Archive for Quirky Things

Winners of the Quirky Contents in Your Studio Contest!

Anna Schuler's bird's nestThe clean-up in my yard from Hurricane Sandy is taking WAY longer than I expected, so I apologize for the delay in announcing the winners of the “Quirky Contents in Your Studio” Contest. I want to thank Wendy for talking about her sampler book. On the left is a photo from Anna Schuler’s web site of the cool bird’s nest, although it looks like the rest of her studio has some interesting things in it, too. Be sure to click on the link to her web site to see more of her beautiful art work.

Tresures from my studioSo what do Wendy and Anna get for their efforts? I started rooting through my button and bead jars to look for something that I thought most people wouldn’t have. I came across the black wooden incense bottle in the center of the photo, and thought that it qualified. From North Africa, they’re about 3.25″ or 8.25 cm tall. The ball cap screws in, and looks to me like a miniature person with an interesting stone for a navel. The large black, white and red paper covered round bead to the left came next, and then the copper faceted rondelles on the right. What I wanted to do was to give a small stash of goodies that might be incorporated into a small sampler, or not. I invite Wendy and Anna to incorporate them into their own media as they see fit, and should they choose, send me photos that I’ll post on this blog. I’ll be making a small sampler, too. Now, that doesn’t mean that the rest of you can’t play, too. Should the above colors and shapes inspire you, then by all means, send me a photo of how you used them in your media. then send me the photos to… Meanwhile, Wendy and Anna, please send me your mailing addresses off-line to the above email address, and I’ll get you your goodies in the mail as soon as I can. Thanks for playing along.

The Face is the Place!

Small sculplture with a face made from a flattened spoonI’ve decided to start a new category in this art quilt blog about quirky things that I like that I either own or see. After all, what’s the fun in being an artist, if you can’t be a little unusual. I find out a long time ago that simply by declaring myself to be an “arteest” that I could get away with a lot more eccentricities than the average person allows themselves. So, the title of this new category is simply “Quirky Things”.

The final photo in the last blog was of a face jug from North Carolina, so I thought I’d follow up with the “face” theme in that posting by starting in the first blog in this “Quirky Things” category with this photo of a delightful sculpture that I got at a street festival out in Berkeley, California, USA, about 10 years ago. I don’t know the name of the artist, as I would love to give her credit, but while looking on Google images to try and find her. I was incredibly surprised to find what people do with spoons. If you’d like to see some of these delightfully quirky things,look on Google images for “faces made from spoons“. Ah, human ingenuity!

This small piece in the photo, (9” or 23 cm total height x 4″ or 10 cm total width) has as it main component a flattened spoon for the face. Extensions with clapper bells have been added to the head and “ears” so that if you shake the spoon, the bells clang. The face, with its impertinent tongue sticking out in defiance was just too funny for me not to purchase. It was one of those things that I just had to buy, even though the guy I was with thought I was nuts. (I pulled the “but I’m an artist!” card , so he stopped his protests. I might add that he didn’t last very long….he just didn’t get me.)

Oil and vinegar pitchers with faces and an angel vaseContinuing with the “faces” theme, here are some small oil and vinegar pitchers that I think I was given as a gift. To give you a sense of scale, the pitchers o either side of the photo are 6.5″ or 16.5cm x 3″ or 7.5 cm wide. Their delicate porcelain features subtly protrude from the surface of the face. The pieces, while functional, are way too fragile to actually use at the table, so they live in a closed cabinet to keep them from being batted around by kitty paws looking for something new to play with. The “angel” sculpture, has delightfully pierced features in the face, so while the interior of the head could work as a min-vase, the holes made by the eyes would keep it from holding water. Dried flowers, I feel, would distract from the details of the face, so she lives as she is in the same cabinet next to the two face pitchers.

Blue glass bottles with faces on the stoppersI have a small collection of unusual bottles which includes these two with faces for stoppers. The female bottle, with the round stopper, is slightly taller than the male with the square face. She’s 10″ or 25.5 cm tall x 3″ or 7.5 cm at the base. These were purchased at a yard sale just because I thought they were funny. Displayed in a window, with the sunlight coming through them, they take on a distinctive glow. While trying to photograph these bottles and the porcelain pitchers in the photo above, I began to appreciate how difficult it is for glass, jewelry and some metal artists to get those great photos you see in the magazines because of the highly reflective surfaces. I’m glad that while the buttons and beads on my art quilts are shiny, they’re small enough that they can be photographed relatively easily. Transporting them, however, is another story. Who would have thought that a few glass buttons and beads would weigh so much!

For me, sometimes, I just have to have things around me for no other reason than that I find them to be amusing. Everyone of the objects above make me smile as I move around the house and see them. Together, with my other treasures, especially my art quilts on the walls, I have created my own “nest” of a home that displays my love of quirkiness. It’s such great, good fun to be an artist and give yourself permission to just play and have fun!

 Do you have any treasures in your house that are there just because they amuse you?How would an anthropologist describe the culture of you?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this posting. Please take a minute, fill out the form by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at and can find me on Google + , Facebook,  and Twitter.

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.

Quirky is as Quirky Does

Part of the fun of claiming the title for yourself of “artist” is that you get to get away with a lot of things that “regular” people don’t allow themselves once they become grown-ups. The child-like enthusiasm for things just because they amuse you quickly gets socialized out of most children by the time they’re five….sigh! I’ve always had the habit of picking up things off the street that catch my eye, simply because I like the way that they look.What catches my eye, however, is …well…quirky.

I had a beloved grandmother, and even though she didn’t have much money, she would get up every morning in the 50s and 60s, put on a fake pearl necklace, and mop the kitchen floors or whatever house work needed to be done. For her, and during that time period, that bit of adornment was considered to be quite quirky. I credit her with my flair for the dramatic and attraction for unusual things. While she never would have chosen many of the things that I do, she did like the gusto with which I pursued life and enthusiastically encouraged me to be my own self.

In the photo above, in the upper right, is an assortment of pins that I’ve worn throughout my life. The one in the upper right is one that I bought my mother after visiting Washington, DC with the safety patrols when I was in the 6th grade. The word “Mother” covers the pin clasp, and underneath it hangs a heart with the outline of the Capitol building. I think she wore it once, just to be polite, as she always “loved” the presents I bought her, even if it was a bouquet of dandelions. Years later, I found the pin in her jewelry drawer, and she was more than happy to give it back to me. In the middle of the bottom row, is another heart with flames on it that I bought much later in life. So it was hearts when I was little and hearts when I got older. Some things, you just have to own!

The piece of scrap metal in the photo on the left (4″ tall or 10.5cm x 3″ total width or 7.5cm) I found out in the Albany Landfill  near Berkley, California. After the site was filled with trash, it was turned into a dog walking park. Many of the homeless and street artists have created amazing sculptures and other art forms from scrap metal that surfaces as the weather and nature reclaim what’s there. I found this tiny piece of scrap metal squashed in a muddy pool while walking around in the park. It reminded me of the girders that remained after the devastation at the World Trade Centers, so I kept the piece to honor those who had died in that tragedy. For me, the more memorable scenes from that disaster were the photos taken of the huge piles of rubble, with metal sticking out in all directions, so this little mini version is as close as I hope to come to devastation on that scale.

At the head of my stairs is a large planter that has been decorated with a variety of additions over the years. One of the more distinctive pieces is an embellished hub cap. (Round… like a giant button…like the ones I use in my art quilts…see the connection?) There used to be an old house on a road near me that sold hub caps. The outside of the place was covered with hundreds of them, and one day, while driving by, I happened to see this one. I quickly made a U-turn and went in to buy it. The owner was quite surprised when I only wanted to purchase one and was even more dumbfounded when he heard that I wanted to make a piece of sculpture with it. I painted most of the outer rim and the curves with metallic gold paint, and then blackened the inner circle with paint for contrast. In the center, there’s glued one of the remnants of a soldered piece I made years ago when I was taking a metal sculpture class. While it took nearly 20 years later to find a use for that little remnant, it now sits proudly in the center of my hub cap sculpture.

Here’s a photo of where the the hub cap lives in its garden setting in my home. There are a number of other additions in that planter that I’ll write about at future dates.

In the film, “Forrest Gump”, his mother offers him the advice at an early age that “Stupid is as stupid does”. My take on that adage was that if he didn’t act stupid, people wouldn’t treat him that way. I however, in the title of this piece, invite like-minded souls out there to reclaim their inner child-like curiosity and go forth and be quirky. The world is too homogenized as it is with its cookie cutter approach for the masses on how to fit in and be just like every body else. I’m here to wave my magic wand, (and I have several) proclaiming that you don’t have to be an artist to be quirky!

How do you let your inner child out to play?

Why not leave a comment as to your thoughts on this piece. Please take a minute, fill it out the form by clicking on the “comments/no comments link” at the top of the posting, and then share your ideas with the rest of us. We all grow when we share our thoughts and impressions, so why not join our growing community of those who appreciate art quilts and textile arts. We’d love to hear from you!

You can see more of my art work on my web site at

To find out how to buy my art work, please check out “How to Buy my Art Work” in the “Pages” section to the right of this blog.