Do you know about Creative Live? It’s an amazing site that offers classes regarding design, marketing, communication, and much more. The classes are free if you watch them while they are being taped, but they are also available for purchase. I should probably add that Creative Live is not paying me to write any of this – although I am totally willing to enter into negotiations should someone contact me. 🙂

Richard Mehl taught a class titled “Color for Designers: Exploration, Theory, and Application” on Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I found it to be inspiring, interesting, and useful. My son participated with me after I picked him up from school, which was very fun and special… and messy.

Here are some cards I designed after watching the class:

Color Theory Cards 002Color Theory Cards 005

Color Theory Cards 006What does the color wheel bring out in you?

The rest of this week involves preparing for an art and craft sale on Sunday. Let me know if you’re in Jefferson City, and I’ll give you the details!

Colorfully Yours,

Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.


My Other Project: Tricksters


I’ve mentioned my love of writing before, and writing has been my major focus this week. I’m giving a talk in Illinois this coming Sunday, which is one of my favorite things to do.  My emphasis is the trickster character, a fascinating figure present in many traditions including Native American stories and Greek mythology. Since I share pictures of my physical creations, I thought I’d share a few excerpts of my talk.

First, my introduction:

As we approach holidays that blur divisions and boundaries, such as Halloween and the Day of the Dead, I thought it would be fun to play with an ancient figure known as trickster, a character who does not recognize divisions and is often found with one foot on either side of boundaries. Tricksters are delightful characters because they weave in and out of reality. A trickster is interesting because he exposes rules by defying them and turns what seems to be inevitable and necessary into the ridiculous. Tricksters are useful because they model a playful approach to the world that can enable healthy and positive change.

It’s important to know that trickster is not a good or bad character – think of a trickster as being like a curious and adventurous toddler.

Here’s my favorite part thus far when I explain why it’s important to challenge boundaries and labels:

Motherhood has heightened my sensitivity to the use of titles. The common phrase for what I do is “stay-at-home-mom”, but that does not accurately reflect who I am or what I do at all. Yes, I’m a mother. I’m also a yogi, an artist, a friend, a writer, an aspiring minister, a private English tutor, a reader, a want to be drummer, a wife, and, as many of you witnessed during my last talk, an occasional dancer. Those labels don’t really do me justice either, and I can say this with absolute certainty: you are more than your title. You are more than the title of teacher, doctor, retiree, psychologist, lawyer, artist, librarian… You are a uniquely complex creature with hopes, dreams, experiences, and personality traits that cannot be summarized in a word or two.

Recognizing that we are more than our labels is one thing; the idea that other individuals are just as complex as we are can be difficult to grasp at times – that is when the act of putting in a trickster’s eye becomes useful. It’s not an eye of judgement, it’s a way of looking at people and situations that allows them to be more than they appear to be at first glance.

I’m almost done with it – I’ve enjoyed working on it a great deal, and I’m looking forward to learning what it sparks in others.

Playfully Yours,

Free Range Al


Good Things!

behind the scenes 253

A new card design in progress

So many projects! So many special moments! So little time!

I’m participating in a winter sale on November 2 and am preparing new cards (like the one above) for that event. My other creative outlet is the written word, and I’m giving a talk in Illinois on October 26. Preparing for these two events on top of my normal schedule is keeping me very busy.

Do you remember my glass pendants with original drawings?

behind the scenes 037

I made one that can accompany one of my cards this week as well:

card sets 002

Another priority is fostering the friendships I’m beginning to make. We’ve lived in our “new” city for a little over two years and meeting people has been a bit of a challenge. Some really interesting and caring people are part of my life now, and I’m very grateful for their presence. I could totally spend entire weeks to myself and be content, but I am making sure that I put effort into nurturing my new relationships just as I nurture my other interests.

Do you find that it takes thought and effort to be sure you spend quality time with people in your life and not become caught up in your lists of things to do? What works for you? What doesn’t?

Wishing You Balance and Fulfillment,

Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.



etsy rainbow charms snail with card rainbow and card 005Home.

After moving a great deal, and with the knowledge that more moves are possible, I think of family rather than one specific location when I think of home.

What does “home” mean to you?

May you find comfort and love wherever you are…

– Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.


Katy Trail Sky photographed by the Free Range Artisan

Katy Trail Sky
photographed by the Free Range Artisan

This marks the season in which I’ll be focusing on developing my craft as a writer and as an artist. The final weekly market was last Saturday, and I have no major events that require preparation except for a talk I’m going to give on October 26 at a very special place in Illinois.

Next week, I’m going to see what classes are being offered by our local gallery, call a nearby college to sign up for drum lessons, post new pieces on my Etsy shop, and begin writing my talk. For now, however, I’m going to let myself breathe – to take my time in organizing my studio while listening to music that lifts my soul and programs that invigorate my mind, to browse through books for inspiration, and to just do things because they serve me, not because I have to… until it’s time to pick my son up from school, of course. 🙂

What about you? How do you make sure you take time to really breathe so that you feel restored and ready for a new season?

Peaceful Thoughts to You,

Free Range Al

Card Companions


Mom deserves most of the credit for this idea: making a set out of a card and a little reminder of what the card represents. For example, what says “anything is possible” better than pigs with wings?:

Dream On: Pigs with Wings

Dream On: Pigs with Wings

The pigs are available as magnets, stand along figures, and, for those who share my love of bold accessories, necklaces.

Flowers always make me feel better:

Feel Better Card with Original Sketch Glass Charm

Feel Better Card with Original Sketch Glass  Charm

Of course, I had to do something with rainbows!

May You Always See a Rainbow Card with Necklace or Magnet

May You Always See a Rainbow Card with a Necklace or Magnet

Groovy Love Card with a Heart or Rainbow Swirl Necklace

Groovy Love Card with a Heart or Rainbow Swirl Necklace

This is just a sampling of what I have in mind. I’ll be offering them at my local Farmer’s Market tomorrow, September 27 and at the Pairings for Pets event at Serenity Valley Winery in Fulton, Missouri on Sunday, September 28 from 1-3PM. Custom orders through my Etsy shop are welcome too.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite?

Oh, and thanks Mom.

Creatively Yours,

Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.

Rainbows as Metaphors


My studio continues to be full of rainbows! They are seeping into my Etsy shop too, starting with this new card:

Etsy Cards 039

As an English major, my mind often goes into the realm of symbolism and metaphors, and I like it when my artistic and literary interests combine. Rainbows are lovely in and of themselves, but they are rich symbols as well. They represent natural beauty. The fact that they appear after rain reflects the experience of the calm, peace, and goodness that can come after difficult times. When they appear during a shower, they remind us of how beauty and goodness can coexist with what seems challenging.

Etsy Cards 045What do rainbows mean to you?

– Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.



Behind the Scenes 183

Have you read “My Heart Leaps Up When I Behold” by William Wordsworth? It’s one of my favorite poems:

My heart leaps up when I behold,

A rainbow in the sky:

So was it when my life began;

So is it now I am a man;

So be it when I shall grow old,

Or let me die!

The Child is Father of the Man;

I could wish my days to be

Bound each to each by natural piety.

The idea of embracing one’s inner child is one I appreciate. As adults, it’s tempting to feel as if one must stifle expressions of joy, excitement, or wonder. My favorite literary character, Holden Caulfield, would say that’s just being a “phoney”, and I’d have to agree.

Lately, my muses have directed me toward rainbow designs. Working on these pieces have really lifted my spirits, and I’m excited to bring them with me to a special sale event tomorrow and to Saturday’s market.

What makes your heart “leap”?

Here’s to authentic expressions of happiness and delight!

– Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that is not in my shop? Click “contact the shop owner” and we can easily arrange a custom order.

Love On!

Love On!

Fun with Cards


I’ve been having so much fun designing cards today, I wanted to share some of my work with you:

Behind the Scenes 167

A Set, Perhaps?

A Set, Perhaps?

Love On!

Love On! Inspired by my son’s Rainbow Toast Day at school.

Did you make cards as a child? I always did – I don’t think I bought a card from a store until I was in college, and that would rarely take place. Those handmade cards had “ARTMART” drawn on the back. Now, my line is “Free Range Artisan”, but I’m grateful that I still experience great delight in making something for someone very special.

My favorite moments at markets take place when someone says, “Oh, this is perfect for _____.” I love knowing where my pieces are going and LOVE it when people return to tell me how gifts were received. It feels particularly special when someone chooses a card, because written correspondence means a great deal to me.

I have several boxes full of cards from special people in my life: cards of celebration, of support, of thanks… They record the important and special moments in my life while bringing back wonderful memories. Electronic communication has its place, but I hope cards and snail mail remain.

Mail On!

– Free Range Al

See something you like on my blog that isn’t in my store? The “contact the shop owner” option makes it possible to arrange a custom order.



I’m bursting with various projects and preparing for future art and craft sales, while continuing to participate in Lincoln University’s Market on Saturdays. It’s a really exciting time – the biggest challenge is finding a balance that allows time to create, time to mother, time to spend with my husband, and to… what was that other thing – oh yes, sleep. Must make time to sleep.

If you’re in Jefferson City,  Missouri, Providence Bank is hosting a fun event I’ll be a part of from 11AM-2PM on Friday, September 12. A big art and craft sale called Pairings for Pets is taking place in Fulton, Missouri on September 28 at Serenity Valley Winery from 1PM-3PM. It’s being put on by People Helping Paws, so you can support local artists, craftspeople, and a special organization all at once! If you’re in the area, I would love for you to stop by.

Snails are quickly becoming my favorite polymer clay friends to make:

behind the scenes 154I enjoy playing with color and design combinations. Several snails found homes at last week’s market, and I’m looking forward to making more for the markets and special events to come. If you can’t make it to my area, it’s quite easy to arrange for a custom order through my Etsy shop:

My next plan for the snails is to make small cards that can accompany them to their new homes.

I just finished more glass pendants that contain my sketches:

behind the scenes 146The next step will be determining which bails to use. I hope they (and many others) will be ready for next week and the sale in Fulton.

I started this card design this morning and can hardly wait to finish it:

behind the scenes 152Flowers, letter work, and paint will be added. I’m about to leave to help my chickadee’s kindergarten class make rainbow toast, so this piece will have to wait until tonight.

I suppose all of this – life itself – is the biggest project of all. The process of bringing beauty into the world through interactions as well as creations, the process of guiding my son and of being a life partner is ongoing as well. I’m a project – I have so much I want to develop both professionally and personally…

What are your projects?

Wishing You the Best on All Your Life Giving Pursuits,

Free Range Al

P.S. I just finished the card design and I couldn’t help but share it with you:

behind the scenes 157Whew!