Guest Artist Profiles

See artists who inspire me or whose work I am excited about. Text, photos, and video.

Artist Profile: Totusmel Needle Tatting

I just love the intricate work TotusMel creates. The Celt in me loves that her stunning hand-tatted pieces wind and weave like a Celtic knot. The steampunk artist in me loves that her work can be steampunky without the use of tons of brass filigree and gears.

tatt

I am a sucker for details! The obsessive detail lover in me is jumping up and down in glee at the fine teeny details in the piece. How she can create such magic with needles is incredible!

Check out her blog:

And maybe pop by her etsy store:

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The Immense Importance of Little Things

A beautiful lesson has come to me this week.  Two events but a few days apart fitting like pieces of a soul puzzle.  I want to start off by saying that each of us is bigger and more important than we think we are.  Not in some grandiose ego-driven way, but that our intentions, thoughts, and actions toward the world can have a deep presence.  We rarely get a glimpse of the impact we have on others and seldom do we think about the growth in our lives cultivated by others.  The smallest of seeds can sprout into the grandest of trees.

So a few days ago I stumbled upon an old client of mine in a store.  For much of my career I was an addictions therapist and this young man had been a client.  Certainly not an easy one!  More than once my job had been to arrange a detoxification placement for him.  I worked with him on and off for approximately 4 years.  It has been over 3 years since I last saw him, and I actually failed to recognize him.  He was healthy, in school, and bought a home.  He took the time to thank me for the role I had played in his recovery and he felt he would not be where he was had he not been in treatment.  I am always curious to know what it was about therapy that brought about changes in the lives of clients, so I asked him what he thought had been the key for him in the time we had worked together.  What he said completely surprised me!  It wasn’t his inpatient tours.  It wasn’t medication.  It wasn’t any “brilliant” therapeutic intervention on my part.  It was something I considered unimportant.

The last time the young man had needed detoxification placement he was in a bad way.  Nauseous, tearful, had not eaten in days.  He told me the story of how I had taken him out of the rather uncomfortable waiting room and put him in an unused office where he did not feel like he was on display.  He had chills.  I had brought him the sweatshirt and blanket I kept in my office.  I placed a radio in the office too.  At lunchtime I brought him food and water.  I had forgotten all of this, recalling the fight with his insurance company instead.  He felt in that moment like he mattered and he said this had been his turning point because it had been a long time since anyone had treated him his way.

Just today I learned that a dear friend and fellow artist had passed away.  Kim Collins Fillio was one of those rare people who always uplifted.  She was one of those gifted artists who seemed to have an endless well of creativity.  When I first began to sculpt in 2005, I clearly was not very good.  I had the fortune of meeting Kim on line and being invited to join a closed Ebay chat group called Through the Looking Glass.  Those ladies (and gent) really shaped me as an artist.  Kim especially would always find the aspect of my  work that was good and right and she would say such powerfully encouraging things.  Without her I would likely have quit long ago and how different my life would be.  I would not be making my living with my art.  It was my art that led me into my spiritual work and firewalking, so I would not be a firewalk instructor.

So I heard the lesson from both sides this week.  My former client is leading a happy, productive life because of a moment of simple compassion.  I am living my own heartsong in large part because of Kim’s ability to see potential in my work and her joyful gentleness.  Such small moments amplified into such profound change. I believe we are always in this weave of giving and receiving small gifts.  My gift this week was to become more mindful of them so that I can more deliberately sow seeds of compassion and encouragement.

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A Fairy Surprise from Germany

As I sat at my computer to do the usual rounds of Facebook, Twitter, and DeviantArt, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this amazing image on deviantArt.

perlen entrollen by Christian Weiss

I really got lost in the feel of the image.  It distills for me the feeling of suddenly finding yourself beyond the veil between worlds.  You have just stumbled into Faerie.  Disoriented, enchanted, drifting, exposed.  There is beauty.  There is danger.  And the photo captures that dreamlike quality of the Otherworld.

I had no idea if Mr. Weiss intended any Faerie interpretations of his image, but I stepped into his world via the magical web portal and found this illustration:

So I invite you to get a little lost and wander the in the German Faerie Otherworld.  You can buy prints of Mr. Weiss’ work on deviantart.  Here is the print link to the photograph:  http://www.deviantart.com/print/20921220/?

And please do pay a visit to his website:  www.weisschristian.com

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Jamie Brick Studio

Most of you know I just got back from FaerieCon Sunday. It was a very busy and fun event for me, met a lot of my readers, taught a couple classes, on a panel, yada, yada. One of my passions in life has always been art. Of course I create art, but I am head over heels for the art of many other people, both seasoned pros and bright new artists. This year’s FaerieCon was special to me because I got to meet one of my artistic heroes, Jamie Brick.

His magnificent figures look like they just stepped across the Veil from faerie, and being in the actual presence of them amplified that feeling. Though stationary, they seem to move, as I looked into their eyes, I also felt the gaze returned. His work showed such range from the flowing mystery of the life sized pieces to whimsical little gnome critters with candle holders at their heads. I heard an interview with him a short while ago where he described his work as being the love child of Dr. Seuss and Tolkein. What a perfect description.

The work blends the natural sculpture of nature in the twining, twisting pieces of wood, with the figurative. It speaks to me of a reconnect with the land and with Spirit.

But really I felt a sort of recognition at seeing a photo of the piece below. A long while ago, I had dream. I walked in a twilight wood, I felt like I had no history, or at least I was so completely at one with the woods that I did not have much of a sense of self. I came to a clearing where leaves fell constantly even though it seemed to be spring. And yet, the trees never seemed to diminish in the amount of leaves on them. The ground just ahead of me began to ripple and move and a figure melted upward slowly. He was earth and decay, as he rose from the ground, it was as if the earth were assembling him bit by bit every moment out of single grains of sand, leaves, twigs. He creaked as he grew. Branches sprouted from his head and kept growing, mosses sprang from his beard and kept growing, and all the while mushrooms bloomed and died along his body. He never really stopped growing. He had come for my head, but I did not mind. It was time, and his very being was gentleness.

Please spend some time browsing his gallery: Jamie Brick Studio

It was one of the most vivid dreams I have had, and years later I saw that face again in the Lilac King by Jamie Brick.

By Jamie Brick

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Artist Profile: Toadstools-N-Treestump

I met Sarah Dressler of Toadstools-N-Treestump at FaerieCon this past November. As I meandered down the hallway lined with vendors, my eye was immediately drawn to her very Faerie critters. Sarah has a degree from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and now lives in Delaware. Her major at that time was Crafts/Metals (she does make gorgeous jewelry too). And her involvement with the Society for Creative Anachronism brought with it skills of calligraphy and illumination along with indirectly getting her into making these fascinating cloth dolls.

Sarah creates her own patterns which are detailed and free form. All the shapes a goblin or troll can morph into lovingly created in cloth. It is this variety and explorativeness that caught my eye. Each creature is so wonderfully detailed and so distinct they exude their own personality. I spent a good long time there with them all quietly telling me their stories. Firth (the first picture) came home with me. I think he may be taunting my cat. Pippin sure makes every effort to get to him presumably to maul him. Thankfully little Firth is far out of reach, now only if the cat were out of range of the taunting!

Here are some examples of Sarah’s critters. I am partial to the trolls and goblins myself!

Click here for ToadstoolsnTreestump etsy store.
Click here for Sarah’s blog!

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Rachel Betty Case: Sculpture in Human Ivory

In early December, I went to a small craft show in Allentown, PA. I had reservations about attending. I envisioned blue haired little ladies knitting cell phone cozies and a plethora foul smelling soaps (the combined olfactory might of which would make my eyes water for hours). I was so very wrong about this one. While there were many wonderful things there, by far the most fascinating were Rachel Betty Case’s Sculptures in Human Ivory.

If the function of art is to challenge, she has certainly achieved that. Figuring out what her little skeletal critters actually are made from released a torrent of conflicting thoughts. Disbelief, a twinge of “ick”, admiration, fascination, and wonder that someone turned the most banal of body parts into something so brilliant. I mean these things are flipping cool! If you find yourself wondering how someone would come to this kind of art:

“As a gatherer, I find myself collecting unusual objects.  I have accumulated dozens of collections throughout my life.  In 2003, I began saving fingernail and toenail clippings.   I did this with little to no intent.  My collection and donors grew with word-of-mouth. 
 
It wasn’t until I visited Gunther von Hagens’ Body World exhibition that I recognized fingernails and toenails as part of our skeletal structure and are directly connected to the distal phalanges (fingertip bones) in our hands.  Amazingly, they pierce through our skin and reside on the outside of our bodies.”
–Rachel Betty Case

Harnessing what the human body grows to construct other creatures is a captivating idea. Each little creature could have the bits of many people, all now connected. Each donors essence in a very real way transformed into a new whole. I happily donated my fingernails, but spared everyone the toenail clippings. I can’t help but wonder who else my cast off bits will be combined with and into what sort of critter. Will i ever meet any of them?

I was compelled to own a little piece of who knows how many folks, and am the proud owner of one of her jewelry pieces. I have worn it out to dinner now on many occasions and as a result had some fascinating discussions! So Rachel’s art continues to connect people, perhaps in a less literal way.

Rachel is completely unique. In addition to her Human Ivory work she makes tiny teddy bears out of belly button lint and magnets that look like (but are not) bird poo. Take a look, you won’t be bored!

Check her out! http://www.thatwomanmakescrazyart.com/

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