Are you already a Claudine Hellmuth fan? If not, I'll bet you soon will be. She's a goddess.
Claudine is a mixed media/collage artist with a huge, impressive resume. Way intimidating and awe-inspiring. And yet she manages to be warm and humble. I really love this about artists--at least those who work in the crafting world. No arrogance. Amazing.
I first got to know Claudine (and began thinking of her as my friend, unbeknownst to her) when I bought Collage Discovery Workshop, based on a review in Somerset Studio magazine. It's one of the best how-to books about mixed media that I've seen. The directions are clear and simple, the materials are widely available, the approach is highly accessible. From Claudine I learned how to make collages that don't fall apart and how to make nearly any material archival. She also gave me confidence that I had something worth saying through my art experiments. There's a second Collage Discovery book now, and it's just as useful and exciting. Even if your art form is not collage, you'll love the idea-ness of these books, and you'll pick up techniques without even realizing it.
Claudine has a blog. It looks as if she was early to jump on the blogging bandwagon, so you can hang out on her site for a long time and get to know her pretty well. She also has some videos on You Tube--so great, so real. You get to see her sitting at a card table, fumbling through a ziploc bag full of mistreated scrapbook paper. You know, like us real people. (You also get to see the unlikely materials assemble into a cool collage.)
Go make Claudine your friend, too.
In case you didn't read yesterday's comments, Kimberly got the Tim Holtz texture hammer! She has all the cool tools. Kimberly, I can't wait for you to use it; please let me know if you think it was worth $14.