Ken Bloomhorst and the Midwestern Landscape

Today’s entry is about landscape-this time the Midwestern landscape.  I was born in the Midwest but moved away when I was three.  My cousin, Ken Bloomhorst, however, has lived in the Midwest most of his life, first in Ohio and then in Indiana.  He has been an artist ever since he popped out of my Aunt Maurece and maybe even before.

When Ken started art school, I hear that his  parents wrung their hands and worried about how he was ever  going to make a living.  Parents do this sort of thing.  But Ken had served a hitch in the Army so he was up to whatever arguments they could throw at him.   He got his revenge by pursuing art and making a good living as a partner in an advertising agency in Indianapolis.  You should have heard his parents brag then!  (That’s another story.) 

You can find Ken’s work in the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress.  He also designed the logo for the  EPA.   But to my mind,  Ken’s art will always epitomize what is best about the Midwest.

To learn more about Ken’s work, go to his web sites.


Isaiah Zagar’s Magic Garden



     We tend to think of inspiring landscapes in terms of scenic vistas from a Kodak Moment,  or maybe the azure blue ocean lapping onto a pristine white sandy beach strewn with exotic shells.  Instead of these, Isaiah Zagar  had a weedy, garbage filled, vermin infested city lot as his landscape.    He turned it into an urban oasis using  empty bottles, broken dishes, bicycle wheels and whatever else looked interesting to him. 

     Philadelphia is an old town by American standards, full of tiny little streets and by-ways you can barely get your car down without holding your breath and praying.  But Zagar has spread his magic through many of the streets in my neighborhood.  You turn a corner and suddenly, standing before you is a wall festooned with glistening jeweled globs of glass, shards of mirror, tiles and dishes.  

     You can find out more about Isaiah Zagar by going to 


  My name is Martha Aleo.  I am interested in creativity  and inspiration, and how they are influenced by landscape, community, tradition, history, philosophy,  religion, culture, life experience and access to materials.  Don’t forget science and math.  They are all related.   I intend to focus on those topics in this Blog.   While I am primarily a crafter and writer, I  do not intend to limit this Blog to crafting and writing.  I want to explore creativity and inspiration in relation to all the arts and scientific topics as well.      

     My reasons are more than academic.     I am in the process of unlearning much of what they taught me in school.  I am trying to open myself up to looking at (and listening to)  the world in a different way.   I am searching for my own voice.    I don’t know if I’ll find it, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because it’s the journey that’s the most interesting.

     To learn more about me, you can visit my website at