Category Archives: Art and Inspiration

Saturday Night Artwalk: The Mini’s of Mr. Basketmaker

Tonight I’m featuring none other than my husband, Mr. Basketmaker and his fabulous tiny mini baskets. Now for the usual stuff…

What I’m drinking: Okay, again, it’s a Chardonnay. Now I need a disclaimer here…  this may be the 3rd time I say I’m drinking this varietal but before I start getting students bringing me bottles of Chardonnay, I need to reveal that this is not one of my favorites. But beggars cannot be choosey. We live in a dry county and Mr. Basketmaker travelled a jaunt, by himself, to get me some wine for tonight. I keep saying we should stock up but we never do. As artists on a budget, there’s always something else more important than wine. 

What I’m listening to: This is actually a little different in that it’s not a usual playlist but rather a documentary on the tv that Eric insisted I watch. But it was more like ‘listening’ because it was about three musical groups who piled into five old VW vans and toured half the country. It is titled “Austin to Boston” and featured the bands Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff, The Staves (who are amazing!) and Bear’s Den. Needless to say there was a lot of great ‘live’ music playing in the background while writing this and I can’t elaborate further since I’m not sure if Mr. Basketmaker will feature this little film in his new “documendation series.” However, if I was a betting gal, I would say he won’t because he went to bed before it was over. 

I’ve mentioned before that Eric was “in the zone” with creating many of his mini’s. He completed them a couple weeks ago and sold about three quarters of his inventory. I wanted to get many of these online before North Carolina… but c’est la vie. Anyways, below are most of his mini’s he created and the ones that haven’t sold I provided a link to where you can purchase them. There’s only six left. And I’ve already been on him that he needs to keep going! After all, he has a waiting list dating back to 2005 now, I think (It was even earlier but I believe he has now satisfied a bunch of them).

The following two are sold out. I don’t know if it’s because their names incorporate the word “bungalow” or not but maybe it does!

The photo below is Eric’s mini version of his Bungalow Bowl…

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… and here’s his mini version of his Bungalow Tote…
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Both of the bungalow baskets have sold out. But I’m sure he will be making more. He does have two of his mini “Carrier” baskets available which I have pictured below…

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Either click on the image or here to purchase either of these.

Next up are his Desktop Keeper, Desktray and Jewel mini baskets but before you desire them quickly, they also are sold out. But I’m sure he will be making more. When? That I am not sure about. But aren’t they magnificent?
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Above photo is the Desktop Keeper and the one below is his Desktray…  mini versions of his full-size baskets:
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… and next his little sweet Jewel Basket, also sold out…
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This next series is his Cottage Mail Basket. He currently has available two “mini’s” and one “small” version of this Mail basket.

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The above is a pic of the “mini”. In the next image you can see his full-size Cottage Mail basket next to the “Small” version with is bottom left and the two “mini” baskets seen on the bottom right…
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All three baskets are available to purchase. Either click the image or click here.

Next is the only other available basket left to purchase which is his newest, the Presentation Bowl:
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And I couldn’t including a pic of one of his mini baskets with his teeny tiny signature (isn’t it cute?)…
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I will finish with three of his most popular full and small size baskets…
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Above is his mini version of the Cottage Tote and below his French Bread…

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And his cute little mini Cottage Wine Tote…

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I may be biased but these are all examples of the finest craftsmanship.

Have a good evening and Happy Easter!

NOTE: Click on any of the images with the GREEN background and you will go directly to the ETSY page…

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Saturday Night Art Walk: Miniatures

I learned today that a close friend of mine lost her dear aunt who was a significant part of her life. She is en route, with her husband, to Virginia and then to New York. So this post is dedicated to Marg & Suzanne.


What I’m listening to: Yesterday a very talented lady named Joey, of the husband-and-wife singing duo of Joey+Rory from Tennessee, lost her battle with cervical cancer. She just turned 40. She leaves behind a daughter who just turned two, her husband who is her singing partner along with two step-daughters who were raised by her.  They were recently nominated for a Grammy. So tonight I am listening to one playlist… songs by Joey+Rory.

What I’m Drinking: A glass of Pinot Noir (and trying not to cry…)

So….. two lovely ladies named Betty and Mary came to visit Mr. Basketmaker’s workshop this past Thursday. They were on their way from Kentucky to Sarasota, Florida and popped in to get some basket kits. I learned that they were heading to a “Miniatures Show” and are avid Room Box makers. Ah, what?

A room box is a display box used for three-dimensional miniature scale environments, or scale models. Now I have seen them but I didn’t know it had an actual identifying name AND that people all over the world go to shows, conventions and workshops for this specialized hobby.

After they left, I went online to do a little research. The ‘Miniature World’ and the ‘Basket World’ have a lot in common! Who knew? Well, maybe some of you did but I sure was unaware.

So tonight, I’m sharing the art of miniatures. There are numerous talented artists whose crafts are created “mini” size.

First, I have been familiar with miniatures… My in-laws have a RoomBox display off their kitchen. The scale is 1:24. Here’s a quick collage of 4 images from my mother-in-law Joanne:

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These snapshots are from a stack of 5 Room Boxes that were created by my father-in-law Bruce’s mother. He also made a lot of the furniture. The stack of 5 Room Boxes is directly off their kitchen.

In addition, I’ve been fascinated by my father-in-law’s trains which are  an impressive scale of 1:87.

But mini’s that go way down to 144th scale or even 150th? I really had no idea that this is a major obsession. Until I met Betty and Mary last week. I thought only basketmakers were obsessed with their craft… but miniaturists also travel the country to workshops and shows! Who knew there were another equally-obsessed group? (Just teasing y’all!)

So to begin, here’s a miniature house by well-known miniaturist artist Karin Caspar. It’s also at 144th scale:
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And another from room box artist Francesca Vernuccio, with a penny to show scale (which is also 144th)…

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I really had no idea that people made miniatures so tiny! So I started doing some online research and there are many talented artists doing amazing things in the “Small Scale” world—of all scales.

Let’s start with something that is only 1/12th scale. I say ‘only’ sarcastically because his work is unbelievable…

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Photo and work by Randy Hage: newyorkstorefronts.com

It was created by artist Randy Hage and it looks like a photo taken right on the street in New York. Look at the below image he took of only the gumball machines next to a quarter (to give you a sense of the scale):

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Photo and work by Randy Hage: newyorkstorefronts.com


His detail work is extraordinary. On his website, newyorkstorefronts.com, he features his model next to the actual storefront he took a photo of like the one below…

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Photo and work by Randy Hage: newyorkstorefronts.com

I learned from his site that he is doing these in an attempt to preserve a part of New York City’s history. All I can say is… AMAZING!

The rest of the artists featured create even smaller pieces of art than the models I showed above…. all ranging down to 150th scale!!

Next is an artist who specializes in turning miniature art pieces on the lathe…

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Above work (and photo) is by Jim Talley. He creates most of the hollow forms in the same traditional way the full-size pieces are made. He also makes vases, platters, bowls, tables, and accessories using wood, acrylic, palm nuts, and antler. He is from Athens, Georgia and his pieces are between 1/2 – 1 inch in size.

Anyone interested in owning portrait paintings of Henry VIII and his six wives? Well for $800 you can! They are tiny but think of all the wall space you can save…

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These hand painted portraits of the notorious king and his unfortunate wives are done in oil by artist Michael Reynolds. The dimensions? Henry’s portrait is 3″ in height.

Or how about this little masterpiece titled “Sailing the Current Storm” by the same artist…

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Overall size is about 3.5 inches and will set you back $150 bucks. (I’m starting to think I’m totally in the wrong business…)

This next artist is from Latvia which leads me to a quick little story…

Many years ago my parents used to host young hockey players from a poor area in Latvia who were talented but had no opportunities in their country to develop their skills. Our family quickly learned that as Americans, we are very spoiled and take things for granted. My mother had a bowl of fruit on our table and they couldn’t believe we had real fruit that you could eat, just sitting there. They picked up the fruit and motioned to my mother (they spoke very little English) pointing at the fruit then up their mouths. My mom quickly shook her head and said “yes, yes.” Needless to say, they ate all of them in one day. They could not believe the abundance of food we had.

My mom joked she went to the grocery store every day to replenish—they ate so much! Anyways, one of the exchange students ended up playing in the Olympics for his country. I remember my father, who was a hockey coach for twenty years, being very proud.

So, I have a soft spot for Latvia and this next artist is named Adriana and sells her work on ETSY under the store name: StuffBoxMiniatures.

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She also happens to be from the same town, Riga (which is the capital city), as the exchange students were from.

Here’s another artist from Etsy, Renee Bowen and her little hand-made rug…

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Now I haven’t forgotten you basketmakers. I will close with two teeny tiny baskets. One with dozens of eggs and the other used as a sack for potatoes…mousehouse-thelittle-dollhouse-company

Hope this provided a tiny bit of happiness tonight. And to remember that time is so small…. a minuscule space of years… take advantage of every day.

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Mr. Basket Maker Speaks: Saturday Night Art Walk Take Over

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I mentioned to Lynne that I would like to write the next art walk. The reason for this, y ‘all will find out a little later. First issue on the table for me was to get familiar with Lynne’s style and format of her “Saturday Art Walk” posts. So, I re-read her last edition to brush up on her style.

I like how she gets everyone in the mood by describing the glass of wine that she is sipping on. I actually heard from several followers of these posts that they get out a glass of wine themselves and read along, sipping their wine. Sounds like she is onto something so I will do the same this evening.
Anyway, here is how the last Art Walk started out with Lynne…

“What I’m drinking tonight? A nice Italian Sangiovese. And if you are like me and mispronounce roughly 85% of wine names, here’s how you say this one: SAHN-dJOH-VAYZ (Note: Spelling is based on my interpretation of how it sounds. May be different in the dictionary but I’m confident it’s pretty close.)”

Yeah… don’t expect any of that stuff. Here’s how we are doing it tonight:

What I’m drinking tonight? This evening we are popping the top off a local microbrew called Calf Killer (it was named after a river where a long time ago calfkiller-beer-logo herd of cattle tried to cross a river during a flood. Bad idea. I don’t have to tell you what happened). The hand crafted brew is named Scorched Hooker.

Not to be confused with the “Scorned Hooker,” this hooker is burnt, dark and bitter— guaranteed to satisfy your need for a dark hoppy companion. Just be glad I didn’t choose another one of their beers as its name would have never made it past Lynne’s censorship. I knew I had to tame it down to get it by her. (Don’t worry folks, this is a one-time deal. You will get your regular Saturday Night Art Walk back next time.)

What I’m listening to? I had this brilliant idea of taking the recently downloaded music files from one of my older laptops and play it on a random mix. Some of this music I haven’t heard in over ten years: Up came Fat Boy Slim, Cinderella (not the one with the glass slippers) and Ween, where the main verse says something like “If you really love me you baby, help me scrape the mucus off my brain.” What’s kind of funny about that one is that it’s played as an old time western country song.

This sounded like a good idea…at the time. Now that I’ve set the mood, let’s get on with it. So my theme for tonight is the Art of Lynne Talbot-Taylor, my talented wife.

Seriously. The reason I wanted to do the art walk this week is because I am very proud of my wife and want to celebrate her art. With all of the work that was involved over the last 3-4 years with our big move to Tennessee, it kind of put her passion on the back burner. She was more occupied with her freelance design work to keep the bills paid. But now, as time went along and we started to settle in it became time for her to start getting back in the groove. And this girl has her groove on!

She’s been painting and painting and painting — sometimes until two or three in the morning. Trust me… her favorite music group the last two months (it changes often) Gramatix at three in the morning can get a little annoying. But I digress…

Now that we have a large enough area where she not only has her office and studio, she also has open space where she can work on large pieces, and she has been taking full advantage of it. On an earlier post I snapped a shot of her ‘starting stages’ on two pieces:

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Later in this post I’ll show the finished painting and you will be sure to be surprised. What is so interesting is the process — and how these paintings are ever-changing and gradually evolving.

When you look at abstract art and see a patch of color, your mind says that that was put directly on the canvas and that’s it. But the fact is, it may be many, many, many layers of paint below the final color you see. This constant layering of colors can be frustrating to watch. There were many long nights while she painted and would ask “what do you think”? And I would reply, “I think it’s done.” No more than a minute has passed after I said that and “boom” she’s mixing new colors of paint!

My reaction is usually “Nooo! Half the painting is gone!” I learned real quick not to get too attached to the way a painting currently looks if there’s no signature at the bottom (and actually, she says when she signs it, it’s done but I have seen her several times still working on it after the signature is placed).

But I have now seen that with her paintings (and with majority of abstract as well, I recently learned), this tedious, yet important process adds more and more depth to the creation of the final piece. Darn, Lynne is once again right!

What I learned the most in watching her work for weeks on end is that I didn’t understand all that is involved in abstract art. And I’m sure you have heard that people say “oh I can do that” and then when they try, they find it looks like total crap. I see now it is difficult. It’s a long process and that long process is what adds to the depth of the work and gives a painting life. The abstraction is the ART and it’s something nobody has seen before.

I will say that sometimes when she is frustrated that it’s not looking a certain way I will hear her declare, “That’s it. I’m going back to traditional painting—when the tree looks like a tree, it’s done!” She then walks off for a minute or two, and quickly comes back to tackle some more.

So you saw the picture above, this is how those two paintings ended up:

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Can you see now what I’m talking about how everything changes and it’s about the layers? These are the end resultless of two weeks of coming back to the canvas every day, for hours at a time, making changes.

All this is why I wanted to do this Saturday’s Art Walk. Many people, including myself, don’t really understand what abstract art is. I do now. It’s an emotion, a feeling, a visual you have never seen before. I could go on, but now for the best part of all. Lynne and I packed up nine pieces of her work to bring down to a previously scheduled appointment with an art center that houses the Berger Gallery in the next county over from us.

The director and assistant started looking through her works and were picking some out for display in the Art Center with all the other artists. And then the director said he really liked the two large yellow paintings (the same ones above) and asked Lynne if she happened to have thirty-some-odd pieces. “Yes, I do” Lynne says. Then the director asks her if she would commit to a solo show in 2017.

Wow! A 45-day solo show… I’m so proud of you Lynne. You’ve got almost a year and a half so no excuses. Finish up the dozens of paintings you already started and you will be ready to go.

Below are closeups of those two yellow paintings so you can see the detail. Below the white paint, there are hints of color. As she says, “if you want it to be white, you use white paint.” Meaning, there’s lots of color underneath and to get that depth and not “flat white”, you need to take the time and build up your colors and then paint the white where you want it. That way, it’s not flat white, but dimensional white. (Her words.)

talbot-taylor.com ©2016 Methodical Melody

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Thank you for letting me be the guest writer for your Saturday Night Art Walk.

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