Thursday, December 24, 2009


 Just a little note to say
 to all the wonderful folks who took my classes at Castle in the Air in 2009. I learned so much from you, and made so many new friends. I Can't wait to see you again and share new ideas and techniques in the spring.  
    To all the people who bought my little creations over the year, your support means so much to me. 
 And to my dear friends and family whom I love and treasure.
 Most of all to my wonderful amazing children who every day make my world a better place to be, even though some days it doesn't feel like exactly like thats whats happening. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

City by the Bay

There's something exhilerating about a great city, San Francisco doubly so because of the slate blue water all around and the crisp gentle sea breeze. It's a city on a very human scale, the buildings are full of whimsy and grace, pale to reflect the sunlight. The people can afford the warmth they share with strangers because they are so spoiled for beauty and art and lovely weather.
       Last Sunday I spent the day at the Waldorf School in the Pacific heights neighborhood. I got up a little late, forgot my camera and lunch at home, and drove down to the city earlyish to set up. This is, I believe, my16th year at the San Francisco Winter Fair. I sell my handmade toys, make new aquaintances, and generally have a great time.
       A little boy, Lincoln, comes to buy one of my little caterpillars each year. Each year he adds a new caterpillar to his bedside collection. We carefully take every one out of the basket and lay them in a row so that he can take the time to choose the one he wants. I love this about him, he considers things carefully, he's my little zen teacher for be here now.
        Sometimes we rush children, I'm already feeling guilty here about all the times I rushed my kids, but hell, guilt that's just being a parent, and I suppose I had my reasons at the time.
       I think about Obama taking his time about the best way forward in Afghanistan, looking at all the angles, making sure all the possibilities have been considered, even if one doesn't like the outcome one has to admire his curiosity and critical mind. Isn't that something we want to encourage in our children? So I'm just saying, when the oppotunity presents itself, there is nothing more beautiful and entertaining, than letting a child take all the time they need to make a decision, however insignificant it may seem to you, like art, its about the process.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Art fix

I took my little hermit self to thanksgiving get together yesterday, as usual I thought of a thousand reasons not to go, but the curious gregarious person I used to be made me get in the car and drive there anyway. I'm really glad she did that, I almost always am.
  After a relaxed thanksgiving dinner sitting arount a firepit talking art and the pitfalls of raising a teenager I got to see my host's amazing new paintings, food for body and soul. I got home and watched Charlie Rose's interview with Tim Burton, a great interview. It turns out that Tim, like me, has the attention span of a gnat, cool to see how he's developed the support system to corall that into such amazing work. I get the impression that for him it's about giving up on trying to get himself together and organized and setting goals and all that feel safe stuff, and more about clearing the deck to free the dialogue with his creativity, if the conversation wanders into unexpected territory all the better to see the unexpected everywhere.

   I say this as if I could really do this if I tried, but the truth is that like alot of creative folk I have to sell most things I make just to pay the bills so I can't manage without the lists and computer and cell phone that organise me and distract me. but oh, I ache to try.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Miniature Walnut Babies

Todays production from the little factory of one.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Nature of Memory


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pomegranate jelly and eyeball necklaces

Some weeks there are so many crazy things going on.
The halloween bat crown class was a blast, there was even a guy in my class! That doesn't happen often enough. (thanks Michael!) we even had time to make a necklace that I came up with the night before. the next day (and I should know better) attempted to do the earth mother thing and make pomegranate jelly, this involved hours of wrestling those little jewels from their skins and pith, juicing the resulting fruit and straining it to make the jelly. It looked very beautiful when I finally got it in the jars, I even did the boiling water thing to preserve it! but it's been 48 hours and it hasn't set yet. I think those pomegranates can sense fear.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wild Turkey

I counted 35 turkeys across the street from my house yesterday, Noticably missing all but one of the adult males. They don't seem to care too much though.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Crown

Last Chance to sign up for the batwing crown class at Castle in the Air this saturday!
 This is going to be a great day we will be making this fab crown using leather formed over a wire skeleton to give a realistic creepy factor to this Edward Gorey inspired creation.
As usual there will be lots of tips and techniques on crown making in general and a creepy goody bag of trims to take home.

Phone: (510)204-9801 Castle in the Air on 4th street in Berkeley to sign up

Monday, October 19, 2009

caterpillars in the mist

It's been raining on and off all week, all the plants in my yard are delighted because I'm not the best gardener and they finally got watered. It's the perfect weather for making wooly things and sipping cocoa, although being northern California a heatwave sometime in the next few weeks is still possible. I'm working on caterpillars this week as you see and then I'm on to a special project for Castle in the air.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Meet the Neighbors

Over the past couple of years wild turkeys have settled in to my neighborhood. This summer the troop of about 10 had chicks and suddenly there were 40 or more gawky chicks, they are no trouble at all except when the big males were showing off in the spring by chasing kids on bikes, the kids were a little freaked at first, but those big ungainly toms with their falsetto voices and can can girl run are hard to take seriously.
Now that autumn is here the flock has thinned out alot, suddenly. I don't like to think that anything sinister has happened but the adults have mostly dissapeared. today I spoke to my neighbor and he told me that on his way to work last week he saw 3 guys catching them, flinging them in a van and driving away.   They've kidnapped my neighbors! I'm very upset about it, but this is not really a sympathetic environment, what with it almost being thanksgiving and all.

Friday, September 25, 2009


My washing is in a pile in the hallway, the studio is in chaos and I've not seen the surface of the coffee table in a week, but hey check out my washing line! I'm dying wool for the class I'm teaching at Castle in the air on Sunday, in Berkeley. Looks like Autumn despite the hot weather.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ocean mist and cinnamon rolls

This lovely place is Bolinas lagoon. I love to go to the coast, It sort of puts things in perspective to look out over the pacific ocean. I did walk down to Stinson beach this morning so I could take a picture and show you how beautiful and calm and blue it all is. However, I forgot that it's Sunday and the beach was jam packed with giggly kids and equally blissed out surfers and utterly ecstatic dogs of every shape and size. Although it was lovely to see everyone in such a good mood, that wasn't the picture I had in mind, so I took this picture of the lagoon on our way to Point Reyes Station which is yet another lovely place where there is a Bakery called the Bovine bakery, we bought some morning buns and sat on a bench to eat our breakfast and feed the birds. Paradise.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Warm & Fuzzy

 It's been a very busy week at the little factory of one, I sewed lots of caterpillar leaves, made a banner out of scraps from my enormous fabric stash, and made these felt balls. I'm trying to get ready for the winter fair at the San Francisco Waldorf School on the 6th of December. I always promise myself that I'll start in January next year but I never am able to really catch up, I think its a problem of setting unrealistic goals for myself. It's so nice to see at least one box full of goodies fill up though.
I've been thinking about artists who are also single parents.
    This weekend Camille and I are going to the beach, I haven't been for over a year and couldn't afford to go now if it were not for a friend who has a cabin there and let's me trade.
It has been the hardest year ever financially and I need a day to read and paint and walk on the beach.
     If you are a single parent like me trying to make a living with your art or craft (There are no jobs here either) I send you my love and support, we have the gift of being able to do what we love and in many cases teach others what we know and love but the money part is very difficult for most of us, and when you single parent there are not alot of pats on the back and quite a bit of criticism. So from me to you, thank-you for taking on the responsibility of single parenting, thank-you for all the times you do your best to play the role of two parents. Thank-you for bringing up children who are surrounded by creativity and for the art you continue to make because you make the world a better place.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nevada Territory

This week I've been in Nevada, a friend of mine is opening an amazing toy shop Called" Little City Items" in Virginia City. She invited me up to spend a few days. and help set up the store. Pam knows everything there is to know about beautiful toys, she was, until a year ago when she sold up and headed for a new adventure, the owner of "The Ark" two stores in San-Francisco and one on Fourth street in Berkeley, all three stores were beautifully designed by her, as is her new store in Virginia City, with help and humor from her husband Jack who is an architect and sculptor. If you are in the area, it's about half an hour from Reno, the drive is spectacular, the history is fascinating and the view from Virginia City is out of this world. Oh, and just incase thats not incentive enough, next weekend they are holding the annual camel races, a tradition since 1960.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The most creative thing I ever did

I have to admit I like this time of year, the weather cools in the evenings and I'm forced to get a bit more organized as Camille starts the school year, it makes both of us feel we've acomplished something big. This is Camille's junior year and with pre-sats and homework packed classes we both know it will have it's difficult days, but I am excited for her and also a little clingy as I think that soon she will go to college and I will miss her desperately but I also know that If I did my job properly she will not miss me as much. And most of all It makes me think how incredibly lucky I am to have her for a daughter and my wonderful kind Nathaniel for a son.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rocks and Ruins watercolor class

I had a wonderful time teaching the Watercolor class "Rocks and Ruins", at Castle in the Air yesterday, and I couldn't have picked better company for a day of discovering the magic of watercolor. I was tired when I got home but couldn't resist a little more painting.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Halloween classes

A long drive to L.A to pick up my daughter from "Innerspark", and back the same day. Now the house is full of hugs and laughter and music again. I missed her so much.
It's already time to brew up halloween projects for my up coming classes at Castle, this one is the bat wing crown inspired by Edward Goreys drawings.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Friday, July 24, 2009

Simpler Life

Lately, I feel that I'm running very fast and barely keeping pace with everything that needs to be taken care of. I long for a simpler life. A little cottage with a studio within walking distance, the possibility of travel at least once a year, a little garden, long spring and autumn seasons, time to read, a wood-stove to make my morning coffee and a languid stream nearby..... maybe a couple of chickens.
I beleive this little dream is particularly vivid just now because like just about everyone I know, I'm overwhelmed with things that have to be taken care of. I just need a little breathing room to re-assess my priorities, to daydream, to be creative without any agenda beyond the process itself. It's so difficult to find time to do this, and I would so love to learn to take this need seriously enough to put it at the top of my list. Even if all my responsibilities beat furiously at my door. To bolt the door and turn off the phone, to curl up in my chair and write at the top of my list for the day, 1. Daydream.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On sunday I taught the fiber arts crown class at Castle in the air. we tried out lots of tricks and techniques including wet felting. I had nine wonderful students including Amelia who was turning eleven the next day and came to make a birthday crown. I count myself very lucky to spend the day in such fine company.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stephanie Metz

This weekend I took a class with Stephanie Metz, an amazing sculptor working in wool felt. she has the ability to make the felt seem solid and bonelike and I love the idea of taking the softest part of the animal and sculpting the bones with it. The sculls are my favourite but the work takes lots of suprising twists. I would really recommend seeing her work in person. information at;

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Paint your food

Today I finally ate a really good juicy peach, after suffering several of those beautiful giant peaches that turn out to be dry and sandy and tasteless (why is that?) you just can't tell from the outside. Peaches are always lovely to paint though.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

little Piglet

I just finished making my sample for the needlefelted piglet class, which is coming up soon at Castle in the Air. This little piggy is about 3.5 inches tall and fully jointed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Cosy mushroom cottage

cosy mushroom cottage

Here are a few photographs from my cosy mushroom cottage class at CASTLE IN THE AIR on tuesday, we had too much fun! and made an entire village of darling little cottages each one reflecting the unique personality of it's architect.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

the Owl and the Pussycat

Such a hot day 108ยบ here in the central valley, I thought I'd post a breezy, watery picture today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rocks and Ruins

Sadly I won't be going back to England to see my family this summer, so I will miss long walks in the beautiful countryside, cream teas, real beer and searching for "green men" in the ancient cathedrals. I will however, be teaching an illustration class at Castle in the Air, the class is called Rocks and Ruins. We will draw and paint travel stationary from trips real and imagined. This is the second Illustrated letters class I have taught at Castle, the last one was so much fun and even people who were new to drawing had lots of success. Today Iv'e been painting samples for the castle website. here are a couple of the envelopes.

Sunday, June 21, 2009