Saturday, June 28, 2008

Coming soon...ART FAIR OFF THE SQUARE, Madison, WI - One of my favorite shows!

IF YOU MAKE IT TO THE SHOW, STOP AND VISIT ME IN BOOTH #83
I always love to meet and chat with everyone!

The first "Art Fair off the Square" was held July, 1980 in Olin Terrace Park, at what was then called Monona Avenue, which is now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The show was started as a "protest show" because of all the Wisconsin artists and craftspeople who had been juried out of the "Art Fair on the Square show, which was held around the Capital Square in Madison, WI. Since the fair was organized on very short notice, there were only 22 exhibitors. The second year the show was held they had 46 exhibitors. The show now, hosts about 140 exhibitors.

If you look at the above photo you can see how the fair has grown over the years, to be one of the best run shows (in my opinon) in the area, along with the WINTER SHOW in November. Each year the show's organizers, The Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople, Inc. (WAAC) receive hundreds of applications from Wisconsin artists hoping to get juried into the show. It is a juried show, with a booth fee of $200.00, membership fee of $25.00 (includes both summer and winter shows), and a jury fee of $15.00. When an artist is juried in, they are not required to rejury for the next two years, providing the quality of their work doesn't change.

This year will be the 29th year of Art Fair Off the Square, and it will be held on the weekend of July 12 and 13. This show and the Winter Show, which is held at the Monona Terrace Convention and Visitor's Bureau on Lake Monona, in Madison, WI are two of the best shows I have been lucky enough to be an exhibitor in for the past six years.

It usually turns out to be the "hottest" weekend, of the season. One year it was in the upper 90's and very humid!! That is when I like to visit this little wagon several times throughout the day!! Cool, refreshing fruit bars!!


Both the WINTER and AFOS shows are run by the organization of Wisconin Alliance of Artists & Craftspeople (WAAC), which was started in 1982. It was formed to promote direct contact between Wisconsin artists and craftspeople, and the public, develop opportunities for sales and exhibitions, educate the public toward a better understanding of artists and craftspeople, their works and challenges.

Below is a photo of the WINTER show, which is held in the lovely Monona Terrace Convention Center building on Lake Monona. This is a wonderful show, in November...great for looking for really creative gifts for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list. Top quality art and variety at this show! The dates for this year's show are, November 15th & 16th.



If you live in the area, think about taking in one of these shows. I'll be there on July 12th and 13th....come rain, hot weather or whatever else the weather may throw at us!

After the July show, I will be adding photos and updates of this year's show.


FEATURED ETSY SHOP - ANZ ART

DEATH and the MAIDEN
Original

A popular subject of the the turn of the century artists, poets, and composers - one that I am very attracted to.This is done with conte crayon on tinted paper (Canson pastel paper) It is archivally matted and framed including UV protective glass. Measures: 29" x 35" (including frame)


Welcome, Anne and her wonderful art!

I happened across Anne's Etsy shop one day when I was looking around at all the different artists out on Etsy. Her drawing called "FAERIE with SNOWSHOE RABBIT" caught my eye! Since I love faeries and rabbits, I had to stop in her shop and check out her other wonderful works of art. Her "DEATH and the MAIDEN" (Anne's favorite piece) is wonderful!


"Faerie with Snowshoe Rabbit"

Read below to hear in Anne's own words as she tells us about herself and her work!

My name is Anne El-Habre and I was born in Maine. I attended the Savannah College of Art and Design waaay back in 1989 and got a Degree in Graphic Arts. Although I liked it then, the computer has taken much of the Art out of it, so I returned to drawing and painting shortly after graduating. I am primarily self taught, gouache being one of my favorite mediums, though my strength is drawing. I also have a passion for printmaking. My influences are turn of the Century illustration (Pyle, Wyeth, Booth, Leyendecker) and Victorian and Symbolist painters. Inspiration comes from many sources, namely folklore, mythology, nature, and the human form.


What led you to start creating your art?

I don't know exactly. I think part of my instinct comes from my mother, who is very creative and gifted artistically. And then I think the more astute of my teachers early on in my schooling discovered I was not the most academically inclined child, but obviously loved to draw. To that end, they encouraged my artistic side. And then there were others that said I should apply my classtime to studying and less to drawing. Yeah, like that's gonna happen....!


How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

Ummm...I haven't? Though I really am not a painter. I never studied painting or took classes so I am self taught, therefore I struggle with it from time to time. I would rather be printmaking because it's like drawing and I love doing that.


What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?

I like getting in the "zone" when time passes and you don't notice it. I also like the randomness of it, how a concept starts out one way and morphs into something completely different once it's done. It can also be somewhat vexing.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art, what would you choose, and why?

Vegetable, definitely. Earthy and organic - not like fruit, which tend to be symmetrical and pristine, with a high opinion of themselves since they grow up in trees, la de da...well, not strawberries obviously!

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?

Hmmm...message...no message really. What I do hope people take away from my art is a sense of story - and that they have accessed a bit of their imagination. I appreciate artists of any kind, writers, singers, dancers, who transport through their craft - that is ultimately what I hope my art does.

What advice do you have for other artists?

Don't be snotty. Keep your mind open to all possibilities and realize that all art has a place and a reason for being - one man's art cannot speak to everyone. And never make art to match the sofa.


ANNE....Thanks so much for sharing yourself, and your work. I love your answers to the interview questions. AMEN to "never make art to match the sofa!"


Be sure to visit ANNE'S ETSY SHOP, and other links listed below








ANNE'S WEB SITE

ANNE'S BLOG
FLICKR

Friday, June 27, 2008

TOOLS OF THE TRADE - Cloth Doll Making

I imagine every cloth doll artist has their own favorite tools and products they use to create their dolls. I thought I'd share information as to some of the tools, and other products I have been using for the past 10 years, in the creation of my fiber sculpted fantasy creations, and where they can be purchased. If it wouldn't be for these products, I would find it very hard to create any of my fantasy figures.


The first and most important tool, for me, are alligator forcepts, and hemostats. I have several different sizes in each category, and would be totally lost without them! They work like magic when turning my tiny bodies, arms, and legs inside out. They are what I use for stuffing all of my creations. They come in several different sizes. Below is a photo of only a few of the ones I use. I must have about a dozen different ones. The largest works for stuffing my 15" size creations. The smaller ones work great for arms, necks, and legs of my smaller size creations.

The next items I use for bonding are FABRI-TAC, and BOND 527. Fabric-Tac is indispensible for bonding fabrics to fabrics, silk flowers, yarns, and whatever other material in the fabric family. It grabs fasts and is quick to dry! It is a permanent adhesive, and the bottle states that it will bond not only fabric, but lace, trim leather and wood. I myself, wouldn't use it to bond leather or wood.

For that type of material, I use BOND 527. As an example, I use this product when gluing a pin's fabric face to the brass metal backing I use for the pin's back. It will also cement, my mermaids, to wood, or real starfish. It is fast drying, and once it drys will hold fast!! There are a lot of other bonding cements out there, but I have found this to be the VERY best, and have been using it for years. It drys clear! I even happened to leave one of my "fairy face" pins on one of my outfits, which went through the washer and dryer without any ill effects. The pins' face never came away from the brass backing! I NEVER use hot glue on any of my creations. Everything is hand-sewn onto the creation whenever possible, and then a dot or two of Bond 527, to really secure it in place. This product goes a long way, as you don't need that much to secure smaller objects.

I discovered 3D Crystal Lacquer quite a few years ago, and have been using it ever since. I found it gives my creation's eyes a wonderful "life-like", 3-dimensional look and shine. It really brings the face alive! The only flaw, if you could call it that, is you have to be VERY careful to make certain that the tiny needle applicator tip is entirely clean, or the tip will plug up. The applicator tips come two to a pack with a tiny "stick pin" to put in the tip to clean it. I found that it doesn't work all that great, and it is best to use a piece of 28 gage wire. See photo below. That way you can pull the wire back and forth to make sure it isn't sticking, and it is easier to pull out of the tip, when you want to use it again. If you haven't tried this product for your doll's eyes and lips...give it a try! It really makes a difference.

The next product that is essential to the creation of my fiber sculptures is "fabric coated floral" wires. This is what I use for armatures, in the bodies, wings, and tail fins of my mermaids. I also use it in the creation of my "butterfly" pins. The sizes I use the most are 18 gage and 20 gage. For my larger sculptures I use a heavier 16 gage size. I used to be able to find these sizes in most stores, that have a floral section, but the past year or so a lot of these places haven't been carrying this size of gages. I now buy them out on the web at:

CREATE FOR LESS.COM

They have a nice smooth finish, and are a better quality then some Ihave used in the past.

Another product that I would be lost without is the Micron pen! I use the .005 size for drawing the features on the silk, fabric face, and also, for the eyelashes. These pens can be found shops such as Michaels, or any art store. I sometimes by them out on-line if shops in my area don't carry the small .005 size I need. I've found over the last couple of years that some of the supplies I use on a constant basis are getting harder and harder to find in area shops. I do a lot of my purchasing of these items out on the web.


When painting the faces of my creations, I use the two types of brushes shown above. The black and red brush is one I've found to work the best. It is by Loew-Cornell - 18/0 size, called a spotter. I usually can pick these up at a Michaels store. The price is in the $4.00 range. The other brush is also a "spotter" and the size is 10/0. This brush is about $2.00.

Two of my favorite on-line shops which carry just about all the products I use, and a lot, lot more are:

SISTERS AND DAUGHTERS

and

JOGGLES

I may be adding more products and suppliers to this post, so do stop back. If there are any cloth doll makers out there that have special products which they use in their creations, and would like to share them, please feel free to contact me at: dzfairies@msn.com. I will be happy to add your ideas to this article, and also a link to a shop if you have one.









FEATURED ETSY ARTIST - ANDREA R. METCALF

DRYING DAY PrimiTive Mixed Media Collage Folk Art ORiGiNAL (on canvas)
by Folk Artist, ANDREA R. METCALF

This is an 8" x 10" Mixed Media collage called Drying Day. The sky and background are done in acrylic paint and the clothes and quilt are cut out of acid free craft paper. The quilt is a big assemblage of scraps, just like a real crazy quilt is put together from scrap fabrics. Details are done in permanent marking pen. The piece is antiqued in my 'grubby/prim' style and varnished with a matte finish. Edges of the canvas are painted black so there's no need to frame.
Welcome, Andrea
Above you will see one of Andrea's charming "mixed media folk art collages", which she selected as her favorite piece for this feature. I agree, with Andrea....it is one I would have selected as a favorite from her shop. Read below to find out more about this artist and her work.

Hi, my name is Andrea and I am a stay at home mom with 2 young children. My wonderful husband, Chris, has made it possible for me to care for our kids full-time. I am a mixed media collage artist who is inspired by penny rugs, yo-yo quilts and all things primitive. All of my pieces have an antique / vintage look. (I call my style grubby / prim).

What led you to start creating your art?

I’ve always “dabbled” in art and took some classes in college. Then I found myself a stay at home mom with 2 babies and a bit of free time…

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

I used to scrapbook, so I had all of these lovely papers laying around. I wanted to use them in a different way.

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?

Painting the backgrounds to my pictures (acrylic paint). It’s very therapeutic.

If you had to choose a fruit or a vegetable to describe your work, what would it be and why?

I suppose I’d choose a watermelon since it is an under appreciated, folk-y kind of fruit!

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?

I’d like to evoke the spirit of the past (prim penny rugs, yo-yo quilts, etc) without simply trying to “copy” those primitive emblems.

What advice do you have for other artists?

Do what you like and never let anyone tell you “It’s not good enough”

Thanks, Andrea, for sharing your thoughts and art with us. Andrea is new to Etsy, so be sure to check out her shop below, and see what other wonderful pieces she has to offer. Best of luck to you, Andrea! Happy Creating!




Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP - Autumn Sky Adornments


I am happy to bring you the work of this talented artist, whose Etsy shop is called Autumn Sky Adornments.

Be sure to visit Crystal's shop after reading what she has to say about herself, and her work.

I have been a lover of all things sparkly from a very young age. Spurred by my grandmother’s collection of costume jewels, and a cast-off bead loom, what began as a child’s exploration and experimentation has grown over the years into a woman’s expression. There is a world of discovery and delight in the boxes, bags, and tubes in my studio… potential waiting its turn.

Every piece is one of a kind, created by hand, one bead at a time, changing organically as they grow. Where each piece ends is rarely where I had planned. My work is about giving tangible form to a mood, a breath, a moment. The possibilities are endless. I work mostly in glass seed beads, the most miniscule fragments of color and light, and highlight them with semi-precious stones, art glass, Swarovski crystal, genuine pearls and carvings in bone and shell. I’m only now branching out into polymer clay, and recently some work with shrink plastic….the possibilities are endless! The more media and material, the clearer the message can be. And the message is, Inspiration is Everywhere!

What led you to start creating your art or craft?
I come from a family of crafters, artists, seamstresses...as long as I can remember I've been doing things with my hands...it's never occured to me to NOT craft.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I often say that my medium chose me...there's a story about a bead loom that I salvaged from a family garage sale at the age of 6. I "invented" peyote stitch at Girl Scout camp a few years later...and I just never stopped creating, finding new ways to use those materials.

What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?
It soothes me. When I'm in a rythym, when my hands and the work have found their pace, I can free my mind to sort out other things...situations in my life, my day job, my relationships, problems I may be having with other projects (I also knit and sew, mostly for myself), or find inspiration for new designs. Like meditation, but way more productive.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art or craft?
I don't know that I'm going for any particular message....more of an aesthetic. Maybe the aesthetic is the message. So many of us do this thing of saving our good/expensive/interesting things for "a special occasion".... That imported lace shawl, the handmade brooch, the long singy earrings, even the good china. I try to encourage the people I come in contact with to USE those things.. wear them, love them. Their whole purpose is to bring beauty and pleasure to the world...why hide them away for "special"? Why can't today be "special" enough? We're beautiful and special, and we deserve to ornament ourselves in a like manner.

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
Do it for love.Don't be afraid to talk about it.... yes, it's interesting! Don't give it away! If you're trying to sell your work, sell it at a price that is fair to you as an artist... it sends the message that these handworks, this "woman's work" has value.

Crystal, those were some great thoughts and advice! Thanks, again, for taking the time to share yourself and your art with us.

Don't forget now....see what other beautiful works of art Crystal has in her shop below:






CRYSTAL'S BLOG - AUTUMN ADORNMENT

Monday, June 23, 2008

FEATURED ETSY ARTIST - EllaParry On Line Art Shop

I love this artist's whimsical, charming drawings, and am happy Ella agreed to take the time to share her art and thoughts with us.

Below you will hear in Ella's own words what she has to say about how she got started in her art and how she feels about it.

Be sure to take the time to visit Ella's shop out on Etsy and also her other links.

Hello! I'm a Brit artist who's really Chinese, originally from Cambodia, lived in Hong Kong, Thailand, Lau, Maco, now living in the UK with my lovely muscian husband for nearly 10 years.


What led you to start creating your art?
I have always had a strong passion for art ever since I was able to pick up my first pencil as a child. After ten years of working and living just to pay bills, and not living the life I always dreamed of, I finally decided to leave my full time job to be a full time freelance illustrator, and try to make my dream come true for myself. Last November, I was lucky and found Etsy!

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
It is based on the environment in which I live, I live in a small place and have little time for art and creating, so I chose coloured pencils for my main medium because it is easy to handle within the limited space I have. In addition, it has allowed me to draw anytime when I can. I love to use a watercolour paper mixed with coloured pencils, which makes for a very great texture.

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
I enjoy every single moment for creative from the research to complete it. It makes me feel I am alive again.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art, what would you choose, and why?
I would choose fruit--- the tropical fruit. It is colourful, attractive, warm, sweet and feels like sunshine.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
I convey my dreams and emotions into my pieces. I enjoy designing characters with surreal gestures in extraordinary scenes that I could be in. By creating my own atmosphere, I aim to make people feel relaxed, smile and forget all the worries they have in the real world and bring them into a fantasy.

What advice do you have for other artists?
Don’t give up your dream, we only live once, do what you want for yourself, and be proud of yourself.

THANKS ELLA, for sharing your thoughts and art with us! I always love to hear when someone has followed their dreams! HAPPY CREATING!



ELLA'S BLOG

ELLA'S MY SPACE

Sunday, June 22, 2008

DZFANTASY - FEATURED ON "THE ART OF CRAFT" BY Q BRANCH, LTD

I am very excited to be a featured artist on "THE ART OF CRAFT by Q Branch, Ltd, and also on their MY SPACE page! I always have such fun featuring other artists, and now it is just as fun to be featured! Hope you take the time to visit their sites below. There are also other featured artists, and other good things out on their sites. THANKS, Q BRANCH, LTD., for the feature! It is highly appreciated!

Mermaid on Real Sugar Starfish

Tiny Fiber Sculpted MERMAID on SUGAR STARFISH!

Lately, the mermaids have been calling to me!!! Here is my latest mermaid creation...! She is permanently attached to a real sugar starfish, and is offering her gifts from the sea! Designing and creating a tiny sitting mermaid like this takes many more hours than my tiny wall style mermaids.


Through the use of inner wire armatures, I finally manged to get her in just the right pose, so that she could be permanently cemented to the starfish. Since there wasn't any way to "clamp" her to the starfish, while the cement dryed...I had to sit and hold her to the starfish for about 25 minutes! I really must try and find a better of doing that!

She is full of fun and has a colorful, glistening Italian yarn hairdo, which I accented with a crown designed of Swarovski crystals and reall sea shells. She also has a waist accent of Swarovski crystals, and real sea shells, as well as a crystal necklace, belly button, and crystals in the upper portion of her tail. She is holding an offering of sea shells, glass fish bead, and Swarovski crystals.



If you'd like to learn more about her, be sure to visit her in my DZFANTASY Etsy shop by clicking on her link below.

MERMAID

Saturday, June 21, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP - FABULOUS PANTS by Amy Linder

Welcome, Amy Lindner, who has a shop called FABULOUS PANTS out on Etsy. I always find it so much fun to see all the different types of work out on Etsy, and love to hear what each and everyone of the artists or crafters have to say about what motivates them and how they got started. These pants look like a lot of fun to wear!

Read below, to hear in Amy's own words, how FABULOUS PANTS came into being!

What led you to start creating your art or craft?

I began sewing in 1997, when I joined the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society. I needed costumes, so one of the members of the group taught me how to use a sewing machine. Soon after, I started bellydancing, and I needed even more costumes. Eventually the hot summers of Illinois were too much for me when I was dancing in the studio. I wanted to have some sort of pants that I could not only wear for dancing that were lighter than sweatpants, but also more stylish. Our troupe would go out for drinks or dinners after studio sessions, and I hated having to lug a gigantic bag of clothing changes with me so that I could go from one venue to the other. Also, my closets were starting to overflow with costume pieces I could only wear in specific locations. I decided to research different world pants and see if I could find a solution to my problems. I found a Balinese and Indonesian design of wrap pants that needed a bit of tweaking, but eventually they really hit the mark. From there I started branching out into more bellydance clothing as well as other clothing and craft items.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

I decided to pick luxurious sari and brocade fabrics that would look good not only for dance practice and performance, but could also be worn to dinner parties, concerts, weddings, and basically anyplace I wanted. As an added plus they were great conversation starters for different social situations. I always look for high quality fabrics with great luster and texture. Soon, though, I may branch out into a less expensive line that are cotton based fabrics.

What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?

I love all parts of making my pants and costume pieces. Fabric hunting is probably my most favorite part. Nothing is more enjoyable to me than looking though fabric shops and sari shops and finding that perfect piece of cloth. I also really like sitting at the machine and watching all the pieces come together. You usually have an idea of what the finished pairs of pants or top are going to look like, but sometimes it turns out even more stunning that you originally thought it would. I love it when that happens!

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art or craft?

I would like to have people feel beautiful and confident by wearing my creations. I try to make my clothing one size fits most, that way most people are not limited to select pieces. There is nothing worse to me than going to a store and finding something I really want that does not come in my size. That is one of the other great things about the pants design, even if you yo-yo in weight, you can still keep the pants around. They are fully adjustable to your current size up to a waist of 45 inches. I also want to convey the idea of trying to have fewer items that serve multiple purposes. I love multipurpose clothing.

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?

Being pretty new to the Etsy world and the idea of selling my items, I am not sure that I have too much advice yet. I always did this before because I enjoyed making items, but I finally took the plunge to sell items when friends and family encouraged me to. I would say that if you really love it, want to do it, and believe in your product, you should go for it.

Thanks, Amy, for taking the time to share your work and thoughts. Love the pants! Be sure to visit FABULOUS PANTS by clicking on any of the photos below, to go directly to that item in Amy's shop or click on the link below the photos to go to her shop. Also, visit Amy's other links below.






CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW TO VISIT AMY'S OTHER SITES

BLOG
LIVE JOURNAL
WEB PAGE

Friday, June 20, 2008

FEATURED ETSY ARTIST - FOLK ART BY CAMPBELL JANE - JANET CAMPBELL

I happened to find this wonderful artist out on Etsy, when she "hearted" my DZFANTASY shop. I'm so happy I clicked on her shop, where I found the most delightful paintings. This one is Janet's favorites, and I can see why. It gives you such a dreamy, serene feeling when you look at her. I also love the texture she achieves by painting on sand.

Be sure to visit Janet's Etsy shop and her blog. Read below to hear what Janet has to say about herself, and how she got started in her art.

I live in Northern California right in the heart of Gold Country. My home is just miles from where apples are grown, wine is made & gold was first discovered. I was born in South Carolina & spent my early childhood there before moving to Japan , Arizona & finally California. I still call South Carolina home. My travels add to my varied taste in art. There isn't any style that I don't like! I love painting angels, mermaids & mermaid angels.I have enjoyed painting for 37 yrs. I am basically self taught but have studied art on my own & taken classes.

What led you to start creating your art!
A Japanese babysitter came with her crochet in hand. She was making an afghan of granny squares & using sparkly yarn. I was 7 and had to do it, could think of nothing else. The trip to the Japanese yarn store with my mother is one of my favorite memories!

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
Santa gave me oil paints, easel & canvas when I was 12. I have loved painting since. But still can't resist trying everything else that comes along!

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
I like painting on fine beach sand. I love the movement, the roughness, the organic aspect to it and the way it looks.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
Being at peace, something pleasing to the eye of the beholder.

What advice do you have for other artists?
Don't stop creating & never be afraid to try something new, even if it puts you out of your comfort zone.

Janet, thanks again, for taking the time to share your art and your thoughts!







JANET'S BLOG

Thursday, June 19, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP...HOMEMADE CARMELS BY RACHELLE

Now don't those carmels just make your mouth water!! Yummy! I don't know of anyone who doesn't have a sweet tooth, at least once in a while.

Hear what Rachelle has to say about how she got into making her delicious homemade candies. Be sure to visit her Etsy shop and click on her feedback to hear what people are saying, who have bought her delightful treats, and of course, don't forget to buy some carmels!!

What led you to start creating your homemade candies?

Much to the delight of my family and roommates over the years, I have always loved to cook. It's so fun and satisfying for me to whip up a lovely flavorful meal to share with those around me!

How did you decide what product you wanted to make?

One day about two months ago I was browsing a recipe forum and I came across a recipe for licorice caramel. I was intrigued by it, even though I had never attempted to make any sort of candy before. After lots of trial and error, I perfected the recipe and technique. Then I worked on creating the perfect vanilla caramel too. So, I didn't really choose the craft, it was sort of a happy stumbled-upon accident that turned out fantastically well!

What aspect of creating your candies do you find the most enjoyable?

My "real" job is a nurse, which can be very stressful and draining. Even though I love my occupation, it's always nice to have an enjoyable and tasty diversion. My favorite aspect is the lovely noise the caramel makes as it bubbles and cooks on the stove.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your craft?

I'm not entirely against mass-produced goods, but I do like people to know that there are other options out there. One of my customers said, "This makes Kraft caramel look silly!" The art and beauty of homemade foods is worth the time and effort! Everything doesn't need to come from a box!

What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?

Do what you love and you'll find others who love it too. When you have a product that you love, it shows!

Thanks, Rachelle, for taking the time to share your ideas and thoughts with us. Don't forget now....visit Rachelle's Etsy shop below to see what other candies she has to offer. I might just have to head that way myself!!





MY FAIRY GARDEN

My next passion after creating my fiber fantasy sculptures is flowers and taking photos of them. I thought I'd share some of my photos out here. Wisconsin has been hit with a lot of storms, winds, and flooding the past couple of weeks, so it seems like my flowers are taking longer to "get going"! The impatiens in these pots should be huge in another several weeks. They literally overflow the pots. Guess, I will have to have a bit more patience! This is a perfect spot for the fairies to visit, and whenever I look at flowers a can almost see them peeping out at me!

These flowers are perennials, and they come up in profusion every year! For the life of me, I can't remember what they are called! Does anyone know? I believe it is in the daisy family. If you look close you can see the little bee on the right hand side.
This is a closeup of one of the pots by my front door. It seems to be doing the best of all my flowers so far. It is a mixture of begonias, a tiny white flower and trailing ivy.



This is my first lily to open up so far!! There's lots of buds, so I will be looking forward to taking more photos of the whole bunch!

What a dreary place the world would be without all of God's beautiful creations!! Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Featured Etsy Artist - BLOSSOMS by Debashri

I was totally amazed when I realized that these flowers were made of clay!! How fantastic is that!! I thought they were real! What a talent this artist has! The details and shapes are so exquisite. Flowers that will last forever! Read below to hear what Debashri has to say about her work, and how she got started on this wonderful adventure of creating flowers. Below is a closeup of the "Fall Colored Wedding Bouquet" shown above.



What led you to start creating your art?

I have always loved flowers. When I was a kid, I used to get my mom wild flowers. When I started working, I got her flowers on every payday. My favorite gifts to people have always been flowers. My only complaint against real flowers has been that they dry up. So, I had tried to create long lasting blooms using paper and satin in India. When I came here and was without a job, I decided to take up making flowers again and came across a DECO Clay book. When I looked at the real-looking clay flowers, I knew at once that this was what I wanted to do.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?

I did not choose the medium. The medium chose me, I'd say. I just wanted to create flowers. Having made flowers from satin and paper back in India, I wanted to keep making flowers. When I came across DECO Clay and realized how real the flowers looked, I couldn't resist the medium. It pulled me to it.

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?

To be able to make people happy - I love the way children's faces light up when I give them a flower. They protect it like it is a piece of precious jewelry! Personally, it relaxes me - unlike my previous corporate jobs, what I do now is not stressful. Its a stress buster really, and I love that aspect of it. Also, having my own hours allows me to spend more time with my husband.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art, what would you choose, and why?

I would say Tomato - Weird as it may sound, I think my craft is 'juicy'. Its got a lot of spunk, like a raw tomato. And when my flowers dry, they become all the more irresistible.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?

I always wanted to spread the message of love and equality through anything that I did. My art allows me to do that effectively. Flowers are great equalizers. Everybody loves them! They break down barriers between people.

What advice do you have for other artists?

Don't let anyone or anything stop you from doing what you love to do!

Debashri, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and fantastic flowers with us! If you'd like to see more of Debashri's work, be sure to visit her Etsy shop below.







Sunday, June 15, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP - FAIRY NANA a.k.a Eve Reddin Lennon


Now, doesn't this delightful, exquisite fairy outfit just make you wish you could be a fairy and flit around in it....! It did me!! I met FAIRY NANA when she sent me a convo, expressing how much she loved one of my fairies in my DZFANTASY shop. Well I just had to take a look at her shop, and was in awe when I saw her delightful creations!! Each one is more exquisite than the next one. Now if I were a fairy, I'd have to have at least several of these gorgeous creations.
I'm so happy FAIRY NANA agreed to take the time to tell us about herself, her creations, and what got her started. Please read below to hear, in FAIRY NANA's own words what she has to say.


What led you to start creating your art?

It was the “silver Lining” following a stroke. ( I have CNS Lupus) I’d lost the fine motor skills in my right hand, and a physical therapist gave me a stack of felt square ,a large needle and thread, telling me my homework was to sew lines across each piece. I told her I couldn’t sew, but she insisted, so eventually I managed. It soon became boring, so I moved on to felt flowers at which point my granddaughter requested a princess skirt for her birthday party. YIKES! Eventually I managed a rudimentary tulle princess skirt for her, but I kept working on princess and fairy skirts until I felt they were “good enough” to pass muster. I ended up donating them to the Make A Wish Foundation – something I continue doing every month.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I didn’t really. I had already been a painter and lost the ability with a series of strokes. Sewing and the medium of fabric came after I had to “reinvent” myself.

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?

There are many – but perhaps the most precious is that I know that once someone puts my finished costume on – no matter what troubles she may have been dealing with, and no matter how she may have been feeling about herself, she will twirl around and feel beautiful , empowered, special, and absolutely as if she can make something magical happen in her life. It is almost as if I can impart a little bit of the feeling of “anything is possible” through a simple costume. I have no idea why – but when someone puts on one of these costumes they ALWAYS smile!!!!
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
That every girl – no matter what her age and no matter what is going on in her life – she is wonderful, unique, and beautiful – and that there is tremendous power in that.

What advice do you have for other artists?

Be true to yourself….and respect others as well as yourself.

Thank you FAIRY NANA, for not only creating such beautiful costumes which bring joy into the lives of others, but for taking the time to share your wonderful thoughts out here!! Be sure to visit FAIRY NANA's Etsy shop, to see more of her exquisite creations. Either click on the photo to go directly to that item in her shop, or click on the FAIRY NANA link below the photos. You won't be disappointed!



Strawberry Faery - Princess

Costume Child 3 -6






Friday, June 13, 2008

FEATURED ARTIST - AMY WEH


Welcome, Amy Weh of MOSIACWEH. Amy and I met each other at least 8 years or more ago, when we both were exhibiting in the same art show in our area (Wisconsin). We have since been in many of the same shows, and it has been fun to watch Amy's art as it evolved. Today she is designing and creating these stunning mirrors, which would make a great focal point in any room in your home or office decor. The mirror in the photo on the left is called "Kandinsky Circles, and is 30" x 40", composed of glass, mirror with black on wooden frame.

If you are looking for smaller pieces of work, she also has many designs for you to choose from. I will be showing some of these out here in this feature. Let's learn a little more about Amy. Read below to hear what she has to say about herself and her work.

What led you to start creating your art?
For as far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an artist. I was brought up in a very creative family that believed and nurtured the idea that you need to do what truly makes you happy. At home my mother was always working on something creative. That was considered a norm in our house. We never had a clean and pretty dining room table except for the holidays.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I was accepted at Cardinal Stritch College in Milwaukee through the Frederick Layton Art Scholarship. His legacy and the vision of the Art Director Sister Thomasita Fessler had a profound impact on my art career. I graduated with a BFA, and after college I worked in various creative fields such as kiln operator, gallery assistant, frame shop manager and visual display assistant. They were all jobs that have helped develop many aspects in my current field of mosaic work. After having my first child I decided to stay at home and work in my home studio. I began creating small watercolors in shadowboxes with found objects. Outdoor art shows were my first attempt at selling the watercolors. Around this time I also became fascinated with mosaics using china shards and found objects. I explored the mosaic medium learned through diligent self study how to manipulate this medium.I have continued to produce mosaics in many forms for the last twelve years, developing new techniques and methods along the way.
What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
I really enjoy it when the colors really start to form the shapes in my art. That's when the work really "gels" to me.

If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art, what would you choose, and why?
Pineapple? Bright and so Sweet if you eat the right part!

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
I really like to make people see my art and smile. Art is such a simple but complex form. It's a universal language.
What advice do you have for other artists?
Like my mother always told me- It's ok to be different."

Some of Amy's work is currently on display from May 18 - July 7 at the Schauer Art Center "Glasswork" exhibit in Hartford, WI.



RETRO SQUARES
Outside Size: 35" x 45"

Composed of iridescent glass, mirror, black grout on wood frame

If you'd like to see more of Amy's work, and see what she has available for purchase in her on-line MOSIAC WEH shop, be sure to visit the link below:







Below is a direct link to Amy's web page, where you can learn more about Amy and her work, see her art show schedule, and more.




If you have any questions regarding prices, and items available, Amy may be contacted at: amyweh@charter.net

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP - CHICKEN POX


WELCOME, Laura of CHICKEN POX DESIGNS. If you are looking for some colorful, fun, hand-made bags, purses, pouches and more, be sure to visit Laura's shop out on Etsy, which she calls, CHICKEN POX DESIGNS.

Read below to find out a little more about what Laura has to say about her life, work and how she got started!

I am a 21-year-old girl. I study fine art and crafting is my dear hobby and like a part time job. My artwork is often focused on melancholic and more serious things, so when it comes to crafts, I like to make things brighter, colourful and pretty. I love vintage fabrics and inherited a stash from my grandmother. I try to create unique designs and love making one of a kind items. Besides crafts, I love drawing, photography, travelling and reading.
What led you to start creating your art or craft?
I've loved crafts ever since I was a child. My mom and I made Barbie clothes, miniature troll forests and everything else together, but I actually didn't like crafts much in school. I got a sewing machine as a graduation present a few years ago, and I've been making pouches, bags and other little things since then. I will actually get my BA in Fine Art in a few years, and I would love to work as a contemporary art photographer, but sewing is a dear hobby of mine.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I found sewing difficult back in school craft classes. When I got my own sewing machine I decided to try something small, and that's how I got into making pouches. They're fast and simple to make, so I don't get frustrated. I love using little scraps of vintage fabrics, they are always full of history and inspiration.
What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?
To me sewing is very relaxing. It helps me get away from school stress and complicated art projects I deal with on a daily basis. It's also rewarding to get your creations sold. I don't think I'd have the energy to sew as much if I had no place to put all those pouches.
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art or craft?
I also use recycled, or upcycled materials, and I want everyone to know that eco-friendliness is the way to go, and old materials can come to life in a new way.
What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
If you sell your work, my advice is to have some kind of a business plan. Know your goals and work for them accordingly. Decide what size you want your business to be. If you want to keep it as a relaxing hobby, don't stress about extreme productivity but be ready to accept your income.
Laura, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and delightful creations with us! Be sure to visit Laura's Etsy shop to see more of her creations.





LAURA'S BLOG

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

FEATURED ETSY SHOP - MY KANGAROO

If you are looking for some fun, colorful crayons that will delight the little ones, be sure to visit, Lia's, MY KANGAROO shop on Etsy, to see what she has come up with!

She also has other wonderful items to get their young minds working, while having fun!
Read below to hear in Lia's own words how she became motivated to create her items for children.
What led you to start creating your art or craft?
Etsy! From the moment my eyes set sight on the front page I was hooked. In the last year I have learned to sew, crochet, embroider and lately make crayons. I have always been a creative person but now I have a reason to create.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I fell into crayons by accident. It started as project I was doing with my 3 year old. We had so much fun. I thought they turned out so cute I wanted to share them with others. My embroidery and sewing were influenced by books, blogs and other Etsians.
What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?
What I enjoy most is embroidery. Sitting down with beautiful raw materials like wool and transforming them into little gifts for others. I find it very relaxing. What excites me is creating custom orders. It is so much fun to add those little details that make my packages a gift to the buyer.
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art or craft?
I created and named My Kangaroo after my oldest daughter who was born premature. She was born 3 months early and weighed less than 2 pounds. We bonded in the hospital using Kangaroo Care, holding babies skin-to-skin. I would like to start a program for donating handmade toys in the NICU for siblings of premature babies (please contact me if you are interested). Today she is six and just like me, very crafty.
What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
Be flexible. My Kangaroo is my second shop. I started last year with a shop to sell my embroidery, but it didn’t really go anywhere. It took some time and hard work, but My Kangaroo really fits me better. Be open to new ideas and don’t limit yourself.
Thanks, Lia, for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas with us. Be sure to visit MY KANGAROO! I'm sure your little ones would be thrilled to have their own special crayons with their names. Just click on any of the photos below, to get directly to that item in Lia's shop, or click on the MY KANGAGROO link below to get to her Etsy shop.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Annual International Dragon Boats Race for the Cure!

Here is the "special" fairy I designed for The International Dragon Boat Race for the Cure, which is hosted in Windsor ON. Canada. Tara Chalmers, captain of the "Wings of Hope" dragon boat team had contacted me through my Etsy shop to see if I would be interested in donating one of my creations to this event. Finding a cure for breast cancer is very near and dear to my heart, as I lost a dear niece from breast cancer, at the young age of 37. Below is a brief description, taken from the official web site of this event, describing what they are all about.


The FDJ International Dragon Boats for the Cure festival takes place July 18 - July 20, 2008 in Windsor, ON. Paddlers from Canada and the United States will participate in this event to raise funds to fight breast cancer. French Dressing Jeanswear is proud to sponsor the International Dragon Boats for the Cure festival. Company President Len Miller says, "Dragon boat paddling provides tangible benefits to breast cancer patients and survivors, including emotional support, physical activity, and the opportunity for BCS teams to bring home money to their local cancer centres. It is an event that truly celebrates wellness for women.

If you'd like to learn more about this event, and see photos of some of the teams, be sure to visit their website by clicking on the link below:


INTERNATIONAL DRAGON BOATS FOR THE CURE!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

FEATURED ARTIST - LINDA GANNON OF RHINESTONE GYPSY


If you love color, and wonderful textures, like I do, you will love the work of this delightful artist, Linda Gannon, of the Rhinestone Gypsy!

To learn more about Linda and her funky, colorful handbags, read what Linda has to say about herself and her art.

I grew up during the turbulent, wild, free lovin' 60's and 70's...and was heavily influenced by the hippy scene. I am certain I've absorbed the rich, succulent, juicy, creative energy of those days, and it is now emerging in my art!

LINDA AND HER DAUGHER, KRISTIN

I love color, texture and whimsy. I love the "shabby chic" style of pairing old ( lovely antique jewels) with new (sumptuous batiked cottons/ silks)...then, finishing the look with some stitching on the outside, a safety pin hung here or there, and ribbons, laces, ric rac and rhinestones heaped on! I like to say my bags are "mixed-media collage/assemblage wearable-works-of-bohemian-art ". (Because each and every bag is made with something found and repurposed, it carries a bit of history and tells it's own enchanting story...and, someday, it too, may become a cherished family heirloom .

What led you to start creating your art?
I have been creating art for as long as I canremember...as a child I remember making cards andcollages for everyone I met (even though I didn't knowthat word!) by gluing found treasures (like rocks andsticks and birds nests) onto paper!

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
In midde school, Il earned to sew. It was the 60's and the hippy movement was in full swing. I fashioned the wildest, gaudiest, patched, mismatched, exotic bell-bottomed blue jeans you ever saw!! (OH, how I wish I had them today!) I have experimented with water color painting, mixed-media collage, photography, beaded jewelry, and most recently, fiber arts! Today I like to tell people I am a "mixed-media assemblage artist"-which is just a long name that means I have tried every form of art and couldn't decide which medium to focus on, so I kept them all!

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
I enjoy shopping vintage stores and flea markets on my quest to find unique jewels, buttons, coins, beads, laces and other goodies that become part of my bags. I also love the sense of accomplishment in finishing a bag (which is always different then what I envision when I begin!) That element of surprise keeps it fun and fresh! I absolutely LOVE what I do, and honestly can't wait to get up every morning to sit at my sewing machine to begin a new bag....or, to dye ribbons laces and feathers....or, to go off on an adventure searching for funky findings. Every aspect of making GYPSY HANDBAGS is fun, fun, fun!

If you had to choose either a fruit OR a vegetable to describe your art, what would it be and why?
I might choose an ARTICHOKE! They are lovely to look at; rich, rare, succulent and juicy; and have a heart (all the words I would choose to describe my bags!)

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
Nothing too profound...I want people to realize that life shouldn't be taken so seriously. We need to laugh more. We need more whimsy and frivolity on a daily basis...that is what I hope my bags convey.
What advice to you have for other artists?
Choose to do what makes YOU happy and fulfilled. Be authentic. Have patience. Your audience/customer will find you!

THANKS, Linda, for letting us have a peak at what makes you "tick", both as a person and an artist! ! I loved your answers!

Also, be sure to visit Linda's web page below to find out more about Rhinestone Gypsy handbags, and were else they can be purchased. If you see a particular bag shown below that interests you, just click on the bag's photo to go directly to that item in her Etsy shop.









Saturday, June 7, 2008

FEATURED ARTIST - CREATIVE BUTTERFLY

Today, I am featuring a shop called the CREATIVE BUTTERFLY! There are so many diverse talents and ideas out on Etsy, and it is always my pleasure to bring some of these artists and crafters to you. It is always interesting and fun to read all of their thoughts and views about their work, and what got them started.


Read below to hear what "Creative Butterfly" has to say about her shop and what got her started.

I am a creative butterfly. I love creating. I have a passion for designing. I've been designing (jewelry, clothing, crafts, paintings and MUCH more) for many years. I want to bring out the creative butterfly in all of you. There are no words to describe the feeling you have when you create something with your own hands. No matter how small, big, ugly, or beautiful. What matters is that YOU made it.

What led you to start creating your art or craft?
I don't even remember! I've always loved crafting. When I was like 10, I remember finding my mom's stash of sewing supplies in a closet. And I actually sat in the closet and made a skirt by hand! It looked horrible but I knew then what I wanted to do.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I've always loved fashion. While attending college for fashion design, I taught myself how to make jewelry because I couldn't find anything in stores that I wanted show off with my designs for my shows.

What aspect of creating your art or craft do you find the most enjoyable?

I would say finishing a piece, but I really enjoy finding and searching for the materials. I LOVE beads! But there is also no comparison to someone saying "This is so cute!"

What message, if any do you want to convey with your art or craft?
Have Fun, Be Flirty, Look Good!

What advice to you have for other artists/crafters?

Be patient! I have to tell myself that everyday! Enjoy what you do. When I sit down and make new stuff, I get so excited. I love it!

Thanks, Creative Butterfly, for taking the time to share your creativity and thoughts with us! Be sure to visit CREATIVE BUTTERFLY'S ETSY SHOP and other sites listed below.


BLOG


Thursday, June 5, 2008

GLASSWING BUTTERFLY OF SOUTH AMERICA

My sister-in-law sent me this in an email this morning, and it is so gorgeous I just had to share this out here.


The Glasswing Butterfly Lives in South America.

A butterfly with transparent wings is rare and beautiful. As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red. All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed; in life that which is unnoticed has the most power.



Tuesday, June 3, 2008

FEATURED ARTIST....Elena Diadenko-Hunter


I was roaming around Etsy the other day looking at all the varied art work out there, and was thrilled to f ind this very talented artist!

I contacted Elena to see if she would like to share her thoughts, ideas and art with us. Happily, she agreed to take the time to tell us about herself and her art.
The above photo is just one of her many delightful works of art! It is really hard to choose a favorite! I love the color and whimsey of it!

Read below to hear what Elena has to say about her beginnings as an artist, and to see more of her colorful work, be sure to visit her web page and Etsy shop. Her links will be below:

Elena, the "budding" young artist!




I love art so much that it is like breathing to me. I do it because I cannot live without it; I see the whole world through the eyes of an artist. My art speaks for my soul. Sometimes, it is happy and pleasing. Other times, it is sad and controversial. Always, it is colorful, unique, and imaginative. My art reflects my love of humanity, the power and beauty of women, and the confusion life brings to us.
I believe art should be very powerful and complex. Somebody once said that art imitates life. Life is complex, so why shouldn't art be? Art should encompass our emotions, experiences and beliefs. It should tell stories, protest injustices, inspire the imagination, nourish spiritually, make people think, please, amuse, inflict pain, confuse, enlighten, and sometimes anger. Everybody feels these feelings, but artists transform these feelings into paintings, sculptures, poems, movies, songs, and plays. My passion is painting. I use color, line and a variety of art methods to express myself.
I was born in Ukraine, and I started painting at the age of 2. I knew then that I wanted to become an artist. I became serious at the age of 10. Between the ages of 11 and 22, I attended 3 specialized art schools, which were very rigorous, but they made an artist out of me. What I learned primarily from my education in the former Soviet Union is that there are 3 aspects to becoming a great artist: great technique, creativity, and years of hard work.


What led you to start creating your art?


As long as I remember myself being a child, I always wanted to be an artist, and that desire never stoped inside of me.


How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?


I choose my medium depending on the theme of my work.


What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?


I enjoy when people understand what I am trying to say through my work.


If you had to choose a fruit or a vegetable to describe your work, what would it be and why? (this is a crazy little question I put in)


It would be a kaledoscope, because I can not stop at one particular style of work, I love variety.


What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?


Every painting has its own message.


What advice do you have for other artists?


Be creative, learn from others and produce your own unique art.




ELENA'S WEB PAGE