April’s Guest Designer: Lenna Young Andrews

Hi everyone! Maggi here to introduce this month’s guest designer! 😀 I’ve been following her blog and artwork for a while. She’s a fabulous lady and has talent out the wazoo so we were thrilled to have her play with our Showstoppers kit. Help me welcome Lenna Young Andrews!

Lenna Young Andrews

Lenna Young Andrews has been creative as long as she can remember. Although she never received a bachelor’s degree, her training over the years in both art and dance has definitely shaped her life. Today, Lenna’s mixed media work is most often referred to as “free”, full of feeling, layered, intriguing and inspiring. She works with paper, paint, canvas, fabric, photos, vintage papers, quotes & words, her sewing machine, natural items like shells and feathers, and just about anything within her reach that inspires her. You can keep up with her creative pursuits on her art blog, Creative Lenna.

Lenna has been published over 50 times since 1994 for both her art and her articles in both books and magazines. You’ll find her artwork in various Somerset Studio publications, RubberStampMadness, Vamp Stamp News and Expression Magazine (Cover, 2005). You will also find her published work in these books: 1000 Artist Journal Pages, The Art of Fabric Books, Altered Books 101, and New Techniques for Wearable Art, to name a few. More details can be found here on her original website.

Lenna discovered at the young age of 20 that she enjoyed teaching and she’s been instructing either dance-fitness or art classes since 1977. She found out she has a talent for teaching, whether it is an in-person class or an online workshop. She truly enjoys helping students discover the joy and contentment of being creative and is often noted for her helpful and encouraging instruction. Students most often describe Lenna as a very organized and caring teacher who can take a large project and break it down into more manageable parts. Visit her teaching site or her creative swap blog for more information! You can also visit her daily photo journal on Blip, see her archive of art and class photos or visit Lenna in her Zazzle Gallery and Flickr!

You are going to go nuts over what Lenna did to our Showstoppers kit so be sure to check back next week!

Now go glue something awesome onto some awesome something!

Maggi 😀

Image Map

Hi and hello! Its lovely to meet you! By Ngaire Bartlam


I’m Ngaire ( pronounced Nigh-re) from Brisbane, Australia. Thats me, right there below….>

hey there!

I am a blogger  and crafty type, from way down the bottom of the globe.. fox and deer is my blog, if you care to go have a look!

fox and deer

I write  articles and create a project or two for the Aussie online magazine  Etzcetera and am now a part of the MOST fabulous Gauche Alchemy. I am well pleased.

I am also snarky, a little too much at times, I love a good titter, a smirk, a chortle, a belly laugh if you will. I am into art, don’t take myself too seriously, and love writing for my blog..

I make stuff. Like this:

vintage style crazy patchwork wrist cuff.

chunky junky necklette.


find your bliss embroidery .

You can see more here.

I am dangerously and daringly tattooed ( tough as anything, really .. I am..!!)  …with an armful of hello kitty and baby deers, and flowers, and fruit. ahem.

sleeve in progress.

You can see more here if you like?

I dye my hair a lot.. the brighter the better, I speak with an Aussie (pronounced   “ozzy”.. not  “AWEsee”) accent!! ( Hugely surprising as i was born and raised in Australia.), I love chocolate and have just started trying to get fit. I am also a noble peace prize winner,  elite pole jumper, have written two books, and love taking photos using iphone apps.****

random sample Instagram photo with Aussie outback feature.

Which are my fav. Gauche Alchemy products ? thank you for asking..  mmmm lots to choose from.. .Loving the wallpaper swatches, the paper napkins, and the nevermore paper kit.. as I do love Mr Poe.:)  The brand spanking new “going postal mixed media kit” also makes my heart skip a beat.

mmmm. postal-y goodness.

My favorite type of projects are the  silly ones, with as few rules as possible. where you can just let your mind go nuts!

Well it is super cool to meet you, i look forward to chatting again, and bringing you lots of Gauche Goodness. Until then I leave you with one of my favourite quotes.

Via Pinterest.

kiss kiss,



PS: ***** two of these sparkling reference additions may or may not be COMPLETELY* true.
* and by completely, I mean, not at all.

Getting Sassier with Age: A Retrospective

Amy and Heather here, getting nostalgic and taking a peek backwards as we move forward…

We’ve been asked from time to time how Gauche Alchemy got its start. It might be a boring story, but we’ve decided give you a few of the details on this, our 3rd anniversary.  It’s been a wild ride, for sure, and we are still learning as we go.

Heather and I started scrapping together when our young children were much younger.  I got into scrapbooking in 2000, just after I returned from Greece to visit a friend.  I’m so glad I memorialized that experience because I forgot many more of the details than I imagined I would – mostly names and details of the places and people I saw.  Anyway, I kept trying to lure Heather into it, but it took a while.  Eventually (I think it was around 2005), she took to it, and I finally had a scrapping buddy (yay!).  Her daughter was only a baby then, and shortly after that, I got pregnant with my daughter.  When I finally had her (kind of) sleeping through the night, I’d head to my scrap room as soon as she was asleep and stay up much too late, getting some time for myself.  It was truly therapy at that time.

It was the best girl time!  We spent some great late nights building a wonderful friendship and making some art in the process.  And there may have been a glass or two of wine involved, and definitely some guacamole.  Midnight IS the snacking hour, after all!

Over time, our scrap room conversations turned to maybe starting our kit club.  Already we were tiring of “strictly scrap.” We wanted ephemera and found objects and fun stuff we couldn’t necessarily find at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  We had no idea how to do it, but we thought it would be fun and give us an excuse to shop and then share what we found with others.

And it definitely had to have a gauche, irreverent twist.  No stereotypical scrapbook themes here!  We laughed ourselves silly thinking of taglines we would put on our hypothetical business cards, and wrote down list after list of themed kits we dreamed up!  No topic was sacred.

We decided that it had to be a bit different than anything else out there, so we combined as much attitude as two polite young women can muster (ha!), and took the leap.  I spent a lot of time in those days designing and doing my best to optimize the blog.  My husband complained I was married to my computer.  We made it up as we went along, and there was a lot of making up to do… because we quickly realized with the economy tanking, that there wasn’t as much demand for subscription kit clubs as there once was.  It seemed everyone was looking to get OUT of commitments, and even staunch kit club fanatics were cutting back.

So we went back to the drawing board and took another look at our vision for Gauche Alchemy.  At that point, it became much more freewheeling.  We released themed kits sporadically, stopped focusing on subscribers, and kept adding more mixed media basics.  Some of these have endured.  Others have gone the way of the dodo.  We try to keep looking at everything with fresh eyes.  We’ve experimented with different design team configurations.  We tried pulling back; we’ve tried racing forward.  And we generally try to keep our finger on the pulse of what our readers and customers want without giving up our uniqueness and that little niche that GA seems to fill rather nicely.

We have not been afraid to rock the boat, and we like designers who operate the same way.  Julie Kirk is a great example of a past designer (and Team Captain!) who really knows how to have a party in the boat, lampshade on head, shaking her booty with abandon.  In her underwear.  And then there’s our current Captain, Maggi Flynn, who (as far as I know) coined the phrase, “Rip the box a new one.”   How’s that for thinking outside the box?

In fact, without our designers and team captains, I know that GA could not be what it has become today.  Although we are getting closer to the eventual goal of at least one of us quitting her day job, that hasn’t happened yet.  We work a lot over weekends and pack orders late into the evening… juggling jobs and families with Gauche Alchemy.  It’s not the easiest thing in the world, and without our designers to rock things out and captains to keep everyone on track, we might have given up long ago (there have been times I’ve considered it, if I’m being honest).  It truly is the most gratifying thing to have others share in your vision, and we try to keep things like family as much as we can around here.

I bet you’re wondering what our favorite kits have been in the past three years…

In our quest to give our customers the most unique kits (served with a huge dose of snark, to be sure), we’ve covered a myriad of taboo topics.  Our “Lush” kit served up vintage cocktails, complete with fancy umbrellas and drink stirrers.  The above kit, “Geekery”, is one of my very favorites from the past three years.  Flash cards, typography, tweed, vintage engineering diagrams and original art pieces from local artist Roy Wasson Valle.  **drool**  I’m such a sucker for a boy who likes numbers!

And this kit was very near and dear to my heart.  “Moms for Mams” was our kit for Breast Cancer Awareness month, and a very special one.  My own mother is a breast cancer survivor, so being able to share this kit was especially meaningful.


What’s YOUR favorite kit?  Or maybe you have a favorite artist that sparked your creative ideas or read a blog post that challenged you to try a new technique.

  Our main goal here at Gauche Alchemy has always been to inspire you to be fearless in your art making, and we truly hope that this upcoming third year of business will bring a huge, heapin’ helpin’ of just that.  Thank you for sticking around–we’ve got some really amazing stuff in store for you!

Happy Birthday, Gauche Alchemy!

Hey everyone!  It’s Amy and Heather.

Whoo hoo!  Can you believe Gauche Alchemy is THREE years old? What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Stay tuned this month, as you will be getting behind the scenes glimpses of the innermost workings of Gauche and insights to our humble and crass beginnings…don’t worry, we won’t post anything toooo personal.  Or will we?  You just never know!

We have had a quiet summer – at least from your perspective.  The blog has been silent for the most part, while we scheme our evil plots and hatch our gauche plans.  We’ve got some terrific fun for you this month and in the coming months, starting with our guest designer, Dina Wakley!

As many of you may know, Dina has been an amazing creative force in the mixed media and scrapbooking world for a number of years.  She was, in fact, one of my first true crafty inspirations, and she remains one today!  Her unique style has taken her all over the globe teaching and sharing her love of art.  Needless to say, I was pretty darn excited when Amy and I scheduled a face to face meeting with her!

Heather and I had the pleasure of meeting Dina in person, as she is one of the few designers we’ve worked with who actually live in the same city we do.  It was a bit of hike to get to each other, as Phoenix is one large m-f’er of a city, but we had a lovely lunch with her at Wildflower Bread Company (where I ate like a pig bellying up to the trough, but that’s a different story).

Dina’s cutie patootie youngest son was there to act as photographer, and a good time was had by all.  Dina and Heather seem to be hatching plans to make art and bake bread from the whispers I’ve been hearing… now that’s an event that will require photographic evidence, cuz I can’t wait to see what THAT’S all about!

It’s true!  If I ever make it to her side of town, there will be baking and painting involved!  PS: Can you tell from the picture that it is about 179 degrees where we live?  Talk about a glow!  ** it is actually a delightful combination of oil and sweat, but we prefer to think of it as glowing.  Always a lady!**

And we have another bit of news for you – we are releasing a new kit NEXT WEEK!  I don’t want to give too much away, but if you like mail art, you are going to LOVE this kit.  The new kit has a smaller version and a larger version – one for every budget… and we’ll also be having a ton of giveaways and prizes this month to celebrate our third birthday and our re-launch after our summer of silence.  So make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook – some of the goodies will be given away there.  Also, if you don’t already have a Gauche Alchemy badge or blinkie on your blog, consider putting one up – we’ll be choosing blinkers (badgers?) at random to win fun stuff.

Artist Spotlight-Theresa MacNaughton

Hi everyone!

Maggi here with an awesome Artist Spotlight to share with you! I’m so excited to introduce this talented gal with you all, we’ve been visiting each other’s blogs for a while and I’ve found her to be the sweetest and one of the most creative ladies I know.

Please help me welcome: Theresa MacNaughton!

Theresa graciously agreed to answer a few questions about herself and her work for Gauche Alchemy. She runs an Etsy shop, maintains a blog and Twitters like a mad woman. 😛 You can also find Theresa on Flickr and Facebook.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you are from, how long you’ve been creating and why you like to create.

I’ve been creative for as long as I can remember. Whenever other kids were outside playing, I was always in the family room listening to music and drawing away. I used to create my own “comic strips” – although I have no idea where those have gone to. Fortunately, I still have my portfolio of work from high school – and it’s a lot of fun to look back on what I worked on back then, which is often whatever I wanted. I drew endless portraits of rock musicians and actors.

I also was able to make some pocket money from commissioned portraits from other students and even teachers! I think I always knew I wanted to do something creative. At one point, I had an interest in attending school for fashion design. I had lots of notebooks filled with my little drawn models wearing outlandishly fun fashions that I created. I so wish I knew what I did with all those journals!

I love to create because I need to express myself. A life without art or music or literature or film is just meaningless to me. To me, the perfect day would be spent in an art gallery followed by a concert, play or film. I’m fortunate to be married to a man who feels the exact same way. We live in central Connecticut with our two dogs, Willow and Neo. I’m a New England girl to the core. I was originally born in Massachusetts, but I’ve spent the majority of my life in Connecticut. I’d really love to live in Maine or Vermont, though…maybe someday!

What crafts do you currently create and what do you enjoy making the most?

I create beaded jewelry, hand knit accessories such as scarves and fingerless gloves, and mixed media paintings – which I offer for sale in my etsy shop. I love to dabble in poetry and photography. And I just purchased some paper clay, so hopefully that little experiment will work out well! I love creating all of them equally. I think that the paintings allow me to express myself more freely, however. My mindset when I create is to please myself first. If I’m not happy with something I’ve made, then how could someone else be?

Who or what inspires you to create?

My inspiration table

The seasons definitely influence my creations. I’ve been feeling the urge to knit again – now that fall is almost here (thank goodness). There was also a show on Bravo called Work of Art. I’d watch every episode at least two or three times. It definitely inspired me to get cracking on my art. My husband and I enjoyed critiquing each show. My favorite artists were Abdi and Peregrine. I’ve also become fascinated with mixed media art, which combines collage, pencil art and painting. Suzi Blu has helped me learn this medium and I love it! It was through her wonderful and fun online art courses that I’ve been able to reignite my passion for creating art. I’ve always enjoyed folk art (Tasha Tudor, Grandma Moses) and many new online friends were creating mixed media art – and I so wanted to learn!

I love the whimsical look and feel of your jewelry! I noticed that you and your husband design and collaborate on the pieces you make. What is it like working with your husband? Is he naturally creative or did he just get on board with you? lol

Some of my husband’s work

My husband is an artistic soul, and he loves exploring new mediums. When I first started creating jewelry, I was only using digital collage images and pasting them onto little glass pendants strung onto ball chain. I wanted to do more – and my husband came along for the ride! He creates the wire and hammered copper jewelry pieces. I conceptualize and approve everything! He enjoys doing it and has said the entire process has helped him “think like a woman.” He’s actually done pieces over because they were not “in my style.”

You own and run Faerie Moon Creations on Etsy. What it’s like selling your creations and making it a business? Any tips for our readers that might be thinking of selling their work online?

It’s really fun to sell my creations. I am always amazed and grateful when someone purchases an item from me. It’s like the first sale over and over again. I never take it for granted. I’m somewhat of a shy person, so I enjoy the “anonymity” of having an online shop as opposed to a brick and mortar store. But I work just as hard to make the shop pretty and offer new items and sales. I’ve only been selling my creations online for one year – but it’s been great. There has been some uncertainties along the way, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. I would say to readers interested in selling to not get discouraged. Plan everything out well in advance before opening your shop…your name, graphics, photographs, shop policies. There is always much to be learned – I am still finding things out!

You host Terrifically Talented Thursdays on your blog to spotlight other artists. Can you tell us more about that?

I LOVE discovering new artisans and shops. I rarely buy goods at big name stores any longer. I prefer to shop handmade – there is quality and care and a story behind each and every item. I initially did a little “featured artisan” of the day on Facebook, but I wanted to do a little more. So, I created Terrifically Talented Thursday on my blog as a way to more fully feature artisans and their products. The feature ran each Thursday and put the spotlight on two different artisans. Oftentimes, they would be kind enough to offer a giveaway item or great discount at their shops. I had a lot of time to do this during the summer months, but with the busy season approaching – I have decided to put the weekly feature on hold and will revisit it at a later date. I think it would be fun to run the features seasonally. I have an idea for a Halloween-themed feature already!

You’re recently started sharing your original mixed media pieces. Can you tell us your history with mixed media and what has inspired these latest works?

I only started creating mixed media pieces this summer! I really wanted to learn the technique. I found the art to be such a wonderful mix of modern collage and folk art, both of which interest me greatly. Suzi Blu’s classes are phenomenal – she teaches you her technique while allowing you to develop your own style. They are affordable, as well, and you get to view videos – which is very important because you get to see how the process instead of just reading about it.

What is your favorite mixed media technique?

I assume there are lots of different methods in which to create mixed media. But with the way I’ve been learning, I really love working with colored pencils. I was SO afraid of them years ago and avoided them like the plague! They were more like glorified crayons to me. LOL But now that I understand how I can successfully create depth and shadows, I love using them!

You share a lot of the pictures of nature you’ve taken while on walks and the like. What is it that appeals to you about life outdoors and does that influence your creations?

My butterfly muse

I love nature and animals and faerie tales. I’ve always been kind of a dreamer. I’ve always tended to treat animals like people. I carry on conversations with them and play with them. Nature inspires me – as it captures the raw beauty of this world. I find endless fascination in discovering beautiful new flowers and scavenging for seeds and mushrooms, searching for animal tracks in the mud or snow, sneaking up upon butterflies drinking nectar, staring out at the wide open ocean dreaming of being a selkie. A lot of my work features nature-inspired elements – I like to make things that are pretty and fun and feminine.

You have different sections in your shop specifically for Marie Antoinette and Alice in Wonderland pieces. What is it about Antoinette and Wonderland that inspires you?

Marie Antoinette is the epitome, to me, of elegance. I tried to capture her elegance in some of the jewelry I’ve created. And I just LOVE Alice in Wonderland – all the colors and characters and craziness. We really tried to make some fun and zany pieces to reflect the whimsy and wonder of the world that Lewis Carroll created.

What are your top 3 “must have” art supplies?

Paint, yarn and beads

Any last words of creative wisdom for our readers?

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination.” — John Keats

If there is something in your life that you are passionate about, go for it! You’ll never know if you’ll succeed if you don’t try. For so many years, I felt a bit of emptiness inside and now I’ve come to realize what it was. I need to create, to live a life filled with passion – and to be able to share that with others is icing on the cake.

**Theresa is offering Gauche Alchemy readers a 20% discount off any regular priced jewelry or knit item from her shop, Faerie Moon Creations! You MUST reference this blog feature (so she knows you found it here!) to receive the discount. Offer good on jewelry and knit items only until September 30th.**

Thanks for the interview Theresa, we here at Gauche Alchemy love discovering artists to share with our readers! You rock!

Have a great day everyone and don’t forget to go glue something awesome onto some awesome something! 😀
Want to know what else is brewing at Gauche Alchemy?

Get our ACME kit delivered to your door every month with our ACME Subscription service!
Go shopping for your own Gauche goodies in our rockin’ Store!
E-mail us anytime: gauchealchemy@cox.net
Join the Gauche party on Facebook!
Stalk us on Twitter!
Drool over Gauche creations and add your own in our Flickr Group!

Artist Spotlight – Frieda Oxenham

Hey everyone! Maggi here with an AWESOME artist I want to introduce you to today. 😀 Her name is Frieda Oxenham and let me just say, she is one of my creative idols! I first found her blog when I was researching ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and wow, can she make an ATC! Once I visited her a few times, I discovered her beautiful art quilts, love for books and passion for gardening. On top of all of that, she is super nice so how could I not beg her for an interview??? It makes me wish I lived in Scotland so I could somehow soak up her fountain of creative knowledge and know-how. lol

So let’s get right to it, help me welcome Frieda!

Tell us a little bit about yourself! How long have you been creating?

I was born and educated in The Netherlands, studying History of Art and  Librarianship. In 1979 I was offered a job in the U.K. and eventually ended up marrying an Englishman and staying in this country. In 1988 we moved to Scotland where we still live in the beautiful Scottish Borders. Because of the move I had to give up my job and on a whim decided to do a City & Guilds Embroidery Course in 1990. The rest, as they say, is history. First embroidery, then quilting and more recently mixed-media have taken over my life. Up till a month or so ago I traveled far and wide to give talks and teach workshops but I have decided to return to my studio full-time to concentrate on making work for my upcoming solo exhibition in 2011. I truly cannot imagine my life without art. Making art is not what I do, it’s who I am.

What do you enjoy making the most?

My first and probably largest love will no doubt always remain hand stitching.  Doing it transports me into a sort of zen-like state where I can completely loose track of time and have no idea of what might be happening around me. It also only requires a needle and thread so can be done virtually anywhere. In good weather the outside world beckons and my stitching comes with me.

What inspires you to create?

I think wanting to create is an innate desire for almost all human beings. I was just very lucky to discover it was my passion and also incredibly fortunate that I have been able to devote my time to it fully thanks to my wonderful and supportive husband. The original embroidery course caused me to discover the well of inspiration within me and that then turned into a waterfall. Probably at least 85% of my time is devoted to my art, either making it or thinking about it.

You’ve been spotlighted in different publications and have won awards! How does it feel to have your work recognized?

I have been so blessed in that my very first quilt won the Scottish Quilt Championships back in 1998 and most of my quilts have subsequently won major awards. The highlight so far was in 2006 when the quilt Foxfires was the Championship Quilt in the European Quilt Championships. That was very special. I’ve also won various awards for hand workmanship which really pleased me. One of the first ATCs I made titled “Enduring, Unending” (made from a discarded quilt, by the way) was Best of Show in the House of Cards exhibition, Columbus, OH, 2005. Winning prizes sort of confirms to me that I must be doing something right, although I still think it’s probably a fluke and one day I’ll be found out!

What is your favorite technique?

It will always be hand stitching but I also enjoy making my fabric paper collages and incorporating them in my mixed media work.

You work with every size from larger things like quilts to smaller ones like ATCs. What is it that appeals to you about working with different sizes of projects?

I love working large and my quilts were just the right size for me when I started out on my art journey. But I discovered that I missed the design side while working on making the quilts. It takes 6 to 9 months to finish one and in that time I wasn’t stretching my design muscles enough for my own liking.  So I started making fabric postcards, then ATCs and eventually breaking into mixed media collages etc. They are like a treat I give myself while working on my large quilts.

I’m assuming that your favorite creative weapon of choice is your sewing machine, lol, but I know that you’ve recently taken a gluebook class where you had to use mainly adhesives instead of sewing. How was it utilizing materials you don’t normally use and what did you learn from the class?

You’re right about my sewing machine or rather machines. I could not live without them and up to fairly recently would never have dreamed about using glue. But I have slowly been coming around more to glue as an art material. My fabric paper collages use thinned down PVA glue of course and over the last 6 months I’ve started using a Xyron Creatopia with fabric adhesive cartridge. I still continue to stitch as well as glue as I don’t trust glue 100% yet for fabric. One of the reasons for taking the Vintage GluebookClass was to get to grips more with letting go a bit of my sewing obsession and learning to trust glue more. The other incentive was my ever-growing collection of vintage ephemera and books. It seemed about time to start using some of it. I absolutely loved the class and feel that it will have a lasting influence on all my work.

I know that one of your loves is books. What is it about books that you enjoy? Do they play a part in your creations?

Oh books! I could write a book about them! Of course I’m a qualified reference librarian and have been reading non-stop for as long as I can remember. I’ve just checked and there are books in every room of this house including the bathroom and corridors. I even have books in the car just in case.  I love the smell of both old and brand new books and would prefer not to eat rather than not to buy yet another book. I also have a Kindle with lots of the classics I want to re-read, such as Trollope and Zola. When stitching by hand I listen to talking books on CD. But old books are my greatest love. Hours can be spend browsing in second-hand bookshops and I always come home with some more treasure trove. They give me a sense of history, of time passing, of being one in a long line of readers through the centuries. I sometimes worry that my time will be up before I’ve read all my books! It was hard to start cutting into them and use them in my work. I only use the cheaper ones and always check first if it has any value or uniqueness, but I’m getting better at it.  After all I’m sort of preserving them in a different form in my work.

One of my favorite things about your blog is your obvious love for the outdoors and seeing pictures of your incredible garden. What is it that you like about the outdoors/gardening and how does that influence your projects?

My gardening really only started as inspiration for my art. It all began when we moved to our present home as before that we were always on the move and it did not seem worthwhile investing our heart and soul in a garden which we would have to leave before long. But we knew that this was our forever home and we started from scratch in 1995, as the garden was just a field full of weeds when we arrived. Lots of colour was our starting point and I capture all the different colours of nature throughout the summer months and these pictures then feed my art. My roses are the most treasured plants in the garden.  They are mostly old roses and I adore the fact that the same roses as we grow in our garden have been around for centuries. It’s basically the same sort of love as I have for the old books!

Do you ever think an artist gets to a point where there’s nothing left for them to learn? After years of creating and teaching others, why do you still enjoy taking classes?

To live is to learn and to learn is to live as far as I’m concerned. Learning new things keeps life interesting and makes me feel alive. It’s why I read books and also try and research as much as I can about new interests. It gives me a real buzz. I probably know as much about quilting as I need to, to make my quilts but I’m more and more fascinated by collage, art journaling, beading, digital photo manipulation and computer stuff. And the great things is that there’s ever more to learn!  The  Sketchbook Project is one of my newest ventures. Funnily enough all that other learning somehow feeds into my quilts and leads me onto new paths there too.

What are your top 3 “must have” art supplies?

Fabrics, vintage books and beads

Any last words of creative wisdom for our readers?

Enjoy your art, have fun with it. It’s not a matter of life or death so play to your heart’s content and don’t be overly anxious. Trust your own judgment and give yourself a pat on the back occasionally. This is what I continue to tell myself too, and although I don’t always listen, it has helped over the years.  Here is my favourite quotation: “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe”. (Anatole France)

Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your art and yourself with us Frieda! Didn’t I tell you she was amazing?! 😀 If you’d like to see more of Frieda’s amazing work, head on over to her blog, her Flickr and her Picturetrail site.

Now, go glue something awesome onto some awesome something! 😀
Want to know what else is brewing at Gauche Alchemy?

Go shopping for your own Gauche goodies in our rockin’ Store!
E-mail us anytime: gauchealchemy@cox.net
Join the Gauche party on Facebook!
Stalk us on Twitter!
Drool over Gauche creations and add your own in our Flickr Group!

Review: Pasticcio Quartz art zine

Hello ladies and gents! Amy here, and I have the honor and delightful pleasure of reviewing the latest copy of Sarah Fishburn and Angela Cartwright‘s art zine Pasticcio Quartz.  The latest edition is Issue 9, Spring 2010.

Would you like to WIN a copy of Issue 9?  We we’ll be choosing a winner Thursday morning, so please comment on this post for your chance to thumb through this lovely lovely – compliments of Sarah and Angela.

I will admit that I’m not the most well-versed reader on the zine scene… but I can say that most zines I’ve managed to get ahold of are self-published black-and-white versions.  Delightful as they are, it’s a breath of fresh air to get a slick, colorful paperback booklette, especially when the contents are so yummy and luscious that you just have to pore over every single page (52 of them, to be precise).

Let me walk you through this issue, bit by bit…

The zine features equal parts artwork and articles.  I can tell you that my blog feedreader is bursting even fuller at the seams since scanning through this latest issue, which focuses on ADORNMENT.  Embellishments galore – and who doesn’t love that?  Among the varied offerings: digital art, mixed media, collage, oil and acrylic painting, pen and ink drawings on plywood, jewelry, metalsmithing, fabric and stitching – and of course, contributions from the editors themselves.  Each page is full color and boasts a plethora of eye candy – yes, even the articles are printed on backgrounds that invite careful scrutiny.

Among the featured artists:

DJ Pettitt

Lynden St. Victor

Amanda Blake (her contribution makes my heart hurt – that’s how bad I want to hang it on my wall!)

Joe Carrion

Paul Murray

Diana Frey

Cecilia Swatton

Tawnya Romig-Foster

Tim Mitoma

Roxanne Stout

Colin Gerety (Sarah’s hubby!)

Megan Gray (her contribution also makes my heart hurt… *sigh* pitterpatter pitterpatter)

Stephanie Lee

Connie Freedman (Angela’s ac studio9 partner)

Krista Silvia Raak

Pearl Red Moon

Patricia Ayres

Nina Bagley

Riki Schumacher (gasp!)

In addition to the amazing artwork, you will find a multitude of quotes – from this year’s Oscar contenders to quotes about adornments – articles about calligraphy, steampunk, charms, buttons, and book reviews.  (I have to say, I happened across a book review by Sarah on Amazon.com, and her [very accurate] review tipped me over into knowing I *had* to have the book – it’s a good one – Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials.  I’m glad I trusted her judgement on that one!)

We are also treated to a couple of kick-ass tutorials (one by a favorite artist of mine, Judy Wise) and an article by the one and only Suzi Blu.  There’s a full page of awesome links to the most awesome stuff, and a couple of profiles about artists whose artwork lives on though they have passed – both of whom I was not acquainted with before, and both well worth knowing.

The best thing about an art zine is knowing that it is the vision of unique artists just like us.  As much as we adore the mags with wide publication and big budgets (and they are ALL OVER the Somerset/Stampinton pubs, as well – Angela even has her own paper line with them), there’s nothing like holding a bit of personal love from a couple of talented women in our very own community.  If you’re inclined to agree, get your hiney on over to this link and pick up a few back issues while waiting for the release of Pasticcio Quartz 10!  Issue 10 will be available in the Fall – be sure to sign up for their e-mail announcement if you don’t want to miss it.

Let me tell you a little bit about Angela and Sarah.  Nicole introduced us to Sarah Fishburn last Wednesday.

Sarah has been one of my favorite producers of eye candy for the past few years, and hers is the site to which I generally point people when asked, “What’s mixed media art?”  Her work has been widely published in a whole buncha books, and she and Angela have written a couple of books together: In This House and In This Garden.  (I hear this is only the beginning for this series!)  Imagine my delight to discover that she is as sweet and accessible as any fan could hope!

And now let’s talk about Angela.  Angela is an artist, author, photographer, mom of two, clothing and jewelry designer, and former actress of some fame.  (She was Brigitta in the 1964 film version of The Sound of Music, was on Make Room for Daddy for its 7-season run, and played Penny Robinson on Lost in Space.  I hadn’t realized!)

Although I somehow didn’t make the connection between Angela and Brigitta, what I *do* know Angela for is her fabulous book Mixed Emulsions: Altered Art Techniques for Photographic Imagery.  She also conceived the concept for and contributed to the book Transparent Art, all about using transparencies to amazing effect.  (You can also see Sarah’s work in this volume published by Somerset.)

I’ve learned that any project with which these two are associated indicates a project I’m likely to enjoy.  Here are some more publications entirely worthy of your perusal – you’ll see more of their delicious work and meet other fabulous artists along the way:

True Colors: a Palette of Collaborative Art Journals

Alphabetica: an A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists

Altered Books, Collaborative Journals, and Other Adventures in Bookmaking

Artist Trading Card Workshop: Create, Collect, Swap

The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success: Turn Your Crafts into a Career