Interview with the Artist: Carapace

In this installment of Interview with the Artist, I am so pleased to introduce a versatile artist with many talents. Whether she is working in clay or in paints, her style is wonderfully unique, often humorous, and always thought-provoking! Her etsy shop is filled with a colorful array of choices – each with its own delightful “story”.
Please meet Carapace 🙂

Were you interested in art as a child?
Goodness, isn’t everyone? At least until school grinds it out of them? But yes, I very much was. I’d spend hours looking at my parents’ Audubon books, or reading comics, or hanging out quietly in museums. It was and is all art to me! And I was always happy to play quietly if I had paper and pencils. This is not to say that I was any good at art of any sort when I was a child, but I was interested!


Summer Oak 1 Clay Pendant

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
Aside from the standard awkward elementary school hand-turkeys and such, I took a pottery class and made some shockingly passable coil pots and wall hangings. Even a candle jar, which totally worked…! As a sort of scraps-holder. I didn’t really have the concept of delicacy down. But man, I sure could slab some clay! Had a lot of fun, too. To this day I yearn to take another proper clay class. Perhaps someday…

There was also my Hearts Period, sometime in pre k or so, when I attempted to draw everything solely with hearts – the one shape I knew how to make. Horses, people, trees, they were all made of variant assemblages of heart-shapes. That…was really ambitious of me, actually. I’m not sure I could pull that off now. I may have to try it again, see if I can capture that mad-child creativity.


Tea Leaves

When did you first become interested in working with clay?
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I took the clay class? And loved, loved, loved it. Drawing will always be my first and most accessible love, but clay offered the chance to make something useful, something graphic art rarely provides. It appeals to my practical senses. Buying a firing rig, however, does not. So I had to wait for polymer clay to be invented, and then to find out about it. And now I can make jewelry! Which is not very useful, perhaps, but did you know some anthropologists credit jewelry as being a crucial part of Homo Sapiens’ eventual genetic triumph over Neanderthal? It’s true! Apparently it helped establish group identity, and encouraged abstract thinking. So I am at least theoretically participating in shaping our
evolution as species with my friperry. Take that, criticizers of adornment!


Two Sisters Clay Pendant

Your work is showcased in several different media. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is whatever I’m working in at the time! If I’m painting, I wonder why I don’t paint constantly, it’s so cool to watch the colors happen on the paper. And when I’m working with polyclay, I wonder why I ever pick up a paintbrush, the feel of the clay in my fingers is so satisfying, and I love the unpredictable way the colors blend. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been experimenting with paperclay? No one told me about inclusions! Thank goodness I never learned how to sew very well. I have made these dolls, though… So, short answer: No. Though it would probably be good for both my productivity and my mastery if I just picked one and worked at it, that doesn’t seem to be in my nature. Strange, since I’m a very static person otherwise.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From books, from natural settings, from other artists…but increasingly from the media itself. They have personalities, you know. Stop moving away from me! Try painting on a paper bag and a piece of bristol board. You’ll see how the line changes? The limits of the media suggest subject and composition, more as I know the material better.


Cephalady of the Sea Court

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
I keep too much of my work! I want it all to go away. When I finish a piece and keep it, I feel like a mom whose kids have graduated college but won’t move out of the basement to look for work. Darn it, kids! This is Texas, I don’t even have a basement! Get out in the world!


Golden Notes

What advice would you give to a person who would like to begin selling his or her art but could use a few pointers?
Make friends, in whatever venue you’re pursuing. If you can stick to a schedule, do that, even if it’s very slow. Try as many venues as you can–you never know where you’ll find a home, or just a new friend. Always assume good intent, but not necessarily good sense; some of the sweetest people will offer you some of the worst ideas. Have a blog, an email, a Twitter, and any other way you can manage to stay in touch. And have fun! If you’re not having fun, you may as well stick with the fabulous world of Day Jobs.



Giveaway – Violet Blossoms Pendant!

Welcome to the weekly giveaway!

As usual, great comments last week! 🙂

I’m always surprised by the variety of answers.

There were lots of great memories with the TV shows you mentioned, and maybe we should all swap household chores – so that we could avoid the ones we dislike the most! lol

This week’s giveaway is a fun and funky pendant with shades of lavender and swirls of raspberry-pink.


The focal point is a vintage West German Glass Teardrop bead, which is accented with Swarovski crystals. The pendant is suspended from an artisan-crafted sterling silver bail that should accommodate most chains in your collection. Or perhaps you’ll wear it on a leather or satin cord!

Measurements: approximately 2-1/4″ long – including the sterling silver bail.

Contest Rules and How To Enter

This week, you will have up to four (4) chances to enter the weekly giveaway.

You can choose any or all of the following 4 ways to enter:

1st Chance:

Leave a comment answering the first weekly question: If you could go back in time, how far back would you go?

2nd Chance:

Leave a comment answering the second weekly question: When your dinner plate has a selection of different foods on it, do you usually mix all the foods together, or do you eat a little bit of each one until you are finished, or do you prefer to eat all of one type of food before moving on to eat all of the second one, etc.?

3rd Chance:

Subscribe to this blog (See the orange RSS “Subscribe” button on the right side of this page). Then leave a comment here, saying that you have subscribed! (If you are already a subscriber – you only need to leave a comment saying so 🙂 )

4th Chance:

Leave a comment on any other post on this blog. It can be left on a recent post or an old post. There are over 140 posts – take a peek at the “Categories” on the right side of the page for choices. You can leave all of your comments today, or you can come back during the week to see what’s new and leave them then.

Please note: You do NOT have to tell me that you left a “comment” on another post. The blog program shows me all of the “comments” as they come in – so I do not miss any of them! 🙂

Of course, I’d be very delighted to receive as many comments as you want to leave, but only three will count as chances in this week’s giveaway.

A valid email address must be given at time of entry. You must be 18 yrs. old. The name of the winner will be listed here after the completion of the contest. The winner will be notified by email. The prize will be mailed by USPS First Class Mail. If no valid email address is given at time of entry, or if winner fails to respond to email within 3 days from the time notification email has been sent, the win will be null and void and a new winner will be chosen.
All entries must be received by 9:00 p.m. EST on 05/31/09, and the winner will be selected on or about 06/01/09.


Friday Favorites – Pears Recipe!

hearts-border31This week’s Friday Favorites is a recipe sent in by my sister, Nancy. That girl has such a talent for finding recipes that are not only delicious but also quick to make! I’m getting hungry just reading it, so I’ll definitely be adding “pears” to the grocery cart this week. 🙂


Baked Pears


4 pears cut in halves and cored
4 tablespoons butter, lightly melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Place pear halves in baking dish. Brush them generously with butter.
3. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle mixture on top of pear halves.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Have some fun this weekend. 🙂

See you Monday with the new questions!


Christmas Ornaments Part 3

Here’s the 3rd part of my handmade ornament series.


“Fabric & Ribbons”

These little characters feature fabrics and embellishments with a Christmas theme! They were whipped up fairly quickly on the sewing machine. Only the little slipper is sewn by hand (It can also be glued . . . click here for the pattern).


In the photo above, in the bottom right corner, there’s a tiny cat wearing a dress. One year when I was making lots of different items for a craft show, I asked my husband if he could cut some cat shapes out of tin for me to dress as ornaments. He kindly obliged and they were a real hit at the show. I’m so glad that I kept one aside for us, though. Now, when we decorate the tree with all of the “handcrafted” ornaments that my daughters and I have made over the years, there’s one that was made by “Papa Bear” too!

Three’s Company . . .


Which one in this category is my favorite, you ask? Well, I guess it would have to be “Humpty”. Love his bow tie, and look at that protective arm he has wrapped around the little angel! Awww . . .

Stay tuned for Part 4: “Mixed Media Ornaments”


Crazy For Cake!

I baked an old favorite on Saturday. My Mum always made this cake when I was a kid. We grew up on it. Come to think of it, she made all kinds of cakes – all the time. That might not sound particularly amazing until I tell you that she had six kids, including a set of twins. You should have seen her camped out at the stove, making grilled cheese sandwiches or pancakes for all of us “starving Romans” (as she called us). Each day, we used to come home from school to have our lunch, and I swear there were times when she was at the stove continuously cooking and handing out plates of food from the time we arrived until we returned to school for the afternoon session!

Raisin Spice Cake

Raisin Spice Cake

But, as I was saying, on Saturday I made a double batch of this recipe that was such a staple in Mum’s kitchen. Known as “Depression Cake”, it became popular during the 1930’s when eggs, butter and milk were expensive and often difficult to obtain. This cake had none of those ingredients. It’s made with raisins and spice and is not only delicious, but you’ll adore the fringe benefit of aroma-therapy while it’s cooking – the entire house will be full of wonderful fragrance!

Here’s the recipe. No frosting is needed and it’s just the thing to have with your tea or coffee!

RAISIN SPICE CAKE ( or “Depression Cake”)

Boil together for 5 minutes:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (Lard in the old days.)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1 cup raisins

When cool, add 2 cups of flour sifted with 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Mix thoroughly and spread into an 8″ round baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.