Sunday, January 31, 2010

Floating in Tea

The tea theme rages on! This past week I'll been drying and taking apart used tea bags to reclaim the wonderfully stained paper that the tea leaves create. I find them quite beautiful and varied, depending on the tea type and brand. "Accidents" in the drying process (sunshine, low oven setting "baking") encourage a more refined and experimental approach to how long I brew the bag and what position I lay it in for drying.

Then the collaging process begins, which is where the pure enjoyment of creating really kicks in. I've done several pieces on canvas and look forward to trying some different ways of construction. Here are some of the early pieces:

Now I need to start hosting some massive tea parties! It seems a shame to be pouring perfectly good tea down the drain.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Cynthia Emerlye:
Sometimes it's difficult to determine the best orientation for my hand cut kirigami mandalas. Here are two more I've recently cut, each of which has that happy problem. When I am creating hanging mandalas, I have to choose in order to string them. With these frame-able ones, the customer gets to choose which way to mount them.

These two mandalas are available in my Etsy shop at

Loving Couple Lotus v.1

Loving Couple Lotus v.2

Lotus Love Birds v.1

Lotus Love Birds v.2

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tea Time

In the middle of my art school course I happened upon a subject that really inspired, has continued to, and I imagine has plenty of potential for the future. It's all about tea.

Tea has been my preferred drink since college days and I have stored in my memories so many wonderful connections with family and friends around a cup of tea. And when I'm alone, it's been a pick-me-up, a calm-me-down, a feel-better-soon, break in my day for years. So I have a real connection to tea and all the ritual and visual aspects that surround it.

So during the last few days of my course I had a lot of fun playing with tea. Staining fabric with tea bags, using tea bag labels to create various pieces, adhering loose tea to surfaces. Messy and satisfying!

So that was the start. Since then I've explored lots of other possibilities and am continuing to take time with tea throughout the day. For now I'll share a few of the pieces that I created during my course.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to School

Last week I had the good fortune to attend an intensive week-long course at the nearby National Art School. What can be better than an entire week to work all day long with no distractions! Assemblage and Collage seemed a perfect description for what I felt like doing and I was able to experiment to my heart's content. My main goal was to have fun, and I certainly did!

Our first day the instructor suggested we use various materials to create the image of a face. I found some cardboard in the dumpster outside our classroom, cut a few things out from old magazines and used plenty of paint and various papers. Here are the two pieces I made on Monday:

Monday evening I decided on a project for the next day. Chris helped me to collect lots of trash at our lovely local park, as well as plenty of gum leaves, pine needles and other natural goodies. I wanted to juxtaposition the two. It took most of Tuesday to attach everything with wire and tons of glue, then to seal it all with gesso and paint it all white. It's a bit funky but I think does get the message across:

Next time I post I'll get into the final 3 days, when I was really able to focus on one theme. It felt so good to make a body of work, suspend judgment, and just feel the sheer joy of creating!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Accordion Books

A few years ago, I began to make accordion books using quotes from the Bible and authors like Thomas Merton whose writings always brought me comfort and inspiration. I'm thinking about going back to work on them again and thought you might like to see some of these small books.

This quote is taken from Merton's "Thoughts in Solitude"....

"I Will Not Fear"

And the following books are illustrated psalms....

"Had I But Wings"
psalm 55

"You Have Formed My Inmost Being"
psalm 139

"I Shall Not Be Disturbed"
psalm 62

To visit Kathleen Fiske Art, click here:

Monday, January 4, 2010

Magical Gum Trees

On New Year's Day we hiked in the Blue Mountains National Forest along a fantastic Red Hand Cave trail. We started out in a gentle rain and the gum trees surrounding the overgrown trail seemed almost to vibrate with color. Some were charred from bush fires that must have moved through the area some years ago and others were in the process of shedding their bark, creating fantastic patterns on the tree trunks.

I'm always inspired by trees in Australia, which seem so much more exotic than the usual (wonderful, of course) trees of the US Northeast. Some of those that I met on Friday filled me with inspiration and a mad desire to paint. I share of few of them with you.........

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Year Musings

Cynthia Emerlye: When one is terribly sick, it is impossible not to think about mortality. It's not that I imagine I am actually going to die from this pneumonia, although I have known people to die suddenly and from seemingly insignificant conditions. It is that illness reminds one that life is more fragile than we wish to believe.

That is what I imagined when I created "Carpe Diem" several years ago. Instead of an old man, death is an innocent yet wise girl. She is feminine because the female represents Nature and the cycle of life. Rather than an old wise woman, she is a child and represents purity, innocence and potential. Her familiar is an owl, a night predator. Death opens her cloak to reveal eternity and a morning sky full of hummingbirds (rebirth.)

Life, death, rebirth... each resides within the other. Carpe Diem. Live while you are alive because none of us knows the moment Death will spread its cloak over us.