Art Studio Clearance Sale

“When will you be in Columbus again?”

THIS WEEKEND!!  I will be at the Ohio Designer Craftsmen Art Studio Clearance Sale this Saturday and Sunday, January 25 and 26.

Booth 611
Booth 611…right in the middle!

I’ll be in booth 611…the one that looks just like this!


The show runs from 10-5 on Saturday and 12-5 on Sunday.  $6 gets you admission to both days.

If you’ve never been to the Art Studio Clearance Sale before, and you’re in the Columbus area, you owe it to yourself to come check this one out.  Fantastic art at wholesale prices.  I mean, GORGEOUS work.  At 20% to 75% off the regular price.  Established artists bring their discontinued, damaged or overstocked pieces and you can get amazing deals on them.

Things I will have available…
Yes…That is a Clockwork Jesus.
I love this piece…watercolor, colored pencil and collaged papers. The view out the window is from my first apartment outside of college.


Old School Bamboo pendants. I don’t make these anymore. Haven’t in a LONG TIME. Please give them homes so I can use the box they have been sitting in for something else.


Steampunk Necklaces…Of course I’ll have a handful of my signature steampunk watch movement necklaces. They are marked nearly 50% off for this show!


Will you be coming to the show?




A Winter Night’s Crafting Workshop

My students are the BRAVEST and MOST CREATIVE students in the world.

Hard at work!
Hard at work!


Crafting Crafting Crafting!!!
Crafting Crafting Crafting!!!

This past wednesday a group of devoted artists and crafters braved SNOMAGEDDON 2014 to join me for an awesome hour long jewelry workshop.  Despite my nearly hour late arrival (did I mention snowmageddon?  The roads were terrifying.)  13 awesome ladies at the Orion Township Public Library  made the trip more than worthwhile.  These guys were sooo much fun!

It’s not a wonderland when its covering the interstate…

Racing against a 9pm deadline these hardworking creatives designed some simply stunning pieces…

Alice Cruz Modeling her trinket necklace with bird and vintage button
Alice Cruz Modeling her trinket necklace with bird and vintage button
Blurry Close up Alice's design
Blurry Close up Alice’s design


Lee modeling her elegant design...I wish I had gotten a better close up.  It's BEAUTIFUL.
Lee modeling her elegant design…I wish I had gotten a better close up. It’s BEAUTIFUL.


I forgot to write down your name.  I suck.  But this was a custom piece made almost entirely from her own trinkets with some sophisticated touches on a playful concept
I forgot to write down your name. I suck. But this was a custom piece made almost entirely from her own trinkets with some sophisticated touches on a playful concept


Elaborate design with filigree and semi-precious stones
Elaborate design with filigree and semi-precious stones


Elegant design with button, heart and cross pendant.
Elegant design with button, heart and cross pendant.


I am so proud of everyone’s designs…I wish I had been able to document them all.  And I’m truly grateful for all these artists for coming out in the wretched weather and playing with me.

I hope to be back to the library soon for more crafty shenanigans…I’ll post the photos here :)






Antique Octopus Earrings: They’re Back! (this time in silver)

One of the most popular images I work with is this

Octopus Bermudensis as depicted by William Evan Hoyle
Octopus Bermudensis as depicted by William Evan Hoyle

Taken from an amazing collection of illustrations made to document the discoveries of the crew of the H.M.S. Challenger in the years of 1873-1876 These images are bound in 40 volumes and cover everything from barnacle to giant squids in lavish detail. You can browse the entire collection here: What do I use these images for?   Well, I format them into tiny circles, print them, cut them out and affix them to the backs of vintage bingo and lotto game markers to make earrings.  Like these…

Earrings made with illustrations from the H.M.S. Challenger expedition in 1873-1876
Earrings made with illustrations from the H.M.S. Challenger expedition in 1873-1876

I’ve made these for a while now, in various colors and styles.  This newest lot is simple and clean, letting the images speak for themselves. I’ve made only 24this time, and although the octopus image will undoubtedly appear again this simple style with a single antiqued silver bead and the basic silver wire will not.

Enter the Silhouette- My new Silhouette Cameo Machine

The Silhouette Cameo Machine…Stuff of my crafting dreams

Silhouette Cameo
The machine I’ve been dreaming of…

I hate cutting out tiny circles. I hate it. Everyone who has ever offered to help me in studio hates it, too. Cutting tiny circles sucks.

An endless sea of tiny circles…all cut individually. By hand. With scissors.

So when I heard of the Silhouette Cutting machines and imagined a world without tiny circles cut by hand with scissors I thought, “HERE IS MY SALVATION.”

With a lump of financial terror in my throat I bought myself both the Silhouette Cameo and the “Silhouette Connect” software add-on package for Christmas this year.  I thought it was a pretty safe bet that if Santa couldn’t remember to bring me new slippers he wasn’t good for a $300 crafting machine.  That’s a lot of money for a small crafter, and I was worried if I had made a good investment.

The answer in a nutshell?  OMIGOD YES.

Silhouette Cameo Machine
This is my new boyfriend. Don’t judge me. I’m in love.


These little teapot and teacup images?  I didn’t cut them out.  The machine did.

The job that used to take me two hours and cause hand cramps and cursing and sighs of despair?  Done in under five minutes, including peeling the little circles off the mat and putting them in a bag to glue down later.


This things is an angel from above.   It even sings a soothing electronic song as it does my work for me.  Really.  It sounds like a happy little skylark of a machine.  It sounds like a rampaging dinosaur in the video below, but in person its actually quite pleasant.

On the fence about buying one?  DO IT.


Seriously.  This thing is amazing, and I’m only using it to cut out tiny circles.  I haven’t even scratched the surface of its potential!

How to Woo an Artist- Some Hints for Art Fair Coordinators

This is the season in which we artists plan out our show season for the upcoming year.  Some of us display at strictly wholesale shows or fine art galleries but the vast majority of working artists participate in one or more Art Fairs throughout the year.  Choosing which shows to apply to can be daunting.

Each show has a jury fee that is non-refundable AND a booth fee (if you are accepted).  If an artist intends to fill their entire season with shows on every weekend they will need to pay jury fees to multiple shows scheduled for each weekend, just to be sure that they have enough acceptance letters to to fill their season.   Even the best artists get rejection letters but we all learn, over time, how to maximize our season while minimizing the financial impact of all those jury fees.

I’ve heard from varied sources that applications to the Grand Old Art Fairs is down.  The recession took a hard bite out the working artists, and not all of us survived..

So let’s say you’re planning one of these big art fairs.  And you want me to apply to YOUR fair.  Heck, you want as many artists as possible to apply, so that you can carefully select a mix of the very best art and craft for your audience.  How do you entice us to throw our hats into the ring?  What do you offer that will make me want to shell out my hard earned artist dollars just for the chance at landing a spot in your show?

Make it Easy

Artist’s don’t have a lot of free time for paperwork.  We’re busy making stuff.  If your admission requirements include a lot of stuff that nobody else asks for, I probably won’t bother.

  • Use the same size photos as everyone else-  Etsy requires 1000 pixel square images.  Most artists have an Etsy account and a hard drive full of gorgeous product pics formatted to this size.  You’ll get much nicer photos if you let us choose the best out of the ones we already have instead of making us take brand new ones just for your show.
  • Don’t ask for hard copies, slides, or a CD.  or a paper application for that matter.  Do you REALLY want to swim in a sea of paper submissions?
  • Please don’t make me wade through a third party online application service.  Please.  Those things are evil.  Just make a list of requirements and let us e-mail the packet directly to you.

Make it inexpensive

Artists are broke.  We’re artists.  We work hard making the things we love, but if we were big-time, highly successful, gallery represented artists with licensing deals at Barney’s we wouldn’t be working the Art Fair circuit.

  • More than $25 for an entry is painful.  $25 is painful, but we’ll deal.
  • Consider a flat rate or discount rate for artists working in more than one media.  As a mixed media artist making both decorative and functional items I can be charged as much as $100 just to apply to a show.  OUCH!
  • Consider jurying the artist, not the media.  MOST working artists and crafters now have diversified their products to include more than one type of item.   Painters also sell note cards and magnets with their photographs.  Sculptors make brooches and pendants.  Mixed media artists make EVERYTHING.
  • Consider working with local hotels to offer discount rates to traveling artists.  Or meal specials at local restaurants.  Or free parking at the venue.  Those little things add up, and we DO take them into consideration when deciding whether a show will be worthwhile.
  • Let us apply online.  The cost of printing, postage and mailing supplies adds up fast.

Keep it Fair

Carol has been displaying her blown glass vases at your fair for 20 years.  You know you’re going to accept her again, and you know that you’ll not be taking any other blown glass artists because she has artistic tenure.  So why are you accepting jury fees from up and coming blown glass artists?  Artists gossip.  We share our experiences with the applications and admissions process.  So play fair.

  • If the odds of being accepted into a given category are especially slim, tell us in advance.  Then its on us to decide whether to blow money on a jury fee that most likely won’t net a sales opportunity.
  • Have an outside judge.  This is why there is a jury fee.  We are happy to compete on a level playing field, but if you are judging this yourself there is undoubtedly going to be bias towards artists you know.

Bribe Me

I mean it.  Offer me a tent.  Bring me food (I love food).  Have a dinner party (did I mention I love food?)

Artist amenities are very very important.  If I can only afford to apply to one show in a given time frame and one has free load-in assistance, a pre-standing tent, and a breakfast buffet I know which one I’m applying to.

  • Feed us.  Snacks are AMAZING.  A hungry artist is a cranky artist.  Some peanuts and a bottled water will win you my love many times over.
  • Free coffee.  Put it in your ad materials.  It doesn’t even have to be GOOD coffee.  Just give us coffee.  Lots of artists are night people.  Most art fairs have early morning load in.  Its sounds a lot nicer if there will be coffee.
  • Load-in Assistance.  Can’t offer drive up load in?  Then at least offer to help us carry stuff.
  • Awards.  Everybody loves to win a prize.  Hand out ribbons and a couple of waived jury fees.  It won’t hurt you much and it makes us feel special.

It’s not hard to win over the artists.  Just take a little time to see things from our perspective.  And give us snacks.

How to open a jump ring– Worksheets for Workshops

“How do I open this jump ring so it closes again?!!!”

Such simple little things, jump rings, and yet so TRICKY. Open them wrong and they will NEVER EVER close tightly again. Open them right and POOF! they make it crazy-simple to assemble jewelry.

This is the absolute most basic skill to learn when you start making jewelry.
If you take one of my workshops it is the very first thing I teach you (aside from which kind of plier is which).

And in case you forget after the class (or if you never get to take one) here is an awesome tutorial on how to do it right so the the little buggers will close again.




After you’ve attached the ring to whatever it was you wanted to join, close it by reversing the steps.


You have a neatly closed jump ring.  Go you!

HELLO, East Lansing!

Mid Michigan, I have heard your pleas. “Where can I get awesome Divine Iguana stuff in my area?” you cried. And now there is an answer..

Thank you, Mackerel Sky, for bringing the Divine Iguana into your loving embrace. Or at least into your gallery.
We’ll take things slow :)

Mackerel Sky gallery in East Lansing
Stop in to Mackerel Sky in East Lansing.
Tell Lisa that The Divine Iguana summoned you.

In all seriousness, I’m tickled pink to have Divine Iguana boxed cards and jewelry available here. Mackerel Sky is a beautiful gallery and shop, and Divine Iguana is the least of their artists. It’s all in the company you keep, my friends, and this is great company to be in!

Oh yeah…and they have our ever popular dictionary buttons!

Dictionary Buttons by Divine Iguana
Yes, they are as cool as they look.

These little guys are HOT, East Lansing. Get them while you can!

Getting ready for TeslaCon

Oh, the amazing things I have prepared for the Divine Iguana’s debut at TeslaCon 2013

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen!  The Divine Iguana is gearing up (no pun intended) and heading to the finest Steampunk event in the country.

Have I made a fantastic new outfit? No.  Instead I’ve been toiling away making amazing new things to share.  New cards.  New prints.  New necklaces from very, very old things.  Simply the finest accessories and the most intriguing images.

This traveling art carny is packing up the gypsy layers and the steamer trunks and heading to Madison with a cargo of curiosities that I can hardly wait to share.

Among the new delights is 8×10 prints of one of my favorite notecard images..Pearls of Wicked Wisdom.

just like this, only bigger.

And this simply stunning new Black Cat print, a companion to my Black Cat notecard series and to the Black Cat collage sheet’s I’ve made available on PassionFruits Images.

Black Cat Print by Rena Hopkins

This handsome fellow will be making his public debut at TeslaCon.

I’m sleep-deprived and under costumed, but I’m very proud to be able to say that I am a

YAY! The Divine Iguana is soooo excited!

Note cards in boxes, or note card sets or boxed note cards…whatever. I made some.

That’s right…boxed notecard sets.  So exciting!

I’m pretty proud of myself.  As I prepare for the epic awesomeness that will be this years Teslacon I’m also honing the items that I hope to show this coming year at my very first wholesale show.  New up (and pretty spiffy, if I do say so myself) are boxed note card sets.

Vintage Airships Notecard Set
Who Doesn’t Love a Dirigible?

Newest in the line-up is this awesome set of Vintage Airship cards.  Six blank note cards with matching cream envelopes in a classy little package.  Adapted from antique illustrations, layered with lots of vintage textures and digitally altered to create gorgeous little cards.

They are printed on the same high quality paper as my fine art prints and are just as suitable for framing as for mailing.

Right now they are only available at the Rust Belt Market in Ferndale, MI.,  but they’ll be on Etsy soon (very soon.  maybe even tomorrow).  I’ll have these pretty little fellows at Teslacon, too.

The big question is, do I make 8×10 prints to go along with them?  Would you like to see these fellows in a larger format?

Package front of the Vintage Airships Note card set from Divine Iguana
How cool would this be as a framed 8×10 over your desk? Pretty cool, right?