Friday, June 24, 2016

Summer Classes! Come make art in a safe fun enviroment 

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Hello Beautiful Humans,
I know many of you have inquired about classes this year. I have spent the spring exploring some new directions in my work, but the sun is shining and its time for someSummer Classes!  Hope you can join me for some creative exploration. Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom for some news and upcoming events.

Sat July 9, Junk Crow  9:30 am- 4:30 pm $70 plus $15 materials 
I am retiring this class so don't miss this last opportunity to learn how to make Junk Crows.  

Come and join me for some creative deconstruction and transformation of the humble artificial bird.  We are going to breathe soul and spunk into those mass produced plastic creatures and create unique works of art. Through the use of fabric, wire, and string we will create a complex textural base for our bird. Working with thin metal and found objects we will create new beaks, wings, and eyes. Then to complete our Junk Crow we will create a whimsical wire hanger and embellish our creation, with beads, buttons, and junk.
This is a project-based class with tons of room for exploration and variation. I really encourage everyone to go where their muse is leading them. We will be learning lots of fun easy techniques that produce quick, dramatic results. You’ll find that these newly learned techniques can be applied to many different kinds of mixed media work.  I look forward creating with you.

Sat July 16, Own Your Creativity  9:30 am- 4:30 pm $80

Do you doubt or deny your creativity? Do you feel like you are not original? Like you are just copying others? Creativity for most of us is an amorphous, slippery, fickle creature that does not like to be caught, questioned, or structured.
Come spend a light hearted exploratory day getting a grip on that magical creature CREATIVITY.  We will use fun quick exercises to let go of those pesky ideas of perfection and preciousness. I will share with you inspiration art and words from diverse sources to support your journey.  This is the perfect class for those brand new artists who are convinced they are not very creative and for the seasoned artist whose work has gotten tight and predictable.  Come join me in creating some artistic chaos!
Sun July 17, Grunge Painting 9:30 am- 4:30 pm $70 plus $10 materials

Do you swoon over rusty metal and peeling paint? Is Wabi Sabi your favorite look? Come spend a fun day learning to recreate what takes nature years to make. The focus will be on creating texture and patina. Working on canvas and paper we will be recreating the look of peeling bill boards, crackled paint and rusty walls.  This class encourages you to let go of that perfection complex. We will be sanding, tearing, slopping, spraying, and exploring unusual materials. You will leave class with an abstract work of art and tons of new techniques.   Come let me encourage your wild grungy spirit!

Classes are held at my personal studio at 1920 Main Street Suite #8, Ferndale, WA, 98248. There is parking along side of the building and in the back by the smoke stack.  A lunch break of 45 mins is included in the schedule. A sack lunch is recommended, but there are some food options close.

Full payment is required to register. Supply list will be emailed after registration. How to pay: my first choice is a check made out to Clarissa Callesen and sent to 2252 Seamount Dr. Ferndale, WA 98248, I can also take a credit/debit card over the phone, or I can send you a PayPal invoice.  For full refund a cancellation must be made 48hrs before day of class.  15 students max, must have at least 5 students to run the class
Call 360-305-9058  or email

I am pleased to announce that two of my new fiber and found object pieces were selected for the  Anacortes Arts Festival's Arts at the Port Juried Exhibition, July 30 - August 7.  
Don't forget you can find my ceramics and smaller mixed media pieces on Etsy year round.
I will be having a solo exhibit at Social Fabric, 1302 Commercial Street Bellingham called "Parts of the Whole" for the month of September. Gallery walk and opening reception Sept 6th. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

All Dolls Are Art Conference

I am going to be teaching at ADAA for the first time this year. I have never taught at or even been to a conference that specialized strictly in dolls.  I am not quite sure what to expect but I am excited about the opportunity.  Besides its being held in a Austin where the motto is “Keep Austin Weird”… I want to start a campaign called “ Make Ferndale Weird” but not in the creepy weird way it may lean some days.


Amy of ADAA just published a  faculty profile about me that includes some great pictures and some interview questions I am going to share here.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Hi Clarissa, tell me about the dolls you create.

Clarissa: I create assemblage dolls from recycled and found objects. I enjoy giving discarded objects a new life. I am drawn to the rust, patina, and evidence of life on found objects.


Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Where did you start your artistic journey?  Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

Clarissa:  I knew I wanted to be an artist in 3rd grade, and then I got distracted with horses and math for most of my school career. I went to college on a drama scholarship and, in a moment of being frustrated with the lack of creative input I had in theater, I wandered into the art department and never left. Making art, talking about art, learning about artists fed me in a way I hadn’t found before that. I have been both fortunate and tenacious enough to make a living as an artist since I was 22.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  So you are a full time artist!  How long have you been able to focus on your art?

Clarissa:  Yes full time for 20 years.. Eek that makes me feel old!


Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  I’m coming up on my 20th anniversary with my day job too, but I’m not a full time artist!  Where do you find artistic inspiration? Do you keep an art journal?

Clarissa:  I am currently addicted to Pinterest and justify my hours on the computer as “artistic research”. I am inspired by other artists of all medium both famous and unknown. My studio walls are a giant collage of art images, postcards, quotes, old work of mine, rusty objects, and general chaos. Those visuals become some kind of non linear source of inspiration. I also keep little scratched out ideas on random piece of papers that no one can decipher including myself.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  I have recently discovered video’s on Pinterest and have been sucked in!  Describe your process for starting a new piece.  Do you know exactly how your pieces will turn out before you start sculpting/painting or do you allow your creation to develop as you work?

Clarissa:  All my work is greatly inspired by the objects I have on hand. I start with a porcelain doll that has been discarded to the Goodwill or a yard sale because its owner has out grown it. Those dolls have a certain prissy kind of quality to them and my first order of business is to do some creative deconstruction. I am not a traditionally trained doll maker, and I am starting with a partially constructed figure so a lot of my process is about altering that original doll and combining with found objects to create a completely new art piece. I use a lot of alternative techniques to achieve the look I am going for including but not limited to taking a butane torch to my dolls. I might have a mood or a feeling about the direction a doll is going but for the most part I try to stay out of the way and let the process and the materials create the work.


Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Do you believe you have a muse?  If so, how does your muse express his/herself?

Clarissa:  I believe creativity is the essence of our life force. I don’t have a “muse” per say but I believe there are things I don’t cognitively understand that allow and nurture creativity to flow through me and into physical works of art.

Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  What a beautiful way of articulating creativity!  Please describe a day in your studio.

Clarissa:  That greatly depends on what kind of deadline I am working on. I try to do some kind of social media update or promo to start the day and then the sky is the limit. I might be torching a whole group of dolls and splashing paint and stain around or I may be spending quiet hours capturing that elusive look in the details of a painted face. I enjoy the alone time in my studio and listen to audio books while I work.


Amy, AnLiNa Designs:  Describe an idea that you have that is yet to be born.  What is keeping you from starting?

Clarissa:  I want to create large life sized doll as part of a larger gallery instillation. Also dolls that are more abstract and even further away from traditional forms.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Teaching in Seattle in Oct

I will be teaching at the new Create retreat in Seattle Oct 22-26th.  I have several students that have inquired about when I will be teaching in Seattle. Well now is you chance! 

create logo

I will be teaching


Wednesday, October 22 • 9am-4pm
$152 class
$25 materials fee

ccallesen wishkeeper 2

Skill Level: All Levels
Technique: Collage & Assemblage

You will leave with... a unique piece of art to protect and nourish your dreams.

Description: We all have wishes and dreams, come join me in constructing a special Art doll to protect and watch over them. Using dyes and paint we will create lush papers to turn into wish scrolls wrapped in string and lace. I will share with you simple but dramatic ways to alter wood in the process of changing a mass produced object into a unique piece of art. We will use sculpting and painting to animate the face of our Wish Keeper. I will be covering easy and effective construction and attachment techniques. Then we will pull the whole piece together with found objects, lace, beads, charms, and of course your wishes and dreams scrolls. That will be safely tucked into the birdcage skirt of your Wish Keeper. This is both a project and technique based class which you will leave with a unique piece of art as well as skills useful not just to art dolls but to other mixed media work as well.



Date & Time
Thursday, October 23 • 9am-4pm

Price $152
Materials Fee $15

ccallesenheart 2.5ccallesenheart1

Skill Level: All Levels
Technique: Collage & Assemblage

You will leave with... a unique piece of art as well as skills useful for many different projects.

Description: Each and every one of us has a heart that is sacred. A heart that loves, cherishes, protects, and hurts. Join me in creating an assemblage shrine to our beautiful and perfectly flawed hearts. We will be covering lots of techniques to alter and age new wood. We will cover the myriad of different ways to connect objects for assemblages. Through sculpting, painting, and distressing you will take everyday objects and turn them into a beautiful reliquary to your heart. I believe in embracing the grunge and cherishing the haphazard. This is both a project and technique based class which you will leave with a unique piece of art as well as skills useful for many different projects.


Date & Time

Thursday, October 23 • 6-9pm

Price  $89
Materials Fee $30


Skill Level: All Levels
Technique: Collage & Assemblage

You will leave with... a whole bunch of new techniques to easily distress paper, wood, metal, fabric, plastic, mirror, and clay and lots of unique components to use in future art projects.

Description: We all love those amazing vintage treasures found while hunting through musty antique stores. Sometimes we don't want to leave our studio or we can't find the right item, or if you find the perfect object it can be out of your budget. Let me teach you how to take readily available inexpensive items and turn that new shine and cheap plastic into "vintage" treasures. This class will focus on techniques for aging and distressing wood, paper, metal, plastic, fabric, and more. We will take those big box craft store rejects and dollar store treasures and sand, pound, paint, and patina them into unique art items. You will leave this low stress, fun class with new techniques and unique components for dozens of art projects.

Students Should Bring: Just themselves

Monday, May 12, 2014

Art and Soul Student Work

I had the best students at Art and Soul Portland 2014!  So much fun, laughs, and really good work done.  I love my Art and Soul family! Classes are up for Art and Soul Portland 2015 with early registration discounts!


Bricologe Class

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Wish Keeper Class


Friday, May 9, 2014

The Beautiful Ugly

I LOVE the look of peeling paint and worn out objects. One of my artistic objectives is to find the beauty amid the ugly.   Real life is not airbrushed models and perfectly photographed art studios with styled “chaos”.  Life is zits on your 40 something face and liquid nails oozing all over your filthy work table.

But if I take the time to look again, I can see the joy in my eyes and character created by those lines around my eyes telling a story of a life of laughter and joy. 

Amid the liquid nails, scraps of paper, and yesterday’s tea cup there is the beginnings of a meaningful assemblage, the perfect hat for my next art doll, and the chaotic soul of making a living as an artist.


Tulip petals fallen in the mud. Skagit Valley WA


I started trying to capture this concept through photography while travelling in India recently. ( lots more pictures to come)

India is the land of BEAUTIFUL UGLY. I loved it! Of course “ugly” and “beautiful” are incredibly subjective words that are greatly influenced by our cultural  norms and personal prejudices and  they do not leave room for the eye to truly see the subtle complexity of life.


The Ganges is so loved and worshiped you can’t help but feel the sacredness of it waters, but in it’s waters float the flower remnants of important rituals right next to the garbage of everyday life.



Do you still see the beauty of the tulip petal when it’s fallen into the mud?

Do you feel the magic of a sacred ceremony even when its remnants lie next to someone’s lunch bag?




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