Illustration Friday - Fierce

"She is fierce..."
Pen & Ink on paper
6" x 9"
I thought of many ways this Illustration Friday prompt could be interpreted. In the end I just went with this free form doodle incorporating the text in her hair. Set my pen to the sketchbook paper with the word Fierce flowing through my brain and thinking of all the fierceness that we can carry inside. In me, it crops up to strut my way home safe after a late night out.
Where do you keep your fierceness?


Weekend on Fidalgo Island

Anacortes WA in January - Lady of the Sea
Originally uploaded by Margret Maria Cordts

The weather this weekend was far too incredible to remain within the city. So here I sit, sun-kissed, muscle sore and thought-full after a visit to the northern island of Fidalgo to see my dear friend Katie.
We walked in the sunshine together and caught up on literature, music and love over pear cider pints at a downtown Anacortes tavern. Pear cider pints were followed by the most delicious sandwiches of my life - (there is about to be a theme here) toasted swiss, pear & lavender sandwiches - spectacular!
I of course, forgot to bring my camera with me as I always do ... I really need to be better about that because so many sights were sheer breathtaking in the last 24 hours. Though, I do pause to wonder if the sights would have been enjoyed nearly as much if I was trying to snap the perfect picture.... thankfully we have the wonders of flickr to the rescue!
A deep sleep in the house where her grandparents used to live was followed by a 2 hour hike up to and around Little Cranberry lake. Which, in the heat of the day today was the perfect place to be.
The northwest never ceases to amaze me. This is truly a spectacular corner of the world.
And I of course must insist you try the sandwiches...


Almost Ready

I have this tradition.
Every year around my birthday I make a new journal for myself.
This one is slightly late in coming (a month!) but that is because I wasn't finished with my previous journal yet. And the idea for what this year's cover would be didn't arrive right away.
Now, nearly a month overdue it is finally ready to be bound. Here is the cover pieced, stitched and embroidered. I think it has come out to be very Northwest - treeline twilight silhouette with golden accent stitches on the maroon velvet spine with a faint stitched city outline on the front cover. I don't pursue needlework too often but when I do take the time for it I really enjoy it.
This weekend I'll finally bind the book and then let it cure for a few days. I'll post a pic of the completed project soon!
In the meantime, here is last year's book.


First layer of white

"Sheep Dreams of Wren" (In Progress)
Oil on Wood
This is the 3rd post in my attempt to take you through my oil painting process.
(Click here & here to track back)
This is our sheep friend with his first coat of white - looking contemplative and curly. Next I'll be adding in many many MANY more layers of white, building up the depth of wool.
I just LOVE getting lost in the details of feathers and fur!


Illustration Friday - Hoard

Pen & Ink on Cream Paper
6" x 9"
This image perfectly popped into my head with this week's Illustration Friday prompt of "Hoard".
In my mind, squirrels are nature's original hoarders.
Prepared little pesky scouts they are...


Unexpected Gifts

When I arrived home last night there was this mysterious box sitting at my door. I thought to myself, "hmmm I haven't ordered anything... did I?" I knew I had some test art prints on their way to me but the box was way too large for the small amount of samples I had requested.

Upon further examination it turns out that the box had arrived all the way from NJ by way of my Artfest pal Kecia of Lemoncholys. What a super suprise to have an unexpected belated birthday gift in the mail! I took great care in opening and unwrapping each thing - what you see are the treasures uncovered. The whole experience totally made my day.

Remember keeping pen pals as a kid? What fun! But now in our digital age all our pen pals have become keyboard pals and emails fill in for so much. Which means that whenever even the slightest something special arrives in the mail it is a pure treat. What a feast of a treat this was - super thanks Kecia!

Among lovely little treasures pictured such as the bird's nest, a handmade paper doll, another little doll on a letter S block, a collaged day planner and a sample supply of Kecia's favorite bubble gum was one of her new jewlery pieces she's calling "Bijouterie Novelas". I wonder what the little story is for this piece?



This is me officially "Spoonflowered"!

Actually, this is just a random picture of me. But the expression is about right. I just got my Spoonflower samples in the mail - and they are, of course, lovely.

Now that I've gotten over the initial excitement of "Oh boy oh boy I can design my own fabric and have it printed!" it might be time to think of something productive I want to do with said fabric...

It is kind of a strange notion for me - custom printed fabric for the girl who already hand paints her own fabric? There has to be a happy utility I'm sure of it.

Tea towel holiday gifts anyone?


From the Sketchbook

"Vampire Cheeky"
Pen & Ink on cream paper, 4" x 7"

Inspired by: Cheeky marketing executives and the goth days of my youth.
What does it mean? I don't know. Just a doodle I felt like sharing. Happy Sunday!


Housewarming Gift Tags

Today I will be attending two housewarmings! They don't know it yet, but the lucky dears will be receiving one of these each - A lovely bottle of organic Spanish red wine with a little tiny miniature painting tied to it.

My favorite miniature painting out of the series so far (which you can see peeking out of the back of the above photo) has already been added to the shop if you have a housewarming of your own to attend to... just a hint =)

Aren't they just darling? What a way to dress up a bottle eh?


Work in Progress

"Sheep Dreams of Wren" (In progress)
Oil on Wood

He's just barely there in faint pencil lines... can you see wren?
Number 4 in the String series.


Sheep Dreams in Progress

Originally uploaded by carrie227

All hail the magical power of the interwebs! Seriously - between Google image search and Flickr, an artist no longer has to linger in the library.

Though I do still linger in the library, it is now for my own enjoyment rather than the hour-long cursing treasure hunt for source imagery that it once was.
Sweet sweet sigh...

This dreamy happy fluffy fella made for a great sketch model for my next painting. I think that posting a bit of the process for this one will be fun - to watch the progress of an oil painting on wood. Let's start with an idea of a sheep dreaming of a wren shall we? Next we'll find an appropriate model to sketch onto our sanded and primed wood surface, such as this fella pictured here. Onwards!


Inspiring Others / Inspiring Self

Did you catch the June 2nd Inspire Someone post on Decor8?
Holly of Decor8 was inspired by Emily of the Black Apple who cleaned out her studio and offered up a giveaway of inspiration packs on her blog, which Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday won one. (It's such a small world, after all you know!)
So Holly of Decor8 was inspired to offer a similar giveaway - but on a larger scale. She put out a call to her readers to each clean out their prospective studios and send in bits, bobs, scraps and snips that she will then re-organize into 20 giant inspiration packs and offer up in a comment giveaway early next month.
It was super fun and inspiring to participate. I got to clear out some old and misprinted items and hopefully they'll be renewed in a project or two out there!


Olympia Weekend

I took off to Olympia for the weekend and had a lovely time (as always - LOVE Olympia!)
I had "planned" to get some work done while there. Packed my little laptop for writing up some blog posts and Etsy listings. Even stayed late in the office on Friday to make use of some Photoshop image edits before leaving. Finished up, saved them all nice and neat to my flash drive and then bounced out to go see the Ashley G and Mark Hundley show at Schmancy before hittting the road. It wasn't until about 2 hours later, around Federal Way did I realize that I had bounced right out without actually taking said flash drive with me. Yep - there it was - still stuck in the USB port of my computer at work.
That's the way it goes sometimes.


The Spoonflower Buzz

"Pigeons & Pinwheels"
8 in. x 8 in. on 110% cotton

Have you heard about Spoonflower yet?
Have you been under a rock this week?
Spoonflower is an incredible new site servicing the crafty / design community. A site where you can easily upload designs for print on fabric. FABRIC!!! Yes, yes... there are other places out there where you can get this done. But all have rather large set-up fees and, to my research, did not seem to be worth it unless you were ordering a VW Bug full of yardage.
Oh sweet spoonflower heaven - you may only be in Beta but already I am in love.
I'll let you know how my test swatch turned out when I get it delivered next week.

Illustration Friday - Punchline

Created fresh today for Illustration Friday.

Is the prompt apparent? I sure hope so!

Sharpie Ink on found office paper

5.5" x 6"


Mini Paintings Weekend Play

Look at what I did over the weekend - miniature paintings!
This lovely little Canadian flower was painted with a teeny brush on the back of an architectural linoleum sample. Because in my opinion, the backs are so much more interesting than the fronts. Wood grained and stamped with the word "CANADA". How could I not paint it?

Just added to the shop - hopefully someone out there likes this little guy as much as I do!


Seattle Etsy Street Team Swap

Look at all that booty!

On Sunday I was feeling better so happily, I made it to the Etsy Rain Team Sale and Swap. The group had a meetup to pretty much show and sell / trade/ barter with each other and it was fabulous fun. I hadn't prepared much in advance so Sunday morning I just packed up my Rekoj bag with some hand made goodies and few supplies I wasn't using and heading on over.

I ended up with some REALLY great trades!

- A ring of outdated architectural Formica samples and a deck of "The Worst-Case-Scenario Survival Cards" in exchange for Never Marry Ninja Shower Art by Ugly Baby

- A primary color set of screen printing ink I didn't like, a check book cover and a mini octopus journal for what I think is the most amazing luscious lavender shawl I've ever seen from Scary White Girl. Dawn on the other hand, thought it was a hideous color. She needed screen ink and I love it!

- A mini bag and a check book cover in trade for two pairs of sterling earrings from One Eyed Collie. (One pair I'm wearing right now as I type!)

- A pair of cuff bracelets went to Tenika of Scarlet Beautiful because they perfectly fit her (same sized wrists as me) and I scored the lovely print of "Freely Bloom" pictured above. The orange in the flowers perfectly matches my door.

And that stash of amazing upholstery fabric? Free pile =) Oh yeah! Gotta love the swaps.


Sincere Community Thanks

Hello and welcome back to the World Rekoj!
Over the weekend I had a pretty severe episode with my back. It was a rough time, but through it I got to experience just how amazing my household is. I was so well looked after, checked in on and cared for that when I was trying to tell a friend about it I got a serious case of the warm & fuzzies. You know - that feeling you get when you realize just how lucky & blessed you really are?
So here I am, on a random Monday writing a random sappy email to my housemates of the Apex Belltown Co-op. Even when times get rough (and they've been pretty rough these days) we need to keep in mind just what it is we're fighting for. It isn't just some floors in a building. It isn't just low-income housing in a city where such space is rapidly disappearing.It is for our community. Our family of choice. Sincere thanks to everyone who helped me out this weekend - either with kind words of encouragement, the loan of meds, the loan of movies, the sharing of food and even the gift of laughter and stories - thank you thank you thank you ALL. We are all truly blessed to be in such an amazing place together. Okay - done with the sap - for now =)


A Little History

Here is a little Rekoj background which was first prompted by a really great forum thread on the EtsyRain message boards - "What were you thinking?" As in how did you end up on Etsy selling stuff?

I want to post my reply here just cuz it was so fun to think about:

I've drawn my whole life - had parents that happily encouraged my creativity. As a kid I would fully draw out characters, costumes, living spaces etc and make little books about them. Then, as I got older those little drawings turned into paintings which then turned into studying animation. I loved to animate but somehow I got it into my head that in order to actually get an animation job I would be forced to move to LA - which I really didn't want to do! (Little older and wiser about that nowadays)
The line drawings that I paint on everything I do began with that study of animation however. They are my way of capturing movement in a single plane. I had been doodling them for ages on paper, but it took a visit to this interesting little retail experiment that one of my friends was involved in before I made the leap from paper onto fabric. 6 years ago I started freehand painting my line drawings on recycled clothing and I became a seller with the Olympia Clothing Project, which was basically a fashion designer's shared retail space. We all sold our items commission free in exchange for working the store a day or two each month. It was hugely successful and fabulous fun - until a major roof leak in the building we were in forced us out of our cheap rent. Without a place to sell, many of us dispersed out into either traditional brick and mortar shops or BuyOlympia.com. We would occasionally bump into each other at craft shows such as I Heart Rummage or Crafty Wonderland, but overall it seemed like it was the end of us designers taking charge.

And then along came Etsy - and now I've reconnected with some of the other original Oly Clothing Project designers through Etsy such as Ruffeo Hearts Lil' Snotty and PaperDollFashion. And that artist and crafter community I was so sad to have lost? It wasn't an end oh no - it was a beginning of what is now a worldwide community. We all know it - Etsy ROCKS!


Best laid plans

All my best laid plans and all my energies can be completely lain to waste by one thing:
I have a crummy back. It flares up sometimes and this week it chose to - causes unbeknowest to me.
Saw my massage therapist for it today who has worked wonders for flare ups in the past - and she had to throw up her hands at the end of our hour not sure what else to do but refer me to her Physical Therapist.
I have gotten about 5 other referrals by just about everyone I know. I guess it's good to have some options... but none of them keep weekend hours.
Which means my weekend will be full of a little therapy of my own: regular Ibuprofen, my clawfoot tub and a bottle of rum for when it gets really hollerin' bad. Cheers!
With luck I'll be back to the painting in a few days. Unless anyone out there knows a good magician? If you do - and it works - then I will SO hook you up with some free art.
Love n Ginger Hugs,


Artist Dreams

Let me tell you a story.
Last night I dreamed of the tiny salmon that did not make it down the slough while we all watched. I dreamed of my tears while watching my partner Andy climb down the same slough that claimed the salmon. And the wise old man who said to me, "Here - let me teach you a song for him." And my tears at the beauty of his song. And the discovery of the mason jars that would bloom with fresh flowers if I breathed into them like fogging up a window.
Why am I sharing such a dream in my online journal - A dream that I normally would just jot down into my sketchbook? Because I'm curious if other artists also have such strange, vivid dreams. For me, this is the stuff of paintings. This is the well where my paintings stem from. And I never can make sense of it.
Tell me - can you relate? Or am I just a weird, weird girl?
Either way I wouldn't trade it for the world.
Mason jar cheers,


Spring Shop Updates

I haven't been a very good blogger this week. I apologize.
I just got way to caught up playing around with my shop! Including a new banner which is finally consistent with my new website.
Etsy's introduction of the new shop policies page, combined with my amazing discovery of a shop listing trick last week has me all back up on the Etsy horse. Giddy up & go!
Really though it'll be great - finally all that stuff sitting around my studio will be out for the world to see. Well, the online Etsy world at least.
And along with all that fun shopkeep stuff I finished another oil painting over the weekend. Another in the string series and I just can't wait to show you. The weather just needs to cooperate so I can get a good picture (quit raining dammit!) and then I'll be adding the new swans to the site. Stay tuned cuz Rekoj is rocking it!