modern marks on Pinterest + Facebook


modern marks is now on Pinterest:



Digital image by Sondra Borrie

Digital image by Sondra Borrie


Wharton Esherick, Mid-Century Design

I ran into this information on the Blick Art Supplies website, “12 Ways Artists Can ‘Go Greener'”. Thought that they made some good points.

While at Barnes and Noble yesterday,  I found many more interesting books, I would like to share a few of them with you. Unfortunately, the Borders Book Store near us is closing…very sad.

The images and information about the books are both from Amazon.

Wharton Esherick: The Journey of a Creative Mind – Mansfield Bascom

Wharton Esherick (1887–1970) lived to create. He found his true voice in sculpture, working primarily in local woods he gathered from the forest surrounding his home and studio in rural Pennsylvania. The spiritual father of the contemporary studio furniture movement in America, he pioneered the way for successive generations of woodworking artists to develop their original designs. His work blurs the traditional distinctions between sculpture and furniture, form and function.

Wharton Esherick: The Journey of a Creative Mind is the first and only comprehensive look at the colorful life and work of this seminal artist. Written by Esherick’s son-in-law, and lavishly illustrated, it features photographs of Esherick’s most important artworks as well as the woodland studio he designed, built, and furnished over the course of several decades. Now a museum, preserved as Esherick left it, this remarkable structure and its contents are testament to the warmth, poetry, and passion of one of America’s most influential and celebrated craftsmen.

About the author: Mansfield Bascom, a retired architect and structural engineer, has been married to Wharton Esherick’s daughter Ruth for more than 50 years. Bascom served as the Wharton Esherick Museum’s director until 1990, when he became its curator. He and Ruth live in Esherick’s former workshop in Paoli, Pennsylvania. (info & image from

After re-connecting in recent years with my cousin, Margaret Milliken’s son, I learned  that Wharton Esherick lived or worked at the art center in Rose Valley, Pa. where they lived.  Evidently, he was friends with my aunt and they swaped her paintings for his wood working creations. Facinating to me, because when I visited my aunt’s home, I always loved their furniture. I found out years later why. They had very wonderful modern, unique pieces throughout their home. I have always loved mid-century modern design.

Here are 2 more new books that are available now:

Handcrafted Modern: At Home with Mid-century Designers – Leslie Williamson

An intimate and revealing collection of photographs of astonishingly beautiful, iconic, and undiscovered mid-century interiors. Among significant mid-century interiors, none are more celebrated yet underpublished as the homes created by architects and interior designers for themselves. This collection of newly commissioned photographs presents the most compelling homes by influential mid-century designers, such as Russel Wright, George Nakashima, Harry Bertoia, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eva Zeisel, among others.

Intimate as well as revelatory, Williamson’s photographs show these creative homes as they were lived in by their designers: Walter Gropius’s historic Bauhaus home in Massachusetts; Albert Frey’s floating modernist aerie on a Palm Springs rock outcropping; Wharton Esherick’s completely handmade Pennsylvania house, from the organic handcarved staircase to the iconic furniture. Personal and breathtaking by turn—these homes are exemplary studies of domestic modernism at its warmest and most creative.

and another book about Wharton Esherick:

Wharton Esherick: Studio & Collection – Paul Eisenhauer

(The information and images of the books above are from

I hope that you enjoy these books. Of course, there are many available on these subjects but I thought that I would share these new ones with you.
Be well,


Interview with Annika Ruohonen, Photographer – Finland

Annika Ruohonen describes herself as an educator, environmentalist, adventurer, photographer and mother of two. She was gracious enough to do this interview. I love her work – the intensity, joy and calm – please make time to visit her website and Flickr to see all of her work. As you can see, I only have a few images here…it was very difficult to decide which ones to include.

The Interview…
Dear Annika,
I am mesmerized by your stunning images, after reading your post about Winter Solstice, they become more amazing. Your post titled “About Light…”  was fascinating to me. Is there a certain time of day that you shoot?

Annika: “Thank you, Sondra.
I try to get out when the light is best. I take most of my photos outside, and I try to get out when the sun is shining. In most of my photos you can’t really see direct sunlight, they aren’t sunny pictures, and that is not really my style, but even in a picture like ‘lightness of being’ (and in almost all images in ‘All that is left’-set) you need to have sun light in order to create the contrast.

During summer it’s easier to find opportunities for good shots, but now during winter when we have only a few hours of daylight and even then most of the time it’s snowing or the sun is so low that trees block all the light in the forest.
In my part of the world the weather changes so quickly that it’s no point waiting for the perfect weather because if you do wait for it, the sun is gone by the time you’re at the location.

 I just grab my camera and go out to the woods, wonder around for a couple of hours and most of the time I find plenty of interesting things to shoot. Usually I go trekking during weekend around noon, on at least one day, sometimes two. During summer more often, around four times a week, and also later in the day.

Sometimes I shoot inside also. Most of my flower images are shot inside. Even then I use only natural light and take the pictures in front of a large window in sun light. Such images are for example the roses, asters and willows in the Illuminance set. Those situations come up quite spontaneously, when I suddenly realize that there is a beautiful light outside the window.”

Diva © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

How does the weather in Finland affect your photography? What preparation is involved? How many images do you take in one day?
Annika: “Weather in Finland changes quickly. There is no point in waiting for the perfect ray of sun come out from between the clouds. I go out to the forest anyway, and I would even if I didn’t take photos and I carry my camera with me all the time. Just yesterday when I took off it was snowing very heavily, I walked about two miles in deep snow and in the end I happened to catch the evening sun coloring the sky pink. I like the element of surprise in nature, and I enjoy watching how familiar places look different in different light and during different seasons. (see my blog post That Lake for more info on that).

During winter you need to wear many layers of good clothing. It gets very cold here, 5 degrees Fahrenheit (-15C) is about the lowest temperature when you can go trekking. If it’s colder than that you can’t really protect your face from the cold. I have good quality clothes, lots of wool and layers, good warm shoes and mittens. The trickiest part is to prevent snow from going into your boots if you have to walk in deep snow. It’s also a good workout to walk in deep snow, snow shoes are naturally a great help in that.

I take a lot of pictures when I’m out in the forest. There are often 100-200 images in my camera when I came back from forest. I don’t do any post processing, so I want to have the perfect capture shot in location and that’s why I take so many pictures. I don’t delete any from the card in the forest, it is sometimes difficult to see them well enough on the camera and also I like giving myself the freedom to just shoot and not to worry about the result when I’m out there enjoying the nature. When I come back and look at the pictures I don’t normally accept many of them, I’m very particular about the photos I post on my page, if there is anything at all that bothers me, I won’t share it with other people.” 

800 – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

When did you become interested in photography? Do you recall when you took your first image?

Annika: “My godmother gave me my first camera when I was 14. Ever since I’ve taken a lot of pictures and that is about 25 years ago. I took a two day course that summer, we used system cameras and developed the pictures ourselves. This was when I took my first image and I shot a small bird eating a crumb next to a parked car in some parking lot. I was unhappy about the picture when I developed it in the darkroom because I hadn’t realized that there was a shadow over the bird and you couldn’t see it clearly enough.

I was angry at myself for not realizing that when I took the picture. I guess that describes well how I’ve become so aware of the lights and shadows. But thinking about it afterwards maybe I shouldn’t have been so hard on myself, I was only 14 and it was the first time I used a system camera and a dark room. That is the only course in photography I’ve ever taken, all the rest I’ve learned myself.”

Caught ll – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Yellow – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Out of the sun and into the rain – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

It is clear that you are an environmentalist by your images, how did that inspiration develop?

Annika: “Being out in nature has always been very important to me. When I was little my grandparents took me trekking all the time. We spent a lot of time in the forests picking berries and mushrooms and looking at different plants. In Finland you can go to any forest and pick all the berries and mushrooms you like and there are lots of them around.
We normally pick lots of lingonberries, blueberries and winter mushrooms to put into the freezer and we eat them during the winter. For me it has always been self-evident that I spend time in the forest and I enjoy it so much that it makes me really angry to see people destroy it. I also teach environmental education in junior high school. Here are some links to the sites that my students are working on:” 

Bent – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Tuesday Tunes – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

I don’t know the ages of your children, but if appropriate, do they have your interests in photography and the environment?

Annika: “My sons aged 4 and 6 enjoy trekking a lot. They always want to go to the forest, to pick berries and throw stones into the creek, or go fishing etc. My older son is into taking pictures also, I have let him use my camera a few times and he can frame a shot really well.”

Leaves applaud the wind – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Is photography your full time work, aside from raising your children?

Annika: “I am an English and Swedish teacher in a junior high school. I’m also very much into global education (global awareness and environmental education as previously mentioned) so I’ve also started a course on that. I love teaching and being with young people. I have cut my lessons into a minimum to be able to take photos, go out into the forest and be with my family.
I guess I’m the type of person who is never bored. I always have a project that I’m working on, if I don’t have one it won’t take me long to come up with one. Most of the time I find myself doing three things at the same time and that is what gives me energy and makes me do well.”

Intersection – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

One of my favorites, although I dare say that, since it is very difficult for me to chose, is “Intersection” (as seen above). You describe yourself as an adventurer on your blog, it sounded like taking this image was an “adventure”, can you tell us about how you took this image?

Annika: “It was one of my regular walks in the forest but that time the weather was really good and I had lots of energy so I decided to climb up a cliff. From up there I could see the footprints on the lake. Someone had skied across the lake, some people had walked across to the same direction and then there had also been a fox who had walked across the man made prints. I enjoy the shot enormously because you can almost see the fox going across the lake carefully sniffing the prints in the snow. If you think about the pattern you can see how it has followed the man made prints just a bit to sniff them.

The sun light was so bright that day that I had tears coming out of my eyes and I couldn’t really see if I caught the prints or not, but I was really happy when I saw the picture at home later. I have been up that cliff only once. But I’m definately going back some day.”

Hiding from the sun – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Nature’s Creations l – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Dream of winter – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Have you ever wanted to re-locate to another location in the world in order to have a another perspective?

Annika: “I have traveled a lot (see my Flickr map). I was in India a year ago and I regret I didn’t take my best camera with me to that trip. Most of the pictures came up too blurry (have one or two in Flickr I think), I wish I could go back some day. I love traveling and I have also lived in other countries. I will most definitely do so in the future as well. Still the best images I take in the environment I know the best. I think I will always come back to Finland.”

For more information about Annika, read her thoughts on the Art of Day Blog by James Day.

Her images come in large sizes (500cm x 800cm) (16′ 4″ – 26′ 3″) printed on an aluminium board. They also have a protective layer covering the image, so they are very durable. An example:


Annika displayed her work in a group show called ArtSibbe at the Nikkilä library in the town of Sipoo, Finland – July 5 – August 26, 2010.

Contact information:
website and blog –
Flickr –
Twitter – @Ruohoska!/Ruohoska
Email – annika.ruohonen(at)
If you are interested in purchasing any of her works, please email her.

Holding on – © copyright Annika Ruohonen 2010
This image is copyrighted – please do not use in any way (including website, blogs etc.) without my written permission. © All rights reserved.

Thank you, Annika for gracing my blog. I am so glad that our paths crossed.
You are a gift to us all…



Fiber Art Conferences – Workshops 2011

Looking for great learning experiences? The workshops below have a wonderful selection of fabulous artists.

Confluence: When cultures and ideas flow together, our art and our world are transformed. - June 4-17 2011
2011 International Surface Design Association Conference
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
Personally, I would love to take: India Flint’s – Enfoldment’s – A Traveler’s Notebook and Jane Dunnewold’s – Color with Soy Wax…
There is a wonderful selection of workshops, read all about them on the website.

Quilt Surface Design Symposium – June 11-19 2011
Click here for the selection of workshops and the details. My personal favorites? I would love to take: Valerie Goodwin, Fran Skiles, Kerr Grabowski, Sue Benner and Michael James.

Nancy Crow Art Retreats at the Crow Timber Frame Barn – Lancaster, Ohio
These Art Retreats are held in the spring and fall every year. The Spring workshops are from 4-25 to 5-27 and the Fall workshops are from 9-26 to 10-21.
I would love to take one of the Spring workshops with Dorothy Caldwell.

There are so many great fiber artists at these workshops, it is very difficult to choose! I hope that you are able to attend some of them.
Enjoy Autumn and best of health to you,


Alison Jardine – British Artist in Texas

Oil Painting – 36″ w x 36″ h x 2″ d


 Alison Jardine – Artist’s Statement

“I am an expressive painter using traditional oil-on-canvas techniques on wood or canvas to create contemporary symbolic or abstracted works that have implicit emotional or philosophical narratives.

In my most recent series, I create “digitally” distorted and filtered images of nature, often of trees with pixelated leaves, forests in infrared, or geometric fractal scenes. My interest in using the motif of trees and forests in my work springs from their incredible versatility as a symbol. On a personal level, they represent my mother (who I never knew) since as a child I found solace and nurture in the woods.

On a societal level, they are objects of beauty and danger that are entangled in many myths and legends, representing a lack of regulation, a certain freedom, a purity, as well as danger, sexuality and threat, and they speak to our deeper, wilder, less evolved selves. As artistic forms, they are sculptural and animistic, expressive to their very core as they interact with, and are shaped by, their surroundings, in terms of light and dark, color, form, and composition. They also encapsulate well the beauty of the natural world that seems to precious to me, and is so evidently threatened by our way of life.

In all my work, I explore the tension between light and dark, absence and presence, grief and joy, death and life. This reflects my own conflict between ‘outer’ intellectual, cold rationalism expressed through constructed non-organic shapes, and ‘inner’ emotional, warm consciousness that is so fluid and natural.

Ultimately, inevitably, all my works of art are self-portraits.”

(copied from Alison Jardine’s website)

Oil painting – 36″ w x 36″ h x 1.5″ d

 Alison is an artist that I met on Twitter, she is not only an incredibly unique artist but a very kind person. I always enjoy hearing from her. Her tweets are always informative and interesting.
You can find her on Twitter using  @alisonjardine. Alison is in the List of 20 Artists to Watch.
Here is Alison’s website, her blog and portfolio. The website has information about works for sale, contact info and her about page  for more information about Alison and her work.

All of Alison’s work is amazing but her Disorder Series resonates with me…it is stunning. I love the intensity of her work.
From Alison’s website:

“In my Disorder series, I develop symbolic expressions of the human spirit, our energy and character. For me, this is deeply marked by the tension between life and death, light and dark, color and blackness, emotion and rationality, ignorance and knowledge. The broken glasses represent the human, and the human energy, arranged to represent scenes, circumstances and feelings from my own life, my past; and eventually my future.”

Remains ~ 16″ x 20″ oil on board ~ 2010

Imbalance ~ 16″ x 20″ oil on board ~ 2010

Impermanence ~ 16″ x 20″ oil on board. This is a direct and honest expression of death. The glasses are pure energy, the soul, and they carry the grief within them, although they hold their form. The support, the step ladder, express the bitter hostility and anger when those who grieve are enmeshed in their pain.

Suspended ~ oil on clear-primed wood panel. 18″ x 24″

Alison Jardine’s  bio (copied from her website):

“I grew up in Yorkshire, England, from a family of artists, professional and hobbyist. My interest in art lead to studying for four years part-time while still in High School, and later two years full-time, at a college of art and design, after which my desire to see the world consumed me. I traveled around Europe before settling in London for several years and gained a BA at the University of London in Politics, Philosophy and History (thus satisfying my need to understand as much as possible about just about everything).

I moved with my family to Texas in 2003, and this enabled me to focus on my art, training myself and refining my artworks, through classes at SMU Meadows School of Art and through relentless practice, observation and study.
I began showing my work in 2008, and since winning the Grand Prize in the Art of Elan competition in 2009, I have been working full-time as an artist.
I am active in the local art community, being Vice President of the Plano Arts Association, organizing art competitions for PISD, and as a regular contributor to Art Conspiracy, annual charitable art event, and other charitable fundraisers.”

Dimensions: 36″ w x 36″ h x 2″ d

Dimensions: 36″ w x 36″ h x 2″ d

Sign up for Alison’s monthly email newsletter, info is on this page.

Thank you, Alison, for sharing a great part of yourself with all of us. Your work is amazing.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: