Sunday, June 28, 2015

Friday, June 26, 2015

I thought I was original!

Apparently great minds think alike when it comes to bees and seed bombs:

But mine are a much better price with many more seeds! And they are back in stock. Get them in my shop here:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A day in the garden

This is the time of year when I shift the majority of my workload from making handmade paper to focusing on my pressed flower art. It's perfect timing. The wedding rush is over, I am always a bit burnt out from a few intense months of winter and 60-hour weeks of making paper. My garden calls to me. I spent a lovely day in the garden yesterday doing some transplanting, weeding, picking and pressing flowers, talking to passers-by and neighbors and enjoying the summer weather. I love June because there are so many gorgeous colors in bloom, like my clematis vine.

I planted some hydrangea for the first time last year. I wasn't sure how they would make it through this crazy cold winter but they are happy and full of blooms.

I love multiples of things, especially clusters of plants. When I look around my garden, it pleases me to no end to see clusters encroaching on other ones. Most gardeners would divide and spread plants out but it gives me a sense of well-being, knowing it took a lot of time for these plants to grow and spread. It means that I have also put down roots since I planted every single one, like what started out as just a few May Apples from my parents' garden:

and the sprigs of Vinca that I took years ago from a family member's house in Cape Cod:

I even appreciate the Bishop's Weed, even though the Queen Anne's Lace look-alike can be horribly aggressive.

Nothing makes me happier than cooking dinner, then hopping outside to grab some fresh herbs from my window boxes.

Today, I am listening to the rain drench the newest addition, some ground cover that I added yesterday in the hopes of one day eliminating a section of grass around my crabapple tree that always looks patchy. Let it rain!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Plant and herb wedding favors

Thanks to the Louisville Wedding Blog for including my plantable paper doves in their story on plant and herb wedding favors!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Just listed!

Another Petal People card from my new series.

I love this one because it looks like she is putting her arms up in celebration or getting ready to give a hug or shaking her hips, inviting you to dance. It can be used for so many occasions, from a congratulations card to a card that says, "Give me a hug, I love you."

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I have published a post in this blog every day just shy of seven months (with the exception of a few days during a power outage when I didn't have WiFi). It began as a challenge to myself to post every day for just one month, and somehow I just kept going. It has been an illuminating process and I have loved it. In doing research for blog posts, I have come up with new ideas and inspiration that have led to all kinds of new paths. I am now pursuing wholesale distribution of my Petal People cards, have a new gallery show in the works, plus I have my hands in many new places .. not to mention way too many custom orders! All this new work — and the fact that school is ending and summer vacation comes soon with lots of plans (World Cup soccer!) and travel (an RV trip across 8 states!) — means that I have to use every minute of my time carefully. I will be posting much less frequently, probably only once a week or so, and we'll see what happens from there. Like my art, it's an exploration and I'll see where it takes me. I figure if I am gone for a little while, you'll miss me and love me that much more when I am back!

Monday, June 1, 2015


A long time ago, I took a class with a phenomenal art professor and fiber artist, Margo Mensing. She taught me a lot, though what I learned most deeply wasn't on the syllabus or meant to be taught. And she learned it at the same time, as well.

I was having a long conversation with her about making art. I was having trouble with the most recent assignment and puzzling through what I was going to create. She had been telling me about her recent installation. She made a huge wall-size mural of a picture of a nuclear plant. The entire thing was created from tiny round punches of paper - like when you use a hole puncher in a three-ring binder - to create the picture. It must have been multiple thousands of little tiny punches because the mural was at least 12 feet long and about 8 feet high. She used security envelopes, the kind you get from banks that allow privacy for what is enclosed. Her message was about our society's false perception of security with nuclear energy. For her, creating art was a way to convey that message. I was saying something I can't remember when she got a brightness in her eyes, leaned back and said, to herself as much as to me, "Ah! You create art to figure out who you are."

She was right. My process was not about taking a stand or delivering a message but to take materials I was attracted to - like handmade paper - and start creating. We both learned that I made art to figure myself out, to puzzle through things and come out on the other end, to have time to enjoy the solace of creating and let my mind bubble away while my hands were busy. It was therapy for me. We approached making art utterly differently.

Knowing this about myself freed me artistically. I didn't need to take a stand or illuminate a clever message. I could just create. And I realized I just wanted to make happy, joyful things to look at. Art that made people happy to look at and connected me to them, art that conveyed my inner joy, art that let me have quiet time while making it that let me sift and digest my thoughts, much like a long walk in nature - that was being an artist to me. After that class, I explored many other art forms and started making my rolled paper sculptures. (I owe my thanks to her for these creations because they were based on her idea of using multiples of the same object to make something new.)

My very first art exhibit came down this weekend. It was a huge success, and not because I sold almost half of my show. I made so many connections to people. I know of at least two people who cried when looking at my art. Another person is using one of my images on the program for her mother's memorial this month. Halfway through the show, a customer bought one of my images to give as a wedding present and convinced the person manning the gallery to let her take it before the end of show. I quickly made another new piece to take its place, this person walking a dog. (It actually looks more like an armadillo but I had to make it very quickly to close up the hole in the show and didn't have time to finesse it!)

I feel like this show was such a success, too, because I faced my fears. I wondered if I could make enough art to fill a gallery. I questioned whether people would think a show of pressed flower images was an old lady fartsy thing to make. I wondered if anyone would come to the opening and how I would feel if nothing sold. But it all worked out splendidly on all those fronts. I checked off something on my bucket list - to have my own solo show - and thought I would be content with the accomplishment and move on. But the satisfaction was so enormous that I can't walk away. I have applied for a show for next year in another gallery!