Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Tammy Vitale, Mixed Media Artist, Tells Her Story

Let’s face it.  After you hit a certain age as an artist, you’ve tried a bit of everything.  And while my passion is working with clay, these day I do much more mixed media collages because they’re easy, immediately satisfying and I can throw in anything I have lying around.  Trust me, I have *a lot* lying around.

Here’s a good example:  I created this piece recently for a fundraiser for the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA.  It has ephemera (I love that word – it’s a fancy way of saying “stuff) and a raku mask, itself mixed media with clay and metal, mounted on the canvas.

But my current favorite mixed media these days is making Spirit Dolls. Spirit Dolls can take many forms, depending on mood and availability of materials. You can start with a bottle, buttons, bark and feathers, or with a stick and some fun canvas wrapping from a friend. Old jewelry, charms, yarn, lace and of course tulle can fancy an old stick from the yard up quickly.

Spirit dolls are a great way to use up old or leftover material and beads, too.

As you can see from the photographs, there isn’t much you can’t use to make a Spirit Doll.  While I use my own ceramic faces, you can also make faces from polymer clay, resin, cardboard, doll faces or anything else that captures your imagination.  You can either buy face push molds or make your own with two-part silicone mold putty for jewelry makers and an old doll face.

Locally, I teach Spirit Doll workshops and, this fall I will be teaching a Creative Workshop in Spirit Dolls at Life Is A Verb Camp at Asilomar: Retreat by the Sea, Pacific Grove, CA hosted by author Patti Digh.  If you can’t make it to a Maryland workshop, I’d love to see you in California!

Editor's Note: Tammy is in the process of updating her website,, so check back later to see more of her work. In the meantime, if you want to contact her, email her at

This is Week 11 of 52 Artists in 52 Weeks. Thank you for reading and sharing Tammy's story today!

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