All posts by Owen Wills

I'm an artist and puppeteer! I love Celtic knotwork and red pandas!

Free downloadable coloring page: Celtic Knotwork Wheel by Owen Wills

Feeling stressed out by the holidays? Take some time to chill out with this free coloring page by Owen Wills.

To get it, click on the image below. That will take you to the full sized image you can then download & print. Then all you have to do is get out your favorite coloring implements!


Find more stuff to color at our Free Printables page.

Bumblepost: Yay for that pumpkin themed holiday!

Owen here!

It’s getting colder, and a lot of people are getting ready for various holiday celebrations. The end of the year is creeping in. And that’s when I like to take a moment to celebrate…Halloween!

Again? Of course!

Well, it is a little early to be carving Jack-o-lanterns just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the creepy!

In the spirit of the season, I’m watching the original Frankenstein film, and listening to the audiobook version of Mary Shelley’s classic. Also perusing Halloween art online and making some of my own. (But then, when am I not making Halloween art?)

Here are two of my all-time favorite Halloween designs of Tod’s:

Cat Witch Party Invitation
Cat Witch Party Invitation by ninjahijinx
Find more Cat Invitations at Zazzle
Halloween Spider Stickers
Halloween Spider Stickers by ninjahijinx
Browse Spider Stickers online at


Owen here! Today I’d like to introduce you to the Creative Frog!

Recently I made the decision to reach out to creative people in my area, and to share what I learned. I had just decided on the format I wanted to use when I stumbled across the work of Margaret Nathon, the artist behind the Creative Frog.

She makes whimsical felted wool dolls called Jabberwoolies. Turnip is an adorable adaptation of the vegetable she’s named after.

Margaret also offers hand puppets, which give her a way to use up any leftovers from her doll making (Thus eliminating waste!) This bright and cheerful one is named Saffron, and is made up of parts from 7 different sweaters!

I’m also a huge fan of her felt foods, which have simplified designs but also contain wonderful and clever details. Check out the crinkles on this set of burger and fries!

Now that you’ve seen some of her work, it’s time to get to know the Creative Frog a little better! Margaret was kind enough to take time out of preparing for the holidays to answer a few questions.

Q: How long have you been making art?
A: Creating with fibers has always been part of my life…you brush your teeth, you create. My mom and her mom were tailors, quilters and seamstresses. It was just something we all did. Guess I started selling my items in the 70’s when I was at home while my children were young. I started working with wool in 2006.

Q: What has been your favorite art experience?
A: One of the sweetest compliments was overheard as a customer looked at a grid of my dolls and commented “Well, this person certainly LOVES her work!” Humor and whimsy are important to me and my soft sculptures also evoke a sense of the past…figures in pleated skirts and cardigans…the “Nancy Drew” look.

Q: What has been your biggest hurdle?
A: So…fiber is my medium, inspiration is from my past and the desire to make people smile. My technique is to take wool fibers and manipulate them… Recycled wool is dyed, twisted, felted and manipulated until a soft sculpture figure appears! My dolls called Jabberwoolies, are little testaments to my having overcome the fear of putting myself out there. I never have a set plan when I begin. The dolls just evolve and no two are alike. I sometimes look at photos of all my dolls and puppets and can’t believe I actually made and sold them all. I think hand-crafting is sometimes considered a second class art to studio art… but I have always been drawn to folk art of all kinds. I have never taken art classes and my college degree was in English lit and creative writing.

Q: What piece are you most proud of?
A: All of my creations are special but I have 2 painted muslin frog dolls, one is dressed in vintage linens to look Eastern-European…with a babushka on her head; the other is wearing a petticoat only and has a red wig.  They were created in the 1980’s. That is why I use The Creative Frog as my business name.

Q: What advice would you give someone just starting out?
A: It is wonderful to create art that people like to buy so then you can keep doing it. NEVER create to sell would be my advice to a new artist. Create for the sake of creating. I rarely duplicate any doll or puppet. Look everywhere for inspiration…library, museums, thrift shops, photos, nature…and be patient as your craft evolves.

Here are some of the places that you can find Margaret Nathon’s work:
The Creative Frog site

Bumblepost: The most important thing I’ve learned in art

Owen here! I’ve been lucky enough to receive all kinds of advice and lessons about making art over the years, but there is one thing I can point to as the most important: Make friends!


Other artists can point out different ways to do things.

When I have trouble figuring out how to draw something, I will often turn to Tod and ask him to show me how he would do it. I can then take that lesson, practice it, and overcome my problem – much quicker than if I struggled by myself without help. The same thing goes for criticism. If other people point out flaws in my work, then they are solving problems for me.

I’ve saved a ton of time and heartache by having other artists around who can point me in the right direction.


Networking is useful in any group.

It’s important to know people who do similar things to you. They can point out opportunities that you would otherwise have missed. Also, if you make friends who do art, you are likely to meet other artists they know too.


It’s more fun to create together!

I personally have a hard time getting through all my projects if I have to do it all by myself. It’s way too easy to get distracted or disheartened. So I chat with people about art online, and once a week I go to the Bellingham School of Comics, a local art group. It helps immensely.


You get support while slogging through being unhappy with your work.

I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t get down in the dumps about their work at some point. I usually get that way after finishing a group of projects. Then for at least a few days, I don’t even know what I’m doing or why.

When this happens, it is invaluable to have other people I can turn to to keep going.


Bumblepost: Simple Knotwork Tutorial from Aon Celtic

Having simple knotwork that can fill a space is very useful, and it can be very simple (but time consuming!) to do. If you only want to learn a little knotwork, this is one I definitely recommend!

Aon Celtic, a site created by the artist Cari Buziak, is full of other useful stuff. I highly recommend her free downloadable dot paper. Making grids from scratch or modifying graph paper is probably the most tedious part of knotwork!

Bumblepost: Learning Celtic Art – Suggested reading

Hi! Owen here! I want to take a minute to babble at you about learning how to make Celtic art. Specifically, about how I learned to make it.

Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction
– Written by George Bain

I started learning about Celtic art a few years ago when I stumbled across a very helpful book. “Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.” It was written by a teacher named George Bain. He traveled around Europe finding examples of knotwork and recording them. He also did a lot of research into how and why it was made, at a time when there was a lot of scholarly disinterest. (Among other reasons, scholars dismissed celtic art as having merely been copied over from the art of other cultures.)

This book contains information on knotwork, plants, animals, and humans. It also has a section on a few different calligraphy fonts. The illustrations are large and, despite being in black and white, are easy to follow. Most of the text is hand lettered as well, which is charming. I personally miss seeing that in texts.

The step by step instructions in this book are easy for people who prefer to skip over written text when learning. So if you are the type to go from picture to picture when assembling pre-designed furniture, that should be a plus!

2. A Beginner’s Manual
– Written by Aidan Meehan

There are a whole lot of very interesting and helpful books written by Aidan Meehan, but I think the very first of his books will be the most useful to start with.

In “A Beginner’s Manual,” Aidan Meehan provides very clear and easy to read step by step instructions. The pictures are very easy to make out. There is more reading involved here in the instructions than in “The Methods of Construction,” but the pace of instruction is also a bit slower. I think it works well.

Once you finish this one, there are a ton of other books on every conceivable subject regarding knotwork. (Note: I haven’t read all of these, though I intend to once I can get my hands on them!)

Lastly, I want to show some of my older knotwork pictures. I have plenty of newer stuff I’ll be showing off soon, but I thought it would be fun to pull up a few of my older examples from Zazzle. I made these while first learning with “The Methods of Construction.”

First, some round tile pieces that I decided to experiment painting gradients with.

These last two are transgender symbol designs. I saw there were plenty of trans symbols making their way around the internet, but they all seemed to be the same – either black and white, or with a colorful photoshopped gradient. I wanted to see other kinds, and so here are some of mine:

BumblePost: Owen’s got some stuff in the store!

Mr. Bumblepants here! When not scarfing down candy corn with Cadaver Dave or marveling at all the glorious Halloween decorations around town, I’ve been pretty busy making art. (But not too busy! Rest is important!) After much help from Tod with getting all the photographs and setting up my products, I am the proud new owner of a section in the Storydragon Store.

You can find a few things here:

Owen’s Art

And now a  little about my journey with art. I’ve had an interest in art for most of my life, but did not have much access to good instruction until about five years ago. That is when I met my husband, Tod Wills. He introduced me to a number of creative people both locally and online. The welcome I have received has been nothing short of astounding. If making art taught me nothing else, knowing how good and loving people can be would have been worth it alone.

I started out learning how to do basic drawing. My proportions were quite bad, and what I produced I wasn’t happy with. I challenged myself to show off my art no matter what state it was in, and the critiques I received were extremely helpful. Other people have been able to point out things that I would have taken many more years to learn on my own.

Over time I have also tried my hand at a lot of different forms of art. I used my previous sewing experience to make puppets with Tod. (Which also led to my discovery of puppetry, something I love doing!) I stumbled onto celtic art through a chance encounter at the library (the most magical of places!). In the oversize section I found a book by George Bain called “Celtic Art: The Methods of Construction.” It clicked with me more than anything else! Now whenever I try out a new art form, I always try incorporating knotwork into it.

After my first attempt at selling art, I had to take a very long break. I eventually got out of this by deciding to draw only one thing: Red pandas. They made me happy. They helped me to not be anxious. Eventually I was able to move on. I tried and failed at woodworking, while playing with a whole lot of things.

Most recently, I came across hot glue art – something I would never have imagined existed. I’d seen some quick fun holiday crafts done with it, and decided to try my hand at it. I loved the result, and decided to try adding it to the woodworking skills I’ve already been building. I also managed to acquire some tools that were sharper and easier to handle. Something magical clicked then, and suddenly I can’t stop making art. My anxiety disorder continues to exist, but it no longer affects my productivity with art. I found my niche!

To conclude, I want to say that I feel very grateful and happy to be able to make beautiful things. I hope they bring you joy!

Have a creative day!
– Mr. Bumblepants