Tag: virginia sperry

clean, mean and pristine

glacier...what we see of it
glacier…what we see of it

I am hoping that looking at this glacier (from Glacier Bay National Park) will cool me down. Hmmmm, doesn’t seem to be working too well.

It’s hard to get the feeling of scale from this little picture but glaciers can be over a mile wide, and 200 feet above the water AND below the water. The dark streaks you see are the sides of the hills as the glacier pushes its way down the valley and towards the water. A truly magnificent beast.

In other news, (hence the title of the post) I have FINISHED cleaning the studio. More specifically, I have finished cleaning out the top two floors of the studio. I won’t show you any “before” pictures because I am too embarrassed, but I am totally proud to show you “after” pictures. It has been a long week’s project but I am super thrilled to have put things in their places (actually, I had to make places for them first) and I am almost reluctant to mess it all up again. Hopefully the new system will make it easier to keep clean. Uh huh, I’ll let you know how that goes…

This is the non-welding studio on the top floor and it is my sanctuary. I don’t generally bring anyone up here, so this is your chance to see one of my most favorite places to be. Enjoy!

studio studio studio studio

This is the second floor, I will show more pix of this floor another day. I have taken down a huge amount of artwork off the walls on the other end and am planning to create some installations based on my work up in NYC.



The artist and her giraffe
The artist and her giraffe

For all of you that have been waiting with bated breath (okay maybe I’m the only one who has been bating my breath), the new website is up and running.  If you’re the least bit curious as to what it looks like, click HERE.  I am quite relieved to have it done, it took an awful lot of my time and I’ll be really honest and say I lost my momentum about three days ago.  But I persevered and now I think it looks pretty awesome.

I also have added a new blog to go with it called Studio Chatter.  I will be adding things to it every couple of weeks.  If you want to see things that are happening in the studio, this is a good place to go.

So I am going to ask a favor of all of you.  If you know of anyone who works in the following venues, would you send them the link to my website?  One of my goals this year is to market myself in a much more focused way.

1% for Public Art


Boards of zoos, schools, hospitals etc.

Art galleries

Museums (including curators)

…and anybody else that you think might be interested.

Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where did she go?

I’m here, really I am.  My computer time has been taken up recently with designing my new website.  When I started it I thought it was a simple case of click, drag and press a button.  Not so much.  I’ve been downloading, designing, discarding, muddling through and generally going through the same creative contortions that I go through when I am designing a sculpture.  It even caused me to get out of bed at 12:30 a.m. and try just one more thing before I fell asleep.  One of my problems is that I constantly want computer programs to do more than they do.  I am always envisioning something that’s just beyond their scope and I’m not computer savvy enough to find the back door or the plug-in that will accomplish it.  It is the curse of the artist.

So what’s the point, you ask?  Well, I am actually creating this post because I am doing some research. I want to know how I get the pictures to do what they do on this blog in the hopes of recreating it on my website. You guys are essentially my guinea pigs.  In addition, you get the thrill of having a sneak preview of some of the pictures that will be on the site.  It’s a win-win situation.  So, sit back, relax and enjoy the pictures!


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Up a Tree

I know, I know…taking pictures of puppies, kittens and children is kinda cheating…they are always cute.  But as I was photographing my bear this morning for my new website, Max joined me for a little fun.  I can’t resist sharing…

The Person in the Other Chair

The Person in the Other Chair, book version
The Person in the Other Chair, book version

I was inspired to write this poem after attending a poetry reading by Billy Collins.  The former Poet Laureate spoke after the reading about how he writes his poems to one other person.  This helps him to shut out the chatter and high expectations that comes from his fame.  I was intrigued by this and sat down one morning to write about that person for whom I create my visions. It has helped me to focus my creativity and to let go of any critical thoughts that creep into my brain while I am creating.

I am currently working with Shawn Lockhart to make hand-crafted books of this poem.  She has created the sweetest woodblock print of a chair and hand-binds the books herself.  It has been a special collaboration.  I hope you enjoy and/or are inspired by this poem.  If you are interested in  acquiring a book keep checking my posts, I will have information soon! 




The Person in the Other Chair

by Virginia Sperry


The person in the other chair

sits expectantly waiting

for what will happen next,

perfectly content to

let me make choices,

drive the vehicle of my creativity,

absolutely confident that

what I decide to make

will be beautiful.


The person in the other chair

likes things that tell stories

with shapes and textures.

All kinds of stories,

fairytales with magic,

traumatic tragedy,

comedy to connect with

that silly sprite inside.


The person in the other chair

doesn’t judge but does ask,



The person in the other chair



The person in the other chair

encourages me to make

something for myself every

day no matter how small or

seemingly insignificant.


The person in the other chair

knows that all creation is

an experiment and that there is

no right or wrong because there is

no preconceived notion of what

should be created by me,

only a preconceived notion

that what I will create will

be unique and distinctly born from

my life experience and my connection

with a greater force.


The person in the other chair

does not want to hear

apologies or excuses.

They are unimportant.


The person in the other chair

sees and accepts my

limitations and is proud of

even the smallest amount of

work I get done each day.


The person in the other chair

does not compare me to

anyone else, not even

a younger version of me

(which is, no doubt, a

fantasy in the first place).


The person in the other chair

knows that pain exists but

I don’t have to go looking for it.


The person in the other chair

expects me to take care of myself.


The person in the other chair

knows that no one else’s

opinion matters.



A passion for little things

My mother had a passion.  Actually, she had several and they all involved creating in some form or other.  I’m not talking about her love for her husband or her kids.  I’m talking about the things she did that belonged just to her.  Throughout the years these passions included reading, putting jigsaw puzzles together, knitting, crocheting, designing and executing needlepoint tapestries, gardening, drawing, painting, cooking…well, you get the picture.

The last passion she had in her life, the one that she could lose time in, was her dollhouse.  It was a Christmas present that came in a multitude of pieces.  When it was put together it became a plain wooden three story building with moveable walls and staircases.  It was a blank canvas which my mother, in her amazing way, transformed into a house for a ship’s captain, circa 1830 (i.e. before the industrial revolution).  The captain lived in Baltimore, MD and mom painted a mural in the dining room of the Chesapeake Bay.  She wrapped the outside in faux brick, painted the floors with watercolor to look like hardwood, assembled the furniture from kits, and used polymer clay to create a design in the ceiling of the living room. Everything was carefully researched and if it didn’t fit into her story, then it was put aside.  Her sister did a teensy needlepoint rug for the floor of one of the rooms.  And we even found a parrot to hang in the study.

I’ve said before that my mother was amazing.  Well, what you may not know is that she did all of this with only one hand.  She suffered a stroke when she was 49 that paralyzed her right side.  So she created this masterpiece all by herself with only one working hand.  Having one hand didn’t stop her from playing and creating this wonderful house.  She did tell me once that she could never work on it until all the everyday things were done, paying the bills, shopping, errands…all those things that creep into your brain when you’re in the creative flow.  I always wished she could have made that house her number one priority, especially after macular degeneration stopped her from being able to work on it.

Today, it stands on its table for all to see.  We open up the doors occasionally and show someone who’s never seen it before.  We are all in awe of it, it represents a passion and a determination not often seen in everyday life.

For another post about my mother, click here.


Tonight I made two frogs.  If you know anything about my past life, you’ll know that I have made quite a few frogs.  And sold them.  But tonight, after weeks of procrastination, I made two frogs.  And I am thrilled.

The story started when I was asked to do a special project for the head of the pre-school at the local Community College.  She wanted two plaques, one with a lizard and one with a frog.  Each would be hung on the wall by the door of the two class rooms.  Originally, she was thinking they would be out of metal, but I told her that my previous media was polymer clay which would be more colorful and probably safer and more long-lasting than steel.  She agreed to this and I set off to the studio to become “Miss Professional Artist”.  And that’s when I made my biggest mistake.  I thought that I should come back to her with a design for each plaque and a cost sheet, broken down to materials and labor.  I thought that she should have some idea of what it was going to look like when I finished.  I thought that the less surprises, the better.  Hummmph.

So I came up with two relatively easy designs, worked out the cost, did a couple of mock-ups of the background and a lizard. (After making hundreds of dozens of lizards in my wholesale days, I could whip this one out easily.)  I brought the designs in and we agreed on the cost.  And I went back to the studio and started to make the lizard.  See, at this point I was still into the idea that I would work for the amount of hours I had stated, and that I would actually MAKE money on this project.  Uh huh.

I finished the lizard, took a picture of it and sent it to the head of the school.  It’s funny how, even without the benefit of non-verbal cues, I was able to pick up on her lack of enthusiasm.  Or maybe I was projecting, because I wasn’t very enthused about it either.  The result was that the unfired plaque sat on my piano for a month or more while I dealt with my open studio.  And I was definitely resisting working on the frog, even though the design was clear.  Basically, I was going to have to make a bigger frog, which I had never done, and somehow have a tongue shooting out to catch a fly.  I was NOT excited about having to figure this challenge out.

Well, to make a long story short, I finally had a revelation.  I took the lizard plaque off the piano and mushed it into a big ball and started all over again.  This time, I decided to make it from my heart and not my brain.  I let the muses remind me what colors I like to work with and comfortable ways of creating texture without losing the design.  And it worked!  In addition, the e-mail response was considerably warmer.  And while my time budget has been blown to smithereens, I am so much calmer and happier.

So now, I am making the frogs for the second plaque.  You see, I have realized that this is not the time to experiment and play, this is the time to create what I know.  It’s amazing how many times I have to remind myself of this.  I should write in very big letters in my studio: “WHEN YOU ARE ON A DEADLINE, MAKE WHAT YOU KNOW.  THERE WILL BE TIME TO EXPERIMENT LATER.”  And that, my friends, is the moral of the story.  Now if I can just remember it for the next project.

Let me know if you have had a similar experience when you have created a commission for someone!