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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Every Halloween, I like to follow the tradition of pumpkin carving. It can only last a few days before being broken down further for food, or trashed. But it is art for art's sake, and a grand folk tradition.

Allan suggested the mouth should be shaped like a bat. I did the work myself, as he was having asthma issues. I also baked the pumpkin seeds with cajun salt, a treat I'll be enjoying for about a week.

and today's poem is appropriate for Halloween.

You came to me like shadows’ fall,
So silent in your midnight glide;
And in my dreams I hear your call,
Your voice from which I cannot hide,
Now whispering with loving words
Far fairer than a band of gold,
Or singing like the sweet night-birds
Of beauties never growing old.

But promises are often lies
And wise hearts are not lost to song;
There’s greater lure in your eyes
And resting in your arms, so strong.

You came to me, and touched my skin;
As soft as fog, your fingers brushed.
To keep our secret from my k

Monday, October 29, 2007


I've been tired a lot again lately, and while I have worked on paintings, mostly what I like to do when I'm tired is sit and bead. There's something about beads... each one a pretty, shiny thing, ready to be strung or woven. In a sense, beads are like words and findings, punctuation. In a box, they are an interesting jumble, but strung together they have structure, added beauty, and even meaning.

It brings back memories, too. When I was very young, my great-uncle Bill was losing his battle with cancer. His vision was very bad, because he had actually served in WWI, and, seeing mustard gas coming, he held off fixing his own mask on until he had made sure all his unit was aware of the danger and getting theirs on. But in spite of his illness and disability, he made delicate daisy chain bead necklaces while we were there, and I remember watching him work with them. Many people dealing with disabilities like beadwork, because it requires patience and time, but only limited mobility. When there are few things one can do, the skills one can use are appreciated more. He couldn't see the beads, really, but worked by touch, thanks to his wife having sorted them by color.

Speaking of meaning, here is a poem I wrote back in my college days.

I quest for a quest,
A reason d’etre,
Looking to sky and ground,
Heaven and earth,
Finding myself, always,
Somewhere in the middle.

I am not content
With earning a living.
I want to earn
My life. Who needs me?

There must be a purpose
Why I’ve been spared
The ultimate disaster.
(So many meaningless deaths occur,
Why am I granted life
Unless some meaning remains to be revealed?)
So I search the world,
Consider my soul,
Seeking the lock
I alone am key to.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

I should have added the hairstick pix!

I got so wrapped up in my words that by the end of the post I went looking for a art piece that would fit the poem I put together. I'm afraid my health today has been bad enough to effect the clarity-- but not the creativity of my thought. One nice thing, not all brain functions get disrupted by the same factors, and if my vertigo makes me sleepy and ruins my short term memory, it also clears my mind of anchors to reality, setting my creativity free. I wish I could have painted today, but instead I worked on beading, making necklaces; Moon River, Serpentine River, and Pele Sleeping, all based on natural stones such as amazonite, serpentine, moonstone, obsidian and lava rock. I'll try to get photographs of those for tomorrow.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


I found a big batch of chopsticks on sale and decided to make them into hair sticks. These first ones are rather simple; I'll be working on ones topped with beads, ribbon roses, and other fancy things soon.

For members of Fantasy Artists of Etsy, I have joined our Ning group; look for Helen Krummenacker. And if anyone wants to see more of my work, I have a Flickr account as krummenacker with both my work and my husband's.

He was doing art seriously and entering it in shows before I started. In fact, it was assisting him through modeling, suggesting ideas, and giving him help on composition and color questions, that made me realize I had a good enough eye to create things that would be worth showing-- originally, I drew simply to express myself or record and image that I had in mind through my fiction writing.

To put it another way:

The story has meaning, in shadow or lightness,
Each word shapes an image of darkness or brightness.
The author is painting a picture to find,
But cannot direct, fully, the reader's mind.
I sketched out a hero who's fallen from grace,
But others cannot see his sorrowful face.
I pick up a pastel, a paintbrush, or pen
So that I can sketch him all over again.
And now in agreement, the readers can see
Just what my story was conceived to be.

A Tasty Temptation

My next featured artisan is Noma Fowler-Sandlin.

Food can be art and in my opinion, the kind of creativity and preserverance Noma puts into her preserves qualifies. Spiced fig, orange blossom jelly, drunken peach (with cognac), red onion, triple ginger, and chai tea jelly are NOT things you find on the supermarket shelf.

These aren't just unusual; they are practical for food pairings. As Noma says, "I serve cheese with jam. We even make grilled cheese sandwiches with it. My husband likes Red Onion or Hell Belly and cheddar. I like the Spiced Fig and goat cheese. A local chef makes a foie gras, peanut butter and jelly sandwich using my Pomegranate Jelly. The Triple Ginger is great with anything you’d eat Plum Sauce on. It rocks an eggroll."

I can also imagine stirring the rose jelly into tea for a delicate flavor-- many teas are scented with flower petals, this would give you the flavor when you wanted it. Triple ginger would be wonderful medicinally, too-- ginger soothes stomach upset.

Noma got her start in her early teens. Her parents had a farm, and trees don't put out the same amount every year. With a surplus of peaches, they needed to find an outlet and she created a peach jam that won an award at the county fair. When asked what she likes to make best out of her recipes, she explained, "I am a moody creature, so I like making different ones at different times. The Eros Jelly is really difficult because I have to handle very thin sheets of edible gold leaf. It's ephemeral stuff -- floats around the kitchen and gets all over everything, me, included. It's challenging. But sometimes, I don't feel like being challenged. At those times, I prefer the simple ones." The alcohol that goes into drunken peach creates a sort of controlled explosion-- so it sounds like it ranks up with Eros Jelly for trickiness.

She is working on the idea of a cookbook or pamphlet based on her creations and their uses. This one sounds very good to me:

Red Onion Jam Pizza -- Throw out the marinara and add Red Onion Jam instead. Then top it with roasted eggplant (or sauteed onions or any other veg), then cover it with goat cheese crumbles, bacon (or roasted walnuts or pecans if you're vegetarian) and capers.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

a tricky bit of work

I need to create hands on a pair of glasses, somewhat as I did with the faces on these.
However, hands are most intricate and delicate. They cannot be done with bold strokes, only fine lines. And I have discovered the paint is so thick, I cannot even use a pen nib to make fine lines with it.
I must experiment with tiny brushes and possibly a very thinly cut stencil to see what I can manage.

Also, lately I have been suffering a cold. Nothing serious, but here is a sonnet I wrote during a previous run in with a virus. I hope it amuses you.

Last while I slept, the cold germs crept and grew
Within the confines of my tender nose.
At least, I hope 'tis cold and not the flu.
My sinuses have swelled like Cyrano's.
A rush of phlegm, like spring rain on the sands,
Becomes a flash flood mixed with saline spray.
And I hold tissues ready in my hands.
Perhaps I'll feel better in a day
For I am taking goldenseal and zinc,
And megadoses of vitamin C.
I'm breathing steam above the kitchen sink,
But steam can't waft away this misery.

Perhaps Huston, Bogart were right after all;
Drown those damn viruses in alcohol.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fiber art from the Land Down Under...

I've always found writing about myself a bit awkward. So at least once a week, I will be featuring someone else and their work. This week's artist is cerublu; I met her in the Etsy chat rooms, and the first things I learned about her is that she is Australian, and she is an expert horsewoman. Her specific locale is Barrington Tops; it is near several World Heritage locations, with both rainforest and sclerophyll forest nearby.

Her expertise in crafting is crochet. I've never been all that big on knits and crochet work myself, as I get too warm easily, but her work is an exception. Her hats are not merely for warmth, I think, but a sculpture made to be worn. She does capes as well; see them here -- the names, like Wren Fairy and Flame Fetish, give you the idea these are art capes. Each of her works is unique, and made entirely free form. She works without patterns, relying on her understanding of how her materials and techniques work to invent them as she goes.

The love of fibers runs in her family; her mother spins yarns that cerublu dyes and incorporates into some projects. This site shows work by both mother and daughter Like many fiber workers, cereblu also collects yarns that have a strong appeal. With the structural and textural qualities of her work, you can tell the right fibers for the right piece are important. As she says, "Natural fibres such as wool are fantastic for shaping themselves to fit their owner with wear and I tend to use such fibres in places where they'll be needed for their properties. I tend to take a long view of wearing things- how will it wear, will it stay in shape, will it mould itself to it's owner with time and such concerns. Different yarns have different properties and I exploit those properties as much as possible."
And that's what I love about her work. There is so much richness of texture and detail in each piece.

Her etsy store, talks of her inspiration from nature. As the examples I was seeing referenced cotton candy (fairy floss) and Impressionist art, I thought I'd ask for more detail. Her store really only scratches the surface of what she's created. Also, given that I'm NOT Australian, I'd failed to catch some of the nature references that were there, so I will finish this feature with her own words again.
The vast majority of my work is directly inspired by where I live and my perceptions of my environment. There's often some added "twist" to a concept, such as in the "Wattle Homage for Carmen" hat, but I'd think that if one knew this area, one could tell what the seasons are doing to the forest around me, which animals and plants are most in evidence at any given time that a piece was made. It's quite simple- I see stuff and make things which are my reaction or tribute to what I experience.

The place where I live, Barrington Tops in Australia, is a very beautiful and unique area with World Heritage listed areas nearby. My home high on a ridge looks out over the most incredible view- at times I watch eagles flying below me- I can't help but be inspired by what I see every moment. The forest around my house is of two main classifications, rainforest and sclerophyll, so there's a great amount of diversity in the flora and fauna. To be able to live here, solar power was most sensible option and it's nice to be able to live a somewhat environmentally-conscious lifestyle while making things inspired by the area's beauty.

Specifically, there are lots of my pieces which are inspired by trees and plants- "Amazing Angophora", "Bush Orchid", Bluegum Breeze", "(Native) Raspberry", "Native Hibsicus" are just a few. Fungus fascinates me. There are so many really interesting fungi here and I have to pay tribute to them. You can always tell when we've had lots of rain, a week or so later, up pops something like the "Star Fungus" scart or "bracket Fungus" pieces. Various birds and animals are resident here and are more in evidence at some times of the year. Pieces like "Kool Kookaburra", "Festive Frog", "Velvet Gecko" and "Go Anna Goanna" all take inspiration from the little guys who are often sitting on the side of my house, climbing up the windows, popping out from behind curtains in the house or stealing the dogfood!

The seasons themselves and how they change my surroundings is another ongoing theme in my work. The "Flame Fetish" cape and "One HOT Hat" both describe the terrible beauty, drama and threat of bushfire, even though the two pieces are completely different.

I get a lot of fun from little things and have a slightly odd sense of humour. Pieces such as the "Wren Fairy's Wingwrap" and "Red Belly Black Dragon" cape, which were made for Jonelle of SWTC from her beautiful soysilk, maize and bamboo yarns describe my personal, firmly-tongue-in-cheek Australian mythology. I love the juxtaposition of the mundane or everyday and the outre. For me, what is everyday- quolls, goannas, large snakes and birdeating spiders etc- are bizarre or even perhaps disturbing to others, so that means that I come up with what some might see as some unusual ideas at times, I suspect. But it's always, always FUN. "

Thursday, October 18, 2007

just a quick update

Tomorrow I will be doing a "rough draft" of painted glassware, so I can run it by the customer before baking it into permanency. Once I know she likes the results, I'll do a few other goblets so I can bake them as a batch and save energy. Holly and Ivy will be one theme I think, for a Christmas/Yule look. And probably some more fairies, as it is a popular theme, and hopefully the House Fairies I have will approve of them.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sun and Moon

Allan photographed these for me. I think he got them in indirect light as the metallic sun and pearl moon don't shine in these photos. The moon still needs a bit of work, but I wanted to show these to the customer.

This time, it isn't about me.


At first, I'd hoped to post about a new painting I've completed, but the weather has been rainy and I can't do photos. But as you can tell from my jewelry, I really like glass, and my first featured artist is Kathryn Joy Schreiber, my fellow in Fantasy Artists of Etsy, and a creator of magnificent things. Stained glass is at the heart of most of it, but she embellishes with wire, beads, and more to create unique works, including sculpture, wands, pendants, nightlights, and more.
As Kathryn says, "I am totally in love with art and it actually is in me. I can not force things to be designed it just happens." The example shown here just happened for the autumn design challenge, and placed high in the voting. Please go to her shop and see more of her incredible work!

The muse suggests a new poem:

Friendships come
Like a forest clearing
Revealing a sunset unfolding.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One thing about making jewelry

Even on days when asthma and vertigo are being unkind to me, I can always manage to get a few things done. I wish the same was true of painting, but handling little tasks like washing brushes are hard for me on days like this, and brushes must be washed to keep them in condition.

As far as jewelry goes, I think I'm a bit unusual in combining wood and stone, but I love items with real wood and stones combined. Nothing but nature against my skin, as it were. This bracelet combines 3 shades of wood with smaller coral spheres. I love the look because it could go perfectly with summer outfits-- sort of driftwood and coral suggestion of exotic vacations-- or the warm, earthy tones of fall.

This is in my etsy shop right now for $7.50. I'll give a dollar off to any one who contacts me about it (there's a button on the store to do so) and mentions my blog. I think the Muse of Merchants is telling me to bribe people to read!

here's a silly haiku I wrote back when I was calling into a corporation about some matter...
A pleasant voice speaks:
It thanks me for holding...
Like I had a choice.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Featured in Europe!

See the link on the side for Art in the Picture? That's a young blog featuring all sort of different artists who are not yet well known in the art community. I don't suppose I can yet claim to be internationally famous, any more than a big feature in the Elk Grove Citizen would call for a description of me as "the media's darling"... but it's a step in the right direction. Besides, I do have a customer in Scotland.

To keep with the international flavor, we have a touch of tulipmania in a Van Gogh inspired style. This was drawn in Prismacolor pencil, my favorite non-paint medium.

And for the Irish, I shall end with a limerick:

An artist, all splattered in paint,
Had spent all night portraying a saint.
No stains on her dress,
She simply confessed,
"What I paint about, is what I ain't."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Getting close to Halloween

Have you planned a costume yet?
I love dressing up, for Halloween, for conventions, RenFaire... any excuse really. And so I love to make costume pieces, too; like this Victorian widow's hat. I took a simple black straw hat and added recycled black fabric for a veil and train, topped by black roses, which I edged with black glitter and black baby's breath. I'm offering it with free shipping up until Halloween, so even if you want it for another event, now would be a good time to look. It is a featured item in my shop,

Today's poem, inspired by the hat:

The year expires;
Grief forgotten, the mourner
Becomes the coquette.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Sunshine recurring

I am a night person, and yet often, the sun creeps into my paintings. Perhaps simply because it is a counterpoint to the moon, which stars even more often in my work. But I suppose, as it's partly my health that has made me a night person, the moon stands for my current, quiet but creative life-- while the sun would be the more active life I led before I started having so much physical trouble.

I guess I romanticize the day from missing it; here's a poem I wrote when I was more familiar with daylight.

The day devours time;
The hours, sun-scorched, die
Or are pushed into
Oblivion by
Clocks’ hand and digits.

The night gives time back—
No demands, schedules.
Crickets mark seconds
In broken rhythm.
You breathe minutes, hours.

The moon speaks of months;
The stars sing the music
Of eons’ passage.
You look up and fall
Into forever.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Did you know it's good luck to have a toad in your garden?

Not quite a toad, but these bumpy green beads made me think of cute little toads. Suitable for gardening or spell casting, or just having a look all your own. I just listed this a few hours ago on

And a brand new poem:

Dawn's soft light
Creeps beneath
A fallen branch.
Be-reek! Be-reek!
The toad calls out
Happily shaded
From day's coming heat.