Jester Studio
Jester Studio - About Me
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Jester Graphic
My name is Peggy McDowell and I live in the small town of Tomahawk in the northwoods of Wisconsin. It's kind of primitive here. Except for electricity and the internet things don't change much. Most of the men hunt. Most of the women do crafts. Our family lives in one of Tomahawk's original buildings - behind the storefront - just like in the good old days.

We call our storefront Jester Studio. Jesters have a deep history of being those special characters that were allowed to tell the truth without being beheaded. I try to tell the truth in my artwork, with just enough humor to get away with it.
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As a mother of two teenagers, a budget-bolsterer, goulash-maker, and laundry lady, life can get damned humorous sometimes. So I make portraits of domestic divas in their elements. I celebrate donuts and chocolate. I connect with angels around us that don't look like Barbie. I feel the spirit in plants and dust bunnies. Yes, I did go to art school. I have a BFA from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. But I believe they ought to give degrees for being a wife and mother. It's a lot harder.
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So now you know something about me, here is an explanation of how I make stuff.

Trapunto is a quilting technique in which the stuffing is inserted after you sew. I begin by using fabric dyes on natural fabrics to create the image. The dyes handle a lot like watercolor, so I can use a brush, airbrush or dip pen. Once the image is complete, I sew it to a backing fabric, usually with my handy-dandy treadle machine. Then I stretch both layers on stretcher bars, slit the backing fabric carefully, and insert the stuffing from the back. Then, a third layer of fabric is added to cover up all of those little incisions. Because the dyes allow the fabric to remain soft and flexible I can easily add applique and embellishments. The finished piece becomes a soft sculpture collage.
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The ACEOs are another story. ACEO stands for Art Cards Editions and Originals. I was first introduced to them by some fellow artists who were making them and selling them on eBay. It looked like fun. Using paper, prismacolor pencils, embellishments, cloth, dyes, and found objects I was able to put together complete compositions in a small format.

ACEOs became my way of sketching out ideas for larger pieces. Some of them were so rude they had to remain small. The beauty of the ACEO to me is that they are perfect for the collector who has limited space or finances. Even though they are no bigger than a baseball card, they are real works of art. Because of my art school background I make a point to use 100% rag mounting board and archival inks, papers and adhesives. With gentle care these little gems should last a lifetime.
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Please feel free to email me at peggyart@newnorth.net with any questions or comments, or desires to purchase. I do enjoy commissions and would be glad to talk with you about your ideas. Below is a link to my Contact page, with my email link, address and phone number.
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