Sunday, February 28

Monday, February 22

And the Results are in…

After long, excruciatingly long wait, the results are in. I do not have any brain abnormalities. This is not to say my brain is normal, I think that would be going too far. Ha ha. But the spots that were seen are perfectly “normal” in someone who has migraines and also in folks with Inflammatory disease, something say …like Crohn’s disease. So, it’s all good. It is also nice to know that after years of debate I do in fact HAVE a brain!!!!

SO now that all this worry is literally off my mind, I can get back in the saddle and start bringing you all the great art I have promised and dedicated myself to bringing you. A super duper thanks to Lisa Yonkers who rounded up some great talent for me. I will be bringing her to you soon along with some other wonderfully talented folks.

A huge thank you to all those who prayed for me during that awful and trying time. It was wonderful to know I had prayers and support from around the globe. You my readers have made a huge impact on my life and I am grateful for you every day!

Blessings Galore!

~The Bumpkin

Wednesday, February 17

I dont like spots

More to the story...

I like spots on canvas, where do I not like them? On brain scans...The results of my brain scan have come back. Some artwork was found-spots actually. Further testing this morning will reveal how serious this may turn out to be. I beg prayers from you all.


Tuesday, February 16

Romantic Get a way

I was all geared up for a romantic get away with Ky the Amazing! We hadn’t had a night away in a very long time. We packed out bags, dropped the kiddos off with grandma and off we went. Shortly into our mini vacation, I started feeling ill. With in a matter of hours ill turned to rotten, turned to miserable, turned to scared. We called my Dr. He is a wonderful Dr. and is always available. He ordered us directly to the nearest emergency room. They asked me hundreds o questions, scanned me, poked me and then finally admitted me. We got my weekend get a way, only it was spent in room 209 of Bonner General Hospital. I really don’t remember much as they had me oh morphine drip, muscle relaxants, and sedatives. About the only thing I really remember is waking and always seeing Ky the Amazing’s smiling face and his soft kisses on my forehead. I suppose it was a romantic weekend after all.

I am behind now on the blog after this. So I am not sure I will get many features done this week. Apparently I am supposed to rest and take things easy. I will try though to bring you at least a few great artisans.

Have a great week y’all!

Saturday, February 13

Saturday Shopping

So, it is that time again for Saturday Shopping! Here are three lovely items and three great artists! I contacted them and had them tell you guys a little bit about themselves in their own words! Please check them out! Oh yeah, and one of my items! Have a great Valentine ’s Day, see you Monday!

Paper Creations by Laura

Hi! My name is Laura O'Shea and I am the owner of Paper Creations by Laura. I started stamping over 15 years ago while in graduate school as a way to relax from the rigors of writing a thesis! It didn't take long for me to fall in love with creating hand stamped items and since then it has become a cherished hobby of mine.

Over the years, I heard the words that so many artisans hear. "Your work is so nice. You really should be selling it." About 6 years ago, after the birth of my second child, I decided to make the dream of selling my hand crafted items a reality. I started selling at craft fairs which was a wonderful chance to meet people who really appreciate handmade items. In fact, some of my most loyal customers today found me at those very craft fairs. But doing fairs can be tough on the schedule and as my children have grown, I have found that I no longer want to give up my weekends for fairs and that's when I decided I needed to change the business just a bit.

And with the coming of 2010, I have done just that. In January, I opened up my online store, Right away I have met so many talented and helpful artisans and feel at home in this creative community. My store had its first sale just two days after opening and I am working hard to make it the place you want to go for all your cards and gift items.

I enjoy trying new techniques and playing with inks and stamps and ribbons and paper. It brings a sense of creative fulfillment to take the picture in my head and create that with paper. Some designs are clean and simple, some elegant, some cutesy and then everything else in between. Every card I make is high quality and I am my own worst taskmaster when it comes to that! Besides cards, I sell bookmarks and plan to fill my store with notepads and other fun paper gift items.

I am so happy with the changes I have made in my life and I think that is reflected in my store. I truly enjoy every aspect of creating my items and hope you will stop by for a visit. Whether it is to purchase some of my items or if you just have questions about stamping, I would love the chance to meet with you. As we joke in our house, come on by and I'll start up the kettle!

Is an artistic collaboration between Phil Puleo and Andrea N. Phil, who studied Illustration at RISD, creates the watercolor miniatures and Andrea, who’s been making jewelry since she was 10, designs necklaces around them. They started making these one of a kind artworks in the Summer of 2009 and just opened their Artfire store [dedicated to the sale of these art necklace collaborations] in the middle of January.


I learned all my first jewelry techniques from friends and friends of relative’s and taught myself most of the rest with books and by just figuring things out on my own. Mostly, it was just one other thing I enjoyed doing with my free time. In my early 20’s I did take a community college class in basic metalworking - casting and soldering - but wasn’t that good at it and, since I liked to be able to make jewelry as I traveled, I just didn’t pursue it any further then that. I was mostly doing beadweaving at that point.

I never intended to make jewelry other than as gifts for friends and relatives. I was going to be a doctor and a professional dancer. A writer and filmmaker. I dabbled in music and photography and was a radio personality. I’ve tried doing a lot of things and still try to from time to time. Done a fair bit of traveling too, but certainly have a lot more of that to do as well.

After not really accomplishing much in the fields I pursued, I came into jewelry as a living by accident. If you believe in accidents. After I moved to NYC, I worked in a boutique [for 5 years] that made their jewelry on premises. The owner closed up shop last April and since then, I’ve been attempting to work for myself. Phil has helped a lot.


Really is humble and doesn’t like to talk about himself much but, he’s really a pretty accomplished guy. RISD graduate, a good photographer as well as painter, and a fairly well know musician too. Phil’s actually been to more countries than I have since he spent a good deal of time traveling the world with several different bands.

The first band he co-founded: Cop Shoot Cop; and the band he was touring with when we met just finished a new recording. He plays drums as well as a host of other instruments and has spent the last few years writing at least one song a week, sampling himself playing instruments and mixing everything on the computer. [Phil spends a lot of time on the computer since he does graphic and web design for a living.] You’ll recognize at least one of his songs if you saw any of the Nike Warrior ads.

The miniature watercolors that he does for these necklaces usually get painted in batches. He sits down to do one and a few hours later, there’s a small pile for me to work with. In fact, I have one waiting for me now.

I have worked with stained glass off and on for the past 15+ years. In early 2007 a friend/mentor introduced me to dichroic glass and the art of glass fusing. I am always surprised at what comes out of my kiln...each piece is unique. I can fire two different pieces cut from the same piece of dichroic glass and end up with two totally different looks. I love the way you can wear a dichroic pendant with different backgrounds and have the piece reflect different tones. To me this glass is totally amazing.

The need to learn the technique of wire wrapping followed. I had to find a way to use what I was creating. I also like the way the wire flows and am in the process of learning new techniques for the wire as well as the glass.

I gave several pieces to friends and family as gifts. They encouraged me to take my hobby a step further and to share it with others. Glass and Wire Gems evolved out of this process. I needed a way to support my hobby. I currently have shops on both ArtFire and Etsy. I also have my pieces on consignment at two local shops: Designers Boutique and Gifts and Back to Basics Christian Book Store. I am blessed to be able to share the unique with others.


Huckleberry Bumpkin
Yup, that is me! Ohhh, and why can't I do a little plug here for myself huh? I mean really, it is my blog after all isnt it? And I think this one is a real sweetheart. I had so much fun doing this one!

Friday, February 12

Spring Mud...

Warmer days here in the north are coming. We have had a few unseasonably warm days and patches o ground are showing more and more. Granted I live further out than most around here but spring is definitely making her appearance known. I saw buds swelling on the trees, the ground turning dark and fertile, and irises poking their little heads up above the thawing earth.

Thinking of those blossom I am filled with anticipation. I love to grow flowers just for bringing into the house. I love to fill jars, canisters, cans and just about anything else I can get my hands on with shocks of spring color. It seems however when I set about making an arrangement they never turn out just as I pictured them. Usually lopsided and top heavy. I think that is why I was so excited when I saw the items in the shop fireNart on Artfire.

Let me tell you more about today’s feature…

Cynthia James has found her niche, a rather muddy one, and I have found my new “wish I had it” favorite! Cynthia has come up with a clever idea for a vase. Her vases are not only stunning, but clever as well. And you know how we like clever here on the Bumpkin Blog. She has been involved with art for over 30 years but once she discovered ceramics” there was no turning back” she says.

Most of the work she does now was self taught. She did study for some time at Lill Street Gallry in Chicago. After all the years painting it was her Eureka moment when she found the ceramics. “Working in 3 D is so creative. With clay, things evolve to anything my imagination can dream up.” she says. The work she is turning out is nothing short of amazing. Like I have told you guys I comb site after site and great talent is not easy to find, and after finding it, it is even harder to get to the blog. I think that is why was so excited to bring her to you all! Her form and colors are a symphony of beauty and function. Her work whispers volumes. It is breathtaking in its simplicity, unassuming and show stopping- somehow all at the same time.

Of course I had to ask her “Where all do you sell?” Her reply “I am an artist with the Illinois Artisans Program and sell some of my work in the downtown Chicago Artisans Gift Shop. I have done the art fair scene and sold some of my work in galleries and gift shops in the city. I have since switched from art fairs to French Markets which are a combination Farmers Market and art fair. They are one day a weekend and the promoter puts up the tent. Less work, less cost, and better profits.” Less cost, better profits, doing what we love, that is something I could live with!

Cynthia is doing just that. Living out her dream of early retirement, tucked up close to the Chigago River. Heralding from the Chicago suburbs Cynthia grew up a country girl, but now wants to be close enough to the city to grab art supplies and other items while still having some room to sprawl. She lives there with her husband and son. Her garage houses her kiln and makes up her studio. I have to smile here, I know all about garage turned art studio!

I related much to Cynthia. Garage studio, doing what she loves, living the dream. I think hr quote of “Always make things that you love” hit home the most. Since this Bumpkin discovered her barn wood, house paint and got the courage to let the world see her folk art, I haven’t been happier. I love bringing you guys all this wonderful talent. Please check out more of Cynthia’s work over at fireNart. I promise you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, February 11


I missed my first day of blogging in over a month. Did you even notice???I did. I wanted to be very dedicated and bring new art every day to this blog. But I am running out of talent. Don’t get me wrong there is a lot of great talent out there! I can’t however make them send back the interview questions. I hear over and over how they can’t wait to be featured, and then never receive the responses and follow ups! So, I am sorry to say…I have nothing today. I am hop-ing to feel well enough to track down a few new contacts and get them on the blog for you all. Hopefully I feel well enough to do it! I have been in a major Crohn’s disease flair up, but a medication change and a new specialist may have me on the road to recovery. We will see! In the mean time, if you know ANYONE at all who you would like to see here, on the bumpkin blog…PLEASE I am begging, send the info along!

Tuesday, February 9

In their own words...

Perfect for me todsay is the work of Indigotwins. Why? Because I don’t “stinking” feel good and their work makes me smile! Stinking-that is my four year old’s word of the now and we hear it a lot! Anyways, The work of these gals put a smile on my face the very first time I saw it. The fun characters seemed to come alive and dance across my screen. I was instantly captivated!

I have stated over and over that the Q and A approach seems lazy to me, but at times because of the artists words being compelling I have used that format to bring you great artists. Today, while I do love the way the twins wrote, the reason I am “doing it in their own words” is because as I said “I don’t feel good”. My sleeping dragon of crohns disease is waking up and breathing fire in my brelly…So I am taking the easy way out!

Here they are…


"We are indigotwin. Identical sisters originally from Northern Maine and coloring and creating together for as long as we can remember. Indigotwin started 2 yrs ago when we got together for a weekend and put some paper clay on the table.

We have both always liked the primitive and folk art styles and we created a few very simple holiday sculptures. We started taking our little shop seriously last January after we got a bunch of clay for Christmas! We started listing items, people started looking and then buying and it motivated us to create more and more.

Now we are at 500 sales and having a great time meeting new customers and seeing others returning time after time. We are in our early 30's now and are glad to finally be able to create each day.

Kirsten is an art teacher to grades K-12 in central Maine and is the mom to an adorable 1 yr. old, both which keep her extremely busy! Cortney is at home with three small children, 5,3 and 1 and teaches competitive figure skating.

We both have small studios in our home which we hide behind curtains. We hope to someday offer artist retreats at our family's 200 acre property where we rent out rustic log cabins on a beautiful patch of land.

We discovered Etsy quite accidently through a friend and started out slowly. Eventually we would love to wholesale our work and branch out into smaller boutiques and stores. We are both graduates of the University of Maine and both hold Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees.

We currently only sell on Etsy and it is keeping us quite busy. We are fascinated that we can sell our work all around the world and across the country. Etsy is a great medium in which we can have our tiny sculptures seen by people all over, all at the same time!"

And now, here they are on the bumpkin blog, for all my wonderful readers and followers! Please check out their store to see more of this great work!!!

I will try and bring you the other artists I promised this week…but with the way I am feeling there are no guarantees… If you want to help me out and do a “guest feature” on yourself or another artist…holler me at Hopefully though I will be back in the game soon!

Monday, February 8

Great art headed your way...

I have a great line up this week. We will hear from some twins doing fun, whimsical sculpture with paper clay, we have a self taught print artist and lost more great features coming. So be sure to check back this week to see all the grand art I am hoping to feature!!!

Sunday, February 7

Celebrate Sunday Photo

What a better way to celebrate the Lord's day ...

Again, the beautiful and graceful work of Laurie Ryan Photography! Thanks Laurie for sharing your talents with us!

Happy Sunday y'all!

The Bumpkin

Saturday, February 6

Saturday Shopping


It's time again for Saturday Shopping. I found some great items this week! Here you will find them, with a little bio written by the artisan who created them. Be sure to check out the links to see more work from these talented folks!!!

Happy shopping

The Bumpkin (be sure to peek at my items too while you shop)


Cindy Thomson started crafting at a very young age. When she was 7 years old, she and her sister used to paint rocks with funny faces and give them to friends and family. She moved on to crocheting a year later and it snowballed from there on. Now a days, she's designing and creating wire wrapped jewelry and working on other beading and metal smithing techniques.

She started working with wire one winter after moving from her native state of Minnesota to take a teachng job on the flat plains of southwestern Kansas. She was shopping over the after Christmas season with her mother and spotted a set of jewelry pliers in a local craft supply store. Curious about what one needed so many different pairs of pliers for, she purchased the set and some copper wire and the rest is history. She's completely addicted to working with wire, stones, beads and anything else she can get her hands on.

Her favorite metal to work with is copper. It is her mother's favorite metal and the bright color and easy bending makes it the perfect wire for her work. She also adores working with semi precious stones and beads. Some of her latest work features tone cabachons wrapped and woven in wire and adorned with other semi precious stones.

She intends to next explore the world of polymer clay beads. She's already begun making "beginner beads" with a small supply of polymer clay she picked up. She also is excited to incorporate the polymer clay into her cabachon designs. Stay tuned for more pieces from this "wired" artist!


I've been a "creative critter" all my life, and have always enjoyed learning new crafts and arts forms. I'm a self taught artist, learning the basics from books, and advancing my skills with study and practice. I sculpt, sew, knit, crochet, and make jewelry. I make many of my own patterns, such as the ones I create for my World of Warcraft Plush Taurens and Murlocs. You can find a lot of variety in my shop. I make jewelry, polymer clay sculptures, miniature houses, cloth dolls, stuffed animals, catnip toys, World of Warcraft Plush, pen sets, and more. The majority of my work is one of a kind, and everything is made by hand. I even grow my own organic catnip for my catnip toys (which cats just adore!). Much of my work is inspired by the world of fantasy. You'll find intricate dragons, whimsical wizards, and beautiful fairies throughout my shop. And of course I love animals, so you'll find animals of all types, from sculptures to stuffed toys. I'm quite inspired by nature, as well. I love walking in the woods, or working in my vegetable garden. Many of my sculptures feature flowers, including my highly detailed miniature house sculptures. I always strive to create the best pieces I can. Some of my more detailed sculptures, such as Scorch the Rockin Dragon, can take months to complete. I truly love what I do though, so I'm more than willing to put the work into those projects. I also enjoy creating special orders for customers, and do my best to create just what they want. Thank you so much for the opportunity to be featured on your blog. If you need anything else from me, just let me know.

-Michelle Adkins

Jennifer Lynn Productions.

I have been artistic all of my life. I am largely self-taught in all of my crafts and art forms, but I take classes when I can to keep things fresh. I specialize in upcycling and in using reclaimed, found, recycled, and Earth-friendly materials in my work. My tag line is \"Art and photography that favor nature," because I value the Earth, and my desire is to tread lightly upon it. Even where it is not apparent, nature and my connection to it informs all of my work. I am open to commissions, custom work, and consignment arrangements; however, because I also have a full-time job, custom work/consignments can take up to 4 weeks. Thanks again! Jennifer Moore JenniferLynn Productions, LLC

Grammie’s Krafty Kabana

My name is Sherri. I live in Ohio. My passion is creating crafty items, second to my family and friends. I always take requests, and try to accomodate each and every one. I try to come up with unique and special items each and every day. I usually spend at least 8 to 10 hours a day creating my items. I love crocheting, so a big part of me will involve me crocheting until all hours of the night. I have almost sent myself out the door with so much in craft supplies in my house. Its like Christmas each time I start to dig through all my supplies. But I love what I do, and I love meeting and making friends on Artfire. The most important thing to me is making shopping fun, easy and affordable. I hope you will enjoy your vist to Grammie’s Krafty Kabana. Thanks, Sherri

Zaney May

I joined Etsy in 2008 I needed a pair of Bat earrings. I had been looking for a part time job but wasn't able to find one so I decided to open up a shop at Etsy. And not waste my talents as my sister would say. I opened a my shop at the end of Oct. 2009. I was surprised that in a few weeks I had my first sale. I love creating and working with beads, metal, sewing and always finding new ways to materials to create with. Thanks Debra

Thanks for checking them out... be sure to visit us again for more wonderful art and artisans!

Friday, February 5

Wishing you all Friday Mornings...

I love Friday mornings. All the hope of the weekend rousing me awake and charging me even better than the sugar laden coffee I am drinking now. The weekend for me usually means some studio time! It may just be an hour here or a few minutes there, but it is time down there creating. I cherish it. I strive every day to be creative in one way or another and bless my family with it. My creativity I have learned is a heavenly gift. It is not mine to hoard but meant to be shared.

Today I want to give you the words of Camille from Camille Wanders…”It's important to create something, anything at all, every day. It might be a batiked purse, a wire-wrapped pendant, a poem, or a fantastic bowl of chili. Albert Einstein said, "Creativity is contagious. Pass it on." Yes, there's artistry in mathematics as well. Try something new, strive to improve, and pass it on to someone else.”

And in keeping with the sharing, today I give you ….

Camille Wanders

Camille is a multi talented artisan. Her batik work is what captured my eye. I spent a lot of time in my younger years doing batiking and I know it is a very delicate, time consuming process. It is both exhilarating and tragic because it seems the piece always has a mind of its own and it doesn’t not always correlate with the desire we have for it or the direction we wanted it to go. Meaning, you work your tail off only to have a muddy colored rag with unidentifiable smudges. To produce work of quality takes an amazing dedication and talent to the craft.

Batik is a process of layering was upon fabric, dying the fabric, waxing it again, dying it again in successive layers to build up the design. Batik requires immense planning, knowledge of colors, fabric and dye, it takes enormous patience, a steady hand and an great amounts of fore thought.

Camille has been batiking for about 10 years now. She and a friend jumped right into it with out even realizing they would at some point need to remove the wax from the fabric. They had read enough of the instructions to get to the fun part, but skipped reading he last of the instructions. But what a very way to learn than to jump right in. From what I read about Cammile she seems the “jump right in” kind of gal and I love her adventurous, nontraditional spirit.

I will let her tell you more in her own words.

“My name is Teri, but I sort of adopted the name Camille years ago as an identifier for my alter-ego. She's the wandering one, the curious one, the one willing to take a leap without looking. No one is completely left-brain or right-brain, so when I think of trying a new technique, my alter-ego kicks in to ease the nasty self-doubt. I think it's part of the creative process. I've attempted pieces that have been failures, but there's no way to expand and build on them if I never attempted the failure in the first place.

My family is incredibly supportive. I count myself lucky that I was raised in a creative home, my dad has constructed beautiful carpentry work and my mom is an amazing oil painter. I'm recently married, and though my husband is more into building the ultimate gaming computer than looking at eco-friendly fabric swatches, I count on him for his honest, critical eye.

I wandered to the southwest 5 years ago, only because I wanted a change of scenery and thought the desert sounded nice after living in Michigan. I'm east of Phoenix, and have found it to be a great source of inspiration. Whether one lives in Oregon, Maine, Louisiana, and so on, there's always a source of local culture and art that just isn't found anywhere else. Yes indeedy, July is a bit hot, but the trade is that I get a beautiful blooming desert in February.

I learned batik when I lived in northern California ten years ago. A friend of mine had a sewing machine and had heard of this technique with dye and wax. It was fun, and messy, and a challenge when we got to the part where we needed to remove the wax from the fabric. Neither of us had thought to get instructions, we just sort of jumped in.

It's very important to me that the entire process of my craft is as eco-friendly as I can make it. It's an ongoing learning process, as at the same time I have to stand by the integrity of what I make. The permanent dyes I use are low impact, I use minimal water, and I batik sustainable fabric.

Batiking and sewing has been a hobby of mine, and I think I was only recently ready to sort of throw it out there for the world to see and sell online. I'm more confident than I was a year ago, and it has encouraged me to keep learning and growing. It's one thing for my sister to say she likes the purse I gave her, she has to as her sisterly duty. It's quite another to ask someone to pay me for what I've made and be told that it's a great piece.

A handmade creation has a story. It was a vision, there was a process, and, sometimes with a bit of serendipity, there's a unique end result. By buying and selling the uniqueness that started as a vision, the story keeps going.”

And it does keep going. Each of us touches another , I know I for one have grown from each story I have put on the blog. I have grown artistically, I have grown in my awareness to social issues, I have grown in friendships. So very true! All the stories-a creator and their art never really ends, forever Friday mornings filled with hope.

Happy Creating y'all!
The Bumpkin

Thursday, February 4

In the Basket

Basketry Botanica

Yesterday we saw some great talent out of Oregon and it seems there is more talent weaving its way out of Oregon. Today I would like to bring you basket maker Carole Cole. Her work is exquisite in its simplicity, with fanciful color and details added. Has been weaving since the early 1970’s. She began as a fabric designer and weaver and sold hand-woven clothing for years. She migrated to baskets after taking a few classes at a civic center. Her work can be seen several places online as well as some summer Farmers Markets.

Her son has been one of her largest supporters and seems to have a natural affinity for basket making. Carol teachers her craft at local summer camps. Her son finds himself the go to guy when she is in a pinch and needs help. He is the one she can rely on to know the sizes and gauges of the reeds with out needing any assistance from her. An assistant who needs not assistance, now that is what I like.

But I don’t like it nearly as much as her baskets. Her baskets incorporating the antlers are my favorites, But all of her work is stunning and original in its appearance. Basket weaving is not uncommon but a basket weaver with an artist eye is. Her baskets combine both functionality with form crating wonderful works of art.

Carole has recently been ill and hasn’t been doing as much with her weaving as she would like. Hopefully come spring she will be ready to set back to her craft. This will coincide perfectly with her plans for a studio make over. There has been big buzz around her place about new paint and a moving some supplies in. She is not currently working out of the studio due the health issues and the weather. Like many of us in the northwest heat is a commodity, and her studion currently has no source for warmth. The warmth coming from the interview with Carole and her seemingly big heart , could my guess, fill entire studios of many artists!

When asked the one thing that defines her “ridiculous determination. I'll do something the hard way, if that's the only way I can get it done. “ So I was not surprised when I also asked her best advice for other artists “Learn and grow as much as you can within your capabilities and be persistent about it - avoid giving in with every little disappointment”

Thos us of who deal daily with illness must have that ridiculous determination. We have to struggle through the bad times and hold tightly to the good.l Life does not allow for us to see disappointments and we must remain focused on every little glimmer of goodness.

I think Carole has captured that theory in one of her big baskets and is living out the theory that art is therapy. We all wish you well carol and hope to have you back in the art community soon!

Happy Creating Y'all

The Bumpkin!

OKAY BIG CALL OF HELP….. My dear and faithful readers…I am desperate for great talent. I have lots ot feature on the Saturday Shopping but I need talent for the full features. I write 20-30 artist a week and only a handful respond and only a few drops actually follow completely through. So please, if you know great talent, PLEASE pass the name along. Also I am looking for guest writers. So if any of you would like to throw your hats in the ring…PLEASE do so. The Bumpkin Blog is growing bigger than expected and I am finding no time for the studio…so please someone help me out and help me get back to my paintings… at least once in awhile!

Emails can be sent to Huckleberry Bumpkin thanks guys!!!

Wednesday, February 3

Fishing Season Swimming Upon Us...

I can’t seem to stop thinking about spring being right around the corner. Spring is my favorite season. I love the sun warming the earth and coaxing forth the fertile earth, and tender shoots of flowers and grass to come. I love the feel of excitement n the air after winters blanket is pulled back, and thrown off. I love to watch the ice migrate closer and closer to the shoreline on our mountain lakes until it eventually disappears. Little bugs begin to flutter on the heady, musty breeze, and then I know it is time to fish. I often ponder which I enjoy more, painting or fishing? Both to me are an art form, and both bring me immense peace.

It was the yearning for fishing season that led me to discover today’s Artist. I had goggled “fish” to see what might come up. There I was struck by incredibly colorful, graceful metal sculptures of Mark Noll. So you know what I had to do! Today then I bring you, Mark Noll of ...

Nature Art Studios.

Mark lives in the wonderful and rustic Kings Valley, in Oregon. He lives there with his wife of 25 years, and his three teenage sons. They are a family with a keen affection for creativity. His wife avidly quilting, oldest son gardening and photography, middle son a talented guitarist and his youngest son creating mixed media sculptures, working mainly with Legos. Having all the creative energy bustling in his busy house is one of the things that inspire Mark the most. He is pictures here with his youngest son, Justen. Over at their studio Natures Art on Etsy you can see some of Justens work as well, and my guess is in years to come he may just land himself as a talented artist here on the bumpkin blog.

I asked Mark to tell us a bit about his process, workspace and techniques: “The metal nature sculpture is made from a sheet of solid copper, brass, or aluminum. First, I draw the rough shape on the metal and cut it out with aviation snips. Chisels, punches, hammers, and mallets bring the form to life.

After polishing the surface with ultrafine steel wool, I etch it with a patina solution or wipe on an antiquing wax. Finally, the piece is sprayed with a clear coat to preserve the colors and finish.

I use a blend of tools from traditional metalworking, autobody work, and wood working. To cushion and deaden the hammer blows, my workbench is lined with a thick piece of rubber horse stable matting and my tool handles are wrapped with soft foam.”

He certainly knows what he is doing. Mark has only been at metal sculpting for a little over a year, but the experimentations with color and texture are remarkable. It is no wonder then that the interest in his work has mushroomed in the last year. He is unable to predict just how this will continue in the future, when I asked about his goals. Mark enjoys private requests and commissions and has been concentrating heavily on filling the needs of his customers. Having that personal connection with them is why he believes buying handmade is so important in our society today.

He started selling online after reading in a newspaper about Etsy. He started with only custom requests to build up a reputation and get a few sales under his belt. He has since expanded and has a fully loaded shop, Natures Art Studio on Etsy as well as a few items on Artfire. Eventually Mark hopes his metalwork will sustain him during the transition from working man to retirement. With his work in several galleries stretching from MN to OR , Mark has plans ro place is work in several others.

His affinity for great works, his wonderful attitude, and desire to improve will vault Mark to the top. His advice to other artists? “Keep doing your art because you love to do it. Earning money is a bonus. Keep learning and trying different techniques. The more you do the better you get.” I look at his work and wonder, is there room to improve? It is absolutely stunning. I know I will be checking back often to sere how he does manage to improve on these flawless beautifies!

Be sure to wander over to Nature Art Studios. While your there don’t forget to take a look at some of Justen’s work as well!

Thanks for reading y'all!
The Bumpkin

On a side note....
Huckleberry Bumpkin Studios on Artfire ahs been nominated for the top 10 newcombers studtion... I would love it if you could take a few minutes, pop over to the polls and give me (or another worthy store) a vote!!!! Thanks guys!

Tuesday, February 2

"Glass Hogs and Tool Junkies"

I came across Classy Art Glass after having googled Lampwork. Lampwork is a very hot art technique currently nd it seems everyone is doing it. However not everyone should be doing it. Again as I flipped through page after page of “lampwork” My eyes grew weary. Until I hit on Classy Art Glass, and as their name suggested, I found exactly that. I read the bio and was instantly captivated by this husband and wife duo. Fortunately for me they had recently completed an interview with Artifre. Here are experts from that interview and Jack talking about the loves of his life- his wife, and their glass work!


“I make lampwork glass beads so you may use your talent and creativity to design beautiful one-of-a kind jewelry anyone would be proud to wear!

Lampworking and jewelry making is all I do now. If I'm not on the torch making glass art, I'm in the studio creating sterling silver jewelry from the glass pieces that I lampworked. Besides that, the marketing of our work is very time consuming, so I guess you could say that it takes up almost all of my time in one way, shape, or form.

The one thing that defines me is probably my dedication to whatever I am trying to accomplish at the time. Whether it is at the torch, designing jewelry, or working on our websites. I'm sort of a perfectionist and take great pride in the final product. It seems that I'm always "tinkering" with one thing or another striving to make whatever it is the best that it can be.

My wife is the most important thing in my life, and has been for almost 20 years! If it wasn't for her, I might not even be here right now, much less, making glass and jewelry. From the later part of 2001 to Oct 2003 I began a difficult period in my life, having to endure five serious abdominal surgeries, resulting in the selling of my company and basically, my willingness to live. This situation forced Mary (my wife) to find another source of income to support our moderate lifestyle. She started working 7 days a week and did this for two years until it became so overwhelming that she had to find a better way. This brought her to something she had always wanted to do: make jewelry. She loves to wear it, and loves to buy it, so why not make it? In the early part of 2004, I began to have periods during the day when I was able to start doing things around the house. Mary would beg me to let her teach me how to make jewelry when I would have a good day. I finally said, “Okay, teach me.” This was the beginning of my “new life” as a fine jewelry and glass designer. After having a “creative drought” of over 3 years, Mary was the person who taught me to “unleash my creativity again.”

The question of where I learned the craft of lampworking is easy to answer. One of our good friends, out of the goodness of her heart, came over to our home one weekend a few years ago. She had loaded her car with glass, hoses, a torch, mandrels, bead release, tools, glasses, etc., everything one needs to start learning the art of lampworking! From that moment on, my wife and I were hooked! Thank you so very much Shawnette!!

If there was a new craft for me to learn, it would be designing and making pieces in Borosilicate Glass. I've always been a "soft glass" kind of guy, and have never tried using Boro glass for any of my projects. First, however, I want a lot more experience using soft glass before taking that next step to Boro work.

My wife and I would love to be able to support ourselves through ArtFire and our glass and jewelry! I believe that this website can do nothing but go up in popularity because of the ease of use and quality of product that it showcases. The more that people see this wonderful arena of true handmade creativity, the more they are going to want to purchase quality, handcrafted goods from this site.

As far as my inspiration goes, each piece of glass artwork is a reflection of my individual impressions of life, nature, emotion, and experiences. What makes our lampwork glass and jewelry different is our design process. Every item begins with an inspiration, based on color and form. It will never get old!

If I were to win a $1000 shopping spree I would BUY MORE GLASS of course, and more Sterling Silver findings for our jewelry making. In this craft, you can never have too much glass! Maybe a few more tools as well... After all, we ARE known as "Glass Hogs and Tool Junkies"! “

Monday, February 1

Great Day for...UP

Any of you with children will probably recognize the title of this post is also the title of a children’s book…if you don’t recognize, go to the library and rent it. It’s a pretty good book/ But has nothing really to do with this post...

I watched the movie Up this weekend. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I know this blog usually features artists and their work and I am trying my best to support those just starting, or those with great talent and stuff. But it’s my blog and I will do whatever I want…right? And I want to talk about the movie up!

Have you seen it? It is hands down the most amazing children’s movie I have ever seen. It’s amazing on so many levels. First the animation. It is incredible animation and color and such, but that is to be expected from Pixar. The true beauty was not in the animation but in the story line. It was very different from the good versus evil, hero versus villain of most children’s shows.

Yes, there was the “bad guy” but so much of it was his own personal struggle. He was battling his own demon of pride, old age and all sorts of other deeper things than just being a bad guy. The main character, battles himself as well. His entire life lay behind him and he is faced with a grim future. Until he learns to let go of that emotionally charged past and literally move past his past .

As I watched the movie I kept waiting for it to get cheesy and dumb like a kids movie. I kept waiting for smarmy remarks, and sarcastic play on words. But unlike the other children’s movies, it didn’t have that sort of humor, yet it was an exceedingly funny movie at times. More so however it was a touching movie of life’s struggle of internal angst, and of personal growth.

Two old old men coming to terms with where they have been and where life was now leading them. Generations expanded as a quirky neighbor kid came into play part way through the film. It had all the great components of a great movie, strong characters, cute animals, great scenery…

I could go on and on about it. But I wont. You really should watch it. I walked away from the TV screen a different person after watching. I was much more self aware this weekend, realizing my own demons and my own struggles and my own need to bloom. I had touched on this with artist Julie Behm’s feature. She had used the word “expand” as her word for the year. After reading her story I have chosen to use the word “blossom”. Maybe it was the interview, the blog post last week and the movie combined. I don’t know? I do know that for whatever reason I feel the petals unfolding.

And to quote Julie, who quoted Anais Nin: “There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”