Tonight I was finishing up this week’s craft project. I’ve always wanted to make a purse, like a cigar box purse, but I got turned off because there are already so many other artists making fabulous ones. They can’t be topped! So I took a raw wood box, found the hardware (handle and stuff) and before putting it together and going the easy decoupage route, I tried to come up with something different. Especially because I was working with a blank wood box. My favorite!

I have this thing about raw wood – I get goosebumps when it comes to applying fresh paint on it. I twitch when I go into restaurants and see chunky wood chairs UNPAINTED! Last year Patrick and I bought Mexican rustic furniture and he made me promise him I would not paint them, no matter what. I have to admit, in this one case, they do look better unpainted. So now you know why this purse project is so important to me. I had to make the most of the raw wood – give it respect and dignity! Therefore this mission needed mucho research and preparation before the actual execution.

I started poking around on Patrick’s side of our studio. His table is across the room from mine and it is funny to see how different our styles are. I am super neat and organized and he creates his pieces like Edward Scissorhands trimming the backyard bushes. There were empty bags of chicharrones, pop cans, paper and fabric scraps… Anyway – there among the ruins of masterpieces and trash I found his wood burner.

There it is! My “twist” to the purse idea.

Oh man, it was so addicting and freeing to make. It felt soooo exhilarating to press the burner into the soft wood – except when a tiny stream of smoke floated up into my left nostril and made me choke… Woodburners are definitely scarier than hot glue guns, that’s for sure.

I started by sketching out a design on a piece of paper but got so excited that I just began to draw freehand on the box with the burner. I couldn’t stop. It came out so dang cool that the only way to make it better was to add color. I didn’t want to take away from the burnt designs, so I applied light watercolors and the combo was a perfect fit. I think I want to ONLY make these purses now.

A few minutes ago I googled the idea and found a site that sells wood burned hummingbirds on purses and they were charging $325. a pop! Not that I would want to charge that, but it just felt so good to make something that felt valuable and high end, using an entirely foreign medium. Here’s out it came out:

My advice from this experience is to break out of your creative box. Think of the weirdest (or most ordinary) technique/style/theme that for some reason or another you have yet to try and then tinker with it. It will exercise your technical and creative skills in ways you never thought possible and help you grow as an artist.

Here is a web site I found that has some wonderful ideas to light your fire.

But I have to say, I’m really excited about diving into my next purse and yes, this time I plan on decoupaging it!

Love & light,


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