Category: News

My Memento Mori Painting Sold at the Oddporium

I paid my first visit to that “Gallery of the Peculiar and the Bizarre,” the Oddporium, on Marsh Road in Arden. Wow! I happened to have my kids with me and we spent quite a while exploring the weird and wonderful finds that owners Ken Schuler and Beth Ann Busch have collected and displayed. Some of the unique oddities include:

vintage embalming fluid bottles • a one-eyed pig in a jar • mourning pins • cabinet cards • medical tools • creepy photographs • old dolls • a real human skeleton • an embalmed cobra • old skulls, bones, and teeth • insects mounted in shadowboxes

The Oddporium not only carries objects suitable for a cabinet of curiosities, but also sells original artwork from local artists. I quickly discovered my new favorite artist, Gus Fink. I took photos of my two favorite pieces, as seen below.

Gus Fink artwork at the Oddporium

Gus Fink artwork at the Oddporium

Gus Fink artwork at the Oddporium

Gus Fink artwork at the Oddporium

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While there, I asked Ken if he thought my painting, Memento Mori #1, would be suitable for consignment at his shop. He said yes so we started the paperwork.

Memento Mori #1, detail

Memento Mori #1, detail


Just as we were finishing up, an interesting fellow came in and bought the painting! I was so shocked. But I was also really happy that someone else in the world like this painting since my husband hates it. (When I asked him to hang it up on the wall he said, “You mean right here where someone can see it?!”)

Memento Mori #1, a mixed media painting by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Memento Mori #1, a mixed media painting by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Now, off to create more in this series. Sorry, husband, you’ll be seeing more of these soon.

I Heart Bots: Robot Love

I don’t know why I like robots so much. Not real ones – they kind of freak me out. Although I am somewhat fond of the benign little Roomba that circles our house, sucking up cat fur and cracker crumbs. No, the ones I really love are the found object robots made from household junk.

Robot-Featured-Image

I Heart Bots

A robot is defined as

  1. a machine capable of carrying out a complex series of actions automatically, especially one programmable by a computer
  2. a machine resembling a human being and able to replicate certain human movements and functions automatically (especially in science fiction)
  3. a person who behaves in a mechanical or unemotional manner

The word comes from the Czech word robota, meaning ‘forced labor,’ and was first used in 1920. Synonyms for robot are: automaton, android, golem, droid.

Follow Trilby Works’s board I Heart Bots: Robots Rule! on Pinterest.

Found objects robots are a new popular modern art genre created from combined and often modified found objects resulting in a recognizable figured piece in the form of a robot. The phrase found object originates from the French term objet trouvé, literally “found object.” Found objects can include any item with a non-art function like tin cans, old tools, household recyclables, kitchen utensils, vintage toys and games, automotive parts, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Here’s an Etsy Treasury I made of colorful, happy robots of all shapes and sizes!

The Long Cold Hand of Winter

In January and February, when winter’s frigid claws strangle my creativity, I struggle to appreciate the beauty of the season. This Etsy Treasury lends inspiration!

I also have a Pinterest page by the same name:

Follow Trilby Works’s board The Long Cold Hand of Winter on Pinterest.

Etsy Treasury Tuesday: Delaware Moods

Yay, Delaware! We may be the smallest state, but we have a lot to offer, including beautiful landscapes and cool goods. Check out some of them below:

One of my favorite Delaware photographers is Eric Zippe. Here’s a screen shot of his Etsy shop, featuring my favorite print: Osage Orange.

Eric Zippe Photography Screen Shot from Etsy Shop

Eric Zippe Photography Screen Shot from Etsy Shop

If you’re a local Delawarean, you can find Eric’s art at the Bellefonte Arts Gallery. I really need to get in there and buy this print!

Getting Creative at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts

Last Sunday my family had a wonderful time exploring the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts here in Wilmington. It was one of the museum’s Free Family Sundays with a theme of Build it Better.

2016-01-17 At DCCA 10

2016-01-17 At DCCA 10

There were two work areas set up for kids to make their own art that my crew gravitated to immediately. The first was set up on a long table set with empty glass bottles, yarn, glue, scraps of paper, and scissors.

2016-01-17 At DCCA 1, cropped

2016-01-17 At DCCA 1, cropped

The idea was to make something with the items at hand. We came up with a sort of stringy octopus creature using yarn to cover the bottle, some bottle caps for eyes, and a yarn mouth.

2016-01-17 At DCCA 5

2016-01-17 At DCCA 5

The second station had sheets of newspaper and tape – that’s it!! – and people were rolling up the paper into tight, long tubes and taping them to other tight, long tubes to create open, airy architectural structures – neat! My gang made a “swing set”, which definitely needed an explanatory label attached to it for identification purposes, lol.

All in all, it was a fun afternoon. I recommend it for anyone living in the Delaware area.

Kooky Creatures and Maniacal Monsters

I love creatures and monsters and have made a bunch of them in recent years. Some have turned out pretty well, despite my pathetic sewing skills. Here are two of my latest. Both are made from patterns in books.

Striped Sweater Plush Monster

Striped Sweater Plush Monster

Pinky the Plush Horned Monster

Pinky the Plush Horned Monster

Monster Inspiration

Check out my Pinterest board for a smorgasbord of the best hand-made monsters and creatures around!


Butterfly Pixie House

I’ve completed my Butterfly Pixie House, made from a recycled plastic creamer container and an aluminum foil and paper towel roof. I think it’s so cute! “Why can’t fairies live here?”, my husband wanted to know. I have no idea! It’s just a pixie house.

Butterfly Pixie House by Trilby Works

Butterfly Pixie House by Trilby Works

I’ll be creating a tutorial on how to make this little house soon.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

I’ve finished my fairy house door tutorial. You can see it here.

Fairy House Doors Tutorial Graphic

Fairy House Doors Tutorial Graphic

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally, I’ve started my Bark Fairy House. I filched a tree slice from my husband’s carving stash to use as a base and glued upright some thick pieces of bark that I had found in the back yard. The E-6000 I was using did not seem strong enough so I added some adhesive grout around the base (that’s the white stuff in the photo).

Bark Fairy Play House Started

Bark Fairy Play House Started

My idea is to make this into a fairy doll play house for my daughter but who knows if this will turn out okay.

My Sorrowful Sister Doll Published in Art Doll Quarterly

I entered the “Mothers and Daughters” reader challenge held by Art Doll Quarterly and was happily surprised that my doll was chosen for publication. Shocked, really, because my doll isn’t exactly sweet or sentimental.

Below is the cover of the magazine: (love that pixie!)

Art Doll Quarterly Spring 2015

Art Doll Quarterly Spring 2015

Here is the doll:

Sorrowful Sister Art Doll by Karen Furst of Trilby Works

Sorrowful Sister Art Doll

Behind the Scenes at Trilby Works: My Fluffy Black Cat

We have a bunch of cats, most of which take turns prowling through the studio to see what can be knocked over, broken, smashed, peed on, or stolen and batted around. My constant companion, however, is Smoke, a small, fluffy black cat with an evil temper and dagger-sharp claws. She hates everyone in the house, except for me, who she loves occasionally and tolerates frequently. She has the silkiest fur of any cat I’ve ever met but she can stand only limited petting. I bribe her onto my lap with a box of treats and she’ll stay for a while, long enough for me to get my hands on her. Then she jumps onto the back of my chair, her favorite hang out spot. It’s a rolling chair so she needs to anchor herself up there with her claws, much to the detriment of the fabric, which you can see in the photo below.

My Cat Smoky

My Cat Smoky

For some reason I love this little cat immensely, in an inverse proportion to the sweetness of her personality. She came to me at about three weeks of age, all the way from a high-kill shelter in Georgia, along with her three sisters and her mama, delivered by a dedicated volunteer who rescued and drove a bunch of cats up here to Delaware, probably about a 12-hour drive. My family nursed the felines back to health and our rescue group (Andy’s Friends) was able to adopt out all of them except for Smoky, who I kept for her silky fur.

Which she rarely allows me to touch.

How I Organized My Art Studio And Fell In Love With It All Over Again

All summer I’ve been dragging myself past my art studio, ignoring the call of a score of uncompleted projects, stacks of unpaid bills and family paperwork, unpacked orders from my shop, and a thick layer of dust covering the entire mess. When September rolled around, family members headed back to school, and I took advantage of my few hours of free time to sit, breathe, walk, and contemplate my myriad faults. One of those being my inability to complete anything in my studio for the entire previous year. I’m one of those people who is incapable of creating in a messy space so before I could finish any of my art, I knew I would have to clean up my wreck of a room.

When stuck in a rut, clean, tidy, and organize. This is something I learned since becoming a parent. For me, a spotless, orderly space is a happy space. So I commenced the “Big Spring Clean Up.” Yes, it’s fall. But I should have done this last spring.

Here are some of the things I’ve learned about organizing my studio and keeping it clean.

Finish up old projects.

Nothing is more draining than walking into your studio to be faced with a bunch of half-finished projects. And nothing is more energizing than completing a project that has been hanging around your studio for months on end. If you can’t finish the project in a timely fashion, put it away, out of sight, in a bin marked “projects to complete” or some such. Give yourself permission to move on to new work.

Below is a photo of some projects that I either did not finish or lost interest in. I swept the entire mess into a plastic storage bin from Target and shoved it into an armoire, out of sight. I labelled it “Works in Progress,” which is more positive than “Unfinished Projects.”

Works In Progress Bin Full Of Stuff

Works In Progress Bin Full Of Stuff

I was so relieved to have those odds and ends off my work table! Which brings me to my next tip…

Clear off all horizontal surfaces.

Commit to keeping half of them clear. The other half can hold current work. Once the unfinished work starts to spill over onto your “clear” areas, it’s time to finish some stuff up. Again, if you can’t complete something in a few weeks, put it away and take it out another day. Sometimes a little distance from your work is just what you need to figure out what that piece needs to finish it off.

Clear Horizontal Surfaces

Clear Horizontal Surfaces

Having a clear work surface gives your creative energy freedom to roam and innovate.

Group like with like.

Put all your glues together, put all your paints together, put all your tools together, etc. Find appropriate sized bins or other storage to contain these items and then label them. My labeler is one of my favorite tools!

In the photo below, you see my office supply drawer, which I have actually moved out of the studio and into an antique secretary in another room of the house. This drawer is accessible to the whole family and frees up some space in my studio, a win-win for everyone. I organized it using dollar store bins, a cheap and easy way to create order.

Organized office supply drawer

Organized office supply drawer – group like with like

Use your vertical space. Peg board is wonderful for hanging not only tools, but ribbon, paper towels, paint, etc. Hang storage containers on walls to corral small parts. Add shelves to store paint, rags, brushes, and other supplies, even your finished artwork.

Pull Out Drawers For Small Parts Storage

Pull Out Drawers For Small Parts Storage

Akro-Mils Small Parts Storage Cabinet

Akro-Mils Small Parts Storage Cabinet

Create work zones.

In my studio I have a computer. Nearby, I keep my bills, my printer and paper, my blank disks and DVD sleeves, calculator, shipping labels, scale, label maker, office supplies, etc. I have a painting zone with my paints, painting mediums, sealers, gloves, glitter, alcohol inks, daubers, brushes, etc. I have a tool bench where I do “dirty” work such as drilling, sawing, metal cutting, gluing, and clay work. Beside the tool bench I hung a pegboard with my screwdrivers, pliers, wire cutters, hammers, rasps, etc. They are in convenient and easy reach when I need them. An inventory and shipping zone is located near the computer and is stocked with packing tape, mailing boxes, tissue paper, and other supplies.

Work Table With Pegboard

Work Table With Pegboard

Use it and replace it.

Get into the habit of putting away your tools just after using them. Always complete the action. Don’t pile stuff up to put it away later. Get the tool off the wall, use the tool, and then put the tool back. This habit will go a long way toward keeping not only your studio but your entire house clean.

Purge unused supplies.

If you’re like me, the idea of getting rid of any of your carefully collected art supplies gives you heart palpitations. Don’t worry! I am not suggesting you actually throw anything away. But if you have genres of art that you are no longer creating in, you may be able to pass the supplies along to someone else – perhaps to a preschool or a neighbor. If you absolutely cannot part with anything (and I put myself in this category) do put the unneeded supplies in storage until the day you find a renewed interest in that type of artwork. For example, I went through a beading phase and amassed a huge hoard of beautiful beads. But now I am totally through with beading and I doubt I’ll ever go back to it. But who knows, perhaps my daughter may want to make a necklace someday. So I packed up the beads and put them in our crawl space in plastic storage boxes. They are available if I need them but out of the way of my daily creating. I could also sell them on eBay or Etsy if I wanted to make a little money back. (To buy more supplies, of course.)

Items that you can part with can be donated to your children’s art stash or to preschools and elementary schools. Or just drop it off at Goodwill!

Inspiration Board

If you need some inspiration to get you started, please look over my Pinterest board, “The Organized Art Studio,” for lots of clever ideas.


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