Saturday, August 30, 2008

Market Saturday

Cranberry Beans! I can't wait to make this soup with them (found the recipe via Flickr). I had to buy these beans simply because they are beautiful. Of course if I bought every beautiful bit of produce at the Farmers' Market I would be broke. It is such a bonus that food that is good for you also looks incredible. Eat it off of handmade pottery (which is earth, after all) and you are nearing perfection.

The highlight of my market day was meeting a little girl, around 10 years old, whose favorite color is brown. I honestly don't think I have ever met anyone whose favorite color is brown, let alone a child. And she didn't just like it, she was passionate about it, picking up every piece of jewelry that had some some brown in it, asking her mother if she could have it.
I liked her style. :)

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's BAT time of year!

Happy bats porcelain necklaces - available here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's that time again...

Yes, I am talking about the holidays. It might seem a bit early to be talking about the holidays but this is the time of year I start to get ready for the numerous shows, wholesale orders and special orders that occupy the last few months of my year. The reason for this post to encourage any and all who might be interested in placing a special order with me for the holidays to do so soon. That doesn't mean you have to purchase the items right away, it just means that you need to get your requests to me now so that I can make sure they will be ready in time. You will have until November 1st to place special orders (the sooner the better!). After that I will be up to my eyeballs in shows and eggnog. :)
You can contact me via my Etsy shop or email me directly at naneliz2@yahoo.com.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Survival of the Fittest or Gardening Slacker Style

Part of today was spent in my back yard doing some much neglected gardening. Years ago when I first bought my house I was obsessed with turning my backyard into a paradise. That obsession quickly turned to disdain after discovering that my backyard used to be a parking lot with two layers of blacktop hiding under a thin layer of grass.
Fast forward a bunch of years and you have what I like to call a survival of the fittest garden. Many of the plants I started by seed years ago have managed to hang on and somehow (dare I say) thrive with complete neglect. That's my kind of garden!
Now my focus is on adding trees and cultivating the "natural" rabbit thicket we created in the center of the yard (part of which is shown in the above photo). Yes, I encourage rabbits in my backyard, you heard correctly. What started as tree and privet hedge trimmings lazily left in a pile for too long became a perfect refuge for bunnies. Over the past few years I have added to it and planted vines over it making it a shady and pretty darn swanky bunny thicket. They love it. Every Spring a new young bunny moves in and starts a family there. I watch them from an upstairs window like a freaky old shut-in who spies on her neighbors.

You would not believe what was going on on this tree. It was full of ladybugs being very unladylike. Let's just say that it was like the Playboy mansion of trees and not all ladybugs are ladies, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink. ;)








Saturday, August 23, 2008

Redo for a refresh

I'll be rephotographing some of the larger necklaces that are in my shop over the next week or so. A helpful customer at the market yesterday let me know that it is difficult to tell just how a necklace will look when worn based on the photos I have posted. She's right. It can be easy to get caught up in the fancy glamor shots that look artistically fantastic but just aren't practical when it comes to showing a piece of jewelry. I guess the key is to have a little of both. Hopefully my new shots will show the customer just how incredibly cool they can look if they choose to wear one my necklaces. :)


This necklace is available here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Undercooked

In case you have ever wondered what underfired pottery looks like (and who hasn't?), here it is.
I meant to write about this a while ago but it got lost in the mix somehow. I handbuilt these bottles last month and glazed them in what was supposed to be a lovely matte soft aqua glaze. Well, the kiln blew an element before the firing reached temperature and shut down. Everything had to be unloaded, loaded into another kiln and refired. I decided to keep these bottles as is. For now, at least. They look so unusual and it is certainly something that will never be achieved again so I thought I might live with them for a while.

And yet, part of me really, r e a l l y wants to refire them. :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

4 in 1

This past weekend I introduced some new designs at the Syracuse Ceramic Guild's pottery fair. One of them is this new line of earrings that I have been keeping under wraps for a little while. There is something exciting about introducing a new line at a show, even though very few people are actually aware or even care about such things.

Anyhoo, I am very excited about this new line of changeable earrings. I call them 4 in 1 because one pair can be worn four different ways. Very clever title, I know.

They feature two porcelain disks that hang on my own handforged sterling silver earwires. Wear the disks together, separately or just wear the earwires alone - no matter how you mix them they look super cool and you will no doubt be the most super cool person on the planet for wearing them! (This is a scientific fact!)



The 4 in 1's are now available in my Esty shop with many more colors to follow.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Post fair sleepy...

Finally, I have a chance to sit down. The past week was brutally exhausting. Last time I blogged I was up to my eyeballs in glaze and assembling jewelry for the Syracuse Ceramic Guild's pottery fair that was held this past weekend. Yes, I probably should have shown the above poster BEFORE the sale, but hey, better late than never.

The fair was fantastic! I've been a member of the guild for well over a year but this was the first year I participated in their annual fair. I was thrilled and honored to have one of my necklaces featured on the poster and the overall experience was truly enjoyable. The talent within the guild is both impressive and inspiring and I had a great time getting better acquainted with many of the potters. It was also nice to see many of my fellow studio mates who made the trek from Binghamton. :)

So where are photos of the fair?, you may ask. Well, being the genius that I am I made sure not to forget my camera. Batteries? Not so much. They chose to stay home nestled safely in their charger. So, I will leave you with photos of my kiln haul from last week. You may remember them in their naked and pre-fired state - here they are fresh from the kiln. :)

Spice bowls

Zillions of tiny pieces awaiting assemblage.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Glazed and Confused...

The past week has been spent glazing, glazing, glazing and getting ready for a show that I have this weekend. I am exhausted but I can't stop any time soon. There are times when I wonder if I will ever be able to take a break. I took two days last week to go to New Hampshire for the NH Artist's Guild craft fair (I will write more about that later) and while that was much needed time off it just made things busier this week.

Anyhoo, these photos show a small sampling of the glazing I did. It was all fired on Monday in the gas kiln and today I will go and help unload it. I'll be sure to post some "after" photos.

Have a great day everyone! Take a nap for me...



Monday, August 11, 2008

Thelma meets Louise...

On Saturday I met my very first Etsy friend live and in person! It was so cool, kind of like meeting a celebrity. You may remember this post about my 500th sale on Etsy being made by Lorelei. Well, on Saturday she made the trip to Syracuse to visit me at the market.

We had such a great time, the conversation flowed easily and we both mused over how interesting it is to know so much about someone simply by reading their blog every day. We really have a lot of common ground both having grown up just miles away from each other in tiny upstate NY towns, then both studying art history in college and now both having a love affair with handcrafting jewelry.
We had such a wonderful time - her visit made an otherwise lackluster day at the market totally fun and worthwhile. Thanks Lorelei!

Read her lovely blog post about our meeting here and check out her gorgeous jewelry here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Do your own thing... please.

Is there anyone out there with their own imagination in proper working order? I mean, is it possible for people to come up with their own creative ideas, their own designs, their own means of carrying out an idea?

Not on Etsy.

I just spent the past few days in Sunapee, New Hampshire at the N.H. Artist's Guild's 75th annual craft fair. The level of artistry and craftsmanship on display was nothing short of breathtaking. I walked aisle after aisle through booths belonging to craftspeople who clearly have their medium so under their control that it is like breathing to them. It was refreshing in see such a high level of skill gathered in one place. It was depressing to come home, log on to Etsy and see, well...

There are many very talented people on Etsy, that is true. Unfortunately there seem to be even more people who lack creativity and a thinking brain of their own. Just because someone has technical skill doesn't mean that they have creative skills and Esty seems to be the perfect free-for-all atmosphere for such individuals. Yes, I am talking about copying.

Copying is the dreaded topic in the Etsy forums, usually greeted with loud moans and the usual "if you think you are being copied report it to admin" rhetoric. The truth is that very rarely is someone actually being copied. There are such things as coincidences and rarely has anyone invented something completely unique. However, those who really and truly know that they have been copied know for very specific reasons. For example: not only does someone copy your exact style but they copy your style of photography AND they even copy your style of writing, often just switching a few words around. Yep. Uh huh.

I guess they think that know one will notice. But they do.

What can you do about it? Well, after you complete a voodoo doll in what you imagine to be their likeness, try to move on from it. It's hard. It's discouraging (especially when Etsy often heaps praise and attention on these copycats over the original artist). But it is possible. Do what you do more, do it better and stock up on pins for that voodoo doll.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fastbreaking News Story!

Darkness fell over the city of Syracuse, NY early this morning as a mysterious haze filled the sky blocking all light from the sun. Though some believed the abrupt change in the atmosphere was due to an early morning thunderstorm the actual source was traced to the Farmers' Market where artist Nancy Schindler's hair had frizzed to gigantic proportions. It was for occasions like this that the phrase "you have to see it to believe it" was coined. The high humidity mixed with heat and wind caused Schindler's naturally curly hair to grow in such a manner that people were frozen with both awe and fear. One family of six sought shelter from the rain under the fluffy canopy while others ran from the scene in horror. When asked about the event witnesses exclaimed "It was freakishly huge!" and "My eyes! My eyes!"
Thankfully there was an end to the nightmare when Meg, from Wake Robin Farm, in true dairy princess style, gave a hat to Schindler who quickly contained the situation. Before long the market returned to normal. No injuries were reported.