Thursday, January 29, 2009


Here at last I have some photos to share of my completed ‘hand’ project. In spite of a few interruptions to the process, I managed to pull it all together fairly close to what I had initially envisioned. Not exactly mind you because rarely does anything I finish match exactly – usually due to the fact that I have failed to take certain physical properties into consideration.

Nevertheless, here it is: Glimpse, a one-of-a-kind piece in my bears&boxes series. This photo shows the box from the front. It has a tiny little window through which you can get a peek of the inside. The word ‘glimpse’ provides some subtle texture to the outside of the box as well as providing a connection to the name and the theme.

Here is the box fully opened. As you can see, the hand is a prominent element.

This is the left side which has several fairy related quotes and a poem in the middle, just behind the fairy-sized mushrooms. Around the edges of both sides of the box is the following quote from Robert Louis Stevenson: "... every child can remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies ..."

The right side, as shown below, depicts the small discovery someone has made – a fairy bear! I imagine the lucky person catching a glimpse of this wee one, carefully lifting her from her perch, and looking down in wonder and the little fairy bear curiously looking up in turn. It’s a friendly introduction and I have no doubt that after these two have become acquainted, the fairy is gently returned to her mushroom chair with no one else the wiser.

The quote just behind the fairy’s head reads: “It’s easy to believe in magic when you’re young. Anything you couldn’t explain was magic then. It didn’t matter if it was science or a fairy tale. Electricity and elves were both infinitely mysterious and equally possible – elves probably more so.” – Charles de Lint

Here’s a close-up of the little fairy bear. I chose these two colors thinking the fairy would be somewhat camouflaged if she lived among the flowers and mushrooms. The glittery wings must have been what caught this person’s eye and given away this little bear’s location, but what’s a fairy bear and a little magic without a bit of the shiny stuff?

This piece is currently available but it may take me a day or so to post it to my website.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finishing Up – The “Hand” Project

Finally, I can see the end of this project coming! I hope to photograph it later today and post the results later tonight or tomorrow. Since my conversation with my little bear friend, I did get the transfers completed. I also finished painting and glittering the mushrooms. I added a touch of glitter to the background, too. The hand has been refinished and installed, the window completed, the hardware reapplied, and the mohair dyed. It seems like it should be time for a vacation! Some warm and sunny clime with sandy beaches and gently tumbling surf sounds like a good getaway. I could take a book and have it open on my lap while I actually dose under a massive brightly colored umbrella as the wind gently blows.

Thud! Slam!

Oh, that? That was Reality arriving in my studio. And Reality rarely lets me indulge in wishful thinking too long, especially when there is a show in the not too distant future. I’d best get back to work before Reality brings his friend Ima Behind. More later . . .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snapshots of a Creative Community

There is more to the city of Asheville, NC than I can possibly cover in a single post. And even if I could, I wouldn’t want to put you to sleep with photo after photo that might not do it justice. The people, the mountains, the art, the galleries, the chocolate – sh-h-h . . . especially on the chocolate part. Don’t tell anyone about the handmade artisan chocolate shops that are there.

What I’d like to share are just a few small peeks from here and there about town.

Maybe this T-shirt says it all.

Tunnel Road at night – hold your breath, make a wish.

Little artistic surprises can be anywhere.

This fountain was so unusual. I’d love to be able to have it in my garden!

Even pizza places have their share of the unusual.

For those with affection for bears – bear affection.

This bookshop T-shirt was just too good not to snap a photo.

Finally, here’s one of a shop window.

Oops! Forgot to photograph the chocolate. Take my word for it. It definitely tasted better than it would have looked in a photo!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Amazing Connections

Has anything like this ever happened to you?

The story starts a long time ago – say 23 or 24 years just before my son was born. I was working as a graphic designer in Charlotte, NC, about 3 hours from where we live now. The organization I worked for soon hired a typesetter about my age. We became fast friends – she was always so interesting and funny. Eventually I left my job, but she continued on. She kept me up to date on all of our co-workers and friends, until she also left. We stayed in touch by visiting, going to a movie, or going to lunch or dinner. Then I moved here and our contact was somewhat limited by our own obligations. One day she said she had decided to leave everything behind and move to England – a dream I knew she had always had. What admiration I had for her! I was able to visit her a couple times when she was living and working in London. The last time I saw her was about 9 years ago when I attended a teddy bear show there, believe it or not.

That’s a bit of background you need to know.

Today we travelled to Asheville, NC, about 4 hours from where we live now. It is a trip that is part business, part pleasure. It’s a great place for artists, but more about that another day. We decided to wander around in the downtown area to renew our acquaintance with the town. It is filled with wonderful little shops, artsy places, cafes, bookstores and galleries. One place after another was intriguing and inspiring. Creativity overload! It was great! We ventured into this funky little clothing shop stuffed to the brim with eclectic sweaters, hats, purses and jewelry. I had made my way through the entire store, from front to back and back to front where I ended up looking at a rack with some interesting jackets. I looked up to see where my husband and daughter had gone, when I heard my husband exclaim, “Ginger’s over there!”

I looked up and couldn’t believe my eyes. I was nearly speechless but also thrilled to the bone. There in that funky little, jam-packed clothing place was the friend I had met some 20 odd years ago! I was 4 hours from my home and she was who knows how many hours from hers in England! And we chatted like we had only seen each other yesterday. It was absolutely amazing! My husband could scarcely believe it either. It’s the strangest, most unusual, most terrific and serendipitous meeting I have ever had. If someone had said, “Of all the people you know in the world, who do you think you will see today?” I doubt I would have ever guessed she would have been the one.

So, I'd love to know, has anything like this ever happened to you?

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Conversation

I am still working on the hand/box project; it’s just at a place where it doesn’t make for exciting photos. It’s detail and finishing work. I found myself sitting at my desk trying to decide what would be the next task when I noticed a little teddy bear that I had been working on sitting there. I wondered if he could talk how our conversation would go. Maybe it would be like this:

TB: So what’s next? Let’s get this thing moving!
Me: It is moving. You just don’t see it moving.
TB: Then what are you doing?
Me: Deciding what to do next.
TB: Well, decide already. You know like Nike – Just do it.
Me: Okay, I’ll go downstairs and work on the transfers.
TB: Great! I’ll race you!

Then the teddy bear jumps up, hops off the desk, dashes for the stairs and sails down the banister. He lands with a plop on his bottom at the end of the steps. He hops up and says, “I won! I won!”

Me: I wasn’t racing.
TB: Come on – you’re so slow.
Me: I’m not slow. I’m deliberate.
TB: Okay, deliberately get moving and let’s get those transfers finished.

Now at the table with the box:

TB: Just give me a corner and I’ll rip those papers right off.
Me: You don’t rip them off. You have to remove them very slowly and carefully.
TB: Oh brother. How long is this going to take?
Me: You have to have some patience. Good things come to those who wait.
(Yes, I really did say that to him.)
TB: Give me something to glue. Let me stick something together.
Me: I know. You sit right there and when I need a second pair of hands, you be ready, okay?
TB: That doesn’t sound very exciting.
Me: Oh, but every artist could use another hand. Didn’t you read my post about the extra hand?
Teddy’s eyes begin to get a little heavy and his head begins to nod. It looks like he’s taking a little nap. Now I can get some work done!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Day of Alliteration

I’m thinking this Thursday I should post progress on my project. But first, it seems I should impart my intentions. When I endeavor to create one of my bears&boxes pieces, one of my objectives is a little “Oh!” No huge hoopla or terrific to-do. Just a simple little surprise. Ideally, you would initially see the box from the front fastened. Maybe you would be curious about its contents. Then you would open it for the little “Oh!” - a bit of a bliss, or perhaps pleasure, would follow upon seeing its insides. You might linger to discover details or peruse the prose. Or maybe not . . .

Onto the photos of my project –

With sticky fingers, I managed to paste the paper to the insides.

After much research, I chose a cool quote and created the copy.

Here you have a view of the vines – I was trying to choose a prime placement.

I dithered a while on the color, but finally the wood sticks are stained.

The next thing was to trim the text.

Mark my words: Moss can be messy.

That’s all for now – Adios and adieu.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Elanor of Shantock Bears has been so kind! She has chosen my blog for an award entitled “Proximidade”. After some investigation, it is my understanding that this means something like community in Portuguese. Who would have ever thought?! In any case, I am very excited since this is the first award for my very new blog. Blogging has allowed me to connect with collectors, fellow artists, and creative types all over the world as well as stay in touch with people who live just down the street. I hope I’m doing it right!

So, onto the award -

“The authors say that blogs who receive this award are exceedingly charming. This blog invests in proximity in space, time and relationships. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends.They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these awards are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give your kind attention to these writers!Deliver this award to 8 bloggers who will choose 8 more, and include this cleverly written text in to the body of the award."

I am thrilled to be able to pass along this award to the following fellow bloggers:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Paint, Paint

I promise I wasn’t looking out the window all day at the snow. Over the last few days I have been making some progress on my hand project. The first thing I did was give everything a base coat of white paint. Even the little mushrooms get painted.

Previously, I had meticulously sawed a rectangular hole with an itty bitty, teensy weensy, yes-I’m-crazy saw. It’s all part of the plan. It’s just that I don’t always know what I’m in for when I get an idea. You can see some texture with the lettering too.

A decision on color has to come in sometime and so I dragged out a few papers. The outside will be painted but I wanted the inside to be covered in paper. Somewhere in this stack is just the right piece of paper.

Back to the paint pots again. I’m not particularly fond of this color, but it’s part of the process. Sometimes it has to be kind of yucky before I get to the “that’s much better” phase.

More paint – just getting started. I like pink and am glad to be able to dip my brush into this color.

Here we are about a million paint colors later. I don’t think this photo does the combination as much justice as it should. It has a lovely iridescent sheen that isn’t so obvious here.

Here’s a close-up shot of a bit of the detail on the front of the box. Now it’s beginning to turn into something.

I really like this photo – maybe I should stop here? Perhaps I’ll keep working. The inside is next. I can’t put away my paints yet. Those little mushrooms are still white.

A New Land

This is what I awoke to this morning – SNOW! Snow in North Carolina. Actually, it does snow fairly regularly in the mountains of this state, but every few years we get to see a little bit too. These photos are photos are taken from various windows in my house. For today, and it may be gone tomorrow, we have a new land - a white, pristine, cold and beautiful land of snow.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Six Random Things

I was tagged by Yesterday’s Glitter to tell six random things – about myself. I can think randomly all day long until it has to be about me. I’m going to give it my best shot though. Bear with me:

#1 I wish drawing came as easily to me as it does to my daughter.
She is currently dabbling in subtle surrealism and unique perspectives. There is a doll of mine that’s her favorite and she decided to draw it. Here’s the whole artwork followed by a close up of the detailed pencil work.

#2 I like having lots of light when I work. I think I got this from my dad. I used to sit and work on something as a kid until the sun would start to sink and it would begin to get dark. I’d continue to work without getting up to turn on a light. My dad would come in and tell me I was going to strain my eyes. That happened a lot. Before I knew it, I found myself turning on lights for my kids! My favorite light is my portable OTT light. It will light up any project I have in front of me.

#3 Around here, sharp wooden pencils are a must. I have lots of them. To me pencils are like shoes. I know you can only wear one pair of shoes at a time just like you can only use one pencil at a time, but I like options!

#4 I have enjoyed the company of five dogs in my life. First there was Poker, followed by Sparky (dear, dear Sparky), Teddy, Biscuit, and now Socks. Check out this spoiled rotten dog!

#5 I love vegetables and have often eaten leftover veggies for a snack when there are cookies in the cabinet. I’m guessing my love of them came from eating garden fresh ones at family reunions. I have some relatives that really know how to cook – fresh vegetables are in a tie with a warm-from-the-oven homemade chocolate chip cookie. I think I might be hungry now.

#6 My husband built a swing set for me a couple of years ago. This is what I feel like inside when I swing on them in my backyard on a perfect Spring day.

If you are on the list below, you've been tagged to post about 6 random things about you!
Teddies by Laura Lynn
'Tis the Season Design Works
Raspberry Bears
Bearhaven Bears

THE RULES (for this game of tag):
7. DON’T BREAK THE CHAIN (not actually a rule)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Breaking Down to Build Up

My project continues to move forward albeit rather slowly. I'm figuring it out as I go. I decided that the first step would be to disassemble both of the boxes. Perfectly fine boxes as they are, I might add but not the configuration I need for the results I am after. So out come the tiny Phillips-head screwdrivers. The boxes are now disassembled. I have often found doing these box pieces that often times the process begins with breaking down. So, here I have the building blocks . . . um, building boxes

and all the little pieces of hardware.

Then last but not least, it's time for a little hand surgery. Believe me, it wasn't as painful as it looks. I think the next step is to get my paint brushes out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

I would be very remiss if I let this day go by without wishing my favorite dad a Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I love you!

The Next Step

While working on some other projects, I decided to give some more thought to the project with the hand. All along it had been in my mind that this was most definitely meant to be a piece for my bears&boxes series. The next step is to find just the right box.

I looked at these. None of them seemed right.

Then I scoured around for some more boxes and none of them seemed right either.

Still looking . . .

By the way, who on earth has this many boxes? In my mind, they aren’t necessarily just boxes. They are also possibilities. Every time I pick one up a get a little germ of an idea.

Wait a minute. That one there has potential.

No, not that one. The one behind it.

It’s not exactly what I need all by itself, but if I had two of them that would solve the problem.

Time to sew a bit and put my thinking cap on.
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