Category: News

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.

The Servants of Ord

The Servants of Ord The Servants of Ord

Exciting news! The Servants of Ord has been chosen to be published in a mixed media art book by North Light Books. The book is entitled “Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media” and is a hardbound showcase of the best in mixed-media expression. It’s their first-ever competition book entirely devoted to the best of mixed-media. Works were chosen from a wide variety of mixed-media styles and categories including painting, collage, assemblage, jewelry, fiber art, book arts, mosaics and more. I’m thrilled to be part of this book and I am so thankful for one of my pieces to be selected.

The Servants of Ord

The Servants of Ord

Here is the complete list of winners:

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

Incite, Dreams Realized: The Best of Mixed Media

About the Book:

Expressive. Brave. Enchanting. Soul-kindling. Compelling. The best of mixed media.

All of these are embodied in the premier edition of Incite. The 93 artists behind these incredible works (more than 120 total!) share their stories of artistic visions fulfilled, lofty goals achieved and daunting obstacles overcome.

From persevering through personal struggles to mastering difficult mixed-media techniques, from collage and encaustic to assemblage and jewelry, the stories and art in Incite, Dreams Realized will inspire you to think big, never give up and dare to realize your own dreams.

Buy it on Amazon here.

I want to thank my amazing photographer, Luigi Ciuffetelli, for a great picture (not shown here but you can see it in the book).

Make Mine Mini Reader Challenge

Amid the frantic days of December filled with holiday shopping and packing and shipping orders for my online retail store, I somehow found time to enter a Reader Challenge from Cloth Paper Scissors Magazine. I’ve been wanting to submit artwork to them for a few years now, but I can never get my pieces done in time to meet their deadlines. (Yes, most of the time my art-making moves at the speed of a tortoise, lumbering and painfully slow.) But this time I already had a piece finished, something I had created last year and set aside with no idea what to do with it: a mini robot. Here he is:

Mini Robot Pendant

I’ve been making larger robots for some time now but last year I ventured into small scale bots. I thought of them as babies and often attached them to the larger guys by magnets. This little guy never found a momma so he was perfect to use for this challenge. I placed him in a copper curio box from my stash and added a length of leather to create a pendant necklace. Then I took the picture and sent him in!

The guidelines were to “create a mini piece of mixed-media art, 4″ x 4″ or smaller, using paints, encaustics, collage papers, fibers, stitching, and more to create this wee masterpiece. Try making something you would normally do large and make it Lilliputian.”

I had no idea whether my piece would be accepted or not but in February I was pleased to find myself on the list of finalists. Out of 300 entries, they chose 53 finalists, from which they chose the ones that were published in the magazine.

I guess the magazine editors are too busy to notify artists individually of their decision because I heard nothing more about this until yesterday when my May/June issue arrived in the mail. I turned to page 87 and there was my piece – yay!

Wilmington Art Loop

My stuff has been at the Bellevue Arts Gallery for a year now and I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t had much time to get in there and see the other art or socialize with the other artists. So I was happy to hang out there on Friday night to meet some new people and have fun during Wilmington’s Art Loop night.

What made it even better was that I was that month’s featured artist! This was a wonderful opportunity for me to interact with customers (okay, stand to the side and spy on them while they inspected my work) and find out what they really thought. Happily, everyone liked it. Or at least that’s what they said in front of me.

Here’s a scan of the program guide with my work in full color – cool!

Wilmington Art Loop Nov 2012 Guide

Wilmington Art Loop Nov 2012 Guide

I didn’t actually show the art doll that is in this picture (oops) but I had some other art dolls that were fun to look at. My piece, The Servants of Ord, was of particular interest to art loopers. Everyone wanted to see Master Ord, who I haven’t created yet. Well, that will be my task for 2013.

Etsy Treasury Roundup

Some Etsy treasuries my work has been featured in lately. Thanks to everyone who chose one of my pieces to include!

First Friday Art Walk: December 2011

Rawleigh the Robot is happy to be included in this Delaware treasury! But now he doesn’t have time to fool around on Etsy because he has to go play croquet.

Here’s a bigger pic of Rawleigh:

Rawleigh the Croquet Playing Robot

Rawleigh the Croquet Playing Robot

My Hippo Mint Tin Art is Famous!

Wow! My hippo assembly was selected for Art Business Institute’s “Great Handmade Holiday Gifts! $50 – $100” list.

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

Altoid Tin Hippo Sculpture

This one actually has been sold but I’m in the process of making several more. If you’d like one, check back here to see when they are done or drop me an email and I’ll set one aside for you. Thanks to the ABI for choosing my work!

Wherein My Bots Escape And Take Up Residence At The Bellefonte Art Gallery

I came downstairs recently and couldn’t find my robots! They had escaped! I searched everywhere for them: in the cat food bin where they like to steal bits of food; upstairs playing with my son’s Transformers; and out in the garage where they like to pour oil on themselves.


Crate and Stereo Equipment Bot

Crate and Stereo Equipment Bot

They were gone.

Then I got a call from Valerie White of the Bellefonte Arts Gallery. Were these my robots who broke down her door? Yes, I had to reply, as I imagine other people take better care of their bots and don’t let them sneak away in the dead of night to wreak havoc on commercial property. Could they stay? I quickly asked, before she could launch into a tirade about how they opened her cash register drawer and switched the pennies with the quarters then put on all the bracelets from the display case.


I could tell Valerie wasn’t crazy about keeping my bots, knowing how difficult they are to manage. I had her put them on the phone with me, one by one, and made them promise to behave. They all agreed, maybe a bit too readily. I could tell they really wanted to stay there.

So I just want to apologize in advance to the good people of Bellefonte. If your trash can is upended or your cat’s tail gets pulled or slugs are found in your mailbox, I just want you to know: it’s not my fault. Valerie is in charge now.