Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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Artist Demo, Art Exhibit and An Interview

Artist Demonstration

On Sunday, June 13, I am demonstrating how I create my artwork in polymer clay at Fruitlands Museum as part of Fruitlands 2010 Artisan Series.

I will show you how I create my Klimt and Craze Collage patterns as seen on my business card cases, perfume pens and wine bottle stoppers. I will also demonstrate how I sculpt both my primitive and more realistic spirit messenger heads. To help me explain the sculpting process, I put together this storyboard.

Head Sculpt Storyboard

The demonstration runs from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm

I will also have free mini-bookmarks for people who stop by and a listing of my current workshops.

Art Exhibit

Sunday will be a full day. After my artist demonstration, I head over to the Nashoba Valley Winery for my art guild’s artist reception. The Bolton Artisans Guild has a new exhibit, Summer Dreams, on display at the winery. Summer Dreams captures the colors and memories of summer in the several mediums, including photography, fiber, polymer clay, paper, watercolor, and jewelry. The exhibit runs June 6 to July 5, 2010. The artist reception is Sunday, June 13, 3:30-5:00 pm. Light snacks and a wine tasting will be provided.

An Interview

Last Monday, I was interviewed by the Bolton Common for their Uncommon Conversation feature article. The interview appeared in this week’s edition and is available to read online here.


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A Little of This, A Little of That

Happy September !

So, perhaps you’re thinking I fell off the face of the blogosphere. Not really; just spent some time out of town visiting family and haven’t been terribly focused on blogging since my return. I seem to go through phases like that. I admire bloggers who maintain their blogs posting something every day or nearly every day.  My hats off to you!  Of course, I sometimes wonder when those bloggers sleep as well. Maybe they have little blogging elves working for them.

Family; most of my family now lives in Ohio. It had been nearly two years since I saw my family. Yes, nearly two years. We do keep in touch via phone and email but face-to-face visits aren’t frequent. This has its pros and cons: you miss the dramas and you miss the dramas.

Here are a couple pictures of my family, taken before Sunday brunch.

Me and my brother Chris

Me and my brother Chris

Me, April, Mom, & Cindy

Me, April, Mom, & Cindy

Fall Just Around the Corner

We’ve had some chilly mornings the past few days. You know it is officially cool and that fall can’t be too far away when Woody the elder becomes Woody the bed lump:

Woody the Bed Lump

Woody the Bed Lump

Yes, he just loves to crawl under the bed covers and sleep for hours. Or at least until his tummy gets grumbly and he comes looking for lunch. I’ve often wondered how he breathes when under the covers. I tried napping under the covers once and found it rather stifling. But then, I’m not a cat, so what do I know.

Weekend Workshop

Natalie, a fellow art guild member, and I attended a great workshop this past weekend. The workshop was “Starving to Successful: Art Marketing Strategies for Professional Artists” by J. Jason Horejs, owner of Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.  Jason shared lots of great tips and recommendations for working with galleries, how to approach galleries, creating a portfolio and how much art work to have ready before approaching galleries. While I was familiar with some of the information, overall the entire workshop left both of us motivated to set new goals and to move our work to the next level.

And it was nice attending the workshop with a friend because Saturday was the day Hurricane Danny hit Massachusetts.  Natalie and I both admitted that if we had to attend the workshop alone, it would have been mighty easy to hit the snooze button, roll over, and go back to bed given the rain falling at the wee hour of 6:00 AM that morning. Fortunately, Danny didn’t dump as much rain in our area as originally predicted. We had 2.5″ and some areas had up to 5″.  The original prediction was for 5″ to 7″ of rain.

Senator Ted Kennedy

If you had the telly on as August rolled to a close, you were certainly aware of all the coverage on the passing of Sen. Kennedy. I heard of his passing the morning I left Ohio and was deeply saddened by the news. Like many other people, I kept hoping this day wouldn’t come. Being from Massachusetts, you start to believe that Sen. Kennedy would always be around.

When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor my heart sank. I know how brutal that diagnosis can be. As has been reported by all the media, Sen. Kennedy beat the odds to some extent. He did live longer than expected. Unfortunately his age was probably against him.

As footage played of his last appearances, I started to remember where I was at those various times. When he announced his support of Barack Obama’s candidacy for President in January, 2008, we were skiing at Deer Park in Utah. The mountain was fogged in and snowy and I stayed off the slopes that morning.  When he spoke at the DNC in Colorado, I was here at home watching the convention.

Okay, does this mean I’m getting old if I can pinpoint where I was or what I was doing during certain memorable events?

Anyways, I was not always a big fan of Senator Kennedy. I was especially turned off when his nephew William Kennedy Smith was charged with rape following an evening of drinking with Uncle Ted and cousin Patrick.  I’m sure I thought, at the time, “there go the Kennedy’s, protecting each other no matter what, even if one is potentially guilty.”

Yet over this past weekend I couldn’t help but be drawn to watch the memorial, parts of the funeral service, and the burial. I learned how this man, admitted faults and all, earned the respect of so many people. That he was human. That he fought for what he believed in and that compromise, within reason, was the approach that garnered results. I was awed by the number of people whose lives he touched in both public and private ways.

Sometimes we realize too late how important someone really is to us.

While I imagine that Senator Kennedy didn’t want tons of acclaim for all he did, I did learn the importance of truly admiring and valuing people while they still walk this earth, no matter who they are or what they do.

Most people don’t ask for glorious recognition for all they do; a simple thank you will suffice. I am trying to put this into practice myself each day. How about you?


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May Accomplishments-June Goals

The Yes-No Head

I had a few head shapes left over from the guild demo earlier this year. I thought it would be fun to take one of them and make a Yes-No head and mount it to a block.

You’ll notice that I tend to not give my heads hair. I like them bald. I think this is because a bald head looks vulnerable. When we don’t have any hair, we don’t have anything to hide behind or hide under. We are exposed for all to see; the lumps, bumps, and unevenness.

Front Says Yes

Front Says Yes

Back Says No

Back Says No

This sculpture features two distinct faces on either side of the head. The head is sculpted from polymer clay over a foil core. His eyes are hand painted. The head is attached to a Styrofoam block covered with paper maiche. The block is painted in green, copper, and gold acrylic paint. The letters were created with caulking and painted with black acrylic paint.

Height: 5.5 inches tall.

Price: $75.00

Celebrating Accomplishments and Planning Goals

At the beginning of this year, I started to keep track of my accomplishments for each month. This was prompted by an article in Alyson Stanfield’s December 15 2008 Art Biz Coach newsletter. Alyson recommended that we artists start a document on the computer or in our journal where we write down everything we’ve accomplished each month.  She provided a list of questions as prompts to help jog our memory. The key, however, is to list the accomplishments as soon as possible each month. Don’t wait till the end of the year to try and recall everything you’ve done.

What I like about this task is that you document everything you’ve done and then can stand back and say “Wow, I DID all that!” (Because, admit it, how often do we say to ourselves “I didn’t do anything today, this week, this month or this year” when we know darn well we did do something.) So take credit for all your accomplishments, big and small.

I thought about listing my accomplishments and goals earlier this year. Like many other ideas it was shelved (or forgotten). Now, I’d like to follow through on this idea. So here are my accomplishments for the month of May.

May Accomplishments

•    Attended two lectures by the Dalai Lama at Gillette Stadium
•    Got clear on my decision to focus more on fine art
•    Ordered three more banners for show booth
•    Worked on “Leak List” and energy drains for clearing clutter
•    Successfully organized and put on Bolton Artisans Guild spring art show (after a 3 year break)
•    Vendor at Paradise City Arts Festival spring show (3rd consecutive spring show)
•    Published (went live) with Amy A Crawley Fine Arts web site
•    Completed Christine Kane’s Uplevel Your Life Mastery class (7 weeks)
•    Meditated every day for 5-7 minutes
•    Bi-annual dentist appointment
•    Added 15 people to my customer mailing list
•    Began using a timer to focus my time on making art (e.g set timer for 55 minutes and work until it goes off)

June Goals

Here are my goals for the month of June.  It seems kind of light compared to previous months, especially in the run-up to the shows in May.

  • Website
    Update AAC site with dwelling series and other new work
    Add information regarding accepting payment via PayPal
  • E-zine
    Create e-newsletter regarding demo at Five Crows
  • Update customer mailing list
  • Create canvas pieces for Canvas Project exhibit
  • Complete wholesale orders
  • Prepare for artist demo at Five Crows
  • Deliver art donations to the Arts Alliance
  • Update inventory notebook: cross reference art show & consignment sales in inventory book
  • Daily journal writing
  • Read affirmations daily (2x/day)
  • Daily meditation
  • Prepare for trip to France/Dayle’s workshop, including materials/supplies
  • Register for Flickr account
  • Resume leak list clearing

Perhaps by listing my goals here I’ll improve my accountability because now you, dear readers, are aware of what I want to accomplish too.


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Artisans In Bloom

The Bolton Artisans Guild is hosting their third spring art show and sale this Saturday, May 30, 2009, 10 AM to 4 PM at First Parish of Bolton in Davis Hall. Admission is free. This is a great time to buy graduation gifts, wedding gifts, and gifts for Father’s Day.  Hope you can join us!

ArtInBloom09_small


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New In The Studio

I apologize for not being online very much this week.  I’ve been focused on other tasks in the studio and blogging has not been as a high priority. However, I wanted to share a few new items in the studio.

A few weeks ago I did a head sculpting demo for some members of the Bolton Artisans Guild.  Here are three heads that the ladies created. What made this really fun was giving them some basic guidance and then watching them jump right in to create their unique head sculpts.

natncarolsclayheads

These heads have an aluminum foil core which was covered with Super Sculpey.  I haven’t used this particular brand of polymer clay very much and I did like its ease of use. It is soft yet not mushy.

I also made a head and finished it later by antiquing it with acrylic paint. The eyes, eyebrows, and lips are painted. I used some techniques from Jodi and Richard Creager’s sculpting DVD for this head. I think I’ve found another passion in sculpting. These heads are between 2″ and 3″ in length.

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This next piece is a new idea that I’m working on and is inspired by the stick dolls we made as kids.

freetbrushmessengers

Fit for a Queen

Last Saturday, my dear friend Judy and I picked up a chair for my studio.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was slowly redoing my studio and that I now had space for a reading chair.  The chair I originally saw at Still Life Consignment sold. However, at Still Life Consignment I found an even better chair. This one is bigger and a nicer color. I think it is fit for a Queen. And if not a Queen, then certainly a Pippin.

newchair1 newchair2

When Pippin isn’t making himself comfortable in the chair, I’ve enjoyed it while reading or working on assignments in my Uplevel Your Life Mastery Program. It is really nice to have a dedicated reading spot in the studio now. The chair faces the front windows.  When I look up from the chair, I first see my meditation area and then out the window into the front yard.

Tomorrow, another dear friend, Karen and I are traveling to Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to hear two lectures by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I’ve wanted to see the Dalai Lama for several years. I even put a picture of him on my spiritual vision board and tomorrow this dream will be fulfilled.


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Tuesday’s Business: Planning An Art Exhibit

For the month of November, I have been the featured artist at the Nashoba Valley Winery.  This is a new venture between members of the Bolton Artisans Guild and the winery.  Thus far we have featured artist Amy B. Moran, a watercolorist, and a jewelry specific event.

Setting up and displaying an art exhibit is different from setting up a booth at an art show.  Lighting is a common factor but other aspects I had not considered before.

Name the Exhibit: This probably seems like an obvious thing to do.  However, what makes it potentially difficult is coming up with a creative, catchy title for the exhibit.  Much like talking about our art, giving our exhibit a title requires us to, well, talk about our art in descriptive terms.  And at one time or another we’ve all been told that talking about ourselves and our accomplishments is bragging.

For a solo show, be sure your name is in the title.  If the items you’re displaying have a focal element or theme, be sure to use that as a starting point for an exhibit name…if not the exhibit name itself.  Naming your exhibit also makes it easier to promote.

Plan the Layout: Ideally you should have measurements of the exhibit space.  This includes wall measurements, the location of doors, windows, air ducts, vents, counters, and anything else that affects the visual line of your exhibit.  Are there any temporary structures that can be moved to accommodate your art work?  Where are the lights located?  Can the lights be adjusted to focus on your art work?

According to Alyson Stanfield, space for 2-D art work is measured in linear feet.  The total amount of linear footage is then divided by 2 to determine the amount of space available.  Example: a 20’x30′ room equals 100 linear feet (20+20+30+30).  100/2 equals 50 linear feet for 2D work.

Space for 3-D work is measured in square feet.  Using the above example, a 20’x30′ room gives you 600 square feet.  In this situation you also need to consider how much space is required AROUND each piece of art so people can comfortably view it.

Arranging the Art:  A few things to consider when arranging the art include traffic flow, lighting, color (the exhibit walls and your art), shapes, size, pattern, and lines.

Labels: Alyson recommends placing labels to the right of 2-D work.  A general rule of thumb with pedestals is as follows: for tall pedestals, place the label on the front of the pedestal.  For short pedestals, place the label on top.  What I learned with my exhibit was to make sure text was at eye level as much as possible.

Here are a few pictures of my exhibit:

From Left
From Left
From right
From right

Artist Statement

Artist Statement

Masks and Spirit Shrines

Masks and Spirit Shrines

Fortune Pyramids

Fortune Pyramids

Mask, Water Challenge, Fire Spirit Messenger

Masks, Water Challenge, Fire Spirit Messenger

Icon Necklaces

Icon Necklaces

Milagros Spirit Icons

Milagros Spirit Icons

To learn more about displaying your art in an exhibit, check out Alyson Stanfield’s web site, Art Biz Coach


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Words Fall As So Water Falls

The Bolton Artisans Guild’s theme challenge this year was “water.”

I first considered creating a spirit messenger and then decided to create something different from my usual line of work.  I knew I wanted to have words in my piece for the exhibit.  So I asked a few people to send me a list of words that they thought of when they heard/read the word “water” for incorporation in the piece.

At first I thought I’d create a piece that resembled rippling water with concentric circles spreading across the surface.  And then, while I was out on a walk, the idea came to me.  As I walked past a neighbors house, I heard water flowing and there it was…a small water fall.  Next thing I know, the idea popped into my head to have those words, the water words, flowing down a water fall.  Intrigued with the flow of rolling water, up, over, and down, I tried to capture that same movement through the use of water related words as they flow over the canvas: up, over, and down.

And thus, Words Fall As So Water Falls came into being.

As Water Falls So Words Fall

Words Fall As So Water Falls

To create this piece, I started with a pre-stretched canvas, created the “rolling” water, covered the canvas in brown paper bag, applied gesso and several coats of acrylic paint in water-like colors.

The water words were printed on tissue paper and applied over the rolling water.  Then this piece sat on my work table for a couple of days.  I knew this piece needed something else to complete it but I wasn’t sure what exactly.

And once again on another walk while contemplating this piece the idea for mosaic tiles popped into my head.  The tiles have images from Native American and Celtic cultures that represent water.  The Spanish moss, raffia, and sticks represent life found around water.


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My Bad Hair Day

Last night at our Bolton Artisans Guild meeting, Laura showed us how to do needle felting and then let us try our hand at it.

This is what happens when my polymer clay hands meet needle felting tools: My Bad Hair Day.

nfelthead.jpg

The hairy strands alongside the nose were originally a Fu Man Chu styled mustache but Pippin (our cat) rearranged things a little.

Sculpture in needle felting requires a bit more planning (obviously).  The art of needle felting, however, is quite meditative and the sound of the needle repetitively poking into the wool was oddly soothing.

I enjoyed the process though I think it will take a little more work on my part before it becomes incorporated into my art.  In the meantime, you can enjoy Laura’s wonderful needle felt sculpture here.


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Fire Theme Art Exhibit: Bolton Artisans Guild

One of the great aspects of participating in an art exhibit as a guild is seeing your fellow artisans think outside of the box; creating pieces of art that may be different from their usual work.  We all drew inspiration from different areas for this exhibit.  Here are the pieces created by some of the Bolton Artisan Guild members for the Fire Theme Art Exhibit.

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Brenda was inspired by the tiny dancing flames from a fire in her fireplace and recreated them in a necklace of twisted gold wire and Swarovski crystals.

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Chris and Carol were also inspired by the flames of fire.  Chris recreated the multiple colors of flames in a peyote stitch ring.  Carol chose various shades and tones of red to replicate flames in bracelets.  There are 750 beads in her bracelets!

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Gayle used fire itself to create her pieces.  The tiles and vessel were placed in a pit, burned for several hours, and then left to smolder for at least one full day.  Scrubbing and hand rubbing enhance the flame effect.

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Laura was inspired by a volcanic mountain which she created from natural and dyed wool fibers and needle felted into its volcanic shape and molten lava flow.

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Peter drew inspiration from wood in his workshop to create a volcano inspired table.  The bottom is figured reddish wood shaped into a pyramid and is topped with figured maple with a live edge that appears to imitate molten lava.

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Sheryl’s piece was influenced by her appreciation for the solar system and her respect for the sun’s heat and power.  Titled Solar Flare, Sheryl’s necklace is handcrafted from sterling and fine silver, 24k gold, and copper.

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Verjik’s watercolor painting was inspired by a childhood memory of Chahrshanbeh Suri, the festival of fire, where children dance around and jump over the flames to stop the sun from setting.

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Amy drew inspiration from the element fire to create her Fire Spirit Messenger.  The element fire represents Mars (“the red planet”), the south, summer, and governs heat.  Fire also represents creativity and passion.  A larger image of the Fire Spirit Messenger can be seen here.