How long does it take to finish a sculpture

Sometimes art evolves quickly


“Escaping Thoughts” emerging from wet clay.

This piece was formed from a slab of clay in the studio in February 2016.


“Escaping Thoughts” after ceramic glazing and multiple kiln firings.

May 19, 2016  the piece is finished and ready to be entered for juried exhibition.

The process to complete this piece was much quicker than most of my sculptures. Frequently I incorporate found objects and other media to convey my intended message.  Assembling dissimilar parts takes more contemplation, planning, and sometimes actual blood, sweat and tears.

Is art less valuable if it comes easily?




Posted in art, ceramics, Inspiration, Michigan Art, studio | 2 Comments

Saturday In Detroit

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Gallery | Leave a comment

Baking my past into my future


Rose Melnik Holy Redeemer High School Cafeteria 1973

The older I get the harder it is to remember the facts about any given event in any sequential order or specific chronology.  However, the things I do remember become qualitatively measured and then quantitatively recollected.

Remembering my mom doesn’t happen without falling into a mouth watering trance wrapped in the smells and flavors of her kitchen. I say her kitchen, because her essence undeniably possessed it.  I vividly recall the one time I allowed myself to let it invade me. This was several years after she had passed away. I was caught off guard visiting the high school kitchen she worked in for many years as a professional, “cafeteria lady”. Crossing the threshold into the room I was hit by this warm embrace, then tearful sadness. I could still feel her, but no longer engage in any tangible way.

The holidays, in particular, can bring up so many food memories. One of the pastries my mom alway made was Slovenian potica. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The sweet, steamy smell of butter, sugar and walnuts would not leave me alone. I had uncle Tony’s recipe which included raisins and apples, thanks to being Facebook friends with my cousin. My mom was notorious for not having written recipes, or if she did she would adjust them to her taste and not write down her adendums.

The only kind of baking I do on a regular basis these days, involves ceramic clay, chemical glazes and a kiln. So thoughts of making potica myself were unceremoniously pushed aside. The memories were not so easily tucked away. I decided I should pay attention and find a way to move forward. After talking to my husband, who makes puffed pastry and breads, I decided with his help we could do it.  We adjusted quantities and combined two recipes. My favorite is this one from the Slovene National Benefit Society.  Our filling required cooking the apples, raisins, butter, sugar and walnuts, until the apples were soft.


Apple, Raisin, Walnut Potica

The results were a wonderful mix of smile producing aromas and tastes. We started eating it still warm out of the oven.

So this act of reclaiming, and reinventing ma’s potica has taught me a valuable lesson. You can honor memory without living in the past. A new metaphor of how I plan to approach the year, paying attention and moving forward. More to come.

Posted in gratitude, Holiday, Inspiration, life | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

New Year’s Eve, blessing for 2016

Promises to myself for the New Year.NewYearsEve2015

I’m sitting at my desk in front of my computer listening to Beatles Radio on Pandora. What a gift it is to hear these old familiar songs streaming to me from the magic of the internet.

While Lennon’s ‘guitar gently weeps’, it’s easy to be melancholy on the last day of the year. Particularly when our region has is being smothered by a seamless blanket of clouds. Sunshine is just a faded memory.


Glimpse outside my window

Days like these we must find a way to light up from the inside out.

So I’ve decided to try and begin the New Year with some new resolve. There are always things I need to be more of; productive, organized, disciplined, thinner, fitter, smarter, kinder, and wiser.

I’d like to try a different approach this year and make myself some promises to:
1)Pay Attention
2)Practice Forgiveness
3)Smile More
4)Be Generous
5)Keep moving

I’d also like to share this blessing from Irish poet, author, priest and philosopher John O’Donohue.

“A New Year Blessing”
John O’Donohue
Benedictus (To Bless The Space Between Us)

On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.

And when your eyes
Freeze behind
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.

Posted in Inspiration | Tagged | 10 Comments

Memorial Day reflections on Memory and the effect over time

My father was 44 years old when I was born. He was 27 years old when my oldest sister, the eldest arrived. My childhood memories and my siblings recollections differ enormously. I have always valued the significance of each person’s unique perceptions of daily experiences, as a shaper of their memories. So sometimes it is hard to sort what is real and what has been embellished by imagination, values and biases. Looking out the window at this very moment; all I see is an empty, green, grassy yard. Upon closer look it’s not so empty. My memory of this morning will be skewed by where I choose to direct my focus.

So I wasn’t totally surprised when I decided to explore a memory and see how it measured against my siblings memory. I grew up with the story that everyone thought my father, in his youth, looked like the old time movie star Tyrone Power.

I asked my sister who is 7 years older than me what story she remembered. She said she always heard people thought he looked like Robert Taylor. My brother, who is the next oldest, said it was Paul Muni. My oldest brother named another actor John Hodiak, and my oldest sister was sure it was George Raft with a hat.

I wonder if the memory of who he looked like was connected to how we related to him. I know he was different with me than he was with my siblings. Maybe he was a tough guy like George Raft, when my oldest sister was young. He retired two years after I graduated from high school. So he wasn’t focused on his job anymore. Being the youngest, I may have imaged him to be the gentle leading man. We took our first plane ride together to visit Ukraine in 1974. It was a return trip for him. It was a scary adventure into Soviet culture for me.

I guess it doesn’t matter all that much which one of is right about who he looked like. He’s been gone over 25 years now, and I still think about him. He will always be my Daddy.

Posted in Family, Inspiration, life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

From Berlin to Metro Detroit Artists Collaborate


Collaborative exhibit opened at River’s Edge Gallery in Wyandotte March 20, 2015. It will remain on view until April 17, 2015. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Friday 11:00 to 8:00 pm and Saturday 11:00 to 5:00 pm.

Gallery Director Jeremy Hansen was inspired after his experience collaborating with artists in Berlin, Andreas and Ralf Hilbert aka “ANRA”, last year. Zusammenarbeit is the German word for collaboration.

Historically many well known artists have had collaborators. Judy Chicago’s “Dinner Party” was created with hundreds of collaborators. Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz all collaborated.

My collaborator was Susan Robinson-Heaslip one of my studio mates and member of West Huron Sculptors. It was an exciting fluid process, with a great exchange of ideas and expertise. It was also an exercise in trust and a journey of respect.

We began with two sculptures I had created, but never finished. Susan and I talked and ideas began to flow. Her thought was to build context for them by framing separately with pieces of mitered wood.Somehow in the process, a triangle appeared. As a Catholic I immediately began thinking of symbolism. Then I turned to Susan and asked about Jewish symbolism.  It just happened that it was March 4th the beginning of the holiday Purim. We began talking about Hamantaschen or Haman’s pockets a popular treat for this holiday. One interpretation is that the triangular shaped cookies represent Haman’s three cornered hat. Another thought is that the pastry’s shape comes from the Esther’s strength and the trilogy  founders of Judiasm: “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This explains the title “It started with hamantaschen or Trapping Haman.”

Susan suggested I add muscular arms to the second figure. Her title is “Stronger than she looks” and she began to resemble a “Rosie the Riveter.” Robinson-Heaslip is skilled at composition, patinas and a variety of art materials as well as a sculptor herself. She created a box complete with over two hundred “rivets” actually screws, then was able to create a faux metal surface.

Below are photos documenting some of the process. I’m open to future collaborations, since there is always something new to learn.

Posted in art, exhibition, Inspiration, Michigan Art | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

From Magic Kingdom to Mariupol, Ukraine


Cinderella Castle Magic Kingdom Disney World, USA

Visiting the Magic of childhood fantasy, with one foot in the world of adult tragedy.

Here all the staff are smiling and friendly, making you believe that all is right in the world. To quote Thich Nhat Hanh: “In our daily life, we can smile. If we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.”

Then my mind shifts to Mariupol, Ukraine. Where Russia is exherting its great power against principals of international law and humanity, and rockets kill 30 people. It reminds me of a Jimmy Hendrix quote; “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”


In Michigan my Ukrainian friends light candles and stage a protest against University of Michigan Musical Society honoring Putin comrade conductor
Valery Gergiev, who supports the annexation of Crimea and bloody invasion of Ukraine.

Staging a protest, doesn’t change the world, but it helps to keep us from letting the world change us. We all need to do what we can when we can.

Posted in Inspiration | 2 Comments