Starting Point

So I was at the store a while ago and saw these little Barbie busts. I wondered to myself (as I often do) if I could alter this head into something not so perky. Well……after many hours, much profanity, and further eyesight loss I feel I have accomplished that goal.

Completed transformation

So what do you think? I rather fancy her. I put her out there on Facebook to get some feedback. One of my young talented friends asked if I had an artist statement for this piece. Me, being the flippant smarty pants that I can be, answered with “I like making stuff!” And really that is what it comes down to. I see things or think of things and wonder – could I make something out of that or could I pull that out of my head and make it? I often make things just to see if I can.

Maybe on some unconscious level that does have to do with my ‘artist statement’. I have spent decades telling myself I can’t do things. And now that I realize what a load of crock that is I am doing things just to prove that inner critic wrong. Which probably explains why I get super frustrated when things don’t turn out the way I want them to – as if somehow I’ve lost the battle. But I have to remember I haven’t lost the war! Every failure, every mistake, every “what-the-hell-was-I-thinking?”, takes me one step further down this creative path. If I fall flat on my face, well, at least I’m falling forward, right?!

So more Barbies await transformations – like a plastic surgeon’s waiting room! I will post more photos as I complete them. In the meantime here are a couple more shots of this one.




Jen’s Workspace

Writing/thinking/meditation desk

Studio space












Thought it might be appropriate to invite you all in to my work space for a little tour. Excuse the mess. May be hard to believe, but this is actually clean for me. I just recently went through a huge spring cleaning – reorganizing, purging, putting away unfinished projects. I found it was starting to clutter my mind. My desk is where I sit every morning with my coffee, journal and chihuahua and spill out my twisted thoughts onto paper – so I don’t have to carry them around all day (or at least try not to!).

Ironing cart and fabric holder

I found this cart at IKEA (gotta love that place) in their laundry room display section. It has 4 wire basket drawers which I love because I can see my fabrics through the wire. Because I need to iron often with some of the work I do and because I HATE having my big ironing board set up in my kitchen, I decided to convert this cart into a small ironing space. I just put some batting down, a vinyl-type cloth and then a heavy canvas material on top and viola – an ironing board. This has been one of the handiest things I’ve done in my room. The whole cart is on wheels so it can be pushed around where ever I need it.

Ink pad holder

I also like this handy little creation I transformed. I needed something to hold my ink pads, but didn’t want to pay a $100 or so odd dollars to buy one (fancy that). So I found this CD holder at the Goodwill for $3 and had some empty CD holders on hand to work as ‘shelves’ and now I have an ink pad holder for just a few bucks. I also like that the whole thing turns and so on the other two sides I have made a ribbon holder and an extra storage space for miscellaneous items. Very compact and handy.

Sewing Corner

Here is my sewing corner with my machine – in its case. I’m hoping this side of the room will be getting some more use soon as I dive into some more stitching protects. I also have a nice big open wall that I need to fill with some work – it is the last empty wall in the room – all the other walls are covered top to bottom with work I love – other artists, gifts from friends, kids work, some of my own.

Here is the view from our kitchen – actually an earlier shot of my space as this wall is covered with much more work now. My room used to be the dining room. The least used room in our house – perhaps used twice a year if it was lucky. So a few years ago I decided to climb out of the box that told me I HAD to have a dining room in my house and I converted the whole space into my work area. One of the best decisions I ever made. I am in this room EVERY day – it is now one of the most used rooms in the house and I love that I painted it my favorite color. The living room is right through an arch way. Our ‘living’ room is never ‘lived’ in as we have a more comfortable family room on the other side of the kitchen so this space is quickly being taken over by my workspace. Oh, let’s be honest – it too, has become my workspace! My big goal this year is to be able to make a big work table for that room – so I can ditch the plastic folding table that is uneven and gives me constant grief when I am dealing with varnish settling on my wood pieces.

Hope you have enjoyed the tour and I would love to have links to your workspace – I love to see where others create and to get a peek at behind the scenes.

Mad about the Hatter

The Maddest Hatter

Welcome to a glimpse of the maddness I’ve been working on this past week. I started this dazed and confused hatter last Friday on a lark. I had a friend over to do a little work in the studio and as she was working on an art doll, I felt rather inspired to make something along those lines as well. I’ve had a paper-mache teapot for a while now (you know, one of those “I know this will be good for something, but I just don’t know what yet” items) and thought that a mad hatter would be just the thing to go with it. So I busted out the wire, foil and sculpey and got to work.

He did not have a promising beginning – very scrawny and undernourished looking. But I worked on him and worked on him. After way too much fussing and fondling I finally had to throw him in the oven for my own sanity. And as is typical of my talents in the kitchen, I forgot to set the timer and got distracted by other things. Well, poor little man got quite the Jerseylious tan, but all was not lost as I knew he’d be painted – disguising all those burn marks.

Well, there came the real challenge – let’s say painting faces is not on my list of skills. And again after way too much fussing and fixing I had to force myself to stop – right after he got his Tim Curry Rocky Horror Picture Show lips. Mind you I am three days into this guy – long term relationship type stuff if I were in middle school. The next hurdle to jump was deciding how to dress this guy – paint? paper-mache? fabric clothing? I opted for the fabric clothing and that’s when I crossed over into mad obsession.

I felt like I was a seamstress for a Lilliputian. I do not sew clothes and certainly not clothes that could fit a mouse. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how to do it, but I somehow just took it step by step. I’m sure any seasoned seamstress would have cringed to see me tracing clothes patterns around the figure. I tried to be all legit – using my measuring tape to measure arm and leg length – but then I just started sewing and cutting – and cutting and sewing. Note to self – clay arms on a stationary figure do NOT bend…..i.e. I had to leave seams open and sew directly my little man. Did I see him flinch when I worked around his inner thigh? And because I had crossed over into madness and obsession (neglecting children and forgetting dental appointments) I had to create cuffs, a big collar AND his overcoat had to be lined in a coordinating color.

So tell me what you think? Was it worth losing 50% of my eyesight to create this hatter?

I still have the teapot to finish up, but would love any feedback you have for me. It has now been a full week of working on this man, but the time has flown. I have been so absorbed in bringing this hatter to life. When I asked my daughter if she felt neglected this week, she looked quizzically at me and said “No. I see it as your work.” It almost brought tears to my eyes. This is my work as much as anything else I do in my life. Why does it take a young girl to wake me to that fact?

I promise to share more pictures when he is totally complete!