Archive for October, 2007

Back to the dance floor!

Posted in Misc. on October 30, 2007 by Patti

I started taking ballroom dance lessons just over 3 years ago, and aside from my art it is my favorite thing.

Sadly, I have been unable to dance since my ankle sprain, but my chiropractor thinks I can try to get back out on the dance floor now. So I am knocking off in the studio – or in this case Photoshop – early today and am off to do a little dancing. 

Wish me luck! 


Extreme Pumpkin Carving

Posted in Misc. on October 29, 2007 by Patti

My creative activity yesterday was pumpkin carving.

I found this book called Extreme Pumpkins by Tom Nardone, and it is a hoot! I’m loving the Carrie pumpkin – complete with tiara & fake blood, so I just had to carve my own version! Sadly, when I went over to the grocery store for my pumpkin, all of the big orange ones had been picked over. It was either a big moldy orange pumpkin or a smaller but fresher white pumpkin… So , of course, I went for the white one but couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. While I was trying to console myself with the knowledge that the blood would show up better against the white, it occurred to me in a flash that Carrie’s last name was White – What can I say? I’m a hopeless Stephen King fan!

Hence, my Carrie White pumpkin…


I had the best time playing with the fake blood! Snaps to Tom for suggesting the pan underneath, because it is way messy.

May I recommend that you check out They have carving contests & the pages with the winners are definitely worth the time to seek out!

Happy Halloween!

Art Class Today

Posted in Misc. on October 27, 2007 by Patti

I spent my day in a workshop with Carol Owen. Way fun!
We did a class from 10 to 4 in techniques for doing covers of altered books. My favorite was painting & stamping on muslin and then using it to cover the book. We did several practice exercises on book covers that had been removed from their books & cardboard panels, as well as a couple of pieces of muslin.

Here’s a practice cover done with molding paste…

practice cover

Here’s a piece of the painted muslin…

painted muslin

Finally, here’s my book cover in progress on the actual book. It’s painted muslin attached with gel medium, but I’m not sure how I’m going to embellish yet…

book cover in progress

I also got to see several of my local art friends – Carol’s classes are kind of like little reunions. She lives in the area, so she does quite a few classes in local art & scrapbook stores, and there’s usually a regular crowd vibe when she does a workshop around here. It’s fun to play with the other artist children.

For those of you unfamiliar with Carol, she does these excellent spirit houses with foam core and found objects – really lovely work. She teaches workshops on that as well & has a book called Crafting Personal Shrines. I’m a Carol groupie; I admit it.

Back to today’s class, though…
In addition to the muslin, we played with paper napkins, metal tape & chipboard, molding paste, gel medium, metal scrap, dress patterns, & found objects. Oh my. Carols also gave us each a nifty little frame embellishment that she made with air dry clay. The weight was more like paper mache. I am really hot to try playing with air dry clay now! If I had any sense I would wait to run out to the craft store until I make more progress in my studio organization…

Show of hands from anyone who thinks I might muster that kind of self control? I thought not.

Studio Renovation

Posted in Misc. on October 25, 2007 by Patti

I’ve been in the midst of studio renovation hell for going on 4 months now, and I’m finally able to catch the occasional glimpse of the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel… at least the construction part is done. My own effort to organize and move in as opposed to getting distracted by art projects and just making more of a mess is an ongoing motivational challenge.

I set up my studio several years ago when I was creating sacred space – designing and constructing personal altars – and working with mosaics. I developed a sensitivity to the chemicals I was working with and had to take a break. I discovered digital work & paper arts and began to collect a whole new range of tools & supplies, thus rendering my old organizational system inefficient, to say the least. Recently, it became pretty obvious that my original system was not working for my current mediums. My collection of ephemera, beads, tools, inks, paints, etc. – not to mention the scary rubber stamp collection – had completely overrun my workspace. Please refer to helpful visual aid in the form of the dreaded ‘before’ pictures…

Studio Before

I decided that if I ever hoped to find anything without a 3 day search or to work on a flat surface bigger than a postage stamp, I needed a major reorganization. I needed custom storage. I talked to my already over-worked handyman about doing some cabinetry, shelving, and lighting work & also building me a new and bigger workbench. I was thinking it would take about a month, but after several setbacks – including one mis-measure that resulted in the need to redo 96 custom stamp drawers – it turned out to be more like 3 months.

By this time, I was getting really cranky because all of my tools and materials were packed away in the box collection that had taken over my junk room. Unable to make the art I was accustomed to, I resorted to taking metalsmithing classes. In the end this only served to worsen the problem, as it required that I acquire a new assortment of tools.

I am currently in the process of unpacking my stuff and trying to organize my new & improved space in an efficient and pleasing manner. I begged and nagged my handyman for weeks to get me to the point where I could move in and now I seem to be stalled in the process. I have discovered that my plans in theory are not all great in execution & have had to rethink several brilliant ideas – sometimes after getting a whole category of supplies put away. I have discovered that I have duplicated purchases more than once because I couldn’t find an item or forgot I bought it in the first place. You would think this process would discourage me from adding to the chaos, but sadly, pretty new art toys can still turn my head. I don’t care to count how many times I have declared a moratorium on new purchases only to find that one absolutely essential item I cannot live without & must have right away. I’ve also had to pause in my efforts to make sure I had certain projects finished in time to make deadlines & there was the trip to Portland…

I have many friends asking how the studio is coming, and I find myself feeling nostalgic about those months when I could blame the lack of progress on construction delays. I have made some progress, though. The boxes are half unpacked now, and there is a narrow path in that junk room that you can almost walk through – if you’re very careful. Perhaps I’ll be completely moved in before Thanksgiving… that would be the perfect thing to be thankful for!

Art & Soul – Portland 2007

Posted in Misc. on October 17, 2007 by Patti

I recently returned from Portland where I attended my first Art & Soul retreat. What a blast!

I arrived Thursday and went into downtown Portland to do a little exploring and visit Powells bookstore. For those not familiar, it covers an entire city block, has four stories, and requires it’s own little map to navigate. In short, I was in heaven! New & used books, zines… hours of fun and a much heavier suitcase.

Friday I got up and went to a workshop with Traci Bautista called La Vie da Boheme. This was a fantastic experiment for me. I love her work and have been very inspired by her book Collage Unleashed so I was excited to take her class. Her style is so bright & vivid and my usual color pallet is very sepia toned, so I was really hoping to push myself outside of my comfort zone with this class. I only took bright colors and found that I really loved working with them to produce these papers & journal that we made. The class went from 9:30 to 4:30 and was the most fun I had all weekend. When I looked at the journal I did sitting next to my canvas from that evening’s class later on – I did the canvas in my preferred pallet – they didn’t look like they had been done by the same artist. That was exactly what I wanted – to play in another corner of the sandbox. Yay me!


I met several lovely women on the shuttle back to my hotel – Did I mention all of my classes were in the hotel across the highway? – including an excellent new art friend from California who took Angela Cartwright’s evening class with me. Thanks again for that extra canvas, Roberta! I had planned to get dinner between classes, but I was so excited to finish my journal from the morning class that I worked instead and then scrambled back across the way to Gesso Soup at 6:30.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really had fun with the techniques in this class. Embedding pictures into gesso, stamping & adding texture to the canvas & staining to bring it all out. Spiffy cool! And Angela is really interesting & funny. 3 hours very well spent.


I went back to work when I got back to the room from this class, too – at least until room service arrived with my belated dinner.

I had planned to spend the day exploring on Saturday, but sadly jet lag caught up with me and I spent most of the day asleep. I felt pretty sheepish about it when I woke up, but then I reminded myself that this was a retreat and napping is a perfectly acceptable retreat thing to do. So there.

At least I didn’t sleep through vendor’s night! I got to meet Michael de Meng and see his work up close and personal – a serious treat! I also came away with several really fun new stamps – yes, I am a stamp whore – and a new Sally Jean charm. My final purchase was a Claudine Hellmuth print and dvd. Thank God the ATM in the lobby was out of order! I cannot tell you how much trouble I might have gotten into otherwise.

Sunday it was up bright and early again for a 9:30 class with Claudine Hellmuth called the Frayed Edge. We worked on raw unstretched canvas and learned some really fun techniques with washes and transfers and water-soluable pastels. We also got to quiz her on what it was like to meet Martha. A good time was had by all.


Sadly, I had arranged to fly back on a red eye that same night. Note to self… really stupid idea, never do it again.
I got home after way too much travel joy to go into here and promptly sprained my ankle, so I have been out of commission and unable to work on the final push to move back into my art studio. The studio renovation is a story in itself, which I shall save for another day.

So, to sum up…
Art & Soul – good.
Cross country travel in the middle of the night – bad.
Pot holes & platform sandals – not a good combo.
Studio renovation – to be continued.

Hello world!

Posted in Misc. on October 16, 2007 by Patti

My first blog entry. Alrighty then…

I’m not sure I’m up to any exciting news or witty observations after navigating the getting to know you waters of my new pond. Maybe I’ll save the substance for another day. I do have news to share, though.
So, perhaps a preview of things to come.

I just attended my first Art & Soul retreat in Portland. Learned alot & met nifty people. I’m sure there will be pictures once I get the hang of this blogging thing.

I am also still in the process of renovating my studio. There were construction delays for many weeks, but they are over now. Sadly, the full responsibility for still being at loose ends on the moving in portion of the fun is all my own. In my defense, I was traveling to Portland & gracefully managed a nasty ankle sprain the day I returned. I suppose I still have an excuse until the swelling goes down.

Updating the new blog could be a great excuse to put off sorting and organizing, so I guess I’ll be keeping you posted. Stay tuned.