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?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alphabet City, New York

Alphabet City
There is a neighborhood in the Lower East Village of Manhattan that is known as Alphabet City. The neighborhood gets its name from the 4 lettered avenues that run easterly from First Avenue to the river. Avenues A, B, C and D are the only streets in Manhattan to have single-letter names.

I lived in New York in the early 80's and the name Alphabet City evoked images of burned-out buildings, housing projects, garbage-strewn lots, squatters and drug dealers. For me, it was a "no-go zone", it was bizarre, scary, and seemed very dangerous.

Today this same neighborhood is sprouting up high-priced condominiums and luxury rentals. The area is more likely to be called the 'East Village' or 'the Lower East Side', as there seems to be a conscious effort to erase the history of what used to be the sleazy underbelly of the city.

This piece is an homage to what was Alphabet City, New York.

An 1800's dovetail drawer (found in a dumpster in Santa Monica), contains various vintage wood pieces depicting a neighborhood that once was. 
A printer's block, a clock's mainspring, vintage yard sticks, and mirror tell the story. Under the printer's block is a glass cigar tube containing marbles and yellow bingo balls. A ceramic mask has been papered in words and music and washed in gold paint. A glass chemistry rod added for effect.
A drawer pull has been added on top. The back of the drawer is papered in vintage dictionary text, and overlaid with brown and black stripped tissue, and an image of a bird on a wine bottle.

The piece may be displayed tabletop or wall hung.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Things They Carried . . .

"The Things They Carried"
 I love collecting old interesting wood pieces. Carved chair parts, vintage frames, drift wood, wood hangers, yard sticks, boxes, . . .The older the better.  It does not matter if the wood is painted or unpainted, carved or plain, I find wood to be delicate and exquisite and strong and worldly, with many stories to tell.  The older the piece of wood, the better the stories.

I just can's say no to a beautiful piece of wood.

I have had this idea that I wanted to construct an art piece using multiple and various pieces of wood from different origins, of all ages and with varied textures and patinas. I wanted to cut the pieces of wood and fit them together, like a puzzle and let their texture and their beauty speak for themselves.

This piece is my first attempt.

Some time ago while perusing blogs, I came across the quote "A lot like yesterday, a lot like never". The words resonated with me and I thought that at some point I might use it in one of my Scrabble pieces. After adding the quote to my 'list' of quotes, I printed out a copy and hung it on the inspiration board in my studio . . . so I could see it everyday.

In researching the quote, I discovered it is from a book titled "The Things They Carried" written by a Tim O'Brien, the book contains a number of short stories about a platoon of American soldiers in the Vietnam War.

Using a piece of pine as substrate, cut pieces of redwood, fence board, clothes hangers and various other wood types are pieced together to form a whole. Embellishments include found metal pieces and bits of bling along with a small convex mirror and the head of a colorful rooster, formally a napkin ring holder.
The piece is finished in a frame made from a vintage yard stick with with bright blue lettering.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I had a very pleasant visit this afternoon with a new friend named Michelle. Michelle is a student attending Chapman University, in Southern California.  I met Michelle a few weeks ago, when she and her mom came by my studio during our open studio event.

She sent me an email telling me how much she enjoyed visiting the studio and the time we spent talking about my work.  I am always up for talking about asemblage to anyone who will listen, so I invited her back "anytime" she was in the area. . .  . well today she took me up on my offer.

I showed her some of the pieces I have been working on. She said she had been collecting 'a few things' since her visit to the studio and that she couldn't wait to start making something on her own . . .  well that's all it took.. I suggested we start making something for her today . . . . 

Michelle proved to be very eager to learn and quite capable at putting things together.  We came across a few 'challenges' like how to attach the porcelain doll's head to the wooden block, but we figured it out, and 'made it work'. In no time Michelle was even using the power drill.  

In no time, we put together this small wall-doll for her.  All the pieces 'came together' beautifully. 
I had a lot of fun.

 Meet Penelope (Penny to her friends) and Michelle (she's the one on the right)

Vintage printing block, electric organ stops, silver chain, brass bells and a sweet porcelain doll's head.

Michelle was very happy with Penny, she even signed her on the back. . .  I guess that makes her the newest member of the Assemblage Art Society . .  . Congratulations to you both!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Do Better . . .

"Do Better"
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece, titled "Do The Best You Can" on this blog.
I was working on it during my 'open studios' weekend, and one of my early visitors said, "please call me when this is finished, I want to buy this piece to hang in my office . . ." 

Well, wouldn't you know, on the last day of open studios, another visitor fell in love with the then finished piece and bought it. So the following week, I got busy and made a new one for the first customer.  (she said she like the color purple, so I used more purple colors on her piece).

Then, I decided to make a third piece to hang at the gallery.  Here are all 3. All are similar, but each is one of a kind. 

The quote, by Maya Angelou: 
"Do the best you can (un)til you know better, then when you know better, do better."

"Do Better"

"Til You Know" 

"Do The Best You Can"
1" thick piece of oak butcher block covered in bits of text, images and tissues is the substrate for these. Scrabble tiles framed in wood spell out the Maya Angelou quote. A vintage wooden hanger tops each piece and a metal embellishment finishes each one.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Which Way Should I Go . . . ?

"Which Way Should I Go?" ●  
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" asked Alice.
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don't much care where –" said Alice
"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.
Alice – "so long as I get somewhere,"
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, if you only walk long enough."
These words from Lewis Carroll's, Alice in Wonderland have always resonated with me.  Maybe it's because I have always been a planner and a goal setter.

Every time I read this quote I am reminded of the reason why I set goals and make plans . . . Simply because I don't want to find myself 'getting somewhere' where I don't want to be . . . 
How about you? Are you a planner and a goal setter?

A rustic hinged wooden box is covered in iconic Da Vinci images, including Mona Lisa on the front and a fallen angel on the back, Inside are vintage text and an image of Alice, appearing to ask Cheshire Cat for directions (note the cat's tail extends past the top of the box). Porcelain drawer pulls for feet, and a brass pull on top.