Versatility Plus Meaning: Fifteen Blogs

Sometimes I think that blogging is over-rated, or even should be dead. It’s had its Fifteen Minutes of Fame and should know when to leave the stage to allow us to enjoy some fresher and more engaging interchange. I feel this about writing mine because at times I just don’t want to talk and I especially don’t want to write about what I don’t want to talk about, so I don’t.  What is all this thrashing around with words? What did I enjoy before blog-keeping?

I often strongly feel this ache for the metamorphosis of bloggery  when skimming the relentless bleats of others out there yammering into the blogosphere. They drown each other out with thin opinions, baldfaced marketing (OK, SELLING IT) and yawnable or precious writing. They don’t need to exit the stage, they need to take a flying leap into the mosh pit.

Pretty jaded of me, right? And yes, I know to click away and mostly do. Except…..Except……

Except, there are naturellement blogs I find enthralling, unreal, hilarious, titillating, challenging, informative, irresistible. And, regardless of topic and writing style,  it’s always because it’s the person coming through the screen to evoke my response and connection.

So when one of the first bloggers that I felt that idiosyncratic electricity of recognition with, Quinn McDonald of Quinn Creative, nominated me recently for The Versatile Blogger Award, all blog-related misgivings were washed away. This bloody bloggy biz is bigger in better ways than I thought because Quinn just whisked off my blindfold. (She’s a versatile and skilled blindfold-remover, so I feel safe.)

Here’s how The Versatile Blogger Award works: If you’re nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award. (My first blogging nod and thanks, Quinn!)

  • Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  • Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy.
  • Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly
  • Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
  • Finally, list  7 things about yourself.

Here’s my list of 15 nominees/winners. Go visit each one and see if the writer/person comes through to your heart too. Some of them I know personally, most I don’t and they generally don’t know I follow them. Some post quite often (even daily)  and others leave me aching for another entry for months and months. They range from fellow ceramic artists, to experts/coaches,  to food and lifestyle advocates. I appreciate their being here, just for me.

  1. Archevore by Kurt Harris MD. I’ve just found this one and I’m magnetized by the thoughtful articulate intelligence.
  2. Cleavage: sex, money and meaning by Kelly Diels. Dark humor and dangerously sharp wisdom. Yow.
  3. Discardia: Make Room for Awesomeness by Dinah Sanders. Creator of a new holiday of awesomeness connecting up several of my favorite life arenas.
  4. Gringado by Susan Dorf and Mark Taylor. Two friends who travel to Mexico for months every winter. They are keen observers of lush and not-so life.
  5. Kelly Thiel Studio by Kelly Thiel. Deepest respect for this woman’s artwork and life balancing. She’s charming, too.
  6. Nom Nom Paleo by Big O’s and Little O’s Mom. One b-u-s-y person with time to tell us what she cooks and eats.
  7. Patricia Scarborough Art by Patricia Scarborough. This is full of wry light and air along with gorgeous painting.
  8. Penelope Trunk by Penelope Trunk. Oh, Penelope… I can’t NOT watch you live your life and tell us about it.
  9. Polka Dot Clay Studio by Karen Hansen. So here’s the newer voice of a clay friend and I’ll never be able to guess what she’ll say next. Never. And I love that.
  10. Sequoia Miller’s Blog: ever wonder ’bout pottery? by Sequoia Miller.  I could use more of his quiet deep discussions. Love his pottery
  11. A Spinner Weaver by Annie MacHale.  Here’s an unusual kind of weaving with a prolific,  passionate advocate.
  12. Terry Parker: Pottery Shards by Terry Parker. Another potter friend who’s been busy in her new studio.
  13. This Artist’s Life: Day to Day in the Clay Studio by Whitney Smith. She’s boldly honest with her successes, challenges and musings. And she can write strongly enough to bring us all along.
  14. The Work of Art: Musings on What it Takes to Make Art Happen by Michelle Williams. A new one by the Executive Director of the local Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County. Big ideas.
  15. The Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. A blog which challenges me to re-think everything I touch and make.


Seven Things About Me…and I’ll stick to the art.

  1. I remember the Class Artist in 2nd grade showing me how to draw a finger and its nail from a side view. Mind blowing stuff.
  2. Almost took Art in high school, but the Speech and Debate coach persuaded me to drop it and take his class, for all four years. (Detour #1)
  3. My first drawing class was Spring Quarter of my Sophomore year in college. I took every Art elective I could after that, but was too scared to change my major. (Detour #2)
  4. I was an artist’s model for about four years right after college (one way to get free instruction, really.)
  5. Had emergency appendectomy. Got corporate job. Years passed. (Detour #3)  Then: Broke my back. Quit corporate job. Began art-making fulltime. Got into first gallery.  All within the same six months.
  6. Moved to the Sierra Foothills for a decade. Explored poetry and community theatre. Oh, and had my sweet babies. (Detour #4)
  7. Rounded up 30 years of art classes into an AA, finding clay along the way. Ah.


~Liz Crain is totally copying her creativity buddy, Quinn, by finding something personal to say at the end of her posts that she intends to be an insightful, touching and witty coda. Love you, Quinn!



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MOOve Over, Old Biz Cards

Back in the day, when I first started thinking of myself as an artist, I ordered some business cards. They were black on white and not any more useful than the social calling cards I ordered as part of my High School Grad Package: Elizabeth Ann Hawes, engraved in a treacle-y script. (Who’s she?)

I remember fully believing that the business cards themselves proved my legitimacy. And, sadly, I have done this at least 5 to 555 times. New endeavor? New box of cards! Change of medium? More new cards! They mean I really mean it, right?

I handmade my cards in the 70s, each one lovingly inked and water-colored. Personal. Artsy. So labor-intensive I did not really get to the art.

In the 80s, I scaled the corporate ladder and was issued new cards for every promotion and different bank I represented. Commercial-Loan-Officer-Wannabe-Artist, at your service.

In the 90s, I drew a crane graphic (last name Crain!) and printed them on ivory Avery tear-apart bizcard sheets. Cheap, but rough-edged and flimsy. Fortunately only seen by a few.

I also had boys to raise. Need flash cards for your times tables? Use the backs of those old cards! How about a bookmark? A glue holder? A flip book? Something to clothespin on your bike to make your spokes rat-a-tat? A House of Cards? Here…use these.

Yet it finally has worked the other way round: I am an artist because I make art. Oh, and I guess I could probably use a biz card instead of writing on paper scraps and trying to accurately recall all the ways you can contact me or see my work/words online now. Never mind the phone and street address.

For the past few years, I have printed a small run of cards to match my annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour postcard. That felt right: it featured fun recent art and my name, phone and email, all on the front. And last year’s card, as you can see, even had a ‘halftone screen’ of my studio on the reverse, which I used for titling/pricing in my exhibit. I thought it was pretty innovative at the time.

So much has changed in the past year, I feel like an adolescent who has grown two inches in two months. Last July I added a sticker to the back of my old cards (better than using them for flash cards) but even it was out of date sooner than I planned. The “website” will now be this blog migrating to (shhh!) WordPress…and the Etsy Shop is now open with even a few sales… and you can click from this blog to there, if you’re curious.

Enter MOO Minicards, snappy graphic snippets of your own works, which I first saw in February at Alyson Stanfield’s Hollister Workshop with the delicious art of Princess Simpson Rashid on them. I envied them mightily and bookmarked the site.

It took six months, but I have my own delightful group of 100 MOO Minicards now and they are a joy to give out. Last weekend I hosted “Art on Bay Avenue” at my house with my work, Connie Williams’ watercolors and Annie MacHale’s weavings. (They both use MOOminis and differently than I do.)

I had a small wooden bowl of MOOcards for my visitors and it felt like offering everyone their favorite candy. No sales pushiness, just an outright gift from me to them, given and taken with love and delight.

I had also bought, assembled and displayed the MOO Mosaic Frame. It is a compelling way for visitors to take in your body of work at an informing glance. It functions quite well as a visual Interpretive Message. We just can’t expect even those who have made the effort to come to your exhibit, to ‘grok’ the totality of what you’re puttin’ out, never mind hoping they have the time to page through your portfolio or stand in front of your digital picture frame as the images glide by. All-at-Once Eye-Bites are in order and the MOO Mosaic Frame does that well.

When a dear collector bought an elegant face jug I was really proud of, I tucked both a photo greeting card AND a MOOminicard of it in the bag. It felt better than right. It felt natural: as natural as hand-lettering and watercolor-washing my cards in the 70s, but with five ways to continue the conversation with me on the back. (And S, if you’re lurking here…I dare you to leave a Comment.) Now that’s a two-way gift!

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