Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays!


Snow Queens and Holiday Magic, With Love and Joy to All!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I've Been Sick, Let's All Slow Down!

Hi All,
I have been gone and very much out of it. Things have shut down in my studio because I am very sick and will be for a few more months healing if I am lucky. I have had to slow way down and am staying with my twin and her family. My dear little cats "The Littles" are staying with my younger sister and having a ball. I miss them so very much. Soon, I hope I can see them more(I was able to see them once since my hospital stay and it was wonderful).

This is where I talk about my illness so look away if you must! I have colitis and was rushed to the hospital in extreme pain. I won't go into all that, but it has been the result of me pushing through projects when I should have taken a break or stopped, skipping meals, and generally treating myself more like a robot then a human. When I got to the hospital I was suffering from extreme dehydration, malnourishment and exhaustion in addition to having a really messed up lower digestive tract-it just hadn't been used in about 2 to 3 years.

Slowly, we all hope I will get better so I can do my thing down here, but the big message is PUT YOURSELF FIRST! I always hated that saying because I never knew what it meant. It sounded selfish and vague. Now, I can tell you what it means in specific examples. So, stop at least 3 times a day and eat something healthy, keep a big bottle of water with you at all times(I did this part but it is not enough alone), keep healthy snacks around you so you don't have to think about what to eat. If you are working on a big project and getting tired STOP! Take a break, take a walk, look through a favourite book or magazine, do some yoga, talk to a friend, goof off, LAUGH SO HARD SOMETHING SPEWS OUT YOUR NOSE!, go back to it later-don't push through your fatigue or hunger-that will lead to illness and pain. If you kids are screaming, still make sure you eat something, get dressed and all of that first and then help them. It all sounds so simple but it is also so simple to not do these things and just say, "I'll wait just 30 minutes late" which turns into an hour. We have all done it.

So, for the New Year, I so hope everyone just slows down-even a little bit. Slows down in their personal lives, slows down when they are driving, slows down when they are shopping, and just stops and thinks, "I will slow down and just be kind, say Hi to this person while I am waiting in line at the post office" instead of huffing and puffing and racing around. Life would be so much better for all of us. My wish is that everyone stops running around like there is a fire somewhere to put out(unless of course there actually is a fire).

Be Well and Take care! Take a Break! And yes Red-Handed, this is "Long-ish" 'cause I like it that way! Hehe!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful-Golden Friday

My Dear Sweet Diana-I would have done more in black and white, but these colours are so amazing and her blue eyes are just awesome.

The beautiful necklace that Diana is wearing is by the talented Ivy of Edera Jewerly. Check out her blog HERE. Ivy, now Diana loves this necklace as much as I do!

I was so happy that my dear friend Diana was able to visit with me yesterday, the day after American Thanksgiving which is typically "Black Friday". She is my "Golden Girl" and we have been through a lot together and separately but always at each other's sides. I am happy to have reached this point where my Diana is here with me with a Mane full of Golden Hair and wanting me to take some "whimsical" and "Fairy Tale Magic" photos of her. Yes! I can do that. I just pulled some velvet and vintage out of my closet, played with some of my glittery makeup and together we decided to make her Golden Mane even more "Full" with a crimping iron so here are a few of the results.

This year I am thankful for my Diana. She is here and healthy. We are making fun of each other like the "old days". She has been sick for a long time and I know she is feeling better because we are teasing each other a lot(so good!) and, her hair did grow back and then some(it took me nearly an hour to crimp all of it!). So, why not celebrate with some fancy photos? And, just look at her! Wow! She is just gorgeous. She has such a regal profile, stunning skin, amazing cheekbones and her eyes are the color of the faintest blue ice. Plus, look at that smile! Beautiful, smart, funny, clever, a Warrior and a Goddess-truly one of a kind! I love you Diana! Love is True!
('Love is True' is something my nephew starting saying when he was around 4 when Diana first got sick. We asked him about it and he said that it is a nice way to say, 'Thank You and I Love You' at the same time so now it has become our routine saying for those times when no words will do. It really comes in handy a lot. He is 7 now and we are all still saying it and he reminds us to say it to Diana especially. That kid is a genius!).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Movie "Bright Star" and Ashley Lebedev Photography-Please Read and Vote!

Ashley's photographic self-portrait called "Gracianaughta"
which she described "is a made up word that symbolizes everything "beautiful" so to speak and was inspired by the reason I am writing and posting this."

Hi all! I am doing this post because an incredibly talented photographic self-portrait artist named Ashley Lebedev has entered a contest which is part of the movie "Bright Star" directed by Jane Campion and stars Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw and tells the story Poet John Keats in 1818 and his secret love affair with
the outspoken, student of fashion and girl next door Fanny Brown.

This movie combines so many of my favourite things-costume drama, poetry, hand written letters which take such time and care, beautiful sweeping photographic images-all of which make me think of Ashley's photography. It is lush, deep imagery, which is visually poetic. Each photograph tells it's own story and takes you to a new and magical world. Check out her website HERE. You can also visit her blog HERE .

Below, Ashley has written out how she made her poem/letter and wrote it and how she became a finalist. If she wins, she will receive a ring which she will trade in to finally have a camera worthy of the amazing photographs that she takes. I am truly amazed at the photographs that she has been able to take with a camera that has been on the the fritz for so long! I can't wait to see what she could do with a camera that really works! Plus, here poem is gorgeous and it is gorgeous, I seriously want to start writing letters like these to everyone.

The link to the movie's website and where you can go to vote on Ashley's love letter is HERE.

So, From Ashley~

PLEASE READ THIS WHOLE THING before voting. Voting is here:


Alright FRIENDS AND FAM!!!! My lips have been sealed.
Here's the backstory. This photo above, entitled: "Gracianaughta" (a made up word that symbolizes everything 'beautiful' so-to-speak) was inspired by the reason I am writing and posting this.

THE MOVIE 'BRIGHT STAR'. <--- Not only was this movie my favorite movie of ALL TIME, but I also entered, after seeing the film, a hand made love letter contest sponsored by the movie, and it's website! About 3 weeks after entering the "Be My Bright Star Love Letter Contest", which was a nationwide call to the public, I got a call from a man in New York telling me I was a finalist for my writings, and presentation of the letter. HERE IS WHERE I NEED YOUR HELP!!! The letter has been photographed, and put onto the movies official site, and is open to the PUBLIC FOR VOTING FOR JUST A FEW DAYS! The PUBLIC (and I am seriously hoping and wishing my network of friends will cast a vote) DECIDES THE WINNER. Yesterday, when I looked at all the finalists' hand made love letters, including my own, I was very impressed and proud of the writings (this is the first poem I've EVER shared publicly, and you can read it) but was a bit disheartened to see that in photographing mine, they left out a TON of the presentation. So in this post, I wanted to share how I made the letter, in hopes to give those of you that might have a moment to vote what it all looked like. So here goes... I wrote the poem on handmade, antiqued parchment with a quill, and ink (a task in itself) and folded the letter in the old fashion (into itself). I then fashioned an envelope to house my poem out of beautiful bright red and yellow fall leaves that i gathered at a park and sealed them with dripping waxes, and an old press to hold it all together. After the envelope of leaves was made, I sewed it into a more sturdy holder made from vintage cloth and laces, and finally, it was held together by twine. I spent days on this project, and I wrote the poem myself. The prize is a $5,000 dollar ring, which I was hoping to trade in (after 3 and 1/2 years of waiting) for a better camera. Can you believe I am still working on an entry level DSLR, with a broken sensor?... It's time. IF YOU HAVE TIME. IF I'VE INSPIRED YOU WITH MY WORK... Please take a moment to vote. It would mean the world to me. HERE'S THE LINK: My picture, and letter is under the name: "Ashley L, Minneapolis, MN" :-) ;) Again, THANK YOU. And thank you to those who've already voted. I really believe that with positive thinking, and the help of my networks, I CAN DO THIS. :D Ash. xxo

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Big Hat Holiday Show 2009

Upstairs area

Chocolate Fairy

Forest Faerie

Red Haired Russian Skater

Santa Maria II

Santa Maria I

Snow White

Sweet Queen of Snow and Ice


Baby Raccoon

What am I doing? I need to be cleaning my house and studio, but I am stopping to do some blogging as I am sewing, working on dolls and dreaming of naps. And no, I never cleaned the studio after my shows since this sumer-I have just been piling on the stuff and supplies-I am just too far gone at this point and organizing will require professional help, a dumpster or both.

So here are some photos from the Big Hat Holiday show of a few of my pieces. These are pieces upstairs in gallery area. There are more downstairs in the book area too, but more on that later. I am trying to catch up on my reading of the books we are carrying in the store so I can know what I am recommending and talking about to customers. This is hard because my brain is extremely "wee".

I had to laugh at what the book store owner's 6 year son had to say about my paintings shown here. He said, "I knew these were yours!". I asked why and he said this, "Your art is the only art that has faces! And, it has tons of colours with the faces look like you. Those faces look like your doll's faces. They are all dreamy,weird ladies in fancy clothes just like you." Hee! He also calls me "Baby Bat Girl"(I have no idea why) or "My other Mama Merle"(I have only known him since August!). So now I call him "Baby Raccoon". We will be playing and his mom will think that something that has happened(which is not a good thing) was because of Baby Raccoon and yell for him to come to her right now because he is in trouble, but I have done it and then he gets to watch as I sit in the time out chair(which super tiny too). Yeah, these are the good times! They really are! If you want to know how to make a kid's day, let him or her see you sit in the time out chair-I mean, their smile is priceless-hehe!

OK, back to either cleaning or sewing or maybe I will just put myself in time out. It was kind of nice to be there and just space out for a bit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Ashland Gallery Show

At the Ashland Gallery~ one of Gretchen's wall of her gorgeous oil paintings of landscapes of real places made magical due to her amazing use of colour and imagination. On the next wall is a few of my framed photographs.

One wall of my framed photographs-the director saw how I hung my art in my house in one of my self portraits and wanted one wall of my art to be hung that way-all "mish-mashed" together-very "Merle". These are all self-portraits and a series inspired by my ancestor Lydia from Salem,MA.

Here I am in black next to gorgeous Gretchen in white. I am standing in front a few of her magical landscapes and she is standing in front of a few of my framed photographs. The lovely and talented Ivy of Edera Jewerly was kind enough to send me a bag of her odds and ends of left over jewelry projects, beads and threads. I was so excited to find this piece in the bag because I made it into a little brooch that I wore on my dress for the night! It is like a gold and green snowflake with a pretty cord of gold dripping with beads and pearls and I think it looks like a little badge of some kind. You can check out her blog and then go to her Etsy shop HERE.

And here are Gretchen and me again-we love dressing up and found our outfits way on sale all the way down to our shoes! Hey- take a photo of that would you!

I have been running around with these recent gallery shows. I am always behind and I always think I can get things done faster than I actually can. I would think that I would learn by now, but I guess not. The show openings were stressful up until the doors actually opened(ack, I kept leaving things in my studio!) but, they were also fun. It was fun to meet new artists and the folks who came to see the art as well. I took a few photos but must go back and take more of everything. At least I finally got a photo with my sweet friend Gretchen Powers Katner who is an amazing artist. She really can do it all-woodworking, jewerly(beadwork, silversmith, PMC, and more), oil painting(really large and awe-inspiring ones), she makes quilts, amazing bags of all kinds from old fabrics she finds and others that she hand dyes and she does more and says that it all is "no big deal". I love her and I want to shake her at the sametime! Ooh, I forgot to mention the amazing birthday cakes she has made for kids-don't get me started.

Now, I am jumping into making boutique windows look like "Happy Holidays" and getting caught up on commissions which includes several painting commissions and the dolls are getting their gowns finished and their wigs! Yay! So, that is all for now, but there will more later! Hope all is well with everyone here in blogland. I have been checking out your blogs late at night when I get a chance and love what everyone is up to and what you have found to share. Wishing you the best!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under All This Rubble...

Postcard for the "Images Through the Looking Glass" show at the Ashland Gallery. This is a self portrait that I was surprised they used for the postcard-I think the stripes did it. And yes, my legs are freaky as well as stripey.

The 2 shows that I am a part of will both be opening this 13, November Friday night and I am still not ready. Somehow, I ended up making paintings and new small dolls for one and photographs, and jewelry for another. None of that sounds very hard to do, but everything I do takes forever-as in 300 steps or more and I have to have tons of supplies. I am buried under all the rubble for now and I just can't care(though I would love a clean house-just the studio just moved to include the whole house). I am almost ready but so slow! I am also starting to feel really sick so I need to just keep on going and get everything done. My nights are spent setting up the shows and getting more bits and bobs made. What am I doing? I have no idea.

I also thought it would be great to have really bright red hair instead of my regular blah red hair so I got some fire-something manic panic and just kind of poured it on my head in the shower because I will never find the time to actually dye my hair-ever. Well, I didn't see any difference, but at one of the galleries today, the director who is a nice and really funny guy asked me, "Hey, what did you do to your hair? It looks really cool!". So, I told him about the manic panic and he said, "Wow, I just don't understand how you got your hair to be one colour on the left and a completely different colour on the right. That's really cool!". Um, wow, I don't know how I did that either-hehe! My best friend happened to be in the gallery with me and she burst out laughing so hard-she is NEVER going to let that one go and I don't blame her. Hopefully I will get some photos and hopefully I will try to look in a mirror and learn to schedule hair appointments but don't hold your breath.

So, wow, I have missed a ton of stuff in blogland! I will be back. I have things to do after these shows are finally up! Hope all is well with everyone!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Making Holiday Art Hurry, Hurry!

The Queens of Winter Holidays

Gold and Holy Clay Feet

Joy in What is You

Ancient Angel Dust

Hands and Faith

Pixie and Sugar Plums

Saint Lucia

Sweet Queen of Ice and Snow

Red Haired Russian Skater

Madonna and Child

The South American Chocolate Fairy

The Lady with the Amethyst Cross

I've been away too long! Sorry for that. We celebrated El Dia de Los Muertos at the the Indianapolis Art Center with my family and friends and the Altar Installation I made for my ancestor Lydia last weekend. It was a great turnout and good to see everyone. But, I could only stay for a bit because I had to hurry and change gears to make all my Winter Holiday art now. I will be having 2 shows up that both open on 13 November. One will be at the Ashland Gallery here in Broad Ripple and the other will be at the Big Hat Books and Arts Gallery also in Broad Ripple. I am going to be showing photographs, paintings, mixed media collages and many of my "doo-dahs" which is what I call my Holiday ornament things-must take photos! So, for now, here are some photos of what I have been up too. Some pieces I have had for a bit and am framing and others are new. Whatever the case, It is time for sparkles and snow! I am still working on commissions and dolls as well. Yeah, um, no one can come in my studio or house until spring...
Hope all is well with all of you!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thanks Audrey Eclectic!

Heather's Lovely Portrait as a Birthday gift!

My photographic self portrait as my ancestor Lydia~

The Necklace Jen Parrish made for me~

Me wearing Jen's necklace(and one of her bracelets) with one of my cats Glastonbury-the baby!

The portrait Heather did of me with my four little cats "The Littles" all so blue-I love this and Heather's spooky take on the portrait. It is one of my favourite pieces of art ever! I am wearing my Parrish Relics necklace and bracelet.

I received a wonderful surprise in the mail from our dear Audrey Eclectic. It was a lovely card based on one of my recent photos I had taken as my ancestor Lydia. What a sweet surprise! It made me think back to another lovely piece that Heather had made for me back in 2006. I love this piece and it hangs in my bedroom. It is a family portrait of me with my 4 black cats only clever Heather coloured them a deep turquoise knowing it is my favourite colour.

I can't even remember how I met Heather now! I really can't! Somehow Jen Parrish of Parrish Relics was a part of it all. After seeing seeing a necklace that Jen had made for me featuring my cats, Heather added this necklace into the portrait and I did my own portrait of Heather with her own kittens. So much has happened since then, but Heather remains the same, sweet friend that I knew back then.

I have enjoyed watching her art grow and as it has become a blooming business. I have been so happy to get the news that a "baby was on the way!" and then to see that baby grow into a beautiful and clever little girl. And guess what? Heather and I have never even met?! Hehe! I really feel like she lives next door. She is just that easy, thoughtful kind of person you can't help but love. I know we are going to fix that someday. I think I might squeeze her to death though!

So, thank you Heather(my 'Tasha Pixie'-she may be tiny but she is a tough one!). Thank you for always thinking of me and thank for you for being you! Wishing you all the best always!
Love you!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The "Poetic Terrorism" Book is Finally Ready for Sale!

The Cover of the Book. Photo by Anna Malina Zemlianski

First page inside book-gorgeous!

Hi All! I am very excited because one of my favourite books is finally ready for sale and I am a part of it! This book is called Poetic Terrorism and features self portrait photographs from 37 different female artists around the world and I am one of them. This book is full of light and beauty and I am proud to be a part of it because I believe we all need to throw some beauty and goodness around in the world today. You can read more about the book and purchase it

All of the proceeds of the book go to a Charity in Nepal which you can read aboutHERE.

Here is a statement from the author~

'Poetic terrorism' is a book of self-portraits by 37 international women artists who are professional or not. They have united to share their art and spread beauty, poetry and love with their pictures which often can be read as a visual poem.
This book is made of different soul colors and inspirations.
Poetry is scattered in every human emotions women can feel and I have selected here artworks that talks to the soul, that take you to another feminine world and that tells you stories or reminds you fairy tales.
If you love feminine light of fragile and intense emotions, you will be enchanted by this book & enjoy a travel in each artist's world.'

the author, Hélène Deroubaix

Hope all is well with everyone is blogland! Take care.