I See Faces…

Happy Thursday! The weather is starting to cool down here in fair Minnesota and the leaves are starting to change…and I am super excited about the amount of art in my life right now! I’m so tuned into art that I’ve started to see faces in the inanimate objects that I’m around every day…and, because it amuses me, I’m capturing pictures of these things.

The Llama in my bathroom sink:


Do you see him?? LOL. He makes me smile. Anyways…

I am especially excited to report that I am teaching myself to draw and create mixed media art pieces…sort of like my style of mosaic (everything but the kitchen sink) only there aren’t as many sharp shards to step on. <wry grin> I am also able to see immediate results, which is nice, since a mosaic piece can take me months to complete. The ultimate goal is to develop the ability to draw faces and better understand how to recreate those faces in glass and tile.

Anyway, I’ve been taking advantage of the free mixed media tutorials out on Willowing and Friends as well as those mixed media demonstration and time lapse art videos on YouTube. It’s been super fun and for the first time in about a year I feel seriously motivated to make art. As in, I can’t acquire new toys, er, I mean, supplies fast enough and I simply race home each day to play and tinker and explore how those supplies can be used together. I’ve started to work in a artist notebook and I’ve also created my very own Artist Journal. It’s a bit rough yet as I’m finishing it as I go, but here’s the cover:



Here’s the inside cover, in progress…


And my very own page of “punk” flowers!


I think I posted this face that I drew last week…I’m super excited about her. She looks realistic to me–at least the most realistic face I’ve ever drawn!


And then there is her stylized, somewhat more alien looking sister! I call this, Say YES to the Universe. (Maybe it should be Say YES to the Alien?)


I need to play with the head shape a bit and keep it from being so wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Here’s a close up of her alien eyes! LOL If only they were green…



And here’s what happens when I get super excited about something…it takes over the studio/living room! (One half of the room is the studio space…the other is my living room area…truthfully, it’s taking over the living room here!) Here’s the futon–sorry it’s a tidge blurry.



And the ottoman and chair:



Notice in the background of the above picture two MORE art pieces from the last week….the first is the 477,800 miles plaque for my sweetie and the other is what happens when you leave me semi-unattended during a football game with a pair of Dankso clogs and GLITTER!! (Now I just need to find some black and white striped socks ala the Wicked Witch of the West to wear with them!)

Art and creativity and fun abound in my world…I hope you are similarly blessed!

Until next week…watercolors, glazes, and glitter…oh my!



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Mosaics, Drawing and Catch-Up Oh My!

Has it really be nearly two months since I last posted here? Sheesh. Time sure flies. It’s been a busy summer–at work, at home, and in my studio. The good news is my silence does not mean that I haven’t been working on mosaics…just means I’ve been a bit lax on posting! So, here’s my catch up post!

First things first–a picture of the finished Minnesota Women’s Gophers Basketball Gazing ball as it looked at the silent auction at the Hoops Scramble in August. I absolutely love how it turned out and so do its new owners!

Next, I started and finished a new mirror that I call “Man in the Moon.” I plan to grout it in the next week or so and look forward to posting it here soon! I call it man in the moon because of the little dark moon face that is sitting in the crook of the crescent moon. The man in the moon is always there, even when we can’t see him.

BTW, have you seen the Pixar short called “La Luna?” It’s the opening short before Brave. I saw it and simply fell in love with it. I’m guessing there will be more moons in my work soon! Here’s a preview of “La Lunna” if you want to take a peek.

Okay, here’s another mosaic work currently known as Kelly’s Turtle because, well, it’s a turtle for my friend Kelly and her new house! Grout to follow soon…

You probably noticed that there is the word “drawing” in the title of today’s post, which is out of the ordinary for me. I have recently started to work on learning to draw/sketch people so that I can add them to my mosaic works. Without the ability to draw what I see in my mind’s eye, I’m left trying to cobble my mosaic line work together from other people’s drawings. Instead, I’m teaching myself to draw a bit through the tutorials and such on a site called Willowing & Friends (http://willowing.ning.com/). It’s a great site run by a woman in the UK named Tam…and I drew the following face after viewing one of her free online tutorials. Please keep in mind that I can barely draw stick figures on most days, so this is a huge leap for me, which I attribute to Tam’s easy going teaching skills.

I’m thinking of signing up for Tam’s online “Life Book” class and am definitely thinking about ways to translate the faces I draw into mosaic art too! Fun stuff to learn and I’m super excited about it!

AND, the Twin Cities Women’s Choir is back in session and we are already three rehearsals into our new season! Look for more information on our December concert called Illuminations soon!

Sending creativity and abundance to you,


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Minnesota Gopher Gazing Ball Update

The last time I posted, the commissioned gazing ball I was working on looked something like an oversized orange brain. Here’s a quick reminder, in case you’ve forgotten:

Since my last post, I’ve nearly finished the ball–all that is left for this weekend is the grouting. To get you up to speed on what it looks like now…here’s an updated photo progression:

Somehow, I managed to not get a picture of the ball before I started working on tiling the “M”….sorry about that!

As I mentioned last time, the finished gazing ball will be auctioned off a week from tomorrow at the Fast Break Club’s annual golf outing and silent auction.  All of the proceeds will benefit the Fast Break Club, and ultimately, the 2012-2013 University of Minnesota Gophers Women’s Basketball team.

Watch for the final photo next week before this piece hits the auction block!

Cheers and happy Thursday.


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What Are You Passionate About?

More and more I’m noticing that I am surrounded by individuals who are exceptionally passionate about what matters most to them. You’ll know it when you see it and its positively brilliant to experience. Music, politics, sports, art, health, food, education, children–the subject matter doesn’t matter as much as the feelings the individual shows for their passion. It is positively unmistakable–mention a person’s passion and they will completely light up. It’s almost as if someone plugged them in and they are nearly exploding with the electricity that their love of –music, politics, sports, art, children, health, whatever–brings to the surface. It’s like nothing else in the world. And I’m surrounded by it.

I am blessed to be surrounded by people–mostly women–who are passionate about art and music as a way to change the world, equality and opportunity whether on the court or in a business meeting, healing the world through organic and holistic means. Their passion is infectious. It propels them and drives you to consider both their cause and those things that matter most to you.

I’m guessing that by now you know that I’m passionate about mosaic. What you might not know is that I have a growing infatuation with basketball. (Hi, my name is Rachel and I’m a closet basketball fan. Whew. There. I finally said it.) My most recent mosaic project combines my love of broken glass with my love of our local women’s university team, The University of Minnesota Gophers Women’s Basketball team. These amazing athletes are supported by a local booster club called the Fast Break Club. Win or lose, rain or shine, long road trips or short commutes, the members of the Fast Break Club are passionate about Gopher basketball. And their passion is certainly infectious. (It bit me and I’ve been told there’s no cure. Symptoms include one’s wardrobe slowly changing to mostly maroon and gold and the need to meet frequently at The Barn to shout heated exclamations at the refs. Serious cases require road trips and frequent shop talk about how the team is doing, along with a little smack talking about the next team the Gophers play.)

In August, the Fast Break Club is hosting a golf scramble and silent auction. The gazing ball below is one of the many items that will be available for bidding during the silent auction. All of the proceeds will benefit the Fast Break Club, and ultimately, the 2012-2013 Women’s Gophers team. If you’re around and like to golf…you should definitely hit up the Scramble…you will be in great company!

If basketball isn’t your thing–that’s cool. But, you’re not off the hook. What are YOU passionate about? If you don’t have a passion, I encourage you to find out what matters to you and to seek it out…life’s far too short not to be passionate about SOMETHING.



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Mosaic Art Showing at The Egg and I!

There’s something pretty cool in the air these days–the Universe keeps sending awesome opportunities and people my way! I had forgotten that I had indicated that I was interested in showing my art at a local breakfast hot spot late last year and on Friday I got the call that they wanted my art for the month of July if I could manage it! So….I pulled out  my art and went gleefully to hang it on their art wall!

The restaurant is The Egg & I in St. Paul (not Uptown) and my art will be there through the end of July! All of the pieces are available for purchase, are reasonably priced and you can get an incredible breakfast from 6 AM to 2 PM most days of the week. Their Kamikaze pancakes are fantastic…as is the Denver Sandwich (think Denver omelet on super yummy wheat toast). If you stop in, ask to sit with Andrea or Able and tell them that Rachel sent you. I adore both of them and they will most definitely take care of you! I hope you can stop by to check it out!

Here are some more pics:




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Exciting Developments…

Photo credit: Holdgrafer Photography. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

The past few weeks have been incredible–for many reasons.

Reason #1: I’m pleased to report that my artist block is lifting…and I’ve got five projects in the works or on deck to show for it! One is a large format mirror with a shooting star motif, another is the start of a large format portrait of my first friend and cousin, Mirra, and her two friends from California. The third is a glass-on-glass piece based on an amazing photograph caught by a photographer (see #3) who is very near and dear to my heart. The fourth is an idea in progress based on a great sunset walk along the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis and the resulting skyline view I took in… The fifth is a commissioned Minnesota Gophers Women’s Basketball themed gazing ball. Watch for more on all of these SOON!

Reason #2: One of my pieces was selected for use in a logo design in Los Angeles, California! Check it out! How cool to be found on the Web by two women in LA (who I otherwise do not know) and receive such a cool compliment!

Reason #3: Last in the list, but quite certainly not least…the Divine Ms. N! Gifted photographer, lover of music and basketball and wee lads & lasses, amazing auntie-sister-daughter-friend, undercover super hero, and all-around exceptional human being. This woman makes me laugh, inspires me and has reaffirmed my faith in the Universe. (The image above is hers and is my current favorite from our walk on the Stone Arch bridge last week.) Here’s to the start of an amazing love story…I thank the Universe every day for your presence in my life!

This post serves as a reminder to you, fair reader, and to myself, that amazing things are out there for all of us–you must simply be open and willing to receive the good stuff! Wherever you are in your journey, I hope that you will open yourself up to all of the possibilities that the Universe holds for you. You won’t regret it!

Happy Thursday.


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Where Do You Find Community?

Last week I wrote that I was suffering from artist block. I am happy to report that I am starting to tinker with mirror and repurposed wine bottles. It’s a slow, gentle start. Nothing too bold or demanding. Sort of quiet, stealthy movements like you might use around a wild animal you don’t want to startle. It’s not what I hoped to be doing, but I am working on having fewer expectations about the process, cutting myself some slack in what has been a very telling time in my life.

I realize that my “artist block” isn’t really a block at all. Nor is my creativity simply dried up and gone. Rather, my creative self is taking a quiet retreat as she rights herself in a world that has been turned crazily upside down since January 1st. She’s feeling it, processing it, and making peace–but with that comes a need for solitude in creativity, a fallow period while she gets her heart right, a bit of dark to trudge through before she can fully appreciate the light again. The creative spark is resting and dreaming again of the days when it cannot be contained. Until then, I wait and play with simple glass and glue in three minute increments as I bounce from task to task.

What I can say is that in the past few months I have come to value community and my friends so much more than I realized was possible. I find myself surrounded by the most amazing people–largely women, a few men–who are creative and funny, musical and quirky, deep-thinking and light-hearted, honest and compassionate, fiercely loyal and wickedly smart, quietly wise and incredibly brave. I have met people who are so truly authentic that they glow. I found this community in my close circle of friends and more recently, in a tribe of women called the Twin Cities Women’s Choir.

I’ve only been a member of the Twin Cities Women’s Choir since February. There are 150 members and I don’t know nearly all of their names. Sometimes it’s just a smile on a familiar face. But singing with them has been such an incredible solace to me on days when I just didn’t have it in me to crawl out of bed in the morning. Wind in my sails and laughter in my heart, no matter what had happened earlier in the day or the week. I looked forward to Wednesday night rehearsals and was quite literally crestfallen when I caught a nasty bug and kept myself home so that I didn’t breathe all over everyone else. There is something joyful about singing for me, but this was truly something else that I wasn’t able to put my finger on until we got closer to the spring concert: Community. Family. Home. Fellowship. Things I didn’t realize I was missing.

Funny that I didn’t know my life had a choir sized hole in it–but it did. Here’s a clip from the concert  earlier this month–one of my favorite songs. (Don’t mind the odd “percussion” with forks and knives in the beginning–people were eating dessert…) I hope you enjoy the clip and I hope that maybe this song will be the balm you need in your life today–right now.

With much love and gratefulness to the Tribe of Women who’ve held me up,


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Artist Block

Have you ever had a time when no matter what you did, your creativity seemed to have flown out the window? Since I moved my studio and got settled in, I can’t seem to get myself moving again, creatively. It’s really weird. This is nothing like me.

I’m the person who usually has four different projects going at one time and a bunch more rolling around in my head just waiting for their time to jump on my table and become a reality. I’m usually much more ADD–moving from project to project as inspiration moves me, tiling as many projects as possible before I force myself to grout them and get them finished.

I’ve tried the usual creativity jump start activities. I’ve purchased more stained glass scraps. I even sorted through them and picked out the colors that caught my fancy. I went to an artisan tile studio in NE Minneapolis and picked through their tile seconds, again choosing the colors I like best. Both are spread out across my table.

I’ve played with color schemes and arrangements. I have a special request project to start…but can’t seem to get myself revved up enough to do it. I’ve tried sitting at my table and just playing. I went curbsiding with a friend and found a really cool pedestal base that I can mosaic.

I discovered what I think I want to do to the tesserae for my female figure garden art, but I have to collect the blue bottles…and hopefully, slump little chunks of glass in a kiln so the edges are soft and melty rather than sharp, but I haven’t made any forward steps on it.

But I can’t seem to get the creativity to flow. I look at my beautifully arranged studio–so much more organized and effectively laid out than it’s ever been before. I have all the materials I love best and…



Odd silence.


So, creative friends–now what? Any suggestions to bring the joy back? I’ve thought of taking a class–but funds are limited. I’m going to Art-a-Whirl this weekend in hopes of jump starting my creative side. I’ve even pondered whether or not mosaic has served its purpose for me and whether I should simply sell or donate my supplies and move on. I’m not there yet, but it’s occurred to me more than once of late.



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Our Lady of Roses Has Landed in San Jose!

I haven’t been in my studio to work on art yet, but I’m pretty sure I will get there this weekend. (YAY! Much needed and long overdue.) That said, I am pleased to report that “Our Lady of Roses” has landed –safely– in San Jose, CA. Here’s a quick snap of my beautiful cousin, Mirra, with her long awaited mosaic Mary.

More pictures to come when Our Lady finds her spot in the Divine Miss M’s home.

Love you cousin!


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Mosaic Studio Nearly Completed and Tree On Display!

Last week my mind was swamped with moving, but I was able to snap a photo of my studio space as it stood in the midst of being set up. Here it is! Once I get the darn table cleared off and the light hung, I will be in business!

My studio, in progress!

I am also pleased to report that “Tree,” the 6′ piece showing the yoga position by the same name, is on display at Mosaic on a Stick and will be included in the Minnesota Mosaic Guild’s Spring Show! Opening night this Saturday at 7 PM at Mosaic on a Stick. You should totally come! There will be lots of amazing mosaic work on display, much of it for sale, plus refreshments and fabulous people. And I will be there!

Okay, that’s what I have for you this week. More art next week, I promise!



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