Jewelry & Gift Show Nov 17-19

On Friday, I will be setting up for The Jewelry & Gift Show. The Art Center Highland Park will transform into a haven for jewelers and jewelry lovers for three days.

Numerous Jewelers will set up booths to be perused by the public on November 17 from 4 to 8 pm, and from 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19. This is a free admission, free parking event.


Artists include Janet Alexander, Wayne Dawson, Jessie & Dan Driscoll, Lala Enver, Tetyana Fedorko, Susan Fox, Julie Furgat, Lisa Gent, Heather Hambrecht, Vivian Huang, Roger Iglesias, Christie Joy, Barbara Keisman, Betty Kirk, Ryan Lapeer, Rachel Leykind, Renata Mikota, Jackie Mortillaro, Ann Sofer, Sarella Suarez, Lynn Tatar, Maike’s Marvels (of course), Kate Vanasten, Joe Vilaiwan, and Diana Widman.


Their work includes jewelry, stone, wood, various metals, leather, mixed media, and fiber arts.
The Art Center is located at 1957 Sheridan Road in Highland Park.


After a full day of shopping head into Highland Park’s downtown and eat at one of their great restaurants. There are also lovely boutiques to peruse.

Founded in 1984 Amdur Productions, Inc. is a nationally acclaimed arts festival production company that organizes and directs a selection of Chicago area’s most prestigious and successful juried summer art festivals.

The Art Center Highland Park is a community-based organization whose goal is to ensure access to the arts for all ages and cultural interests. A not-for-profit visual arts organization for more than 50 years, The Art Center (TAC) provides an arts education to Highland Park and surrounding areas as a thriving Arts Education and Exhibition Center, as well as a hub for culture and community.

Angel Making

It is angel making time.

No matter the season, I consistently sell angels throughout the year. So after my angel count session last week I had to replenish some more.

My purples and blues are popular. I also keep selling the skull angels I have in stock. After a 3D encaustic workshop my friend and I went to Blick’s and I found this lovely gold sugar skull paper which of course needed to be angel-fied as well. I love the result.

My aim for the Beetlejuice angel turned out to have a different effect when I went with horizontal stripes instead. Ah well, it’s cute whether you see a jail bird or Audrey or anything else in it.

I wanted to make an ugly sweater angel as well, and this one turned out to be a wine and sweets lover.

I had some Christmas carols from prior seasons that I converted into new angels as well. Some are from when I didn’t jig my angels yet, so I had to adjust the size of the bodies to fit the printed text.

Sometimes the multiple transports of the ornaments take a toll, and when this angel’s wing came loose I decided to refresh its wings entirely, while humming Mr. Mister.

Other angels got new accessories to see if that makes them more attractive to buyers.

Sometimes color decisions are difficult, so there may be multiple poinsettia angel iterations.

My friend Kaitlyn colored a bunch of scraps for me last year when rainbows were trending. I had time to incorporate those scraps into new creations this week.

The polka dots were begging for pompoms, and I am super delighted at the two pastel angels that came out of that.

Today I sent some off to local stores.

Sacred Art will be bringing a batch to Show of Hands this weekend.

My Evanston Pop Up Gallery section got a makeover today too.

The rest of inventory will be with me at the Handmade Market on Saturday, and at the Jewelry & Gift Show in Highland park next weekend.

I look forward to seeing these adopted to new homes. It is a pleasure to keep making dragonflies and angels, so I look forward to getting jigging some more after the Thanksgiving Holiday with family.

December is coming soon, and I am happy to work on commissions for your holiday needs. Contact me if you have a gift idea in mind.

Saturday Handmade Market

November is my crazy month this year. On Saturday I will return to The Empty Bottle for my second stint at the Handmade Market. The show is November 11 from noon to 4 at 1035 N Western Avenue in Chicago and features a variety of handmade gifts for your holiday shopping needs.

Handmade Market Chicago is a unique event to connect the makers of beautiful things to people who appreciate the unique and handmade. I enjoyed perusing the creations of fellow makers last month, and already signed up for Spring spots.


The event is free, but since this is a bar you must be 21 years or older (or with a parent) to come in. The Empty Bottle starts serving at noon, so feel free to shop with mimosas in hand. Markets include funky jewelry, knitted items, clothing, baked goods, handbags, paper crafts, skincare and more.

This month’s artists include:

3 to 5 Apothecary by Carlie Merkle ~ Handmade, organic body products made with 3-5 ingredients. I believe there is no need for extra additives when the most simple ingredients can work magic for your health and body.

Acutechic, LLC by Ruby Thomas ~ Upcycled and handmade women’s clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Auburn Moon Creations by Angelina Nunez ~ Purveyor of handmade bath and body products for sensitive skin. Specializing in all natural bar soap, body scrubs, lotion/lotion bars, and tinted lip balm.

Begorra! by Maura McDermott ~ Hand painted accessories including canvas, cross-body purses, wristlets, zipper pouches and stationary items including note cards, gift enclosure cards and journals.

Blue Violet Candles by Peggy Boyd ~ Blue Violet Candles features high quality unforgettable soy wax candles. My candles are made with all natural soy wax, the top quality fragrance oils and each are hand crafted individually.

Bricole Design by Jolanta Nawrocka ~ Ceramic work (which is ceramic jewelry, ceramic chimes, ceramic beads, small figurines) is 100% designed and handmade by me. Fired in electrical kiln. I use low fire clay and glaze all my work with non toxic glazes.

Damsel In This Dress Designs by Heather Flett ~ Cool stuff for women who don’t need to be rescued. Purses, totes, bags, and more.

Debbie’s Designs by Deborah Solomon ~ Handmade sterling silver jewelry with precious and semi-precious stones.

Design Delights Ltd by Linda Sue Collins ~ Treasure chest of handcrafted gemstone jewelry featuring semi-precious stone, amber, pearl, shell, crystal, glass, wood, leather, fiber, sterling silver, & more!

GretchenC Studio by Gretchen Colavito ~ Original beaded jewelry hand sewn with need and thread, inspired by Tribal Art, Couture fashion, the Victorian Era, and Belle Epoque Eras.

Lady Heart Paper by Marielle M-Olson ~ One of a kind stationery notecards handcrafted with repurposed vintage ephemera such as: playing cards, found photos, & book pages.

LuDesigns Creations (LuDesignsjewelry) by Lucy Clasen ~ Silver Smith, lapidary, leather, stamped and beaded jewelry. Some fiber art and greeting cards. Offering items for males has been an addition to my line.

Madame Platypus by Rachel Katzman ~ Cards/prints. Crochet dolls/toys. Humorous resin pendants w/ chain.

Made by Q by Lindsey Quaglio ~ Eco friendly handmade goods. Resuse..Recycle…Rethink

Maike’s Marvels by Maike Van Wijk ~ Pendants, earrings, necklaces, keychains, bracelets and ornaments are hand-wrangled from steel wire and then embellished with encaustic-medium-treated paper or vintage ephemera to gift to your loved ones or for yourself.

Mary Pfister Designs by Mary Pfister ~ Your source for beautiful, unique and high quality jewelry, inspired by nature, handmade with love.

MojoOwl by Nors Beatriz ~ Jewelry from natural raw gem stones often mixed with recycled jewelry to make new wearables, lots of love, light and energy goes into them.

Natalie Walser ~ Original arts and prints, pottery and cat toys, all exploring the joys and the hilarity of urban modern life.

Naturally Refreshed Oil Kreations by Nicole Singleton ~ Essential oil infused products for everyday relief perfectly crafted. Pregnant and Breastfeeding Friendly.

Pure Principles by Cheryl McSherry ~ Skin care using organic botanicals, herbs, and oils without the use of any chemicals, additives, or toxic ingredients.

rj studio inc. by Rashida ~ Handmade jewelry, stationery, and accessories.

Sand and Stain by Todd Miller ~ “Now Playing” Record Display Stands are a great way to display what vinyl is currently spinning on your turntable.

ShopAdele by Leah Ill ~ Crochet projects that get me out of my head and into the world again creating something that others can enjoy, three dimensional play-toy for a children to functional pieces an adult can use every day.

Sonrie Bags by Emma Grigsby ~ Handmade items to make you smile and serve a practical purpose in your life.

Soothsayer Hot Sauce by Kyle Janis ~ All natural, small batch, hand bottled hot sauce. Hand numbered, vegan friendly products focused on a unique flavor palate over intense heat.

SunshineIsHappiness by Susan Lechner ~ Oil hand painted magnets, canvas boards, coasters, and prints, some are sweet, some are whimsical, but all are created to bring you warmth and happiness.

Terminal Cross Stitch by Angela Isadora ~ Nerdy and vulgar cross stitcher obsessed with Robocop, Rick & Morty and horror movies, offering finished products, patterns, and accepting custom requests.

The Drunken Cherry Bake Shoppe by Anna and Irina Goldberg ~ Unique cupcakes made by hand, using high quality ingredients, offered in seasonal varieties. A blast of booze here and there means you don’t have to choose between a cupcake and a cocktail, now you can have both in one adorable package.

Twinette Poterie by Emilie Bouvet-Boisclair ~ Handmade pottery for the thoughtful home. Focusing on functional ware that are inspired by color and nature.

Stop by Bite cafe if you get a little hungry. Parking: Street. Transit: #49 Western bus.

Each event is held on the second Saturday of every month, from the months of October – April from noon to 4:00 PM.

The Ornament Factory Opens

The holiday season is about to kick in for me, so the other day I pulled out my angels for a thorough count.

I also checked last year’s sales to see what colors sold.

There is no science to prior sales as a predictor, but it always helps to know what colors customers gravitate toward.

So now I am off to the studio to replenish the most popular designs, as well as create new angels that pop into my head.

I have so many accessories for them, and I love watching them get matched to their new owners. This original angel is not going anywhere, though.

I have plenty of frosties due to the limited snow last year, and will probably come up with some more ornament designs.

I have 3 shows coming up in November. The Wilder Mansion’s 7th Annual Holiday Market takes place November 3 & 4 in Elmhurst. Handmade Chicago returns to the Empty Bottle November 11.


The Jewelry & Gift Show by Amdur Productions takes place November 17 – 19 at the Highland Park Art Center.
Of course I will also distribute ornaments in various consignment locations, so stay tuned for where you can find them in a brick & mortar venue.

Wilder Mansion Holiday Market Nov 3 & 4

This coming weekend I return to Elmhurst for the 7th Annual Wilder Mansion Holiday Market. This lovely gift show takes place Friday, November 3 from 4 to 9 pm and Saturday, November 4 from 10 am to 4 pm.


A lot of the vendors look familiar, so get your shopping list ready for unique holiday gifts including ornaments, coasters, table linens, pillows, jewelry, pottery, scarves, hats, mittens, kid’s clothing, European photography, painting, holiday stationary, candles, soaps, Irish capes, and gourmet food holiday gifts.
 Doti Liquors will offer wine by the glass on Friday evening. There will also be a raffle.
Of course I will have my full line of holiday ornaments with me, along with my jewelry and possibly a few plant stakes.

The vendors for the 2017 Holiday Market include: Alouette Jewelry, TOK GRAPHICS, Susan Nester Glass, Lucy Blue Knits, The Goodfrog Candle Company, Acton Creative, Carla Bank Art, Jewels Botanica, Maike’s Marvels, Cork Art by Donna Zommer, made by Q, Redefined Map Design, CL Creates, Sue Rosengard Design, Denise  Riesen Photography, Brewpoint Coffee, Edward Jones Investments, Drury Lane Theatre, Smashing Jewels,
DogGone Good Martingale Collars, Jewelsies, O’Meara’s Irish House, Urban Art Chicago, Grayling Ceramics,
Laughing Frog Studio, Art Girl Pottery, Untamed Roots, 4 Girls Jewelry, Lo in London, Capistran, Lisa Williams Jewelry, Scarred for Life, Desmond Brown Design, Paper art by Don Widmer, East Grove Stamp Co, Pura Vida Home, Lucky Skype Graphics, Eclectic Redesigns, Mia’s Wish Inc., The Buttons Stop Here, Jewelry by Venus, Paka Monk, James McCarthur Cole Photography, Kilwins, The Kringle Company, The High Hopes for Pets Company, Amy’s Cranberry Candy, Barcacaochocolat, Spice Merchants of Downers Grove, bettyplum Handmade Confections, Big Fat’s Hot Sauce, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Jewelry by Liam Hughes, Marigold Mary, Black Angel Designs, Weener Ware, Brim and Dash, Elegant Facets, Mixed-Media by Terri Gregory, Marie Miklaszewski, From Shirt 2/A Little Book, Bees Knees Paper Goods.

Wilder Mansion is located at 175 S. Prospect Avenue in Elmhurst. Admission is free. Presented by Brewpoint Coffee, the holiday market is sponsored by the Elmhurst Park District and Produced by RGL Marketing for the Arts, Inc. For further information visit rglmarketingforthearts.com

Color Changes

Fall is making its entrance, and the warm weather has people predicting that the leaves won’t stay on trees very long.

Recently I basked in the glorious sunshine that cast a special vibrant glow on the trees.

I love the three-toned trees this time of year.

I am surprised to still see butterflies fluttering and hear crickets in the thick grass, but am going to enjoy nature’s concerts as long as it lasts.

In mid-October Cicadas were still singing, and birdies are doing their thing.

The lake continues to provide peace and perspective.

Maybe I can sneak away to a nature preserve in November to forest bathe a bit.

But the local parks have plenty of beauty to offer.

This week the colder weather will call for coats and socks instead of t-shirts and sandals.

It has been lovely to have summer linger for a bit though.

I hope the color change holds for a little bit.

Here’s to joyous days playing in the leaves.

Seasons are a wonderful reminder of the cycles in life.

Enjoy your pre-Halloween week!

Disaster Fatigue

I definitely have disaster fatigue, and I am only marginally affected. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston I was tense waiting for updates from my family as the rains fell.

On August 28 I felt guilty for the lovely weather and listening to life-as-usual conversations. Meanwhile, friends and family were watching water rise into their neighborhoods. Facebook after Facebook update showed me the breadth of this disaster, with former high school classmates and families impacted greatly.

Each impending disaster piles on more of that stress. People want to help and try to find ways to donate, which then creates an avalanche of donation requests.

Then the criticism of aid organizations arises and whether the ones broadcast by the media are actually using the funds for good.

As the storm passes, opinions abound on what should have been done and which government agency got the disaster plan wrong. Polarization, greed, ‘not my problem’ reasoning piles up. Meanwhile, the aftermath of the storm is life changing for many, and coulda-woulda-shoulda does nothing to mitigate the damage.

At the end of September, I flew out to physically help with my mom’s move to a new apartment.

Even though she lived in a nice neighborhood, debris had not been picked up a full month after the storm. I was not prepared for the piles of personal belongings sitting on the curbs, swallowing up entire front yards.

In the house (which got 30 inches of water), the smell of mold is pervasive. No a/c can fight it. Airing a house out in a humid tropical climate is virtually impossible.

Various blocks of small business are closed. Banks have temporary ATMs set up in a tent on their parking lots. One street is full of debris, another a block away has no damage at all.

Greeting acquaintances is followed by exchanges of how each person fared in the storm. There is survivors guilt for those who had minimal damage. They refrain from saying much because others had it worse. Yet the grief still needs to be acknowledged. We can count blessings and cry at the same time.

I helped mom with her flood insurance paper work. This involved going through the house mentally to fill in line items for each room.

Thoughts were oscillating between big ticket items like furniture pieces to pantry contents to clothing to wondering if it is worth to put stationary and wrapping paper on the spreadsheet since in comparison that loss is not as large as others emotionally and financially.

When the trash was picked up, Harvey left its imprint on the grass.

Debates about standing for the anthem seemed malapropos. And yet people also crave normalcy. They want to resume their running routine on a trail that has now been diverted due to flood damage. Life goes on, and yet life is so different.

There is a lot to coordinate. People have short fuses trying to keep all the to-dos in their heads. Those standing by to help feel like disciplinarians.

Involuntary purges of possessions lead to a reassessment of life, and for our family, we can see it as fresh start (and a little bit of humor helps with coping as well).

Houston is resilient and will come out of this. But many families are devastated. Not everyone can move on from this trauma the way my mom’s circle is able to.

Houston understands storms, and to realize how long recovery is taking there makes me worry for the storms that came after.

For regions hit by Irma and Maria, the cleanup efforts are more difficult than what I saw in Houston. Wildfires are burning, earthquakes keep happening, tsunamis and volcanos pose threats. And then there is violence. Guns, beatings, brutality, emotional violence.

We are all broken. We are all grieving. We all have damage.

The comparison of damage, the bargaining about it, the valuing of one disaster over another, the bragging about donations are all irrelevant tracking devices. Disaster is disaster. The order of magnitude has no bearing.

Comparing is ego-based. Giving, caring and listening is love-based.

As another Harvey garners triggering news, I am going to take a break from the media and from reading #metoo statuses and reading about devastation.

It is time for a bit of self-care before I launch into the holiday fair season, and to focus on my microcosm for a bit. The world will keep turning as I tend to those closest to me, and the activism and donating can be handled by others for a little while.

As the flight attendant reminded me on the plane home, I need to put on my own oxygen mask and take a deep breath before being able to help others out.

Ultimately, there is hope and faith and love in this world, and my aim is to focus on the joy rather than the pain.

Bat and Bar Mitzvah mini-books

In August I was asked to create a Bat Mitzvah book. After brainstorming with a person practicing the Jewish faith, Ruth 1:16-17 was selected as the appropriate verse to use in the gift commission.

I printed out the verse on paper and created the mini-books.

Then I cut out the verses and coated them with encaustic medium.

It was important to keep each line in the correct order and ensure they would fit within each steel frame.

I cut the pages to size and adhered them to the book.

Soon the first one was completed.

With new creations, I always want to give my customers options, so I also created two other versions for them to peruse.

Sizing pages is pain-staking, which is why these mini-books are more pricey than my other pieces.

Working in tandem helped me learn more about various design elements.

These were admired by others on my way to delivering the final three.

Both the first book and the third book were snapped up within the week. So I got back into the studio to replenish.

Practice practice practice.

This one is still available.

This blue one accommodated smaller page sections before the printout spacing was fully figured out.

I have a new one on my desk.

Contact me to design a custom mini-book of your choice.

What’s your favorite quote?

Evanston’s Terrain Biennial

On a recent summery Sunday I did an art scavenger hunt in Evanston. As part of the 3rd Terrain Biennial, Evanston artists have organized eight host locations on a walkable route, along Wesley and Florence between Emerson and Dempster. Eight homes are hosting the work of nine artists on the front yard, porch, or facade. Participating artists include Ben Blount, Paul Catanese, Shawn Decker, Alice George, Patrick Lichty, Kristin Mariani, Niki Nolin, Laurie O’Brien, Mat Rappaport, Anne Hayden Stevens and Kevin Valentine.

I started with The Beloved Community by Ben Blount. His collaboration with 40 artists resulted in a miniature community with a small Black Lives Matter yard sign to demonstrate neighborhood unity.

Next to this tiny neighborhood, nine full-sized Black Lives Matter yard signs, one for each of Evanston’s wards, were altered/defaced to reflect the recent vandalism and theft of Black Lives Matter signs in Evanston neighborhoods.

Near Ben’s installation was Laurie O’Brien‘s Dislocation, a birdhouse installation that held a miniature cinema. I felt like I would be trespassing to check out the piece closer, so I didn’t see the miniature film that is held inside.

On a sign was a poem by Niki Nolin, who also has a video installation in the exhibit.

I drove to the next location, Shawn Decker’s The Night Sounds. www.shawndecker.comThere was a definite hum coming from the bucket installation suspended between two trees as Cicadas were singing on a warm afternoon. A small motor activates this sculpture that is also going to change sound as rain falls into the buckets.

Next for me was 24 Hour Psycho (With Apologies to Douglas Gordon) by Patrick Lichty and Mat Rappaport. I heard an eerie soundtrack but wasn’t sure where to look for the actual video loop associated with this installation. A few signs were already written on, and I added my message (not pictured). I look forward to returning to this one to see how it evolves.

Another installation to return to is Kristin Mariani’Off Shoot. She will continue to weave this photoluminescent thread for the duration of the exhibit.

On Lake street, I visited Kevin Valentine‘s The Structure of Memory. His structure of woven together branches is dedicated to the widows of Iraq. “The created space is for contemplation, remembering sacrifices made, representing the complexity and hollowness of life after conflict, but also for hope, rebuilding and peace. These found sticks and driftwood were used by participants in drawing symbolic lines in the sand in memory of and solidarity with the millions of uncounted widows from decades of strife in the Middle East.  Each branch is dated and signed by participants who marked half-a-million lines in the beaches of Chicago, Evanston and elsewhere over several years.”

Next I walked over to Paul Catanese‘s Aerial Reference Studies, using reference markers used in aerial cartography. It would be cool to view this one from up high.

My last stop was Anne Stevens‘ Sleeping Giants, representing the mountains that resemble humans. “We are the sleeping giants now, moving at a glacial pace as our country twists and turns on a new axis. Our local lives continue—work, school, eat, sleep—but we struggle with erosion of policies that protect our democratic society.”

Founded in October of 2011 by artist Sabina Ott and author John Paulett, Terrain Exhibitions and The Terrain Biennial repurposes private spaces such as front yards, porches, or windows, turning them into public spaces in order to foster dialogue between neighbors and provide opportunities for artists and viewers alike to experience new perspectives.

Along the way nature inserted its own art. It is fun to become more observant in neighborhoods and see art that isn’t labeled as such, but can be enjoyed nonetheless.

There was also a fun whimsical garden installation that gave me a chuckle.

This year, 115 sites and more than 115 artists are participating in the Terrain Biennial. Projects include sites across Chicagoland, Springfield, Iowa City, Los Angeles, Tucson, and Marnay-sur-Seine, France.  For more information on The Terrain Biennial, including the 2017 partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) visit the FAQ page here. Learn more about Chicago’s “Year of Public Art” here.

The 3rd Terrain Biennial runs through November 15, 2017 between Emerson and Dempster Streets.
Grab the interactive map here.

Handmade Market on Saturday

On Saturday I’ll be popping up at my only October event. Handmade Chicago is kicking off its Fall season at the Empty Bottle, from noon to  4 p.m. on October 14. The event features 30 artists. I’ve never been at the Empty Bottle, located at 1035 N Western Avenue in Chicago, but I hear good things about it and its neighbor, the Bite Cafe. 

Handmade Market Chicago is a unique event to connect the makers of beautiful things to people who appreciate the unique and handmade. Each event is held on the second Saturday of every month, from the months of October to April from noon to 4. The Empty Bottle starts serving at noon, so feel free to shop with mimosas in hand.

The event is free to the public, but due to the venue you must be over 21 unless you have a parent with you. Artists will offer funky jewelry, knitted items, clothing, baked goods, handbags, paper crafts, skincare and more. You can park on the street or use the #49 Western bus.

Artisans include: