Art, science, and literature

I haven’t posted in a long while, but creativity is starting to flow again. You may know that I’m a generalist: I’m endlessly curious, read widely, seek connections and patterns, and am drawn to the places where different ideas, disciplines, and supposed opposites meet. I love both simplicity and complexity, and playing with how a simple phrase or color can spur a whole new creation.

Both of these “white” works were created for exhibitions celebrating the theme of white. Angle of Repose is so named in honor the concept itself and Wallace Stegner’s novel (if the term remains a mystery – do some sleuthing, and definitely read the novel). I also simply love how those words sound together.

Ode to the Coccolith was born after drilling down into the origins of the color white. Coccoliths are individual plates of calcium carbonate and are the main constituent of chalk deposits, such as those found at the Cliffs of Dover.

What seemingly mundane reality can lead you to a new discovery today?

Ode to the Coccolith


Just a friendly reminder that the two Debs (me and Debra Lee) will be hosting a table at Gifted, an art show this Sunday from 11-6 at the Feedback Lounge, 6451 California Ave. SW, in West Seattle. We have a wide variety of works available, including earrings, votive candle holders, and samples of custom house numbers.

We’d love to see you.

Alma's house number 1 White small votives Browns 3

Gifted … is in your future

Yes, a play on tenses.

I will be hosting a table at this holiday art show, with my friend Debra Lee, on Sunday, December 8, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. This is at the Feedback Lounge, 6451 California Avenue SW, in West Seattle. Lots of affordable, small works available, including these little driftwood sculptures — a collaboration among the wind, tides, and myself.

inside_front simple_vertical Vertical_cracked chunky_end

Two new works

Ojo Caliente logo

Ojo Caliente logo

The logo-like work is….a logo! It’s of Ojo Caliente, one of my favorite places — a hot springs and spa in New Mexico. I think the colored thinset, stone, and smalti capture the colors and textures of this magical place really well.

Ode to the Coccolith

Ode to the Coccolith

Ode to the Coccolith pays homage to the confluence of science and art. I refer you to Wikipedia to get the real story on coccoliths, but suffice to say they are composed of calcite and are the main component of chalk deposits in and near the ocean. I was researching “white” to inform my creation of a monochromatic work — and true to my voracious reading and research brain, my search took me deeper and deeper until I became fascinated with the coccolith. Oh, the piece itself is composed on a hand-made substrate, including carving angled and offset pieces of styrofoam for the body of the coccolith.

Recent work

Alma's wall sun Alma's wall sun detail 3 Alma's wall sun detail 1For a client, who wants to hang this above her front door on her brightly colored house. Sure will lighten up the cloudy days in Seattle that are apparently just gettin’ going again.

This is nearly 10 square feet. The orange petals are on mirror, which is thin-set to Wedi board. The rest of the tesserae are glass set directly the Wedi. Grouted with Laticrete’s Spectralock epoxy grout.

Summer in Seattle – 2013

The sun is shining in Fremont (Seattle) – appropriate for the big, blowout Summer Solstice Festival and Parade today. We will have a river of people flowing down our street toward all the happenings. If you plan to go, be sure to stop at 34th and Evanston for a look at this mural recently created by Jo Braun and Kate Jessup: FoundFacians. Madison and our neighbors enjoyed checking it out the other day!

Aside from putting together a trampoline today, my goal is to get back outside in my “studio annex” (the driveway) and work on a new piece, and possibly one of these driftwood delights. If you’re inclined to be in Fremont today, stop by (although we may be at the parade this afternoon) and you can do a driftwood piece yourself!

FoundFacians - Jo Braun & Kate Jessup

FoundFacians – Jo Braun & Kate Jessup

Driftwood 3 Driftwood 3 - detail


don’t miss….

…the mosaic show at the Handforth Gallery, Tacoma Public Library. It comes down on Saturday, April 27. In fact, I’ll be there at 10:30 to take my artwork and run! Seriously, I’ll be there for about 1/2 hour and then need to go. But if you come at 10:30, I’d love to see you.

Otherwise, if you’re in Tacoma or nearby, try to get there this week. Fifteen NW artists and about 30-40 beautiful works. It’s a compelling exhibit.

Driftwood 1 Driftwood 2

In other news: the conference last week in Tacoma was fantastic! Shout out to Richard Davis (Whidbey Island) and Kelley Knickerbocker (Wallingford) for their excellent work planning & serving as local hosts.

I took a 2-day class with 94-year old Israeli artist Ilana Shafir, heard wonderful talks about public art, mosaic grammar, and the restoration of a 1950s documentary on mosaic. I cohosted a booth with Kelley, at which we sold thinset/mesh substrates, many packets of “skittles”, and our favorite UV-activated adhesive. Thanks Debra Lee for helping!

This week’s mosaic happenings: the driftwood pieces you see in these pics, and a visit to Transposition at INScape. Can’t wait to see that. I’ll write about it later.


What’s here, you ask?

April 2013 arrives tomorrow, THE month for mosaic happenings across the Puget Sound region. Here’s what I’ll be sampling or involved in. By the way, if you’d like to follow this blog, click on the tiny little FOLLOW button with the + sign, bottom right.


Museum of Glass, April 3 and 4: I’ll be ensconced in the education room, working on my own projects and being available to visitors to answer questions. Both days, 11:00 – 3:00 (or longer).

Tacoma Public Library, Handforth Gallery. Three samples of my work are hanging along with several other Northwest artists. The show remains up until April 26.

American Mosaic Summit, April 9 – 13: I’ll be in the vendor marketplace selling these little lovelies (above) and a few other things in partnership with Kelley Knickerbocker. I’ll also be taking a workshop and going to talks by some of the great mosaic artists of the world. 500 “can’t get enough of mosaic” folks will converge on the Tacoma Convention Center and Murano Hotel.

TRANSPOSITION is a site-responsive exhibition showcasing fifteen artists from the Americas whose work is grounded in the mosaic medium.  The site is Inscape, the arts and culture enclave occupying Seattle’s former Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) building.   Artist-Curators: Jo BraunKate JessupKelley Knickerbocker

Inscape Arts, Third Floor Corridor Gallery, 815 Seattle Boulevard S, 98134

Opening: First Thursday, 4 April 2013, 6-10 p.m.

Through 24 May 2013


Checkerboard Forest

Checkerboard Forest

Art is literacy of the heart.

Eliot Eisner
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I thought you might be interested to know that in April, Tacoma will play host to the American Mosaic Summit, a convention of 500 mosaic artists. We have world-class mosaicists coming to give talks and workshops (from Israel, Japan, Chile and many more from North America and our own Seattle-Tacoma area). There is a major mosaic exhibition, Mosaic Arts International,happening at the Museum of Glass, and another exhibit (Trans-Position: An Ancient Medium in a Contemporary World) at theINSCAPE building in Seattle from March 21 – May 24.

  • I have a hand in the Mosaic Summit in a couple ways, and I invite you to take part.     Northwest Mosaic Today, a group exhibit of Northwest mosaic artists at the Handforth Gallery in the Tacoma Public Library, from March 15 – April 26. I have three works in this show. I will not, however, be able to attend the artist reception on March 16, but you still might want to head over there and see the show.
  • A mini-residency at the Museum of Glass on April 3 and 4 for pretty much 10 – 5: demonstrating my work and talking with tours and school groups.
  • I will be attending the full convention April 9 – 14 and also participating in the vendor marketplace, selling some unique mosaic components. I’ll be staying at Bill & Judy Kelly’s (Thank you!!). I’d love to see any of you who have time that week.