Summer has begun and I wish I could go on vacation.


Instead I am sneaking lake time away from the computer when I can.


I uninstalled the DOT Show and am pleased my circles held up well.


I even got to take home 2 of Carol Hamilton’s dots.


Along the way I got to watch some bridge action while stopped in traffic.


I delivered 2 memorial angels honoring a family member.


It was fun to see the cityscape as I traveled for an artist critique on Saturday.


This weekend I strolled in the neighborhood and noticed this hugging tree.


Thunderstorms make for very green parks.


It is soothing to watch the horizon and the colors of the lake.


I garnered inspiration at Cultivate’s Lucy Slivinski’s Opening. Go see it this month!


Now it is time to head back in the studio with commissions from my bead loot.


2nd Fridays at Chicago Arts District

On Friday, June 10, the 1800 block of South Halsted Street will be the place to be for Art Aficionados.


I discovered during out DOT Show opening that the Chicago Arts District hosts art walks along Halsted, giving out maps at 1821 S. Halsted Street. (Corner of 18th and Halsted).


The Chicago Arts District hosts 2nd Fridays Gallery Night, monthly opening receptions at the galleries and artists’ studios centered around South Halsted and 18th Streets in Chicago. The event begins at 6:00pm and runs until 10:00pm.


We had a lovely DOT show opening last month in ShowPOD 7, where numerous people perused Jenny Learner and Kathy Blankley Roman’s art up close in spite of the rain.


We also walked along the other windows where people asked about technique and inspiration.


As usual, it is a joy to see how the variety of encaustic styles come together during a FUSEDChicago show. Fourteen FUSEDChicago members are in this show, curated by VA de Pintor, Elyse Martin, and Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg.


The DOT show will be up through June 22, and will be uninstalled on the 23rd. You an stop by any time, as the show is behind glass and well-lit in the evening.


There are 30+ creative spaces in the Chicago Arts District at South Halsted and 18th Streets which showcase an exciting display of art and artists from Chicago and beyond.


This unique art community opens its doors, free of charge, and lets you get up close and personal with the art and artists. I saw S’mores being made as I strolled.


Check out for upcoming events and keep tabs on encaustic artists through our Facebook page.


showPOD1  Sue Cahill & Marian Ostrowski:


showPOD2  Carol Hamilton & Maike van Wijk:


showPOD3  Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg & Carol L. Myers:


showPOD4  Alicia Forestall-Boehm & Amy Van Winkle:


showPOD5  Michele Thrane & Pat Lagger:


showPOD6  Joan Moriarty & Karen Tichy:


showPOD7  Kathy Blankley Roman & Jenny Learner:


And yes, I will self indulgently post some more pics of my collaboration with Carol:


The bus stops by our pod:


Joan Moriarty and Karen Tichy’s work behind the DOTs is worth a closer look:


I love Jenny’s Universe too. Some of her dots glow in the dark.


It truly is magical how art comes together and lifts the spirit.


My third Bucktown Holiday ArtShow

This weekend I am returning to the Bucktown Holiday ArtShow for the third time. This fair is full of amazing and unique gifts for the last-minute holiday shopper.


You should check out all the goodies that will be on display in 4 large rooms on Saturday and Sunday from 12 am to 5 pm. There will be delicious food, a variety of home decor items, fiber arts, holiday decorations, children’s gifts, jewelry, candles, and more.


I’m looking forward to the hot cocoa made from real chocolate.


I didn’t have much time to peruse last year, but you are bound to find something for everyone and be inspired by all the creations.


There will also be a silent auction at various locations in the building.  A table in each gym and in the auditorium will offer donated items from the participating artists. Guests are welcomed to place a silent bid on any and as many items as they like by using the auction slip that will be attached to each item.


Proceeds from the Silent Auction will be donated to Snow City Arts, a non-profit in Chicago. Snow City Arts provides one-on-one instructions in the arts to patients at Rush Children’s Hospital, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, and Children’s Hospital University of Illinois. Snow City Arts augments the medical needs for hospitalized children by addressing a child’s developmental and educational needs through the arts.


The first Bucktown Holiday ArtShow took place in 1999, at Holstein Park Fieldhouse, 2200 N Oakley Ave, Chicago, IL 60647. This year marks the 17th consecutive year of providing art lovers and holiday shoppers with the opportunity to browse and shop for one-of-a-kind-gifts and original works of art. Download a free admission pass (Admission is $2/person at the door) at this link.


Participating artists who use mediums from ceramics to photography, watercolors to oils, jewelry to textiles include: One Man Surf Party, Spice Heist, Chat Noir Designs, City Alive Art, Solola, Soap Distillery, Boards & Boxes, Deborah Campbell, Alice’s Cat, Dorn’s Design Jewelry Studio, Elizabeth Kline Designs.


Eric The Red Creations, Eric Erf wood design, Bebuddha Jewelry, Gilberto Rey Rivera, Gina Urso & Gina Herzik, Still Waters Soapery, Atira Jewelry, Urban Edges, Jan Q Designs, Dorthy’s Daughters, Ideas by Jason, Ridley Studios.


There will be: Jewelry by Jennifer, Railand Asphalt, Anidem Jewelry, Defining Moments, Creative Crochet by Jodi Mac, Pacheco Made, Designs by KEB, Rhinestone Crowgirls, Karen Schiff Ceramics, Kate Kiernan-Wulfka, Amber Vintage Chicago, Katie Moncton, Fiore Bowtique, Organica by Laura, Julia’s Designs, Esto Imports, Enfiniti Designs, Melanie Feerst Studio, Reuse First, Nancy Segal Designs, Pranamaker, Damen Art.


Other booths include: Paul Snagel-Works, Quinn Burrell Art, Pretty Spooky Handmade, Ram Art Studio, Things spun, Bob’s Gourmet Hot Chocolate, Palette Earth Designs, Sandr’art Wood paintings & prints, Metal & Mayhem, Shayne Taylor-Shayne Art, Love Bird Designs, Artworks by Steve Connell, Nomadic Ant, Sylvia Moore, Mitzibell, Theresa Weber Photography, Palmetto Pewter, T-Time, Journey Dolls, Yoshiko Kozawa.


Come out and get your gift shopping on!

Inspirational Women at Blue Buddha Boutique

At last week’s pop-up opening we had a lovely tour of the Blue Buddha Boutique facility and got to meet some fabulous entrepreneurial ladies.


Rebeca Mojica started making chain maille jewelry 12 years ago when she saw a cool belt that she wanted to recreate. She purchased 1000 jump rings that turned out to be 16 gauge galvanized steel, but she persevered and made a belt.


Then she started playing with her remaining rings. At Caravan Beads she learned how to make clasps, and when that teacher left she began teaching classes. On her first day she sold $300 of supplies and felt she was on to something.


She started a web site to let students place orders in February 2003 with the values of creativity, empowerment, community, kindness and chocolate. In 2007 she opened her first storefront, which in 2013 moved to the Granville location.


The storefront now houses 73 artists and ships 30 to 80 chainmaille packages a day from the warehouse in the back to 50 states and 40 countries. We were given a tour of the vast back area of the boutique, where a variety of colors, metals and sizes of jump rings are stored for shipping. Employees gather supplies from pick lists, ranging from bulk orders to project kits that are then shipped.


In the back is also where niobium is colored. The precious metal is placed in a bath that is linked up to cathodes.

Niobium bath

As the voltage increases, the color of the niobium changes, creating a rainbow of colored rings.


During our tour we were introduced to Kathmandu Yogi, which sources meditation cushions, malas and clothing from Nepal. Natasha Casanova’s vision was to bring meditation cushions to retail stores for people to try in person rather than ordering them online.


Natasha’s suppliers who hand brocade the fabrics used in the products didn’t lose their homes in the recent earthquakes but their neighbors did, and the purchase made from Kathmandu Yogi directly support the residents in the disaster area.


Next to Blue Buddha Boutique is AVP Beads, founded by Ana Pizarro. Ana worked at Caravan Beads for more than a decade until they closed.

AVP Beads

In need of a livelihood, she and her sister used a tax refund and credit cards to start a bead store on Elston and Irving Park (3960 N Elston Ave). In July, the second location next to Blue Buddha Boutique was opened. AVP beads is a family business supporting a niece and brother-in-law, who each have roots in Ecuador.

woven beads

AVP offers project tables where you can get help on a beading project you are working on. Ana loves bead weaving but does a variety of beading projects.


Ana’s Wonderwoman Cuff was featured in Creative Beading.


The beads come from all over the world, including nuts and seeds from the Amazon, African glass, precious stones and more.


Blue Buddha Boutique was hosting another pop-up on opening night: Tulia’s Artisan Gallery. Karen Torres named her business after her grandmother. Her mission is to bring Colombian art to the Chicago area.


She sources her statement pieces for the home from a Wounaan family forced out of the Darien rainforest into Bogota 13 years ago (due to territorial conflicts). That family has since built a larger home to support additional migrants and help them get started in a new city.


The refugee community comprises an extended family of weavers, carpenters, and silversmiths.  The family creates baskets and bracelets from palm leaves. They do the hand dye-ing and thread making themselves and it takes one day to do one turn of a basket.


Another women’s artisan group preserves ancestral techniques of the Guane indians of central Colombia. Growing cotton, cleaning, dyeing and handspinning are all done according to tradition and a museum has been established by this group to ensure this art form isn’t lost. Scarves are available via Tulia’s Artisan Gallery.


I couldn’t resist picking up a butterfly clip made from “fique,” a relative of the agave plant.  These are hand made by women in central Colombia who work from home.


We also met the founder of LiftUpLift, an online marketplace for women. Corielle Heath crowd funded her business after realizing there was no marketplace for women owned by a woman. She carefully selects the businesses reflected on the online shopping site to ensure that the work is authentic and matches her mission and vision. We had a lovely time chatting and I am exploring the online shopping interface.


I did a little make and take during the evening and made this lovely keychain pull in 20 minutes.


It looks nice on my purse from the Geneva Swedish Days.

pepped up bag

Pop in to Blue Buddha Boutique and view our Edgewater Artists In Motion pop-up through December. A variety of artists are on display with gift items the whole family will love.

Carpe Diem Mini Poster2 11x17


Thursday was a gorgeous day to spend at Navy Pier.  The overcast skies had made way for sunshine and the Chicago skyline was picture perfect.


I was a bit torn about having to spend the afternoon inside setting up for the big event, but happy so many people were celebrating a tentative Spring on the pier.


The RAW: natural born artist directors gave us ample time to set up for EXPOSURE on the Odyssey Yacht.


I customized my space early.


This was my first time setting up lamps with the display, and I am glad I am grown-up enough to have three desk lamps of the same color.


This left me with time to go to the other decks and take snapshots of their creations.


Carolyn Sullivan of PumPums ‘below deck’.


The fashion sneak peek looked fabulous.


I hope there will be an album of the actual show, which I missed since I was above them.


The most varied artists resided on ‘my’ Amethyst deck.


Each time the setup has its own feel.


I chatted with the two other jewelers present, who both have distinct styles and great passion for their craft. Rust Belt Americana scours the nation for rustic finds that are repurposed into jewelry.


Flux Of Feathers offers perfect adornments for the more morbidly minded with pendants holding claws, teeth and other animal parts.


My neighbor Troy of BowExotic creates fantastic wooden bow ties, which make dressing up a cinch!


They add elegance to the outfits of men and women alike. Troy makes many bow ties based on how inspiration strikes him, but he also customizes them with fraternity logos and other customer-specified designs.


He also made his own lamps for the event.


My left hand neighbor Brandin of Paper Moon Affairs hand-cuts beautiful paper vignettes and then places them in lit-up frames for a dreamlike scene to hang in your home.


I enjoyed the view during quiet moments.


Throughout the evening the outfits were a sight to behold. I spotted a lovely ethereal star dress, sky-high heels, and a vast interpretation of the requested ‘cocktail attire’ dress code.


The bar was closeby and Odyssey Waitstaff were quite helpful to the table-bound vendors to keep them hydrated and fed.


I enjoyed a slider and potato wedges for dinner and imbibed in some bubbly to celebrate the festivities.


A few pieces will be gifted to mothers on May 10, and even more business cards wandered off into the world.


The Odyssey Yacht offers lunchtime and dinner cruises during which the ship does traverse Lake Michigan.


As a bonus I forgot about, we were invited to take head shots by a professional photographer, and a videographer took detailed footage of each booth. I cannot wait to see how that turns out.


I’m scoping out the future RAW Midwest events and hope to pop up at one of those soon.


Meanwhile, check out the happenings in your city, and support a participating artist in your neighborhood.


Meanwhile, don’t forget to shop on Etsy for Mom!



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

Chicago Boat Tour Scenery

I had the privilege of taking two architecture boat tours in the past 2 months which has been a pleasure.


I love Chicago’s architecture and always enjoy learning more about the buildings.


It had been a few years since my last boat tour, so it was neat to see the buildings completed that I had watched go up over the past few years.


I even forgot that Trump Tower used to be the site of the Sun-Times building which marred my favorite view of the skyline for so long.


The light was magnificent on the Saturday morning tour last week.


I was mesmerized by the reflection of water on the buildings, the glorious rays of the sun, and the crisp reflection of buildings in windows.


The most recommended tour is conducted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, but other museums also have volunteers speak on other boats.


I highly recommend taking a day to explore the tourist attractions in your home town.


You learn so much and it is wonderful to be able to introduce guests to your city in this way.

Zer0-degree 0uting

Last week we had zero degree weather—not counting the windchill factor. I tend to forget the ‘realfeel’ notification and regret that a lot this time of year. Best to be overdressed than underdressed. On Tuesday I heeded the notion and set out for my little downtown venture.

First I saw Backyard Monsters at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on its closing day. We’d walked past the robotic creatures in the dark before Pinning Class, when I thought I’d have lots of time to go see this. Time sure flies when you’re living the good life.

backyard monsters at Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

I learned more about insects (such as wasps being able to make paper) observed some critters, drooled over the morpho display case, pushed buttons of  the fun mechanical demonstrations, and posed by the giant monarch.


There are so many more butterflies and moths to discover!

 thousands or butterfly species

Then I perused “A Meticulous Beauty” which is up through May 2013.

Meticulous Beauty by Jennifer Angus

Who knew a wall covered with pastel-colored insects could be so beautiful?

Meticulous Beauty Wall

Having some time to spare, I also spun through the Judy Istock butterfly haven, to warm up in rainforest temperatures.

orange wings

One the three Atlas Moths that had recently hatched was still there, and it perched waaaayyy up high.

Atlas moth

There are still more to come, though. 🙂

Atlas Moth hatchery

This lace-edged longwing was new to me.

lace longwing

The smiley-faced Zebra longwings always make me happy.


The Cairn’s Birdwing had a butterfly spot on its wing.

Cairns Birdwing butterfly at Istock Haven

When the museum closed it was time to head on over to the next adventure, a Skate & Sip outing with the Women’s Innovation Network. We warmed up on hot cocoa before heading out to the rink, which turned out to be closed after our sipping and chatting. So we’ll just have to do the skating another time.

Cloud Gate looked pretty, and it was a lovely ending to a joyful day.

Chicago's Bean

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

Candy Gala glamour shots

Tomorrow the fabulous ladies of WIN are gathering for Spa & Cupcakes. I’m busy on a deadline, so I am still reveling in last Tuesday’s fabulous event.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

I splurged on a professional styling and then traveled in style. 😉

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Here’s the Magnificent Mile.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Water Tower Place is home to a Lego store.

photo copyright Maike's Marvels

 I did my shoe switcheroo by the go-to destination of little girls.

 photo copyright Maike's Marvels

Here we are!

The home of a candy museum.

Fashionable candy wrappers.

A licorice painting.

Then I set up the auction table, which barely had room for all the donated goodness.


We took turns greeting guests.

Toasted to our good fortune.

Nibbled on fabulous treats by FIG Catering.

Listened to inspirational stories.

Terese Lang McDonald shares the Candyality story

Brenda Palms Barber shares the beginning of Sweet Beginnings 

We admired each other’s glamorous outfits (some accessorized by Lia Sophia).

Our fabulous and glamorous WIN founders 

Bidding wars broke out over certain auction pieces.

We met our goal! Sweet Beginnings received all proceeds.

A chocolate buffet sweetened the evening.

The Jelly Bean guessing game brought exclamations of joy.


But everyone walked away a winner with a goodie bag.

There were ‘red carpet’ moments.

Eventually security asked us to wrap it up.


You can read coverage by ChiTownStarConnections and peruse the WIN Candy Gala Facebook album to continue savoring this event.

Our fun group shot courtesy DaShan Thomas

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.