Wednesday, August 17, 2016

My Favorite Things - Places - Sandhills Horticultural Gardens

I captured the photos here at one of my favorite places in North Carolina, Sandhills Horticultural Gardens.  All were taken during two separate Springtime visits.  The first group were taken this year while visiting with one of my Besties from Pennsylvania, Mary.  The second group was taken last year during an Easter visit with my sister-Janet, my niece-Kate, and my nephew-Ben.
Inspirational garden art and sculpture is everywhere!

Individual gardens within the gardens provide surprises at every turn.

Our native Longleaf Pines are ever present.

How could we resist a respite in the Adirondack chairs?!?!?

Even the trees take on sculptural forms in the Spring.


"The Thinker" aka Ben

Family Love!

Stone Stacking is a favorite pastime when we're together.  Seeking Balance!

The Gardens are a place for all four seasons.  To just spend time there is pure bliss, and they also offer various educational programs, plant sales, and other special events too.

(For those who will be visiting the area during our ReMe Retreat - The Sandhills in October, you can look forward to blooming Fortunes Osmanthus, Holly Osmanthus, Loquat, Sasanqua Camellia, Thorny Elaeagnus, and Encore Azaleas.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Collections Make Me Happy

Collections of various things make me happy.  

Yes, there are those things that I collect with intention.   These include seashells, skeleton keys, photos, vintage tins, family recipes, handcrafted jewelry, original art, pottery, and so much more.  

Beyond these, I also try to take time to notice the collections that surround me every day.  Perhaps it's the sheer quantity of one item that draws my attention, or the repetition of a color, shape, or the function of a certain type of object.  Whatever it is, I often seek and find inspiration in the most random of collections.  A few examples follow:

Collections provide inspiration to me, and I'll continue to share photos of some of my favorites.  What inspires you?  Please share with us in the comments below, or email me directly at .

Monday, July 11, 2016

Patience, Forgiveness, and The Art of Catching Up

 The past few weeks have been challenging for me on many levels.  Nothing worth talking about; but during this time, as I dealt with the in-person realities of my world, I fell out of touch with various electronic forms of contact.  These include phone calls, text messages, and social media of all kinds.

I'm happy to report that things are much improved here now, and today I find myself poised at my keyboard with my telephone at the ready as I stare at the backlog.


I'm not sure where to start!

As with so many other areas of my life I suppose that the key lies in taking baby steps.  One message, one phone call, and one apology at a time; I'll work through this.  As I dig my way out, I ask for your continued patience and forgiveness for anything that I've missed in your corner of the world, and I promise to extend the same warmth and grace to you when you find yourself in a similar predicament.

Click here for a brief, four minute, podcast by Alyson Stanfield on the topic of Forgiveness.  It's an oldie but a goodie, and it spoke to me today.  I thought that you might benefit from it too.

Is it me or was the world a bit simpler before computers when we had only a land line that provided a busy signal to the caller when we were
otherwise occupied?!?!   :-)


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

In Living Color

In my jewelry and in my mixed media assemblages, I tend to be drawn to the same colors again and again.  These include the raw colors of all types of metal, and of metal in various forms of decay.  This palette is comforting to my eye, and somehow it has a story to tell.

In my work, the exception to this includes any and all of the folk art pieces that I create.  In these, all bets are off!  Bright rules; more colors are a wonderful thing; and generally each piece is polka dotted to within an inch of its life.

While I adore both of these approaches to my art, for years I've challenged myself to "add more color to my jewelry".  This has come in the form of beads, enameling, fiber, and various patinas.

In January, I joined the talented Debbie Keen and Nikki Thornburg-Lanigan for a weekend of creative play.  During our time together, we experimented with metal etching, enameling, graphite, colored pencils, and alcohol inks.  We learned from the good , the bad, and the ugly... and we had a ball!

As I posted this photos to Facebook today, I realized that this process of adding color continues to evolve for me, and I love where it's going.

The journey continues...

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Jean Skipper's Creative Marketing - July 2016 at MATTIE Arts Center in Swan Quarter, North Carolina

MATTIE Arts Center in Swan Quarter, North Carolina is one of my favorite hidden art gems.  It's hidden in that Swan Quarter itself is off-the-beaten-path in the best possible way.  It's convenient in that it's located in the center of town, beside The Hyde County Government Center, and anyone lucky enough to be arriving or departing The Swan Quarter Ferry to or from Ocracoke Island will reach its front doors with little to no extra effort at all.

MATTIE is an acronym for Mattamuskeet Artisans - Teaching, Training, Instructing, and Educating, and MATTIE Arts Center lives its mission one class, event, artist, and student at a time.  At Mattie Arts you'll find a gallery, classroom, and a passion for art, artisans, and the community that can barely be contained in its walls.  Today I'm exceedingly grateful to announce that I've been invited to contribute to MATTIE Arts' economic development efforts by leading my Business Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs Workshop on July 30, 2016 from 9:00 until 12:00.

Please call or email MATTIE Arts to register for this free event!

To register for this event, please call MATTIE Arts at 
252-943-8991 or email  
Space is limited, and early registration is recommended.   

The cost of Business Marketing for Creative Entrepreneurs is being funded by The Beaufort Community College Small Business Center.  As a result, there will be no cost to individual participants. 

The Small Business Center Network (SBCN) now has over 60 sites throughout the State.  Its known as the most expansive state funded technical assistance program in the United States, having locations within a 30 minute drive of virtually every North Carolinian.  The objective of the SBCN is to increase the success rate and the number of viable small businesses in North Carolina by providing high quality, readily accessible assistance to prospective and existing small business owners which will lead to job creation and retention. 

I'll also be leading a metalsmithing class during my time in Swan Quarter.
Details to follow soon!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Inspiration in Living Color

Since our studios are side-by-side, how could I
my Critters and Creatires not find some inspiration in the
expansive color palette of Jodi Ohl's work?!?

I tend to find creative inspiration all around me everyday.  Often, I'm inspired without even thinking about it consciously, and I almost never find the need to articulate why or how something strikes a cord with me.  

Recently I was asked, "What inspires your work?"  This question caused me to pause, and it set me on a more conscious path toward identifying the sources of my inspiration.  "Color" is an answer that I return to again and again when I'm seeking inspiration.  Often it's the colors in nature that inspire me...the greening of trees in Spring, the blue of our Carolina Sky, or the palette that surrounds me while near the ocean.  

Man made cacophonies of color inspire me in a completely different way.  A few photos from my archives follow.  I find that these images are especially inspirational to me.

Glass in Debbie Keen's Lampworking Studio

Fresh veggies prepped and waiting to be transformed.

A collection of buttons at Creative Studios NC.

While inspiration from bright colors isn't always apparent in my collection,

It's hard to miss it when the mood moves me!

In my jewelry, and in Wanda's Folk Art.

Pattern and texture definitely inspire me as well; but I think I'll save that discussion for another day.

What inspires you?  If it's color, what are some of the images that move you to create and how is this inspiration reflected in your work?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Captured for Posterity - Etching with Lori and Zoe

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending time at Creative Studios NC with my friend, Lori, and the newest addition to her family, Zoe.  Zoe is just over a month old, and Lori's enjoying bonding time with her while on maternity leave.

My day plan included etching huge numbers of cuff bracelets and other metal parts and pieces, while also taming the chaos that's overwhelmed my studio since returning from our most recent ReMe Retreat.  I happily report that I remained focused and on task...for the first hour or so.  For me, this is a major accomplishment.

After that, all bets were off!  It began innocently enough in a conversation about resin, vintage lace, and the manner in which we could create a collection of charms through the years to mark the milestone's in Zoe and Sophie's lives.  (Sophie, aka "Zoe's Big Sister", is almost three years old.)

The next thing I knew...

And the end result of it all...

Please note that no babies were harmed while making these pieces!  Lori will be creating wall art by mounting and framing them.  

I'm hopeful that this is the first of many such pieces that I'll have a hand in creating.  If you'd like to make something similar, or if you have another crazy-good idea that you'd like to discuss, please message me at, or call Creative Studios NC at 910-245-4129.