Tuesday, April 29, 2008

••• The ZOO is open!!! •••

Here are the six cute little critters we have spent so much time with in our studio. This is a quick shot of them taken on the table saw, without studio lighting. 'Glamor shots' of them were done yesterday at our photographers studio. We get those files back today!!! Here you'll see one set with braces and one without.
Currently working on the sea creatures and feeling like that managerie will be the most popular. When we began ArtfulSmiles in Jan 2005, our first trade show was for pediatric dentists in Orlando. It was there we learned that the offices of these toothy professionals were very much designed to themes and fish were a major request! When we realized we could add braces to our designs and take them further, we attended an orthdontic convention in Las Vegas two years ago. Again, aquatic requests!
So this year when we attend the orthodontists convention in Denver
(May 16-20) we will have two new lines, the zoo creatures and the aquatic series!!
Are we ever psyched!!!
Thanks to all of our dear friends for your support and enthusiasm during this project!!! We love you!
We hope you'll like these!
Pat & Jon

Monday, April 28, 2008

Coffee Saves Lives........of artists!!!

....what would we do without the big orange beast that sits on our counter?
The last few days we have bowed to the goodness that is exuded from this work-horse!
That's all I can say..........soon you will see some faces. Currently they are out getting their photographs taken and
will be available for a command performance later!!

Keep watching!
Zoo Keeper,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What constitutes an 'all - nighter'?

It's 1:38 am......warning......typos may lurk here.........just a brief update of what has been occuring here in our studio.
Faces are emerging............cute ones.........no teeth yet...........that comes when we put them together tomorrow. Teeth and braces.......will be placed in their mouths. Above is the beaver. He does have teeth, and big ones at that!!

Our recent long days out in the studio have the tigers wondering what we're up to. This odd humanoid behavior usually comes prior to suticases being packed and an exodus of humans............where they take things into their own paws. Friends show up and they host outlandish parties complete with tuna and treats from on top of the fridge. They think we dont' know about this, but we feel certain they pop the lid on the organic catnip and pass it around. This makes them meow incessantly which is usually followed by long acts of bathing and naps.
But I could be wrong.......
Off to bed, another day awaits and more to complete!
So far, we're very happy with what we're creating!


ArtfulSmiles update

Hello Curious Fans........
The images are coming together wonderfully well as we create two new lines to add to our already popular 3 dimensional illustrations we sell as ArtfulSmiles. They begin as pencil sketches by Jon who then hones their graphic content keeping in mind the built image will consist of 3-4 painted layers. Some pieces are 3/16" thick, others are 1/2", depending on the look we desire. After he carefully sketches the images, he blows them up to the size we need. The shapes are made into templates and transferred to wood and cut. I paint and airbrush the shapes and the images come to life.
Lots of steps but here is where we excel as a team. We are in full unison during this creative process and work as one - each contributing their strength to the project.
Todays blog image is my sweet Jon in the studio taken Friday night working on the monkey. Next updates will show more colors and images.........
These two weary designers are sadly realizing we are no longer 20 years old............we're tried and pacing ourselves since we leave Thursday for Dallas for an art fair and all this has to be done and to the photographer prior to that............
Would be nice to have a maid right about now.........and a masseuse.............and a driver..........oh heck.....a Lear Jet........why not. Dream big, right!!
Thoughts of a tired woman,

Friday, April 25, 2008

New ArtfulSmiles in the works!

Things here at Hecker Design Studio are in full swing as we prepare new images for our other business, ArtfulSmiles.com.
May 16-20 will have us at the Colorado Convention Center for the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) Annual Session. About 300 other exhibitors will set up their wares at this trade show along with us. We do however offer one of the more colorful booths among those showing dental hardware, toothpaste, dental chairs and office software. Last time we did this show it was in Las Vegas and we resaid our wedding vows as it was also our anniversary. Presiding over the 'cermony' was a cardboard Elvis and our software selling neighbors were our attendants as borrowed flowers from the booth across from us graced our space. We did it at the end of a long day and all had a good laugh doing so.

This year there will be no Elvis, but we will have new 'friends' with us in the way of new images we're taking! I will document them here in the coming days as they come alive out in our studio!

All I can say is lions and lobsters and kitties oh my!!

Keep watching......


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dreaming is Billable Time....

I was really tired last night. Maybe overtired. Is there really such a thing? I physically was tired. I'd worked hard in the studio, did a lot of thinking tasks with NAIA Board work I was doing and was ready for a big sleep. It didn't happen. First of all, we had the fan on and I thought that was okay. I realized somewhere early in the morning that the breeze up my nostrils was keeping my brain awake. I wasn't chilled. I must have a senstive brain.......So, I sat up to pull the fan tassel and pulled the light tassel instead thus further interrupting my REM sleep with a blast of light. I'm senstive to light or the lack of it.......ugh.......then my mind was really awake. The lists began in my grey matter folder......I had details to add to my NAIA Fundraising Forum and some new ArtfulSmiles ideas......stuff for TattooDreams marketing.........oh my!
It turns out that sometimes my best brainstorms come when I'm sleeping or dreaming. Our bed is my think tank and pillows and comforters just make ideas flow and loft much easier. 200 thread count ideas!!

Like I've always said......sleep is the best thing going. To be alive and unconscious at the same time is awesome!!

Off to the studio!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

☮ Earth Day! ☮

Happy Earth Day! What a wonderful day to remember how amazing this blue marble where we reside is. How vast the universe, how intense the power of this living organism that gives life and sustains our needs. To respect the riches this planet provides takes stewardship from its inhabitants and its leaders.
This is high on my list when voting for a presidential candidate. I'm looking for a president that has insight and ideas that will allign with mine.
Below is a poem I am sharing as I find it moving on many levels.

Joy and Sorrow

~Kahlil Gibran from 'The Prophet'

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow."
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that hold your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay, sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Blessings this Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

♥ Pats Homemade Gluten Free Granola Recipe ♥

I measure few things in life, so feel free to interpret as you desire. Any measurements I provide are mere suggestions as I'm guessing! There are no mistakes to be made here! Have fun!

In a very large mixing bowl combine:
3/4 c. grapefruit or pomagranate juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. almond extract (adjust how you wish)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. canola oil (or less)
a toss of kosher salt
heaping teaspoons of each of these:
cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, lemon peel, ground cloves
Toss all this around.

1/2 package shredded coconut
a few handfuls of chopped apricots, dried cherries..whatever feels right!
a variety of chopped nuts...almonds, walnuts
1/8 c. or so of each of these:
poppy seeds
flax seeds
sesame seeds
sunflower seeds

Mix well with a big wooden spoon injecting healthful karma as necessary!
Add 2-3 cups of regular oats.
*Some individuals with celiac disease cannot tolerate oats. Use at your own discretion.

Transfer this fragrant concoction to a large baking pan and toast at 375º for 22 minutes. Toss during baking if you desire.

When this is done, remove pan from oven. Toss periodically and and let cool. Transfer this mixture after it's cooled back to the big bowl and add 2-3 cups of a gluten free flaked cereral. I use one from our food co-op called Mesa Sunrise. It comes packaged in a big bag. It's a combination of flax, corn and amaranth. It's important this cereal be added after baking the granola. If this last cereal goes into the oven, it gets soggy. When all this gets toosed around, store in a big jar and enjoy!
This ceral can be eaten alone or with fruit or added to cookies and muffins.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

•• Sunday, and We're Home! ••

I had a great day today! I slept good, had a great breakfast with Jon and the tigers and eased into morning slowly. Not being in a show on a weekend is a treat! Kitties love us being home and vice-versa! They've been taking turns parking themselves on the luggage I need to unpack. I tend to be slow to do this. I also feel it gives them a sense of control if we let them sleep on the 'where are you going' bags. Perhaps I am projecting...or making excuses.

The day was interspersed by phone calls to my friend Bonnie. She is spirit itself with a hearty laugh I love hearing! She's given us valuable insight and critique to the slides we are about to submit to the folk art show Kentuck. I'll be applying with my TattooDreams work and it may be it's first time at a 'real show'......needless to say, I'm very excited! We'll shoot the booth shot during the week on a nice overcast day out in the driveway.

Today also brought about a solid meeting of the minds of the NAIA Fun Raising Committee. We had a conference call that seems to have ironed out some details and given us more focus. The creative brainstorming we accomplished felt great!

I made a batch of gluten free granola for Jon which left our home smelling of warm cinnamon! I used Pomegranate juice in the base which turned this batch an interesting shade of pink!
I also cleaned the guts out of 3 gourds I plan to have in my exhibit at the By Hand Gallery here in Bloomington. That exhibit opens while we're in Denver. Sorry we'll miss the opening, but it runs a little over a month. It will have my boxes, crosses, gourds, and furniture.

Work continues with developing the new ArtfulSmiles. When they come together, you'll see them here!! We will showcase them in Denver at the upcoming American Association of Orthodontists convention in May.

All in all ~ a great day!
Showcasing a TattooDreams Day of the Dead box I sold on etsy this morning.
Here's to a great week!


Friday, April 18, 2008

^^^^ The Earth Moved!! ^^^^

How cool is that? Yes, here in the rolling hills of southern Indiana we experinced a rather lengthy earthquake at 5:38 this morning! We both immediatly heard and felt the prolonged shaking of our home. At first I felt it was high wind or a tornado. We both got up, tuned on lights and sucked into the living room couches and turned on the tv. I grabbed my laptop and began looking for verification. With the immediacy of information, it was there! I'm a media junkie at times like this!

It was a 5.4 on the Richter Scale and lasted at least 45 seconds. Seconds that felt like a very long time as the house shook, kitties were awakend from snooring sleep and our collection of colored glass shook in the kitchen window! A ceramic glove mold on my dresser shook back and forth with a rattling sound, but never fell over. An aftershock was felt at 11:14 am and was less severe. We both felt that one too!
The quake's epicenter on the Wabash Fault Line was about 85 miles from here in Vincennes Indiana. There students were evacuated from dorms at the crack of dark. At Indianapolis International Airport, tower controllers were pulled from their post as well. This delayed 3 flights.

So Mom Nature did the twist and her sizemic plates did the grand shift. There is something wonderfully awesome about these demonstrations of energy deep within the Earth. This penetrated Earths core more than 3 miles deep. I can't even fathom this statistic, but am in awe of it! A grand reminder we live on a planet alive and still altering herself.
We best be kind to her!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Irons in the fire!!

Hi Readers!
We got home last night from Houston. A good trip, but glad to be home!
Spring has arrived to the rolling hills of Monroe County and our Purple Hill property.
Trees are budding and the weather warming. Today we have sun!!!

We're home somewhat briefly before returning to the road for a show in Dallas. Prior to leaving for that show, our new images have to be built and photographed for ArtfulSmiles. Once we return from Dallas, we hit the road for Denver. It's in Denver that we'll be showing our ArtfulSmiles.com line of photographs at the Orthodontists Annual Session (trade show). While in Dallas, our local craft co-op is doing a month long show of my TattooDreams work. That has too be done prior to leaving for Dallas, along with two commissions.
So life is somewhat crazy. I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with board duties of the NAIA but am trying to stay focused. Not all of the board members do as many shows as we do, so I hope they understand when I do all I can.

The TattooDream gourd I'm showing here was from my Waldron Art Center exhibit last fall. I was happy when it didn't sell since I wanted to keep it myself! ~ I own very little of my own work. We own none of my Hecker Design work, but am taking on a collection of the TattooDreams. Our guest loft is known as the TattooDreams suite! It's gotten rave reviews and guests here at Purple Hill are served fresh Starbucks coffees with our own barista, Jon at the big orange machine and gourmet vegetarian meals.....oh........and we have 3 amazingly wonderful kitties, Milo, Fripples and Oreo! The suite is 'booking' fast with many friends stopping by for visits through summer!! We look forward to them all!

Hugs from Purple Hill!

Monday, April 14, 2008

♣ Needfire ♣

This past weekend was fun! We were in Houston for the Woodland Waterways Arts Festival. Stellar weather was with us all weekend. Clear blue skys, a light wind and mild temperatures had the grounds to this magnificent show bustling.
The public was engaged and buying! This does the soul good! Water taxi's brought patrons from the local hotels to the show.
Saturday was Jons birthday. He was wished well by a myriad of friends, some we hadn't seen in a while, which is always fun. The Mexican music had us all in a festive mood.

On Sunday I took part in a lengthy NAIA board meeting phone call. I sat quietly in the van in the artists parking lot watching small birds in a pine tree snugged into the hood of the van while sipping a Starbucks peppermint mocha. As a group we accomplished a lot in the 3 hours this call took.
We begin again and grow as a group.

While I was away from my booth, my name was called to accept an award! I won Best in 3D Mixed Media! I get invited back and will be happy to partake in such a wonderful show! I also got a wonderful 3 colored ribbon! I happen to love getting these, did I mention that? Half an hour later we made our only sale of the show. This to appreciative customers who had never viewed our work prior to that day and chose to invest in us. Very cool! Very appreciated! A good exchange, as I loved this piece!

Later in the day the air became filled with an energy I love! Celtic Rock thundered from the waterfront stage and I was captivated. A celtic band from Dallas, "Needfire" was playing and the crowd engaged. I became one of them. I took in their energy and the sun and wind and was pleasantly reminded of the goodness and fullness of this thing called art! This time I was not the focus in my 10x10 space, but this enigmatic group on stage. Comprised of 2 guitarists, one acoustic, one electric, a drummer, a piper and one on violin. The violinist alternated with playing the didgerido. These high energy musicians wearing their Doc Martins and kilts were awesome! They have cd's available and I will be supporting them when I can afford to buy their music.
High on my growing list of music for certain!
All in all, a good day and excellent weekend.
Graced with mild breezes, sun, friends, income, comraderie, NAIA and good karma!
Life is good and we're here to make it better!

Monday, April 7, 2008

★ Wings ★

There are times in our life when we look deep inside to find where to turn next. Sometimes the answer becomes crystal clear, other times we have to dig deeper. Other times we just have to listen patiently for our mind to intercept what the world around us is saying.

Recently I was sick. It forced me to slow down. I had no choice.
In doing so I was reminded that our bodies tell us what they need.
Sometimes in a whisper, other times they yell.
We need to take these forced 'intermissions' to listen quietly to ourselves.

I grew up surrounded by wise women. I felt like I had doctors and healers in my family since these women had medical and spirtual wisdom I looked to often. One was my Aunt Loretta. My Mother, Loretta, was named after her. She taught me so much!
She outlived my own Mother who died when she was 45.
Aunt Loretta sewed her own clothes and made mine.
She took lots of vitamins and loved cats.
She played piano and loved one man in her life.
When he died she lived alone but was never lonely.
She loved auctions and the thrill of a good find as much as I do.
Her and I were carved of the same mold, of this I am certain!
She told me the body remakes itself every 7 years.
She also told me that we all have what we need within ourselves to become who we need to be.
She also told me that when we sleep, our bodies remake themselves every night.
I love this!
I loved her.
She was a short spunky woman, who wore more jewelry than my collective family and I loved everything about her.
She had no idea what a profound influnce in my life she made. She lost a child in childbirth and never had children but imparted life long lessons that, to this day, I cherish with love.

She gave me wings!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

My candidate for hope!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

♥ We're Home ♥

After 17 days on the road, we're home! We lost 2 wheel covers and the radio antenna in the high winds and rain the first 2 days of driving. Our van (Vincent) looks a bit tired. He got pooped on profusely in Tempe where we had to park to load and unload. He's got a week to rest before we hit the road again!
That means we have a week to catch up before we too hit the road and venture to Houston for a show we've never done, the Woodland Waterways show. There we'll see friends we haven't seen in a while and find new collectors!

Out in Tempe we saw a few friends we hadn't seen in a while. One battling leukemia and another couple from Santa Fe who make and play didgeridoos. Love the sound of their mystical hollow vibration. We made new friends as well. All good.

The trip home was a direct, 'do not stop and play affair' as I battle my intestinal weirdness. One quick stop in Cordes Junction, Arizona to see Arcosanti. This prototype urban labratory is fascinating. This from Paolo Soleri I mentioned in an earlier entry. He's the Italian architect whose bronze windbells we saw poured in Scottsdale. I know this place and his process captivated the ever sculpting mind of my dear husband Jon. His eyes lit up seeing the way this man thinks and we inquired inside the aromatic cafe about workshops. This will be an avenue Jon will pursue as he forges ahead with his sculptures that have played in his mind and on notebook sketch pages for some time.
They will be magnificent, as he's an unbelieveable designer who needs to shine!!!

So, our trip west landed us back on Purple Hill, filled with ideas and inspiration to continue this lifestlye we hold so dear. To say these are uncertain economical times is an understatement. To say we have made and continue to make adjustments is also a given.
To say that the need for art and beauty is needed now more than ever, I am also certain.
This country, who now exports the simple manufacturing of its ever important passports, makes very little.
BUT...........it does make art!
It makes music.
It makes the artistic graces that, as a civialization, along with our care or neglect of the planet, will define our past.

With the myriad of miles we just logged, I had plenty of time to think about what my contribution to this planet will be.
It will not be children, though I hope I have inspired a few.
It will be the art I have made and hopefully the joy this has brought to people.
It's a simple legacy and it's not about power or assets, it's about love.
To me, that's what art is all about!

To those of you who came along on our journey, I hope you had a good time.
Thanks for your comments and company!

Resting now~