Saturday, December 22, 2007

Zhi Tea in Austin Texas

Ok, I am (rarely ;) embarrassed to admit how little I know about . . . well, a lot in life. But somehow living in Italia is helping me become more aware of the joys of consuming – food and drink to be exact. Imagine my joy recently when I met Candice Oneida and Jeffrey Lorien. They have started a company called Zhi Tea. Why? Because, as Jeffrey explained to me, “We just love tea.”

I met these two through the event that Keith Hogan hosted last Wednesday in Austin, Texas. And while we were all busy showing off our various loves to all of the guests, I had a few chances throughout the night to speak to Jeffrey to learn more about their business and about tea. Their story started in Seattle, moved to New York, and their international business is based in Austin.

While I still want more information – and more tasting, I did get to learn that Zhi offers delicious organic teas and a healthy way of doing business. Jeffrey also explained to me a little bit about the “Fair Trade” program with which they are involved. Basically, 80% of revenues paid for teas (and other products) goes back to the actual people who grow the food. It allows these communities to make their lives better in ways that they choose. Read more on their site, search in the Articles section.

Pictured here are the owners of Zhi, Candice and Jeffrey next to some of their sample yummy teas (with my small bronze “Eric” in the background). The other image shows some of my newest friends Sue and life coach Rebecca Burgman with Barry Woltag. I did a stone restoration for Barry last summer. It was good to see him again.

And to continue to name drop, other friends I got to say hello to on Wednesday include Betty Gerald, Donna Wetegrove of Tips on Art, “my kid” Rudy Sanchez (who helped me setup my exhibit), Joe and Chris Kenney, Rodney and Donna Bohl, Jane Parsons and Carl Nelson (both of whom brought me Christmas gifts!), and Willy and Billie Gunther.

Zhi Tea:

Barry Woltag’s stone restoration by Kelly Borsheim:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Real Estate and Art Exhibited Together in Austin Texas

Austinite Keith Hogan knows how to throw a party and show people the finer side of life at the same time. Wednesday night’s Open House of his newly renovated (and available) homes in the Rosedale neighborhood in Austin, Texas, was a big success.
Afterwards, we estimated a minimum of 75 guests at the beautiful condominiums on 4207 Shoalwood Avenue. I felt so comfortable there because everyone was so warm and friendly, just like at a small town holiday party. And people really LOOKED at and were INTERESTED in the art and each property.

It struck me as good customer service for Keith to show these homes at a time when enough of the décor (flooring, walls, cabinetry, etc.) was installed to get the idea of the space, but unfinished enough so that the new owners might suggest a change or two, if desired. I especially enjoyed speaking with several neighbors who were pleasantly surprised by how different the homes looked after Keith and his crew worked their magic. According to them, the new floor plans were much more open, spacious, accessible, and yet, private. And they love how well the new homes fit into the neighborhood!

I met Keith some time ago through his partner Ruth Glendinning, or GuRuth. I am almost convinced that the two of them know everyone in Austin. Ruth has been helping me promote my artwork, some of which you see here in these photos from Wednesday evening’s event. Other artists who exhibited art here were Jennifer Lovelace and Reji Thomas.

Adding to the evening’s festivities were:
Music by Plan B (members are Bruce Banks, Tom Hughes and Wayne Rimkus)
Delicious food by Emily’s Catering of East Austin, served by Sharon and Jessica.
Fantastic organic teas by Candice and Jeffrey of Zhi Tea (more on them tomorrow).

For more information on the condos at 4207 Shoalwood Avenue, Austin, Texas 78756, please call Keith Hogan at 512.280.5402.

Help Keith make homes more enjoyable and accessible to people with disabilities:

Other useful links:
Austin Musicians Plan B:
Catering Services:
Zhi Tea:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nude Art Contest -

Thanks to my long-time Internet friend, artist Roger Cummiskey, I have entered two drawings into a contest of sorts. I could use your views of the pages, which I understand count as votes? Keep reading . . . and thank you.

Dear Kelly,
Your new art is live on and is in consideration for the January 2008 calendar. It will be in the 'Art Log' as NEW ART for 30 days. Your will find the direct link to your art in the Art Log on the main page of barebrush today (left column):
Be sure to tell your friends & contacts about your art on the more page views you have for your posts, the higher in the list for the curator's review.

[Kelly replaced the marketing text that follows with links to her drawing pages on this site – please view/vote:

Ode to Michelangelo (Mauro II):

Study for the Naked Gondolier (Lucio): ]

And don't forget barebrush, the video! Find it on (search:barebrush). Be sure to leave a comment and rating.

Also, send news of "barebrush, the video" to friends & tell them to pass it along. Help barebrush help you to promote your art! Thanks so much for your art and for your interest in
Ilene Skeen
ILS Designs, LLC
372 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7D
New York, NY 10018
Tel: 917-806-7992
dedicated to the art of the nude


Web site of Roger Cummiskey

I Do Not FALL in Love

It was a fantastically beautiful day today as I loaded up my car and prepared for tomorrow’s exhibit in Austin, Texas. This evening while printing out new price labels, my printer jammed. As I waited for the reboot, I re-read all of my years’ old posted newsprint and decided to share with you one of my favorite poems of all:

i do not fall in love.
i magnetize to its demands,
attach to its clinging magic,
and sing its living charms.
i stand, i rise, i fly
towards love,
but never fall at all.

-- Thom the World Poet
“Loyalty to the Star System”
(an excerpt from his Secular Prayers)

Tomorrow night will mark the debut of my newest stone carving, “Encounter” (finished in September just before I left for Italy). Inspired by manta rays, I now see the connection to this poem that is rarely far from my thoughts: “i stand, i rise, i fly . . .” Will you not join me at:

Host: Keith Hogan
Location: 4207 Shoalwood Avenue, Austin, Texas 78756 US
When: Wednesday, December 19, 6:00 p.m.
Hours: 6 p.m. to ??
Phone: 512.280.5402
Please join us as we celebrate an evening of holiday cheer and beautiful art in the setting of two beautiful condominium units that I (Keith) have totally and completely renovated at 4207 Shoalwood Avenue in the Rosedale neighborhood. [They are for sale.]

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Neck Injury – Stone Carving

I would hate to be my neck. Boy, does she ever get abused. And I know better – that was the depressing thing. I warn my students about doing what I did today, especially because I am the one who carves in sarongs most of the time. And after damaging five vertebrae in my neck in a skateboarding accident in 1995 (for which I am still boycotting ToysRUs – not for the fact that the accident happened in their store, but for the way they handled it afterwards), I should have thought that I would have been more careful.

Curious at all????? Well, I had a big, rather fluffy grey scarf wrapped around my neck today, which was poking out too far from my jean jacket. I was using a 1/4-inch shaft double-cut carbide tip in an electric grinder on a small stone that I am currently carving and I leaned too close to examine my work in a detail area. Zing! Before I was aware of what happened, I was choking myself as the scarf got caught in the rotary movement and the tool head went straight for my neck!

Dumb. It so caught me off guard that it took me a while to realize that I could unplug the entire tool where it connected to the extension cord at my feet faster than I could figure out how to turn the switch off. Damn. The pneumatics are so much safer.

The things that run through one’s head during such times: concern for my stone; the sound of the stalled motor (which was surprisingly not burnt up); my scarf; how my body would have been discovered hours later, if at all – ha ha; rug burns on my neck?; air; my embarrassment over a stupid way to die; then relief that the tool did not go past my safety goggles. And then the ensuing unentanglement and discovery of a small clump of my yanked-out hair wrapped around the blades. Ouch.

Being the drama queen that it is possible that I am, it sounds worse than it was. Still . . . very stupid of me.

God, my neck hurts today. Even more than my first time as a madonnara. Hmmm. Good thing there is vodka in the house. Cures damn near everything! Anyway, be warned, and do as I say, not as I do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Artists In Italy

I think that I first met artist Suzy Olsen about ten years ago. My friend Robin Urton, an artist who I have known since college, brought Suzy Olsen to my home in Texas. Suzy lives in San Antonio, Texas, but also has a home in Tuscany, Italy. And her daughter Rebecca runs an art school SRISA in Florence, Italy.

Suzy visited her daughter in Tuscana around the Thanksgiving holiday not so many weeks ago. And one day we were actually successful in having our schedules match up for us. So, here is the image of Suzy (left) and me having lunch at a charming little place on Via San Gallo in Firenze centro on 26 November 2007.
Thank you, Suzy! It is fun to see people you have some connection to while in a foreign country – or even just away from home.

Suzy Olsen’s site:

Robin Urton’s site:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fabric Art Quilt Exhibit Austin Texas

Last night I attended an art exhibit for Susan Lewis Storey at my friend David Sackmary’s Quattro Gallery in Austin, Texas. I had never met Susan before or seen her work, but I wanted to see what David had been up to. He’d cut his hair to a very flattering look since I last saw him. And I laughed when he introduced me to others as ‘the artist who strapped his arms up to the ceiling as he posed nude’ for my bronze sculpture “Warrior Spirit.” All I can say in my defense is that it seemed unkind to ask someone to hold his arms straight out in airplane position for hours at a time!

Ok, I am digressing again. Everything is connected, is it not? Susan had several beautiful and interesting art quilts on exhibit. She showed her “American Family Album Series” which I loved, having had a serious interest in vintage photographs myself. Last night I photographed this artist with one of her fabric works that depicts images of her mother as a young woman. It is quite charming and was one of my favorites of the evening.

Like many immigrating Americans, the ethnic family name was changed to help assimilate the family into the New World. Susan discovered that her Italian family name was Maffei which was changed to Murphy. (She created another fabric art piece to honor this heritage.) Rediscovering her Italian roots led her to create an image of hanging laundry in a small Italian villa – so typical of Italy and nostalgic to many people, including me. (I was always a bit warped, I suppose: I think that hanging laundry outside on a spring day is sexy.)

I also include here a close-up image of her fabric art piece depicting Italian laundry. Her process is unlike anything that I had heard of, but then I am not that familiar with the newer art processes. I may be wrong about this, but here is what I remember of her description of her process: She first scans images that move her into her computer. Then she plays in Photoshop to make those images into something artistic – exploring colors, effects, textures, etc. Then she treats her fabrics with some chemical that allows them to accept ink. Afterwards she sprays something on the fabric (and irons it?) to stiffen the fabric so that it will pass through her printer. And then she prints her images onto her fabrics. After that, she pieces the fabric together and creates the quilted stitching throughout the artwork and sometimes adds beads or varies the stitching for the home grown look of a real quilt.

Hurry to see this interesting work – I am not sure when the exhibit closes, but contact information follows:

David Sackmary at the Quattro Gallery:

Susan Lewis Storey’s site:

Kelly Borsheim’s bronze sculpture:
“Warrior Spirit”