Friday, December 31

Boom boom bloom...

An entire year is coming to an end. Sometimes it seems the year drags by and the hands move slowly and the days barely fall from the calendar. This year though has been as if the days come off two at a time and I have felt against the clock most of the year. Why I don’t know. It isn’t as if I am well enough to be busy. But the goals I would set for myself seemed to be continually barreling down the track of daily living and suddenly I would be derailed again.

Last year a dear friend of mine as you will remember from her interview, told me chooses a word for the new year. I too choose a word and it was bloom. I reflect now down that track and wonder, did I? Did I bloom? In so many ways yes I did. Artistically yes, definitely. I am trying new things and new styles and can say I have a veritable garden of new styles that I can tend to in the months ahead. But personally, did me, the person bloom? Did I grow, did I change? Am still the little seed sitting in the dark waiting to sprout? Or did I spring up, come forward and grow tall. I think it is easy enough to say yes I did. I faced so many challenges this year, incredibly hard challenges, the kind most folks only face every few years, and yet boom boom boom our family was hit with them repeatedly. I often felt like a spent dandelion with parts of me blowing all over in the wind, no direction or foothold. But we landed on our feet and from there we bloomed again!

Not sure what the word of the year should be now? I have mulled over so many in my mind. Words are funny things, they are. I had considered health because of being so incredibly ill, but really? Do I want my focus on me and health? I suppose I could use cooking dinner for my family, planting a healthy garden and ya ya ya that sort of stuff. But I want something more. Something more tangible and less concrete. So then I wandered to “wellness’ Because we could throw in physical wellness, mental wellness, and so many other things could be tossed into that pot and make a nice little salad of words. But it just doesn’t seem to have “ring” to it. Silly that I have been worrying so much about one little word isn’t it? But no, hear me out. A word can carry you all year. a resolution, well we all know those are broke in about a month or less, maybe 2 months if you have great tenacious will power. So a word dang it , give me a word!

Bloom was last years, so why not go that route? My mind dug around in the dark soily depths and has come up with grow. Naturally after something blooms it must grows. It stretches itself skyward, it leans into the warm sun, puts its roots down deep, plants itself. Readied for whatever may come its way. The wind, the rains, doesn’t matter. It grows despite all adversity, in good and bad times it grows. It scatters itself, proliferates and becomes more.

And with that, I choose GROW. I wish to you will grow with me in this new year. My hope for the blog is for it to continue to grow and include everyone we can think of. A place for artist to gather and share. This isn’t my blog, it is our blog. So please join me now in choosing a word for the new year. I would love to hear what you choose!

In the mean time…off I go, to grow!

Sunday, December 19

Yum, the ART of cookie making...

Oh the smell of cookies baking in the oven. Here is a great Snickerdoodle recipe we found....

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon

 1 Preheat oven to 350°F.
2 Mix butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar and eggs thoroughly in a large bowl.
3 Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
4 Blend dry ingredients into butter mixture.
5 Chill dough, and chill an ungreased cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes in the fridge.
6 Meanwhile, mix 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl.
7 Scoop 1 inch globs of dough into the sugar/ cinnamon mixture.
8 Coat by gently rolling balls of dough in the sugar mixture.
9 Place on chilled ungreased cookie sheet, and bake 10 minutes.
10 Remove from pan immediately

Wednesday, December 8

Standing in awe...

I have met a lot of incredible folks while doing this blog. Many have enormous talents and the personality to match. I feel very blessed to be able to get to know these artists and then pass them along to you. I recently came across something so far beyond my usual. The artwork held me, mesmerized. I instantly had to know more! The creations were bits and pieces of fabric, buttons, lace mashed together haphazardly and yet at the same time deliberate, a mishmash of bliss. They formed little Rag Tag Critters. Little bits and pieces all held together with perfect stitches coming together to form the most creative critters one could imagine. I combed through the descriptions and online profiles and still had not satisfied my insatiable thirst for more. The images and words lingered in my mind and I knew I needed to contact this artist. It was as if a thread had begun weaving itself into my soul.

The more I learned about this artisan the more I felt as if I knew her. As if the fabrics of our lives had somehow been stitched together a hodgepodge of serendipity. Something almost Devine weaving the fabric of our lives together. We shared so many scraps of our lives, our own personal struggles and triumphs were like complimenting pieces of fabric. She the calico and me the plaid, her the silk, me the satin.
So today I so humbly give you Rag Tag Critters

Created by Peggy Elliot in Door County Wisconsin, the work and words you see here will leave you feeling different. You will see the personality of both the writer and the characters emerge as you too get to know this incredible woman. I have started and deleted this post uncountable times. I am not sure just how to capture something so magnificent. There are times in life when you just know something is so much bigger than you, more profound. How would you paint with rays of sunlight, how would you fill a jar with stars? This is how I felt beginning this blog.

Dog walking his person!
So In her own words I will let Miss Peggy Elliot tell you about herself. No amount of magic marker scrawling across the screen, could add to her words, no cyber scissors could take away from them. I want for you to meet her in her completeness and feel this vibrant celebratory spirit come to you unfiltered by little ole me!

1. Can you tell us your name and a bit about yourself and where you live?

To introduce myself, I am Peggy Elliott and I reside in Door County, Wisconsin. Though held housebound by a body that has betrayed me, I roam the world through this instrument that has become a lifeline for so many of us - the computer.

Being “stuck” in Door County is not such a bad deal, either, for this is a glorious haven for all creative types, with a very large and, surprisingly, well appreciated artist community.


2. What about your family, can you tell us about them?

My family means the world to me, though I don’t get to see them too often. My daughter, her husband and 2-½ grandchildren live 7 hours away, a busy family of teachers and nurturers, with little free time to spare. I do miss them.

My parents are closer, and I’m so fortunate to still have them both, though they, too, have had to surrender to a life of far greater limitations.


3. When did you first become interested in art?

I have always been involved in creative pursuits. Too many, in fact. In my younger days the joy of my life was found in singing, but I have always been messing around with pencils, pastels and paints.

My mother taught me to embroider; high school taught me how to use the seam ripper - I was the champion, in fact. If you’d told me back then I would one day be creating these dolls it would have struck true terror in my heart! Never!


Goat in a moat!
4. Who was your biggest influence and why?

I guess you’d have to say the creation of the Rag Tag Critters came from my desire to do something fun and different for my granddaughter and grandson. I’d made a couple of “normal” dolls, one was finishing up a lovely lady my grandmother had begun and never finished. So I had an idea of how to sew them, had lots of material around, goodness knows, I had the time!


5. What is your favorite medium and why?

Rag Tag Critters are aptly named, for they are created from the recycled fabrics, clothing no longer wearable (amazing the amount of “shrinkage” my friends, family and I seem to have run into) and other cast-offs and cast-outs everyone seems to have cluttering up rooms and closets. One person’s “rag” is another one’s “Rag Tag Critter!”

I’ve been very lucky, as there have been so many people who have gone out of their way to provide materials. Without their support I would not have been able to create the Critters. Sometimes I can’t believe the supplies I go through - I had a supply of buttons I thought would last a lifetime. Wrong!


6. How long have you been working in this medium?
The first Rag Tag Critters were made for the kids’ Easter gifts in 2008. People who saw those two wanted to know if I would make some for them. The teenage granddaughter of a friend wanted one and then so did her friends. Sewing like a fiend, I managed to supply them with 25 for a fund raiser.

And on it goes…. When people actually see and hold the Critters they tend to come back for more.


8. Can you tell us a little bit about your process?

I begin a Critter by first drawing a rough sketch. This provides a simple guide, so I have an idea of the materials I’m going to need, and how I want to put them together.

The workroom has piles of fabric, shelves of yarns, ribbons, “stuff,” all neatly arranged and categorized (Yeah, right!). From the sketch, I have an idea of the colors I want to put together, what all is needed to create the character that is just right, if not more than a bit “weird.”

Everything is cut out by hand, everything is sewn by hand - this isn‘t because I have an aversion to sewing machines so much as I never learned how to control one (see earlier reference to “seam rippers“). I’ve even been known to occasionally make tatted lace for collars, edgings or head pieces. These are definitely labor-intensive one-of-a-kind items.

The most fun comes from watching these bits and pieces come together to form a Critter, with their attitudes and unique individual characteristics. They take on a life of their own as they grow in my hands and by the time they are done, they have a name and a life’s story to tell.


Sr. Citizen Tooth Fairy
9. Where do you find inspiration?

I’ve always had an over-active imagination. I just finally found an outlet that’s appropriate.

Despite how they appear, these Rag Tag Critters are grounded in the world around me. Even the “Sr. Citizen Tooth Fairy” arose from an incident in which my Scottie knocked out one of my bottom teeth. “Where’s the Tooth Fairy when you need her?” says I to myself.

Well, she’s here now - her wand held together with Duct Tape, once beautiful locks of hair now frazzled, tattered wings and carrying a bag of denture adhesive instead of the quarters we used to get as kids.

Like I said, an over-active imagination!


10. Where can we find more of your work?

The Rag Tag Critters are found online on Bonanza, Etsy and eBay. I am also honored to have them featured for sale at the Miller Art Museum, located in downtown Sturgeon Bay, WI.

So there is Peggy in her own words. I know huh! Incredibly interesting. I think some back story will add to this wonderful person you have just met. So please bear with me as I continue.....

Peggy like me, deals with Chronic health issues. As I mentioned the serendipitous twist of the divine, we both have Crohn's disease; we both deal with mobility issues, and the other obstacles that go with it. To deal daily with an illness turns you into a different person. No longer viewing the world as others. Minimal tasks become mountains and as Peggy said “we are rock climbers” It strengthens a person, it toughens us and gives tenacity like no other. It is in the creating the artistry that we forget this difference that art, truly becomes something more than a creation.

She pours her heart and entire soul into each Rag Tag Critter. One stitch at a time brings her hands to agony and yet her mind to unabated bliss. I know this. I know that feeling. A viewer can see this in her work. You can look and stare and then something happens. Those critters walk ever so real into your heart. They stitch themselves on your psyche and don’t let you go. Isn’t that what true art is supposed to do? Weave its way into your life to hold the viewer and not let them go? Of all the features of the entire artist I have seen, no one, not one has captured me the way Peggy has.

Happy New Year
I hope you see this. I hope you are profoundly affected by the haunting look in the eyes of these amazing works of art. I see the “Skool Dazed” doll and then suddenly stitched across the dolls face and mine are the jumble of emotions of those first back to school days. When I saw “Happy New Year” I saw a woman struggling with where she has been and where she is going. The doll a woman ageing trying to recapture her youth, not ready to give up the youthful flashy clothes and make up. Dolling herself up for one more chance to grasp the magic of New Year celebration. Questioning herself and yet setting her jaw, dolling up and stepping out- determined to make this the best year yet.

Skool Dazed
Tiny details fill each Critter. Hand tatted lace, little beads, a tuft of hair, a perfectly chosen button for an eye. Every small detail builds upon itself and suddenly the medley tells a huge story. Peggy explain in and email “There's been such a transition, not "growth," as so many like to tag it, but more development, more assured and engaged in the creation of the Critters. Guess I've given myself permission to experiment with them, allowing them the freedom to become what they want to be, instead of my forcing them to fit an idea I have for them. “ I am left in awe of each and every one of her Rag Tag Critters and though I have purchased two I know instinctively –the same instinct by which I knew I had to find out more about Peggy- that the two critters will not be enough. I will buy more. I won’t be able to help myself. With amazing talent, incredible personality, and an artistry above no other. Rag Tag Critters have sewn themselves tightly to my side, woven into my heart and buttoned to my brain!

PLEASE PLEASE check out her stores and see more of this wonderful work!

Monday, December 6

Timeless Rarity

We all know the holidays are approaching. The television commercials fairly shout out the countdown and the number of shopping days we have left. Aside from the obvious of the material race to get the packages under the tree our minds begin to race as well. Memories of Holidays past begin to fill the space in our minds like the packages fill the spaces under the tree.

The memories and the call to our past has inspired my next guest here on the bumpkin blog. She is a very talented gal who is calling up her past to begin a bright future.

I give you Rayven’s Rarities.

Katherine, her given name is not the name we know her by. She goes by another, her native, Rayven. This is just one way she is getting back to her roots. Nestled in the high dessert of Oregon, she turns out beautiful pieces of Native American jewelry and has a Bonanza store Rayvens Rarities, absoluely loaded with incredible beadwork. Please hop on board as we discover more about this sparkling gem.

Beautiful Native cuff earring set
 Created by Rayven
Her work is incredible. Itty bitty tiny beads stack upon themselves one at a time to form elegant chokers, earrings and other fine jewelry. It is a craft that goes back eons, and yet is rather new to Rayven. Rayven is just now coming to think of herself as an artist, and while not truly a late bloomer she is just late at the realization. Her first connection to her creativity was a cake decorating class. She tells us “I took a cake decorating class to make extra money for school. I got pretty darn good at decorating cakes. Don't know why cause I can't even draw a good stick man, but hand me a tube of frosting and a cake and I become Michelangelo. So, due to that, I eventually got interested, later in life, with other types of craft work.”

Watermill created by the talented duo
Again that creative streak reared when her and her father would work in the woodshop together. The duo would piece together incredible birdhouses, yard decorations and so much more. I have included a photo of a lovely water mill they worked together on. Incredible in its detail it features working components and actually turns water. It is remembering these times with her father that inspires much of what she is doing today.

One of the many Native American  items in her store.
Inspiration is a funny thing. It can come from anywhere. I love to ask artist what inspires them. When I asked Rayven I was told it can come from anywhere “Oh that's easy. Just take a look around outside at nature, at a favorite store, or even just talking to a friend. It's amazing the ideas I've had pop into my head at the oddest of times.” Her store is filled with lovley items, some made by Rayven herself and other treasures she has mined from her vast supply of incredible artists.

 The more I learned about Rayven the more I realize she is deeply connected to her roots and yet used them to draw upon for future endeavors. She spends much of her time sewing and will soon be filling up her Artfire shelves with wonderful and unique items , so we will have to be sure and look for them. Speaking of looking have a peek at the adorable Lillee hanging out in one of Rayvens latest creations. Lilee is an honorary niece and was blessed to have this wonderfully made, cosy, shopping cart snugglie. The photo of her sewing room was perhaps my favorite and I had to share. You can see there, her right hand man, Jax helping her to create yet another wonderful piece.

The passion and connection she has to those in her life, and her roots is a definite vein running through the goldmine of her creativity. When talking with Rayven you can feel this goldmine unearthing. “You know, I can't really say I have a favorite. All the craft work I've done, I've done with a passion and whole heartedly. To narrow it down to just one choice for me, would be next to impossible.”

Another fabulous piece found in Rayvens store.
Handcrafted by one of her local favorites.
I am looking very forward to seeing what is next from this lass Please join me in adding her to your favorites and checking back to see where this creative streak leads. I know you like me will be striking it rich as we come to know her, and her fantastic talents.

Please visit Rayven at Rayvens Rarities

Friday, December 3

Hopping for joy to bring you LaRusc Studio

As promised I have gathered up some great talent, intervies and pictures. I always love bringing yo the best of the best. I scoure sites and boards to find only highly talented and unique individuals to bring to the Bumpkin Blog. As always if you know of someone who should be features here please drop me a line.

Today I give you, Laura from LaRusc Studio

Laura Rusciolelli, is an artist from the beautiful Pennsylvania who is especially drawn to creating animal artwork. Laura has a home studio, LaRusc Studio, where she teaches children's art classes and spends her time creating these adorable and yet graceful works of art.

Laura refers to her husband as her personal cheerleader and tells us it was him who let her build the studio to her exact specifications. When asked about her greatest work of art Laura told us “My greatest artwork may be the three children I've created, a son and two daughters, all of whom are happily gifted with art and music talent. I also have a fluffy doggie, Buddy, and four (yes 4!!) cats.”

Her interest in arts goes back as far as she can remember and credits much of her inspiration to her grandmother. She tells us she feels incredibly blessed to be following her bliss down the path of art. In the true spirit of an artist she is giving back her gifts by teaching and inspiring other creative minds.

When asked her biggest influences Laura related to us, “ My biggest influence in my art life was a local artist, Storma French, who taught me privately for several years. Strangely, in the wider art world, I have always been drawn to Impressionist works, especially Renoir, yet I am almost exclusively a realist painter, and most of my works are miniature art cards, called ACEOS, that are the size of a baseball card.” ACEOs don’t we just love those. You guys should really check out some of her cute, whimsical designs. Priced affordably you can gather up several and have yourself a wonderful collection from this very talented gal!

Laura goes on to tell us “My favorite medium, watercolor, was one I was actually dragged in to kicking and screaming from painting mostly in oil. I was afraid of the lack of control with watercolor as opposed to oil painting, but soon was cured of that! Watercolor was the last painting technique I explored, only about 5 or so years ago. I enjoy oil painting, and acrylics. Altered art/collage is another favorite, and playing with papier mache.”

It is hard for me to relate her process and technique so again we will hear from Laura in her own words. “My process, hmmm. I am a very visual drawer/painter, especially with the animal portraits, so I usually need to have reference photos for that type of work. I envy artists who can "see" all in their head and put it right down on paper. As I settle in to whatever project I am working on, I will have music or even the television playing, a cup of coffee handy, and a cat or 2 lying around somewhere close by. My inspiration can come from something as simply as the way a bird alit on a branch, or the way the cat turned and looked at me, or a comment one of my art students might make. I'm always walking around inside and outside with my camera. I'm sure some of my neighbors think I'm a nut.”

No, Laura you are not a nut. The readers and myself would be the nuts if we couldn’t find the beauty in every piece we have seen on display. The form and colors seem to come alive and the viewer can almost see the nose of a bunny twitch or a bird about to take flight. The movement and tranquility of the piece, while sound in contrast make Laura’s work unique and a definite must have.

You can find the website at . She also sells miniatures and other artwork on eBay, where she can be found by typing LaRusc into the search bar. Etsy to is graced her wonderful paintings and you can get there by following this link. .

Be sure to hit those links and see more of this adorable, stunning work!

Check back soon guys for more wonderful artisans!

Monday, November 8

The bumpkin is back!

This summer was very hectic at the Bumpkin’s. It started with taking in 5 extra kids, added to our own two. While it was a wonderful experience and we wouldn’t trade it for the world it left use ragged. Shortly after the dust settled from that we found ourselves in the mist of a move. Unable to find a suitable place, we spent awhile “homeless” while in transition. I say homeless the reality however is we stayed with my mother.

While there I had the chance to donate some artwork to the PCBA for their Habitat for Humanity fund raiser, and of course, it was incredible to be part of the collective giving spirit. I have donated many pieces to causes but this was perhaps one of my most joyous because of the fact had we not been at my mothers, we would have found ourselves truly homeless. It was very self identifying. (please see the photo for the donated piece)

During all of the moving and settling, I managed to injure some ribs, dislocate a jaw, have a little oral surgery, obtain a broken jaw and a few other maladies. Of course me and my potential for injury are nothing new. It certainly wasn’t fun, but was not nearly as horrible as it may sound. It did lead to a lot of down time and not much getting done. Now that those issues are out of the way I hope to get back on track with the art, the blog and basically just life in general.

The most exciting news in Bumpkin land is the unveiling of the website. You can now find all things Bumpkin at I would love feedback on the new site and any helpful advice. Of course if you are a follower of the blog you know my affliction with typo-nitis. So please, go ahead and point those out too!

I have several artists in mind for upcoming features and hopefully will be able to bring them to you. As always it is a struggle to get good artists here on the Bumpkin Blog. I find many talented folks but it seems they lose steam and have trouble completing the interview. Hopefully I hear back soon from some of these talented artisans and can get them straight to you! Please again I beg you if you have ideas for the blog- send them in!

Until next time ..

That’s all she wrote folks!


Sunday, July 11

See the Bumpkin Video!

The SMart Festival by the River is next weekend. The show, in her home down, leads her right back to her roots! In light of this, Bumpkin Studio did a short video advertisment. Be sure to check it out!

HOME! Click the link below to see the 30second ad!

Huckleberry Bumpkin

Friday, July 2

Crackling Endorphines

I mentioned in my other post how I like to grow a bit along the art trail. I never set out to try something new. Ya know, I just get an idea and suddenly there I am in the studio doing something I haven’t done before. Something new. It always brings its own sort of excitement. Even if the attempt is a failure, it still brings on that heady tingle , I think some call it the artist high. I once heard it has to do with our endorphins jumping back and forth from left brain to right brain. But me being not so brainy, I really don’t know.

The whole point here though is last night I tried something different. My friend Julie Behm has been taking pet portrait classes. And you guys knowing me as the animal lover, and if you don’t for the record we have some 30 or so pets around here, I thought a pet portrait interesting. Further spurring this idea is Ky the Amazing (my husband) lost his families dog of many many years recently. I thought “what a better tribute and memorial” . So I grabbed my chalks and went to work. I am not sure it is a master piece or even closely resembles a masterpiece. But it was fun none the less and did flex my artistic brain a bit.

Julie also inspired me to have a word instead of a new years resolution and this too is in keeping with trying new things. As my word for the year was bloom. Bloom, I did. I have really tried to branch out and work on new ideas and projects whenever possible and not just in my art but all areas of my life. I think as I grow personally my art will grow along with me. Maybe, I don’t know. Like I said I have never really been the brainy one. At any rate I hope you enjoy the photo of my pet portrait.

His name was Guss but was commonly referred to as Gussy-Man.

Have a n explosively good week end, a real bang up of a time, get to crackin’ on that celebrating- okay sorry, really bad puns there.,…but seriously Have a safe and happy 4th!

Wednesday, June 30

Rambling Bumpkin

WOW has it really been all these months since I have blogged? Couldn’t be? But yes it has. The Blogger thing decided I was a threat for awhile and wouldn’t let me post. Not entirely sure what that was about. It has seemingly resolved and I am no longer sending harmful or threatening content to vast users of the web- can you detect any sarcasm here, because it should be loaded with it.

The latest Bumpkin news I guess would be the Smart Festival, located in St. Maries Idaho. It is a great crowd of talented artists. Years ago My mother was involved and was what one could call the ring leader. After she left some of my students did some great painting on the trash cans that graced the grounds. It was cute to see art from the 5-8 set on the cans. Not sure if they are still in use as that has been….well…just way too many years ago.

The very first work of art I ever sold was at the festival when I was probably about 12 years old. It was a pen and ink of a parrot. Funny I remember it perfectly and still cherish the man that bought it. He was one of my good buddies though he was about 5 decades older than myself, he referred to me as “his little piece of sunshine”. Mercy, he was a special guy!

So headed back to the river. I used to try to get selected and even with my mother on the board was never allowed. They have very strict guidelines as far as exhibitors so this is really a big deal for me in so many ways. I am jumping out of my skin and “eeeeking” all the while! I have been painting like a mad woman. I think because of the anxiety. Why is it that our own work never seems good enough. No matter what is said somehow I can eek out something negative from any comment???Insecurities. I have grown so much artistically and really found a place I like.

I do believe art grows and changes along with ones self. But for now I like right where I am creatively. My work is just expressions of though. I hark back to simple times, a craving for things of old. A time I missed and yet think would have been perfectly at home in. Sentimental stuff, scripture, things I have seen, things that have inspired. Funny a word, a thought will transform down in the studio. Not that they are some magnificent pieces…usually just words with flowers and such…sometimes barns, churches, silos, things that fascinate me. Bi-planes lately and I am not even sure why. I hate flying and find no use for it. But I have a Dr. I dearly cherish and he likes planes…so in honor of that I paint planes. I am hoping to do a steam donkey, before the show. Steam Donkey if you don’t know is an old time logging thing. Again a hark back to roots. Rambling I think I am now. So out of this blogging habit.

I would love to bring you ore artists. And feature the great work of those I find. Trouble is, I cant find any. Well no, I can find lots of great work. I just cant get them to contact me back, fill out the interviews or do any of “their part” of it. So I cant bring it to you if they don’t bring it to me. Also a few , okay more than a few that I did do stories on, and spent considerable time working on, didn’t even say thanks. And no I don’t do it for the gushing thank yous…but you know a polite “thanks” would have been alright. Sorta left a sour taste in my mouth, ya know?

So as to where this blog goes, or who might read it…I don’t know. I make no promises of yet. I will try to get a bit more active. However it is going to take you my readers to let me know if it is worth my time. I am not going to stroke keys endlessly if no one is there to read it…so just leave a comment…send an email, whatever to let me know you are out there reading what this bumpkin prattles on!

I have included tons of new work at if you want to see some of the latest !

Tuesday, April 27


I am sure if you follow this blog you have heard me say how important I believe it is to find creativity whenever a person can. I especially try to ingrain this into my children. I hand them crayons, markers, paper, paint, glue, string, beads and every other possible thing in which to be creative. I sit back as the masterpieces roll in. I have an entire wall space dedicated to their works of art.

It was no surprise then the other night when my son began getting creative with dinner. He is four and has Aspergers and a few other issues that have him looking through different eyes than you and I. I love his insight and creativity. What we once viewed as a disability has now given us a new and beautiful perspective on the word “normal. Anyways, that isn’t why I write this morning.

I wanted to share “Astro-Boy”. His latest food creation. Chicken nugget, fries and ketchup! He told us a big story to go along with the visual. Astro-Boy flies through the air, saving the world from yucky tasting food …and on and on. I really do think it was a clever use of the medium on hand and the composition while remedial is genius. Okay, maybe not so much. But it is fun, it gave us a chuckle and hopefully it does you as well!

Please remember if you want to be features, know someone I should feature or have ideas of things you would like to see here on the Bumpkin blog, please let me know!!!

Monday, April 26

Yeah, I know!

Been forever since I have posted. I am having a hard time getting talented folks to interview. I have a few in mind and am waiting on replies. When I get them I will post. In the mean time PLEASE PLEASE if you have anything at all to share PLEASE DO!!!!!

Monday, April 12

Back at it!

Wow has it really been that long since I have blogged? Yes indeed it has. I am not sure what the deal was. Every time I tried to sign on I would get a Google error message. Of course “help” was of no help, the “contact us” for led down a no where road…it was a fright I am not sure what I did or didn’t do, but regardless I am now able to post. Only here’s the thing. I don’t have anyone to feature. I will work over the next few days to find some talent to feature for you all. And hopefully we will not have these long interludes between posting again. I have really missed connecting with you all and bringing the talents of wonderful artisans to the screen. Happy Monday y’all!

Thursday, April 1


For some reason, I can no longer upload to the blog. Aparently my computer has some malicious spyware (or so it tells me when I try to post)...So for now this is all I can do. Rest assured I have not forgotten my blog, have not given up on it, and plan to be back to blogging as quickly as I can!!!!

Tuesday, March 23

Howdy Y'all

Being a country girl, of course I was attracted to the work of Peacock Garden. It reminds me of growing up- days spent playing in the barn, county fairs, helping dad with our cows, and other simple farm living. Her work transports me back to a simpler, easier time.

Please meet Cari Humphry, of Peacock Gardens.

1. Can you tell me your name and a little about yourself and your studio/creative space?

Cari Humphry, wife of Byron for 12 years. I have two kids, ages 5 and 1. On M,W,F I paint at home in a little nook in my bedroom during the kids rest time. On T,TH I paint, varnish & ship out from a studio space in my dad's accounting office. I paint almost everyday, even if I have to "steal" the time away from cooking or cleaning my house- :)

2. If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it? Right now I would say INSPIRED, but maybe it would be more accurate to say BUSY!

3. Do you have a family and if so what role does your family play in your art? My husband is a great resource for accuracy and information about the cars and the cows I paint. His family has always had cows in south Arkansas and I guess just by being male he has a fetish for all things on wheels.

4. Where do you live and what is it like? I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas in the northwest corner of the state. Wonderful city that is the home of the University of Arkansas.

5. Where did you learn your medium? I started painting with oils in college (as an accounting major) in an art elective class. A couple of years ago I began expirimenting with acrylic due to the "season" of my life (kids, etc.). I found not only were they easier to clean up & the drying time was a lot faster, they were also forced me to be looser and more intentional & bolder with my color.

6. What are your goals with your work? to have fun and get "looser" in my painting style.

7. How did you come to selling online? A friend told me about etsy & I thought it could be an outlet for some of my "collection" I was accumulating and a way to actually get paid for one of my favortie ways to spend my free time.

8. Where all do you sell? Etsy & & I have had some art cards at a local shop

9. What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists? I don't feel I should be giving out advice, but all I know that works for me is "paint everyday or as often as you can"

10. Why do you think that buying and selling handmade products benefits society? I think handmade products take us to a simpler time when people took pride in the works of their hands and there was a connection between the craftsman and the buyer. It actually supports and rewards the originator of the product and not all the middlemen.

11. Your shop name and link? - Cari Humphry

Thursday, March 18

Rushing to calm down...

Its been a busy week and I haven’t been able to write a single proper story,. the art show and two kids home have left little time for anything other than my nerves to become frayed. It seems the more I try and get done the less that actually does get done maybe that old saying “the hurriered I go the behinder I get” is true? It seems I have fairly ran this week and not walked and yet I have half painted paintings, nothing is tagged, the kids scrounged up their own lunch, Ky the Amazing did manage to make them a healthy dinner, but of course he would. I though have been mommy the missing and sequestered in the studio trying to get prepared. I always freak out before a show. I love them, but I tend to freak out. Today however I am going to try to approach the day in a zen like calm and actually get something done be productive relaxed serene and smiling….ha ha ha isn’t that funny~!

Wednesday, March 17

This and That...

Getting prepared for an art show this weekend. Sometimes I really like those and sometimes I don’t. Being a folk artist, many folks do not get folk art. I have had old ladies literally say “my grandkids can paint better then that”. Well okay lady, then get them a booth?! But other times Its great to meet the people who buy my art face to face. So it is with trepadition and excitement I get ready for the show.

The biggest thing here at Bumpkin Studio though is my work is going to hang at the local hospital. It was a grueling nail biting juried selection process but I was chosen. They have literally turned the walls there into a fine art gallery. Mostly original paintings of some rather “big name” artists. From where you my wonderful readers all hark from I don’t know if you will know the names, but around these here parts (hee hee) they are some pretty big names I will hang next to…Bev Doolittle, Steven Lyman, Betty Billups, Boots Reynolds and many many others. I was so excited I was ready to happy dance. However, If you are a loyal longtime reader you will remember my last happy dance landed me with a broken there will be no actual dancing!!!

Coming up here on the Bumpkin blog. I have some great talent lined up. I have a young girl doing some great mini sculptures, I have a fine artists, a paper artist, a jeweler…the list goes on and so does my search. If you can think of anyone who should be featured please give me a holler!!!

You guys have a wonderful Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, March 16

Bloomin' paintings...

If you remember an earlier post, when I interviewed Julie Behm of Quirky Dame designs, I had chose a word for the new year rather than a resolution. This is what she has done and I thought it a lovely idea. Since picking my word I have tried my best to live up to it. The word was bloom. Daily I have striven to modify my approach to life both far and near. To loosen my old ideas and allow new ones to unfold.

I tried some new things in the studio yesterday. A bit out of my “box”- so to speak. Still my folksy, hark back to the past, styling, but with a different flair. I wanted to share this personal step towards growth with you guys. I really hope you like what you see.

Monday, March 15


So today we are going to hear from a great gal I met through Etsy. I asked hr to tell us a little bit about herself and her work. I hope you enjoy!

Hi everyone - I am Joann Temple, also known online and in my ETSY Shop as Jodaycraf. I am a lifelong resident of Delaware, the Small Wonder, and the third of four daughters in my family. My first attempt at creativity was trying to make Christmas presents for my three sisters. I took a needle and thread and toilet paper, and attempted to make rosettes. If I remember correctly, the attempted rosettes were a little sad. But, I had fun trying. I haven’t stopped creating since then. I have dabbled with ceramics, cross stitch, wreaths, and silk flower arrangements.

I have always loved jewelry, and remember on many instances looking through my Mom’s or my Nanny’s jewelry. I would try on the jewelry and imagine myself transported to another place. I still have a few pieces of my Mom’s jewelry and my Nanny’s jewelry which I enjoy wearing.

I am inspired by the beads themselves. I don’t usually plan a project, but sit down with my beads and draw my inspiration from the shapes, textures, and color. Then I just start creating from that point forward. I am also inspired by nature, and the beauty of the world. I love the creative process of going from a pile of beads to a lovely necklace, bracelet, or earrings.

I really enjoy working with natural stones, such as Turquoise, Goldstone, and Jasper – there are so many more. I also enjoy scouting for lovely vintage pieces, which are also in my ETSY Shop.

I am very new to Blogging. My Blog is I need to work on my Blogging skills, and am currently reading a lot of Blogs to determine which direction I want to take. I am still a little lost in this area, but hope to improve soon.

ETSY Shop:
What is Your Favorite Piece of Jewelry?
I have a Rose Rhodonite Necklace that is my current favorite in my Shop. I can’t say I have a favorite in my personal jewelry. It just depends upon the day.

My ETSY Shop is jodaycraf. I currently carry items for sale which include handmade necklaces, earrings, bracelet, and also some Vintage. I have a lot of beads and supplies so will be getting creative real soon to expand my shop’s offering. Happy Crafting!!

Sunday, March 14

Sculpting little lives...

Creativity has always been a high priority in my life. I try to find it everywhere and carve little nuggets of creativity out of ordinary daily life. I have also always tried to instill a creative flair into my children. My daughter loves to do crafts and has developed a sense of very creative play. She writes books and poetry and even a song or two. My son who is usually very hyper active (he has medical issues) and won’t hold still for even 2 minutes-by the clock will sit for hours if given the tools to create He loves tactile creating, clay, paints, textured papers and the like. I think too often now days kids are given toys that do not allow for this creativity to flow, Games are mapped out, toys literally, because they are electronic tell them how tio play and the creative mind is left to wither. We do not have such toys here. We do simple stuff, the basic old fashioned toys.

A few days ago the kids clamored upstairs spilling excited words out of their mouths ushering us to “come see” what they had done in the toy closet. We turned the stair well into a little toy area for them with bright lights and lots of storage bins, crates, bags etc. I headed there with trepidation because I never really know what messes all this unrestrained creativity will hold. I was taken abac by what I saw,. They had worked together-this is a colossal feat in itself- but anyways, they had cooperatively built a sculpture of toy cars. It stood about a foot high. You can see in the photo how the cars are placed exactly in the right spots. You can see their attention to the little details and how one car balances on another. I cannot actually picture the two of them working together. The older sister usually has nothing but distain for her brother and he with his issues is very misguided in his dealings with others (Aspergers). So to picture them working side by side on this makes the task of creating more gargantuan then the actual sculpture itself.

I love to the creativity; it is my hope to you enjoy this as well!

Have a very happy Sunday!

Saturday, March 13

Saturday Shopping

So here we go again with Saturday shopping. I found some things I really love this week. Be sure to click the store names and browse the shops. Lots and lots of great items can be found in each of these stores!!! Have a happy Saturday, and lots of fun shopping!

Porcelain Designs

They are very unique, artistic, and shiny!
Using techniques similar to the ancient art of china painting, each piece begins with the finest porcelain clay, individually formed, and hand-finished before it's first clear glaze is applied and kiln fired.
Then, each barrette is painted by hand, with layers of mixed metallic glazes and on some pieces we also add accents in 22k gold.

Take a look around my shop and let me know what you think!

Poetry Jewelry (Please see the ad this page!!!)
I am Creative. Its the best way to describe myself. My husband thinks I have OCD – Obsessive Creative Disorder. Everything has to be creative, my food, my house, my books, my music, the packed get the drift. I love creating and have lost track of how many handmade gifts I have made and given through the years.

I am inspired by life. I love books, music, ancient history, anything that tells a story. I am a Cancerian, so like a little crab I hoard all the positive energy I get out of these and then input it into my creations. I want to share them with you, give you the same joy it gives me creating them. Every piece is created with complete commitment and passion. Each piece is passed through my harshest critics, My Family. So I can actually call this a family Business :) . But over and above that I am my harshest critic and my biggest completion. My aim is always to learn from Yesterday, absorb Today and be better Tomorrow.

My line of jewelry is a collection of colourful pieces in various materials and textures. I have pieces for casual wear, office wear and occasion wear. So do take a look and visit often for new designs and ideas will keep coming and do add me to your favourites. On a last note, My name is Kavitha and in Sanskrit it means Poetry


i am a stay at home mom of a 3 and 6 year old. I have had a shop on Etsy for about a year now. I have been an artist my whole life and hope to build my business over the next few years so when both my kids are in school I can make a "living" off of what I love.
Thanks again,



"Becoming an artist: how did I start? Honestly, I put a blank canvas on the table in front of me, picked out my favorite color (aqua/teal) from the paints I’d just bought, and positively slathered it on the canvas! Then I sat back and watched it dry. I have never in my life been that excited to watch paint dry. And at the ripe age of 33, too. I never knew in the years I was in school and then putting my children through school that I had this in me!

The idea to paint, create jewelry, and sell what I’d created was born of boredom and an unfulfilled sense of self. I've been a stay-at-home mom for quite a few years and felt so empty and unlike myself when everyone was gone during the day. And I realized that I honestly lived for MORE than just their coming home at the end of the day. I lived for the deep wellspring of passion that only art and its creation can tap into; the one that had been buried for way too long!"

Hey there! My name is Casey and I’m a 19 year old, Australian photographer. I have had a love for photography for as long as I can remember and I truly believe this passion for photography emerges through my photographs.

I feel as though my specialty is portraiture. I really connect to this genre and love being able to share a story or emotion through a single second in time. I am constantly learning more about myself and my camera and I feel that learning new things is super important when (attempting) to run a small business.

I have really only started to think about my photography in a professional manner over the past year, before that it was simply just a hobby I adored. In 2009, I bought my first DSLR camera and since then my passion for photography has grown more than I could have ever imagined. I’ve recently opened my etsy store (Jan 2010) and began selling my fine art prints which has been a huge learning curve!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what this New Year will bring for me and my photography. I’m shooting for a couple of weddings soon and aiming to fill lots of people’s walls with my unique photographs!

Friday, March 12

Borne To Beauty

And another great artist, here on the Bumpkin Blog. I just love all the great talent I come across, and I love even more to bring it to you guys. If you know any artists you would like to see here –including yourself- please just pass the name along and I promise to check it out. Thanks so much.

So today I bring you…

Earthborne Art

1. Can you tell me your name and a little about yourself?

My Name is Dana Morton and my business is Earthborne Art. I specialize in a line of ceramics called, "My Grandma's Linens".

It all started when I needed favors for our wedding. I went through a box of old linens that my grandmothers had made, and created little dishes by taking impressions of them. They were a huge hit!

I now scour flea markets, yard sales etc., in search of old textiles. I like the idea of preserving them in clay while breathing new life into an old art form.

2. If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
There really isn’t one thing that defines myself. If there’s one thing that defines my ceramics it’s probably my love of texture and nature.

3. Do you have a family and if so what role does your family play in your art?
My husband, (Ford), and I have been married for 15 years now and he has helped me in every aspect of my business every step of the way. If it weren’t so heavy, I’m sure there was a time when he could have thrown my kiln over the fence. Hee! Hee! I still haven’t been able to get him to pick up a ball of clay and create something yet…. He does all of that boring excel, tax, business stuff that I hate doing and he loves it. So you could say, we’re a match made in heaven.

4. Where do you live and what is it like?
I live with my hubby and dear old dog in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, just east of a cute little town called Sonora. Located in the gold country of California, adjacent to Yosemite National Park.

I have a ceramic art studio in my back yard, kiln and all. I watch birds, squirrels, deer and other various wildlife stroll by while I'm working.

5. Where did you learn your medium?
I first discovered ceramics in high school. I credit that class with keeping me interested enough to graduate. I continued studying ceramics at Columbia College, and graduated with a degree in early childhood education with a major emphasis in ceramics.

6. What are your goals with your work?
I’m have been teaching ceramic workshops at local Charter Schools for several years now. I would like to expand my workshops to include art therapy for senior citizens in care homes.

7. How did you come to selling online?
I ran into someone at an art show that recommended Etsy. It’s my first adventure into cyberspace selling and I love it!

8. Where all do you sell?
My work is for sale locally at:
La Petite Maison, Main St. Jamestown CA.
Mountain Sage, Main St. Groveland CA.
I also sell at small local art shows, charity events and Farmers Markets.

9. What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?

Do it because you love it and believe in yourself.

Please go to her website and look at more of her work. I was hard pressed to pick the photos to use. There wasn't anything in this store that was not an absolutely stunning piece of PLEASE, take the time and visit Earthborne Art!