December 6, 2009


So, my good friend Angi Sullins comes to me the other day and asks if I want to take part in a "Digital Smackdown". She creates a collage the "old fashioned" way scans and sends it to a bunch of us graphic designer type geeks and we see what we can come up with by digitally altering the image. The challenge is on to create the most appealing result - and may the best guy or gal win. The rules are that there are no rules except that each design must be completed in one day, we can do whatever we want to the image as long as you can tell in the end that we did use Angi's original image as our starting point. Sounds like fun, so I'm in! Here's what happened on day one:

This is Angi's collage, the starting image for everyone in the challenge. I was really drawn to the youthful sweetness of the face and the whimsy of the hat, so here's what I came up with:

This piece I call "Destiny at the End of a Branch". The green background is infused with pastels and greenery indicative of spring and therefore the beginnings of life and youth. Our young friend here wears a whimsical hat indicative of the folly of youth and has several butterflies in their airy spirit to represent the different possibilities and paths that may yet be chosen. The body is a symbolic cage, or simply a home for the spirit or soul that takes refuge here for now; the cage is monochromatic, while the soul is full of light, life and colour. At the end of the branch is the gilded cage, where one butterfly is feeling things out. The door is still open, all things are still possible.

November 17, 2009

Between the Covers

I attended Journalfest last month because there were a couple of bookbinding workshops that I just had to take. I've been fascinated with the book making process for sometime, in particular the dimensional books with beautifully stitched exposed bindings that just beg to be examined and filled with all manner of inspired paraphernalia....but I digress. I thought I would start out by learning the basics, from some of the best in their craft. Daniel Essig, who is by all accounts what you could only call a true master craftsman, taught an enthusiastic group of artists and amateur bookbinders his technique for a smock stitched Mica covered book. This is my book here:

Corpse Mica Journal

This is one of Dan's books featured in the Smithsonian. Hey, when you really want to nail down your ideas...

Dan Essig - Book of Nails II at the Smithsonian

Then LK Ludwig taught us her unique techniques for painting journal pages and binding them together using some cording, waxed linen thread and a couple of old book covers. Her easy manner, generosity and thorough directions made the class a pleasure to attend.

Criss Cross Journal

If you ever have the opportunity to take classes from either of these two artists - I highly recommend them! Now I.m off to hit the books...

November 13, 2009

An Artful Fetish for Words

I've had a love affair with words for as long as I can remember. As a precocious youngster, I would read the dictionary for fun. (Hey, I didn’t say I was popular, just precocious). I understood all too well that the pen truly is mightier than the sword, and a word once spoken would linger and continue its impact long after it has been uttered. Words are powerful indeed and "fetish" is one of the greats - it's an attention seeking word, it has sizzle and as many exciting synonyms as you can imagine: obsession, fixation, mania. Fetish is a word with a dark side; a word perfect for the world of art!


1. an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency.

2. any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades.

3. Psychology. any object that causes a habitual response or fixation.

Yes, I confess, I have an art fetish. There's no question in my mind that every artist pours at least a little magical potency into their work and that it is meant to elicit strong feelings. That the artist aspired to create a sense of awe and wonder, and more than likely went through at least a brief period of fixation before the piece was done.

I wish to share with you some of my favourites here. The artists and the artworks that embody a potent spirit, and along the way I promise I’ll share with you my fixations and challenges in creating art that I hope will inspire others.