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Domestic Arts

Evolution of a Theme

By 2D & 3D

Yesterday I mentioned that quilts show up all the time in my work. As I sit here running through the house in my head taking an inventory of my art, I would venture a guess that were you to remove all the pieces that were inspired by, featured, or actually were quilts, you would assume that Mike lived here by himself, or at the very least that we only hung his art.


Quilts started showing up with my art and domesticity mashup which occurred with the introduction of one Carolina Lorraine Chambers…


followed seventeen months later by Logan Blackburn Chambers….


I did say “mashup” right? I think that about covers it. Logan was born on Christmas Day (Surprise! He was due on the 29th.) and so I painted his first portrait with Christmas quilt patterns: Star of Bethlehem and Fir Trees.

I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing what I do, I just do it. Action Girl, ON IT! But it has always been clear to me that what is considered to be “woman’s work” is an art, Domestic Art if you will, and should be celebrated. Quilts show up in my artwork all the time because to me quilts are a “signifier” (damn that Art Criticism class) of home, family, connection, story and tribe.


My tribe is made up of those who make art, who make home, and who make the two inseparable.


Lina is all grown up now and organizing her own Big Ass closet in Chicago. Logan is getting ready to move into his new house next week. And still the theme goes on: I am starting a new painting of hot air balloons each with a different quilt pattern…Up, up and away? (Oh, you sly subconscious.) My guess is quilts will always be present in my home and in my art.

Besides, a quilt works great as a superhero cape in a pinch!


Second Helpings

By Second Helpings

It’s a sunny Sunday morning and for the first time in days I’m taking a break. I don’t even feel compelled to go move a huge pile of stuff from one room to another! So to celebrate, I am introducing a new blog feature. One I am calling “Second Helpings” which I will share with you every Sunday. (I guess I could have called it “Good Gaudy”, but that might have been pushing it.)

As you know, I am a second hand object addict AND I paint everything, the end result of which is a houseful of painted second hand objects. Obvs. I even have one room in my house which is dedicated to the storage of said objects. We call it the Butler’s Pantry, or The Monument to Materialism. This is the door I painted that opens into that room:


I’ll give you a tour another time, but today I want to show you my very first venture into “Second Helpings”.

I bought a set of oversized cups and saucers at a friend’s moving sale and because I appreciate both the decorative and the functional I wanted to be able to actually drink my mochalottachocolattes from the cups when I was done with their transformation.

The product I use for this kind of project is a water based paint for porcelain and earthenware which have already been glazed and fired. In other words it’s perfect for the second hand dishes you can pick up for pennies. You paint your design, “fire” in your oven at 300 degrees, and when it’s done it is safe to eat and drink from and to wash and use over and over. Score!

The color stays true, it mixes and blends fairly well but comes in such a wide array of shades there’s really no reason not to invest in the premixed colors which suit your palette.


I’ll dish up a new visual treat for you every Sunday and share the products or techniques I use beyond the obvious “slap some paint on the sucker and call it good” method (which I have been known to use on occasion). Every post will involve a second hand find and my transformation of it, shall we say from the profane to the sacred? Ok, let’s not.

Take a break, it’s Sunday. Even God would stop for a mochalottachocolatte in a hand painted cup this pretty!

“D” is for…

By Personal Her-story

After yesterday’s post you might be a little curious about that “D” I got for my technical skills in my metals class many years ago. Let’s just say I’m not really at ease with a torch.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m game. I jump right in there and spark that flame and get down with the flux and get jiggy with the solder. But the whole thing makes me very uncomfortable and I hate the way the pickle smells (weird I know because I really love pickles). And then there’s all the work before you even get to the part where you can seriously burn yourself. There’s the sawing, and the breaking of all those saw blades; and the chasing (that’s hammering the metal with special hammers) and getting the pitch out from under your fingernails. So I guess it’s not just the torch it’s the whole process, and it probably doesn’t help to have a voice from the past screaming “stuuupid girrrls” in my head whenever I smell the acid from the pickle or the rouge from the buffers. But I digress.

You could say that the “D” that Don Douglas gave me was for Determination. I was determined at that point to make it in the field of jewelry design and he was truly in my corner.

Unfortunately without his mentorship it became a “D” for Defeated, and I moved on. Not so much from jewelry and it’s design, more from metal as its medium. Hence the Baker’s Clay jewelry I sold at Pike Place Market way back then, and the embroidered and beaded fabric bracelets and necklaces, and bead and charm earrings I make today.


Jewelry is only one thing I make. Usually just a few pieces I wear myself or make for my daughter, my mom, or my best friend. And fabric and thread and beads are a familiar and comfortable medium to use. You could even say that “D” now is for domestic. No fire. No acid. There are needles. And it IS annoying whenever I prick my finger and fall into a deep sleep…What’s that? I wasn’t asleep? That wasn’t a dream? That was a Netflix marathon of Sons of Anarchy?
Oh well, I have to have something to watch while I stitch. Who says the Domestic Arts are for the faint of heart?