Saturday, December 26, 2009

The purpose of an Altar

from Jean: 

Intention and Intuition
The Purpose of an Altar

If you didn’t grow up with an altar in your home, having an altar now may seem like an exotic and unattainable idea. Yet having an altar does not have to be complicated or difficult, nor does it need to be based on a religion or a set of ideas that don’t seem to relate to you. An altar can be a simple, personal expression of what you want to focus on right now. You do not have to build anything or take up a lot of space. You do not have to buy anything new or follow a complex set of instructions to create your altar. All you have to do is have a general understanding of what an altar is and the willingness to allow yourself access to this wonderful, ancient tool of transformation. 

At its most essential, an altar is simply a raised structure that serves as a resting place for meaningful objects. It focuses the eye and provides a place for contemplation and, if so desired, ritual. All of these elements can be quite simple. One idea for a simple altar is a pot with a bulb planted in it, set on a box. This altar to growth can act as a reminder to you that all living things bloom in their time. A simple ritual might be to write down dreams you would like to see come to fruition on scraps of paper. You might place these scraps of paper in the box, or under the flowerpot, or in an envelope you prop against the pot. As the flower grows, so will your dreams.

If you look around your home, you may find that you have already created altarlike arrangements without even really thinking about it; this is something we humans do quite naturally. A candle, a decorative box, and a vase of flowers are just a few of the common household objects that lend themselves naturally to the creation of an altar. Simply add intention and intuition, and you have created your first altar. Remember that it isn’t necessarily about the objects you place at your altar—it is the time you spend with it daily, taking the time to be with it for your sacred time.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Creative Therapy --a shadow box

Just came across this in my "research and development" (or in other words my blog/twitter reading) and thought that our box project for next month could be a shadow box too!  Rebecca Sower is one of my favorite artists---I love her book kits especially but all of her art is inspiring.   Read about her latest inspiring project here:

Or follow her blog here:

Altered Shrine

Thought you all would want to see the altered shrine that Jean Webb brought in.  She was given the shrine by the artist Pam Thompson who is one of the people interested in joining our group.  The shrine has been in the classroom at Creative Stamper for the past couple of months but everyone may not have had a chance to see it.  Here's what Pam emailed me about the shrine:
I made a series of  Sacred "Alters" over a year ago and had them for sale in a shop in Covington. Although they were well appreciated and received many positive comments they did not sell, so I took them to Jean's yoga class one night and gave them away to good homes. Jean's selection was the largest one I made. All items were found at yard sales, thrift stores, etc.  Jean's was made from a hand constructed box from 1939 as I recall. I really don't remember what was in that particular box. If I saw a picture I could comment. I secured items with super glue (E600), but did not secure items that would hold candles or incense, so that they could be moved outside the box and lit if so desired.
The painting on the front was my first and only attempt at painting with a palette knife, but I had watched a friend do it and saw that it was very easy to do a mountain with that technique. It probably took me only about an hour from start to finish. It is the technique that Bob Ross taught.
I have two small Asian "alters" that I kept. One was made from a wooden cigar box  painted white and has a stature of Kwan Yin and the other was made from a small drawer  painted glossy black and has a statute of Buddha. The front of the Kwan Yin "alter" has a pastel collage of the goddess along with a 3 dimensional butterfly. The interior has her stature and a rose shaped incense holder.
The Buddha  "alter" has a black incense holder inside and the decorative top piece is an aquarium ornament of an Asian bridge painted black. 
I am about to embark on some new shadow boxes. It takes a while to collect things and I have several possible containers now and some items that could make for fun boxes. Since the "alters" didn't sell I thought I'd try a different direction. These will tell stories in some form. I am thinking about trying some of the old myths told in Women Who Run With the Wolvesas well as some other classic story images.  

Christmas Party 2009 part 2

Here's the pictures of ATC's (metal tape project), final 6x6 art, and Christmas items exchanged! 

Christmas party 2009

What a wonderful Christmas party we had!  The food and drinks were great and the Christmas ornaments were fun and festive!  Several people brought books to look through and we voted on using Altered Surfaces (a Design Original book) by Chris Cozen for our next few meeting projects. Let me know if anyone has trouble ordering the book and I will try to scan a sample image along with the supply list for the projects. You can order the book here:

January meeting:  Mon Jan 11th at 6:30pm
We also decided to alter a box for our January project.  Bring any kind of box (cigar, paper mache, wood, tin, whatever) and try to pick some kind of theme for altering your box so you can bring embellishments and paint colors to decorate/alter the box.  You do not have to make a shrine--your box can be whatever you want it to be--maybe you need storage for something in your craft room?  We came up with the following supplies you might need:  gesso, acrylic paints, glue, decorative paper(for covering box or lining the inside?), fabric, found objects, embellishments, ruler, Xacto knife(for cutting holes), heat tool, modge podge, glue gun.  Carla volunteered to teach us a crackle technique using elmer's glue,acrylic paint, and heat tool.  Here are some links to altered shrines and boxes that Angie and Jean sent along:  -- From menu on the left you’ll see shrines.  Some are more religious, but may be good examples.  had a list that you could go through and one was specific for cigar boxes at 

We talked about limiting the number of members for the group-we'd like to keep it at 12 due to space limitations in the classroom. There are 3 people(that I know of) who are interested in joining the group and we decided to fill the open spot by drawing a name at the next meeting.  We will keep a waiting list for any others who are interested.  I will be emailing the 3 people to make sure they are still interested and we will draw the name at January's meeting.  The 3 people are Margy Vogel-Coomer, Pam Thompson, & Carol King(not the famous singer but a friend of Kendall's).

We also discussed possible field trips briefly and Saturday art retreats twice a year to replace that month's meeting(spring/fall?).  Jean has volunteered her garage for an art retreat tentatively set for April 2010 where we will be learning jewelry techniques including copper etching(Carla) and possibly 1 or 2 other techniques that would need to be done in a well ventilated area. 

Merry Christmas to everyone!  It's been a fun year and next year is shaping up to be even better!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

November meeting pictures and notes

At the November meeting we exchanged fall 6x6 art and worked on metal tape projects from BB book--pictured here!

We discussed the December Christmas meeting (Mon Dec 14th) and decided to exchange some kind of Christmas ornament or art work(Christmas decoration) of your choice.

Bring an ATC using the metal tape project from November to exchange at the Dec meeting--or maybe you want to use your metal tape on your Christmas decoration/ornament!

Carla would love to get more recipes if anyone would like to bring a copy of a favorite recipe in to pass out(bring 11 copies so everyone can have one).  

We also decided on finger food to bring and would like everyone to call Barb Bruder at Creative Stamper  344-0700 by Wed Dec 9th and let her know whether you are coming to the meeting and what food item you will bring (to keep from duplicates).  Barb will then call everyone with a total head count.

We would like everyone to bring some favorite technique books to share at the December meeting.  We can all look through them and decide on what projects we want to do for next year.  It was suggested that we only do projects for 3 months at a time instead of the whole year and everyone seemed to like this idea.  There was also a suggestion for having at least 2 all day retreats next year instead of our regular meetings--maybe more! 

Sandi brought in pictures of Bricks for Breasts from a recent art auction that she attended for the Susan G. Koman foundation and we talked about contributing our own art bricks for next year--we will discuss this again next year when we know more about a date to have them in.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Art Retreat pictures

Here are some pictures of a few of the projects done at the art retreat in October--art dolls, watercolor monoprint, and wire wrapped/fiber earrings.  As always you can click on the images for a larger view. 

More info on the November and December meetings coming soon!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Art Retreat and Nov meeting

I hear that the art retreat was enjoyed by all! Big THANKS to Sandi and Carla for all the work they did to present fun and interesting projects.  I hope you all will bring in some of the projects you worked on for show and tell to the Nov meeting.  

Next meeting Mon Nov 9th at Creative Stamper.  We are still exchanging Fall 6x6 art and ATC's if you want to bring one to trade.  The project for the Nov meeting will be the Metal tape project in BB book pgs 80-83.  Bring supplies if you have them:  metal repair tape (wide), alcohol inks, blending solution, heat gun, brayer, scissors, rubber stamps, ink pads, stylus(dry emboss?), paint brush, black acrylic paint, paper towels.  You might also want to bring chipboard shapes and letters or leaves that you can tape over and emboss around the edges. If you have any metal working tools(such as 10 Second Studio tools--especially the wheels) to share please bring them also!  

We will be discussing ideas for the Christmas party and December exchanges and start talking about next year's projects too so bring some ideas with you!  

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Art Retreat Info.

The supply list for the Monoprint Watercolor Class:
a) paper towels
b) blow dryer
c) paint brushes (ranging from large -small)
d) large spoon (metal)
e) small spritzing bottle for water
f) Dawn liquid dish soap
g) small containers for water
i) various materials for mark making (foil, plastic wrap, string, stencils, toothbrush, tooth picks,
etc...........) Whatever you can make a mark or design with.
j) inexpensive watercolor paints - (brand) Color & Co. - watercolors/aquarelle from
Michaels Craft Store)

Optional items: bring if you have them but not necessary to purchase:
1)watersoluble crayons (Carandache - Neocolor II Aquarelle)
2) brayer or roller
3) Arches Paper paper - hotpress (90lb) I will provide enough paper for two
small prints, but if you want to experiment, feel free to bring other paper .
Items I will provide: newspaper print sheets, printing plates, paper, some water soluble crayons.

Altere Block Art Dolls
Additional items to bring :
a) cordless drill with small drill bits
b) hammer
c) small pliers
d) If you can't find any doll parts, I will have extras with me to share
e) Heat gun
f) polymer clay
g) any type of found objects you would like to adhere to the doll

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at:

September 14th-Fused fibers and more!

Posting pictures from the Sept. meeting:  the project for the evening:  fused fibers,  the final summer 6x6 art exchanged, a few ATC's.

We discussed the October meeting which will be on Sat. Oct 17th from 9am-6pm and NOT on the Monday before as usual.  Sandy and Carla are providing several projects and I will be posting additional supplies to bring for those projects when I hear from them. Sandy is bringing everyone a small paperbag book to alter as you like and wood blocks for the block doll that Carla brought for show and tell this month.  Carla gave everyone copies of supply lists for 2 of her projects:  wired wrapped beads and the wood block doll.  More info on the water color monoprint project sometime soon! Special thanks to Carla and Sandi for all the work on the projects for October!  We will order out food for lunch unless you want to bring your own.  

Congratulations to Sandi  for her charm being published in the last Crop Paper Scissors!  

We had quite a lot of show and tell at the Sept meeting--Barb and Jean brought art from an Amy Flowers' class they took, Cindy brought her Halloween wood pieces, and Kendall brought some fused glass jewelry she made recently.  

We will be doing the metal tape project in Bernie Berlin's book pages 80-83 for the Nov. meeting.