Blog: Inspiration

Artful Adventures Quote

I hope you are letting go this weekend and having some fun with your art making :)  For more inspiration, pick up a copy of my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media for yourself or someone on your holiday list who could use some creative encouragement!

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Nice to Meet You! with Dana Tatar

It’s time to get to know an artist with… Nice to Meet You! Today I’d like to introduce you to the super creative Dana Tatar!

From time to time I learn about some amazing artists out there who are working with my stamps and stencils and are creating some fun and exciting projects. It’s always inspiring to see what others do with my designs. Sometimes they even introduce me to a new way of seeing the pattern or a new technique to try on my own. That’s what I’d like to share with you today. Let’s meet Dana!

Please introduce yourself to our readers:

My name is Dana Tatar and I am an artist who creates paper crafts, mixed media pieces, and DIY projects inspired by music, poetry, pop culture, and current events, in an eclectic style. I was a biochemist before I decided to stay home full-time with my daughters and my analytical mind is always present when I’m crafting. I really enjoy playing with wet media; mixing things together, heating and drying things out, and trying to find creative uses for products.

How do you make time to be creative?

I’m very fortunate to have the majority of my days free to create in my studio. When home and family life becomes stressful, time in my studio helps keep me balanced and is a great stress-reliever.

What are some of your favorite n*Studio stamps / stencils?

I like to include birds in many of my art pieces, so I reach for the Bird Foam Stamp, Cling Rubber, and Stencil Set a lot. I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, so I also love the Urban Scribble Foam Stamp, Cling Rubber, and Stencil Set, and I use it when I miss the bustle and grittiness of a big city. Nathalie’s new City Streets foam stamp collection is also amazing! I love the round designs and that the sets include both a positive and a negative foam stamp.

Bird Foam Stamp Set
Urban Scribble Foam Stamp Set
Valley Road Positive Negative Foam Stamp






How do you love to use them?

I use Nathalie’s stamps and stencils primarily for mixed media and altered art projects to help create texture and fun prints, but I also use them for paper crafts.

What is your favorite medium to work in? 

I love to try new things and stretch myself as an artist. I work with a variety of materials and don’t really have a favorite medium, although I do really love patterned paper. A fun mix of supplies helps ensure that no matter what mood I’m in I’ll have something that catches my eye, and oftentimes short, attention span.

What inspires you to be creative?

I’m greatly inspired by song lyrics, quotes from my favorite authors, and pop culture references. Often times I’ll hear a verse, or read a line, that I relate to and immediately want to run to my studio to create.

Do you have a favorite artist?

My favorite contemporary artist is Ralph Steadman. If we’re talking about the masters, I’d pick Rembrandt.

How did you get into art-making?

I started my journey into the craft world after the birth of my first daughter as a way to preserve memories. I had an almost obsessive need to document every moment and milestone. Having a second daughter a little more than a year later forced me to reevaluate the high and unrealistic expectations I set for myself. There are only so many hours in the day! Over time I started to create less traditional scrapbook layouts and began to explore other forms of art. What started out as memory keeping has transformed into artistic expression that I need to do, mostly for my own enjoyment.

In three words, how does art-making make you feel?

One With Myself

Thank you Dana for sharing your story, art, and outlook with us! Be sure to check out all our Nice to Meet You! posts to learn about all the inspiring artists we’ve featured.

Comments (2)

  • Jackie P Neal


    Awesome to learn more about you Dana! And I love your creative space!WOW!
    Thanks for sharing this Nat!!
    Merry Christmas!
    Jackie xo


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      It is such a cool studio – loved getting to know Dana more too!


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My Fire Burns Bright – Marsha Valk


Welcome to December and a new post from my Creative Squad! Today we have a series of gorgeously layered pieces from Marsha Valk. To create such lovely backgrounds, she used my Downtown foam stamp set, my Amsterdam stencil, and a variety of my cling rubber stamps. This month the squad is using a new theme for inspiration: My Fire Burns Bright – Creativity is a passion that can come from deep within the heart and soul of the maker. Sometimes this fire gets ignited by an event or an influential person in our lives, and other times it can be ignited by a love for a material or just simply the enjoyment that comes from making. What makes your creative fire burn bright?

My creative fire ebbs and flows like I’m sure yours ebbs and flows too. We all need new input now and then, to spark creativity, get new ideas and to try new supplies or old supplies in a new way.

Nat’s Creative JumpStart always hugely ignites my creativity. And by that, I mean not only the event in January, but also the brainstorm and preparations I get to do as one of the featured artists(!). It’s so much fun creating something extra special just for CJS!

In January I attend the online event and watch all of the videos together with all of you. I always find new artists to follow (or take classes from), and I take notes of what supplies, techniques or ideas I want to try myself later in the year.

One artist that inspired me in particular during Creative JumpStart 2017 was Mystele Kirkeeng. It wasn’t until recently though that I purchased a couple of her Wonder Paint episodes. In these recorded studio sessions you get a chance to look over Mystele’s shoulder while she paints, explores and plays. Mystele uses all kinds of supplies in her beautiful art, and that lead me to unearth stuff from my stash that I usually never use.

She prompts me to ask myself questions about what attracts me to specific art or supplies and reminds me that it’s OK to work on loose scraps and sheets of paper just for the sake of creating, layer after layer after layer.

Two of these ‘loose sheets of paper’ started out as Gelli Prints, the other two are cut from paper I used to clean my brayers and brushes. On top I scribbled, stamped, heat embossed, collaged, painted, scraped, sprayed, splattered, made marks and doodled and I pretty much used anything that was within reach.

The results are super messy, colourful and highly textured pieces of paper that I immensely enjoyed making!

If you want Mystele to ignite your creative fire too, then you are in luck because she’s one of the 31 featured artists for Creative JumpStart 2018!

I cannot wait to see what she has cooked up for this edition of CJS. Join us and register for Creative JumpStart 2018 here!

Happy December!

Thank you Marsha! It’s not only a pleasure to see this super juicy series of yours, but it also makes me grin to know that CJS is doing what I always hoped it would: inspire artists of all levels to feel a renewed sense of creativity :)  Marsha used the following supplies (some are affiliate links):

Play along with us too: I love to see how you interpret our monthly themes. Email me how you used my stencils and stamps with the theme and email me an image – I would love to share your projects in my next  “n*Spiration From Around the Globe“.


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Inspired By: Coventry, England

When Birgit Koopsen and I taught our Workshop in Coventry, we took a little trip to the city center to check it out.

The city was founded in 1043 with some beautiful medieval houses still intact.

Love the lines and those beautiful windows.

And I love old doors and door knobs- aren’t those cool?

And the timber wood house facades.

The crest of Coventry shows an elephant carrying the castle- as you can imagine I love that :)

You can find the Elephant everywhere

Coventry was devastatingly destroyed during the German Blitz in 1940 during World War II and many people died during the attacks and many lost their homes. Coventry Cathedral was destroyed as well and remains as a ruin in the middle of the city.

It is a haunting experience and yet there is so much beauty in this place!

“Coventry Cathedral is one of the world’s oldest religious-based centres for reconciliation. Following the destruction of the Cathedral in 1940, Provost Howard made a commitment not to revenge, but to forgiveness and reconciliation with those responsible.

Using a national radio broadcast from the cathedral ruins on Christmas Day 1940 he declared that when the war was over he would work with those who had been enemies “to build a kinder, more Christ-child-like world.”


“Today the medieval ruins of Coventry Cathedral continue to remind us of our human capacity both to destroy and to reach out to our enemies in friendship and reconciliation. In 2011, the ruins were designated as a memorial to all civilians killed, injured or traumatized by war and violent conflict world-wide.” (from the Coventry Cathedral Website)

“The Charred Cross and the Cross of Nails were created after the cathedral was bombed. The cathedral stonemason, Jock Forbes, saw two wooden beams lying in the shape of a cross and tied them together.

It has become a symbol of peace and reconciliation across the world. There are over 330 Cross of Nails Centres all over the world, all of them bearing a cross made of three nails from the ruins, similar to the original one. When there were no more of these nails, a continuing supply have come from a prison in Germany. They are co-ordinated by the International Centre for Reconciliation.”

Shadow and Light and a lot of amazing and touching statues.

The artist Josefina de Vasconcellos about her statue above: “The sculpture was originally conceived in the aftermath of the War. Europe was in shock, people were stunned. I read in a newspaper about a woman who crossed Europe on foot to find her husband, and I was so moved that I made the sculpture. Then I thought that it wasn’t only about the reunion of two people but hopefully a reunion of nations which had been fighting.”

For someone born in Germany visiting places like these are always very emotional and a reminder that anyone in our country – and actually in any country is responsible to work towards that none of this can happen again !

Birgit and I also visited the Herbert Art & Gallery next to the Cathedral – the painting below was created after the painter visited the ruins a day after it got destroyed.

It was a beautiful yet solemn time and yet again there is something so soothing knowing that 70 years later a German with a Dutch friend visits this place and talks about all that happened and all that hopefully never happens. To see that Coventry after all this became a city of reconciliation is inspiring.

I hope that despite the sad topic this post was inspiring to you too. My blog is about my creative journey and life as an artist, and this is part of it. Peace and Love to all of you!

Comments (4)

  • Zoe Gregg


    Did you have time to go into the new cathedral as well. There are some incredible pieces of art in there too.


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      Zoe- I wil go def. next year when I am back- we didn’t manage this time but this sounds wonderful! Thank you for the tip!


  • Deb


    Kudos to you Natalie for yet another touching, inspiring and thoughtful post with amazing photography. Blessings to you. Keep doing all that you do with your sense of Love and Artful Adventure. Now that you are American….Happy Thanksgiving!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      thank you Deb- I am glad you liked the article. Have a wonderful and special weekend!


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Artful Adventures Quote

Happy Saturday my friends, I hope you are being brave with your artwork this weekend :)  For more inspiration, check out my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media.

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Inspired by: Birmingham, England Part 2

Now- are you ready for my favorite part of the trip with Birgit Koopsen to Birmingham? Well ….lemme show you :)

this awesome fox put together with different parts of plywood was around the corner of our AirBnB. We went one of the two days we spent in Birmingham to explore the neighborhood of Digbeth, which we had heard was fun.

We entered Streetart and Graffiti Heaven – we couldn’t believe the many many awesome and different inspiring walls !

Loving the colors here and the lettering

Look at Birgit going :)

Wherever we turned there was something

This one was ne of my favorites – the colors the background- LOOOOOVEEEE

The patchwork fish – such a great inspiration to use collage paper

The colors again!

Look at the amazing giant stencil below


More awesome stencil work!

And this one …another patchwork- so so so amazing!!!!

Funky stuff – also very inspiring colorwise

I mean come on…..stooooooopppp it

This one in different grey tones and pink and magenta- LOVE

weird attempt of a selfie- but there you go ;)

old warehouses and parking lots

This one is funny

These were everywhere

Loe the color blocking and the face

Hilarious with the open door

Can you tell we already had fun …but wait

We found this little graffiti store and they offered workshops – so we went in and asked how long in advance you have to book to take a graffiti workshop. The answer was one week. We made a very sad face and told them we were leaving the next day …and so they took pity on us and arranged for us to come back a couple hours later and we slipped into these painting overalls and learned lettering with a spray can ….

Look at me…I look like a bumble bee hahahaahaha- it was hilarious and so much fun!

We learned a lot- including that we need a LOOOOOOOOTTT of practice – and that working on a large scale with your spray paint can and trying to control it makes your hands hurt.

Our teacher had us battle too – we had to both write color in 10 Minutes – we almost lost it laughing because he would yell out “POLICE” every couple minutes. Be assured though, this wasn’t an illegal action, we were in a little outside shop that belongs to the store.

OH man – look how sad this looks LOL

But I still love it

BTW …Birgit cheated she sprayed with two cans – -hahahha- just kidding.

It was such a fun and great afternoon with this spontaneous workshop – I will never forget it. I think you can easily see why this was my favorite day in Birmingham.

Thanks so much for joining me on this little Inspiration trip- hope you enjoyed it :)

Comments (6)

  • Textile Ranger


    Last year I got to go to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and they are starting to build up a collection of murals. I think they want to be Birmingham when they grow up! :) I was sad this wasn’t about Birmingham, Alabama, because that would be easier for me to visit. But I was glad to see so much great art. Thanks for putting them together in this post.


  • Sue Clarke


    Love the tie one as it made me smile. How fun to get to do the workshop at the last minute. POLICE!
    The Native American one is my favorite as well. I can reach in and feel the rocks.


  • Jill


    Wow! So much fun. Looks like the two of you had a great time. Amazing place.


  • Joanne Howard


    Wow! So much to look at! The two of you were hilarious! Nat you look like a gansta with your arms folded in your red coveralls! So cute!

    I have to go back and look at the pictures again since there was so much to see in the details. Thanks for posting these!


  • Laura Weed


    WOW! There are some serious artists in Birmingham! Some of those just blew me away! This has definitely become a “must see” vacation spot now! The graffiti class looks like the MOST fun! That writing style is so unique and those pieces just always look like so much work. Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful pieces with us!


  • Bea


    I enjoyed this a lot. Creepy, hairy hand spider…


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Inspired By: Birmingham, England Part I

Before teaching in Coventry, my sweet friend Birgit Koopsen and I met in Birmingham to spend a couple days there and hash out some fun plans :)

We had rented an airBnB in China Town and we made good use of being so close to many wonderful restaurants.

Some fun street art around on our way to the Birmingham Art Museum

I loved the statues in front of the museum

It was an interesting museum for sure – small section with different themes and we were looking for things that would inspire us.I mostly saw patterns and texture that day -but see yourself

Loved the black and white drawing of the city.

And those little Pharao figurines as well

as the remains of this beading- how cool is that.

The hieroglyphs  – I am thinking of incorporating some of those symbols into my art journaling and then

check out this amazing frame! Isn’t it a piece of art by itself?

This was from a wooden wall- if I recall right -loved the bright and happy painting on it.

The industrial part of the museum – look at those chandelier fixtures- so cool.

The museum has a wonderful tearoom in which we enjoyed a really yummie High Tea

Wonderful tea, sandwiches etc. and we spent quite some time in there

Look at the funky modern High Tea display- loved that going along the industrial theme.

The mosaic on the floor was gorgeous but

looking up revealed a not so shabby view as well.

We walked to the Birmingham Library and we loved the facade –

Can you say stencil?

We also loved the inside of the library

and spent some time in the so called “Knowledge Lounge” in which you could hang out and read papers etc.

But look at this foyer

I thought it was beautifully done

We also followed this advice below…

although when walking downstairs ;)

On the top floor we found the Shakespeare room, which was lovely

and we enjoyed some modern architecture views of the city as well.

This is such a cool facade as well. Hope you enjoyed the little stint to Birmingham – more to come soon :)


Comments (2)

  • Joanne Howard


    Wow! What inspiration! Every picture had something to drool over! Speaking of drooling, love the red Coach saddle bag! Lol Excellent choice!

    Hmmm high tea, one of my favorite things. Thank you for sharing your journey!


    • Nathalie Kalbach


      LOL- it is my fave bag…well- besides a small floral bag that I just got- Love bags :)


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Artful Adventures Quote

Hello my friends, I hope you are out and about this weekend connecting with each other and gathering all sorts of inspiring stories :) For more ideas on finding inspiration, pick up a copy of my book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media.

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