Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Seasons: Summer

Hello Dearest Readers,

I would say that 99% of my work...my art...comes to me in a flash that settles into my body. It is a feeling that I am reaching to capture and bring it into this world of ours.

Summer - this new workshop- is no different and yet it is!

The Seasons started with Spring...and as no pun intended The Seasons Workshops springboarded from my one of kind series of The Four Seasons (below)... read more here.

Summer, Spring, Winter, Fall

As a strict "rule" I never cross mingle my one of a kinds with my teaching dolls...until now. These one of a kind pieces above were a great turning point in my life. They were created as I walked with my Dad on his last of life's journey. They were critically important to me to express and to learn what the Seasons of life meant to me personally. I believe that our workshops dolls will carry the essence of these one of kinds.

I realize now that Spring has happened online and coming in person to Piecemakers in 2024..and Summer is ready to bloom online...that I am once again on a path of expanding myself...my art...my understanding of at least my life...a firmer footing. 

It is also very important to me to bring this understanding to my students. I needed to carefully think to whom and how I wish to present my workshops. I believe it is the  years of devotion to my art, that it is most important to me to pass this knowledge to those who are interested in receiving it.

Summer: Bloom

As I stated above most of my work comes to me in a flash...I must reach out and capture it before it floats away to another artist.

I do this by quickly sketching the sparkling essence and pull it tangibly onto paper. She is now ready to come to life for my students.
Initial Sketch

Completed Summer

Fabric Choices

Once, I have my subject on paper, it is time to choose the fabrics. For me, this is done not only by sight but also by feel.
There is something called Synesthesia.
Synesthesia is when your brain routes sensory information through multiple unrelated senses, causing you to experience more than one sense simultaneously.
Yes, I actually feel the color and how that will translate into the piece. For my one of kinds, which are more complex, I may need to alter the fabric to create the visual of the feeling.

Summer Palette
click on photo to see video!!

Even in my Asian inspired pieces, the skin tone is not a true white. I also show how to dye the fabric to soften the tone of the skin.
before                 after

When designing, I always start with the head. And then move onto the body.
Once sewn, armatured, and stuffed, we can paint the eyes and (in this case) insert them into the needlesculpted face.

The first layer of painting is created....to be followed with a second layer after the kimono is complete!

The Kimono et al...

As you well know, I love the Asian esthetic....from Korean, Chinese, and Japanese...encompassing the Tibetan esthetic. I find each of these distinct cultures beautiful and soulful. Most everything has a deep symbology to it.

As an artist, I choose to be inspired by not replicate or reproduce to the exact. So I use the word "kimono" just so we have a reference to the idea.

We all love fabric and color!! To bring this into a Lesson, we discuss their fabric choices and how to bring the best of their own fabric forward.  How can we realign the fabric to create something that is unique and memorable? What can we learn?

To adding to the Kimono...each step is also about learning to being present in what we are creating.

To complete the foundation of the kimono...
We then learn how to create even deeper into ourselves and are now able to Bloom in our expression!

I love hand-dyeing and am always experimenting with new ways to dye...

At the end, we will have a beautiful and thoughtful ensemble for our own Summers...

Last to create is her  Raindrop Hat and her Zori shoes...


This art piece will be three months in the learning and the making, discovering along the way the Language of Flowers and what knowledge they can give us to take into our own lives.

click on photo to Summer Workshop description
 and close up photos!!

Summer : The Seasons with Leslie O'Leary
please reach out with any questions! here


EARLY BIRD!! save $20 until Friday November 3 2023

code: summer 20

All my Love!!

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Frida : The Painter The Human

 You only need to say one word. Frida.

The name can evoke many different feelings within. She was known as a revolutionist creating her own way with her own voice. Powerful yet very vulnerable. Complex at the same being clear and to the point. She was one of the first to place her deep emotions on the canvas for everyone to see. She was the first to wear her heritage(s) creating perhaps the first "brand" way before brand was even a thing.

For me personally and artistically, it was a journey of healing. A journey of defining and using my voice. The process of learning from her what it was to stand up for yourself and have that deep faith within.

And if you believe in karma (as in personal life work throughs-not as get even) then she has done this for me. I knew it as soon as I started her- the end of a life long "karmic" journey. All it was becoming the powerful yet vulnerable person that I always was and owning it.

Frida: The Study
I started with a workshop "why do I need feet when I have wings"...to a full bust clay sculpt...and finally this one of a kind. 

My studies took me years and years to prepare for each piece. I know Frida well...at least where my intensive research took me was to written words- books and articles and visual- film of her and documentaries. If I was to create a legend, I better know and understand my subject as best as I can. I am still studying.

As I came to create this one of kind piece, I realized that she had taken me on a journey of change and discovery of my own being through these intensive studies of her life and how she expressed herself.

Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940
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