Never Forgotten

Memorial Day 2010

(my original drawing & Arlington National Cemetery photo from Wikimedia Commons)


Studio Tour Sneak Peeks + A Great Giveaway

Welcome back to another Studio Tour Saturday!
How have you been this week?

I'm mixing things up a little today. Inspired by the Summer 2010 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors Studios Magazine, we're taking a quick peek at a few different spaces today.

(First we'll revisit 2 painters previously featured here on ArtSnark's. Then a sneak peek of 2 upcoming tours. Then we'll end with an announcement for a new random drawing.)

I was very excited to check out this edition of CPS Studios. I love peeking "behind the curtain" and this magazine features 30 studios over 148 pages. Now that is a lot of eye-candy!!

Also, several artists I've met through Etsy (and other online artsy venues) shared their creative spaces in this fun summer issue. Two have been featured on this blog before - Click any photo to revisit their tours:

Last summer we dropped in on Pam Carriker.

She had just given her studio a makeover using paint, 1 new chair, and items she already owned throughout her home.

What is Pam up to now? Her article Making Time For Studio Time can be found in CPS Summer Studios 2010 along with more photos of her studio (pages 104 & 105). Pam is putting the final touches on her upcoming book, Art At The Speed Of Life. This is in addition to painting, writing magazine articles, conducting workshops & teaching online classes. She is 1 busy lady! To find out about all of her projects, visit pamcarriker.com. You can also purchase her art through PamCarriker.etsy.com

On Jan. 1 Jodi Ohl invited us into her new studio, the Sweet Retreat

She had just purchased her first house. With it came a wonderful room lined with many built in shelves - just perfect for an art studio!
Jodi likes to work on several pieces at a time and this room gives her the space to do that. Plus she can take a break without worrying about cluttering up the house with works in progress (she used to work on her dining room table).

So what has Jodi been up to lately?
She continues to publish articles and tutorials in various art & craft magazines. Jodi shares her creative space on pages 131 & 132 of the new CPS studios. This year she has been very busy teaching workshops and online classes, as well as vending at Art Fairs. And all the while she is still creating! Read about Jodi's current projects on her blog
sweetrepeats.blogspot.com. You can also see her art at her etsy shop, LucySweetLucy.

Now For Some Sneaky Peekies!

Both of these artists are in the new CPS Studios. The photos shown here are not from that magazine. They have been provided by the artists. I look forward to featuring both of these wonderful ladies on this blog later this summer.

Risa Tritabaugh is thrilled to posses a separate studio space after years of creating wherever she could around the house.

It is located in an artist filled building near her home. Easy to get to, but far enough away that she can set her cares aside and concentrate on her colorful pieces. Click on the photos to visit her blog,

In July Risa will take us on a larger photo tour of her vibrant space. Until then you can see more of her studio on pages 118 & 119 in CPS Studios. And if you find yourself in St Paul, MN on the 1st Friday of any month, visit her studio during the open studio events held in lower St Paul. (visit her blog for details).

KC Willis new she needed a bigger space when she stumbled upon the house that would become Lipstick Ranch.

Lipstick ranch houses an art gallery, studios and workshop rooms. It even has a relaxing sun porch
where KC can let her imagination wander. Take a peek inside her wonderful bungalow. It has such charisma!

KC's artwork is full of lush layers that evoke a feeling of history... and mystery.

Being Bernhardt by KC Willis

Her studio gives off that same intriguing vibe of years gone by.

I look forward to featuring KC later this summer & hope you will join me for her studio tour. In the meantime, you can read about Lipstick Ranch on pages 95 - 98 of the current CPS Studios. Find out more about her workshops at collagecamp.ning.com. Take a look around her website lipstickranch.com to learn about her artwork as well as classes & Collage Camp dvds.

There are many more artists & creative spaces in the current issue of CPS Studios. If you love going behind the scenes, I recommend tracking down a copy. You can find it at bookstores & craft shops, as well as on the Cloth Paper Scissors website.

Want to win a free copy?

I picked up an extra one the other day which I will ship to 1 lucky winner. Leave a comment on this blog before 1 a.m. on 6/5 to enter this random drawing. Please make sure to leave an email (if it isn't in your blog profile). This random drawing is open worldwide. Prize ships free to winner.

Thanks for popping by today. It has been a lot of fun! And thank you to all of the artist who open up their world to give the rest of us a peek at where they work their magic!

By the way have you entered next Thursday's drawing for a Mosaic from Tortuga Tile Works? Click here for details & photo of this colorful prize.


muses & monsters

I first heard Josh Ritter a couple of weeks ago when he played his tune The Curse on Studio 360 . It has been rattling around in my head since. (& yes, I do live under a rock and had never heard of Ritter before). Sorry if the video is cropped - here's the link - just remember to come back, okay?

So when I heard a snippet again on NPR this morning, I cashed in some Amazon credits & picked up his new album, So Runs The World Away. (By the way, the band's drummer is also a puppeteer. He writes about the making of the video here).

S.R.T.W.A. is great background music. I know that doesn't sound like much of a compliment. But in the studio it is. Studio music adds to the ambiance without interrupting the thought process. Wow - that's not coming out right. Hopefully you know what I mean....

Do you play music when you are creating?
If so, what keeps your Muse happy?


I Love Monsters!

I spent my formative years watching as many cheesy horror movies as I could get away with. I remember sneaking downstairs at 3 a.m. to catch Boris Karloff in the 1932 version of The Mummy (catch the trailer here.). I got totally busted & had nightmares for weeks.... but it was worth it!

I'd watch anything even remotely creepy, but my favorites starred Vincent Price.

I loved his velvet voice & dramatic flair. His flicks introduced me to Edgar Allen Poe. Plus he always seemed like he was having fun.

You can find Mr. Price all over YouTube. One of my favorites is his appearance as the mystery guest on What's My Line. If he were still around Vincent Price would have turned 99 yesterday - Happy Birthday Mr. Price!

May 27th was also the 88th birthday of Sir Christopher Lee. In the 70s & early 8os no weekend was complete without one of his monster flicks.

Of course where would Dracula have been without Dr. Van Helsing?

Another of my childhood favorites, Peter Cushing, would have celebrated his 97th birthday on May 26. Years ago you could watch him battling beasts on Saturday TV & then solving crimes as Sherlock Holmes on Sunday.

Happy Birthday, Gentlemen!

If you have few minutes give these guys a google. You might be surprised by what you find. You can watch many of their movies & interviews.

Peter Cushing is the subject of a fun song by the JellyBottys:

And Christopher Lee is into metal - who knew?? Ok, lots of people....but I live under a rock, remember? Find more about his foray into "symphonic metal" on the recently released album Charlemagne By The Sword And The Cross

Another thing you'll find all over the web is lots & lots of fan art. My favorite by far is the fantastic work of Lucas Soriano.You can view more of his art over at cowboy-lucas.deviantart.com/ as well as on his blog lucaselvaquero.blogspot.com. Please, check it out if you get a chance & tell him just how cool he really is!


Final Note: If you haven't yet entered the random drawing for Tortuga Tile Works Ma & Pa Deathhead Mosaic, click here for photo & details. 1 winner will be selected on 6/3.


Wordless Wednesday - Metamorphosis


Okay - not entirely wordless: If you haven't entered the random drawing for a Mosaic from Tortuga Tile Works, click here for photo of prize & details. It is easy to enter - just leave a comment on this blog before 6/3.


speak no evil

speak no evil - work in progress

As I've mentioned before, when I don't have time to make stuff I get cranky. Well... cranky is an understatement. Since my mother always told me "If you don't have anything nice to say then say nothing at all" (advice I rarely heed, I must admit) the Speak No Evil Self Portrait challenge over at Creative Souls seemed a perfect fit today.

I only had about 45 minutes tonight, so I decided to shut out the world & see what happened next. The above digital collage combines an altered photo of a cocooning caterpillar, a couple of charcoal drawings, a Polaroid transfer & some basic photoshop elements tweaks. Yes, it is a bit meh - but I think it has potential as a sketch for something better

....And I'm (a little) less cranky :D

By the way, if the Creative Souls challenge link doesn't work for you, it may be because you are not a member. So why aren't you?? It is fun, free & easy to join. Simply sign up over at CreativeSouls.ning.com. Got imagination? Welcome aboard!


Musical Monday - Paris Dreams

I got a package this weekend

that had me digging through dusty cds. Had an urge to listen to this Cole Porter cover. (Please don't judge by the photos in this slideshow - 'twas the clearest sound I could find for sharing)

Last month while visiting the wonderful blog StarryNightImpressions I entered a random drawing.

A number of lovely items were given out. Lucky lady that I am, I won a fun Paris collage made by StarryDeb herself:

I have never been to Paris but always enjoy window shopping over at starrydeborah.etsy.com and other spots with a French vibe.

By the way, did you know that if you visit Etsy's Geolocator you can search for handmade & vintage items by seller location? There is some great stuff coming out of Paris right now!

Know what else is cool? Just found out there is a chance I may visit the City of Lights later this year. Probably will only be for a couple days & I'll be traveling with a child. If anyone has suggestions for "must-see" or places to stay, please comment. I can find my way around many places but am a newbie when it comes to France.

Coincidentally, today's Mixed Media Monday prompt is Marie Antoinette. If you're a fan, jump over there & peruse the fun interpretations. Better yet if you have some Marie-inspired creations, pop on over & leave a link.

Back to the topic of Musical Monday, Diane is taking a break so Screaming Mimi is hosting today. Again, click through & play along if you have the time.
And finally- if you haven't yet entered the random drawing for Tortuga Tile Works Dios de los Muertos Mosiac, click here to check it out & leave a comment.


Odds & Ends

Hey there! How've you been?

Haven't been blogging (or creating, or listing..) as much as I'd like lately. Just been too busy with life, work & family stuff. Been writing some lively posts in my head but haven't had time to set them down so here are a few linkys instead:

Reworked another Polaroid transfer tile for the ArtSnark Shop. Since the 1st of this pair (now sold) was called The Messenger, I tried out a few other names. But "the courier" & "the gofer" just didn't have the same ring. (Although emissary & voortrekker sounded kind of cool). Click the tile for more info about piece & the process.

Early is the prompt from IllustrationFriday.com this week. Check it out when you get a chance - there's some fun work over there. Or add your own spin if you have the time.

I was thrilled to find this fantastic take on Early & Little Red through the Ill. Friday links today. It is from the blog of Australian illustrator Kathleen Jennings. She has some really fantastic line & action in her pieces. Visit her blog Tanaudel.wordpress.com for more wonderful illos. You can also click the image for a closeup & details.

Into Steampunk?

I've been lurking over at The Great Steampunk Debate 2010 . It started on May 1 & runs through June 30. What is it? From the debate site: "
The Great Steampunk Debate has been organized by those involved in the creation and maintenance of many of steampunk's magazines, websites, groups and communities for the purposes of exploring steampunk ideology...Here, you will find discussion on ideology, beliefs, politics, ethics, and how all of these things intersect with steampunk (if they, in fact, intersect at all)..."

I've also been kicking around over at Steampunk Empire. It is over at ning & is free but you have to sign up to be a member. I've been having a grand time checking out all the photos, running into some old acquaintances & meeting some fantastically creative folks.

There are a number of interesting discussions & groups. Some time in the Children's Literature discussion turned me onto The Invention of Hugo Cabret which I'm enjoying with my 6 yr old.

Well, that's enough rambling for now. Hope you have a fantastic day! But before you go, click here to read about LuRu, the ceramics artist behind Tortuga Tile Works & enter the 6/3 random drawing for her fun Dios de los Muertos Mosaic


Visit with ceramics artist LuRu + enter to win art from Tortuga TIle Works

Hey there. How have you been?

Did you make it by last Saturday for the photo tour of Tortuga Tile Works?

If not, click here to check out the backyard/garage studio of ceramics artist, Luru. Just remember to come back since LuRu has stopped by for a visit today.

This past weekend was the Grand Opening of Tortuga Tile Works on Etsy.com. You can also see more of LuRu's artwork over at her website, TortugaTileWorks.com. By the way, clicking on the tile photos throughout this post will take you to more information on each piece. All photos are courtesy of Tortuga Tile Works

LuRu works mainly in tile and mosaics. She carves, casts, fires & glazes her pieces in her Hollywood, Florida studio. She kindly took a few minutes today to share some more information about herself and her art. So this is the part where I make myself scarce - I'll go make us some sandwiches or something....

LuRu: I have been creating ceramic work since 1992. I earned a BFA in Ceramics from the Ohio State University in 1995. In the beginning of my career I predominantly made large scale figurative sculpture. Increasingly, I began incorporating more materials into my works. This mixed media direction led me to pursue a masters degree in Sculpture rather than Ceramics.

LuRu: While in graduate school I explored metal fabrication, casting, textiles and video. After earning my MFA degree in 2004, I worked as an adjunct professor at Baton Rouge Community College and as the Special Events Coordinator at the Baton Rouge Gallery CCA. Although I enjoyed teaching art appreciation, sculpture and design classes, I found the event position more interesting.

LuRu: Upon moving to Florida in 2006 I continued my career in the event industry. I spent four years designing city wide and corporate events. Although creating decor schemes was akin to large scale installation art, I left the industry to return to my own art.

LuRu: More specifically I've returned with renewed vigor to ceramics and started my artisan tile company, Tortuga Tile Works.

LuRu: I am attracted to tiles because of their ornamental quality. In addition the press molding process allows for a large quantity to be produced economically.

LuRu: The collections thus far have been influenced by my experiences and interests. The Tiki Atoll, Atomic and Chance collections are a reflection of my lifestyle which is heavily steeped in poly-pop, mid-century and retro trappings.

LuRu: The idealized escapism of tiki mixed with the exotic raucousness of rockabilly is incorporated into these works.


LuRu: I was introduced to the traditions of Dios de los Muertos during my undergraduate years while studying in Mexico. The balance of the life and death cycle and the honoring of deceased relatives appealed to my sensibility. I have created altars throughout the years for my departed grandparents. The Death Head collection is my tribute to these cultural conventions .

Thank you, LuRu, for stopping by today to share about yourself and your creations. And thanks for sponsoring the new Thursday Giveaway!

What's the new prize? It is the eye-catching piece at the top of this post, the Ma & Pa Death Head Double Portrait. This fun mosaic is mounted on luan with felt. With hanging hardware on the back, it is ready for display. This piece measures 10.5"H x 12"W. It is item #DHM 11 on the TortugaTileWorks website and normally sells for $65 (+ tax and shipping). Prize ships free to winner. However, this random drawing is open to USA residents only.

Want To Enter? 1 lucky winner will be randomly selected from comments left on this blog over the next 2 weeks. So be sure to leave yours before 1 a.m. (EST) on 6/3. Please add an email address if it isn't already in your blog profile.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I hope you have a wonderful & creative week!

Where else can you find Tortuga Tile Works?


In June LuRu will be vending at:

The Hukilau, Bahia Mar, Ft Lauderdale, FL (6/10 - 6/13)
Ohana-Luau at the Lake, Tiki Motor Inn, Lake George, NY (6/25- 6/27)


Studio Tour #25 - Tortuga Tile Works

Koi Set In A River Rock Stream, hand built mosaic by LuRu

Welcome Back to another Saturday Studio Tour

Pack your swimsuit & sunscreen because we are off to Hollywood, Florida today.

Ceramics artist LuRu has invited us to stop by her backyard studio, Tortuga Tile Works. This is where LuRu creates her colorful tiles and unique mosaic pieces. Her tiles are made by hand out of Earthenware clay and are fired with a variety of glazes, many of which she makes herself.

You can view her tile collections on her website TortugaTileWorks.com as well as the new Etsy shop, TortugaTileWorks.etsy.com. These tiles can be mixed & matched to create a vibrant piece of mosaic art. They also work well as individual hanging pieces.

Now, I'm going kick back with a cold glass of iced tea so that LuRu can show you around. While you are here, click on any of the images for more information. (Photos are courtesy of Tortuga Tile Works.)

LuRu: Tortuga tiles are all hand-made. First, I carve a low relief design in clay. Then I cast it in plaster.

Once I have the mold I can reproduce the original carving by pressing earthenware clay into the mold. Each pressed tile gets cleaned up and fired to bisque temperature in one of my electric kilns.

My studio has a garage door that opens up onto my garden. It makes for a bright and sunny environment within which to work. I tend to work outside as much as I can.

Once the tiles are bisque fired I can glaze them. Many of the glazes I use are made from scratch using materials such as Gerstley Borate, Silica, EPK clay and mineral colorants. Here is a shot of my main work station with my glaze kitchen shelves.

I do most of the glazing outside under my umbrella. For the Death Head tiles I start by rubbing a black glaze into all of texture. Then I add color.

This process always takes longer than I would like as each color gets three coats. Once I am finished glazing, I can fire the tiles to a slightly higher temperature for a finished product.

I can adhere the fired tiles to a surface and grout between them for finished mosaic type pieces or I can sell the tile in pieces for do it yourself types to install themselves. Here are some finished pieces.

This is a gaming tabletop that fits over any standard fold up card table. It is tiled with playing card royalty tiles, dice tiles, coin tiles and playing card suit tiles.

This image is of a bar top featuring the Tiki Tapa tiles. They make a durable surface for bar tops that see a lot of action.

Want to find out more about LuRu's ceramics? She will be back here next Thursday to talk more about herself & her art. Click Here for Thursday Giveaway & Artist Feature details

How about a chance to win a free Tortuga Art Tile? In honor of her Etsy Shop Grand Opening this weekend LuRu is sponsoring the next Thursday Giveaway. Be sure to stop back here on 5/20 to visit with the artist & enter a random drawing for one of her colorful tiles.

Where else can you find Tortuga Tile Works?


If you find yourself in West Palm Beach today (5/15) stop by and say hi to LuRu at the Art Rock Show & Indie Marketplace (at The Armory Art Center)

Like Luau? In June she will be vending at:

The Hukilau, Bahia Mar, Ft Lauderdale, FL (6/10 - 6/13)

Ohana-Luau at the Lake, Tiki Motor Inn, Lake George, NY (6/25- 6/27)

Thanks LuRu for the fantastic tour!

And Thank You to all who stop by and leave a comment. It is your interest in these Studio Tours that keeps them coming! See you back here on 5/20 for the Artist Feature & Giveaway. Until then, I'll leave you with a final thought from LuRu

"You are not square and beige
so why should your tiles be?"