March flowers

We keep getting more snow but it is springtime in the studio.


I received a gift in this vibrant floral tissue paper and couldn’t resist making some cheerful pendants with them.


A simple oval was the obvious choice, but then it was fun playing with petal shapes too.


I pulled out Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig to practice more form-making.


When the wire shapes are completed I cut out the papers to match each form.


After dipping the paper in wax each petal is painstakingly aligned with the wire, and fused to its rightful place with a quilting iron.


A yellow scrap made me want to add another flower to my blend.


I shall call it Potentilla erecta. Buttercups might have to be next!


I’ve been loading more pendants and earrings to Etsy the past week.


These newbies will be processed for new listings soon, but you can always contact me to call dibs! I post combos and works in progress on my Instagram feed as well.


For the floral pendants, earrings and collar necklaces already uploaded, view my Etsy shop.


Mother’s Day Pendants are in the works, too.


May 10 will be here before you know it, so contact me now for your custom order.


A River Rock Commission

After a recent pop-up event a friend asked me if I could wrap her river rock into a pendant.


When she brought it to me, I instantly thought of a heart shape. She agreed, and the wrapping began, while putting on appropriate music for this dancer.


I used a prior heart pendant as a template, except I had to work this one in reverse. Usually I start with the pendant loop that attaches to the necklace cord, but in order to secure the rock I had to start by wrapping it first.


I gently wrapped the steel wire around the rock, and needed to make a few attempts to get it to be snug with each twist, as the wire would re-align itself.


When I was happy with securing the rock, I created the heart shape.


Then I criss-crossed the remainder of the shape, et voila!


It did ruin the fresh manicure, but such is the life of a wire bender.


The customer is happy, and I am inspired to pick up some arrowheads to repeat the process.


I also created a custom collar recently. Making Waves is intended for a tall woman, so I created a smaller version for my customer.


We measured using a spiral collar and then I got to work replicating the look and feel.


I prepped the wire by sandpapering off the grime, hammering it straight and filing off the edges.


Then I bent it into shape.


This collar is being worn around town on a regular basis, and I love that it brings such joy to its new owner.


As tough as steel wire is, the end result is a light and flowy piece you can pair with any look.


I take much pleasure shaping the forms and seeing where the wire leads me, as it sometimes won’t  come out as my intended vision. In the same way Amy Lee Segami collaborates with water, the wire tells me which direction it wants to bend into, creating surprising results that appeal to variety of people.


Browse my Etsy shop to see what I have in stock, and let me know if you want to customize a piece that appeals to you. Earrings, seashells, ribbons, beads, charms, crystals are all fair game to be wrapped into a unique jewelry piece of your own.

Textual Encounters Exhibit

This is the final week to see Textual Encounters. We had a lovely opening night on March 6, and I hope the gallery got lots of foot traffic this month.

MaikesMarvelsArtEncaustic collages with wire by Maike’s Marvels

Textual Encounters focuses on incorporating text into encaustic work.

Elyse Martin and VA de Pintor

The FUSEDChicago group includes artists with a variety of styles, so seeing 32 artists with different techniques, color palettes, and objectives come together in one space is always fascinating.

Emily Rutledge, Mary Krebs Smyth, Jenny Learner

Curator Shelley Gilchrist did a fabulous job hanging the show.

Michele Thrane, Donna Zarbin-Byrne,

Shelly Gilchrist, Kathy Blankley Roman, Carol Hamilton

From sculptural to 2-dimensional, abstract to figurative, earth tones to vibrant colors, the show’s theme pulls the pieces together and showcases the variety of ways encaustics can express a vision.

Sarah Rehmer and Amy Van Winkle

Artists incorporated text from books, music scores, a collage of single letters, and snippets of poems for embedding and inspiration.


I love the gradation of layers, with some FUSEDChicago members focusing on translucence and an ethereal quality, while others make the encaustic paint pop in vibrancy.

Pat Lagger, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Kari Hall,

Dan Addington, Rebecca Williams Stahr,
Ahavani Mullen, Maike’s Marvels

Discussing the thought process behind the pieces and understanding the techniques used is inspiring and broadens my mind as I contemplate new projects.

Cat Crotchett
, Karen Tichy, April Nomellini,
Brad Hook, Michele Thrane, Laura LaRue.

ARC Gallery is located at 2156 N Damen Avenue in Chicago. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm, and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. Textual Encounters closes March 28.

Carol Hamilton, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg,
Catherine Keebler, Mary Krebs Smyth

FUSEDChicago is a group of midwest encaustic artists based in Chicago. The group was founded in 2009 and currently has forty members.

Jennifer Schmidt, Jennifer Williams Terpstra,
Cheryl Holz, Katsy Johnson

More information about the artists and the group’s exhibits and activities is available at

Elyse Martin, VA dePintor, Carol Myers

Communicating Love

The Textual Encounters show at ARC Gallery inspired me to create two new collages in February. I wrote about Encounters with Language prior to the show opening.


When I warm up the various wax colors I generally have two new substrates to play with. This keeps me from ruining a layer when I am too impatient to wait for it to cool off enough. Overfusing can create interesting effects, but once collage pieces are laid down the heating and reheating options become more limiting.


Communicating Love was prompted by the statement that attention and communication are the same thing. I disagreed, but since English is my third language, I gut-checked with my friends (who sided with me—YAY friends!) and checked the trusty dictionary. I always consult the dictionary to confirm the meaning of a word, and find joy in uncovering the layers, origins and evolution of definitions.


While attention and communication are not the same, they are both ingredients to a successful relationship, so I decided to create my own aspirational recipe for success and added additional words I’d like to see as part of my future. I pulled definitions and highlighted what spoke to me. Then I embedded the paper scraps into the warm wax and fused them with encaustic medium.


The embedded words include attention, communication, trust, appreciative, respectful, dependable, devoted, worthy, bold, kindhearted, authentic, integrity, reliable and reciprocal. Whether these words are interpreted the same by a partner is what makes a relationship ground for challenge and discovery.


When the fusing of the collaged pieces was done, I decided to apply the oil pigment technique from prior workshops, and carved in the words love, admiration, fun, joy, laughter, faith, companion, happy, pleasure and agape.


I thought about adding a wire heart and a small wire embellishment to this piece before I started it.


Finishing Encounters with Language expanded on that notion and had me wrangling 10 feet of wire into my biggest heart-shape to date.


Sizing and resizing took some effort.


Packing this bouncy piece would have been a shipping challenge.


I am glad I could drop the work off in person.


I am extremely proud to have my own wall in the gallery, and look forward to expanding on the wire-y elements of future wall decor.


Textual Encounters is up through March 28. ARC Gallery is located at 2156 N Damen Avenue in Chicago. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm, and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm.


The participating FUSEDChicago artists in Textual Encounters include: Ahavani Mullen, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Amy Van Winkle, April Nomellini, Brad Hook, Carol Hamilton, Carol Myers, Cat Crotchett, Catherine Keebler, Cheryl Holz, Dan Addington, Donna Zarbin-Byrne, Elyse Martin, Emily Rutledge, Jennifer Schmidt, Jennifer Terpstra, Jenny Learner, Julia Ris, Karen Tichy, Kari Hall, Kathy Blankley Roman, Katsy Johnson, Laura LaRue, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg, Maike van Wijk, Mary Krebs Smyth, Michele Thrane, Pat Lagger, Rebecca Stahr, Sarah Rehmer, Shelley Gilchrist, VA de Pintor.

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My amazing technicolor dreamcoat

Spring has returned to us, gradually revealing earth and grass under the thick blanket of snow and ice we’ve lived with for the past month.


I’m eagerly exchanging my snow boots for regular shoes, and the goose down coat is going back into the closet. Instead I get to wear my cheerful She Wore Blue coat that I ordered from Hello Holiday in 2013.


I love the fit of this coat and the cobalt blue suits my complexion quite well, if I say so myself.


It’s been fun wearing it out and about and taking it along to art fairs. Compliments abound when I wear it, continuously validating this bold color choice.


The details of it make me happy too, and remind me of a childhood rhyme about a coat with buttons of gold.


It also makes a lovely background for scarf pendants.


Hello Holiday recently opened a brick and mortar boutique in Omaha, Nebraska, and whenever a road trip takes me there I look forward to having a try-on party.


painting by Jason McPhillips

Meanwhile, I scour the online shop for fun additions to my closet. The Daisy Chain Dress is a summer favorite.


Each package is wrapped with care and makes delivery day feel like a birthday. I returned one dress that didn’t suit my body type, and it was easy-peasy to ship it back. That refund paid for the coat.


Co-owners Megan Hunt and Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik are inspirational in their own right.  I enjoy following these entrepreneurial women on social media and vicariously engaging in their joie de vivre. They’re true leaders within their community, supporting Omaha’s small business community and making it sound like a great travel destination. Follow Hello Holiday on Instagram and check out their lively Facebook page.


Everyone would have clothing that make them feel like a fashion model!


Blog title derived from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical.

Inspiration from Amy Lee Segami

“When you have a deep, deep passion in you heart
and in your bones and in your soul,
it never goes away. It just isn’t time yet.”
~ Amy Lee Segami

On a snowy day this February my friend coaxed me out of the house to go visit an exhibit at the Evanston Public Library. While I have been aware that the library hosts exhibit, it took a non-Evanstonian to point out to me that this is a monthly occurrence. Amy Lee Segami’s work was up through March 7, and she held a talk explaining her inspiration, background and process.


Her exhibit “Frozen Dreams” was inspired by how as a girl Amy had to put her dreams on hold, or ‘in the freezer” as she said. Her father wanted her to be able to support herself and steered her toward studying engineering. She moved to America to study at IIT, and did become an engineer.


Over time, however, Amy decided to de-frost her dreams, and started studying Suminagashi. In this technique, black ink is dripped into a container of water, and an image transfer created by placing paper over the resulting image.


Amy perfected this technique for years. “When you master your craft, you work on it day in, day out. Ideas come about.”

When she felt comfortable knowing the technique for white ink on black paper, she started adding colors to her palette. By using brushes, feathers and other tools to manipulate the ink, she creates the foundation of the image she wishes to create. However, like life, Amy says that she has an idea of what the resulting transfer will look lie, yet is open to it changing based on the movement of the paper on the water.


She sees art and life as a balance of competition and collaboration. Competition can inspire people to excel and to lead, but it takes collaboration to achieve consensus. There is no point in fighting water, she said, so she has to collaborate with it.


Even though she has perfected her technique, Amy still has to create many transfers before she has the piece she is happy with. Describing the motion like a dance, she said the transfer has to take place in one breath. “There is no moment like this moment now.”


Amy waited until she had an international show to tell her father about her career change, and he fully supports her success. She credits his pushing and cajoling with giving her the security to establish her career, emphasizing that our past shapes us and it is never too late to pursue your dreams. Amy also emphasized that we have to count ourselves in to our life paths. We are the masters of our own destiny, and we cannot forget who we are.


I won a poster during a drawing, and you can get your own prints here.

“In every situation you face, always count yourself.
Your opinion, your perspective, your presence matters.”
~ Amy Lee Segami

People photos copyright and courtesy of Final Draft Business Support Services.

Creating Encounters with Language

This week marks the opening of my first 2015 art exhibit. The FUSEDChicago group is represented at ARC Gallery in Chicago through the month of March.


I dropped two pieces off, but since 32 artists are participating, I may only have one on display. So today is about the making of Encounters with Language, which expresses the evolution of my own linguistic learning.

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For this Textual Encounters group exhibition, the artists of FUSEDChicago challenge themselves to create works that are inspired by the written word – poetry, narrative, song, or speech.  Some artists embed words in the surface of their paintings or monoprints, or turn pages of text into art.  For other artists, the verbal – spoken, sung or printed – serves as muse, to which they respond in the conception and creation of their pieces.  In many instances, visual interpretation brings new meaning to their source, the words that evoke the work.  


Textual Encounters is a theme dear to my heart. As a Dutch girl spending teenage years in Germany, I was surrounded by different languages and learned early on to appreciate the beauty of dialects and idioms. I have always incorporated cultural memories and linguistic quirks into my work, from the substrate to the visible and invisible paper and marks embedded in encaustic pigment.


I found old notebooks that tracked my first handwriting in the Dutch language, and then a tutoring notebook from when our family moved to Germany and I needed assistance picking up on grammar and every-day German. Even English language assignments began with commentary on the weather.


Writing and adding to my vocabulary have always been key components in my life, from sending letters to pen-pals around the world to earning a journalism degree and writing for newspapers and other publications to blogging about life. I remembered a graphic with the roots of language and looked it up online. The graphic is pretty complex so I just sketched it on my 12 x 12 encaustic board.


I played with my snippets of text and laid them out.


Then I fused the layers of wax and layers of paper onto the board.


I also added some texture by scraping words into the wax and making them stand out with an oil stick. I liked the result, but it felt a bit flat.


So I played with my wire, and formed the word “language” with 10 feet of steel.


My glasses decided to hide in the process.


It took some maneuvering to get the word to be flat enough to stick to the board.


A second session of bending and flattening was successful.




Next was deciding on the frame depth.


Framing wasn’t foolproof either, but I won.


The participating FUSEDChicago artists in Textual Encounters include: Ahavani Mullen, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Amy Van Winkle, April Nomellini, Brad Hook, Carol Hamilton, Carol Myers, Cat Crotchett, Catherine Keebler, Cheryl Holz, Dan Addington, Donna Zarbin-Byrne, Elyse Martin, Emily Rutledge, Jennifer Schmidt, Jennifer Terpstra, Jenny Learner, Julia Ris, Karen Tichy, Kari Hall, Kathy Blankley Roman, Katsy Johnson, Laura LaRue, Linda Sorkin Eisenberg, Maike van Wijk, Mary Krebs Smyth, Michele Thrane, Pat Lagger, Rebecca Stahr, Sarah Rehmer, Shelley Gilchrist, VA de Pintor.


The group name is derived from the process of fusing – applying heat to the wax layers so that they adhere – which is a necessary and frequent step in creating an encaustic work. FUSEDChicago was founded in 2009 and currently has forty members.  More information about the artists and the group’s exhibits and activities is available at FUSEDChicago is an Illinois not-for-profit corporation.


ARC Gallery is located at 2156 N Damen Avenue in Chicago. The Gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 pm, and Sundays from 12 to 4 pm. Our show opening is Friday March 6 from 6 to 9 pm. I hope to see you there!


The second piece is fun too, I’ll share its process with you soon.