What would you do if?

What would you do if you knew you wouldn't fail?

I did not realize this was such a packed question until I posted it on facebook.
My daughter has a similar quote framed and hanging on her dining room wall....however hers reads "What would you try if you knew you couldn't fail?"

I thought this question would stimulate sharing of dreams people have had, when I posted it to FB. Maybe putting it out there would align them with similar thinking people, or the support they would need to make the leap.
Maybe they don't have the wear with all to attempt their dream - because of fear of failure? Lack of funding? Time?

What I realized after posting this, and reading the responses, is that this question -
and so many other forms of communication - have many interpretations.
Some comments had snippets or innuendos of the following



Cave Painting 50,000 - 60,000 BC
Sacred: • regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual:

What we aspire to as individuals and as a human race is a deep and thought provoking conversation.
And how to express and interpret our ideals causes us to go even deeper into the caverns of our spiritual being.
Is creative expression really needed? Do we have ways to express our thoughts outside of the creative process?
What would you replace words, music, visual art, drama or dance with - that is equal in expression?
I am not sure that I, myself, would have an answer to that question.
(Note this conversation isn't even addressing the attributes that creativity provides within 'smarts' growth.)

I think back to the images of drawings inside of caves. So symbolic for the lives lived.

And here we are today. So many ways to communicate our emotions. Yet disregarded as valued - by many.

Creating is a process. It is exposing. It is deliberate, intentional, inquisitive, uncomfortable, validating, and emotionally charged.
And it is necessary. It is a process that crosses many bridges. It is able to cross gender, faith, age, culture, and creature.
Note: I had the joyful experience of listening to a band outside one evening, and in the hours of darkness, birds were flying overhead in joyful celebration to the music being heard. (My imagination was not running rampant.)
This video proves my point that creatures great and small respond to music as well.
(Please look past the beverage can... there...see the furry friend?... yeah...that's it. Now watch! :D)

I consider my work sacred. Which by my definition includes: nature, reverence, playfulness, respect, humor, and bliss.
I welcome you to be a part of my creative world this month as I share an installation with fellow potters at the 410 Project in Mankato MN, November 27 thru December 20. Opening reception is Friday evening, November 27, 7-9 pm.
Hope to see you there!

Living Fully,



Seventh Grade bubble

Seventh graders. Ahhhh, those young energetic teens. They are our future world! 
Texture and Color incorporated into lidded vessel

Do you ever have a conversation with them?
A while back, I had the opportunity to delve into their minds.
I must admit I had an unfair advantage. A captive


Clutter and place

Excitement abounds.
A new artist will be joining us in our studio space.
I am thrilled beyond words. Her being is reflective, inspiring, and filled with energy that respects the earth.
This world we create.

In preparation for this new chapter, I began cleaning out the space she would occupy.
It reminded me of the chaotic clutter we


What I am working on today....

Day one:

Watch as this piece is transformed.
Very tall and narrow vase.
More photos to follow as progression continues.

Day two of creation:
After letting the vessel dry a bit, it turns closer to 'leather hard'.
Once it becomes less pliable as a vessel, it is easier to carve into.

Day three of creation:
Completion of carving, and trek to Art Center of St. Peter for piece to get bisque fired.


Nirvana, a stroke of reality

Current Project
Life is full and rich.
For some, that statement is 100% accurate.
And for others, the darkness in their life is just too much, and it is totally not how they see things.

Through all of life's experiences, we encounter questions.
Questions like: Did I really want to experience cancer?
Or: Why did I have to lose everything?
Or: Why did I lose my job?
Or: Why did they have to be where they were, when they were, and lose their life?
Or: Why me?
Why me?
Why me?

And the ultimate question. What next?
So many obstacles...or is it...so. many. opportunities.

Jill Bolte Taylor shares her story with detail and reverence.

Life is about paying attention...if. you. chose.
Digging deep to find the lessons to be learned.

Live Fully,



Cycles and Vessels

People who ride motorcycles, mountain bikes, or dirt bikes may
have differences in experiences, however one thing remains the same.
They love the outdoors. They love adventure. And they love the wind.
This vessel is a tribute to a man who loved it all.


Texture in clay

One tool can do so much. Here is a little vessel I created using a carving tool
to give this rich effect.
I am doing a spring workshop at the Art Center of Saint Peter, teaching ways to incorporate textures and carving into a clay tile. Pretty exciting!


Pottery Enthusiasts and Collectors are....

In Progress
Last night I had the most joyful experience gathering with people who LOVE pottery! As collectors, and as creators.
Over coffee, I asked "So, what was it like during your growing up years? Did your parents/care providers support creative interests?"
The answers were most revealing. From: Oh, every open weekend we would


How accurate is the Myers Briggs?

About two months ago, I took the Myers Briggs test as
a Connecting Nicollet County Leadership group participant.

The test revolved around Who am I?

Before I took the test, I asked myself: What words do I think people would use to describe me.
And this is what I came up with: (without having


PLRAC Annual Art Exhibition

For those of you far away, or unable to attend this exhibit, here is a  'tour' by Brenda from PLRAC, sharing pieces by some truly fabulous artisans in our area.
Hint: The trees are peaking in the bluffs this 'glorious weather' weekend...making for a Great Road Trip! It is even better to see the exhibition first hand at the Art Center. Grab a GREAT cup of coffee and mouthwatering treat for your return trip, at River Rock Coffee.
You won't be disappointed!

Merit Award Winner
Accepted into Exhibit


It hit me between the eyes!

I was listening to a TED talk one morning by Brenè Brown.
This is the second talk of Brenè's that I have listened to. The first one, a few years back, was about shame, guilt, and vulnerability.
What seems like a decade ago; prior to fire, cancer, and accidents (not in that order), I had read her book The Gifts of Imperfection as well. I was made aware of Brenè by my daughter, at that time working at the GAP corporate office in San Francisco.
GAP had invited Brenè to speak, and my daughter couldn't say enough about what she came away with, in life wisdom.

And here I am, 25 years senior to my daughter, and I have been hit between the eyes by another of Brenè's talks.


My weekly walk....

I walked to the Art Center of St. Peter this morning to see what had come out of the kiln this weekend!
The anticipation!!!

Here is a set of bowls.

Love the earthy golden color.
Especially at this time of year when the fields are golden with beans and corn ready to be harvested!

Live fully,



While you were sleeping...

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasant surprise of being asked to join a dear friend on a journey to Sedona.
How could I refuse! A break from life for a week was...well...inviting.
But before I could leave, I had some things to tend to. Good things!
Harvesting grapes with my brother and family, working at the Rock Bend Folk Festival under the Art Center of St. Peter tent, entering my work into the Prairie Lakes Regional Art Show, and an interview with Polly Giantonio about my work. She is a fabulous writer, and this is what she had to say. Thank you Polly for capturing what I do!

Then off I went to the airport


Stepping out of my comfort zone...

A dear artist friend said to me many years ago...."I thought they would be more colorful."
I have investigated the use of color with my carvings for years and just never came up with a good process that I felt worked with my carving.
As of late, that challenge has returned, and my night thinking has come to a solution that I am wanting to test as a second avenue of design. I pushed the envelope.
The possibilities are quite intriguing!


Leaves and Texture Lidded Vessel

After a refreshing weekend with my husband, taking in nature throughout the southwestern coulees of Wisconsin on motorcycles, I am ready to start the week.
However, at 12:35 am, as in this morning, I was still trying to quiet my brain. Too too many ideas for future projects were racing through after all of that beauty. I. Could. Not. Get. To. Sleep.

One of my most recent pieces taken out of the kiln at the Arts Center of Saint Peter.
Live fully,



Art Challenge: The Mask - Complete

Remember back in late May, I gave myself a challenge?
Here is my first completed piece.
The concept of incorporating feathers was very inspiring to me.
A stained textural stoneware surface with the soft illusive quality of the feathers, attached with leather string.

The inspiration was this



It is so wonderful to be able to post some of my work....finally!
I am back at it! Hurray!

This is a platter I carved. The glaze on the inside is a lovely organic rusty, greenish, bluish brown co-mingling of colors with red iron oxide stain on rim and underside.
12 1/4" in diameter
2" rim
1" depth on glazed portion
Thrown on wheel and then hand carved
Original design

Live Fully,



That Creative Process

A while back I created something out of the ordinary. And I liked it!
Then while driving the car three blocks, to deliver it for a firing, I went over a bump with my car, and "ping"....I broke the piece.
Well? Sounds like life....and yes it does go on!
I was bound and determined to save it as a reminder of this adventure into new territory, so I decided to fire it. Broken. Even after I tried


Respect. Integrity. Calm.

There is a conversation evolving.

It is steeped with emotion and decision as we cross the great precipice–a loved one is or has recently moved from living here on earth to passing on.
So many decisions and so much loss felt in one large gray swirling cloud of emotion.

It is no longer quiet.


Let the adventure continue....

Creating in clay.
I have had the pleasure of carving sculptural ceramic vessels for 20 years as of this summer!!!!
Does that mean I can celebrate?

It is a passion that has developed into a career. I am honored to be promoted and carried at a number of locations, and the newest of companies is a major step for me. I am so excited. In the last 3 months I have been working very diligently with a great company


Not just lolly-gagging....

On Facebook, it says something like...."hmmmmmm, you haven't been on your The Keyhole Studio account for quite some time. Your friends and clients miss you."
Ok - I have been busy! Not just hanging out doing nothing!
See!? And these are just to tease you. The other items are already on the kiln shelves waiting to be fired.....Need I say more?

Have a great week!



Working in my studio, creating lovely vessels.


Do you do it on your front step?

Inspiration at its best.
I am unable to keep my feet still.
This will be me....wiser, and yes, loving to dance.
More like...my whole being loves to dance.
If you ever were to spot me at a dance when I was younger, I was the one who would be the first on the dance floor. Partner or no partner. Yeah I am one of those. My dates would begrudgingly stay put. I would be out on the dance floor.

In fact. There is a story, that in the 'not so distant past'. I was at a bar


Humidity and Feathers

I ran across the post I wrote back in March of last year. I was talking about snow. Appropriate for cooling down on these hot sultry days.
This last week, I was visiting with my son on the phone (living in San Clemente, California) and he and I were chuckling about the humidity. They can't tolerate the high humidity I guess....45%. (LOL!....75% here...)
The inspiration for that month was a lovely sculptural piece that had incorporated feathers. I still am enamored with textures and feathers!

Be cool...
Live fully!



Life's colors. What are yours?

My husband and I play a lot of cards.  A Lot! So the saying "Life is like a deck of cards" has some merit for many people. You live with what you are dealt. Or, it's "The luck of the draw".
Being an artist, I resonate with this thought: Life is like a color palette.
There are dark, rich, murky, gray, brilliant, energetic, sultry, and light moments...aka colors we encounter in life. 

My daughter sent me a text, recommending a good movie to watch: Hector and the Search for Happiness

Within the first minutes I thought...
Oh! I get it. My daughter loves pets, and wanted to share this story about a dog.
Ahhh....wrong assumption.


To purge or not to purge?

Life is a lot like our clothes closet.

We are comfortable with the things we have placed on those hangers.
We can envision the end result, and we wear those pieces. Again and again.
Then there are some that we are a bit hesitant about, we think maybe some day...they will work for us. We were excited when we selected it! Now it feels like it might have been a mistake, however we are not ready to purge it...just yet.

Here is a random question...What would happen if we started over?


Artfully - No Texting

No internet, no texting, just two spirits standing alone in a space.

I had the honor of meeting a gentleman within the last couple of months.
He was courteous and patiently working on his form of art.
We began to visit a bit and this is where the story begins.


Put a lid on it....

This piece has been patiently waiting for a top - for over a year..
So this week, I completed it!
It is a bit tricky when the lid is made at a different time than the base. (Think shrinkage...)
There is typically a difference of 10 to 14 percent between newly thrown and completed pieces.
It worked!
Kind of a funny angle shot here, however it is ready to bisque fire.


Is it Good, Bad, or Just Plain Ugly?

The year is 1990...

Do you remember the influences at that time?
Clean lines, earthy, and simplistic, coupled with organic images in bronze and copper.

Louise Comfort Tiffany lamps were being revisited along with Roycroft and Stickley gems. Pulled out of dusty corners in the attics and antique shops, these and


I remember now

Over the last years, as you know, life got chaotic.
Today was 'clean out the files' day. Not that I had any paperwork to go through. (they are dust remember...)
However, cleaning out the clutter of files in a computer is the most cleansing experience!

I am grateful I have a computer to clean out!


This week...gears and life

This week I received a package filled with parts
used by a gentleman during his shortened lifetime. I could feel his presence when I opened the package. Oil and grime from his hands on the parts.
I will have the honor of transposing those elements into a vessel that will carry his spirit forward.
Feeling humbled.


Art Challenge: The Mask

My first project selection, how appropriate. A mask of a woman. I found during the self-guided journey, as I was choosing the pieces to work with, that I was gravitating towards images of women.
However I did not know it was of a woman at first glance. When I look at it now though, I see the effeminate nature of the eyes and facial features.
Elements I want to work with from the mask: The frame around the face, and the use of the feathers.


A challenge for myself

I am such an advocate of viewing inspiring art. I make a trek to the MIA quite frequently for that worldly experience. There are also some fabulous galleries locally that I go to as well. Like the Art Center of Saint Peter, the Hillstrom Gallery at Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Carnegie Art Center of Mankato.
This week I made an impromptu visit to the MIA because I am giving myself a challenge.
I love the Art in Bloom spring exhibit that has occurred for quite a few years, and attend this event as often as I can. The thought of interpreting art through flowers is so refreshing, and challenging! Some arrangements are really out there.
Oh, the artists of the floral arrangements are very serious about this exhibit too! Daily, carting their wagons full of fresh replacement flowers, plucking the wilting petals. The new debutants standing at attention for their moment of fame, until the next round of replacements come in during this four day fashion extravaganza.
Actually it is a sensory overload of the most rewarding kind. The galleries are ethereal with the fragrance of fresh flowers. The sculptural movement of the arrangements make you feel like moving with the twists and turns that are made with twigs, and greenery.

And the vessels.
The vessels.
These are the under-stated acoutrement of each arrangement.

The best arrangements in my estimation are elevated to a higher level of exquisiteness with vessels created by artists in their own right.
Oh to be one of those.....(sigh)

So back to my challenge.
Every time I visit the MIA, I gravitate towards my favorites. And then there are the new additions. The recently acquireds. Ahhhh.
And so I decided to do my own interpretation of Art in Bloom.  

Yesterday, with my cell phone in hand, I took 'snapshots'. (No they were not high photograph quality, however they are great for my interpretation.)
And so I will begin to share with you...
My favorite art pieces, and the creations I make that are inspired by these works of art.

I hope you enjoy them as I share the process and evolution with you.
Yes it takes me a while to go from start to finish. (About 4 - 6 weeks) So you will have to 'hook-up' with me so you see the finished product when it is complete.

Note I took lots of images, so there is not only one I will be creating!
In the meantime.....breathe in Spring!!!


The creative process | Behind the scenes

We learn, we grow. This I know.

This little photo collection is from inside my studio, as I create a vase.

The first step, not even shown here, is the creating of the vessel itself on my potter's wheel.
It takes about 8 pounds of clay, and once it is shaped, the piece is set aside until it is leather hard, and able to be carved.

The whole process takes about 4-6 weeks...of patience.
Hope you enjoy!

Here is what I love to do. Carve.
Bases! I enjoy carving a unique 'foot'. Typically it is a round base. I like to create a more moving and interactive platform.

Earlier in the process, I apply lines to initiate the design


The Soul dance

Today I finished working on a piece that was initially started back in July. Through careful wrapping, this piece was kept in the 'leather hard' stage for .... hmmm... that would be 9 months!!!! Wow! That is incredible!
And today I actually finished it! I am hoping to use it as a pro-type for a project on the house.

I collected leaves from around our property; oak, sumac, willow, and crabapple, and after placing them strategically, I drew them, and now after carving them, I plan on making a mold to use with polar ice slip. (Technical I know, but it boils down to this...) I am hoping to come up with a set of 9 sconce translucent shades to use at our new home. Cross your fingers! I will keep you posted if it works - and also - if it doesn't.  Experimentation is important to share, right?!


What do farmers, electricians, and dentists have in common?

It is everywhere....

I was visiting with my daughter the other day.
"Mom" she said...."I get it now."

Ahhh the joys of wisdom! (smile)

An Accountant.
They use numbers, work on budgets. Deal with deficits. Figure out how to


Coffee shops, a Waste of time, and Visions

A visit at the coffee shop. A gift. For my 55th birthday.
Coffee shop conversations with my mother are always ones of deep reflection and wisdom. She has always been a woman ahead of her time, and she has shared that wisdom with me, always. Encouraging me to find what makes my life tick. As a person, as a soul. Not your usual fluff, really deep questions only asked of by wise women. 

Mom asked to get together for my birthday, her treat. It was a lovely sunny day, and it was my day, so I said yes. After chatting a while our conversation meandered into comparing our memories of what it was like while living at home on the farm. Yes, I do remember.


A New Perspective

An elder, and an inspired 7th grader.
Searching for simple answers.
Nothing profound actually.
Just two people working on perspective drawing.
One age 13, the other, age 72.

This is a true story about the power of connection.
The setting: a community room in the public library
The purpose: play time

There really is nothing special about this story.
Except that it is a testament to the way we as humans interact. And the ripple effect it causes.


Coming out of the fog.....

As I come out of the fog of the last three years... I realize I am planting myself. Again.
"Which way do I turn?"
It is self evaluation time in the life clock world. I have gained so much wisdom, measured outside of BFA's or MFA's. So the re-entry into "where do I fit in?" turns into a threshold of "What really matters?".
This past weekend I was jolted -