Friday, 23 November 2007

Check out this fabulous Altered Book!

The Fortune is a wonderfully colourful and witty Altered Book all about $$Money$$

Cleverly constructed over the course of a couple of years, it remains fresh throughout. Elizabeth's spreads are visually appealing and marvelously punning, an altogether fun romp guaranteed to alter your financial point of view


Saturday, 10 November 2007

Tempus fugit . . . decluttering my days.

HOW has a month flown by so quickly? The days just slipped away unnoticed, leaving me bewildered and feeling that Some-Thing Important has gone missing.

In one of the groups I belong to, we were asked to name our greatest Time-waster. Mine, naturally, is paid employment. Working a day-job eats up fully a third or more of my precious days! But that’s not what they meant.

So I was forced to admit/accept that I profligately waste Hours of potential art-making time on the computer. Embarrassingly, not posting to my blog, but trying to keep up with the daily hundreds of emails I receive from the 30+ groups I belong to.

I have been patting myself on the back for my success in systematically decluttering my home and my studio; now it’s Time to declutter my Days, too, removing from my daily schedule the time-wasters and habitual activities that support neither my resolution to Make More Art, nor my desire to earn my living through arting.

It’s hard to leave artist’s communities where I’ve gotten to know and enjoy the people. It’s sad, too, that the folks I think of as my community are overseas. But my Life Adventure is pressing me into the studio, to commit my creativity daily to paper, to canvas, to Objective Reality.

Please rejoice with me in my new enterprise, and stop by from time to time to keep me honest!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

I've been tagged!

OMG! I've been tagged!

Thanks, Pam!

Here are the rules which you must abide by if you are tagged:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

OK. Seven facts about myself:

1) I work in a university library. I've also worked as a sandwich-maker, steel broker, teacher, airport security guard, nurseryman, photographer, and commercial artist.

2) I've been in every one of the continental United States except North Dakota.

3) I'm ambidextrous. Except for brushing my teeth!

4) I'm solar-powered — a couple of rainy or grey days in a row gets me low.

5) When I grow up, I want to live at the beach.

6) I'd LOVE one day to have a flutter of Papillons!

7) I'm not “the artistic one” in our family -- my talented sister AJ is!

I'm tagging:



Debra Ann





Thursday, 27 September 2007

Life, Change, Death and Transformation

I’m sure I was half-cat. If you want to upset a cat, change something. Cats do not care to adjust, adapt, take change in their stride. They complain, sniff, stalk about, and, if truly indignant, poop on your pillow. So much for change.

Unfortunately for us cats, Life IS change. It’s animated, exuberant, dynamic, energetic, vigorous, moving, CHANGING.

Mr Al tried to teach me this, but back then I was certain that if only I could get it Right, change would stop. If I could get it right, that perfect homeostasis would be mine for ever. Perfection. Stasis. No more uncertainty.

I struggled to become perfect.

Not surprisingly, this did not happen. Instead, once he’d reached his prime, Mr Al’s lungs gave out and he died. Now there’s a Change for you!

I tried hard to “get it”. Life is Change, he had said. Growing up is change, moving is change, working is change, every aspect of living was change . . . and death — well, death was the biggest change of all!

But that would mean . . . that death was the biggest part of Life?

Change, not cessation. Was that a sort of — metamorphosis? Could death simply be a form of . . . transformation?

Friday, 21 September 2007

My Daddy — a gentle soul

I'll never forget you, Daddy.

My daddy had the gentlest soul. He made friends with the insects that invaded his garage.

“Bumble Boy” was a truly unintelligent bumble bee who kept flying into the garage whenever the door was open; my daddy would shoo him out, worrying that Bumble Boy would be trapped in the garage overnight.

“Arachne” was the spider who skillfully wove a beautiful web -- inside the garage, where she was likely to starve. I remember my daddy scuffing through the long grass at sunset to stir up the moths and other insects hiding there. He would catch them, carry them to the garage, and throw them, like sacrifices, into Arachne’s web.

One time, two of our housecats caught a bunny; my daddy rescued the bunny, drove far out into the countryside, and let the bunny go where he would not be worried by cats.

Surprisingly, my daddy was not much of a “pet” person. When my sister and I pleaded to be allowed to keep the orange kitty who arrived in a shoebox on our doorstep, he said no til it was pointed out it was late and the kitty would be left outside overnight. Not surprisingly, this kitty cleverly attached himself to my daddy and became “his” special kitty, walking up his body each morning to peek into his eyes to see if he was awake.

I cannot imagine ever forgetting these details about my daddy — but I am young, and memories get lost. I will journal about my recollections, hoping that while something is lost, much is gained just in remembering.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

My daddy died

Dear all,
My daddy died on 09/18/07. I hurt.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Used LoriZ's hand-decorated papers in my tip-ins!

I had saved a whole weekend for making my tip-ins for the arttechniques swap. I had formed the basic plan each piece would take, and had figured out the paper-engineering well in advance. Now it was Time to Play!

For one piece I needed lots of interesting foliage. The green LoriZ papers were perfect for this. I pulled out my Sizzix and two different leaf dies and, wow!

I really liked how the leaves worked together!

For another piece I needed an outdoor view -- this LoriZ altered music sheet with a beautiful palm had just the feeling I was going for!

More about my tip-ins next post!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Oh Vickie, we miss you!

Fare thee well, Vickie! You touched the lives of many people all over the globe, through your art, your art stamps, and your groups. Your generosity, and your encouragement of and genuine pleasure in all of our accomplishments means so very much to so many -- we are saddened by your going, but confident that you are in the creative zone, now and always. Thanks for everything you did for us!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Check out these gorgeous hand-decorated papers!

My art-friend Lori makes the most beautiful hand-decorated papers. Thin, slick, lively and colourful, they are painted, stamped, written, drawn, and embellished. Lori's sense of rich colour and designerly treatment make these superb for collage, backgrounds, or just adding a touch of colour.

Drooling yet? She sells these from her blog: and her etsy shop:

I know you will love these!

I am currently using three of her gorgeous papers in my tip-ins for an arttechniques swap. I'll post pix once the recipients have them!

Friday, 13 July 2007

New Art Space

Woohoo! I've gone from this:

To this:
My “new” art room.

The decuttered sitting room.

I have managed to clear my sitting room of art materials and projects; my “designated art space” still needs some organising and a LOT of culling! Still, I feel it's going to work.

My heartfelt thanks to all who have been supportive of my decluttering and shift, most especially Vickie Enkoff of OrganisedStudio and all the group members. Vickie is the Patron Saint of the Decluttered Studio!

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Still more transformation!

Freeing myself from the need to “improve” myself had interesting results. I felt less stressed, and much happier with who I am at present. But I also realised how very unhappy I am in my present work.

I have a seven-minute commute, walking. What could be better? I work in a library, housing ten stories of books. What could be better? I have no autonomy, my special abilities are ignored, and I push-pull-lug-sort-shelve-retrieve books all day. Ugh!

Clearly it’s Time for Transformation!

Meanwhile, on the homefront, I realised that expanding from my office/art room into the sitting room was not a clever idea. My art supplies were now all over the house, and I couldn't find anything I needed or wanted. Furthermore, hubby complained that he couldn't sit in front of the fire to toast his toes!

A trip to OrganizedStudio yahoo group, and joining FlyLady, had me working in 15 min increments to declutter my home. Assigning specific roles to each part of my tiny house made it possible to remove everything in those zones which does not support that zone’s activities. Suddenly my sink was shined and my bathroom was decluttered! Now my sitting room is clear for toes-toasting, my dining table is clear for dining, and my art supplies are stored in new, wheeled, storage shelving. My Art Room is beginning to get organised, I’m identifying items to sell, donate, or trash, and my Spirit, so much less encumbered, is lighter.

Now this is Transformation!

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

International Freedom From Self-Improvement Day is Here!

Take today, and the rest of this week, as a holiday from self-improvement. Get in on the action here

This week, instead of improving myself so I can make art, I am just going ahead and making the art. Presently I am up to my elbows in decorative paper-making, enjoying being good enough just as I am!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

International Freedom From Self-Improvement Day

May 15 is International Freedom From Self-Improvement Day! Come celebrate! Details here

Being publicly invested in personal transformation, how is it that I wholeheartedly support International Freedom From Self-Improvement Day?

After all, don’t most people need to improve themselves? Maybe they’re carrying a few extra kilos, or have an unfulfilled dream, or just want a better Life. Isn’t self-improvement what personal transformation is all about?

The answer is No.

Jennifer Louden, best-selling author of The Woman’s Comfort Book, points out, “we know, deep down inside, that we already have everything we need right now, exactly as we are, and that accepting ourselves moment by moment, over and over again, is the fastest, cheapest and actually only way to ever be truly at peace, happy, and content.” She asks, “what if we all collectively gave up on being any different than we are, just for 24 hours?”

I think that would be a good start. Then we could expand — to a week, a month, a year…a lifetime! We have everything we need in order to live the Life we want; we don’t need improving!

Like the caterpillar, we already are the ingredients necessary to become the butterfly. All that is required is that we engage in the process of transformation. The caterpillar withdraws into his chrysalis and emerges a butterfly; we withdraw into contemplation and emerge as ourselves.

Is the butterfly “an improvement” on the caterpillar? If so, why does the butterfly lay caterpillar eggs?

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Fresh StARTwork

I like to think of myself as pretty well aware of the invitations in my life to use my art for personal transformation.

But that’s not where I was last week when I confessed to a journaling group that I don’t know why I’ve saved my old journals, as it’s too painful to read them, and I don’t want my children or husband to have to deal with them later. I simply couldn’t think what to do with them. “They aren’t like old clothes that can be recycled,” said I.

So I received a Wonderful, mind-opening gift when a new member suggested, among other great ideas, that I could use bits of my destroyed journals in “new, healing, fresh start artwork”.

And that is what I am going to do — I’m calling it my Fresh StARTwork.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Cicadas’ Summer Love Song

Summer has finally arrived…it’s been hot and sunny, and the cicadas are filling the air with their love songs. It’s such a short time now til Easter and autumn.

My February postcards are far in arrears, and March’s offering is only an idea. Meanwhile, the month and the seasons march on with little notice of my sluggishness. I don’t know that I’m marching to a Different drummer, but I am certainly marching to a Slower one.

Sunday, 28 January 2007


What is transformation really? And what has my art to do with it?

Transformation is the process by which one thing is converted into another that is equivalent in some important respect but is differently expressed or represented. Like a caterpillar into a butterfly.

My art expresses transformation in several ways. First, it expresses my own transformation as I live and learn. And because people are more alike than different and share more characteristics and experiences than not, other people frequently see themselves and their experiences in my art.

Second, the books I alter are themselves transformed, from literary expressions into graphical ones, and sometimes from “pages glued or sewn together on one side and bound in covers” into interactive objects with reader-activated parts. I do this by conveying my ideas and experiences by way of multimedia images which I then attach to the pages of printed books. I may alter the architecture of the book as well, creating windows, doors, foldouts, pop-ups, sliders and other devices which allow each viewer to engage with the art uniquely.

And finally, it is my hope that each viewer will be affected by my art in some transformative way, taking away from the experience some shared truth or feeling and expressing it uniquely.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Depression — an artist’s book

Did you know that artists are over-represented among those diagnosed with major depressive disorder?

I am extremely fortunate to collaborate with the brilliant wordsmith Linda Gray on an artist’s book which delves into the whys and wherefores of depression. How does one come to be depressed? If one is diagnosed with it, how can one best live with it? These questions and more are graphically answered in our experimental artist’s book “Depression”.

Check in here for updates!

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Beach Kaleidoscope

Time to make some Art!

Time goes by all too quickly as I juggle work, play, and art-making. This solar-powered gal has run off to the beach after work all this week, to breathe salt air, absorb the sun’s rays, and have the dust and cobwebs of unimaginative routine blown away. I feel connected to the sea and sky in ways the land yearns for.

I have way too many ideas for this month’s postcard swap! Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities when planning a piece of art? And that to choose one is to reject the others? With more time, would you try them all?

I have selected a process I used in a recent altered book for my January postcards, integrating photos with art papers. How can I make this reflect my journey through the New Zealand landscape? Can I comment on myself without also commenting on the culture I find here?

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Welcome to Nona's Art!

This is a new experience for me -- I've never blogged before! So please bear with me while I figure out what I'm doing here.

More coming soon!