Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Click on this and have a blast carving your own pumpkin! (I couldn't figure out a way to save the image, so I ended up taking a picture of it.) Have a spooky time tonight!

Friday, October 30, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Found myself browsing through this again the other day and devouring the eye candy. Don't we all love to collect? And don't we all love to see each other's collections? Lynne Perrella visits 35 artists and discovers the whys and wherefores of creative collecting. A joy to read and a feast for the eye. And, it's nice to know - others are as obsessed as I am!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's Your Sign? In Seattle

The famous 5 Spot Cafe

Love that weathering - near Mariners' Ball Park

$.75 for a room! - those were the days - Pioneer Square

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Slides and slide mounts. Empty and with slides in them. Lots of uses in altered art and journaling. See Lynne Perrella's Artists' Journals and Sketch Books featuring a myriad of slide mount art by Michelle Ward, Lisa Hoffman, Monica Riffe, and Sarah Fishburn.

Here are a couple of spreads from a slide mount book I did at Art and Soul, Portland in 2007. A wonderful class taught by Diane Downs, these were fun to do.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New Homes for Art

Just a few of the pieces that have new homes, following Open Studios. Close to 150 visitors, and several sales each of the four days. Now, I've started a list of everything I can do next year to make the entire experience even better! And -it will never again be the first time.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Encore Weekend- Day Two

Well, my first Open Studios Tour completed yesterday with more visitors and more sales.
It has been a delightful and rewarding experience to share my artwork with so many people; friends, co-workers and the many, many art lovers who dropped by the Altered by the Sea studio to see my pieces.

It's often said that the artistic life can be a lonely one and the making of one's art is a solitary pursuit. It was wonderful to get so much positive feedback and be able to talk to everyone about my work, techniques, and inspirations. A big warm thank you to everyone who helped make this event a possibility for me. And special appreciation to those marvelous women of the mixed media world; Lynne Perrella, Anne Bagby and Lisa Hoffman for believing in me before I believed in myself.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Encore Weekend - Day One

Barbara & Blanche Rose -
two young women in 1920's Paris

Just two of the many altered books on display during my Open Studios. They are part one and two of an eventual trilogy, following the lives, loves and fortunes of the LaVettes and the LaChapelles , through the horrors of World War One, the jazz age in Paris and the 1930's when Barbara and Blanche Rose find success and acclaim in the artistic and literary world.

Fighting Angel -
a tale of two brothers during the Great War

I enjoy creating the stories for my altered books as much as I do the artwork. I even wrote an extensive back-story for these books detailing the family histories and how their lives intertwined. Book three is yet to come, and I look forward to revisiting these fascinating characters.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Runic Bird #1

One more weekend of Open Studios, today and tomorrow, 10:00-5:00. Lots of wonderful collage paintings and assemblage boxes just waiting to go home with you. Hope to see you there!

Midtown Kiosk

Friday, October 23, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Creative Time and Space - Ricë Freeman-Zachery

If you read mixed media magazines then you have come across artists' profiles written by Ricë Freeman-Zachery. She has a wonderful knack for getting creative types to open up and tell us about their work. Her first book - Living the Creative Life - talked to several different arists about how creativity forms, changes and is their life. This one, Creative Time and Space deals with how artists make room for their art - physically, emotionally and intellectually and how they find the time - that precious commodity - to bring creativity into their lives. Both books are well written, nicely edited and an attractive smaller size. A pleasure to hold. and a joy to read.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Colour

According to the calender Autumn is now one third over. Of course depending on where you live it may be almost gone, not here yet, or 5 months away if you're in Australia.

Here on the Central Coast we are having shorter days, a tiny bit of fall colour and a chill in the air early in the mornings and late evenings. As so many of you do, I love this time of year; the return to warming fires and lit candles, a smell of cider in the air, gorgeous smudge-y sunsets and that feeling of homey nostalgia.
These glorious autumnal photos were taken last year when Margot and I went back to visit our friend Franny who lives in the Jamaica Plains area of Boston and has a delightful lakeside cabin in New Hampshire near the Maine border. It was my first trip to New England and the colours made my heart sing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

An interesting box, filled with architectural items - windows, doors, and pillars - wood, glass and plastic. Some I found at a hobby store going out of business, some at a swap meet, and the pillars at Michael's.

I've used them in assemblages, on book covers and the pillars to create molds for paper clay construction in a Melissa Manley class at Art Fest a few years ago.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Alexandra's New Shop!

Turquoise Mountain Landscape
Alexandra Salkeld

If you follow my blog you know that I've often mentioned my friend and colleague Destiny Carter -computer whiz, web designer, brilliant graphic and fine artist. Well, I'm blessed to be surrounded by talented, artistic people at the library. Another of my co-workers, Alexandra Salkeld, has just opened an ESTY shop - Rock Water Jewelry featuring her beautiful creations. Click on the link and prepare to be dazzled. And how lucky am I to get to work with these gifted artists every day?!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Open Studios Day Two

Close to 70 people today at the Altered by the Sea Studios and -TADA! - lots of sales. Again, everyone loved the art and seemed really interested in learning more about altered books and assemblage.

And exciting news - 3 commissions so far for future work. One customer had just begun doing altered books, so it was quite rewarding to provide inspiration and ideas for him.

Margot, Destiny(who came to help staff the register today) and I celebrated afterward with a delicious dinner at Taco Temple, our favourite local Mexican food eatery. Life back to normal 'til next Saturday when Encore weekend of Open Studios begins.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Open Studios - Day One

Here are just a few shots from Open Studios - Day One. We had around 50 people come to the studio and be delighted and amazed; by the colour, by the art, and by the vast amounts of ephemera and embellishments stored all over the house!

A few sales were made and many new friends. It was very heartening to see how people "got it!" I did a lot of explaining about techniques and such - but not one visitor looked puzzled or said "Why would you want to do that?"

It was lots of fun swapping ideas with other artists that come by, and info about paper stores, sources for patina paint, classes and workshops. Many thanks to Margot, Destiny and Susan for help with marketing, displays, staffing the register and so much more. And to Lisa for reminding me to breathe!

Doing it all again today from 10:00-5:00. If you're in the Morro Bay area - drop by!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Runic Bird # 2 & # 3

Runic Bird #2
Back in August I showed you Runic Bird #1 and here are #2 and #3! The above with a background of scrapbook paper, a small ceramic bird (happy thrift store find) and a glazed egg (garage sale). The colourful metal flower on top was found at Art From Scrap in Santa Barbara, the porcupine quill from Turtle Feathers, the nicely rusted chicken wire has been in my side yard for a year and a half, acquiring its lovely patina. The rune in the box and the three along the side give the piece its name.

Runic Bird #3

# 3 features three small plastic eggs and a large wooden one. Scrapbook paper provides the background, and a rustic chalkwear bluebird (Cayucos Antique Street Fair) keeps watch. Once again, runes grace the outside on the box. But the most interesting embellishments are the 8 ivory Maj Jong counters -when I spotted these at the Santa Monica Flea Market summer before last I had to have them. (The seller wouldn't break up the set, so I have lots and lots of them. I gifted Marylinn Kelly with a handful, and would be glad to send some out to any of you. Just let me know.) Two more pieces, available at Open Studios , which opens today!

Friday, October 16, 2009

From the Bookshelf

This is a delightful first novel. If you were like me when young and loved books with wonderful gutsy, quirky, pre-teen heroines then this book is for you. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie follows 11 year old Flavia de Luce, a chemistry enthusiast with a passion for poison, as she outwits her sadistic older sisters, gets her father out of jail and solves a murder. Set in 1950 England, the characters and setting are written with a sure and unerring hand. This is the first in a series, according to author Alan Bradley.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paris, 4:20 , 1923

Paris, 4:20, 1923

A small box, lined with 7 Gypsies paper, embellished with a vintage pocket watch-time forever 4:20, a porcelain doll's head, and three rusty bits; a heavy ring, a post finial and the one on the left. I'm not sure what it is- sort of looks like a abstract pelican- picked up in a job lot of rust at the Cayucos Antique Street Fair last spring. Another for this weekend's Open Studios Tour.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Gone fishin'! Bobbers, lures, line, net, sinkers, weights, leader, split shot, even a piece of fabric with fish on it. Some from my uncle's old tackle box ,some from my dad's, some from the swap meet, some left in the library lost and found for a year - though why you'd bring a pack of bobbers along with you to the library I'm sure I don't know!

I haven't been fishing for almost 30 years, but I still love all the accoutrement - especially the old wooden lures which turn up now and then at garage sales and flea markets.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009



An assemblage done in a vintage desk drawer (a lucky e-Bay purchase); old sheet music, pictures of eggs, ceramic and plastic eggs, the upper half of a metal clarinet, the inner workings of a music box, ceramic hands, a bottle cap with a picture of a humming bird, a tiny French santon of a chicken, a small nest, birds - cast iron ,brass, resin, pewter and ceramic, a cigarette card, feathers, ribbon and a variety of wooden type spelling out Oiseau.

This was one of those pieces that sat around for months while more and more bits and bobs were collected and piled in the drawer. Then one day I sat down and Viola! there it was. And here it is ready for Open Studios.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Measure of Time

A Measure of Time

Done on Masonite board, the border of vintage wooden rulers (one of my favourite art supplies) and cloth measuring tapes surrounds old ledger pages. The rubber stamp image - right center - is from Inkadinkado and reads "as time goes by". Various watch faces, clock hands and working watches were attached with E-6000. A tiny bottle holds minuscule watch parts. The final touch - the number tag from my mechanic. Another piece for sale this weekend at Open Studios.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Take a Walk on the Boardwalk

Boardwalk - Morro Bay Harbour

And that's what I'll be doing today, in-between all the myriad tasks that need to be accomplished before next Saturday when Open Studios begins!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

What's your Sign?

Main Street, Morro Bay

Powell Street, San Francisco

French Quarter New Orleans

There's nothing like neon. What's your sign?

Friday, October 9, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Altered Book Workshop
Earlier this week in the library, I came across a woman browsing the arts and crafts section. We got talking and turns out she's Bev Brazelton! Author of Altered Books Workshop - the second or third book I bought 5 years ago when I first started in on this amazing journey. Though we live just a few miles apart, we had never had the chance to meet before. Her book is full of wonderful techniques for all levels and, of course, chock full of delicious eye candy as well. I cut my "altered book teeth" on this book and what a lovely surprise to get to meet Bev and tell her so.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

White (?!) Pelicans

Here along the coast in central California we are very used to seeing brown pelicans. They've made a huge comeback. There was a time when they were vanishing from our waters, but not now. We love to watch them on our nightly walks along the Morro Bay harbour, diving for fish and flying off in jagged skeins. But....

... imagine our surprise this week when we saw white pelicans! 15 of them, swimming close together and fishing in the traditional pelican way of dipping their huge bills into the water and scooping up dinner. I assume they are migrating - from where, to where, I don't know.

Pure white with lovely contrasting black under-wings that pop against the lighter sky when they take to the air. I'm not sure how long they will stay, but what a treat while they're here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Tea bags. Used tea bags. Carefully dried and saved tea bags. Now I know we all collect things that people-who don't do mixed media and assemblage art- would wonder about. I'm pretty sure used tea bags fall into that category. This is one of three, or is it four, boxes of them on my shelves. As of yet, I've used a few in type drawer assemblages.

The First 265 days of 2006 -Sas Colby courtesy Sas

Sas Colby did a wonderful piece of them dated and sewn together - every tea bag from her morning tea for 265 mornings. And a local artist in Cambria made a small quilt, using over 300 tea bags, called "Tea Cozy".

I don't have any big plans for them yet. I love the delicacy of the bags, and the boxes smell divine when the lids are lifted. An added plus is the lovely tea stained paper towels I dry them on.When one begins assemblage art it's just a given that there are going to be people out there who look at you with wonder and scratch their heads!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Above the Fold!

This is the article that appeared in the San Luis Tribune on Sunday. Not only the front page of the Coast Living Section, but- for those of you who "know" newspaper lingo - above the fold! There were a few little errors, but a great article and brilliant publicity.

photo courtesy Jayson Mellom

Less than two weeks - Open Studios Tour opens Oct. 17 - I don't look nervous, do I?