF took too long to give me a word and I made this while waiting.  Now I have other things to do and figure we'll just call snowflakes one of God's inventions.