Collector Spotlight ~ Spirited Celeste!

Bring on the Holiday Cheer as Christmas is ever so near! It is my honor and treat to share with you a festive Collector Spotlight. My dear collector friend Celeste, who shares a love for all things holiday, has once again opened her cozy home to us! After she artfully arranged her holiday displays this December, she snapped a medley of photos for me to share with you! Celeste has been collecting my folk art for several years, and her cupboards and sideboards show the results of her passion. Amongst the art of others, I am honored to have such a special spot in her home! Not only does she revere my winter-themed characters, but she also has a weakness for my Halloween as seen in her original Collector Spotlight feature! We've connected several times at shows and at our open house, and it is the twinkle in her eyes and the joy in her smile that really resonates with me when she sees my latest creations. I love that my creativity can ignite a wonderment and inspire her imagination. As always, it is a joy for me to see my handmade creations delighting others and filling homes with good cheer. Thank you Celeste for welcoming us into your decorated home, and I appreciate that you have found a special place in your heart for my art! For those that have joined us, read along for a fun Q & A as you peruse Celeste's photos! ENJOY!


* Celeste's excitement for the holidays has a long history… I love her perky dress and curly locks as the  tinsel shimmers on the Christmas tree!


* A prominent piece for displaying treasures in Celeste's home is her antique Sellers Hoosier hutch,  or "The Better Kitchen Cabinet" as the vintage tag plate states. I agree, it's the perfect spot to showcase a medley of finds, both old and new! From the top to the counter and the shelves in between, she fills the nooks with holiday cheer. A clever blending of antique finds pair perfectly with the folk art characters that call this piece home.

Johanna: How did you learn about my holiday folk art?

Celeste: I first saw you at Halloween and Vine seven years ago, and when I found your booth, I had already spent all my money!! I was so sad..I brought my friend Mona over to your booth and said, look how cute these pieces are!!! Buy one, so at least I can see it at your house! So she bought "Dixie Dot"! Your web update was not long after that and I was so anxious, I was an hour early for it, I forgot about the time change!! I was able to get my first one that day, "Bailey Boo".

Johanna: Oh my, I still remember that email that you sent me an hour early before the sale! I'm so glad you snatched something special, and wow did that ever blossom into something special!


* At center is an original mouse candy container, one of Celeste's favorite pieces.  He's donned with painted stockings and perches atop an old Sparking Mint Puffs tin. (I too have this vintage tin in my collection!) An original cat ball and a snowman ball character surround the scene. Vintage glass sugar jars add a touch of nostalgia and a baker's delight feel. Holiday originals by Johanna Parker Design.


* Above,  one of my original kettle cup snowmen whistles a holiday tune! Celeste tucks him in with old boxes and tins. A sweet vintage style tree and other novelties complete the nostalgic scene.

Johanna: How long have you been collecting my originals?

Celeste: Seven years.

Johanna: Time sure flies! I was just thinking today that I have been making my folk art, full time for over ten years now. Crazy!


* Below, we take a closer look at my snowman ball character, snuggling up to that sweet green tin. Under a delicate glass dome,  a vintage Christmas tree twinkles.


* Off to the side, a pair of holiday ball character originals pose for their photo! As the snowman balances on a pair of antique glass shakers, a vintage camera sets the scene from behind. "Merry Be"says the cat! Holiday originals by Johanna Parker Design.

Johanna: What is it about my creations that captures your imagination?

Celeste: I love antiques and vintage things and I feel your pieces remind me of vintage holidays, say the 40's era. The hues you use are so rich and the expressions are so cute and whimsical, I truly love them.

Johanna: Ahh, you nailed it! I love that era too. Whether intentional or not, the style and flowing lines of the 30s and 40s decades just seep out of me when I create. 


* A white feather tree adds texture, twinkle and delight to the scene. Celeste has been collecting my ornaments, both originals and reproductions for several years now, and her treasure hunting has proven fruitful. One of my illustrated snowman hats cleverly crowns the top of her tree! Below, holiday characters clip and dangle from branches. She has been collecting my one of a kind bell ornaments for several years now and has acquired a hearty handful of these jinglers! Off in the distance, I spy a snowman sitter…. Let's take a closer look!


* Back at the hutch, this very limited edition snowman sitter from my Bethany Lowe Designs line waves a happy hello, while an original Santa ball character hails a "ho ho ho!" Christmas characters by Johanna Parker Design.


* More ornaments dangle in delight and spread good cheer. In the mix, a jolly snowman with carrot nose (bottom right) from artist Tammy Strum joins in on the fun! More characters, both original and reproductions by Johanna Parker Design are sprinkled in for a festive mix!


* As you take a stroll around the tree, more treasures peek through the branches including the two snowmen in red stocking and cone by Johanna Parker Design along with a whimsical snow-cone combo by artist Robert Brawley.

Johanna: Where have you had the best luck in acquiring my original pieces; shows, web sales, Collector's Catch, eBay, etc?

Celeste: Web sales

Johanna: That would make sense… I should call you "Speedy Celeste" with those fast fingers!


* A cabinet cubby calls Christmas with more Johanna Parker Design snowmen! Vintage style snow flake boxes are used for both holiday sentiment and perching posts. A sweet elephant Santa peeks out of a chimney by Jody Battaglia.


* Old coffee and spice tins add a tasteful touch to the holiday scene where both my Santa kettle cup and snowman bust settle. Vintage glass beads, old baubles and a bottlebrush tree add holiday shimmer.

* More antique novelties and an old coffee grinder set the stage for a reproduction Santa ornament from my Bethany Lowe Designs line and a jolly sweet snowman holding snow babies,  an original by artist Tammy Strum


* Up top, a limited edition snowman vase from my Bethany Lowe Designs line, bursts with a spray of shiny holiday cheer. An original owl kettle cup by Johanna Parker Design nestles amongst the antique tins and a sweet holly angel by Jody Battaglia adds balance to the arrangement.


* Towering "Icicle Ike," one of Celeste's most recent acquisitions, is one of her faves! He proudly perches next to a very special vintage 60s tree created by Vivian Parsons, Celeste's mother now in spirit. A smaller snowman ball character offers a sweet grin while a little holiday train carrying critters frames the scene. Both snowman originals are by Johanna Parker Design.

Johanna: Do you have a favorite piece in your Christmas collection?

Celeste: As many of your collectors have mentioned before it is hard to choose just one!!!! I love them all! But "Icicle Ike" is up there and the mouse candy container. I am koo koo for your egg cups though, as I love small things…

Johanna: Oh, I know it's almost impossible to choose a fave. I would have guessed egg cups for you too as I know how much you love those :) "Koo Koo" is appropriate in a fun egg-cup kinda way!


* Speaking of Egg Cups….. Look at the large family of characters that Celeste has been adopting over the years! In mass, they make quite the festive statement. I spy eleven little characters in cups with arms spread wide! In the background, the "'Take out Window" painted by the late Charles Wysocki, sets a magical winter scene while Wee Forest Folk ornaments dangle from a tree.


* A closer look reveals sweet little faces with bright eyes and delicate details. A row of beautiful general store style candy jars add a sweet touch, and some are filled with glass candy by Hulet & Hulet.

Johanna: Is there anything in particular you suggest I try making in the future?

Celeste: I would love for you to try making Halloween bell ornaments as well as a squirrel and a raccoon!

Johanna: All would be fun, and thanks for the suggestions! I'm still on the hunt for spooky-sounding jingle bells for Halloween. If anyone has a source for me, please let me know!


* Delicate snowman lollipops, holly leaves and berries and swirly candies and stripes are just some of the motifs that I've painted on these festive cuties...

* Across the way, Celeste has festooned her mantel with holiday finds created by doll maker artisans. The standing Santa Cat designed by artist Mark Roberts is quite a festive statement piece and reminds Celeste of her mischievous cat Millie! But, I imagine (from what I've heard) that Millie would not tolerate to wear that Santa outfit :) A sheer mantel dressing drapes over the edge and draws the eye to a pair of cute snow folk by an unknown artist. 


* Back at the tree, more delights capture Celeste's heart including a hand-painted dog ornament by Carolee Clark (top left) and a sweet cloth angel by Robin Armstrong Seeber (bottom left). Snowman medley by Johanna Parker Design.


I hope you enjoyed the Q & A as well as the holiday glimpse into Celeste's cozy home for Christmas! Many thanks again to Celeste for opening her home to us! It is a joy to have this chance to visit my creations through the lens of her camera, and I am pleased to see how carefully arranged and cherished my art is in her home. My wish is that my handmade characters continue to bring twinkle and delight to her eyes and smiles to those that enter her dwelling. 

To leave a message for Celeste or myself, please click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post. Thank you!

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to you!
~ Johanna

Happy Halloween, Enter In...

My OH my, friends so dear,
HALLOWEEN is now here!
The hour is bewitching,
and Jack is itching (to show off his conical hat)
I also took photos by evening candlelight,
of vintage novelties and Halloween delight.
An October 31 birthday is ever so sweet,
as I'm often gifted a vintage Halloween treat!
We placed our corner cupboard inside for fun,
to fill it with pieces from my collection.
I also snapped a few photos during the day,
to share a small peek at my Halloween display.
I wish I had more time to festoon the whole place,
with orange and black decor, filling the space.
But, I have been quite busy making my art,
So, with limited time, this is a start….

Best Wishes to you for a Halloween so jolly!
May it be filled with smiles and sweet folly.

Happy Haunting,
~ Johanna


* Jack perches on a stool, wearing his new hat! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


* Our corner cupboard at glance…. And yes, this is the same cupboard that we take to our shows to showcase my one of a kinds! It's typically stored away, but we decided to bring it indoors and fill it with Halloween delights. I have so many more Halloween pieces in my collection that I will just have to find myself an additional curio cabinet to display them all in!


* A peek up close reveals one of my original owl ball characters that I gave to JP as birthday present a few years ago. He's surrounded with vintage Halloween finds.


* Down below, a cloth pumpkin man with a walnut shell head was created and gifted to me by my mom! She also made the sweet woolen stitched pumpkin above, left. Vintage horns, noisemakers and other delights have appeared in packages at my doorstep by dear friends and thoughtful collectors who know that I love antique Halloween novelties.


* An old orange bird cage reveals one of my reproduction crows roosting inside. A vintage owl clicker suspends along the edge.


 * A grouping of my original candy containers that I have collected over the years, traipse across the top shelf. Below, a sweet papier mache "Bewitched" cat candy box was gifted to me by a dear artist friend, Kitty Nikolai of Sweet Invocations.


* Vintage jack-o'-lanterns grin and glow next to an old orange ceramic cat that I found at a garage sale.


* A closer peek reveals my cat, witch and crow trio tucked in the corner of the cabinet.


* An older original spider of mine sits atop a timeworn candy tin. Behind, vintage tin noisemakers are mixed with some of my Halloween art.


* A creepy cool Spooklight lantern suspending from a stylized bat are both designed by my fellow Halloween designer friend, Bindlegrim! I was lucky to snatch this set at this year's Halloween Trunk Show!


* Below on a stack of old suitcases, you'll find an original owl bust that I created a few years ago… "Wise 'ol Owlexander"


* And, here's another peek of our corner cupboard from the side… It's tempting to keep this out all year, as it's all eye candy to me...


* Looking across to the mantel, we see Jack wearing an orange crepe paper bow tie. To bring in a little Halloween cheer, I added some orange accents to the decor.


* I quickly turned my new "Trick or Treat" bag from Primitives by Kathy into a pillow by stuffing it with another pillow! (thanks Mom for the idea :) In the distance, our handmade fire screen mirrors the play on black cats…


* JP brought me home a bouquet of birthday flowers, so I added those to a Roseville vase. Two of my new Halloween stand-up characters from Primitives by Kathy add some seasonal spunk!


* A headless dress form serves as an unusual illumination along with a canvas to adorn for the season. I added my "Oh Bats" hanger and draped the bodice with an orange scarf that my mom gave me last year.


* An orange and black handmade basket from our close friends carries one of my new Halloween box signs, "Halloween is Calling."


* And, just a quick glance to the back sunroom invites those who enter to take a seat. Jack has clearly abandoned both his hat and tie to sit and relax for a little bird-watching fun. As our bittersweet vine turns golden outside, a pumpkin and a pair crows add some fall spirit to the inside scene.


* Once again, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Follow along with me on:

Instagram   Follow Me on Pinterest  and Facebook!

Meet the Artist - Win an Original - Gallery Event!

Hi Friends!

I will be at Show of Hands Gallery in Cherry Creek North this Thursday from 5pm - 7pm and again on Saturday, from Noon - 3pm! It is a delightful artisan shop filled with hand-crafted delights. I am finishing up a collection of one of a kind Halloween pieces that will be available! ALL attendees will also be eligible to WIN my original Jack-o'-Lantern that I created, exclusively for this special event! The raffle takes place at Show of Hands, from October 10th - October 13th, but I hope you can swing by when I am there to mingle and say hi! This is a chance for me to unwind and enjoy your company! Unlike last weekend's Halloween show, I promise not to be in a frenzy... So, I look forward to this opportunity to socialize! Hospitality will include delicious seasonal cookies & brownies from local bakery, Sugar District & Company. So, stop in for a cup of hot cider, a sweet treat and lots of eye candy! Bring your friends and family too!


* Meet Johanna *

Thursday, October 10th: 5pm - 7pm

Saturday, October 12th: Noon - 3pm

Show of Hands is located at 210 Clayton Street, Denver 80206. Look for their green awning, lovely street-front sculpture garden and a small parking lot directly in front of their windows


Keep an eye here on my BLOG as I will post photos from last weekend's Halloween Trunk Show at Leo's. And, I plan to host a spontaneous Blog Sale of my signed Halloween reproductions next week! Later this month, we have another spooktacular Collector Spotlight to showcase as well! So, stay tuned for more delightful Halloween eye candy!

THANK YOU to all of my dear and dedicated collectors who have made my show season so uplifting and magical! It has been such a treat to see your smiling faces, and I appreciate the journey you made from both near and far to visit with me and collect my Halloween folk art! You continue to inspire me and allow me to do what I love to do! Halloween HUGSSSSSSSS to you!

~ Johanna ~

Follow Me on Pinterest

Hoot Hoot for April!...

Owls for Halloween are always a HOOT, so why not get a head start this spring! After all, the birds are chirping and the feathers are now a'flutter as we look outdoors. What a treat it would be to spot an owl, so I decided to make my own since it's often a rare gift to see one. This particular owl is decorated with a series of intricate moons and a tiny mouse marks his front! He's up for bids on eBay through Easter weekend with an auction ending on Tuesday evening at 7pm PST. You can enjoy a fun variety of photos and a full description of this collectible egg cup character of mine by visiting his eBay Auction Link! Many thanks for your interest and your generous bids if you feel so inclined. I appreciate your support.

Thank you,
~ Johanna

* Stylized wings of wire certainly bring a touch of magic and whimsy to this striking character!...

* 'Lil mouse peers into the Mr. Moon's eyes with wonder and intrigue....

* Another crescent moon decorates his back, while two full moon faces bring smiles and laughs to each side...


Images & Designs, © 2011 Johanna Parker Design. Photos may not be used without permission.

Walking Down Memory Lane....

We all have to start somewhere, right? As it's a new year, I have been sifting through old files and transferring masses of CD images to an external drive for safe keeping. Who knows how long these thin little plasma discs will last anyway. Of course, my curiosity has slowed my progress a bit as it's always interesting to peek at the past and relive events that had an impact on life. I came across a disc titled "PA 2004." Immediately, I popped it in, and memories began to flood back of my first professional exhibition, if you could call it that! It was 6 years ago and the dawning of a new year and a new career path for myself. I had left my Art Directing job in TV News graphics for something sweeter and more creative. When 2004 rolled around, I had just learned that I was accepted into the Gallery of American Craftsmen, and the 3 day exhibit would be in Pennsylvania!.........


This was my BIG break I thought to myself! The show promoters were excited about my unique "look" and wanted to feature a couple of my folk art pieces in their Preview Guide! I had no clue what this guide was nor had I seen one, but my wild visions of this market publication made me out to be a super star! Haha! So, I spent many long days and nights building a collection of originals that I would offer to the Gallery buyers at wholesale prices. I went as far as illustrating each item and creating a special price sheet for buyers to keep. We xeroxed stacks upon stacks of these papers and printed a mass of order forms. I had BIG expectations.... JP and I built a portable screen to display my hanging pieces, and I attached codes next to each item for folks to place their orders at ease.


Some of my made-to-order pieces were flat papier mache shapes with my illustrations baked into them ~ a unique look indeed that seemed to interest some while puzzling others. Alongside those, I offered a few dimensional items that I had "attempted" to sculpt, each wearing a hat adorned with my illustrations. Go figure that my "conical cat" pictured above received the most attention! I look at him now however, and think, how crude! He was lumpy and bumpy and sharp to the touch, but I was on the right track at least.......


When opening preview night commenced, JP and I were ready for the rush! With clipboards and calculators in hand, we were prepared to write as many orders as we possibly could. Suddenly the doors opened, and the isles filled with a frenzy of buyers. Oddly enough, most passed us by. Surely, this couldn't be as "I" was featured in the market guide! But sure enough, they weren't looking for me.... I tried to smile and keep my chin up, but my dreams were certainly not living up to the visions I had expected. The evening dragged on and on not to mention the two full days to follow...


As inexperienced as I was, I didn't realize that the buyers would possibly want to buy my pieces right then and there. Sure, "cash & carry" was an option, but there was certainly no way I could have created trunk loads of pieces in time for this event (Plus, I'm not convinced they would have bought them anyway!!) Settling on an order-writing only booth seemed satisfactory at the time, but in reality, didn't work. I honestly felt a bit defeated by the end of the weekend as I recall writing about 6 orders in total! So much for those stacks and stacks of order forms! Makes me chuckle now, but then, it was enough to make my stomach turn.....

Like I said at the beginning of this post, we all have to start somewhere. If I had allowed this defeat to stop me, I wouldn't be here today laughing about it with you, my cherished collector friends, artist comrades, and supporters...Life is certainly a journey, and I quickly realized that my aspirations would take time and work. Six years later, I feel blessed and am so glad that I didn't throw in the towel in 2004! :) Don't give up.... try try again...... And then have a little fun walking down memory lane when the grass does become greener!

~ Johanna
PS: I tell this story and many others in my Artist Interview with Sally Evans.... It's a fun and hopefully inspirational listen for you to enjoy.....

It's a Messy Job.....

But, somebody's gotta do it, right?! :) Today, JP snapped some photos of me mixing up a batch of papier mache. Let me tell you, it's sticky, gooey, and dusty all at once! Mixing this stuff is certainly not the most glamorous step, but it is indeed necessary if I want to sculpt anything. Lucky for me, JP recently upgraded my messy-zone and added a nice fan for ventilation so I'm not inhaling that dusty powder. Ahhhh...... Anyway, we were having fun taking pictures of the process, and I was hoping to get a little sympathy from you!....hehe! Enjoy the peek at a day in the life of a papier mache folk artist......

~ Johanna

* See how my left hand stays dry as it adds powder to the bowl, while my right hand gets wet while mixing the batch.....

* Watch out!... Frenzied folk artist on the loose!....

* See how it fills the cracks in my skin and packs deep under my fingernails.... Lovely....

* Mix mix mix as I smile.....

* I knew those long fingers would come in handy....