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November 25, 2012

Oh Liam.


Oh Liam.

It doesn’t take much to entertain Liam.

November 16, 2012

A Sweet Neighborhood



Location, location, location. On the art show circuit, it can mean specific placement at a show, but sometimes it’s all about the neighborhood.

We’ve had a lot of great neighbors over the years… and a few not so nice ones. We were lucky enough to have Sabine, a fragrance designer next to us at two shows this month. She’s such a sweetheart… and her product smells wonderful.

October 26, 2012

Jack o Lantern



Our annual jack-o-lantern carving. This year Dale learned that incorporating the shriveled up pumpkin that won two years ago won’t woo the judges. Meanwhile, Sue was crowned Queen of the Jack O lanterns… with much fanfare.

September 6, 2012

Catch Us if You Can

Catch Us if You Can

On the farm in Ireland.

What have Liam and I been up to the last few months? Well, a little of this, a little of that.

We started a new website
And that turned into an iPhone app
Then we went to Ireland and took lots of pictures
Which only let to taking even more pictures
Then we came home…
Then we did some shows…
Then we had a leprechaun walk into our booth at Milwaukee Irish Fest…
And through it all we’ve been working on the new collection of shard jewelry.

You know, the usual stuff.

Now, we’re starting our traveling art show season which will take us to Chicago, Milwaukee, Central Wisconsin, St Louis (MO), Bethlehem (PA)… and that’s just the month of September, but I think we’ll manage.

Hope to see you at an art show soon.

May 6, 2012

In Love with Oklahoma City

In Love with Oklahoma City
Packed!!! Love the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts.

Packed and fun!!! This was pretty much the vibe all six days of the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts.


Some places stay off the radar. For me, that was the case with Oklahoma City… I had driven through it at least five times in the last three years, but never took the time to stop.

Little did I know… hidden away in the crossroads of the USA, there’s a vibrant city where cool, friendly people hang out. Even with construction within sight of every crosswalk in the city center, OKC was looking good. New buildings, new businesses, old businesses done up, a beautiful memorial, an enchanted botanical garden, even a canal!

But the thing that won me over the most… the warm welcome we received at the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts. I know it’s silly to speak in absolutes, but these were truly the friendliest people I’ve ever met… and that’s a pretty tall order considering we had just experienced an amazing welcome in Baton Rouge.

My fingers are crossed that I’ll be invited back to the festival next year… and even if I’m not, I’m definitely stopping in again!

Here are a few snapshots from our time there… we were keeping pretty busy, so didn’t take all that many pictures…

April 18, 2012

New Orleans

New Orleans

Cheers from New Orleans

When someone says, “Y’all should stay at my place in New Orleans,” you do it. You don’t think about it; you graciously take them up on the offer, and you thank your lucky stars for such generous friends.

We spent last weekend a block from Bourbon Street in the heart of the French Quarter gobbling up amazing food, sampling an endless supply of great music, taking in bits of shopping, and making memories with our Louisiana friends.

A good bit of the weekend was spent sipping cocktails on the balcony… yes, one of those really cool, rickety New Orleans balconies. Just below us, a fantastic group performed most of the day and into the night… there’s something special about sitting out on a Sunday morning and hearing “Easy Like a Sunday Morning” playing below.

There’s music all over this town. We were even serenaded at breakfast on Monday…

Here are a few other snapshots from around the French Quarter…

March 30, 2012

Journey to the Center of the World

Journey to the Center of the World

Chapel at the Center of the world -- Yuma, AZ

From the highway, it looked like a cute, little church on the top of an enormous, man-made hill… just the type of roadside attraction we couldn’t resist. Signs declared “The History of the World in Granite” and “The Center of World.” It was the combination of a church + someone’s version of history + reference to the center of the world had us concerned. Might we be spending our afternoon among recruiters from a cult?

A bronze statue of The Hand of God from the Sistine Chapel pointed to a modern granite pyramid which was flanked by a gift shop on one side and a museum on the other. Beyond the pyramid, hundreds of feet of granite slabs pointed toward the church on the hill. It looked a bit like aliens installed a desert version of their crop circles and ended up with triangular arrows.

Looking for Answers

Confused, we poked our heads into the museum and were greeted by a letter signed by Ronald Reagan and a dozen plastic yard chairs pointed at a dark television. Across the courtyard, a girl in the shop waved to us. We marched passed the pyramid to the store counter.

“Hello,” the girl chirped. She was young and pregnant and didn’t bear any signs of a cult… unless she was about to bear the Anti-Christ or something. “Admission is three dollars per person unless you want to go into the pyramid and see the center of the world. That’s another two dollars.”

Liam confessed his confusion. “What is this place?”

“It’s the history of the world in granite.” She proceeded to mention the history of mankind, the history of Arizona (which was just finished), the history of California (which hadn’t been completed yet), the history of the French Foreign Legion, and then she told us details like the dimensions of the slabs of granite.


“There’s a video included with your tour. That explains everything,” she assured us.

We followed her back to the museum where she cued up the DVD. “When you finish the movie, you can check out the History of the World and the church.”

The film showed images of military leaders, clergy, even a French ambassador attending events at the site.

Apparently, the center of the pyramid had been recognized by the State of California AND the country of France as the official Center of the World, but the only explanation as to why was a passing reference to some obscure children’s book.

The movie quickly shifted its focus to the History of the World in Granite. Again, never really telling us why here, why granite… except that it would last long after we are gone. Then again, what else would you put at the Center of the World, right?

Wandering History

Although arranged like a formal garden, the even rows of granite slabs created a disorientating labyrinth. The panels looked like oversized pages from a gradeschool textbook… words, pictures, diagrams, all carved in stone. The information was straightforward, but its editorial bent, well, that appeared to be random.

There were several engraved quotes that suggested the site is intended for those who come after us… human or otherwise, but I dare say they will find us a mysterious lot. The evolution from ape to man was placed next to a copy of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The French Foreign Legion had it’s own row. Chronology provided but a loose guide for how things were presented.

After walking across the granite field, I climbed the steps to the church. It was as charming up close as from the highway. A simple, peaceful room with doors on one side and windows on the other.

What Did It All Mean?

The two girls in the gift shop stayed open twenty minutes late to answer all our questions. The funny thing was they were unfazed when they didn’t understand some of the “big picture” questions we presented. I was a bit envious of their “that’s just the way it is” attitude.

Here’s what I gathered from the visit… not sure it’s entirely accurate, but this isn’t the type of place where everything needs to make sense to be interesting.

  • The entire experience is an evolving brainchild of a guy named Jacques-Andre Istel… he invented the town, serves as its mayor, convinced a few people to recognize it as the Center of the World, and built a roadside attraction.
  • Among the things to see… the pyramid marking the Center of the World (because pyramids belong in the desert), a set of original stairs from Eiffel Tower (because that’s just cool), a church (because every town needs one), a restaurant (that is only open for one meal a day), a gift shop (that sells just about anything), and the field of granite slabs engraved with the history of the world (which has become Istel’s focus).
  • Istel seems to be an interesting, eccentric… if not slightly off-kilter guy. He clearly must be quite charismatic… not many could convince so many to buy into this type of dream. Unfortunately, he was at a doctor’s appointment so we didn’t get to meet him.
  • There are no apologies made for NOT being able to cover ALL of human history, but I think that’s because if Istel had his way, eventually EVERYTHING would be included. For now, it all depends on which donors open up their wallets.
  • I’m glad I saw the place now, and that I’ll be able to stop again, because I have a feeling there will always be something new in the works. Therefore, it’s better to start taking it in now.

Read More from Roadside America>>

February 27, 2012

Taking a Gamble on the Wait List

Taking a Gamble on the Wait List
Yes, our booth has a fountain view.

I was on the wait list for a show in Fountain Hills, AZ, this weekend... I ended up with a booth with a view of the fountain.


I used to think rejection letters from art shows were the worst. Now, I’m beginning to wonder if a more awful fate lies in that limbo known as “the wait list.”

First, I must accept that my work was NOT the jurors’ first choice. Sure, the wait list letter compliments my efforts. The form letters are loaded with adjectives in praise of my art, but in the end, I didn’t make the cut.

Second, I’m stuck with a wait list weekend… a big circle on the calendar with a status of “maybe.” Should I pester the show organizers? Should I try to get into other shows?

Sometimes It Works Out

Two weeks ago, Oklahoma City called with an invite to their show. I had only been on their wait list for a month, and there was still another two months before the show.

Meanwhile, I was on the wait list for a big show in Fountain Hills, Arizona, last weekend. The invitation never came. So on the advice of other artists, I simply showed up during artist check-in, and introduced myself as a wait list artist.

At this show, they had an “alternates” sign up sheet… something I hadn’t seen before. The organizers directed me to sign in and return at 9am the next day. With my status still unknown, my night was spent strategizing Plan A: How to load-in and set up as quickly as possible; and plotting Plan B: Head back to Palm Springs for a street fair there; and considering all kinds of Plan Cs.

After an awkward two hours in the morning waiting by the check-in tent, they offered me the spot of an artist who didn’t show up. Jackpot.

It was no fun trying to load-in and set up AFTER the show opened, but at least I was in the show and had a chance to introduce my work to a new audience.

Still Waiting

I’m still on the wait list for a show in Tempe, Arizona. I was in the show last year, so it kind of hurts a little harder to be on the wait list this year.

Maybe I didn’t impress them while at the show last year? Maybe too many jewelers applied? Maybe the competition is stiff? Maybe they didn’t like my new booth photo? Maybe? Maybe? Maybe?

I’ve been in contact with the director of the Tempe show, and I know she runs a tight ship, so if there’s a spot for me, I know she’ll call. That said, I wonder if they have an “alternates” list there too?

Alas, I’ve got a few weeks before I have to weigh that option.

October 16, 2011

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

We're covered in leaves

This weekend it’s been all about our show in Novi, MI, and eating healthy with our friends Susan and Kent!

September 26, 2011

A Giant Celtic Welcome


Pipers Piping @CelticClassic

We drove from Central Wisconsin to Easter Pennsylvania (and back) this week to be a part of the Celtic Classic Festival. We had a lot of friends via the Irish Fireside there who we never met in person, so the trip was a great fun. Read all about it >>