Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dolls in my life

Since the dawning of the universe, I think there were dolls.  Little companions that had slivers of human-like characteristics, but mostly magic.

Dolls have always embodied a quiet magic for me.   I had one special doll growing up, I called her Wendy Bagwell.  She has become tear-soaked with age and a very special treasure, representing my childhood. My Grandmother re stitched her all the time but after awhile, her skin became threadbare and she began to wither, her life force going into retirement a bit.   She went with me to collage and then to my first home.  She was quiet for years, I think she hoped that my children would love her as much as I do. But she is so fragile now, an icon for me though.

Though I had Wendy as a companion, I never dreamed that my life would revolve around dolls quite so much. I don't have many things from my childhood; they fell away like the shedding skin of a slithering snake.  I have only two relics of my early history in dolls left.
Soaked in time, steeped in my life, and smothered with love, these two dolls mean the world to me.  They loved me back and played with me for hours and hours. 

My Grandma was a collector in the traditional sense of the word. She was dirt poor growing up and didn't have dolls. So, subconsciously as an adult she accumulated, welcomed, and hoarded them.  I wasn't really impressed with her style of doll. She was more into the Franklin Heirloom variety. She did however, expose me to the magic of dolls and the tiny little personalities that are found within.

As a doll maker, depositing a certain amount of personality into a doll is so important. I want that sliver of  something special to connect fully with a memory or feeling deep inside whomever is viewing my work. I want them to connect so fully that they must bring my little lovie home with them. 

Each doll that I make  is also a part of my personal history. As I work on her, everything that makes up me as a person,  shapes the final outcome of my doll.

Dirty Wow Wow is not a rap song, it's the title of the wonderful book by Cheryl and Jeffery Katz.

 I stumbled upon this book a few years back and I love how it honors the threadbare loves of our childhoods! Picture after picture and story after story I became enamored. In love with the idea that  these little fellas that we loved so much as children provide solid markers of our childhood wonder. The wonder that we strive so hard as adults to reconnect with.

I look at my dolls as little love vessels. I filled them up as a child and I am reaping the benefits of their magic and the imagination that is held within.

Do you have a threadbare companion?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Adventures!

Hi again, it's me.

Many years ago when I was learning about what venues were best suited for my work my friend Joyce told me about Roger's Gardens. I guess I had heard about it before but when she said something about it my memory was triggered. Roger's is in Corona del Mar, CA. it's pretty amazing and that's putting it lightly. 

Each year the stellar cast of designers go to work and create a Halloween boutique. They build the walls and hang the fabric, I am pretty sure Eric and Sylvr conjure magic spells for enchantments as well. 
 This is a video of the crew setting the stage.

It's pure magical. Each year they choose a new theme and selected artists are tasked with creating original works of art for them.

These are picture from Roger's Gardens.
 This is the entrance to the Halloween Boutique. It changes each year to accommodate the theme.

Another delightful entrance to a room filled with wonder!

 This is the Art of Scott Smith displayed fabulously!

Deep breathe in...... AHHHHHHH! Don't you love it??

This year I was contacted to be part of the Halloween Boutique! Can you imagine? I was quite elated to be considered. And then panic set in!

You guys, in the past Wendy Addison, Joyce Stahl, Tina Haller, Scott Smith, Will Bezek, Nicol Sayre, Bethany Lowe, Debbie Thibault , and Vergie Lightfoot have had their one of a kind Halloween work displayed in the shop!

I am so happy to tell you that you will be able to purchase several of my pieces at the opening on September 2nd.  The theme is Grimm Tales. "Imagine a forest, dark and enchanted…branches creak and leaves rustle as trees close in, obscuring the path home.  Wander deep into the shadows and you’ll find frightful folklores, fantastical stories and chilling tales.  These bedtime stories will give you nightmares, and you’ll discover that not all fairy tales end happily-ever-after."- Roger's Garden

 With the theme left pretty open for each artist to interpret, my first piece is a seemingly normal Prim Pumpkin.  She was laying in a field and witnessed the fairy godmother lift her wand and grant Cinderella her wishes. A little of the magic spilled over on to the field where the pumpkins were growing. This wise, lovely pumpkin took shape... with her wand in her hand.  Midnight came and went, but my pumpkin just grew in enchantment.
This one was not so lucky! She was captured and put under glass by the Evil Queen.  The Queen keeps her on a shelf of curiosities among skulls and aviary. 

 In every good tale there is a someone like my Poison Apple Peddler who spins her magic and creates apples that contain both good spells and bad.  Unfortunately she hardly remembers which one is which anymore. 

I hope if you are in California, you are able to stop in and see my babies! Please let me know if you do. I know Roger's Gardens will not disappoint in the display that they create! It will bring our piece to life. Info for Roger's Gardens

Thursday, July 14, 2016


A tribe of like minded people is so important and the idea that we can connect with our tribe online widens our scope so greatly.  As a person that is mostly an introvert, finding my circle is an evolution. It's a practice in who I will link hands with in times of jubilee and times of trial. I've made bad choices of who I consider trustworthy, and this has lead me to trust less at times and also it gave me a standard to go by. My heart now knows that the challenging experiences were a measure of what I will allow in my life and what I will not. 

I've been making dolls for 9 years now! Can you believe that? And, in my journey as a doll maker, I've identified with other artists that I call my tribe.  I am always seeking. But I tell you this,  as you seek please know you DO NOT HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR COMMUNITY. I was looking at an online class last year and I contacted the artists leading the class to see if she thought it would hold any gems for me and she told me that sometime we as creatives have to do what ever we can to find our community, to the tune of $300.00.  What she was saying was, no- the class was not really for me but if I bought the class I would be give access to the community. So, I am hear to tell you, if your attempts at connecting FEEL wrong or pushed or if you have to pay money, that is not finding community, it lining someone's pocket book. 

Finding your community will be an individual journey. One that is as awesomely odd as you are! It will be like a recipe for a cake that when baked will be the magic morsels to aid you as you transverse you creative path. 

One of the great assets of my life as a doll maker is Art Doll Quarterly magazine.  Art Doll is a vessel for creatives. The editor and all of he people who work on the magazine hold space for us, our ideas and our energy. They process our creativity and then coupled with their creativity, they produce an inspiring publication. ADQ tills the soil for us, we offer seeds or sprouts and then when the magazine is produced, it's a floribunda of inspiration and knowledge. I am grateful for ADQ. When I write for them and share my work I am always overjoyed to see my words swirl out into the far reaches of the world for other to read.  This year my work was selected for the cover of the Fall issue, due out in August.  I hope you can take a look at a copy. I think this is quite an honor and I am so excited!

My community of bliss seekers continues to nourish me. This circle is food for my soul.  

Monday, February 15, 2016

Rome was not built in a day..... so they say

Rome wasn't built in a day OR  Everything costs....

Hi Loves,
This past weekend was so busy, emotionally and very much doing things busy as well! I started painting in Willow's room last week, a task that has been on my list for a long time. The kids rooms are small and that coupled with the fact that as children of a thrifting mom, they both have a lot of stuff  I have to tackle things in small steps. I've been on the look out for a twin bed for her room for a long time. Since she doesn't sleep in her room, it has not been too much of an issue, but as I create her little worldscape, I do need a bed in the equation. So before I began, I had an ice cream table and chair for tea parties, a large kitchen set, a calico critters play table, a vintage vanity and a dresser. Are you kidding me? There is simply no space for  a bed.... I moved all of the toys and stuff and I began to paint and my decorating ADD took hold. I finished one wall and some trim and I decided quite suddenly that the carpet needed to come up.  I remember texting my Mom and exclaiming "OMG what did I do? I am never going to get this done before Joe get's home from work!" which was the goal.. to appear all bad ass... and have it done before he got back.  To be clear and fair the carpet looked as if it was going to come up really easy. But my tools were all wrong. I couldn't find a Stanley knife and my x-acto blades are too small, so I **cringe** tried to cut it with scissors.  That was very much akin to bringing a butter knife to a gun fight... I struggled with it.  I got mad.... 

Listen up children, the right tools for the job make all the difference.

 The home front looked very much like a shabby chic natural disaster and I thought seriously several times about throwing it all out of the window and starting fresh and clean! But the window was frozen...

In the mean time of household distress I came to a breaking point with a friendship. Did you ever meet someone who wowed you with charisma and stories and you loved them based really on nothing but stories? I had a friend like this and over the past few weeks the veil fell off and I saw her trueness.   Do you know that guttural feeling when things are not right? I felt it. I stayed in that for a bit did my own research and I realized that I could not have her near my family or in my space anymore. I did nothing other than sever our ties.  Our virtual connection.  I had to because I felt icky thinking about the situation and the moment I knew it was over (or a least my having to see her status posts) I felt like this was a step in the right direction. The moral of the story is that you do not have to be friends with EVERYONE. Listen, we as artists try hard to create a lovely spot to create our art in and to allow someone who is a predator, toxic, or a joy thief into your space is doing yourself a big disservice to your creativity.

So the house is a mess, I am morning the loss of a person I thought was a friend and the sun started to peek through the grey.  I had some amazing feedback about my work. LIKE uber amazing. I could not have been more excited if Queen Elizabeth called me up.

Yesterday the correct tools were acquired and the carpet was removed to give us beautiful wood floors.

Joe finished putting a new light fixture in the bathroom and now all but a few towel bars will make that room done. 

I am all about feeling more deeply this year and this encompasses the realization that we all may be connected, but not akin. As I work I consciously honor my intuition in my home crafting, my art and my friendships.  I want to be the kind of person that curates a life with all of the things and people that make me happy, there simply is not time or energy for less.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tiny little morsels!

Winter is kind of grey in Michigan at this point in the year. I grasp at any morsel or bread crumb to get me though until warmth fills my body and warms my toes. 

This morning I received the new show graphic for Ghoultide Gathering.  What a morsel that was! It's in September this year so mark your calendar and book your hotel room! 

I just wanted to share it with you, perhaps it will be your morsel as well. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A potion for soup

Unfolding into Winter is something I will just never do. I fight it with every shiver.  I layer my clothing and the children's clothing but our faces and hands are chapped by the cold wind.  And this Winter has been mild by all accounts! I have however, wrapped my arms around souping.  Soup is a very creative and beautiful dish. Something that will nourish your insides and hopefully inspire you to create something magical.

It's been awfully hard to see the fairies dance amidst the snowflakes. I think they must have a magical portal to warmth.  Good for them, I say!  For us creatives I say, make soup and pray for Spring!

 I like having something warm on hand to eat as I create in the studio.   This one is a chicken and wild rice blend that is really good.  I've made it twice this week alone.

This is what you need:
olive oil
2 cups mushrooms (4 oz.)
3/4 cup chopped celery- a bit more than a handful
3/4 cups chopped carrots- a bit more than a handful
1/4 cup chopped shallots- shallots a tiny onions but they are more mild in flavor. Not so pungent in flavor. 
1/4 cup flour all-purpose
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of wild rice- get the uncle ben's QUICK long grain and wild rice -orange box
3 cups chicken shredded and cooked. You can use fresh or canned chicken.
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped up really well.

In a soup pot, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil at medium high heat.  Add in your carrots, celery, mushrooms, shallots and cook them a bit. The carrots will deepen in color and the flavors will marry.  About 8 minutes will do.  The veggies will be crisp not soggy. 

Add your flour and salt and pepper and stir like mad. Let it cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Add rice, just the rice, not the packet that comes in the Uncle Ben's box, just throw that yuck out! reduce heat to simmer. cover for 7 minutes until your rice is tender.

Add in the chicken, sour cream and parsley. Heat through- about 8 minutes. 

This is a really tasty bowl that will warm you through and through.  Eat and enjoy this little potion.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

RIP Alan Rickman

I loved watching him preform for us. The cadence of his voice was magic and he will be missed.