Monday, October 27, 2008

Trip to Iowa family

Toward the end of October my brother, David, and I flew to Iowa to visit Mom, Steve and Linda. The first night I was greeted...and somewhat overwhelmed... by a gigantic deep-fried pork tenderloin sandwich with home-fried potato'll be happy to know that although I DO love fried food, I did NOT eat the whole thing.

David, who was born in Iowa and lived there more than three times longer than I did, DID eat his whole tenderloin...and ice cream for dessert!

What could be better than being with Loved Ones and sharing food!

We didn't spend quite every moment eating. Here are Mom, David, and me at the Iowa Pike's Peak, overlooking the Mississippi River. The foliage was at peak (made me miss Vermont). The day was Beautiful, and we ate Bratwurst.

Here I am with brother, Steve, in front of some rolling Iowa hills. Where my family lives is dead flat....wide open skies for sure, but I do miss elevations.

Here's another great love: The wierd things people build, as monuments to themselves or their home places. A giant strawberry to designate Strawberry Point, Iowa.

I can't remember the story of this big guy, not too far away. Jumbo the Elephant was the mascot of my college. David remembers this one from his childhood car trips.

When I lived by the pond in Upstate NY, we almost bought a life-sized fiberglass camel for the yard...I've always wanted to live in a Roadside Attraction and search them out where ever I go. Why stick exclusively to Reality, when Fantasy is so much more fun!

Speaking of Fantasy and Reality, we are facing some very Real and very Tough times here in the U.S. and probably all around the world. Please do vote and participate in any ways you can locally and nationally in elections and in being part of the many small and large solutions we will need in the next months and years.

Because of the economic downturn and the priority of my Regular Job (i.e. regular paycheck), I've reluctantly decided not to teach in France next year...I would LOVE to do it some day, and am going to continue to work on a week-long class that would work Anywhere as a way to play with a variety of techniques and media in exploring new or familiar landscapes.

I will be teaching 3-D Doll design in Tucson in January (if the class fills), but it's only $125 for 2 days, so What A Great Deal! I've been talking with people in Corvalis, OR, and somewhere near Victoria, BC, and of course more classes here on the Olympic Peninsula.

I'm thinking more ON LINE CLASSES will be a way to continue to teach and interact with all you folks with whom it's so much FUN to play dolls! I'm working out the best way to do this and will let you know soon.

I'm Very close to finishing the new edition of PAMELA'S DESIGNING A DOLL AND MAKING FACES INSPIRATION BOOK, with more color, more pages, more patterns, and the entire 3-D doll desgin class. I hoping one more month will see it at the printer.

I'm running a special on my newest book, A MOMENT OF PURE JOY ON AN ORDINARY DAY, for $20 when ordered with one of my other books. If you order and pay for the new edition of the DOLL BOOK, I'll ship for free, just as soon as I get it back from the printer.

Look for CHILL in Linda and Opie O'Brien's newest book, WHO's YOUR DADA, coming out in December


Thursday, October 02, 2008


Opportunities abound in exploring new materials and approaches.
Anna Wianko Chassman invited me to sit in her clay studio overlooking Fresh Water Bay Tuesday afternoon and make some faces which will be pit fired. I let whatever wanted to come out, come, polished the leather-hard faces with a smooth stone. She offered me some clay to take home and continue to play with, but I was happy to have said no because last night, I was still polishing faces when it was past time to go to bed in time to get up and go to work in the morning.
I met Anna through my friend, Katie, who had discovered Anna on the beach selecting stones. It seems that a passion for stones connects all three of us, and a passion for letting ourselves be carried away by the next possibilty and the next. I can easily let Art and the excitement of discovery carry me way further into the night than sense dictates when I have to be at my desk and alert by 7:45 the next morning. What a gift! And Anyone can Play!

Here's another opportunity for fun and play:

I'm teaching an Artist Trading Card class
Saturday, October 11th, 2-4ish, at Art
Supplies Unlimited, 118 West First St.,
Port Angeles, WA. Call Angie at 360-
457-2759 or email:

Tiny 2.5" x 3.5" works of ART, quickly finished
and easily traded with other artists. It's a great
opportunity for me to use some of the cool
Golden media with which I've been playing.
Image transfer: arrange a sheet of your favorite
images. Get Lazer color copies made (49 cents
a sheet at a national chain). Paint layers of soft
gel medium over the color side of the sheet,
working it well into the paper. Do about 4 layers,
with a day of drying between each layer, then let
dry again for a day. Cut up the images, soak in warm
water, and peel the paper off the back. The image
stays with the gel. Use more gel to attach the image to the background.
I must admit, I got impatient with all the waiting and put the paper on the warm top of my LP stove. I condensed the process to 2 days, and the black and white face on the lower right was done this way. The gel attaching the face to the trading card wasn't quite dry when I took the photo, so it's still a little cloudy.

I am always rushing to get things done in time but
having a deadline makes me produce, and produce without having too much obession with what might or might not be the "best" solution.

I try to say "Yes" to every opportunity, thinking that stretching my abilities will lead to bigger capacity.

Now I've found that I just physically don't have the time to say "Yes" to Everything. Some nights after work, I just have to watch a movie or sit in the rapidly-dwindling sun then go to bed...taking care of my body AND my mind.

Teaching gives me the excuse to try something a little different, and ALSO to travel to places I want to explore.
I also learn SO Much from my students!

Two more Very Exciting Classes are: 3-D Doll Making in Tucson, AZ, January 10 and 11, 2009, contact: Artifacts Studio, 38090 S. Loma Serena Drive, Catalina, AZ 85739, 520-825-7807, Only $125 for two days, and Arizona is WARM in January!!!

I'm also getting VERY EXCITED about my week-long class in Southern France July 20-27, 2009. Go to the Workshop section on my website for ALL the details.

I'm having fun putting together goody bags of images and embellishments for all to use as we explore and interpret the French countryside. There are only eight spaces for this Experience of a Lifetime! I found a stash of French postcard and vintage images, some from my first trip to Paris in 1989. I'm going to be talking with Golden Paints in France about samples for our experiments, and-as always-the class will be shaped by the participants. I expect to learn and explore right along with you.

BULLETIN on the CURRENT BOOK: Thanks to all of you who have already ordered the second edition of PAMELA'S DESIGNING A DOLL AND MAKING FACES INSPIRATION BOOK. I am on page 41...thinking that I could easily get the whole thing done by the end of September...I am plugging away, though, with LOTS of color pictures this time, and several whole new sections on designing with found objects, my icon series, making 3-D patterns, more patterns for you to use, and more from my archives. My latest book, A MOMENT OF PURE JOY ON AN ORDINARY DAY is shipping now and enthusiastic readers tell me they read it again and again--don't miss out!