Category Archives: other art

Does getting older make you less creative?

Deb posed this question. 

I say no…not less “creative” but certain age related conditions…arthritis, body aches and the like…can certainly interfere with your ability to “express” your creativity in the manner previously established.  

I saw this point illustrated in the portfolio of an elderly, female,  artist named Pat.  She was exhibiting in a small art show in our town (Westmont)    Her works on display were that of  oil and acrylic paintings….but in her portfolio I saw fantastic photos of her sculptural  work.  I  was stunned that she had switched to painting when her 3-d pieces were so wonderful.  That’s when she explained that she could no longer work with the clay.  The cold, clammy material was too hard on her arthritic hands.  The need to create was so strong in her….she needed to switch media to express it.   I found this rather reassuring….since I, myself wonder about the physicalities of felt making on my own muscles, joints and hands.

I imagine it will be frustrating at first……but I have every confidence that there are other mediums that can….and will….speak to me when the time comes.


Tammy Deck ~ Westmont, IL


When creativity has left the building

I had 2 year bout with this…during my father’s losing battle with cancer….and a year later when my business mentor faught and lost her battle in just about the same time frame.  During this period, I felt like a creative slug.  Just going through the motions day to day.

I couldn’t see it at the time…but that’s what actully helped.  I Kept going through my creativity motions.  Kept my hands and eyes working in my medium…even tho my heart was breaking.  Just kept going through the motions.  Kept going into the sewing room.   Kept surrounding myself with my “creativity stuff”.  I even took classes in a new medium (they called it lampwork..hee hee)

Do I feel that I created “art” during this time…nope. 

One day….I was done with grief.  I had a dream that night for a new direction in my felt work….creativity had re-entered the building.  sigh.

I realized after this experience…that I needed regular intervention and peer support.  We tried offering a group with an assignment based approach…it was good for a little while… but then, several of us began to feel angry and down on ourselves (I could never complete my assignments on time!)  After some time had passed…some wounds had healed…we tried again with the group we call  “Creativity Continuum”.   There are no assignments or due dates (unless they are self imposed)  We meet once a month with a “coach” to keep the meeting on task…but we always have an activity….that makes you use your hands differently….your eyes differently….different materials…different approaches.  Our main goal is to keep our creativity muscles moving so we’ll always be ready for the “work-out” when creativity returns….because you know it will be a work-out!


Tammy Deck



More About Hats

Here’s the hat I made most recently:

This hat is made from silk fibers that I hand painted with dye and then laid out for a “fusion” fabric.  This is very much like paper making only I used a textile medium to permanently bond the fibers.  I take the wet fabric and drape it over a prepared mold….a hat form I created.   I let it dry and then peel it from the form and finish it (which usually means I add beads!). 

 I think if you click on the image it might get bigger.


This one is a miniature (brim is 5.5″ total dia)  I made it to honor an additional entry requirement for my last show, “Prairie State Art Fair” held at Arlinton Park Race Track.  We were asked to submit a piece that reflected horses or horse racing.  The title is: “Ladies Day at Arlington Park”.  I’m happy to add that I made the little hat stand, too! I melted a clear rod to create a flat button top for the hat base…then inserted the rod into a hole I drilled in the acylic ice cube.  (You all do have acrylic ice cubes in your stashes, right?)

typihg with a cat licking my fingers.

Tammy Deck

Felting 101

Felting 101

What a great time I had yesterday! My friend Rebekah and I went to TLD Designs in Westmont and took a felting class with Tammy. Tammy makes some absolutely beautiful felted items as well as doing weaving, spinning, and other fiber arts. Her work has been highlighted in Belle Armoire magazine and she’s been on “That’s Clever” on HGTV.

I’ll just give a brief description of what we did. If you want all the details, you have to take the class. LOL I will tell you though, that you need to wear a T-shirt, not a sweater. It’s not a passive process at all. If I felted all the time, I’d definitely be in better shape!

We started the process by taking what’s basically a hunk of unspun wool, called roving. We pulled very fine fibers from it and laid them down on a sheet of muslin to form the base of our scarves.


It’s not easy to get the right amount as it needs to be very fine. Mine is almost too much!

Once we laid our fibers down then we started doing the structure of the piece. We started by laying down long strands of yarns. We wanted to use yarns that would felt well so if we added something in that wasn’t a ‘felter’, then we had to be sure that it was crossed by a piece that was. This is Rebekah starting to lay down the long strands.


Once that process was finished, we started doing our designs. We could use spirals, swirls, anything that we wanted to give structure to the design. The more structure, the sturdier the piece. When we were through with that part, we went back to fill any little areas that needed it with roving.


I was too busy working to take pictures of the rest of the process but basically we finished this part, covered it with what looked like a curtain and then got it wet. Once that was done, we started the felting process with a sander. Yep. We got to play with power tools too! The next parts of the process were the felting itself. We rolled the whole thing up, soaked it in hot water and went to work. The hardest part is the last 30 minutes, trust me on this one. My hands still hurt. After the felting is accomplished, I brought my masterpiece home and hung it to dry. And, voila, here it is…



REALLY off track!

So, after following JoJo’s lead and getting into ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards), I decided to go the lazy route … uh…. make that the cheap route (creating can get expensive, you know!) and try my hand at digital scrapbooking.

New camera in hand, I took the girls to Dawson Lake in Moraine View State Park last week, and snapped a few photos, then I filled up my hard drive with scrapbook layouts and Photoshop brushes and new fonts, and went to work. This is my first attempt at digital scrapbooking. It’s not the look I was going for, but it’s not too shabby for a first attempt!

(As a side note, the green butterflies in the larger butterfly were Ceil’s addition!) Please click on the thumbnail for the “in your face” size!

Dawson Lake montage

The importance of “other” creative outlets.

by Joanna Mueller

As some of you may know, I don’t torch much during the winter months.  My studio is located in my garage, however, is taken down during winter months due to weather.  I depend on open torch nights at my friend’s studio to get some things done during the winter (thanks Mari!!!).  I’ve gotten bored.  Very bored.  It was time to pick up one of my old habbits…. ACEOs.  If you’re not familiar with the term, ACEO stands for Art Card, Editions, Originals.  They are specifically miniature art pieces that measure 2.5 x 3.5 and are usually created on heavy duty stock watercolor paper, small canvas, etc., and sold.  ATC is something different in that ATC is traded, not sold.   Some are drawn, some are painted, some are decoupaged, but all are fun!  I think it’s so very important to have a creative outlet other than my glasswork.  If I didn’t, I would have a very long, boring winter, and probably end up pretty cranky.  I thought I’d share some of my work here.  I love drawing and painting fairies and fantasy, but also love flowers and landscapes.  I tend to lean toward color pencil and watercolor, although have been known to work with acrylics and other mixed media such as chalk and pastels.  I hope you enjoy looking at them.  There is a huge following of ACEOs on ebay.  Just go to ebay and put ACEO in the search bar and you’ll see what I mean… all styles, something for everyone.    I sell mine on ebay, and also give them as gifts.  Here’s a sample of my work, and as always, thanks for looking!


Woodland Sprite

 Fire Nymph