Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rescue me!

This is my office.
I spend a lot of time here. A lot.
I have reached the point where I can't stand the disorganized clutter. I have my studio very well organized and things are neatly in their place.

The office is more like epic fail.

Stuff stacked all over the place.

I have to move half a dozen different things to find what I am looking for.

Is there ANYONE out there who is up to the challenge of organizing this mess?

It needs to be fun and functional and easy to maintain!

I am a HUGE fan of the barter system! So I would be more than happy to trade services with you.

If you are interested in tackling this mess I have created PLEASE contact me or leave a message here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)

When I first pitched this idea to my 5th - 8th graders the general reaction was "That's creepy!" until I explained to them what the Day of the Dead was really all about. It's a Mexican and Mexican-American celebration of dead ancestors. Despite the morbid subject matter, this holiday is celebrated joyfully, and though it occurs at the same time as Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, the mood of The Day of the Dead is much lighter, with the emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, rather than fearing evil or malevolent spirits.

As an educator I believe in teaching my students about other cultures beyond our community. Where we live is rural Iowa and when I was a kid diversity was more like being any other nationality but German or any other religion but Catholic. That is changing these days. We have a growing Hispanic population in Carroll as well as families from India and the African continent. I like diversity- it makes you think - about a lot of different things.

So this is our take on the sugar skulls. Enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2011



One in 111 jobs is in art and design.

The creative industries are an estimated $30 billion export annually.

Jobs in design have increased 43% in the past ten years.

There are over 532,000 designers working in the U.S.

More people are employed in the visual arts than in all of the performing arts and sports industries combined.

Animators, film and video editors, and others skilled in digital filming and computer-generated imaging have the best job prospects in future of the motion picture and video industries.

There are about 94,000 computer artists and animators working in the United States.



The computer animation industry generates $33 billion annually.

Jobs and employment in many creative industries are growing faster than the labor force as a whole and make up 30% of the work force by some estimates.

America’s nonprofit arts industry generates $134 billion in economic activity every year.

By 2016, jobs for artists and designers are predicted to increase by 42%.

Arts-related businesses in the country's largest cities represent 4.3% of all businesses and 2.2% of all jobs in the United States.

There are 3 million people working for over 600,000 arts-centric businesses in the United States.

Wage and salary employment in the motion picture and video industries is projected to grow 11% by 2016.



Employment growth by arts-centric businesses since 2007 was 12%, more than four times the rise in the total number of U.S. employees.

Designers are the single largest group of artists, followed by performing artists such as actors, dancers, musicians, and announcers.

Employment of interior designers is expected to grow 19% from 2006 to 2016.

Median salaries of: Creative Directors–$90,000, Art Directors–$86,505, Fine Artists–$48,870, Multi-media Artists and Animators–$61,555, Graphic Designers–$46,925, Set and Exhibit Designers–$49,330, Producers and Directors–$86,790, Broadcast Technicians–$40,270, Photographers–$36,090, and Film and Video Editors–$66,715.

Sources: Americans for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Entertainment Software Association

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Lady of the Purple Roses

This is what I have been working on this week. Inka from Altered Artifacts sent me some images a while ago and I have had ideas in my head on what to do with them. This week it all came together.

I used a collage technique I learned last summer at the Cloth Paper Scissors retreat in Chicago. I used roofing paper for my base. Then I used matte medium and a palette knife to glue my papers down. I used pages from very old books and sheet music. I love the color of old paper.

Inka sent me a digital collage page of wings that she called "wicked" she also posted a free printable on her blog of this Mourning Woman.

I printed two copies of the lady. I used some tulle with gold flecks in it, satin ribbon and antique tatted lace to give her gown some dimension. After gluing  the pieces in place I cut out the second lady print and cut away her paper gown and glued her on top of the first print. I then found a little jewelled link from a bracelet to create the buckle on her gown.

I chose the angel wings from the digital collage sheet Inka sent me and used a dark purple colored pencil to color them in. Now my lady was finished.

I added a Gothic arch with black acrylic paint and then using matte medium glued that down over the arch to soften it up a bit. I used some Japanese Kozo paper.

Last week In ordered some Tim Holtz rubber stamps- I am really getting into unmounted rubber stamps! Anyway- I figured my lady needed some birds above her head. And tiny satin roses at her feet. Here she is all finished.

 I have this vintage gold frame that I will be using to finish the piece.  After James builds up the back for me so I can get glass over her and there is room for the roses. This frame really isn't a frame it's an insert from a frame sop there isn't a rabbit on the back. (That's the groove on the back of a frame that you place the glass, picture and backing into then nail it in place)

THANK YOU INKA! You make the best digital images for me to play with!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


That is what comes to mind when I look at the outside of my studio.

I want to paint the outside brick walls or DO something!
Any ideas? Suggestions? Send me pictures- ideas- ANYTHING! It's an art studio it should be as interesting on the outside as it is on the inside.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Art Swap

I would like to try something new this year with my students. An "Art Swap"  I am looking for anyone who teaches school aged kids- Kinder- 12th- who would be interested in swapping either ATC's or Postcards with my students.  All swaps would be scheduled with them happening approximately every other month through the school year and each will have a theme so you don't have to come up with something to do.
There would be no exchange of any personal information since all swap items would be sent to my studio and I will distribute them to my students. I really want to get my students to experience something outside of just my studio. If you are interested PLEASE contact me. I'd like to get the first one set up for October.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Studio and New Hope Village

I have been asked to help New Hope Village - a wonderful facility where people with disabilities can live with dignity and support- create some sensory panels for their campus.

What is a sensory panel? Glad you asked-Our senses give us the information we need to function in this world- taste, smell, touch, sound,sight. People with disabilities often have one or more of their senses impaired thus keeping them from fully experiencing the world. Remember when you were a kid and you played with play dough or made mud pies or played in the sprinkler as if it were a rain shower? All of these are sensory experiences. For this project we will be creating panels with different textures, colors, and shapes for people to explore with their hands and eyes. Some panels will be able to create sounds and others smells...all in a non threatening way. (Sensory Fence)

Why did I volunteer my time and talent for such a project?

It runs in my family. My oldest brother was not only autistic but severely mentally disabled. When he was alive places like New Hope Village did not exist. I wish they did.

My daughter has a form of autism as does my nephew. I am pretty passionate about working for people who just don't fit in. Autism is like that- you can't SEE anything but it's there. There were many tears watching Kelsey grow up. She had to work twice as hard to fit in, to make friends, to be 'normal'. ( Even though Kelsey and I both know that normal is just a cycle on the dishwasher!)

I have created a board on Pinterest filled with ideas for this project. I am planning on getting my art students involved in the project too!

You can help with this project. Vote for Artworks Studio HERE- your vote can help me win a grant to help renovate my studio to make more room for bigger projects like this one so I can give back to my community. Thank you!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Why not? I mean what do you have to lose beside a little bit of time.

So that's what I did. I am competing with small businesses across America for a $50,000 grant from Intuit. You can help me win by voting for me. That red heart on my blog will help you do that.

What would I do with $50,000? oh my......

I would give my art room a total makeover. Currently I am teaching 90 private students in the studio. I love my art room but it could use some professional organizing instead of the hand-me-down make it work storage system I have now.

The drop ceiling would disappear and it would be painted white with a loft and a skylight that would OPEN for fresh air.

And then there would be organized storage all on one wall in one place! Everything would be labeled so each one of my students could find what they need!

I would have this professionally designed and done by my very dear NEW architect friend Kristen Greteman .

Dreams can come true can't they? If you vote for me you can help it happen.

Thank you!
Spread the word.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is it over? Really?

I just realized school starts in a little over a week and I haven't DONE anything this summer.

Where does the time go?

375 kids participated in art and craft classes this summer. Some days were pretty wild and crazy but we had a lot of fun. And it doesn't seem like it but this is my last week of summer classes.

One of my new classes this summer was Altered Doll Houses. We used cigar boxes to create miniature doll houses. There were two haunted houses, one mermaid house and a couple of wodland fairy houses. Who says kids today don't have an imagination?

Some of the details they put into their houses was amazing. Somer's haunted house has fourtune telling room with a crystal ball and a glow in the dark lantern. Her rocking chair wasade out of balsa wood.

Katie's mermaid house has a bed a mermaid would be proud of. made from two scallop shells and a shiney blue and silver blanket. She also made a sea shell framed mirror with a drift wood shelf and an armoire for all those mermaid accessories. The other room in her house is where her mermaid keeps all her treasures. This one is a work in progress because we keep finding things that would be perfect in the treasure room and keep adding to it.

I like the use of wood slices for tables and chairs in Melissa's woodland fairy house. The window with the half circle at the top in the blue room has a magazine picture behind it of an outdoor woods scene. 
This summer we built sand castles out of sand clay, tree houses out of branches and wove rugs using old t-shirts. We created pictures from broken bits of glass and picture frames from sea shells. We painted t-shirts and decorated canvas tennis shoes and made headbands that anyone would love to wear. We altered books and records and made lanterns from cupcake liners.....


Thursday, July 28, 2011

AND just where have YOU been?

Iif you have stopped by the studio and have not found me here you are not stopping at the right time. It feels like I live here at times. Pulled a couple of late nights last week and went in over the weekend to get the place cleaned up. It was looking a bit rough around the edges out in the front room. In the meantime I have been working on some projects. I finally took the time to go out with my camera and play with it. Get to know it better.

I bought a new camera in December because my old one- which served me well- refused to work anymore. I didn't have the time to figure out all the new bells and whistles then so I was able to go out and do so today. I came across this in the lot behind the Mexican restaurant down the street. While messing around in photo shop I created this composition. My homage to Georgia O'Keefe. Her work is fascinating. She was an amazing woman who broke many biases and barriers in a male driven art world.

I also got a commission to create the cover for a children's musical CD called "Dogs, Frogs and Nature Songs" so I HAD to work on that piece because I had a deadline.

My inspiration for this piece was from one of my favorite artists/authors Eric Carle.  His work is so colorful and fresh and vibrant and ALIVE! Creating this piece made me appreciate his process even more. Most every line in the picture was made by cutting papers. Except the details around the dog face. I just couldn't cut the lines fine enough to make it look good.  And now they want me to create another piece for the CD itself- deadline Tuesday. I will get it done.

I have so many ideas bouncing around in my head it's good to finally get some of them out and onto paper.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

where's the beach?

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings......."

It's been a cold, wet rainy June-except when it's been over 90 with 98% humidity. Makes it hard to get outside and enjoy summer. So what do you do when you can't get to the beach?

You bring the beach to you! That's what we did today- we made sandcastle sculptures in the studio. The recipe is easy and prep time is simple. If you want to recipe leave a message and how to contact you.

Friday, June 10, 2011

this is why I do it

Every now and then a person comes into your life who reaffirms why you do what you do. I love working with young people especially when they 'get' it and can step outside the box and run with an idea...

 This is Sam's book filled with poetry and images that mean something to her. It's been a fun process working with this young woman. 

Thanks Sam for 'getting' it'.

Monday, June 06, 2011

I just can't decide!

I found this wonderful table

 at my local thrift store and I want to cover the top with a mosaic.

 The problem? I can't decide what I want on it.
Maybe a fish

or Van Gogh's sunflowers

or a mermaid or maybe a stylized sun?
or one with more detail. Oh what to do? If this was for someone else I wouldn't have this problem. Can you help me decide? Please?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

To do list....have you colored outside the lines lately?

So, officially it's only the second day of summer. The weekend doesn't count. Already I have a To-Do list that is pretty long. Sometimes I think I should make a To Don't list because it would be easier and faster to check the items off.

On a mad dash trip to Ames I saw this wall decal and had to get it to hang in the window. All because of item number 10- it says- "Color outside the lines" 


I of course had to go in and make some of my own embellishments to the poster and added "take a summer art class"

Most people don't know this about me but my major in college wasn't art it was craft design with an emphasis on fibers/weaving. I fell in love with weaving when I was in grade school and was self taught. My first attempts were the ugliest pieces you can imagine- tension all off, pulled threads, knots everywhere...I have improved quite a bit since then.

Hula Hoop Rugs

In my "Art Explorations" art classes that I teach during the school year I decided it was time to introduce some fiber work. Because of the class size it had to be a small loom. Some kids took to it like they were natural born weavers and some just didn't get the rhythm. But most agreed it was fun and different. When I was flipping through a magazine waiting for my haircut and saw this project I knew I had to offer it this summer. It combines my two favorite things IN the world- weaving and re-cycling!

Hula Hoop Rugs- the hula hoop acts as the loom and recycled t-shirts are the "yarn". I made Joshua and Biz weed out their accumulation of t-shirts,worked up a sample this weekend and fell in love with the process. I didn't finish it so I can use it in class to demonstrate the process on. Here is my sample leaning against my first love- my Leclerc  36", 4 harness floor loom- handmade in Canada. I purchased it in 1982 with a small loan from the bank. She's a beauty and I don't get to spend as much time with her as I should or would like to. Right now one of my older students is working on a project on her so I will have to wait. 

Another class I am teaching again this summer is one I call Photowords. We walk around downtown Carroll and take pictures of letters of the alphabet and spell out a word (most of the kids do their name) I like this class because it makes you look at the world a bit differently - some of the letters are actual parts of signage and some are parts of architecture or cracks in the sidewalk or pieces of debris or parts of objects.  I wish I could get the grown-ups to come take classes because-
Coloring outside the lines is fun.

Won't you come color with me?