Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fall Art Tour 2010

Fall Art Tour happens on the third weekend of October each year in the Mineral Point area. While not actually on the tour map, I am surrounded by those who are and so I demonstrate one of my media on that day. This year again, I was felting. Working with images from my nature photographs, I pre-make the wet-felted background mats during the week prior, and then during the event, add details and foreground images to the mats with needle felting. Felting needles have fine notches along their edges that grab the fibers of the yarns or wool fleece and push them into the felted mat to hold them onto it. This process builds up an artwork image much like layers of oil painting are built up. The finished images are about 9 inches by about 13 inches and are available as is for your own framing or in a shadowbox frame. Both works need some finishing touches such as squaring up the edges, but these are my results for FAT 2010.
During the event, I also made a felted vessel by wrapping roving around a children's play ball and wet felting it. This forms a hollow vessel of felted fiber. This yellow-orange and rust vessel is about 8 inches wide and about 7 inches tall.
The felted oak leaves will be $380 unframed or $420 framed plus $25 shipping. The trilliums will be $420 unframed or $460 framed, plus $25 shipping. The vessel is $85 plus $5 shipping. Call 630-728-9998 or email. Other vessels and felted pictures are available.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Natural Wool Scarves

While at the Fibre Art Faire, I worked up a few scarves using Icelandic wool roving from a local fiber processor, the Argyle Fiber Mill, in Argyle, Wisconsin. These scarves, like my vibrant colored ones, use about an ounce of wool, so are light and airy to wear. The wool is not dyed but rather the natural color of the sheep, so the scarves have gorgeous muted tones of ivory, browns, and grays. Never having been dyed means the wool fibers have not been damaged by the chemicals in the dyes and are very soft and smooth. These scarves have a luxurious feel that makes you feel pampered and special when you wear them.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Septermber 25 and 26, 2010

Next weekend, La Bella Vita yarn and fiber shop will be hosting a Fibre Arts Faire, and I will be there demonstrating felting. I will be demonstrating live at the show at 109 Commerce, which is block downhill from my gallery, while friendly helpers run the shop! These are examples of the felt scarves I will be making at the show.

Felted Vessels

A pair of felted vases I made last summer.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Woodburned and Painted Boxes

My friend Susie does amazing folk art painting and I hope to have her work at the gallery SOON. One of my favorite things that she does is these heart shapes that have bold geometric bands of black and white and assorted vines and berries. She woodburns the designs first, then paints them. I have had these wood boxes stashed for a while, and Susie's art inspired me to do some woodburning and painting of my own. Instead of opaque paints, I used calligraphy ink so that the wood grain shows through. They are lightly varnished to protect the artwork.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cooler Weather Ahead

The dropping temps remind me to tell you about these sweet fingerless mittens that Jenny Lund makes. They are great for dog walking and driving. You can curl your fingers up inside for more warmth or when you need, you can fold their ends up to have freer use of your fingers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fragrant Soap

Prairie Oak Artisan first rented space from a dentist, where we carried fragrant soaps to hide the medicinal smells of our landlord. Now that we have our own lovely building, we would not need fragrance in the shop, but we have a few regular customers who ask for it. And it is nice to walk into a space that smells nice!
But I have not had the best of luck with soap vendors. One quit selling soap to specialize in soap making supplies and others have become too successful selling it themselves to deal with small orders from others. When our family was visiting our oldest son at college, we went to the Tucson Farmers' Market where we found this vendor, who agreed to ship to me. He even came up with a special wrapping for us! My favorite is Lemongrass, but now that it is fall, the Pumpkin Spice is appealing to me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wooden Postcards

These wooden postcards are sized to mail and sturdy enough to make the trip. Computer printed and hand embellished, they are made of paper-backed wood veneer, and each is one of a kind.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Thomas and Patricia Hooper specialize in pewter for Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactors, and also tour at select art shows. I had purchased some of their beautiful candlesticks and a lovely vase, then asked them to make me a mug that would be appropriate for use at the pre-civil War 1840's farm where I give prairie tours. So when I opened the gallery in an 1820's/1830's building, it seemed a natural to carry some reproduction pewter by the Hoopers.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Private Class

Over the holiday weekend, I taught a little private class. We made earrings that I call Tie One On. They are made by tying beads onto French ear wires with waxed linen or fine leather cord or hemp cord or embroidery floss. They are easier to make than beaded earrings with wires holding the parts together and they require no pricey tools. If you want me to do a class for you, just let me know. I prefer 6 students, but make exceptions. I will travel to meet you or we can hold the class at the gallery in Mineral Point. I can teach you how to do most anything that I make myself that I have posted here.
I have taught indoors and out, at art schools and festivals, at an historic farm museum, for park districts, for garden clubs, for one individual at a time and up to groups of 15. Let's talk about what I can teach to you or your group. Everyone always has a wonderful time!

Handmade Blown Glass

Glass artist Nate brought a few new pieces in and they are lovely as usual! Nate's glass has swirls and free form shapes that give it motion and flow. Many have an interior color that is different from the exterior, while some are transparent. My favorite is the collaboration with Chris Hubbard, Prairie Oak Artisan's blacksmith.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recycled Licence Plates

New artists to the gallery: Cathy and Pete are making signs out of recycled licence plates. I will have a few in stock at the gallery soon, but for now, you can order any saying you want for $10 a letter, including 2 blank ends for finishing and the spaces. So Born 2 Garden would be $150. It takes about 2 weeks from when you let me know what you want to when the sign arrives at your door by UPS or USPS. You can order any short quote or saying or inspirational words or you can order your kids' names for their rooms or the name of your favorite sports team or band.
I got this one for myself. I am going to order "GOOD KARMA". It's a fun environmentally friendly way to express yourself!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Felted Scarves

Sometimes the drive to play with materials leads to a new product and this is one of them. I finally made it to Esther's Place, an amazing felt studio in Big Rock, Illinois, where Natasha Leherer teaches classes and workshops in a wide array of felting techniques and sells some amazing products. She has yarns for local producers, from bison to alpaca, and one of her most fabulous products is roving from her own sheep that she herself hand dyes. The colors are just beautiful. I purchased a palette of colors to use in my felted landscapes and florals, and then got the itch to make something right away. I had watched her teach a class on nuno felting where thin layers of fleece pulled from the roving are laid down onto silk chiffon scarves, but having no scarves at hand, I tried making a scarf from just the fleece, with my own floral designs. What you see here is from my first batch, made on the bathroom countertop at the lake house.

Paintings and Fiber Art by Sheri Lee Butler

Sheri Lee Butler has new fun paintings in the gallery. Vibrant colors and textures that make you want to go up close for a better look make these pieces a delight. Her fiber art features female figures ornamented for a celebration of life. They are made of wool and other fibers felted and tied and sewn onto art canvases and ready to hang on your living room, family room, bedroom, or office wall.

Checkered Animals Paintings by Sheri Lee Butler

Sheri Lee's whimsical series of animals in checkerboard patterns are delightful and fun. Choose one of these or ask her do the animal profile of your choice as a custom order. This is the fun side of Sheri's often serious work.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slow Printing?

I've been thinking about the rust stains on the window sill. The ones from where I stood the metal stand for the glass flower vases and later discovered the four little squarish rust stains from the stand's feet.

What if one made a 'printing block' of metal objects, prerusted to get the process going, and stood it on wet paper? How long would it take for enough rust to accumulate to make an image? Would a single wetting of the paper be enough or would the paper need to be redampened? How consistent would the image be from print to print?

Now, to find a source of small rusty metal object to make into an image, and then, to design a meaningful image from them . . .

Update: I found 16 guage steel wire and a 8" x 8" white scrubbing pad and finer wire to wire the thicker wire on. Now to design something . . . maybe a tree? . . . and wire it on and give this idea a go!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three Trillium - Nine

This print is the result of an argument with a customer. I had a felted trillium in the gallery for over a year, and a man came in and told me he had seen it last time he was in town and wanted to purchase the picture with the three trillium in it. I showed him the felted picture of the single trillium, the only felted trillium I had ever done, and he argued, saying it had three flowers in the picture. Well, how do you respond to something like that? I am sure he left thinking I had sold 'his' picture and was trying unload this one on him. Fortunately to my ego, another customer called a week later and had me mail it to him as a surprise for his wife's birthday. But that set me on a mission to find a nice composition of three trillium on my walks, and photograph the bejeebers out of it, so that I would have photos to work with so that I COULD felt a picture with three trillium. Okay, I never did get that felt done, but here is a linoleum block print of them. I call it Nine.

Oak Tree Block Print

The branching pattern of the wide spreading burr oak is very different depending on where it grows. In a moist prairie, the tree grows taller and can be more open at the bottom, and in a drier prairie, the tree can be wider and shorter and have branches almost to the ground. The tree is often struck by lightening and then just keeps on growing, filling back in around the damage. The leaves can vary from tree to tree and the amount of 'burr' covering the acorn can vary as well. Here are the first few off the block hanging to dry.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Etsy shop

You can email me to inquire about purchasing any art you see, mine or that by other artists. And I have a few specific items listed on Etsy at