The BIG little eaglet

I created the palm-size little eaglet as a fundraiser for Eaglemount in 2015.  They named the limited edition solid bronze little sculpture"Soren."  The little bugger found his way into many loving homes and even inspired chocolates molded from my sculpture (also raising funds for Eaglemount). Earlier this year they asked if I would make a big version of the eaglet for their new playground/garden.  Soooooo - before and after the last trip to Bhutan, BIG Soren was created.  He was delivered last month to the foundry to begin the process of becoming a bronze.

Cliff's birthday

Cliff I know you hated to see me cry but you witnessed and cared for me through every simple and complicated crying spell imaginable during nearly 3 decades together on this mountain. I have been crying a lot lately - missing you so damn much. The loss of you in my life hasn't gotten any easier or smaller or more bearable. I couldn't even write and share stories on your 70th birthday yesterday. Raymond has been patient and kind. He even indulged in my nearly manic desire to hang two of your giant rusty grapple hooks with heavy chain because somehow it seemed important to salvage them from your sawmill and embellish my studio. I stood protectively at the bottom of the fully extended jiggly ladder with words of encouragement for Raymond (who hates heights and ladders). I could see you shake your head, eyes sparkling while your comments rang crisp and clear in my mind. I heard your laughter. Bonding, binding, storied and impossibly heavy chain just seems appropriate right now as I fumble with emotions equally dense and impossibly heavy. There is something in those hooks warm with rust...

I love you so damn much Cliff. Even as I miss you, I know your love was as unbreakable as that chain. Every clunking bit of horrific pain wracking my heart with loss is worth the love we shared. Every damn bit. 

Finding himself...

progress - slow and steady... The evening of the day I returned to sculpt the little owl, I went home and promptly got sick.  Perhaps sickness walloped me because I actually bragged out loud the day before that I had managed the events, stress and long flights during the past year without getting sick.  Not even once...

Then BAM.  Crud.  Couched.

Maybe it had something to do with returning to the owl?

Meet Levi Denham

Nice compliment to my studio don't you think? Bought this bugger Thursday morning in 10 minutes over the phone through a trusted friend (I HIGHLY recommend Phil for any auto-buying needs).  Raymond and I left Friday evening for Minneapolis, drove through the night in the old rodeo truck as temps outside dipped more than twenty degrees below zero.  I watched an amazing slow motion North Dakota sunrise - the bold sunbeam squeezed skyward by crisp cold air just before the sun blazingly burped into the sky a moment after this photo was shot:

Sunrise squeezed by super cold air

I very quickly bonded with my "new" rig during the 15 hour ride home. Ford calls the color, "Blue Jeans Metallic." Levi seemed an appropriate name and "Denham" happened because I know how much Cliff would have liked this truck.  Throughout my twenties, Cliff would tell me to "hurry up and make money Honey so you can adopt a child" - which I alway imagined to be a girl but if it were a boy - I threatened to name the child Levi Denham.

Each of my last two trucks spent nearly a decade with me.  I certainly hadn't planned on my truck getting totaled (I put $1200 into having the front end rebuilt less than two hours before a lady ran a stop sign and totaled my truck).  I don't believe Levi spent much of his life being a truck but less than 24 hours after bringing Levi home, the truck began its new life by hauling a large sculpture down our steep mountain across icy interstate roads to the Yellowstone Art Museum for an upcoming show and auction.

Reliquary sculpture headed to museum less than 24 hours after arriving home with my "new" rig

Levi looks good in front of my studio...

Skateboard for Charity

I really need to get to work and should try to make some much-needed moola.  I have a zillion ideas.  If you follow my work you know I like to work in series because there is always so much to explore when I open my heart, engage my curiosity and dive into a theme.  When I adventure or create, I most often love the MAJOR expeditions.  But major expeditions take a large focused commitment of time and resources.  I am currently short on both as the intensity of my mother's care takes major portions of my time and resources.  So I find myself settling for more simple quickie excursions - both inside and outside my studio.  I must be patient and wait for the correct time to launch another major series. I found myself alone in the studio with a blank skateboard deck.  Many local artists have been given a blank deck to decorate to raise funds for the local skateboard park.  I was never any good at skateboarding myself - but I find it encouraging when youth and adults alike are motivated outside to play. 

The carved trout certainly had potential...

hmmm...think perhaps I will use some carved wood scraps...

I found myself playing with a box of scrap woodcarving leftover from earlier bronze vessel projects (the carved wood vessels are sacrificed into several pieces during the mold-making process).  The carved trout would have been a crowd pleaser in this fly fishing community.  Of course I want the project to bring in good money for McNair Skatepark but I felt myself more drawn to the carved leaves and my desire to paint a bunny...

Easter message...

OptionA Growth does not happen without uncomfortable moments. PTSD after a traumatic event last spring kept me from creating in my studio. Months and months (and months) passed without inspiration, a hard protective shell within which frightening darkness enveloped me. Painstaking patience, persistance, faith and love from friends, sips and dips in the spiritual essence of Momma Nature and a disciplined determination to peck my way through the the shell that protected me when my innards crumpled...FINALLY a completed sculpture...! The little bronze hatched from an act of love for an inspiring community of people who consistently break through shells, honor boldness, embrace raw realness and nurture. HATCHing = Fragility and strength. Bold breakout. Vulnerable exposure. Tender warm feather nurture. Encouragement. Celebration. New chapter (after new chapter after new chapter) Life embraced. Community. Protection. Freedom. Love. Generousity. Happy Easter dear peeps (with lotsa love... )


At last.....! For the first time since the horrific dog pack attack last spring - I find myself actually inspired to create.  Phew...!

Life has blessed me with inspiration - usually almost more than I can bear.  My head most often overflowing with creative ideas like a room full of monkeys all wanting attention at once.  Sometimes life shuts the door on the creative room but not often and never for long.  The dog pack attack slammed that door shut for longer than I have ever experienced.  I took disciplined steps toward busting the door back open.  Patience is not my strongest suit but I had no choice.  I simply could not forcibly push myself any sooner.  I completed the sculpture for HATCH - months later than planned.  But I did not have that excited "cannot-wait-to-get-to-work-in-the studio" feeling.

Until now...

Yesterday I even blew off the demands of my desk and dedicated the day to the studio.  I'm working on the drawing for our wedding invitations (which of course is more than just a drawing for an invite).  I will post some progress photos for you (stay tuned for the finished drawing...)

Back in the last....!

Exploring HATCH literally... My intention to complete the promised sculpture for HATCH last year was thwarted by my own healing process. The Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome crumpled my world and lasted longer than I imagined. I have covered a lot of ground spiritually, mentally and physically during my journey. Interestingly, I believe it was the time spent climbing ice this season that has contributed the most to my healing process. I’ve learned sooooo much about traditional/medical ways to deal with PTSD vrs a deeply rooted personal spiritual approach. For instance, studies have shown that Native Americans suffering from post-war PTSD respond better to tribal healing methods such as sweat lodges and ceremony than traditional therapy.

My own experience follows along the less-traditional healing methods and confirms my desire to create healing art using trees. I am grateful for my intense yet enlightening journey.

I am also grateful for my commitment to creating the HATCH sculpture which I have begun as my first project after a 6-month unplanned sabbatical from my studio.  The palm-size sculpture as it has morphed quite a bit from my original vision.

"Festive Lady" - the bed keeps going viral...!

[embed][/embed] Near-and-dear-to-my-heart - "Festive Lady" has gone viral once again with more than 149,000 "shares" from the FB page "Horse Talk" who posted it recently.  Pleases me to have the creation seen by so many people!!!  Alas - somehow it was originally posted by someone on Facebook without giving me credit as the artist/creator.  Hard to know where they got the image from, could have been one of the many publications who have featured the bed.  But in honor of the energy spinning around the creation as it whirls around the world of Facebook, I encourage you to watch the short sweet video showing the creation of this signature piece.

Featured in a documentary series...

[embed][/embed] My goodness we have SO much catching up to do!!!!  I would love to ramble all about the wonderful experience of this sweet little documentary - from being discovered (crazy story involving dinosaurs and cowboys) to being asked (what an honor to be included in a series about people inspired by their Montana surroundings).  Then too - there is the day I spent with the young bright talented film makers.  But l'll let this short sweet documentary "do the talking..."

And so it begins...

The last three years began with a ritual of creating one palm-size woodland critter sculpture in clay to be cast in bronze. Each January the “critter project” has been a bit of a break from studio life - the sawdust, the BIG projects. Early mornings with tea at my dining room table, the sculptures came to life. The places they’ve traveled to their forever homes is a wondrous sweet thing. Affordable. Solid bronze. Made with love. Starts with a little lump of clay...

But this year I am making an extra little sculpture for a cause. Eaglemount is very near and dear to my heart. Any guesses as to what this lump of clay will become?


King Midas is known in Greek mythology for his "golden touch."  Last year I was commissioned to paint a skull gold for a small reliquary sculpture and then asked to use gold for the reliquary to hold the golden skull.  Honestly I was a bit frightened of the power of so much gold in a small sculpture.  But of course I commission-to-please so; gold happened. I loved it.  I have more exploring with gold to do but meanwhile here is the latest venture (not a commission):

Love'n the GOLD...!