Saturday, June 22, 2013

A platypus, a flower, a fairy...

Puzzle Pieces!

Yes I am getting creative with the backgrounds now! The platypus was easy, it behaved very well and just posed on the tree bark of an old elm branch. Balancing the flower on the Mojave Yucca leaves took some doing but the leaves of the yucca are strong and took to the task well. I cheated on the fairy and held the little block up by the blooms of a Mojave Desert Willow with that Y-stick that you see in the picture. Balance block on stick with left hand, snap picture(s) with right. Piece of cake!

In case anyone wonders, I take about 5-10 pictures per block and pick and keep the best. Sometimes I have to tinker with the camera settings, manual focus, no flash, etc., but most of the time I just let it do its thing on Auto.

How cool are these, huh? huh?

Margaret Barnaby - Volcano, Hawai'i, USA
"What could be more fantastic than a flippin' platypus? The block is tiny, the tools are dull, but still,it was very fun!    In Memory of a Tasmanian friend, Jane Baldry, who created a fantastic garden above the river."

Sonia Jensen - Wyoming USA
"By late April, we escape endless winter, for a week in Hawaii. We need to remember that trees are green and flowers bloom.  Just before leaving, I discovered the book, Georgia O'Keeffe's Hawaii.  Georgia visited Maui in 1939. She produced paintings, in her unique style, of the flowers we saw daily.  Thus came the inspiration for my block.   Now summer is slow to arrive , so I have had plenty of time to savor the carving of my block and participation in the Fantastic Garden Puzzle Print Project.          

Sharri LaPierre - Vancouver Washington USA

The Fantastic Garden is such a great theme. The pity is: so many ideas, but only one block!  But, it is just mandatory that all gardens have fairies and other kinds of little folk.  How else could you explain the mischief that can occur amongst your plants and flowers?  My little fairy loosely resembles my youngest granddaughter when she was 3 and 4 yrs. old and considered herself a Fairy Princess.  And, she loves bugs, so this fairy is in deep conversation with a lady bug while fireflies twinkle.

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Daily Catch

More Puzzle Pieces!

Daniel Dew - Tampa Florida USA

I live in the Deep South, next to alligators and swamps.  Our gardens are pretty, but full of amazing and scary bugs.  I can never decide which is more fascinating, the flora or the insects, so I choose the insect.  Here's looking a ya kid.

Anne van Oppen - Southern California USA
annevo5 at

Owls have been a fondness of mine from a very young age.  I discovered a coloney of Burrowing Owls on the hillside behind my parents home in the 1960's and kept it a secret from everyone - even my family!  I was worried that if the word got out they would be harmed.  Development and a growing population chased them away.  We still have Great Horned Owls and Barn Owls living in the area.  This spring I installed a Barn Owl Box in my Mother's garden with the hope of attracting a pair to move in.  It seemed fitting to put my wish into "Growing the Garden" puzzle print.

Barbara Zietchick - Pennsylvania USA

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

More Garden Denizens

Pandora's Box!

I had the brilliant idea of taking the first few pictures of blocks in my "real" garden. Great. Now I have become obsessed to have a different background for every new arrival. Sigh.  From now on, I am accepting the self-imposed assignment: everyone gets their own unique background. What the heck, I have an acre full of a variety of desert flora! Should make the Growing the Garden book a delight to peruse.
This little fellow was stalking me while I swam!
He/she then waited for me to finish, get my camera and snap a few

The Puzzle Pieces

Therese Krupp - Minneapolis USA
nimblefingers58 at
My name is Basil...I am an extraordinary cat. I love to prowl in the deep vegetation looking at all the bugs. I do not like snakes. When I see them I climb a tree and lift my whiskers through the leaves ..I have great fun in the clouds. When I'm tired I slowly ooze down the bark till I reach the grass . Spring is my favorite time. Meow!   sincerely  Basil. 

Suzanne J. Salsbury - Waterloo, Iowa USA
salsbury at
My Garden caters to all kinds of birds, insects, and butterflies during the year so I had lots of options to choose from.  After running through a myriad of insects, birds, bugs, and fairie images I finally settled on a butterfly.

Woodcuts are definitely not my strongest area of printmaking so as I looked for imagery I looked at very basic shapes.  After I decided on a butterfly I began to search for a very simple image that would have a little more appeal than just a flat black shape.  WOW!  There are a lot of simple designs out there.  I compiled a colection of possibie images and waited for my puzzle piece to arrive.

After my puzzle piece arrived and I realized how large my image could be, I really became bold.  This is the most detailed woodcut I have done to date and I think it turned out pretty good.  Who knows, if I continue to join in these collaborations and other exchanges, in 50 years I may be able to call myself a woodcut printmaker.

Robert Simola - Central Coast of California

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Revenge of the Fire Ants

More Arrivals and Revenge of the Fire Ant

There are a number of dangers in the desert and, although very few actually live in people's back yards, still the desert is not exactly "user friendly" sometimes.

So there I was, innocently taking photos of our beloved puzzle pieces. This year I thought I would vary the backgrounds and chose to place the little darlings in my garden, of course! Problem is, I get distracted trying to find just the perfect background, the perfect light, the perfect focus...OOOOUCH! nothing like fire ants tend to end the bliss in a hurry.

If you have ever been bitten, you know why they call them fire ants. And to top it all off, I seem to have a slight "reaction" to some insect bites so my heel today is about twice as big as it should be. My HEEL! that is some tough skin that little bast--- got through...
Sigh, no more photos under that Mojave Willow that's for sure!

Here are three more contributions.
David Bull - Tokyo JAPAN
(Maria's note: What is it? I guess we all will have to wait to print it to find out!
I will just tell you that, up close, the carving is absolutely incredible, the entire image done in a single continuous engraved line. Amazing.)

John Center - Chicago Illinois USA

Harry French - Lincolnshire England UNITED KINGDOM
This section of the puzzle print is based upon imaginative and observational studies in the garden of the German Expressionist, Emile Nolde of Seeb├╝ll in Schleswig- Holstein, Northern Germany.
Website :

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Monday, June 17, 2013


Fantastic Garden is sprouting like crazy!

Everything is going according to whatever crazy plan I had in mind when I started this project. Puzzle pieces are returning to me with fantastic images carved and ready to be placed into the puzzle.

I have two large skeleton blocks carved and working on the third! Only two more to go and I can start placing the arrivals into their places.

For this particular project I scouted the web and purchased some thin neoprene blankets. They are a bit softer than the printing rubber blankets that we used last time. This means that they will perhaps be more forgiving of the different carving styles and we may be able to get even better prints with less "tweaking" effort.

So far the puzzle blocks are wonderfully carved! Check them out on the dedicated Puzzle Prints Blog:

Here we go!

My Precioussssssssssssssssssssss!!!


When blocks start rolling in I feel like a wizard with a magic precious secret...shall I share right away or shall I wait? Oh, the magic!!! The magic begins, my dear friends!

But first! (is the suspense killing you?) three IMPORTANT, of note:

  1. Please fill out image information as soon as you know what you are doing, K? If you choose NOT to do that, your block will be published both online and in the book Growing the Garden with your name and location only, not that there's anything wrong with that.
  2. If you would like a printed book Growing the Garden at pre-publication price, just send $18 along with your block, via PayPal, in gold nuggets, fine wine or dark chocolate.
  3. At any time during the exciting quest for completion of the Fantastic Garden, you can check the Participant's Page on this blog to see who has returned their block, who is getting a book, etc. I try to update the list every week and will faithfully do so from now until the bitter end.

Without further ado, here are the first arrivals in no particular order.

Helen Aland - Katherine AUSTRALIA
This has been a fabulous opportunity to collaborate with Artists from all over the globe.  I have tried to project a little piece of my garden in the woodblock  - a flock of Red Tail Cockatoos flying off into the sunset, a scene I often am privileged to see!

Andrew Borloz - Northeast USA
The flowers & leaves in the image that I created for this project do not really exist in the natural world. They were created from my imagination to reflect the theme: fantastic garden - it may have been inspired or influenced by the dogwood flowers & leaves in my backyard. The shape of the wooden block that I got looked like a pear, but I decided to ignore the shape and just carve the flower, leaves and twigs. 

Fantastic Garden Headquarters:

Thursday, June 6, 2013


What's this I see? Little sprouts in our garden!

Dear participants, six wonderful blocks are here!
The garden begins to sprout with wonderful contributions from Robert Simola, Barbara Zietchick, Andrew Borloz, Sue Salsbury, Anne Van Oppen and David Bull.

Pictures coming right at you but first wanted to point out two updates:

1. The Participants List is now updated with the new arrivals, whether you have sent information for your design, and whether you have ordered a pre-paid Printed Book "Growing the Garden"

2. To fill in your Artist Information, go to the Artist Info page:

3. If you still want to pre-order a printed book Growing the Garden, just let me know and somehow, some way send the pre-paid amount of $18 to me, with your block, via PayPal to my email address.

Also, please point out any errors in either page regarding your info.


Fantastic Garden Headquarters: