Friday, December 23, 2011

A cliff dwelling nacimiento offering for the Holidays


   I have always  enjoyed  seeing varieties of nativity scenes .
But after seeing some amazingly elaborate nacimientos in
Cuenca, Ecuador, we began setting up our own nativity
scene in a more expanded way with an international flair.
It covers the top of our piano  in December. This year we
purchased a mini trullo when in Alberobello , Italy.
It can be seen above just behind our "three kings"
( from Peru) playing music  with a clay animals I made
when I was about 9 or 10.  For me, the birth of any
 child is something to be celebrated with song.

During our recent Italian adventure we were driving along the
Amalfi coast just about to go through a tunnel  when I caught a
glimpse of something  nestled into the limestone cliff. We parked
on the other side of the tunnel and I walked back through to see
what was there...and took some photos.  I wasn't able to discover
the story behind the person or people who lovingly created
this detailed miniature  nacimiento complete with a wood fired
pizza  oven, miniature trees, and a pond with fish.  There was no
sign or labels.  It was a visual gift offered to passers by.  I, in turn,
offer my images of the scene to you in honor of this holiday
Season and in honor of those who present anonomous gifts.


 My best to everyone for wondrous holidays filled with music,
good food, family and story sharing!

Journey on!   Wendy

(Last post I promised some of my "stairs " photos...look for them
in my next post.!)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Doors, walls and stories - Italian images and reminder for auction for Terri Windling!

  As's time to share some images from our Italian
adventure.  Needless to say we returned home with hundreds and
hundreds of images and memories. During our travels, I  found myself
focusing on doors, walls, stairs, and walkways....and thinking about the
stories they held or might engender.  I've chosen a few favorites of my
doors and wall photos to share on this blog. The opening image is of
Orvieto (about 90 min. North of Rome) where we stayed our first night.
The window on the left is our room at Ripi di Medici:

The next morn we drove over to Montepulciano and found these
doors in the city walls:


We wondered who lives
here and what the inside
might look like.

We found little doors in big doors:

We passed this door in the courtyard of the
Santa Croce church in Florence on our way to
the school of leather there:
Orginally developed to provide a trade to orphans, it still teaches traditional techniques. 

Doors into the converted hay barn we stayed in for a week
outside of Florence: 
We definitely recommend it! Great price and hospitality.

Doors leading onto narrow walkways (Spello)

 Doors in cliffs (near Norcia)

Doors into grand buildings (Perugia )

 Doors into Trulli... Look for a post just on the trulli soon...

Doors to the sky?

Doors everywhere (Matera):  

 And finally doors leading your imagination down a lighted path where
a story awaits... 

I hope these images stir up some stories for you.
Words and characters are beginning to emerge for me.

Speaking of stories and story makers..don't miss the
opportunity to check out the awesome online auction
that is going on to support Terri Windling and her
I'm offering one of my eye journals, but you'll be stunned by all the
mythic and fantasy celebs and just generous folks who have put up
items. Terri has offered the world so much in so many generous
ways that it's great to see so much love and support sent in return.
Auction ends on Dec. 15, so don't hesitate. Great place to do
holiday shopping.  

Next time....stairs.... Journey on!  Wendy

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creative synergy....American Craft Show NYC - Woodrow Nash,Njee Dorsey and others

 During our recent Italian adventure, I thought a lot about
artistic synergy... about what it must have been like
during Renaissance days in Florence with Michelangelo,
Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and so many others working, competing,
and challenging each other.  The air had to be thick with
creativity. (I love that 27 year old Michelangelo just saw
that large block of "flawed" marble and asked if he could
carve it...and David emerged...and reading that Brunelleschi,
designer of the dome of the Duomo in Florence, was originally
trained as a goldsmith!) I thought about the atmosphere
of the early 1900's in Paris with Picasso, Diego Rivera,
Cocteau, Modigliani and so many others interacting. The
ponderings helped me understand why I still enjoy and find
the energy to do art shows.  We go to sell and present our work,
but we also show up to be a part of that synergy.  Many of us
work in our own studios. We don't hang out together at a cafe
in Montmatre, but we do come together at shows.

For over 40 years now, shows have been an important part of
my artistic life.  They are the gathering places of community
where we connect and meet and are places of challenge,
creative competition and inspiration.

I promised images from our Italian venture and will post them
soon.  But before that - I want to share images and websites
from some of the artists who were present at the American
Craft Show NYC this past weekend who inspired me to
want to work harder than ever to create vision and perfect
techniques.(Check out the show's website to savor all the

The image above is of Woodrow Nash with one of his sculptures.
His website: explains the vision of 
this extraordinary artist and is filled with images.  Definitely
check it out - you won't be disappointed!

Another artist I enjoyed meeting was Najee Dorsey:   Najee hails from Atlanta.
Here is an image of his booth:
I wasn't surprised to hear that he regularly participates in New Orleans
Jazzfest.  He's one of the juror's for the Congo Square art this year.
He incorporates bottle caps in some of his collage paintings.

The show had a wonderful range of work.  Take for instance
Ben Joyce's Abstract Topophilia inspired by aerial maps:
Ben's website:

And the sculpture of self-proclaimed "outsider" artist: Pierre-Henry Guerard:

Born in France and living both in France and Morocco, Pierre Henry's
studio is now in Brooklyn.  His website:

And for still more contrast, the intriguing abaca paper illuminated
sculptural lighting of Robert Ostermeyer and Riki Moss:
Their website: Riki,a long time ceramic sculptor,
is  exploring the possibilities of paper sculpture, lighting and even has a
published novel. What did I say about creative energy swirling?

Shows offer a chance to meet new friends, to reconnect with old friends
and often foster thought provoking conversation.  Of course another
fun aspect is seeing  my  creatures  "find" their owners.  This afternoon
I delivered two pieces to a customer who runs a small neighborhood
cafe. He said as soon as he saw the pieces, he knew they were meant to
go home with him. He has done a lot of things in the business world,
but at this point in his life is focused on building community via
running the cafe(bakes brownies every night, and up at 5AM every
morn to get everything ready) and offering reasonable rental housing.
We talked about the importance of being "present" wherever one lives.
His familyroots go back over 100 years in the neighborhood...seems
like a very good new home for those Star Wanderers!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by family
and post, some of the Italian venture images.

Adventure on!   Wendy

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventures and first and second honeymoons

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been off on an adventure
delightfully off the grid for three weeks wandering in Italy.
After 46 years together, my husband and I decided it was time
for a second honeymoon.

Below is a photo of our vehicle for out first honeymoon,
a 1947 school bus which had been converted into a camper.
(It was still yellow and black) We were married in Palo Alto,
CA, drove up along the California/Oregon coast camping on
 the way. Then we headed East to Boston for graduate school.

Hmm I look a little younger!

Only it was a bit more of an adventure
than anticipated.  To make a long story
short, after 7 breakdowns we  called
the couple who hired us to drive the bus
East and they agreed we should
abandon it in the Wisconsin Dells.

Here is Jon,  also looking rather young, changing
a  tire. We were given the spare at our reception!

One of our breakdowns was in Haugan,
Montana where  we waited two days in
the snow for a part for the bus... and
visited its Silver Dollar bar. Someday
we'll have to go back to see if we can
find our  names next to the silver dollar
we gave them.  The Lincoln Silver Dollar
bar is still there in Haugan.

We eventually made it to Boston (after an additional breakdown
of a new rental van) and figured having  survived the honeymoon,
we ought to be in good shape for a long term marriage. Which, as
it turns out was a good prediction . The honeymoon was also a
good predictor of all the car trouble we would have through
the years.

So back to our decision to have a second honeymoon -
Jon studied in Florence, Italy, with Stanford's program
winter/spring '62-63, then hitched hiked around the country
for another 6 weeks and has  wanted to to return ever since.
I studied in Tours, France,  with Stanford Spring/Summer '63
and stayed in Paris with a family Fall '63. Our group had
traveled to Italy. (Jon and I  hadn't met yet.) We'd thought
about returning to Europe together, but somehow life
had involved travel elsewhere. Recognizing we weren't
getting any younger and that no new grandbabies were
going to be born this Fall, nor other major family events
happening, Jon looked at my show schedule and began
to plan.  He secured a flight via frequent flier miles and
then started researching agriturismos and B&B's where
we could stay for a reasonable price. We opted against
camping this time and chose a  smaller vehicle:

We rented a Fiat 500 which we started calling our
“Topolino Grigio” (little gray mouse). It's the car on the right
Although a couple times, we wished we had the one on the left!
We brought along a GPS whom we named Matilda. She didn't
always appreciate the detours we chose, but she kept our stress
levels down. Jon enjoyed the car and did all the driving, which
definitely kept my anxiety down.

Our plan - to spend most of the time in Tuscany and
Umbria, revisiting some of Jon’s favorite places in Florence
and exploring the medieval hill towns; then drive down to the
Pulgia region so I could see the trulli, magically looking stone
structures which I was sure must  have been designed by elves
or dwarves.

For quite a while, I have been aware of the influence  my studies
in Europe had on my artwork, but this trip made me realize the
depth of influence.   Mythic creatures and figures and their stories
are omnipresent -  in sculpture, in paintings, in frescoes on walls,
on  ceilings. The sound of  vehicles and footsteps on the ancient
streets  and stairs sing out tales. The  intriguing doors - small,
large, and huge ask you to imagine the tales of all  those who
have walked through  them or  lingered behind.  The dimly lit
alleys, narrow  streets, brick  arches  between buildings,
gateways leading in and out of walled cities, towers overlooking
the countryside, cities perched  on one hillside after another call
out stories.

In my next few posts, I will share some of the images of our
trip, artists I met and more of my thoughts.  This was not a trip
to seek  inspiration or with a specific agenda.  It was mostly just
to “be” together, to wander, to meander, to discover.  But of
course, it is just such times that can often stir up the most insight
and surprises.

But before writing more... I'm off to participate in the American
Craft Show NYC at the Javits Center this weekend.  All info   My booth in #166.
If you're in the area, please drop by!!

Adventure on!  Wendy

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wooden handbags and more at Paradise City Arts Festival - Northampton

Beadle, the Curious and Esatair the Eager were happy
to be at the Paradise City Arts Festival...especially
since they could get a good look at exciting work by
other artists. The booth facing mine held the new
work by Mark and Sharon Diebolt of Rochester, NY.
(Formerly going under Treebourne Woodworking Inc.
Their new name is the Hammill/Diebolt Studio.) Long time
makers of wooden jewelry boxes, Mark and Sharon introduced
this line of beautifully crafted, elegant hinged handbags made
from wood veneer with leather sides this past March. They
have been working on the design and perfecting the process
for about three years. Just launched this Spring, they have
been enthusiastically received! The line is so new, there is no
website yet, but they will have one soon. Their email

A new product meant a new booth design was needed. The
one they have come up is a beauty in itself!

I see one bag is missing from the display in this photo.
No surprise. They were selling well!

Some of my favorite exhibitors were at the show, including
Bruce Chapin - whose work always challenges me to push
further: I've mentioned him before
in my blog, but can't resist highlighting him again! This is
a quote from him use on the Artful Home online site:

"The more I create, the less I reveal. I find the universe a
strange and marvelous place. I am still trying to figure it
out. The workings of the known universe make complete
sense to me, and simultaneously seem completely absurd."

Another inspiring artist at the show was Faith Wilson: She uses the term Liminalist
art. Check out her website and comments. It will stir up your
thoughts about the intersection of functional and fine art and
stepping into new worlds. Our home definitely needs one
of her floorcloths. She was also at the ACC Atlanta show with
me where I took this photo of her in her booth. Somehow, I
never quite succeeded in posting re that show.

As usual, press came by to cover the show, including
Wan Chi Lau from Rainyday magazine. Here is the link
to their write up on the show including a couple photos of
my work:

Well, as I hinted in my last post. I'm off on an adventure.
Eager to meander, soak in new sites and sounds, and
be open to inspiration. I'm hoping a few new stories might
show up. Stay tuned!

Adventure on! Wendy

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tielcoc, theStory nurturer and Stellore, the Storyteller

As promised - here are a few images of new storytellers who
showed up to make the trip to Northampton for the Paradise
City Arts Festival Show.

"Tielcoc, the Story Nurturer"

Tielcoc's legend card reads:
"This gentle nest dwelling Star Wanderer, is a keeper
of story eggs. Tielcoc cares for the hatching eggs, holding
them, protecting them, singing to them and tucking them in
warm pouches on cool eves. Once the stories are fully formed,
Tielcoc dons his mask and encourages them to fly out to
awaiting worlds."

Yes, those are cockatiel feathers I used. They were gifted to
me by a generous owner of a pet cockatiel. I love their soft
yellow and gray. A few are tucked into the storyteller's
eyebrows. When you shake the story eggs, you can hear the
stories rattling around trying to come out.

A second new teller of tales is:
Stellore,the Storyteller

Stellore's legend:
"Stellore, one of a long line of wandering teller of tales,
travels in and out of various time dimensions collecting and
and sharing stories. Lately Stellore has found some intriguing
ones involving the circus, a forest and a feline or two. Stellore
encourages those gathered to preserve the lore of their
communities so that the deep story wisdom the tales contain
is not lost to future generations."

I'm having fun with those mini clown masks!
Stellore's cape and carpet were created from an old textile
remnant, beautifully woven by the Chin of N. Burma
(now Mynamar).

As usual, the Paradise City Show was beautiful and
energizing. Next post will be about new discoveries and
favorite exhibitors there.

I'm getting ready for some venturing to far reaches so
may slip off the grid for awhile after that post. Plan to
return with new images, stories, and ideas.

Adventure on! Wendy

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Open Studios - Andy Moerlein and Donna Dodson

Fall in Boston is all about open studios events. Almost every
weekendyou can wander and relish the amazing art community
in our midst. Last weekend studios were open and tents appeared
in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Since I was blitzing for
Roxbury Open Studios, I couldn't wander too much, but did
manage to get over to see a few friends and finally meet sculptors
Donna Dodson and her partner Andy Moerlein. I've been on
Donna's email list for a while, but our schedules never connected.
Andy came down from New Hampshire for the weekend, so I
had the opportunity to talk to both and see some of their work
and to hear a bit more about their residency in Verbier,
Switzerland creating monumental on a mountain top! The
project is written up in Andy's blog:
and Donna's:
The image above (taken on my phone) is a close up of the base
of one of Andy's large pieces displayed outside. I'm drawn in by
the mythic core of their work, and strong bird imagery in Andy's.
I look forward to staying connected.

This weekend is Roxbury's turn - my neighborhood. Complete
info at:
Discover Roxbury has used my eye journal image to connect
with their phrase "All Eyes are on Roxbury Open Studios."

Four days of events begin with tonight's showing of
"Waste Land": at the School
of Art and Design - The film documents the journey of artist
Vik Muniz from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil
where he involves workers at the world's largest garbage dump,
Jardim Gramacho, just outside Rio to create art. If you haven't
see this film, I definitely recommend it. It's a testimony to the
transformative nature of art.

Tomorrow we have our festive opening/reception at the
National Center for African American Art :
and Saturday and Sunday studios and venues will be open from
11-6. A dragon will greet you as you enter my home studio
and other creatures and books welcome you in, including this
guy who just showed up, asking " Will I see You?" I hope so!

Some new storytellers also appeared this week...images of
them in my next blog. After Open Studios, I'll pack up
everything to go to Northampton next weekend for
the Paradise City Arts Festival:
Hope to see some of you here in Roxbury or in Northampton!

Adventure on! Wendy

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"The Way we See" sculpture and Ben Mitchell's photography

For a while now, "how we see" has been an important
theme in my each of us see from a different
perspective and in different ways. During these ponderings,
this guy showed up. He's holding old optical lenses used to
check eyesight, each with a different correction. Looking
through them, including the one on the tail, offers a different
view of the world. I've titled him "The Way we See",
but I'm sure he'll tell me his proper name soon.

He seemed a bit lonely, so this little fellow bounced in
to add a bit of fun!:

The photos above were taken by Ben Mitchell during our photo
session at his place in New York City. As was this great photo
of one of my eye journals:

I'm looking forward to continuing working with Ben!

Here's the photo he took of Krystuli and Spike, the Pupbeast.
He captured their spirit well:

Now off to finish a few more pieces for ArtRox Open Studios
next weekend Oct. 1-2 11-6PM. Anyone in the area, please come
by my studio - conversation, cookies, and beverage await.
Should be a great weekend of fun and art!

Adventure on! Wendy

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Male avian creature shows up

Once hearing that his companion was off to NYC for a photo shoot,
the second avian I was working on convinced me to finish him as
well. I say "him" since once finished, they did seem like a male and
female duo.

Here are some images of how he evolved. His head shot opens this
blog. Here is a back view:

Instead of just paint, I decided to bead this guy's wings.
I realize the poor avian would never get off the ground, but
felt better when my hubby observed that it was obvious the
wings of this species are just used for display and attracting their
mates. That might explain the fancier wings on the male!

Here is a side view taken in my greenhouse/photo set up
area in Roxbury:

And finally, here is the duo posing together in New York. I
took this snap shot with Ben Mitchell's permission when we
were setting up the duo for their shoot in his studio.

I'm still working on their names and stories, listening hard.
Thank you everyone for all the great name suggestions via
facebook and email! Stay tuned for what they decide on.

I managed to finish another figure for the shoot as well...
Images of it in the next blog.

This week we're off to Oregon for my hubby's 50th high
school quickly the years pass!! Perhaps I'll
pick up some stones on the farm where my hubby was
raised and see what creatures emerge.

Adventure on! Wendy