New Materials: New Work


In my search for ways to make lighter, brigher earrings – it occurred to me that aluminum might be another fun avenue to explore. And so I ordered some. While I was waiting for that to arrive, I found the white limestone rocks during a trip to my local library. The green ceramic buttons came from a recent trip to Taos, New Mexico. Am I loopy or just having too much fun? I’ll let you be the judge.

Why are babies so creepy?

They are supposedly so cute and cuddly, so why do faux babies (otherwise known as dolls) creep us out so much?  I blame the movie industry for jading us.  Then again, I wasn’t ever a fan of the dolls even as a young girl.  They seemed very limited in the amount of creative play one could get out of them.  Now give me some wooden blocks, some Leggos, and a chunck of PlayDoh and it’s game on!

pudge baby succulent 3.4 view

Nevertheless, to quell the growing interest in them as planters and objects of interest around the house, I have created a second baby doll concrete head for you to consider.  We’ll have a few at our next show (Lakewood White Rock Local, April 6) but you can order them here and prepay and I can either deliver or mail them to you. (there is a charge to mail)  The ones you buy online won’t have any plants, but you can request a metal floral frog or a tealight candle at no extra charge.  Tillandsia will soon be on offer (air plants) but these can also be potted up with small succulents or cactus, like this guy.  Love the side view; looks like he’s rocking a faux-hawk.  What a cool kid.  pudge baby and silver bowl

pudge baby faux hawk side view

It’s the Glamorous Life for Us at Concrete Notions!

….and to celebrate what all the omens point to a great year for us Fish peeps, we’ve decided to rename our venture Concrete Notions!  It’s official too, and Chris cannot change her mind.  Why?  Because Steve already crafted this very cool metal table signage with the intials “CN” during one of his recent metal working classes.  Neat!

CN logo with bromeliad

We’re busy as beavers (cold beavers) crafting new pots back in the super-chic, uber-neat workshop.  This is the workshop:  our neighbors who get to enjoy this view could not be more pleased, we’re sure… Yeah, that’s a picnic table and a box full of what looks from this distance like garbage…. but look closer and you’ll see solid gold!  Golden resin, that is.  These are some new molds created using two-part rubber mix poured around custom-crafted models.  We’ve got some cool new pots coming out of these molds  Did we mention that?!  Oh yeah, well that’s the whole point of this exercise.

outdoor viewoutdoor table

There is even a new baby head, a bit fatter in the jowls and more cartoon-y that the previous baby, who was delicate and sweet in her features.  She’ll still be on the menu however.  Had to make another mold for her however, since her old mold gave out the ghost.  We’ve had to change the type of resin we were using for the molds – apparently concrete is very tough on silicone rubber and dries it out. 

outdoor potting tableAnd this is where all the magic happens… the potting table.  Isn’t it super glamorous, just like you imagined it?  Just exactly like Martha Stewart, if she didn’t employ a cast of hundreds to do all her work for her.  Anyway, you can see some of the new pots waiting to be matched with their perfect ‘forever partner plant.’  Awww.  That’s really the most fun part of the process. There is an artistic aspect to considering color, form, dimension, and scale that seems to be what will make our creations different from anything else.  Not always better, just different. 

Here’s a happy little family of freaks waiting to be picked up by someone just like you!  See how they are all very different, and yet sort of maintain a sense of like-a-tude?  That’s like a real family.  There’s always the good one, the trouble maker, the silly one, the troubadour… the one that ran away in a VW van and surfed all summer… I think it’s easy to see which one that one was (to the left, with the crazy surf hair). 
CN Family plants

Come see us this weekend at White Rock Local Market at the Green Spot!  It might be cool so bring your fleece and mittens.  See ya then! – Steve and Chris


Ethics in Design: when is it okay to ‘go there’?

pyramid time capsule

For some reason lately, I’ve become more concerned about stuff I’ve been seeing in the places and spaces I like to go for inspiration, joy, revival, and solace.  Many of these show up in the form of shops on Etsy, or in other blogs, in stores and indeed all media. 

Lately I’ve noticed an uptick in the use of natural items in some of my favorite designers’ work.  This intrigues me, because I really do find myself attracted to the look of nature within art;  whether encapsulated in a glass paperweight, stored forever in resin, or stuck ‘part time’ into a rock or shell. Here is a nice example: tillandsia urchins three

So, you say, “what’s your problem?” Welllll, this example is great, because air plants (tillandsia) don’t have a problem living in a cramped environment. None at all. And the designer left these free to be removed so they can be properly bathed in water once a week, which is what they need. The sea urchin might have died and fed a hungry Japanese family; or so I have to hope. This could have all ended well. But there are some much less clear cut examples, where my ethics antlers start to quiver.
Like this one; the butterfly wings used for this project are from an unknown source.

butterfly wing in tube

When we buy butterfly or other insect parts from suppliers online, we are often told they were ‘collected naturally’ from the forest floor. Friends and neighbors, I spent a year volunteering at a butterfly house in Dallas.  Butterflies died everyday there (that’s about their lifespan actually; one day…let’s give them some respect) and yes, I’ll admit to sneaking around behind the bushes and picking up a number of gorgeous wings.  But by the time they died, they had lost much of the luster and brightness we associate with them.  They were literally faded, just like humans.  The truth is, when we buy living creatures on the net, we run the risk of being duped (best case scenario) or even downright defrauded (worst case), in which the animals were removed from native habitats, poached, slaughtered, and are now adorning our jewelry or clothes, leaving a gap in the forest that another species will be hardpressed to fill.  Yes, sometimes they are ‘farmed’ for these purposes, and as such put some much needed cash in the pockets of the small time farmers in south America, Africa, Polynesia, India, etc.  But I wonder if the carnage is worth it?  And when we complicate the equasion with bird feathers taken from Parrots?!  Yes, that makes me downright pissed off.  Almost all parrots are known to be endangered in most countries.  Plus, on top of being nature’s best advertisement for beauty and a rival to any Pantone color swatch combo, are some of the most intelligent, fast, noble, loyal, and longest lived species of birds on the planet.  Can’t we offer them more respect and be content to enjoy them in the wild, or even in zoos? 

If you go back to the top picture for a second, I’ll tell you a short story.  This gizmo I made by soldering triangular glass bezels together holds what I called a time capsule of our lives (Steve and I) when we were living on Daytonia in Little Forest Hills. When we first moved in, we dug around alot in the soil, planting roses, lilies (what, you say.. in Dallas?!  Fools!), hyacinth bean vine, trumpet vine, and any number of things that mostly died soon thereafter.  But we dislodged some fun stuff too, like a chunk of old bottle glass from Dr. Pepper, circa 60’s, when the logo looked like this.  And a wasp nest.  And a tiny brown speckled egg casing (assuming the baby bird got out alive!), among other stuff… but my favorite piece in here is the feather from a roseate spoonbill.  It represents one of my favorite jobs over the years;  those beautiful orangey pinky red and white birds were housed just over the creek from my office.  One day at lunch over in Bird Valley (as it was called) I spotted a flash of pink outside the cage caught in a bush and picked it up.  That little dude is now forever captured in my time capsule.  I would like to think all feathers were collected that way; passively, purposefully, and lovingly. But as this next photo attests:  such is obviously not the case.  What do we say?  How should we react?  Crafters must stick together and support each other.  But should Etsy and other merchant/suppliers have a policy in place to help protect species, even if they are not considered strictly illegal to buy and sell?   Just maybe un-ethical….

butterfly and beetle wings


One Fish Two Fish is changing!

As fish often do, we’re wiggling off the hook and diving back down into cool waters… only to emerge topside with a more appropriate name for this operation/adventure/avocation:  Concrete Notions.  Steve and I (two fishy folks if there ever were some) decided it better portrays what we are doing and makes for a more ‘solid’ brand (pardon the pun there). 

Stay tuned for more about this.  Same great concrete pots and plants… 

dancing fish




Expectations met!

LR bulb closeup…disappointment averted. Yeah! I think that’s about the best thing one can say sometimes. In this case, I’m referring to the nifty little lightbulb terraria/planters we made up this fall and winter. Some of you might have acquired one. If so, I truly hope they are alive and kicking as well as these are. They were stragglers from the last show in December, but will be available again in the spring (come onnnnnn, March!) quite full and frothy with succulent-goodness.

Mainly, I’m giving them alot of light (in this case north-facing; not out of strategy but out of necessity. It’s the only window with latches to hang them on in our new house) and a few tiny burps of water about every 10 days or so. I judge them on how dry they look. If we’ve got the heat on higher in the house, they will dry out faster. Since they are not closed at the top, they are not true terrariums, and so lose water like any open system will; just not as fast because of the bulb shape with the narrow opening at the top.

I’m just so excited that they are doing what I said they would, reaching up and out of the bulbs and into the sky!  Especially the little runty one on the right, below.  I was really starting to worry about him… but patience in all things does pay off.  And with sedum, I can say for certain that a little benign neglect is the best show of love.  Isn’t nature cool!?

LR bulbs 2

Last market of the Year, Dec. 8!

WRLM Holiday posterDon’t miss it!  We’ll be there with a slew of new small and teensy pots for gifting and medium/large ones for keeping.  Yes, they live really well indoors over the winter.  Succulents are alot like animals – once they find a cozy window or tabletop they just soak in the sun and glow.  And grow.   So…go!

In addition we have truly funky Christmas tabletop trees and star ornaments made from recylced cd’s, very simple “Abacus” trees on chopsticks, and lightbulb vases.  Some new jewelry designs too! 

We look forward to seeing all ya’ll. 

Chris & Steve

OneFish, TwoFish Designs

Market in the Meadow!

So I really loved the opening monologue on SNL this last Saturday with Christina Applegate, which became a song and dance.  She was praising the last days of ‘no holidays’… that sweet spot of time in mid-October right before all the holiday madness descends in earnest.  Well, for me that time has come and gone.  It’s officially Halloweenusthanksgivingchristmasnewyearsicus….already.  Weeeee. 

We’ll be ‘celebrating’ with our All New wares at Market in the Meadow this weekend, both Saturday and Sunday, so ya’ll come down and check it out!  It’s a heck of a show, it’s free, and the vendors are all over the place – from handmade silver jewelry  (like my good buddy Kim Morris to groovy one of a kind antique and vintage-y crafts (like my sister Kim) to the yummy food vendors, hawking delicious cheese balls.  You are probably wondering if I ‘do’ Christmas items.  Well, here’s the proof:

Abacus trees, cd trees, happy crafter!











cd stars, made from upcycled cd’s procured from a local recycler!

Appreciation photos are so very… appreciated!

Thanks so much to Molly Terry, who recently bought one of my creepy concrete cast baby heads at Thursday’s Design District Show.  She told me of her plan to install a tilandsia (air plant) into the floral frog that I had glued inside the head, and not only did she do a splendid job of styling her CBH, but she took the project up a notch by sending me this amazing photo.  Bravo, Molly!  In fact, I think this is spawning an idea for me.  Anyone who buys anything from me at a craft fair will recieve a discount coupon via email if they go home and snap a neat photo of the piece in its new location – whether it be home, office, or even a friend’s home.  Just email the photo to, and then watch the blog and your email!  Note:   the pics don’t have to be *this* nice, folks… I failed to mention Molly is a professional stylist!

Greetings from Mars (New-ish Work)

I’m still here… hiding out indoors, far away from the blistering heat which has mercilessly attacked our backyard with temperatures over 100.  Add to that the lethal mosquito population (news flash:  the 10th death to West Nile just reported a few minutes ago – about 5 miles from my home.  Yippee.)   My workspace is starting to resemble this: (yes, this *is* the surface of Mars)  My attitude is not too far off the mark either…shriveling.

It’s hard to want to get out there and do the important work that we crafters do to fulfill the world’s insatiable need for handcasted concrete pots, so I’m taking it easy.  I have gotten out in the morning and evenings, despite the fact that mosquitoes really like to mess around at dawn and dusk, just to keep my hands in the game.  Here’s a few pics I’d like to share.  Can you sense that my heart is already in December with all this Christmas stuff?