Got Anniversary? Get Jewelry!

June 30, 2010, 14:59 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

There’s a longstanding tradition that dictates what type of gift is given on a specific wedding anniversary. For example, the first year’s gift is paper, the second year’s is cotton, and so forth and so on. Since jewelry is the best of all gifts, I found myself wondering if it would be possible to stay true to this custom while giving it a bit of a twist. Could one gift a piece of jewelry each and every anniversary and stay within the traditional parameters?

After throwing down and picking up my own gauntlet, here’s the collection I created for the first 20 anniversaries (plus two bonus pieces for 80 and 90 years of marriage!).

PAPER: Mary Hallam Pearse

COTTON: Felieke van der Leest

LEATHER: Nathalie Mornu

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More on Art and Textiles

June 30, 2010, 13:00 pm  Posted by needlearts

I suppose you’ve figured out by now that I have a thing for textiles, especially patterned textiles. So it’s probably not surprising that one of my favorite “new” artists is Mickalene Thomas. Kinda the modern girls version of Matisse. Kinda. But a lot cooler. Take a look at her work, below. She creates lavish set ups with textiles and furniture and models, photographs them, and paints them. The photographs alone are wonderful. Take a look.

Just as fabulous in black and white.

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Playing with Fire: Making a Mark with David Sena

June 30, 2010, 12:56 pm  Posted by Lark

Part of actively crafting a creative life is seeking inspiration from those who can help open your eyes (and perhaps even your mind) to the possibilities, both in style and in process. Right now I’m particularly fixated on the work of David Sena. After encountering his artwork, I had one of those moments that left me feeling both jealous and respectful all at once. In a spirit of true artistic alchemy David uses fire, fireworks and gunpowder to burn patterns, lines and shapes on paper. The results are truly elegant and surprising. In addition to exploring works on paper, he is also an amazing tattoo artist. Talk about a multidisciplinary body of work! You have been warned: you might find yourself losing sense of time while perusing senaspace, or even end up wanting a tattoo (or another tattoo in my case).

David Sena on the floor and in action. Photo by Josh Rubin, from coolhunting.com.

Check out this article on coolhunting:

David Sena Studio Visit:

Intergalactic paintings made from fireworks by a world-renowned tattoo artist


The DeStash Diaries, Vol. 7—Too Tarn Hot!

June 29, 2010, 13:28 pm  Posted by needlearts

We’re having a little (that’s an understatement) heat wave in Asheville, so everyone is wearing knit Ts and tanks—as little we can get away with, honestly. But we all know that our fave knits eventually get too grungy to wear, so here’s an inventive repurposing project from AwareKnits™.

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Capsule Toys

June 29, 2010, 10:49 am  Posted by Lark

Cutie Monsters

As inspiration, I like to surround myself in cool objects while I’m working. Some of those cool objects are capsule toys. Remember those? You would beg your mom for just one quarter, please to spend on the capsule toy machines at the front of the grocery store. And then you would either be overjoyed with your bounty or totally crushed by the small whatchamacallit the machine spit out.

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June 29, 2010, 10:28 am  Posted by Lark

Sunday hikes leave me recharged and amazed at all the beautiful stuff nature makes every day. The inspiration nature provides lead me on a mushroom hunt through the world of Etsy, where beautiful stuff gets made everyday, too. Here are a few artists who draw mushrooms as creatively as nature makes ‘em. Emma Klingbeil is prolific and darkly whimsical, and leaves me daydreaming about a childhood I don’t have to let go of. Jessica Doyle shows a simple graphic style, while Block Party Prints pairs that graphic quality with a sense of brevity. Ashley G and Drew has captured the quiet intensity I often feel when lying on the forest floor to get the perfect angle on a tiny mushroom I am photographing. All of these artists have many more wonderful works that aren’t about mushrooms, so be sure to check it all out.

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Here’s a “best of” collection of mushroom pictures from this Summer’s Sunday hikes (so far).


Mary Nohl’s Art Yard

June 29, 2010, 10:20 am  Posted by Lark

sculptures in yardWhile attending the Bead and Button Show, Wisconsin native and Lark Book author, Brenda Schweder filled me in on some local attractions. It was her description of “The Witch’s House” that really caught my attention. I knew where I headed.

The homestead of Mary Nohl is a wondrous place. She was not a witch, but did create imaginative, mythical sculptures of humans, animals, and dinosaurs out of concrete. They are scattered all over her property. Her house and garage are trimmed with handmade decorative reliefs. Wooden ornaments hang from trees. Although not open to the public, I was inspired by my trip to her home. It’s a visual feast.[nggallery id=16]


Mary Hettmansperger—Mary Hetts, more commonly and for short—is a multimedia artist comfortable working in fiber, metal, and beadwork, but perhaps most comfortable combining these media in ever-evolving intelligent, intuitive, and spontaneous ways. She’s taught at craft schools like Arrowmont and category-specific shows like the Bead & Button Show, had her work showcased in a glittering array of publications, and authored three well-received jewelry books: the new Mixed Metal Jewely Workshop, as well as Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet and Fabulous Woven Jewelry. Always joyfully busy with her artwork and family, Mary paused just long enough to answer a few questions about her career and life.

Jewelry by Mary Hettmansperger

What does a great day for you look like, Mary?

I wake up early and well rested, and I have a good cup of coffee and some time on the computer to write. Then I head for the studio.

My husband and son are out on the golf course or fishing, and I’m free from cooking or considering their schedule. I work until mid-afternoon in the studio, and then I head out in the sun for some mowing and gardening for the rest of the day.

I take a cool shower, eat something like ice cream or cereal for dinner, and then—with several great movies in hand—go back to the studio to work late into the night.

The day ends with me crawling into clean sheets and falling asleep to the sound of rain.

On a winter day, the studio time would be all day, the boys would be skiing, and it would be snowing out.


How did you get here? Take that question any way you want to.

I was born and raised in Colorado. I always wanted to be an artist. But somewhere in my teens I decided that I should be more practical and decided to become a nurse.

I was in my first year of college when it hit me that I really needed to follow my passion. I quit nursing. I married my husband. We moved to Indiana. And then I went back to school for my artwork.

What do you think it was that helped form that dream of being an artist, and what helped you achieve it?

My father was an artist who really never got the opportunity to work in art. He seemed to lack the confidence to pursue his dreams. I could tell it was hard for him. And it was hard to watch.

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Sunday Hike June 27, 2010

June 28, 2010, 09:37 am  Posted by Lark

This week we headed out to Milepost 417 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a.k.a. Skinny Dip Falls. While hiking upstream we got caught in a thunderstorm. As we enjoyed the shelter of a rock overhang, I was able to photographer a tiny little salamander that poked his head out from an old log.

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Fresh Flickr Finds: Crochet Love

June 28, 2010, 08:27 am  Posted by Lark

Lately, I’ve been having certain urges to bring some bright colors and vintage vibe into my living space. And if there’s one medium that encapsulates both for me, it is crochet. There’s something so cheery about the combination of texture, color, and pattern. Unfortunately, crochet remains on my “to try one day” list at the moment, but some things are best enjoyed from a distance, like these inspiring finds from Flickr.

(Click on the links below to find more work from each of these artists.)

1. Squiggle crochet, 2. making me smile, 3. Untitled, 4. Mil folhas, cachecol de crochê, 5. Footstool Sideview, 6. The start of something wonderful, 7. Topflappen, 8. Catherine Wheel Hot Pad Front, 9. 71/2009: Crochet Inspiration