Toxic Candles? Not at The Word is Art!

Did you know that the lovely aromatherapy candles you’ve been burning to relax and fill your home with calming scents could be toxic?  In the past, many of the scented candles on the market contained lead-core wicks because fragrance oils soften the wax, so the manufacturers used lead to make the wicks firmer.  A candle with a lead-core wick releases five times the amount of lead considered hazardous for children and exceeds EPA pollution standards for outdoor air, says the CPSC, which is why they banned lead wicks in 2003. Exposure to high amounts of lead has been linked to hormone disruption, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and numerous health problems. New candles should be marked as “lead-free”.  If you don’t see that, rub the top of the candle wick across paper and if a grey mark like a pencil is left then there is lead in that wick.

You should also watch out for aromatherapy candles made of paraffin— a petroleum by-product—which release carcinogenic soot when burned. The soot can also cause respiratory problems and will aggravate the conditions of those who already have asthma, lung, or heart problems.  Burning an aromatherapy candle made of paraffin has been compared to preparing a healthy drink of fresh squeezed juice and adding a shot of gasoline.   Besides endangering your health and that of your family, soot from paraffin wax can cause significant damage to the inside of your house, plus your computers, electrical appliances, and ductwork.

And if that weren’t enough, aromatherapy candles that are scented with synthetic oils release microscopic particles that can cause cancer and other health problems when inhaled. They can also trigger allergy attacks and headaches in people who are sensitive to chemical smells.

You Love Burning Candles so What Can You Do? 

OWP-close-upAt The Word is Art Gallery, we sell wearable natural nontoxic candles from Objects with Purpose.  OwP founder, Ianthe used to light a candle at the end of every day but, as an adult, she discovered that many of the candles she’d been lighting were toxic!  

Researching the safest cleanest candles to burn for her family, she discovered organic coconut butter wax.  Having high standards in design, as well as quality, Objects with Purpose candles were born to deliver non-toxic OWP-displaysophisticated conscientious candles to everyone.

Besides being burned as a candle, OWP candles can be used as solid perfume when cool or as massage oil when it gets heated up.  The fragrance lasts and is delightful without being overpowering.  Recently, OWP products were featured in the Oscar “swag bags”!!   So if you’d like a little taste of natural luxury, come down to The Word is Art Gallery and try them out.
*Thank you to Green America for much of the toxic candle information.

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Featured Artist – Pamela Harnois

Pamela Harnois

Pamela Harnois

Our featured window artist for April is Pamela Harnois. On a recent trip to New York City Pamela saw large drawings in store windows, and they left quite an impression. Pamela then decided to create large black ink brushed art to showcase in her “Everything’s in Bloom” Spring Window at The Word is ART gallery.

Everything's in Bloom gallery window

Everything’s in Bloom gallery window

Pamela Harnois is an artist, designer and instructor who has been influenced by both American retro design and the California impressionist movement. After graduating with a B.F.A. degree in fine art and design, she moved from Boston to Chicago and now Los Angeles. Her professional design work has been as a creative director and package designer for Nestle USA and Keebler Food Company and several advertising design firms. During that time in her career, she always continued to draw and paint.

Holly Golightly

Holly Golightly

Pamela is an exhibiting artist and instructor at The Word is ART gallery in Culver City, The Artisan’s Guild in Norfolk, CT and at the Kline Academy of Fine Art in Los Angeles where she teaches watercolor painting. She is available for private lessons, demonstrations and commissions. You can contact Pamela directly at and check out more of her beautiful art work while you are there!

all paintingsbottom paintings


red flowers

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Featured Artist – Peggy Abbott Chin

Peggy Abbott Chin

Peggy Abbott Chin

Our featured artist this week is Peggy Abbott Chin who has created a fabulous window display from her gorgeous textile arts.   Peggy believes that art is medicine and can be used as a verb.  You are not just making something – you are arting – and when you are, God can come.  She realizes that is a tricky word to use so feel free to substitute spirit, universe, source, a higher power, inspiration, etc.  To Peggy, creating becomes a beautiful space of communication.  Art making becomes your teacher, your journey.  Making art takes you someplace inside yourself.  Art can be a direction, a finger pointing, a map.  It is giving you a sign.  It can be about what’s going to happen – a forecast – or it can be a nowcast that tells you what shape you are in.

Peggy was in good shape that early, rainy Saturday morning that led her – due to a literal “detour” sign in the road – directly to the intersection in Culver City that is home to her beloved The Word Is Art Gallery (TWIA).  Her adrenaline started pumping when she looked over and saw words like “hand-made gifts” and “fine art” and she thought, “This “detour” is no accident!  I make fine art and hand-made gifts and I am ready to share them with my local community, and not just on-line anymore.”  She decided to visit the gallery (several times!) to see if they would be a fit. Before she knew it, Peggy was welcomed as a new member to TWIA family.  

Peggy's full window display

Peggy’s full window display

She says it is a lovely and diverse group to be amongst and a great reason to keep arting and evolving in art and as a human.  She loves the connections as well as the fun and beautiful art of all the other artists.   She says,  “Everyone is supportive.  We are all comedians and we love to laugh!   (Or is that just me?)   Renee is like our wonderful “mother” at the gallery.  She looks out for all of us.  And we all reciprocate.”

While Peggy loves mixed media art and watercolor painting, her main focus at TWIA is on making art from rich, deep, delicious textiles which is why they are the focus of her window display.  She remembers loving and combining fabric scenarios as far back as middle school on the east coast, where she dressed more “creatively” than the rest, and got constant comments.  When Peggy moved to California for the first time in 1990 she was thrilled with the relaxed view and acceptance of creativity that is stronger – or at least more visible – here on the west coast. 

Peggy says even though there is much stress and sadness in the world, there is even more beauty than that to focus on, look for and find in the details of everyday life.  We are all free to choose what we want to focus on.  She chooses beauty.  It is in these details and daily interactions with the places and people around her that serve as Peggy’s inspirations.  And you can truly see that in the beautiful and inspired pieces that she creates.

Close up of the bottom of the window

Close up of the bottom of the window

Gorgeous to look at and beautiful to smell...lavender sachets

Gorgeous to look at and beautiful to smell…lavender sachets

Close up of the middle hanging and the side display

Close up of the middle hanging and the side display

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Featured Artist – Jenny Wyss

Jenny Wyss

Jenny Wyss

Our featured artist this week is Jenny Wyss.  Jenny will be having a Gallery Reception showcasing her recent work at The Word is Art gallery on Saturday, March 1, 2013 from 6-9 pm.

It was happenstance that led Jenny to TWIA.  She had been thinking about putting her work out into the world more directly since moving to LA, and discovered the gallery while on a walk with her dog.  A few friendly conversations later, and it became her new art home.  She finds the co-op structure to be very democratic, which is not typically a descriptor she associates with the art world at large.

Jade Stella painting

Jade Stella painting



Her work over the past several years has focused on succulents and the cosmos, but in a very explorative and private manner.  She kept returning to watercolor and polymer clay in miniature and detailed ways.  Now with her work in the public gaze, she is finding herself encouraged to push deeper, hybridize her visions, and return to some themes she is finding a renewed interest in — especially the narrative female form.  Succulents and bohemian geometry have become a major part of her visual vocabulary, so she thinks they’ve got a bit more to give before they’re played out.

Succulent Necklace

Succulent Necklace

Jenny has always been a creator, and studied art in college and graduate school.  Art making for her is such a private experience that it always felt very artificial to have so many people involved in its related coursework and critiques.  As a result, it might seem a bit strange that she became an art teacher herself, but says that she always found her teachers to be encouraging, and she really enjoys helping young artists.   She will be teaching a Boho-Geo Jewelry Making Class at the Gallery in early April.

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Featured Artist – Alice Lunsford

Alice Lunsford

Alice Lunsford

Our featured artist this week is Alice Lunsford who has put up a wonderful Mardi Gras-themed window at the gallery.  Alice and her husband, Jim, love to travel and each new country becomes the subject of a new painting.  But Alice’s favorite city in the entire world is New Orleans – particularly at Mardi Gras – which is why it is the theme of her window display.

Alice's Mardi Gras themed front window display at The Word is Art gallery

Alice’s Mardi Gras themed front window display at The Word is Art gallery

Alice’s art is on display in many private homes throughout the nation and she has shown at galleries across Southern California including the George Ashley Gallery at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre, the Blue 7 Gallery, the Four Seasons Gallery in Wrightwood and several art-loving libraries.  She was an art major at UCLA and is currently studying with Abstractionist Gloria Lee.

When not painting or designing mosaics, Alice, as a member of SAG/AFTRA and AEA, can be found making commercials, acting in TV sitcoms, or writing (WGA).  Presently she is writing a musical about Salvador Dali and a musical about a radio show during World War II.

But her true love centers on her husband, two marvelous children, four precious grandchildren, and an impossibly temperamental cat named Mimi.


Close up of one of Alice’s Mardi Gras papier-mâché heads


The other side of the window – a papier-mâché dragon’s head!

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It’s Almost Valentine’s Day…

Renee Troy Ornament…and every February 14, across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.   The gist of the legend is that Valentine was a priest who defied the Roman Emperor Claudius II and performed marriages in secret even though they had been outlawed.  When he was discovered, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death.  During his imprisonment he supposedly fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and sent her a letter signed – “From your Valentine”.

Valentine greetings have been popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

The artists at the Word is Art Gallery have showcased our talents with Valentine’s Day cards, jewelry, ornaments, sachets and all kinds of other unique handmade art like those pictured below.  Come by the gallery and check out all the gift possibilities for expressing your love in a one of a kind way!

Cards, Jewelry, Ornaments, Sachets and more…

Pamela Harnois Cards

Rachel Farabaugh cards

Marla Murphy Necklaces

Jenny Wyss Necklaces

Ornament Tree

Ornament Tree Close Up

Peggy Chin Sachets

Adriana Vidal Valentine's Day Corner

Lisa Holtzman Valentine's

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Love is in the Air




Just 14 days until Valentine’s Day! What better way to show your sweetheart how unique your love is than buying one of a kind gifts from the Word is Art gallery? Our artists have been busy creating Valentine treasures so come down and support local business and artists.

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Life is a Canvas

This painting is the centerpiece of our first window display of 2014. The inspiring quote is from Danny Kaye. In that spirit, the gallery is revving up the new year by offering tantalizing new classes!

In “Cultivating You”, a journaling class with Kelly Kilmer, you will create a unique book form utilizing a variety of techniques. The class is this coming Sunday and we still have some space. February 8th, come make a flag book with Debra Disman. February 23rd, Kelly is back to guide you through every step of creating a hard bound journal from scratch. Debra Disman returns March 2 with a fun class on painted light switch plates. April 5th,  our new jewelry artist, Jenny Wyss will be teaching Boho-Geo Statement Jewelry. She’ll show you unexpected combinations like drawing and painting on metal and plastic. You can sign up for classes on our website or in the gallery where we have class dates and details.

Posted in Events and Classes

A Brand New Year

Happy New Year! May 2014 be the year that all of your dreams come true, and that the valuable life lessons you learned in 2013 help achieve your goals in the coming months.

All of the artists of The Word is ART would like to thank you for your encouragement and patronage in 2013, which marks our first year here in Culver City. This has been an amazing year in getting the gallery off the ground on Venice Boulevard, and we know that 2014 is going to be even better.

We are kicking off our successful series of workshops with the amazing Kelly Kilmer, who will start your New Year off right with “Cultivating You: A Journaling Process” on Sunday, January 19, 2014 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Word is ART. What better way to start off 2014 than with a journal of your new life?









More information and to sign up for the Kelly Kilmer workshop:



A reminder: Valentine’s Day is Friday, February 14, and many of the artists at The Word is ART have new work that has been created just for you and your sweetheart. We guarantee that a thoughtful gift of a little something from our collection of art, jewelry, handmade crafts and greeting cards will increase your chance of getting lucky by 127 percent. Let us know how you do.

We hope to see you at The Word is ART soon.

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Marla Murphy Interview










Marla Murphy is our current featured artist. She is an amazing artist and her recent event at the gallery was a huge success! Here’s our interview with her:

Marla Murphy Interview

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