Last Fire in the Living Room


Last Fire in the Living Room
Last Fire in the Living Room


The Dream: Last Fire in the Living Room

We are in the process of trying to move my mom out of the house she and my dad moved into over 40 years ago. It’s been difficult and traumatic for all six kids and for mom, but with me being so far away from New Jersey, I’ve been having lots of anxiety about this new phase in our lives. I dreamed that I was in mom’s living room and all of the furniture was gone, no pictures on the walls, which were painted white. I don’t even think that the carpet was there anymore. There was a pile of big brown leaves from the tree out front that had blown into the room and sort of drifted up against the fireplace, which was in a different location and was cold and dark. As I stood there, a little area of the leaves in the middle of the room caught on fire and I tried to stomp it out with my shoe.

(mixed media shrine using cigar boxes, corrugated cardboard, acrylics, wood pieces, shrink plastic, light element, picture frame, brown paper bag, beaded trim)

Hostage Teeth


Hostage Teeth
Hostage Teeth

The Dream: Hostage Teeth

The economy really messed us up and we’re behind in some of our bills, most notably to our dentist, which causes me extreme anxiety. In the dream I was talking and my teeth started falling out of my mouth. I don’t remember it hurting, but it was very upsetting. I went to the dentist and he looked at my mouth and said he wouldn’t fix my teeth until he knew that he was going to get paid. So I’m sitting there, missing teeth and completely baffled as to how this was going to work. Suddenly there were many people in the waiting room and in came a terrorist with a syringe and the focus was off my teeth and how I was going to save all of the people in the dentist’s office.

(mixed media shrine using cigar box, wood pieces, Mardi Gras beads, acrylics, teeth mold rescued from the dentist)

Day of the Dead: I Wish You Could Have Met Them

raw materials for the WOA week 1 challengeOn Tuesday I finally finished my little Day of the Dead grave. It started as the week 1 challenge in my Work of Art group over on Flickr. The challenge was to take a piece of kitchshy art and turn it into something else. My trip to Eco Thrift hooked me up with a few little gems: A handcarved wood guy, some broken pink glass and a small “dresser” with some sort of fake plants inside where the mirror would be. Old, grungy and just not very much fun.

The more I worked with these things, the more I knew it was going to become a grave  marker of some sort. With Dia de los Muertos on the way, it seemed to make sense. Also, my family recently finished engraving our grandparents’ headstone to include my grandma’s info and my sister had sent me a photo from back east. They’ve been on my mind a LOT lately. Grandpa’s been gone over 20 years and grandma’s been gone about 4 years, but I still miss them like it was yesterday.

I Wish You Could Have Met Them

I thought about how awesome they were and their special little quirks that made them my grandma and grandpa, that made them my mom’s parents, that made them the hard workers their neighbors knew them as, and so on. Most of their friends and family are gone and once my siblings and my mom and aunt are gone, all of those memories will be gone, too. Wouldn’t it be cool if their headstone had a little drawer where we could store photos and stories and mementos so that when people came by the cemetery, they could read about these people I loved so much. I spent the month of October thinking about this kind of loss that happens when nobody remembers us anymore. I can’t even count how many times I have said to my husband, “I wish you could have met grandpa; he would have loved you.”

I Wish You Could Have Met Them

Using plaster of paris, I created a grave where the figure is partly above ground to signify that he’s gone, and part of the earth and the universe, but still very much a part of the living world as well. The little dresser is the headstone, with flowers and lights and glitter inside the glass to pay tribute and celebrate the life that once was. The tiny drawers hold symbols of the life the person in the grave has left behind.

And yes, he’s holding an umbrella. Just in case it rains.

I Wish You Could Have Met Them

I Wish You Could Have Met Them


looking back, just a little, so I can move forward

So, I’ve had this item on my To Do List forEVER. The item? Update my blog with the work I’ve been doing. Of course, first I had to finish the work, then I had to photograph it, then I had to upload it, then I had to write something. Well, you can see how all of this could stymie me. This year, except for the part where Tim and I bought our new house, has been awful. I learned a few things that were good, but overall, I tell you, I could have skipped the whole damn thing!

As a result of the little bit of retrospection I’ve done on 2007, I’m more looking forward to 2008. My big goal? No more PROCRASTINATION. The procrastination (brought on by fear, for the most part) is the big thing that’s keeping me on this terrible treadmill. I’m not going anywhere! Well, that’s all over now. Really.

Here are some things I’ve been working on. You can click on the images to see the larger versions on my Flickr account. Tomorrow, I intend to post about what’s up next.

Happy New Year, everybody! *clink*

A holiday-ish altered assemblage screen I did for the Altered Art Divas 12 Days of Christmas Swap I joined. All of the gifts I received are also on Flickr. The screen is available in two sizes at SunSpirit Studio.
My favorite Halloween card ever. Made with (wait for it…) SunSpirit Studio rubber stamps.
This is the finished plaster house that I began in Stephanie Lee’s class a couple of months ago. I’m really pleased with it! There are a few other items I started in that class, and you can see them in their varying states of unfinishedness on Flickr.
An altered composition book I covered for my sister’s au pair this Christmas. The inside covers are done, too, and I added ribbons for a closure.
An altered book assemblage made in a Michael deMeng class. I don’t think he really dug my penguins and non-deMeng colors, but I do think he was amused!
These polymer clay encased hearts are the result of a class with Colorado artist Tejae Floyd. I am so entranced by these, but my patience level for working with clay is pretty low. You can see a photo of them all closed up here.
A lightbox with layers of glass and transparency, created in the Michael deMeng class “Weird Wonderful Windows”.
I made a bunch of background paper and created a series of ATCs with it. Here’s one of them, used for an ATC lottery.
If I had the energy, this would have been our Christmas card this year. I will probably do a variation on it for next year, because I love it. Stamps from Paper Bag Studios.

Art Unraveled 2007 recap

phew! I’ve been home from Art Unraveled for a few days now, but I still haven’t quite caught up nor have I gotten back into the swing of things. But my box of supplies, purchases and artwork all arrived today, so I’m busy taking photos and scanning so I can write this epic blog post about my week.

Saturday, I flew into Phoenix and Andrea (of SunSpirit Studio fame!) picked me up. We headed over to a restaurant to meet Fran and Angie for a late dinner. Andrea and I then went to Fran’s house to stay overnight. The four of us shared artwork and chatted and hung out until we were all too tired to stand anymore. Andrea and I went to bed, but talked until we fell asleep. This proved to be a pattern for the rest of the week!

Sunday, Fran, Andrea and I went to lunch at Pick Up Stix where I had the best chicken bowl ever. We didn’t hang out a ton because Andrea and needed to head to the hotel to check in and get Andrea’s vehicle unloaded. Boy, she had a lot of stuff for her fabulous booth and make and takes.

Sunday evening was the Meet The Artists event, as well as the opening talk. I had a table and that went pretty well. I was happy to meet all of those people. I almost had a few extra signups as a result, but it never happened. It was ok, though, because I already had 13 signups!

My first class was with Marney, who runs Artella. It was called Blissness Plan Journal and it was a day of taking a more creative approach to a business plan. It was pretty cool and had me thinking about what steps I want to take next in my art and in my web design business.

Monday night, I taught my Websites 101 for Artists class. Boy, was I nervous! But, as my dear friends pointed out repeatedly as I was having small panic attacks, I really know the material and it was all going to be fine. A few students didn’t show up, but the class went great otherwise. The students were awesome, interested and attentive. I am toying with offering the class again next year.

Tuesday was a free day. We went shopping at Apache Reclamation for junk, then met Fran for sushi, then went to Creative Quest in Glendale. What a great store! You should definitely visit it when you’re in the area. We did a tiny bit of grocery shopping, too, and then headed back to the hotel. I had a class that evening with Kathy Cano Murillo, who was awesome. There is no photo here because I’m finishing up the project this weekend and giving it to my husband as his “souvenir”. I will post a photo later.

Wednesday, I took Let’s Face it, Be Fearless with Katie Kendrick. WOW! What a great instructor. I didn’t know what to expect, but basically it was intuitive collage and painting where we did these whimsical face paintings with Katie’s guidance. I was having such a hard time with it for a while there, but Katie really was encouraging and helpful. I feel great about my paintings now. Here they are (click image to see larger version in Flickr):

Happy McHapster Babushka I’ll Pout if I Want To

Thursday, I took Profound Secrets of the Burnt and Bound with Bernie Berlin. I learned a few techniques and got to play with Luna Lights paints, which was pretty neat. It was fun to play around with stamps and learn to get more use out of them. Her class featured Michael deMeng stamps. Here’s what I did:

Friday, I took an Architectural Structures class with Jane Wynn, who is the most enthusiastic happy lady I have met in a long time. She was lovely and helped me with the power tools and we built a box for our shrines and she gave us lots of great feedback and ideas for our shrines. I also learned to cut glass! It was really cool. She has a book coming out in the fall, which I will definitely be getting my hands on. I’d also take another class from her in the future. She was swell. Here is my shrine from that class. This was another project where I was miserable for a period of time until it started coming together. I call it “Birdhouse in Your Soul.” The focal point is a non-functioning night light I got years ago when I was really really into They Might Be Giants. I can’t remember exactly who gave it to me…one of the record company reps I worked with at the time. Anyway, I love that nightlight and now that it’s a bit flighty, it was time to retire it and this was the perfect way to do it. I may add a bit more at some point, like a little blue bird in the “attic.” Yay!

Friday night, I took a class called Resist This, which was based on a technique in Bernie’ book. It was a quickie and we left class early because we were so tired. I don’t have photos now, but will update later with them when I finish the pages we started.

Saturday was the Shopping Extravaganza! It was even better than last year, and last year was pretty good! I had fun all day, shopping, and checking in on Andrea at her booth.

I’m pretty sure I’ll go again next year, if I can afford it. I think it’s a good way to rejuvenate one’s creativity. I look forward to the day when I can focus more on art than anything else and Art Unraveled is a taste of what that would be like (minus the 400 other women milling around, of course!)

crazy things artists do

The day before yesterday, I was in a car accident. We won’t talk about that in detail. But here’s where we make lemonade: My automobile is being totaled. Yesterday Tim and I went over to the mechanic’s and got out all of our personal items. I also found some bulbs and pieces of metal and grabbed the CD magazine out of the smashed CD changer in the back. I’m taking a class tomorrow with Leighanna Light at The Artists’ Nook and it’s entitled “Reliquary of Inspiration”. I was originally going to do a shrine for my former dog, Zuni, but decided it would be more timely to do one for my beloved 1992 Ford Explorer, which is about to be laid to rest.

So today, I called my mechanic and asked him to pull off the rear view mirror and save it for me because I’m going to make art with it. He was amused, but I’m sure he thinks I’m a wacko.

And I’m ok with that!