Monday, August 23, 2010

Blog Love: Resurrection Fern

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better."
~Albert Einstein

Creativity is seemingly just a stone's throw away for Margaret Oomen of Knitalatte - Resurrection Fern.

Following the sage advice of Frank Lloyd Wright, ( "Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature, it will never fail you." ) she unearths treasures that others might walk right over, and presents it, adorns it, and honors it, in an almost magical way.

She makes me want to slow down more...

get down to a snails eye level...

and breath in the earth.

To see more of these inspiring photos and read a bit more about her creative life, please visit Margaret's blog resurrection fern

And if you love textiles, (as I do) be sure to check out her fascinating and beautifully documented post on experimental dyeing with natural materials, found here.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Two Artisan Collective members had fabulous features in the blogosphere this week!

Check out decor8's feature of Jennifer Atkins of Quench Metalworks by clicking here.

Read Design Style Guide's interview with the lovely Nancy Monsebroten of White Earth Studio by clicking here.
Congratulations ladies!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Creative Inspiration: kristina marie

inspiration |ˌinspəˈrā sh ən|noun1 the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative

When Jen asked me if I could do an entry on "inspiration" I was like sure, that's an easy one! Then when I started thinking about it, I felt like a cartoon character with a huge question mark above my head. Where to start? I decided to look at the bigger picture and begin with two basic concepts that have greatly inspired my creative process: ingenuity an innovation.

I am always inspired by artists, designers, engineers, inventors and architects who are able to study problems and come up with brilliant, comprehensive solutions. If there’s only one thing that I could thank my college education for, it would be for the determination to study, absorb, deconstruct and comprehend the world around me. I’m a “how-to” kind of a girl that would prefer to understand the process than simply reap the benefits of the outcome! Maybe that’s why inspiration is such a difficult word for me to swallow; the fact that ideas had to originate from somewhere is an overwhelming thought. How far back can these thoughts and little nuggets of inspiration be traced?

Several people have asked me what inspired my silk, sewn mobile entitled “two-hundred two” and I usually tell them about the countless pages in my sketchbook that consist of imperfect, circular shapes clinging and breaking away from each other. But after really thinking about the source of my inspiration I recall looking out the car window on a rainy day as a little girl and watching raindrops run from the top to the bottom of the glass, gaining speed as they collided with other beads of water moving in the same direction. It’s funny the way a creative mind filters every day images and experiences; it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "some things truly never leave you!"

With in the past year I’ve become interested in interior styling and have experienced a heightened awareness of how every day objects relate to each other in color, content, shape etc... Often it’s the simple things, the way textile patterns fall against aged metal, the vividness of plum jam simmering alongside my favorite antique, wooden spoon or even my stacked wood piles ready for burning this winter that truly inspires me, subtly informing everything that I create.

This is where a sketchbook comes in handy, (something I haven't been using enough of lately) but ideally we should be compiling these ideas, colors and concepts. It's amazing when you're able to witness these pieces in your life come together in a puzzle. What about you? Is there anything you've created recently that has strong references (ie. color, subjective, conceptual) or is specific to past experience?

Monday, August 9, 2010


If you have ever had a Gyro sandwich, (correctly pronounced “yee-roh”) this is the wonderful sauce that is used. Any cucumber will do, but I like to use the greek cucumbers that my mother grows in her garden. A few years back, she gathered the seeds and brought them back home with her from a trip to Chios, the island that my father's father came from. I look forward to them all year long!

1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup yogurt*
2 cups diced cucumber**
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.

*Yogurt first needs to be drained by placing in a strainer lined with either paper towel or gauze cloth. Put strainer in a bowl to catch the water. Place in refrigerator overnight to drain sufficiently. Afterwards it will look like what is pictured above.

** After cucumbers have been been peeled and diced, squeeze them in between cloth or paper towels to remove excess water.
(I tend to keep my cucumber pieces pretty big, as I like the crunch... feel free to dice them smaller for a smoother, more traditional dip/sauce.)

I like to eat the dip with pieces of pita or flat bread. (I find that this is even better the second day as all the flavors have had a chance to blend together and the raw garlic has had some time to mellow out a bit!)

Since I am not a meat eater I also like to combine it with vegetarian meat, (Morningstar, Garden or Boca Veggie burgers, chic patties, or sausage patties) that I have seasoned with a bit of cumin, some sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce piled in a thick pita or on top of some more flat bread, as shown above. Makes for a delicious and light veggie version of a gyro sandwich. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Team Challenge - Ellen!

A few years ago, Ellen Degeneres came to my lowly home town of Flagstaff, Arizona! One of her fans asked her to come and she did it! She arrived in some of the worst weather we have ever had - pelting rain and wind - and while she was great at making a joke of it, I think she was truly terrified! People here still laugh about it. She was such a good sport and has such an unpretentious way about her. As a lover of animals, a champion of kid geniuses, a crazy dancer, a charming talk show host and a hilarious comedian, people all over the world love Ellen!

So, for this latest challenge let's try to create something inspired by some aspect of Ellen. As usual, we will post the results at the end. But in addition, this time, we will be putting together a gift basket to send to her at the show.

As usual, the challenge is for whoever wants to participate. Also, you can choose to participate and send a gift or not. It's up to you and it's all for fun and inspiration! So let's see what we can come up with to salute this amazing, creative woman!

Remember to tag your item "acchallenge". If you are not sending it but want to sell it, please have it posted by August 31st. If you want to send it along in the basket, just send a photo to me and I will post it with all the participant results. (We will work out the details of sending the basket later and via the yahoo group.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Lost at Sea Team Challenge-First Installment

There was a fabulous response to out Lost at Sea Challenge! So much so that I am going to split the results into two posts. Enjoy the first installment of the Artisans Collective Lost at Sea!

Elena of Tickled Pink Knits crocheted this beautiful lariat. It is from from her Sea Kelp Collection and can be worn as a necklace, scarf or belt. Versatile and so lovely!

Sharon Clancy created this lovely sterling silver and amonozite necklace called Siren Song. Who can resist a mermaid?

Jude McConkey's photograph The Lonely Sea is so hauntingly beautiful. Don't you think?

The Tiny Chambered Nautilus Shell Necklace from Lisa Hopkins is so pretty and delicate.

Lucy Snowe's Photograph Ballerina with a Parasol...I wish I could live in this photo.

This sterling and porcelain bird pendant from Jen of Quench Metalworks is gorgeous!
If you'd like more information on any of these beautiful pieces simply click the photos. Look for the next installment of Lost at Sea later this week.
All the best,
(mary's granddaughter)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Creative Inspiration: Photographs

Have you ever discovered a box full of old photographs? Hauntingly beautiful, these images chronicle a time when women wore high neck, elaborate dresses and men sported handle-bar mousetaches. Even though the names and relations are long forgotten, these photographs provide an intimate and precious glimpse into our history.

Cindy Steiler of Mary's Granddaughter finds inspiration in these photographs. Looking at her work, one can easily see the connection to antique photographic portraits.

"I draw much inspiration from 19th century photos. I'm an avid collector. My family would probably say that my photo habit is an addiction."

"I am currently studying 19th century ambrotype and tintype processes and, as soon as I'm finished building my darkroom, I'll be giving it a try."

Interested in old photography processes? Check out this helpful link by clicking HERE.