Carroll County Times

An Eye for Art: Carolyn Seabolt brings tinsel painting to local arts scene

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Carolyn Seabolt is a local artist from Westminster. A graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, she has been an artist her entire life. Seabolt taught art for Carroll County Public Schools at Westminster High School for more than 30 years. After retiring, she joined the education department at McDaniel College where she worked in the field with student teachers. Seabolt was also an adjunct professor at Carroll Community College and has taught there off and on since the 1980s.

Seabolt does a wide variety of artwork including paintings, hand-dyed silk and batik scarves, and gnomes.


Seabolt also teaches craft classes once a month. Her studio is called Cat Tracks Studio in honor of her siamese cats. Her cats appear in the children’s books she writes and illustrates, including “Oliver’s Travels” and “Oliver’s Travels 2″, “Oliver My Best Friend” and “My Day in the Garden.” Coming next year is a Halloween edition.

Carolyn Seabolt is pictured with her tinsel art at the current show at Offtrack Art Cooperative and Gallery called “Oceans Delight” running through September. Lyndi McNulty photo

Currently, one of Seabolt’s artistic specialties is tinsel painting, which was first done in the 1800s in England and France. By the 1870s, the art of tinsel painting migrated to the United States.


At that time, Victorian women and girls expressed their creative talents with small tinsel paintings. Women often did crafts that would not take too much time and interfere with household chores.

Tinsel painting is a reverse painting technique on glass. This means that the artwork is drawn and painted on the back of the glass. It is done with an opaque paint and a transparent glass stain. Then a piece of “tinsel” or foil, as it is called today, is placed on the back. When the Victorians lit their oil lamps the reflective quality of the tinsel sparkled in the flickering light.

Marilyn Smith with her quilting art. Lyndi McNulty photo

The primary topics were flowers and tropical birds with black backgrounds. They found their foil in cigarette packages, candy wrappers and various other places.

Currently, Seabolt has brought the craft into the 21st century. She does all types of topics including cats, flowers, ocean scenes, Carroll County barn quilt scenes, horses, cows, sheep and other local scenes.

Seabolt has added other types of reflective materials to her paintings including mylar, textured foils and colored foils.

Seabolt has been recreating this historic art for 40 years. She is looking for a group of tinsel painters worldwide to join and share her interest.

Seabolt sells her tinsel paintings at local craft events including Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Carroll County Artists Studio Tour and Evergreen Fest at Offtrack Art in Westminster and has participated in the Gallery of Gifts during the holidays at the Carroll County Arts Council. She will also exhibit “Cat in a Basket” at the Carroll County Arts Council Members Show to be held Sept.18 through Oct. 4.

Seabolt is a founding partner of Offtrack Art Cooperative and Gallery, featuring local and regional arts and crafts and run by the artist partners. They are currently participating in a show at Offtrack titled “Oceans Delight.” The show features all things summer, ocean and beachy by partners and consignees.


Seabolt is exhibiting her tinsel paintings, farmhouse-style acrylic paintings, note cards with the topic of sea life and her hand-painted silk and batik scarves. She can be contacted at

Other artists exhibiting at this show include Ona Martin, who does fine oil paintings. Two of her paintings in the exhibit include a nighttime ocean scene with a moon reflecting on the water and a lone lifeguard stand at summer’s end.

Marylin Smith’s artistic work includes quilted bags and quilts.

Jan Van Bibber’s jewelry includes handmade earrings made from sterling silver and copper. She also has mini sterling over copper paintings with the backgrounds created by reheating the metal, causing it to make beautiful colors. It is fused, hammered and textured. The paintings are based on illuminated manuscripts.

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Linda Van Hart is showing her stunning sterling silver artistic bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings and pins.

Jan Van Bibber with her fused sterling silver on copper jewelry and mini art works. Lyndi McNulty photo

Gayle Mathews is exhibiting her needle felting animals and has added fun fish to the collection.


Sharon Schaeffer has her traditional handcrafted baskets with ocean themes.

Nicole Diem is a potter who has special octopus-inspired mugs and other sea-life-themed pottery for sale.

Linda DeCarlo, an assemblage artist, has oyster shells and other related items in hanging sculptures.

The “Ocean Delights” Show at Offtrack Art Cooperative and Gallery runs through Sept. 30. Visit for details.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmo’s Art in Westminster. Her column, An Eye for Art, appears regularly in Life & Times.