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Folk Art Toys cheerful ceramic

Folk art toys Danasimson.com Hand built folk art toy black and white striped cat with bird on head on wooden wheels.

Here is the inspiration for my folk art toys. I love a sculpture or painting that brings you in mid-story…. causing you to imagine the rest. Art of this kind works a magic causing the viewer to linger lost in the weave of their interpretation of the creation before them. For a moment they are relieved of the normal and cast into the easy fantasy of mental play.

Danasimson.com Cat in canoe on wheels sculpture.
Rolling ceramic “seeing eye” canoe with a cat in it.

Where is this cat off to?

Only you know. I hand-build the boat from clay slabs and sculpted the cat in “seeing eye”canoe- carving back into the color to add texture and design.

It does roll if you wish- but the folk art toys are mainly just for visual amusement. The cat in canoe measures 10″ x 9″ x 4”.

Danasimson.com Owl on wheels sculpture
side view of Owl on wheels sculpture

This folk art owl has sold to a wonderful friend and collector. However I am happy to make other owls- each with their special personality. The wings are intricately decorated and attached to the body with brass screws. The feathers are individually textured and applied. The owl  measures 10″x 8″x 4″. He does roll if you wish- but the art toys are mainly just for visual amusement. I will be making a crow next:)

Danasimson.com Owl on wheels sculpture front
Shows the front view of the folk art owl toy.

Folk Art Owl has a playful spirit

I create my folk art toys like the owl in the spirit of old fashion rolling toys. While they are created for adult collectors, my hope is to appeal to the child within. The role of my art is to brighten the everyday with a sprinkle of cheer.

To order one of my folk art toys

If you wish you had a cheerful folk art toy just contact me thru a call or email and I’ll make you one. Please specify any colors or special features you wish to have included. All of the folk art toys shown have been adopted to good homes- but I am happy to make similar ones or other commissions.

Feel free to call if that is easier: 410.603.0531


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Wishing you Happy Nest

Danasimson.com Delft Blue birds "Happy.nest" bowl has hand painted love birds in a garden with acorns signifying long love.

It brings me such joy to wish you happy nest through my hand painted wedding ceramic serving bowls and platters. 

Danasimson.com Delft Blue birds "Happy.nest" Platter with two matching goblets. Customizable.

Dana Simson Design - custom wedding large platter happy nest

My latest design is “Happy Nest”. On the inside the floral design surrounds two birds facing one another. This signifies a happy marriage and love that grows. The vines form a heart and a single acorn hangs over the two love birds.  The acorns stand for the beginning seed of a long, strong marriage. I brush each freehand using cobalt blue underglaze. This creates a traditional look reminiscent of delftware, but fresh.

First comes love…

I made the first custom ceramic Long Love Wedding bowl for our lovely neighbors across street as they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Both are avid gardeners as they tackle their lush yard together. A relationship is a journey through all kinds of weather so it’s best to travel with a friend that nurtures you through every season. You do need to tend that garden or spouse with care and empathy. Karl and Bettie’s garden is now 75 years of love.

Danasimson.com Custom Ceramic Long Love Wedding Bowl long love serving bowl

Inside the bowl I inscribe “long love is a well tended garden.”  Next, I paint the bride and groom’s names and wedding dates on the base of the bowl. There is a fish pond surrounded by a flower garden and stately oak trees. The quote rings the pond on the inside of the ceramic bowl. The outside has alternating bachelor buttons & roses. All handpainted in bright underglazes by me. This is one of my most popular pieces. Always one of the most favorite gifts at weddings or anniversaries.

Then comes marriage…

Our custom ceramic bowls are about 13 inches across by 6 inches deep- excellent for salad, pastas or a pile of fruit. All our dinnerware is food safe. I always tuck in a complimentary Gift Card from my designs. There is a Happy Nest card, along with a “bloom together” heart card and other wedding or anniversary appropriate cards.

Collect matching ceramic dinnerware in your custom wedding bowl Happy Nest or Long Love pattern.

Collect matching ceramic dinnerware for any of our wedding bowl patterns. Complimentary pieces such as the “Happy Nest” platter, wedding goblets, or other dinnerware may be ordered to match the serving bowl. Our collectable custom dinnerware can be given at the wedding shower, wedding or on subsequent anniversaries.

Each time it is used, love is served.


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Beautiful Books

We have a collection of beautiful books stuffed into the wall of shelves in the small room we cozy into in wintertime. We crank the gas logs and sit across from each other at the paint spattered projects table and plot out the day as we drink our morning coffee. The books wait patiently watching over us, ready to provide us with any information we might desire. Their many pages are thick with inspiration and imagery. 

danasimson.com inside pages Night Monkeys

Creating beautiful books

If I could do only what I wanted to, I would lose myself in creating books. In writing a story, it rises, folding around me, curling forward with joyful abandon. Illustrating the text is equally fantastic- pulling creatures from a tangle of sketches to become solid characters, ready for action. The book itself is like a tiny stage- with its cover a curtain to be pulled back as the story begins. The design of the cover should intrigue, tickling any audience to wonder, wishing to wander within.

Legend Books

Books are beautiful because of the magic they promise. Sharing a picture book with a young child, even an adult can feel a soft blurring into imagination. I remain grateful to have created and published 14 books over the years; picture books, gift books and even a pop-up book: “Dreamland” with a company based in Australia.

danasimson.com interior pages black Crow & thunderhat, crow

My Legend Book series are myths I created, mainly based in nature. Myths coat science with a little shimmer that makes the day playful. I wrote the first Legend Book: “Moon Goes Fishing” when I was pregnant with our daughter Ruby. All the animals hear the moon is going fishing- and they try to stay awake to witness this strange event. It is written very simply with lots of space for your imagination to wander. It is interesting that this book is the one chosen for new babies. Life just can’t stay out of art. Art makes life beautiful.

I am always happy to sign my books to whomever wishes to put one upon their own library shelf.


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Fix a leaky birdhouse so it lasts

 This leaky birdhouse badly needed fixing after being battered by many winters on the bay. I hate to toss out stuff that just needs a tweak to save it from the landfill. First slap some paint on it- color is nicer- but it and unequally derelict sister were to go up along the white trim of the newly painted barn. The roof was clearly a problem and would make for a pile of soggy birds wishing they lived at another address.

fix a wooden birdhouse

 

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Skyland, the magic that inspires

I created this video; Skyland last summer. It captures the magic I feel living on the Chesapeake Bay, sharing sky and water with my fellow creatures. It is a goal to include more videos on my blog, as I am fortunate to have lots of beauty to inspire me. 

Hurrah it worked!

Continue reading Skyland, the magic that inspires


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The Babies Cometh! spade foot toad invasion

      It is frightening to dig in the garden in early spring before the Spade foot Toads have gotten out of bed. I roused one with my trowel. Mortified, I inspected her for any damage. She hung in my fingers, regarding me with her calm bottomless eyes. Who could not fall in love? Her tiny hands were too lovely. I had to paint her and place something wonderful in her arms. I have this print in my home and love it. The painting sold immediately much to my surprise, and this is one of my most popular images.

The massive rains of the last couple of weeks have made the low area to the south of our house into a wide, low  lake. Lake DeCay- as the lawn turns to muck. There was a patch of  water erupting. Curious, I pulled on my boots and wadded in.

There were a gajillion pollywogs bubbling away. I thought yikes- what happens when they get out of the pool.!

Continue reading The Babies Cometh! spade foot toad invasion


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Earth day everyday

Danasimson.com Handmade ceramic bird bowls in bright jewel tone colors.

Earth day should be everyday. My handmade ceramic bird bowl is inspired by our beautiful living earth. My latest projects are children’s books based in nature and the need to protect and nurture it. When I work in clay it is like using mother earths herself sculpted into vessels, fired and preserved as a tool to use daily.

A set of four different colored Bird Bowls looking down to see the daisy and vine design painted on each interior.

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Custom Wedding Ceramic Bowls & Platters

Danasimson.com Hand painted custom wedding large blue and white happy nest platter with birds and floral.

Custom Wedding Ceramic Bowls & Platters are gifts that will not only delight the bride and groom, they will be handed down through the family for generations to come. My hand painted designs reflect wishes for a long happy life together. The designs are intricate and colorful. I paint the Bride and Groom’s name on the bottom with their wedding date. You may also request other personalization, such as for anniversary, retirement, new home or as a recognition reward.

Choose from three lovely designs in Custom Wedding Ceramic

Three  beautiful designs to choose from give you nice options. I am also happy to do something special with unique colors or design.

Long Love is a well tended Garden is our most popular pattern. This phrase is written on the inside of the bowl or back of the 15 inch platter. The colors are jewel tones of aqua, greens, brown and periwinkle blue. A garden of flowers (Bachelor buttons and roses ring the outside) Available in the deep salad bowl, a 15 inch oval platter, wedding goblets or large platter.  

Wishing you Happy Nest is a favorite choice for new families. The crisp blue and white pattern is timeless. You may order it in the deep salad bowl, a 15 inch oval platter, wedding goblets or large platter. (about 22 inches across by 14 inches wide and 2.5 inches deep.) All our dinnerware is Food safe.

Best Fishes has a seashore theme and is painted in blues. I paint two fish swimming toward each other with a turtle or blue crab in the center. I have featured a Chesapeake Bay theme above. This design is also available in the platters and goblets.

Choose a complimentary Gift Card from my designs. There is a Happy Nest card, along with a “bloom together” heart card and other wedding or anniversary appropriate cards.

Please allow 2-3 weeks for custom orders. However if you need one sooner, we do try to keep some finished un-customized ones in our store that we can ship that out in a few days.


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Pre-Holiday DEAL!!!!

Danasimson.com Crab, turtle & frog raised image food safe ceramic.handmade ceramic spoon rests

honey bee spoon rest

Get a  FREE Handmade ceramic Spoon Rest when you spend $75 dollars on line or at our store on the corner of West Main and Lake Street, on the river in Salisbury Maryland. The store is bursting with great unique gifts! From bamboo or cotton FUN socks, thick knitted coats from Italy or lace dresses to our handmade ceramics and artwork. If you would rather choose a book then a spoon rest choose from 4 beautifully illustrated Legendbooks-or the famous Trumpzine. Dana will sign and personalize the books for you. The Trumpzine are a hot gift this year, because humor is always helpful.

10 designs of spoon rests to choose from!

You may have trouble choosing which one. Good news! They are $18.00 per or 2 for $30.00. Each spoon rest is handmade in ceramic are 5 inches, round with a notch for the spoon. A customer came in requesting a spoon rest and I thought, ” I need a spoon rest too!” My most appreciated and useful products are always those I need. The spoon rest line has grown as customers request new designs. I always love to hear your suggestions for new product.

Each one is made individually by me in my studio! I roll out clay and press it into reverse relief tiles I made from a master tile. This process is like making a print, but using clay rather then paper. Next, I press the butterfly garden relief into a shallow bowl form. If the spoon has gloop on it, that will stay in the bowl. I cut a notch for the handle of the spoon. The spoon rest dries and is fired to bisque. Afterward, I paint in the details with underglazes, adding the flow glaze that defines the back ground texture. Finally it is fired once more with clear coat that seals the clay body in a thin layer of glass. This guarantees it is food safe and durable.


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The earth is our ark

danasimson.com art print of Noah's ark in the shape of earth full of animals

My thoughts are in Paris at the climate change summit. Thanks to Jerry Brown, Al Gore, Paul Hawken and those that are working proactively independent of the irresponsible Trump administration deniers.

Purchase any Earth Ark product on Danasimson.com and I will donate 25% to The Chesapeake Bay Foundation or the Climate Reality Project.

art print of Noah's ark in the shape of earth full of animals

Art Print: Earth Ark. I believe the earth is our ark.
We are all in this together and our ship is precious. The archival art print; Earth Ark is a 10×13.5 image area centered on 13×19 cover stock paper. Backed with foam core & shipped in a plastic sleeve. Hand signed by Dana Simson.

The earth is our ark carrying all creatures as her precious cargo. The original oil painting for this image is 4.5’x5′ and hangs in an eye surgery clinic. Patients that have had surgery tell me how pleased they are post surgery to see this painting with its delicate detail.

All my images are available in archival prints. While I have specified a size, you may speak with me if you need a larger or smaller version. It is also possible to have the image you want printed on canvas. I can give you a price based on size. This popular ark image is available as an ornament, gift card and more.

Visit our Gallery/ gift store on the Wicomico River in Salisbury, MD full of original paintings, prints, handmade jewelry and gifts by Dana. There is also always something new to discover in unique finds, “green products” or fair trade items. It is a renovated hotel – now with 4 artfully decorated lofts upstairs available to rent. (Loft Links: Grande Luxe / Chic Sunny / Retro Loft  / Spacious& Gracious)Downstairs is yummy Riverwalk Cafe and the Ugly Pie Bakery. Well worth a road trip!


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