Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Hello and welcome to my new blog. This blog is being created to keep you abreast of what I am doing and creating on a more consistent level than my once-a-year blog on my website. I plan to post my newest art creations, photos and blogs from the road with the band and any other thing that comes to mind.

For those of you who are not so familiar with me or my work, I’d like to introduce myself. I am a visual artist and a musician.

I got here through many twists and turns.

I began singing and playing a classical guitar and recorder when I was 10, but I never considered music to be a good career choice for me (I had severe asthma). But I still loved to play for family and friends and for a giant contra dance band at a summer camp. I continued despite setbacks.

My other passions were art and writing. I thought these interests might be a more practical career choice for me. I learned to throw pots on the potters wheel when I was 10. I also learned weaving, drawing, painting, sewing and beading. My brother and I made a lot of our own toys which included ships and space ships and other wooden toys in our father’s wood shop in the basement. I made my own doll’s clothes and often embroidered them. I filled composition books with stories and illustrations (modeled after children’s books).

My brother and I also made a lot of our own card games and board games, drawing all of the designs and making the cards. I still have a fascination with composing aesthetically beautiful games together with a mindful and exemplary strategy.

When I went to college, I majored in studio art. I applied for an art scholarship and won it. Then I got a masters degree in art education. Around the time of getting my masters, the schools were cutting back on art teachers which meant that there were a lot of us floating around looking for jobs. Many of my colleagues found work in art galleries, teaching at art centers and substitute teaching, but I decided to be a potter. It worked for awhile (barely). I was subsidizing the pottery business with performing at local venues during weekends.

Then things shifted again: the music business became more and more lucrative and overtook the pottery business to the point where I was hardly making any pottery at all. I was performing 3 – 4 times a week. Audiences were asking for recordings. So, my time went towards tracking all kinds of music, practicing or creating new compositions. I still had an urge to make art, but even a miniscule pottery business wasn’t so compatible with a music career. Pottery takes constant vigilance as the clay is always drying. So I drew and painted instead.

The greeting card business grew very, very slowly and by surprise, starting with one card design in 1998. It started because I needed a wedding card for a friend’s wedding and I didn’t like any of the designs I found, so I made my own. I thought I might try selling the design at a small local shop (at the prodding of the bride). The shop took 50 cards of the same design and they sold out in 2 months. I have been making greeting cards ever since.

During my performances, I was throwing in Renaissance songs here and there. My audiences were asking for a recording of it. So I decided to take a 2 year break from performing and concentrate on getting a Renaissance band together (we called ourselves The Spirites Consort). We recorded “Wing’d With Hopes, New Interpretations of Renaissance Songs”. The album did very well, better than expected (and because of it, I won a grant to record my next CD), but the band’s full potential was not realized because venues in the USA were not so keen to hire a Renaissance band except concert halls that are geared towards the historical perspective like art centers and libraries. By the time we figured that out, one of our members married and moved away, joining some other bands, and it became more difficult to book a consistent tour of concerts. Some of the remaining members thought we should branch out more musically and not pigeon-hole ourselves by being exclusively Renaissance. Eventually we ended up in another band called “Saratoga Faire” (3 of us from The Spirites Consort plus violinist, Frank Orsini). We are just starting to market the band and brand new CD now.

So in bits and starts, making art became more of a focus again while the musical tides of my life were shifting. In order not to drive myself crazy with two careers, most of my present art-making is in the same genres as my music and each contributes to the other and makes for a fulfilling life.

Some other tidbits about me: I love blueberries and eat a lot of them. When I go for walks I am always looking up at the sky and at the birds in the trees. Crows seem to have the best vantage point. Hummingbirds are joy on wings. Robins are a sign that my surroundings are relatively healthy. I don’t like coffee or drink it. Popcorn is my comfort food in winter.

Thank you for reading!
My Etsy on-line store for some of my CDs and some of my art

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about your background. It is interesting how we get places. You've taken lots of chances and I feel like I need to as well....thank you for the inspiration :)