Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Illustration Friday: heroes

Here's my post for illustration Friday's theme of "Heroes".

This is a watercolor I did several years ago. At the time, I was watching Joseph Campbell's "Power of Myth" videos (from the Bill Moyer's PBS series). I guess some images from the "hero's quest" show got into my unconscious. This picture has the flavor of images of Hindu Deities that were shown in that series. But most of it is from my own quirky brain.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I love Paul Klee

I've been very influenced by Paul Klee. I got to see a lot of this Swiss artist's work over the years, as my family is from Switzerland. My parents lived in Bern, Switzerland for many years while I was in College. The KunstMuseum Bern had a wonderful, huge collection of Paul Klee's work that I used to visit often. His puppets, especially, inspired my own puppet-making ventures.

My aunt just brought me a bunch of postcards of Klee's puppets from the NEW Paul Klee Museum in Bern. Here's one entitled "Big Eared Clown" from about 1925:

He started making these for his son, Felix, when the boy was about 9 years old. Definately not your average 9-year-old's toys from a modern day perspective ( I wonder if Felix needed therapy later?)! As artwork, however, they're delightful-- funny, strange & fearless; some are kind of dark and many of them have the characteristic elongated Paul Klee eyes.

Ok, art history lesson is over. If you want to see more, you can visit the Klee Museum site. But unless you can read German, it'll be a feast for the eyes more than an informational visit.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Circle Circle Dot Dot

Here's to the the circle, the most playful of shapes.

I started working with circles in my artwork around 1987, when I was still in college. Robert Delaunay's lovely circle paintings really inspired me originally, as well as a show of outsider art & synchronicity I saw in 1987 or 88 (around then) at the Kunstmseum, Bern (Switzerland).

Well , since then, I've noticed that circles have become hugely popular in commercial design and graphic art, as well as in the craft community.

Target aside, here are some great "Circle (and dot) Inspired" sites: Superhero Designs Makes wonderful use of the circle in their colorful website design that really showcases their jewelry.

This circle tote from
One Good Bumblebee makes cheerful use of the circle.

The Cute Little Dot has a dot story every week. Plain Mabel has a lot of circle and dot design...including these
All About Mod cards

That's just the tippy tip of the iceberg for circles in craft cyberspace right now.

I'll leave you with my own circle-based fruit sticker paintings. These are watercolor paintings around those stickers you find on fruit and veggies. They'll be for sale on my site soon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Illustration Friday: Black & White

Here's my second drawing for Illustration Friday. This week the subject is "Black & White". This is a special little drawing for me, because it's of my dog Zeke. He was such a wonderful friend and companion for 14 years, and just passed away this last April.

"Zeke on the Lion & Tiger Rug, Under the Couch"

This rug was one of Zeke's favorite places to hang out. Here's a photo of him on the Lion and Tiger Rug, (a beautiful Tibetan rug I am fortunate to own)

Zeke was the inspiration behind alot of my animal artwork. The dog in this painting was based on him, as well as the one in this painting. Every year I used to do a Holiday Zeke card around Christmastime, too.

Well, I'm getting choked up. Better stop here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

beads, trips and where to find my work

I've had many people ask me about my summer galleries and shows. Here's a couple of links to give you more information about those: My website and this entry on my blog should give you some good information. Also, there are other entries in May & April that preview a bit of the work I have out at galleries (so browse this blog).

Well, it was a busy weekend. Phil & I took a trip to Western Mass. for the wedding of a friend of mine, which was very lovely. It was a long trip, so we broke it up by staying with a friend in Portland overnight on the way. Fortunately, there was a cool bead store right nearby: Caravan Beads & Fibers . I had just enough time there to make another necklace and pick up some more neat beads. They also have yarn and knitting supplies. I didn't realize that some bead stores offer things like birthday parties. I thought that was pretty cool, to be able to have a birthday party at a bead store (hmmm... next year!).

Speaking of beads, here are pictures of the beaded necklaces and earrings I made at Aboca Beads the previous weekend, which may make it up on my website. This one is an orange/light blue color combo...very unique. I love these orange leaf shaped beads--they were new at the store.
The colors don't really come through here in all their true loveliness for this blue and green necklace and earrings: It has a real Asian sensibility with the flower beads. Again, I love these semi-transparent green leaf beads! I used a lot of their newest beads at Aboca, just because I was so drawn to them. This jewelry is for sale, so inquire if you are interested and I'll get back to you right away.

I've really been sidetracked with all this handmade stuff lately, and it's time to turn my attention back to painting. Which I will do this week. I have 2 commissions to complete, as well as several watercolor stillives and landscapes that I plan to get done by August for my open studio with Philip. So my plate is very full! But it's all very yummy.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Illustration Friday

Here's my illustration for Illustration Friday. The topic this week is "summer". Sorry for the slightly blurry picture. I did this piece several years ago (and this is the only photo I have). If this lady looks familiar, it's because she's a take-off on Botticelli's Venus, with a spotted bathing suit and flippers, however.

"Our Lady of the Ocean"

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

Have you ever noticed that things look better lined up in rainbow order? Maybe it's the kid in me, but it's not just a childish thing, the artists of the Bauhaus school often used the spectrum to bring... well... order to their work. Here are all 12 handpuppets I brought over to Island Artisans in Northeast Harbor last Friday, in rainbow order:

And, here's a photo of the amazingly gorgeous rainbow fleece I got from Grafton Fibers at the Maine Fiber Frolic.

I think that's all the eye candy anyone can take for one day.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More stories about fiber and felt

Despite the melting heat and humidity (very unusual for Maine, especially this time of year), I had the most wonderful time at the Maine Fiber Frolic this weekend. I spent way too much money and bought some absolutely delicious-looking fleece for felting. I'll post a bunch of pictures on Wednesday or so, as I don't own a digital camera (shocking, isn't it!). So the film is off to be processed, and pictures are to come.

But in the meantime, here are some amazing vendors I met:
Grafton Fibers is in Grafton, Vermont. I cannot reccommend their website enough! The carded fibers are just stunning, and there's a great links page to all kinds of fiber artists. Here's a photo of some of Grafton Fiber's carded fleece is from their website.
I bought a stunning rainbow colored one, which isn't pictured on their site.

The other just amazing vendor was The Fiber Fetish from New Hampshire. She also has a great website. Her specialty is multi-colored blended fleece (and she makes handmade soap, too). I got the sage merino: and a dark green blend. The sage looks a little weird here...the colors are much nicer in the real thing. Anyway, she makes really special stuff.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for my fiber purchases! I've already begun making felted things with it. My next project is felted buttons, so if you sew, check back because I'll post pictures of them at some point.

I did manange to get 2 necklaces and 3 pairs of earrings made at Aboca Bead, as well this weekend. So those pictures will go up this week. I am planning to add another page to my website for jewelry, felted things, small paintings and other affordable, smaller things that I make. More later on this...

Until my next post, happy crafting, and keep enjoying art!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Trades and special orders--oh my!

Well, one of the neat things about getting a website & blog up is that you meet all kinds of like-minded artists and crafty people. So that leads to things like trading work and making special orders and such. So here are a couple of projects and trades I've been working on...

I just completed this special fingerpuppet order for
Cheryl . These are her 3 kitties (A mostly black cat and two orange tabbys).

And, I just got this cool necklace

in a trade with Designed by RJ Jewelry. I love it! The blues and greens and oranges are simply gorgeous together. She's doing a neat thing for her her jewlery for handmade and indie designed cards to give to her aunt as a gift. So if you make cards, might want to check out her site.

Interestingly, both these ladies are in Ontario, Canada. Go figure!

Also, I'm working on a trade for some handcolored roving (felting fleece) with Dharia at Skeintily Clad This is what she wrote in her email: "I will make some reds, greens, yellows in wintery/holiday tones just for you!" [for my felted ornaments]. It will be like Christmas in June opening that package (or July, depending when she gets it done. Please, June, make it June!).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

the upside of teaching art

As some of you know, I have a part time "day job" teaching art in a local school system to kids in grades 1-5. It has it's ups and downs, but there are some neat things about it, for sure.

Here's the first:

This is a little picture that one of my third grade students made for me at home. I really think it's cool. What you can't see is that she wrote: I heart Mrs. H on the little heart. My students all call me "Mrs. Heiniger" even though I'm not married. I've tried, (but given up) getting them to say Ms. Heiniger. It was just after Valentine's Day when she gave me this, so I thanked her for the Valentine. She quickly set me straight that, no this wasn't a Valentine. I really can't figure out what goes on in those little heads sometimes.

Here 's the other cool thing about my job: people give me old things all the time. They clean out their houses or the other teachers clean out their classrooms and they give me all kinds of junk and also very cool stuff, asking "Can you use this?"

I got this book Copyrighted 1960 yesterday from one of the teachers at school. I love it. if I ever get my eBay page of vintage stuff up, though, it's going up for sale. The cover is vintage 50's...
Front cover:

Back cover:

There are some tips on manipulating hand puppets which are quite amusing, and some are actually interesting. Here's one on "Listening": "Puppets should have good listening manners. A puppet should not move while another is speaking, and he should face the one who is speaking."

Well, there!

Monday, June 06, 2005

A Busy Week Ahead...

It's a going to be a very busy and very fun week. I'm really looking forward to next weekend. I'm going to be traveling around Maine a bit... First going to The Maine Fiber Frolic on the Windsor Fairgrounds, in Windsor, Maine. I'm super excited to get some more felting fleece and see the vendors. There will be lots of animals, too, to see.

My boyfriend is an artist, as well. Here's his site . He's having an opening at The Firehouse Gallery in Damariscotta, Maine on Saturday. So the plan is to stop by the fair on the way during the day, then go to the opening. But not without stopping at my favorite bead store, Aboca Bead which is also in Damariscotta. I'll post pictures of all the treasures I get on this fun spree next week. I hope to get some things actually made at the bead store (they have a great work area), like earrings & such, to get up for sale on my site.

Friday I'll be bringing puppets to Island Artisans in Northeast Harbor. They are opening June 15th for the season. Here's one of the guys who will be going there. He's a Panda with a silky body, very elegant! And velvet trim and a cute velvet bear tail:
New Panda Puppet
Here's a back view so you can see his cute blanket-stitched bear tail:
new panda puppet/back

Lastly, I'll leave you laughing ( I hope). This blog threadbared was pointed out on The Switchboards this weekend. In my humble opinion, the Star Wars entry is hilarious. (P.S. if you are a woman business owner, and don't know about the Switchboards, check it out!)

Friday, June 03, 2005

felt felt felt

My most recent obsession has been felting. I think because I'm a kinestetic learner, and very tactile, I took to wet felting like a fish to water. I'm just learning, but have made some fun things so far, which I plan to sell at some of the shows I'm doing this summer. Firstly, I got some beautiful fleece from Peace Fleece . They are a wonderful & compassionate Maine-based company that sells great fleece and other wool products. Here's some of the fleece (I guess it's also called "roving") I got from them. The colors are so luscious... it Looks like some kind of extra fruity cotton candy!

I made these felted ornaments out of it, but still have tons left, so will work on more projects. I made felted balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and strung a length of embroidery floss for the hanging loop. Added silver colored beads and a wool felt leaf on top, and a silver colored cap bead on the bottom. They look good enough to eat. I don't know what I'll charge for them yet, but they will be very affordable.

Any post on felting should mention Lili La Malice , a talented felter from France (that's a tongue twister!). She makes awesome felted flower pins. I love felted things and have been collecting felted objects from other artists for awhile. I'll show them here soon. Any felty links would be apprieciated.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


As promised, here's a picture of Fiddleheads. They are, essentially, unfurled ferns which we pick the tops of and eat in the spring. They only grow wild--aren't cultivated. I usually steam them, and add some lemon and butter. Taste kind of like a cross between asparagus and artichoke. I used to have to buy them from people set up on the side of the road...but now you can get them at the local health food store, and even in the grocery store. Many Mainers consider them a seasonal treat. This photo looks nice enough to do a painting from (Hmmm....)

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to Jennifer of Louisiana, who won this month's drawing for a free pack of cards. Yay Jennifer!

Jennifer choose the Fiddlehead cards, which I think was a great choice, since they are such a springtime phenomenon around here. I have some pictures of Fiddleheads that I bought and ate (yum!) a week or so ago that I'll post soon... to give those of you who are wondering what all this talk of Fiddleheads is about a chance to see what they look like.

In Studio News, there's been lots of puppet activity lately.

I've made these and about 15 more puppet heads this past month. These have been painted since this photo was taken, and now are at Avis and Hugh Williams', the nice folks who spray varnish all my puppet heads and fingerpuppets for me. So LOTS of new puppets are on the local galleries and to the shows I'll be doing this summer. Maybe some will even make it to my website.