Rebecca Ing is a self-professed artist, photographer and science geek, and I love her inventive photographs.

Rebecca IngPhotography by Rebecca Ing

Ing was curious about how a layer of oil on water would impact the way an object passes through it.  She used a marble and “a few lasers” . . . I wish I could see her studio and how she sets up these scientific photographic experiments!

Rebecca IngViscous Liquid Sheet Atomisation – Fluid Fishbones, photography by Rebecca Ing

The “fishbones” photo is actually two liquid jets of sugar syrup at a low and high rates of flow.  Have you ever done dishes at the sink and just watched the flow of water?  Sometimes the simple movement of liquid is mesmerizing, and it is beautiful when captured in a moment of time.

Rebecca IngPhotography by Rebecca Ing

Who would know?  What you see are the fumes from nail polish remover bottles.  She uses Schlieren photography for this capture – a process used to photograph the flow of fluids of varying density.

Illustration for a Blue Locks – a short story by Wendy Wagner
photograph by Rebecca Ing

“It is a photo :)  I drew all the bits, cut them out stacked them and manipulated them, lit them…and then took a photo.  Mwahahahaha.” – Rebecca Ing

Just when I think she is simply (ha-ha . . SIMPLE? I don’t think so) a scientific photographer, I look through her blog to find the illustration above.  Not only can she wield a camera, but also colored pencils (my guess), and a computer. I find this process very interesting, and I like the dimensionality she created by using all of these methods. See her blog for more:

construction sparkle

The incongruous use of what you might call ugly utilitarian materials become fantastic sculptures in the hands of sculptor Soo Sunny Park.

Soo Sunny ParkCapturing Resonance, Soo Sunny Park & Spencer Topal

Park collaborates with sound artist and composer Spencer Topel on this installation, featured at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum near Boston. Can you guess the material used?

Soo Sunny ParkCapturing Resonance, Soo Sunny Park & Spencer Topal

Chain link fencing is filled with thousands of iridescent squares of plexiglass, reflecting and refracting brilliant colored light, while Topel’s blend of “whispering chords, soft tonal washes, and elongated instrumental sounds” fill the air in a composition that changes as it responds to human interaction.  (from the DeCordova website)

Soo Sunny Park36, Kr-81 (2006), night view, Soo Sunny Park
PETG, cotton strings, black paint, daylight, artificial green light

In her “36, KR-81” installation, Park utilizes artificial light to create an extra other-worldly dimension.  Beam me up.

Soo Sunny ParkMending Infraction (2010), Soo Sunny Park
metal lath, rivets, light

Again in “Mending Infraction”, Park uses rough construction materials in a unique combination with light to create a landscape, pulling my eyes into the curving, reflective paths.It makes you look twice at the everyday world, at how anything you see or use can also be a thing of beauty. See more of Park’s work on her website:

feathers of my own

Yesterday I featured Kate MccGwire’s feather sculptures, so it seems appropriate to feature some of my own feathery works.

Crane Dance by Linda OefflingCrane Dance, Linda Oeffling
Custom wrought iron stand by Will Slagel of Metal Meanders

Sandhill cranes were a rare sight around this area several years ago.  There must be new habitat or different migration or something, because now we regularly see and hear them. According to the International Crane Foundation, they are in fact the most numerous of the world’s cranes.

While calling, cranes stand in an upright posture, usually with their heads thrown back and beaks skyward during the display. . . . All cranes engage in dancing, which includes various behaviors such as bowing, jumping, running, stick or grass tossing, as well as wing flapping. Though it is commonly associated with courtship, dancing can occur at any age and season. – from the International Crane Foundation website

Japanese Crane by Linda OefflingJapanese Crane by Linda Oeffling

Like MccGwire, I am fascinated with bird lore and the mythology associated with birds. Greek and Roman myth tells us that the dance of cranes is a dance for the love of joy, and a celebration of life.  The Japanese refer to the crane as the bird of happiness.

These fused pieces are so fun to watch throughout the day.  They change as the light changes, which makes the art piece something new at any given time of day.

something about feathers

Artist Kate MccGwire’s feather sculptures have made the blog rounds the last couple of years. She creates large, flowing sculptures that can sometimes be on the creepy side as they flow sinuously out of walls and along the floor. The title “Heave” doesn’t help.

MccGwireHeave, 2008, Kate MccGwire

Her use of pigeon and dove feathers is deliberate.  Though they are the same type of bird, common pigeons are often thought of as pests, dirty and feral, while doves are described as symbols of purity, peace, and hope.

MccGwireQuell, 2011, Kate MccGwire

MccGwire originally collected the feathers herself.  When she realized the scale of the sculpture she wanted to create, she began a correspondence with pigeon racing clubs, asking for their trash bins of molted feathers. Now she regularly receives envelopes full of her medium.

MccGwireLure, 2011, Kate MccGwire

 “Design Boom” is featuring some wonderful close-up images that bring home the inherent beauty in the feathers that she uses for her sculptures. Breathtaking. Kate’s website:

from finnish forests of imagination

Once you delve into blogging, it can become quite addictive.  The whole world of opinions, lives, experiences and achievements is brought right into your home.  The best surprise for me is the unexpected friendships made around the world, from comments, or a simple push of the “like” button.  It seems so abstract and removed to view things online, but when people comment and communicate, suddenly it is a very small world.

I met the most interesting gentleman from Finland yesterday who commented on my blog, thereby causing me to go back to view his blog.  And what a treasure!  I am sure that today’s post is just one of the many things I will bring to you that I have found on his site:

It was hard to choose what to feature first, but his personal favorite is the carved wooden art from Finland, so I will begin there.

Photo by sartenadaFinnish Outsider Art, photo by Sartenada

Outsider Art, or Art Brut, is known in Finland as ITE-art. ITE means “Self Made Life” when translated from Finnish.

photo by SartenadaPhoto by Sartenada

I love the rough forms of carved outsider art, especially the forest troll below, mythology come to life.  Trolls are such a huge part of Finnish folklore, there is actually a doctoral dissertation on these little guys. (

photo by sartenadaPhoto by Sartenada

I searched the web for this place, located in the town of Ilomantsi, near the Russian border, but could not turn up much information.  What a hidden gem, about 6 hours drive from Helsinki.  I think I found the restaurant Sartenada has in his photo: Parppeinvaara Bardic Village

Parppeinvaara Bardic VillageParppeinvaara Bardic Village, photo by Sartenada

A remote, special place in the world.  And how many might go there, thanks to the photos of Sartenada!  See more of the carvings here:

juxtaposition of the human hand and technology

I’ve said it before, I am a technology geek.  The precision of computer technology attracts me, yet I also love the abstraction of working as an artist. I recently came across the work of textile artist Suzan Engler, who also has a background in tech and has gone on to focus on her art.

“I love the juxtaposition of the human hand and technology as I create art quilts using digital manipulation, custom fabrics and intricate stitches.”

Suzan EnglerDragonfly art quilt by Suzan Engler

If you go to Suzan’s website: and view her gallery, you can pull up larger images of work and see the beautiful detail. I love the batik dye work in the dragonfly wings, and the details in the eyes.

Suzan EnglerHeron quilt by Suzan Engler

Her nature inspired artwork is wonderful, but she also does some very graphic pieces that are striking.

Suzan EnglerJuicy Pear, by Suzan Engler

Suzan EnglerSuzan Engler

Suzan also writes an online blog about her life, sharing things like project ideas, art shows and sewing tips.  Here’s the link again – worth a visit!

merging of clay and glass

Midwest potter Norbert White often combines clay and glass to create his organic, flowing, pottery forms.

Norbert WhiteChandelier by Norbert White, photo from Studio G blog

He has a talent for combining pottery with glass mosaic that is striking.He takes inspiration from artists such as Chihuly and Gaudi, noting the way they bring free flowing shapes to their work.

Norbert WhiteHanging Lanterns by Norbert White, photo from Studio G Blog

” I am very attracted to their lack of uniformity, the bold colors and their undulating movement.” -Norbert White (speaking of the works by Chihuly, Van Gogh, Duckworth and Gaudi)

Norbert WhiteAir Planter, Norbert White

The Air Planter is formed to represent the element of Air.  He uses mirror and dichroic glass among the other colors of mosaic in this piece.  Visit his website to view more work:

french luminescence

French artist Bastien Carré works with LED lights, creating fantastic constellations of light.

Bastien CarreGrande Astrancia (2008), Bastien Carré

The tiny, energy-saving lights are connected with fine steel wire. The electrical source is nearly invisible, because Carré discovered a way to use the barely visible wiring to conduct the current that brings his sculpture to light. Often this involves meticulous soldering by hand.

Bastien CarreL envolee (2010), Bastien Carré

L envolee, above, is a mobile, with lights slowly rotating in the slightest draft, reinforcing the impression of floating fairies in the night.

Bastien CarreCollection Baroque VI (2011), Bastien Carré

He studied art in Paris and began his career crafting furniture embedded with light. It did not take long for him to gravitate toward focusing on the light itself. See more of his féerique sculpture on his website:  (Féerique is french for magical or enchanting. So appropriate, oui?)

landscapes in a rainbow of thread

The snow has finally arrived here in the Midwest, and I can look out my window to a winter white landscape.  It is beautiful and serene.  With that as a backdrop, I can enjoy looking at some riotous color!

Michala GyetvalDetail of Rhapsody of Colour, 2011, Michala Gyetval

Artist Michala Gyetval is featured this month at the Herbert Gallery in Coventry, U.K., teaching “Landscapes in Threads” workshops.  As a child, she was fascinated by threads and fibers, even creating her own dyes with blackberries and onions.

Michala GyetvalEmbroidered Landscape, Michala Gyetval

Gyetval twists fibres, using thick wool, crocheted cotton, and fine silks to create her artistic landscapes.

Michala GyetvalTextile art, Michala Gyetval

Visit Michala’s Flickr site for a fun explosion of color and design.  The site features finished artwork, but also offers insight into her process. You can view her inspiration in sketches and landscape photography, and also view pieces spread out along her sewing machine and work table.  They really convey a sense of scope and complexity as you view her process in action. Michala Gyetval on Flickr.

gaze into the resin ball

Ok, maybe it doesn’t sound so magical, but it sure looks magical…

Helen PashgianUntitled, Helen Pashgian
cast polyester resin, 8 in. diameter

In the 1960’s, a group in Los Angeles called the Light and Space artists moved away from concrete sculpture into the new translucent materials of the times, resin, plexiglass and plastics.  The way these materials reflected and filtered light opened up new dimensions for sculpture.

The Getty Center has a video online of an interview with Pashgian.  She describes her process, and notes that these spheres and other created shapes are hand-formed,not machine tooled.  She shapes them by eye, then sands and polishes to perfection.

Helen PashgianUntitled, Helen Pashgian

The Ace Gallery in Beverly Hills is featuring some of Pashgian’s latest work, columns and wall sculptures, through the  month of January, 2012.

Helen PashgianUNTITLED #14, 2011, Helen Pashgian
Poured cast epoxy, acrylic frame

I am mesmerized by her work and the capture of light, but it is a mystery how that is done.  Her work looks like it is lit from within, glowing softly, luminescent, yet there is no inherent light source within the work.

Helen PashgianAce Gallery Installation, Helen Pashgian

Visit the Ace Gallery website to view a slideshow of more of her beautiful, translucent sculpture.

more crazy structures

Yesterday I featured some fantastical architecture, and today I offer you more.  Again, this makes me feel like digging through my workshop and garage for materials, and putting them together into a cohesive conglomeration.  I know it is just not that easy.  I am inspired by the talent behind these huge, detailed installations.

Sarah SzeUntitled (Portable Planetarium) (2009), Sarah Sze

Sze grew up with her father’s architectural models and drawings around the house. She studied painting and architecture at Yale. Her initial work consisted of paintings, but eventually was drawn to sculpture.

Sarah SzeA Swiftly Tilting Planet, Sarah Sze

Depending on the particular piece, there are times that Sze improvises as she is creating the sculpture at an installation location.

 “I want it to feel like it has some of the rawness of the studio and the live quality of a site of work.” – from an interview with Phong Bui

Sarah SzeSarah Sze

Sze is currently exhibiting Infinite Line through March at the Asia Society in New York. I have found the best way to look for images of her work is simply to Google her name and select Images.  Her website doesn’t offer many photos, but will give you additional information:

where would you start?

Where would you start, if you were the artist creating this sculpture?

Diana Al-HadidWater Thief, Diana Al-Hadid

Diana Al-Hadid creates dripping spiraling, climbing, pooling sculptures from various materials.  Water Thief is composed of steel, fiberglass, polymer gypsum, polystyrene, wood, high density foam and paint.  It sounds like the construction challenge of a lifetime — take all this stuff and make something out of it that looks interesting.

Diane Al-HadidAll the Stops, Diane Al-Hadid

Her sculptures feature architectural elements from cathedrals, pipe organs, cityscapes.  They look illustrations from some kind of fantasy novel, brought to life.  I want to know the tales.

Diane Al-HadidPortal to a Black Hole, Diane Al-Hadid

 Al-Hadid has exhibitions coming up in Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts and New York in 2012.  Visit her website to see more of her work:

simplicity for friday

As you can tell if you follow my blog posts, I’m not too much of a contemporary kind of gal.  I love intricate works of art.  Sometimes, however, a very simple form can completely captivate me, and I am mesmerized by Domenico Bianchi’s work with wax on fiberglass.

Domenico BianchiUntitled 3n(2011), Domenico Bianchi
wax & fiberglass

The Ronchini Gallery expands with its new London gallery in Mayfair in February of 2012, and the inaugural show is entitled Italian Beauty. Bianchi is featured as one of Italy’s premier contemporary artists.

Domenico BianchiUntitled 1 (2011), Domenico Bianchi
wax & fiberglass

Bianchi’s early work featured painting on wax, a technique adapted from Roman encaustic painting. Eventually he expanded to include things such as plaster, gold leaf, platinum, silver and copper to the wax.  He also delved into using his computer to transform his drawings into spheres, exploring the endless variations of his swirling arabesques.

Domenico BianchiUntitled 1 (2011), Domenico Bianchi
metal engraving & wood

His mandala-like forms draw you into their swirling patterns.  His use of wax as a material imparts a unique quality to his work, with its subtle transparency. See more of his work here:

field of flowers

I know I have been pushing for ice and snow lately, so here’s a flowery break.

Zadok Ben DavidBlackfield, Zadoc Ben David

Ben David works and lives in London.  His Blackfield installation is made up of more than 12,000 thousand steel cut flower and plant sculptures, painted black on the front and in brilliant color on the back. The tiny, inches high sculptures are set into sand to form a vast field.

Zadok Ben David
Blackfield, Zadoc Ben David

As visitors walk around the installation, the start black cut-outs transform into a field of vibrant color. His forms are found in old textbooks –Victorian botanical illustrations that he meticulously cuts out and hand paints.

This exhibition can be seen now in  Seocho, Seoulin, and ends on February 12, 2012.  It has been making its way around the world for a few years now, including locations such as Australia, Israel and the U.S.

BlackfieldBlackfield, Zadoc Ben David

Ben David has studied in Jerusalem as well as in London. His sculptures have won awards and is valued in public, corporate, and private collections throughout the world. Visit his website to see his other work – human figure sculptures, lacy trees, and a magic, floating box.  Intrigued?

art of the wind

Kinetic sculptures are fun, and to see art installations that interact with wind or water is fascinating to watch.

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Windswept-1st_look from Charles Sowers on Vimeo.

Even without the wind, the sculpture is interesting in the simple pattern created by artist Charles Sowers. Directional arrows are mounted on a blank wall, and they rotate with the touch of a breeze.

Charles SowersWindswept, Charles Sowers

Sowers is an artist who also works to develop exhibits at the Exploratorium in the Randall Museum in San Francisco. His aim is to draw observers in to partake in a sense of wonder and delight at natural phenomena observed in the world.

Charles SowersFerrofluid Sequence 4: Visitors hold a tethered magnet below the table to make the ferrofluid turn from a uniform circular blob to a graphic pattern.

Charles SowersSupercooled:  An Exhibit which allows visitors to watch ice crystals grow on a 17″ x 17″ chilled glass table

“Charles has discovered a strong correlation between his process and that of the scientific experimentalist. Both build apparatus; scientists to probe the limits of their collective understanding and Charles to probe the boundaries of beauty, delight, and wonder.” – from Charles Sowers, The Tinkering Studio

glass reflection of favorite things

Neil Wilkin creates some of my favorite things, out of my favorite medium.

Neil WilkinIcicle Shelf, Neil Wilkin

Wilkin is a British artist inspired by forms and colors from the environment.He is considered one of the leading glass artists in the UK.  I find it interesting that he ignores debates about distinctions between decorative and fine art, craft and concept-driven creation. Whether you call it craft, commercial, or fine art, the work is beautiful.

Neil WilkinRaindrop Chandelier, photo by Guus Rijven

On one end of the spectrum, Wilkin offers a gift section on his website for the public.  He also has sold work to internationally famous clients and worked on restoration of Windsor Castle’s fire-damaged chandeliers. He works with internationally renowned artists to to make their own artworks.

Neil WilkinGolden Seed Head,   photo by Guus Rijven

Visit Wilkin’s website to see more of his work:  If you want to be completely awed, go to this LINK.  Click on the images to pull up huge, full screen images that are just stunning.

I would also point you to a great blog entry about Neil Wilkin.  I was starting to pull quotes from this article, but decided I would almost quote the entire thing, so you may as well go to the source: (great blog, now defunct, but as of today, still archived online and full  of interesting info to browse).

studying the surface

Topography is the study of the earth’s surface, looking at the details and features and structure.  It is also the name of sculptor Barbara Sorensen’s new exhibition, which opened yesterday at the Orlando Museum of Art in Florida.

Barbara Sorensen“Shield de Pyrenees”
33″ x 34″ x 7″
Stoneware & Stones

Sorensen’s work beautifully echoes the textures of the earth, through her works created from clay, metals, and sometimes natural inclusions.

Barbara Sorensen“Siren I”
Approx. 7′ x 2′ x 2′ + 18″ base

Her bronze sculptures remind me of Michelangelo’s sculptures, the figures half-carved from marble block,  and his words: “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” It is as if her figures are emerging from the earth itself. After I wrote those words, I referred back to her website, and there are her thoughts, reflected right back to me:

“There is a primal force occurring as the forms emerge from the clay. I feel they are growing from the earth both metaphorically and visually.” -Barbara Sorensen

Barbara Sorensen“Boat” (III9)
20″ x 49″ x 18″
Stoneware, Stones & Silver Leaf

Sorensen’s work is inspired by things she has seen in her travels, hiking in Spain, flights over the Rocky Mountains, treks through the canyons of Utah and snorkeling expeditions in New Zealand. Her work is widely varied, as you will see if you visit her website.  Throughout all the various mediums she uses in her art,  there is a feeling of the substance and permanence of the earth. See more:  Want to do a virtual tour of the exhibition in Orlando?  It’s only three minutes:  Click here. I especially like the very last piece at the end, where some type of lighting is set up to look like light and reflection moving over the piece.

amazing audubon

The work and reputation of John James Audubon is nothing new. What’s making news this week is that his four-volume set of enormous books, standing 3-1/2 feet high, is expected to sell this month at a Christie’s auction for $7 – $10 million.

AudubonBirds of America, John James Audubon

The book is considered a masterpiece of ornithology art, containing more than 400 hand engraved color plates of the birds he observed in the early 19th century.

AudubonAmerican Goldfinch, John James Audubon

Audubon’s paintings are large so that he could portray the birds at life size. Incorporating beautiful backgrounds and portraying birds in action were uncommon at the time.

AudubonSandhill Crane, John James Audubon

If you can’t make it to the Christie’s auction, don’t despair – you can visit the University of Pittsburgh, which owns one of the rare, complete sets of “Birds of America”.  Only 120 complete sets are known to exist. Of course, much cheaper reproductions abound online and at booksellers, in case you need your own private copy to enjoy.

creating in the wild

Environmental artist Tim Pugh is out there.  Literally.

Tim PughSnowball Collisions, Tim Pugh

Pugh is an environmental artist, creating ephemeral works of art in the woods and on the beach.

Tim PughWoodland Floor Rearrangment, Tim Pugh

He is based in Wales, but has exhibited his work in Dubai, Australia, and in Europe.  He notes geology and past Neolithic and Bronze Age art as influences.

Tim PughEffigy of a Pilgrim, Tim Pugh

I found Pugh’s work while browsing on the garden design musings of the Studio G blog, by Boston-based writer, Rochelle Greayer.   I have added her to my blogroll, and the site is well worth visiting. See more environmental art on Tim’s website:, and click on the Blogroll link to the right to go to Studio G.



in the fire

To go along with yesterday’s cup of tea, today I bring you more blogging warmth with some fireplace art.

Fireplace ArtSea Urchin, by Cathy Azria

Azria is a London sculptor, marketing her fireplace pieces under the name of B&D Designs. Metal is her medium, chosen for the way it responds to heat and transforms into glowing artwork.

Cathy AzriaBonfire XIa, created to sit on an electric fireplace, for those without a working fireplace flu

The sculptures are created with steel rods, which start to glow as they heat to red hot temperature, emitting crackling and popping noises as the metal expands with the heat. It is an artistic experience each time a fire is lit.

Cathy AzriaThe Moon, Cathy Azria

The sculptures provide artistic life for the fireplace setting, coming to life in the fire but also standing as  beautiful pieces when unlit.  Her works are not mass produced, but individually created and signed.  See more of her work online:

time for tea

Still waiting for snow these days, but winter’s chill is here anyway.  Time to settle in with a hot cuppa . . .

Newark Museumimage from the Newark Museum Website

The teapot above is from the Exhibition at the Newark Museum in New Jersey, The Teapot, featuring sixty six variations of this vessel. The exhibition chronicles the history of the teapot, beginning in China as a functional vessel several hundred years ago.  The Arts and Crafts movement in the 1800’s brought forth the idea of objects being works of art as well as being functional.  In the twentieth century, non-functional teapots emerged as sculptural objects, often leaving utility behind.

Suzanne Crane TeapotFooted Basket-Handles Teapot, 14 x 9.5 x 6″, Suzanne Crane

Suzanne Crane has  wonderful line of pottery, which includes the Footed Basket-Handles Teapot.  Though the handles look like wrought iron, they are clay.  Visit her website for more nature-inspired pottery:

Jacques Vesery“Printemps Thé au Café du Métro”
Springtime at the Metro Café by Jacques Vesery
carved/ textured cherry, acrylics, patinated bronze

Jacques Vesery is an artist/sculptor living in Maine. His vision and inspiration begins with repetitive patterns derived from the ‘golden mean’ or ‘divine proportions’. See more teapots, as well as other sculptural work on his website:

Hironobu NishitatenoTeacup, by Hironobu Nishitateno

My favorite teacup by Nanten Pottery.  Owner Nishitateno creates all of his own glazes, using ash from various plants, feldspar, and various clays.  This particular glaze, above, is so soft and smooth.  Drinking tea becomes a zen experience, from holding the warm mug, feeling the texture, appreciating the beautiful green color of the tea within, and meditating on the spiral center.

Strange how a teapot can represent

at the same time

the comforts of solitude

and the

pleasures of company.

             -Zen Haiku

may your New Year be unexpected and wonderful

I love the science fiction/fantasy feeling I get when viewing Rune Guneriussen’s installations. The office lamps are having a serious meeting, possibly about world domination.  And  chairs are on a mission, going somewhere important. I want to just sit in the snow with the other lamps – they are not talking much.  They softly murmur, and often there are long silences in their quiet conversation.

Rune GuneriussenOne can rely on the prudence of his decisions # 03, 2009, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
99cmx179cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune GuneriussenAbnormal growth of gluttony, 2009, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
190cmx150cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune GuneriussenA natural selection, 2008, edition of 5+1, Rune Guneriussen
124cmx167cm, c-print/aluminum

Rune is a Norwegian artist who painstakingly creates his “stories” on location throughout Norway.  Usually his installations are not viewed in nature by the public, but only through his photography. The story itself is left to the viewer’s imagination, as he deliberately leaves them open ended, stating that “art itself should be questioning and bewildering”.  His website:

I think that one of the most wonderful things about life is when something unexpected and wonderful lights up your world.  Suddenly you look at the world with new eyes, and you laugh with the joy of the unexpected. I’ve been blogging for about 8 months now, and it’s fun to search the internet for art around the world.  I am attracted to it for many reasons; some things I love for their intricate and precise craftsmanship, some for their stark beauty, some because they are hilarious. Viewing what artists create, seeing what people call “art” and catching glimpses of what goes on in their world enriches my life. I hope that you enjoy it, and if you do, please pass the word!  Happy New Year!

light up the winter night

Ice lanterns are an easy craft; you don’t need to be an artist to create a beautiful piece of winter sculpture.

Ice lanternKit from Orange Tree Imports

ice lanternfrom the blog:  129 Twig and Vine

From the ice lantern’s humble beginnings as a milk jug filled with water, we move to the biggest artistic exhibition of the ice lantern in the world – the Ice Lantern Garden Party in Harbin City, China. The festival is in its 27th year, begins on January 5, and runs until the end of February.

Ice Festival Harbinimage from Beautiful World in Snaps

The craftsmen in Harbin were inspired by Chinese ancient ice lantern to create the wonderful artworks excelling nature. Legend has it that long ago when night came in winter, several people would be leisurely grooming or fishing on Songnen Plain located in northeastern provinces including Harbin. They used the ancient ice lantern for lighting. The craftwork of ice lantern at that time was simple, and it was made like this: put water from Songhua River into the cask to be frozen into an icicle, and then cut a hole in the heart of the icicle to allow an oil lamp put in. Hence the ice lantern was made. – from Travel China Guide

Ice Festival Harbinimage from

Images abound on the internet of the wildly colorful city of ice.  Just google “Ice Festival Harbin” for more images.  Add the keyword “Flickr” to find photo albums posted online featuring the festival. My favorites are still the clear forms, harkening back to the simple, glowing icy lights that may have lit the night for simple fishermen.

winter glimmer

A couple of days ago I blogged about the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington.  Today we go back there to highlight a current exhibit that puts me in the mood for some winter snow transformation.

Glimmering GoneGlimmering Gone:  Landscape,  Ingalena Klenell and Beth Lipman, photo from Museum of Glass

American artist Beth Lipman and Scandinavian artist Ingalena Klenell have taught and lectured collaboratively around the world, and their first artistic collaboration is being displayed at the Museum of Glass until March 11, 2012.

Glimmering GoneGlimmering Gone:  Landscape,  photograph by

Living in the Midwest we have to slog through cold and dreary winters, and I can love that introspective time bundled indoors if I am surrounded by the glittering beauty of snow.  Here we are, December 28, and still no snow.  Glimmering Gone at least brings it to my screen.

Glimmering Gonephoto courtesy of Jeff Curtis, Russell Johnson, and the Museum of Glass

The exhibition includes Landscape, as featured here today, but also Mementos and Artifacts. The three parts of the installation are all quite different, bringing together an array of glass working skills with pieces including kiln-formed elements, sculpted work and blown glass elements. See more photos and find out more about these artists on their websites:  Beth Lipman:, and Ingala Glenell:

Obscura Digital deserves more than a day

Yesterday I blogged about Obscura Digital’s work with The Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Today I want to share more about this interesting company, part technology lab and part creative agency.

Obscura DigitalObscura Digital, first party in the space, from Obscura Digital website

Their headquarters are located in the Dog Patch district of San Francisco. The offices were designed by  IwamotoScott Architecture, who renovated a 1940’s steel warehouse with 36,000 square feet of space on three levels.  It features a geodesic dome, a projection theatre,  see-through walls, and plenty of light.

They are on the leading edge of marketing technology, advertising with “video mapping, immersive environments, interactive display, and augmented reality.”

Obscura DigitalGeodesic dome projection, Obscura Digital

  I find their projects an inspiring and wonderful use of technology.

Obscura DigitalInteractive Pool Table, Paradise Tower Penthouse, Hard Rock Hotel & CasinoTM, Las Vegas and the Esquire SoHo apartment.

CO2 cubeCO2 Cube:  Visualizing one ton of carbon in Copenhagen

Measured and stored at standard atmospheric pressure, one tonne of CO2 occupies a cube the size of a three-story building 8.2m x 8.2m x 8.2m (27ft x 27ft x 27ft)! – from the Obscura Digital website

Visit their website at: to see a collection of their work, including more light show videos from around the world.

more marvelous mosque art

I have been enamored with turkish designs lately, since my friend’s trip to Turkey. The beautiful, intricate designs that adorn mosque tiles were recently brought to attention in a new way in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Abu Dhabi mosque Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

The Grand Mosque and the Al Jahil Fort lit up in a fantastic light show in tribute to the nation’s 40th anniversary.  The display ran from November 29 to December 3.

The Grand MosqueSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

Obscura Digital used three-dimensional mapping, configuring forty-four projectors to illuminate the mosque without distorting the designs. The light show brought to life Sheikh Zayad’s vision that the Mosque be a place for his people, their heritage, and all of humanity.

The Grand MosqueSheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections Project, by Osbscura Digital

Some of the highlights of the incredible projection show include geometry, organic flowers, 99 names of Allah, architectural detail, and celestial cycles of the moon. Watch the show on Vimeo – it is breath-taking.  I highly recommend watching it full screen and with sound:

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Projections from Obscura Digital on Vimeo.

its all about money

As the UK newspaper, The Guardian, looks back over 2011, they comment on how financial issues have dominated the news.  They put out a challenge for artists to “invent new currencies and banknotes for a changed world”, and published the results on December 16, 2011.

John GreyJohn Grey
‘A £50 note showing five noble beasts facing extinction in the wild, to remind users of the loss of natural wealth that no amount of money can replace.’

Alasdair Gray Alasdair Gray

Jonathan Franzen Jonathan Franzen
‘Adorned with endangered or extinct species in denominations such as $6.66, the real value of $10 with environmental costs factored in.’

Naomi Klein and Kyo MaclearNaomi Klein and Kyo Maclear

See more designed currency at The Guardian.

merry art greetings

Andrew BucciAndrew Bucci, a Mississippi-based artist, sent this colored pencil and watercolor holiday card to artist Prentiss Taylor. No date.

George ZoretichGeorge Zoretich, an artist and professor at Pennsylvania State, sent this watercolor to artist James Mullen in 1971.

Julia Thecla, a Chicago-based painter, created this playful mixed media collage and sent it to Katharine Kuh as a holiday card in 1975.

DarrowAlexandra Darrow (1910-93) of Connecticut, known for her Works Progress Administration murals of the 1930s, was a model of yuletide cheer in a 1957 photograph.

These cards are from the Smithsonian Magazine, and are part of a larger collection in the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. I posted some of my favorites, especially the caption under the Darrow card.  View more of the collection here:  Included are interesting abstract styles and some that are hilariously bizarre. Enjoy!  Happy Christmas!

art changes a city

The Museum of Glass is located in Tacoma, Washington.  Needless to say, this museum could provide blog fodder for several days.  Surprisingly, I am not even blogging about glass today, but about Peter Serko’s Photography exhibit.

Peter SerkoPeter Serko, Transformation:  Art Changes a City

Living in downtown Tacoma, Serko has spent many years capturing the Museum at different times of day, and throughout the changing seasons of the year.

Peter SerkoPeter Serko, Transformation:  Art Changes a City

He presents 18 photographs in this exhibit, and also invites the community to submit their best Museum of Glass Photos, which will be shown in a video montage display.

Peter SenkoPeter Serko, Transformation:  Art Changes a City

The show has been running since August, and continues until January 8, 2012.

Peter Serko came to his craft late in life, becoming a photographer in his 50’s. His background is in technology and computers, which dovetails nicely with digital photography.

“I look for detail in my subjects, those qualities in everyday objects, places, and on occasion people that are unique and often overlooked.  I might combine or juxtapose objects, near and far in a photo.  For me this creates context and tension, conveying a mood or idea that extends beyond the actual composition.”

Read more about Serko and view more of his work on his website:

a place for special little things

Do you have a drawer of “special things”?  A shoebox under the bed?  A well-stuffed scrapbook?  WE-ARE-FAMILIA presented some interesting takes on keepsake boxes recently, at the Fountain Art Fair during Art Basel Miami Beach in early December 2011.

WE-ARE-FAMILIAWe-Are-Familia Keepsake Box No. 15 of 25 (open view).
Designed by Chen Chen and Kai Williams, 2011.
Painted cement, deconstructed Fritz Hansen Star Base Swivel Chair, Fritz Hansen metal logo mark and an enclosed set of works by We-Are-Familia artists

Graphic Designer Jennifer Garcia initiated the project by posting an internet listing asking artists to submit work relating to the word “family”. After four years, her efforts culminated in  keepsake boxes which have been featured in multiple art fairs, exhibitions, and was commissioned by the Museum of Art and Design, New York, during Metal Ball (gala fundraiser).

WE-ARE-FAMILIAWe-Are-Familia Keepsake Box No. 18 of 25.
Designed by UM Project, 2011.
Made with damaged Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chairs, steam compressed wood and an enclosed set of works by We-Are-Familia artists.

The assemblage boxes are created from found, recycled and surplus materials, and each one contains approximately 40 mementos contributed by the family of artists.

WE-ARE-FAMILIAWe-Are-Familia Keepsake Box No. 22 of 25, “Household,” by Steph Mantis.
Made with a Kasper Salto Nap Chair base, an Arne Jacobsen Series 7 chair, various Fritz Hansen fabrics and vinyls and an enclosed set of works by We-Are-Familia artists.

Take a look at more of the artistic storage here:

how much will you pay for a photo?

Sebas­tian Stadler (Photog­ra­pher), Stefan Jan­dl (Graphic Designer) and Carlo Jörges (UX Designer) have launched a new project that might be interesting to watch. Any photographer can participate for the cost of one dollar more than the photo image uploaded previously.

Double Penetration
by Lukas Wassmann

1st December 2011, 3:52 AM

The idea is promotion, obviously, as contributors hope that visitors are prompted to visit their websites.  Still, I think it’s a creative idea, and I am curious as to where this will go, and how high will individuals invest in marketing their images?

Going Home
by Thierry Deleon

16th December 2011, 11:34 AM

Some of the images are truly awful; some digitally manipulated, some are beautiful.

Coast of Libya – Kite Aerial Photography by Miron Bogacki

19th December 2011, 10:09 AM


The end goal of this project is publish a catalog of the first 300 uploads, and invest all monies collected into production, creating a self-feeding platform that will lead to further publications or exhibitions.  See more, including all of the photos uploaded so far:

other worldly

The “Small Worlds” exhibition at the Toledo Museum of Art is running from November 2011 to March 2012.  They are featuring one of my favorite artists, Gregory Euclide:

Gregory EuclideGregory Euclide, Take It With You

Euclide’s installation is created from recycled and found materials. It serves as the entryway to the Small Worlds exhibit, and is built on the Canaday Gallery Bridge in the museum. More of Euclide’s work:

Lori NixLori Nix, Library (from series The City)

Nix describes herself as a “non-traditional photographer”, as she constructs her subjects to photograph rather than going out to find her subjects.
Her photos are not digitally manipulated.  The mood, rich color, and minute detail are painstakingly created and lit to perfection. See more of Nix’s work:

TabaimoTabaimo Trailer from Toledo Museum of Art on Vimeo.

Japanese artist Tabaimo is an award-winning contemporary artist, working with moving images.  She creates surreal, animated installations with a satiric view of the modern Japanese life.

Tabaimo, danDAN, video still, 2009. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York.

Tabaimo’s hand drawn illustrations are beautiful, and it is fascinating to watch them come to life in the video installations.  See more links on You Tube HERE.

art at the airport

Sacramento International Airport completed a new “Central Terminal B” this October, and I would love to fly in just to see the art installations.

Sacramento International AirportAcorn Steam by Donald Lipski
Wood, steel, laytex, Polished Austrian crystals (Swarovski)

Lipski’s sculpture is 30 feet in diameter,and every branch and twig is hung with over 5,000 hand-cut, polished Swarovki crystals.

Joan MomentA Fragment of the Universe by Joan Moment
Glass Mosaic

Moment’s design was fabricated by Franz Mayer of Munich, Germany.

“With Joan’s piece, a group of 20 kids walked up, on a tour, and they all just threw themselves on the ground and then another two groups came and did the same thing.”
Willis said it must have been because Moment’s piece looks like water and “you just want to get down there and touch it.” –from Sacramento State Hornet

Sacramento International AirportLeap by Lawrence Argent
Aluminum, Steel, Granite, Bronze

Argent’s red rabbit is 56 feet long and  19 feet tall, and fabricated from glass coated aluminum.

“The rabbit was selected because its symbolism works on many levels. The rabbit is a symbol for cleverness, foolishness, of femininity and androgyny, of cowardice and courage.” – from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission

There are several more art installations at this airport.  Visit online to read more:

moving, blooming . . . architecture?

When you think of a form of architecture, a building, a pavilion . . . you think of a solid structure, right?  Architect Doris Sung is challenging the precepts of traditional architecture with her new shade structure that moves and transforms with the heat of the sun.

Doris SungDoris Sung, Bloom
image © brandon shigeta

The metal creation is installed at the Materials & Applications courtyard in Los Angeles.  This 25-by-40-foot area is dedicated to outdoor exhibition space,  a place where emerging artists and designers could collaborate on new ideas for public space. Sung’s installation (in  collaboration with Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter and Matthew Melnyk),certainly qualifies as a new idea.  It stands 20 feet tall and is constructed out of a metal skin that kinetically responds to the heat of the sun.

Doris SungDoris Sung, Bloom
image © brandon shigeta

When the temperature is cool, the panels close down to a solid structure.  As the temperature rises, the individual metal components fan out to increase shade and air flow.

Doris SungDoris Sung, Bloom
image © brandon shigeta

The piece consists of sections of laser-cut sheet metal assembled into a self-organizing pattern.

Doris SungDoris Sung, Bloom
image courtesy of M&A

The installation will be on display until Spring 2012Read more at the Materials & Applications site:

photo kaleidescope

I have been working on more intricate forms for my fused glass mandalas, and the work of Leslie Thornton caught my eye.

Leslie ThorntonLeslie Thornton, Still from Blue Bird, 2010

Thornton is an experimental filmmaker who had her first solo show about a year ago in January 2011, at the Winkelman Gallery in New York. More recently, her work has created a buzz at the recent Art Basal Miami. The still shot, above, is beautiful, and it is even more fascinating to watch her work in action, as film:

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Leslie Thornton, Binocular (Ants) [excerpt] from Winkleman Gallery on Vimeo.

Her exhibit consists of a series of flat-screen monitors, displaying two circular images.  The image on the left is an image filmed from nature, and the image on the right is digitally refracted into a kaleidoscopic version of her subject.

Leslie ThorntonLeslie Thornton, Anola Star

The idea all began with visits to natural history museums.  Thornton wasn’t happy with her photographs, and so began visiting the zoo to film live animals. She also has filmed on a zebra farm north of Los Angeles and a private reptile collection near the Florida Everglades. See more of her work at the Winkelman Gallery website:

the appeal of transparency

Often I find myself bookmarking paper artists to blog about.  Like glass, paper is a fragile material, yet it can hold up through centuries.  Also like glass, it can have a beautiful, soft transparency.

Yuko Takada KellerSummer Breeze, Yuko Takada Keller

Yuko Takada Keller creates amazing, floating, installations that remind me of glass. She uses tracing paper to create her works of art.

Yuko Takada KellerSpring Sea, Yuko Takada Keller

Keller is a Japanese artist, living and working in Denmark. She began her artistic journey in college, focusing on weaving and creating woolen tapestries. A trip from Japan to Northern Europe changed her perspective and her life.

“I gradually wanted to express something different in my work. Then I took a trip to Northern Europe to see the tapestries there. Of course, I was very impressed by them, but I was more impressed by the magnificent scenery. I had never had that kind of feeling before in Japan.” – Yuko Takada Keller

Yuko Takada KellerWater Plants, Yuko Takada Keller

Keller latest exhibits were in Japan in 2011.  See more of her work and read more about her on her website:

night light sparkles

I have featured nighttime photography before, and there is quite a bit of it to see out there online.  It always catches my eye, but usually not enough to feature it again.  Today I found something that I couldn’t pass up.

Jan Leonardo WöllertLight Art Performance Photography

Jan Wöllert works in partnership with Jörg Miedza, and they call themselves Light Art Performance Photography.  They have been working together since 2007.

Jan Leonardo WoellertLight Art Performance Photography

JanLeonardo had an experience of being trapped overnight in an industrial complex.  While there, to pass the time, he used his camera along with LED lights to create his first “light paintings”.

Jan Leonardo WollertLight Art Performance Photography

This talented duo  are sponsored by some big names: Canon, Zeiss, and LED Lenser. They create images for commercial clients and also worked with Nike to create an ad for the World Cup. Despite their photographic success, neither one is devoted to this job full time, and they retain their day jobs as a Physician’s Assistant and an office based worker.  See more of their work in a beautiful slideshow, set to music, on their site:  LAPP-PRO

feathery artifacts

Artist Rebecca Jewell’s artwork is based on precise observational drawing – a beautiful mix between accurate science and art.

Rebecca JewellRebecca Jewell, Stone Charm

Living for a year in Papau, New Guinea sparked her interest in investigating and analyzing artifacts. Old fashioned techniques are placed in a contemporary art context.

Rebecca JewellRebecca Jewell, “Birds Becoming Artefacts”

Her feathers are printed with historical images, some by 18th and 19th century artists.

Rebecca JewellRebecca Jewell

Jewell has a PhD from the Royal College of Art in Natural History Illustration, and is currently artist in residence at the British Museum. See more of her work on her website:

update your mental image of pointillism

Maybe you are familiar with the term “pointillism”.  It is an original form of art that was created by artist George Seurat, consisting of many dots that are colored and formed to create a picture.

George SeuratSunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte), Georges Seurat, 1884-1886.
(If you haven’t seen this in person yet, visit the Art Institute of Chicago)

Artist Miguel Endara brings us up to date on this art form, and brings a new dimension to understanding the process. He has recently composed a portrait of his father composed of 3.2 million ink dots, and you can watch him work in an online video:

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Hero from Miguel Endara on Vimeo.

Endara is a web design and self-proclaimed “stipple enthusiast”, hailing from Miami, Florida.

Miguel EndaraMiguel Endara, Hero

From my own research, it appears that Miguel’s vimeo offering went viral, and he has exploded on the art scene. He graduated from University of Miami in 2005, and has since worked as an Art Director and Web Developer and Designer.

Miguel EndaraMiguel Endara, Capricho Arabe

In 2010 he was chosen for SoFi Magazine’s “33 Emerging Creative Minds You Need To Know”, and he has won several awards for his art and design by various publications.

Miguel EndaraMiguel Endara, Musical Composition

See the following links for more information on Miguel Endara.  Be sure to check out his website – very cool!
Linked in

farewell to mystery paper sculpture artist

I blogged back in September about the paper sculptures that appeared in various locations around Edinburgh. Today I wrap up the story, with the mysterious sculptor signing off, and remaining anonymous.

Paper Sculpture in EdinburghLeft in the Scottish Poetry Library:  a cap, made of a bird’s wing, created out of paper

Edinburgh paper sculpturetiny Tyrannosaurus sculpture

Edinburgh paper sculptureStreet scene with moon and clouds

The sculptor left a note with somewhat of an explanation.  We find out the artist is a “she”, and find out a little bit more about why the sculptures were left:

It’s important that a story is not too long … does not become tedious … ‘you need to know when to end a story, she thought’

A tiny gesture in support of the special places…
So, here, she will end this story, in a special place … A Poetry Library … where they are well used to ‘anon’

See all of the sculptures, and the notes left with them in this online article:


artful weekend

This past weekend I went with some friends on the “Crossing Borders” Art Tour in Northeastern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

David RenchDavid Rench, Photography

We couldn’t make it to every stop, but were completely inspired at every place that we were fortunate enough to visit. The Carriage House Gallery was the perfect place to start, with their homey ambiance and historic barn setting. They feature an amazing amount of talented artists in a unique space, along with their own pottery and photography.  Works originate from artists across the nation, including “The Whimzey Twins”, and visionary art from “Mr. Imagination”.

Bristol Pottery kilnFred Gregory, Bristol Pottery

Bristol Pottery in Bristol, WI was our next stop. Fred Gregory’s studio was very inspiring – wonderful working space in open country.  Fred has an enormous kiln (that he built)  that he fills with completed projects before firing.  I believe he fires about every 2 months or so, because it takes that long to compile enough items as well as the days of time it takes to fire and then cool.  Get on his mailing list for “kiln opening” announcements and previews of new things:  Bristol Pottery.

Don RambadtDon Rambadt, National Museum of Wildlife Art:  Aspen Gateway Sculpture

We visited Don Rambadt next, close by in Trevor, WI.  His sculptures are absolutely gorgeous, each with a unique personality that he manages to convey through twisting, curving, flowing sheets of metal.  Photos above show something a little different – more of a 2-D sculpture.  We were particularly struck by his use of highly polished metal to provide a reflecting surface for space and sky at Jackson Hole Wyoming.  Visit his links for more pictures, and see a video of the Jackson Hole installation:–pathways.html

Fox River GlassFox River Glass:  Angelo Fico and Karen Naylor

Our day was fast coming to a close, and we scooted over to Fox River Glass in Wilmot, WI.   Angelo and Karen were just closing, but fortunately let us in the door to quickly view their delicate glass blown work.  Demonstrations had been going all day, and continued on Sunday as well, opening the doors to the working studio for a glimpse at what it takes to create their one of a kind vessels and sculpture from molten glass drawn from a fiery furnace.

Wilmot Artisan Market. gave us the final art of the day, with many talented offerings displayed in the historic old house.  I think our common favorite was a breathtaking sunset photo by owner Cindy Garwood.  See more of her photography here:

30,000 piles of rice in chicago (not to eat, looking only)

You can see it in person at the Art Institute of Chicago, through December 23, 2011.  German artist Wolfgang Laib worked with School of the Art Institute alumni for 10 days in October to pour precise mounds of rice in an installation that covers most of the Sullivan North Gallery.

Wofgang LaibWofgang Laib, Unlimited Ocean

The installation includes seven piles of bright yellow pollen. These materials are not new to Laib – he concentrates his work on a few select materials, such as pollen, milk, beeswax, marble, rice and sealing wax.

“From things and processes existing in nature, he takes the motifs of his art. From nature come all of the materials he uses. He lives and works in harmony with the natural course of the year and its seasons: times of major work, when dandelion, hazelnut or pine is in bloom, and times of quiet in winter, when he polishes the marble for a milkstone in his atelier.” – from Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), 2000

Wolfgang LaibWolfgang Laib, Milkstone

“Milkstone” consists of a flat, white, marble sheet, hollowed out to the incredibly fine depth of one millimeter. This hollow is then filled with milk to the top of the horizontal level.

Wolfgang LaibWolfgang Laib, Sifting Hazelnut Tree Pollen, 1986.

Laib began his studies in medicine, and from this initial start in science he became fascinated with the materials that now make up his art installations. The pollen in the photo above was hand collected by the artist from the fields surrounding his home in the Black Forest of Germany.

Having done much work in Southern India, he is influenced by foreign culture and eastern philosophy.  He does not consider his art merely about naturalism, but much more complex, and including a sense of spiritualism.

YouTube has many clips featuring this interesting artist.  Here is one to get you started:  Wolfgang Laib pouring milk onto a marble sheet

one really expensive photo of nothing

It has set the new world record for a photograph – $4.3 million dollars for an image of the Rhine under a cloudy sky. Gursky’s photo sold at a Christie’s auction in New York in early November, 2011.

Andreas Gursky's Rhine IIAndreas Gursky, Rhine II

He has does some extensive computer work on the image, removing figures, buildings, and whatever else distracted from the desolate landscape that he wanted to portray.

Andreas GurskyAndreas Gursky, Rimini

Often his photos are taken from a high point of view, and the finished prints are enormous, filling entire walls.

Andreas GurskyAndreas Gursky, 99 Cent

They are images of our everyday world, and the way they are taken, or further manipulated, reduces each human being to a minute speck in a huge, ordered, technological landscape. When I came across the information about Gursky, and looked at his photos, I thought they were interesting.  The more I read, and the more I saw of his images, the clearer it became that his recognition and popularity are no mistake – the man is a gifted genius with a unique way of showcasing our modern day world.

If you have time, and are at all interested in photography, watch the Ben Lewis interview with Andreas Gursky:  It is a little slow moving, the video interview an artistic process in itself.  Lewis manages to score an interview, tour Gursky’s new studio, and even get a ride in his sporty Maserati.  Very interesting to hear about his process, his thoughts, and also the thoughts of people who have opinions on Gursky and what he is trying to convey.

reflecting nature in blown glass

Glass artist Heather Gillespie creates some of my favorite works of art in the medium of blown glass.

Heather GillespieHeather Gillespie, Oyster Bowls

Her oyster bowls look so molten, as if the glass is still moving, a viscous, shining river of color. Along with the craft of creating the vessel, Gillespie also engraves her work to add fine details.

Heather GillespieHeather Gillespie, detail of engraving

Gillespie graduated from Edinburgh College of Art, and then worked for the prestigious glass company of Lobmeyr.  She became enamored with the 16th century art of copper wheel engraving. There are only a handful of engravers in the U.K. who practice this art.

Heather GillespieHeather Gillespie, Ijos

There are many steps involved in creating these intricately carved pieces.  A series of sketches and designs begins the process. After blowing glass into the determined shape, it must cool slowly in a kiln. The piece is cut a polished to the highest standard.  Finally, the detailed engraving can begin.

Heather GillespieHeather Gillespie, Rope Grown Lighting

Her newest work is the Rope Grown Collection.  Moving from the highly intricate engravings to a simpler form, she reflects the simplicity of nature. See more of her work online:


big time art in miami

The art world is buzzing in preparation for America’s biggest art fair, coming December 1-4:  Art Basal Miami Beach. Art is featured from more than 260 galleries from all over the world.  The show exhibits works by more than 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Nick CaveSoundsuit #1, 2009 , by Nick Cave

Cave’s Soundsuits are so named because they do make sounds when worn.  Scavenged materials make up the bizarre fashions, with items such as old bottle caps, beads and rusty iron sticks.

Robert IndianaRobert Indiana, Art

Indiana is an icon in the world of pop art, famous for creating the graphic “Love” with the letter “O” tilted at a slant. “Love” was made into a stamp, probably the most widely distributed Pop Art image with 300 million issued.

Nevin Aladag, Makramé, 2011Nevin Aladag, Makramé, 2011

Born in Turkey, Aladag lives and works in Berlin. Her sculpture is created with wire cable.

This is the tenth exhibition of Art Basal Miami Beach.

“The exhibiting galleries are among the world’s most respected art dealers, offering exceptional pieces by both renowned artists and cutting-edge newcomers. Special exhibition sections feature young galleries, performance art, public art projects and video art. The show will be a vital source for art lovers, allowing them to both discover new developments in contemporary art and experience rare museum-caliber artworks.” – Art Basal Miami

secret postcard art

The RCA Secret 2011 celebrated its 18th birthday this year.  The Royal College of Art in London holds a huge one day sale each year featuring postcard sized art for about $70. Sounds expensive to you?   Maybe not so much, considering you could own an original Manolo Blanhik, Olafur Elaisson or possibly an Anish Kapoor.

Yoko OnoYoko Ono

The Secret is that buyers do not know who has created each piece until they buy it and then check the signature on the back. This year there were 2,900 works of art, created by 1000 invited artists, including RCA postgrad students.

Manolo BlanhikManolo Blanhik

The Secret Sale is held to raise money to cover the budget for the grants and bursaries, with the goal being over $200,000. Postcards by famous artists can go up for auction at prices as high as $24,000.

Anish KapoorAnish Kapoor

People line up for days before the sale, camping out in chilly weather so they are among the first to purchase a Secret piece of art. Buyers can purchase up to 4 pieces. Go to the RCA Secret website to see more details, and view images of all of the art:

bring it on

It’s been damp and drizzly and chilly in the Midwest lately.  I say either fly me to somewhere tropical, or bring on the snow!

Oeffling - stained glass snowflakeLinda Oeffling, Stained Glass Snowflake, iridized krackle

Featured today are some snowflakes coming out of the studio.  Stained glass work, they are copper wired along the outside rim so they won’t pull apart in time.

Linda Oeffling - stained glass snowflakeLinda Oeffling, Stained Glass Snowflake, frost glass with dichroic center

The snowflakes with more open design have a spot of dichroic glass at the center.  Dichroic glass is an interesting material, originating with the aerospace industry.  In a special manufacturing process, metal oxides bond with glass in a vacuum chamber.  The resulting material reflects certain wavelengths of light and allows other to pass through. The result is a glowing, eye-catching glass that brings a sparkle to the project, capturing light in a unique way.

thanksgiving traditions in art

In my search for Thanksgiving art, I found some hilarious classic cards featuring odd things, like a baby on a platter, and a turkey with a smiling, blond, little girl’s face.  Then I moved on to inaccurate depictions of Native Americans, and pious Pilgrims.  I had to leave it at two pieces of artwork that simply convey warm, Autumn feelings and leave it at that!

Doris LeeThanksgiving, c. 1935, Doris Lee
American, 1905-1983

Doris Lee’s artistic career took off when “Thanksgiving”  won the Logan Prize in the annual at the Art Institute of Chicago. Her style ranged from her early folk art pieces to abstract style, and she moved between fine art and illustration with ease.  Read an interesting article about Lee from the New York Times 2008: Offering a Painter for History’s Reconsideration

Grandma MosesGrandma Moses, CATCHING THE THANKSGIVING TURKEY, 1943

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, Grandma Moses, is known as the greatest American folk painter of the twentieth century. She was the first American painter to achieve a significant international reputation in the post-World War II era. From humble beginnings as a self-taught artist on her farm, she became famous later in life and remains iconic today.  Read more about Grandma Moses at:

Have a happy, healthy, appreciative Thanksgiving!

the art of science awards 2011

Princeton University has just released the winners for the Art of Science Exhibition, a competition in its fifth annual year.

The Art of ScienceThe Art of Science, 2011, First Place Winner, Chaos and geomagnetic reversals
Christophe Gissinger (postdoc)
Dept. of Astrophysical Sciences/ Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
The magnetic field of the Earth has reversed its polarity several hundred times during the past 160 million years. This image shows a simple deterministic model illustrating the geomagnetic reversals.

There were 168 submissions this year, with 56 chosen as award winners for this year’s theme,”Intelligent Design”. The images were all produced during the course of scientific research.

The Art of Science 2011Fireworks
Yunlai Zha (GS)
Dept. of Electrical Engineering
Arsenic sulphide dissolved in a solution displays colorful random patterns after being spin-coated and baked on a chrome-evaporated glass slide.

The Art of Science 2011Iron Lotus
Elle Starkman
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
A ferrofluid is a liquid mixed with small metallic particles that can become magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field.

Visit the Princeton site to view all of the images, and read about cutting edge scientific development:

“The Art of Science exhibition explores the interplay between science and art. These practices both involve the pursuit of those moments of discovery when what you perceive suddenly becomes more than the sum of its parts. Each piece in this exhibition is, in its own way, a record of such a moment.” -from

Monday’s favorite things

Today’s favorite – glass art by self-taught artist Craig Mitchell Smith.

Craig Russell SmithWind, by Craig Russell Smith

I think the ultimate placement for glass is outside.  It seems contradictory, such a delicate, fragile material.  Yet it withstands wind and weather, and its beauty in natural light is breathtaking.

Craig Russell SmithThe Gift Blue, Craig Russell Smith

Smith works with metal smiths to create sculptures combining glass and metal. His forms are created in a kiln.

Craig Russell SmithMaking A Wish, Craig Russell Smith

Starting with a background in painting, Smith has also done interior and garden design, set design for theatres, and floral design.  With no training in working with glass, he experimented with jewelry, then quickly moved into kiln formed sculptural pieces.

Craig Russell SmithFountain: Flight of Water, Craig Russell Smith

About a year ago, in October of 2010, Smith opened his own gallery in Okemos, Michigan.  Visit his website to see more:


busy weekends coming

Ah, it’s Friday, but is that a sigh of relief at the end of the week, or a new breath to gain energy for all that can be done over the weekend? With Affair of the Arts complete, I am looking forward to another art show that is a lot of fun. If your weekends are busy, this show gives you plenty of options to choose from.

Crossing Borders Art Tour and Sale

Come to visit ~ Leave Inspired
November 19th and 20th  Saturday & Sunday
December 3rd and 4th  Saturday & Sunday
HOURSSaturday 11AM – 5PM  &  Sunday 11AM – 4PM

This Art Tour gives you a chance to peek inside the studio world of working artists.  Visit their website to view a map and plot out where to start your day:

Here are a few photos to get you started.  Click on the link above to view more – lots of artists and studios participating!

Carriage House PotteryCarriage House Pottery & Gallery

Don RambadtMetal Sculpture by Don Rambadt

Wilmot Artisan MarketPhotography, Paintings, and more at the Wilmot Artisan Market

Fox Valley GlassGlass Blowing Demos and Shop at Fox River Glass: &

a visit to turkey

Fellow studio worker, Tom, and his wife recently returned from an incredible trip to Turkey. They came back with treats for us in the studio (Turkish wine and Turkish Delight – yum), and many stories of amazing historic sites.  It reminded me of something I came across and wanted to share.

MuqarnasMuqarnas, photo from

I am attempting to create more detailed, intricate glass mandalas, and what amazing inspiration can be found in this art form. Muqarnas is Arabic for “stalactite vault”. This type of architecture can be traced back to the tenth century, in northeastern Iran.  The earliest example can be found near Samarra.

The Imam al-Dur Dome, view of the muqarnas dome from the insideThe Imam al-Dur Dome, view of the muqarnas dome from the inside
Photo:  Ilkhanid

Muqarnas can be constructed in brick, stone, stucco or wood.  They are then traditionally decorated with paint, or painted tiles.  The final small, pointed niches are then applied to domes, or the undersides of arches and vaults.

The Alhambra: Hall of the Abencerrajes and Hall of Kings (or Hall of Justice)The Alhambra: Hall of the Abencerrajes and Hall of Kings (or Hall of Justice)

The Alhambra is one of the most famous sites containing muqarnas. Located in Grenada, Spain, it was a fortress and palace, as well as a small city. Restoration has been taking place for the past 100 years, and it is still being explored and excavated.

I found a some wonderful, large images on Flickr:  Muqarnas and Mocarabe, a gallery created by Ilkhanid   Enjoy!

ooooops . . .

Next time you make a mistake at work, think of this story and maybe you won’t feel so bad.  A dedicated German cleaning woman diligently scrubbed away a stain on a piece of artwork.  Only it was part of the artwork.  And the piece was worth about 1.1 million dollars.

when the roof begins to leakWenn’s anfaengt durch die Decke zu tropfen (When it begins to drip through the ceiling),  Martin Kippenberger
Photo: EPA

The artwork includes a plastic bowl painted to look discolored by water.  The cleaner thought it was an actual stain, and scrubbed the bowl until it looked brand new.  The poor woman was unaware that museum ruled prohibit cleaning staff getting within 20 centimeters of any piece of art. The museum reported that it is now impossible to return the work to its previous state.

Martin KippenbergerClose-up of Wenn’s anfaengt durch die Decke zu tropfen

Kippenberger, a German artist known for working in a variety of styles, died in 1997. He was the leader of a group of German “bad boy” artists that at emerged in the wake of Neo-Expressionism, and made as much trouble as he did art, appropriating other artists’ work and once buying a gas station in Brazil and naming it after himself. – from The Washington Post

floating works

Artist Haruka Kojin is all over the blog sphere these days, with many sites featuring her newest installation, “Contact Lens”.

Haruka KojinHaruka Kojin, Contact Lens (image by designboom)

This installation is on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, in an exhibition entitled, “Architectural Environments for Tomorrow.” Kojin’s art displays a distortion of reality, using two different types of lenses. One is flat, and the other type is a curved surface, displaying a skewed view of reality.

Haruka KojinHaruka Kojin, Contact Lens (image by designboom)

In looking through past installations, I love the quality of her work, suspended, reflected.

Haruka KojinHaruka Kojin, reflectwo (2006-11)

Haruka KojinHaruka Kojin, Walk in ‘Ma·Ma Spaghetti

Kojin was born in Hiroshima in 1983, and completed her Master degree at the Department of Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of the Arts.

we had quite a nice affair

We had a beautiful day yesterday for Affair of the Arts.  It is fun to see familiar faces year after year, and we hear many compliments about the quality of the show and the beauty of the venue.  The Shores of Turtle Creek is such a sun-lit, expansive place, so perfect for an art show.  We are lucky to be able to work with them each year.

Affair of the ArtsAffair of the Arts at The Shores of Turtle Creek

I wanted to get some updated pictures of the show, but fell short, (busy day…)  so excuse the dated picture above from one of our first shows.  It does give a feel for the venue, though, so I posted it anyway. People loved being able to stroll through, glass of chilled wine in hand, and view, purchase, or just chat with the artists.

Our artists are all exceptional, and wonderful to work with. I could spend all day mentioning each one, but you can follow the link to see pictures and links:  I would like to make a special mention of  guest musician, Nick LiChard, who was kind enough to play and sing live for us at the beginning of the show.  It set a great tone, and compliments were flying.  Truly a talented artist!  See more about Nick:

Another great outcome of this year’s show is the collaboration between Rowanberry Studio and blacksmith artist Will Slagel.  Will was commissioned a customized iron stand for my co-worker at Rowanberry, Amy Guanci.  She was kind enough to lend it to me for displaying my latest piece, Kaleidescope Mandala:

Oeffling & Slagel artworkLinda Oeffling, Kaleidescope, and Will Slagel, Forged Iron Base

Unfortunately for Amy, she couldn’t enjoy it for long, because it sold!

See more:
Will Slagel, Metal Meanders
Linda Oeffling, Amy Guanci, Jane McCauley, Tom vonGeldern:  Rowanberry Studio
Affair of the Arts

we all start somewhere

It might as well be in Spring Grove, Illinois. This Sunday us locals are putting on our annual art show, Affair of the Arts, at The Shores of Turtle Creek.

Affair of the Arts

We started this show because we were wanted a quality show with a higher level of artistic ability than the typical “craft show”. We called it Art Market, and started to gather local talent.

Art MarketAmy, Me, and Jane at one of our first art shows, held at Amy’s house in Spring Grove

The Shores of Turtle CreekThe Shores of Turtle Creek

We hooked up with another “home” show with Gabi Sparacio, who took steps to get us into a larger and more legitimate space, and  began to host shows twice a year at a local wedding/event venue called The Shores of Turtle Creek.

This year we have a full house – over 35 artists on two levels.  We actually have a waiting list and have to turn people away – something we only imagined when we began calling ourselves an Art Show. We have also grown to include the Spring Grove Area Art Walk – with local studios opening their doors and welcoming art lovers into their working spaces.

There is a great group of talented people coming to display their work.  Many are regulars who have been with us since the beginning, but there are always new faces and new art to discover at each successive show.

If you are anywhere near, please stop in and see us!  Click here for more information:

Sara MichaelsSara Michaels, S.E.M. Illustrations

Lynda WallisLynda Wallis, Freelance Illustrations

Will SlagelWill Slagel, Metal Meanders

Josie RochellJosie Rochell, Pots by Josie

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Loon

There’s more to see . . . visit the website or visit the show for more!  Affair of the

knock down

Aeneas Wilder is a U.K. artist who creates installations that might remind you of those popsicle structures you built way back in elementary school. Just a bit of a difference, though, as he is world-renowned and his installations are worth a few (thousand) dollars more.

Aeneas WilderAeneas Wilder, Untitled # 140,  just outside Antwerp

Wilder is in the art news this week because he created a huge installation for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and deliberately deconstructed it by  kicking it down, causing it to tumble with incredible precision into a room full of sticks.  The video is great – if the below link does not appear correctly, go to the YSP website to view it:

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

Aeneas Wilder Kick Down from Yorkshire Sculpture Park on Vimeo.

He began working with uniform lengths of wood in 1998, creating free standing, complex structures, characterized by simplicity, precision, and economy.

Aeneas WilderAeneas Wilder, Untitled Drawing (2011)

Aeneas WilderSphere installation by Aeneas Wilder for ‘Undisturbed Silence’ exhibition, Duffel, Belgium – Sept 2010

Wilder’s website showcases his work, and also has an interesting link to “Writings”, which are letters he has written to a friend.  It is an interesting glimpse into his life an thoughts.  Visit:

envelope art

I know when you see my title, my post is really not what you are thinking.  No cute little envelopes, hand made from magazines or pastel papers here.

From Hatje Cantz WebsiteSecurity tint inside an envelope – from Hatje Cantz Publishing

Would you ever guess that the inside printing of security envelopes could be used as the basis for architecture? Jürgen Mayer H. is a German architect who has spent years collecting paper with any type of encryption pattern. These motifs have inspired many of the buildings that Mayer has designed, including the Hassel Court of Justice in Belgium.

Hassel Court of JusticeHassel Court of Justice, Belgium (courtesy of Architizer blog)

Architizer’s blog is where I found this obscure information.  I like the way blog author Kelly Chan phrases it:

“a brick and mortar rendering of digitally obscured information”
-Kelly Chan

An der AlsterAn der Alster 1, designed by J. Mayer H. Architects, Hamburg Germany

See Mayer H. Architects website for more unique and inspired architecture:

Chelini & Oeffling EnvelopeChelini & Oeffling Inc. envelope

“C&O” is the design of my graphic design business envelope.  We thought it was fun to have the opportunity to custom design the security tint, but I never thought of it as architectural … until now.

more SOFA, so much to see

So much to choose from … I have to use this treasure trove of art to feed the blog this week.  It is a visual feast.

Michael Glancy Michael Glancy, Steel-Blue Witness, 2009
deeply engraved (radiation wave-cut) cast glass object, deeply engraved industrial plate glass, copper, silver 17 x 20 x 20″
photo: Marty Doyle Barry Friedman Ltd.

“The fun part for me is the meticulous work. With a pair of visors that cuts my reality, really tunnels my reality down into a different plane, [I can get] into a micro area. By occupying my hands, it frees my mind.” – Michel Glancy, from Art News

Carolyn Morris BachCarolyn Morris Bach, Bird Earrings

“While I strive for perfection in my design and craftsmanship, I am not overly concerned that every form requires perfectly rounded edges or that every element be an exact replication of its counterpart,” says Carolyn. “If this is art, it should be individual and unique and preserve for the viewer deliberate traces of the decisions for fabrication; the passage of the hands through materials.” – Carolyn Morris Bach

Tammy GarciaTammy Garcia, Untitled, 2006

“I need the challenge of trying new things. I don’t want to repeat the same shapes and designs all the time. Sometimes the shape of a piece changes as I’m working on it, and I have to give in to the change. Sometimes the clay speaks, and I have to listen.” – Tammy Garcia

One of the most interesting things about these posts today and yesterday, is researching the artists.  I hope you have time to follow some of the links to view more of their work and read about their lives.  These SOFA artists are truly world-class.  Many of them are prolific in more than one medium, and all of their work is simply outstanding.  What inspiration!

from SOFA . . . so much to see

Unfortunately, I missed the wonderful SOFA show this year.  How wonderful that I can dig in online and still appreciate some of the great art that was featured on Navy Pier in Chicago this past weekend.  Not comparable to being there in person, but a small comfort nonetheless.

Eugene AndolsekEugene Andolsek, Untitled #14A

Andolsek is one of the artists featured in The Intuit Show at SOFA. He worked at his kitchen table with a compass, straight edge, graph paper, and an eyedropper to create amazing intricate works of art, yet did not even consider himself an artist. Once completed, his work was put away in a closet or trunk, only displayed to the public eye in his later years when a caregiver at a retirement home discovered his talent and brought it to the attention of the director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. View more by the gallery that represents Andolsek: American Primitive Gallery.

Julius WeilandJulius Weiland , Silver Dragon, 2011
silvered borosilicate glass  43.25 x 23.75 x 2.75″
photo: Wolfgang Selbach

Weiland is a glass artist represented by Litvak Gallery.  His signature work is fusing borosilicate glass tubes into flowing, glistening sculptures. In the fusing process, the glass must melt to enough of a liquid state to bond together, yet not be liquid enough to melt into a puddle.  Precision fusing is an essential and delicate process. See more (and check out his amazing, graphic website – LOVE it!) This link takes you to the archive index – great photos of his work.

Louis MuellerLouis Mueller, Four Corners of Green, 2007
41″ X 3″ X 3″   constructed bronze oil paint

There is something about Mueller’s strong forms that I find attractive.  His use of gallery wall corners makes you look twice.  This type of work is just the tip of the Mueller iceberg, there is a massive amount more if you delve a bit deeper. His range is impressive, with a career spanning nearly four decades, and work that includes contemporary studio jewelry, sculpture, installation, furniture design and drawings. Here are a couple of gallery links to his work:,

more maruyama

Yesterday I shared some of Shinishi Maruyama’s photography, but his paintings are worth a day themselves.

Shinishi MaruyamaShinichi Maruyama, Nihonga Series

“Nihonga”, is “Nihon” (Japan) and “ga” (painting), or painting in the Japanese style.  This can be traced back a thousand years to the Meiji era. It involves the use of rock pigments, crushed minerals, shells, corals and even semi-precious stones, ground to a fine powder.

Shinichi MaruyamaShinichi Maruyama, Nihonga Series

The ground rock pigment can be made in many gradations, from the finest powder to the texture of sand grains.

Shinichi Maruyama, Nihonga SeriesShinichi Maruyama, Nihonga Series

Nihonga artists use the powdered pigment mixed with glue and water to brush upon hand-made “washi” paper. The finer the powder, the lighter the color of the pigment.

Visit Maruyma’s website:

the beauty of water

I have seen a lot of macro photography, and slow motion captures are all the rage. I have been holding out for something special, and I think I found a few images to share.


Azrainman has a photo site on Flickr.  He manipulates photos in Photoshop to add various graphics and effects.  Most of his things are rather more bizarre, but I really love this water image.

Doberman StudioDoberman Studio, Splashes Series

Doberman Studio has some amazing fashion photography – truly beautiful work.  And their Splashes Series is fun and creative.

Shinishi MaruyamaShinichi Maruyama, from designfloat blog

I like Maruyama’s work, but especially love the photo of him in action – looks like so much fun!

Shinishi MaruyamaShinishi Maruyama, Garden #4, 2010

Water has no taste, no color, no odor; it cannot be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself. It fills us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses. -Antoine Dd Saint-Exupery (1900-1944), Wind, Sand, and Stars, 1939


All the water that will ever be is, right now. – National Geographic, October 1993


ripped art

There is an exhibition running in Huntington New York, from October through January of 2012, entitled “Ripped:  The Allure of Collage”. It is taking place at the Heckscher Museum of Art.

Nancy ScheinmanNancy Scheinman, Jeweled Sky — Silent Music of Immortals

The word collage comes the French, coller, to glue. A work of collage art is made up of bits and pieces of other items, glued to paper or canvas.  It can include a wide variety of inclusions, such as newspaper, ribbons, hand-made paper, photographs, and found objects.

John DigbyThe art of collage can be traced back to  twelfth-century Japanese calligraphers. They prepared special surfaces upon which to paint brushstrokes of poetry, creating a background of bits of paper and fabric.

Turquoise StripesConrad Marca-Relli, Turquoise Stripes

Collage was the first medium in the twentieth century to challenge the sanctity of the age-old forms of painting and sculpture. -from

As you can see from the sampling of photos, collage can encompass any and every style of art. The first use of collage in fine art is generally attributed to Picasso and Braques, who experimented with collage as an extension of their cubist principles.

Locally, here in the Midwest, take a look at my neighbor and friend, collage artist Terri Smith.  She experiments with several styles of collage, from humorous collage art pins, to custom designed collage portraits, to collaged chairs. Visit her blog:

SOFA chicago – ooooooooh

Here it comes, this weekend!  The Sculptural Objects and Functional Art Show in Chicago – SOFA, one of the world’s more foremost fairs of contemporary art and design, will be at Navy Pier November 4 – 6, 2011. And for the second year in a row, they will share the Pier’s Festival Hall with The Intuit Show of Folk & Outsider Art.

Here is a sampling of some of the artists who will be attending this year:

Jun KanekoJun Kaneko, ceramic sculpture

Tanija and Graham CarrTanija and Graham Carr, leather sculpture

John KileyJohn Kiley, blown glass sculpture

More than 60 international art dealers and galleries will be featured this year. You will be awed and amazed by the variety and quality of art at this show.

Go to the SOFA Website to view preview pictures.

i would so wear spider silk

The Art Institute of Chicago is celebrating the opening of their redesigned galleries of African Art and Indian Art of the Americas.

Spider silk from MadagascarGolden Textile at the Art Institute of Chicago, photo courtesy of

This incredible fabric was conceived and created by Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley.  Silk thread was collected from over one million Golden Orb spiders to create the work of art. It has been referred to as the “Eight Wonder of the World”, and it is only here in Chicago through October.

spider silk from madagascarSpider Silk from Madagascar, image courtesy of AIC

Peers and Godley drew upon the work of a French missionary, Jacob Paul Camboue, whose work in the 1880’s and 1890’s had limited success. Before that, the only known spider-silk textile was exhibited at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900.  That work has since been lost.

© Courtesy of Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley© Courtesy of Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley

Over 70 people worked to collect spiders from webs on telephone wires, using long poles. They had to be collected during the rainy season, which is the only time when they produce silk.

Here are links to some great articles, and also a You Tube video:


real web art

It can be a form of art to create a spider’s web, using chain, glass, paint, yarn . . . imagine the materials you can use to convey this form.  Emil (Rocky) Fiore creates art using the fragile spiderweb itself.

Emil FioreEmil Fiore

Fiore was working with stained glass about 35 years ago when he started to experiment with capturing webs. He has perfected the process, using only a piece of glass, varnish, and aluminum paint.

Emil FioreEmil Fiore

The docks in Palisades Park, New Jersey, like most structures on the water, are full of intricate spiderwebs. Fiore was issued a permit by the park to collect webs.  He never harms a living spider, but often his pieces will include the prey trapped in the sticky threads. Rocky’s website is:, and you can view and purchase pieces.


a web for wednesday

Artist Jim Hodges from New York was appointed senior critic and acting director of graduate studies in sculpture this year, at Yale University School of Art.

Jim HodgesJim Hodges

Hodges’ spiderwebs made from chain were featured at the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA) show in 2007, with CRG Gallery.

Jim HodgesJim Hodges, A Model of Delicacy, 1992

A Model of Delicacy is made of white brass chain, silk and wire. Another piece of Hodges’, made up of six webs similar to the ones above, sold at Sotheby’s New York, May 2011, for $1,082,500.

Jim HodgesNo Betweens,1996
sculpture | silk, cotton, polyester, and thread

Of course, a world-renowned artist does not limit himself to webs alone.  He is featured in galleries world wide with many diverse works.  See more  of his work, as represented by the Stephen Friedman Gallery in London:

oooh, tuesday’s spider is shiny!

Michael Turner is a UK artist who sculpts with stainless steel, applying various finishes to get various patinas.

Michael TurnerSpider :: Polished and Painted

Turner finds inspiration in nature, creating sculptures including those of insects, animals and sea life.

Michael TurnerOwl :: Heat-treated and polished

Polish, paint and heat are all used to obtain the different finishes, creating something unique every time he forms a new sculpture.

Michael TurnerDragon :: Polished and Painted

See more of Turner’s work on his website:

it’s spider week on the blog!

My close friends know my fear of spiders.  I know they are useful and beautiful creatures, so I’m really working on it.  I can truly appreciate them out in nature, but can’t abide them in my house or crawling on me.  (horrors!)  My favorite spider is the black and yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia).  I can enjoy these beauties because they stay outside, usually always on their web, and never terrify me by scuttling across the floor.

Black and Yellow Garden SpiderBlack and Yellow Garden Spider (Argiope aurantia), from the Illinois State Museum Spider Collection

I have uncovered an interesting bunch of spiders in the art world, too.  Today we’ll start with my favorite, the massive and horrifying Maman, by Louise Bourgeois.

MamanLouise Bourgeois, Maman

Mama Spider is over 30 feet high, and she carries a sac with 26 marble eggs. I like the photo above because you can see the sculptural detail.  But I also love the way she looks so monstrous in the photo below. Both photos were taken next to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain.

MamanLouise Bourgeois, Maman

Louise Bourgeois was a French-born American artist who only recently passed away in 2010.  She gained fame late in life, but did become a respected and influential artist, with many major international shows and awards.  A tiny, gruff, outspoken woman, Bourgeois created art around the themes of sexuality, feminism, and vulnerability. Read a NY Times article about her interesting life:

Once I was beset by anxiety but I pushed the fear away by studying the sky, determining when the moon would come out and where the sun would appear in the morning. -Louise Bourgeois

finger painting

New York artist Judith Braun produces some beautiful work with fingertips and charcoal or pastels.

Judith BraunJudith Braun, Symmetrical Procedures

Judith BraunJudith Braun, Symmetrical Procedures

“Abstraction keeps the images free to be anything, while the symmetry resolves that fluidity into something, like liquid energy crystallizing. This crystal metaphor is further reflected in the carbon medium that, under heat and pressure, becomes a diamond.  I like to think I’m drawing with diamond dust.” – Judith Braun

Judith BraunJudith Braun, Symmetrical Procedures

bridge in the clouds

“Le Viaduc de Millau” is a bridge spanning the Tarn Valley in southern France.

Le VIaduc de MillauPhotograph: Christophe Ena/AP

Featured as one of the top 10 buildings of the decade by The Guardian, it is a graceful and elegant work designed by engineer Michel Virlogeux and architect Norman Foster.

Millau ViaductPhoto by JM AMOUROUX

Though constructed in 2004, it remains the tallest bridge in the world.

Millau viaductPhoto by

The photos featured here give you a glimpse of the beauty, but for some truly awe-inspiring photos, go to the Foster and Partners website for a gorgeous flash slides how:

“quiet abstraction of landscape shapes”

Henrietta Corbett finds her inspiration in the stark, weather-beaten rural landscapes of the U.K.

Henrietta CorbettHenrietta Corbett, Over Rivers

“henrietta excels in a form of quiet abstraction of landscape shapes, which is achieved by layered and scraped paint. The work is distinct in the very nature of its process and the utilisation of a limited palette. The resulting images betray their history, they are clearly not produced in one go.

Two of her tutors, Anish Kapoor and Nicola Hicks undoubtedly left their mark”

(Philip Tregoning of Tregoning Fine Art 1999)

Henrietta CorbettHenrietta Corbett, Sun with Plough Lines

With just a few simple, calligraphic strokes, bold forms, and strong color, Corbett pulls you into her landscapes.

Henrietta CorbettHenrietta Corbett, Running Over Stones

They are so simple, but so strong.  Words fail me, as to why I am so attracted to her work, but she has been showing her work and winning awards since 2002.  I must not be the only one.  Enjoy more of her work here:

digital art is so cool

I am a computer geek.  I love my mac.  I love Steve Jobs.  I love the Adobe art programs.  And I do love digital art. Maybe to some this is not considered fine art, but I have to put in a plug.  This stuff is not easy to do, speaking from the position of one who has tried creating fractal images, spent hours on the computer, and could not some close to a beautiful image.  Today, I bring you the art of Tatiana Plakhova.

Tatiana PlakhovaTatiana Plakhova, Folk Complexity

Plakhova graduated from Moscow State University with a Master in Social Psychology.  From there, she  studied Graphic Design. She works as an art director, graphic designer and illustrator, with clients including Proctor & Gamble Russia, and Hewlett Packard.

Tatiana PlakhovaPhotos of Flow Theory, Tatiana Plakhova

“You can either call it Complexism or Networkism … where imaginary landscapes of interconnected entities are the prevailing theme.” -Plakhova

She combines combining science, illustration, photography, and music to create something fresh, an imaginary universe based upon patterns, math and lines.  Her inspiration is 90% music and books, and the result is the feeling of incredible space through a display of microscopic structure.

Tatiana PlakhovaTatiana Plakhova

See more of her work on her website:, which also includes links to more information and interviews.

casting a luminous net

Fishermen in India use weaving technique to create their functional fishing nets.  Janel Echelman has taken this time-honored workman’s craft to a new level.

Janet EchelmanJanet Echelman, 1.26

This sculpture illuminated the Denver sky in July and August of 2010, gently flowing in the breeze above the city. Her inspiration was the 2010 earthquake in Chile, which shortened the length of the earth’s day be 1.26 microseconds due to slightly redistributing the earth’s mass.

Janet EchelmanJanet Echelman, Every Beating Second

Her newest commission is installed at the San Francisco Airport, descending from three round skylights cut into the ceiling.  The shaded outlines below the netting reflect the precise shadows that would occur on the summer solstice if the sun could penetrate through the roof.

Janet EchelmanJanet Echelman, Marianne’s Breast

This piece is theoretical, and currently under construction for the temporary art festival in France, “Nuit Blanche.” The title is a reference to Delacroix’s iconic painting “Liberty Leading the People”, and the image of Marianne is widely considered a national emblem of France.

Visit Echelman’s website to see more of her work, and take a look at her Bio – the story of how she first began working with the net form is serendipitous.

painterly photography

Photography is a great art form.  There are so many fantastic photographers out there, it is hard to pick ones to blog about, and with today’s affordable cameras, the ranks are overflowing.   I find that Barbara Cole’s work transcends the genre, and she creates images that seem more like fine art paintings.

Barbara ColeBarbara Cole, Courthouse Ladies

Although Cole describes her process for “Courthouse Ladies”, it is still almost impossible to imagine how she could have created this image.  She used an old fashioned Polaroid camera in her studio, and somehow manipulated the surface of the film to add dimension and create the painted effect. Amazing.

Barbara ColeBarbara Cole, Attraction

Again, the description of her work is beyond my artistic comprehension.  In her words:

“I photograph from above in order to flatten the perspective. I rework this canvas with a toolkit that includes clouds, reflections, plastic sheeting, cloth-encased figures as well as aperture, shutter speed and artificial lighting. It is important that I am able to capture these photographic constructions in-camera, creating on site, rather than relying on photographic artifice.”  -Barbara Cole

Barbara ColeBarbara Cole, Green Chartreuse, II

Her work is unlike any other photography I have seen.  Maybe I am confessing my inexperience, but maybe not.  Either way, there is no doubt that Cole’s work is something out of the ordinary. See more on her website:

i love it when the leaves turn

I wish I said it first, but credit goes to blogger Jake Hostetter, who said, “I love it when the leaves turn, you guys.”

Umbrella TreeI love it when the leaves turn into umbrellas. Sam Spenser makes me love with his front yard installation entitled ‘Bloom’.Read More:

Spencer was a Goldsmith art college student when he created the work, displayed in a tree outside of the Wapping Project, an arts venue in East London within the historic Wapping Hydraulic Power Station. Veuve Clicquot (champagne house) commissioned Spencer to create the installation in celebration of their signature color yellow, Pantone #137C, registered 130 years ago.

Sam Spencer Sam Spencer, Bloom

His latest work is interesting as well. Using emulsified, natural phosphor crystals, Spencer created a geometric grid of light.

Sam SpencerSam Spencer, working on Light Triptych

The glowing light is a natural biological reaction, similar to that of the sea life in the deepest depths of our oceans.

 I am working with phosphorescent technology in search of a magic, meditative, hypnotic and spiritual experience. – Sam Spencer

See more about Spencer and his work: and

its a bit sketchy

Today I found simple art sketches that I would like to share. There is a blog I visit occasionally, and I am re-blogging some of his things here:


There is something very pleasing to the eye about a simple line sketch that captures a scene.  I also like the simple wash of color.

umanbnfrom fellow WordPress blogger, umanbn

This next one is more of a stretch – this artist illustrates books, and I am sure this finished product is more than a “sketch”, although it is deceptively simple.

http://gwendallebec.comGwendal Le Bec

So, theme for the day, Simplicity.

“Simplicity, clarity, singleness: These are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy as they are also the marks of great art.”  Richard Holloway

 “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

 “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” -Charles Mingus –

embroidered beauty

Am I dating myself, or is embroidery and crewel a lost art?  When I was young, I learned to do crewel work, using needle and crewel yarn to create scenes with specific stitches, and using fun techniques, like french knots.  I never hear of it any more, or see things done with this intricate craft. I was delighted to find Kirsten Chursinoff’s textile art, showcasing this old fashioned technique with a beautiful up to date result.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff, Autumn Umbrels 2

Here is a close-up of some of her work, and you can see the incredible amount of detailed work in each piece.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff

Kirsten does use a sewing machine to “collage” fabric onto a cotton base. She uses the machine as a sort of “free-motion machine embroidery”, moving the fabric in all directions while she “paints” with the thread.  Hand embroidery stitches are added to fill in the fine details.  She is especially fond of the french knot, (see – I told you it was a fun stitch)  and you can see those at the ends of the flower forms above and in the pink below.

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff, Fibre art nest in a blossom tree

I look for organic lines, forgiving textures, embroider-able details. I think about what kinds of stitches I’ll need to use, or the threads and yarns that will be applied to the surface. Colours are important too. -Kirsten Chursinoff

Kirsten ChursinoffKirsten Chursinoff

Chursinoff draws much of her inspiration from the natural world.  I love the incorporation of real shells into this undersea sculpture.

See more of her work on her Flickr site: REad more about Kirsten and her work on her website:

time to celebrate the art of the leaf

It’s October in the Midwest, time for weather and leaves to change, bringing vibrant color and rich fall smell to the air. Today is a good day to feature artist Sue Gregor, and her leafy works of art.

Sue GregorSue Gregor, Blue Shadow Disc Necklace

Gregor’s shadow-casting plastic necklaces are hand-dyed and embossed using her own method, and ordinary plants and weeds. These necklaces made the blog rounds several months ago.  Gregor has more to her credit than this artistic line of jewelry, though.

Sue GregorSue Gregor, Textiles:  00990 – passion flower leaves

Her textiles capture the delicate tracery of the leaves, and she has a way with using soft, pastel color.

Sue GregorSue Gregor, Wallpaper Grass

Maybe not everyone would love weeds on their walls, but this is really amazing to me.  There is not much information I could find about the wallpaper.  I am wondering if it is the exposure that give it the spot of light?  Or is it backlit somehow?  I would love to pass this going down my stairs every day.

Sue GregorSue Gregor, Cuff Bracelet:  00340 – roman cuff 4 a

Gregor lives in the UK city of Bristol.  Being an urban artist does not stop her from finding inspiration in nature.

The plants and weeds which grow in the front gardens and wastelands, in hedges and along paths are a rich source of material. I see beauty all around me and the plants which have struggled to succeed in an urban environment give me inspiration on a personal level and for my jewellery. – Sue Gregor

See more of her lovely work on her website, where there is also a link to shop for her creations:

truly beautiful recycled art

I have seen recycled art project before, and sometimes it’s just not pretty.  The work of Haribaabu Naatesan is clearly an exception to the craft-project-recycled-art world:

Haribaabu Naatesam Haribaabu Naatesam, Caelifera (Grasshopper)
Size: 56 cms X 41 cms X 5 cms, (Sand witched Frame)
Medium: Mixed Materials

His creations are intricate and well crafted fine art, and his forms have a unique quality to them that I find intriguing.

Hari NaatesanHaribaabu Naatesan, Frivolity
Size: 59 cms X 74 cms X 8 cms, (Sand witched Frame)
Medium: Mixed Materials

“Hari’s” studio is located in Mumbai, India.  He creates his pieces out of discarded materials.

Art and responsibility to earth is rarely seen as effectively as it is visible in these beautiful iconic creations by this artist who makes mechanical fossils out of electronic wastes.  -‘The Pool’ magazine, Indian Edition, August 2, 2010

Haribaabu NaatesamHaribaabu Naatesam, Static Friction
Size: 76 cms X 76 cms X 5 cms
Medium: Mixed Materials

Naatesam uses mostly electronic waste from trashed motherboards, discs, cd’s, cell phones, and more.  See more of his work on his website:

monochromatic ink landscape

I would love to be able to travel to Zurich to stroll though this installation, by Ugo Rondinone. Thanks to Contemporary Art Daily, where I found these images that give you the wonderful feeling of experiencing the space.  Click their link above to view more of the installation.

Ugo Rondinone

UgoUgo Rondinone, Venue: Eva Presenhuber, Zurich, Exhibition Title: Kiss Now Kill Later, Date: September 2 – October 29. 2011

The vast open space, the huge, detailed illustrations, and the scattered, whimsical birds all come together for a storybook fantasy atmosphere. His title strikes a kind  of evil tone, but maybe appropriate when you consider the grisly details in the original Grimm tales.

IllustrationUgo Rondinone, drittermaerzzweitausendundelf, 2011. Ink on paper, plexiglass plaque with caption. Unique, 272 x 427 x 3 cm. ©the artist. Photo© Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zürich. Courtesy of Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich.

Rondinone has been creating these monochromatic drawings since the 1990’s. They are traditionally made in a sketchbook, then reproduced on a large scale using a slide projector.

Ugo RondinoneUgo Rondinone at Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

There are 30 birds in the “flock”, all under 6″ in height. From the press release:

Their appearance is that of birds, but their character is not. The titles of the bird sculptures refer to natural phenomena. In this way, they represent the natural world outside the artistic space. Their presentation within the group conveys the idea that those non-descript birds stand for more important events. –VernissageTV, Zürich

Ugo RondinoneUgo Rondinone at Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

And a final detail that I admire, of course, is the stained glass piece, set into the wall and illuminated by natural light.  It is a clock, with no hands.  Hmmm.  How do you tell the time when it is cloudy?  Could it be a sun?  Anyway, I love the precision of the work and the wide zinc (I’m guessing zinc) trim.

they look computer generated

But they are not.  Davy Evans is a recent University of Brighton Graduate who has some interesting graphic design projects online.  This is a photograph from his project “////”:

Davy EvansDavy Evans, ////

You can find many inventive computer-generated designs online, (See Deviant Art sometime for an unusual, talented, artistic community) but these are actual photographs taken by Evans.

Davy EvansDavy Evans, ////

Evans enjoys a hands-on approach to image making, with little or no computer assistance.  These images were created by mixing household chemicals in water, and taking photographs with a macro lens.

Davy EvansDavy Evans, ////

You can see a video version, accompanied by space-odyssey type music, so appropriate to the mystical mixing,  on his website:  .  If you have time, the video is short, and well worth watching.  It looks like microscopic creatures coming to life.

rock art. art rocks? rocks rock!

It’s all about the beauty found within.  Roger Callois was a writer, a French intellectual who associated with philosophers and surrealist artists.  He was particularly interested in drawing drawing analogies between the organization of the natural world and human society. (from It is his book, The Writing of Stones, that caught my attention and sparked my imagination with its rock and stone illustrations.

Roger CailloisRuin marbles, Tuscany, dust jacket of The Writing of Stones

In the show that I recently participated in, the Art of the Land, I had to submit an artist statement along with my work.  I put a statement in there about how things I pick up in nature can  be infinitely more beautiful, crafted by nature, than pieces I can spend hours on, created in the studio. This book is a wonderful illustration of that statement.  The polished rock and stone featured are masterpieces.

"Septaria," Spain“Septaria,” Spain, from The Writing of Stones

Caillois’ writing is the perfect, poetic commentary to be absorbed and enjoyed along with the Art of the Stones.

Meanwhile the tree of life goes on putting out branches. A multitude of new inscriptions is added to the writing in stones. . .  The scrolls and laces of ferns are imprinted in coal. Ammonites of all sizes, from a lentil to a millwheel, flaunt their cosmic spirals everywhere. A fossil trunk, turned jasper and opal like a frozen fire, clothes itself in scarlet, purple, violet. Dinosaurs’ bones change their petit-point tapestries into ivory, gleaming pink or blue like sugared almonds. – Roger Caillois

Roger Caillois, The Writing of Stones“Jasper,” Oregon, The Writing of Stones

Primitive painting, fine line illustration, carved sculpture and pop art — the stones illustrate and speak their stories.

Roger Caillois.An eye agate from Uruguay, The Writing of Stones

Caillois lived from 1913 to 1978, and left behind an interesting legacy.   See a list of publications on Amazon. There are quite a few sites that discuss this man, his work, and his philosophies, and I leave you today with one I found pretty interesting:

fun friday: the art of google

I love Google.  Yeah, there are other search engines — yahoo, ask and the more recently advertised bing, are some of the most commonly used.  Dogpile used to be one of my favorites when I was working in the Elementary School library, and I just read that it is making a comeback. When you plug in your question or search, you tell it to Fetch!

But not as fun as Google, with its clean, blank search page, just waiting for you to plug in your every search need. Good old Google, with its bright, elementary, happy color palette.

And Google goes the extra mile — specially designed art-inspired pages – Wow!  Here are some of the classics:

Google Page:  Audobon226th Birthday of John James Audubon – Apr 26, 2011 (Global)

I think it’s a little hard to see the G – O -O -G – L -E in this one, but that’s ok because I love Audubon’s illustrations. For half a century he was America’s wildlife artist, and his work is still a standard against which modern day bird artists are measured.

Google art:  MuchaAlfons Mucha’s 150th Birthday – Jul 24, 2010 (Selected Countries)

Alphonse Mucha, born in the Czech Republic, was reportedly drawing before he was walking. Eventually he became a painter, and moved to Paris, where he studied at the Academie Julian. In 1895 he presented his new style to Paris, which began the movement called Art Nouveau.

I love springD4G Nordics Winner Hilde Lorentzon’s ‘I Love Spring’ – (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden)

Not only are famous artists represented, but current google doodlers are featured with imaginative new ways to express the spirit of google.

Google art:  WildebeastsCelebrating the Wildebeest Migration. Doodle by Samuel Githui. – (Kenya, Tanzania)

So creative, and a little thing to brighten up your computer day.  See more Google Doodles here.

native carving

I love the strong forms and lines found in Inuit art, and I came across a great museum that has earned a reputation for finding gifted artists who are redefining this legendary art form. The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery is located in Vancouver, Canada, and showcases Northwest Coast and Inuit artwork.

Inuit People are the Native Americans that are from the area around the Arctic Circle. Harsh climate and stark landscapes influence their way of life as well as their artwork.

Walking Bear Peter Parr Cape DorsetWalking Bear, Peter Parr, serpentine
Cape Dorset

I just want to touch it.

Serpentine is a green stone that takes a nice polish and is suitable for carving.  Sometimes it is used as a substitute for jade.

Orca Chester (Chaz) Patrick Gitksan NationOrca, Chester (Chaz) Patrick, etched and sandblasted glass
Gitksan Nation

Sandhill Crane I April White Haida Nation Sandhill Crane I, April White, Hand pulled serigraph
Haida Nation

Killerwhale Ring Landon Gunn Killerwhale Ring, Landon Gunn, Sterling Silver, Engraved

This gallery is recognized for representing British Columbia’s master carvers.  There are two locations, set in historic warehouse spaces in an area that has been revitalized as an eclectic art district.  Put this on the list of places to visit:  The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery.  Go to their website to see more art and their latest acquisitions.

paper mystery

It started at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Sculpture at the Scottish Poetry LibrarySculpture, carved from paper and mounted on a book with a tag attached. The tag reads:

It started with your name @byleaveswelive and became a tree.…
… We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words.…
This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. a gesture (poetic maybe?)

An anonymous gift from a talented artist. “@byleaveswelive” is the name of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Twitter account.  Here is a close-up of the egg that is sitting under the tree:

Paper sculptures in EdinburghThe paper egg contains slips of paper with phrases that together make up the poem “A Trace of Wings” by Edwin Morgan. As the summer went on, more paper treasure popped up, all over the city. Sculpture number 2 appeared at the National Library of Scotland:

Paper Sculpture in ScotlandTag reads:  For @natlibscot – A gift in support of libraries, books, words, ideas….. (& against their exit).

Paper sculptures in ScotlandThe Story Dragon was left on a windowsill in the Scottish Storytelling Centre

For @scotstorycenter

A gift in support of libraries, books, works, ideas…..

Once upon a time there was a book and in the book was a nest
and in the nest was an egg and in the egg was a dragon
and in the dragon was a story…..

I couldn’t find any news stories about finding the sculptor, so as far as I can tell, the mystery remains, along with some truly beautiful sculptural pieces and simple poetic statements in support of the written word. Read more, and see more of the sculptures here.

The photos on this page were taken by Chrisdonia.

ah, the smell of art is in the air

There are quite a few 20th century art works that incorporate the viewer’s sense of smell when experiencing the exhibit. I’m not quite sure I would enjoy all of them, but I can say I find them interesting.

The BeaneryEdward Kienholz, The Beanery, 1965, Collection Stedelijk Museum

Kienholz lived near The Beanery, a cafe in Los Angeles, in the 50’s. He re-created the bar with many authentic pieces, as well as authentic smells, apparently.  The strange odor circulated in this exhibit smells of alcohol, smoke, and even the artist’s own urine to evoke the feeling of being in a bar. (yuk!)

Federico DiazFederico Dí­az, LacrimAu

Dí­az, a Czech artist and architect, featured his golden teardrop at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.  “Looking at the golden tear drop, the visitor will be instructed how to be part of creating their own personal fragrance. The chair interacts with the body heat and EEG brain waves activity etc. This complex information will serve to create the unique Golden Fragrance for every five hundredth visitor of The Czech Pavilion at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.” – from

Peter DeCupere

Peter DeCupere, Olfactory Tree

DeCupere’s sculpture is made from epoxy and plastic foam, with the fragrances of wood, cedar, pine, mushrooms and grass. Smell works directly on our memories and emotions. His aim is to convince us that smell can be the source of a genuine aesthetic experience.

Thinking about my medium, I wonder what smells I would pair with my glass sculpture. There is something to be said for clean and pure air.  I think maybe I’ll pass, and leave the olfactory art to the artists who specialize in that field. Read more in ARTnews.

stellar event at the starline

The Art of the Land Benefit at the Starline Factory Gallery in Harvard this past weekend was a first class event.  The caliber of art was high, delicious food abounded, and I think the Land Conservancy of McHenry County pulled in some well-deserved funds for their cause, helping protect over 1800 acres of McHenry County’s prairies, wetlands and woodlands.  The art was truly a reflection of the beauty of the land we take for granted in this part of the Midwest.

setup at the starline factorySetting up for the event at the Starline Factory Gallery. 

Owner Orrin Kinney has been renovating this enormous space, and is extremely supportive of the artists who are working here.  He provided these blocks, cut from original building timber, for use as display pedestals.  Featured here, Mary Jean Deja’s pottery.

Mary MariiuttoMary Mariutto, Magic Mushroom Series

I love Mariutto’s work, delving into the intricate mysteries that are found beneath the surface of the land.

Kelly BissellKelly Bissell, Global Warming

Bissell takes the art of crafting with wood to the highest level.  His finished and polished pieces were jaw-dropping.

Doug DeWittDoug DeWitt, Shred

DeWitt’s pieces contain items found in nature, things from old construction sites.  Some of them also contain his photos, and journal entries that detail the work done on the many little jobs it takes to maintain a property.  They had a unique, rustic flavor.

Yvonne BeckwayYvonne Beckway

This is one of my very favorites, and I have to apologize for not getting the name of this piece.  Yvonne Beckway creates these beautiful, mystical scenes, using ash from plants she has burned. It is an involved process, done out of doors, with nature’s whimsy taking a hand in the creation.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Meadow

This piece of mine sold in the last 5 minutes of the show.

Another interesting part of this event was a photo contest, held to showcase the land around McHenry County.  Amateur photographers are assigned a site location, one of the dedicated land areas.  They take pictures and submit their five best to the contest.  One final photo is selected, and approx. 40 finals are then displayed at the Art of the Land.  What a great way to share these special places!

I also have to mention the Friday night event at this Benefit, Voices of the Land,  led by renowned storyteller Jim May.  Friday night’s “coffeehouse” show included musicians, poets, and people that shared their love of the land through the spoken medium. Attendees could wander about the space, perusing the art while listening, and then also take a seat for a closer spot, and participate if they so chose.

I look forward to applying as an artist again next year.  An unforgettable event with an interesting crowd and a notable group of artists, put on by an outstanding group of people.  Put it on your calendar.

more than a glimpse

Often when I search the internet for interesting art, I find links to various museums, which will give me only bits and pieces of what they are displaying.  The Akron Art Museum in Ohio has recently made the announcement that their collections are available for viewing online.

Ansel Adams

How wonderful to be able to stroll through the virtual gallery of an entire museum. For now, only part of their 5,000 item collection is available for viewing. The site will eventually feature all of their art.

Frederick C. Frieseke

The museum has an interesting history.It opened in 1922 as the Akron Art Institute, housed in two borrowed rooms in the basement of the public library. It functioned as an art center, and eventually moved into a historic mansion, which was destroyed by fire four years later.

Vera WinsorVera Winsor, #2 Copper, 1976

After World War II, the museum acquired a professional staff and a new focus on fine art and design. In 1980, they changed the name from the Art Institute to the Art Museum.  It has been a long journey, and now so many benefit from their vision and dedication.  Nothing to do today?  How about going to a museum?  It’s just a click away:  The Akron Art Museum.


I am sure you have seen some famous art piece and wondered how the heck the person every became famous or sold it. Art is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.  Sometimes its just a mystery to me.

Today are some of my picks for this topic.  Really?

Henk HofstraHenk Hofstra, “Art Eggcident”, Leeuwarden, Netherlands, 2008

Oliver RossOliver Ross, Riesen-Nixe (Grand Mermaid), Alster Lake, Hamburg Germany, 2011

Annika StromAnnika Strom, Ten Embarrassed Men

This piece took place at the Frieze Art Fair in 2010 in London.  The artist hired 10 actors to wander about the fair looking embarrassed about the state of the art world.  For some odd reason, I find this kind of funny.  They DO look embarrassed.

Non-visible artFresh Air

And the grand prize winner for today . . . Non-Visible Art. There is actually a Museum on Non-Visible Art, MONA.  Here the artwork consists of an artist’s description of the art, and the viewer’s imagination.  Someone actually paid $10,000 for a masterpiece like the one above. You can buy one too!  You get a card, with a description by the author, and a letter of authenticity.  Then you can put that card on your wall in a prominent spot in your home, and your guests can enjoy it as well. Have fun with this one . . .
 (read more in the article by NPR)

hey, that’s swell!

The ninth annual Swell Sculpture Festival, held in Queensland, Australia, has just wrapped up.  Sorry I just found this news now – I’m sure if I could have notified you before September 9, you might have flown out there for it. They did feature some amazing pieces though:

School, by Richard HowieRichard Howie, School

Richard Howie’s sculpture reminds me of those roiling spheres of fish featured on The Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth.

Dion Parker The Breach Photography Steve HollandDion Parker, The Breach, photography Steve Holland

The BreachThe Breach, photography Steve Holland

What a wonderful art installation, where the pieces welcome interaction.

Jack QuilterJack Quilter, Dune Spirit

Approximately 50 large-scale sculptures adorn Currumbin Beach each year for this event. For 10 days, visitors can come and walk among the displays, day and night.  There are artist talks, a Public Art Forum, and the opportunity to participate in master classes and children’s workshops.  See more artwork on their website, as well as galleries from past

lilies emerging

A couple of photo posts today, from me.  The past days have been cool, heralding fall, and I get melancholy, already missing hot summer.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, River Reflections

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Serenity, Lakeside

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Red Lilypad

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Lily Emerging

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Lily Emerging 2

putting it all together

Assemblage is the art of putting found things together into a new, dimensional sculpture.  The amazing thing about the work of artist Edouard Martinet is that he does not use solder to hold the found items in place.  How does he do it?

MartinetEdouard Martinet, photo by ian sanderson

Martinet scours flea markets and car boot sales for old  metal parts, like typewriter key, rusty pans, and old car parts.  He transforms this stuff into polished, contemporary sculpture, and all without utilizing solder to hold it all together. He carefully fits each component into place. (Note:  a boot sale is where you stuff your car trunk with junk and meet in an open field or parking lot, open up your “boot” or trunk, and sell your unwanted items.)

Edouard MartinetEdouard Martinet, photo by ian sanderson

Martinet starts with detailed sketches of the animal or insect he plans to create. Born in France, he studied in Paris and began his career as a graphic designer.

Edouard Martinet

Edouard Martinet, photo by ian sanderson

His work can be found at the Sladmore Gallery in London, and viewed on his website:

seeing what you don’t see

Most of us live our lives seeing one facet – going from task to task, focusing on what we are doing.  Peter Callesen looks at the world, and subsequently creates unbelievable artwork, from the things you normally do not pay attention to.

Peter CallesenPeter Callesen, Cut To The Bone II, 2008
Water colour and pencil on 120 gsm acid free paper, glue, and oak frame.
139 x 107 x 13 cm.

Callesen uses a single sheet of paper for each work – as he cuts, he must think of the object he creates by cutting it out, and also the shape of what is left behind.

Peter CallesenPeter Callesen, detail from Transparent God

This Danish artist works in a studio in Copenhagen. His materials are unbelievably simple:  Paper. Scalpel. A dentists tool with a rounded end to assist in folding and shaping.  Glue.

Peter CallesenPeter Callesen, Heaven and Hell, 2006 
Acid Free paper, glue, acrylic paint in painted oak frame. 134 x 127 x 11,5 cm.

There is a wonderful interview with the artist on You Tube that takes you to his studio, and gives you a glimpse into this artist’s world. See more of his work on his

brilliant batik world

Artist Mary Edna Fraser creates some fantastic fabric landscapes using the art of batik, a process which predates recorded history.

Mary Edna Fraser, Hurricane Season, batik on silk, 50″ x 36″
Fraser travels the world, taking her own aerial photographs to use as the basis for her artwork. Technical precision is achieved by studying maps and painting on location to capture the details of the scene. Satellite imagery is also one the resources she uses.

Mary Edna Fraser, South of Ocracoke, NC, batik on silk, 36″ x 36″
Fraser hopes to convey the vulnerability of the world’s barrier islands, and the impact of climate change. Read her blog for details about her new book, Global Climate Change,  and book signing appearances.
Mary Edna Fraser, Charleston Runner, SC, batik on silk, 15″ x 60″

Batik is an art method where removable wax is applied to fabric. The fabric is dipped in dye, and the waxed areas resist any color.  Then wax is painstakingly removed and re-applied in other areas, and dying continues, creating the different blocks of color.

Mary Edna Fraser, Bazaruto’s Dunes, Mozambique, Africa, batik on silk, 30″ x 36″

Photographing from the open windows of my grandfather’s vintage 1946 Ercoupe plane with my father or brother as pilots, we explore the natural wonders unaltered by man.  I also hire instructors who guide me over their familiar landscape such as the canyons of northern New Mexico or the Appalachian mountains.  Experience flying various aircraft allows me to set up photographic compositions with ease.  When positioned, I hand over the controls to shoot with digital Nikon cameras.  During an excursion aloft, as many as five hundred photographs are taken which will then be reduced to the best designs. An organization of the land emerges revealed only by altitude. – Mary Edna Fraser

Wow – what a life.  Her website is beautiful, and has more information to share:  visit

glass treasure underground

Where would you put a beautiful, light catching panel of stained glass?  Underground?

Take a look at this amazing Copenhagen museum, Cisternerne – Museum of Modern Glass Art, where the glass art is displayed beneath the surface of the earth, in an old water cistern. The entrance seems a little small, unassuming.

Cisternerne - Museum of Modern Glass ArtCisternerne – Museum of Modern Glass Art

Under the city of Søndermarken, you find an amazing 4200 square feet of hauntingly lit space, and art.

Cisternerne MuseumCisternerne Museum, photo from If Images

Cisternerne MuseumCisternerne Museum, photo from

Renowned sculptor Jørgen Haugen Sørensen currently has an exhibition in the museum. His work is a little (a lot) creepy, and it really adds to the atmosphere.

Jørgen Haugen SørensenJørgen Haugen Sørensen, photo by Simon Lautrop Elisabeth Saugmann

Sixteen million liters of drinking water used to flow through these cisterns.  There is no natural light, and subtly placed incandescents and candles provide illumination. Temperature is around 48 degrees Farenheit, so if you visit this museum, dress warmly.

combining fabric with steel

It is an extreme contrast in media, but it really works for me.  Trisha Hassler combines her talent in working with fabric, along with metal fabrication, to turn out some interesting art pieces.

Trish HasslerTrish Hassler, from the Dwellings series

Hassler is a lifetime quilter, and award-winning Oregon artist. She works with torch cut steel, and with fabric, needle and thread. There is so much to study in her intricate work, from the tiny knotted details to the texture and rough finished edges of the cut steel.

Trisha HasslerTrisha Hassler, She Is No Longer Mine To Protect

I like the contrast between materials and the bold color schemes that she chooses.

Trisha Hassler Trisha Hassler, detail from one of her exhibit pieces in Surface Connections collection, Buckley Center Gallery 2010

She has been working in fabric since she was a child.  Her work has been exhibited since 2000 in juried shows, museums and galleries around the world. See for more!

undercurrents of glass

It looks like anemones, or sea grass, slowly moving in an underwater ocean breeze. The following pieces are from Shayna Leib’s collection, “Wind and Water”.

Shayna LeibShayna Leib, Stiniva

Shayna LeibShayna Leib, Charybdis

Leib’s pieces can take over a month to create.  From a molten blob of glass, she pulls long lengths of thin glass, or cane.  Thousands of segments are then cut and organized, to be meticulously assembled into her flowing sculptures.

Shayna LeibShayna Leib, Laminaria

Her work will be exhibited by Habatat Galleries Michigan November 4-6, 2011 at SOFA on Navy Pier, in Chicago, IL.

Shayna LeibShayna Leib, Before the Rain

Wind and water possess no intrinsic color, are clear to the point of invisibility, and yet move through space. We see not their form itself, but can detect their patterns and shapes only vicariously though the objects they affect. The trace of water’s touch over moss and sea life, the wind’s passage over marshlands, through wheat fields and the fur of a long-haired animal- these two forces make their presence known. Their character is contradictory and fickle, encompassing fragility and violence, placidity and turbulence. – Shayna Leib

drawing dancers

I have two daughters that became involved with ballet dancing in their younger years, and for a long time our lives mainly took place at the studio — either dancing, rehearsing, performing, or waiting to dance, rehearse or perform. When I saw this bit of news, it brought back many memories.

Kenneth Parris is a Brooklyn artist who is currently touring with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.  He is documenting their 2-year Legacy Tour through paintings and drawings.

I love that these pictures give you a glimpse of dance life as it looks from backstage.  Somewhat as Degas painted, they are not posed and perfect.

Kenneth Parris

Kenneth Parris These pictures are so typical – enjoying a restaurant dinner late night after a show, sitting in a stretch position in their free time. Who would sit like that naturally, or COULD sit like that? And she looks so casual and comfortable.

Kenneth Paris 

When they are not dancing, they are often sprawled out anywhere they can drop, always stretching in between.

Parris captures the dancers beautifully.  Read more, and follow the journey at The New York Times:  Artbeat.

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