artist profile

artist profile and editorial16 May 2016 08:18 am


I first saw Eric Bornstein’s masks at a festival more than 20 years ago. He was performing folk tales with a small group of actors playing all of the roles using the masks to portray monsters, gods, heroes, and all of the other mythic gods. The performance was in the kid’s portion of the festival, but I was spell-bound and didn’t want to leave. I chatted with him briefly as he was packing up and discovered he took students. I was primarily a doll maker then, but there is a lot of overlap in techniques and styles between the two so I was excited at the thought of studying with him. But with kids and work and other projects, I wasn’t able to study with him until 2014.

Last fall, I decided to commission one of his masks. I’ve never commissioned a piece of artwork before. He has done a number of beautiful deity masks, including some greek gods that are amazing. He is going to make a goddess inspired by Athena, working words and images collaged into the helmet.

artist profile09 May 2016 08:28 am


The mask, as a literary convention, always signifies a false face, a mask of civility, hiding the unsavory or vicious true nature. This device assumes a misleading distraction from sinister intentions, or a shield of normalcy over an unstable or doubtful nature. The idea is that if the true self were to be discovered that our evil plans or weaknesses would be discovered, and we would be torn apart bu others, also hiding their actual natures. I find this term very limiting, and not very empowering. Of course, these states do exist, but I’d like new vocabulary to be developed.

What I am occupied with is the True-faced mask, the mask of our deep, archetypal selves, or whimsical, playful selves. I believe that underneath, if we were truly fully self-expressed, that we would be loving, generous, and full of positive creativity and abundance.

The limiting surface appearance is this skin we already have, reacting with the limitations of others’ perceptions and misconceptions. We are easily judged and defined by our gender, age, nationality, race, status, even species., but we are so much more. Within us we carry identification with many expressions of our identity, which influence our sense of self and desires for fulfillment. As Joss Whedon said, “Don’t be your self; be all your selves.”

I am committed to seeing through the flesh, sensing the true spirit of those I meet and engage with while engaged in our short dance on this earth. I am thrilled when another spirit brings out, inspires, and encourages the best selves within me to manifest. I seek to share in this engagement.

The opposite of this is to see only danger and distrust in those who look or behave differently. This persecution of the Other expresses directly our estrangement with the Other within. When we come face to face with the Other within, with love and acceptance, we incorporate all possibilities and become more free to choose positive expression, together.


artist profile and the arts25 Jan 2016 09:45 am
artist profile20 Dec 2010 06:59 pm

Muliebrity: Noun: Womanhood; the characteristics or qualities of a woman (opp. virility); softness; femininity

After poking around this website for a bit, I think that was my favorite new word. I think it has potential. I can imagine using this is conversation.
Muliebrity MalisonVaticinate
The website is Vagabond Jewelry, the home of Kest Schwartzman, a metalsmith who decided to make very tough simple jewelry because she was tired of not being able to wear jewelry due to the stress she put on it. One of her lines is dedicated to obsolete words that are being removed from the dictionary. These are very simple copper tags with the word inscribed on it. Words like muliebrity, or malison (a curse), or vaticinate (to foretell by prophetic inspiration.) Her thought was that by wearing these words that are threatened with extinction, we can do something to keep them alive. Sort of a preservation program for endangered words. I can get behind trying to save old words, and some of these words are worth using.

artist profile16 Feb 2009 07:28 pm

Count Your Sheep –
No Room for Magic –
The Wisdom of Moo –
When I set out to experience anything in the various entertainment media–novels, movies, webcomics, what have you–I find that I often use the word “grab” to describe my response.  “It just didn’t grab me,” I’ll say, or, “It grabbed me right from the start and wouldn’t let me go.”

I like the image of it: an invisible hand reaching through my eyeballs and trying to wrap its fingers around my brain.  The work in question wants to affect me, after all, wants to make me see the world as its creator does, and sometimes it can, digging into the folds of my cerebrum and taking root.

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artist profile13 Oct 2008 09:00 am

There may not be much in the way of science quilts out there, but science jewelry is a different matter. I had a wonderful evening web browsing by searching for “science jewelry” on Etsy. Here is a small sample of some of my favorites:

Read on for information on these artists and pictures of more of their work. Remember that the next installment of Vera Nazarian’s story “The Slaying of Winter” will appear next week.

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artist profile15 Sep 2008 08:30 am

I first met Pat Lillich back in 1996 on an email list ( She told a story about how she reacted to a painful time in her life by wanting to make a baby doll. She felt that she had made a beautiful doll in her characteristic all white look, but when she exhibited it at an art show people berated her for showing a sculpture of a dead baby. I didn’t see the doll, but for some reason I could picture it perfectly and the image stayed in my head. I could imagine a sleeping ethereal face that made some observers recoil.

I didn’t hear from Pat for years. Years later, I mentioned her story of the dead baby on the list and wondered what happened to her. To my surprise, she answered me. She had been lurking all along. This time, I had the opportunity to see her artwork, and my expectations were blown away. Typically, her pieces are otherworldly and pure white, with maybe a splash of color. Even the ones that aren’t obviously fantasy seem to have come from another world.

Recently, her work has received acclaim from many sources. She was profiled on Endicott Studio, and she was voted into NIADA, one of the highest honors in the dollmaking world.

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