The perfect end to an amazing week. :)

Remember summer camp, or your particular equivalent?  That week you spent, possibly away from your loved ones, where the days just sort of melted away and you enjoyed yourself beyond measure, met and made new friends, and relished your time, knowing that at some point your time there would inevitably draw to a close, even as you began your mid-point countdown?

That, my friends, is exactly how it felt at Standard Projects this past week.🙂

You’ve probably surmised this already if you’ve been reading my blog posts from my adventures here.  I tend to hyperbolize, but I can’t help it!  When I’m enthusiastic about something, I want the whole world to know.  :)

Friday was my my “cleaning up loose ends” day.  I had brought so much with me to work on, and had sort of spread my projects around to every corner of the building (upstairs AND downstairs).  I packed my car so that I wouldn’t have to do it on Saturday morning.  And after that was done, I allowed myself to finish one deconstructed collage and create another for another example for the Deconstructed Collage workshop to be held on Saturday morning.

In the meantime, Claire was busy creating a gorgeous leather cord for the tiny weaving pendant that I had created on Thursday!  Didn’t it turn out beautifully?  I just love it.  :D


Friday night was a lot of fun!  There were two gallery show openings – one for the Create! show at Jack Richeson, and the other for our friend Sara Willadsen at The Draw (both are in the Appleton area, which is conveniently only about 15 miles from Hortonville).  I went to the Create! show first, because I have two pieces in the show, including this etching that I did a couple weeks ago.  I was very happy to have it included!


While I was there, I sensed that someone was behind me – and a little too close, too, as I could hear them breathing.  I turned around to see who the weirdo was, and VOILA!!  There was my wonderful husband Brian!!  He’d surprised me!!  It was so great to see him.  We’re not apart very often and I missed him!  :D  It was an absolutely delightful surprise.  So we caravaned to The Draw next.  Sara’s show is fantastic!  I’m a big fan of her work and actually own one of her earlier works.  :D  (FYI: The Create! show is up until October 1, and Sara’s show at The Draw is up until September 25.)  Brian and I had a lovely dinner together, and I wisely went right to bed when I got back so that I could mentally prepare for Saturday’s workshop.

And what a spectacular workshop it was!!  We had four wonderful people attend, and it was just the perfect way to cap off the week.  Here are some photos from the class – and check out the GORGEOUS collages created!!  I love how everyone’s is totally different.  And who doesn’t love a messy collage table?  It was just fantastic.  :)  I want to give a MAJOR shout-out to Kate Mothes of YoungSpace, who organized this workshop for the end of the residency.  She’s so great about creating events!!  Thank you so much, Kate!  :D

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After the class, I gathered the last of my things, said good-bye to all of the wonderful folks who are making Claire’s place home, either permanently or for a few weeks, and spent my drive home reflecting on the week and how great it was.  I’ve never felt so creative, and I really want this feeling to last.  A lot of it had to do with the vibe of Standard Projects, which is one of openness, freedom, creativity, and collaboration – and most of all, support.  Claire is also extremely generous!  She made dinner for us, and breakfast, almost daily, with fresh veggies and herbs from her garden.  DELISH.

If anyone is reading this is currently on the residency circuit, or is thinking about where to go for their next residency – this is it.  I think you’ll find it to be a charming, friendly, creative, wonderful space, and so dang clever.  I had the best time, and I just might make this a yearly mecca!!  Thank you SO much, Claire!!  :D



Still in the groove….

Whoa.  Here we are at Friday!  Yesterday was another fantastically productive day.  Now, a little insight as to how my (and I know many other artists’) brain works – I started to feel the “I’m out of ideas” feeling yesterday morning.  It’s weird – I have this abundance of supplies before me, yet my first thought is, “I can’t make anything with this.”  I think it’s because we get into this routine of what we’re SUPPOSED to create, and if we can’t see that idea in front of us, we default into surrender mode.

NOPE.  I wasn’t going to let that happen, not when I’m at this amazing place and I have the entire day stretched out ahead of me.  So I grabbed one of the paper pulp pieces I made on Monday and started applying some encaustic medium, and then a teensy bit of Shiva paint stick.


To me, it looks like waves crashing against rocks.  At least three people told me it looked like cake!  I’ll admit – I was a bit deflated after those remarks, because I didn’t convey what I wanted to.  But I still love it!  Onward!

After this project I still wanted to experiment with my encaustic supplies, but because of something I saw Ricki (the other artist-in-residence this week) doing, I wanted to try that – using my Lutradur as a stabilizer for my emboidery, especially on the very thin muslin that I used to rust-dye.  So I put some behind a square of that fabric and just started mimicking the markings in the fabric with some dark blue thread.  Afterward I just used encaustic medium over the top.  I was REALLY pleased with how this turned out!  :D


At this point I needed a break, so I went down the hall and visited Claire at Fox Valley Found + Collected, which is the super-cool shop attached to Standard Projects’ workshop.  It’s got SUCH a great vibe in there – it’s instantly calming.  She’s curated it so beautifully, with her own fantastic leather accessories and other makers’ work as well!  And she’s also got this amazing, tiny “gallerette” right in her shop called The Vault, because, well, it’s in an old vault.  :D  I LOVE it in there!  :D  She’s open Thursdays and Fridays from 1-6 and Saturdays from 10-3.

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So after my break, I tried yet another project that I’d actually been wanting to try for over a year but never did – a weaving on this tiny loom pendant!  The pendant itself is so adorable, isn’t it?  So I searched through my box of fibers that I’d brought with me and got going.


I LOVE how it turned out!  I think I’m going to add tassels on the bottom when I get back up to the studio this morning.  :D

Speaking of pendants – here are the other seven that I completed on Wednesday!  The one on the far right is already sold (YAY!) but the rest are now available at Found + Collected for $15.  :)


I’m off to enjoy my final (WHAAA!) day of creating at Standard Projects, and I’m also REALLY looking forward to the Deconstructed Collage workshop tomorrow!!  I can’t wait!  :D


Getting Stuff Done!

I love those prolific work days, don’t you?  The kind where you set out to do certain tasks and it all gets done?  That was me yesterday.

I wanted to do more of those pulp pieces yesterday, and I did three of them.  They’re STILL drying!  It was so humid yesterday that they’re taking their sweet time.  I still have two full work days (YAY!) so I’m sure they’ll be set by later today.


I spent the majority of my day creating another of those Lutradur/machine embroidered pieces – this one I decided to do in earthy colors, and it’s quite a bit larger than the one I did on Tuesday.


This time, I also cut around the non-lacy part and used some ancient bulding materials (from a nearby building that had been renovated!) for the background.  I think it looks either like a piece of rusted metal, or some sort of embroidered petroglyph.  :)  I went through four whole spools of thread for this piece!  That’s a lot of “scribbling”.

I also made eight new pendants!  Here’s one of them (I didn’t manage to get a shot of the rest before I left for the day).  I used my rust-dyed fabric and just followed the lines on them with my sewing machine.  These will be for sale at Found + Collected!  :D


After my coffee, I’ll be heading back up to the studio to make more stuff.  Who knows what’ll happen today?  I can’t wait to find out.  :D

Adventures in Experimentation

AHH!!  I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already!  I knew the week was going to go fast (it always does when you’re having fun), but it’s just flying by.

One reason for that may be because I’m doing so much work that’s new to me.  Yesterday I started the day finishing a deconstructed collage I had started on Monday – another sample for the upcoming Deconstructed Collage workshop on Saturday! – but then I delved into a new project.


I had never really worked with Lutradur before, but had ordered a large bolt of it a couple of months ago.  I hadn’t even opened the package until yesterday, but as with all my projects this week it was the perfect time to try it.  I got the “thick” stuff (it comes in two thicknesses), and I immediately started to burn it.  Because it’s a 100% synthetic fabric, it melts when you apply heat and creates tiny holes, almost like lace.  Plus, it’s just fun to set fire to things sometimes.  :D

I then applied some poster paint I’d gotten at Richeson’s a week or two earlier – they were super cheap in their Bargain Room so I picked up every color I saw.  I decided to try just primary colors yesterday, because that’s not my normal palette and it’s all about straying from my norm this week!

I then machine-embroidered over the painted areas in the corresponding thread color.  I used my free motion foot and just “scribbled”:

You can see the uncolored “lace” that happens when you apply heat!

SO fun!  It did take a while but I was having so much fun with it, I didn’t care.  I’m not on any timeline this week, so I was free to just explore this all day.  And I did!  :D  Here’s a close-up of the piece:


Sorry for the focus issue!  :D  After I was done, I put a book page behind it and framed it.  Here’s the piece, all framed and ready to go!


I want to do more of these today and try more colorways!  :D




When working doesn’t feel like “work”

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes good work.  Back when I was still working full time at the newspaper, I would come home, we’d eat dinner, and then I’d happily go downstairs to my studio and make ATCs (Artist Trading Cards).  It would sometimes take me three hours to make ONE card!!  But I loved it so much.  I would get “in the zone” and the hours would melt away.

I had that same feeling yesterday – and I hadn’t had it in SO long. I spent the day experimenting – just doing whatever came to me – and I had a total and complete BLAST.  When you’re an artist, these days are essential!  But I’d been holding back for some reason when I was at home.  The great thing about a good residency is that the space is conducive to this sort of play – and Standard Projects has that in its DNA.  :)

More about the space – it’s so laid-back!  I mean, you’re free to come and go as you please, and Claire is really all about letting you hang out, or not – whatever you’re comforatble with.  I worked yesterday, with only small breaks for lunch and coffee, from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.  And the space is SO COOL.  Here are some photos of the workshop, which is directly above my little apartment.  Incidentally, this is where my Deconstructed Collage workshop will be held this Saturday from 9-noon!  There’s still time to sign up, if you’re interested – just follow this link!  :D

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Afterward, all of us in the house hung out and then Claire made us dinner.  We were talking about authentic work, and Ricki, who’s the other resident here this week, was talking about a conversation with a guy at another residency.  He had said that when your work is authentic to you, people are going to respond to it more.  That comment really resonated with Ricki – and then with me.  I’ve been so consumed lately with whether or not others will like my work that I’d sort of lost my own sense of what I’m trying to accomplish.  I’m slowing getting back there, and it’s been great.

And speaking of great work, Ricki’s project is a very specific one – going into bars, bringing the sewing machine, and asking people if they have any ink with text in it.  If they say yes, and they’re up to it (I guess they almost always are), that tattoo is then rendered by Ricki in machine embroidery.  Isn’t that so fun?  Here’s the best part – they don’t get to keep their own tattoo, but then either trade another tattoo or buy one.  So it’s this whole sharing community, and Ricki gets to meet all kinds of neat people. How’s that for authentic work?  :)  Oh, and I received one as a gift last night – it’s literally great!  :D  I love it!  :D  You can see more of what Ricki does on Instagram.

Here’s the patch I got of someone’s “great” tattoo – and that’s Ricki in the background.  :D

Here are some of the projects that I did yesterday.  It’s so amazing what happens when you just listen to yourself.  More of that today!😀

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Greetings from beautiful Hortonville!


Back about six months ago, I heard about Standard Projects through Kate Mothes, who is the founder of youngspace.  Youngspace is a fun, project-based enterprise that specializes in pop-up galleries that feature emerging artists.  I had the pleasure of showing two of my pieces at one of those pop-ups back in late March.


I knew Kate and Claire, founder of Standard Projects, were friends, so I checked out the SP website.  On it was a submission form for a residency at her place, which she said were typically 1-2 weeks.  So I signed up.

I was so happy when I heard back from Claire!  We cemented the week of August 21 as my residency week.  And here we are!

I got into town last night and met Claire’s friends Shannon (who lives here) and Ricki, who’s also doing a week-long residency!  Claire’s sister Grace and her partner Jane showed up a while later, and then other friends came over for a fire in the fire pit.  It was fantastic. We ate brats and snacks (I had brought salsa and baba ganoush that I had made), and had some drinks.  SO fun.

Before the day begins I thought I’d show you what Standard Projects looks like from the outside – here’s the front door:


…and here’s the entrance to Found + Collected, the awesome retail space/gallerette that is also housed here.


The space is actually in the old police and fire stations!!  It’s SO cool.  And Claire has made the residency space so cute and cozy!  Here are some photos of my own space, where I’m currently writng!  :D

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I’m off to work – I can’t wait to see what happens today!  :D




Well, NOW I’ve gone and done it….


Yep.  I actually bought an etching press!

I wasn’t expecting to, but my friend Nicci and I were at Jack Richeson & Co. in Kimberly (Wisconsin), and there it was, a floor model that was about 80% off the retail price.  I called Brian for some advice – it was still enough money that I wasn’t just going to purchase it without a “family meeting”.  :D

Once Brian gave his advice (“I think you should!”), I brought this baby home.

Good news – I’ve cleaned my studio since this photo was taken!  :)

I am a little embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t use it right away; I wanted to wait until I took my printmaking classes at Richeson, just so I knew what to expect!  The teacher, Heather Oetzel, has the same press that I do, so she knows its quirks and what it does best.

Oh my GOSH!  I am so glad I took those classes.  Yes, I’ve done many sorts of printmaking before, including relief and monoprints.  But on an etching press, it’s so different.  The tree that you see, above, was a monoprint I made on Plexiglass using the press.  I love the fact that I can just work on it without the ink drying, unlike the monoprints I make on the Gelli (which of course has its own benefits).

Here’s the linocut I made in class:


I’d made linos before, of course, but never on the etching press! I really love the color coverage, and now I don’t have to use mounted blocks!

And lastly – this week (today, actually!), I finally tried drypoint etching.  Oh myyyy.  I think I’m in love.  :D



Okay, so it’s no Dürer, but I can’t wait to try more!  With colors!  :D  I might want to take some of Brian’s photos and start from there.

With this purchase, I sort of feel the tide shifting in my work.  I don’t quite know how I’m exactly going to incorporate it into my fiber art, or collage, but I will.  And I already made a collagraph this weekend, which I’m very happy with!  I used some masonite and just glued evergreen branches right onto it and then varnished it, using Future floor wax.  That stuff works perfectly!  :D


This is the collagraph plate AFTER printing – it held up beautifully!


….and here’s the collagraph!  I really love this technique!

What can I say – I just love art. :)