Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Happy 2012"

"May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art - write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself." 
                                    - Neil Gaiman

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"I Saw One In A River Once"

 "I Saw One In a River Once" 
Wikipedia.defines a double entendre (French pronunciation: [dublɑ̃tɑ̃dʁə]) as a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first (more obvious) meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué or ironic.

In this case, the double entendre is in the title.  It may signify that we saw a "fish" in a river, or that we saw the accumulation of "flotsam and jetsam" on the fish in a river . . . Either way, it is a compelling reflection, albeit, sad in many ways. . . .  Ironic?

For this earlier piece, a wooden fish was first painted with acrylic paints and then the entire surface is embellished with found objects, including buttons, watches, jewelry, bottle caps, and small plastic toys. Four wooden drawer pulls are his feet, and a vintage brass drawer handle is installed on top as a carrier.  (click on any image to enlarge) IN PRIVATE COLLECTION  9909

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Mirror Me"

"Mirror Me"
     A couple of weeks ago, after a few friends and I finished working on a mosaic project, I invited them all over to my studio, because they were all curious to see my 'workplace'.
     At the time, I was working on a several pieces, but "Burbank - The Hollywood Horse" was front and center on my work table. Also on the work table was "Rocky", the Rooster, you might remember both of these from earlier posts. I think everyone was amazed at "how much stuff" is needed to carry out the work of an assemblage artist. (truth be told, I am often over-whelmed myself).
     Both "Rocky" and "Burbank" are made in the style of the 'memory jars' popular in the 1800's.  Memory jars were made by covering the vessel in mortar and attaching small objects such as keys, shells, coins and personal mementos belonging to someone who had passed away.
     I call my interpretation of this art form: Memory Art.
     This piece titled "Mirror Me" was commissioned by a dear friend, and former co-worker, after her visit to my studio. The only criteria she gave me was: "I really want you to make me a mirror like this. . . and i would really love it if you could use all 'silvery things'.

The wood frame of a vintage mid-century mirror is the foundation for this piece. (similar to the fame pictured here)

First, I collaged the frame in layers of green and blue tissue papers. Then, I embellished the front and sides with vintage silvery keepsakes, including clock parts, jewelry, buttons, coins, bottle caps, beads and other found objects.

So here it is.  I hope she loves it . . .cause I really do.
If you want to take a closer look at any image,  hold down the 'control' key and tap the "+" key several times to enlarge.  hit "control" and  the "-" key to reduce

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Day Dreams"

"Day Dreams"

At the edge of the garden, let the dream begin . . .
~ Author Unknown ~

Wkipedia defines a daydream as a visionary fantasy, one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass and experienced while awake. Daydreaming can also be a reference to future planning or a review of past memories.

While daydreaming has long been considered a lazy, non-productive pastime, daydreaming can also be constructive and productive. There are many examples of people in creative, artistic careers, such as artists, composers, novelists and filmmakers, who will often utilize day dreaming to develop new ideas.

This whimsical assemblage is housed in a sewing machine drawer that has been lined in green tissues, mirrors and magazine images. A porcelain doll head, a music box and a protractor reflected on mirrors add to the story. The word DREAM is spelled out in Boggle letter dice.   The glass lidded box is dotted on the outside with acrylic paints (nail polish). On the back I have attached a beautiful brass calendar, and a vintage bingo card. The music box plays the tune "Somewhere My Love".
A life without dreams is like a garden without flowers.
~ Author Unknown ~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Burbank" The Hollywood Horse

In trying to find a title for this piece i googled "famous horse names" and came up with several I liked:
  • Mingo 
  • Fancy Pants
  • and Burbank
The "Mingo" people were part of the Iroquois group of Native Americans. The word "Mingo" is better recognized as the name of Daniel Boone's best friend from the 1960's TV series "Daniel Boone," where Mingo was a half-Cherokee, highly educated graduate of Oxford University and Daniel's constant companion. I thought this would be a good name for a trusty trail horse.

"Fancy Pants" is the title of a movie with Bob Hope and Lucille Ball, there was a horse named Peaceful but I like the film title better.

"Burbank" - This was the name of Danny Glover's cat in the 1987 movie "Lethal Weapon." It's also a good horse name for a horse that acts like a star.

I chose Burbank, the Hollywood Horse because this horse is definitely a 'star'.

In my typical style, I took a small wooden horse and first covered it in various papers and tissues. I applied a very long black zipper to the front legs of the horse (i think this is my favorite thing on this piece, next to the shoes)
btw: The reason the shoes on the hind legs don't match is because I used the mates on an earlier piece I made titled "Old Friends".

Click on the images to take a closer look, it is very fun to see all the bits, baubles and bling this little guy has collected along the way.

UPDATE:  Meet Janis, Burbank's new BFF!  (8/12)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Things Were Different in 1959"

“Things Were Different In 1959"  
A silverware drawer provides the compartments to tell this story about life in the 50’s. I grew up on a farm in south Texas. On the farm we went to a Curandera (a medicine woman), not a doctor. We prayed to god and sang along with the “Mouseketeers". We played, we laughed and we wondered about a world bigger than our own. Our home was happy, it was safe and it was filled with stories, some mysterious and some wondrous.
Although we left the farm years ago, the memories are fresh and filled with mystery and wonder, still . . .
A Salvation Army bell, a Mickey Mouse toy, a rosary and other found objects tell the story inside a wooden drawer. The glass covered drawer is collaged on the inside with maps, an original vintage photograph of someone's grandmother, a hand written letter dated 1959, and anatomy images from Altered Bits. The backside is collaged with pages out of a "Gray's Anatomy" volume, a hand cut image of the human head is layered on top of the text.  (click on images to enlarge)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"The End" (Happy Birthday Zach)

"The End" (Happy Belated Birthday Zach)
A couple of months ago, my dear friend Sue Selman asked me to make this for her son, Zachary who was having a birthday soon.  I was thrilled. I have known Zach for about 10 years, he was a sweet teenager when I met him vacationing with his parents on the beach in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

He is now a handsome young man of 25 and is sweet and caring as ever.

From what I understand, he really loved getting this for his birthday, and I loved making it for him.  Happy belated birthday Zachary!  Hope to see you and Holly soon!

Inside a box lid, collaged in maps and layered in green tissue papers are children's wood blocks that spell out a saying attributed to John Lennon:

"everything will be OK in the end, if it's not OK, it's not the end" 
a miniature Hackney Carriage and a CAPPELLA drumstick finish the piece.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"Up To Your Ass In Alligators"

"Up To Your Ass In Alligators"
   Simply put, I love working with scrabble tiles! These pieces are so fun to make. The hardest part is finding the perfect substrate to put them on. It can be a box, a lid, a small cabinet door, a picture frame, most anything will work, the tiles just have to fit.
    People love these simple works. On the days I work at the gallery, I love to watch people stand in front of these and try to read them. When they finally read through to the end, they will inevitably crack up with laughter. Sometimes they look around, hoping no one is watching.
    For this piece, I took a wooden game board and laid out the scrabble tiles to spell out my favorite saying: 
     I attached a small rubber alligator on top. Ready to hang or sit on a stand. (click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mosaic Stepping Stones . . . . a workshop?

To say that I have been in a 'creative slump' would be a huge understatement.  It seems like the 'mo-jo' is gone, the 'muse' is away on holiday, the 'juices' have run dry.    Truth be told, I have several art pieces started (10 to be exact) but for some reason none of them can get finished . . . . and I can't tell you why that is.

Has that ever happened to you?

Anyway, this past weekend, I invited 6 of my friends over because they all wanted to learn how to make mosaic stepping stones. . . . . I love making mosaics. And teaching my friends how to mosaic fulfilled my need to 'create' and, I guess I can also say that I just conducted my first little 'workshop'.  

Everyone did great, the stepping stones were beautiful, they all loved the process and I know they are hooked!  Anyway, these are the two stepping stones I made.  At least I can say I finished something, right? (please click on any image to take a closer look)

Thanks for stopping by.  I hope I can have something "fun and finished" from the studio to show you next week . . . .

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Secret Lives"

"Secret Lives"
This assemblage was made as a special  auction item for Face 2 Face, a local non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of people affected by HIV.  This box is full of mystery, music, and muse, with images and tiny objects that may cause the viewer to become absorbed in thought; as they turn the imagery over in their mind meditatively and inconclusively. 

The box, formally a small clock box (7"x 6" x 3") is painted red, and covered in green tissue. The front of the box is metal, and I used acrylic paints (nail polish) to add color. A small metal medallion in the opening where the clock used to be is also painted. On the back are magazine and book images in brilliant colors of birds, flowers and Frida Kahlo. Inside are many tiny found objects to ponder.  I invite you to click on image #5 to enlarge it and take a closer look. 
I will only add that the music box plays "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Friday, October 14, 2011


This piece came together quite by accident.  A friend of mine had a box full of these wonderful vintage wooden hangers, she no longer needed, and asked me if I wanted them. I, of course said yes. They hung around in my studio for over 6 months, 'annoying me' every time I saw them . . .  they act like a barrel of monkeys, they don't stack well, they looked messy, and I had no idea what I was going to do with them . . .  until yesterday.  I started playing around with them, and saw that when the wire (hanger) part is removed, they fit nicely on to one another.  I love the way this turned out.

Vintage wooden hangers  cut to size and nailed on to a 10"x10" wooden base. A small brass bell hangs from a cuckoo clock chain.  A small lapel pin with a "luchador" mask finishes the piece. (click on any image to enlarge)

      Noun 1. hanger-on - someone who persistently (and annoyingly) follows along
      a tag along or follower

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


  "I wouldn't mind being grown up", he told me,  
"if I didn't have get up and be grumpy every morning."

When I read this quote on a birthday card I received a few years ago, I was reminded of myself when I was a kid. I would play with abandon, imagine adventures outside of my little world, and carry on without a worry to my name. Everything was a wonder!  Looking back, I can still recall with amazement how much fun it was to be 'a kid' everyday.

PS: I think the original quote from STORYPEOPLE is a reference to people who are not ‘morning people’. Thankfully, I am a morning person, so I don’t have to be “grumpy” when I wake up.

This piece started out as a hinged wooden box.  It is covered in tissue papers and magazine images inside and out. I placed a glow-in-the-dark star on the front, a yellow toy cowboy and green lizard embellish the inside, and 3 white dice are feet. (click on any image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"Circus of Sadness"


"Circus of Sadness" (Cirque de la Tristesse)

"The world is a circus if we want it to be. 
The sadness of circuses comes at night. 
Don't get close enough to see the illusion for what it is.  
It is at night when the clowns are sad."

This piece was inspired by a childhood memory of going to the circus. I once saw a clown who had a tear painted on his face. Since then, every time I see a clown, I always look into their eyes to see if there is sadness behind the smile.

Sewing machine drawer covered in hand made papers on the outside and encyclopedia pages on the inside. A tearful clown looks sadly out - a mirror reflects the viewer as they look in. I used wooden drawer pulls for feet, and a crystal drawer pull as the topper. A colorful wooden fish swims casually by and a wind-up music box plays a cheerful tune.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"You and Me" (#3)

"You and Me" (#3)
 This is the third interpretation of this piece done. You can see the other one here.  I really love the quote, and I am delighted to see other people love it too:

This piece is made inside a wooden frame that has been fitted with a thin piece of wood. The entire piece is covered in tissues, magazine images, and words. Scrabble tiles spell out the saying, and a small human profile punctuates the statement. The piece is ready to hang or sit on a stand. (click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Pig Song"

"Pig Song"
I posted this piece a few days ago, and I was not happy with the photo, so I took it down. And now here it is again, a little bit better image.

The piece is constructed in a small cabinet door found at Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  I used several layers of hand made papers on the front. On the back, I used various papers and images as well as Mexican Lotteria cards and other bits. Scrabble tiles spell out the quote, with a trio of dancing pigs, who appear to be singing.  (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"You and Me" (again)

"You and Me" (again)
A couple of weeks ago, I, along with 6 other assemblage artists, opened an 'all assemblage' show at a local community center. On August 13th, I posted a piece on this blog 'almost identical' to this one. The first "You and Me" sold to a local Chef who happened to be at the center the day we were hanging the show (thankfully she agreed to take delivery of the piece after the show closes).

A few days later I got a call from someone who asked if I would make her one "just like the one in the show" . . . I agreed.  So the one posted here (#2) now resides in Seattle, in the office of a woman who works with an organization that provides low income housing.  She said "this piece will make the perfect statement to what all of us at my organization work towards". (yey!)

So this is "You and Me" #2.  I want to make this clear, because a couple of days ago I got a request for a "You and Me" #3 . . . I normally do not like to do 'repeats', because all of my pieces are one of a kind, but I will, this time, because I really love the quote, and I am delighted to see other people love it too:


(I will embellish each one differently so each piece is in fact one of a kind)

A small wood cabinet door found at Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store is the perfect frame for this piece. The door is covered, front and back, in rich, vibrant green and red tissues, bits of vintage sheet music, and hand written letters and pattern pieces. The piece is ready to hang or sit on a stand. (click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Mirror, Mirror"

"Mirror, Mirror"
This piece came together, after a friend showed me a similar piece she had in her collection, done with the bling, baubles and bangles of a woman who had passed away many years ago.  The woman's husband, made it as a memorial to his beloved wife. I was so inspired and touched by the story, that I wanted to try and make a memorial mirror myself.

This piece is different in that it holds momentos from many sources, not just one, and that it is done in silver bits primarily. The wood frame is collaged in hand made papers in various hues of green, and like most of my pieces, this one too is interactive: the little green stick-man on the bottom shelf has magnet feet, and when picked up, it manipulates the compass sitting next to it. (click on any image to enlarge) (you must do this to see more of the detail)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Gone Fishing"

"Gone Fishing"
This is a bit of a departure for me, but I got this idea on a recent trip to Barcelona. My husband found the blue lure on the beach one day . . . I remembered the others I had back in my studio, acquired from various sources. I thought about the colorful stories they could tell together.  I really like how colorful they are, and the strength and endurance each has shown, surviving the waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and yes, the Mediterranean Sea.
A piece of fence drift wood that still holds a bent up-rusty nail is the backdrop for this piece, 8 fishing lures, some vintage, some newer, (yes that is a Snoopy lure), each tells a different story.  I attached a wooden hanger  on top to create a stream for the salmon to swim, and the frogs to sit. (click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"You and Me"

"You and Me"
I read this quote and I just loved it.  Immediately I thought it deserved to be imortalized in scrabble letters . . . Hope you like it. 

A small wood cabinet door found at Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store is the perfect frame for this piece. The door is covered, front and back, in rich, vibrant green tissues, bits of vintage sheet music, and hand written letters and pattern pieces.  The piece is ready to hang or sit on a stand. (click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Children Of War"

"Children of War"
   Recently, the Healdsburg Center for The Arts, the place where I show my work as a Resident Artist, gave 100 local artists a 2" tin filled with chocolate covered coffee beans and challenged us to create an art piece with the tin. The art pieces created from these tiny tins will be auctioned off at the first annual "Tins of Imagination" fund raiser and exhibition to take place on August 13th.
   This is my entry. After I ate the chocolate covered coffee beans (YUM!) . . . I covered the of the tin in maps from a vintage atlas; the inside is covered in 'war statistics' from a WWII history book and filled it with tiny babies of various sizes and colors. The tin is attached to a small lazy-susan, allowing it to rotate.
   A lens from an old pair of binoculars is attached to the top of the tin, magnifying the tiny babies inside. Fishing line and clear silicone adhesive hold the plastic soldiers as they circle the tin, traveling the world - fighting in the wars they fight.
   The whole thing is attached to a 5"x7" piece of wood with beveled edges which is also covered in vintage maps.  Ready to hang.  (click on images to enlarge)

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Buried Treasure Project"

This is my entry in the collaborative project "The 2011 Buried Treasure". This project, the brain child of Seth Apter over at The Altered Page will take place this year on Thursday July 28th.  This annual e-vent asks participating bloggers to re-post a favorite post from their own blog.


I am re-posting “Come Play With Me originally posted 5/27/2010. This piece is totally interactive. Constructed in a vintage oak file box that has been altered and embellished with wooden inserts to hold things that are ROUND: A wooden top, a vintage light bulb, a tea ball, a lovely glass door knob, a compass, a doll's head, a globe, and eyeball that sits in a glass funnel.  All items can be picked up and played with, as their texture tells the story of the life they had before they came here.  This piece also includes a wind-up music box, and brass drawer pulls on each end. (click on any image to enlarge for a closer look.)  IN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Do stop by Seth’s blog on Thursday 7/28 to see tons of links of favorite posts by some great bloggers! This is a link to Seth's blog.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


In following my love of 'over-embellished' things this wooden rooster came into my studio about 6 months ago. When he arrived, he had very long legs and he was painted dark green. I began by cutting about 4" from his long legs, then I covered him in bits and baubles, political buttons, bottle caps and bells. Silvery buttons on the tail make sure he is struttin' his stuff. His green shoes and measuring tape socks complete the outfit. The wooden base is covered in copper sheeting left over from a garden project, and a silvery curtain rod finial on top give him 'presence' and provide an easy way to transport. I named him Rocky because he really 'rocks'. (click on any image for a closer look)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Altared Days"


"Altared Days"
Last Fall, around the time of "Day of The Dead"  I made 2 of these altars,  The first one was titled Altared Nights was posted on this blog earlier, and can be seen here.
This sweet piece is made inside a mahogany drawer found at the flea market, the front columns are made from the wood of a vintage child's crutch. The inside of the drawer is covered in hand made paper and in the center is a glittery image of the Our Lady of Guadalupe, holding silver stars in her hands. At her feet are clear glass marbles, and the rose is a diadora cedar cone, I found in my back yard. Glow in the dark lighting bolts line the inside of the drawer.
Religious altars are made by people from Mexico and much of Latin America. They are made to honor their faith in god and in their saint of choice. The very poor and faithful find ways to create things of beauty from nothing or very little. Altars are not special because of the cost of the things they are made from, rather they are valuable because of what they represent.