Will Have to Skip First Friday this eve…


Greetings, Art Lovers!

Just a heads’ up that my downtown Beaufort studio will NOT be open for First Friday After Five tonight (Oct. 2); I’m having some scheduling challenges today, and then there’s the prediction of flooding rains…. but I’ll be around this month until the last week.  Also, I’ll be adding items to my Etsy shop all month.

[I’ll be out of town for November’s First Friday, doing a children’s poetry presentation at the Georgia Literary Festival that weekend.]

Other studios and galleries will be open, so please go support local artists!  Thanks, and stay safe this weekend.

Happy Labor Day Weekend! Hop on Down to First Friday…

glass cabochon necklaces 3 on chain

Have a little art with your holiday weekend! We’ll be open for FIRST FRIDAY AFTER FIVE this evening in downtown Beaufort, 5-8 pm.  Come enjoy the shops, the art, the conversation!

For Poetry Friday on my author blog today, I posted about a few of the new things I’m up to – like the pendants above, featuring snipped text from late 1800s books and early 1900s typewriter manuals.

More to come!


Play. Work. Play. (Boxes of Surprises!)


DSC05777 box of blocks

My husband and I couldn’t resist.

We’d gone to the nearby town of Bluffton to the (wonderful!) HighTides Bead Shop – where I couldn’t resist either – and then popped into a few galleries along quaint Calhoun Street.

We came home with a box of blocks.  They are the end pieces that an artist couldn’t use, so he cleverly bundled them up and sold them, box and all.  Jeff wants to carve some, and I want to use some as “grounds” for art.  We have a new box of toys!

This has all reminded me of the importance of play in creating. In other areas of life, too.  I’d started the summer with a dutiful plan to add jogging to my walking routine – walk/jogging a few miles for two days in a row, then taking the third day off. I kept that pattern for a solid couple of weeks.  Until I ended up at my regular neuromuscular massage therapy appointment with a twisted knee in addition to major aggravation to my still-recovering injured neck.

“Did I say you could jog?” asked my therapist. “Most people, when they run, lead with their head!” (a big no-no for me).  “You can walk.  Or ride a bike.”

So I finally did what I’ve intended to do since moving here to the coast– I bought a simple cruising bike at the hardware store.

Robyn and bike 2015 06 crop


No gears!  No decisions!  Granted, it doesn’t get my heart rate up quite the same way as running, but I go farther and actually enjoy it.  And a magical thing happens when I climb onto the seat.  I become 10 years old.  Having grown up in Florida and spending countless hours on bicycles, I really do feel like a kid again whizzing by the water and ducking under Spanish moss.



One more box story.  This week I dragged a box out from under the house, where I put it a year or so ago.  My studio is upstairs in a wonderful historic building smack in the middle of downtown.  I walk in and out, most days, via the wooden stairs in the back. The building is owned by a family which runs a lovely jewelry store, and there’s an art gallery and interior design shop there, too.  I’ve been known to scavenge the boxes they’ve tossed out back.  Maybe I’ve salvaged bubble wrap and shipping boxes.

Anyway, right after moving here, I walked down and saw a large box labeled “Necks.”  Now tell me, would you have been able to just pass it on by?


Me neither.  To my delight, it was full of discarded jewelry displays for necklaces.  You can see in the pictures that I finally got around to sorting them and deciding some were worth cleaning up and spray painting.









Somehow I managed to spray a little paint toward my face.  Thankful for glasses.  But then I had to go to my studio and find some mineral spirits to get the specks off.  It was bright and sunny when I left on my errand, and left my sparkly “new” necks out to dry.  But a few blinks later, I was driving back home in a torrential storm.  Oh, well – at least the necks will be really clean.

I’m finally getting around to making some more adventurous jewelry with typewriter keys.  Here are a few examples of necklaces in the works, though I might still add a bit of vintage bling to the chains of the pendants.

1 necklace 2015 07 c

[PS - Got the pewter pitcher at a church thrift store last week for $1.00!]

[PS – Got the pewter pitcher at a church thrift store last week for $1.00!]

two necklaces one pin 2015 07 c

Or perhaps I’ll leave these simple. But  I’ve been amassing all these wonderful treasures to PLAY with… supplies 2015 07

If you’re in the downtown Beaufort area and in a playful mood tonight (Friday), swing by downtown for First Friday After Five.  Several galleries and shops will be open with refreshments and such, including my studio.

first friday poster

Here’s to a summer full of creative surprises!


A little Father’s Day gift inspiration?

1 on card c

Happy Summer!

I hope you are having a good June.  In case you are doing a little Father’s Day shopping this weekend, I’ve listed a few new typewriter key tie bars in my shop. Each tie bar is made of brass and features a gent-friendly vintage typewriter key, pretty much guaranteed to posses charming imperfections of its former vibrant life. Just $15!

And, should you need a little something for yourself (or for a lady in your life), I’ve got some new kinds of rings available too.

R ring wide band 2015 06 c

I’ll be listing more of these this weekend, plus, some like this:

morgan hands model antique silver plateed rings c

Thanks for taking a look – the always-expanding typewriter key accessories and jewelry section in my Etsy shop is here. :0)

Stay cool in the heat, and best wishes to all the dads.

Happy Poetry Month! Sharing a Vintage Mixed Media/Found Poem Piece…


vertical for blog heart poems c I hope you are having a Wonderful Poetry Month!  In my corner of the virtual world, the Kidlitosphere, bloggers and poets are celebrating all month long with fun and inspiring projects.  You can find a roundup by the terrific Jama Kim Rattigan at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.

One of these years I’ll have it together to do something beyond a few special posts on my robynhoodblack.com blog in April. Like last year, I’m participating in the Progressive Poem today and will host Poetry Friday this coming Friday.

But I did sneak over to the studio to finish a little project I’ve been wanting to make for weeks. (I was “homebound” in early April finishing some freelance writing assignments and hosting company.) This little framed mixed media piece features highlighted text from CROWN JEWELS – OR GEMS OF LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC, compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., copyright 1887 by J. R. Jones. The original text was given a glossy acrylic wash and boasts a vintage heart key, a snip of vintage lace, and a small fancy vintage watch hand from France.

heart poems close up cIt says:






The frame is one of four I found in an antique shop a few years ago. It’s about 4 and 1/2 by 5 inches – wooden, made in Italy.  It has the loveliest handpainted turquoise color, with antique (very antique-y looking now!) white paint as well.  It’s full of character (slight imperfections), and I kept the little triangle brass hanger attached at the top.

I was tempted to keep it, as I rather like the simple message this old text yielded.  But I also love it when someone comes along and says a piece like this speaks to them, or they have the perfect person in mind to give it to.  So I listed it in my Etsy shop.

heart poems with hand c

Whether it sells quickly or hangs around a long while, I wish its sentiment for you always:  that your life is full of heart-poems!  Happy Poetry Month.

Ahoy! Sea-themed artworks coming to shore…


sailors angle c

February winds have made for a blustery bay this week, but that hasn’t stopped visitors from coming to our fair little coastal town.  I’ve been busy conjuring up some “sea-themed” items to offer through artsyletters, especially at my kiosk over in Fordham Market. I wrote a wee bit about this in my author blog post for Poetry Friday last week.

In that post I showed the elements in progress, but above is one of the finished pieces.  These are miniatures, made from cradled wood boards into small shadow boxes.  I painted them black and covered them with acrylic gloss, then antiqued a self-leveling hanger and attached it to the back.

The featured text came directly from

    Crown Jewels
Gems of Literature, Art,
and Music
Choice Selections from the Writings and Musical Productions of the Most Celebrated Authors, From the Earliest Times

compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D. D., and published in 1888.

It’s actually a refrain to a song, “The Tar for all Weathers,” by Charles Dibdin (1745-1814).  Lucky for me, the refrain appeared a few times, so I made three of these. (I was able to find the author’s name in three spots in the book as well.)  I’ve put two of these at Fordham and listed the third in my Etsy shop.

three sailor shadow boxes c

Here are the words:

But sailors were born for all weathers,
Great guns let it blow high or low,
Our duty keeps us to our tethers,
And where the gale drives we must go.

(That line, “Great guns let it blow high or low” has been rattling around in my head since I read it!)

The text is placed atop an original mini-woodcut.  I hadn’t done any printmaking in the months since my neck/nerves injury in the fall, and it felt wonderful last week to carve a block or two and roll out the ink (love that smell) and print some images! The ship’s wheel hanging above the text is hand cast from blackened pewter, from a wonderful Etsy shop specializing in antiqued brass.

Here’s another 4″ by 4″ piece with text from a different poem, “At Sea” by John Townsend Trowerbridge:

DSC04696 trowerbridge poem shadow box c

The text reads:

A heavenly trust my spirit calms,

                my soul is filled with light:

The Ocean sings his solemn psalms,

The wild winds chant: I cross my palms

                Happy as if to-night

Under the cottage roof again

I heard the soothing summer rain.

This little piece features tiny vintage watch parts – a watch hand and a wheel, as well as a lovely vintage brass decorative element.  It was described as a flying mermaid; I’m not sure, but it is some kind of fantastical winged human creature! Fortunately I was able to purchase a few of these, so they will appear in other work, too.

Finally, here is a 6″ by 6″ shadow box/mixed media piece.  Again, I made the background by creating a wave-themed woodcut, printing the black image over a block print of mottled blue and green inks.  It’s from the same book, CROWN JEWELS, and features a poem by Thomas Lovell Beddoes, “To Sea.”  (I’m including a close-up below so you can read the entire poem.)  More vintage watch parts on this one – an ornate golden watch hand from France and a tiny wheel which perfectly shows off the decorative illuminated initial “T.”  The seahorse is a vintage pin, found by an Etsy dealer in eastern Europe!

DSC04703 to sea shadow box 6 X 6 c

TO SEA close up c

Thanks for taking a look.  Wishing you smooth sailing the rest of the week and right out of winter into spring…!

Wonders on the Way…


Confession:  Sometimes I drive to work.

It’s only a mile, so when I walk, that’s an easy two miles of exercise to add to the day.  But – when it’s cold, or rainy, or cold AND rainy, I can’t seem to walk past the car outside my door.

My creativity, though, is not fed by wending through traffic but by walking – taking in the surroundings which change each day with the tides, and noting what things remain more or less the same. On walks my wandering mind might be graced with a “haiku moment” or two.  All my senses are engaged.

When I walk to my studio, in the heart of downtown Beaufort, there’s always a wonder along the way.  This year I’ll share some of those here.  Maybe a picture will strike your fancy, offer a spark of inspiration, or simply give you something to ponder.

Like this:

Bay Street Treasures photo ©Robyn Hood Blackl

BAY STREET TREASURES photo ©Robyn Hood Black

Um, how could I not notice the clever use of an old typewriter?! It first caught my eye in the warmer months, and now it’s graced with bright pansies for winter.  This delightful gem welcomes visitors to Bay Street Treasures, a wonderful antique store at the corner of Bay and Charles Streets, across from the marina. It’s owned by Ginny & Allison DeBose and Barbara Marsh .  Ginny and Allison kindly granted me permission to share this bewitching garden art.

I’ve bought a gift or two at Bay Street Treasures, and my hubby spotted just the thing for when I set up on “First Friday” evenings – some vintage stacking metal shelves. display shelves outside narrow




From vintage jewelry to furniture to clever metal oddities in the garden, I’m always tempted in that shop!



Across the street is another little place you must duck in if you are vintage-inclined – Reflections Old & New.  Friendly proprietors will greet you there as well – Lynda and Doug Bransford  (and their parrot!).  You’ll find just the thing to class up your home or your closet with some elegant history.  I couldn’t resist these antique metal buttons:



Now, what will I use these for?  Oh, the creative wheels are turning.

Especially when I walk.

artsyletters is featured on The Nerdy Chicks Rule blog today!


Happy Friday!

nerdy chicks rule banner

Huge thanks to my friend and generous, talented children’s author Kami Kinard for featuring artsyletters on the Nerdy Chicks Rule blog today!  Click on over to find a bit of backstory on these items I love creating.

Warning:  If you are a lover of kidlit, you might not emerge from that amazing blog for a while… Kami and Sudipta know how to throw a blog party!


All Packed…. Ready-to-go Gift Sets for Readers, Writers, Teachers, & Creative Types!


Holiday Shopping Season is in Full Swing!

Wish you had some elves to help?

While I don’t have elves to hire out, I do have five ready-to-go gift ideas if you have any readers, writers, teachers, or crafty folks on your list.  (Click any image to learn more about each product.)

Here are two gift packs ($15 each) that made their way onto some sleighs last year:

First, for the Book Nerds in your life:

BOOK NERD Gift Pack by artsyletters®

BOOK NERD Gift Pack by artsyletters®

And the poets:

POETS Gift Pack by artsyletters®

POETS Gift Pack by artsyletters®

And here are three new gift packs!

First, for Teachers:

TEACHERS RULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

This “TEACHERS RULE” pack includes my apple and books notecards, a bookmark, large magnet, and – just for fun – a 6-inch ruler (made in the USA)!  These items come in a fun black gift bag with chalkboard-white designs.  I’m happy to personalize the bag with white chalkboard paint if desired. This gift set is $17.50

Next, for the Wordsmiths in your world:

WRITERS WRULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

WRITERS WRULE Gift Pack by artsyletters®

This “WRITERS WRULE” pack includes my typewriter notecards, a bookmark, large magnet, and – again, just for fun – a 6-inch ruler. This gift set is $16.50.

Finally, for the artists, crafters, and creators in your sphere who have lots of ideas and inspirations to keep track of:

MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK by artsyletters®

MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK by artsyletters®

This (affordable!) “MAKER MAGNET GIFT PACK” features a large magnet which reads, in chalk-inspired lettering, “A maker before there was a movement” – as well as a circular chalkboard-inspired “Make – Made do” magnet and a flat laminate “I make, therefore I am” magnet. These are tucked into recycled kraft shreds and presented in a shimmery mini organza gift bag. (Just $10.75)        Shop Small button

Thanks for taking a look, and may all your holiday shopping be wrapped up without a lot of stress!  And may you find or make the perfect gifts for your special someones.