Archive for February, 2009

Make a Referral – jump start the economy

Saturday, February 28th, 2009
I saw this post on
I think we are all seeing local businesses in our towns struggling recently.  Several businesses in the town I live in have recently closed their doors.  As a firm believer not only in small businesses, but in supporting my local economy, I am participating in the Make a Referral Campaign Week.  I hope you will, too.
I’m pledging to make a referral to a business I want to help as part of a national campaign to make 1000 referrals March 9-13. What a great small business stimulus plan.

The Great Stencil Experiment or enough screwing around with technical stuff on this blog and make some art!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

I know the best people in the world.

What a kick-off.  Thanks to all who answered my pleading emails and read my first post.  Over 100 visits in the first two days.  Whoohoo! This was so much more than I hoped for.  I sincerely appreciate your support.

I guess you have to be careful about asking people to leave comments; I sure got a bit of hazing from my pals in the comment column.  I am sure there will be more in the future.  Writing this blog  will probably be the vehicle for much retribution for endless crap I have given to those I love over the years.  I say, “Bring it on!  I am the youngest of five and I can take it!” 

I have been endlessly screwing around with this blog, trying to solve technical problems.  I have found a way to let you subscribe to my blog in all it’s fantasticness.  It is the SUBSCRIBE button on the sidebar.  You can also subscribe via the “Feed on” buttons in th top right corner.    Go ahead and sign up so you won’t miss out on any of the excitement. 

For those of you (there were many) who couldn’t figure out how to leave a message, I am working on a more user friendly look.  It isn’t looking all that promising.  I guess that’s the problem with a free blog 🙂  If you hit the comments button at the end of each post, you should see a box to leave comments.  It will be after all the comments already posted.

Enough of all of that!  This is an artblog, for crying out loud!  I have traded the frustration of  all this left brain blog stuff for some good-old-fashioned art frustration today. 

I am attempting to create my own stencil today with an exacto knife and some quilter’s template material.  For those of you who know me, we don’t usually allow me to handle sharp implements.  I am the woman who has sewn her finger free motion quilting numerous times and cut herself with the rotary cutter on more than one occasion, as well.  I am the only one I know who makes sewing a dangerous pastime. 

Anyway, I wanted a pretty big branch to use repeatedly on pieces and couldn’t make a big enough one from a thermofax screen.  I thought about doing it with a silk screen, but thought I would need a gynourmous one to fit the branch on.  I may end up going with the silk screen in the end,  but this was a much cheaper first whack at it.


Stencil experiment-First pass

Stencil experiment-First pass

Here is the result of my efforts. 

Lessons learned: 

1) It is very hard to cut squiggly, knobbly lines with an exacto knife.

2) It has been much too long since I was in drawing class and my branch reflects this.

3)  It is hard to be spontaneous and flowy with your cutting when you are afraid you will lop off your finger.

4) My dogs think I look scary when I wear a respirator to work with chemicals

5) I DO look scary when I wear a respirator to work with chemicals:



 6) It is easy to get stuff under the stencil-this is not precision work (especially with me).  They like to move.

7) I have the world’s crappiest steam iron dedicated to this kind of chemical work and it drips on my work when I set it to steam.

Here is the screen in action!



Fantabulous screen images using discharge paste on hand dyed silk organza.


I think this has some potential in a rustic sort of application.  Any pointers are welcome.

Fabulous video from author Elizabeth Gilbert on Christine Kane’s Blog

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Christine Kane has posted a wonderful video of Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) talking about artists and the creative process.  An extremely well spent 20 minutes.  If you are looking for inspiration as an artist, WATCH THIS!

As I still only know how to do about two things on this blog, I haven’t figured out how to  load the video here.  Here’s the link to Christine’s blog.  She knows how to do all this stuff!  Her blog is SO worth reading all the time:


Thanks, Christine!


Tuesday, February 24th, 2009


First of all, however you got here, thanks for reading. 

I thought I might start this adventure with an introduction. 

I am a Chicago area artist.   Well, almost Wisconsin.  I live up near the border, and I work primarily in fiber. 

I began my rambling artistic journey in music.  I studied vocal techniques for ages and ages.  It took years, but I finally got the nerve to sing in front of actual people and had a couple year stint singing blues in a bar band.  Yes, ironically, we were an all whitebread suburban  band singing blues in Chicago.   It’s a wonder we got booked. 


God Bless the early 90’s!  I still have pretty big hair. 

I think I could get about one leg into that dress now. 
I moved on to the visual arts by working in metals and ceramics.  Questioning the wisdom and social attractiveness of being dirty all the time from throwing clay (ceramics) and lighting noxious chemicals on fire and breathing them in (metalwork), I decided to fall in  love with fiber.   Besides, I liked all the pretty colors.  
I actually went back to school around that time for a couple of completely unrelated degrees in speech pathology and started working with people with autism and behavior disorders.   I fit in art when I could at home and tortured my students with lots of craft projects at school.  Clearly, I needed more art time. 
With the much appreciated support of my darling spouse, I started doing all this full time.  As an aside, he wants all my pieces to have a little “SBK” (sponsored by Ken) logo on them.  (I hope he is not holding his breath on that one.) 
Whatever medium I have worked in, my work has always centered on aspects of the natural and historical world: plants, animals, maps. ancient drawings and languages.  I went through a big “seed pod” phase in ceramics-there are lots of big nut-like objects around the house now (see below)   
Ceramic nut thing

Ceramic nut thing

I occasionally pine for my past media and break out the nasty chemicals or the blow torch to combine other techniques with my fiber pieces.


Lascaux series III-Horses

Lascaux series III-Horses

Those are etched copper panels below depicting horses from French cave paintings. Viola!

And here is a completely unrelated plug of my latest work that I wasn’t sure how to tie in:



Well, that was a rather ungainly transition in to the present.  I know I kind of fizzled out there, but I suddenly ran out of personal art  history.  I am sure my future posts about my current art escapades will be much more fascinating.

This blog journey will focus mostly on artistic inspiration and techniques.  This means you will probably get a scary glimpse into my brain through the pictures I take.   I also have an as yet unnamed fiber art working group starting that I plan to exploit for material and photos to post.  It’s sure to be a thrilling adventure.   I hope you’ll come along.