Plant Stakes for the Trunk Show

Last summer I made a dragonfly stake on a whim and it was well-received. This year I took the production level up a notch and added ladybug stakes to the collection. I distributed them at my various boutique outlets, and they steadily fly off to new homes. A post on Facebook prompted Ayla’s Originals to coordinate a trunk show with me.

So for Ayla’s Trunk Show this coming weekend, August 12 and 13, I am replenishing the batch. The traditional ladybugs go fastest, so red was on the brain this week.

Meanwhile, the jig I had set up for the Morpho application needed to be dismantled. However, I was inspired to create a stake form that setup before making the change.

I had also just made two mini-books, and that book setup led me to make two bookish stakes.

Then I changed the jig to my custom-created dragonfly template, and started bending wire into the popular dragonfly stakes. When my fingertips were sore I closed the studio for the evening.

The next morning I fired up the griddle and my irons, and started laying out the outfits for each critter. I hand-stamped lime green paper and interfacing fabric to reflect the writings of a book. Then I painstakingly added each page, which takes a lot of aligning, adjusting, cutting and realigning.

The books are my most time-consuming piece at this stage, followed by the dragonflies and their waxing intricacies.

I hand-colored interfacing with rainbow stripes (in permanent marker) for the ever-popular rainbow dragonfly.

One ladybug was begging for polka-dotted fabric, and the other two were given red tissue paper.

Storm clouds were brewing, so I also used that tissue paper and another fabric scrap for a test ladybug ornament, which I swiftly hung outside.

Soon the buckets came down and even splattered onto the deck.

Nonetheless, I stepped out in the rain to see how my own two creatures were faring. Rain was bouncing off the dragonfly.  The ladybug was shielded from the onslaught, but soon the angle changed and it too started getting wet.

After the storm, both ornaments were wet, but undamaged.

Upon closer inspection you can see spots of rust in the dragonfly, which has accumulated since I hung it in April.

But overall the droplets just hang out on the wax until they evaporate, and the fabric and tissue strips remain intact.

I waxed my new creations. The whimsical oval piece was fun to design.

Then I photographed them as the light and angle allowed.

Stakes are harder to take pictures of than my other pieces. They don’t lay flat like regular ornaments, and getting all the angles in a photogenic way is challenging.

The Everlasting Fire Studio vases showcase each one well, though.

I really like the bookish ones, which will be a whole other outdoor test run. As ornaments, these books are more fragile than my other pieces. So for now I’d recommend them indoors only.

Good thing I have a volunteer with an outdoor plant I can send one of these off to.

My fireplace mantel is also a bit crowded, so I played with one corner for now, which isn’t ideal.

I will need to work on a light box setup to block out the windowsill.

Meanwhile, they look pretty as a bouquet and by themselves, and make me happy.

Since I will be showing at a bead store next, I also wanted to play with some bling on a stake.

The organic creation received 3 led crystals, which I know will hold up outside.

I plan on asking Ayla what else is suitable for outdoor sun catchers when I set up my trunk show this weekend.

The new creations will have their own table at the Ayla’s Originals Trunk show. I will also bring my jewelry and angels of course. 

Ayla’s Originals Store is located at 1511 Sherman Avenue in Evanston. I will be there Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 12 to 5 pm. Then all unsold pieces go home with me again.

There are lots of fun shops and eateries around 1511 Sherman. Be sure to take a selfie with Wonder Woman at the Other Brother Coffeehouse!

Morpho’s 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition

On Friday, I will be attending Morpho Gallery’s National Call for Encaustic Entries Opening party. This annual exhibit of encaustic artists will be held  August 4 at from 6 to 9 pm at 5216 N Damen Avenue in Chicago.

The 6th Annual Encaustic Exhibition includes 2D and 3D work made with the hot wax method of encaustic. Juried by Kathy Blankley Roman and Dan Addington, the exhibit includes works by several FUSEDChicago members and some encaustic artists I look forward to meeting that evening. The exhibit will be held August 4th through September 2nd 2017. Morpho Gallery’s hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 6 pm, and Saturdays from noon to 6 pm.

Artists included are: Brad Hook, Cat Crotchett, Laura Graveline, Anna Wagner-Ott, Brenda Erickson, Candace Law, Carol Myers, Carrie Baxter, Cindy Lesperance, Claudia Hollister, David Brown, Deborah Martin, Derek Brennan, Jeannette MacDougall, Jodie Sutton, Karen Ruth Karlsson, Katelyn Patton, Kathryn Isbister, Kathy Blankley Roman, Kay Vinson, Kaylee Dalton, Lamia Holden, Laura LaRue, Linda Mayer, Elizabeth Hubler-Torrey, Patricia Lagger, Penny Park, Rinat Goren, and Teresa Foster (the ones in bold are my FUSEDChicago friends).

For this show submission, I made a whimsical wall hanging. I was inspired by Brenda’s Now That’s A Jig! Shapes and put a bunch onto the Jig, initially thinking I would work with a 6 x 6 shadowbox.

Of course I went off-jig right away and started rearranging the wire as I went to make the shape more freeform.

Soon I had the basic shape to make a wall hanging.

I wanted to incorporate a vintage book page, which then determined the rest of the palette.

After some rearranging, I settled on purple and blue tones in addition to the text papers.

Then the fusing began.

With the fan going for ventilation, I had to weight the snippets down to keep them from fluttering off the table.

As always, the Xacto knife is my friend.

My friends recruited me for an evening meal, and it is always good to call it a day after a few hours in the studio anyway, because you need perspective and also don’t want to rush the design process.

While I liked the piece where it was, I still wanted to add the remaining papers as planned. I did swap out some swatches as the remaining papers were attached.

With big (to me) pieces like this, the wire isn’t always flush. It is a delicate balance of making sure the forms will be straight enough to hold the paper and also keeping in mind how the piece will hang in the end.

A Traveler’s Whimsy by Maike’s Marvels.

I am curious to see how the accepted pieces came together. Morpho Gallery always showcases a variety of techniques at this annual show. 

I didn’t get into the show, but this piece proudly hangs on my own wall until I am ready to part with it.

The Abstract Show

Abstract hard is a contentious topic, and I don’t quite understand it all the time. Nonetheless, I found myself submitting my Hexaptych to the Abstract 4 Show juried by Ahavani Mullen. One of my pieces, Infinity, was accepted into the show.


I’ll be among familiar FUSEDChicago artists, including Carol Hamilton, Rebecca Stahr, Carol L. Meyers, Pat Lagger and Cindy Lesperance. I also look forward to seeing the other works in person: Tim Abel, Josh Anderson, Jordan Acker Anderson, Patrick Carr, Kenna Delmar, Brian Franczyk, Jung J. Jae, Megan Woodard Johnson, Kathryn Kane, Guntis Lauzums, Julia Levin, Ara Lucia, Mark P. McKernin, Jane Michalski, Bridget Mullen, Mark J. Palmeri, Adriana Poterash, Sara Risley, Kat Rodriguez, Camille Silverman, and Courtney E. Thayer.


The Fourth Annual Abstract Show opens at the Brickton Art Center on Friday, July 15 from 7 to 9 pm, and will be on exhibit July 11 through 29, 2016. The art center is located at 306 Busse Hwy, Park Ridge, IL 60068 and gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm, Fridays from 9 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm (closed on Sundays).


Established in 1997, Brickton Art Center is a non-profit organization serving the people of Park Ridge and surrounding communities through creative outreach services in art therapy, art education and exhibitions. It began when a group of visionaries identified the arts as an important part of a healthy community and set out to establish a base for the visual arts in Park Ridge.


Brickton Art Center draws operating funds from memberships, fundraising and classes. They provide:

  • Art therapy programming for community organizations
  • Diverse art education for adults, teens and children
  • Art exhibitions for students and professional artists

Maybe I’ll see you on Friday evening and we can explore this organization and the art together.

Making Angels

Angel is literally making new friends.


When I signed up for Bead & Button workshops there was a reverse engineering option but due to lack of registration the workshop was dropped.


Instead, Brenda Schweder offered to help me reverse engineer my angel ornaments remotely, and I sent one in.


Soon I received an email with the required Now That’s A Jig! Parts, and I ordered the pegs to supplement my StartrKit.


I got my very own angel design template in the mail, and decided to test the design prior to working on a commission. Getting the violin clef right took some effort after being out of practice for 6 months.


Then I set about picking out pink paper for the memorial angels. I traced a musical score onto the handmade paper.


Then I added a sparkle bead.


I picked out outfits for the other angels and waxed them up.


The delicate hearts are so sweet.


Soon they were all dressed and cooling off.


You’ll see them at the upcoming Main-Dempster Sidewalk Sale.


I’ll be taking up See Jane Sparkle’s Sidewalk between 10 and 4 July 19-31 with new wares.


Turquoise Frosty got a new outfit too, in hopes of it making him more attractive at the holiday fairs.


Come October I’ll be jigging up a whole collection for the holiday season! Any color requests?


Learning Soldering

In May I took a getaway to Racine for continuing education.


Ordering new tools always fills me with anticipation.


Crystal Neubauer, who introduced me to Wax and Wire in 2012, offered another wax and wire workshop with soldering and pinback-making.


Since my larger DOT Show pieces could have used some stabilization, I was eager to learn more.


Crystal met us in her temporary studio, and has since moved to a different floor in the same location.


Perusing other people’s tool collections is so fun.


So many toys to play with.


As is seeing all the samples she created.


Day one was spent bending and hammering wire.


My index finger took the brunt of one hammer strike, turning an array of colors until deciding on black for now.


We bent shapes to embellish the next day.


We were also taught soldering with a torch, but none of us could get the hang of it on day one.


I watched and noted.


A few of us were determined enough to keep trying the next day, and I made two successful joins after numerous false starts.


I learned to use my own brand-new dremel and will be finishing the 2 pins later this summer to add brooches to my collection.


Crystal also showed us how to make a cradle for a bezel, and riveting.


We closed out day one with dinner.


On day two we were taught wax techniques, including dipping, pouring, adhering and monoprinting.


We brought our own embellishments and also were gifted some of Crystal’s collected papers to play with.


The mini-pour was super inspiring.


We embellished our bezels.


I experimented with wrapping and pouring.


I also snuck in on the printing station for some fun paper to work with later.


Even the mono-printed trash was pretty.

artful scraps

One of my Swarm butterflies became a waxed collage experiment.


Everyone was so creative and inspiring.


I am happy with my new pieces, and look forward to implementing the techniques learned.


Some of these will be mine for the time being until I am ready to post them in the shop.


This weekend I will pick up more inspiration at Cultivate Urban Rain Forest with their next wire artist show opening.


I cannot wait to meet Lucy Slivinski and examine her flowers up close.

Making a Swarm

With Evanston Made kicking off June 3, I am thrilled to be part of the official Evanston Art Center Exhibit as well as a special show featuring critters near to my heart. SideTracked Studio will be hosting Swarm, a small works exhibition.


Jason McPhillips, “Negentropy,”
Oil and Gold Leaf on Panel, 10″x10″

The word can be defined in different ways – from an act of aggression/protection to simply a group of animals – and the Coynes thought it high time to mount their own swarm via artists interpreting the theme.


Lauren showed me her concept art, which aligned with my vision of creating a butterfly mobile, and I am excited to be included in this show with such highly talented artists.


Works on exhibit will be: Lauren Levato Coyne, Rory Coyne, Jason McPhillips, Erin Gergen Halls, Anthony Cramer, Gail Potocki, John Walker, Erich J. Moffatt, Victoria Fuller, Renee McGinnis, Maike van Wijk, and Stephanie Inagaki.


This exhibit will be a wonderful spectacle of highly crafted works that are mostly no larger than twelve inches, and an installation made of smaller components by the artists to make one collaborative piece, or swarm.


The opening reception is Saturday, June 4 from 6 to 9 p.m. with beverages provided by New Holland Brewing Co. The exhibition continues through July 2, 2016.


I had fun creating different critters, dressing them (aka making up my own species), and arranging them in various ways.


There is no telling how Lauren and Rory will install them when they combine my pieces with the other artists’ submissions.


Sidetracked Studio is the storefront studio of artists Lauren Levato Coyne and Rory Coyne founded with collector and advisor Michele Mahon Jahelka. Throughout the year Sidetracked Studio, located at 707 Chicago Avenue, also presents gallery exhibitions of visiting artists, workshops, and lectures. For information visit or find them on social media.


Sidetracked Studio is located near the purple line Main Street station, as well as the Main Street Metra station. Metered parking is available on Chicago Avenue, and you can find residential parking a few blocks closer to the lake. The gallery is wheelchair accessible.


Installing the DOT Show

So after all the dot-making, the time came to load everything into a car.


Drawing Dottie assisted in packing everything up.


The Dot Show is an exhibition of 14 FUSEDChicago members at the Chicago Arts District in Pilsen which opens May 13 with a reception in ShowPOD7, from 6 to 10 pm at 1834 S. Halsted in Chicago.


On my way to 18th Street and Halsted I had two stowaways who wanted to make sure all dots were accounted for.


Our window was a blank canvas.


Our pods were opened for us and we unloaded our art work.


For the DOT Show, 2 artists are paired in each of the 7 ShowPODs to create an installation of loveliness.


Carol Hamilton had made giant wooden circles to fill up the space.


She also made 3 sentinels, pillars covered in encaustic paint, to keep watch over our window.


She had given me clues to her color scheme, and it was fun coordinating our pieces with each other.


It got pretty hot on the 80-degree day, so our initial plan of having pieces close to the window and in the window was pared down a bit.


But the result is marvelous.


FUSEDChicago is an organization of Midwest artists who share an interest in encaustic, a method of making art using pigmented wax fused to a surface by heat.


Textures can be smooth or dimensional, and art work can be bold or understated.


Each of the 7 windows is an installation by two artists, which is joined to the other 6 windows by the medium of encaustic and the connecting form of the dot.


I love seeing how our different styles have a dialogue with each other, and seeing how each artist pair interpreted the theme.


showPOD1 contains art by Sue Cahill & Marian Ostrowski


showPOD2 is Carol Hamilton & Maike van Wijk


showPOD3 holds work by Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg & Carol L. Myers


showPOD4 shows the collaboration of Alicia Forestall-Boehm & Amy Van Winkle


showPOD5 includes Michele Thrane & Pat Lagger


showPOD6 has work by Joan Moriarty & Karen Tichy


showPOD7 showcases Kathy Blankley Roman & Jenny Learner


The artists were curated by VA de Pintor, Elyse Martin, and Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg.


A second event will be held June 10th, 2016, 6 to 10pm in ShowPOD7, 1834 S. Halsted in Chicago.


showPOD is a high exposure exhibition space, compact, dynamic, unmanned, and designed to support concepts of art experimentation and installation.


Developed by the Chicago Arts District, showPOD creates an instant art experience in the non-traditional space and format of 24/7/365 exposure to art installation.


showPOD by design can be viewed by anyone at anytime during the life of its installation, allowing a rich public art experience that breaks down the traditional limits of gallery space or museum.


The ShowPODs are on both sides of South Halsted between 18th Street and19th Street (close to Chocolat Uzma Sharif).


It is worth seeing the effect each installation has from the other side of the street.


FUSEDChicago is an organization of Midwest artists who share an interest in encaustic, a method of making art using pigmented wax fused to a surface by heat.


Our mission is to advance public awareness of encaustic art through workshops and thematic exhibitions of member work, and to create professional opportunities for networking and learning exchanges for our members.


Drawing Dottie is eager to greet you!


Studio Time

Here’s a peek at the studio.


I’m busy replenishing my angels and frosties inventory for Small Business Saturday.


You’ll find me at Rebecca Marie Photography at 5254 N Damen Avenue in Chicago from 10 to 5 on November 28.


I’m also gearing up for a pop-up at the old See Jane Sparkle Location, which will open December 2.


I also have the pop-up at Blue Buddha Boutique, so keeping up inventory is important.


I’m excited about all the new pieces and have more ideas than hands and hours to make them in.


So many thoughts!


Getting them dressed is fun.


Dashes of color everywhere.


They’ll look so nice on a tree.


Mark Small Business Saturday on your calendar and be sure to support your local stores.


My fellow Small Business owners will appreciate it!

Dutch vibe on King’s Day

Yesterday was Koningsdag or King’s Day in the Netherlands. After celebrating Queen Juliana’s Birthday on April 30 for 36 years, we are now honoring King Willem Alexander on his birthday.


Two of my globe-trotting friends have been posting photos of Delft and its porcelain and the Keukenhof’s gorgeous tulip splendor this week so I am definitely feeling a Dutch vibe. My fellow Dutchies posted their Oranje festivities which made me feel connected.


My nostalgia found a channel with a Delft Blue napkin I had been holding on to for a while. It reflects quintessential Dutch imagery often found on pottery.


The little girl is holding buckets, reminiscent of a childhood song.


Blue is prominent in my life, and Delftware has created an affinity to cobalt blue in particular.


My blue coat is finally back in rotation after wearing goose down for much too long.


I’ve also added some highlights to my hair for fun, which actually go well with my safety mask.


Boats are making their way back into Lake Michigan harbors. SAIL Amsterdam, a fantastic boat exhibit similar to the Chicago Air and Water show (sans air), will be held this summer.


I’m still working on a Winkeljuffrouw pendant that is not aligning properly in my printer. The original print turns out to be a bit too large for a necklace, and shrinking onto a double-sided print is proving to be harder than it should be.


Persistence will win out over this though.


More Mother’s Day pendants are going up on Etsy this week to round out the collection.


I’m enjoying the different color combinations and had to remake a lime green version that got snapped up at RAW Chicago.


Let me know what other combinations and shapes you would like to see.


The windmill is already on Etsy and the other two will make their way online next week if no one claims them via Facebook.


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.