Thursday, June 28, 2012

So Past Perfect

"Past Perfect" Oil on collaged base by Valerie Hebert, 2012
Abigail was about the most interesting grandmother a girl could have. To you, and everyone else, she was Dr. Dickson, Ph.D. To me, she was a wealth of really interesting information, sporting a fashionable black beehive hairdo, wearing cat eye glasses, and usually dressed to the nines. 

She always spoke of somewhat morbidly fascinating topics of conversation due to her interesting line of work. She lived alone, never owned a TV set, instead preferring conversation with an old tabby cat named Peter Bierce, and for a time, an affectionate and over-exuberant brown labrador retriever named Ping. She was a forensic psychologist before there were such things as women forensic psychologists, and especially before grandmother versions! I have missed her dearly since her passing nearly 10 years ago. She was a rock in my life.

detail, Abigail's house
Abby, or GG, as we referred to her once her great-grandchildren were born, had a secret side. Sure, she was the respected and revered Doctor Dickson, but rarely did she invite others to her home or office. I can count on one hand the number of times I was invited over to her home as an adult. Too many secrets swimming around in there.... Indeed, upon arrival at her gracious and historic home, instructions were given to "Turn sideways and walk like a crab!" Grandma, aka Dr. Dickson, was a hoarder. Long before it was a spectacular obsession via the A&E TV network, we had a true life obsession at our fingertips. Let me tell you, it was interesting, but it wasn't pretty.

Once, shortly before her passing when GG was in hospital (she'd always had lung problems, and eventually succumbed to COPD) my mom got her house key and took me over to have a look at things. Boy, was that an adventure! We had shared many a tea party at GG's house when I was growing up, and after so many years, I could see the same bedrooms, unused and untouched, and sealed off my a mountain of "treasures." Eye candy vs. trash? I was torn. Looking back after cleaning it all up, it was such a mixed bag. But, I know one thing for sure; it was from Abigail I received my vintage appreciation, and affliction towards historic homes. Poring through a lifetime of possessions and collections allows one to get to know another like nothing else. Pity we can't do this during their life, before they've left us. So many more stories they'd be able to tell...

Teabag as part of the collaged base!
I painted this work as a gift to myself and my husband, who have spent the last 10 years lovingly restoring and caring for this glorious home... a final remembrance of Abigail, and the great lady she once was. We are finally moving on now. Our work here is done. Though we'd love to be able to keep this home, it is beyond our means, so we are selling, and move off in a new life's adventure. Hopefully one that is historic and vintage challenged. Then, I know our hearts will feel at home!

x, Val

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Creative slave

Steal Like An Artist

Today, I came upon this great post by Austin Kleon about creativity in writing and drawing. (You can read more about this here.) This really resonates with me. A lot of people ask me where I come up with my ideas, and I have my stock answers... "My mind just overflows with new projects, and I am the creative slave," etc. Heck, that's the something smart and sassy that wants to come out of my mouth. Thank goodness I can put a lid on it :o)

What IF I said I steal my ideas? Well, that is a big no-no in our creative world, isn't it? With the advances in Pinterest, and in the interests in protecting all the valuable ideas floating around in the universe, how can we keep things straight? I mean, really... can I help it if I see something especially mind-blowing (like a sweetly stitched doll eye) (yes, those are the sorts of things that thrill me!), then I go to sleep and dream about the doll eye. Two months later, after that doll eye has been percolating around in my sub-consciousness, I make a doll with what I think is a doll eye like the one I remembered seeing. Is that "stealing?" Often, if I come upon the original doll eye, it looks nothing like the one I created. 

So, as artists, we have a path we must continue on. Because our inspirations are all our own, and each affects us uniquely, and comes out of the path we have walked up until this point. It doesn't matter if you are making a little coin purse, and there are simply hundreds of thousands of little coin purses out there. There is a little bit of you in your sweet coin purse, and your essence will speak out to someone who wants it. And they will buy your sweet coin purse, and take a little of your essence home with them.

The world needs you and me awake and alive, and creating some of our essence in every little thing we make. Whether it is the sweetest coin purse, or the wackiest drawing on the planet. It's you and it's me. And all the inspirational stuff life has to offer is what makes us come alive, and remake it, and put it back out there as something new, original and lovable. Now that's what I call being creative!

x, Val

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Read All About It!

Have you heard about the new "About" page on Etsy? The creative masters in charge of the Etsy online world have instituted a fantastic new feature. The new About pages are a fantastic addition to each sellers online presence, allowing for several rotating photos, and an impressive new format. I love how it looks, it kind of feels like you are entering into a special storefront ...all about me (you)!

I hope you will head over to my shop by clicking here and take a look. And, if you have your own etsy shop, make sure you take some time to set up your own About page. I think you will be glad you did!

As a quick reminder, the Birdy Box 2 part class begins tomorrow, and there are a few spots left. Call over to Paper Tales 619-222-2510 to sign up!

x, Val

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Matryoshka Bloghop + eBook Giveaway!

Sailor Nesting Dolls by Val's Art Studio

Can you resist those delightful Russian Nesting Dolls? I, for one, can NOT!

A couple months ago, I was approached by a couple of indie publishers, otherwise known as   FabPub, who are venturing into the world of craft ebook publishing. They invited my sweet needle felted Russian Dolls to join their Matryoshka party. I couldn't resist, and made not one, but TWO sets of nesting dolls.

The book offers fun and fabulous Matryoshka doll projects, everything from a fantastic wearable costume, to tea towels you can print yourself.

And, my two projects are included, with full directions that you can make at home, in your spare time! 

Russian Dolls by Val's Art Studio
Following is a list of all the artists who are participating in a celebration of the book's completion, and we are doing a Fun Bloghop to set all the excitement in motion! I hope you will hop around to other Matroyoshka makers, and learn a little about their craft as well.

May 28Margot Potter
May 29Joanna at That Thing I Made
May 30Vikram at Craft Gossip
May 31Kathleen Dames
June 1Samantha at Geeky Sweetheart
June 2Redd at Dame Named Redd Designs
June 3Renee at My Ugly Kitty
June 4Val at Val’s Art Studio
June 5Jessica at Ballston Arts & Crafts Market
June 6Shayne at Trans-Craft-Inental
June 7Jean at Pretty Kitty Dog Moon Jewelry
June 8Leesandra at The Sweet Spot
June 9Jo at Feeling Stitchy
June 10Lori at Pretty Things
June 11Paul at G33kopolis
June 12Alexis at What The Craft
June 13Anna at The Weekly Enthusiast
June 14Chrissy at Muse of the Morning
June 15Susan at West Coast Crafty
June 16Tonya at The Trouble With Crafting
June 17Sherezada at Hand / Eye / Mind / Mouth
June 18Shayne at Geek Crafts

photo courtesy of 

YOU can win an eBook version of the book simply by "liking" FabPub's Facebook page (click here), then make sure to leave me a comment at the end of this post. That's all you have to do to enter. So simple! I will be selecting a winner on June 15, so make sure to check back and see if you have won! Your eBook will be emailed directly into your inbox, and you will enjoy a summer ahead filled with every Matryoshka project imaginable :o) 

Good luck!
x, Val