Stencil Release!

I know it has been a VERY long time since I have posted anything…..but that is what happens when you are on the road for 7 weeks!!!  I will write about my European adventures in my next blog post, sharing some of the beautiful and inspiring works of art and architecture I saw.

But first I wanted to share the exciting news of the release of my first line of stencils from Stencil Girl.  I was approached months ago by Marybeth Shaw founder and owner of Stencil Girl after I whined to her about wishing someone would make a line of border stencils that were just the size of the deep cradle birch panels (1.5 inches deep) that I love to use for my substrates. She responded, “why don’t you design them?” My initial response was that I didn’t have time…..but a few months elapsed and I found myself having the same conversation with Marybeth because I really “needed” stencils I could use for this particular size of borders. Thoughts of stencils had been dancing around in my head and this time when I mentioned it and she asked, I agreed to do it!

I immediately knew that I wanted to create stencils that were based on motifs from places where I had traveled and the “Pilgrimage” series was born!

Above are some very rudimentary sketches that would form the foundation of the stencils. Marybeth guided me with some very wise words to draw my inspiration from the world around me, from a piece of fabric, from nature or from jewelry and that is exactly what I did.IMG_8029 I quickly found one of my favorite bracelets and used that as a template for one of the stencils on the “Renaissance” package.

Bracelet-1 copy


Now I have to admit that I was a bit challenged when it came time to actually taking the drawing and converting it into a stencil. I knew that my son’s girlfriend, Laura Martinez, who does graphic design and has a decal/ sticker business called Make My Graphic, would easily be able to see the negative and positive spaces. So while I designed and drew the stencils out, Laura put them into a format that would work as a stencil design.laurieMika-Eng2 copy

What became the paisley design for Pilgrimage to India.

What became the paisley design for Pilgrimage to India.

It took a bit of tweaking between myself, Laura and the Stencil Girl products team but in the end we got it all worked out! The first sets of stencils are called Pilgrimage to India, Pilgrimage to Mexico and Pilgrimage to the Renaissance. For the Mexico series, I drew my inspiration from my Talavera tiles that I collected from Delores Hildago, Mexico and from Baja. Talavera_Tile_Michoacan copytalavera2 copy

Tile-2Col copyAside from using stencils for the outside edges of the panel boards, I also love using stencils on polymer clay and have been doing that for years.  They create a terrific relief on clay. (these are a few samples from awhile ago before I designed my own) IMG_8397 IMG_8405IMG_8417I was so excited when the first package of the blue stencil “proofs” arrived!! I couldn’t wait to try them out! Here are a few shots showing how I used them on the edge of my substrate, in this case a house shaped piece that just happens to be 1.5 inches deep! The best way to use my stencils is to cut out each individual border from the sheet, that makes them much easier to use.

IMG_0478IMG_0488IMG_0487Here are some additional examples where I have used my own stencils to create patterns on the edges of the substrate and also on the clay itself.

From the Pilgrimage to Mexico series.

From the Pilgrimage to Mexico series.



For information on purchasing stencils, you may visit the Stencil Girl website or please contact me.

There are so many possibilities for using stencils in mixed media work. My mind is already reeling with new ideas for stencils based on my recent trip to Europe and St. Petersburg, Russia. I took lots of photos of art and architectural details that would make great stencils! But more about Europe next time! Ciao!

detail from the cathedral in Reims, France.

detail from the cathedral in Reims, France.

Art and Soul, Portland

It’s taken a bit of time to get to my blog and update it since being in Portland….but after some emotional weeks dealing with my brother’s passing and then his beautiful celebration of life ceremony during Pink Vail, I am finally home and in my studio. Time to once again draw upon art to bring some healing into my life.

Portland was a wonderful reprieve. It is such a great city and we managed to be there for the Portland Saturday Art Market! IMG_6617



Lots of wonderful handmade goodies were to be found and lots of incredible food trucks serving a variety of ethnic cuisines! I came across the work of Theresa Smith and loved her blackbird ceramics….and had to buy one! (as a gift!)

IMG_9891It was a fun day taking the Max train into town and exploring. Of course, we had to grab a bite to eat at Mother’s, one of our favorite haunts.IMG_6624

And VooDoo donuts had a line a mile long….not sure what all the fuss is because I think VG’s donuts in Cardiff has the BEST donuts ever!

IMG_9906Also passed by the Attic gallery but it was closed. But they have some wonderful art as seen in the window.

IMG_9910The first class that I taught at Art and Soul was Tin and Clay Shrines. It was a BIG class but the results were fabulous!



Here are just a few of the beauties!IMG_9936IMG_9934IMG_9938IMG_9935IMG_9933IMG_9937IMG_9928IMG_9925

The next day, my husband and I went to Reed College to see a couple of his former students who are involved in the arts. Seeing as it was RAW, Reed Arts Week, it was a particular treat to see the fabulous work of some of these young minds and to remind me how great college life is!

IMG_1069We also managed to get in another day enjoying downtown Portland, especially my favorite store Cargo. The displays are incredible, such eye candy!


Santos display

Santos display



IMG_9996IMG_9995The next stop was right next door….Hair of the Dog brewery! Yummy lunch!

Hubby at Hair of the Dog

Hubby at Hair of the Dog



just had to have a flight!

just had to have a flight!

Our last stop for the day was the world famous Powell City of Books. Can’t visit Portland without having spent some time perusing this incredible city-block-wide book seller. IMG_6668IMG_0001

Portland has an über cool vibe and the food trucks that line the streets attest to the cool factor!IMG_0002So I had quite a few days between my first class and the next class I taught, so in addition to sightseeing, I decided to take a class….a rare luxury for me but something I so enjoy. Nice to be a student and soak in the learning styles of other instructors and in this case with Jesse Reno, it was quite an experience!!



Jesse has an exuberant style and really got everyone painting! I liked my paint soaked hands better than the actual paintings I did!


looks like I had the cheshire cat on my mind!

looks like I had the cheshire cat on my mind!

One of the great pleasures of attending art retreats is meeting other artists and at Art and Soul I so enjoyed spending time with Mindy Lacefield a very talented artist who I remembered from about 10 years ago at Artfest.IMG_9942Another person who I enjoyed meeting was Lulu. She was a doll and so were her dolls!!  Fantastic work !!IMG_9914

Marie Kennedy with one of Lulu's dolls.

Marie Kennedy with one of Lulu’s dolls.


So finally it was time to teach again and my next class was Handmade Hearts and Hamsas. I love seeing what comes out of this class…..such creativity!IMG_0047

Hearts and Hamsa makers!

Hearts and Hamsa makers!


IMG_0041IMG_0039The next day I taught Medieval Triptychs and here are a few pieces from this class!IMG_0061IMG_0056IMG_0060

IMG_0062IMG_0070IMG_0071IMG_0053My last class was Mini Clay Quilts…..oh, they were gorgeous, especially when we placed them all side by side!IMG_0104IMG_0102IMG_0083IMG_0080

IMG_0075IMG_0101IMG_0073IMG_0084IMG_0077IMG_0100And so now it was time to head home after a wonderful time in Portland.

Crater Lake out the window!

Crater Lake out the window!

It was time to get home and see our little grand baby, Emilia, who looks mad because we were gone! How is she going to do when we are off in Europe?!!! I won’t be posting again for awhile, not until we are back from our journeys! Au bientot!

Where are my grandparents!???!!

Where are my grandparents going now!???!!







Teaching in Tucson…..

It has been quite some time since I have posted. Due to the recent passing of both my mom to Alzheimers and then my brother to cancer, I have been tending to family and holding close those who are dear to our hearts. One cannot help but be reminded of this grand cycle of life with the birth of our first grandchild followed so closely by these losses in our family. Art is so therapeutic and the healing has already begun…..

In between trips to Colorado to see my brother and help out with family, I was fortunate to teach at Art Retreat in the Desert. This was my first time teaching for Barb and she and her family were just wonderful to work for. The first class I taught was Jeweled Icons.

IMG_9578 I had a wonderful class which included two very talented men! Sorry not everyone is shown as some people had to take off early…..the huge Tucson Gem show was calling! lol





The next class I taught was Wearable Reliquaries. Since Art Retreat in the Desert has a jewelry focus to coincide with the gem show, my classes were geared in a similar fashion.



Another great group of talented folks joined me!!! Again half the class isn’t represented in the picture ! So sorry!IMG_9588



The next day on Wednesday, I taught Embedded Heart Shrines…..and had some old buddies join me in this class! It was lots of fun.

Kat Kirby my buddy who now lives in Prescott. (center)

Kat Kirby my buddy who now lives in Prescott. (center)

We had incredibly big classrooms (could have hosted ballroom dancing!) and a very attentive staff at the Tucson Hilton who took care of all our needs. (besides my personal sherpa)IMG_6388IMG_9590

Here are some wonderful hearts and shrines!


Another old buddy, Jan Murphy who now lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Another old buddy, Jan Murphy who now lives in the Pacific Northwest.


And another old buddy, Pam Gemin who now lives in Flagstaff.

And another old buddy, Pam Gemin who now lives in Flagstaff. (Left)



IMG_9610IMG_9612So many fun and funny gals in this class…it was a lively group and they did amazing work too! Many had never touched polymer clay before. That is always so rewarding to turn people on to the magic of polymer!

My last class of the retreat was the smallest class I’ve ever taught….just 3 of us but I have to say it was one of the most fun classes I have ever taught too. The three of us just worked side by side all day just enjoying a nice relaxed pace creating our Heraldic Clay Banners.



This was the first time I have taught this banner class and I loved it because it is a great way to learn many different techniques on different triangles. Now they just need to be strung together….so beautiful.IMG_9621 IMG_9631IMG_9626

After teaching 4 days straight, it was time for a little R&R . Our first stop was the University of Arizona Museum. What a wonderful campus and a terrific museum too!IMG_6495IMG_6389

My husband loves Rothko (so do I) and he was delighted to see this in the permanent collection. He even wore the right clothes to match!


Actually we both wore the right clothes today! I would love to have lived in the era of the huge collars!



Upstairs is an incredible exhibition of a Spanish altarpiece. I spent the most time in this room, loving every detail of every painting.


The mall

The mall

U of A is an incredible campus home to more than 40,000 students. It is a sprawling campus with a beautiful grassy mall running down the center. After spending the day here our next stop was the Spanish Mission, San Xavier del Bac. One of the most incredible examples of Mission architecture both outside and in….loved this place.



Beautiful cacti adorned the grounds.

Beautiful cacti adorned the grounds.

Interior San Xavier

Interior San Xavier


milagros sewn on a garment....

milagros sewn on a garment….

Virgin of Guadalupe
Virgin of GuadalupeIMG_9646



It was a very inspiring day as I love Colonial art and architecture  and this was a fine example.

Next up was a little shopping at the Gem show.IMG_9698 I wasn’t sure what to expect as the entire city of Tucson becomes one huge center for all things jewelry. I was told to go to two hotels and that was enough. I have never seen so many beads, findings etc all in one place….and this was just one place. I did run into quite a few art buddies who were vending here..IMG_9705IMG_9697It was fun to run into Becky Nunn who sells a wonderful array of beautiful bezels and all sorts of jewelry findings and rhinestone chain! Love her stuff and her displays and just her overall artistic sensibility. I first met Becky at Artfest in Port Townsend years ago and since then Nunn Designs has blossomed into a thriving business.

IMG_9693IMG_9696IMG_9700It was so fun running into Julie Picarello, she is soooo nice and so very talented. Most of her beautiful polymer clay jewelry was gone, yes, sold out! She is that good!



And while I shopped the day away, my faithful husband and sherpa was very kind to amuse himself in the hotel!






IMG_9703I missed seeing Susan Lenart Kazmer but her display looked awesome!

So that was just a quick tour of the Gem show….next year I will be a bit wiser and will pace myself. I did find a LOT of great things and came home with a heavy bag of loot to use in my artwork!

Of course no tour of a city would be complete without hitting a flea market or thrift store and Tucson was no exception. It was a fun way to end our visit to Arizona……







My mom’s tribute…..


A few weeks ago my mom passed away after a 12 year battle with Alzheimers Disease. My father preceded her in death from this same horrible disease in 2003. At that time, in the last days of his life, I began a mirror/altarpiece as a tribute to him. I had purchased two identical mirrors twelve years ago from TJ Maxx and had hung on to the second mirror to create a companion piece when my mom passed away. The symbolism of using a mirror appealed to me as we are truly reflections of our parents in so many ways. Also creating a mosaic has so much meaning with all the pieces coming together to create a whole…..

After spray painting the ugly flowers away I was left with a nice silver finish!

After spray painting the ugly flowers away I was left with a nice silver finish!

Toning down the silver paint!

Toning down the silver paint!


I just recently finished my mom’s mirror and wanted to share the process of its creation. It was truly a cathartic experience to make tiles and embed them with bits and pieces of my mom’s jewelry and doodads, all representing her. She was a very kind and generous women with an adventurous spirit that took her around the world to the most remote places. (I think she passed on that love of travel to many in the family!) This is an early picture of her looking very Judy Garlandish! Always a smile on her face!

IMG_0990When I first began my mom’s mirror, I began with a similar title to my dad’s mirror. His piece is called “The Long Goodbye” and anyone who has had a love one suffer from dementia or Alzheimers knows what this means. You begin to lose that person long before they physically pass. My mom’s mirror is titled “Another Long Goodbye”. Using alphabet stamps, I was able to stamp out the title onto a clay slab. Then I used Rub n Buff to highlight the letters.IMG_9091IMG_9092An interesting thing began to happen along this artistic journey. While my father’s mirror tended to be on the dark side (images below) with an emphasis on death and disease, my mom’s mirror became all about life and living….I didn’t intend this at the beginning, especially with the title I started with. But as the piece unfolded, I think it reflected my mom and her optimistic outlook and I think I must have already sorted out a lot of feelings when I did my dad’s mirror that did not need revisiting!!

My dad's mirror, "The Long Goodbye"

My dad’s mirror, “The Long Goodbye”


Detail of my dad's mirror.

Detail of my dad’s mirror.

Next I began working on the top portion of the frame. Being a companion piece, I did want there to be some continuity and added the glass tile along the top edge. These days a crown shows up in just about everything I do and so it was fitting it was front and center. Below the crown is a band of vintage pearls that I glued on with Weldbond glue. I added a tin and glass nicho from Mexico which now holds my mom’s obituary. I also did the same thing on my father’s mirror and it is so nice to always know right where his obit is and that it has a place for safe-keeping for the future. I collaged a map into the interior with a detail of Ireland which is where her family was from. (Her maiden name is Harp-like the beer!) On the top part of the nicho is a small compass, very fitting for my mom the adventurer!

IMG_9094I will share a few of the other tiles I created.
IMG_9239I had an old box and inside of it I put a picture of my mom and in front of it is a globe that actually has room to spin. (I like this kinetic part of this mirror!) The door can be left opened or can close.

IMG_0994The above picture shows progress in a few areas! I made lots of random tiles at different times, not knowing exactly how they would all fit together. I incorporated pieces of her jewelry like this elephant (below) that was her earring. My mom earned a nickname after taking all of her kids and grandkids on a safari to East Africa; she became known as Mama Tembo which means mother elephant. There are quite a few references to ‘Ma Tembo” in this mirror. It was the journey of a lifetime!
IMG_9099IMG_9238I ran out of room on the frame of the mirror for her name which I thought should be in the center so I actually glued it onto the mirror portion! This mirror is over 3 feet tall by 16 inches wide.

IMG_9244My mom was always wearing a gold frog that was a reproduction of a Pre-Columbian gold frog she had seen on one of her travels to south America. I had to add a gold frog to my mirror. The frog’s mouth is open and that is where I am placing a small vial of her ashes.


My mom on our African safari!

My mom on our African safari!

I also added a band of small glass tile creating a black and white border around the mirror itself. This has the effect of repeating the look of the black and white words around my dad’s mirror. I later added Quin gold paint to the white tiles to tone them down a bit and make them look more vintage.IMG_9243

It was fun placing all the tiles on the frame and arranging all the pieces to fit. Through the years I have been drawn to rubber stamps with map themes and quotes about travel….and I finally had a place to use them! In the end, the mirror was done just in time to be displayed at her “Fiesta of Life” party! 

I loved creating this mirror/altar for my mom. It will hang proudly in our home as a reminder of the incredible woman she was and the family she started that continues to grow!IMG_0991









Stencils in Clay!

Just wanted to write a quick blog post with a link to Stencil Girl Talk that is featuring my polymer clay mandala this week as part of their “guest designer” series. This is just a teaser as there are more pics posted at the link above.IMG_8397The beginning of my mandala using a hamsa stencil. Here you can see the deep impression left by the stencil.IMG_8398Next step was painting and embedding into the raised areas.IMG_8403Next I started working on the background piece of the mandala and repeated the same steps…….IMG_8405IMG_8406IMG_8411I placed the mandala onto a deep cradle birch panel that I collaged with a napkin.IMG_8414I used another stencil to go around the border of the panel.IMG_8415IMG_8416And here is the final result!IMG_8418Make sure to check out the Stencil Girl site for more pictures and details! And big news….I will be designing some of my own stencils for Stencil Girl in the New Year! Stay tuned…..

Happy holidays to you and wishing you all the very best in 2015!


A magical mosaic tour!

As promised in my last post, I wanted to dedicate this entire blog post to the incredible home of mosaic artist Anado McLauchlin and his partner, Richard. They have lived just outside San Miguel de Allende for over 11 years now and in that time have created a compound called “Casa de las Ranas” that is truly a visual feast for the eyes with just about every surface painted and covered in a bright Mexican palette of glass and ceramic tesserae. IMG_7846

We were fortunate to be able to take a fairly large group of our attendees from our mixed media retreat to see Anado’s space which is a sprawling property that comprises the main house, The Chapel of Jimmy Ray gallery along with a few other structures that have been mosaiced.

Anado welcoming our group

Anado welcoming our group

IMG_7847IMG_7848The first part of our tour included parts of his garden area on the way to the Chapel of Jimmy Ray. Just about every surface has been covered with tesserae in a riot of color but what is truly unique is Anado’s use of glass bottles in his art.

The Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by bottles!

The Virgin of Guadalupe surrounded by bottles!

IMG_7852IMG_7858Above you can see the use of cobalt blue glass bottles embedded in mortar. It has gotten to the point that people who live in the surrounding community often drop off bottles and glass bits and pieces for Anado. He certainly never seems to be lacking in materials!

An old VW bug turned into a skull sculpture!

An old VW bug turned into a skull sculpture!

On the way to the chapel and the gallery, Anado pointed out the “Casa de Caca”! (outhouse!)IMG_7860IMG_7861Next stop was the Chapel of Jimmy Ray which is an homage to his father.

The portrait of jimmy Ray

The portrait of jimmy Ray

Exterior of Chapel

Exterior of Chapel

IMG_7864IMG_7865Inside the Chapel is a nice exhibition space that includes the work of Anado and various other artists who show there.IMG_7876IMG_7879IMG_7874IMG_7880IMG_7872IMG_7871IMG_7869IMG_7888Inside the chapel is a devotional piece to his father, Jimmy Ray. (James Rayburn McLauchlin)IMG_7881sisters enjoying the chapel!

sisters enjoying the chapel!


Love the color!

Love the color!

After touring the chapel and the exhibition inside, we wandered up towards the main house but first had a look at this newest project, a mosaic wall.

The lower portion with only the mosaic banding at the top

The lower portion with only the mosaic banding at the top

This wall is quite an undertaking and Anado has enlisted the help of artists and craftspeople to come and help him with this huge endeavor. As we move up the wall you will see the portions as they are completed.


IMG_7895IMG_7896IMG_7897IMG_7899I am standing at the top section of the wall that was completed first. Next stop was the main living space, Anado and Richard’s home. Quite the interior…..if you thought for one moment that the interior would have a subtle touch, well as you can see, this magical mosaic tour just keeps on going with all surfaces embellished!IMG_7927


Anado and Martha found out they were old buddies!

Anado and Martha found out they were old buddies!

I like the picture above and how it looks like Anado has a halo!! Totally unintentional but very cool effect!IMG_7912

Even the doors are mosaiced!

Even the doors are mosaiced!


Quite the kitchen!

Quite the kitchen!

Our last stop on the tour was Anado’s studio.IMG_7929IMG_7923IMG_7925IMG_7932

a fun place to play!

a fun place to play!


Anado and Richard...gotta love this picture!

Anado and Richard…gotta love this picture!

IMG_7943We all had an incredible time and left totally inspired to create! I think each one of us wanted to go home and mosaic a portion of our own homes! Thank you Anado for another fantastic tour! See you next year….can’t wait to see the progress that has been made on the wall!IMG_7935








San Miguel de Allende, Mexico retreat!

Just back from a very inspiring 12 days in Mexico for our Tesoro del Corazon art retreat held during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It is always such a festive time of year and this year did not disappoint. We had 30 wonderful gals join us from all parts of the world including a few from Canada and one attendee from Norway! San Miguel is a gorgeous and charming colonial hill town in the center of Mexico at close to 7000 feet in elevation. IMG_0796

This year we stayed in a new location for us at Casa de la Noche. This bed and breakfast was wonderful and has a very storied past as a former bordello! The entire staff went out of their way to make sure all of our needs were accommodated.IMG_5316

orientation on the first day in the courtyard.

orientation on the first day in the courtyard.

We had three classrooms running simultaneously with students working on their individual cubes to create their Totem de Vida or Totem of Life. (pics a bit later!) Four of the eight days were workshop days.DSCN3338

Helen's classroom

Helen’s classroom

Lynn's classroom and our "art asylum" room

Lynn’s classroom and our “art asylum” room

Jane at work!

Jane at work!


It was a very busy week and when students weren’t attending class, there were many choices of things to do. One day the entire group took a “field trip” to the Shrine at Atotonilco and to Galleria Atotonilco where Mayer and his wife Susan have a stunning home and a collection of Mexican folk art from all over Mexico that is unmatched.

Mayer and Susan speaking about their collection

Mayer and Susan speaking about their collection


Leandro and Co. driving all 40 of us to the the Shrine and back!! We looked like a Presidential convoy!

Leandro and Co. driving all 40 of us to the Shrine and back!! We looked like a Presidential convoy!

Our group at the Shrine of Atotonilco listening to Leandro's very thorough history of this UNESCO world heritage site.

Our group at the Shrine of Atotonilco listening to Leandro’s very thorough history of this UNESCO world heritage site.


While most of the attendees stayed at Casa de la Noche, one other group stayed at an adjacent property and the instructors stayed at a third property. Here is a pic of some of us with Barbara Poole (left) who owns Casa de la Noche.IMG_5280IMG_7468IMG_5269

Lynn, Molly Katherine and I cruising from our Casa to the main Casa!

Lynn, Molly Katherine and I cruising from our Casa to the main Casa!

As the week moved on towards Halloween and Day of the Dead on November 1st and 2nd, more and more altars began springing up throughout town. The markets were bursting with colorful sugar skulls and marigolds. It is an incredible sight to see and be a part of. IMG_5292IMG_7511

one of many altars throughout town

one of many altars throughout town

On Halloween night, the Jardin (central garden) becomes packed with children trick-or-treating. There are about 8000 ex-pats who live in San Miguel so it is truly an international and intercultural event. Most of the costumes are related to Day of the Dead, so there are plenty of “calacas” and “calavera’s”…..skulls and skeleton costumes. The “parroquia” or church is the perfect backdrop for the night’s festivities which include music, drink and delicious food.IMG_5596

Donna, Leslie and I posing with a huge puppet!

Donna, Leslie and I posing with a huge puppet!


IMG_5411and the scariest of all……

IMG_7598The next day began with even more festivities for Dia de los Muertos. On this day, families gather at the local cemeteries to prepare the grave sites of their loved ones. Families can be seen cleaning up the sites, adding flowers, adding sugar skulls and food and drink, all the things that represented their loved ones. Mariachi bands play music and there is laughter…and tears. It is a very moving and emotional place to be on this special day. IMG_0878As the week came to a close, the Totems de Vida took shape and we had an opening reception with all of the incredible totems that were created. The work was stellar. Here are just a few samples of the beautiful totems.

our group at the closing night reception

our group at the closing night reception


We also found time to visit the mosaic home of Anado and his partner Richard. Pictures from this visit will make up my next post because it is a true feast for the eyes! But we did also squeeze in a visit to a papier mache factory and that was fascinating! IMG_8002IMG_5588Our very last night after the student showcase of art, we had our closing night’s party at the wonderful Mi Casa restaurant which is part of the Instituto Allende. It has one of the prettiest views in town of the Parroquia and couldn’t have been a nicer spot to say our farewells to this wonderful group and to Jane LaFazio in particular who will no longer be a part of Tesoro del Corazon. We all wished her well for her future plans and endeavors.

a view to the Parroquia lit up in the distance.

a view to the Parroquia lit up in the distance.

DSCN3619DSCN3631DSCN3627Thank you to all who joined us for 8 glorious days in San Miguel! We appreciate your support and shared enthusiasm for this magical place!


A quick trip to NOLA

Wow, just returned from our first visit to New Orleans. Loved every minute of this very inspiring town. We only spent four days there but managed to pack a lot in, including lots of eating!

Our first night's dinner-Yum!

Our first night’s dinner-Yum!

IMG_7187Of course, we had to sample the beignets…twice! I gained 4 pounds on this trip and it is easy to see how! Aside from eating our way through NOLA, we also took in lots of art which I would like to share. Our first stop was at the sculpture gardens.IMG_7188It was a beautiful day to stroll through the park taking in the incredible collection of contemporary works. IMG_7196Of course, David my hubby and sherpa extraordinaire, loved it too, having taught AP art history.IMG_7195

Doing the famous "Mika pose"!

Doing the famous “Mika pose”!

IMG_5111Here is one of my favs by a Korean artist:IMG_5116IMG_0778IMG_7209

There was so much to see here!IMG_7204We also wanted to see the damage wrought by hurricane Katrina and made a visit to the lower 9th Ward to see the new structures that had been built in part due to Brad Pitt.IMG_7216IMG_7224

a view of where the breech in the canal was that did so much damage.

a view of where the breech in the canal was that did so much damage.

Next stop was the French Quarter….LOVE! It was so much larger than I thought and we surely could have used a few more days to explore all of the streets. IMG_7293

loved all the street signs

loved all the street signs

We visited on a Saturday when all of the artists were around Jackson Square selling their art.IMG_5136We bought that large piece in the middle called Sweet Sisters! (holding the umbrella). IMG_7294IMG_7291Had lots of fun watching the artists at work.  IMG_7289IMG_7287IMG_7290IMG_7281Here is our gang wandering the streets….and look who we ran in to!IMG_0767

James Carville on the streets, being very friendly and approachable!

James Carville on the streets, being very friendly and approachable!

Of course no trip to someplace else is complete without a trip to the flea market!IMG_7345

It was mostly new stuff but I did find one vendor selling some cool old junk!

Loved all of the architecture especially dressed up for Halloween! They are big into decorations here!IMG_5204IMG_5178IMG_7379Had a chance to run into fellow teacher and friend, Thomas Mann’s studio/gallery, Studio Flux on Magazine Street. Wow, what a great space…three stories tall and in a great location! Thanks Thomas for the grand tour!IMG_5149

Thomas Mann's studio

Thomas Mann’s studio

IMG_7303Love his jewelry designs and it was fun to see a collection of his larger assemblage work.IMG_5143IMG_5142IMG_7304Fun to see where all of these pieces are made. IMG_7312I also had the chance to run into another favorite artist’s gallery in the French Quarter, Cathy Rose. I have been stalking her for years and it was so nice to see her work in person!IMG_7369IMG_7370IMG_7373IMG_7365IMG_7364IMG_7376On our last day we were able to visit the incredible World War II museum….a must see. It could easily take four or five hours to view the entire museum. Loved it and learned a lot. IMG_5228

IMG_7415And on our last night, we finally made our way to the Spotted Cat to listen to some music! What a fabulous venue and a very entertaining band to boot! IMG_0789New Orleans, we love you and will be back to visit again one day! My only regret was that I didn’t make it to Laurel True’s studio….but we will save that for next time!


Art-Is-You, Stamford!

So from one coast to the other this month to teach at Art is You. Just returned from Connecticut and had a wonderful time with a whole new group of peeps! Saw lots of old art buddies and made new friends as well. This time I made sure to get a picture of our fearless leaders, Sallianne and Ellen who worked tirelessly to pull this event off.IMG_7096

IMG_7067My first class was called Outside the Box and participants did an incredible job of creating some pretty spectacular boxes.IMG_7015This is my gang for the day….and they were an awesome group who did some beautiful boxes. Busy at work:IMG_7011And here are the results:



IMG_7032Those are many of the wonderful creations from the first day. On the second day, I taught, Collage on Clay which was a lot of fun! Many lovely ladies!



photo 1(2)photo 5(1)


photo 3(2)

photo 2(2)IMG_7044On Sunday, there was a very nice tribute to Alison Stillwell and the announcement of next year’s theme, “Do More of What you Love”. We should do that!IMG_7054

IMG_7053My third class was Mainframe….always an enjoyable class because it is more of a techniques based class rather than a project, so no race to the end! Here are just a few examples…..IMG_7059IMG_7065IMG_7064My last class at Art is You, Stamford was Embedded Heart Shrines. This is where we create a small shadowbox shrine that holds an embedded heart pendant. The cool thing about this is that when you are not wearing the pendant, you have a safe place to store it and it becomes the centerpiece of your shrine!IMG_7075IMG_7074IMG_7076IMG_7081IMG_7086IMG_7085IMG_7084IMG_7083IMG_7082IMG_7079IMG_7087It was a great class to cap a wonderful week in Stamford. On my last day, my art buddy Kecia Deveney was kind enough to take me on a little shopping spree to Jerry’s Art-A-Rama! It was a fun way to close the week…..IMG_7094Goodbye Stamford!

Kecia and her passenger!

Kecia and her passenger!


Trip to lovely Petaluma.

IMG_4820Just returned last week from a wonderful teaching road trip to northern California and Petaluma for Art is You.  Petaluma is such a cute little town and was recently named Best Fall town by Harper’s Bazaar! (Yes, Paris came in 10th!) They do go all out with decorations!!  We drove our RV up there and stayed in a lovely KOA not too far from the Sheraton hotel where the retreat was being held. IMG_6689The first day we spent wandering around town taking in the cute shops and galleries and of course, The Mystic Theater.IMG_4775

Here are a few of my favorite haunts:IMG_6714IMG_6713and one of my favorite galleries, AWOL-artists without labels, representing artists with developmental challenges.IMG_6712IMG_6710IMG_6711My first class at Art is You was a collaborative class, team taught with my buddy Katherine England. (not to be confused with Katherine Engen of Valley Ridge fame!)

Ms. England on left, Ms. Engen on right!

Ms. England on left, Ms. Engen on right!


Us with our Sacred Tomes!

Us with our Sacred Tomes!

So the first day, students made handmade journals that were bound with coptic stitch, creating a beautiful Sacred Tome. The next day they came to my class to create a mixed media mosaic cover for their journal.

The Sacred Tomes gang!

The Sacred Tomes gang!

Here are a few shots of work in progress and then the Grande Finale!IMG_6748IMG_6745IMG_6750IMG_6763These were all so gorgeous….and Katherine and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results from our first collaboration!IMG_4794IMG_6762IMG_6753

That evening we took part in Floats and Flotillas, a crazy night where our team made the winning boat. Our boat called The Wild Life of Pi, took first place….and wild it was, the entire evening which culminated with Richard Salley, our teammate being pushed into the pool! Ahoy!IMG_6723IMG_6728IMG_6733IMG_6741

Poor Richard!

Poor Richard!

Art is You would’nt be Art is You without these two! Rice and the Ever Gorgeous Earl! (Of course it wouldn’t exist at all without Sal and Ellen! They were always so busy, I didn’t get a pic of them together!)IMG_6720My next class at Art is You was another new class called Collage on Clay. It was so fun to see the beautiful creations made in class.IMG_6788

IMG_6777It was fun having my good buddy and fellow AIY instructor, Karen O’Brien in class too! Loved her piece, even though it shrunk in the oven!!!

Two awesome pieces with Karen's shrunken skelly on the left!

Two awesome pieces with Karen’s shrunken skelly on the left!


That evening after class, a most beautiful rainbow appeared! Here is MaryBeth Shaw and I framed by it!

IMG_6796In the midst of it all, I participated in the vendor show. Thanks so much to all the folks who came and supported all the vendors, including me! And many thanks to my hubby and Sherpa David for setting up my entire booth while I was teaching! He did a great job!IMG_4808Back to teaching…… while David was setting up! My third class was Mainframe. It was such a fun class to teach because it wasn’t quite the frenetic pace that some classes are! All we were focusing on was the centerpiece! wohoo!IMG_6808IMG_6803IMG_4814IMG_6815IMG_6819These beautiful little pieces can be used as the focal point in another mosaic or they can stand alone.IMG_6811IMG_6820IMG_6814The next day was Sunday and that was the day for the annual huge antique fair in town. While I was teaching, David was playing! It is a super event….though he returned empty handed! (he spent his money on craft beer! lol)IMG_4816IMG_4782


My last class on Sunday was another new class called Triptychs, Crafted by Hand. Wow, just wonderful. Take a look:IMG_6830IMG_4833IMG_6840IMG_6838IMG_6829IMG_6831IMG_6828IMG_6833Thanks to Sal and Ellen for another fabulous event! Many thanks to all who came and took classes and shopped at the vendor show! Your support is truly appreciated.

Our last stop on our last day was at Alcatraz to view Chinese dissident artist, Ai Wei Wei’s installation throughout Alcatraz. Very powerful, engaging and highly recommended! It will be there through April, 2015.IMG_6845IMG_6874