Friday, August 28, 2009

Artist dates & blog inspiration, part 2

In my last blog post I discussed the importance of taking a creative timeout by reading inspirational blogs. Fortunately, on our BBEST team, we are blessed with a wealth of these! Today’s post will highlight the blogs of Gunnel of gunnelsvensson, AJ of AromaFields, and Zuda of ZudaGay.

Gunnel, who resides in Sweden, recently re-opened her Etsy shop which features art quilts and contemporary embroidery, fabric collage and mixed media collage. She is a prolific blogger with 445 posts, as of today, going back to 2006. While the bilingual posts in Gunnel’s blog make it easy for you to follow her creative journey, what really draws you to her blog is the plethora of photos she takes of her breathtakingly beautiful work. She dyes much of the fabric with which she works, and enjoys creating a vintage look using lace, buttons and other embellishments. In her most recent post, she describes an art quilt that was previously featured in two exhibitions, but is now available in her shop. “It is old linen wich I have rust dyed and several layers of cheesecloth and vintage lace,” she writes. Her interesting quilt also incorporates a vintage letter and vintage button.

Gunnel is an expert at using the Embellisher, a needle felting machine by Babylock that imbeds fiber in fabric. Inspired by nature, she takes lots of photos while taking walks, then incorporates her discoveries in her work. In the blog bittersweet, textile artist Morna Crites-Moore features Gunnel’s needle felted "summerembroidery 2," which looks very much like a summer meadow in bloom.

Besides specializing in mini art quilts, Gunnel enjoys creating fabric post cards. She has participated in post card and ATC (Artist Trading Card) swaps, and writes about them frequently in her blog. In her shop, you will also see examples of her fabric post cards.

Another BBEST blogger, AJ of ajscountrycottage, tickles our taste buds with recipes such as Dairy-Free Fruit Smoothies and Summer Bounty Pasta, and makes our fingers itch to experiment with yarn when she compares knitting to crochet in a post about self-striping yarns.

Knitting vs. Crocheting, by ajscountrycottage

AJ, whose Etsy shop features her aromatic candles and soap, says that fall is her favorite season. “The weather is cooler and drier. Nights are mellow,” she writes. “I adore the scents associated with fall.” She points out that her new Bartlett Pear candle highlights all the scents of fall because it is “strong, juicy, and tart.” She is so passionate about candle making that AJ invites her readers to learn about what she does through a blog tutorial: Tutorial - How to Make Votive Candles and Votive Tutorial, Part 2.

In addition to being a member of the BBEST team, AJ belongs to the KC (Kansas City) Etsy Team. This team is currently sponsoring a Countdown to Christmas, or 18 consecutive weeks of blog giveaways. Although one lucky person is already the recipient of a free bar of soap from AJ, you can visit the KC Etsy Team blog and learn about other holiday giveaways. Most importantly, though, make sure you visit AJ’s shop frequently, since she is always coming out with new scents.

Last, but not least among today’s featured bloggers is Zuda of ZudaGay, whose polymer clay sculpted flower pendants and focal beads delight us visually. Zuda recently reached an important milestone, her 1000th sale, so she is delighted to share her happiness about this event with all of us by offering three free giveaways from her Etsy shop via her blog, Clay In the Hands. You can read about the details here.

The detail that Zuda devotes to her intricate flowers is evident as she shares with us a little bit about her creative process in A Little Leaf Tutorial. Using a series of photographs, she demonstrates how to roll, flatten and shape a leaf, then carve veins into it with a needle tool.

Besides including photos in her blog of a wide variety of her focal beads, pendants and brooches, Zuda introduces us to other artists—polymer clay and otherwise— by featuring them in her posts. Some of these include Arlene of Harrison Hollow Designs, Eugena of Eugena’s Creations, and Vicki of EllieLee. Mostly, though, I enjoy visiting Zuda’s blog to see what new products she is developing. With fall just around the corner and December a few months down the road, you can be sure that Zuda will be amazing us soon with more delightful creations.

While you’re browsing through the blogs of Gunnel, AJ and Zuda, I’m sure you’ll be inspired to approach your own creative projects with renewed energy. Be sure to look for my next post that will highlight three more BBEST bloggers who will stimulate your creativity.

© 2009 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at


Myfanwy said...

Yes, these blogs are truly inspirational. Thanks for pointing us towards them, Judy.

Yankeegirl said...

Wonderful feature on the blogs of our bbest friends!! Such talent.

Jaci said...

Wow! Great article, each one of these artists and their blogs could have been a feature on their own!

ZudaGay said...

I love reading blogs!!! I read AJ's and Gunnel's whenever I get a chance and always enjoy them. Thank you Judy for your wonderfully written posts!! And, thank you for including my blog this week.

NightSky said...

I don't seem to have time to keep up with blogs, but I can see I am missing out on A LOT! The three you have featured here are fabulous!! Kudos to you all! Thanks for showing them to us, Judy!

MagdaleneJewels said...

Great blog - You chose some great boomers to highlight.
love Gunnel's quilts -her cards are beautiful, and of course a big fan of Zuda's beautiful flowers, and aj's candles. Oh if only I could win the lottery tonight (over $300 million) I could buy everything!

Sixsisters said...

Thanks for the great blog Judy !

Bonnie said...

love the eye candy, Gunnel's pieces were some of the very first things i saw when i first signed up on Etsy, and i was and am awed at her talent and vision. thanks for the leads to these blogs, even though like NightSky, i can't seem to keep up with all the blogs i'm following, and the list keeps growing! i recently opened my own Etsy shop, and still feel pretty overwhelmed and very much the newbie. these folks inspire me because they were once in my shoes, and if they can do it i guess i can too! thank you, Judy!

The Filigree Garden said...

Lovely profiles of talented BBEST bloggers. :-)

joon said...

I love blogging & reading other blogs. This is such a pretty article. :)

Rose said...

I agree with Nightsky, I'm missing out on a lot by not finding the time to read all the blogs. I need to change that and I think this will lead me to do that. I do really enjoy reading and now with my iPhone and over an hour bus ride to work I have no excuse! Love the works and words of those featured today!