Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Muse's Whisper

The muses call on me when I least expect them. And so it happened last weekend in a fallen down Spanish Mission called Tumacacori. The mission was built by Jesuit missionaries in the 17th century. It is one of a string of about 20 that span the border region between southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico. Some are still in use and others are now just a few crumbling walls. Tumacacori is only partially restored. There was a regional Fiesta there last weekend with traditional music, crafts and foods. The church was open for visitors to walk through.

The exterior walls of the church are  scratched with years of graffiti.

The interior walls are a combination of exposed adobe, remnants of plaster and hand painted designs.

The afternoon in Tumacacori was magical. Thank you muses for whispering in my ear.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Baby Birds

Baby Birds

I'm really excited about these new birdie guys  I've been making. They are carved from aspen with wings made from reclaimed wood. The Baby Birds are just the right size to use as a holiday ornament or they can hang in a window year round. The Skatebirds are much larger and have recycled caster wheels for feet and found glass knobs as crests.  I am on a hunt for more reclaimed wood with just the right patterns. Old yardsticks and vintage crates are my favorites right now...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tiny Treasures

Oh my blogski how I've missed you. So many things are going on in my little world at this time of year. In October I spent a week in the mountains collecting aspen. It was lovely and relaxing and my drying room is now filled to the brim with aspen for future sculptures. I got back from that trip just in time to finish up some new pieces and beautify my studio for my annual open house.  Last week I sent out a collection of art goodies to Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem, Oregon. I love that gallery and am  always honored when they invite me to show. And last but not least, I've just added some new tiny treasures in my Etsy Shop. Here's a  a peek!

Friday, September 28, 2012

A new piece called Beauty


In making this piece I was thinking about the concept of beauty. I have noticed that my idea of what is beautiful has changed as my life changes yet certain things have remained constant. I love this Native American prayer/ poem because it seems to describe the essence of beauty. It comes from the Navajo people who live in the Southwestern United States.

The Navajo Night Way Ceremony

In beauty may I walk
All day long may I walk
Through the returning seasons may I walk
Beautifully I will possess again
Beautifully birds
Beautifully joyful birds
On the trail marked with pollen may I walk
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk
With beauty may I walk
With beauty before me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty behind me may I walk
With beauty above me may I walk
With Beauty all around may I walk
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty,
lively, may I walk
In old age, wandering on a trail of beauty,
Living again, may I walk
It is finished in beauty
It is finished in beauty

45" x 11.5" x 11.5"

Monday, September 10, 2012

Earth Meets Sky

Earth Meets Sky
9'9" x 32" x 32"

This year I was selected to exhibit one of my pieces as part of a Sculpture on Campus Exhibit at Pima College in Tucson, Arizona. Until now I have not done any outdoor sculpture so building this was a real learning experience. I installed it last week just in time to have it christened by a huge monsoon storm!  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Visiting Dragonfly

Late every summer we have a visit from one of these dragonflies. For a week or two it will come and land in the same spot on top of a tall steel sculpture. I don't think it's the same dragonfly coming back every year, maybe a descendant. I imagine the  grandfather dragonfly tells the grandkids about the great view and they come by to have a look.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Carlos Zapata Sculpture and Automata

Carlos Zapata makes carved wood sculpture and automata. He is originally from Columbia but now lives in England. You can find more of his wonderful works on his blog:  http://carloszapataautomata.blogspot.com/

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Maiden of Deception Pass

As told by Charlie Edwards to Martin Sampson, 1938

Ko-Kwal-alwoot and other maidens were gathering sea food on the beach one day, when one of the shellfish slipped from her grasp and fell into deeper water.  She reached for it, and it slipped from her hand again and again, and she kept following it until she was in deep water, well over her waist.  Suddenly she realized that what seemed to be a hand had grasped hers and was holding her there.  Terrified, she attempted to free herself, but a voice told her not to struggle or be afraid, that she was very lovely, and he was merely holding her there so that he could look upon her beauty.  Soon her hand was released, and she returned to her people.

After a number of such meetings, during which the spirit held her hand longer and longer each time, and spoke soothingly to her, telling her of the many beautiful things which were in the sea, there came a day when a young man emerged from the water, and accompanied her to her father’s house, to ask for her hand in marriage.  The people of the village knew not from whence he came, or who he might be, but they noticed that in his presence they were chilled, as though icy winds were blowing.

At first when he asked for Ko-Kwal-alwoot’s hand, her father was indignant and said “No, my daughter cannot go into the sea with you—she would die. “On the contrary,” said the young man, “she will not die; we will give her eternal life, and we will be very good to her, for I love her dearly.”

Then he warned the father that if he could not have Ko-Kwal-alwoot for his bride, all the sea food would be taken from them, and they would be very hungry, but the father still would not agree.  As time went on, there was a great scarcity of food of all kinds, and even the streams started to dry up, so that they could have no water to drink.

When she could stand it no longer, Ko-Kwal-alwoot went out into the water, and called the young man, begging him to give her people food.  But he replied, “Tell your father that only when you are my bride, will the waters teem with fish, and your people may again live in plenty.”

At last her father, realizing that his people were starving, reluctantly agreed to give up his daughter so that the many members of his tribe might live.  He made one stipulation, however, and that was that she was to return to her people for a visit once a year, so that they could see if she was being cared for and was happy.  This was agreed upon, and Ko-Kwal-alwoot, wrapping her garments about her, walked into the water, farther and farther until she was out of sight, and only her hair could be seen floating in the current.

True to the agreement, there was food in plenty, and the tribe prospered.  And Ko-Kwal-alwoot returned to her people once each year, and before her coming there was always more food than ever before.  Still each time she came, her people noticed more and more of a change in her.  Barnacles grew upon her hands, up to her arms, and the last time she came they had started to grow upon the side of her face which had been so beautiful, and her people felt the chill winds wherever she walked, and they noticed that  she seemed to be unhappy out of the sea.  On her last visit they told her she did not need to return to them again, unless it was her wish to do so.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Small Works for BAM Fair

Little Talismans

I'm on m way to Washington for the BAM Art Fair. These are some of the small works that I showed you when they were in progress. I got everything done and even got to take a day off  before I left!
Cartoon Souls

Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Progress- Bellevue Museum Fair

In just over a week I'll be leaving for the Bellevue Arts Museum Fair. Why do I always have so many ideas for new pieces at the last minute? These are some of the little guys I'm working on.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Frida Kahlo

The Mexican painter Frida Kahlo was born on July 6, 1907. Her highly personal paintings were often associated with the surrealist art movement. She paved the way for generations of female artists by expressing the beauty and the pain in her life from a distinctly female perspective.
Roots by Frida Kahlo

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Robyn Gordon ~ Wood Carvings and Mixed Media

Robyn Gordon is an artist living in KwatZulu Natal, South Africa. I love the subtle tones and textures in these works. They have a quiet elegance that seems to transport me to the land where she lives. Each time I look at them I see some new detail. You can view more of Robyn's artworks on her website:robyngordon.weebly.com  Her blog: artpropelled.blogspot.com is really inspiring too!

Tribal Story Door
Medium: wood carving
Materials: wood, found objects, rusty metal
Dimensions: 140cm x 65cm

Carved Bust
Carved for The Pulse of Mixed Media by Seth Apter
Medium: Wood carving
Materials: wood, found objects, beadwork
Dimensions: 140cm x 18cm

Totem: Running on Empty
Niche Carving
Medium: wood carving
Materials: wood and found objects
Dimensions: 70cm x 74cm

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Butterfly Girl

Butterfly Girl

Butterfly Girl is carved from found aspen branches that I collected in the mountains of Arizona and New Mexico. Her base is made with vintage crates and yardsticks. She holds a carved flower in one hand and a butterfly creature in the other. The butterfly creature's wings are made from an antique litho tin toy. The surface of the piece is delicately painted with acrylic and finished with wax.
Size: 20" x 10" x 8"
Butterfly Girl

Friday, June 8, 2012

Some Assembly Required...

After I peeled the bark and cut up the log that I showed in the last post I became a woodshop astronaut. My daily uniform: Face shield, dust mask, earphones, gloves... and lots of sawdust. Sooo much sawdust! It ain't pretty. Now on to finish sanding and then putting everything together. Soon I can get out of my space suit for awhile!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Day in My Studio

aspen drying

peeling bark 

designing a figure

rough forms cut out on the band saw

sweeping up

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Before it Gets Really Hot...

Last week I decided to dive in and complete a task I've been um...putting off... building a new website. Happily I can now scratch that project off the list of things to do before our  desert summer begins. When the temperature rises over 107 my little grey cells slow way, way (and did I say way?) down! To build the new site I used an online company that caters to artists, designers, and photographers. They have some basic templates to work from, handle the hosting and will even acquire a domain name for you  if you don't have one. They have reasonable prices and good tech support too. If anyone out there has been thinking of making a website have a look at  www.bigblackbag.com  Take a peek at my new website too!

It was so nice to get back to my work table this week! Just finished these two angels yesterday.

Lost and Found Angel with Green Vine Crown

Lost and Found Angel with Cloud Crown

Next on my list are two summer art festivals. La Jolla Festival of the Arts, June 23-24 and Bellevue Arts Museum Art Fair, July 27-29. It will be nice to escape to cooler climates over the summer. Maybe the ocean air will re-activate some of my poky little grey cells!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Accidental Garden

Its a glorious spring here in the desert. The bees are rolling round in the cactus flowers gathering pollen. They look thoroughly intoxicated. The backyard garden has finished with early lupine and poppy blooms and we're on to firewheels, hollyhocks and a few iris. I like to call it an accidental garden but there is some planting and tending involved. A lot depends on the timing and quantity of fall and winter rains. I planted some seeds gathered from last season's plants and some re-seeded on their own.

Every morning I go outside first thing to see whats newly bloomed and watch the birds and insects do their dance. Sometimes the antics of all the life in my garden makes me laugh out loud. It seems there are epic stories, goofy soap operas and complex relationships taking place under the soil and between the flowers. What are those ants doing underground anyway? They seem so organized!

Whatever is happening each morning in the garden provides me with fodder for my day in the studio. Every evening I come home and check to see if something new has bloomed.

The Blossom Sisters

Secret Garden Talisman #4

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pasos Benditos ~ Blessed Steps

Pasos Benditos/Blessed Steps

The title for this piece, Pasos Benditos in Spanish or Blessed Steps in English, is taken from the practice in many spiritual traditions of doing a walk as an offering or a form of spiritual renewal. It may be a contemplative walk through a garden or a dedicated pilgrimage that lasts for days. Sometimes it is a walk through a labyrinth. The experience of walking becomes a meditation and each step is a tiny prayer.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Persephone's Tale

Persephone's Tale

Persephone's Tale is from a series called The Secret Garden. In ancient Greek mythology Persephone was the Greek goddess of spring. Hades the god of the underworld fell in love with her and lured her to the underworld to be his wife. Her mother the goddess Demeter (mother of the Earth) missed her so much that she stopped tending to the plants and animals and the earth began to die. As the story goes each year Persephone returns from the underworld to visit her mother and bring us spring but because Hades tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds, a food of the underworld, she must return to him each year after the autumn harvest. The found objects I use in the Secret Garden Series are old, worn and maybe a little rusty on the outside. They've seen some wear, have a few chips and dings. With a little love and attention something wild and wonderful grows out from their ruins! 

This piece is made with a vintage broken clock part purchased from the fabulous Etsy shop Anela and El Diablo 
 The rest of the piece is made with carved aspen that is delicately painted with acrylic and metal leaf

Size: 9"L x 3.5"w x 2.5"d

Persephone's Tale

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring!

Little Sprout Talisman

These Little Sprout Talismans have popped up in my art garden! They're made with  vintage escutcheons,  wood leaves that I carved and painted, and miniature images from ancient alchemist's illustrations. The one above has a Mexican milagro dangling from the bottom. The milagro (milagro means miracle in Spanish) represents an ear of corn. The one below includes a tiny twig. The alchemist's images are coated with clear resin to protect them. There are hooks on the back for hanging.

Little Secret Garden Talisman

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lost and Found Angels

Lost and Found Angel with Crown of Copper Vines

These angels are part of an ongoing series inspired by the carved wooden figures that reside in an old Spanish mission in my hometown of Tucson. The church is nick named the White Dove of the Desert. I've visited there since childhood. In the church there are frescoes of angels painted on the ceilings. Carved angels and saints are suspended form the walls. Much of the artwork has been damaged over time and although beautiful restorations have been done its still a bit weathered inside. I've always found this particular church to be a place of mystery and sanctuary. Whenever I visit I leave with a renewed sense of hope.

All of the pieces in the series are made from carved fallen aspen wood, found, re-purposed and reclaimed materials. The aspen wood was gathered in the mountains of northern Arizona and New Mexico. The wings are made from antique ceiling tin.

Lost and Found Angel with Crown of Purple Vines