The Haunted Hollow Tree: This is an original mixed media of pyrography, water color, and casein paint.
Most commonly known as “wood burning”, pyrography is the traditional art of using a heated tip to burn or scorch images onto natural materials such as wood or leather. It is a challenging medium to work in because the permanent nature of burning requires constant precision and missteps are not easily corrected. It is very much like drawing in a sense, but done with a hot wire tip instead of a pencil. The different tonal values and subtle graduations are created carefully by varying the pressure and temperature of the pen tip.
Gina Germ bio: Gina is entirely fascinated by animals –biology, behavior, ecology and history– and they provide the primary inspiration for her work, which includes observational sketches, commentary and portraiture. A self-taught artist, she has been painting for almost ten years, and drawing since she can remember. She works in acrylic, ink and spray paint.
Gina lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three year old son, and two kitties. She spends her days doing design and production on 4-color books, calendars, and marketing materials, and her evenings (after her son goes to bed) working in her coveted basement studio.
Jill Mayberg: Jill Mayberg creates colorful paintings and prints that draw from a variety of sources, including primitive folk art, expressionism, and abstract modernism. Chief among her influences are the activities of her daily life, and especially the activities that revolve around her dog.
Starting each new piece with a general idea, Mayberg works in a free and associative way, allowing ideas, words, and graphics to suggest themselves as she works. Her original mixed media paintings are created with acrylic paint, thick archival rag papers, oil pastels and graphite, and her intuitive and abstract process results in colorful, personal, and eclectic pieces.
I wrote a few weeks back asking why you choose to shop handmade.
At the end of the day I know one thing that continually draws me back to sites like Etsy is the sheer variety that is available in some categories – above and beyond what you can find at any brick and mortar store.
What’s great about this is it means that you don’t have to be constrained to the current trends at the big box stores – particularly, if for whatever reason those trends don’t speak to you.
One category – that is often unsung but I think is a wonderful one? Pillows!
For those of you who sew, you probably make a lot of your own… But for those of us with no sewing machine – it’s nice to know all the variety that’s available right at our fingertips.
I know interior designers say that items like pillows should be the last thing you consider as you’re decorating – but I think it’s ok to consider them earlier on in the process as a means of gathering inspiration and also so you know what’s available generally. Sometimes knowing what accessories are available can help you see the big picture and can be key as you’re deciding about more important items like furniture and paint.
Burlap pillows have become very popular over the last little while – and this clever shop, Next Door to Heaven, allows you to customize your pillow with the word or destination you’d like.
Classic patterns in bold colors fill the be still shop – one of my personal favorites!
Nuka’s shop features a lot of adorable pillow covers including some with popular characters from Alice in Wonderland.
The pillow at the beginning of the post is from Home to Roost.
Ryan Ringel’s boys are hard on their toys. Any parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or big brother or sister can probably relate. Ryan’s oldest son especially loves a good puzzle. But when ordinary, store-bought puzzles were subjected to his enthusiasm…over time, the results were not pretty.
Of course, store-bought puzzles are merely cardboard or chipboard with a sticker slapped on, or paper glued to the front…hardly designed to stand the test of time. Ryan’s boys were going through puzzles like tissues during flu season.
One day, Ryan was inspired to make more durable puzzles while watching a sculptor use a scroll saw to create intricate patterns in wood. He figured the same technique could be used to make puzzles for his kids, puzzles that were more interesting than the standard square or rectangle, as well as tougher than the flimsy ones from the mall toy store.
The first puzzle (“Faye Fish”) was a huge hit with the boys, and could keep them entertained for hours, without breaking apart, peeling, or bending. Soon, Ryan was making puzzles for the kids of his friends and neighbors, as well as his sons’ classmates, and My Daddy Puzzles was born.
Every puzzle is drawn by Ryan, and cut, sanded, stained, and painted by hand in his Alexandria, Virginia workshop. Each design is available in a variety of paint colors, in natural stain, or unpainted.
The poplar or maple hardwoods used to make them are grown and harvested in the USA, and the paints and stains used to decorate them come from a company in Ohio.
The puzzles are simple, yet challenging enough to keep kids as young as 18 months entertained and mentally stimulated. They’re painted on both sides to add a layer of difficulty, and range in size from 5 pieces for the littlest ones, to 10 pieces for older children.