Friday, May 23, 2014

The last five!

It took me a while but I finished the last five figures.  I got caught up in everyday life a long to do list that needed to be conquered.  Art requires you to show up, but sometimes it has to wait until the baby falls asleep, the laundry is folded, the garage is finally cleared out enough so that you can actually find what you need.  The break was good.

Before Elliott I could sit in my studio for days, I would just ignore the outside world and get lost in making.  I liked the discipline, getting up with the sun, working all day, making deadlines easily, feeling productive.  I liked getting up at 4am with a great idea and locking myself in until I got it right.

With this little guy I can only make stuff in little spurts, sometimes grabbing a measly 10 minutes.  It's frustrating and it means I have to work faster, smaller, and my projects can't be grand but I like it, I feel like I am learning something important.  I am thinking more, planning, considering. instead of making and making until I work it out.  I am also being sure I engage with the what is going on outside my studio more, keeping a balance.  It is very easy to get lost in a world you are creating.

I have some dolls on my workbench that need painting, limbs, bodies, clothes...they are waiting patiently for me to get to them and I will.  There are two deer sisters, siamese twins, and an upside down doll, I am excited to get to work on them, then I am switching gears.

I studied large scale sculpture in college.  My interest was public installation pieces, my medium of choice is clay.  My first love is ceramic, the vessel.  I have been away from it for too long and my dusty kiln is calling to me.  I woke up one day thinking about nesting bowls...

When the sisters are complete and listed on Etsy I will put away all my tiny bits and go outside, sit under the warm sun and begin where I begin, my hands in a mountain of cool clay.  I am not sure if I will sell what I make at first, I am mostly doing it for myself but who knows where this will go.

I visualize watching my little guy run through sprinklers, play in a baby pool, nap under our big apricot tree, while I build bowls next to him.

[To those of you collecting my littles no worries, I will never stop making them, I have making dolls since I was four, it is a part of me, I will always do it. ]

I think people are made up of lots of parts and pieces and all of those parts need nurturing, it can feel like juggling; friendships, parenting, the work you love, the stuff you have to do to keep the wheels turning, trying new things, and sometimes just being still.  Maybe balance is just revisiting all the parts of you as often as you can, honoring them as you do.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Whats on the workbench...

Good morning.

 I have to share this because there might be some of you out there who might appreciate and relate.  I started making these figurines having not done it in a long time.   My fingers remembered and it felt good to be doing something I love.  I had an updated vision of what I wanted to make but I was a little unsure how people who collected the  tiny sculptures I had made before would like these new girls.

I told myself I would make eight, see how I liked them, post them to Etsy see how others liked them and if everyone was happy I would keep going.  Well eight turned into three, I got a little frustrated not sure I like the way they looked white and drying, they seemed to fragile on their new itty bitty bodies and super slim legs.  I second guessed myself but told myself I would follow through with these three.

It took them a couple days to completely dry, I reinforced all the wobbly parts, filled in cracks, and waited another day to paint them.  I am not sure what happens when you begin painting but it's like they come to life.  Do you remember that moment in The Wizard of Oz when everything goes from black and white to technicolor?  It just makes you smile.

So I started painting and couldn't stop, I added string, and trim, made the bases, gave them a shiny coat to protect them and make them pretty and I thought to myself, "I am so glad I followed through, these are even better than I imagined they would be".  I guess the lesson is to honor your vision, make what you love and don't get frustrated, trust the process.

If you work with paper clay (or any other medium) here are a few simple things to remember:

1. Sketch first, wait until an image sticks, if that means sketching a long time then it's what you do, its worth it.  You will find yourself drawing one particular figure over and over, no matter where you started, and you will fall in love with it.

2.  Play with scale, break rules, this is your world, create what you love, what makes your heart beat a little faster.  I know I have it when I am sitting alone smiling like a dork.

3.  Pay attention to detail, it makes difference.  Detail doesn't mean "perfection" it means not taking a short cut, doing it over until it feels right to you.  Sometimes you have to walk away, come back and get a fresh look.  Be true to your own standards, even if it's something no one will ever notice.

4.  Find your personal pallet.  It is like sketching, you will find that you are attracted to the same colors over and over.  Don't pay attention to trend or what you think other people will like, again this is your world, let people join you there.

5.  Be a kid, a big kid.  This is fun, this is play, this is pulling out whats in your head and making it tangible.  It might be bright and happy, dark and disturbing, it might be about memory, or a dream, curiosity or all of it at the same time.

6.  I don't do this for money, I do it because I love it.  When people love what I do it's awesome.  When money comes it becomes liquid creativity for me, allowing me to keep doing what I love.  I trust the universe made me a creative person for a reason and things always seem to work out so that I can keep making.  If you put money first then it stops being a creative journey and starts being something else.

( this is were I plug that these have been posted to Etsy this morning!)

Make Art=Be Happy

Monday, April 21, 2014

Strings and Sealing wax...

I am up early and the mouse is still asleep. 

These are the few rare moments I get to relax and plan my day.  It was a wild week with celebrations, egg coloring, treasure hunts, Easter brunch, family, much eating of chocolate... and now comes the winding down and getting back to work part.  I don't mind monday, I am excited actually, is it terribly braggy to say I love my job?

I have three figurines on my work bench.  I didn't plan on making any but I had a few requests so I decided to go back in time a little and make a couple for fun.  They are a little different than the original ones I made in 2008, these are smaller, larger heads, big eyes instead of tiny dots, and more painting detail,  I am curious to see how they will look completed.   I will list them on Etsy when there are done.

The Etsy shop in't  as full as I wish, I need to make more time to replace what has sold but I am a hands on mama with 18 month old who requires a lot of me.  I am not complaining he is pretty cool and I dig hanging out with him.  Nap time is when I can get into the studio for an hour or two.  It is really hard to switch gears when I am in making mode I am a different me than the mama me.

Phase one of being back in the studio involves a lot of paper clay making.  I love this stuff.  I discovered it a long, long, time ago when you still had to order it from Japan.  I was using fimo at the time, it was pre-art school and I hadn''t purchased a kiln of my own so I was using products that would self cure or cure in the oven.

Paper clay is awesome, is is smooth and buttery, natural (paper pulp and volcanic ash), fragile but forgiving. It can be re-moistened even after it has completely air dried,  it doesn't mind an armature, it loves all kinds of paint, crayons, pencils.

I hear the mouse stirring, time for me to put on my mama hat.

Have a great day everyone,

Make Art= Be Happy


Friday, April 18, 2014

Welcome back home!

There is so much to share.

This blog has been down for  a while.

Here is the story for those of you who are new to elevenmorning, for the rest of you ( you know who you are)  it 's a long over due update.

I have been making art for a long time, since dinosaurs laid eggs.  In 2007 my daughter Stevie passed away.  She was 19 and the love of my life, still my most favorite person in the world.  I was in a very raw place and there were two things that helped me through that loss, one was the love of my son Noah who cuddled up next to me and made me remember that love is never lost, it just changes into something bigger, the other saving grace was art, the creative process.  For me the ability to create was not lost (even though I thought it was) instead it was changed into something I didn't expect.

After my daughter died I wrote and illustrated a children's book called Pink Sky, it was cathartic and soon  Bella (Stevie) and I started an adventure.  I began making small dolls and figurines that captured her childhood, her drawings, memories.  I began selling them accidentally it was exciting knowing that tiny bits of her where finding people everywhere.  Before I knew it I was turning my little Etsy shop into a retail store in town called Tangerine, something Stevie and I always dreamed of doing.

I did not have a background in retail, I was flying by the seat of my pants.  It was awesome, I created this little world my daughter would have loved, and for five years I got to live in it everyday.  My intention was to simply create a space that would bring happiness to other people and I believe I did that.

In 2012 I gave birth to my son Elliott.

I can't describe what a life changing event that was, how much love and healing this little guy has gifted us with.  He was a miracle from the very start and every day he just makes the world a better place.  I didn't want to miss a second of his life, so I quietly closed the store to Tangerine and told Stevie, "Lets go home".

It was bittersweet but the end of a chapter is always like that, deep breath then new chapter.

I put a fresh coat of pea green paint on my home studio, moved the things I loved most back in and when Elliott turned one I began making again.  This time I made things for myself, things I didn't have time to create while I was running a retail store.  I made a beautiful wool blanket, scribbled in sketch books, rediscovered my paintbrushes and markers, found a box of clay and one day started making little dolls again.

It isn't easy squeezing art into a day when you have a toddler and a teenager but there is always a quiet couple minutes to sketch or sculpt.

I love blogging so I have decided to dust off this old blog and breath a little life into it.  My plan is give you a look at what is happening in my studio, share some ideas and techniques, throw in blogs about babies, gardens, cooking and life in general.

It has been a long time but it is good to be home.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

New Blog!

In an effort to be a little more efficient I am going to consolidate blogs. I will keep this blog up until the transition is made.

To read the new blog please visit:

To visit Tangerine's website please visit:

If you were on my link list or would like to be on my link list please shoot me an email at

Have a super fantastic and totally creative day!

Make Art= Be Happy


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where the heck is it?

Tangerine is real...

Everyday new people come in and are so pleased, that in turn makes me very happy, it's like someone visiting you in a dream. I am doing pretty well considering the economy I think I owe that to a niche market, quality products, and reasonable-fair prices.

I don't mark up like the big guys, it wouldn't make sense. My overhead is a little lower than most and I pass that savings on. I don't have a neon sign, a spot on the local channel, or a glossy magazine add and I kinda like that.

People have to work to find me. I am not in the yellow pages and although I am on a main street in our tiny city my sign is small and not flashy. I figure the people who are meant to find me will. So far all the best people have.

Who else can say "I love my clients" I really do, they are fun, creative, sweet, kind and really appreciate what I have built. They make my day, everyday. Oh did I forget, these are some patient people! They put up with low tech check-out, my taste in music, websites that don't get updated as often as I would like and product that when ordered doesn't come from a factory but is actually made by a person and takes real time.

The feedback is always positive and everyone leaves with a little treat from the candy-bar. The only thing that could make this better is...well on my wish list would be a bigger space for workshops and a fireplace!

I love being an artist, I know how lucky I am to be able to do the work I love most.

Thank you to all of you who continue to look for Tangerine and find me...

Friday, October 24, 2008


Saturday was the grand opening of Tangerine and all I can saw is "Oh my goodness" So many friends, family, neighbors, and fellow artists came out for the big day.

We served red velvet cupcakes, brownies and pink champagne. The morning of the opening I was sure I wasn't ready, I had so much left to do and all the inventory hadn't arrived but it was perfect, incredibly-wonderfully perfect.

The weather was beautiful, there were bubbles floating outside the door, the air inside the store was sweet with the smell of frosting and flowers. Everyone tasted, toasted and I felt like I was inside someone Else's dream.

Two days ago Connie Govea Stuart popped in to play. She brought her canvas tote, her pretty place mat and all her bits and pieces. She sat at the big table and seemed to make magic happen. This woman is unbelievable, creativity just flows from her. Everything she makes has a sweetness...I was very happy to have her here.

Colleen Moody took a break from her studio and her adorable husband who is flat on his back healing from surgery to bring me a little pumpkin decorated with hydrangea, ribbon and glittery Beatles's. It was good to see her and we all wish her husband a speedy recovery.

Iva Wilcox arrived all smiles. This wonderful woman has motivated me to do things I just never thought I would or could.

Basha Kooler from Kooler designs was here bearing a great big pumpkin tied with tuille. She brought her beautiful daughter and the man she loves. She is so funny, genuine and kind. We are both talking about working on a project together, stay tuned.

I don't want to leave anyone out but this post could go on forever. Thank you wonderful friends for helping me open Tangerines doors with such love, laughter and good wishes.