Thursday, August 30, 2012

My First Inchies

I have always been fascinated with these miniature works of art; especially mixed media pieces.  I had picked up a couple of miniature canvases on clearance awhile back - 2 inches by 2 inches and figured they would be perfect to continue trying my hand at encaustics.

 I still had bees at my screen as the beeswax melted!  Too funny.

  Using bits of lace, antique-style illustrations, fortune from a fortune cookie, oil pastels, glassine, and melted beeswax I arranged, rearranged and struggled to not melt certain areas, while smoothing out others with my heat gun.  I'm ready to proceed on a bit larger "canvas".  I'll have to check with my husband to see if he can spare a few blocks of wood from the barn.  :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Day in Detroit

This is the Grand Trunk restaurant in downtown Detroit on Woodward.

Shelby (Alexandra) and I spent the day in Detroit specifically to view photographer, Patti Smith's work and a very famous Vermeer painting, "Woman Holding a Balance" at the DIA.

We spent many hours viewing our interests and photographing artwork and architecture.  I was pleased to get many shots of stained glass pieces and church iconography for my own current series of collage.  I was tickled to happen upon a Rauschenburg painting; whom I believe is the creator of modern collage.  Here are some of his paintings - the collage is obvious!

Afterward, we walked around the area and discovered the Scarab Club, a long established society promoting artists of all venues; hosting exhibits, concerts, poetry readings and offering some work spaces for select members.  The beams of the lounge ceiling boast autographs of prominent artists like John Sloan, Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, and Norman Rockwell.

 Finally, we found our way downtown to a lovely old pub called the Grand Trunk- after the railroad.  The atmosphere was that of "Cheers" where everyone would know your name.  The architecture was fabulous and barely touched over the years leaving a warm and authentic if forlorn appearance.  We both had a Veggie Riot sandwich; complete with toasted sourdough bread...yummy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Clasp Dilemma

I am loving the way my short story and collage bracelets are unfolding....but the closures have become a stumbling block!  As much as I love finding a use for recycled items, the closures are another matter. I am concerned that the current closures (read: hair ties and buttons) will wear the edges of the bracelets through prematurely, so I am researching the possibility of a magnetic clasp similar to this bracelet that I purchased at Von Maur.

Here are two of the finally embellished collage bracelets that I am reworking to find an appropriate clasp solution.  Any ideas?  Please message me at:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sanctuary Series Continues

I am still fascinated by the mixed media and collage techniques I've been experimenting with in my Charleston photos of cathedrals.  I've decided to continue exploring using this theme -AND-I've actually named it the Sanctuary series.

My favorite new technique is working with melted beeswax in a very simple form of encaustic.  I actually just melted two small blocks of beeswax on low in a mini crock pot and painted away.

Here's a detail of the encaustic portion using beeswax:
I am really enjoying the process and I like this version better than the first one I created.  Look here to see it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Another Short Story Bracelet

In honor of Oxford Bound Bakery, I've created one of my short story bracelets especially for Shelby (Alexandra) to inspire her during all the hard work she is about to embrace! I call it, "England was calling her home".

What's really fun about these handmade, grunge-style, mini art pieces is that they are collages made from dog food bags and other upcycled materials; including labels from bags of oranges, old unappreciated art pieces, bits of leftover beads and get the idea.

I have quite a few started for various members of my family.  Each is unique to the intended individual, as the short story must be something significant to their life in 4-6 words.  I made one for myself called, "I am my daddy's girl".  It is still in the flat stage which is what I refer to them before stitching, beading, padding, and embellishing.

Shelby has requested some general short story bracelets to sell at the market.  Although they shall be a bit less personal, read: less meaningful, they are cute and quirky and hopefully as interesting to potential shoppers as they are to me!

Bracelet blanks.  Here you can get a better idea of the recycled bits; from dogfood bags, calendar pages, dictionary pages, and slide transparencies to name a few.

Here are three blanks that I turned into collage bracelets.

Enough Lavender to Bale!

In the process of getting Shelby off to a good start with her farmer's market endeavors as the newly formed Oxford Bound Bakery, I've started harvesting items with a purpose that I use to do with a hit or miss attitude.  For example: my lavendar plants are pretty to look at, attract a lot of bees - to my delight- and occasionally are picked for a few sprigs in a bouquet of flowers or a bunch of heads to cook with.

Monday, however, one of the two medium shrubs received a buzz cut much like the shearing of a lamb!  Quantity produced:  21 bunches of drying purple fragrance bundles and a bowl full of leaves and heads also drying and ready to stuff into small sewn pillows for sachets!  I was amazed at how much one plant produced.

That is about all I had time for before heading to work.  I'm certain that the lavendar plant next to his newly butchered neighbor breathed a sigh of relief; certain he was spared the same misfortune.  It's been two days...just enough time for his guard to be down... (insert evil chuckle).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Introducing...Oxford Bound Bakery

Newly released from her first year at Spring Arbor University, my daughter Shelby a.k.a. Alexandra has been busy filling out over 80 applications since this early spring for summer work.  Confirming news reports that this year is the worst for high school and college kids to snag summer positions in almost every job description, Shelby has been unable to land a job...any job so far this summer.

However, she is determined to get to Oxford.  Using her love for baking and her passion for quality, she shall be operating a booth at our local farmer's market to sell her delightful desserts and home grown produce with a bit of handmade whimsey added.  Appropriately, she has named her enterprise "Oxford Bound Bakery" with the subheading, "Keep Calm and Bake on". 

I have been allowed the privilege of food critic, happily tasting my way through cranberry-ginger petit fours, dark chocolate marzipan stuffed apricots, Italian strawberry tarts, divine French macaroons, English strawberry scones, and S'mores cookies just to name a few!  It's a wonder I haven't gained any weight this week! 

Packaging and presentation are not forgotten in the scheme of things either.  Natural coffee filters cut in half and stitched into triangles make perfect packages of home dried lime basil tea.  Just toss the whole bundle into a teapot and steep away!

Shelby's plan is to continue selling at the farmer's market as long as it is viable or until she lands a regular job; either way, I'm proud of our creative and industrious daughter.