Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vegas, Baby!

"Vegas, Baby!"
This is the third 'dancing dice' pieces I've made over the past few months, (see here and here). There is something exciting about the sound dice make when they click together. I've been to Las Vegas only a few times, and always on business. 
Although I never got into the gambling madness that Vegas seems to be, there is an excitement to that city that is very much "Vegas".

  All that aside, being the collector that I am, dice are just one of the the many things I collect. 
At one time, I think I had over 1000 dice in a glass jar on the studio shelf. Like marbles, or other game pieces in my collection, I just love the way they look, all together, in separate jars. 

Over the years, the dice collection grew.
This piece started out with 2 identical picture frames. I picked clear 'red' dice for this piece because they are beautiful to look at. I added a few odd colors, to add interest. As I was working on the piece, I realized that most of the dice were from Vegas Casinos (hence the name). 

Originally, the intention was to have this piece 'hang' in a way to let the light shine through. But because the piece is interactive, and meant to be 'played' with, I thought it might be better as a table top piece, so I constructed a stand out of 2 vintage wooden clothes hangers, and a barrel stave. (the hangers are from Pasadena and Barcelona not Vegas - oh well, you can't blame me for trying . . .)

If placed near a window, one can still enjoy the translucency and beauty of the clear dice.
When I worked in the 'corporate' world, I spent most of my day on the phone. I think this would have been fun to have in my office, to play with while waiting or on hold.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Men Of War

"Men of War"

Today is Veterans Day, an official United States holiday observed on November 11th, that honors people who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Veterans Day coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the end of World War I (World War I formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918).

Having said that. I don't know where I was going with this piece. I think the overall influence came from the current state of our world: War and conflict. Death and sadness in so many places. That is all we see on TV, what we read on-line, and what we hear on the radio.

It's not just ISIS and the whole middle-eastern 'thing', but what about the 40+ students kidnapped and murdered in Mexico, the Ebola epidemic in East Africa, global warming and our politicians in Congress in full denial mode. . . .

I guess the days I worked on this piece, I was feeling all of it coming down at once.

All that aside, the finished piece is actually fun and whimsical.  You can pick it up, take it out of it's cradle and play with it.  The sound of the BB's rolling around is quite soothing.

 When you lay the piece flat, the BBs will spread out on the bottom of the frame.

They are beautiful to look at, aren't they?

Two identical wooden frames covered in vintage dictionary pages. The front frame contains a glass cover, the back frame is secured with a thin piece of wood.

The toy soldiers, an estate sale find, I was told are from the Vietnam era. 

The red beads are actual plastic AMMO!  (I found whole jar at a recent garage sale) 
They are beautiful, aren't they?
The stand is made from a wire cassette tape storage unit, cut in half and inserted into a piece of scrap wood that has also been papered in text.

I would really like to know what you think about this piece.
How does it make you feel?  
Does it conjure up unanticipated feelings?

Thanks for stopping!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ace - The Flying Pigasus

"Ace - the Flying Pigasus"
I am reminded of Pigasus, the flying pig, used by John Steinbeck as a personal stamp with the motto in Latin “To the stars on the wings of a pig”.  The pigasus symbolized Steinbeck as "earthbound but aspiring"…”with not enough wingspread but plenty of intention".

A flying pig suggests an impossible event coming to pass. Truth be told, I believe that if enough thrust is applied, any pig is capable of flight. Ace”, however, has wings and wheels . . . so off he goes!

I found this vintage wooden pig toy on a wooden cart when I was in Seattle during the Phinney Ridge/Greenwood Neighborhoods Garage Sale Day last year. When I found him, he was painted PINK, and his pull string was BROWN

He is now covered in text from a vintage encyclopedia and embellished with 'Bits' and 'Bling". His wings are nickel and brass reflector fishing lures. His tail is a wine cork screw.

Ace gets his name from his bottle cap hat . . . Ace Hard Cider, made right here in Sonoma County.  

 All in all, Ace is a pretty cool pig! 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


"High Five"

"Low Five"                       "Hand Up"

"Leg Up"

"Heads Up"

This past summer, I, along with about 150 other artists in Sonoma County, participated in an annual Open Studios event.

 It was a first for me, and although it was a lot of fun, and I sold several pieces of my work, I have to say, it was a lot work getting ready for it and at the end of each of the 4 days we were open, I was exhausted. But I met some new friends, and saw some old ones, and all in all it was a good success.

In preparing for the event, I made several new art pieces, some have already been posted on this blog, you can see them here, here, here and here.  There are a few others that haven't been posted yet, as I am still trying to play catch-up.

The pieces shown here are small assemblages I made especially for the show.  I actually made a total of 10 smalls, but with everything going on before the event, I failed to photograph them, and a few were sold on the first day of open studios.

So this is all I can show you from this series.  Ceramic doll hands, legs and heads are mounted on to scrap pieces of wood covered in papers and tissues.  A few embellishments were added just or fun.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


When I first pondered the idea for this piece, I thought about the great pyramids of Egypt.  I thought about how even today, they inspire us to think about the considerable human potential contained within all of us, just by being alive. I thought about the greatness of the human spirit, the immense collective human knowledge we possess, and I thought about the unending human will we exhibit.

This all began with 3 pieces of 4x4 scrap lumber left over from a construction project in the building where my studio is located.  My wood turner friend Kalia Kilban, was kind enough to 'shape' them into pyramids for me. (Kalia exhibits and sells her exquisite bowls at the Sebastopol Gallery, the same gallery where I show my work)

Below is the only image I have of the pyramids in their 'raw' state before I started working on them.

After several iterations I decided that minimal embellishments was the way to go.

A vintage 1926 dictionary provided the perfectly 'aged' text and images, each applied separately and in layers.

The embellishments, include a WW2 Waltham US Army Corps of Engineers military compass, a  brass door plate, a brass tea strainer, among a few other things - all vintage!

Each pyramid sits on it's own stand: wood, brass and iron.  All 3 pieces sit on a wooden frame, made from what was formally a base that held candles, fitted with vintage yard sticks.

Please let me know what you think - I would love to get your feed back on this piece!
"The potential for greatness lives within each of us."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Over the past few years, I have made several of these 'memory' mirrors. They are so much fun to make, always wonderful to look at, and people seem to love them. I know all of this, because I am friends with some of the people who have bought or commissioned one of these mirrors, and I have the opportunity to visit these mirrors in their new homes from time to time.

I have to say, I am always pleased and happy that the memory mirrors continue to hold my interest because of their whimsey, and the 'rush' of memories they evoke in everyone who sees them.

Having said that . . . . i must add that they are "a pain in the neck" to photograph.  A photograph does not capture the magic, or the whimsey nor does a photograph bring on a squeal of delight.

This piece was commissioned as a gift, by a friend of mine for her sister who lives in Colorado. I am happy to report, that as I compose this post, the piece, titled "Sisters" is on it's way to it's new home in Coloado.

Besides the personal mementos provided to me for this piece, I was also given a few details about Joyce's likes and dislikes to help me pull this memory mirror together.  This is what I was told:
  • She is a nurse
  • She rides a Harley
  • Her favorite place to vacation is Cancun, Mexico
  • Her favorite beer is Coors Light
  • She loves dogs, especially 'wiener' dogs
  • She loves to go fishing
  • She lives in Colorado
  • She loves 'bling'
  • and most of all she loves her family.
Now, back to the 'pain in the neck' part.  To help you see some of the details of this large memory mirror, I've included some detail images below.


Saturday, September 20, 2014


My husband's family meets every year for a week in the central California beach-town of Cayukos.
Cayukos is a sweet small coastal town, with beautiful beaches, funky restaurants, a few antique malls and one or two tasting rooms featuring lovely Central California wines.

This past summer I came across this sign in front of one of of the tasting rooms on Ocean Avenue:

I knew it would become one of my favorite quotes.
My customers at the Sebastopol Gallery, where I show my work, seem to love it too!
(we do, after all live in 'wine-country' . . . )

Come To The Edge . . .

"Come To The Edge . . . "
Here is another of my 'scrabble' pieces.  I have made and sold several variations of this piece before.  The quote is still a favorite of mine.
"Come to the edge", he said.
They said, "We are afraid".
"Come to the edge", he said.
They came, he pushed them, and they flew.
                                        - Guillaume Apollinaire
                                                                French poet and novelist 1880-1918

For years I have attributed this quote to Guillaume Apollinaire, as have many others.

Upon further research on Apollinaire and this quote, I discovered that these words were originally written by an English poet named Christopher Logue. The poem he wrote was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in 1961 or 1962, to be used for a poster advertising an Apollinaire Exhibition titled "Apollinaire Said".

Hence the mis-attribution, by me and everyone else in the English-speaking world . . . oh wait, I found this photo on-line, with the words written in Spanish on a wall somewhere in Salamanca, Spain, also attributing the quote to Mr. Apollinaire. . . .

On the bottom right of the wall the quote is attributed to G Apollinaire
With the understanding of the circumstances by which this misappropriation may have occurred, I have to say that I will continue to think of Guillaume Apollinaire every time I read these words.

Besides, I really like saying Guillaume Apollinaire.
When I read these words I think how many times I have stood on "The Edge" of one of life's major decisions waiting for a push, from something or someone . . . thinking, feeling, fearing that "the decision" was way too BIG for me to make on my own . . .
. . . only to realize that once 'pushed' I was able to fly.  Always have.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Magic Within

“The Magic Within”
“Everyone has magic inside them, 
but very few discover it
and learn to spend it wisely.” 
                                                           from the movie, "Mirror, Mirror"

First I must apologize for the photos.  'Mirrors' and 'bling on mirrors' are very difficult to photograph. So I have included a couple of 'close-ups' for you to see some of the detail. 

This piece is one of my favorite 'memory' pieces.  I think mostly because it reminds me of the 2012 Snow White movie starring Julia Roberts, titled "Mirror, Mirror".  The quote above is spoken by the Mirror, in a conversation with the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts)

Wood framed mirror, embellished with bits and bling, creating a finished piece that is indeed magical.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sweet Virgina

"Sweet Virginia"
Thank you for your wine, California
  Thank you for your sweet and bitter fruits

"Sweet Virginia" is the title of a song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, recorded by the Rolling Stones sometime between 1971 and 1972.  It's an old favorite of mine.

I was reminded of the song when I saw the above quote at a local eatery, written in chalk, on a sign next to the front door . . . I looked up, I saw it, I liked it and I wanted to create a 'scrabble' art piece with it.

I will tell you this: there is an intentional 'mistake' in the quote.  Can you see it?  (HINT: it is not a misspelling). Actually I made 2 adjustments to the quote, I call it "artistic license".

This assemblage was made using 'travel scrabble' tiles. You can see from the image below, they are much smaller than regular scrabble tiles.  A metal piece from a 1950's erector set, crowns the top of the vintage wooden frame I found at a barn sale.  The grape cluster embellishment was formally a napkin holder . . .

this image shows the wooden frame before the papers were applied . . . . 

Thank you for stopping by.  See you next week.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rocky Jr.

"Rocky, Jr."
I have a fascination with chickens. When I was a kid, we raised chickens, and one of my daily chores was to go into the chicken coop and collect the eggs. I would go into the coop, always fearful of the rooster.
I remember, we had many 'hens' but only one rooster . . . The roosters were bigger than the hens, more aggressive and often more beautiful.

A few years ago, I embellished a rooster with bling and even gave him a pair of shoes. His name was "Rocky" as well, but because he was much larger, so I have to assume he was "Jr's" dad . . . Anyway, "Rocky" was spectacular. You can read about him and see pictures of him here.

'Rocky, Jr' is a solid wood rooster form, hand carved and painted in bright rooster colors, found at the flea market. 
He stands approximately 12" tall. His wing feathers are 'spinner' lures, and he is embellished with many other bits and bling. Note the small Christ on the cross (minus the cross), the vintage gym locker #33, and the Wells Fargo 'agents' badge . . . .

have a great weekend all!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dance Little Dice Man

"Dance Little Dice Man"
A few months ago, I put together an art piece titled "Snake Eyes" using 165 dice, contained under glass between 2 wooden frames. What I really loved about the piece was how the dice moved "freely" within the glass, reminding me of snakes.

"Snake Eyes" sold shortly after it arrived in the gallery, so I wanted to make a second piece using the same concept.

This is "Dance Little Dice Man", titled that because of its diminutive size: only 88 dice.

In this piece, the dice are enclosed inside a wooden box lid with a glass front. The holder is made out of scrap wood pieces and covered in magazine images of people who might be dancing. The dice box is meant to be picked up and played with, for hours of fun.

This piece is also sold.  I think it's time to make a third one . . . what do you think?