Mary Engelbreit inspiring change

A few days ago, Mary Engelbreit, a fellow artist and designer and a native of St Louis, posted this illustration and reflection on her Facebook page:

“When situations turn horrible and I find it hard to move on, I usually draw my way through it. These drawing hardly ever see the light of day, since they’re really just a form of therapy for me. But these events unfolding now in my hometown and across the country , shining a light on the ugly racism that still runs rampant in our country, made me think that maybe this drawing could help in some small way. While it’s not a cheerful little picture you’d want to hang over the sofa, you might know of a school or an office or a police station that could use it. All proceeds from the sale of this print will go to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund.
mary engelbreit hands up don't shoot

http://www.maryengelbreit.com/store/In-The-USA-Fine-Print.html

Mary received a huge response to the image, raising $25,000 over the next few days for the memorial fund. While most of the comments were positive, she also came under criticism from some who viewed the image as inflammatory.
Mary kept her resolve, later posting this update:

mary commentary

The above was removed by Facebook, and she followed with another update:

“Thank you all—-well, most of you!— for your kind words and support over the last couple of days. They far outweighed the negativity I received. Obviously tempers run high during a terrible situation like this, and without any clear leadership in Ferguson or St. Louis releasing accurate information, it’s going to take a long time to settle down, I’m afraid. I hope my drawing was a help to some of you, anyway. We’ve made well over $10k so far that will be donated the the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund, so thank you for that. I know it’s been difficult to get on our website due to the large numbers of people trying to get on, but the print will always be available, so there’s no need to rush!
Also, Facebook got in touch with us and said they would put the post back up (although I don’t know what’s taking them so long; we put it back up in about 5 minutes, without the picture) and they told us they would make sure it wasn’t removed again.
I’m going to return to my “regular programming” later today, which I know will bore the crap out of a lot of you, so thanks for being here for these few days, and thanks to most of you for being so kind.
Meditate, pray, hope and/or work (whatever works for you!) for peace and SANITY to return to our world. Be the change you’d like to see.
Love,
Mary, A Known Subversive. ( My absolute FAVORITE comment!)”

Thank you, Mary Engelbreit for showing compassion and conscience in the face of a difficult situation. It is the role of artists to do what we can to make this world a better place- through inspiration and encouragement, but also through responding with courageous truth-telling. Your actions point the way to a better world.

Mary Engelbreit was interviewed on her local NPR affiliate about the story. Listen to what she has to say here.

 

 

Back to School Gift List

Back to School lists are out, and now is the time to stock up for a great year. Pencils, binders, backpacks, new shoes, and don’t forget this unique alarm clock from Paper Scissors Rock. This tiny clock makes a great gift for your favorite teacher, ensuring that they will start their day right, bright and early.

Clock with an apple on the face and the words "to teach is to touch lives forever" with floating pencil second hand

My alarm clocks are not just for teachers. Look through the dozens of designs in my alarm clock gallery to find the perfect one for the student in your life- preschool through graduate school!

ballet alarm clock
The clocks feature reductions of my original paintings and collage work, on a tiny 2 X 2 clock face. They are cordless and lightweight- perfect for travel. But what makes them totally unique is the miniature image that floats around the face counting the seconds. For instance, on the ballet alarm clock above, its a miniature ballerina. Check out the whole collection for great back to school gift ideas.
Its also the perfect time pf year to get a classroom in shape and off to a great start with clever decorations that celebrate the work of teaching and learning, such as this teacher wall clock.

teacher wall clock

And don’t start off the year without these stylish glass gem magnets, perfect for displaying student work, reminders, and to-do lists.

teacher glass gem magnets

Here’s to another great year of learning, growing, and teaching!

Any time is coffee time! (gifts and recipes)

Coffee lovers enjoy their joe in all weather- cold brews and blended drinks this time of year. But there is more than just the same old iced coffee and frappucinos. Cold coffee lends itself to desserty shakes, cocktails, and all kinds of fresh combos. I’ve found some fun recipes to share with you at the end of  this post.
My lineup of gifts for coffee lovers are a hit here in the Pacific Northwest, where coffee is a way of life.

Check them out:

coffee time travel alarm clock

Wake up and smell the coffee with our portable battery-powered coffee time alarm clock. This clock was made from one of my original paintings. The little red cup is the second hand which seems to magically float around the clockface as it ticks.

coffee glass gem magnets

Coffee appears in seven forms in these super strong glass gem refrigerator magnets, made from miniature reproductions of my paintings. Use these to post recipes and memos on your fridge, like: “get more coffee”. They come in a reuseable metal gift tin.

coffee time wall clock

 

This colorful “Any time is coffee time” wall clock is made from prints of a bright mixed media piece I did-colored pencil, collage, and acrylic. It is dry-mounted on black foamboard and laminated, creating a tile that looks exactly like ceramic but is lightweight and break-resistant.

Coffee-lovers, try out these hot weather coffee recipes:

1. Nutella Coffee Frappe Take your hazelnut coffee to the next level with this yummy blended drink made with real Nutella.

2. Iced Brazilian Mocha-Cola The fictional drink on the Nickelodeon tv show Drake and Josh is actually all the rage in Brazil. It sounds weird but the combo of cola, coffee, and chocolate milk appeals to many.The taste is like a cross between a rootbeer float and coffee ice cream.

3. Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Sweetened Condensed Milk Simple and sweet– this is a traditional recipe that makes the list.

4. Cold brew coffee with Lime Simple and refreshing, sweetened cold brew with lime. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

5. Shoeless Joe This unique cold brew mocktail again brings in the cola- along with black cherry syrup and soda. Try adding vodka or rum to the mix.

Here comes the sun…4 facts and 3 gifts to help you enjoy it

sun alarm clock

Its summer and we’re finally starting to get more sunny days here in the Pacific Northwest. Time to get outside and enjoy some of the benefits of the sunshine…load up on that vitamin D for the year. If you love summer, check out the celestial gifts I make featuring my original paintings of the sun. (Moon gifts also available)

A few solar facts:

1. We need the sun! Our bodies need sun exposure to make vitamin D. Many people are deficient in this nutrient which builds our immunity, and protects our hearts, muscles, and mental and emotional wellness. Enjoying 20 minutes outside every day, rain or shine is good for maintaining healthy vitamin D levels.

sun wall clock

Here Comes the Sun wall clock on a light-weight break-resistant non-ceramic tile.

2. Don’t enjoy it till it hurts! Getting a bad sunburn raises your risk of skin cancer significantly. Enjoy sunny days in moderation according to your skin tone’s tolerance.

sunlight

3. Clouds, pollution, and water change the sun’s effects! You may think that a cloudy or hazy day is a safe day to be outside all day, but the sun can be powerful enough to give you a sunburn even when covered in clouds. Water makes the sun far more intense, so always cover up or use sun block at the beach.

sun night light

Sun night light keeps it burning through the night.

4. Every hour the sun beams enough power to meet the world’s energy needs for a year! Solar power in its primitive form began in ancient times with harnessing heat through magnifying lenses. Now solar technology is highly advanced and cheaper than ever. Check out how you can use the sun’s power in your home and save or even make money.

 

Best Olympia art event: Procession of the Species

 

Earth Day is not over where I live. In fact, we are just warming up.
My favorite event here in Olympia, Washington is the annual Procession of the Species, a giant, makeshift artistic homage to the flora, fauna, and natural elements of our world. procession of the species
Months before the week of Earth Day, a warehouse space opens downtown to begin construction for the parade. Individuals, classrooms, girl scout troops, faith communities…basically everyone in town crowds into the warehouse to get involved. And so begins the creative process – costume making workshops, choreographing dance routines and marching bands, and constructing costumes.
Oh the costume construction! They range from simple painted cereal box animal masks to the elaborate large-scale segmented paper mache creatures that serve in lieu of floats as the parade’s main attractions. Since nothing motorized is allowed, the giant creatures are made with flexible parts and worn by groups of people–15′ elephants, dinosaurs, dragons, and even giant insects have romped through the Olympia streets in 20 years of “The Procession” tradition.

zebras olympia

I usually attend the Procession as a spectator. People expect me to be in the parade  because I’m a working artist, and I creates a lot of animal art (I have over a hundred designs of wall clocks, alarm clocks, night lights, cards, and magnets featuring critters), but I so look forward to witnessing the parade every year that I don’t mind sitting at the sidelines. And the sense of community and joy in the air when the whole town comes out to play is something I just love to be a part of.
If you happen to be in the Olympia, Washington area, do not miss the revelry!
This is an event to remind us that our home is a place teeming with precious creatures, and we are responsible to all of them to keep the earth livable and beautiful.
procession

Actress Patty Duke visits the Craftspeople at Pike Place Market

Having grown up watching her TV show, when I booked Patty Duke to ring the bell at the market I was thrilled. Like many of us, I have seen The Miracle Worker, for which she won an Oscar, many times. And of course, I’ve seen her in many other films and TV shows over the years. But as fun as I imagined the day might be, I never dreamed it could be as special as it really was.

Patty Duke (whose real name is Anna) is still absolutely beautiful, and she and her husband Mike are two of the most genuine, loving, fun people you’ll ever meet. The couple met when Anna was filming A Time to Triumph, the true story of a woman helicopter pilot. Mike, who was a drill sergeant at the time, was hired as a consultant to teach her how to salute, march, etc. and in the process they fell in love. They have been married for 28 years, and they both exude a combination of warmth, humor and kindness that is rare to find.

Patty at roll call, wearing the fabulous hat given to her by Goldie of Lidwear

Patty at roll call, wearing the fabulous hat given to her by Goldie of Lidwear

What not everyone knows about Anna is that while we were all at home happily watching her on TV and in movies, she was enduring a difficult & traumatic childhood. And on top of all the trauma she experienced in her personal life, in 1982 she was also diagnosed as bi-polar. She has since become a passionate advocate, author, speaker and educator on mental health issues. (My brother is a psychiatrist and when he heard I’d be meeting Anna, he called to make sure I know what an amazing woman she is. He told me that he feels deeply indebted to her on behalf of his patients, and what a difference her work and voice has made for so many.)
As I took Mike and Anna on a tour of the market, I watched with admiration as Anna looked into the eyes of every person who approached her, and greeted them as if they were already a friend – whether a fan of her TV Show, movies, or books, or someone who has dealt with mental illness in their own life and knew of her advocacy work. She gave out hugs that clearly came from her heart, and her sparkly personality and openness left each person she met glowing.

Actress Patty Duke Pike Market SeattlePatty Duke by Pam CorwinPatty Duke with Paper Scissors Rock and Pike  Place Market artists

At one point, I told Anna & Mike about a dear friend at the market who is bi-polar had hoped to meet her but couldn’t make it that day. Her husband died recently and our community is worried about her.  Anna listened with clear concern and both she and Mike simply said “Call her.” So I dialed the phone and Anna took it and walked off to give her support and sage words of advice in private. Our friend was blown away by the kindness and generosity of this amazing woman.

After Anna rang the bell, a small group of us went out to breakfast. What a lovely time it was! We were joined by Lori Ness, of Northwest Prime Radio (who is the person who put me in touch with Anna), Mary Kay Sherwood of Sherwood Silkscreen, and Kat Allen of Symbols in Art.

Mike made me laugh all morning.

Mike made me laugh all morning.

After breakfast so many people wanted to give Anna and Mike gifts and thank them for coming that it took us two hours to get through the market.

Patty Duke and artists have breakfast

Mel Dofredo of Villanueva Arts is still talking about the wonderful, heartfelt conversation he had with Anna.

Mel Dofredo of Villanueva Arts is still talking about the wonderful, heartfelt conversation he had with Anna.

screen print art at Pike Market with Patty Duke

Sarah Porter of Saragrapics

Seattle textile artist and Patty Duke

Sheila Mead of Gypsy Wings Textiles  shared her work with Anna.

I never expected to meet two such down to earth people and make new friends that day. But these two are in my heart (and I hope my life) forever.

If you want to know more about Anna’s journey, I recommend you read her best seller, Call Me Anna. If if you or anyone you love lives with bipolar disorder, I  also highly recommend her second book, Brilliant Madness: Living with Manic Depressive Illness.

Anna and Mike will be at the Hollywood autograph show the 12th and 13th of April, in LA. http://www.hollywoodshow.com/main.php

Anna will be speaking in Kadima, Michigan on Thursday, May 8th

Anna will be attending a screening of The Miracle Worker in Omaha, Nebraska on May 23

Duluth Superior Film Festival, May 28th to the 31st

And she will be speaking in Connecticut on June 6th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Middletown, CT

Follow Anna on Facebook 

So tiny its hard to believe these are real!

tiny knitted socks
Check out these amazing miniature works of art by Indiana knitter Althea Crome! Yes, these incredible little fairy garments are actually hand-knitted, with 70 stitches to the inch. (For perspective- normal scale knitting might have about 4 stitches to an inch) I love them! Not only are they adorably tiny and intricately detailed, but Althea packs so much expression into such eensy-weensy packages. The socks above tell a story of the artist’s childhood move from the city to rural life.

FrogAlarmfrog wall clock
I have always loved tiny things- dollhouse furniture, miniature toys, and especially miniature works of art. I have a number of tiny treasure in my house that I have collected over the years. They adorn my windowsills and shelves, find little corners to sit in, or they get their home on a teeny-tiny things shelf in my guest room. My favorite are the ones I have acquired from other artists at the Market or trade shows.
Naturally, my love of tininess also shows up in my own creative work.flying pig wall clock progress

When I create original paintings to become wall clocks, I paint them actual size. This means that a lot of the tiny details that I like to include have to be done with very small brushes and I have to keep a steady and patient hand. Often I do a little bit at a time, and then come back later, because my hand gets tired.

For the magnets and alarm clocks, the originals are reduced in size. Many of the alarm clocks are made from the same original as the wall clocks so if you, like me, are partial to miniature art, check out the alarm clocks gallery to find the 2″ version of many of the most popular wall clock designs.

dog clock kids room

Dancing Dog Wall Clock

 

2" square mini alarm clock

2″ square mini alarm clock

 

The gem magnets also feature micro images, such as the Seattle themed magnet set you see here.

Seattle theme refrigerator magnets decorative

The real life Paperbag Princess struts her stuff!

Oscars 2014 was a memorable night! Here are a few of my Oscars highlights:
I love Ellen. She made the show for me. I loved the pizza delivery and thought it was hilarious when she took the ‘selfie’. I cried at Jared Leto’s speech. I loved Cate Blanchett’s dress and thought she deserved the win.
AND…I loved the fabulous (and even the not so fabulous) dresses.
But the red carpet’s finest had nothing on this little Miss, inspiration of the week. I caught this article trending last week from Huffington post about this 4 year-old fashionista nicknamed “Mayhem”, and the incredible unique paper creations that her mother (and assistant) has been photo-documenting on Instagram at #fashionbymayhem.

Check her out in her stunning paper replica of Lupita Nyong’o’s Golden Globe gown by Ralph Lauren.
Well, it looks like Mayhem may actually have real fashion sense as this was the one she chose as her favorite from the globes. I was tempted to post this last night when I saw this dress popping up as "BEST" all over the entertainment shows (we made it early yesterday) but figured I could just show you the metadata on the image if you don't believe me ;) Happy Tuesday! #fashionbymayhem

 

Everything she makes is out of paper or scrap from around her house! Her mom says that she began designing the dresses in the beginning at her daughter’s request, but the four year old, whom she endearingly calls ‘Mayhem’ on the blog, soon took the helm. She can now cut out and tape together dresses unassisted, though Mom still helps with some her more elaborate designs, such as this incredibly whimsical creation stolen from the runway.


Since Mayhem’s work hit the news last week, she has experienced an overnight rise to fame! And with her precocious creative sensibility, I’d say she deserves the fanfare, wouldn’t you?

Honor the creative princess in your life with princess kids room decor from the Paper Scissors Rock including colorful wall clock, travel-sized Battery powered princess alarm clock, and a princess nightlight (guaranteed to scare off the dragons!).

Proud to be a Princess alarm clock princess night light

Free Lolita and orca whale clock

I heard the news that one of our Northwest native marine friends may be coming home after a long stay in Florida. It’s still uncertain, but there has been some progress towards a plan to release Puget Sound orca whale Lolita to her family, after more than 40 years in captivity.
If Lolita makes it all the way, we will celebrate her freedom and welcome her back home to the Sound. I’m sure many of us will be on the lookout, hoping to be the lucky person to catch a glimpse of her sometime.
orca, lolita, wall clock, killer whale
Orcas are treasured members of our ecosystem in the Pacific Northwest.
They are so special- nurturing and intelligent, and also vulnerable. They inspired me to make the above orca wall clock, which can be ordered from my website or purchased at the Pike Place Market in Seattle, or local retailers throughout the US.
You might be lucky enough to catch sight of an orca at the Washington coast, or from one of the greater Puget Sound area/Salish Sea’s many operational ferries that go to and from the islands including as Bainbridge, Vashon, and San Juan islands where Orcas island is located (whose name is appropriately but only coincidentally shared with the sea mammals that populate the area).  Sightings happen throughout the year. If you see an orca, you can report your sighting which helps researchers and conservationists in their work to protect them.
Support the cause! Mention Free Lolita when you order the orca clock in February, and I will donate 20% to Greenpeace.

5 Tips for Having an Awesome Thanksgiving

5. Remember: Thanksgivukkah comes but once every 70,000 years! If you are Jewish, its especially important to honor the rare event of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coinciding, termed Thanksgivukkah  earlier this year by a clever Bostonian on Twitter. Mashup specialties to include challah with gravy, mashed potato latkes, and of course, deep fried turkey…mmm.
If you forgot to come to Thanksgiving dinner bearing hanukkah gifts, come by the Pike Place Market on Saturday, and make up for it with my one-of-a-kind Judaica glass gem magnets, the perfect gift for the other nights.
(Like all my different kinds decorative magnets, they come in a nifty gift tin. The magnets are strong enough to pin up artwork or other items to. They will not fall off the refrigerator like so many do.)

Judaica gem magnets hanukkah Thanksgivukkah

4. Honor your host or hostess!
Preparing a Thanksgiving feast is a huge job. Of course, I think the best kind of Thanksgiving  is one where you cook together, but if you are not the foodie type, a nice gift of a centerpiece or something to decorate the home will show your appreciation for the cooks.

When in doubt, bring flowers.

When in doubt, bring flowers.

3. Don’t forget the pets. They really like to participate in Thanksgiving too. So be sure and set aside some unspiced pumpkin puree, a little lean turkey meat, or something special that is approved by your vet for your dog or cat friends’ consumption. They will be ever so thankful.

dinner dog wall clock

2. Don’t stress about the shopping!  Eat leftovers and relax tomorrow, and save your energy and money for Small Business Saturday. Supporting local businesses means giving gifts with a heart for your community.
shoe fits wall clock shopping
Lots of businesses are running promotions on Saturday. Check out our online sale all weekend to celebrate Small Business Saturday  or come visit me at Pike Place Market in Seattle for one of the most unique and special holiday events locally.

1. Count your blessings. It feels good.

handmade unique heart wall clock