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 -



How poignant.
My last entry was one year ago this month!

My husband and I have been "gifted" a sabbatical of sorts, with the outcome being one of many blessings.

Now we are rebuilding our lives, rebuilding the focus of my work, and reconnecting to the world.

After all of this change, I am finding my groove, with fresh excitement. I. Am. Slowly. Moving. Doing. Creating.
I am totally immersed in heavenly artfulness. I am blessed.

Living life fully,



Will you be found in 200 years?

In the near future - in four more days precisely - a historical record has the potential of being broken.  And many stories will be told about that record in particular - for generations. Guaranteed.


Will it stop you in your tracks?

It's just part of the every day Minnesota winter - which translates into six whole months out of the year. Snow. Really?

My plans were for a complete weekend of creative inventiveness and freedom in my studio while my husband was out of town.
These intentions were somewhat dismantled by an unexpected


Days like this?

Want a glimpse of what I have been doing lately?
Ahhh...That would be an image of my brain wrestling with the laptop...reflecting, contemplating, planning, all that 'business' stuff.

I needed a break from all of that,


What will you capture today?

The power of emotion. As visible as the kinship between a clydesdale and a puppy dog.
Evoking smiles, sighs, excitement, happy tears, memories.
Our little Nellie....
filled with unconditional love...
and a part of many,
many wonderful memories!
As I reflect on the annual social sporting (and commercial) event of the "Super Bowl", I realize the power of emotion is present in everything. What car we drive. What clothes we wear. What house we choose. What music we listen to. What pets we keep or do not keep. Yes the list is endless.
All of these elements create memories. Feelings. Emotions.
This gathering of emotions is unique to each individual.
What emotions do you hope to capture today?


Is yours a shoe box?

They start out as shoe boxes hidden under our beds. Holding small trinkets and earthly finds or shared treasures given to us by those close.
As we get older, the items in the box, and the box itself, evolves. Maybe a special corner tucked away in a dresser drawer under a sweater, or an heirloom itself; a hand held keepsake. Passed down through generations, the sentiments felt about those pieces never fades.
What does your keepsake box look like?


Is it a Sycamore? Or Eucalyptus?

The bitter north winds of the mid-west awaken the senses in ways unexplainable to those in other parts of the country. They also heighten our longing for warmth in the thick of winter.
Myself included.
In a far away land, in celebration of a new year, the sun's rays energize those in need of rejuvenation. 
Myself included.
Navigating through San Francisco with my car windows closed,


What is art?

During my travels, my companions lose their patience. My camera is in my hand, and I am taking literally hundreds of photos. Thank goodness for digital cameras!
Images of nature for future studies. Architectural examples of carvings... the list goes on and on.
A particular trip took me to San Diego with a visit to Balboa Park.


Clay to Bronze

This little keepsake is called Petit Three Feathers.
It is so sweet, with three feathers swirling around the base and also perched on the lid.
When I go for walks and find feathers I am intrigued by their beauty and truly appreciate their symbolism.
These feathers hold dearly the contents that are kept inside. Giving it respect and honor.

Through most of my pottery years, I have worked with clay on the wheel, starting with a cylinder, then making a lid, and after the piece has been shaped and set aside to allow it to firm up into a leather hard consistency, the carving begins. Leather hard is a term...


Days flow by

When I look at this image, it reminds me of how engrained things can be. I swear I am an extension of a soul that was present during the Art Nouveau period. Flowing, organic style that was prevalent in the early 1900's.

Earlier this spring my husband and I went to the The Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and saw not only beautiful artwork, but an informative video about one of my favorite print artists of that time. Alphonse Mucha. Ironically, he was Czech. I did not put the connection together until we were sitting in the theater, viewing the video...my husband is full Czech!
Many of Alphonses' pieces are labyrinths of entwining flora.
In my early 20's I would page through books of his work, night after night, translating the movement of line and plant life over and over in my head.

I carry those images of movement into my pieces to this day...


Let's take a break!

I went to lunch with a dear friend today. And during that time we discussed life notes.
How important it is to take the time to do what we love to do.

Do you love to sing? Breathe in nature? Go for a run? Play games with the kids? Or put yourself into your own zone and do what your hands and mind want you to do-
however not as often as you would like?

That's me too. I don't do it as often as I should. I need to eat my own words. Not just my lunch!
So here is an image of something I created a while back. It's reminding me to get back to the wheel.


Life is a funny thing...

...not always in the humorous sense, sometimes unpredictable, challenging, memorable.
I realize I avoid a lot of things in my writings.
Gently skirting what's really happening.
Everyone handles life events in their own way, and I respect that completely.

What is illuminating to me - is the need for each spirit to act upon what feels right to them.  Read more...


Natures healing power

This last week I was fortunate to be carried miles from the unending snow of this late winter season that stubbornly refuses to welcome spring.

As we traveled 10+ hours south, I left behind my tiredness,
Read more....



A friend asked me the other day how people react when I bring urns into a conversation when talking about my art work.
Responses ranging from uncomfortable, to raising an eyebrow. "Really???"
being a frequent.  I can just see the question rolling in their brain "Who in their right mind would make urns unless they were a bit quirky themselves." Really!However I believe the hesitant responses may be more from the topic it is connected to:
Read more....