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Musings from Maureen
January 4, 2006

Greetings ... and wishing you a wealth of new learning and discovery in 2007.  New Year's Day is my favorite holiday, as I love looking back, contemplating, recording memories, planning and gearing up for new ideas and events.  This year our new year's celebration took an unexpected turn as we spent it beginning the cleanup of smoke damage at our daughter's apartment.  You never expect to come back from the Christmas holiday to find your apartment building damaged by fire.  The lesson learned is to be sure and have insurance policies up to date.  Hmmmmmmmmm ... I'm taking photos at the Creative Center today so that I have a record of how things look at the beginning of 2007.

Check out our new classes which begin on January 12 with a weekend Alter Ego Retreat.  Polymer clay classes by Maureen Carlson
If there is something new that you would like to learn, let me know, and I'll see what we can do to accommodate your wishes.

For those of you from the east coast, I will be in Maryland at the end of February.  Maybe I'll see you there?  The details are in our class list.

If you get most of your learning on-line, go to Cynthia Tinapple's blog at Polymer Clay Daily.  It's a fantastic site with something new every day.  She's always searching for new info, so send her your favorite polymer clay links.

I'm off to work on some class samples .... see you all soon, if only in our imaginations!

Keep dreamin'.


December 14, 2006 


Gallery Slide Show Currently on display at
Fireroast Mountain Cafe: Fireroast Mountain Cafe

I'm spending quite a few hours these days in the maze of learning web design - and am feeling a very unholiday-like emotion of jealousy and envy when I think of all those young (and not so young) folk fresh out of design classes (or who are very capable of self-learning) who are adding blitz and clarity and absolute amazement to their websites.  I have to consciously take my ego in hand and tell it what I tell students in my sculpting classes: This will get easier!

And I have to give thanks daily for our Wee Folk Creations resident computer guru: my partner and husband, Dan Carlson.  Thank you Dan.

While I wait for my technical skill to catch up with my ideas, I am absorbing the colors and design and sheer talent evident on the web.  One of my favorite links to the wide, wide world - and specifically to that of polymer clay - is Cynthia Tinapple's website: Polymer Clay Daily

Check it out and be amazed at the information available on that site - and through the links.  It surely will help if you have a fast internet connection, as there are so many great sites to visit. Today's link highlights one of my favorite doll artists, Annie Wahl (with a side mention of me - thank you very much, Cynthia!).

Now back to some design work (and inventory time is here - and there's those Christmas cards to address - and daughter Jenelle is turning 35 on Saturday, so needs something special in the mail - and there should be a few more pieces created for that Fireroast Mountain Cafe art show - and daughter Renee just moved and needs a little unpacking help ... )  And I'm so lucky to have so many things that I like to do!

Season's Greetings to all of you ...


December 7, 2006  labyrinth

A Garden Labyrinth at Maureen's - and Music by Dan Carlson

Those of you who have visited Maureen Carlson's Center for Creative Arts know that our garden is an important part of the ambience.  In summer the flowers are glorious, and in the winter the starkness of the tree branches and the ice on the river lend it the romance of an antique black and white photo.  In 2007 Dan and I plan to add a meditation area to the garden with the addition of a labyrinth.  To find out more, click on the labyrinth link below.  You'll also find words and an audio link on that page to a new song that Dan has written and sung about the labyrinth experience.  Enjoy!

NOVEMBER 19, 2006

    Gallery Slide ShowClick for more photos ....

Coffee Shop Show to Feature My New Work. 

During the month of DECEMBER

You're Invited! 
Show theme and title is:

Whistling Through the Cracks

LOCATION: Fireroast Mountain Cafe  Fireroast Mountain Cafe
3800 37th Ave. South.

Minneapolis, MN 55406-3247 view map 
(612) 724-9895 
(Located on 38th Street just a few blocks east of HWY 55
 at the corner of 38th Street and 37th Avenue)

Copies of my new book,
Fairies, Gnomes and Trolls, will be available.


Following is the title poem for the show: 

Whistling through the Cracks 

Submerged in a dark sanctuary.

A shaft of light finds a crack through which to whistle a tune.
And again. 

And when the melody rings as true to her as the air she breathes,
She rides it through the crack and into the world.

One of my goals for 2006 was to create some new artwork that explored my feelings about making art, taking risks, opening doors
and exploring less familiar paths.  I've loved what I've been doing for nearly 30 years now, but I felt that I had more to say that needed
to be said in a different style than with the whimsical, smiling faces for which I've become known.

I never dreamed when I began making characters in 1978 that I would make a whole career around the little characters that began creeping
into my imagination.  But I did.  And it has been great fun.  Those little clay people have taken me to more places and given me more opportunities
than I ever dreamed.  I wasn't ready to abandon those friendly little faces.  But I wanted to explore the full spectrum of emotions and moods and
expressions in my work - even if some of that work wasn't pretty or cute or easy to understand - and I needed to make a break from those sweet
little people in this new work.

When Lindly Haunani was here teaching in July, we went to the Fireroast Mountain Cafe in order to see Jeff Julseth's show, which featured
his wonderful art dolls and figurative sculptures.  Just that morning, I had written in my journal that I wanted to do a show in order to put a framework
around my intentions to make more personal art.  Imagine my surprise when, just a few hours later, during a conversation with Lisa, the owner of the
cafe, I heard her ask if I'd like to do a show.  How could I say no to such a quick response to my journal entry?  So, I said yes, and we agreed on the
month of December for a show.

So, here we are.  It's almost December, which means it's time to bring some closure to these pieces and put my artwork out there. 
For a person like me, who finds it very hard to call a piece finished, this has been an in and out journey.  I'll talk about some of that in
later posts. 

As soon as everything is framed and ready to hang, I'll be posting photos to share on this site. But now it's time to invite you to my show. 

You're Invited! 



THURSDAY, July 20, 2006

Today Lindly Haunai is flying in from Maryland for a 3-day series of classes. I was supposed to be eating dinner with Lindly by now, but I am sitting here at the computer due to the whims of the weather. Lindly's flight was delayed 8 1/2 hours due to bad weather in Chicago. Teaching is a great opportunity to travel and meet new people, but it is not all glamorous! Just ask Lindly if you happen to see her!!!

Class last weekend with Christi Friesen was awesome! I hope to post some photos soon!

NIADA: I'll be giving a Storyclay Telling talk and participatory activity at the NIADA conference on Saturday, July 29, at 3:00 PM. If you are planning to be there, do stop by and say HI!

And coming up in two weeks is class with Diane Keeler. This is a great opportunity to learn from one of the best figure sculptors in the world of dollmaking. Do come!!!!!

Now I'm off to work on the new website while I wait for Lindly's 9:41 PM flight ......


Friday, July 7, 2006

July is a happy month here at Maureen's, with a first-time guest teacher, Christi Friesen, coming to share her magic with us, plus a returning favorite, Lindly Haunani, promising to once again work her wonders with color and introspection. I can hardly wait! There are still a few spaces open, so check out the class photos and descriptions on the class list.

The weeks between now and then will be full, as Dan and I are working on new websites and new things to share. Stay tuned!


Saturday, May 27, 2006

The calendar pages have flipped a couple of times since my last entry. Both Sharilyn Miller and Donna Kato have come to the Creative Center, presented their wonderful classes and contributed their ideas and energy to the creative flow. And now we are planning for the next events at Maureen's - with the Jordan Art Festival, June 24 and 25, being the next big occasion on the calendar.

If you've never been to Jordan, or to Maureen's, then the Art Festival (10:00 - 6:00 on Saturday,June 24 and 10:00 - 4:00 on Sunday, June 25) would be a perfect time to explore what we have to offer. The gardens will be glorious, the art will be spectacular and the mood will be festive. I'll also be doing Storyclay Telling both days, at 11:00 and 2:00. I'd love to have you in the audience!

We also have upcoming classes scheduled with:

Val Daniels

Christi Friesen

Lindly Haunani

Diane Keeler


Loretta Daum Byrne

Dayle Doroshow

Barb Kobe

Victoria Hughes

This summer marks the 7th year that Maureen's has been open for business in Jordan. Seems incredible to me! As I sit at my office overlooking the waters of Sand Creek, I see that the flow of the water continues to be a major life symbol for me: each event, just like the water that flows by my window, is a part of my life for just this bit of time, then it flows on for others to enjoy or to alter or to ignore. It's path, like mine and like that of my Creative Center, is constant, but it's also a mystery, a journey into the unknown, an adventure in the making.

On this particular morning I'm heading outside to plant flowers while Pam will be painting the fence and arbor and Dan will be laying the rhubarb-leaf stepping stones. We're getting ready for your visit! Do come!


March 28, 2006

Greetings from me, Maureen, as I sit here in my studio and contemplate the upcoming months. There are lots of creative opportunities ahead:

Openings: There are still a few spaces left in Sharilyn Miller’s Wire Jewelry classes that begin April 7. Check them out on our class list ( teach.htm ). They look great!

New classes: I'm working on the website tonight and the next few days, so check it out to see what's new. One of the added classes is a Fused Glass Class with Robin Aronson, which is a repeat of the terrific class that she did for us a year ago. Dates are April 28 and April 29.

There are also some new Val Daniels classes listed. Her sweet and whimsical sculpting style will make for a really fun day.


NEW BOOK: Fairies, Gnomes and Trolls

Release date: mid-November 2006

Published by North Light Books

I’m back!!!!!

If you’ve not been coming in to Maureen’s these last 6 months, then you probably didn’t know that I’ve been gone. But I have. I’ve been wandering, staff in hand, through the Land of the Faerie Folk, as I’ve spent the last 6 months writing a new book, Fairies, Gnomes and Trolls, for North Light Books. But, this week, IT’S DONE. IT’S DONE. IT’S DONE.

Now it’s off to the publisher. It will be back for final revisions, etc., but basically IT IS DONE. Plans are for it to be ready for November ’06 release. The book is a basic how-to book which combines 15 projects with short stories about each character. This book takes me back to my roots, which was the making of Wee Folk and the telling of their tales – which are really tales about human folk, but in disguise.

To give you a small

flavor of the book,

I share some photos:


Plus I offer up this poem about a Secret Door into the World of the Faerie Folk (the first project is a secret door). The poem didn’t make the final cut into the book, but it influenced the world that you’ll find between its covers

The story is often told of Secret Doors or portals through which one may enter the Land of the Faerie Folk. According to legend, in order to find a door and pass through it into the magical world beyond, one must do three things:

1. Be in the right place.

2. Be there at the right time.

3. Believe.

Since the Faeire Folk love songs and games, the clues for opening a door are often hidden in riddles such as this one.

The Secret Door

In between the now and then

Where sunsets begin and dawn does end

There is a time that's neither nor.

Enter that time and you'll find a door.

In between the here and there

Where forests mingle with garden air

There is a place that's neither nor.

Imagine that place and you'll find a door.

In between what's real and not

The wind sings a song that man forgot

About a world that's neither nor.

Believe in its truth and you'll open the door



Some new Friar Folk and Sister Folk will be introduced by Abbey Press this fall. As for the rest of our plans? Still sorting things out after being focused so long on this book. I'll let you know .....

If you have a moment, drop me a line to let me know what you’ve been doing.

Here’s to the journey .....


“It just isn’t a journey worth taking if there aren’t any dragons.”

From Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach



December 05 Newsletter


1. Change of Hours

2. Friday Open Studios

(If you would like to be on our mailing list, e-mail Maureen [ ] with the subject matter: Add to Mailing List)


1. NEW HOURS at Maureen's, starting December 1, 2005

As of Thursday, December 1, 2005, Maureen’s will be open to the public only on Friday afternoons from noon – 5:00, some Friday evenings until 9:00 PM - please call to confirm, other hours by appointment and for open houses, classes, and retreats. We will also be closed on those Fridays which involve a holiday, including Friday, December 23, 2005.

YES, Maureen’s will still be selling clay and related supplies, and we’ll still be doing lots of retreats and classes, but the mix of things will change as I take some time to try some new ideas and see and hear what it is that I have to say. I am very excited to be on this continuing path of discovery. In fact, I can hardly wait. Once this current book is done I am going to PLAY. For this I know: Creativity and play need time to be alone together in order to explore those doors which keep creaking open.



As of December 2, 2005, November 18, we’re changing our OPEN STUDIO time from Thursday night to Friday afternoon and evening. Time is from noon to 9:00 PM, most, but not all, Fridays. Please check the schedule each week either by phone or our website. Generally on Open Studio Fridays you can come anytime from noon to 9:00 PM to just hang out or to work on a project. Bring a bag “lunch” if you like, or, as time goes on, maybe we can make this a potluck night. We’ll see.

I like to call these UFO days, like they do at Sievers School of Fiber Arts on Washington Island, Wisconsin. Sievers owner Ann Young told me that UFO stands for Unfinished Objects. And we all know that most creative people have lots of those.

Open Studio time is not class time, as there will be no actual instruction, but expect lots of sharing. Either Val Daniels or I will be here to answer questions and to help brainstorm ideas.

From time to time there will also be a Class scheduled during Open Studio times, so it is important to know how many people to expect. PLEASE REGISTER IN ADVANCE. NO OPEN STUDIO ON DECEMBER 2 (Stone Soup Dollmakers have booked the space) or on December 23.

Fees for the studio time are $5.00 for the afternoon (noon – 5:00) and $5.00 for the evening (5:00 – 9:00)


Maureen Carlson's Center For Creative ArtsMaureen's

102 Water Street
Jordan, MN 55352

Center: 651-460-0725
Home Office: 952-447-3828