The Wow-factor in art is what makes me giddy

Janet Bolton and Laurie Mika

Do you know what makes your heart tick? What kind of art makes you giddy with joy? For me, there are so many styles and forms of art that I’m drawn too that I need to stop to think about that question a bit. What do I like? What do I enjoy looking at, well not only enjoy but feel passioned about? Giddy and happy to view…

That’s what I’m trying at here, mostly because I want a direction in my own art exploration right now! Trying to find some common ground for me to stand on. Maybe you should too? Sometimes I feel like I need to pull myself together a bit, and think about what makes me go:

– Oh wow! That is so awesome and cool! I love that!

I got thinking about what the wow-factor could be when I heard the expression said in one of Alison Lee’s Craft Cast’s recently. I jotted the words down for a post of thinking and here we are. Exploring art. I never know where my own artsy expression will take me, but I have had a feeling lately I need to find a voice. So I’m looking at others art hoping it might help me find a direction for further experimenting and playing with art supplies!

I found this very cool fabric artist called Janet Bolton in an article in one of mom’s Quilt magazines! She does amazing subtle little art pieces that looks like sketches done with thread and fabric . I love her style! The scenes are just so serendipitous and sweet, and her work have that aged and vintage country look, something I find fascinating. Now I wish I could find her book Textile Pictures to see more, more, more. You can visit Janet Bolton’s online gallery if you want to see more of her work right now. There are also images if you click the book title above.

Another artist that have been fascinating me for a while is polymer clay artist Laurie Mika. Laurie created amazing shrines and wall hangings with handmade tiles that look like mosaic. She has written a book about it called Mixed-Media Mosaics (subtitle; Techniques and Projects Using Polymer Clay Tiles, Beads & Other Embellishments), a book I didn’t even think to buy because I fear even going there! I do need to try some clay stuff soon though, the variety of what you can make is amazing. I’ve added to polymer clay blogs to my link love list if you want to check them out. Myra makes the cutest littlest toy’s toys in clay. I’m going to try to make some clay flowers, maybe this week.

Mary Stanley and Susan Sorell

Mary Stanley have been on my reading list with her blog Art Spirit like for ever. I love her bubbly happy hooked art pieces and “softies”. I think what she does is amazing. Her style make me think of fairy tales, spring time and the smell of forest. I have tried hooking once, but I still need to try a bit more to see if I like it, though I know I adore the structure it creates!

The last and fourth wow-factor comes in the form of Susan Sorell and her art today. I don’t know who could pass by and not go “Oh wow!” when you see her embroidery-appliqu?-beaded art pieces!? They are amazing, so rich in color and structure. Susan offers online art classes and also has a blog.

So where does this lead me/us? To a couple of different adventures.

I’m thinking;

  • Creating structure with fibers with embellishments, thread, beads, colors on fabric. + painting on that.
  • Polymer clay play – making tiles with texture to paint or play with. I always want to play with clay but when I do I get frustrated because it’s much more difficult then I think it should be. Maybe that means it’s not for me, or does it mean I need to practice more?
  • General fabric play with small pieces (more handsewing of course) and sketching out beforehand what I want to do.
  • Rug hooking needs to be more explored by iHanna this year!

Common themes found that makes me go wow wow wow:

* lots of shapes and patterns in the same piece that work together.
* strong bold colors.
* texture, texture, texture.
* filled spaces where no white is showing through.
* mixed media with fibers and words.
* and of course this is what I create in my own paper collages, so I’m already there in some ways.

Now go find out what makes you go “wow”!

Hold me to this post in a couple of weeks and check in if I’m doing what I think I should be doing or just sitting here sewing cute patchwork balls without any ambition for developing the rest of my life! OK? ;-)

Look at the ID number of this post (#800!). Isn’t that kind of cool too, or maybe just crazy-crazy!?

12 Responses

  1. Hej Hanna!

    Jag f?rst?r vad du menar! Jag ?r ocks? en s?dan som tittar och tittar p? andras bilder och “Wow” h?r och d?r! Sedan samlar jag p? intryck och inspiration och g?r och g?r n?got – helt annat.F?r n?r det har “g?tt genom mig” s? ?r det n?got annat n?r det kommer ut, inte sant?
    Och jkag kan g? och “v?rka” p? saker l?nge, l?nge, sedan kommer jag ig?ng. Ibland tycker jag att jag st?r stilla ibland g?r det rasande fort. det ?r som en resa inte sant!?

  2. hanna,
    i agree with you. i also know what i like and can i just say it is mostly all the things you mentioned; i love bold, strong colors; that is what usuallly catches my attention; texture also makes my heart sing. i love seeing pieces that are kinda abstract and pieces that integrate all the elements so cleverly. i love the look of stitching and just wish i was a bit more handy with fabric. this is a great post.

  3. 800 is cool! Thanks for this post…I love reading about what inspires other people and checking out new links.. I am a troubled soul though.. I don’t have a list of things that inspire me or make me go wow at the moment seems that they come and go with my mood and are ever changing. Bad? I think a little bit..because if I don’t stick with one thing, I don’t think I can ever be fantastic at anything. I’m tired of being a “dabbler”..

  4. love the color and the texture of these pieces. so latered and touchable and yummy! have you seen cat colliers quilts…amazing!

  5. Hi Hanna:
    Your post strikes a chord with me. There are so many roads to go down and so much out there to experiment with. You mentioned polymer clay….that is something I have dabbled in ….I belong to the Canadian online PC group Clayamies…..their site is Check out the members list and their various webpages and blogs…..there is much to admire,inspire and aspire to :-). Your posts continue to give me lots to think about. Thank you so much!!

  6. Hi darling,sorry for my delay,I only saw your comment about Frida at On-my-desk blog now and came to have a look at your site. I just can say I loved it. Your creations are full of enthusiasm and a fresh atmosphere, I`ll be a usual reade from now :)
    And about names…I do use to name some stuffs of mine. My first car`s name for example was George (cause of George Harrison),and when I sold it and bought another one I started a “dinasty”:George II,III,IV :P
    My computer in Rio is Iggy (my London`s one doesnt have a name yet,need to change it!),my mug is Cleopatra, my blog is Charlotte,etc,etc,etc ;)

  7. Hi, Hanna- I found your website just this week and couldn’t be more thrilled! Your blog makes me go “wow”…I’m finding so much inspiration here!

    I really appreciate this particular post. Lately, I feel like I’ve been all over the place with my artwork and would like to focus on what is truly filling–or the ‘wow-factor’ (thanks for passing along that expression).

    As it turns out, I get giddy over the same art themes as you. I am familiar with a couple of the artists you’ve mentioned and I’m very excited to check out the two that are new to me.

    Thanks very much for helping me get a start in my exploration!

  8. You have an eye for beauty – I rarely fail to say ‘wow’ when I follow one of your links! I’m in love with the work by Susan Sorell in particular, thank you for that one:)

    I’m a dabbler by nature I think – there are so many artforms I want to try, I sometimes feel I should try & slow myself down, but as it is I often barely get started with one thing before I’m racing off to try the next. One day I’ll slow down long enough to work out what I’m really drawn to…

  9. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas and artists. I have really enjoyed Laurie Mika’s work for so long… And bold colors are a favorite for me, even if they are lighter colors, the more saturation, the better–hot hot pink and really orange orange, for example!
    When I got home from a vacation, I felt a little lost, out of touch in a weird way, with how to express with art what I had experienced, so I went to some of the great art books I have in my library and just started looking at my favorites, to get some wonderful inspiration. and of course, your book always helps me open up and allow my creative instincts to start working again.

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