Tag Archives: Playing Favorites

Medium Well: Checking in on the Pulse

Seth at The Altered Page continues his mass undertaking of sharing the thoughts of over 80 artists, on such topics of favorite art media, favorite links, and methods for getting into the mood for creating. Medium Well is a series of 4 posts on the question, “If you could work in one medium or format that you haven’t yet tried, tell us what it would be and why.”


Courtney making a stain glass state ornament, originally uploaded by justgrimes. Flickr licensed under the Creative Commons.

For many years I have wanted to create art in the medium of Stained Glass. My glass window collage series was aiming to have the transparency and feeling of stained glass. Many of the pieces look wonderful with light shinning behind them. I like the compartmentalized look of stained glass and have even tried to translate that idea into fabric.

What medium would you experiment with, if you had unlimited time and resources? What fears are holding you back?

Inspiration: Just Get Into the Groove


Seth calls it Getting In the Groove, another entry in the month long artist survey. Today, artists share the ways that they get mentally prepared to create their art. I shared with Seth that,

“I work best with deadlines and challenges. In many ways I am a very linear, organized, list-making type of artist. But usually if I just go up to my studio and sit down at my sewing center or collage desk I can start creating pretty quickly, getting TO the studio takes some inspiration. I will search the net, look at art books and doodle ideas in order to get myself into the head space for studio time.”

It seems like there are many artists that struggle with getting to that creative space. Because I teach Middle School Art (yikes, school starts in 4 days!) I see so many of my kids struggle to get started. Of course, many of them are completely new to the artistic process and even to handling the media provided. On top of that, they struggle with the whole belonging issue that is so heightened in the early teen years. Part of me always wants to PUSH them, “come on, we only have 30 minutes until the bell rings!” But I know few artists can be forced to create on demand. So I encourage them to use many of the strategies that these PULSE artists employ. Listening to music (like Kim Logan), watching films about the work and lives of other artists (like James Michael Starr), or just sitting down to the supply center and finding some color or pattern that draws them into the creation. I tell them to think about and use their dreams (like Angela Cartwright and Roben-Marie Smith) or to look at the many art related books that I have in the classroom (like Dawn Sokol) All these things also help me. But of all the ideas presented in the survey, I think my favorite answer was from Linda Woods, who said, “I just open my eyes!”  If only that worked for me.

My Mask Keeps Changing

My Mask Keeps Changing, originally uploaded by stilettoheights.

I have to say, and in only 3 days, Seth’s newest edition to the PULSE is going to change my life. I am discovering some new wonderful artists. Yet, I have barely read through half the list of artists. WOW!

Jennifer is my new favorite artist! I discovered her on Seth’s PULSE. This entire set is to die for! I love her style and her sense of sophistication is stunning. I thought they were digital at first, but after reading descriptions at etsy, it looks like they are all paper and paint. She is self publishing several books of these collages, some with poetry.

Here is what she said about her style:

Um….I am pretty wordy so this is hard for me, but here goes. My work is mixed media collage based, heavily influenced by emotion and a sense of longing. Pieces are shrouded in metaphor and color to create visual poems.(not sure if that makes any sense to anyone but me)

She has a great etsy shop and has self published some books that I think I HAVE to buy!

If you haven’t checked out Seth’s Blog yet… get over there right now!

Style File 2


I love how Seth names these entries in The Pulse. Here is my entry from today’s segment.

Cynthia Gaub I would say that my fine art work always delves into the questions of being a woman. It has been called “Abstract Figurative”, it has also been seen as feminist, is that a style? I like the female form, but on the whole I am not necessarily trying to make a feminist statement. Overall, when you include my collage, fiber work, dolls and mixed media sculpture, I would consider my style Eclectic Gemini.”

Now, Go see what other artists are saying about their artistic style.

Playing Favorites: trade show

Seth of the Altered Page put together a great group of artwork in his Pulse #2, “Playing Favorites”. I continue to gather MY favorites as I go through his past challenge. Meanwhile the current round of questions is starting over at the Altered Page. Over 80 artists talk about their favorite tools, websites and mediums. Why they make art and what they collect.

For “trade show” Seth had artists share their favorite collaborative, swap or trade type project. Over the years I have particiapted and hosted many, many swaps, trades and round robins. Here is a little trip down MY trading memory lane…


Back in the early 1990’s it was mail art and Artistamp calls. I hosted several years worth of special group anniversaries, holidays (Halloween and Valentine’s were my favorite) and celebrations of Chinese New Years, as well as a special 9/11 swap. When hosting one of these swaps it was most common for the host to simply collect and send out the address list and then everyone would mail out their contribution on a specific date. Then I (the host) would collect all the entries sent to me and document them on a web page or in a zine. The most fun was the mail that would fill your mailbox a few days after the mail date, and continue for weeks afterwards.


Then I discovered ATCs and Altered Book Round Robins and Tip-in Swaps.

All about color“, “Good as Gold“Monochromatic” and “Shakespere” were Tip-in swaps that I hosted and participated in over the past few summers with other Art teachers that want to do altered books with their middle school and high school students. The main altered book round robin that I did was a beginners one with different techniques to be accomplished each month as the books swapped. However, my book was held up by the first person that it went to, who then dropped off the face of the earth. She never sent it on, never responded to anyone’s emails and I never saw my book again. I even offered to send her money to mail it back. Alas. After months of playing in other people’s books and waiting for mine to resurface, I made a new version of the book and sent it off to the remaining participants. They were so wonderful to complete the challenges in my book and pass it on outside of the original calendar. But then, that is one of the risks and challenges with a swap.

In 2003, the year I got my first dog, Charger, I hosted a A Dog Diary, visual journal round robin. I loved nervousness.org where I traded zines and music for years before they changed format.

In June 2004, I helped to start a great collaborative community in the form of a challenge. An Art A Day was a yahoo group and LJ community. We challenged each other to make one NEW piece of art everyday. The LJ and Yahoo groups provided a place to post pictures, the opportunity to participate in continued monthly challenges, get daily quotes and motivations tips, participate in contests, share ebay sales of your work as you have them and get the general encouragement and motivation. I even created a website (which only the wayback machine now sees) for links, pictures, contests and challenges. We kept the challenge going for a several months.  The culmination of this was a collaborative group calendar that we made. Every participant made 20 handmade pages that would be spiral bound along with weekly calendar pages. WOW that was a big project (since I was the one printing calendars, collating art and spiral binding) but they came out so wonderful! I still have mine and have added to it in visual journal style, since the calendar pages no longer apply. I got to know some wonderful artists during this challenge including Angie, Cheryl, Bridgette, and Stacey to name just a few.

When I joined EBSQ I did it in the hopes of increasing my eBay sales. But I stayed for the collaboration. Each year there are themed shows to create work for, but several of them are set up as swaps. My nice collection of art is primarily made up of work I have received in these and other swaps.


But I think my favorite swap, thus far, has been the Fabric Art Journal Swap. As much as I loved the pieces I made and sent off to the other participants, I really enjoyed the work I received in return. This can be tricky with swaps, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and apparently quality is also.

Playing Favorites: Picture Perfect

Seth at The Altered Page will be going LIVE with his next round of questions with The PULSE this coming Monday. As he prepares for a month of Q & A with 80-plus artists (and counting) I am taking a walk down memory lane. Next on the list is Picture Perfect.

I have been taking photos since my early days as a kid travelling though Europe. Dad was a dark room enthusiast and shared his passion. Before college I often found his passion to be a burden, when he forced us to stand in front of every statue, windmill and geyser in the world!


(Photo by my dad of the Family at Yellowstone park circa 1970’s)

But then I took photography, learned darkroom processing and the joys of taking pictures. Later I finally got my hands on a digital camera so the cost and time of taking/ processing pictures went down dramatically. I love taking pictures… admittedly most of them of my dog or my art.

Ever since I bought my first digital camera, I have taken many opportunities to go on Photo Walks. Sometimes by myself, but more often with my dog and occassionally with friends. I prefer to look at things close to the ground, often setting my camera on the ground to take the shot. I love to look for patterns and textures.

Up Close and Personal This one recieved an award at EBSQ


This photo has not been altered nor cropped.

Playing Favorites: Mixed Media

When haven’t I created something that was mixed media? Paint, paper, fabric and embellished with stuff… would probably describe anything I have made. So to pick a mixed media favorite is going to be very, very difficult. I don’t even think I could pick a favorite of the ones displayed in Seth’s blog for Playing Favorites: mixed media 1, because I love to look at other people’s mixed media art as much as I like to create my own. It is obviously a well loved art form, since he had to break it into two seperate posts to contain all the wonderfulness.

Art Lives Here Doll

This is a wonderful mixed media doll sculpture that I made at ArtFiberFest a few years back. She is my favorite because it was really my first time really embellishing the heck out of something and I LOVED it!

Where does art live? When does the muse come to visit? Will she arrive in her fancy frocks or grungy jeans ready to get down and dirty? This doll represents my muse when she is dressed to go to the gallery and make an enterance. See larger detail images here  This doll is created with a base body of a men’s tie. It is embellished with buttons, beads, feathers, ribbons, tulle, coins, sequins, paper, wire and many different types of fabric. Her stamped face is sewn in and painted on paper with watercolors. Little pockets are sewn onto the front in sheer ribbon and each pocket is stuffed with yarn, beads, gold powder, other fabrics, sequin waste and even tinsel. Inspired by Kate Lyons and her dolls.

Playing Favorites: fields of dreams

Creating a gallery of my favorites has been quite fun. Looking through my own work over the years and fitting these themes has really shown me the diversity of my own work. Next up is Playing Favorites: fields of dreams, which I think can be translated to work that shows nature or landscapes of some type. Of course when he put together this series of posts, I think he gathered a lot of art from a lot of different people then put them into these catagories. I don’t think he expected to have an individual artist find art to fit each theme. But I like the challenge, so I plug along here.

Earthfin Rip July 2006

Media:  Fabric Collage Dimensions:  14″ x 14″ Date of Work:  07/2006

Night Sky Wanderer is a RIP for the EBSQ 2006 Ripped Off Show. It is inspired by a pyrography called Workin’ On Wings to Fly by Lisa J. Rough. I was really drawn to the powerful woman and the birch trees. It has a sense of strength and peace. I tried to capture that same feeling in my version of it. This piece is all fabric collage using applique’ and quilting techniques. It is embellished with buttons, ribbon, trim, beads and handmade yarn.

Playing Favorites: journal entry


Playing Favorites: journal entry

Visual Journals… now that is something I need to do more of. It seems that since I have been blogging, and writing online, I have done less journal writing on paper. This page is probably from 2003. I like the thoughts and reflections, as much as the images that I put together along with the meaning that they both hold for me. The word interesting has a lot of both positive and negative meaning for me, so it is very weighted. But I find myself using it a lot with my students… when I am not sure I can come up with something positive and constructive to say, it slips out.