Art from Found Objects

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I love using various found objects and repurposing them in my art, especially in my assemblages.  The piece on the right is called Durga, and is composed of a shelf divider from Habitat for Humanity, a broken bowl, old jewelry, fabric miniblind end scraps, found bone and a sand dollar, and bits of wood found on walks.   Right now, it’s on exhibit for the Craftland Show at The Scrap Exchange in Durham. 

I’m lucky to have a Habitat for Humanity store and a place called The Scrap Exchange nscrapexchange2ot far from where I live in Raleigh, NC.  These are both terrific resources for finding good materials that can no longer be used for their original purpose. 

The Scrap Exchange is having an extravaganza of events between now and the first of year, including Craftland, a show celebrating the creations of artists who make art from reusable materials or from materials that have an earth-friendly component.  Craftland will be up until December 31st. 

scrapexchange3 The Scrap Exchange is visible all over the Triangle area (which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill) for hosting open craft sessions at various craft venues.  There’s nothing more joyful than watching children parade their headdress creations at First Night, an annual new year’s celebration in Raleigh.


18 October 2009 at 11:53 pm 1 comment

Wordless Wednesday

Columbus?  Really?

13 October 2009 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment

In love with landscape

My family and I just got back from a week in Lake Tahoe, and feel fresh and new thinking of those beautiful vistas and cool mountain air.  We watched the drama of salmon spawning, hiked up and down and up and up, and sat still and breathed in the scent of vanilla from the Ponderosa and Jeffrey pines.  For two of our days there, we  walked through a hushed wonderland of snow — in shirt sleeves because the sun was so warm.   What a wonderful place.

The natural world centers me spiritually, yet I’m prone to forgetting that fact day to day because of my struggles with the heat and itchiness of my home state.  It’s beautiful, too, but six months of the year it makes me uncomfortable enough to estivate, a word I learned when I moved to North Carolina.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         The beautiful landscapes I’ve visited crop up often in my work.  These two are from my travels in the Southwest US:







This rushing river under the Northern lights is based on a photo from my friend Scotty’s trip to Alaska.




This is the view from my wide bedroom window (lucky me):





Some of my landscapes are based on fantasies or juxtapositions of places I’ve been.   This large silk scarf includes a view from the courtyard of the Cloisters in New York City,  a tree from my imagination, a woman from Renaissance art, and a dragon from ancient Chinese art. 



This tree in the snow with a pink sky is pure fantasy.




This long hanging landscape uses some artistic license, as the landscape is based on walks in North Carolina, but the cranes are Japanese.   It’s a beautiful piece on which to meditate!

I’m grateful for all of the beautiful places in the world I’ve been lucky enough to visit and meditate on.

11 October 2009 at 9:23 pm 1 comment

Winter Essentials

These may not exactly be “essential” and you may not even care to wear them all at once, but what a satisfying set of possibilities you’d have if you owned all these beautiful hand-crafted things! Shop the Wear It Out Market for these and more!winter

coat by Vigilante Labs
earrings by Metalsgirl
wheel pendant by Mannybeads
handwoven scarf by Banner Mountain Textiles
handbag by Truly Unique by Elise
hat by DreamWoven

25 September 2009 at 1:21 pm Leave a comment

Centerfest, Durham, NC, Sept. 19-20

Centerfest is one of the bigger juried shows around North Carolina, and it’s happening this weekend.   That’s one of my scarves in the poster below . . . cool, huh?  I’ll be in booth E13, so come by and say “hi,” or “hey,” if you’re so inclined.


18 September 2009 at 10:53 am 1 comment

Wordful Wednesday



You are the bread and the knife,
The crystal goblet and the wine . . .

Jacques Crickillon

by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,  
the crystal goblet and the wine.  
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker 
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.  

However, you are not the wind in the orchard, 
the plums on the counter,  
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way you are the pine-scented air.   

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.   

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.   

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world, 
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.   

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley,
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.   

I am also the moon in the trees 
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I am not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and—somehow—the wine.

Billy Collins, “Litany” from Nine Horses.
Copyright © 2002 by Billy Collins.

12 August 2009 at 1:14 am Leave a comment

Playing with Alcohol . . . it’s not what you think!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Alcohol works as a resist with dyes, so by alternating alcohol washes with silk dyes, you can get some beautiful shading effects.

This silk piece was given a subtle background pattern by using the parfait method (more about parfait on another post).  I used water-based resist to draw my design.   Once the resist had dried thoroughly, I used a cotton swab to dampen the bottom of the petal shape.  I dipped a paintbrush lightly into indigo dye and applied the color to the top of the petal.  I then quickly dipped my brush point into water and washed it over the alcohol area of the petal.  This gives a pretty gradation in color. 


I repeated the technique across the scarf on both the petals and leaves — you can see the rich effect it gives.

Alcohol dries pretty quickly, so you’ve got to work quickly once it’s applied to each area you’ve defined with resist, but the results add a lot of depth and modulation to your silk painting.  Here’s a view of the finished piece, which is listed in my Etsy shopOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


6 August 2009 at 8:51 am 4 comments

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