Wednesday, August 24, 2011



Goddess of Winter Solstice

Last spring, I completely sold out of my Goddess planters. For some reason, people were more excited about them than in previous years. A few customers asked if I would create some for Christmas and I bulked at the idea. My thought was that they would not make good Christmas gifts because people aren’t thinking plants at that time. Not to be discouraged, one of my best customers urged me to create them just the same and add artificial silk plants to them. Now, Let me say that right off the bat, I am not a fan of anything artificial. But…having said that, there is some really gorgeous silk greenery that might just work for wintertime. So, I decided to get going since the clay takes a long time to dry and I’m thinking I might have a Christmas show for them here at Woodloft (my home.)

I started with a really large planter that will be the Goddess of Winter Solstice. I will try to find artifacts to add to her when completed so that she is regal and fits the title. She is much larger than my other planters. Can’t wait to fire and compete her.

Painting using encaustic wax and oils placed on chair

My energy is flowing strong right now and I’ve also started several other very different kinds of art. For example. I am planning on writing a book on encaustic wax with oils soon and was experimenting with the piece below. I placed her onto a chair in my studio and another idea occurred to me. Why not make her into a chair back. So now I’m looking for interesting chairs in which to place more pieces like her (like I need more chairs around Woodloft!)


Full view

Here is another example of a painting I created using Jane DesRosier’s method that I learned in her class. I named this one “I Remember Union.” She is slated to be placed in “One Block East” Gallery in downtown Roanoke, Virginia.

Close-up of I Remember Union. World images of faces and events surround her

I love it when the creative juices flow, don’t you? My energy level is very, very high, which could be attributed to the incredible dynamics that stemmed from the students of my first residential sculpture school. The combined personalities of the students generated such vigor and power that I do believe it still resonates in my studio! I’ve already started planning for the class in Sculpting the Figure in Clay, which will be held next July.

Happy creating to all in the beautiful autumn ahead.

Full view of I Remember Union

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011



Students begin difficult "Goddess" sculpture

Artist and blogger, Judy Wise, made the statement in one of her posts, “Falling in love with students, encouraging them and encouraging myself to take whatever path beckons…” I agree with her completely. If it is possible to fall in love with a class of students, it happened here at Woodloft. I said from the beginning that I just knew very special women would gather here for my first Residential sculpture class. Sure enough, I was blessed to have four fun loving, metaphysically minded and talented students.

Excitement was in the air as I was getting ready for these special women. I do mean excitement. What they didn’t know was that just 3 weeks before the class, my swimming pool decided to give up the ghost. It collapsed with age. That meant I had to find contractors to rebuild my pool and the decking surrounding it. I knew it could be done and I knew it would be done but there were some tense moments. There was just no way I was going to bring my guests here without my swimming pool up and running!

Joe Light delivers sunflowers

Joe Light, whom I jokingly call, Mr. Flower Power, delivered gorgeous sunflowers for the guests to enjoy. Joe can be seen selling his flowers on the Roanoke City Market every Saturday.

Truffles from Chocolate Paper

I purchased chocolate truffle candy from Chocolate Paper, also found on the City Market

Granola breakfast in mason jars and fancy labels

Blogger, Sheree, from Raven Moon Magic sent me lovely stickers that she created and I decided to add them to the granola jars I stored in my refrigerator for breakfasts. Somewhere I read about how fun it would be to place granola with fruit and yogurt, into these jars.

I also quilted face totes to hold each students supplies.

Quilted "face" totes

Finally, the time had arrived. The first student to arrive was Trish who is shown below enjoying appetizers and a margarita.

Trish is greeted by a margarita upon arrival

Each student was given a welcoming caftan to wear for our evening activities, which included drumming with Rudy Saunders. We were amazed at his ability to drum for hours.

Beth adorned in caftan

Laura,of Art From Trails End wears caftan and Goddess Ceremonial Necklace

Rudy shares drumming and stories

On another night, we watched Practical Magic and signed PritiLisa's “Book of Shadows” before beginning our drumming ceremony.

Lisa's "Book of Shadows" placed on top of African drum

Close-up reads "Harm None"

We chanted as we drummed to "Ancient Mother" by Robert Gass, which was recommended by Julie from When the Spirit Moves Me.

Glorious food was served throughout the week by our chef, Stratton St. Clair, including homemade pizzas and I created the desserts to accompany the meals.

Stratton and Diane, a member of our Little Supper Club, prepared homemade pizzas

Diane works on getting pizzas ready for party

Shrimp for alfredo

My Le Gateau Sans Rival dessert

Chicken with forty cloves of garlic being prepared

No one said sculpting is easy and the first two days of the class had the students hopping. I guess I should have mentioned in my brochure that I’m a bit hyper and I definitely crack the whip.

Laura works on bas-relief

Beth works on her "selke" doll

Leslie works on her Goddess sculpture

Trish beginning Goddess sculpture

Beth with sculpture

Laura prepares clay for sculpture

It was not all work though. Ella, my water aerobic’s instructor made an appearance and taught a water class one afternoon.

Ella gives class a real work out.

Quiche luncheon served

Also, Patrick Beale arrived to give massages two nights. Beth was fortunate enough to have a 2 hour massage-it was the luck of the draw.

Patrick and Beth

Food lectures and techniques were given by the chef each lunchtime, including teaching how to make the components of his wonderful lasagna.

Stratton prepares his homemade lasagne noodles

Stratton demonstrates how to make homemade vanilla

Here we are at Roanoke's famous "Star" overlooking the valley

We traveled along the Blue Ridge Parkway with a stop at our Roanoke Star for a view of the valley. Our destination was to have lunch at a quaint vineyard and restaurant called Chateau Morrisette.

It was a beautiful day and we opted to have lunch on the large stone patio with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was a bit windy but we didn’t expect the gust that came out of nowhere to lift our red table umbrella completely out of the center of the table. Somehow, when I saw the umbrella swoop up, up and up, I found myself reaching out for the umbrella with my left hand (it pays to be ambidextrous) I was pulled upward with the umbrella (my arm that is) to the point where I looked as though I might swoop over the table and out into the vast mountain range below! Somehow I stopped the umbrella. When the management heard of what happened, they offered all of us a bottle of wine, compliments of the restaurant. We laughed for a long time afterward about the possibility of me flying among the clouds, red umbrella overhead and songs of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” were heard being sung from my car all the way home from the vineyard.

Famous red umbrella

We toured the controversial Taubman Museum and had lunch at the Hotel Roanoke. The Taubman is a fantastic piece of architecture that many in our area felt was too modern to be placed amid the old historic buildings downtown. I personally love it.

Museum picture with H and C coffee and mountain as a backdrop

We were all pretty tired by the time Lisa Plummer arrived at the studio to give a class in SoulCollage. She was rather glad we were relaxed because she said in choosing the pictures we were to gather for our collages, we would be more inclined to be working in our subconscious minds rather then methodically building a collage. As it turned out, we pieced together some incredible artwork, that when read, brought much insight to each of the group.

Lisa Plummer, SoulCollage teacher

The class worked diligently all week and produced an amazing array of finished sculptures including tall standing Goddesses, bas-reliefs and soul dolls.

Laura's finished Goddess

Beth's Celtic Bas-relief journal

Beth's Selke Goddess

Laura's perky bas-relief journal

Laura with all three finished sculptures

Trish and yours truly displaying her finished sculptures

Here Beth and I show off finished work

As you might have guessed, I will be giving the class again next summer with a few twists. I am thinking of having someone model for us as we sculpt. I may also be having a class in glass face mosaics. If you are interested in having me send you brochures on the upcoming classes for next summer, please e-mail me and I’ll send you information as soon as I put it all together with dates and activities. I will also be posting information on my Residential Classes found on the top right hand side of my blog.

I’m posting lots more pictures of the class below for those of you who are interested in seeing all the details.

Thanks for your patience in this very long post. Sorry I haven’t been around to visiting my favorite posts but as you can tell, I’ve been very, very busy. I am hoping to get around to see everyone this week and catch up!

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