Friday, December 30, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - New Year's 2011 Edition

Weekend Eye Candy - New Year's 2011 Edition by lorahart
1. BUBBLES - coctailring, 2. New Year's Ring (RAD #1 - 1/1/10), 3. Effervescence Brooch #1, 4. Sally Wright, 5. Day 10 Champagne bubbles, 6. ring a day 1a, 7. RAD #8 1/8/10, 8. Urbanscape Wine Stopper, 9. Isabelle Ring
Hap. Py New Year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - My Rings Edition

Well, I didn't make it all the way through either Ring a Day in 2010 or Ring a Week this year. But I learned so much by participating in the challenges. I expanded my skills, became more familiar with a two gas torch, used my imagination in unusual ways and basically had a great time. And I'm thinking of another challenge for next year! Oy vey! ;D

Seeing all these rings together lifts my spirits and massages my ego. I'm really proud of this work. Even if there are ring brothers and sisters trapped inside my ennui.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Best of 500 Edition

I received a rejection email today. Not even a snail mail letter that I could frame or throw darts at. Lark's new 500 Rings book will not be showcasing my submissions. Or any of these other fabulous ring maker's work. Bruce Metcalf (the flower brooch in the center square) was the juror and wanted more avante garde entries than ours, I suppose. Too bad for him then! The world has missed out on a world of talented artists and beautiful pieces. I wish I could see what else ended up on the cutting room floor.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Asked and Answered

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about SNAG's Metalsmith magazine. It had to do with a comment the jurors of the Exhibition in Print issue made about the artist statements, resumes, and bios, that accompanied the submissions. As a self taught artist, it never occurred to me to include any of that information in a photo submission.

So I thought I'd ask an expert to educate me on professional submissions. And darned if I'm not featured on Harriete Estelle Berman's blog today!!! Just how thrilling is that?

Harriete is an amazing artist best known for her work with recycled, printed tin pins and teapots, as well as a blogger and is writing an entire series about the photo submissions. She started with her experience as a juror using the CaFE submission site and will be covering photographs and descriptions soon. This series is a wonderful insight for those of us who are not academically trained. I know I'll read each post.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Unintended Jewelry Edition

Shapes, silhouettes, and variations in depth and color, when boiled down to their basest forms can be wonderful inspiration for jewelry designs. Squint your eyes to a soft focus and see if you notice unintended jewelry in these images. I see brooches and pendants galore!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Call of the Goth

I got an email newsletter the other day from SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmith's). A call for entries has been put out for the 2012 issue of their fabulous 'Exhibition in Print'. I totally missed the September 16 deadline for the Saul Bell, so I think I might try my handiwork in this one.

American Gothic by Grant Wood
I have no illusions that I'll make it into the issue, but submitting is a huge challenge in and of itself, and I feel a need to rock my own world. I've been working on my e-book for a few months, perfecting the Mentorial model, trying to be a good Artistic Advisor for the PMCC blog, and teaching the wonderfully talented students in L.A. Do you see making pretty things in that list anywhere? No? Me neither. I'm feelin' the old artist's ennui. I really do think that the kind of creativity you access while working with your hands is like a muscle. Use it or lose it.

Thankfully, it's relatively easy to get back on the artful pommel horse. I need to make a few "things to torch fire" for the Metal Arts Society of Southern California's (MASSC) Demo Day, which is on Saturday (I'll be introducing metal clay to traditional fabricators). That should be easy. Then maybe I'll do a sample of the two part project my 8 week class will be tackling in a couple of weeks. Maybe I'll spend a couple of hours making a stock of teensy granulation balls and bails to set aside for future projects. Baby steps. Things I feel comfortable with. After all, you wouldn't run a marathon after a year on the beach.

The theme of the 2012 exhibition is gothic jewelry. Now that *does* seem like a challenge. The first step for me will be to decide what I think gothic means in relation to my style of work. The first images that come to mind are steampunk cogs and wheels, dark make-up, Charles Addams art, and a general doom and gloom atmosphere. None of which are my aesthetic. But, gothic also refers to medieval art and architecture as well as the Victorian revival of those designs. Which *are* right up my alley.

I have a while to think it out, come up with a few designs, and narrow my focus of the theme. The deadline is February 1, 2012. I'd love some input from you, dear readers. I know you have some ideas of what 'gothic' means to you. Share?

Monday, September 19, 2011

What Does 'Fresh' Mean to You?

I belong to an organization called SNAG (The Society of North American Goldsmiths). Every year SNAG devotes an entire issue of their self-published magazine, Metalsmith, to an ‘Exhibition in Print’.

The work included is always contemporary, avante garde, and thought provoking. I usually spend an entire afternoon devouring its contents – first pouring over the amazing images (more than once) and later skimming through the forward by the editor. I may even move to the computer to search for more information about the jewelry makers whose work particularly speaks to me.

I was so thrilled to see a Flickr friend's work
(which I have seen in person) on the cover!
Congratulations Amy Tavern.

This year for some reason, I started with the text. The interview with jurors Cindi Strauss and Lola Brooks was particularly enlightening. The theme for this year’s exhibition was the term “Fresh”. That’s it. No definition, no guidelines. The artist’s were free to come up with their own interpretation and submit photos of work that they believed fit the category.

A single word can be understood in infinite ways. Just check the dictionary or Thesaurus. And it seems that the lack of a significant description may have impacted both the entrants and the exhibit. Because, as it happens, the jurors did have a specific idea of what “Fresh” meant to them. Out of 433 entrants, only 30 were included in the show.

Reading the interview really crystallized the fact that acceptance in juried craft shows, gallery exhibitions and other opportunities is purely subjective. As a juror for the 2010 volume of the PMC Guild Annual, I was aware that I brought my personal agenda regarding craftsmanship, subject matter and originality to the judging table. As an artist responding to calls for entry, I know that the results of my submissions rest on any number of criteria, the least of which may be my work.

Strauss and Brooks noted that the show was judged blind. Meaning that they looked only at the work, and didn’t learn artists’ names until the exhibition was set. They also mentioned that they didn’t take resumes, bio’s or artist statements into consideration. What? Artist statements? I’ve never included any of that information in a submission! And now I wonder if that lack has played a part in a disappointing outcome.

have included a short statement about a particular piece occasionally. Something I thought of after noticing a quote printed next to a photo in one of the Lark 500 books. What has the world of academia trained graduate students to consider that those of us who are self taught might never have thought of?

As it happens, the “Fresh” exhibition is as fascinating, entertaining and inspirational as ever. I only wish I could see some of the work that wasn't accepted into the exhibition. I'm pretty sure that my standards aren't quite as stringent as the jurors. I bet there was some amazing work that ended up on the cutting room floor.

I love the idea of using a single word to inform a piece of jewelry. Whether it’s for a play date with friends, participation in an online challenge like Ring a Week, or an actual submission to MCAM or the CornerStone Challenge (to name a few), why not let serendipity be your muse? Get a real, paper, dictionary; flip to an arbitrary page; close your eyes; and let your finger land on a word that you’ll use as a jumping off point for creativity. But first you may want to go to your local bookstore to find the print version of Metalsmith or join SNAG to have one delivered right to your door. I assure you, it will open a world of possibilities!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ode To a Plastic Bag

Oh, little zip lock plastic bags that seem to appear from nowhere and multiply like slippery, see-though, bunnies...
Thank you for keeping my teeny tiny purchases safe, separated, and categorized.
I love your reusable super powers.
My stock of found and purchased bits and pieces would be only a jumbled mess without your transparent glamour.
My bench top would be fraught with chaos and confusion if not for your multi-sized sorting services.
My love of organization would, indeed, be nothing without you.

But now it is time for us to part ways.
Forgive me for my thoughtless disregard of your containment abilities and your recyclable eco-friendly resourcefulness.
It is with angst, and not a little bit of wistful longing, that I consign you to the large metal dumpster in the parking lot - never to be used in a resourceful way again.

I realize now, in the early stages of my clutter clearing moving prep, that I have held on to the fantasy of your usefulness, rather than acknowledge the practical storage capacity of my limited studio space, for far too long.
Never again will my fingernails split while pressing your zippy strip closed, or while trying to pry your double layered super strength pocket open.
My heart is heavy, but my brown paper bag from Whole Foods is full. Full of the memory of your support, the knowledge that you were always there when I needed you and the hope that one day you will invade my life again (albeit in a less extreme manner).

Fare thee well, my zip-locked friends. Go on to astonish many, many, many future generations after being discovered in your earthly trash dump time capsule, thousands of years from now. I hope they love and appreciate you as much as I did.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Curriculum Vitae

The Latin words for resumé. I spent all of Saturday and part of this morning updating mine. I'll be moving to Richmond, Virginia next year and wanted to get a head start on finding work. Metal Clay teaching work, that is.

In Los Angeles I teach at two jr. colleges and one art college, and I'd like to find the same type of arrangement in Richmond. I like working at locations other than a home studio for a couple of reasons. The venue usually already has a supply of eager students to draw from, and they carry insurance in case of mishaps. I've thought about finding a big enough space to do classes from a home base of some sort and might try to rent a studio once I get settled. The bonus of that set up is not having to lug all my supplies and equipment (including the kiln) to the classroom.

Updating my CV was actually a great exercise. Seeing all of my jewelry related achievements in print, on one piece of paper was very affirming. One might even say ego boosting! Reading over the previous version, compiled in 2009, reminded me of many activities I'd forgotten about. Adding new information pushed me to consider what I've accomplished in the past two years. I wonder if I've forgotten anything...

Writing an artistic resume would be a great process to go through even if you're not looking for employment. If you're not a teacher, haven't been published, or don't have any other public accolades to include - think of all the times you've taken a class, made a submission, participated in a challenge or completed a particular project. Use the traditional resume format to create a synopsis of your successes, detail every time you put yourself on the line, list all the skills you've mastered, celebrate all of your creative accomplishments. Print a work history for your eyes only. And take pride in your achievements.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Hammered Edition

Weekend Eye Candy - Hammered Edition by lorahart
1. Hammered Silver Bracelet, 2. Blue lotus with gold, 3. Fold-Formed Cuffs, 4. Sparrow_09, 5. Hammered Silver Loop, 6. Fool Spring Bracelet no2. (2009, IT) Bracelet 11.4, 7. Texture hammer improoved, 8. forged copper links necklace, another view, 9. Ring of Thorns

"Wabi-sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pretty Skully's

A student dropped off these fabulous Day of the Dead skull charms this morning for firing and I just had to share. Each is hand sanded to perfection and each has a unique design decorating its tiny face.

The only problem I have, is deciding which one will not be returning home with her tomorrow afternoon! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Combating Artist's Block

A FaceBook friend messaged me the other day. She was having a problem that plagues every artist I've ever heard of. She said her creative motivation was on an extended sabbatical and wanted to know if I had any suggestions. I did, and thought I'd share them with you to file away for future artistic ennui.

Sir Isaac Newton of apple bopping head fame discovered the physical law (which I am reminded of almost daily, thanks to a current television commercial) that states 'an object in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object at rest maintains it's slothful position unless impacted by an outside source'. Or something like that.

\sum \mathbf{F} = 0 \Rightarrow \frac{d \mathbf{v} }{dt} = 0.

What this means to artists is that the longer you allow 'writer's block' to have it's way, the more your creativity will hide in the dark corners of your brain and refuse to come out and play when you ask it to. You have to take an active role in convincing your imagination to return to the studio. Another advertiser shares the secret to success.
Okay. Sometimes it's not as easy as that. But to shift the status quo, you have to shake things up. Some other smart person said that the definition of insanity is "doing the same things over and over, and expecting a different result".

• Rearrange your studio or change the location of your work space.
• Take it outside. A computer or sketchbook works just as well at a cyber cafe or a bench at the park as it does in your house.
• Have a play date with some friends. Crafting with others is sure to get those creative juices flowing. 
• Take a class in another medium. The more techniques you have to draw on, the richer your work will be.
• Use low cost materials. Sometimes the expense of materials is enough to scare away our willingness to experiment. Go to the craft store and look for supplies that mimic your chosen art.
• Sit in your studio and make components. In the case of jewelry, create a supply of bails, granulation balls, molded elements, or new textures. Making anything will invite the muses to return.
• Take part in a challenge. Let another source give you some ground rules to follow and then use your own voice to create something that you might not have thought of otherwise.

The important thing is not to let it go too long. Get back on the horse, don't let the b*&stards get you down, show ennui who's boss! If you just can't shake it, get your potassium levels checked. There may be a physical reason for your malaise.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Found Objects Edition

PMC Connection is partnering with Metal Clay Artist Magazine in a fantastic jewelry design contest. And CornerStone blog is getting the ball rolling and the inspiration bubbling with their own challenge.
Here's a little weekend stimulus package to spark your imagination and tickle your creative impulses. have a great holiday weekend y'all!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"Have a Good Day at the Office!"

I'm so excited! I've finally found the perfect office space. Somewhere I can write and blog and do research without the adorable interruption of the fur babies. And the rent is remarkably reasonable. I only pay for it when I use it. About $2.00 per hour! Such a deal. Actually I have two new offices. One of them is better for really getting things done, and the other is better for cyber surfing. I bet you have the same office space available in your home town too.

They're two local cafe's that I've been going to for years. I live in under 500 square feet. Since I work for myself, unless I'm teaching, I'm at home. In my studio working on jewelry projects, at the desk writing my book, goofing off... er... re-charging my imagination on the couch, eating dinner - all in the same room. Sometimes I feel like I'm in prison. A nice prison, but still.

So a couple of months ago I got the bright idea to stuff my computer into my oversized bag and head out the door. I can walk down the street to the cafe without wi-fi if I just need to use Word and don't want any distractions, or drive to the cyber cafe if I need to add surfing capabilities. The only thing I have to pay for is coffee, a nosh and parking.

I tend to leave the power cord at home, because I think it would be rude to stay longer than the three hours of battery time. And after three hours I want a break anyway.

Last weekend I was a bit obsessed. I went to the cyber cafe for 2 hours, then to Peet's Coffee (where they have wi-fi as well) to meet a friend and stayed another hour, then drove to the beach and sat at the cement tables. All working on the computer! Finally I gave myself a break and went down to the ocean for a reward.

I love my new offices. I can't think of a better place to really buckle down and get work done.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Away Without Leave

I've been AWOL. For months it seems. With only a little check-in here and there. When last we met, I was on my way to a 5 day stone setting class in the mountains of Southern California. It was a wonderful experience, I learned so very much, had a great time with my friends and thoroughly enjoyed the fresh, mountain air. I wrote about my experience here.

Didn't finish (of course), but I learned a lot.
Since then, I've been furiously working on my e-book tentatively titled Crafting Your Artistic Voice. And am really excited that Glendale College has agreed to present a live class based on the first three chapters. I was hoping to have all of the text for the book finished by the end of August, but I got side tracked by life and I'm a bit (or more) behind. Now I'm aiming for the end of September. And then there will be the formatting, photographing images, perhaps a tiny bit of graphics and marketing. Whew! So much goes into making a book. Even an e version. If anyone out there in cyber space has information to share, I'm open to suggestions. ;D

My Pretty New Booth

In between teaching, coaching and writing, I've been thinking about how else I want to spend my professional time. I told you about the last craft show I did. I put so much energy into that show. I bought some new display pedestals for a totally new booth set up, made quite a few one of a kind pieces to sell, set up with the help of my friend Dawn and broke down by myself, stood and greeted shoppers for three days, and managed not to buy myself a single solitary thing! Then I spent the next three days recovering. All for a show that is only 2 miles from my house. I was so tired by the end of it, that I started to wonder if the satisfaction I get from offering my work to the general public is worth the stress of preparation and the strain on my body. I've always said that teaching is my vocation and selling is my hobby.

I'm very lucky and grateful that my MS is hardly noticeable. If you didn't already know I had it, you couldn't tell by watching me. But fatigue is really raising it's ugly head, and I haven't figured out yet how to combat it. Really, I've been too tired to want to figure out how to combat it, but I know how important it is to my sanity - so I'm going to get on the supplement bandwagon and start yoga and try to get back to my normal. Anyway - I've decided to put all my energy into my first love, teaching, and leave the shows to those who make their living selling their work. More power to 'em. So, I'm out of the craft show business. Anyone need some collapsible pedestals?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Small Gems Edition

Weekend Eye Candy - Small Gems Edition by lorahart
1. Citrine Twig Ring , 2. Seraphinite earrings, 3. Hommage à Georges Rodenbach (WIP) 14, 4. Rifle Ring V 2.0, 5. Setting 3, 6. i put some love inside, 7. Bezel Setting, 8. Ring a Day 93/365, 9., 10. 100_1934, 11. Fun Artisan Made, Bezel Set, Semi Precious Stone Ring - $499, 12. Titanium-Wedding-Band-2a, 13. Citrine and Sterling silver ring, 14. Incredibly Stylish with Movement, Diamond Bezel Set, Iolite and Diamond Fashion Ring, 18k w.g. - $500, 15. Precious Ethnicity, 16. chicken foot * flush set black Diamonds  Created with fd's Flickr Toys

I'm going to a beautiful town called Idyllwild near Palm Springs, California on Saturday for a week long class with Pauline Warg on Setting Small Gems. I'll be learning how to bezel, flush (gypsy) and jump ring set both faceted and cabochon, round and square under 5 mm stones! Note to self: pack visor!

Getting very excited. Vickie Hallmark and Dawn Miller are coming too. We're all roomies! Oh, the midnight gab sessions we'll have. Get ready desert. We're gonna heat you up!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Put Me In, Coach

With the announcement of both my and Tonya Davidson's new global teaching ventures, I thought it might be interesting to look into the origins of artist to artist learning opportunities.

Of course teaching, in and of itself, has been around for millennia. With every step we take, we are learning - with every move we make, we are teaching (sounds like a good song lyric). Parents teach their children new skills every minute of the day. New behaviors are learned through a lifetime of trial and error. But how did artisan teaching start?

Who knows really, but the origins may be in the ancient Greek story of Mentor, a friend of Odysseus of Trojan War fame. It's said that Odysseus asked Mentor to foster his son while he was away fending off Sirens and building big horsey siege engines.

In the 13th century, artisanal guilds were formal organizations that supported a number of workers under a protective umbrella. To become a member - young, typically teenage men/boys were required to thoroughly learn a specialized craft, moving from indentured apprentice to wage earning journeyman until finally acquiring the knowledge needed to complete a "masterpiece" which may or may not (depending on the economy) have earned  them the right and privilege to be accepted into the Guild as a master craftsman.

The word "coach" was first coined sometime in the late 19th century as sports teams coalesced into the professional organizations they are today. Then in the last two decades of the 20th century a new model was developed which saw professional people helping others through difficult, life changing or business related situations. Since then the coaching field has exploded and you can find one on one supporters for business, leadership, retirement, management, real estate and a plethora of other special interests. The short lived television show "Starting Over" with Rhonda Britten and Iyanla Vanzant brought the concept further into the public consciousness with a spiritual, personal point of view.

Although Tonya and I are offering the same type of artist/creative coaching, we each have our own focus and specialty. Tonya is one of the best business women I know. Before I joined PMC Connection as a Senior Instructor, I bought all my supplies from Whole Lotta Whimsy. As a matter of fact I was one of their biggest clients for a while there. There is no one who is better equipped to support and inform artists on the business of doing business than Tonya. Her holistic, multi module, large scale program is a total immersion on the nuts and bolts, left brain aspects of pursuing your art and building a profit.

My gentler, more personal Mentorial (mentor + tutorial = Mentorial) method is tailored to each individual artisan's specific concerns and dreams for their unique brand and lifestyle. I've started calling it "coaching à la carte". With this model, a craftsperson can explore a single aspect of their business at a time. Thinking about teaching? Or maybe you want to wholesale and are curious about the casting process. Perhaps you're stuck creatively and want some suggestions and encouragement to boost your right brain into high gear. Whatever your goal, I can help you brainstorm your way to success.

Two different approaches to the same end point. We each want you to excel in the way that's best for you!

As I grow my menu (remember the à la carte reference) I'll be adding e-books, helpful products and maybe even (someday) videos to my offerings. I'm working on my first book title and hope to have it on it's way to Etsy by the end of the summer.

In the meantime - Both Tonya and I, and the teachers and mentors in your own home towns and online, are here for you. All you have to do is whistle. You know how to whistle don't you (couldn't resist)?

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a Way to Start a Day!

I was thrilled to see my new "coaching à la carte" Mentorials featured in the PMC Connection newsletter this morning. I'm really excited about this new aspect of my business.

I've been teaching for about 9 years and can't imagine myself doing anything else. I love the pride and excitement I see in my students eyes when they create a beautiful work of art out of a little "lump of clay". I love to foster that excitement by encouraging them to move further and take their passion to the next level. I love it so much that I want to work with more students, in more locations and in more personal ways than I can by just staying in my home base comfort zone.

I know I've told you about my Mentorials on Etsy before. I'm happy to say they're off to a great start! My clients appreciate the one topic format. Together we're able to focus in on a single aspect of their business which helps to inspire targeted problem solving and creative solutions. It's a very inspiring format for me and a comfortable and easy to access location for my "ascending artists".

You'll be seeing this postcard image in print soon too! I've taken a big step by advertising in Metal Clay Artist Magazine and in the Easy Metal Clay issue of Jewelry Artist magazine, which will be out in August. Woo Hoo! 

And to celebrate I'd like to offer 10% off your first Mentorial. Convo me first and I'll adjust the listing for you. Include Ascending Artist in the subject line. Let's journey up your path to success together!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Goes to Show ya...

I'm so happy to be able to report that I had a great show! Now, just what does that mean?

My booth is conveniently located between the Men's and Women's rooms. Which you might think is a good thing. But I think that the horrible Feng Shui flushes my potential profits down the facility along with other matter.

I teach almost every weekend and don't put a lot of energy into selling my work. I only do this one show, which is put on twice a year. I call it my hobby show. So, I have different criteria for judging what makes a good show than others might.

This booth space is the smallest in the entire show. Only 5' x 6'. Good on the wallet and excellent for someone who doesn't have that many pieces to display. My new set up was perfect and allowed viewers to look at my wares without the usual crowding that happens at table booths.

• I made more than twice my booth and expenses. Maybe even three times (haven't done my finances yet). Because I bought new display items, I'm counting that expenditure in my break even figure. Most information I've seen suggests that five times your booth fee is the minimum "take" to aspire to.

I used earthquake putty to attach the laminated photographs to the cardboard pedestals.

• Friday (always a slow day) I made two big sales. Yay! Saturday was a fabulous day with 7 great sales. Sunday was a fun (but tiring) socializing day with only one little pair of earrings leaving the nest all day long. Three days is too much for my old body I think, and with my lower energy on the last day - the energy of my booth also flagged and visitors to the craft market felt it and weren't inclined to look my way.

I got the little battery powered LED lights at the same lightbulb store where I found 6500 K daylight bulbs for the Ikea floor lamps.  

• Lots of friends and fans dropped by to visit which is always energizing and inspirational. Thanks. You know who you are. ;D

Using black lentils or rice seemed like a great idea, but it's messy and the jewelry tends to sink down into the grain. Especially when customers like to poke it down intentionally. I guess even adults like to poke and prod unusual material to see how it reacts. Sigh.
• I've done this show enough times that I feel a part of the community of vendors. As I walked around the show before it started, I was greeted by artists I used to admire as an attendee.

Love the little plastic stands for my rings, but amused that customers tried on said rings without bothering to detach aforementioned stands.
• I got lots of admiring comments, good long looks and interest in my eclectic work from attendees and vendors alike. And that always adds up to a successful enterprise.

Too many folks thought the Look Book was a freebie and I replaced it with postcards on the second day. The wrought iron screen is there to act as some kind of a barrier or separation from the men's room door.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Weekend Eye Candy - Booth Shot Edition

Today is the first day of the Contemporary Crafts Market. I can't wait to take a picture of my new booth set up. I think it turned out really well. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Prep Please

I'm getting ready for a show this weekend at the Contemporary Craft Market. This is the only show I do, usually twice a year, and I'm really looking forward to it. The CCM is a wonderful, high end, craft show filled with textiles, ceramics, glass, jewelry (of course), art furniture, and more. No imported objects allowed.

I had photos printed and laminated at Staples, then used earthquake putty to attach them to the pedestals.  The spot where my booth is has lovely wood paneled walls that I'm not allowed to touch! So this was my make-do way of displaying pictures of my work.

I ordered two new pedestals for my tiny 5' x 6' booth and will supplement those with lightweight furniture from home. My previous set up involved Ikea screw on legs and a piece of 2' x 6' pine from the hardware store. I loved the rustic look, but putting the legs on and off and moving a 6' board by myself finally got to be too much. The Easy Pedestals are made of corrugated cardboard and fold for easy transportation. Wood plaques from the craft store (Michael's) will feature the jewelry.

I'm a do it yourself kind of gal. I also make my own price tags. I hate the way commercial ones look on handmade jewelry. I punch a 1/2" hole out of black construction paper and use a piece of whatever heavy thread is in the sewing box. Last time it was pretty gold cord I used for an embroidered pillow years ago. This time it's just plain black string. I was thinking that the tags look a bit like a cartoon bomb with the fuse about to be lit! But that will change (hopefully) when I add the price with a silver or white pen.

This is all very last minute. 'Cos that's the way I evidently roll. Unfortunately. And I still have errands to run. Get some black lentil beans, find another daylight bulb... Luckily my friend Dawn is helping me set up my booth, so maybe it'll get done faster so I can get those errands out of the way and finish making chains for a couple of necklaces. Tonight. For the show tomorrow. Sigh.

I certainly hope to see some of my local readers at the show. It's three days and you can download a free pass for two, so there's really no good excuse not to come. ;D

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The 29 Steps

How do you find inspiration when your creativity seems to flag? What tricks do you have to jump start your artistic tendencies? Sometimes I wonder if I spend too much of the work day practicing my favorite avoidance techniques - playing with the kitties, checking in on Oprah (don't have that distraction anymore), or surfing Face Book. I don't respect the time I spend doing "nothing". I think I should be productive at least 8 hours a day. But according to this list, doing nothing *is* doing something. Yay me!

How many of these tips have you tried? 

Friday, May 13, 2011

Accolades and Appreciation

I've been very honored to have been recognized in very exciting venues recently. The other day Metal Clay Academy (MCA) featured an interview with me in their wonderful newsletter. It was doubly sweet because Lorena Angulo was also profiled. I admire the work and service that MCA does for the metal clay community and being introduced to their readers is very exciting for me. Thanks to Emma Gordon for her great questions and nerve settling attitude. Join the mailing list to get the newsletter and see my feature.

I'm also so thrilled to be included in the SNAG/RAD exhibit at Punch Gallery in Seattle. The Society of North American Goldsmith's is holding their yearly conference in Washington and the exhibition of rings is a fabulous honor for all of the RAD artists. Their were 16,000 rings made for the challenge last year and 365 were chosen for the display. 65 artists are represented in the show and four of my creations are included. Angela Crispin and Lorena Angulo of the metal clay world also have pieces in the exhibit. You can go here to view more photos of the gallery. Many of the artist's tagged their rings, so be sure to get to know all the wonderful people I played with last year.

Many Thanks to the curators - Shannon Conrad, Colleen Baran, Kathryn Cole, Nina Gibson, and Sara Westermark for the wonderful display.  I love the way the rings were grouped and displayed. Thanks goes to Sarah Hood as well for all the auxiliary support, displays and SNAG liaison-ing.

I wasn't able to find my Paintbrush ring, but I'm sure it's hiding somewhere. Wish I were hiding there too. If any of you get to see the rings in person, please let us know just how fantabulous the exhibit is. It's at Punch Gallery until May 29, 2011.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A New Look and a New Website

I guess you can see that something's changed. Paled a bit. Dressed down. Made Under. I'm playing around with a new website that will house all my various cyber spaces in one convenient home base, and I wanted them to all have the same look.  The Gallery and shopping cart will be the last to appear, so please bear with me during my construction process.

The drop and drag template builder I found is wonderful. So easy to use and just as simple as I would have had a web designer create. I found it by just clicking on the link at the very bottom of a site I admired. It pays to look at every nook and cranny online. Now you can find the link at the bottom of my new site! Gotta make you work for something. ;D

I'm open to suggestions - so don't be shy. Tell me what you think so far!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Muse for a Year

Well, Today marks the end of a grand era for me. Today my last Master Muse tutorial was published on Tonya Davidson's blog. It was such an honor to have been asked to participate in this fabulous project. And amazing to have been in the company of my Sister Muses - Donna Penoyer; Patrik Kusek; Ruth Baillie; Anne Mitchell; Vickie Hallmark; Barbara Becker Simon; Angela Crispin; Kelly Russell and Robert Dancik. You can read a bit about all of us here and find links to all the other tutorials here. To date there are 48 fabulous projects online. But there are still a few more in the works from some of the other Muses.

I learn so much from these challenges I take part in. For the Muse project we were given specific materials to work with and often a particular theme to design within. It's exciting to work that way. The restrictions force me to get out of the comfy and familiar design nook in my brain, but the freedom lets me tip toe through the tulips of my imagination!

Photo by Drew Davidson

This past year I taught myself how to drill glass, make an articulated armature, pierce dry clay with a jewelers saw; play with color on metal and use a fired slab of metal clay to fabricate a faux gem.

I'm not done challenging myself though. I still have 36 rings to make and, based on a class project I uploaded to Flickr, have just agreed to design and make a workable perfume bottle by the end of June with some of my online friends. Who knows what other challenging situations will arise in 2012! I hope there are many.

Muse for a Year

Well, Today marks the end of a grand era for me. Today my last Master Muse tutorial was published on Tonya Davidson's blog. It was such an honor to have been asked to participate in this fabulous project. And amazing to have been in the company of my Sister Muses - Donna Penoyer; Patrik Kusek; Ruth Baillie; Anne Mitchell; Vickie Hallmark; Barbara Becker Simon; Angela Crispin; Kelly Russell and Robert Dancik. You can read a bit about all of us here and find links to all the other tutorials here. To date there are 48 fabulous projects online. But there are still a few in the works from some of the other Muses.

I learn so much from these challenges I take part in. For the Muse project we were given specific materials to work with and often a particular theme to design within. It's exciting to work that way. The restrictions force me to get out of the comfy and familiar design nook in my brain, but the freedom lets me tip toe through the tulips of my imagination!

This past year I taught myself how to drill glass, make an articulated armature, piece clay with a jewelers saw; play with color on metal and use a fired slab of metal clay to fabricate a faux gem.

I'm not done challenging myself though. I still have 36 rings to make and based on a class project I uploaded to Flickr, have just agreed to design and make a workable perfume bottle by the end of June with some of my online friends. Who knows what other challenging situations will arise in 2012! I hope there are many.