Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Jenna Fanning, Artist & Graphic Designer, Tells Her Story

I have always been a visual artist. I grew up going to a Waldorf School where everything we learned was arts-infused. High school was an immersion into a visual arts magnet program and from there I went to Ringling College of Art and Design to study Graphic Design.  I started my own business after graduation, JMF Designs, LLC, where I discovered my love of branding and helping small businesses visually describe their products and concepts.

One of my projects at Ringling involved designing a food product line. I created candy bar wrappers and called them Coping Candy to address those pesky everyday issues most of us face. The wrappers are a little on the sarcastic side and a tad irreverent and people seem to be loving them. The bars I have so far are: Broke, Hangover, Rebound, Sorry, Screwed, Smitten and Single Girl. 

A few months ago I met a local chocolatier, Sarah Dwyer of Chouquette, and she has taken me under her wing. Shes teaching me how to temper and pour chocolate and now Im pouring about 200 bars a week. Sarah uses fair trade chocolate and it is delicious. I foil-wrap each bar by hand and then add the wrappers. It is truly a labor of love!

The good news is I have finally launched Coping Candy and am selling at a local boutique, The Blue House, in Bethesda, Maryland. Im thrilled and have so many more ideas for more themed bars. I also have small bite-size pieces that are called Coping Candy Shots! Im thinking, a Shot of espresso-filled chocolate would go nicely with the Hangover bar or a rum-filled Shot with Single Girl would make  "those lonely weekend nights" less so.

If youre in the Washington, DC area please come to The Blue House on February 7th between 1 – 3 pm. I will be there with my chocolates and would love to meet you! If youre not in the area, you can order anytime off of my (soon-to-be-completed) website, below. I am hoping to have my site up and running by the end of this week.

It is exhilarating and terrifying to be starting this candy business but I’m running with it with everything I’ve got. Creating chocolate bars that make people smile and sometimes even burst out laughing keeps me pouring more. I could not ask for anything better!

To see my portfolio of graphic design work, please go to: 

Coping Candy (coming soon)

This is Week 3 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks telling a story about their work. Thanks for reading and sharing Jenna's post today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

LeeAnn Dance, Documentary Film Maker, Tells Her Story

I’ve always loved words.  The right words on a page can fire the imagination.  But words + pictures + sound = magic.  A good movie can transport me to another world, another time.

But as a journalist, I also value truth.  So when I landed years ago in CNN’s documentary and investigative unit, my world opened up, and I discovered a creativity a didn’t even know I had – using words and video to reveal truth.

I loved taking that first lone puzzle piece of a story and carefully putting it all together.  The basic facts, the carefully crafted lines of narration, the sound bites, the music – all woven together.  Done well, that finished story could enlighten, outrage, bring out a smile, or move a viewer to tears.

Sadly, CNN’s investigative and documentary unit is no more.  I, like most of my colleagues, moved onto other endeavors.  But a friend brought me a lone puzzle piece of a story a couple years ago, and I was inspired.

That puzzle piece was a letter written by a Russian Jewish mother of 12 to the two children she sent to an orphanage in South Africa in 1921.  It is an attempt by the mother, Feiga Shamis, to explain why she made the choice she did.  But there were pieces missing.  Since then, my colleague Cliff Hackel and I have been pulling those pieces together, creating and weaving a story of survival, sacrifice, and love.  At times the process is tedious and boring.  But when a puzzle piece fits and begins to reveal the big picture, we’re encouraged to keep going.  The “picture” at the end is always greater than the sum of its parts.

And that’s why I love it.

  Click the link below to see the trailer for Feiga's Choice
Click here to listen to LeeAnn on the Josh Hasten Show, Voice of Israel:

This is Week 2 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks telling a story about their work. Thanks for reading and sharing LeeAnn's post today.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Julianne Fuchs Musgrave, Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

First of all I am an artist. Although I am also a teacher, mother, wife, daughter and friend—it is the identity as an artist that I have held the longest. This identity has and hopefully will inform everything I see and feel, and do—everything I am.

This set of albums in a clamshell box is an example of my current focus. Handmade books and the paper constructions that contain them are an open art form that allows me to work in multiple facets of my artist life.

The beginning is always abstract paintings on paper that I see not only as stand-alone works, but also as the starting point for paper construction, and even the base for kaleidoscopically abstract digital photographs. The books or boxes I construct from the hand-painted papers emerge as objects that become both inspiration and receptacles for more art.

Throughout my life as an artist and artist teacher I have always looked for avenues for the exploration of new techniques as well as the pure joy of creation. I’ve used handmade books in my own work as well as teaching students from every age and ability group.

In my current role as teacher and Director of the NIH Children’s School, I frequently work with student/patients in paper construction to build a book or object as a venue for creative expression. It’s always a joy to watch as papers and board come to life as beautiful objects that bring happiness and a sense of empowerment to children—giving them a voice.

Currently my works can be seen at a new website:
I can also be found at:

This is Week 1 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks telling a story about their work. Thanks for reading Julianne's blog today. Please share this post!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

52 Artists in 52 Weeks - Look Who's Participating!


Welcome to the Artists Tell Their Stories blog. 

2015 will be an art-filled year -- 52 artists will post one image of their work and tell a story about it. I am thrilled with the talented people who will grace this blog in the next 52 weeks. There are writers, poets, film makers, visual artists, photographers and more.

Below you will find each artist's photo, a short description of their art form and the date they will be publishing on the blog.

Here's to a year filled with creative stories and incredible art! 

Look for a new story every Wednesday, beginning January 14th.

Here's the lineup of participating artists:


Julianne Fuchs Musgrave: Photographer - January 14

LeeAnn Dance: Independent Documentary Film Maker - January 22

Jenna Fanning: Graphic Designer - January 28


Barbara Gerdeman: Mixed Media - February 4

Julia Newhouse: Stained Glass - February 11

Lora Duguay: Mixed Media - February 18

Cheryl Kinderknecht: Visually Impaired Mixed Media Artist - February 25


Rachel Biel: Creative Entrepreneur/Artist - March 4

Amy Webber: Clay Sculptor - March 11

Christy Diniz Liffmann: Painting - Painter: Encaustic/Oils/Gouache

Tammy Vitale: Ceramics & Mixed Media - March 25


Barb Black: Mixed Media - April 1

Dave & Lisa Burns: Outdoor Living Artisans - April 8

Bernie Hebert: Metals/Jewelry - April 15

Laura Kramer: Voice of Nature Poet - April 22 

Rose Hughes: Quilter & Book Author - April 29


Michael Piechocinski: Icongrapher/Painter/Photographer - May 6

Amy Barker Wilson: Painter - May 13

John Cheer: Clay Sculptor - May 20

Dhyana MacKenzie: Illustrator/Painter - May 27


RJT Haynes: Painter - June 3

Rosana Azar: Painter - June 10

Daryl Harwood: Mixed Media - June 17

Chris Rowe: Mixed Media - June 24


Kem Bappe: Mixed Media - July 1

Kelsie Gray: Naturalist Blogger - July 8

Lin Oakerson: Photographer - July 15

Wanda Fleming: Writer & Soap Maker - July 22

Su Griggs: Mixed Media - July 29


Kristen "Kae Pea" Powers: Mixed Media  - August 5

Faith Bradburn Keller: Painter - August 12

Linda Maree: Writer/Mixed Media Collage - August 19

Cynthia Harper: Clay Sculptor - August 26


Nikki D. May: Encaustics - September 2

Dottie Lou Crisp: "Budding Crafter" - September 9

Michele Grace Lessaird - Shaman/Blogger/Soul Collage - September 16

Nancy Sausser: Landscape Inspired Abstractions in Relief - September 23

Anita Parker: Photographer & Nutrition Blogger - September 30


Ken Wyner: Moment Keeper/Visual Artist - October  7

Lori Loveberry George: Mixed Media/Painter  - October 14

Alice Monroney: Textiles/Fabrics - October 21

Dan Walsh: Book Author & Illustrator - October 28


Jamie Lovern: Eco-Lux Mixologist/Graphic Designer - November 4

Laurel True: Mosaics - November 11

Richard Porter: Photographer - November 18

Arturo Ho: Mixed Media - November 25


George Bragg: Mixed Metals - December 2

Deb Lyons: Mixed Media - December 9

Jane Walsh: Painter - December 16

Brenda Smoak: Mixed Media - December 22

Tim Jaeger: Painter - December 30

What an incredible lineup of artists.  

Thanks to all 52 artists for participating this year!

Happy 2015!
Brenda Smoak

ps: Be sure and subscribe to our blog so you can read their weekly stories. The link is above.


52 Artists in 52 Weeks