The Art of Learning a New Technique

Life and art are ever changing. We learn new techniques to challenge ourselves and to explore new avenues. As humans, we also learn techniques to deal with the changes in our lives. Learning is continuous and necessary for growth. I decided recently to learn bead embroidery. For as long as I can remember, I have loved embroidery. My grandma had embroidered pillow cases and I loved to feel the stitches. I remember watching her embroider quilt squares and faces on dolls. The time and love that went into each stitch was endearing. My goal is to embroider with beads and give the same love and attention as Grandma did to cloth.

Research on the topic was completed on Pinterest, Google and books on embroidery and beading. The images I found were amazing and some breathtaking. The artwork of Merrill Hickey has also inspired me on my journey. Her work is fantastic! I gathered beads, embroidery floss, stones, felt and crystals. My first brooch created was an insect. I used metallic thread, stones, crystals and beads. Paper and pencil were used to create my template to trace onto the felt. It was exciting and new teaching myself how to piece it all together. The finished product turned out close to the way I thought it would. The knowledge I took away was smaller beads and tighter stitches.

My love of dragonflies beckoned me to create more insect brooches. Each brooch is a little different and the stitching is tighter than on my first brooch.

Front and back are cut out of felt. Sample of future dragonfly, stones and beads.

Completed dragonflies.

Current Work.

Thank you for sharing your time with us and we hope you enjoyed our new technique. If you are interested in a copy of the template or guide to create please contact us at

Until next time take care and keep creating!


The Mileurs

The Art of Photography

This week I am writing about an area of art that I am most familiar with, The art of photography. As with all art, there is many forms in the art of photography. My experience with photography stated at a young age, watching my mother taking pictures of all of our adventures in life and watching the photo albums grow over the years with pictures of our vacations and holidays. We were always excited to see mom putting the film in the mail to be developed and waiting for two weeks to see what came back, very few people had access to darkrooms to develop their own. You spent a lot of time trying to make sure you did all you could on camera to make a good picture, and hope that when you did get the prints back they were good. Times have changed and now we have digital cameras and instant access to see if the picture we take is good or bad.

I started on 35mm film back in my day, where you bought a roll of 12 or 24 exposure film, and you worked hard to get things right the first time. You wanted to ensure that you had all the setting done properly and worked to get the right picture. Then once you shot your 12 exposures you sent them off to be developed. waiting two weeks to receive your prints to find out if you did it right, or did you just waste a little more money to throw in the trash. I never had access to a dark room, so my best friend was my notebook, where I logged down what ISO i was using, what was the film speed, what F-stop did I use and what was my shutter speed, keeping a log of what you did to compare to the prints you got in return, it was a hard learning curve. In doing this I learned a lot about the art of photography. The art of photography to me is capturing a moment in life, using the light and shadows to make a photograph come to life. A great photograph can be made of the simplest object, but by using the camera to its fullest and looking at things differently than others, you can make a great piece of art. Years ago I was exploring and shooting at my brothers farm, when I came in to look at what I had shot on the computer, my sister-in-law, saw one, and said it was beautiful and where did I find that photograph. I told her it was at the end of her driveway, and she drove by it everyday for several years without noticing it. In my way of looking at life, I see things differently than a lot of people. A good photographer looks at things, then looks at the way the light works, then ask themselves how can I get the best shot, do you adjust the shutter speed, or open up the aperture.

When I switched to a digital camera, I retained the way I always took photographs, in which I look at the light, the background, the settings on the camera and try to take the right shot the first time. I never was able to figure out how to properly use photoshop, which I think is an art form unto itself, so i left photoshop to others to use. I always believed that God created the pictures, I just took them. I think that capturing the beauty in the world around us is an art form and I try my best to bring you the best I can.

I love going out with my cameras draped across my shoulders, I usually have a least two with me, sometimes I carry three. I set each camera up differently, so that i have the most options without having to change every setting for each picture. I enjoy being out in nature and seeing the beauty of the world around us, and then attending different functions to capture life in the city. With great photographers they see the beauty, the story, the life going on around us differently, than most people. Great photographers capture a moment of life and allows us to study and wonder about the life around us. In our fast pace lives, photography allows us to see the moments that we pass by, they force you to slow down and look and study and to understand the story behind the art.

The Art of Exploring

This weekend was the first 1st Friday, since 2015, that I haven’t worked at the Studios on Sheridan’s 1st Friday event, so we decided to start exploring other venues offered on 1st Fridays. I have always loved exploring new areas to see what beauty I can find. When I retired from the Federal Prison systems I set out with my cameras to find beauty where ever I could, I explored the back roads and country side to find things that would bring light, peace and beauty back into my life after close to 40 years of darkness and the ugly side of life. By exploring new areas I was able to find the beauty that I had missed out on. By exploring you can find many truly beautiful and wonderful things that you have missed in your life. Never stop exploring and looking for the beauty that life has to offer.

So on 1st Friday of June 2019 we explored, we started by going to Glazed and Confused out on Farmington Rd. to visit with Cyndi Merrill and Jeff, to watch them work their magic in clay. We entered their shop to find several visitors admiring their work. After they offered us drinks and snacks we watched them both turn to working. Cyndi was working a piece that she had already started and we watched as her hands worked their magic. Jeff started a new piece on the wheel and listened as he explained the process of what he was doing. It was neat watching these two artists turn out some beautiful pieces, it is a treat. So if you get the chance you need to visit these two artist and be inspired by what they do.

We were off to explore some more, our next stop was back to my old stomping grounds the Studios on Sheridan at the Sunbeam Building. I wanted to stop by to hear the awesome music provided by Random Strangers and to see the art work of Ken Hoffman on display. We strolled thru and visited the shops and met up with many old friends, Jon and Angie Walker, Steve and Michelle Rouland, and many more, watched the ladies at J. Draper Glass putting on a show for the crowd with their glass blowing talents, and visited with the different artists, Jaci, Beau Hart and others, but we didn’t stay long had more that we wanted to explore.

Now we head down to the river to visit CAC, on Water St. which was close to the truth with the flooding, but we went safely and stayed dry to the 3rd floor, to visit with the many talented artists who share space here. It is inspiring to see so much talent residing at CAC. We got to meet up with Duffy Armstrong as she was working on a new piece and enplaining her work to several admirers. I got to spend a few minutes with Kagen Masters who paints with coffee. I was shocked until she explained that she uses instant and decaf coffee only, which was a relief to me, I couldn’t imagine using my coffee that way. If you like you can smell her work. Then we ran into a long time friend Trish Williams, she is always a joy to talk with and shares some great hugs. She brings a light to a room with her smile and her clothes that she designs.

Time is running short for 1st Friday which ends at 9pm, so we are off again to explore a new venue, Casa de Arte, on Adams St. where Jessica Ball is having her exhibit for the month of June. We had a little trouble finding it at first, then realized we had passed it so around the block we go. I am glad we spotted it, being it is our first time to visit, we wasn’t sure what we were looking for. But we are so glad we did. Jessice Ball is a talented painter and lover of art, and this location is perfect for her. A large crowd is in attendance here for the drinks and tacos and the art. We had a great time, we met with several friends, Mike and Banu Hatfield, Tom Pries, Susie Flick and others. We enjoy visiting and discussing the many and varied forms of art we encounter in our lives and the people who share a passion for beauty and art in all its forms.

The night ended to soon for us, there are 17 exhibits listed for 1st Fridays, so we plan to continue exploring the many new venues over the next several months and meet with the artists and hopefully bring some of the beauty we see into your lives, till the next time, explore life and find the new adventures that await you.