How it’s Done: ArtMob Expo Celebrates the Process

Mixed-media images by Sandee Setliff

Mixed-media images by Sandee Setliff

It’s like a fast-track apprenticeship: experience gained without the investment of toil or time. Viewers at the Art MoB’s upcoming expo won’t actually leave with the skills needed to become a potter — but they’ll definitely gain insight into the work behind the wheel.

Or behind the coil, as is the case with Art MoB member Lucy Clark, who hand-builds her vessels the old-world way, layer by layer.

Another artist who favors a less-expected approach is painter Amy Perrier: she creates her popular landscapes using only her fingers as tools.

“While we love traditional gallery shows, we feel this event will create a connection between the artists and the enthusiasts,” says gallery owner Michele Sparks. “When you watch Amy put her fingers to the canvas or Lucy shape the clay in her hands, your relationship with the artwork begins: ‘Why did you choose this medium? What led you to become an artist?’”

Process is crucial to mixed-media artist Sandee Setliff, a popular blogger who designs canvases, cards, and gift boxes for several online art manufacturers, including Helmar glue, DecoArt paints, Arnold Grummer papermaking, Sin City Stamps, and The Buckle Boutique.

Setliff finds fulfillment in merely explaining her small canvases: “I use magazines, tear them apart, group them into color groups and then arrange the pieces to create the backgrounds,” she says. “For the focal image, usually a bird, I cut out tiny feathers and piece them together using tweezers — as anatomically correct as I can for that particular bird. Sometimes I really have to study the way the bird’s feathers come together to do this correctly.

“I also add small paint details to each piece, which keeps in line with true mixed media,” she adds.

This summer, Setliff is making a canvas with local mountains in the background and a branch and bird in the foreground, “utilizing all three techniques listed above,” she says.

The bird, she says, is yet to be determined. She’s leaning toward the cardinal — North Carolina’s state bird. Since she’ll be working on the piece during the Expo, attendees can find out her final decision firsthand.

“What I hear most often from people is, ‘You must have a lot of patience,’” she says. “I just smile when they say that. I have a favorite saying which expresses my thought process: ‘I’m in my own little world, but it’s OK. They know me here.’”

Studio Artists Expo happens at Art MoB Studios and Market Place (124 4th Avenue East in Hendersonville) on July 25 from 4-7pm. Call 828-693-4545 or visit for more information.


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