Goodwill's Day Habilitation at NCSML

"From the time of his youthful enthusiasm, throughout the period of his fame in Paris and ultimately to his realization of how an understanding of history can shape the destiny of a nation, Alphonse Mucha's lasting concern remains the necessity of combining beauty and goodness."

Petr Wittlich, Professor of Art History at Charles University, Prague

Photo from Mucha Foundation

LADYFITS on 16th Ave bridge in Cedar Rapids, IA 

Back in late 2012, I took Goodwill's Day Habilitation to the National Czech and Slovak Museum's Alphonse Mucha exhibition (ended Dec 31st, 2012).  I toured the group through the largest collection outside of Europe.  It was a wonderful experience to not only act as tour guide, but to also connect with my personal story relating to the Czech lands.  Mucha used a lot of folk details in his work.  The exhibition explored the connection of folk dress to the art pieces along with showcasing the process behind his work (utilizing models to stand in for the layout to his compositions).  I used this time to show my work as the model to explore and connect to various forms and motifs.  I pointed at various parts of my folk dress and had them relate to what was seen in Mucha's work.  The discussion went further into how the symbols served as inspiration and how they personally connected to them.    

Everyone had a wonderful day at the NCSML with loads of inspiration and understanding of another culture.  There will be more explorations at this museum along with other institutions.  This leads into what I have been working on over the past few months.  

As Goodwill's Artist in Residence, I wanted to further my impact into the mission of this organization.  I worked on building a sustainable art program with Goodwill's Day Habilitation - more to come.

Dekuji (Thank you) to the NCSML for allowing us to witness one of the great Czech artists and find inspiration in his work!

Goodwill's Day Hab outside the NCSML


Ahoj, 2013! 
The year is starting off with a feature about my art in issue 16 of UPPERCASE.  I'm very honored to be in this publication + given the opportunity to discuss my Czech heritage, Ioway, and Goodwill to an international audience.  I worked alongside some wonderful women that made it all happen - Thank you Linzee McCray (writer), Heather Atkinson (photographer), and Tonya Keyhoe-Anderson (make-up artist).  I told them from the beginning - you are now part of my rhythm of life that I call art.  You captured a moment in my life and work.  I'm forever grateful.  

Thank you, UPPERCASE Magazine!

You can follow issue 16 going to press on theiblog.  This issue will be shipping in early January.  It is available in these stores and online shops as well as Anthropology stores across North America. 

For you Ioway, there will be a special launch party in Iowa City at Home Ec.  More information to come!

You can see a lil 319Czech (photo credit: Uppercase Magazine)

UPPERCASE issue 16 on press! from uppercasemag on Vimeo.

STUDIO: Thoughts + Art Supplies


Welcome to my studio - 

After I finish a project and move on to the next, I take time to re-explore my sketchbooks.  I sketch quite a bit, but I'm drawn to the written word portion of my process.  I think words are equally as important as sketches - to me, it is the same.  I can visualize through my words exactly what I want to create for LADYFITS.  The above image captures how my process becomes a composition.  Every form of the process is an art form.  I lay out my thoughts in a composition......

1 -  Vaclav Havel books -  Since his death in December, I've been on a marathon of re-reading his books.  He was always a great inspiration to my work and how I can affect my community.  His writing + character keeps me pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.  Truly, he was a great soul.

2 -  I always have this book near me in studio.  It is by far my favorite textile book on Czech folk dress + art.  The way this author compiled this book is perfection - it is not just a museum text on Czech textile art.  Rather, he allowed the people, images, and their work speak to the viewer thru simple layouts.  The image pictured is the main inspiration of my work.  It embodies beauty in cultural expression + this woman has an air about her on the page (such power).

3 -  Research/Inspiration - Cesky Lid (Czech People) - 1950's publications found in Czech Village, Cedar Rapids, IA - The images on wood art as something functional inspired me to examine wood product at Goodwill as a resource.

4 -  I always keep a sketch book near me at all times of the day.  To me, not one thought or idea is bad - which means I have quite the collection of sketchbooks   :)

5 -  Textiles + thrift objects - they surround me as a form of language + keeps my thought process going. 


I've been sketching + writing a lot about my art practice.  I was mainly trained in fiber arts, painting and mixed media.  Most of my focus has been heavily on textiles, so I started to re-look at ways to communicate with the resources at Goodwill for other forms of art making.  I'm allowing myself to get back into my rhythm of painting + creating more mixed media pieces.  It is such a benefit to have a place like Goodwill to start a dialogue of art making through the materials, learning to utilize them in different ways.  I'm sure most would not head to Goodwill specifically for art supplies.  I take on this challenge to find ways to create art supplies through unconventional resources.  So here's the beginning to my art supplies........



Year of Housewares Dept Expressions for LADYFITS

You can pick up issue NO.8 - a reflection on 2011


From the beginning to the everyday life of the people, folk art is tied to a moment.  It gives life a certain rhythm through ritual and ceremony, ranging from weddings, the end of harvest to the completion of work.  The Czech & Slovak people had a highly developed sense of this form; they liked to use ceremonies to accentuate the rhythm of their life.  
This installation serves as a rhythm to my life in this community, creating work that encompasses a moment through materials found in a thrift store.  These materials are from the people of the community through their donations to Goodwill.  The objects help to tell my rhythm as well as theirs.
Like most of my work, it begins with a single object that I find in Goodwill.  This time it was a roll of reed material.    I connected this object to the inspirational ritual of laying sand down in forms of folk motifs.  This inspirational discovery was image based with little explanation as to why Czechs/Slovaks perform this ritual, so I gathered my own thoughts.  
The ritual of laying sand seems to be so much a part of their human nature to create these learned designs in the environment around them.  There is no need for a pattern to the motifs.  Rather, it is purely a form of cultural expression.
I performed my own version of the ritual within the space given to me at the Cherry building in New Bohemia (New Bohemia/Czech Village).  I created motifs through the space, utilizing the reed material and my own learned expression of Czech forms.  These forms were done on the spot, allowing people to walk through the space of creation.  It opened dialogue with people regarding their community, culture, thrift, and forms of artistic expression. 

sand ritual + my ritual 

Resourceful Expression: $2.38 Reed Material 

I will focus my next post on the other portion of the installation - corn husk doll


Homage Collage: Little Nemo in Slumberland + LADYFITS Scarecrow

I grew up in the world of comic books, appreciating the craft + witnessing the process.  I've always wanted to connect my world of LADYFITS to comics.  I decided to try comic cell layouts for my newsletters with the possibility of future issues to be a storyline of my process + the characters (thrift objects) that come into play.  

For now, you can enjoy the simplicity of visual expressions in comic cell layouts, an homage to "Little Nemo in Slumberland" (started in the The New York Herald in 1905) - one of my favorite newspaper comics that stretched the reality of the world with a childlike nature + providing a look into the awe-inspiring craft of a comic artist's ability to bring so much energy into a small rectangular space.  The color patterning of this comic inspires the palette I choose for LADYFITS, blurring the details, shapes + textures into a whole composition.  I enjoy heavy amounts of detail work.  It brings you closer into this world to appreciate the materials it is made up of.

You can pick-up the latest issue of LADYFITS as the "Scarecrow of the Housewares Dept" at your local Goodwill store in the Cedar Rapids + Marion areas (issue is out on Friday, Oct. 28th).