greek sculpture – not what you are thinking

What do you think of when you read the words “Greek Sculpture”?  I’ll bet thoughts of marble and sculpted bodies run through your head.  Today I have a bit of modern Greek to share.  The work of Athanasios Babalis caught my eye with its graceful design.

Ananasios BabalisAnanasios Babalis, 2007, with Christina Skouloudi

Babalis is an industrial designer based in Thessaloniki Greece. The picture above is a design proposal for the decoration of the entrance space of the Bank of Greece in Athens.  The proposal was deemed one of the 12 best out of 471 submissions.

Ananasios Babalis
Ananasios Babalis

The sculpture pictured here is actually only a 1:10 scale model of his proposal.  I think it is beautiful how the metal flows, and it looks so different from every angle.

Ananasios BabalisAnanasios Babalis

Babalis and fellow independent designer Christina Skouloudi are in the news currently because of a new design project collaboration, The Argonaut Collection.  Very different from the graceful sculpture above, it is interesting nonetheless.

The Argonaut CollectionThe “Staphylos” fruit bowl, from the Argonaut Collection, Babalis & Skouloudi

The Fruit Bowl comes in black or white. Really takes your mind out of the box, doesn’t it? See the other pieces in their collection on either of their websites.

mark your calendars, SOFA is coming sooner than you think

The weather on Labor Day here in the Midwest was a sharp and cool reminder that summer is fading.  I am always melancholy at this time of year, reluctant to give up summer warmth.  I found something in the art world news that does brighten my day, though.  SOFA is coming in November!

SOFA, Sculptural Objects and Functional Art, is one of the “World’s Foremost Fairs of Contemporary Arts & Design”.  In April, New York hosts the show, August is Santa Fe, and November is Chicago’s turn.  So mark your calendar for November 4-6, 2011, and make your way to Festival Hall, at the end of Navy Pier, to see some amazing sights, talk to artists from around the world, enjoy glass blowing demonstrations, and more.

John Kiley, Traver GalleryJohn Kiley, Traver Gallery

Preston Singletary & Dante Marioni photo: Russell JohnsonPreston Singletary & Dante Marioni
photo: Russell Johnson

In addition to the SOFA exhibition, within the same space, you can visit The Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art. Outsider Art, or Art Brut, is creative works by people who have no formal training in art.  They create without regard for the mainstream art world’s recognition, and they don’t follow any pre-defined “definition” of art.  They make it for themselves, or for their immediate community.  Often they don’t recognize or even call themselves artists until some collector comes along and slaps that label on them. Art from

Plan a full day – if not two, to wander through the aisles, viewing wonders from around the world.  It’s an amazing thing to see.

following wall street, i’m on the rise

Just as I finish the details on my new stand up desk, the Wall Street Journal publishes an article on the very subject.   I am pretty excited about it, so decided to talk about it here.  Those of you reading are sitting right now — how long have you been in your chair? Even if you don’t make the jump to creating a desk, it might get you moving a bit more.

Here are some quick facts:

  • Higher calorie burn and better posture
  • Medical studies have tied excessive sitting to increased obesity and other health problems because of factors including a drop in physical activity
  • The human body is designed to stand, not sit. Standing is better for the back than sitting. It strengthens leg muscles and improves balance.

And a few resources:

So I’ve been thinking about this for quite a while.  Since my desk is a part of my living room, I wanted something that didn’t look too ultra modern (not my style).  The ready-made desks I liked were either way over my budget or too big and bulky looking for my house.  And being an artist, I admit that I do like to build things with my own hands.

My first step was to get a file cabinet, which was on my list for a long time.  I found a fantastic deal with a damaged floor model.  I can overlook the nicks because I love the look of this one.  Next was to decide on the countertop.

File CabinetI found the perfect economic and beautiful solution at Ikea – butcher block counter top for only $60.  When I went to pick it up, I found that it was damaged from being dropped on one end.  It was not a problem for me to cut it down 6″ , and I took it for a 30% discount.  I stained it and gave it 4 coats of poly.

Ikea Butcher Block

Now to height.  I needed a little boost over the file cabinet, but could not find the exact thing.  On to Home Depot to find some ready-made black shelving.  I cut it to create a box, used some pull-out shelf hardware, and created just the height I wanted.

pull out shelves

More pull-out hardware and a couple of boards made my keyboard tray.  My previous desk supplied the cabinet base on the right side.  And here is the (almost) finished product:

Stand Up Desk

The shelf also came from the previous desk, and its a little bowed – I will soon be finding a nice straight shelf to replace it.  Cool rusty fleur-de-lis brackets from ebay – love them! Also on my list, a stool, so that I can sit once in while during a long day.  I think moving back and forth is a good idea, especially when feet and back need a little (note “little”) break.

I hope this was inspirational – stand up for a while!

art of the land

It’s September, and the Fall art season begins.  I have been accepted into a show called Art of the Land, held by the Land Conservancy of McHenry County. Since its inception in 1991, The Land Conservancy has been active in helping to protect over 1800 acres of our local prairies, wetland and woodlands.  This is their third annual Art Show & Benefit.

September 23 & 24
Hosted at The Starline Gallery in Harvard, IL
Tickets:  $20 in advance, $30 at the door
Friday:  Sept. 23  6:30 – 9:00 PM  will include “Voices of the Land,” a coffeehouse-style showcase of poetry, short videos, original music and storytelling by local talent
Saturday:  Sept. 24 6:30 – 10 PM Art of the Land Amateur Photo Contest entries will be displayed and winners announced that night.
Former DJ, and Woodstock Realtor, Rick Bellairs will reprise his groundbreaking, early 70s radio program Crossroads – he was playing “Classic Rock” before anyone else in the area!
Food from Duke’s Alehouse & Kitchen, plus drink & fun!

See more information:  On Facebook,  on The Land Conservancy Website

If you scroll back to my blog entry on August 23, you can see the first element of artistic process for some of my pieces . . . collecting art materials from nature.  My kayak becomes loaded down with bits and pieces collected from the water.  The next step is unloading and drying at home.

driftwood by linda oefflingdriftwood drying, alongside my lavender on the patio

Some of the wood, in fact, all of it on this particular trip, was sitting on the mucky bottom of a lake.  I let it dry completely in the summer heat on the patio stones before bringing it inside.

Raven by Linda OefflingRaven by Linda Oeffling

Here is a finished piece, one that I probably will feature in the Art of the Land show.  There are a couple of influences at play here, one being a gallery called Raven’s Wish, where I have several items on display.  This gallery is one of my favorites; I am so proud to be featured there, and I would love to be able to buy from every artist there as well. The raven is also a strong element in Native American mythology, and so I tried to give this piece a Southwest feeling.  Raven’s Wish captured my imagination with their “About Us” statement:

What might a raven wish for? Wide-open spaces…colorful and shiny baubles…never-ending updrafts…days full of adventure. -Alicia Reid, Owner, Raven’s Wish


my motto is put it in order

Those friends of mine who work with me weekly, in the glass studio, tease me mercilessly about my tendency to organize.  Today’s post sets the art standard for organizing.  I would be proud to be considered in Ursus’ company.

Ursus Werhlifrom The Art of Clean Up, book by Ursus Werhli, published by KEIN & ABER AG

Ursus Werhlifrom The Art of Clean Up, book by Ursus Werhli, published by KEIN & ABER AG

Ursus Werhlifrom The Art of Clean Up, book by Ursus Werhli, published by KEIN & ABER AG

Werhli is a Swiss artist and comedian. His upcoming book showcases the fine art of organizing. He should take my recent camping photos as a fine example of what you can organize in the wild.

Linda Oefflingfrom my camping trip, photos by Linda Oeffling

You think I’m kidding?  Just let me have the keys to cars in the parking lot …

Ursus Wehrlijust kidding . . . its Ursus again (The Art of Clean Up, published by KEIN & ABER AG)

You can find more of his books on Amazon, in a series called “Tidying Up Art”.    Visit the TED website to view the video, “Ursus Wehrli Tidies Up Art.”

green man

The green man has been dated all the way back to the second century.  He is a face. . .  made of leaves?  peering out from leaves?  imagined out of greenery?  He can be found on ancient memorials, temples, cathedrals, and tombs. Consensus seems to be that he is the symbol of the eternal cycle of nature.

Green Man-from the website English Folk Church

New designs for the Green Man abound even today. Here are a couple that caught my eye, with their intricate graphic quality and precision.  Q. Cassetti is an graphic designer living in New York.  She has a large body of work, and many awards to her credit.  See more of her work on her website:

Green Man 10, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkGreen Man 10, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink

Green Man14, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and inkGreen Man14, Q. Cassetti, 2011, pen and ink

A Riddle

I am born on May Morning – by sticks, bells, and ribbons I am the sap – in the dark root
I am the dancer – with his six fools
I am the tump – behind the old church
I am the lost soul – under the misericord
I am the oak – against the stars

I am the face – that peers through the leaves
I am the fear – in a child’ s mind
I am the demon – on the roof-boss

I am killed in October – and laid on church altars

I am the guiser – on the bright bonfire
I am the old grain – sown with the seed
I am the flame – in the pumpkin ‘ s grin
I am the spirit – in the kern-baby’s bosom

Phill Lister 1982, from English Folk Church

flower power

Take one colorful bloom, and expand into parts, and you have a powerful photograph with a very graphic quality.

Qi WeiGerbera Exploded #1, Qi Wei

The artist notes:

“…what is interesting to me is how much more expanded some flowers can get when they are disassembled – the relative surface area to size of a rose is so much greater compared to a larger flower like the sunflower.” -Qi Wei

Because he captures the image immediately after disassembling, the colors and textures are fresh.

Qi WeiChrysanthemum Exploded #1, Qi Wei

“Exploded Flowers” is just one series of photographs that Qi Wei exhibits on his blog. He also has a series titled “Inversion”.

Qi WeiInversion #01, Qi Wei

I love my computer and my Adobe graphic programs, so I do enjoy when artists employ computer arts to expand their craft. Photoshop offers a way to take photographs a step further, or sideways, or upside down. In Inversion #01, he took a long exposure at night, converted the image to black and white, and then inverted it in Photoshop.

sunny friday

Since I have returned from camping I just can’t seem to get into my regular pattern.  Isn’t that the way when you leave your normal routine?  Reality is always a slap in the face when you return.  I LOVE my reality, and I still feel that way.  So today’s post is really late – it is afternoon already. I have a lovely summer picture for you today.

Edward HopperThe Long Leg, Edward Hopper

There’s just something about it that is peaceful and lonely, and bittersweet, like the end of summer.  The colors are so smooth.  I want to be on that boat, leaning against the tilt and feeling the wind, hearing the rush of water as I skim over the rippled surface.

This painting belongs to the Huntington Library Art Collection, and it will become a new postage stamp on August 24.

Those familiar with classic art might know Edward Hopper for his famous painting, “Nighthawks”.

Edward HopperNighthawks, Edward Hopper

This was painted in 1942 and is part of the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. I remember it as one of the first paintings discussed in my freshman year of college art history class.

“The viewer, drawn to the light shining from the interior, is shut out from the scene by a seamless wedge of glass, a characteristic of Art Deco design. Hopper’s understanding of the expressive possibilities of light playing upon the simplified shapes gives the painting its beauty. Fluorescent lights had just come into use in the early 1940s, and the eerie glow flooding the dark street corner may be attributed to this innovation. The moody contrast of light against dark and the air of menace inside has been linked to film noir, a movement in American cinema that featured stories of urban crime and moral corruption.” – from the website,

moss and wood

I love to find other artists who like to make things using materials from nature.  Mr. Lentz makes some pretty unique creations, and has an interesting blog as well.

Mr. LentzNatural Weathered Wood and Moss Briefcase, Mr. Lentz

He lives in Colorado, and is a photographer as well as an artist and woodworker. He has an Etsy shop where his art can be viewed and purchased.

Mr. Lentz, pendantAll Natural Wood and Moss Necklace, Mr. Lentz

The moss used in his jewelry has been dried and preserved. The wood is stained with walnut husks – no toxins here, and it is such a beautiful finish. After staining, it is treated with flax seed oil to give it a subtle shine and pleasant smell.

Mr. Lentz, pendantsNatural Materials and Wood, Mr. Lentz

The first pendant is made of rooster feathers.  The second is elk hair.  I don’t so much love the hair thing, but I think maybe it would be cool to have one made with some of your horse’s mane or tail. Or some of your favorite pet’s fur?  I think I’ll have to put this artist on my list of favorites.

more shopping for artistic things

I found this business card in my stack of visited places & art shows.  If you go to the Of Nature Website, you can see the detailed, copper-clad little nature masterpieces.

ofnatureOak Leaf Pin, 2.25″ $48

Gordon JamesGinko Pendants, 1.25″ for $35

Gordon JamesFern Earrings, 1″ for $30

Each tiny work of art is an actual item from the woods, carefully preserved and coated in copper. A patina (chemical that reacts with copper to change color) is applied to the metal.   Patinas are hand mixed, then layered to achieve the desired result. Ofnature also has an Etsy shop, making it easy to purchase.

a little time in paradise

I recently spent some time up in Northern Wisconsin, taking kayak and tent to spend some time in a beautiful place. We have gotten pretty good at it — sleeping on an air mattress helps, as does the gourmet meals and regular trips to town for ice, wine, and ice cream.

french toastHot coffee, french toast, cherries cooked down with a little sweet wine

On this trip we saw deer coming to the lake to drink the cool, clear water,  as well as eagle parents and a juvenile who swooped overhead several times.  My camping companion saw otters clambering through the mud to feast on the plentiful fish. Unfortunately, I missed seeing that, being on another part of the lake.  We stalked the same place the rest of the trip, but did not see them again.

bald eagleBald Eagle.  Definitely need a better telephoto lens – they just would not let me get very close.

Of course, all of this is so inspirational to me, and creating something is always in my thoughts.  A typical day involved me puttering along the shoreline, collecting interesting pieces of driftwood.

driftwood on my kayakDriftwood collection and a stick (bark neatly chewed off by a beaver)

There are always a lot of downed birch trees in the woods.  Birch bark is invaluable for starting a campfire; it is always instant success.  I also have a project in mind, so spent some time stripping bark to take home and finding branches.  Of course, I would never damage a live tree for any of that – plenty of findings on the ground.

birch barkBirch bark and sticks

In the evening, we took the kayaks onto the lake to wait for the stars to peek out.  The loons called, with their eerie sound. A campfire or two twinkled in the distance, and we were lucky to have neighbors that loved the silence and natural sounds as much as we do (no radios to destroy the peace).

sunset on the lakeEvening falls on the lake

Now I have a new store of creative materials in stock.  I’ll have to get to work and make something so that others can bring a little piece of the north woods into their own home.

shopping on monday

A little bit of shopping this week.  Just for fun.  Imagine you have the money to buy any and all of this wonderful art for sale! Let’s see . . . I’ll start with this:

Etsy:  copper cuffArtist “Febrarose” from Etsy, Continental Divide bracelet, $175

Artist Deb Horvath lives and works in Colorado Springs, and maybe you can tell that her inspiration for this piece is the Rocky Mountains. It was created from two copper cuff bracelets that were formed separately, then cold connected. Applying a heat patine created the lovely colors.

Febrarose from EtsyArtist “Febrarose” from Etsy, Aspen bracelet, $179

Febrarose:  Etsy artistFine Silver, PMC, Leather Dangle Earrings- Studded Ecuadorian, $69

Febrarose has an Etsy shop that can be found here:

gorgeous bubbles of glass

Being a glass artist, this medium is something I never get tired of admiring.  I have not tried blowing glass, shaping blobs of liquid from a furnace to transform them into vessels, or sculpture.  I can only imagine the delicate touch required to create “Shipment from California”, by glass and installation artist Hiromi Takizawa.

Hiromi TakizawaHiromi Takizawa, Shipment from California
blown glass, neon, wood

I wonder if they pop if you were to touch them, very gently?

Hiromi Takizawa(same piece,different view)

Hiromi TakizawaHiromi Takizawa, Crossing the Pacific Ocean, 2007.
Blown glass, neon, wood.

She was born and raised in Japan, inspired by native artists as a child.  She now lives in California, but her work is influence by both cultures. See more of her work at: Her portfolio also features more pictures of the iridized glass bubbles – wonderful.

scheduled blogs

I prepared for being away for a few days by writing my blog entries and scheduling them for posting each day.  Much to my surprise, I came home to find that none have been published in my absence, though when I look them up, they are scheduled to post every day.  Hmmmm.  Sorry about the lapse in entertainment.

I’ll have some interesting photos to post soon . . . when I get past cleaning camping gear, wading through emails, doing laundry   . . .

tagging along with the rest of the crowd

When every other art blog features an artist, does it mean I should stay away?  I hate to be such a follower, but when it comes right down to it, I love this artist’s work, and I still want to share it. In researching, trying to find out a bit more to tell, I find page after page of bloggers featuring his work.

brooks shane salzwedelbrooks shane salzwedel, Thorned and Honeysuckle 2009
23″ x 40″ mixed media

My fellow art bloggers feature picture after picture, but no one has much to say about the artist and his technique. Doing a little more digging, I found that the pictures are created using layers of resin and graphite.

Brooks Shane SALZWEDELBrooks Shane Salzwedel, Untitled #3 2008
24″x14″ graphite, tape,resin

He studied at Pasedena’s Art Center College of Design.  His work became smaller, and success came in the form of belt buckles that became an award winning line of fashion in boutiques throughout the U.S.

Brooks Shane SalzwedelBrooks Shane Salzwedel

Some of my favorites are works done in tiny tins.

I guess the art crowd found him much sooner than I did, but have you ever heard of him?  No?  Then mission accomplished.  My aim isn’t so much to be cutting edge as to find cool things to share, and give you a little info as well.  I hope you enjoy!


When you think of papercut art, do you thing of grade school scissors and snowflake patterns?  Take a look at the work of artist Chris Natrop:

Chris NatropChris Natrop, Glitterati Swamp Thing
watercolor, iridescent medium on cut paper, fluorescent fixtures, color gel overlays, 2010

I love how he overlaps, and uses colors to imply shadows . . . are they shadows?  Or just overlapping papercuts?

Chris NatropChris Natrop, Reflector Thicket
46 x 38 inches, acid-etched polished stainless steel, nickel-plated brass pins, 2010

Natrop uses a stream-of-consciousness approach to his art.  Often he works on enormous sheets of paper stretched out vertically on his studio wall.  He spontaneously cuts away the paper to create his art pieces.

Chris NatropChris Natrop, Great River Mash-Up
water color, glitter and iridescent medium on cut paper, distressed two-way acrylic mirror, magic string, fluorescent lighting fixtures with colored gel overlays, LED light panels, reflective Mylar, overhead lighting, oscillating fan, 2010

 “I try to make sense out of the vagaries of existence, and pull from the silent beauty of the world.” – Chris Natrop

misty color from the sea

From the coast of Cornwall . . .

Jonathan FullerJonathan Fuller, No29, Sea Glass & Wood

Jonathan Fuller creates wall sculptures from collected sea glass.

Jonathan FullerJonathan Fuller, No22, Sea Glass & Wood

 The ultimate recycled artistic material, it is garbage, broken pieces of glass from industry, littering, shipwrecks and cargo spills.

Jonathan Fuller
Jonathan Fuller, No28, Sea Glass & Wood

 The bits of glass are tumbled and polished smooth by the friction of water and sand. As it becomes more popular, it is harder and harder to find on the beach. Collectors have taken to gathering up the colorful bits.  Now it is manufactured for craft use and found in bags at Michael’s. That only makes me appreciate Fuller’s work all the more – as he creates from salvaged pieces along the Cornwall coast where he lives.  See more of his work:

between painting and sculpture

German-born artist Anselm Kiefer is currently exhibiting at the Gagosian Gallery in New York. His work has been displayed in major museums throughout the world.

Anselm KieferAnselm Kiefer, Laßt tausend Blumen blühen!

His work is diverse and compelling.  From the image above, a spring-like, airy painting, to the image below, a dark, foreboding work, I am drawn to his creations, and I’m not quite sure why. Maybe because the influence of mythology comes through in his pieces, and I love the history and magic of storytelling and fairy tales.

His subject-matter ranges over sources as diverse as Teutonic mythology and history, alchemy and the nature of belief, all depicted in a bewildering variety of materials, including oil paint, dirt, lead, models, photographs, woodcuts, sand, straw and all manner of organic material. By adding found materials to the painted surface of his immense tableaux, he invents a compelling third space between painting and sculpture. –from White Cube

Anselm KieferAnselm Kiefer, Shulamith , 1983
Oil, acrylic, emulsion, shellac, straw and woodcut fragments on canvas

Many of his works are huge pieces of art.  Take a look at the one pictured below – it is approx. 12 feet by 18 feet wide.

Anselm KieferAnselm Kiefer, Zim Zum, 1990
Acrylic, emulsion, crayon, shellac, ashes, and canvas on lead, 149 3/4 x 220 1/2 in.

For his exhibition at MoMA in 1988-89, they actually had to reinforce the museum walls to support the weight of the huge, often lead-covered canvases.  It is interesting to hear Kiefer talking about his work and the process.  (See You Tube video) He takes photographs wherever he goes, and uses them for inspiration.  He speaks of finishing a painting, then not being satisfied with it, so he placed it on the floor and threw dirt on it.  Then he let the painting bake in the sun, drying and cracking the soil.  Then he continued with more layers of paint.  Considering the long lists of materials in his paintings, and their size, I can see how heavy his work must become.

Anselm KieferAnslem Kiefer, Burning Rods
oil, acrylic, emulsion, and shellac on canvas with ceramic, iron, copper wire, and lead

In 2007 he created a permanent installation in the Louvre – the first living artist to have that honor since Georges Braque in 1953.

photos and poetry

Self-taught photographer yi-ching lin lives in New York, and posts her photos on a blog. If you scroll down below each photo, often she writes poetry to go along with the picture.

yi-ching linyi-ching lin photography

Her photos are protected, so I am unable to cut and paste larger images.  I hope seeing a few of her thumbnails will tempt you into looking at her sites: Yi-Ching Lin Photography:  waking up new is her blog, and you can also view her images on Flickr.

The simplicity of her blog is beautiful – she has a large image, usually labeled with a one or two-word title that succinctly describes the photo.  Then if you scroll down to the comments, she often writes a small evocative piece of poetry to go along. Inspiration for the day.

yi-ching linBreakfast
flipping . . .

between sunrise and
sunset, each ripened
moment can be
squeezed so
lovingly – whether
it is the sweetest of
mangos or the
sourest of kumquats

The site is addicting.  I flip from entry to entry, losing my morning as I want to read just one more , to see how she will describe the next beautiful image.  It makes me want to go out with my camera every day and follow her example.  I like the way she closes her “About” page on the blog: “Thank you for visiting.  Subscribe for daily sustenance.”  I think I will.

just another artist i found

I came across an artist on the web the other day. I don’t think he’s famous, I don’t think he’s in any national galleries, but I do like his work.  Craig Williamson grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. He has an eclectic style, creating simple watercolor paintings, and other varied art forms, such as digital fractal art.

Craig WilliamsonCopenhagen, Craig Williamson

Craig WilliamsonMorning Off, Craig Williamson

Craig WilliamsonMyrtle Morning, Craig Williamson

Williamson has a website, Visit there to see more of his watercolors, photography, mandalas and fractal art.


Yesterday I blogged about the artist Vik Muniz, and referred you to the TED website to view a video.  Pretty interesting site – I just have to share a little more.  TED is a non-profit, devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It began in 1984, starting as a conference bringing together Technology, Entertainment, and Design.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. –from the TED website

Topics have expanded to include art, business, global issues and more.  You need time for this website, as it consists of videos to watch. We never have enough time, do we?  Yet we will sit down after dinner and complain that there is nothing good on TV.  Next time you find yourself flipping through mindless television channels, take a look at TED!

Shirin NeshatPassage Series, 2001. Cibachrome print; 38 3/4 x 60 inches (98 x 152 cm), by Shirin Neshat

Iranian artist Shirin Neshat speaks about being an artist in exile.  A voice for her people, yet unable to go home.

Daniel GilbertDaniel Gilbert

Dan Gilbert is the author of “Stumbling on Happiness”.  He challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want.

Peter GabrielPeter Gabriel

One of my favorite musicians, Peter Gabriel, co-founded a watchdog group called “Witness”.  His group provides ordinary people with digital cameras to record the states of their own lives -shining a light upon individual stories of abuse to turn those into powerful tools for justice.

Whether you find inspiration for art, for a cause, or just something interesting to challenge your thinking, I hope you find TED to be a great resource.

creating with unexpected materials

Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz takes everyday materials to a new level.  He has been called a master illusionist, a brilliant trickster, and an incredible artistic visionary.  Muniz says his creativity stems from growing up in a difficult political climate, where he could not openly speak what was on his mind, and had to invent ways to carefully make his point.

Vik MunizClouds by Vik Muniz, skywriting over New York City

Once he hired a cropduster to fly over Manhatten to draw cartoon clouds in the sky. A cloud made out of clouds.

Vik MunizVik Muniz, Re-creation of a photo of Jackson Pollock made with Bosco syrup

I think this is hilariously appropriate, echoing Jackson Pollock’s way of flinging & dripping paint onto a canvas.

Vik MunizValicia Bathes in Sunday Clothes, Vik Muniz

He created “Valicia” by manipulating sugar on a black background.  And the story behind this one is more interesting than the art itself, which is pretty amazing.  Muniz was on vacation in St. Kitts when he started to hang out with some of the local children, who harvested sugar cane on the island.

He took pictures of them and even went to their houses to meet their parents, whom he described as “worn, tired people.” “What is it that disappears from the life of these really vibrant children to become those kind of grown-ups?” he asked himself. “I realized it was the product – sugar itself. The sweetest part of them is pulled out of them so we can use it.” – From the New York Times, Sugar Fixed By Ted Loos ,2004

Muniz took photographs, and these are displayed for his exhibitions.  This was very difficult, as simply bumping the table could destroy the delicate work.

Vik MunizVik Muniz, 16,000 Yards (Le Songeur, after Corot) (Pictures of Thread), 1996, Toned gelatin silver print, 20 x 24″, Courtesy Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York.

He re-creates famous artwork using reels of string, then names them for the amount of material used in the creation.

There is so much more to write about Muniz and his work – I find this artist fascinating.  If you have a little time, visit the TED website to watch a video and hear him speaking about creativity and his work.  He’s funny, and you can see some more of the amazing things he has done: Vik Muniz on TED.

butterfly days

I was out on the patio this weekend when a huge butterfly fluttered by.  I ended up spending probably half and hour or more with my camera, just snapping away as she fed on the liatris I have planted.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio glaucus LinnaeusEastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio alaucus Linnaeus

I was more familiar with the male swallowtail, which is yellow with black markings.  When I saw this beauty, I wasn’t sure what it was.  I was surprised to find out that it is a female tiger swallowtail.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Linnaeus

The plant is Liatris spicata, also known as Blazing Star or Gayfeather.  It is a native perennial plant, growing 3-4 feet tall.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Linnaeus

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus Linnaeus

She would make her way from bloom to bloom around the plant.  After maybe 5 minutes, she would flutter out into the yard and circle around, coming back to land and feed again.  At first she was in bright sun, which made for some harsher photo light.  Fortunately, she moved to another patch of flowers in the shade, and prettily posed.

summer skies

Our summer skies this week have been cloudy and pouring rain.  I thought my internet was down yesterday as a consequence, and then found that I had a loose plug.  Was wondering why my email would jump in for two minutes then quit connecting.

The J. Paul Getty Museum (just north of L.A.)  has an exhibit opening that is just right for summer:  In Focus:  The Sky runs until December 4.

Martin MunkacsiMartin Munkacsi, Fireworks., 1932. Gelatin silver print.

In these days of digital printing, it is fun to look back on the early, experimental days of the art of photography. This type of print is created from a film’s negative. The film suspends light-sensitive silver halides in a gelatin which is rinsed away during processing.

Joel Meyerowitz Joel Meyerowitz, Fence, Truro, negative 1976; print 1992
Chromogenic print

In a chromogenic print, the image is formed using three main dye layers – cyan, magenta and yellow. 

Alfred Stieglitz Alfred Stieglitz, Songs of the Sky, 1924
Gelatin silver print

Stieglitz began shooting photos of the sky in 1922. Originally labeled “Songs of the Sky”, he later called them “Equivalents”, saying that these photos were “equivalents of my most profound life experience.”

Our Midwest skies are bright and blue today – take a look with new eyes at the beauty above.


Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, from my spring garden

* Take the time to remember the gifts in your life – treat yourself

* Embrace forgiveness – it will result in healing

* Treat your mind to a rest, the same as when you treat your body to a rest. Read something just for pleasure. Look outside at the world around you and notice the beauty in small things.  Watch a child and remember how they see the world with wonder.

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter – a soothing, calming influence on the mind, rather like a good armchair which provides relaxation from physical fatigue.
Henri Matisse

functional art

I love it when art is functional.  Drinking from a pottery mug is always more satisfying than using a glass from Target. I also wish I could completely furnish my house with artistically designed pieces, rather than economical fixtures from the hardware store.  I admire some of the work done by Alicja Wasielewska, a Polish designer with a degree in Product Design.

Alicja WasielewskaAlicja Wasielewska, Morph Chandelier

So maybe this wouldn’t quite be the thing for my little country-french-type kitchen.  I wonder what it looks like in daylight – maybe just like a nest of wire?  But in this photograph, in the night, it looks like a magical swarm of fairie lights, or tiny firefly trails. Alicja uses optic fiber technology to create her Morph Chandelier.

Alicja WasielewskaAlicja Wasielewska, Essence Glass

Wasielewska designed this glass for the Bombay Sapphire Martini Glass competition. She was inspired by the unique way in which Bombay Sapphire is made, where the spirit is distilled through botanical leaves. Her intention is that the glass is essentially transparent, and it is as if you are drinking from the leaves.

Alicja Wasielewska

Alicja Wasielewska, Ribbon Bike Stand

Her elegantly designed bike stand is simple.  Designed for the Delft Technical Library in the Netherlands, it relates to the geometrical structure of the interior design of the Library. A beautiful, functional piece of art.

800 years of watercolor

Imagine a typical watercolor painting at an art show.  Do you think of soft colors, a landscape, or maybe flowers? Looking back through the ages, it’s interesting to find that the history of this art medium includes use in illuminated manuscripts, drawings for recording information and map making.

Rachel Pedder-SmithRachel Pedder-Smith, Bean Painting:   Specimens from the Leguminosae family

The Tate Museum in Britain has been running an exhibition since February, which will continue on through August 2011.  Their premise behind this exhibition is to challenge your preconceptions of watercolour. (“colour” being the British spelling)

Dante Gabriel RossettiDante Gabriel Rossetti, The Tune of the Seven Towers

(Rossetti uses)” lots of lots of gum and varnish, trying to deny watercolor’s transparent qualities by making it thick and heavy, giving it the appearance of something painted on wood.” – curator Alison Smith

Wenceslaus HollarWenceslaus Hollar, View from Peterborough Tower, Tangier Castle

 Hollars earned his living by working for various authors and publishers, creating etchings and prints. Later in his life he was sent by the king to draw the forts and towns of Tangiers. Though his works were well-regarded, he died in poverty.

Queen Victoria's watercolorsQueen Victoria’s watercolour set, on preview at the Tate Museum Exhibition, “Watercolour”

Queen Victoria was quite a prolific painter, and enjoyed collecting and supporting art as well as creating it.  In the 1800’s, women were taught the art of watercolour for the purpose of creating decorative and domestic arts. Maybe I’ll put that on my list of things to do.

sparkle wave

Here is a piece I have been working on for a while:

Linda Oeffling:  sparkle waveLinda Oeffling, Sparkle Wave

The wood came first.  It was a great chunk of driftwood, but pretty flat on the back surface.  I decided to put it upright and place glass behind it. I really didn’t want to use a bottom base of glass; that has never really worked out looking as good as I envision.

Linda OefflingLinda Oeffling, Sparkle Wave

I found another chunk of wood to suit the back and support the piece to stand up.  The back of a fused piece turns out a with more of a matte finish.  Some glassworkers cold work their pieces, meaning using tools to further shape a piece after it comes out of the kiln. I don’t have equipment for cold work polishing (yet).  So back to the kiln.  I fused pieces of frothy sea foam.

Linda Oeffling

Linda Oeffling

Some bits of sparkly water on the wood, and the piece is finished. I am considering putting this piece in the show in September, “Art of the Land”, at the Starline Gallery.  I’ll keep you posted.

ephemeral art

If you spent hours upon hours creating a magnificent art piece, could you let it then melt?  let the wind blow it away?

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy, Rowan Leaves & Hole

I especially love this piece, it being rowan leaves, the inspiration for my studio name and logo.  The rowan tree is commonly known  as the mountain ash, a tree with delicate leaves and clusters of orangey-red berries.

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy

“Overnight – wind – overcast went to arch – early – still there!!
but melting quickly.
Lifted out supports – very
Very beautiful
– a melting
ice arch.

would have perhaps
preferred it not to have melted so much
-softened it somewhat.
However melting
made it easy
to remove stone

Visable from long distance – attracted someone from long way – good to show it.
Went back later to draw it – arrived just in time to see a very old man knock it down
with a gun – sad.” – excerpts from Andy Goldsworthy diary

Andy GoldsworthyAndy Goldsworthy
Leaves polished, greased made in the shadow of the tree from which they fell, pinned to the ground with thorns.

“Movement, change, light growth and decay are the lifeblood of nature, the energies that I try to tap through my work. I need the shock of touch, the resistance of place, materials and weather, the earth as my source. I want to get under the surface. When I work with a leaf, rock, stick, it is not just that material itself, it is an opening into the processes of life within and around it. When I leave it, these processes continue.” – Andy Goldsworthy

looking at bugs with an artistic eye

Here in the Midwest we are in the middle of sweltering summer.  It’s buggy, as usual. I think everyone reminisces about catching lighting bugs when they were younger, but using bugs as art is another concept altogether. Artist Jan Fabre was invited by the Queen of Belgium in 2002 to bring contemporary art into her 19th century palace.

Jan Fabre, Heaven of DelightJan Fabre, Heaven of Delight

Fabre created a dazzling masterpiece mosaic on the ceiling of the Hall of Mirrors.  It took Fabre and over 20 assistants three months to apply swirls of beetle carapaces to the ceiling and niches.

Jan Fabre, Heaven of DelightJan Fabre, Heaven of Delight

Over 1.5 million Jewel Beetle wings were used to cover the space. The elytra, or forewings, are actually a by-product of the Thai food industry.  The beetle grubs are served as food, and the elytra are thrown away.  Well, in this case, used as artwork.

Jewel Beetle

And Fabre is not the only artist to appreciate these iridescent colors. . .

Olivia's OublietteHeart of Isdes, Susan Tooker

Artist Susan Tooker features beetle art in her Etsy shop, OliviasOubliette. She says, “The wings make a wonderful tinkling sound when worn!”

everyone’s a critic

The Venice Biennale is located in San Marco in Venice. For over a century, it has been one of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world, promoting International Festivals of Film, Art, Architecture, Music, Theatre and Dance. Art critic Roberta Smith, from the New York Times, started an interactive Venice Biennale reader, featuring works of art and comments from readers.  It is a fun little activity, limiting participants to only 6 words they can use to describe the artwork. Anyone can participate.

Andrian Villar RojasAdrián Villar Rojas, The Murderer of Your Heritage

Here is a photo depicting just part of this colossal installation.  Reader interactions vary from hilarious to critical to awe-inspired:   “Nowhere to store any of this”, “leftovers from skyscraper construction”, “substantial life force mass smallness wonder”, “big fat guy stones”.

Contamination by Joana VasconcelosJoana Vasconcelos, Contamination

Comments:  “Viral craft bomb decoration awakens serene”, “creature rising from the rainbow lagoon”, “mommy can I pet the microvirus?”

Ryan GanderRyan Gander, Your present time orientation (First Act) – Random abstraction

Comments:  “Mondrian urban-landscape gridblock edifice”, “design school was too hard”, “oh there are my primed canvases”.

Visit Roberta’s blog page on the New York Times to view this project, read the comments, and submit your own.  I also like the format – it’s fun.  Flash is used to set up a book-like format, so that it looks like pages are turning when you click on the dots. Enjoy Everyone’s a Critic!

interaction with light and water

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is known for large-scale installations.  He often uses light and water to impact the viewer’s senses. He works in his Berlin studio with a team of 35 people who include artists, technicians, art historians and cooks.  (Just imagine the future Rowanberry Studio, up and out of the basement, with a full staff including a personal chef . . . heehee).

His projects are numerous and quite varied, as you can see for yourself on his website, I am hardly projecting a whole vision of his body of work in this little blog – I am choosing such a limited amount of pieces to share.  It was hard to choose, but I focused on my favorite pieces that involve light and water.

Olafur Eliasson, Notion MotionOlafur Eliasson, Notion motion, 2005

This installation consists of three rooms, linked by a long, elevated wooden walkway. The movement of people walking through the space affect the ripples shown on the projection screen.  Read more about it here.

Olafur Eliasson, Yellow FogOlafur Eliasson, Yellow Fog, 1998/2008

Yellow Fog illuminates the Verbund building in the city center of Vienna, Austria. It rises up at regular intervals from the street level to the roof.  Read more here.

Olafur Eliasson, BeautyOlafur Elisasson, Beauty, 1993

Beauty involves the use of a spotlight, water, nozzles, wood, a hose and a pump. This piece is one of several in an installation entitled Your Rainbow Panorama.  Like Notion Motion, the art changes in response to the viewers walking through the space.

Just by looking at these tiny blog photos, I feel like I am standing in space, within light and color in an other-worldly, endless place. I can only imagine what it’s like to be there in person. Then to move . . .  and have the living art change to your movement . . . would be a completely immersing, all-encompassing art experience.

hammer and flame

Jane is one of the “regulars” working in the Rowanberry glass studio on Saturdays.  Way back in our stained glass days, we started looking at the other things that could be done with this glorious medium.  First we bought the kiln to try our hand at fusing, then Jane bought a “hot head” torch so that we could try bead making.

Jane McCauley:  lampwork beadsJane McCauley:  lampwork bead bracelet with silver spacers

Creating beads this way is called “lampworking”, because they are formed by melting long, rigid, spaghetti-like strands of glass over an open flame.  Years ago, the flame was from an oil lamp.  Today, the “hot head” attachment screws onto a can of MAPP gas.  There are more extensive set ups, but this is the simplest and least expensive way to begin.

Jane creates a basic bead form, then touches other stringers of glass to the base to create decoration on the bead. In the photo above, she used a type of special paddle to flatten the beads into square forms.

Jane McCauley:  braceletJane McCauley:  lampwork bead bracelet with copper findings

It takes a great deal of regular practice to get a nicely rounded bead — one that isn’t lopsided, or with sides that slide out to create a raindrop shape.  Jane has been the only studio worker to devote the time to this craft, and her bracelets are works of art.

Jane McCauley: jewelry setJane McCauley:  jewelry set with hammered copper

Her latest venture involves a tiny hammer and anvil, used to flatten and shape copper wire.  The jewelry set above is the result. I recently posted more of her work on the Rowanberry website – visit us and see what’s new!

art in a grain of sand

It seems a little unlikely to me – a career photographer and filmmaker going on to earn a Ph.D. in biomedical research. Dr. Gary Greenberg has combined art and science in an extraordinary way. At the beginning of his career, he worked on the first Superman film, utilizing photos of cancerous human pancreatic cells to create the planet Krypton. He went on to earn his doctorate, and he was issued 18 U.S. patents for inventing the high-definition, three-dimensional light microscope. Today, he focuses his attention on creating art, allowing us to look a little closer at the world around us.

Gary Greenberg:  Maui RedDr. Gary Greenberg, Maui Red

His images show the intricate beauty within each tiny grain of sand.

Dr. Gary Greenberg:  Moon SandDr. Gary Greenberg, Moon Sand

The image of moon sand looks like it has bits of dichroic glass, the reflective glass that many fused glass artists, including myself, incorporate into their work.

Dr. Gary Greenberg: sugar crystallizingDr. Gary Greenberg, photo of sugar crystallizing

Visit his website,  to see more information, including galleries, links to articles and links to video.

dot dot dot

Dots are a part of both of my business logos.  I like dots. Maybe it’s because my mother always loved polka-dots. Sorry, digression here – why do they call them polka-dots?  Merriam Webster defines polka dots as  a dot in a pattern of regularly distributed dots in textile design.  The Online Etymology Dictionary says “1884, from polka + dot. Named for the dance, for no reason except its popularity, which led to many contemporary products and fashions taking the name.” (Mom and Dad always did like to polka.)

Rowanberry Studio IconRowanberry Studio Icon, three red berries

Chelini & Oeffling logoChelini & Oeffling logo . . . dots?  stars?  bubbles?  olives?

DixonBaxi is a creative agency working with companies around the globe on various projects.  They started a fun little thing called “Join the Dots”. It is a “celebration in the spirit of collaboration.”  Would you put it on your wall as art?  Maybe not, but I am liking this project:

Dot by Mark HaleyDot by Mark Haley At We Are Seventeen

Ooooh, love that black eggs and ham. Would you eat them on a train?  Would you eat them in the rain? Imagine if you ate those inky eggs and then slowly smiled . . .

Dot by Jimmy YuanDot by Jimmy Yuan At Mirari Design

Is it still a dot if the circumference is only suggested?  Is it fabric?  Kites flying from a futuristic space station?  Origami?

Dot by Chad HagenDot by Chad Hagen

This appeals to the Photoshopper in me. And yes, I think I would put this on my wall at home. It also reminds me of Anish Kapoor’s “Sky Mirror”.

Dot by Tavo PonceDot by Tavo Ponce At Tavo.

Mmmmmm, love those rainbow colors.  Are they real bowls with a tiny rubber yellow inner tube and a cue ball? Can you re-create this in a graphic design program?  Can you re-create it in a real photograph?

I would love to continue this little “Join the Dots” thing on the Rowanberry blog.  Send me your images, draw your personal dot and email it on over.  You could even hand-draw it and fax it over to me. (F:815-675-2850) I’ll post them. So far this blog is still too new – I have too few followers, and hardly anyone ever gives me comments.  Come on, dot me, I dare you!

raven’s wish grand opening

I have several pieces residing in a gallery in Janesville, Wisconsin.  Raven’s Wish just relocated to a beautiful, spacious, old (is it historic? not sure) building in the downtown area.

The Grand Opening was held this past weekend, and visitors could enjoy refreshments and view artwork in the new location.  Owner Alicia Reid also operates a framing business in the space.

Alicia Reid: Mt. Magazine JuniperAlicia Reid, Mt. Magazine Juniper, photography and acrylic

Alicia doesn’t get as much time as she would like in playing with her art, busy as she is with this business.  It was nice to see some of her work displayed; this one being one of my favorite pieces in the gallery.  She starts with a photograph, then creates a painting that extends the photo . . . just lovely.

Raven's Wish Gallery

This little corner gives you an idea of the range of media diplayed.  The stars are mine, and I was happy to see them displayed along side of some of my other favorite work – driftwood bird creations by Dave Petranek, of Janesville, WI. The gallery also features pottery, jewelry, textile art, photography, painting, turned wood pieces and other stained and fused glass.

Jack Zellner: PaintingsPaintings by Jack Zellner

Jack Zellner was the featured artist for the Grand Opening, and his paintings were prominently displayed.

After enjoying the Grand Opening, my husband and I went to dinner at the Metropolitan Restaurant/Cafe, located nearby on Main Street. If you ever come up to Janesville, we recommend eating there – unique and delicious food!

kiln work, before and after

I work with a few friends on Saturday nights, creating things in the studio.  It started as glass class, then morphed into glass club because none of us wanted to stop.  Great company and motivation for me – it’s kind of hard to want to go into a dark, spidery basement on a beautiful summer day.  But throw some good friends and fun conversation into the mix, top with a 10PM bottle of wine, and that’s easy!

Tom von Geldern:  Cyclamen Vase

Here is one of Tom’s creations, laid out on a prepared shelf to go into the kiln.  Kiln shelves have to be coated with a special mixture that is painted on, so that the glass does not stick to the shelf material.  After about two firings, the remaining coating must be sanded completely off the surface, and the shelf re-coated.

Tom von Geldern:  dots

Here is another of Tom’s pieces, just after the first firing.  I like how this photo turned out, with glowing edges.  The piece is made with clear glass, but camera flash lit up those edges in an interesting way.

Linda Oeffling:  Meadow

This piece is one of mine, after the first firing.  All of these pieces will be set over a stainless steel form (also coated with kiln wash), and put back into the kiln for a second firing.  The second one will be at a lower temperature, which is not hot enough to actually melt the glass, but just hot enough for it to “slump” over the mold.

Watch the blog next week for some photos of the finished products.

misty, colorful, intricate, dreamlike

Rachel Sumpter:  Rachell Sumpter,  IglooRachell Sumpter  Igloo, 2009  11 x 14 Inches  , gouache and pastel on paper

Rachel Sumpter:  Rachell Sumpter,  Isle, 2010  Rachell Sumpter  Isle, 2010  , 10.25 x 8.25 Inches  , gouache and pastel on paper

Rachel Sumpter, Waterfall 2011Rachel Sumpter, Waterfall, 2011

These dreamlike paintings from Rachel Sumpter are inspired by the wild and isolated place where she lives with her family, on Puget Sound.  The way she describes it,

“We live on a sandy cliff in a crumbling, weather beaten cabin, where there are huge trees surrounding us. Sometimes there are storms that blow 70 mph winds and the trees tick and tock like pendulums. The community is like a tribe and DIY, for survivals sake. It snows, it rains so much, and there’s mud everywhere, no asphalt, no stores, off the grid and that’s just the technical info. It’s where I like to create and the island and the community find their way into my paintings more and more.” – from Juxtapoz Magazine Interview

She brings together the softness of watercolor, yet makes it vibrant; and the history and mythology of the Northwest U.S. clearly has an influence. The swirls and intricate pen-and-ink look introduce yet another style element to the work, and reminds me of the trends happening now in graphic design. I LOVE it.  Visit her website for more!

what happened to anish kapoor’s website?

I don’t know the answer to that one – I had bookmarked it about a week ago.  I wanted to blog about this world-renowned artist who created “Cloud Gate”, commonly and fondly known in Chicago as “The Bean”.  When I went back to his site to share some of his other work and link here, all of the links are broken. Not sure what is happening there . . .

I had to depend on other sources today to share some of the other things that this prolific sculptor has completed:

Anish Kapoor:  Sky MirrorAnish Kapoor:  Sky Mirror, Kensington Gardens, London
photo by Quintin Lake

Anish Kapoor:  LeviathanAnish Kapoor:  Leviathan, Grand Palais, Paris

In an interesting note, “Leviathan”, installed this May 2011 at the Grand Palais museum in France, was dedicated by Kapoor to Ai Wei Wei. (See my blog post June 30) See Design Magazine’s blog about “Leviathan” for many great photos and information. It is an amazing and enormous piece of artwork. Really – click that link to see how huge this thing is and how different it looks inside & out.

Anish Kapoor:  UntitledAnish Kapoor:  Untitled

I found this photo on an art auction site.  See more views of this sculpture here: AskART  From one angle it looks like a fried egg.

Anish Kapoor:  UntitledAnish Kapoor’s Untitled (2009) is is 8m high and 25m long, and made of mild tube steel and tensioned fabric. Source: The Australian

If you google images and Anish Kapoor, the things that pop up first are the “Bean”, and also some of his other reflective metal sculptures.  I dug a bit deeper to find his other work, because I wanted to show you the scope of things he has done, with a such a wide variety of materials and styles.

Interestingly enough, while I was writing this blog entry, I thought to check the website again, just in case.  I guess I questioned too soon – they must have just been down for maintenance or something, because now I am finding that the links work!  Here is Anish Kapoor’s website, if you are interested in seeing more.

finding frogs and other small metal things

Cindy Cantelon and Marshall Mar are a couple who create their lives together around art. Earthly Creatures is the name of their Etsy shop, and they also own and operate Copper Sky Gallery & Cafe Shop in Madeira Park, British Columbia. Many of their tiny sculptural works are cast in lead free pewter.  This selection consists of pieces that are fabricated as wearable art, brooches to be worn on clothing:

I think the casting process gives their work such a unique look – they beg to be touched. Cindy talks about her love for carving and forming wax, which is how the process for casting metal begins.  They draw inspiration from living close to nature, in the beautiful area of Pender Harbour, a tourist destination famous for spectacular coastal scenery and mild climate, close to Vancouver.

Marshall’s sculptural work with driftwood is beautifully balanced,blending natural materials with metal to create one of a kind art pieces:

In reading their shop biography, I came across many interesting tidbits about these artists.  They practice sustainability in their lives and work, growing an herb garden in the cafe’s back yard, utilizing locally grown food when in season, and serving only locally roasted organic fair trade coffees & teas. They have sold art pieces to Tommy Chong and Bob Dylan.

They sound like interesting people I would personally love to meet, living in an area I would love to visit.  I’m putting that on my list of things to do…

sparking artistic creativity

I have been playing with stained glass and fused glass for over 20 years now, and it has taken me this long to start to tap into projects that I deem “artistic” rather than “crafty”.  That sounds like an awfully long time – let me qualify that by saying I have not been doing this full time, and it has been relegated to sparse spare time, between raising children and holding other jobs. It is in the past several years that I am devoting more time to this, and I hope that my sparkle vases and sculptures with driftwood are a few steps above the craft level.

There still are many times that I am stuck for an idea, and just want to produce something, anything. I still find it fun to do little, quick projects, like the “tiny treasures” featured in my side column. There are times when I work on a sculpture that is a vision in my mind, but the real thing falls dismally short.  I need the feeling of accomplishment I get by turning to a small project that I can complete professionally, looks cute, and can bring in a few dollars to buy more glass.

Then there are the times when I sidetrack completely, like this past week when I picked up some mortar and sand, dug up rocks from my yard, and tried creating a pedestal.  Note the use of the word “tried”, and lack of a photo here. Oh, I did it, and it stuck together, but it just wasn’t the vision that I had in my brain, or one I would like to show off. One of these days I am determined to get the materials to try the lanterns that I featured in June 20’s post. Experimenting with different media can spur creativity, and it’s fun.

Here is Beethoven describing his way of working: ‘I carry my thoughts with me for a long time, often for a very long time before writing them down … I change many things, discard others and try again until I am satisfied; then, in my head, I begin to elaborate the work … the underlying idea never deserts me. It rises, it grows. I hear and see the image in front of me from every angle.’ (Gruber & Wallace 1999) -from Robert Fisher’s keynote address at the ‘Teaching Qualities Initiative’ international conference 

Ben Burtt is the creator of  many science-fiction movie sound effects. By listening to the world, Burtt absorbed everyday “noises” as an inspiration for the vast array of sounds he would compile into movies such as the “Star Wars” series. Author Julie Burstein advises to “see what you always see – but see it in a different way.” -from James D’Arcangelo’s interview with Julie Burstein to discuss her new book, “Spark: How Creativity Works.”

What spurs your creativity?  How are you inspired?  Leave a comment . . .

who is ai wei wei?

I have seen this name on the news. I know he is Chinese and has recently been released from “detention”.  But who is this activist?  In my search for something to bring you in this blog every day, I am crawling all over the web for interesting art.  Time and time again in the last week I come across Ai Wei Wei as big political news (read more about it), and I think it’s time to feature this innovative artist. If you scroll down to my June 22 post on “Nesting”, you will see the nest-like Beijing Olympic stadium, which Ai helped to design.

  The studio space you see surrounding “Fountain of Light” was demolished by the Chinese government, arriving one morning without warning to completely flatten the building.

This exhibit consisted of hand-fired, hand-painted porcelain sunflower seeds, created by artisans from Jingdezhen, the ‘porcelain capital’ of his native China.

These windows and doors came from all over China, places where entire townships and villages had been destroyed.  Ai explains, ‘the materials I use comes from objects destroyed in the name of development, or would be used by antique dealers to make copies of antique future. (Colonnello, 2007)’  Unfortunately, this entire structure collapsed under heavy weather conditions, not long after its installation.

Ai Wei Wei was due to board a flight to Hong Kong in April, but was stopped by officials.  After that, his whereabouts were unknown, sparking international condemnation, and internet posts baldly stating: WHERE IS WEI WEI? He was later charged with economic crimes. After 81 days in “detention”, he was released. The state news agency, Xinhua, said police had released him “because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes” and a chronic illness.


What is art, right?  Installations, gallery shows, awards . . . and what about everyday art that affects every part of your life?  The time and talent and technology it took to create the image on your cereal box? What about art created for the purpose of selling to the masses – like Blik’s wall graphics? They are a company that creates removable wall decals.  Maybe today’s post isn’t so much about art as it is about letting go and having fun.  Imagine being given a big box of markers and a WALL to draw on!  Does that take you back to your childhood and getting in trouble for crayoning the paint? Blik held a contest for those who doodle, and the winners had their doodles made into removable wall art decals. These were the three winners:

Not so sure I would put them on my walls . . . kind of like this one:

Contributed by Angela Babbit

Before you dismiss this form of art, take a look at some doodles created by some world-famous artists:

If you are a doodler, you might want to check out Doodlers Anonymous, a website for the sketcher at heart. From intricately beautiful to intricately creepy, you can find it here.  And next time you are bored, grab a pencil and decorate your margins – who knows where your graphite ramblings can take you?

dimensional art

I am so drawn to sculpture, but I would like to post more about flat art as well.  So I searched to see what I could find, and STILL ended up drawn to something dimensional.  Oh well, I promise to get to more flat art in the future.  Today I would like to feature the incredible pieces by Gregory Euclide.  His repertoire does include flat paintings, but I find his relief paintings intricately beautiful:

My bare foot adds the soft bridge to sky’s repeating
acrylic, canvas, euro cast, fruticose, moss, mylar, pencil, paper, sedum, sponge, vellum

29 x 23 x 6

Take a look at the materials he utilizes in his work.  Fruticose is term which means “shrubby”, and I believe what he is using is a fruticose lichen, a type of fungus that grows on another plant.  Spanish moss is an example. I have to digress here a bit, but here is lichen growing on a tree, an intricate work of art in itself:

Lichen-covered tree: Grey, leafy Parmotrema perlatum on upper half of trunk; yellowy-green Flavoparmelia caperata on middle and lower half and running up the extreme right side; and the fruticose Ramalina farinacea. Tresco, Isles of Scilly, UK

Gregory lives in Minnesota, and his works are inspired by walking through the land and being highly aware of the things that he sees in the environment.  You can find out more about him by visiting this page on his website and scrolling down to the “interviews” section.  There are several links to blog posts and also a magazine article.  This is the largest installation he has done:

Otherworldly: optical delusions and small realities
Museum of arts and design – new york, ny
The room-sized installation on the fifth floor of the museum overlooking Central park will consist of several dioramas, cast boulders and a 7 ft by 5 ft landscape painting in a guilded frame.

Here are some of his paintings.  I love the use of the swirly, script-like brushstrokes.

Emptied our seeing in the difficulty of our enjoyment
Acrylic and fabric on Canvas, 36 x 48

Something similar to waves inside but lower than breaking
acrylic, paper, pencil
,24 x 36



starline gallery grand opening

What an event experience at the Starline Factory Gallery on Friday! This Grand Opening Event was held in the large space on the ground level. People started trickling in around 6 pm.

Volunteers served the most delicious appetizers – hand-created gourmet tidbits were readily available all evening.  By 7 PM, the huge event space was fairly full.  The wine bar was stocked and glasses of wine and chilled green tea served all night long. Parking lots outside overflowed and art lovers poured through the door. Live guitar music accompanied talented singers and set the tone for a fun atmosphere. I noticed quite a few younger people, maybe high school age, in the crowd, which I thought was unusual.  All the mysteries were solved when recorded music began to play, and the wandering young ones coalesced into an organized flash mob of accomplished dancers.

Artist studios were open, so attendees wandered through the immense factory building, meeting the artists who work in this unique place, and seeing first hand what an active art studio looks like. The patio off the main event area was open, softly lit with fairy lights and comfortably furnished with patio seating.

My Osprey vase looked great on its pedestal, against the warm brick walls.

At 9:45 PM, we were sitting on the patio, sipping the last glass of wine in the cool night air.  No one hurried to leave this magical space.

Photographers Nancy Merkling and Theresa Baber are the organizers behind the Starline Factory Gallery.  Click on their names to view some of their work.  They are professional and talented, creating an oasis of art that is well worth the ride out to Harvard, Illinois.

starline tonight

Tonight is the Grand Launch at the Starline Factory Gallery in Harvard.  If you are attending, be there before 7 pm to find out about the big surprise event. I’m sure I will post on Monday to talk about the details, and hopefully get some pictures.  I have been trying to get photos from online to post here, but the coolest ones are in slide shows and won’t let me copy and paste.  If you want to see this amazing space, you have to go to the link.  Or, of course, come out to 4th Fridays! They have also gone live with the website, and it is beautiful. Go the The Starline

art of the land

I just received word that I have been accepted into the fall show for Art of the Land. This show features artists from the McHenry County area who find their inspiration in the natural beauty of the land.  It is a fundraiser for the Land Conservancy of McHenry County. My talented sister, Margie, had one of her photographs featured in this event last year, and raved about this event at the Starline Gallery in Harvard.

My best pieces are inspired by the landscape that surrounds me.  Incorporating natural materials seems to bring it closer, infusing my work with the feeling of the outdoors, bringing it into your everyday life.

Driftwood is something I can’t resist bringing home from my kayak trips. In fact, sometimes I look pretty strange out on the lake, with my kayak festooned with bits of wood tucked under every available bungee strap.  Scroll down to my June 15 post to see my latest sculpture with glass and wood.  Here is one of my first projects:

Sunflowers with Bug

The Art of the Land show is being held September 23 – 24, 2011.  I’ll be sure to post more about it as it gets closer.


This year we have two robin nests in the yard.  They were a little smarter, building them high in the upper branches, which does not make for a good photograph because they are well hidden behind the leaves.  A few years ago, a robin built low enough for me to get this photo:

The nest form is intricate and beautiful.  There are so many artists, myself included, fascinated with this form.  Several years ago I was on a camping trip in Wisconsin, hiking an interpretive trail.  We came across several huge natural material installations along the trail, one of which was an enormous nest built on the ground, so large we clambered in and sat inside.  Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures, but here is a similar creation from artist Nils-Udo.  He is a Bavarian artist who works on site using natural materials.

“The Nest”, Earth, stones, birch trees, birch branches, grass, Lineburg Heath, Germany, 1978

I was going to continue this post with beautiful images of nests – painting, jewelry, etc.  Well, that might come another day.  After I found this image, I had to go with some of the most artistically bizarre or unusual nests that are out there.  Hope you enjoy!

“Extreme Nesting with Benjamin Verdonck”

Tan Khanh:  Paper Nest Art

Beijing’s Olympic Stadium

Nest Station“Nest Station” fractal art, Craig Williamson

art and storytelling

I have a lot of hobbies and things I like to do, but reading probably tops the list.  I read while I eat breakfast, I read during lunch, I take breaks to read, and even if I get home at 2 am, I read before I fall asleep.  I read everything, from almost every genre, and I do love a good fairy tale.

Today’s blog post combines my favorite things, art and storytelling, with a new take on an old idea – that of starting a story and passing it on for the next person to continue.

W.H. Drake – Baloo and Bagheera

“A Tale to Tell” is a project that invites artists to collaborate on a creative adventure.  The story begins with an illustration from the Rudyard Kipling classic “Jungle Book”. Artists are invited to submit their own illustration and text to create a new, continuing story.

Chapter 3:  Ash Cook

I like that artists with different media are participating.  Click here to view a page of text illustrated with a music track, by Louis Rossi & Bertie Telezynski.

Chapter 7:  Jenny Lloyd

Are you an artist?  Interesting in collaborating?  Visit A Tale to Tell and let me know if you participate! 

summer night light

I like the look of paper lanterns in the trees.  What a beautiful summery atmosphere.

The white ones are beautiful, and I’m sure I’ve seen them for sale.  Probably Pier One or maybe World Market?

They can be so inviting . . .

As simple as a candle in a paper bag.

The Myklebust+SEARS art studio offers seminars for lantern making.  They host the Art+Fire lantern festival at their rural Pepin County, Wisconsin studio.

“The Myklebust+SEARS studio is located on 37 acres of agricultural and forested land in rural Pepin County, Wisconsin, 65 miles from Minneapolis-St.Paul.  The fields and forest around the studio are an outdoor lab where sculptural and landscape ideas are explored over time.” from the Art+Fire website

It takes several hours to complete a small lantern, and at least 6-8 to create a large lantern.  Often people work in groups to create the large pieces.The studio is located about 65 miles from Minneapolis.  You don’t need any previous art experience to sign up and create a lantern. Put that on my list of things to do . . .

passion works studio

I came across this inspiring site and it makes for a very happy friday!  How can you look at a picture like this and not smile?

“Happy Bee” from Passion Works Studio:  Greeting Cards

Passion Works Studio supports collaboration between artists with and without developmental disabilities.  The staff then markets this artwork, creating employment and generating income that allows this art programming to continue.

If you have a chance to visit their site, there is so much to see there, art items you can purchase, and stories to read that can make you look at life in a different way.  Working with children, and also with people who are developmentally disabled will do that for you. Really listen to them, and watch – they can show you how to pare down your everyday life into simple joy and wonder. “Passion Works reclaims art as an aspect of everyday life and as a way to connect with others.” Lynn Harter

Read about Passion Works Studio in collaboration with Tibetan monks

Insights about everyday art and every human’s potential to create

A window into artist collaboration – step by step

Superman, and the ability for all to fly

starline in june

“Osprey” made it into the June Grand Opening show at the Starline!  The show is June 24 from 6 PM – 10 PM.

“a fresh + fun art event
about emerging + established artists,
and the people who enjoy art,
live music,
delectable appetizers + wine,
…open artist studios,
+ more.”

I can vouch for the “delectable appetizers” – homemade and delicious!  If you can make it out, it is an interesting experience.  The artists are there, ready to talk about their work, or other things, and it is really fun to peek into their work spaces.

three submissions

Here is the fused glass piece I finished last night, just in time to submit to the Starline Gallery for the June Grand Opening:

“Forest Flame”

And these are my other two submissions.  I’ll find out tomorrow if I was accepted, and what pieces they will take.  Last time they only chose one of three.

“Osprey”          &      “Sunflowers with Bug”

creative disorder

Featuring my messy worktable today . . .

This is a catch-all table in part of my downstairs studio.  You can see several projects in the process of being finished:  finches, a small wind chime, a small piece of driftwood waiting for partnership with glass.  The large piece of driftwood had its glossy coating applied last night.  I have glass slumping in the kiln at this very moment that will be attached to the wood for a new art piece.  Submissions for the June Starline Gallery show are tonight at midnight, and I’m cutting it a little close.  I hope this piece turns out the way I envision, and it will be one of my entries. Check back tomorrow for a photo of the finished piece.

living sculpture

Basketmaker Annemarie O’Sullivan is a weaver who takes her craft just a bit further. Although I do admire her basket work, I really love her living sculpture, created with willow.

Annemarie works with students in the UK, creating these environmental art pieces. Here are some thumbnail images, but you can also go to her website to view larger images:

“I remember the first time I made a basket. I never wanted to stop. I still feel the same. I have to be dragged away. Often I can’t  get to sleep at night , thinking about baskets, weaving and woven things.” -Annemarie O’Sullivan


After all those wonderfully hot days, here we are back to grey skies. But my flowers are happy to have the rain. And there is beauty to be found . . .

Here is a glorious, sparkling rain shower for today:
Art installation by Stacee Kalmanovsky

(her website is not up yet, but I am curious to see what else she has done)

“Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it” Confucius

Have a great weekend!

futuristic apple

I love my iMac computer, and I am always fascinated by Steve Jobs and how he has shaped this brand.  Take a look at the new design for Apple Headquarters:

All of the glass in this building will be curved. What I like best about it is that the grounds are going to be transformed from asphalt to green. They are planning the parking underground, and will plant enough trees to almost double the 3,700 trees already on the property. It will be primarily fueled by natural gas. They plan to open in 2015.

painting with light

There is a photographic technique referred to as “painting with light”, and it makes for some pretty interesting photos.  Just google that phrase and you can see many images illustrating the technique.

Denis Smith is a photographer that takes this technique to a whole new level:

[vimeo w=400&h=225]

Ball Of Light from Sam Collins on Vimeo.

The story of how his life changed to become satisfying, fulfilling, and meaningful is inspiring. His photography alone is simply breathtaking, and then he creates these incredible spheres that make it something magical. You really need to see it full screen.

View Denis Smith’s Gallery at his website:

niemi sculpture garden

On Sunday I took a leisurely drive with friends through the rolling hills and farm fields of nearby Wisconsin.  Our destination was the  Niemi Sculpture Gallery and Garden in Kenosha. We drifted through the meandering pathways, awed and amazed and entertained by the sculpture planted throughout the garden.

Bruce Neimi’s work is distinctive, with its curving, flowing slashes of metal.  The massive, tremendously heavy sculptures look like they could take flight at any moment.

The gallery features work by many other artists, as well as by Bruce Niemi.

Bruce began welding at the age of 12, with his father Frank, who was an ornamental iron artist and self-taught sculptor.  His gallery work has been featured at the SOFA art show in Chicago, and his pieces can be found throughout the United States.  Visit his website to see more work, including “External Flame”, installed at the Disabled American Veterans Memorial in Worth, IL, and “Remembered”, installed as a Memorial at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.

Come back to my blog tomorrow for some close-ups on more sculpture, and information about some of the other artists that are displayed here.

field trip: oriental institute

There is a treasure of a museum tucked away in Hyde Park, out on East 58th Street, Chicago.  It is within walking distance of one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous houses, the Frederick C. Robie House. You can tour the house and walk to the Oriental and make a great day of it.

Entire wall reliefs dwarf ordinary human presence, transporting you to ancient Egypt, Nubia, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Anatolia, and the ancient site of Megiddo.  Pictures do not do it justice — you have to feel this space.

“Roughly half of the Persian Gallery is devoted to artifacts from Persepolis, which thrived from approximately 520 B.C. until, in 331 B.C., Alexander the Great and his troops destroyed it. This portion of the gallery is dominated by a series of colossal sculptures made of polished, black limestone, including the head of a bull that once guarded the entrance to the Hundred-Column Hall and column capitals in the forms of bulls and composite creatures.” – from the Oriental Institute website

One of the few examples in the United States of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This museum is fairly small – you don’t need an entire day to see everything.  It is well worth a trip to the city, and leaves you time to do other things too.  For me, someone not particularly well versed in history, or even partial to oriental art, this place was surprisingly a wonder.  To be standing next to the massive sculptures transported me to a time and place I never took the time to imagine before.

driftwood stick

I found this on a kayak trip in Wisconsin, and it has been sitting in my studio.  Last weekend when we had a long, rainy day I painted it.

The natural grain of the wood made such a beautiful pattern.  I think I like it, but part of me still wants that pure, natural wood, unadorned.


“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also. “—Harriet Ann Jacobs

Dianthus, blooming around my patio, fills the air with spicy scent.

Lily of the Valley, along my front sidewalk

Forget-me-nots, such delicate little blossoms

friday night show

It was a lovely experience at the Starline this past Friday.  Art lovers meandered through expansive space and  live guitar music softly played, setting the tone for a relaxed evening. It is an experience to visit the Starline, and if you enjoy viewing art, sipping wine, and delicious, gourmet hors d-oeuvres, it was the place to be. Many of the artists in residence had their studios open for viewing, and it was fun and inspiring to see how they arranged their spaces and chat with them about their work and inspiration.

There’s my little vase – looks so tiny in this vast perspective … but thanks to all who gave me great, supportive comments!

Looking down the hallway, on the way to the cocktail bar.  Artist studio doors are to the left.

It’s deja vu all over again . . . this building could have been created by the same people who built the Spiegel Warehouse (see previous blog post on “Revamped”).  The same warm, golden brick, the enormous wood pillars, the working freight elevator.  I guess I have a thing for freight elevators.  I want one.

sneak peek

These were my entries for the Starline show.  Can you guess which one was juried in?  Come out to the Starline tonight to find out… 306 W. Front St., Harvard, IL  60033


Grass with Dew


larger than life

I love to be in the deep forest, and my studio has a couple of shelves that are packed with bits and pieces of nature that I could not resist bringing home.  They await the touch of inspiration to be incorporated into some kind of artistic creation. Graham Larkin worked for sculptor Edward Tufte as an intellectual assistant at Stanford, and he must have felt the same way as I do. He found beauty in a small twig, and brought it as a small gift to Edward. It inspired this soaring, graceful sculpture:

Larkin’s Twig

Simple, graceful beauty inspired by nature.  And I love the sculptor’s thought process. In his words, “For years, Larkin’s twig sat in an honored place in our library and then in our kitchen. Why not make the twig 32 times bigger?”

Read more about Edward Tufte:

More about Larkin’s Twig:

more about the starline

I dropped off my fused glass piece at the Starline gallery this Saturday, in preparation for the show this coming Friday, May 27, and was able to talk to the ladies in charge:  Teresa Baber and Nancy Merkling.  I found out that this beautiful gallery space is not open for regular hours.  Rather than deal with small, trickle-in business on a day to day basis, they have planned for their space to be open only on the 4th Friday events.  And these events will be pretty special – with original live music, new art at each event, and delicious hors d’oeuvres. They also will rent their space out for events.  If you get a chance, come out and see it this Friday from 6 – 9 pm.  What a cool place!


An event alert was posted on for Revamped, an upscale fashion & art show held near UIC in Chicago. Behind the glam were many dedicated volunteers supporting Earth Share of Illinois. They represent over 60 leading environmental and conservation organizations making a difference locally, nationally and internationally. I attended with friends last night, and what a venue!  The old Spiegel catalog warehouse was the setting.

We entered through the big pull-up delivery doors at the back of the building, and had a conversation with the volunteer at the door who happened to be a Chicago policeman.  He informed us that he remembers being a kid at the time that the big news was a murder at this facility.  One of the men stayed late to rob the place, and killed two people there. What a way to add to the already interesting atmosphere!

Here is the huge freight elevator we rode up to the top floor for the event:

Looking up into the elevator shaft:

Coming into the space, and looking down the runway:

Runway model, we guessed this must be a recycled wedding dress.  Pretty cute!

There were also several art displays, based on re-purposing materials.  My favorite was an artist, Carrie Ann Shumacher, who utilized paper to create beautiful dresses.  From far they looked like silk, or lace, and up close, you could see they were created with pieces of books or magazines.

Here is a detail from a dress created from the pages of romance novels.  I came closer to see if I could read parts of the pages, and the Carrie told me that she did arrange the dress according to topic – and the “hot” scenes from the novels were at the ruffles of the shoulder.

See more of Carrie’s   work:

Since the purpose of the event was “Re-purposing”, the setting reflected that aim appropriately.  The bars, tables, and dj stand were all created from pallets and leftover pieces of construction wood.  It was amazingly elegant.  Here is the link to their website, where I’m sure more photos will be posted:  What a fun event!  Mark your calendars for next year!

starline gallery

Great news came today – I have been accepted into the “4th Fridays” show at Starline Gallery in Harvard.  I submitted 3 pieces to their jury team, so I sent photos of three of my vases.  ONE was accepted into the show – yay!  The public is invited to attend on the event on Friday, May 27, from 6 – 9 PM.

I am excited to be going to this gallery – I have heard a lot about it.  Here is a link to their blog, so you can see a little bit about this place:

I bring my vase there on Saturday, May 21st, and the reception is Friday, May 27.  Then I bring my work home, so it is just a short time for this showing. I am not quite familiar with how they operate – it does not sound like they have regular gallery hours, but rather, various “events” at this location.  Not sure, but there might be a $5 cover charge.   I’ll have to post more after the show. According to their artist submission letter: “Our soft launch on April 29th brought over 250 art enthusiasts from all over Chicagoland…”  I hope the 27th does as well!!/thestarlinegallery?sk=photos

The Starline Gallery
400 W. Front St.
Harvard, IL 60033

amy’s birds

I started Rowanberry Studio years ago, as a hobby, but only recently established as a business.  That meant that working with my friends and marketing as a group had to change a bit, since now I am responsible for accounting and taxes, and all the rest of the ins & outs of being responsible as a business owner.

I would not be where I am now without my group of glass buddies that work with me and inspire me, and supply wine and gourmet snacks to enjoy after class!  I am happy to continue carrying their work, displayed on consignment under Rowanberry.

Today I am excited to feature some new work by Amy Guanci.  Amy has a primitive, whimsical style that she is continually refining as she experiments with new things.  One of my favorite techniques Amy utilizes is frit painting. She mixes ground glass with white glue to create a medium that she then “paints” onto clear glass. A piece of clear glass is placed over the top, and the item is fused in the kiln at 1465 degrees. The clear top melting over the frit painting gives it a dimensional effect.

Here they are displayed on tiny little plate stands.  They measure about 2.5″ x 4″ high. Hope you like them too!

glorious glass & flowers

Sharing some of my photography, taken at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.  My sisters and I recently took my mom there for her 87th birthday – her favorite place!

Ceiling at the Bellagio:  Dale Chihuly

In one of the Bellagio Hotel Bars

These flowers were amazing – an indoor field of icelandic poppies.  There were colored lights placed underneath them that created a gorgeous, surreal, neon display of living art.

eagle babies

“Lone eagles, soaring in the clouds, fly with silent, peaceful poise . . . ” -William Arthur Ward.   Take a peek at the eagles nest in Decorah, Iowa.  The camera is on 24/7.

I find it just amazing to watch the number of people all over the world who are watching at any given moment.  When you click on the link it will display the number of people who are currently online and watching.

Just this March 2011, a federal appeals court confirmed  that only American Indians can own eagle feathers for religious purposes. Eagles are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.  This  bans the possession of feathers to anyone except Indian tribes. That means that anyone else with an eagle feather in their possession can be fine up to $25,000! Defenders of the law have argued it is the only legal protection of Native American spirituality.  After all that has has been taken from the Native Americans in this country, isn’t this a small concession?

Currently, there are over 4,000 people on the waiting list for approximately 900 eagles the National Eagle Repository receives each year. Usually these are salvaged by State and Federal Wildlife personnel. Applicants can expect to wait approximately 2 and one half years for an order to be filled.

As an artist who likes to combine glass art with natural materials, I might have been interested in finding an eagle feather to use in my work.  Then I came across an article about Peggy Barton, who in 1994 gave Hilary Clinton a gift of a dream catcher with an eagle feather incorporated. She was subsequently prosecuted. Luckily (?), her fine was only $1200 per feather…

guess I won’t be tryin’ that.

hurray for friday

It has been a beautifully warm week.  After the longest, dreariest, chilliest spring, the warmth arrived and flowers and trees are exploding with bloom.  Too bad it had to turn so fast –  I am back to warm socks and hot tea today.  Sigh.  But it is Friday, and we can celebrate that!

Here’s a little inspiration for the weekend.  Theo Jansen’s kinetic sculpture.  There’s a photo, but you really need to watch it in action on the video. Enjoy!  (And if anyone wants to make one of these – I’m in!)

aboriginal inspiration

Tom is a great friend and a regular for Saturday night glass class in the studio.  He is such an interesting guy, and travels around the world for his consulting business.  A few weeks ago he told us about a gallery he visited while in Australia, specializing in Aboriginal Art.  I love the paintings they feature there:   I think it is amazing, and would love to draw upon this inspiration for some Rowanberry pieces.  If I even complete one, I’ll have to post it here.

spring things

I have been playing with the lotus form this spring, and I like creating 3-dimensional art. I used a pretty pink and white Spectrum glass for the base petals, and one of my new favorites – Iridized Krinkle – for the accent petals.  It’s on a copper stake and ready to catch the sun in your garden!

affair of the arts

We have just wrapped up our big art event, Affair of the Arts.  What a wonderful day filled with inspiring artists and friendly visitors!

There’s a story behind this event . . . Amy Guanci, Jane McCauley and I work together Saturday evenings in my basement glass studio.  We had tried participating in various art/craft shows, with varying success.  Most shows made us look overpriced, next to crocheted tissue box covers, hand-made baby bags, wooden santas, etc. These venues just were not right for us.   Amy came up with a brave and wonderful idea – let’s have our own show!  Twice a year, Amy put beds in the bathroom and furniture in the garage to clear out her entire house in preparation for an art show that we could control.  She gathered a panel of jurors, so that we could have impartial judges, and we opened up a show to feature a higher quality of art. I have to give credit here to some others who helped to make these first home shows (Art Market) possible:  Heartfelt thanks goes out to Terri Smith, Kathy Piesert, and Jeanne Ferrini.

During this time, we were also participating in another “higher end” art show in Ringwood, IL, at the home of Gabi Sparacio.  In 2009, Gabi approached us and asked if we would be interested in combining shows and having a big show at The Shores of Turtle Creek, a wedding/event venue in Spring Grove, IL. So in November, we held our first combination show under the title Affair of the Arts.

It is now May of 2011, and we are enjoying our time twice each year at The Shores of Turtle Creek, in May and November. The venue is absolutely beautiful, and we have been so pleased with our participating artists.  Many return each show, and we always have a few new faces to perk up the scenery.  Our experience with these talented individuals has been wonderful.  If you came to our show, thank you! If you could not make it, we hope to see you in November…

hello world!

You found my blog.  I love the hopefully cheerful way that WordPress begins a brand-new blog for you . . . “Hello world!”  I kind of feel like that . . . exposed to the world with whatever ideas I can bring to this arena.  So here’s hoping that 2011 is a great year, full of artistic growth and professional development.  Making life better, all the time, every day.

How others treat me is their path; how I react is mine.
-Dr. Wayne Dyer

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