Featured Artist – Ruchika Sachdeva

Ruchika Sachdeva

Ruchika Sachdeva

On June 7th there was a lovely event at The Word is Art called “The Art I Do”. The event was hosted by our featured artist Ruchika Sachdeva.

Ruchika is a young artist from India who gave up a career in Journalism to become an artist. She loves to create many different types of arts and crafts such as Paper Quilling, Jewelry painting in oil and acrylic, recycle crafts and more. You are probably familiar with most of the art forms on that list but you just might be asking yourself “What is Paper Quilling?”

monkeyPaper Quilling is an art form from the Renaissance period that was founded by nuns and monks. They rolled and curled the gilded edges of the paper remnants from the book making process. These rolls and curls were used to decorate articles and objects as an inexpensive substitute to gold filigree. Therefore the art is also called Paper Filigree. In the 18th century it became a past time of the English ladies to decorate tea caddies, sconces, etc.

flowering-treeThis art traveled across the Atlantic and was popular until the 1960s and 70s. The prevalence of this art form all but died out after that but there are still artists who do it for the love of it like Ruchika.

It takes several hours to create any design or picture. Each piece is an original work of art. Unlike paintings and photos it cannot be reproduced. So each greeting card or book mark or framed picture is actually an original work by the artist.

It is detailed work that requires hours of planning and patience. Ruchika says that normally she is not a very patient person; however Art soothes and calms her. Patience pours in from all directions while she creates.

penguinsRuchika gets inspired by nature, animals, trees and flowers. Many of her designs show her inspiration and expert use of color. “Color is my thing,” says Ruchika when asked about what is it that is the easiest for you in quilling? She says nature inspires her work because nature is calming and soothing. And she feels that that’s what art should be for everyone that comes in contact with it.

We hope you find her work as soothing and calming as it is to her!! You can come down to The Word is Art Gallery to see many more beautiful examples of this art form.

Framed quilling piecesmore-quilling-pieces

Posted in Events and Classes

What Are Paste Papers And What Can You Do With Them?

Marie Kelzer Designs at The Word is Art Gallery

Marie Kelzer Designs at The Word is Art Gallery

Definition:  Paste Papers are decorative papers which are hand painted using brushes, tools and household gadgets to create designs over a surface covered with a paste and acrylic paints mixture.

I make paste papers.  If you have ever visited The Word is Art Gallery, you may have noticed my creations hanging from an old cook’s rack.

The question I always get about making paste papers is – how do you make the paper?  The short answer is, I don’t; what I do is decorate or paint onto a sheet of paper.  However, the term making paste papers is synonymous with decorating paste paper and should not be confused with making a sheet of paper from pulp.  Whatever the long history of paste papers, they are made by bookbinders, paper makers, craftspeople, children’s art classes, printers and bookmaker’s.

There is no one way to make paste papers.  From the paste to the paints, the paper used and to the myriad of techniques employed to create the designs.  All of these are an individual choice.  Just check the internet for recipes to find out how varied they are.  Search Google using “Paste Papers”.  One constant is that anybody can do it!  Making paste papers is mostly compared to finger painting as practiced in elementary schools.

I can only clue you in on the way I make the paste papers and save the other ways for a later time.


  1. Paints – I use Golden®, Liquitex® and Utrectht® brands in tubes or containers.  Any acrylic paint will do although some have more body then others.  I use basic color tones of Ultramarine Blue, Chromium Oxide Green, Medium Yellow Azo, Naphthol Crimson, Raw Sienna, Iridescent Gold and Mars Black.  Add paint to plastic containers filled with methyl  cellulose.  Stir with plastic spoons.
  2. Paste Paper Powder

    Paste Paper Powder

    Paste – Wheat flour, rice flour, cornstarch, methyl  cellulose.  My choice is methyl  cellulose paste in a powder form dissolved in water.  I like its working properties and shelf life.  The resulting effect is a flatter non textured feel on the paper.  Ideal for craft projects as the paint once dried on the paper does not crack when folded. Currently I use ethyl Methyl hydroxyethyl Cellulose which I also sell at Marie Kelzer Designs on Etsy.  This water soluble cellulose is used for thickening.  When you add paint it helps to slow down drying time to allow you to create designs using combs and other tools.  Just 1/8 cup or 2 Tbsp. of powder mixed with water yields 14 cups of solution.  Once mixed up the Methyl Cellulose can sit on the shelf for months.  With just 14 cups mixed you can make dozens of paste papers.

  3. Various tools

    Various tools

    Paper – I use Mohawk Superfine 80# text, a printing paper, for its durability and softness.   Experiment with any paper you have.  The denser the better.

  4. Comb and other tools to drag through the paste paint mixture.  Use chip board to cut teeth for a comb.  Random cuts with lots of valleys and peaks make for more random patterns.
  5.  Brushes – Foam brushes widths of 1, 2 and 3 inches to spread the paint/paste mixture.
  6.  Painting surface – paint directly on old table or plexiglass.
  7.  Kraft Paper and boards for drying

paste paper designTECHNIQUE:

  1. I generally do not pre-wet the paper.  I may lay down a base color but I start out painting color mixture on a dry sheet of paper.  The paper relaxes as you paint.
  2. Comb teeth can be cut any size but what creates the design is the way you pull the comb over the paint mixture.  Light vs. heavy pressure, quick vs. slow movements, slanting comb, skewing comb and twisting comb can create very different effects.
  3. After each comb run wipe paint residue off if you want a clean comb pattern.  Leave paint residue on comb if you want a more interesting pattern with dots of paint randomly throughout your design.
  4. Comb effects

  5. Wearing gloves keeps your hands clean and protects your hands from drying out from washing the paint off of them.
  6. Dry flat over kraft paper or on drying rack.  Place the paper under weights and in between boards when dry to completely flatten.

different designs



So, you ask – WHAT CAN I DO WITH ALL MY PAINTED PAPERS??  I’ll have to get back to you on that – I’m tired from making all those paste papers!

In the meantime you can take a look at paste papers and products at The Word is Art Gallery  or at www.mariekelzerdesigns.com.

Article by Marie Kelzer


Marie Kelzer

Marie Kelzer

Marie Kelzer is a paste paper maker, bookbinder, designer, painter and artist.  Her art comes from her love of making paste papers.  As a trained bookbinder, she discovered the ancient art of mixing paints with a paste mixture to create and paint patterns on paper.

You can read more about Marie and her art here.  

Posted in Featured Artist, How To Tagged , , , , , , , |

Featured Artist – Monika Kwiet

Monika KwietOur featured window artist for May/June is Fiber Artist Monika Kwiet.   She recycles old wool, angora and cashmere sweaters to create her wooly whimsies.   Monika relishes the challenge of salvaging items that are old, damaged or discarded and creating unique and beautiful things.  She can often be found at a park unraveling wool from discarded sweaters for re-use in new designs, dying wool in the kitchen sink, or shrinking old wool blankets and sweaters in the washing machine to make felt for projects.   From these recycled sweaters, she creates felted purses, bowls, vessels, wine bottle cozies, coaster sets as well as felted fish, cashmere flower brooches, rings and bracelets.   She uses Kool Aid and other food dyes to change the bland and boring into the colorful and exciting.


Monika's front window display

Monika’s front window display

In addition, her imagination has been running wild as she creates little felted monsters!   As part of her window display, she has built a Monster Village for her creations… over 30 newly fashioned fun and whimsical little monsters – perfect for that love note, piece of jewelry, or gift of money.  Each one is unique and will make you smile.


Little Monsters

Little Monsters



You can see all this and more at The Word is Art for the next few weeks so come on down and check it out!

Felted purses

Felted purses

Monster Village

Monster Village

Posted in Featured Artist, What's Happening Tagged , , , , , , |

Only Twelve Days until Mother’s Day!

tattoo266001 “Mother, the ribbons of your love are woven around my heart.”  ~Author Unknown

Only 12 shopping days left until Mother’s Day – a celebration honoring mothers and motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in spring.  It complements similar celebrations honoring family members, such as Father’s Day and Siblings Day.

Cybele enthroned, with lion,cornucopia and Mural crown. Roman marble, c. 50 CE. Getty Museum


The celebration of Mother’s Day began in the United States in the early 20th century; it is not related to the many celebrations of mothers and motherhood that have occurred throughout the world over thousands of years, such as the Greek cult to Cybele, the Roman festival of Hilaria, or the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration (originally a celebration of the mother church, not motherhood).  Despite this, in some countries Mother’s Day has become synonymous with these older traditions.

While the holiday has been heavily commercialized by advertisers and retailers, what better way to get away from the rampant commercialization but still get an awesome gift and/or card for your mom than buying from the local artists at The Word is Art Gallery?

The day before Mother’s Day,  May 10th, Culver City is having their annual Car Show.  Just a block away, The Word is Art will be open all day to join in the celebration. Just for this occasion, you will have the opportunity to have your greeting cards personalized in calligraphy by professional calligrapher, Renee Troy. When you buy a gift, an enclosure card will be available to be personalized as well. Come on down and see all the amazing hand-made art we have that just might be the perfect gift for your mother and have it personalized too!

Mother's Day window at The Word is Art Gallery

Mother’s Day window at The Word is Art Gallery

Posted in Events, What's Happening Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Featured Artist – Adriana Vidal

20140313_130700Our featured artist this week is Adriana Vidal. Adriana will be having an Artist’s Reception showcasing both old and new works at The Word is Art gallery on Saturday, April 26, 2014 from 6-9 pm.

It was synchronicity that brought Adriana Vidal to The Word is Art. In the past few years she has transitioned from full time work to contract work so that she can focus more fully on creating art. One day last fall she was reading the Art Biz Blog and Alyson’s advice that day was to meet more artists, join an art community, or go to art related meet ups. Adriana immediately checked out art-related meet ups in her area and found one for The Word is Art. It wasn’t really a meet up, just an invitation to come see TWIA’s booth at an art show in downtown Culver City’s so she almost didn’t go. No one wanted to go with her but she rallied and made herself go to see what this group was all about. The artists were all extremely welcoming, the founder emailed her the very next day and within 10 days she was a proud member of The Word is Art artist co-op. She’s been with The Word is Art Gallery since October 2013.

20140421_085838-1In more recent years, Adriana’s work has tended to be very series oriented – creating anywhere from four to a dozen pieces at a time but, in the past, her work was definitely more singular. From Black & White to Colour will be a combination of old and new work that shows how her work has evolved from black & white almost structural doodles to more organic free flowing doodles that incorporate colour. Her current paintings are mixed media – watercolour and/or acrylic with ink.

Adriana likens her art to automatic writing which is why she calls it doodling since she rarely know where a piece is going to end up. She likes to think of them as microcosmic worlds that live in her subconscious although some common elements you will see in the main body of her work are trees, water and eyes. She has also done small polymer clay sculptures in the past and is currently working with paperclay as a medium for 3 dimensional pieces in addition to her watercolours.

She’s been supplementing her income for years with various types of commission work – drawings, paintings, and small sculptures –always straddling the chaos as an artist with a day job. She recently moved her work to a studio space so at least the art chaos is no longer in her dining room!  You can see more of Adriana’s work here.


Posted in Events, Featured Artist Tagged , , , , , , , , |

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.

Posted in What's Happening Tagged , , , , , , |

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 www.pamelaharnois.com and check out more of her beautiful art work while you are there!

all paintingsbottom paintings


red flowers

Posted in Featured Artist Tagged , , , , , , |

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

Posted in Featured Artist Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

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.

Posted in Events and Classes, Featured Artist Tagged , , , , , , |

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!

Posted in Featured Artist Tagged , , , , |