coffee antiqued paper

Health Benefits of Coffee!

Have you been reading about the recent studies on the health benefits of drinking 2-3 cups of coffee a day?! Especially great for liver functioning – go figure! But also some of us have known for a while that coffee has some positive effects on our art making, which always leads to more general health benefits.

In Muse group we did a lesson this week using tea and coffee to stain papers, tea bags and to “paint”.

pileupcoffee splattered w/c paper with coffee soaked Masa paper and cheesecloth collage

It starts to pile up after a while, the shorn off pieces with holes in them. As we spin around in space our linings get worn and raggedy. Pieces of skin are rubbed off. New lines and cracks and brown blemishes appear. And still the moon shines brightly, more so perhaps as we realize we are better tuned, lighter, brighter, less encumbered than before.

One of the things I try to do in this group each session (of 6 or 8classes) is to inspire ourselves with the work of a particular artist. This lesson was inspired by Deborah Benioff Friedman, a SF Bay Area artist whose work many of us viewed in a recent exhibit at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. She uses tea bags and natural stains in her wall hung and sculptural work in inspired ways!


For years I’ve used tea and coffee stains to age papers and evoke historical contexts in mixed media works. This one also done on Monday is a bit more in the story-telling style I have often used. At times I’ve used pictures of my own ancestors in the mix. Here are a couple of them: My grandfather Lee Loffswold and his clan and my grandmother Selma Buskerud Loffswold’s family home.

To stain papers I soak them in extra strong tea and/of coffee and then dry them out in a 200 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. Mmmm and they smell good too (if you like the tea/coffee flavor that is.)

Let me know if you want to join us in the next 8-week session of the Monday Muse Group starting March 19. There are still openings! Visit my website for more information.


The Native in Me


acrylic paints and inks, collage, image transfer on coffee baked w/c paper

I like to think I might have Native American blood, (though it’s doubtful).  Maybe then I could feel like a true American? or maybe not. My claim is shaky and based on strange preferences like feathers, drums and repetitive native chants.  Also there’s something about my high cheekbones. . .

My ancestors were settlers, Norwegians who took advantage of the fertile prairie lands of the dakotas.  Perhaps they even read this sign (which I found in an old Look magazine) that read “2,000,000 farms. . .to be had free of cost” and “simply by occupying it”.  I cringe to think of this.  Free of cost to whom? We now know that the price to nature, to human life, not to mention that next most essential staple of human life – culture and tradition – was obscenely high.

My feelings about this, my confusions come to occupy the paper, even as I demonstrate a lesson in aging paper by soaking it in coffee and baking it, using antique ephemera, sepia toned inks, and even image transfer (the native on horseback and the feather).

My Norwegian relatives, the Buskeruds and Loffswolds were “good” people as far as I remember. So I can’t help wondering if they had any Native American friends, and perhaps even a little bit of the native gene pool entered the blood line somewhere along the way?