Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year...New Life

I normally tend to stay away from very personal things going on in my life...My goal has always been to inspire and bring some bit of joy to your lives through my work.

As we have stepped into this new year, I feel an importance to share lessons that I have experienced over the last couple years of deep personal struggles.

We go through life and it does change...most of the time at best we stumble and at worst we are face down in the dirt, bloody, and wounded. With help we are able to get back up and start walking again...and with great personal introspection the possibility to take flight.

I have found that my struggles have had a profound change within me. My life as it was, will change and my journey, to date, has unfolded to a beautiful future that I will be able to create.

I would like to share some of my stages, so far, with you, in hopes that if you are in a challenge this may bring you comfort or those who are not- inspiration.


When we are initially faced with a life challenge, we are in shock and really deny that it is even happening. The fog sets in.

We stumble, we fall, even have knee-jerk reactions.
We are tired.

Choice to lie down or stand Up

At this point, we can be defeated...or we can choose to stand up and grind our way through it.
We have a choice..we do.
We are responsible for our own happiness....our own destiny.

We put on our heavy armor.
We find the courage and strength we never knew we had to carry on. 

Facing the Demons

At this point we need the armor. I am so fortunate to have tremendous help in facing the challenges. To fight, walk, or crawl through them...to experience all they are putting out. In retrospect, I can profoundly say that you have to face them head on. It is the only way to get through them and heal. You will find out more about yourself than you could ever realize. You are strong and you are not perfect. That is the balance.

The Fight up the Cliff

It is a hard, hard process. For me it was climbing up a cliff, many times just hanging on but I was not alone...that is the key...you need someone there to help you hang on and navigate the terrain.
Someone to grab your hand when you believe you just can't pull yourself up one more time.

Gaining Wisdom 

As you go through this process, you will gain wisdom and that gives you incredible understanding of life and choices you have made and are making.  You are able to get up over the cliff and stand there..maybe even seeing your future way off in the distance. At this time, I still had some clouds hanging over my head but was able to see the sun ahead, still fully aware that the land in front of me held many bumps.
(altered) photo- SM Bukhar

Shedding the Armor

And now, I am standing strong with moments of weak shaking legs. I am able to shed my armor but still carry my trusted sword (my wisdom).

The interesting thing about shedding your armor, now you feel everything, but not in a tragic way. You are able to feel the happiness as well as the sorrows without letting them define you. They are part of life and you have learned from them and appreciate them for that.


As I have walked and crawled through this journey, my art was a strong hold in keeping me balanced. With all the chaos going on around me I found that creating beauty was so very important to express life.

The Four Seasons (of Life)*
Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall
* I will have articles about each of these pieces
in Art Doll Quarterly  for the next four issues 
Winter 2015- Autumn 2016

Finding my Wings

It took many years of holding tight to my armor with great control. With these life struggles it was not only singed and beaten but I was able to remove it to reveal a strong woman who can now see the beauty in all things tragic and happy.

I still have a ways to go in my healing journey, do you ever find the end? does it matter?

I have found that my heart is more open than it has ever been and I believe that I am more myself than I have every been. I have plans for my career...and my life? I have given up control...(well -ok still catching myself) and am filled with joy at the surprises and beauty that have already entered into my life.

My heart is filled with gratitude for the people who have been there for me in the years and even in the moments. I would not of made it without you.
“Then right before my eyes, she flew. She actually flew like a bird. No, she flew as a ...woman might fly, if people were meant to fly. She soared through the air. And that changed the course of (her) life forever.”
― James PattersonWhen the Wind Blows

Friday, December 4, 2015

Wind in My Hare PT 3 Details

It is a natural part of my nature to zero in on the details. In life and in creating one of my pieces...I love all those tiny little things that work together to create a whole...I love discovering the connection from one piece to another.

I believe when creating an original piece the importance of actually being original, from you, being made by you. Which goes to the details and looking at each part of your piece as unique and made by you.

Wind in my Hare in Detail:
Photography: Mark Mortensen

I sculpted the head from DAS air dry then overlayed it with velvet exposing the eye, nose and mouth area to hand paint.

Below is a very close up of the eye, nose, and mouth painted with several layers of acrylic paint and finished with gloss. Eyebrows are embroidered.
Shadows are created with chalks and liner is done with coal pencil and fine line marker.

When sculpting I make small holes for the horsehair whiskers which are added close to completion of the pieces. The whiskers are then steamed into a breezy position.

The positioning helps create the movement, then I add the clothing and how it would react in the wind.
Part of creating movement is choice of fabrics, with dupioni silk as a the jacket liner with the ability to hold shape. I pretty much, let the fabric determine where it wants to go. These rolls are held into place with tacking stitches.

The pants are of a soft wool. I wired the hem of the pant legs to hold this look.

Button, button...
Little hand punch leather buttons line up on the jacket.
Note: even the buttons are hand made.

Red leather button with linen pick-stitch for the pants opening.

Boots and Skates
The boots are from leather with linen ties and bottom linen soles. Top-stitching sets the top part of the boot from the toe.

Skate strapping is also top-stitched and a small buckle is added for a secure roll around the block!

The skates themselves, have many components/ details to them...
Below photo of pieces and parts...this is enough for two sets.

The bottom of the skate shows the metal plate with wheels.

All together now..

With these details all together, it create one fine rabbit out for a roll in the sunshine!

Look out World here I come!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Wind in My Hare PT 2 Costume

Costuming for a Hare!
I thought about this piece and decided to do him a bit more traditional in his clothing...wools and silk...leather boots...and of course shiny skates!
Photography: Mark Mortensen
First, I would like to talk about the jacket fabric.
I selected this great plaid wool. As we look at it here this is very traditional in the colors and in the view of the plaid.
So, this rabbit is all about whimsy, so I turned the fabric on it's side so it reads more as an argyle pattern...this, I feel, takes way the seriousness of the plaid!

Then I lined it with a bright pop of red settled against the woven silk shirt.
Then added movement to the jacket so it is flying in wind!

Pants are from a lightweight wool that have a nice vertical cut pinstripe to match up with the vertical squared of the silk shirt.

Boots and Skates
The boots are from leather with linen ties and bottom linen soles.

As I have stated many times, I feel when you are creating an original piece, it is essential that you make as much of each part of the creation as possible! The skates are from metal pieces and parts. 

Here is Wind in the round! 
Please note his positioning and movement of clothing of being free in the wind skating along!

Next Week:

~Wind in Detail

Friday, November 6, 2015

Wind in My Hare PT 1


I believe that most of you are most familiar with my Chinese dolls...well...actually, I have been creating rabbits-hares longer than my Chinese dolls!!

Rabbits or Hares just happened...I created one rabbit doll and...well you know what they say about rabbits! 

Moon rabbits, Fair Hares, Wind in my Hares..

Inspiration :Wind In My Hair

MANY years ago '96' or '97, I was with my friend Joyce in Baltimore. We were fortunate enough to discover the American Visionary Art Museum...and we were we fortunate that we were able to see their a new exhibit "Wind In My Hair".

Joyce and I were stunned at the pure emotion that came from these outsider artists. 
A label created by French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by those on the outside of the established art scene, such as psychiatric hospital patients and children.
While Dubuffet's term is quite specific, the English term "outsider art" is often applied more broadly, to include certain self-taught or naïve art makers.
Joyce and I felt their joy in their unbridled creations, having to create no matter their circumstances. I have been fortunate to revisit this museum for several exhibits, each one very compelling. It is one of my most favorite museums in the world!

Definition :Wind In My Hair

HA! I searched for the origin of this saying and came up with nothing...nada! So here's my shot at it...

Wind in my hair: 
to get outside
let your hair down to feel the breeze 
Photography: Mark Mortensen

Play on Words :Wind In My HARE
I love the play on words. So I took that inspiration and (un)know definition and put them together to create a rabbit...a HARE in motion feeling the wind in his hair.

My first Wind was created shortly after our visit to the AVAM at the end of the 1990's. I have made several Wind in My Hares within this series: on a  3ft wingspan plane, on a bike, on skis, and of course on skates...

In the weeks to follow:
~Wind's Costuming
~Wind in Detail

Want more HARE???

Friday, October 30, 2015

Chinese Hair Accessories: Then & Now

As many of you know well, I am entranced with my research of Chinese items...with most of my study being in children's hats from long ago.

I also find their hair ornaments to be of great curiosity. They are delicate and finely crafted, with of course, layers of meaning through each dynasty. 

What I like about them is the reference to nature...I am going to take you back into ancient China and then jump forward to today's world. I think you will get a kick out of what the Chinese are doing now!

According to historical records, the Han Empire Liu Che (156-87 B.C.) loved his concubine Ms. Li very much and one day he took her jade hairpin to scratch an itch on his head. Ever since, hairpins have also been known as "scratching head," and are symbols of the intimacy between two lovers.

Hairpins were used for securing bun or acted as an ornament for bun. It usually came with a single pin. In addition to be an ornament, the hairpin, as told above, was also regarded as a token of love as a poet wrote...

“at dusk the cloud in Autumn is dark. 
The river is limpid and deep. 
What can be used for communications? 
It’s the hairpin of turtle shell engraved with lotus.”

During the Qing Dynasty, (1644–1912), kingfisher feather blue sections of the hairpins were made out of kingfisher feathers. For 2,000 years, the Chinese have been using the iridescent blue feathers of kingfisher birds as an inlay for fine art objects and adornment, including hairpins.
Most are usually decorated with patterns like birds, beasts, flowers, plants, insects and fish, and inlaid with gold, silver, jade, pearl, gem and etc..
 read more link here from elegant story 
This piece, above, was likely once worn by the empress dowager, the effective ruler of China during the later years of the Qing Dynasty. It is an exquisite example of Chinese decoration and the symbolism used to express one's rank. The brilliant blue feathers of the kingfisher give it an eye-catching quality that anyone interested in being recognized would certainly embrace.

How where they made?

Before the gluing process could begin however, the metal framework had to be prepared. This was done by soldering gallery wire to the edges and surfaces of the metal base, creating partitions defining the motif. The different components would then have been soldered together to make three-dimensional forms, and the feather filaments cut to size and glued in.
The whole process of inlaying with the feathers was called tian-ts’ui, literally ‘dotting with kingfishers'.By all accounts, then, the process was painstaking. Presumably, the labour entailed in producing these ornaments, and collect the feathers, translated into high prices for the consumer. The possession of ornaments made from the feathers of kingfishers would have signified wealth and status.  
read more here on Chinese Hairpins 

The Hairpins of ancient China are true works of art that many have fortunately survived. In strict contrast are these whimsical, crafty, and fun hair ornaments...will they survivor centuries, perhaps not but I still find it fascinating of China's love of nature...

Wang Hao, a college student from northwest China wearing a sprig of clover, said while strolling a Beijing street. “Nobody knows what it means, but we do it anyway.” 
Some Chinese newspaper reports have suggested the fad harked back to ancient Chinese teachings about harmony with nature...
You may think these are for little children only??

and it goes on...

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