Category Archives: other

Artist Feature: Maggie Hurley

This week we bring you the art of Maggie Hurley. Herein you will find cute and fuzzy birds,  little robot creatures, bunny rabbits, and a menagerie of other whimsical creatures. Take the time to wander into her little world and check out her Etsy shop at Whimsy and Whatnot  or More Whimsey and Whatnot.
  1. Your name: Maggie Hurley

    Little Chick

  1. your shop name? I have 2 etsy and I think I’ve finally decided on a business name though: Maggie Hurley – Whimsy & Whatnot.
  1. What do you make? Put simply: illustrations, paintings, and the occasional plush. I have a few recurring characters: some whimsical little creatures that are mostly robot with a splash of something a little more delicate, some jaded women with an attachment to the science behind love, and my grumpy little owl called Herbert, and a bevy of bird portraits. I also do children’s portraits, and the occasional flower or piece of fruit. I’ve also started snapping pictures of cloud-filled skies.
  1. Why do you do what you do? Is it your passion? Have you created jewelry/clothes/collages, etc for a long time? I couldn’t imagine not doing what I do. It is such a wonderful outlet for all of the different emotional experiences I have throughout the day. For example, I tend to sketch when I’m stressed and it was during an argument with a past boyfriend that Herbert made his entrance into the world. Perhaps this explains his rather disgruntled expression.

5. (kind of in the same vein as #4) What inspires you? I think the better question here is what doesn’t inspire me? I get dazzled by fluffy clouds, little birds, rolling hills, my puppy and cat. When I used to spend my lunch hour wandering around the financial district and was constantly hypnotized by the way light bounced off of the different skyscrapers.

embellished print on wood

6. What are some of your favorite pieces in your shop?
Little Rabbit is fairly new and pretty adorable, as is this fluffy little birdHerbert in his cozy chair always makes me smile, as does Eros, the Love-bot.

Herbert Enjoys Comfy Chairs

7. How have you acquired your skills? Books/classes/college/self-taught? Armed with my grandmother’s artistic proclivities, a stack of Brian Froud books, and some watercolors, I taught myself to paint when I was a kid. I spent a year and a half at an art school in Southern California, which I adored, and have continued honing my skills ever since.

8. Do you make a living off of your art/craft? I quit my day job about 2 years ago. I’ve been working at making my living through art ever since (and I’m just about doing so!).

9. What is your favorite part of your crafting enterprise? Do you love selling at craft fairs? Or maybe you prefer online networking? Or maybe it’s searching for the perfect supplies at beads stores. . . it can be ANY element of running your crafty business.
I’ve really started to appreciate participating in craft fairs. Being a self-employed artist, I spend a lot of time holed up in my studio by myself, so being in an environment where I get to interact with a lot of people can be really refreshing.  It’s also really wonderful to see people smile when looking at what I make. Knowing that my work brings a glimpse of happiness to a person’s day makes me feel fantastic. I once got a note that my “This Is Love” series helped solidify a cross-country romance; that made my day! But more than anything, I just really love being able to do what I want to do. If I want to stay up til 3am working on something, I don’t have to worry about waking up at 6am to get to work on time.


10. What are some new techniques and/or skills you would like to acquire in the near future? This is probably not a terribly exciting response, but I need to acquire some discipline. I sit down at my desk, fully intending to paint, but then get sucked in to something on the internet and suddenly waaay too much time has passed.  Being your own boss requires setting your own deadlines, and being committed to working when no one is checking up on you. As I’m determined to make my art my way of surviving, I certainly need to work on this aspect of things!

11. Give us a shout out to your favorite artists with Etsy shops! We’d love to check them out for ourselves!
I love Clare Elsaesser’s work: it’s moody, and broody, and romantic.
Scabbyrobot makes leather handbags so soft and lovely, I’d like to just live in one.
Jayme McGowan’s cut paper illustrations totally appeal to my love of whimsy, as does the work of Corid andRoyalMint.

12. Lastly, tell us anything extra you would like included in the blog post. It can be a coupon code for a discount in your shop, a funny anecdote, anything!
I think if I could be any animal, I’d figure out a way to cross a dolphin with a pelican. I’d like to be able to spend the majority of my time swimming around in that great big ocean, but if some unsavory boat with a drag net comes along, it would be nice to be able to airlift myself out of the situation. Hmmm… maybe my next series will be marine animals crossed with bird life…

Thanks, Maggie! Your world sounds like a fun one to spend some time in. . .

A little humor goes a long way

My car was stolen out of my driveway sometime during the middle of Tuesday and Wednesday night. Needless to say, I was feeling uninspired when the time came to write this post. I thought that since “laughter is always the best medicine” I would give it a shot and try to lighten my mood up a bit.

It was only a car, but it had become full of memories as I have owned it for 15 years. As an homage to the good times and trips we shared, I thought I would share some of my favorite Car Art randomly found on the Internet.

Dirty Car Art by Scott Wade

This car is completely covered using a sharpie. (I cannot find who the artist is, if you know please tell me so I may give them due credit. Source for image:

Cadillac Ranch. Still on my list of places to go.

Artist Sara Watson spray painted a car to perfectly match a parking lot.

There are a great deal more slendid works of car art out there. I would love to know if you have any favorites. Share your links below.

Happy Creating!
upcycled unlimited

Young at Heart: Ribbon "Fire" Poi

Happy early Summer Solstice everyone! The warm weather has arrived just in time! For this much belated edition of Young At Heart we have fun tutorial for kid-friendly “fire” poi. It’s just the thing for those warm Summer days, playing out in the yard.

Poi is a long loved tradition of the Bay Area and practiced by many circus troupes and artists in the area. However the tradition of poi first originated in New Zealand and the first time the world was exposed to fire poi was as a tourist attraction in Hawaii by the early 1960’s. For more information on poi check out this link to Wikipedia: Poi (performance art).
Obviously, we don’t want to hand over
any fire poi to our nearest and dearest young ones. So this is a fun solution that looks as pretty as fire and has less of the safety hazards. These ribbon “fire” poi are so fun and easy to make that they would be a fun toy for folks of any age.

Materials: The only things you need are a pair of scissors, small embroidery hoops or any other small hoops you can stick your hands through and a whole lot of ribbon. I chose reds, yellows, oranges and other colors to make it look like fire.

Step 1:Take off the outside ring of the embroidery hoop. We are going to be using just the inside hoop.
Step 2:Cut a piece of ribbon. Make sure it is extra long.
Step 3:Fold the ribbon in half and make a loop.

Step 4:Put the ribbon loop through the wooden hoop. Then thread the ends of the ribbon through the ribbon. Check out this picture to see what the ribbon should look like.
Step 5: Tighten the ribbon to secure it on the hoop.
Step 6: Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you have a full hoop. It should look something like this.
Step 7: Play!

Fabulous Art Exhibits

Last Sunday, I stopped into SWARM gallery in Oakland. “In the Bracken” was being shown.

The digital image does not do this piece justice. Everything is shiny, golden, richly textured. The brush style reminded me of traditional Japanese brush painting. Gorgeous. SWARM is such a great gallery. There are artist studios behind the gallery, friendly faces and a nice feeling. Stop in! It’s great!

It’s Friday again, and it’s ART MURMUR, again!

My recommendation is Vessel Gallery. They have a spring showcase on display, presently.

The exhibit at Hatch Gallery also looks interesting. Check it out!

Please leave a comment if you have seen a gallery exhibit recently that sparked your imagination. Also, let me know if you have checked out any of the exhibits that I have posted about. Thanks for reading!

Memorial Day Weekend!

Check out some Photographic Art at Photo!

This weekend, you *should* have planned yourself a little trip out of town. But, you are on a budget, here in the East Bay, looking for some arts and inspiration.
It’s preview for Open Studios at Pro-Arts Gallery in Oakland. More details on what that is all about, here.
Here’s something to do, totally free. Cruise Oakland and see some murals. They are all over, you just need to adjust your eyes to them. To help you tune in, check out Endless Canvas online. You will recognize some Berkeley and Oakland streets, for sure.
May 28th and 29th, the “What Will You Learn” folks are holding workshops on how to . . .
More details here.
If you are like me, you know people who spent some time in Antarctica. Apparently, it exists, and is a place for bizarre celebrations. Royal Nonesuch is showing some Antarctica art. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Don’t forget what the holiday is all about, either. I am against war, but I am not against warriors.

Young at Heart: Let theatre transform you

This week marks the opening of In Between, a collection of original short plays by the Ragged Wing Youth Ensemble. This inspiring group of young artists are responsible for the writing, direction and performance of this compelling show. Times, location and ticket prices are posted on the flyer.
For directions and more information on the Ragged Wing Youth Ensemble visit:

Things to see and do

I came across this article in the East Bay Express, and the show looks really interesting!

Slow Food at Arts and Consciousness Gallery

Claudia Marseille, Jenn Shifflet, and Ellen Vogel, three graduates of John F. Kennedy University’s Arts and Consciousness program, make the case for their alma mater’s new-age/old-school values in Odyssey of Transformation: A Quest for the Genuine.Marseille paints “an interior terrain” populated by memory and perception. In “The Journey Home,” “Foreign Lands,” “I Can’t Return,” and “A Bit of Pink,” she creates richly textured abstractions in translucent encaustic that invoke geology, archaeology, and anthropology — apt allusions for an artist who went on digs in her youth and sees culture as embodied psychology. The works also contain hints of her travels to “the souks, the spice markets, old peeling stucco walls, fabrics, ruins of past civilizations, and the multicolored reflections found in ponds and lakes” in Mexico, India, and Morocco.

I said it last time, and I will say it again–I STILL really want to go to this Gallery and get inside that gorgeous building! I have a terrible confession to make. I keep posting to these events, but then I only get to the Art Murmur, where I am happy as all get out to chat with customers (so blessed with positive feedback so far). Then I miss getting my inspiration batteries charged up with seeing other people’s work.

Let’s all do it together? Message me if you want to be my travel companion to one of these places, and I will try to pry myself away from the yarn.

I DID get to a recent gallery exhibit though, and I will link here again when the post is up.

Mark your calendars for May 21, 2011, and Murmurama! More details here.
It’s going to be
in Downtown Oakland, CA, Between 23rd and 26th Streets, between Telegraph Ave. & Broadway. Lots of galleries in one place.

Another great event from California Lawyers for the Arts:

May 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, 50 Fremont Street, San Francisco, CA 94105-2228