Featured Artist/Creative/Designer

The Soap Seduction

Did you know that you can be seduced by soap? No? Have a look at the soaps shown here and tell me that they don’t make you swoon with delight! “Soap Seduction: Where a passion for soapmaking meets the art of handmade! It’s all about pampering and treating yourself and others to one-of-a-kind, deliciously scented, handmade soaps and body products”. So says Patrice from Washington DC, US, who admits to being a soapaholic, so much so, that she makes and sells these sensuous, seductive delights in her aptly named shop on Etsy – The Soap Seduction.

“Buttercream Cupcake is a delicious soap to indulge in. It smells of a freshly-baked cupcake and I drizzle chocolate-scented soap frosting all over and top with a glycerin soap cherry. Frosting color can be customized to your liking. Each soap is 5 oz and is made with a sulfate-free shea butter soap base. This soap beckons all cupcake lover to come hither”! Still not seduced?

How about this one which Patrice has named Rhapsody in Soap. She says “to capture what spring and summer mean to me, I scented this soap in a heady fusion of orchard (apple, pear, and plum) and lime. I love that one part of this soap is sweet and the other sour. It’s like a big, fat jolly rancher for your body!Did you know that commercial soaps which you buy from your supermarket or local chain store, are generally full of chemical/synthetic additives and have had the natural occurring glycerin removed, tend to dry out your skin as well as can lead to rashes and other skin irritations. Patrice says that all her handmade soaps are loaded with quality skin-loving ingredients such as coconut oil, olive oil, goats milk, shea butter and oatmeal. She uses all natural soap bases containing no preservatives. Her soaps are scented “to please even the most discerning palate”. Handmade soap will gently cleanse away excess oils and bacteria from your skin without stripping away it’s natural oils……leaving your skin feeling smooth and silky………now if the thought of this alone doesn’t seduce you – I don’t know what will!I know it has me and I have just purchased a whopping 7 oz bar of this soap -Black Raspberry Vanilla Soap-Part Deux. Made with olive, palm, and coconut oils………mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!

And no……I won’t be sharing….go buy your own!

thesoapseduction.etsy.com

FeltLikeStitchin

Did you know that from archeological evidence felt is perhaps the oldest form of fabric known to humankind. It is made from matted and compressed fibres or fur which have been pressed together using heat, moisture and pressure or agitation, and because it is not woven no loom is required to make it.

Felt does not unravel or fray and therefore is such a versatile textile to use for crafting and sewing projects!

Claire Fearnley of FeltLikeStitchin was one of the first sellers I purchased from on Etsy in 2007. I was enchanted by her colourful and beautifully constructed felt creations, in particular her range of DiDi Dolls, some of which are shown here – and Mini Monster Keyrings, and thought they would make lovely stocking fillers for family Christmas presents.

Claire kindly agreed to answer some questions:

  • How long have you been working with felt? “I’ve been stitching in one form or another since I was a young child, but my obsession with felt started about 2 1/2 years ago. I was having a sort through my craft supplies when I found some random pieces of felt – I can’t even remember why I bought them in the first place but it suddenly struck me how much I could do with them so I started to experiment. I happened to have some stuffing in amongst my supplies (I have way too much craft stuff!) so making little felt dolls just seemed to follow on naturally”.
  • What is it you like about working with felt? “The main thing I love about felt is the amazing range of colours available. I remember doimg creative projects at school and all the felt seemed to be green, red or white and we normally made holly or snowmen! When I go to the sewing shop now there’s so much choice and the colours are so lovely and bright – it just inspires me to create! The other good thing about felt is it’s so easy to work with. It doesn’t fray and it’s a wonderful fabric for children’s craft projects”.
  • What inspired you to create your DiDi Dolls? “At first I just made random creations from felt, but when I decided to open my Etsy shop and sell little felt dolls I wanted them to be special. I played around with ideas for a name – because they were small I was thinking of the word ‘diddy’ – that didn’t sound quite exotic enough so I changed the spelling to DiDi and designed the little pocket for the back of my dolls. The dolls started off quite simple but the range has evolved to include monsters, animals, celebrities and Russian Dolls – it feels as though the more I make the more new ideas I get”!
Claire has her own website: http://feltlikestitchin.co.uk and also sells on Folksy (as well as her Etsy shop).

Her DiDi Dolls are also available at the following stores:
Cup Cakes A Go Go – 2079 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, Florida
Larry’s Corner, Stockholm, Sweden
Unique Freaque – 121 N. Kenilworth, Oak Park, Illinois 60301
Texas Art Spot – N.Beaton St. Corsicana, Texas
Trendy Shoppes
Gifts by Jayne
Hunkydory Home

Claire’s Russian Dolls which she sells through Hunkydory Home have just been featured in the UK’s Sunday Time Style Magazine, Sunday, 17th May 2009!

Linsart – Polymer Clay Artist

Lady Profile Face with Hat – Artist: Linsart

Polymer clay is a man-made sculptable material which doesn’t actually contain any clay at all but is known as clay because it’s working properties and texture resembles that of mineral clay. It actually hasn’t been around that long. Since the 1930’s in fact (I shall talk about it’s history in a future article). Nan Roche, well known author of the first book to compile all the available information about polymer clay entitled “The New Clay” and published in 1991 (which today, is sometimes called the ‘bible of polymer clay’) says in her Introduction that polymer clay is one of the most versatile and inspirational artist’s material to come along in centuries.

Asian Geisha Art Doll Face – Artist: Linsart


This is the first of an article I am doing on Artists who work with this media. Why? because I not only find polymer clay fascinating to work with, but am in awe of the innovation of far more experienced users of this medium, such as the artist Linsart.

Linsart resides in the US and is not only a pleasure to know as a person, but also creates the most e

xquisite and expressive art doll faces I have ever seen and recently purchased to use in the creation of my art dolls and healing doll kits. Linsart’s work has been featured in Magazines such as Art Doll Quarterly and Sommerset Studio. She has been working with this medium for the past 7 years and says “I have sold my work on Ebay, Etsy, Just Beads and from my blog. I really enjoy creating Art Doll faces, and after some research, I found that there are many Art Doll artists that need supplies for their dolls. When minimum is met, I ship out of the USA. Square Detailed Art Face – Artist: Linsart


I try to capture emotion in the eyes of my faces, and love to try out new designs, such as hairdos, and hats on them. Over the years, I have met so many wonderful people and many have remained customers for years. I feel blessed to have this art spirit and to be able to create and share this art form”.African American Art Doll Face – Artist: Linsart


You can view more of these stunningly detailed OOAK art doll faces at the following links and believe you me, you will not be disappointed!
http://linsart.blogspot.com/
http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=93095
http://shop.ebay.com/merchant/linsart_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ

NiftyKnits – Fibre Artist (Knitting and Crocheting)

Knitting and crocheting are both fibre arts that have seen a tremendous revival worldwide in recent years. Sometimes crocheting is referred to as knitting.

As most of you will know, they are both methods whereby thread is turned into fabric. Apparently, knitting is considered the second most frequently used method of fabric construction, after weaving. Both methods consist of pulling loops of yarn through other loops. They differ in that, for crochet, only one loop (stitch) is active at any one time and a crochet hook is used instead of a pair (minimum) of knitting needles. For knitting, several loops (stitches) are pulled through each other. Knitting can be done by hand with needles or by machine (to my knowledge no one has yet produced a machine that can duplicate true crochet stitches…..but please correct me if I am wrong). There is debate about whether knitting is better or more superior than crocheting and visa versa – but we are not getting into that here!

What I will say is that for some reason I have not yet been able to master the art of crocheting! Unlike my mum who could do both and I have fond memories of the intricate looking cotton doilies she made, the larger colourful ones that draped the arms and backs of the settees, the ponchos she crocheted for my sisters and I and all the lovely jumpers and cardigans she knitted for us girls, my dad and my 2 brothers in the 1960’s snd 70’s. What I am sure you, who knit or crochet or both, will agree on is that both activities are not only enjoyable, relaxing and meditative, but can also be highly addictive!

Which leads me nicely onto talk about Heather of NiftyKnits. Heather used to be a primary school teacher and it was during a period of time of sick from her day job that she rediscovered knitting. It really got her creative juices going once more and she says she “acquired a continually expanding stash of yarn itching to be turned into items to sell”. Healther no longer teaches and instead spends much of her time creating knitted and crocheted wonders such as these featured here.

Heather’s items are all created from her own designs and range from jewellery (such as floral hair barrettes, bead necklaces, etc) to flowers in vases for the home or to sit on your office desk, as well as delightful critters such as the darling little Meerkat shown here – one of which I have just purchased!

Heather’s handkitted and crocheted items are proving to be very popular and can be purchased from the online shops she has at Etsy and Folksy:
http://www.folksy.com/shops/NiftyKnits
http://www.niftyknits.etsy.com

AND….. for novelty gifts of a ‘mature’ nature at: NaughtyKnits.etsy.com

designbynihan – Creative Designer and Handknitter


As snowfall and icy gales bring chaos to the roads of Britain and parts of the US and as temperatures plunge ones thoughts turn to warm clothing – if one has to venture out into the snowstorms!

Therefore it seems most opportune to showcase the work of Nihan Atluntas. She says she finds sanity in creating and designing one of a kind knitwears!

Nihan who is Turkish and lives in Istanbul, gains inspiration for her creations through a mix of Antolean culture and the modern world. She has been creating since she was a child, but, it was whilst studying for her degree, that Nihan got back into knitting as a way of relaxing and expressing herself.

Nihan does not use pattern books. All her creations are unique and at the same time fashionable as you can see from the items featured here and also for sale in her online Etsy shop:

designbynihan.etsy.com

She says “I am happy to re-create my knitting items in different colour alternatives and different sizes. Feel free to ask”!

Nihan has also got her own website:
www.designbynihan.com

So, for all us women now wondering what to wear to lift our spirits and at the same time keep us warm and looking good as we step outside the comfort of our warm cosy homes to battle snowstorms – we know where to go!!

Patrica Lazar – Art is my Life

IS ART YOUR LIFE?

Art IS my life…………says Patricia Lazar

“I have been an artist just about all my life, having started to paint very seriously at about twelve years old. My whole life has been totally centred around my art, which is as integral to me as breathing! Although it has taken a more commercial twist from time to time, my love of Fine Art has always dominated”.

Patrica studied (and later taught) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art. Her principal teacher was Dr Arthur Lismer, one of the famous Canadian Group of Seven (a famous Canadian art movement known for its portrayals of North American wilderness). Patricia has been exhibiting and selling her artwork since the age of 19 and has spent many years collaborating with other artists both in Canada and abroad.

Patricia who has lived in Toronto for the past twenty years, specialises in handcrafted ceramic art, especially teapots and wall pockets. Her amazing functional and sculptural teapots – like the first imgage above which is a non-functional (Black Folk Art) sculpture teapot entitled “Aerobics Class” – can be found in Museums and art collections around the world. In fact, Patricia is proud to announce that the largest teapot collection in the world, The Kamm Teapot Foundation, have recently acquired some of her work!

This multi-talented woman also paints on canvas, using professional acrylic paint. She says “my specialty is animal portraits and I love to do commissions either on canvas or on a ceramic piece. I also love to paint Mermaids, Nudes and other designs. Lately I’ve been working with stained glass and just loving it”.

Patricia concludes that her “art is a labour of
of love” and her creations make “unique and affordable gifts for discer
ning art collectors”

To find out more about the beautiful work shown here please do take a wonder over to Patricia’s website, as well as her Etsy and Ebay shops:
http://patricialazarceramicart.com/index.html
georgiesmom.etsy.com

http://shop.ebay.ca/merchant/patriciaswork_W0QQ_nkwZQQ_armrsZ1QQ_fromZQQ_mdoZ



Nature Photos – MHNPhotography (Deon Ried)

Three Stand Alone (MHNPhotography)

“Nature photos that convey a powerful message compel the viewer to take a second look in order to soak in the beauty and meaning of the image” says professional nature photographer Cub Khan in his book ‘Beginner’s Guide to Nature Photography’.

This is certainly true of the photography of Deon Ried who has kindly allowed me to show some of her photos here.

She says “I find nature to be absolutely awe inspiring. There is nothing more special, more real than what we can find just outside our doors if we just take the time to look. I try, and not always succeed, to capture the life I see around me, in my back yard, my bird feeder, down the road. Wherever I see nature in all it’s glory.”

Morning Glow (MHNPhotography)
Deon loves to share her work with others:
and prints can be purchased from her online shops:
Male Downy Woodpecker (MHNPhotography)

Folk Art – Art To Feed The Soul

Angel of Music (Artist: Linda Hardy “mampainter”)
I believe I first became aware of the term ‘folk art’ in the mid 1980’s when visited Canada and saw the carved woodworks and handmade jewellery of native americans. And then again when I visited Jamaica in 1990 – hand carved wooden sculptures, brightly coloured paintings depicting daily scenes and so forth. I came across folk art again, when I discovered salt dough modelling. I used to go to quite a few craft fairs and exhibitions and would see hand made items such as beautifully machine or handstitched quilts, shaker style furniture and also salt dough models and scupltures – all described as ‘folk art’. As I developed my passion for salt dough modelling, I too labelled some of them, the more rustic looking ones, as folk art!
But what exactly is folk art and how do you define it? Well, I’ve come across quite a few definitions on the web. One that I like states that folk art is a result of ordinary people expressing themselves through their creation and construction of utilitarian objects that convey meaning and value to themselves or others within their culture. Typically the patterns, motifs, techniques and materials have special significance and can reveal a great deal about a cultural society (source: http://arts.factexpert.com/502-folk-art.php).
To me, folk art is produced from the heart and soul and expresses the world and life experience as the artist sees and feels it and wishes to convey through whatever medium he/she feels will best express their ‘message/experience’ (think Frida Kahlo or Myrtice West).

Friend’s Valentine – Heart Art (Artistt: Linda Hardy ‘mamapainter’)

Not sure if I am making sense here, but perhaps you will understand better when you look at the spiritually nourishing and uplifiting work of Linda Hardy shown here and at her Etsy shop (mamapainter):

http//www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6081786

2 Birds in a Tree (Artist: Linda Hardy ‘mamapainter’)

Linda is a disabled mother of two daughters and has found inner strength through her art. She says it soothes her soul and calms her fears of the future.
You can find out more about Linda here: http://doorno2.blogspot.com/

Encaustic Art – Pat O’Neill

In the summer I purchased a book by mixed media artist and author Kelly Rae Roberts, from her Etsy Shop. The book is called ‘Taking Flight (Inspiration and Techniques to Give Your Creative Spirit Wings)’. In it are several mixed media techniques. One of these is encaustic painting. I remember being fascinated by this medium and knew it was something I wanted to learn more about and even try out for myself. Well, dear reader, life got in the way and it wasn’t until quite recently I was looking to purchase another pack of goddess oracle cards and the online shop I saw them in also sold encaustic art sets with DVD and painting iron , so of course I purchased one for myself. It arrived this week.

By coincidence – this week I also came across the blog of Pat O’Neill:
http://artinthewax.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20artisans%20shoppe

Here, you are invited to join Pat in her journey of discovery of encaustic art, the magic of painting with wax!

Pat who is a quilter is also an artist who has dabbled in various art forms… drawing, water colours, acrylics but could never feel comfortable at all. Until, she says ” I came across the word encaustic and my curiousity got the better of me! Not having a clue what it was I decided to explore and hence began my exciting journey into encaustics. Now, there is no stopping me as I teach myself the different techniques and evolve my very own style of painting.The medium allows the imagination to flow unhindered. When I start a painting I never really know what direction I will be following. Sometimes, totally abstract and sometimes something more conventional. My favourite subject has always been water, from being a Pisces maybe? Certainly, many of my paintings involve underground lakes, the sea and caves. Some will be mysterious, some dynamic or even peaceful but always exciting”.

Pat is so passionate about this media, she has written a book!

Here are 2 of Pat’s creations. The one above is of an ACEO – Fantasy Bird of Paradise flower and below is – Red Flower (you can read about how Pat ‘gave birth’ to this particular work of art on her blog). More of Pat’s work can be seen at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/onawhimsey/2842005051/


She sells her artwork at:
http://onawhimsey.etsy.com/
http://artfire.com/modules.php?name=Shop&seller_id=11457

Pat (I am also a Piscean) you along with Kelly Rae Roberts have inspired and motivated me to open up my art set and start experimenting in this (new to me) medium!

Encaustic art defined by Wikopaedia:
Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface — usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used.

The simplest encaustic mixture can be made from adding pigments to beeswax, but there are several other recipes that can be used — some containing other types of waxes, damar resin, linseed oil, or other ingredients. Pure, powdered pigments can be purchased and used, though some mixtures use oil paints or other forms of pigment.
Metal tools and special brushes can be used to shape the paint before it cools, or heated metal tools can be used to manipulate the wax once it has cooled onto the surface. Today, tools such as heat lamps, heat guns, and other methods of applying heat allow artists to extend the amount of time they have to work with the material. Because wax is used as the pigment binder, encaustics can be sculpted as well as painted. Other materials can be encased or
collaged into the surface, or layered, using the encaustic medium to adhere it to the surface.

This technique was notably used in the Fayum mummy portraits from Egypt around 100-300 CE, in the Blachernitissa and other early icons, as well as in many works of 20th-century American artists, including Jasper Johns. Kut-kut, a lost art of the Philippines implements sgraffito and encaustic techniques. It was practiced by the indigenous tribe of Samar island around 1600 to 1800.

Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since the 1990s with people using electric irons, hotplates and heated stylus on a variety of different surfaces including card, paper and even pottery. The iron makes producing a variety of artistic patterns elementary. However, the medium is not limited to just abstract designs, it can be used to create complex paintings, just as other media such as oil and acrylic.




LilygraceOriginals

Hazel is a Fine Artist living in Wiltshire, UK, and has a shop on Etsy which she named after her grandmother Lily Grace.
Over the years Hazel has dabbled in Stained Glass, Embroidery, Patchwork, Lampwork Glass beads and Dummy Board Painting. She say though, that her top creative passions are making high quality Jewellery, Fairies, and Painting.
Each item is a one of a kind original. Hazel never just repeats a design.


LilygraceOriginals is truly full of amazing treasures and unfortunately, I can’t show them all here, so please do go and take a look for yourself, at: