Bon Voyage…

The time has finally come for me to get on an airplane early tomorrow morning for our workshop in France. It is going to be soooo amazing. Not much time to write, as I have to finish packing and a zillion other little details, but I thought I would share the promo video I made last year when we had only 2 spots left in our workshop. We filled those fast and had a wait list as well. We’ll be booking for next year, so take a peek and let me know if you want to join us next Fall. For now though, Au revoir mes amies!

Virtual Gallery Walk

My sweet friend Liz Hicks — fellow artist, art educator and overall one of the most kindhearted souls that I know — came up with a really wonderful idea called the Virtual Gallery Walk. Like most of us, Liz is inspired by the world around her and she invited 9 of her friends to join hands with her to make something coming from the pure love of art to inspire our blog readers.

While making a piece of art for art’s sake doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, Liz asked some of the busiest designers/instructors working today. Some of these ladies, such as the Crafty Chica, have their own product lines. Every single one of us own our own businesses. When Liz sent me the email asking if I would participate, I had to stop for a beat, look at my calendar and figure out just how in the heck I was going to do this while I’m in France co-teaching Ruins, Relics and Resin with Susan.

But here’s the thing. Because Liz’s heart is so pure, and because the idea is about nurturing an online art community, there was no other answer for me but YES, I’d love to join in with these amazing group of ladies, many of whom have been a huge inspiration to me over the years.

Please see Liz’s post on  The Virtual Gallery Walk for all the details. Then be sure to check out the artists’ blogs to see their work and get inspired. The actual gallery walk will take place Oct. 1-5. As I mentioned, I will be in Paris when its my turn, but my dear friend Carol LaValley (who is also our social media curator for ICE Resin/Susan Lenart Kazmer LLC) is going to moderate the comments for me. That day is a travel day to Durfort where the workshop is held, but I promise to find wifi hotspots whenever I can to check in and respond.

I’m truly honored and blessed by the opportunities to share my work with others continue to find their way to me. This is just one more tangible example of the power of art to heal, nurture and make a huge impact in the world today.


Catherine Matthews-Scanlon:
Kathy Cano-Murillo:

Something Wicked this way comes…

The September Sweet Salvage event opens in less than one hour. The AHmahzing…… theme is the Wicked Faire. Oh my goodness, if you LOVE Halloween home decor or if you’re a mixed-media artist in love with the ugly pretty aesthetic (me!!!) you need to see these incredible vignettes that Kim, Katie and the crew put together for the event.

The ladies also reinvented themselves yet again last night with a catered preview party for their most loyal fans, bloggers and press (again, me!!) in order to give a leisurely sneak peek at the decor. If you’ve ever been to the event, you will know ladies line up a couple hours before it opens and then it’s a free for all once the doors open for shopping. The assumed stance is elbows out and hands full! If you love it, grab it, and quick!!! before the next person does.

Take a look at the following photographs I took last night and drool. If you’re lucky enough to be a Phoenician or visiting this weekend, get in your car and drive to 7th Avenue between Camelback and Indian School right now to get your Wicked on.

A stranger’s wisdom

Karen Michel altered photography

This past weekend, my husband and I took our children to a local mall so my son could spend his allowance on a new video game. Our little one asked to ride the helicopters by looking at my husband with her huge blue eyes and saying “Daddy, please”. He was pulling his wallet from his back pocket the moment they saw the ride in the distance.

I told my son to look at the video games while his sister rode the helicopter. I love the authentic smile she gets on her face when she’s doing something she finds amazing.

The gentleman helping my little girl climb into the ride had a smile on his face that matched hers. He was clean and dapper in a collared shirt and slacks, his thinning hair combed to one side. His smile was even more pronounced because you couldn’t help but notice one lone front tooth. He got her settled in, pushed the go button and then positioned himself so he could see her and talk to us.

He struck up the conversation by asking about our day. When we responded with smiles, he knew he had our attention for four minutes of the ride.

“Whooie! Look at her go! You know I’m 83 years old and I’ve been running kiddie machines on and off for more than 60 years,” he said.

He went on to tell us that he worked hard his entire life, sometimes working two or three jobs so he and his wife could raise a family. “I put four kids through collage on kiddie rides. Isn’t that something?!”

Karen Michel altered photography bumped cars

He talked about how in his day, the only option in life was hard work. “Some of these kids that work in the mall at Walmart come over to talk to me on their breaks. They complain about the pay and how hard it is to make it. I say to them, ‘It surely is, but what you take home in your pocket is a lot better than nuthin’. That’s what you had before you were lucky enough to get a job.’ I tell them about raising four kids on kiddie rides. Then I tell them I’ve loved every minute of working. Shoot, kids today. They need to understand what hard work is!”

My husband and I were genuinely interested so he kept on talking. Four minutes turned into ten, and my daughter’s head was spinning a bit when he finally stopped the ride. It was the best $1 we’ve ever spent.

The old man re-energized me with his story and his affection for life. It was infectious, and I spent the better part of the afternoon feeling gratitude for my life. I had a particularly long work week and was feeling grumpy and overwhelmed the day we met him. Since we were on our way to Costco, the trip felt like one more chore. His sincerity made me stop and get a fresh perspective on my day.

I’m a firm believer that everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes it’s my story to tell, and other times the Universe ensures wise strangers come into my path so I can listen quietly and interpret their stories. I wonder what I’ll be saying at 83? I hope I radiate, like this man does when he marvels at his life. I hope I get to tell the world with pride that I put two kids through college on hard work and my art.


Note: The above altered photos are used with permission and are the copyright imagery of my dear friend Karen Michel. See more of her incredible work on her blog or collect a piece for sale at her shop.

Simple treasures; an idea to try

vintage vignette with old photos

I love creating little vignettes around my home and studio. My favorites are the simple things that take a little bit of creative thinking and just a few minutes to assemble. I love the look of this vintage silver candy dish that I picked up at a thrift store for 99 cents and some old photographs stamped with fun sayings.

I’d love to take credit for stamping the photos, but I can’t. My friend Stephanie, one of the awesomely talented designers of the monthly Sweet Salvage event in Phoenix that I always try to make a point to stop by (particularly because it’s literally 5 minutes from my home) is the crafty gal who stamped these old photos. I picked them up for $1 a piece (Ouch! I know, but she did do creative the work so what I spent in $, I saved in time).  I bought ten of my favorites and knew instantly how I planned to display them.

For $11, I think I have a pretty cute little story to tell. If you’re reading my blog, I know you have an interest in either/or found objects and making stuff. Also, if you’re a mixed-media artist, I’m sure you have some of these old black-and-white photos from the 1950s hanging out in your studio waiting for a book or collage project. Why not pull them out, stamp a few letters or saying on them and proudly display them for others to see how clever you really are! (wink)

cute display of old photographs

Here’s wishing you a truly Artful day!

Quite a Monday!

It was quite a busy Monday for me today. Two very cool things going on simultaneously. The first is that I’m thrilled and honored Jenny Doh asked me to be a Guest Curator on Crescendoh and to participate with my Art Saves story.

I have known Jenny for many years now and have always been impressed with her professionalism and passion for art and telling people’s stories. She’s a natural-born writer, editor, instructor, author, entrepreneur, innovator and so much more. I have personally watched her boost many artist’s careers into the spotlight over the years that I find it humbling that she turned her sweet spotlight on my work. I had a lot of fun thinking about my links for the week. Also, with it being Sept. 11 tomorrow, I felt an additional responsibility to ensure we take time to remember and reflect. Art not only saves, but heals as well.

Crescendoh is a site I faithfully visit every week, no matter how busy my schedule gets. Please be sure to take a look. If you have some extra time to spare, read some of the past Art Saves stories from some incredible artists. When I look through the list, I can’t help but smile to see how many friends I’ve be able to make through this amazing crafts industry.

This morning was also an incredible PR day because I was on ABC 15 Sonoran Living show with my crafty girlfriend Terri Ouellette. The set is absolutely gorgeous and large! Of course, Terri was as stunning as always. I had so much fun watching her in action…like watching an athlete at the top of his game. She taught me a lot about TV this morning by just doing her thing. The other cool thing that happened before the show was that Terri’s co-host, Stephanie Sandoval said she has been reading Explore, Create, Resinate and loving how inspired she is by all the beautiful photos in the book. How awesome is that?


 We had 4 minutes for our ICE Resin segment, but I can tell you even though that’s a long time in TV land —  it went by in a blink of an eye! I had an entire bracelet project stepped out and ready to go, but all I got to do was mix the resin and pour a bezel. Doesn’t matter though, it was great fun.

Terri mentioned we developed ICE Resin with my business partner, but she didn’t say Susan Lenart Kazmer. I know there wasn’t a lot of time, but I always want people to know that ICE is Susan’s signature product, as she developed it from all her experience as a master jeweler and metalsmith. As our marketing and PR person, and as a mixed-media artist myself, I work with ICE a lot and loooooveeeee it, but the talent behind its creation and bringing it to market is all Susan.

Anyhoo… I’m not sure I’ve conquered my television jitters, but I can definitely say it was an experience to remember. The video is already live on the website. Check it out if you get a chance.