Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring will Come... Eventually

As we finish up the last days of January I'm finding myself celebrating each tiny sliver of sun that peeps through these heavy Michigan clouds.  Here are two pieces that I made last fall while beginning to experiment with the marriage of handmade paper on canvas. 

I painted the edges of the canvas too so they don't need to be framed and they actually look more "complete" than these scanned, cut off images.  (How to get rid of the glare so the pictures actually look like the real thing?!?)  Anyway, I like the results and plan to be doing more of this type of work this year...


Monday, January 25, 2010

One World, One Heart Giveaway

It's that time of year again.  Welcome!  Welcome!  The fun, crazy chaos of the One World, One Heart blogging event begins today.  Sure, it's a great way to enter tons and tons of great handmade item giveaways.  But it's really a way to visit lots of blogs and find some that really speak to you.  I participated last year for the first time and made several cyberfriends that I connect with frequently.  I hope you'll stay and take a look at what I'm up to, let me know that you're here, subscribe or at least come back as often as you can.

The Event:

Photo  Lisa Swifka, from A Whimsical Bohemian, is the creator and host of this event that started in 2007.  She describes it best in her blog:  "the original idea behind this giveaway event was to bring bloggers together from around the world who may never ordinarily meet. It closes the gap of the blog community and enables us to interact, discover new and wonderful people, and in the process possibly win a prize or many prizes along the way. 2007 had roughly 85-90 participants and many connections were made because of it......friendships that are still going strong."

She continues, "We had a strong showing the first year for sure, and then in 2008 we had just about tripled that number. In 2009 there were 911 participants, to say I was amazed is an understatement. 28 countries were represented in the 2009 event as well."

The Artist:

I am Lorrie Grainger Abdo, a paper artist living in Kalamazoo, Michigan  USA.  I make paper from 100% cotton linters.  I also use various surface design techniques, like pulp painting, paste painting, resists, acrylics, texturing mediums, etc., on commerical papers to create papers with color, depth and interest.  Of course, all this paper begs to be used!  My current artistic directions are paper mosaics, which is a very controlled artistic experience.  And, painting highly textured handmade papers which then are included in paintings on canvas or used on home decor items.  This is much more intuitive and free.  Working with both sides of the brain seems to be working for me right now.  Regardless of brain function (or brain disfunction!), my work is almost always full of color, color and more color.

The Giveaway:

On to the good stuff...   My giveaway is a picture frame covered in handmade paper, painted in blues, greens, purples, red and black.  It has a protective varnish.  It measures 8" x 8" and holds a 3" x 3" photo behind glass.  I normally sell these for $20.  Leave a comment and it could be yours.

The Rules:

*  You must leave a comment on this post in order to be entered into my giveaway drawing.
*  You must be a blogger in order to participate.
*  Your comment must provide a way for me to contact you in case you win.
*  I will pick a winner (random number choice) at 9:00 pm EST on Monday, February 15, 2010.  Anyone that posts after 9:00 pm EST will not be included in the drawing.  The winner will be notified that evening or the following morning.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I look forward to hearing from you today and, hopefully, in the future.  To continue on your blogging journey you can click on the OWOH logo and find all kinds of other bloggers with great giveaway.  Have fun and best of luck!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Update on Carnegie Center for the Arts Area Show

The show opened last Sunday.  The place was packed!  The snacks were outstanding:  not just crackers and cheese, thank you very much!  There was energy in the air!

Thank you all for such great comments on Facebook and on the blog about getting into the Carnegie Show. Despite feeling overwhelmed lately (mainly due to family scheduling, you should see our calendar!), this bit of success gave me a big ego boost and is a great way to start off 2010.

Here's my daughter, Claire, in front of my piece with her second or third cup of chocolate mousse. 
No wonder she's smiling!

The show will be up until February 20 and the Center's hours are Tuesday - Friday 10:00 - 5:00, Saturday 10:00 - 3:00, closed Sunday and Monday.  The Carnegie Center is in downtown Three Rivers, only about 25 minutes south of Kalamazoo.  The talent in our little part of the world is quite something and I'm happy to be a small part of it.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Area Show - I'm In!

On January 5th, I took a deep breath and walked my 2' x 4' Bailey Park piece into the beautiful old Carnegie Center for the Arts in Three Rivers, MI.  I then plunked down my admission form, money and placed my piece against the wall along with hundreds of other pieces.  On Saturday I got the little postcard in the mail that said YES. I juried into the Carnegie Center for the Arts area show!

I've tried to get into juried shows a few times over the years and have been rejected. There are so many incredibly talented artists out there. I got discouraged, took the easy way out and just stopped trying.  Other artists continued to tell me that juried shows are very hit or miss.  It is all up to the discretion of the juror (in this case 3 jurors) and their background, likes and dislikes.  Basically, they are like most anyone looking at your artwork:  they either like it or they don't.  Well, the mind understands that.  But, when you get the NO postcard, it still stings.

Anyway, Michigan and Indiana artists from a 17 county area were eligible to submit up to three pieces of any style or media.  From what I saw along the many walls of the Center, I'm in good company.  The opening is Sunday.  I'll report back...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Artist Spotlight - Joanne Thieme Huffman

For my second Artist Spotlight, and a great way to start off the year, I'd like to introduce you to Joanne Thieme Huffman, a mixed media artist that truly defines the word "mixed!"  She does just about everything.  This is a gal that I actually know personally and we're lucky enough to live only a couple of miles apart from one another.  We are both in a local art group that I've mentioned many times, the Altered Sisters.

To those that know Joanne, she is an amazement.  She's a gal with a big personality, tremendous energy and a big heart.  It's never enough for her to make just one or two dolls/buttons/books/whatever, she's got to make twenty.  Grass doesn't grow under her feet as she's always on the move (just take a look at all the places she has lived!).  She has been fortunate enough to go to many, many art retreats over the past several years.  As a result, her art has grown in leaps and bounds since I met her about six years ago.  Her enthusiasm is always contagious.   I love her and her work and hope you do too.

Where are you from? And, where do you live now?
I grew up in West Hartford, CT. Now I live in Portage MI. In between these locations I have lived in Towson, MD; Miami, FL; East Providence, RI; Chicago, IL; Charlottesville, VA; Stamford, CT; Great Barrington, MA; Springfield, IL; and Topeka, KS.

What is your art education?
I tell people that I suffer from post traumatic eighth grade art teacher syndrome because my eighth grade art teacher told me to stop taking art classes. After that, I went "underground" with my art:  night classes at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum, and Rhode Island School of Design; classes at various independent book stores, craft shops and stamp stores; and art retreats.  I cannot recommend art retreats highly enough; they are gatherings of like-minded people sharing and learning.

Have you always been an artist or are you “new” to it?
I have always wanted to create art, but have never been able to focus on any one technique or style. It is only in the past 10 years that I have had the courage to admit to myself and the world that I am an artist.

Bird Banners

What is your specialty? And, have you always worked in this medium?
I have no specific medium. I bounce from technique to technique and then incorporate whatever I have been doing into the next new (or revisited) art form. That's why I love the popularity of "mixed media." Currently, I like incorporating PhotoShop (combining photography, scanning and collage) and art quilting; and I'm playing with the idea of making wearables. I also love to work with dolls and jewelry. Frankly, I want to do it all.

What does your work space look like?
It's very messy and chaotic looking.

Please describe your work.
I am fairly verbal, but have difficulty finding the words to describe my art or my style. It's a case of pictures being worth many, many words.

Do you have any special art tips for others?
In the words of Joseph Campbell, "Follow your Bliss." Only good comes out of creating art.

What inspires you?
Gathering with fellow artists, both in person and online is very inspiring. I love the energy and excitement that comes from sharing ideas and techniques. I also enjoy art books and magazines.

When you’re not making art, what are you doing?
I spend a lot of time traveling to see family and friends (and the world). I enjoy reading novels with a definite preference for fiction. I love going out to lunch with my friends. Now that my children are adults and I'm old, I have a very decadent life and I enjoy it to the hilt.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I'm delighted to announce that I'll be teaching a class in making crowns at ArtUnraveled  in Phoenix, AZ in August 2010.  Yes, Phoenix in August - but the airline tickets and hotel rooms are cheap then and it's a really great art retreat.

How can you be contacted about your work?
You can email me at; or you can go to my blog at; or, you can visit my website at

Joanne, thanks very much for sharing a bit of your life and art with us today.  And dear friends out in blogland, I hope you'll check out her sites, or better yet, take her class at ArtUnraveled.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Starting 2010 overwhelmed

I had hoped to have a thoughtful beginning of the year post filled with good vibes.  Perhaps a list of arty things I hope to accomplish in 2010.  You know, just like the posts that everyone else seems to be able to pull off in early January.  But, I'm bucking the trend and admitting that I'm just overwhelmed right now.  So much is on my list that I spin my wheels and accomplish little.  Don't worry though. None of it is bad stuff like health worries or family issues.  It's just lots and lots of stuff.

So, what kind of beautiful art image goes along with the admission above?  Something about chaos, perhaps.  Here's a funny shot of my daughter imitating Edvard Munch's The Scream that seems appropriate.

I'll let you know when I dig out...

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