The Ramblings of a Creative Soul

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 5

Often times, I find myself drawn to someone's art after hearing their story. This is definitely the case with today's artist, Jackie Moravcik. Jackie is a fellow member of Cleveland Handmade and also the mother of another featured artist, Chris Zielski. Jackie relayed the story of moving into her home and having thieves break in to take her copper pipes. She told of enduring without water. Living in an old house where freezing pipes are something I have dealt with far too often, I felt a kinship to her. I then checked out her art and became a fan. Jackie makes jewelry out of old bottles and is also a fiber artist. I love how she plays with glass and fire but also fabric and color. Besides being artists and mothers, I learned we have lots of other things in common - a love of baseball, Kaffe Fassett, the architecture of trees and dumpster diving. Oh, the treasures you can find on the curb!

Here is Jackie's response to the question, What inspires you?

Ok, it depends on what I'm working on...overall, I am so inspired by nature, color mostly; I love studying colors I see and trying to figure out what they REALLY are...

When I'm making my jewelry,( its as if I'm sculpting the pieces. I plan and cut but the glass won't always break the way I want it to...then I stare at each piece until I can 'see' a shape and I start grinding it until bit by bit, the shape emerges.

Each step is individually created; after soldering all the pieces, I again study each one to see if it needs embellishing or just decorative solder.

When I'm working on my quilted fiber art (, THERE I'm intrigued not only by color, but by the rhythms and patterns that abound everywhere.

I am fascinated and inspired by everything I see...
architecture-the lines and shapes...its fun to pick out the different styles and influences and try to discern exactly what is it that makes it that style...
pottery-the shapes, texture and colors...
trees-have you any idea the multitude of different styles there are, even just of evergreens??? Some branches reach upwards, some downwards; some have long needles, others short bristly ones; some branches grow from the trunk like spokes of a wheel, others alternate....
And my pieces inspired by locations-trying to distill an area to its essence and then stitch just enough detail to be recognizable...

And then I'm inspired by junk...I like to shop curbside and see what I can find. Two summers ago I found an old metal headboard and I want to use it as a garden fence. I've a collection of wooden chairs I'm going to paint bright colors to hang on my patio wall-(after I finish my patio)--and use as plant holders-I saw that at a restaurant in Tremont, I think, and it was really cool...I've pulled some really neat things out of the trash and with a bit of paint-or not, I can't wait to repurpose them into usable furniture or art.

"There are 2 main inspirations/influences I've had to my work. The first is my all time favorite artist/designer, Kaffe Fassett-his books on needlework, quilting, interior design are all about color and patterns and design and his books are filled with fantastic photos of his inspirations--whether flowers or brick patterns or Islamic tiles or dhurrie rugs or Victoria and Albert Museum kitsch. My favorite quote from him is, why use 1 red when you can use 40??? or something like that, and that pretty much defines my use of color. I was excited to hear him lecture a couple times, and I also had the thrill of meeting him (and feeding him) for a couple days when he was in to film a segment for a needlework show we filmed when I worked at Beachwood Studios.

The second inspiration was when I discovered a closeout book on the Watts Towers in LA...what Simon Rodia, a small immigrant Italian man, did all by himself creating a fairyland of broken china, bottles, tiles, and anything else he could find to mix with concrete and this started me on my fascination with the magical-ness of creating with STUFF that has stayed with me ever since."

Thanks so much for sharing Jackie!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 4

I have viewed the walls of my home as a gallery. My gallery is very eclectic and I like that. Everything that hangs there is an original piece of art. I love thinking that they are unique and created by people who used that outlet to say something. There is a marvelous small watercolor landscape done by my husband's great-great-aunt. Her brother, his great-grandfather, was a well known painter but I find myself drawn to her work. I have paintings done by my husband and sons as well as my uncle. I love how they use color. I also have photographs, many taken by a friend whose muse is our old barn. His photo of the windows of the barn looks like a painting done by Andrew Wyeth. Most of the artwork in my gallery is of landscapes. Nature holds a huge influence on me.

Our friend the photographer and his wife own a lovely little gallery in The Little Italy section of Cleveland. They hosted an exhibition for a landscape painter named Angela Saxon. I was drawn to her use of color. She paints in all sizes - from the back of a playing card to massive canvas. Several of her paintings reminded me of one of my favorite painters, Mark Rothko. I decided to ask her what inspires her.

What should I paint?

I have always been an artist. As a little kid, when asked what I wanted to be, I always replied, 'an artist.' But then there was that question of what to paint or what to draw. I remember asking my mom this question many times. I suppose she offered some suggestions, but somehow the void was never filled.

I went to college to study art, and still was asking the same question….what should I paint? I earned my BFA in painting, and made a lot of paintings in the process. I explored color and pattern, the still life and interiors, and the general moving around of paint. But something was always missing--I was still searching.

A few years after graduating, after marrying and having my first daughter, our family moved to northern Michigan. I don't know what my exact feelings about landscape painters or landscape paintings was, but it wasn't necessarily something I ever thought I'd strive for.

But there it was. The landscape. Staring me in the face all day every day. It is spectacularly beautiful in northern Michigan, in any time of the year. After a few months I finally started to paint it. And the more I paint it the more I see. My eye then and now is just drawn into intimate spaces in the landscape. Light playing across a meadow, huge clouds towering over the lake, it's always captivating to me. Sometimes I wonder how many times I can paint a cloud over a lake, but so far it's new to me every time. And I thing that it is through this subject matter that my work is starting to move away from the literal, expressing more of the emotion of what I'm looking at, not just the imagery. Go figure.

Angela's work can be found at:

Thanks for sharing, Angela.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 3

I first became aware of Andrea Jenson's, Inkadinkadoodle when we were both featured in an Etsy Treasury with the theme of fiddleheads. I was immediately drawn to her note card. Having been a calligrapher, I have an obsession with paper and ink. Word processing and email may make life easier, but there is nothing quite like putting pen to paper to convey feelings and thoughts. It is also something you can save. I have a box that is filled with letters my mother wrote me when I was in college. At the time, I didn't know why I kept them but I am glad I did since she died much too young. When I miss her, I pull them out and see that familiar handwriting. Those letters are my treasures. I plan on sending letters to my son when he heads off to college in the fall, and most likely, they will be on beautiful notecards made by Andrea.

Here is Andrea's response to my question:

What inspires you?

I enjoy designing elegant paper goods that are timeless and classic. I am inspired by architecture, vintage clipart, gardening, and nature each and every day. I thoroughly enjoy pouring through my vintage clipart books and dreaming of all the possibilities for each piece of clipart. While designing I love being surrounded by antiques, my 1880's Golding & Co. letterpress, the type cabinets and all the letterpress cuts that I have accumulated through the years as they inspire me too. My mom works with me and helps me decide what looks good and what doesn't. It is so nice having a fresh set of eyes after working on a design for a long time. She is my greatest inspiration!

You can find Inkadinkadoodle at

Thanks for taking the time to share, Andrea!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Inspiration Series - Part 2

When I was in college, I would often venture up to the Toledo Art Museum to study. My favorite place was the gallery that housed a massive mobile by Alexander Calder. I loved watching it move. Years later, my son remarked that he liked mobiles because they were dancing sculptures. I like that description.

One of my favorite mobile artists is Mark Leary of Mobilosity. He creates amazing mobiles out of his Bend, Oregon studio. Here is Mark's answer to my question.

What inspires you?

I’ve always been fascinated by stuff that moves.

When I settled down in the mountains of Bend, Oregon, where the high desert air is constantly twisting and twirling, I think I finally found the perfect muse to inspire my creativity… and that took shape with mountain biking and mobile making.

As an avid (okay, obsessive) mountain biker, there are few things I dig more than pedaling deep into the mountains on some choice singletrack and watching the world (and my place in it) transform.

In my graduate studies, I explored our relationship to and with place, particularly the place of nature. I’m totally captivated with the way we interact with the places we inhabit and pass through and how – when we “bump into the world” – we create meaning/focus/purpose in our lives.

And, it’s that interaction with nature (usually as I’m zipping down a trail on my bike) that really inspires my designs – wresting form out of pure metal to realize feathers layering on a wing, leaves rustling in the wind, or bubbles rising into the air.

As I see the branches of a tree moving in a breeze, I’m mesmerized. A bird in flight, totally hypnotized. A ripple in the canal behind my house, spellbound.

See, I live by a semi-humorous "little things please little minds" mantra. Keep it simple. Keep it real.

In that vein, I’ve been inspired to keep my “process” as basic and fundamental as possible.
That means all my mobiles are hand cut, shaped, sanded, primed, painted, and assembled one at a time. I don’t use templates, or mass production, and regretfully I don’t employ a team of elves. It's just me in my humble little shop with Buddy the Cat enjoying good tunes and paint fumes while creating fun art.

The resulting creations range from works of peaceful simplicity, featuring repetitive shapes spinning hypnotically on an air current, to whimsical jumbles of bright colors and bouncy motion that vibrate with energy and joy.

In the end, I just feel pretty dang lucky to be able to create art for people to enjoy. That’s pretty cool.

Mark's wonderful work can be found at

Thanks so much, Mark.

Friday, April 16, 2010


I had an incredible art teacher in elementary school and junior high. He taught me how to open my eyes and take in my surroundings. He would often say, "Inspiration can be found anytime, you just have to open your eyes". Ever since then, I have been fascinated by what inspires artists to create. I decided to ask some of my favorite artists a simple question, What inspires you?

Today, the spotlight is on Chris Zielski and her Copper Leaf Studios. Chris does incredible work in copper. I love the colors she uses in her art - wonderful blues and rich reds. I am fortunate to own one of her pieces.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by colors, textures, lines and shapes, and how they all interconnect. A lot of my work is about balance and integration. Sometimes working on a design is like an engineering puzzle, when different elements must work together and integrate to become a new whole. On a concrete level, things like twists in branches and cracks in a sidewalk often inspire lines and shapes in my work. I've used photos of lightening to get just the right edge to a piece of cut copper, and my copper maps are inspired by the shape of different shorelines and rivers.

Chris' artwork can be found at

Thanks for sharing, Chris!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

In The News

I woke up this morning to discover one of my necklaces featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The necklace, Hula, is at the bottom of the picture. What a lovely way to start the day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Talking to Myself

There are days, in fact most days, the bulk of the conversations I carry on are with myself. Sounds crazy but true.

Working from home, especially when home is a farm without neighbors close by, makes it really easy to be a hermit. I actually don't mind it most of the time. I have hours undisturbed to work on my jewelry. There are days when the ideas are flowing and time will sail by. I will mutter to myself if things aren't working well or if I misplaced a tool. (Jewelry tools disappear just like the scissors or tape when you are wrapping Christmas presents. You know they are there, you just can't see them. Or is this something that only happens to me? See, there I go again....) I will remark if something turns out better than planned. The cat, Jack, who seems to enjoy watching me in my creative endeavors from his perch on the chair next to the work table will often lift his head as to say, "Are you talking to me?"

I find this talking to myself humorous. It reminds me of a conversation I had with a customer at my first show. He was an older gentleman who had worked in business. He was giving me tips on how to make my business successful. His key tip - staff meetings. Well, when you are a business of one, I guess that means you have to talk to yourself. That reminds me, I need to hold a staff meeting....

Monday, April 5, 2010

Play Ball

One of the great loves of my life (family, friends, being creative are at the top of the list) is the game of baseball. My love affair started when I was a kid. Daily in the summer, a pick up game could be found in the backyard of the Morrison's house. The rules were simple - everyone got to play. Kids of all ages could be found there and girls were included. It was magical.

My love affair continued as I got older. A childhood friend was drafted by the Dodgers when we graduated from high school. I took great delight in that since I once caught one of his hits in the outfield in the Morrison's field. In college, I would watch my school's team and was impressed by one of the pitchers. He went out to have an outstanding career in the major leagues. It was fun to think I saw him before he was famous.

My pro team has always been the Cleveland Indians. They have broken my heart more times than I care to count but I am loyal. There is nothing better than sitting in the bleachers at Jacob's Field (sorry, it will never be Progressive to me) on a warm, sunny afternoon. It is to me heaven. I often joke that my religion is baseball.

Today is Opening Day. One of my favorite days of the year. The day of optimism and hope. For us Indians fans, today IS next year.

Play Ball........