Mission Statement

This blog journals my quest of art, whether it is a piece of work that is inherent in nature or one created by artists known or unknown or that I created myself. During this search, I have come to appreciate the magnificence and generosity of God who in his infinite wisdom surrounded us with exquisiteness everyday...everywhere and inspired our human spirit to create beauty that feeds our bodies and souls. Come join me on my journey to find art through my travels and my own creative endeavors. Maraming salamat.

All rights to all posts and contents on this blog, including photos and artwork are reserved by jojo sabalvaro tan.






Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It Must Be Color

It must be color that inspires me to create. I just love playing with color. That is why my favorite hobbies have involved the use of lots of color. I've always enjoyed sewing because of all the myriad of colors present in fabric and thread. In the early part of my home making, I made some of my own clothes and items for our house such as curtains and bed spreads.

I also love what is called the needle arts. I did crewel embroidery and cross stitch for years until it became difficult for me to see the charts. This hobby was especially convenient for me when I was working since I can take whatever project I was working on and supplies, fabric, thread, chart, scissors, with me in a small pouch whenever I travelled on business. I learned to crochet afghans from a co-worker at a bank I worked for. We had Wednedays off and a group of us would gather at her house to crochet. I also fairly recently learned how to knit. Again, the colorful yarn calls to me. I found this yarn shop in Chicago's Gold Coast area where the rich and famous women gathered around a table in the shop to knit. Oh, the stories you hear. Whenever I was at our condo downtown, I would join these ladies at the table and consequently, learned how to knit.

I learned how to quilt after visiting a quilt store in Wisconsin and seeing a quilt on display that I liked. I had never quilted before that and the store owner assured me I can do it and helped me pick out fabrics and supplies. Once I got home,with instructions in hand, I tackled the project with gusto once and relished in completing block after block. Now that I know about all the quilting rules, I'm surprised that I ever finished that quilt. I really enjoyed making it and so I enrolled in local quilt classes. I must have made more than 30 quilts to date and have many more UFO (unfinished objects) which are on my list of things to do. I love quilting mostly because I enjoy picking out the fabrics that will go into it.

First Quilt - Log Cabin Angel

I also made cloth and porcelain dolls and their clothes. I found this wonderful lady near my house who taught me to make reproductions of antique German and French porcelain dolls.

One of the porcelain dolls I made. I also made the dress and hat.

The most difficult part to paint are the eyelashes. We used liner brushes with just 2 or 3 hairs on them.
I also did ceramics. It was fun to transform green clay into something very colorful and useful or decorative. I made many ceramic pieces some of which I still use to this day. I am most proud of a 30 piece Nativity set that I set out on display on Christmas holidays.

One of my newest hobbies is jewelry making. Here again I like working with all the colorful beads and findings. Part of what I enjoy the most is the hunt for beads and accessories to put in the piece I am designing. I learned to bead by chance also. My husband and I were walking around the quaint shops in Geneva, Illinois and happened upon a small bead store. I was immediately smitten by all the colorful beads. Since there was no other customer, the owner of the shop sat me down and showed me how to make jewelry. I finished a necklace right there and then.


When I was in high school, my father taught me how to make paper mosaics for an art project. My piece won a ribbon and happens to be my first art work that I sold. Our art teacher purchased it. My passion for making paper mosaics was reignited by my last visit to Italy and seeing the wonderful mosaics in churches especially the Vatican. The paper for my mosaics come from pages of magazines. I sometimes go through 10 or more magazines just looking for the right hue and value of a color.

"Let There Be Peace on Earth", one of my mosaic pieces.

I've painted for as long as I can remember. I had more formal training in watercolor painting in college as we made washes on our architectural drawing plates. Like many, I was inspired by instructional TV artists and taught myself to oil paint with some guidance from my Daddy, who is an artist.



"Ballerina"- one of my early oil paintings


I also painted in acrylics, mostly folk art Americana stuff on wood. I took acrylic painting lessons at a place called Banbury Fair located nearby. It is a quaint store in downtown Bartlett. Other than my watercolor painting, this is where I became most prolific. I painted many a wood piece in acrylics like the one shown below:
A Halloween Box



Nowadays, I've devoted most of my free time to watercolor painting and started taking lessons with well known artists in the Chicago area. I still do some knitting, quilting, jewelry making and acrylic painting but, for now, I enjoy watercolor painting the most.

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