Baby dolls and birds' nests

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments
Hello again readers,

This week, I have been adding to my montage painting of scenes of Clowne. Starting at the bottom, I have the Miners Welfare, in the middle the old infant and junior school, and to its right, the pit. At the top, there’s the Harlesthorpe dam, with the blue waters blending with the sky above the school, and to its left, the village cross – as it used to look before they cleaned it up, shoved it on a low plinth, and surrounded it with small bollards (some of which are quite a distance from the cross and get knocked down by traffic). As there is a space at the bottom left, I may add a pit pony. Horses are not my strong point, even though I used to ride them quite a lot when I was younger, so perhaps I will just stick to a disembodied pony head.

At art group, Elizabeth has now started a new painting, and brought the one she completed at last week’s meeting. I’ll photograph it and add it to our selling website soon. Unusually for her, she has, for added interest, put some figures into it. I asked her if any of them were her (especially the one in stilettos), or her friend John, but she thought not. Perhaps next time.

I seem to be making a habit of featuring other artists and this week, I would like to introduce the work of Teresa Russon. She makes incredibly realistic newborn dolls. Much too beautiful to play with, they are best seen as large ornaments rather than toys. Her Face Book profile is at:, where you can see more examples of her work. She is also on My Space at: She lives at Hodthorpe, a small village near Worksop, Notts, and works from home. Teresa sometimes gets so engrossed in the process, she works late into the night to complete a doll. The dolls are made of acrylic, and have to be baked in the oven at various stages (I wonder if she puts some cakes or a pie in while she’s at it, to save electricity – or perhaps she’s on Economy 7). The basic facial features are the same on each one but she can make them to any weight, skin or hair colour, with eyes open or closed. She can make them as a girl or a boy - I don’t know if they are anatomically correct. They come fully dressed as a girl or boy anyway. Teresa also makes jewellery, and you can see some examples on the wrists of some of the dolls. I’m not sure whether it is suitable for young children, though.

I am not actually selling Teresa’s dolls, but she is happy to take orders and you can contact her via her Face Book or My Space pages by sending a message if you are a member – otherwise go to my website at, and send me a message via the contacts page, and I will happy to pass it on. Prices start at £150 (approx 216 USD) plus shipping.

On the arty wildlifey front, we have now completed our pond and planted a willow tree and some shrubs around it. The local birds love it and keep visiting to bathe and drink – the bird bath is old hat now. New on the scene are two magpies, smart looking birds with their black and white plumage, who raided one of the nests in the garden recently. I suppose that’s just nature, though. I hope to paint at least one of them soon - or would it be bad luck to just paint one?

More arty bits and bobs next week …

Check out her blog:

It's a play about writing and writers. Scene One was a writing teacher reading her grad student's story out loud to her, and stopping to critique. It was the best writing lesson. I saw myself in it, the older teacher harping: pluck out the adjectives and adverbs like you would pin feathers on a chicken. (My words, not the playwrite's.) The play also brings up the morality or immorality of appropriating someone else's life into your writing. Should the great poet, Sharon Olds, write about her son, Gabriel's penis? About her daughter, naked? Do we have the write to undress other's in our writing in mind, body, and spirit? I think that's for each of us to decide.
Here's a test to see where you stand.
  • Are you terrified to write anything negative about your mother?
  • Are you terrified that if you write a sex scene readers will think you're one of the participants?
  • Are you, on the other hand, able to reveal other people's secrets, their pecadillos, faults, but never you own?

If any of these answers are YES you must set yourself the task of writing about them immediately!

What I enjoyed most of Rochelle’s class was her ability to orchestrate the class in such a manner that allowed the writer to discover his or her own needs. As a writer I find different occasions require different forms. This class helped me to challenge myself further in subject matter and style. Her chosen reading material was excellent in examples for the assignments. The class was a delight!
-Kara Astrouski


Bookbinder continued ...

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments
Continuing with my earlier posting about Heather, and adding some more images.

Here you can see one of her notebooks, bound with dark paper and decorated with birch bark (right).

A selection of her journals of different sizes

(Below) some of her decorative papers from around the world – and in some cases around the corner (John Lewis!)

(Below) two of her “tea towel” books – recycling in action!

Photo album (above).

I don't actually sell Heather's work myself, but if you are interested, let me know and I can pass enquiries on.  Prices start at about £15 for a small notebook. 

More arty fun next week,


This week, I have been out and about, photographing places to feature in my painting of Clowne landmarks. Clowne is a small place with a population of about 7,000, and I have had a choice of pubs, schools or churches, but there is also the village cross, and I hope to feature the Ringer Villa, which I will say more about if I do. Here we have the “Miners Welfare”. For those of you not familiar with the mining industry, I will say that there are a few of these “welfare” buildings in mining areas, and they were built as social clubs for miners. Ours closed down last year – the mine itself has been closed for many years now. It may not look much in the photo, but I’m sure I can pretty it up using some artistic licence …

This week, I would like to introduce my friend Heather Dewick, a bookbinder. She has over 20 years’ experience of producing books and restoring old books. She began with a foundation course at Lincoln Art College, then trained as a bookbinder. She was employed by a man (possibly Tony Budge) who lived near Retford to restore his large collection of books. Heather then set up a shop at Hunters Bar, Sheffield, but it was difficult to do her work and serve customers at the same time. After having her son (now aged 5), she moved to Bank Street Studios, in the Cathedral quarter of Sheffield. She works partly to commission, and in between, makes books to sell at craft fairs and markets.

Whenever Heather goes on holiday, she looks for interesting papers to buy. She uses antique equipment, such as this embossing press. Here you can also see some of the letters she uses, in a surprisingly wide range of fonts, about 15 I think.

I can recommend her work, as she restored a large old map book for a relative, some time ago, and produced a lovely guest book for me when I got married.

I will do a second posting about Heather to show more of her work, as there seems to be a limit to the number of images Blogger will let me post.

Meanwhile, at art group, Karen continued to work on her city harbour sunset, John completed his blonde Saluki (dog) portrait, and Elizabeth began a new painting, which looks like a sea shore. There was the usual jolly banter, which you really have to be there to appreciate. Today, for example, Madge said she had been stung by a nettle and John replied “and the nettle died”. All good fun.

I will end here then, and do another posting with more of Heather's work.


Places to Publish and Contests

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments
Upcoming Anthologies Deadline: 08/01/10. Submit to: The First Line. E-mail (via MS Word or WordPerfect attachment) to: Theme: Every story starts out the same: Three thousand habitable planets in the known universe, and I'm stuck on the only one without ______________. [Fill in the blank.] Type: Short stories (3,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: N/A. Submit to: Theme: Various topics based on one of 15 themes. See for more details. Type: Personal essays (500-5,000 words MAX). URL:

Upcoming Contests
Deadline: 05/18/10. Submit to: New Letters Literary Awards, University House, 5101 Rockhill Road, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO 64110, or submit online at Entry fee: $15. First prize: $1,500. Type: Poetry (6 poems MAX), essays, and short stories (8,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 05/30/10. Submit to: Fiction Award, Camber Press, 807 Central Avenue, Suite 2, Peeksill, NY 10566. Entry fee: $15. First prize: $1,000 plus publication of chapbook. Type: Fiction manuscripts. (10,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 05/31/10. Submit to: 2010 Linda Bromberg Literary Award, Quiddity, 1500 North Fifth Street, Springfield, IL 62702. Entry fee: $12. First prize: $500 plus publication. Type: Prose poem (1 poem). URL:

Deadline: 05/31/10. Submit to: River Styx Poetry Contest, 3527 Olive Street, Suite 107, St. Louis, MO 63103-1014. Entry fee: $20. First prize: $1,500 plus publication. Type: Poetry (3 titles, 14 pages MAX). URL:

Deadline: 05/31/10. Submit to: Spire Press, 217 Thompson St., Ste 298, New York, NY 10012. Entry fee: $20. First prize: $500 plus 20 copies and publishing contract. Type: Poetry (21 - 30 pages, one poem per page MAX). URL:

Deadline: 06/01/10. Submit to: Poetry Contest, Boston Review, 35 Medford St., Suite 302, Somerville, MA 02143 Entry fee: $20. First prize: $1,500 plus publication. Type: Poetry (5 poems MAX). URL:

Deadline: 06/30/10. Submit to: ABZ Poetry Prize, ABZ Press, PO Box 2746, Huntington WV 25727-2746. Entry fee: $28. First prize: $1,000 and 50 copies of winning book. Type: Poetry manuscripts (48 - 76 pages MAX). URL:

Deadline: 07/31/10. Submit to: The Adirondack Review's Fulton Prize. Send via DOC or pasted-in text: Entry fee: $10. First prize: $400 plus publication. Type: Short stories (3 stories, 10,000 words MAX). URL:

Deadline: 09/30/10. Submit to: Poetry Editor, The Ohio State University Press, 180 Pressey Hall, 1070 Carmack Road, Columbus OH 43210-1002. Entry fee: $25. First prize: $3,000. Type: Poetry (48 pages MAX). URL:

Deadline: 10/15/10. Submit to: So to Speak (Poetry or Nonfiction Contest), George Mason University, MSN 2C5, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030. Entry fee: $15. First prize: $500 plus publication. Type: Poetry (5 poems, 10 pages MAX) or essays (4,000 words MAX) URL:


Lyn's cards now on - what to paint next?

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments

I have now put Lyn Beaumont’s cards on the website, and very pretty they look too. She produces cards to order, and can either reproduce the cards shown or make something to your specification.
Meanwhile, in art group this morning, Maggie was finishing her latest water lilies painting, and I am planning out my next one.

I have decided to add in more buildings and landmarks of Clowne to my painting of the infant school, featured last time, all around it. I will have to go and photograph some. If any readers would like to add comments to suggest suitable landmarks, I’d like to hear from you.

Bye for now,


Art from the old school

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments
Dear readers,

This week, I have been rather busy putting new artist Lyn’s work on the gallery site (although less busy than our politicians at the moment). Here in the UK, we have just had our general election and now have a “hung” parliament - no one party has enough of a majority to govern - so we will have to have some sort of coalition, and we are all waiting to hear what happens now.

Here (above) is a detail from a painting I have in storage at home, not “hung” (groan), on the wall. I am hoping it will be featured in a local advertising magazine, “Look Chesterfield 1st”. It shows our old infant school at Clowne, and Sue from the art group (whose work you can see on the main gallery website) was a pupil there years ago. She tells me it was a very good school, and well kept. The headmaster’s house was next door, and is now the parish council’s offices. At the time I painted it, it had been used as part of Chesterfield College for quite a few years, then stood empty once the college moved to new premises. It has since been made into a pub, but I wanted to paint it as it was, before it was converted. It only takes up a small part of the canvas, and I would like to add more to the painting, perhaps add more landmarks of the area, around it. I’ve shown it on a windy day, with the little girl’s umbrella blowing inside out, for added interest, and perhaps to convey the idea of a “wind of change”, and indeed by the time I’d begun this painting, the conversion was well underway, and the pub has recently reopened.

I like to paint from nature, and have photographed a heron, which arrived as soon as our garden pond (which we are reinstating) was filled with water, although it landed in the field at the back. It’s barely visible on the photograph, so a bit too small for me to paint. We also have had some newly fledged birds in our garden - luckily, our cat is too old to harm them.

It has been a quiet Twitter week for me after not having any luck downloading Twitter Local, but I have found someone on it that I already know and is local – but I found them via “Linked In”. I joined a few weeks ago and am just beginning to find other people, so I suppose that is another way to find Twitter followers and followees – if you are running a business, that is.

At art group, some of us are doing the group project “Egypt”, Madge has had a bit of a battle doing camels - it seemed to be camels 1, Madge nil. Sue has a sphinx on the go, and Gill is deciding what desert scene to try. I have redone my Venice courtyard scene in chalk pastels rather than coloured pencils, but it didn’t come out well. It needed a bigger piece of paper - chalk pastel isn’t good for small details. It did, however, depict the colours quite well.

All for now



Remember, The Sun is Shining Again

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa 0 comments

And with that, comes my seasonal warning. From growing up in Rockway Beach, baby-oil and iodine slicked, a reflector intensifying the sunlight on my face, I know have to go to the dermatologist every three months to check for basil cells. While others happily get botox, I get burned or cut. Not fun. When I read about people going in the tanning booths, I suck in my breath. Here's a photo my daughter-in-law took of me with my parasol, which I must use because sunscreen isn't enough.

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