rough around the edges

This year has been a rough year…more than a couple of significant deaths: my good friend Bob, my step-grandfather, my father-in-law; even divorce was in the process for me.  Yet overall, I managed to keep up with my studies at the Kansas City Art Institute, though through it all I thought for sure I was failing.  I don’t think I neglected my children (too much) and I managed to avoid drinking myself into oblivion. I survived.  I am now working on my marriage instead of proceeding with divorce, and thankfully I don’t think my children are going to grow up to be serial killers. However, due to my potential divorce I took a semester off school to get my life in order;  and even though divorce is now off the table, I feel the impact of needing this time off before I return to school and fulfill my final 33 credit hours, before moving forward into a life of making art and teaching.

weavings 2013

Mother and children, minus the significant insignificant.

Mother and children, minus the significant insignificant.







From my previous semester at the Art Institute, I do have some work to share.  Although I can’t honestly say I’m happy with it, but share I must my series of 4-layered hand dyed weavings, hand woven on a computer dobby loom.  The full piece is titled “Mother, Children, and the Significant Insignificant”.

These weavings, which are actually one continuous weaving cut into four pieces, reflect so many aspects of the emotional state I was in while dealing with divorce. The color scheme, the size of each one, the looseness or tightness of a particular weave- it was all planned…….they are all relevant to me. I feel selfish saying that, but while I worked on “Mother, Children, and the Significant Insignificant” weaving, I also had another loom set up with contrasting, conflicting fibers of heavy linen and a drapey rayon.

closeup  of fibers

This particular weaving was intended to be, and did turn out to be my “pretty” weaving to include in the end of semester’s critiques, though ironically, the fibers had to fight with each other to provide an aesthetically pleasing outcome, perhaps significant to the healing of my marriage and calming of the tension in my life.  

Definitely, this second weaving was a necessary and relevant extension of myself.

rayon/ linen

The “pretty” weaving, currently with no title, is actually unfinished.  My intent is to paint it with moss and see what happens.  I will definitely post the outcome…..

I don’t intend to draw up a pity party or sound whiny through this post, but rather I hope to connect with other artists who can also relate to the act of art as a form of expression, not just making for aesthetic reasons, even during the ugliest moments of life.  Years ago, my predominant form of expression used to be through writing, now it is visual as well as verbal. On that note, I have yet to enter all my writings into an electronic device as I initially so enjoyed typing them on a typewriter and rereading them on paper. There is never enough time though, it seems; and I feel when I turn the corner, peer across the scape (whatever kind of scape it might be), my daughter will too be a mother, my son will have a mustache, my husband will admit how much he really loves me, and my art will express how much she suffered through all my life endeavors.  


Rochelle Brickner (Owings)

Dress Up and Get Flowers

Here we are again.  We just entered a New Year, it’s freezing cold in Kansas City, and most of us are wanting to hibernate after hectic holidays.  But just when I feel like I’m just getting settled in and relaxed, yet another high maintenance holiday is peaking it’s beautifully ugly head around the corner.  You know, the holiday which welcomes, accepts, and/or invites a certain level of promiscuity; motivates you to finally purge your emotional convictions and undying love to a friend you’ve known for years; the holiday that offers you an excuse to lock the kids in the closet and have date night with your spouse; or inspires you to engage in ultra heavy flirting with that guy/girl at the gym……. No matter how you define it, how you utilize it, or how much you may even hate it and celebrate with an anti-Valentine’s Day event, VD is not going away (oye cringe)…..and I’m here to bombard you with a couple of specials that I am offering as a tribute to this particular upcoming holiday, which I love to refer to as VD, it is a disease indeed.

paper flowersFor those who aren’t aware, I make paper flowers in four sizes out of recycled magazines, catalogs, comic books, etc. and sell them predominantly through the Kemper Museum Shop.  Although I currently have them listed in my Etsy shop, I haven’t sold them there before because they are a hard item to ship, in fact I cannot ship them, but now I finally have them listed in my Etsy shop exclusively for VD- selling them out of my Kansas City studio for customer pick up at a price that even knocks my socks off!!!! In exchange for $36 I will give you a bouquet of 12 handmade paper flowers- in any of the four sizes I offer: bitty, small, medium, and large.  paper flowersKnowing that a single keepsake rose can cost anywhere from $3-$6, and a dozen roses can cost up to $30 + dollars,  I personally think this is a wonderful deal !,  especially because my flowers do not wither. Plus that makes them $3 a stem !, below the cost of buying them individually at other venues I sell them….and because they are all made of repurposed magazines or comic books, you can even assure yourself that you are not only making a unique purchase but an environmental one as well. And here’s another great deal!!! At no extra charge, when you come to pick them up I’ll even throw in a repurposed glass bottle or an interesting thrift store vase to take them home in (sorry, the vase in image is mine.), or after hand selecting each of your flowers at my studio in Hyde Park- Kansas City, MO, I can simply wrap them in tissue for you.

So while I’m exploiting Valentine’s Day, I’m banking on a perfect opportunity to do one other thing I am good at, which is mothering and nurturing- not only to my own children but also to the rest of society regarding preparedness… which it really should be a continuous thing and not only during certain times of the year. Even if you are single or hate Valentine’s Day, there is undoubtedly something affluent in the air during that second week of February…..and you just may find yourself meeting your lifelong dream hunk or hunkette at the coffee shop, the grocery store, or somewhere else- perhaps this endeavor might lead into a one night excursion. But does it really matter where you meet him/her? I mean G-d forbid, no one wants to risk getting VD, especially on VD.penis

Because I am WOMAN, listen up and “hear me roar”! Don’t be sexually stupid and find yourself down at the local Planned Parenthood clinic- the day after, if you know what I mean- the day after VD (Valentine’s Day). I am definitely very grateful for all the assistance I’ve received from Planned Parenthood in my lifetime thus far, however I only use their services today for preparedness, health, awareness, and maintenance….I learned some of my lessons the hard way- and you don’t have to. Pro-choice, pro-life, pro-family, pro-family planning, pro-women’s health, that is who I am, as ALL woman (and even men) should be.

tea baggin' condom disguise- $2 each

tea baggin’ condom disguise- $2 each

….and so today I continue to advocate for Planned Parenthood by selling my marvelous little tea baggin’ condom disguises: paper tea envelopes, lined and machine sewn using scrap/ repurposed fabric that come equipped with a “Proper Attire” Planned Parenthood condom, in which a portion of your $ goes back to Planned Parenthood with purchase. I know, I know- what a wonderfully kitschy repurposing idea that not only promotes environmentalism through the reuse of trash (un)worthy materials, but also promotes safe sex and birth control with a family planning attitude. Thank you, thank you very much. I think they’re fun, hilarious, disguise-able, a great conversation starter, most of all useful….and more! Again, they are equipped with a “Proper Attire” Planned Parenthood condom of the Dot or Basic variety, with condom per tea bag envelope. But for a limited high maintenance holiday time only from January 8th- February 8th you can get 12 of these little guys for $20, or 24 of them for $40….This is basically like getting 2 free per dozen.  *Feel free to request an assortment, or one specific type of condom per the entire order.

Upon ordering for either of these items:  First: Go to my Etsy shop. Be aware there are three options for condom disguises- one is relevant to the VD special.  Second: Become familiar with my “purchasing policies” before placing your order, and Lastly: if you are ordering from Kansas City and prefer to pick up rather than ship, although flowers CANNOT be shipped (shipping charges are already exempt from your order), please note the shipping preferences. If you are ordering condom disguises and prefer to pick them up, please use the coupon code upon checkout: KCPIKUP. (If you use this code and are not picking up in Kansas City, I will not ship these items and will refund your monies. Thank you for your understanding.)