Saturday, December 29, 2012

Planting Seeds for 2013

via here
 “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson

I have decided to live one of my dreams and finally create a real cutting garden for spring flowers. This local farm tells how they do it, but my little plants are quite a bit younger than theirs. I was hoping they wouldn't come up at all until spring. But our weather got really warm and the poor babies thought it was time to sprout. They're so cute and green and we're getting ready to put them to bed for overwintering tomorrow. Spring pics to come.

On a less literal level, what artsy seeds have you planted lately? Or maybe you're prepping the soil for a fertile future?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Solstice in a Sacred Place

"This is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be, This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."
Joseph Campbell, in a 1985 interview with Bill Moyers

Hope you have a wonderful solstice! It's a great day to get outside and enjoy nature, the ultimate sacred place.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Good Things are Happening

Brow Chakra (Third Eye) indigo, turquoise, mauve
Not sure if it's still available, but I'm doing this meditation series. It helps you adjust your expectations and understanding so abundance can come into your life. I've been working on this for several years on my own and it was really nice to have Deepak's take on it (as you see, we're on a first name basis). A little Deepak Chopra is never a bad thing!

This may have inspired me to do a new series based on colors associated with the chakras.

Root Chakra, red, mauve, brown

Crown Chakra, violet, white, gold
These are out of order as chakras go, and there are also a few missing. I'll have to retake the pics and get them into another post soon. Tomorrow's another studio day, for me that's bliss. What are you doing this weekend?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sale in My Etsy Shop

Kayaking near my house yesterday, on one of the most beautiful and balmy autumn days so far.

The sky was absolutely gorgeous. Of course my camera battery died as soon as we got out on the water--I was lucky to get one picture (first one at top). But then my daughter let me use her Canon Rebel, which I may be inheriting:)

There's a 15% off sale going on in my Etsy shop through November 30. Pop on over there and use coupon code HOLIDAY15. 

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Upcycled recycled sculpture
detail from Road Trip
This is a group of three sculptures from my Impermanence series. I finished them a few months ago and they're being shown starting next week in this beautiful space.

Recycled material sculpture
Road Trip by Deborah Jaouen
Upcycled chair, found road fragments, mirrors, phone part, vintage boat steering wheel
They're made from upcycled chairs, as well as other found things I have collected in the past year or so. I found actual pieces of the yellow line painted on the road--Highway 12 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It gets destroyed regularly during hurricanes. The latest time was a couple weeks ago during Sandy.

Assemblage from discarded materials
detail from Conversatio
recycled upcycled sculpture
Conversation by Deborah Jaouen                   
Upcycled chair, phone parts, 1900's ephemera, lace, vintage cart wheel

The newest finds inspired me and I was able to flesh them out with other things from my collections. Phones are ephemeral now, but they last for centuries in our landfills.

Upcycled Assemblage
detail from The Naturalist

Assemblage from Discards
The Naturalist by Deborah Jaouen  Upcycled chair, bones, coral, shells, ceramic, birch, leather, rusty pitchfork

Do you get more inspired by the most recent things that find their way to you? Do pieces you've had for years become uninspiring, or maybe the longer you have them the harder it is to let go of them?

Friday, October 26, 2012

To NaNoWriMo or not?

Organizing October is almost over, and I feel much better since the "purge". I was starting to question the wisdom of making assemblage art, with the huge selection of spare parts we artists insist on having around. It's always a conflict, because I'm a minimalist at heart, or I just want to be.

Sometimes it seems like organizing is its very own art form. In any case it's satisfying. Is that the Virgo in me?

I'm toying with the idea of signing up for NaNoWriMo. Have any of you done it before? You have to write a 50,000 word novel start to finish in the month of November. That would be great, but I have gotten about 20,000 words into my first novel --!!!--started in late summer and I'm afraid of diverting my word flow, haha. Sort of like how I decided not to worry about learning Spanish when I was in Costa Rica a long time ago because I hadn't yet acquired  a solid base in French, which I was actively speaking at the time (still am). But it sure would come in handy to be fluent in Spanish, although now I'd prefer Italian and the Spanish would make that a cinch. All I'm trying to say is that there aren't enough hours in the day! So do I go for NNWM?

The photos are from our trip to Chicago in September. My first time there and I was astonished at the design and architectural beauty--love, love, love.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What I'm Doing

What am I doing? Anyone still reading might be wondering, since you haven't heard a sound from this blog in quite a while. 

©Deborah Jaouen 2012

I've been working on finishing a few pieces for my upcoming show, "Nothing is Wasted" that opens at the beginning of October. This fiber collage feels like a departure from the two I made right before it. I dug deep to come up with lots of recycled materials. (here it is when I first started it) What do you think?
I'm not sure if I'll make any more right away since I've started on an assemblage series--here's the first one.

©Deborah Jaouen 2012
I have boards prepared for 3 more. I got the idea for this format because these are for 50 Small Works and they have to be under 12" x 12" x 4". I had gotten a little burned out on making extremely small pieces for miniature shows in the past three years, so 12 x 12 sounded good. And it made me think of something I might not have done normally. 

What creative plans do you have for the coming fall (or spring, depending where you live)?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Garden Goodness

 “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein   
Decorative gourds that came up from seeds in our compost. Happy accident!
A brown mantis
This area can be tricky for gardening, so it really feels like a miracle when you've successfully grown something. 

Veggies are one of life's miracles. They're a gift to be freely consumed, all while feeling great about eating them and reaping cumulative benefits from all that goodness. 

This summer in our garden, certain members of the nightshade family grew better than others. Nightshades are pretty much all we can grow here--tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant. Did you know that this plant family has evolved to keep from being eaten by insects (which is why we can grow it here) by producing toxins? Hmm, apparently if you're sensitive to these alkaloids, they can cause various problems such as arthritis flare ups.  

One of our resident garden frogs
Don't worry, sweet potatoes don't count as potatoes and they're better for you anyway. I'm not going to stop eating tomatoes any time soon either.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I'm listening very hard these days for the voice, my authentic voice that is. It wants me to make something by combining these two elements.

 So even though I can imagine how I'll do it, I can't really picture exactly how it will turn out. But isn't that why we make art? For the surprise and satisfaction of creating something we never even imagined?

On a more down to earth note, I changed my blog's appearance a little--hope it makes for a more pleasant visit. And since I probably haven't lately, I want to thank everyone who reads this. I love your supportive and thought provoking comments!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hanging Collages

Avoid methodology. If what you're doing is about technique, that's not art. 

canvas on fabric with mixed media, D. Jaouen

 This quote caught my attention--I think you need to know technique so you can forget about it. My temperamental sewing machine is actually giving me what I need these days. I'm wanting a tentative, random feel for the decorative stitching on these two pieces and my difficult machine is perfect for that. It is also managing the construction seams that need to be sturdy and provide strength.

©D. Jaouen

Did I mention I feel like I can sew however I want now, since I've been sewing for many years? Kind of like drawing however I please, scribbling if I want (so there). I'm sure you agree.

Next up, I'm going to start a new painting series soon. I'm excited! What are you up to these days?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Buried and Scrawled Treasure

Welcome to everybody who arrived by way of Seth's blog! I'm reposting a post about an arcane subject--

 Antique Graffiti

Here in our Virginia hotbed of Revolutionary and Civil War vestiges we often read about new archaeological finds. One restoration that caught my eye in view of my fascination with graffiti turns out to be called "Graffiti House" near Culpeper Virginia.

Someone's home was used as a field hospital for the Confederacy, later becoming a headquarters for Federal forces. Soldiers from both sides wrote and drew on the walls, creating a collection of over 200 individual pieces that covers the upstairs rooms from floor to ceiling.

Restorers are attempting to remove the paint and whitewash that subsequent owners used to try to cover up the markings. They also need to stabilize fragile plaster on the walls to preserve the installation of caricatures, messages, autographs and inside jokes.

More antique graffiti: did you know that 18th and 19th century boors messed up the Temple of Dendur?  You can visit it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. photo via Thiago Santos
Gladiator graffiti from the Colosseum in Rome. Sorry about the photo quality, it was very difficult to capture these images due to the low light in this area. Taken by my husband, as I was most probably overwhelmed with the energy lingering within the Colosseum walls, where so many humans and exotic animals lost their lives, all in the name of entertainment. At least the masses were fed with the spoils--rhinoceros, elephant and giraffe steaks were the order of the day.
To see more Roman graffiti, go here

Seal petroglyph near Sooke on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Daily Collage

Well, not quite a daily collage--my second in three days--because the air conditioning in my studio has decided to not get any cooler than 94 degrees every afternoon. So, I'm working on something else in the coolness downstairs. I hope I'll let you know about my new project in the coming months.

I'm having fun with my new inks, nibs and sumi brushes! And using the paper from this old book we got at an estate sale last year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth!

Deborah Jaouen, acrylic ink and collage on antique paper ©2012
So far, it's been a great Fourth of July, with an early morning swim, freshly picked blackberries for breakfast, and collage and mark making in the studio. I was inspired to make something with a vaguely patriotic flavor and here it is!

Today's the day for potato salad. So it's off to lunch, with barbecued chicken, potato salad and watermelon granita. Hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating or just hanging out with family and friends.

Monday, July 2, 2012

it just has to be you

you can draw whatever you want. you can draw however you want. it doesn't have to make sense. it doesn't even have to be good. it just has to be you.  -- Jean-Michel Basquiat

This isn't a post about drawing. It's about inspiration and being authentic.

Entrance to Chelsea Highline
 Travel has a way of coaxing out your true self and helping you see the way ahead more clearly.

Up on the highline 
Chelsea Highline
  A trip to New York is one of the best gifts of inspiration. 

NYPL lion, New York Public Library lion
Iconic lion at the New York Public Library
Plenty of cool marble for a bookish retreat on a sweltering day.

artist's bookstore NYC
Makes me want to join the 15,000 and create an artist's book of my own.

Matt Wedel
I love imagining the beautiful, modern home where I would put this sculpture by Matt Wedel.


Having missed the Keats House when I was in Rome last fall, I was pleased to visit Shelley's Ghost at the New York Public Library. It was amazing to see the original manuscript of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein along with several of Shelley's manuscripts (complete with accomplished drawings),  and to be able to picture the extraordinary lives led by this circle of young friends. They must have been considered wildly scandalous in their day! And unbelievably tragic. Throughout it all, they continued to create. You can't get much more inspiring than that.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Working with What's on Hand

We have the best plums, and this year we actually got to gather some by putting a mini electric fence around the tree to keep the squirrels and a crafty raccoon out. The fence will soon be moved to our pear tree as the fruit ripens.

 Plum sorbet--all you do is cook the plums into a coulis (don't forget to strain it), and add cream. Freeze in a sorbet maker, or just stir every 45 minutes or so to break up the ice crystals. It's divine! Next time we'll use yogurt to make it a little healthier.

 Remember this bracelet I was trying to find here?

Here it is, newly revamped with buttons. I have more buttons, in case these fall off.

 A funky old lamp acquired years ago from a lady who had a LOT of funky old Arabian Nights lamps.

Somewhat more modern looking now.

A little house from my upcoming series.

Can you see the teabag paper?

Another teabag/mark making drawing. 

 I'm carving stamps out of champagne corks.

And liking this deep plum color flocked paper from the 70's.

Happy Father's Day, and a beautiful summer (or winter, depending on where you are) day to everyone!