New work and woodblock collage class at Garden Essentia

Here is a preview of some of my new work that is currently on display at Garden Essentia.  Stop by the gallery to check it out!


Over the weekend, I taught these techniques at a woodblock collage class at Garden Essentia.  What a fun group!  Everyone made something totally unique, and I was blown away by the results.  I can’t wait for the next workshop on June 13!  If you missed it, register early because this one filled up fast.  Online registration opens soon on the Garden Essentia website.

DSC_4312 DSC_4346 DSC_4345 DSC_4344 DSC_4343 DSC_4342 DSC_4341 DSC_4337 DSC_4338 DSC_4340 DSC_4326 DSC_4324 DSC_4321 DSC_4318 DSC_4317 DSC_4315   Photo credit: Colette Highberger

Hero’s Journey photos: An artist residency with the EMP and Seattle Public Schools

AdamsEMPIf you could write a fantasy novel, who would your hero be?  If you could create a model of your character out of clay and found objects, what would she look like?  These marvelous sculptures are the work of a 5th grade class, who did that very thing.

AdamsEMP2They wrote a fantasy story from first person perspective, narrated by their main character.  Then, over the course of one week of art classes, they sketched and created a 3-d model of their character using clay and mixed media.  They also had the opportunity to construct a stand or platform and tools or accessories for their character using scrap wood and found objects.

This program is a collaboration between the EMP and Seattle Public Schools, connecting the arts to core curricula.  To learn more about this program, please see my earlier post Hero’s Journey.



Thank you to the Experience Learning Community Foundation for funding the arts in public schools.AdamsEMP5.2 AdamsEMP6

Hero’s Journey: An Artist Residency with the EMP

EMPI’m excited to be working with the Experience Music Project this year as Artist-in-Residence, in the Curriculum connections program, doing outreach with schools.

The EMP is an adventure in inspiration.  Their curators blend art, music, and technology in innovative, interactive exhibits that invite museum visitors to “play.”  Many of the exhibits delve so deeply into a topic, you could spend a couple/few hours exploring one thing.EMP_1

I especially enjoyed seeing the Hendrix exhibit.


Icons of Science FictionIcons of Science Fiction is pretty cool too.

Fantasy Worlds of Myth and MagicI am working with the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic exhibit, and connecting exhibit content to literacy/creative writing through visual art.  (*The program serves students in grades 5 – 12.)  My first session was with a 5th grade class.  Students had been writing fantasy stories, creating characters, and mapping their imaginary worlds, like Tolkien with Middle Earth or Terry Brooks with Shannara.

middle earth mapmixed media art dollWe worked on character development through drawing and sculpture, and over the course of 5 art classes in a week, they created storyboards, character studies, and a 3-d model of their main character and narrator of the story.

I decided my character here needs a bow and arrow like Katniss Everdeen to complete her Hero’s Journey.  Who would your hero be?

A huge bonus in teaching with the EMP is that the staff photographer is scheduled to come photograph the students’ work so that when the class visits the museum, photos of their artworks will be projected onto the Sky Church Screen.  What a cool experience for the kids!

Thank you to the Experience Learning Community Foundation for funding the arts in public schools.

time travel passports

timetravelpassport5As part of our Kids Create travel-themed art series, we created time-travel passports using old Altoid-type tins as a base.

Students started by imagining where they would like to go – anywhere in the world or universe, any time period, past, present or future.  Some children chose to illustrate trips to real places they have been with their families, and of course some children chose to create from their imaginations.  After sketching some scenes from these trips, the students were ready to decorate their tins.timetravelpassport2

timetravelpassport1We took a picture of each child, and created small passport books that would go inside the box.

Every child made a stamp, representing a country (or planet, or …. )  All of the children’s stamps were available to be used at the stamping station, and kids were invited a few at a time to stamp in their passport books, using stamps made by everyone in the class.

timetravelpassport3   timetravelpassport4

timetravelpassport6Students were also encouraged to create small treasures and souvenirs to keep inside the box.

To see our other travel-themed projects from this series, check out duct tape luggage, and watercolor travel journals.

Happy travels and adventures in art!


Recycled robots at Kent Kids Art Day 2013

robot2What could be better than making stuff out of junk and duct tape?

Dumpster diving divas Nadine and Nicole were back at Kent Kids Art Day with Recycled Robots, and we brought everything AND the kitchen sink ….




Every child left with a unique work of art.


Thank you to the City of Kent for sponsoring public art in the community, and to ReStore and Earthwise Architectural Salvage for the hook ups!

transcending the dreaded artist statement

birdframeIf making art isn’t hard enough, writing about it is even more difficult. I find the artist statement elusive and intimidating as I struggle to put into words the multitude of messages that can be read in layers of imagery.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, as I was writing my artist statement for the upcoming “Plumage” show, it launched my work in a new direction.  Usually it’s been the opposite for me.  I make the work, and then struggle to find words to describe it.  This time, I wrote first and created second.

At first, I was writing about some older pieces that I was thinking of showing, but then when the artist statement was complete, in addition to describing the earlier “blue” series, it was also describing some works that did not exist yet.  I’ve been in the studio every minute I can, ever since, trying to create what I can see in my imagination, what I feel in my heart.  The work is not there yet, but I am standing on the precipice of a new doorway, filled with light, exploring new themes such as landscape and surrealism, with all its’ inherent symbolism and layers of meaning.

Below is an exerpt from the statement that launched this new series.  The wonder of art is that it can have different meanings for different people.  I’m not including the artist statement in it’s entirety because I want you to find your own meaning in the work.  You can read my statement at the opening for the Plumage show April 19 at Gallery 4500.

thebestschoolsPlumage Show Artist Statement, Spring 2013

Birds represent passages to me.  Flight reminds us of transitions, a change of seasons, a turning of time….


how altering books keeps me from burning my canvases

My altered books are a springboard to greater projects.  I don’t know how many books I’m working on at any given time.  I don’t know if/when they are finished.  I just know that they are an essential part of my artistic process.  Art journaling is my unleashing activity, my creative catalyst.

A canvas, however, feels riskier.  It’s on an easel.  It’s white.  Or even if it’s not white, I paid money for it, and it has a certain intimidating stature.  It probably has a deadline attached to it, will require a title and a dreaded artist statement to be written about it, and all that pressure is a certain way to shut down the creative process.

In contrast, the art book was free.  It is not for exhibit, not for sale, not under time constraints, unhindered by theme, and so the work comes entirely from the heart and the creative soul.  It needs no title or artist statement.  I can burn it if I want to.  But usually, the altered books turn out wonderfully, and it is the canvas that I want to burn.

Here are a few recent altered book layouts …

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You are seeing them in-progress, as I will add more color to this one, and a bit of fabric to that one, paint over the top of another, and so on.  Mixed media is an ever-evolving artistic process that wanders and weaves its’ way through.  My job as artist is to keep pushing and challenging myself until I see something wonderful and amazing start to happen.  Half the art is the making; the other half is knowing when to stop.

Now back to those canvases …