Getting Inspired at LACMA

My dads were in town this past weekend for a family wedding, and before they jetted back home to Maui, they treated me to a day of inspiration at LACMA.  We check out a few exhibits, our favorite was the 3D: Double Vision exhibit.  If you love photography and geometry and all things 3D...I highly recommend checking it out.

I love 17th century dutch still-life for many reasons, the way light is caught (usually candle or daylight is all they had to work with), and the use of color and the little details within the larger details.

The tiny details are what pull me into a childlike mind; little ants on a tulip petal, a resting wasp on the lemon leaf, a butterfly on the rim of a wine goblet, glass like water droplets undisturbed on a table cloth, curious caterpillars bending and stretching on the rind of melon.  All of these little surprises I like to think were added just for me, and I enthusiastically pointed them out as I discover each and every one of them.

It was a nice surprise to see the work of Yee Sookyoung.  Her sculptures are inspiring and resonate with me.  I was introduced to her work a few years ago - what a treat to see a piece in person.


I regularly visit museums and galleries for inspiration.  Art History was one of my favorite courses in college and I always find it a treat to spend time around historic art.  LACMA is a solid museum.  Of course, my favorite museum in LA is the Getty, but LACMA never fails.   They have some of my favorite collections on permanent display and they are, usually always,  presenting pretty fabulous exhibits.

Books I’m Currently Reading: Alexander Calder

Its been a while since I've last written a blog post.  But it's all for good reason; I've been prepping for summer travels and getting new inspiration for some ideas that have been floating around in my head these past months.  As a metalsmith and artist I tend to float from jewelry to objects, and this month my mind has been totally on occupied with objects.

I never had the chance to dive into sculpture during my college years, nor did I truly have the interest.  However, as my practice  has grown, I've notice my focus has widen, and sculpture has become part of that focus.  My eyes have been attracted to movable sculptures lately and with my appreciation for simplicity and thoughtful design, I'm sort-of not surprised that I've been playing with the idea of making mobiles.

With most ideas and inspiration...I tend to get a little scared to dive in, because I know most things have been done before.  But eventually I do give myself freedom to explore my thoughts no matter what others are doing.  So I (per usual) checked out some great books on Alexander Calder.  I haven't finished them yet so I won't dare attempt to "write about him" and my thoughts on his work until I do.  But here are the books I'm currently reading on Alexander's work and life:

#1 Alexander Calder; Performing Sculpture

#2 Calder and Abstraction from Avant-Garde to Iconic

#3 Alexander Calder and Contemporary Art; Form, Balance, Joy

The Importance of Escape for the Artist

There is an importance of escape for the artist; stepping outside of the studio provides contrast and inspiration, loosing yourself to wonder.  Marylin Monroe once said:

"A career is born in public, talent in privacy."

Like periodical solitude, escape from the "everyday" is essential to producing quality bodies of work and finding meaning in what we do.

I've made escape a habit - it is a part of my life routine.  I find that opportunities for escape are all around me; and I readily take advantage of those opportunities.  Desolate lancsapes are most enduring to me and I often escape to the desert.  I find these environments - where life seems to barely hang on - silence my minds chatter, allowing my most creative ideas to form freely.


photography: cj vegas

location: joshua tree national park

Exploring Joshua Tree

I can never tire of exploring Joshua Tree, let alone the desert.  The sounds and colors and textures fill me up in a way that the city cannot.  There is seriously something magical about Joshua Tree.  I can't put it into words but I understand why so many artists find inspiration there.   The sky alone renders you speechless, yet sends you into a rabbit hole of creative and life-changeing epiphanies.   And I too, found myself mesmerized and inspired by every boulder, every perfectly placed cactus grouping and every human figure like Joshua Tree.   Inspired so, that every visit feels like the first. 

I also played tourist in Pioneer Town - if you haven't visited this corky ghost-town, you must add it to your bucket list! You can read more on my time there here!

Fish Skeleton at Salton Sea

Exploring Salton Sea Beach

The Salton Sea – a saline lake that rest in the basin of the mountains of the Imperial and Coachella Valley.

When approaching the shores of the Salton Sea, your senses are immediately engaged.  Your nose is greeted by the noticeable stench of decay.  Your ears begin to notice the peculiar sound the sands makes under your feet as your curiosity leads you.  And your eyes take in the vastness off the waters and the contrasting mountains surrounding them.  Your brain; overwhelmed and intrigued by it all, continues to process what (on God’s earth) it just took in.


MoneyPenny Dog and Welcome Salton Sea sign



MoneyPenny Dog at the Salton Sea



Fish Bones Skeleton at Salton Sea



Fish Skeleton at Salton Sea



Abandon House at Salton Sea



Dog (MoneyPenny) on a vacant road Near Salton Sea



Little pieces of hollow fish skeleton, in the softest hues, make up its sands.  The Salton Sea – disheveled, with abandoned aspirations peppered throughout.  If you’re lucky…and don’t mind the smell…this corky town of curiosity will leave you temporarily moved; quiet, slightly confused and inspired.




finding inspiration in maui

Finding Inspiration on Maui | Olowalu Sugar Mill Ruin

I just returned from visiting my father on beautiful Maui.  I’ve traveled to Hawai’i many times and with every visit, Hawai’i becomes more special to me … it’s one of my favorite ways of finding inspiration.  In the 9o’s, I was fortunate to call Maui home.  And even then, as a self indulgent teen, wanna-be tough girl, I was able to momentarily appreciate Hawaii and  its beauty, history and otherworldliness.

Wondering through Nature

This trip home was quite special. It was filled with a LOT of family time and thanks to my fearless father (whom was born and raised in Hawaii) my time was also spent with lots of exploring. Wondering through nature and stretching my eyes are favorite pass-times of mine – and as an artist, very necessary tasks.

The Sugar Mill Ruin

My dad took us to one of his new discoveries. The beachside Olowalu Sugar Mill Ruin – one of the first sugar mills on the island – dating back to 1864.  And when I say “beachside” I mean beach side – you can even spot a tiny seashell wedged inside of a crack in the foundation! *insert gasp*



Mending | The Beauty of Repair

I’m currently researching “Mending” and the beauty of repair.  Coming from a flawed and unconventional up-brining, I find that my subconscious to be drawn to reconstruction and the various forms of repair.  I am finding there is much beauty within and around the process.  When observing the process we find stories wedged in the before, during and after.  I see the beauty of repair as a narrator –  a visual storyteller.  And it is the viewers gift to unearth those stories.

Here are a few beautiful examples of storytelling through repair.

Changing perception through repair.

Artist: (unable to find resources)

Beauty of Repair stitched photo of young man



Bringing different stories together with mending.  The artist has constructed (re-imagined) a family portrait of mother, daughter and son.

Artist: Annegret Soltau


Beauty of Repair stitched family portrait.



Highlighting damage is the beauty of repair.  Cleverly bringing attention and admiration to something that would ordinarily be overlook or expected to exist.

Artist: Jan Vormann,

Beauty of Repair lego filled cracks on brick wall


Adding value where there is seemingly none.

Artist: Catherine Bertola

Beauty of Repair gold filed cracks



Repair is a reminder of our own impermanence.

Artist:  Anya Kristin Beeler

Beauty of Repair on the Human Body


Mend v

[object]:  to make (something broken, worn, torn, or otherwise damaged)whole, sound, or usable by repairing.  to remove or correct defects or errors in.  to set right; make better; improve.

[without object]: to progress toward recovery, as a sick person.  (of broken bones) to grow back together; knit.  to improve, as conditions or affairs

Mend n

the act of mending; repair or improvement.  a mended place.


*All images found on Pinterest

Cracks on Fabric | Booth Design Inspiration

I’m gearing up for the Irvine Studio Arts Festival June 3rd.  The one thing I love about doing shows is digging into my creative bank for my booth design.

Today, I received a text from one of my creative buddies, Nicole Frost of Frost Yarn.  She’s an amazing dyer, spinner, crocheter, knitter based in Orange County, who specializes in bright rainbow, psychedelic color ways that people can’t seem to get enough of.  She blows me away with her passion and excitement for her craft.  She, too, will be part of the Irvine Studio Arts Festival.

Anyway, Nicole text’d me to see if I’d like her make me a table runner for the festival, as it is mandatory that we have one.  She had just finished making one for herself, using an “ice dyeing” method and bright ass, Nicole Frost, colors (almost like tie-dye but less hippie more “spacey”).  Of course my fist reaction was…

“hmm, well, don’t do bright colors, but maybe the right palette will bring some attention to my booth …”

So I asked Nicole if she was able to do a lightning strike effect on the fabric using neutral colored dyes….like greys and browns, and blacks, that may work.  She responds “Yes, I can TOTALY do that!”.  Now I’m excited! My brain starts searching…

“oooooh, what about creating cracks on the fabric with dye?”

By then I pretty much have my booth design in my head.  I’m more excited.  This is great!  Let me do a quick search on Pinterest for some visuals…after scanning pictures for about 2 minutes, I find my inspiration:


This gorgeous technique is call Flour Paste Resist.  It is very similar to the batik process.  You basically create a paste using a mixture of flour and water, spread it onto fabric, allow it to dry and manipulate it as you like.  I have not tried this yet, as I literally discovered the process today!

Even though, Nicole offered to do the dyeing for me, I kind of want to try it out myself!  I have some ideas on using this pattern in some areas of my branding.  It correlates so well with my current work.

I have a feeling this is going to be something fun!

You can check out Scrap Bags Sew Patterns Blog if you wish to learn more about Flour Paste Resist.  I will be sure to post progress pictures once I get started on booth displays and this inspiring dyeing process.  Until then, I need to go make more jewelry!

thanks for reading,


*photo credit: Scraps Bags Sew Patterns