"The life so short, the crafts so long to learn."
~Geoffrey Chaucer

Torn Paper And Mixed Media Collages by Julie King

Over the years, Julie King has woven baskets, made hand-sewn soft dolls, and dabbled in painting. But she always longed to be an established artist. "I was lucky to have worked in a support position to a wonderful group of graphic designers for several years. This fueled my desire to be an artist even more." After seeing an article about torn paper collages in February of 2007, Julie thought "Hmmm, I may just try that. And, my true artistic self was born. I am completely self-taught and learn something new with each and every piece I do. I'm all about experimenting." She makes hand made collages from torn bits of paper, and sells note cards and prints from her original works. She also creates custom designs.

"My technique varies depending on the piece. Sometimes I use torn paper only with very little acrylic paint and other pieces have a great deal of acrylic paint with only a bit of torn paper. I use a big variety of scrapbook papers, vintage papers, tissue papers, some handmade or hand painted papers to make the actual design. I also use rubber stamps, shiva paint sticks, india inks, glitter, gel pens, pastel chalks and a good deal of other substrates to create patterns and textures both on the backgrounds and for the actual design. Words are added via rubber stamps or on my mac. A clear top coat is used to seal the collage. My notecards are made with small prints from my Epson R1900 printer. I attach the small prints to pre-bought notecards."

Julie lives in Dayton, Ohio, and is married to a "wonderfully supportive man." She has two grown children, two grown step-children, and three grandchildren who are the light of her life. Her other love is Presley, her 16 year old miniature schnauzer. She pulls a great deal of inspiration from nature and random thoughts. "I enjoy writing poetry and sometimes will just sit and jot down words that eventually become an art piece. Blogging has really spurred my creativity both by writing and sharing with other like-minded artists and also learning so much from others." She is also an amateur photographer who carries her camera everywhere she goes. Visit her blog to see additional artwork HERE. And, her Etsy site HERE.

Images used with permission from Julie King.

Whimsical Creations and Rubber Art Stamps by Sandra Evertson

Sandra Evertson has the wonderful ability to create magic through her images and words. She reveals on her blog: "There was a single specific moment in time when it struck me, " I just might be an artist!" And I must admit it was quite a relief. This explains everything, it all makes perfect sense now! Those frantic urges to quickly search out paper and pen, a lack of attention for the ordinary and mundane but endless patience and diligence for anything frivolous or whimsical!"

"Then there are those impulses bordering on near obsession with all things quirky and impractical. As my squirreled away misfit collections of the odd and interesting grew so did the desire to create, the two traveled happily hand in hand. I have always admired my sisters beautiful singing voice, although I try, I can't sing a note. I do however sing through my art!" Sandra is a contributor to Where Women Create, Somerset Life, Romantic Homes and Somerset Studio magazines, and creates a line of rubber art stamps from her collaged images. She has also written several books.

In one blog posting, Sandra admits, "All of my life, I have never quite fit in, always felt out of place, odd man out, you know? Some times over exuberance, adventurous curiosity and creativity can cause others to misunderstand and even shun you.." I think many creative types feel this way, and it is often the art that saves us. We follow our souls calling, and in that act we can become whole. And, Sandra has a beautiful soul. She must have. You can see it in her creations, and on her blog. See for yourself HERE.

Images used with permission from Sandra Evertson.

Needle Felted Artwork by Debra Poth (Deebs)

Debra Poth creates needle felted artwork, and has been making them for two years. She lives in Redmond, Washington, and describes herself on her Flickr page (with updated info here) as, "Only child syndrome, little bit older lady that loves fiber, paper, scissors, threads, canvas and almost any craft object around. I have been 'taken' for 32 years, have two sons out of college, one daughter in college, and the last son who is a freshman in college this year. We have 3 dogs, all black labs and a Bengal cat. Oh, and my son has a snake which I get to feed ‘gourmet frozen rodents’ to while he is away! I love wool and love needlefelting artwork, cross stitch, needlepoint!"

She got hooked after searching for ideas for her needlepoint bracelets. After buying a small needlefelting kit from a craft shop, she fell in love with the technique and began teaching herself and creating larger pieces, up to 11" x 14" in size. Her inspiration comes from her daughter, who "takes some wonderful photos." "I get ideas from those, or from other family photos. Many times just getting some new wool batts in the mail is enough to come up with something. When I first started this, that was my biggest worry….coming up with new ideas. Oh, and I have plenty of feltings that did not live up to my expectations too! "

Her process involves using a 2” dense cushion foam for her base. "I lay a heavy wool felt blend on top and lay out my wool or silk. I poke it in with a two needle felting tool to tack it in place. I make any changes in wool at that time. Then I go over the entire piece with a 3 needle tool. After that I do the entire piece with the 2 needle tool until all the wool is poked down into the felt. Then I pull the felted piece away from the foam and trim the back. I then add embellishments such as art yarns and embroidery on top." Debra finds her craft very relaxing, but admits to getting a sore arm from all the poking. Visit Debra's Etsy site to see more of her works HERE. And, her Flickr page HERE.

Images used with permission from Debra Poth.

Recycled Glass Art by John Bassett

Retired carpenter and amateur musician, John Bassett, creates recycled glass art. He and his wife, Christina, live in Brookline, Massachusetts. "My town has a good recycling program, and I get a lot of my bottles and old windows from the town dump. I’ve been doing glass since 1979. I was a kid who drew and painted. My uncle, Richard Bassett was a painter. If there is consistency in what I make it is in the re-use of old stuff. I’m interested in the richness of shape and texture of glass produced by slumping and fusing. "

"I’m doing glass that can be shown on interior walls and doesn’t need strong backlighting. This wall mounted glass is supported by armatures of wood or brass. I’m interested in light, structure, line, texture, balance, and color in that order. I also do panels for windows and commissions. I’m happy in the rich, associative world of recycled glass and other found objects. "

Besides creating recycled glass art, John and his wife lead a busy life with their cats, Enrique and Cowley. And, proud of their seven grandchildren, Rachel, Theo, Penny, Freddy, Naomi, Henry, and Gavriella. John also keeps busy showing his artwork, promoting the green aspect of his recycled craft. Visit his website to see additional glass art HERE. ~Information provided by John Bassett and also seen on his website.

Images used with permission from John Bassett.

Handpainted Functional Art by Marilyn Grad

Marilyn Grad's functional art brings to mind Helen Keller's quote "When one door closes, another opens. But we often look so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the one that has opened for us." After one of the companies she worked for went bankrupt, Marilyn started painting to "fill the void." She didn't sit around feeling sorry for herself, she created a new door. Her functional art is a part-time business, which she hopes will become full-time. "Eight years ago, I returned to the restaurant industry as a host to afford me with the luxury of flexibility and food! I am so excited as I just accepted a host position at new restaurant opening in the new The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. How perfect!!"

Marilyn is a self-taught artist who works out of her apartment in Chicago, but plans on moving to Portland, Oregon sometime in the future. She is 53 years young, and one of her favorite magnets (which she collects) says, "Oh crap, I meant to get married and have some kids!" "So my kids are my hand painted creations and my marriage right now is to my business. And I am growing to love it more and more!"

"I love to work with wood for its durability and texture. Some of the boxes I now use are custom made for me from an artisan in Kentucky, which gives me more latitude for custom sizes, especially for my tea, jewelry and take-out menu boxes. I also use recycled and found objects. I am going to work on more wall art and jewelry." Her other passions include painting, yoga, ayurveda, sailing, cultural venues, collecting quotes, and blogging of all things. Visit her website to see more of her functional art HERE. And, her blog HERE.

Images used with permission from Marilyn Grad.