Rhonda Bell Designs

Rhonda Bell is a mixed-media, fiber, and paper artist living in Austin, Texas. She is editor for All Info about Art Swaps site. A site dedicated to trading and exchanging art. that includes articles on Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), Altered Books, Altered Playing Cards, Art Dolls, Assemblage Art, Art Journals, Collage, Mail Art, Zines, Decos (decorated friendship books), Chunky Books, Greeting Cards, Tags, and other paper crafts.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Artist's Muse Proposals

Just got done printing off all the proposals I have received for the Artist's Muse Retreat I'm planning September 21 - 25, 2006 in Austin, Texas.

My plan is to go through all of them over the 4th of July weekend, so then I can pick the classes and let the artist instructors know . It is going to be hard though.

There are so many good choices. They include collage, fabric, paper, bead, and mixed media art workshops.

I'd love to take all of them myself. But I'll be lucky if I'll even get to take one. I'm sure I'll be busy through out the weekend.

But it will be fun picking them out!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"In Flight" Book Art Exhibit

Went to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas today on my lunch hour to see the "In Flight" book art exhibit. It is an awesome exhibit of handmade books that celebrates the 2003 centennial of the Wright brothers' first flight.

There were several leather bound books that where just incredible; the work on the covers amazing.

I really enjoyed the accordian books too. There was a triangle accordian book that was really interesting. I'd like to learn how to do that fold for a book.

The exhibit is through July 17th. I plan on going back to spend more time looking at the books. I just wish I could touch the books, open them up, and see all the art inside.

Makes me want to get to making more books myself!!

Find out more at:

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Chunky Fat Book Article Posted To AIA Art Swaps

Just finished my article on Chunky Fat Book Swaps on my All Info About Art Swaps site.

The latest craze in art swaps are these little "fat" books that are as much fun to make as they are to receive. They are full of so much art you won't be able to get the book closed.

You can read the article at:

Friday, June 24, 2005

Photo Friday Challenge - Orange

Click picture to see large version.

Friday Photo Challenge

Mandala Mail Art

I've been working on a Mandala for a Mail Art call that I need to send out next week since it is due on the 30th.

You can read the original mail art call at:

Mine is five layer mandala made out of cardstock. I cut the bottom layer out of light blue gray cardstock.

The other layers are from a copy of a mandala I drew with my mandala maker and then colored with my Prisma color pencils (I just love these pencils. They are easy to sharpen, they aren't brittle and break. They are smooth and glide on the paper).

I scanned the original mandala and printed it onto white cardstock with my Epson Stylus CX4600 printer. Then I cut out different parts of the mandala which I layered on top of each other. All of it is held together with a brad.

I'm making six more this weekend for a Mandala swap I'm hosting on my Art Swap Yahoo! Group.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New Book Review Added To AIA Art Swaps Site

Just got done reviewing the book Altered Art by Terry Taylor on my All Info About Art Swaps Site. Read review.

The book has wonderful eye candy, lots of great projects, and instructive directions. A must have!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

June Art Get Together

Today, Elizabeth, Gayle, Kristi, Pam, and Ava came over for our third Saturday monthly art get together.

Gayle worked on spreads in her Altered Book that she started at last month's Artist's Muse retreat (http://www.theartistsmuse.com). Her theme is love and the seasons of life. She is doing an awesome job. All her spreads are so beautiful. She had Bev Brazelton's Altered Books Workshop which I was just looking at when I was at Border's last night.

I'm hoping to get a review copy of the book. I e-mailed the publisher to get a copy. I'll be posting the review to my All Info About Art Swaps site (http://artswaps.allinfoabout.com) if I do.

Elizabeth and Kristi were both working on mandalas for the Mandala swap I'm hosting at my Yahoo! Group, Art Swaps ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/art_swaps)

Pam worked on a decopouge box that she is going to take to work. She does such a great job and always has really neat ideas.

Ava just moved back to Austin about a month ago after living in Dallas. I met her friend Mary at Art Fest this year in the class I took from Doris Arnt. Mary hooked us up through e-mail and I invited Ava to attend the art get together. She didn't bring a project to work on but bring some good tasting chicken pecan dip. Or so I'm told since I couldn't have any because I'm allergic to pecans :(.

I worked on a couple of swaps. The first on was a paper doll swap that is being hosted on the Art Swap Yahoo! Group. It took me all afternoon to get them cut out and assembled but I like how the turned out.

I also worked on a Pre-Raphaelites ATC swap after everyone left. I used John William Waterhouse paintings from the preraphaelites.com (http://www.preraphaelites.com) website which is a great resource.

I love having the art get togethers once a month. I get to make art all afternoon and usually into the evening after everyone leaves and I get to hang out with my friends. Can't wait until next month when Elizabeth hosts.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Number One on Goggle

I've had my All Info About Art Swaps (http://artswaps.allinfoabout.com) site up for about a month now and it is the first site that comes up on Google when you do a search on "art swaps".

Too cool!!!

New Article Posted To All Info About Art Swaps

My latest article for the All Info About Art Swaps site is about mail art.

Sending and receiving art in the mail is lots of fun! Learn about the history of mail art and how to get started at:

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Article On All Info About Art Swaps

Just posted a new article to my All Info About Art Swaps web site on Michael Jacob's book, Creative Correspondence.

Check out the article at:

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Michael Jacobs Book Structure Class - Day 2

Yeah! We made book structures today in class. I was getting a little worried after yesterday's class which was fun but not quite what I had expected from a book making class.

Today we made these awesome pyramid structures with four sides that each had a book structure in in them. The four sides are attached to a base and they stand up to make the pyramid.

I have all kinds of ideas of other books I could make using this structure.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Michael Jacobs Book Structure Class - Day 1

Today was the first day of a two day class with Michael Jacobs. He is co-author of the book, Creative Corresponce, which I own and highly recommend. You can find it here:

He has another recently published book called, Cards That Pop-Up, Flip & Slide, that I want to purchase. He has few for sell in class so I hope to get one from him and have it and my Creative Correspondence books autographed tomorrow. You can find it here:

In today's class we made a small pyramid structure with a 3 drawer structure for its base. The drawers are made from empty match boxes covered with decorative paper.

We also used the match boxes to make another structure of our own choice. We had to use 10 match boxes. I made a structure with two levels of match boxes formed into a square out of 4 boxes each. The feet for the entire structure is two match boxes. Between the two level of match boxes, I but an accordian book structure.

Finally, we made a small folded book with a cardstock protector sleeve. The book is made out of squares folded to have pockets and attached to each other. It all folds up and is held in the cardstock protector sleeve.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Blue and Silver Goddess Earrings

Here is another set of shrink plastic earrings I made. They have sterling silver earring wires.

Price: $6.99

Red Butterfly Earrings

Here is a set of shrink plastic earrings I made. They have sterling silver earring wires.

Price: $6.99

Chunky Book Received (Finally!!!)

I finally received my Chunky Book Swap in the mail on Friday. It was the first one I signed up for (back in August of last year) and the last one for me to receive. I've been in 5 others that came back when the hostess said they would.

Since they are a lot of work (you make a 4 by 4 inch piece of art, make 60 color copies, and embellish them), I'm less inclined to participate in them now. I really didn't think this one would ever show up!! (And when it did, 3 of the pages weren't even bound in it!!! :( ).

However, it did and I'm mostly pleased with results. Here is a picture of my page. You can see the embellishments hanging off some of the other pages. Too cool!

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

I'm currently reading Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. The book takes place in Iran and is told by an Iranian literature professor.

I'm a most struck by the discrimination and loss of rights the author and the other Iranian women are forced to suffer in the name of religion.

She uses literature to draw correlations between what is happening in the stories and what is happening in Iran.

I see a correlation between her story and what is going on now in the United States against gays and lesbians. I can't imagine being rounded up for being queer but neither did the women of Iran think they'd be forced back into the chador and veil again and have their rights taken.

Kinda scary this time we live in!! And how history repeats itself and we just don't learn.

Knitting Away

This weekend I'm taking a break from my art business and I've been relaxing. I start a new 40 hour a week job on Monday and this is really the only time I've given myself time off.

The last two months I've spent most days working on my art business and going to interviews.

So I stopped by Hill Country Weavers (http://www.hillcountryweavers.com/) to pick up some circular needles and some yarn. It was so hard to decided on the yarn. But I bought a skien of blue varigated worsted weight yarn. I'm knitting a hat out of it on the circular needles.

I saw Karli while I was at the store. She is the woman who taught the Knitting 101 class I took last month. She is an awesome instructor. So patient and always willing to show you over and over again the basics of knitting. I highly recommend her!!

So far I've knitted 4 scarfs and a hat since taking the class. I've also started another scarft today (because you know I can never stay focused on one thing for too long) with yarn I bought at the store that starts with a "W" but will not be named! (their evil you know... but damn they have low prices and are now the closest grocery and craft store to my house!!!).

Friday, June 03, 2005

First Thursday Not a Total Bust

I didn't sell much at First Thursday, but I did have a lot of fun hanging out with Denise and Jeannine.

We mostly talked about Altered Books and other paper art. Both Denise and Jeannine do great art!!

I had brought a Wine themed altered book I had just gotten in the mail for them to see. I'm in a Round Robin where each month a different book with a different theme arrives for me to work on. The group has 10 women and in a couple of months I will be getting my Women themed book back.

Anyway, I had a lot of compliments on my coasters, magnets, and jewelry. But I think between the bad lighting and the fact most people were just browsing, I sold $18 worth of stuff. Just enough to pay for the booth fee.

But that's okay. I'm really looking at doing some shows this fall and I need to build my inventory. I don't have a big variety of stuff yet or even enough to fill a booth. I'll be working on that this summer. I have a ton of ideas.

But mostly I want to do wholesale and I'm looking to try to get my art in some galleries and gift stores. Just need to get more samples made and get my courage up to go in and talk to people.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Prepping for First Thursday

I've been working overtime on my jewelry, magnet, and coaster designs all week in preparation for First Thursday on South Congress in Austin, Texas.

I'm really looking forward to selling my art and crafts to public again. I really missed doing shows, hanging out with other artists, and talking to all the customers.

I'll be in the vacant lot just south of Monroe. I'm sharing a booth with Denise S and her sister. I meet them last month at First Thursday. Denise happens to be a friend of my friend Kate, so when I asked her if I could share a booth with her this month she agreed. Cool!!!