Friday, March 30, 2012

When you have no more room at home...

a visitor to the studio adds an image to the community collage an outside studio space with two friends at The Creative Center in Greensboro, NC., a young and vibrant new art community! There have been so many benefits to this move. In addition to regaining the spare bedroom at home and finally organizing all of my "stuff," I've met so many creative and interesting people (and their studio dogs). The whole building is alive with energy. Close the door and you can work undisturbed, but open it and tenants and visitors flow in and out to say hello, chat, or sit for a bit.

The Creative Center (formerly The Greensboro School of Creativity) is a non-profit membership organization born out of the belief that we are all, by our very nature, creative. Whether by picking up a pen, paintbrush, stepping on stage, or singing a song we experience something of our true nature when we create. It is how we were born!

Originally called The Sanctuary, The Center was founded in December of 2005 in the hope of providing a place of safety for people. The school wanted to be a community that allowed people to live authentically, flourish creatively, and thrive spiritually. On their six-acre campus, The Sanctuary offered book groups, art classes, and recovery meetings as well as weekly worship services. But the mission needed some tweaking.

After two years they moved to a new space where the organization began to explore other ways to reach the stated mission. With more classes, art openings, and yoga classes, they grew into a spirituality and creativity center.

In January, 2011, they returned to our original location but with a new name. The Greensboro School of Creativity was now offering studio spaces for artists as well as classes, and the increased space allowed our curriculum to grow as well. And now...another name change to The Creative Center!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Aftershocks Rock Christchurch...

This eerily poignant view of post-earthquake Christchurch was just forwarded to me by a friend who visited New Zealand in the fall on a people-to-people tour. Be sure to have your sound on. Just the sound alone is moving. If you would still like to participate in the HEARTS FOR CHRISTCHURCH Project, know that all hearts must be received by Evie Harris in NZ by Easter weekend, April 23-25th. For some inspiration, check her blog for the amazing progress this heartfelt outreach is making.

What you haven't seen on TV
YouTube - Videos from this email

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hearts for Christchurch: Let's revisit Friday....

Hearts for Christchurch: Let's revisit Friday....: "This is a work by Rev. Marci Reid-Smith of Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. I knew this was coming and also knew it was of a fragile nature...." Marci's is a fused-glass disk with clay birds and hearts on beaded hangers.

Thus begins Evie's acknowledgment of the most recent hearts sent last week from Greensboro, NC. Please check back to her blog to see all of the amazing hearts sent from around the world as "heartfelt" offerings to victims of the February earthquake that devastated Christchurch, New Zealand,
All hearts must arrive to Evie by APRIL 30th!
Go to:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Check out Evie's Blog!

Hearts for Christchurch is GROWING! Evie Harris, project organizer, [] has created a blog to share the progress gathering hearts from around the world. Be sure to check this site for inspiration!

Monday, February 28, 2011

New Zealand Earthquake: Aftershocks Rock Christchurch on 'Darkest Day

In the face of this natural tragedy, read (below) what one New Zealand artist is doing to bring an outpouring of love to her neighbors...

"Hearts for Christchurch"

I never know what I'll find when I check my email in the morning. Today, there was a post that immediately caught my eye. Evie Harris, a quilter and artist who is a member of one of my Internet art groups, lives in Napier, New Zealand, just a short distance from the quake. She has put out a call to her friends on the Internet to make "Hearts for Christchurch", to share some visible love to the people in Christchurch (New Zealand) who have been affected by the devastating earthquake that struck that city on February 22nd. She asked for her message and request to be passed along. Please read, and participate if you can. This project is perfect for church groups, schools and youth groups, guilds and any communities where you may have connections. If you can't make any hearts, please send this message to others.
Thank you!
Cindy Peck

PS: If you DO choose to participate, will you please let me know? I would like to track this on my blog!

Evie writes:

“I am gathering hearts for Christchurch. Not heart blocks in the quilting sense but `hanging' hearts.

Please make two heart shapes sewn together, stuffed or not, embellished, embroidered, CQ'd, quilted, plain or fancy, felt or fabric or anything goes. Add a loop at the top.

However many inches high that you care to make. For ease of postage, envelope size is a good measurement. These could even be ATC size!

Also for ease of postage you can send them flat, leave an opening and add a note "Please stuff me". I have a couple of non sewers on stuffing.

You can choose to sign them on the back and add a message. It would be nice to have at least the area they come from.

This is just a small measure of something nice to give in this terrible time. A heart is a symbol of caring and I know we all feel an overpowering desire to do something.

Where will they all go? It is intended the hearts will be displayed all together in Christchurch so people can see and feel the outpouring of caring. A venue for that will need to be finalized, given the destruction in the city, the timing of taking them to Christchurch and the number of hearts. After that each one will be given away to those affected by the quake.

If you aren't in a position to donate a heart or two send a little bit of fabric. I have heart makers at the ready. Or simply pass this on message with my address (please do that anyway).

Address for hearts:

Hearts for Christchurch
C/- Evie Harris
523 Main North Road
Bay View
Napier 4104
New Zealand

Spread the word to any and all who you think will send a little of their heart.
Thank you.


TV pictures of the aftermath of the February 22nd earthquake disaster in New Zealand showed scores of collapsed buildings in the South Island city of nearly 400,000 people. Shocked survivors could be seen wandering the rubble-strewn streets, which cracked open as the ground beneath was liquefied by the tremor.

New Zealand experiences more than 14,000 earthquakes a year, of which only around 20 have a magnitude in excess of 5.0. The last fatal earthquake was in 1968, when a 7.1-magnitude tremor killed three people on the South Island's western coast. The February 22nd quake was the country's worst natural disaster since a 1931 quake in the North Island city of Napier killed 256 people.

New Zealand lies on the notorious Ring of Fire, the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim. The country straddles the boundary between two tectonic plates: the Pacific and Indo-Australian plates.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blogging Without Obligation

An idea whose time has come...

* Because you shouldn’t have to look at your blog like it is a treadmill.

* Because its okay to just say what you have to say. If that makes for a long post, fine. Short post, fine. Frequent post, fine. Infrequent post, fine.

* Because its okay to not always be enthralled with the sound of your own typing.

* Because sometimes less is more.

* Because only blogging when you feel truly inspired keeps up the integrity of your blog.

* Because they are probably not going to inscribe your stat, link and comment numbers on your tombstone.

* Because for most of us blogging is just a hobby. A way to express yourself and connect with others. You should not have to apologize for lapses in posts. Just take a step back and enjoy life, not everything you do has to be “bloggable”.

* Because if you blog without obligation you will naturally keep your blog around longer, because it won’t be a chore. Plus, just think you will be doing your part to eradicate post pollution. One post at a time. . .

Saturday, August 29, 2009

14 Secrets for a Happy Artist's Life

Be Last night I stumbled on a Yahoo group called “14 Secrets for a Happy Artist’s Life”--- The group is all about art making, art exchange, and making ourselves happy with art.

"14 Secrets?" I mused. I love secrets so I joined the group. Here are just a few:

--- Find three good things every day, whether they are experiences, or objects, or both. Find a way to use them in art.
--- Make everything special. Embellish your life.
--- Play more often.
--- Find something to love about where you are everyday.
--- Create beauty with what you have on hand.

They made sense to me.

Group owner Lani Gerity is an artist/art therapist/writer/puppetmaker who was raised in Taiwan, schooled in New York, and currently lives in a fishing village in Nova Scotia. A magical muse, she offers an on-line course starting September 7th called The Artist’s Happiness Challenge—An eWorkshop. The class seemed a bargain at $40 ($19.95 if you’re smart enough to click on the “Top Secret Discount for Blogspot Readers” which I wasn’t) and I signed up immediately.

Who could resist “three months of art challenges, current research, and happiness inspiring stories... weekly art challenges based on current research from positive psychologists... and exploring the connections between positive emotions, art making, and health benefits?"

Check it out for yourself at Lani also offers free downloads of an e-zine that is definitely worth the read at

I love retirement and time to dabble. My march has slowed, and there is so much to see and sample!

I Know a Little Bit About a Lot of Things...

I love the Information Age. What I know about IT---information technology---would hardly impress a kindergartener, but as a dedicated, lifetime IM---information monger---virtual access to the seemingly infinite world of ideas, opinions, and people leaves me breathless with anticipation as I boot up and head for Google Search each day.

No wonder collage art has surfaced on my radar and is consuming so many of my waking hours since June. It feels as if I am collaging my life, organizing what floats about in my head and grabs my attention, and then giving it a visual form. My computer is the intercept between what I want to express and how I give form to that vision. I spend endless hours revisiting the thousands of scanned photos from old family albums and those available in the public domain, considering why they call to me, imagining how they might be transformed. When something clicks, I open Photoshop and start playing on my computer screen. SAVE and DELETE are such powerful little keys. I keep what I like and discard the rest.

Sometimes I stumble upon some little program such as the one that created the word COLLAGE above. You can try it out yourself at What fun! This morning I plugged in my name, pressed enter, and voile! Photos of letters on signs from around the world spelled out "C" from a highway sign in France, an "I" on a graffiti-filled building in a city, and so on. I just love this kind of thing. It won't put bread on the table, but it brought pleasure to this grandmother in North Carolina on a hot Saturday.

What is your experience? Why not share it?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Generosity and Art

I look forward to checking the mailbox these days. Bills, flyers and magazines are always there. But if I'm lucky, I'll also find a neatly addressed envelope that contains a special gift---a tiny piece of art from a new, virtual friend!

The image above is a page from my ATC collection. The acid-free pockets, originally made to fit standard sports trading cards kept in a three-ring binder, are perfect for these tiny pieces of art. Imagine the generous spirit of the individuals from around the world who share their creative talent with strangers for the cost of a postage stamp and a card in return. Amazing, isn't it?

Some of the cards are cut paper collages, some doodled in inks or colored pencils. A few, like most of my own, are digital collages created from photos and images in the public domain, manipulated to create backgrounds for a dramatic effect. What they all have in common is the creative passion of the individual artists who create them and their generosity in sharing them with others.

Do you think you'd like to try your hand? Search "ATCs" on google or yahoo and see what comes up for you. You may be surprised at what you find!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

"Two puries for your aggie"...Internet Swapping

When I woke up and checked my email this morning, there was a message to check out a blog kept by a new Internet friend in Arizona. Along with thousands of other artists around the world, she creates tiny Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and sends them out to people who want a piece of her original art in exchange for something they have created.

From parcels of land to marbles, swapping is as old as time. The Internet simply has expanded number of players by pushing the boundries into cyberspace.

I swapped the cards above with Margaret Storer-Roche last week, 4 of hers for 4 of mine. She had so many little jewels of color and ink on her flickr photostream site that I wanted them all, but fair is fair. I had to leave some for other eager traders, after all. When I opened her blog, I found that she had posted the trades she received this past week from all over the world: . Do take some time to visit it, won't you?

Yes, Trading Cards are B-A-A-ACK, not the mass produced wax packets along with a piece of bubblegum however. This time, each 2 1/" X 3 1/2" card is a tiny bit of original art. and who knows? Maybe one that I've traded for will some day be as prized as a genuine 1951 Mickey Mantle Rookie card!

Friday, July 10, 2009

SoulCollage or ATCs?

Two weeks ago, I made a new discovery---ACTs. ARTIST TRADING CARDS are miniature works of art created on 2 ½ X 3 ½ inch or 64 X 89 mm card stock or similar sturdy papers. Produced by a single artist, ATCs are made in limited numbers, often no more than one of a kind. Unique ATCs are called originals; sets of identical ATCs are called editions and are numbered; sets of ATCs that are based on one theme but that are different are called series. They reflect a wide variety of techniques including paintings, drawings, collages, photographs, rubberstamp works, mixed media, found images, assemblages, and more.

Although art miniatures were popular as early as the 1600s— Zurich artist and organizer M. Vänçi Stirnemann initiated the concept of ATCs, the application of trading cards to the art world, in 1997.

Traditionally, an ATC mustn't be sold, only exchanged, as the whole essence of these tiny works of art is about artists meeting other artists and exchanging their works in person, by correspondence, or even online. Several yahoo groups exist to promote trading internationally. Artists upload pictures of their cards on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr and invite group members to view them and propose a trade. is one such group with over 2000 members.

That basic rule about trading and not selling cards was tweaked when some artists saw the Internet as an opportunity to make some money and began to create cards to sell, and ACEOs---or "Art Cards, Editions, and Originals" came into being. Many former ACT artists now sell their art miniatures on EBay, making art easily affordable to virtually anyone today.

So, where do I sit on all of this “new discovery? For now, I love creating these little bits of color and form on my computer. Through trial and error and a real desire to understand the program, I have finally learned some of the most basic techniques in Photoshop that have eluded me for years. SoulCollage cards and ATCs are a very different process for me. The first is driven by intention that is felt but not always clear until the last image is glued down. The latter evolves from an image and decisions made to enhance and show it off to the best advantage. My flickr photostream has been inserted to the right on this page. What do you think?