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Inspiring me: A Celebration of Women

A celebration of women

Since the pandemic hit and I for one need to see other things, I thought I would write about what inspires me

As an artist, the most unexpected things can inspire me to create art.

Since March is the month of celebration for women, I started researching woman artists. I learned of women renaissance painters, of women silenced by circumstance and women who started making art later in life. I learned that there have always been women artists who have been masters of their art.

I learned that women in the arts have never been taught about as they should and that the is a lot that to learn about.


So  I thought I would share a couple of my favorites.

I love ceramics. There is something that is so profoundly satisfying about creating functional works of art from the earth. One of my all-time favorite potters is  Maria Martinez who was famous for her black on black pottery Maria was a matriarch of a family of Native American Potters. She and her husband revived interest in Native American arts in the art world.  You can read about her work here and


Another woman that is not necessarily an artist but a clothing designer:  Nell Donnelly Reed,

Nell was known for her clothing which was not only pretty but practical.  Nell was local and lived in Kansas City Missouri. She was poor and started sewing clothing to make a living, She impacted Kansas city Missouri a great deal and was a woman ahead of her time. 

You can read about her here: Nell Donnelly Reed and


There are many women artists who have enriched our world and whose stories should be read and celebrated.

 Here are some resources to read and learn from :


Here is to all extraordinary women out there


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Better late than never

Suminagashi print waiting to be printed and epic failure duralar sumi print

Ya know what is sad? It’s sad that almost 8 weeks into the New Year and no blog posts.

So welcome 2020. A new decade and a new year. Time has flown.

The Brown household is chaotic as usual. I’m experimenting with dura-lar film as a printing paper. So far zero prints but wet media dura-lar film makes the coolest surface  to paint on.

I’m hunting a transparent ink that will float and create suminagashi prints on wet media duralar. I live in hope.  So far zero prints with regular Japanese Marbling inks on wet media duralar.

Matt is drawing again. His drawing skills are improving.

We are applying to do the Kansas City market at River Market during the Spring. If we get accepted our goal is to be there once a month at first then a couple of weekends or more till Christmas. Further details will be in future blog posts

Until next time


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Shop local

With the holidays here, I want take a moment and reflect what it means to shop local. Small business is what makes our economies flourish.

However that being said, most of the time where do we all head? To the local big box store or mall.

Folks, it’s not what we buy but where we buy it. Every single dollar we spend is a dollar we voted with.

But I’m on a budget is something all artisans hear. Most artisans have different price point in their inventory. Most artisans will do something in your budget. Note I said most but not all can afford too. Let me tell you good art supplies are expensive and we can’t afford to give away our art so please consider that in your request.

While we are on the subject of shopping local, a lot of people slam Amazon, Etsy and online retailers. A good portion of artisans start out on Etsy and other platforms so pay attention to where the shops are located. Chances are there are local shops from your area on there.

Where to find local handmade goods?

Well Amazon , Facebook market place, local flea markets, local art districts, craft fairs and of course your own family/friends.

Shop small

Happy shopping

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What is Marbling and why we love it

Once upon a time…Nah- that is not how our story begins…

Our story begins when my 4-H co-leader/ partner- in- crime Denice introduced Matthew to oil paint marbling on water during a 4-H art project.

Matt fell in love with the process. Me- not so much. Matt kept asking to do more of it. I was determined that oil paint fumes and the messy oil paint clean up would not part of our household. Plus there is the fact that both Matt and I are both chemically sensitive and chemicals trigger our sinuses and asthma so no to paint fumes.

But he persisted and I went to work researching the process. Now you have to understand I love to do research, its why I became honest to goodness librarian, so several research months later- I fell in love with the process too.

Marbling is an ancient printmaking process that produces a one of kind print that can never really be duplicated.

Historically it first was practiced in Japan in the 12th century where it called Suminagashi. Suminagashi literally translates to floating ink. Sumi, as Suminagashi is called, uses an oily ink and a resist to create a ring-like pattern that is disturbed by blowing on it or manipulating it. It was a means to prevent counterfeiting of important documents or to produce gifts. It was done by masters who were employed by the ruling class.

Sumi traveled through Asia in the 1300s and 1400s where the Turks made it their national art. In Turkey, it is called Ebru. Ebru translates to cloud painting. Ebru is known generally as paper Marbling but it’s not just done on paper. Ebru uses a thickened water-base ( called a size) and thin paints to produce prints. Again it was done for the ruling classes by masters then it spread to bookmaking where it is best known.

So in 2014-15, we started with ebru. We tried corn starch and other thickening agents because the 2 primary thickening agents: methylcellulose ( brand name Methocel) and carrageenan are expensive.  However, we have learned that methocel and carrageenan give us the results we wanted. Our learning curve also included learning that cheap craft paint also did not give us the desired results. Professional art paints are expensive but worth it.

Then we visited our local Tandy Leather shop in 2016. We weren’t even in the shop 15 minutes when Matt wanted to know if it was possible to marble leather. So back to learning we went.

So we added leather to our printmaking process. We, up to this point, did paper, fabric, wooden objects, and now leather.

Then 2017 he wanted to learn more about Sumi. So we learned and made Sumi prints. We learned sumi does not make really good prints on leather but we use paper for  our primary prints when we do Sumi.

In 2018 Matt wanted to learn to print on metal and glass. Well, acrylic does not stick to metal or glass well and there was the whole thickening agent thing so I went hunting. Only to find that oil paint will stick to glass and primed metal. So now we had come full circle to oil-based paints. This process uses oil-based paint and plain water. It’s called hydro- dipping.

So we do it all: paper, fabric, leather, wood, metal, and glass.

I have found an art form that constantly challenges me to learn more, to understand more and constantly surprises me. I have met some really cool artists and found a community that runs the gamut from the casual hobbyist to serious studio artist who recreates classic patterns and makes their own paint.

Now you know why we do what we do and our love of the ancient art of marbling.