Monthly Archives: December 2014

Shower the people you love with love……

This past Saturday was the official ARTernity Leave shower! Oh yes, there was a fancy cake with stork decorations:


and traditional shower presents such as this utlity bucket, safety glasses, work rags, and many Home Depot gift cards. Thank you to all the fine folks who brought useful gifts and gift cards to Home Depot, Lowe’s, and cash gifts to help buy a tile cutter, grout, mortar, extra tiles, etc. Your generosity is truly appreciated.





IMG_1477This gift card proudly announced “It’s a trowel!” Thanks, Nicole.

IMG_1507This gift card is mucho macho. Thanks for the MAN CARD, Tracy and Allan!

There was yummy food like home made chili and stew, gluten free brownies, artisinal cheeses, wine, wine, and ,more wine.

But the best part about the shower was the sense of community, generosity , and creativity that abounded. A line of tables was set up on the lawn and for 5 hours folks dropped in and made tiles in the shape of pomegranates, corn, and other fruits and veggies that will be placed in the Healthy Foods mosaic. A few kids made pinch pots with the extra clay. There was a lot of chatting, laughter, and getting to know each other and this is what the shower was all about. I am very grateful to all the folks that attended and gave me gift cards to purchase a tile saw, grout, extra tiles, mortar, etc., but I am even more grateful for the friends and support and the beautiful time we had on Saturday. Thank you to everyone for celebrating art and community. A special thank you to Nicole for all her help, Holly for staying and cleaning up, James and Sarah for the table and chairs loan (and for loaning their 7 year old daughter to help out), Alyse for helping with the tile making, and, Benj for always helping.


Martha in front of the drying tiles (and pinch pots)

Here’s some photos from the day. Lots of tiles were made. People ha a good time talking and making tiles together which is why I had the event in the first place. The gifts and the food were wonderful, but the main reason I didn’t do a Kickstarter campaign was to get people together, making tiles, and sharing the experience as a community. What a beautiful day! Check this blog for updates. The mosaic will take some time to assemble and create, but I will be posting updates along the way.


Making grapes!


At the tile making table.


Jooj groovin’ on her corn tile!


Virginia proudly holding up her fig leaf tile!


When are you going to cut that cake?????


A whole lotta tile makin’ going on!

Once again I want to stress to women out there that have opted not to have children,cannot have children, etc. that there are many paths to walk in this life. We can give birth to a whole array of creations we can offer up to the world. I am very grateful for the path I am walking and encourage other women to walk the path they need to walk in life with joy in their hearts.

Art for the LA River

One of my goals for this sabbatical year has been to create some artwork for or about the Los Angeles River. I have always loved that water way coming down the concrete channel, making its way into downtown LA. As a kid, I was enchanted by the cat heads painted on the storm drain release doors. I love the feel of concrete mixed with self planting wild trees, the power lines, and the general feeling of a wild, urban waterway. I am excited that the river is finally getting the ecological attention it needs and look forward to some of the changes that are coming to the river. A little over a week ago I got a call from the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. asking if I could possibly create a mural relating to the river for an upcoming community workshop. They needed it ASAP and it had to be a paint-by-number.



I haven’t seen a paint-by-number painting since the 70’s. I have never painted a packaged paint-by-number, let alone create an original 8 feet long one in 5 days. Of course I said “no problem” and stayed up until 2:00 in the morning sketching out some ideas.

The next day I sent off two sketches relating to the river and Miranda at the River Corp. emailed me back with their choice for the mural image. I immediately went and bought a massive roll of canvas and set to work on creating my first ever paint-by-number.

A few days later, the numbered canvas, a bucket of acrylic paints, brushes, and myself rolled up to a massive warehouse along the LA River and waited for the community members to arrive to fill in the numbers. This mural project is part of a program called “Rio Vistas” whereby each dead end that leads to the river in Elysian Valley will be transformed into a small parklet with landscaping, play areas, and an art element. This transformation will be in a series of steps over the next few years and the mural making project was part of the kick off. There were student volunteers from Sotomayor High School Learning Academy and employees from local companies helping plant edible plants, create river signage, and painting the mural I designed. The kids were terrific and truly enjoyed creating a mural in less than two hours. The mural is on canvas that can be moved from site to site. It turned out great and I learned quite a bit about color gradation and value and patience as I filled in every section on the canvas with a number that corresponded to a paint number key. I was thrilled to be part of this event. Here’s some photos of us working together to create the mural. It was a fun day with an amazing community spirit. I am grateful to have been asked to be part of the day and am grateful my sabbatical schedule allows for this type of impromptu creativity.


For more information on the RiverLA  Program, go to this link:



The image is a close up of the power lines and bicycle. There’s a new bike and pedestrian bridge slated to be built across the river this year which will make it much safer to cross the river.





It was difficult to photograph the entire completed mural due to its size, but you can get an idea of the entire mural in this photo.