Finding Your Whole

P1030737Last December, I held a mandala-only workshop for the first time. These are the circular “gwiazdy” (star) style wycinanki, but I called it “mandala” because it seems to be a more familiar term. I learned that we needed about an hour more than I scheduled. I also learned that it is better to pick out your color combinations first to save time later. When I work on these myself, I rarely do it one sitting so this was a good learning experience for me.

Everyone worked on their background shapes and designs before cutting began, then I shared my technique for cutting, folding and working in layers. It just takes patience and practice. Then I shared my technique for adding colorful layered shapes in the right sizes.

The wonderful thing about this technique is no matter what your skill level, the final product always looks whole and complete and is a true reflection of the maker. Here are a few of the pieces completed in class. I look forward to doing this workshop again!


Finished work!

Finished work!

Detail view. Even our "flaws" make our work complete and interesting. These are stories of our lives at that point in time.

Detail view. Even our “flaws” make our work complete and interesting. These are stories of our lives at that point in time.

Laser Cutting

As a general practice, I always create my work by hand using a knife or scissors. But a couple months ago I was asked for permission to use one of my designs for a wedding invitation. How cool! The bride found my website and liked one of my leluje designs with two birds standing over two baby birds in a nest. She wanted to use the design for her laser-cut invitations. I was intrigued! I quickly drew up a license agreement, received a small payment, and that was that. image2

I was delighted to get an envelope in the mail yesterday from the company that produced the invitations, Inside was the finished product. It turned out great, don’t you think?

Special thanks to Eva, Director at LaserCreative, for being wonderful to work with. And congratulations to the bride!

Pisanki Workshops 2015!

Made by workshop participants.

Made by workshop participants.

Hot wax, candles, raw eggs… That’s right, it’s time for pisanki workshops! “Pisanki” uses a very old decorating method where hot wax is drawn on an egg to create intricate patterns that is then dyed wonderfully vibrant colors. This technique is used in Poland and is most famous with eggs and designs from Ukraine. I am offering three two Saturday workshops this year at my studio in West Seattle. Each session is limited to 6 participants. If there is enough interest, I will add another session.

Source: Ukranian Gift ShopWhen:

  • Saturday, March 7  – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
  • Saturday, March 21 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm FULL! Waitlist only!
  • Sunday, March 22 – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm


  • 4316 Othello St, Seattle, WA 98136.

All materials will be provided… Eggs, wax, candles, tools, dyes, etc. Depending on how many layers you decide to create, you can expect to finish 2-4 eggs.  Note: Because hot wax and open candle flames are used, this workshop is not suitable for young children. Older children who work well on their own are very welcome.

Fee: $30 per person, payable via PayPal (I will send an invoice). To reserve a spot, please email me at

*Cancellation policy: Full refunds provided if 1 week’s notice or greater from class start date provided.  50% refund for less than 1 week’s notice from class start date. If class is cancelled, a full refund will be provided.

Waxing and Whining


Summer did not happen the way I had hoped. While the weather here in Seattle was beautiful, I had to put vacation and visits and studio time on hold in order to make sure this year’s Polish Festival Seattle was a success and work on a contract that required more online time than I expected. Both turned out very well, but frankly, left me out of balance.

Before things got to be too much, I was able to get away to the studio of Larry Calkins on Tiger Mountain where I was introduced to encaustic painting with a stylus. Painting with wax is quite fun, with the hot wax and torch firing, but I’ve always put it on the back burner because I didn’t want to invest in all of the tools needed. But working with a stylus is an easy investment and a great way to work on small projects. So this summer, I bought myself a stylus and a few wax sticks and took short breaks in the studio to work on small painting projects. Really small. I also found a worn out puzzle to paint that I’ve had sitting in a corner. As always, paper-cutting finds its way into the work, I can’t help it. I’m looking forward to more of this and to working through all of the ideas in my head I’ve been collecting over the summer. Workshops will be scheduled soon too. Stay tuned!

House inside outside

Encaustic Tools



This set of mandalas were inspired by the four elements of earth, wind, fire and water. Created by folding a single piece of black paper and cutting it sections at a time, the process can be very meditative as well as the result. After the base is cut, the colored pieces are then layered on top.

I plan to do a short demo on this technique in my studio at tomorrow’s open house, The Building’s World Famous Summer Spectacular. The final four “Element Series” pieces will be on display together before “Earth” gets shipped off to a group show in Massachusetts. I’m thinking of having a workshop on this technique if I can generate enough interest… the process takes patience but the results can be so satisfying!Mandalas in progress

Water in progressMandalas in progress_wind and earth




A Recent Commission

I was recently asked to create something as a gift for a new baby girl’s room. Knowing who the new mother was made it an especially fun and special project. Here are a few photos of the process and final piece!

bird family

The initial sketch.

Bird family in progress

Work in progress.

Bird family in progress 2

Almost finished, just needs final touches.

For Baby Matilda_2014

The final piece!

The Call for Blessing

A while back I was given a copy of the book “Polish Customs, Traditions & Folklore” by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. Each chapter covers a month of the year and covers rituals and celebrations for that time. Many of these customs are alive and well, but many are extinct even in today’s Poland. One of these rituals inspired this piece that I wanted to share with you here.

Wedding Day BlessingHere is the story… The blessings of the parents were a very important part of the wedding day. In some regions, the couple would kneel before the parents and ask for forgiveness and blessings before saying farewell. This was so important that if either parent had died, the wedding party would stop at the cemetery “where the bride or groom would ask for blessings from the deceased parent” while everyone sang:

“Arise, arise from the grave, bless your daughter on her marriage day.”

I don’t have the right keyboard for the accents so this is not completely accurate, but in Polish the song is:

“Powstan, powstan z grobu

poblogoslaw corke do slubu.”

I have more works in progress and look forward to adding more to this series.