Wednesday, March 08, 2023

It's been a while


It's been a long time since I've occupied this space. I'm popping in to share a little about where I've been, and where I hope to be. I'm sharing that on a new platform. I hope you'll join me over there at

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A' La Carte project

Some of you who have taken a class from me have probably heard me say that someday I want to rehab the old winnebago rusting away in my back yard into a mobile studio. Given the fullness of my schedule and the enormity of the task of fixing up said winnebago, that idea remained on the wish list.

Until April.

Sprout MN and Region Five Development Commission are launching a mobile food market - a customized van that will bring fresh produce to areas that may not have access - and were looking to add a cohort of artist carts to add to the experience and tie in art and agriculture.

I attended the info session but knew I had no business taking on a project. None at all. But the idea of turning my wish list item into a reality was a strong pull. Sometimes the universe has a way, you know. So I took a breath and wrote a grant request describing my dream of a mobile felting studio. I talked about how exciting it is for me to think about sharing knowledge and experiences with others, and how I might design my "cart". I described how visitors could feel and smell a greasy raw fleece, how they could wash a little to learn that process, how they could run some clean wool through my picker and then the drum carder, how they could sit down and add some dyed wool to a community project.

And I got the grant. 

Holy buckets, I got the grant.

The design of my cart originally centered around a cute little vintage Shasta, but there were obstacles and this less-cute but more practical dude came into my life. (our winnebago was far too large of a project to consider)

This guy, while not much to look at now, is in pretty good shape and has a lot of potential.

I'll be sharing process pics on my Instagram and Facebook pages, but will share here when it's all done.

Wish me luck!

And, big, big thanks to Sprout MN, Region Five Development Commission, Five Wings Arts Council, and the McKnight Foundation for making this project possible.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

A new chapter

I'm about to embark on a new project, a new chapter really, in my life as an artist. 

For many years I occupied this space as an artist, woods-dweller, and mother, sharing my work and life in the woods of rural Minnesota. When my youngest was entering kindergarten I made the announcement that I would be making the leap to be a full-time artist. No sooner were the words out of my mouth when my husband became ill. Instead of throwing myself into my creative work, I found work as the Director of a nonprofit arts organization and thus began a wobbly balance between being the sole breadwinner to support my family, and my creative needs. For anyone who has worked for a nonprofit, you may have already guessed how the scales tip.

Flash forward some five years to where I am now. Still living in the woods, but the chickens, ducks, and guineas are gone in an effort to pare down some responsibilities. My children are becoming more independent and capable souls full of their own personalities and talents. My oldest, now a Marine, stationed in an interesting part of the world touching base through daily chats on messenger. My husband's illness continues. I'm still an arts administrator, dedicating much of my energy to creating arts opportunities for others, occasionally teaching classes, rarely creating artwork.

I've gotten good advice from people who care about me to find a better balance. And, because the universe has a way, I was presented with an opportunity that would allow me to share my love of wool and felting with others, in a fun way. It also presents me with an opportunity to take on a "fixer-upper" project, which I also love.

I'll be back soon to share the project specifics. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

a return to stitching stones

I've been missing my daily stitching. A lot. I'm eager to come back to this work that I find so meditative. If you would like a stone of your own, I would be happy to put one in your hands. You can decide approximate color and let me know of any particular stitches you'd like, or if you'd like beads included. I will add my own creativity and send a sweet parcel off to you.

Each stone has been hand-gathered and felted with wool I've dyed myself. The wool cocoons the stone and becomes a canvas for stitches and beads. The act of creating these stones is soothing, almost healing for me. The finished object becomes something that has a pleasing heft in the hand, and reminds the viewer of patterns and textures found in nature.

Each of these stones will be 2.5" - 3" long and fit nicely in the hand.

The process of stone-making takes several days - I must felt and dry the stone before I stitch, and stitching may take a week. Because of that, your stone may take several weeks to arrive. I will fill orders on a first come, first served basis beginning in January 2018.

I've limited the number of stones I'll make for now, but hope to open up more orders in the future if there is interest.

Monday, August 07, 2017

a gathering of spirits

A mothering spirit was recently born from my hands.
A moon spirit and Autumn spirit soon followed.

These are made of wool and paperclay, and are meant for living indoors but now I'm slightly obsessed with the idea of making some that are fit for the elements and hosting a sculpture walk in my woods. We have a trail in our woods that's just short of a half-mile loop that would be perfect for what I'm envisioning.

My real life demands my attention so there's no telling if this will come to fruition, but it feels good to dream.


What have you been dreaming about lately?

Monday, July 24, 2017

a mothering spirit

Thinking about my role as mother and what it means to be the nest when your babies begin to fledge.
She has tiny wings, seemingly too small to fly. Like a bumblebee.
Rooted and flying at the same time.

I caught her in a quiet moment among the trees.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

making faces

A break in the (work) action and just what I needed. Permission to play.
After several weeks of no creative time, I decided to pull out a package of paperclay and just play.
I ended up making a face. And it was fun. So I made another the following day, and the day after that.

Now I'm out of clay, which is probably good because I have a lot of work to do.
The nonprofit that I work for is moving to a new location and there is much that needs to be done. 

But then, I might have just ordered another package of paperclay so maybe there is a little time for play...


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

finding cross rocks

We did a little exploring this weekend, right in our own neck of the woods. We camped a few nights in neighboring Little Falls and played tourist. We had donuts at a local bakery, wandered a pretty little park on the Mississippi, and searched for cross rocks, or, Staurolite at Blanchard Dam in Royalton, MN. 

I hadn't even heard of cross rocks before this weekend, but a search for "rock hounding, Little Falls MN" turned up one result...cross rocks. Naturally, we had to check it out. After a short drive and a short hike, we found ourselves at the river's edge at the bottom of the dam. We weren't really sure what we were looking for, or where we should be looking, but once we found our first piece we were off and running. Each of us found at least one cross, and gobs of straight pieces. We had a blast!

This was my best piece:

E had a good selection of her own. Her favorite being the one that looked like a little plane:

I found two heart stones, but this one was my favorite:

We also found this little friend and the kids loved on him for a minute before we set him back in the water.

We cooked our meals on the fire and I read aloud 'Ronia, the Robber's Daughter' to eager listeners who didn't even seem to mind that their tablets and phones were nowhere around. I felt connected in a way that I've been missing lately, with the busy-ness of work and life. Good stuff, all of it.

Have you been exploring lately?

Thursday, June 08, 2017

landscapes and beads ahead

I'm teaching a landscape workshop this weekend at the Franklin Arts Center. I hear the weather is projected to be 95. The building doesn't have air conditioning so this class may become something of a strip tease in an attempt to stay cool. Stories later! (but no photos, I promise)

This afternoon I'm giving a demonstration on simple wet-felting at our local library. I believe their space is air conditioned so we'll all be suitably modest, probably.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

wool bead necklace

A little time spent arranging wool beads and braiding leather and I have myself a necklace to wear to my "how to make wool beads" demonstration this week at our local library. They feature a new craft/art form monthly, which I think is really cool, and June 9th it's felting courtesy of me.

In the Brainerd area? Stop by and get sudsy!

Thursday, June 01, 2017

sweet diversion

Art time has been slim lately due to the demands of my day job and family, and then along comes this sweet diversion. The pendulum always swings though, so I await a return to balance. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

stitched stones for sale

A collection of stitched stones has gone to The Crossing Arts Alliance online shop. As you may know, TCAA is a lovely little nonprofit arts group that does good work in greater MN, for which I happen to work.

If you are interested, please have a look at their shop. There is some great work from fellow MN artists there that is surely worth an ogle.

Thank you!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

finally, a red stone

Check that one off my list.
I confronted my fear of red.
A stone inspired by the crimson-hued House Finches that have been visiting my feeder. Apparently they lay blue speckled eggs, usually a clutch of five, but I got carried away and gave them a nest overflowing.

Adding this one to the little pile in hopes of a shop update soon.

Happy Tuesday. I hope you have a bright and cheery day, abundant with just the right things.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

wool inspiration packs

I'm trying something out.
Erin and I were playing with colorways and we decided to put some of our combos up for sale. She has a real knack for colors, this 8 year old girl of mine. She picked the combos and the names and I did the rest. There are a few of these packs o'inspiration in my shop in case any of you want to round out your palettes or get a little color inspiration. 

I hope your weekend has been inspiring and colorful too. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

tutorials, openings, and general busy-ness

Regular busy-ness at work with grant writing, meetings, and the like, coupled with the opening of our children's art exhibit and a basket weaving class the next day, a segment on the local radio station, and two appearances on our public television station is enough to wear ya right out.

In the midst of that I taught two rabbit workshops to some truly lovely people, and began work on writing my "how to stitch stones" tutorial, which I hope will help people manage some of the basics and gain some confidence in creating them.

A glance at my week...

Over 400 people came to the opening of our 'Young at Art' exhibit celebrating children's art work.

You have to have fancy finger food at gallery openings. We made sure the kids would enjoy it. These are nilla wafers with a mint cookie sandwiched in between with red and yellow icing to look like little hamburgers. The "fries" are shoestring potatoes.

We had a whole group of kids and grown ups come to our Second Saturday to learn to weave baskets. We provided two projects, one involving reeds, and one where kids wove yarn into plastic berry baskets. They all turned out just great. 

25 people, over two days, learned to needle-felt bunnies. My favorite part is how they all turn out differently. These two were made by young twin girls who hung in there for the long 4-hour class. They did so well!

The lovely Zoma traveled up for the class and made such a sweet little bun.

I also made some prototypes for my next needle-felting workshop - cacti. I think this one will be fun. I'm also working on a couple of wet-felting workshops but am trying to find just the right space to hold them in.

All good stuff, but I'm ready for a little nap and a curl up on the couch with a cuppa.

For those that celebrate, have a wonderful Easter.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

sleeping mouse

Shh...the mouse is sleeping.
A little project I've been envisioning for a while, tucked inside one of my favorite enamel cups.
I'm going to be the featured member artist at The Crossing Arts Alliance Gift Shop in September. I'll need to bring in some gifty type things so I thought this would be a good place to start. I feel so prepared! Though, if I run true to form, I'll be making the rest of my pieces in mid-August sometime.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I've been branded!

A little gushing... 

I'm a happy camper today. I picked up my new business cards, notecards, and packaging for wool bundles yesterday from my favorite local print shop, Lakes Printing in Brainerd MN and they're beautiful! Designer Sera put together a logo for me (I feel official!) that I'm thrilled with, the quality of everything is beyond my expectations, AND I'm supporting a local business that supports my community. (Kevin, the owner, is a champion of non-profits)

I had been using an online printing company for years for my cards. I liked their quality well enough that I was willing to overlook some of their shipping issues (boxes of bent cards, anyone?). I didn't think that I could get the same quality and prices locally, but clearly I was mistaken. As much as I like supporting local, I'm surprised it took me this long to get on board with my printing. Kind of kicking myself, actually.

Blatant plug! If you are in the Brainerd Lakes area, give Lakes Printing a call when you need to give your business a fresh start or a little marketing oomph. Kevin is amazing and full of ideas to help your work shine. Give them a call.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

forcing sunshine

I had the day off so in between doing my taxes and whining about doing my taxes, I did a little wet-felting.
I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I started laying flowers on top of the lingering bits of snow, I'd chase winter on out of here. Time will tell, but I'd bet that in a couple of weeks, I'll see if it worked.

True to form, my pal Charlie tried his best to help.
And by help, I mean get himself in the picture somehow.

But at least there's sunshine.


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