Frequently Asked Questions
Sometimes the easiest way to discuss my work or my life as an artist is to answer your questions. You might be surprised how often the same or similar questions get asked. I’ve been collecting them over the years. Now that I have this way to share them with a larger audience I will try my best to answer those I hear most frequently. I will continue to add to this list as time permits. Hopefully your question will be answered soon if it is not already.
1. Faerie House Questions
How long does it take you to make a fairy house?
It all depends… some structures, made on site can take just a few hours to put together. Anytime I work with fresh flowers, for example, I have maybe 10 minutes to make and take the photos. These are by far the hardest pieces to make. Structures with more detailed windows and doors, for example, require planning and making the individual elements ahead of time and it can take several days just to complete those elements plus another day or two to complete the piece in the field. The most advanced houses, the ones made entirely in the studio, made for my collectors, can take a month or two to create… after all, I begin every sculpture with just a pile of twigs and bark!
Do you ever give fairy house building workshops?
I used to do this but I have discovered that everyone likes to learn and create at their own pace so this is why I wrote my BOOK which covers almost all of my building techniques. Using the book as an instruction manual is better than a workshop because you can go at your own pace and design your house using the natural materials you have from your region. Plus I teach much more in the book than I ever could in a single workshop.
Do you ever sell your fairy houses? How can I get one? How much do they cost?
Yes, I will be offering my detailed, studio-built constructions for sale from time to time for my collectors. I sell them exclusively through my website. The sales are announced only to those who have signed up to receive notifications about the sales, so do go to the “Secret Sale” section to read how it works and sign up if you are interested! I sell only my best houses to serious collectors. Prices range widely depending on size and details/features and generally start at around $1000.
2. Environmental Sculpture Questions
How do you make the ice sculptures?
I love working with ice. It was the first material I started to work with when I decided to experiment with environmental art. I had NO idea what to do or how to do it! I don’t want to give too many secrets away because it is a method I’ve developed thru much trial and error. I will say this however: the best temperatures to work in for my region seem to be between 24 and 28 degrees. Colder than that and things freeze too quickly. Warmer than that and they may not freeze enough. I found that working at night often was the key to the best work because the temperatures stayed relatively consistent and there usually was no wind. Wind is a big problem with most delicate environmental work. My other secret is a folding Felco pruning saw… it cuts ice amazingly well and gets into tight places for icicle harvesting.
If you live in a cold climate, just dress warmly and go out and start playing with ice…it is very satisfying to work with and when the sunlight hits it, it is pure magic!
What happens to your environmental sculptures after you have taken the photos?
Almost always I leave the piece in place after the photos are taken. It is often a deeply moving experience for me to do this. In a way it feels like giving something back, out of love, to this beautiful earth. Since I often do this work alone, off the beaten trail, so to speak, it is rare that others find the works because they do disappear quickly back into the landscape since that is where they came from in the beginning. My heart often feels immense, overwhelming gratitude when I am finished making and photographing a piece. I often pause just before I leave and give thanks to the Earth for such Beauty. Is this profound feeling coming from me or to me from the earth? Does it matter? To me it is all part of the wholeness of the process.
I do know of one piece however that got removed from its place by someone… that is OK too….I hope they enjoyed it!
3. Painting Questions
Why do you work in watercolor? Your images are so detailed and rich. I’m used to watercolors looking thin and pale but yours are not. How do you do it?
Thank you for asking! When I was first starting out, I tried many different mediums to see which ones felt the best to me. I have to say, I loved the simplicity and transparency of watercolors, but I was frustrated for YEARS until I learned how to properly manage the medium. I still make mistakes but the rich, deep colors are for me what I love most about the medium. Plus it is relatively non-toxic to use and portable for field sketching, which I love to do when I”m not making faerie houses or environmental sculptures.
Why do your shaped puzzle images have so many hidden animals in the image?
The shaped puzzles are very common now, but I was the artist who first pioneered the concept working with an American puzzle company. We knew that people who love jig-saw puzzles like to have lots of small details to help them put an image together. I took the original outline shape and worked out what the animal would look like if it filled that shape alone. I then created smaller animals from that same ecosystem to fit with the anatomy and contours of the large, original animal. To me, they were representing the interwoven ecosystem that they all shared together and it was a further message about how we are all interconnected.
I really enjoyed making these paintings and they were very successful. A lot of companies soon started to copy the concept but mostly they seemed to just put animals inside the large outline any way they could. Also, it was right around this time that digital painting started being used more for commercial products and it was very easy for them to just cut and paste whatever they wanted into the image. My work was all done using paper, tracing paper and watercolors. Each image took months to complete.
4. Artist/General Questions
Your work is so calming and inspiring. Can I get a print for my office to help me stay grounded?
Yes, indeed you can! I have a very special system developed where we work together to have any of my images (photographs or paintings) turned into a custom print, just for you. You can find out more by visiting my custom-crafted prints section.
Your studio must be amazing! Can I come and visit sometime? Can I bring my daughter? My grandchild? When can I come see your studio? Do you ever have open house?
I get this question a lot and while I would love to be welcoming of my fans, the truth is I’m very reclusive and I sometimes need to leave quickly to take advantage of something happening outdoors. Plus my studio is often not fit for visitors due to my process being rather un-tidy at times! I dream of the day when I can invite folks to my studio, but that day is not here yet. Sorry!
I love your work but I don’t want or need any more stuff in my life. Is there a way that I can make a contribution to your work or help support you in some kind of away without buying something?
First, thank you so much for your kind remarks. This question too has been asked before and I realized that there could be a way to set this up now that I have this website. For folks like you, I’ve added a simple “Donate” button to my Sparkles and Glitter page which you can use if you feel so inclined. It is just wonderful to know that there are people out there who like this work and want to support the process of making more….you have no idea how fortifying AND humbling it is to know you are there! Additionally, I’ve been looking into Patreon as a platform for promoting my work to also offer some exclusive rewards for my fans. It is in the works and will be announced here soon.
Thank you so much to all who want to be a part of this magic and support it from afar! It truly means more than you know!