Newest Fabric Designs

Here are my latest Fabric Designs:

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

The GeoBulb is lightening up Spartanburg now!

Hi Y’all ūüôā

I know it’s been awhile. I have been completely engrossed in working on the bulb.

Yesterday I got an email from Ashleigh at SAM that my bulb was installed!! Yaaay! So of course, Mom and I RAN to the car and headed out! You know, I hadn’t seen it with the clear coat on yet, nor how the bling filling looked with the window on because the poly-carbonate (plexiglass but not plexiglass) had a protective film on it last time I saw it. It needed to stay on during the spray coat process because I didn’t want the window clear coated and nothing inside the bulb needed the UV protection. The guys at Wakefield Automotive, that did the spray coatings of all the bulbs, got to do the reveal. Those guys were awesome by the way, and they really seemed to enjoy this project. There were 4 other bulbs there when we dropped mine off – there’s one of a cactus that is AMAZING!

So now I will re-cap the whole thing, from start to finish! Even my errors and surprises.

My first thought about this bulb is that it’s a light-bulb, for goodness sake, it needs to have light! But how can I do that short of wiring it for electricity, solar or otherwise. Then I thought, geodes are sparkly!

Well, I was doing a geode idea so first I had to cut the dang thing. One issue was about making the cut FLAT FLAT FLAT because this window had to be able to seal it from the weather. So maybe you read on a previous post about my fun with laser levels. LOL It worked out pretty well though.


The next thing was to fill it. My original idea was to fill it with spray foam, to form the inner surface bowl shape. What I had in my mind was what you see on HGTV or DIY, how they come with a spray gun and in two seconds the spray a whole wall and it puffs up – bada bing! Guess what? NO!

The deal is, they are using professional construction tools and foam. When I went to the hardware store and bought the type in a can Рmy goodness it was such a wimpy amount and stream. The entire bulb would have taken 30 cans at least and never dried properly. The next level of product  is to buy a more professional kit at $350 Рno thanks. One quote for hiring construction dudes to come do it with their machine was $850 to just show up! OK, so this is not happening is it?

All the while I was watching lots and lots of videos about foam. Isn’t that the most fun thing about art? that every project has some learning aspect? I also saw a fantastic nozzle.

Tommy was showing this on “Ask This Old House” It makes the foam stream flat, not like coils of snakes like it comes out straight from the can. These are also really easy to clean. Once they are dry you just pop the dry hunk of foam off.

So on to plan B (Art has lots of plan Bs – love it!) I filled the bulb up to the bowl shape with Styrofoam. I nagged all my family for the stuff – not to throw any away – give me your egg cartons! Give me your packing peanuts! Recycling, Baby!

I was thinking about the weight too. Styro is so light.



Then I layered the final bowl shape with some foam fabric wrap stuff left over from packaging.


Then I had a smaller, workable area to use the cans of spray foam, only 4 or 5 cans! (still expensive) But I really love working with this stuff and I will certainly be doing more projects with it.


It still had a little bit of the coiled snake texture and this last photo is only partially foamed, but you can see the flatter bands from the cool nozzle along the bottom.

After getting all the foam on it was a piece of cake to cut it with a serrated knife (don’t tell my family I was using the bread knife. It’s really a good practice to keep art tools and kitchen tools separate, my bad. )

The next thing was to spray paint the inside silver.

Did you ever try to spray-paint Styrofoam? If you use water-based paint it works fine, but oil based paint eats it! It just starts dissolving. I knew this about Styrofoam but I had also seen people spray-painting spray foam insulation with no problem.

I decided to experiment anyway. Experiments are half the fun! What I found out is, yes! you can spray-paint spray foam insulation with oil based paint ON THE SMOOTH SURFACE! BUT –¬† where you have cut into it and exposed a porous surface like a sponge, it starts dissolving just like Styrofoam. My solution was to cover the cut areas with water based primer first and then the spray-paint worked fine.


Then I started adding the delicious bling filling! Starting by filling any huge crevasses, stuffing them with Mardi-Gras beads. The rest of the filling has broken glass and lots of mirrors, anything that will play nice together and play with the light. What would make a¬† volleyball game of light and colors?¬† Then I added odd bits of fun things to discover like Kermit’s head, a marble, a penny, picture hanging hooks, lenses from glasses, screws, broken CDs, a letter from a car…

040002001006 (2)005 (3)

These last pictures are partially filled. I added lots more broken glass. Some of my family got to have fun helping me by smashing glass LOL

Meanwhile, down at the screw end, my idea was to make flowing lava. Again, I researched and watched videos. There are some really fun videos on YouTube about flowing lava, by the way. Lava is glowing hot but has a black crust that looks like a texture of ropes, lots of strings of crust.

This was another time my plan A just wasn’t working well, and for the same reason, too much area to cover with an expensive material. My plan A was to paint the threaded part hot fluorescent paint and then glow in the dark paint and create the crust entirely of polymer clay. It wasn’t working out, it looked clunky.


Not only that, but the good quality glow-in-the-dark paint is insanely expensive. I couldn’t do the entire stem with it. I did the entire stem with less expensive glow-in-the-dark paint from the craft store but it wasn’t giving me the effect I wanted. One of the main themes of the piece is light after-all. It had to glow!

Then I took a lesson from the spray foam experience and decided to add a layer of black crust  with paint first. This was a good solution, in my mind, because it would also add another dimension of depth to the texture.

012 (2)

This also reduced the area of molten lava which would need the more expensive glow-in-the-dark paint.


Later, I added some layers of puffy paint too which made smaller strings and helped create a better transition from the flat crust to the larger thick strings of crust.

On the Earth….my Plan was to make the Earth look like stone and my original idea was that the water be lapis lazuli and the land be malachite. BUT then I discovered that malachite is azurite that has aged! It’s like it’s rusting or getting a verdigris patina or something! It’s the same piece of stone! Azurite is just as gorgeous a blue as lapis – so that was that!

I googled these minerals and the images that came up were EXACTLY how I wanted the Earth to look. See what I mean?… Don’t they kind of¬† look like satellite maps?


Here’s the painting of the Earth…

014 (2)015 (2)017011007

Finally, for the icecaps on the poles I used a subtle texture of glitter! It was another way to bring in light.

I was a little insecure about this decision for a minute because there is fine art and there is arts-n-crafts and glitter normally falls into the arts-n-crafts category. The problem is there might be something you would shy away from because of being worried what others will think, and then some other artist does it and is called a genius! If Duchamp can throw a toilet on a pedestal and call it art, I can use glitter if glitter is the texture I want. Glitter was just right for icecaps.

It’s a constant battle to eject the “what will others think?” thoughts when making art. Each human being has a divine spark or uniqueness in them. Obey your spark and others be damned! Your spark is the true treasure of your soul! Ok, I’m really trying to convince me, not you. Obey the spark, obey the spark!


Lastly, The cut geode needed an edge…

002006The nuggets of minerals in there are candy wrappers. More light reflective material – more recycling!

Here is the audio tour online. Here are the shots of the bulb on site!

004 (4)003 (4)001 (2)002 (2)006 (3)

I hadn’t seen it with the window on yet because of that film covering on the poly-carbonate. (I got my poly carbonate window from Apco Plastics, by the way and they were awesome! Best customer service ever!) The window reflections seemed to somewhat hide the inner sparkle but we were there in late afternoon. I know that they installed the bulb to face the morning sun so we have to go back and see how it looks in the morning. I hope it blasts with sparkle. We will see.

010 (3)005 (2)

See my reflection? LOL

So, while I was there some people came up and were looking at it and taking pictures and saying all kinds of lovely things! I spoke up and said “I’m just eavesdropping on you because I made this.” and we got into a nice conversation and THEN..
They wanted to take my picture with the Mom and the bulb! I felt like a rock star!! It was awesome! Thank you, ladies, you made my year.

011 (3)

Update 4/14/17 – These gals just sent me the picture on FB. Thanks, Ladies! ‚̧


So the main three themes of this piece are light, geology and recycling. Tucked into the lava flow around the back I wrote “Ua Mau Ke Ea O Ka Aina I Ka Pono” Which means “The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.” This is the motto of the State of Hawai’i but it being a state motto is incidental, I just love the quote.

It wasn’t until later that I realized that all these forms of minerals actually DO have life, they GROW! The azurite ages to become malachite, doesn’t it? A geode is full of crystals and crystals certainly grow, that’s how they form! Lava grows for sure. A volcano creates new land all the time. Even the icecaps, even though ice may not be a mineral, they expand and shrink every year like breathing and they shape the Earth too. These are all processes of change happening to rocks which at first glance seem to be dead things, unchangeable, permanent. We say of something that is permanent that it is “carved in stone.” But the land has life and recycling is righteous. It is absolutely righteous to take care of the beautiful world God has given us.

Thanks for visiting!




Posted in #artbulb, #lightenupspartanburg, #spartanburgartmuseum, Art, Environment, light-bulb, Lighten-Up_Spartanburg, public art, Recycling, Spartanburg Art Museum, spray foam insulation in art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A GLOWing review and straight talk on the level.

As you know, I have been working on the giant light-bulb. Part of my idea incorporates glow-in-the-dark paint to create lava flowing down the screw part of the bulb!!

Well, I shopped around and researched online for a bit. I bought some Martha Stewart craft paint a Michaels – It’s fine for crafts but I just didn’t think it would stand up to outdoor weather as a public art sculpture and keep glowing for more than a year. This project is more serious than a sign or a costume to be used once…

So I researched a lot and decided to get some paint from Glow Inc. The thing is, some of these more serious paints have an equally serious price tag. A half¬†ounce was just shy of $10 as compared to the craft paint which was about $3 something for six¬†ounces. That’s 20 times more expensive. :-O You get what you pay for, I guess.

So far I have just done some minimal tests with it and not really gotten into the project, so I am not ready to comment on the paint yet. With only 1/2 ounce per color to play with, I don’t want to blow it all on testing, I need it for the project. In my little tests the color was perfect to create my lava!

I also bought 1/2 oz. of blue for the inside of the geode part. That area will not get the same amount of sun and the blue fades much faster than the orange but it suits my needs because it will be subtle in that area and that’s fine. I need the lava to be blasting hot looking. But, as I said, I have not really used this paint yet.

What I want to review is the company¬† –¬†Glow Inc.
The first thing I was very impressed with is the website. The site is just loaded with technical information and FAQs and they seemed to be straight-up. Unlike the other sites I was looking at, Glow’s website honestly discussed possible shortcomings of the paint, how fast the glow faded until charged again etc…which colors were stronger. Other websites seemed to all say how their paint was perfect, glowed all night after millions of recharges….yada yada. So my very first impression was that they were being honest with me.

Then I called the company with some questions. I immediately got a real person. She talked with me for about 15 minutes and answered all my questions. She was very knowledgeable about the product. She helped me decide which paint to try – for example, apparently the blue glows longer than the purple, so I got the blue.

A few days later the box arrived with my orange and blue and¬†a purple with a handwritten note on the invoice…
“As a thank you for trying our products, I’m giving you the purple for free.
(her name)”
You see?! She remembered our conversation about blue vs. purple.

So, basically, I am very pleased with the Glow company. I let you know more about the paint later.

Here’s how the bulb is coming. That pink you see on the screw end is not that glow-in-the-dark paint yet, it’s “in-your-face” HOT HOT fluorescent pink which is the base coat before I put on the glow and the black crusts of lava flows.



In one of these pictures you see my laser level set up on a tripod. It was a Ryobi ¬†laser level – I returned that piece-of-$#!+ LOL. It didn’t stay put by any of the means built in to hold it. The magnet fell off of¬†the tool in 3 seconds. It was a little round magnet glued into a recess on the holder and just popped right out. The suction cups slid down the whole time (although my plumber tells me that it was because I had them stuck on aluminum and suction cups don’t like aluminum. Ya learn something new every day Huh?) The push pins were poorly designed because the place they sit was set back too far from the front surface and so that whole set-up was wobbly and didn’t stay put either. ¬†Meanwhile, there was no attachment for a tripod – you see it on a tripod because I jury-rigged it with duck tape. Seriously – you should see all the different color lines on my bulb from me trying to get it marked again and again – pencil – then green – then black marker…. Nothing lining up accurately. Maybe you can see that a little. I have to put a flat plexiglass window on this thing later – the cut had to be FLAT.

It’s really my own fault because I bought the second cheapest one they had. You get what you pay for Huh?

Then I bought a Kobalt. Wow what a difference! and yeah it was about $25 more expensive but seriously worth it if only for frustration relief. The Kobalt has a screw hole for a tripod. Isn’t that a no-brainer?!? Maybe not everyone is just trying to hang pictures Huh? The magnet is the entire surface of the bottom – screwed on solidly. It has 4 level bubbles as opposed to the 2 on the Ryobi, vert. horiz. 45, and a circular one. It came with a case. My favorite thing is that the Ryobi shoots out a blurry line and no options. The Kobalt shoots out a dot but has a lens¬†that attaches magnetically to give you a line and you can turn it to several settings – horizontal, vertical and 45deg! There are no push pins because the tool is too heavy. As soon as I felt the weight of¬†this in my hand I knew it was a serious tool, not just to hang a few pictures.

Posted in #artbulb, #lightenupspartanburg, #recycling, #spartanburgartmuseum, Art, glow in the dark, light-bulb, Lighten-Up_Spartanburg, public art, Recycling, review, Spartanburg Art Museum, spray foam insulation in art | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

And Yet Another Three New Fabrics!

These three new ones are all derived from photos of my collages.

Borrego Dots at Play



Synapse Blossoms 



Borrego Lapis Dots


Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Three MORE New Fabrics!

Here are the new releases today! Woo hoo!










Three more tomorrow!

Relating to the “Building Chinaberries” theme….
Ya know…when there is a new design to post, or a new site to post on, for example joining Artmajeur, the tendency and temptation is to post EVERYTHING right away. What I have learned is that the internet moves so fast! Remember that saying “Out of sight, out of mind.”? Stuff gets out of sight in just a few hours online, doesn’t it?

Spoonflower advertises that you can choose from 350,000+ designs. This is why it’s particularly crucial to try to get on the top – the first few pages – to be SEEN. No one will buy what they don’t see, will they?

I could post all 30 of my new designs right away and I would have designs on the “Fresh Pics” for one day, OR I can post three¬†a day and have my designs on the “Fresh Picks” for 10 days. It also gives me new content to blog and post to my biz FB “Chinaberries Central”¬†for¬†10 days of fresh content. (I learned to keep my personal FB and my biz FB separate too – more on that later)

So, this is a strategy I have learned about building this thing called Chinaberries. Maybe this will help someone else too.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Three New Fabrics!









I just got 30 swatches YAY! I will be releasing about 3 a day.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment

Light Bulb Arrives!!

Woo Hoo my light bulb is here!

Actually it came to the museum last Thursday but we had snow, what is like a blizzard to the folks around here because we never get a big snow, so the pick-up arrangements were on Tuesday. So this giant light bulb has been in my SUV since Tuesday¬†but I couldn’t get it out of the car myself. It weighs 130 pounds and it’s an awkward shape. ¬†Finally, today, my son, son-in-law and brother-in-law got it out of the car for me.

Honestly, I have no idea how we will move this monster after I have done the mosaic interior part. As it is right now, with no additional weight, I can barely move it by dragging the blanket it’s on. Forget tipping it upright. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.

The next hurdle is figuring out the geometry of cutting it.

Posted in Art | Leave a comment