Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a very talented and vivacious jewelry artist while in Asilomar attending Nina Bagley's jewelry and bookmaking class. Riki Schumacher fashions beautifully crafted, handmade, mixed media pieces . . . "wearable relics" as she calls it. Lovely, lovely vintage pieces with that highly detailed, ethereal quality that we all adore. Her work is so unique and breathtaking that I found it hard not to hover and gawk at her workstation in class !!

She and her family were in route from California to their summer home in Washington last week when their truck was broken into overnight at a hotel. All their belongings and her handmade jewelry were stolen. Countless hours and months of work gone in a matter of seconds. It made me ill to read her message and I cannot imagine how devastated she must feel.

So I write this post and ask all of you out there in blogland to please, please, please, spend a few moments visiting her blog, website and Flickr to familiarize yourself with her work. This is a small world and it is entirely possible that her pieces may show up at craft fairs, flea markets, pawn shops, eBay, . . . hell, even Etsy. You never know. Please be on the lookout and if you see anything that looks like it may be hers, drop her a line on her blog. It would be wonderful if she were reunited with any of her belongings.

Here are the links, and again, thanks for taking a look.

Ciao for now.


Sunday, June 14, 2009


What to do ? What to do? My quest was to alter this little guy as part of the First Annual Art Buddies Invitational hosted by the energetic and talented Dayna Collins of Alley Art Studios. I was stumped for a while. The little guy is great fun to play with. His joints are articulated so that he is as flexible as a yogi. My first inclination was to paint him, but, nahhhhh, to predictable. Then beeswax, of course, crossed my mind. Nope. That would freeze up his movement. And he is such a pretty color wood. So why not leave that to shine through in some manner?

The decision was made to give him some tatoos !!! Transfers would have been impossible. And simply collaging elements onto his surface would have taken an eternity. Rub-ons were just the answer. 7 gypsies makes the coolest sets and the images and patterns just lent themselves to the idea of body art for the art buddy. The rub-ons went on perfectly. Now he sits on the edge of a collaged canvas with the words "Just Start" scribbled at the top as a reminder to myself not to overthink this stuff. Jump in and begin. It doesn't have to be perfect. Creativity comes in bouts, some more productive than others. But it is all a process and all in the name of fun. A good reminder from a little guy.

Ciao for now.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Finally. After waiting soooo patiently for the past five months (and patiently waiting is not my strong point), I . . . got . . . to . . . play . . . with . . . encaustics !!! My love affair with encaustic began when I happened across the work of two immensely talented artists: Sandy O'Brien and Bridgette Guerzon Mills. These ladies have vision and an eye for aesthetics like you wouldn't believe. The kind of art that reaches your soul and leaves you breathless.

And so I decided that I had to try it for myself. This would not be something I'd be content just to collect. The textures of wax are too enticing. The colors and depth, too tempting. I had to experience encaustic firsthand. Ordinarily, I'd jump in head first with an instructional book or two and a manic shopping stint through Dick Blick or some other on-line supplier. But after talking with Bridgette and the very gifted Judy Wise, it was clear that my best course of action would be to wait and take a workshop in encaustic. Very important to learn proper ventilation procedures and the properties of the wax. Didn't want to develop any bad habits either.

Thus, in mid May, I set out for the hill country of Boerne, Texas to attend an R&F Handmade Paints encaustic workshop taught by Gina Adams. Without doubt, it was one of the most enjoyable of my little artistic excursions. There were eight of us in the class, all from varied backgrounds. Gina is the kind of instructor you hope for. Warm, open, wonderfully humorous. Her laid back style greatly enhances the classroom experience. Her art is uniquely hers, deeply symbolic and imbued with personal significance. Take a look at her site here and prepared to be wowed.

I cannot even begin to tell you how these pieces were constructed. There are so many techniques and tools used in encaustics and I am but a wee beginner. Laying down the wax smoothly is extremely difficult. Good thing I like rawness, and edges, and brushstrokes because my first pieces are chock full of missed spots, overly scraped areas and heavy handed inscribing. But I loved the process, the gorgeous array of colors and the way the wax melds into each successive layer and leaves you to excavate, scrape and inscribe. The spell has been cast and I'll go back for more.

Ciao for now.


P.S. Captions with titles and dimensions for each piece can been seen on my Flickr photostream. I got totally frustrated trying to center the captions under each picture. Blogger would not cooperate tonight.


Woefully remiss on this front, folks. Kate and Diana recently each shared a couple of blog awards with me and I am very tardy with posting a mention. So many, many thanks to you both for your lovely thoughts and continued support. Your art and friendship brings me great joy. As for passing it on, any one listed on my sidebar is welcome to post the badge to their blog, too !!