Back in the studio

I arrived home from February’s Art Retreat in the Desert just itching to get into the studio to try out some of the techniques I’d learned in Mary Hettmansperger’s Colors on Metals class and Deryn Mentock’s Pod class. But first, I needed to make quick work of some signs I was constructing for a church event. I loaded a fresh blade into my exacto knife ... and proceeded to cut my finger, filleted it, in fact! Determined it was not going to require stitches, I spent the next week(s) doctoring it with Neosporin and butterfly bandages. Hard to do much of any studio work without involving your index finger… not to mention the risk of infection.

Finally, my finger is healed (well, it no longer splits open at the slightest pressure), and I’m eager to get back to work!

My favorite Tucson workshop was Leighanna Light’s Vintage Metal Deck. If you don’t know Leighanna’s work, you’re in for a treat - there’s a fun artist’s profile here on Seth Apter’s blog.
Self-described Thingmaker, Leighanna Light,  and me
Our goal for this class was to create a chunky deck of cards by collaging paper, fabric and found objects onto 3x6” pieces of tin. We spent our morning learning lots of techniques from how to distress metal to tons of ways to alter the surface with inks and paints and patinas. Leighanna then turned the afternoon over to us to play with all our newly learned techniques. And fun, we had! The skill level in the class ranged from me, for whom this was the first-ever collage class, to Jill Mynarcik, a mixed media artist in her own right.  There was some serious collaborating and creating going on for the rest of the day!

Since I left with only 7 finished cards, I spent yesterday completing the last three. After backstitching a fabric dress form in seed beads, I embellished it with the focal section from a vintage necklace, above.

Like everyone else, I’m longing for Spring. The card on the left is made up almost entirely of collaged bits of napkins and torn art postcards collected on a recent trip to Asheville. The dangle incorporates one of the fold-formed copper leaves I’ve been experimenting with.

The card on the right was pure fun! I was exploring the use of different browns and coppers with the oh-so-popular-right-now aquamarine. I created a grunged-up aquamarine swatch in Photoshop, printed it onto some quilter’s fabric, wrapped it around a cork still lying on the counter from the previous night’s Cabernet, and proceeded to shred the fabric with my cheese grater so the vintage text would show through. In keeping with the vintage theme, the white bugle beads in the center of the clover are from a 1920’s flapper dress.

Now that my class project of ten cards is complete, I plan on adding another card each week until I reach a full deck of 52!


  1. Hi Karin,
    It is so great to take a class that is away from seed beading, it is a nice break and it heightens your creative process. The cards are beautiful and very interesting. I like the way you can incorporate all of your talents into the cards is amazing.

  2. First of all, OUCH!

    Second - Jealous. I wish i could travel to Tucson and take fun classes!

    Third: love love love the cards, especially the thistly looking one - bring the cards next time you come to visit! I wanna touch!!

  3. Oh, I hope that finger heals without incident, Karin! That sounds like it was bad! There is nothing worse than a cut on the hand as they never get an opportunity to stay still, stay clean, and heal.
    Now onto the beautiful talk ~ these are gorgeous ~ what fun you must have had learning these techniques! The last card...I love every little detail about that one. It is just lovely. The dress form is pretty darn cool too!

  4. Ouch, ouch, ouch!! I'm so glad you're healing, and while you were waiting for the finger to get better, it looks like you had some really wonderful ideas percolating in your mind. The cards are very cool -- I love how you're incorporating your beading into this newer endeavor. I would never guess you're early into your multi-media explorations!

  5. Oh dear! Sorry to hear about your finger. To be honest, sometimes during quiet moments, I spend a good deal of time giving gratitude to god/universe/(or insert your belief here) for my working hands! So I know that must have been difficult to have that finger injury! Speedy healing thoughts coming your way! I really enjoyed the peek at your cards!

  6. You were in my neck of the woods! What a terrific class. Spending more time with multi-media is on my crafty bucket list which is about a mile long. So I will live vicariously through your beautiful work. Love the dress form with the beaded necklace.