Monday, September 29, 2008

Closed Thread

I started a thread in the Etsy forums this past weekend, something I rarely do. Frustration with Etsy's lack of interest in responding to flagging or convos drove me to the forums to hopefully get some attention for a serious problem. Instead, Rob White, in all his cut and paste from the handbook wisdom, shut the thread down without addressing the issue at all. From what I understand this is typical behavior of Etsty admin. What it truly is is disrespectful to the people who work hard to make Etsy successful, the artists and the buyers who are deceived into believing that they are buying something handmade.

Here is a link to the closed thread.

And here are links to the two shops I was referring to. The first one is here - I have been flagging this shop for over a year. The second shop is here - selling the exact same ring.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Petey & Laurel - an update

It's been months since I gave a Petey and Laurel update. You may recall way back in May that these two little fur-heads had a huge fight after a few weeks of blissful cohabitation. That incident pretty much killed all my efforts of bonding and started us back at square one (not to mention the $400+ vet bill for Petey's injuries - ugh). I went the entire summer without putting them in the same space. They did, however, spend every possible minute "together" with a gate between them. They would take turns having the run of the house, each marking the last place the other had been. I figured that at some point the house would become property of both bunnies rather that Petey laying claim to everything (as pink sugary bunnies are want to do).

So, today I decided to give it a try and let them loose at the same time. So far, so good. They have been chasing each other around, doing a lot of chin marking and for a good hour or more they sat snuggled under the piano (above photo). I will not leave them unattended for even a short amount of time so that means tonight they go back to rubbing nose through the gate. Keep your fingers crossed for continued bunny love!

Now my only problem is trying not to think about the blue-eyed bunny I saw at the pet store yesterday. I never should have looked. But I did. Blue eyes!!! I wonder how difficult bonding three bunnies would be...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

MiniMoopy!

I finally made one! He's a little wonky but that's part of his charm.

He was super easy to make - even those with little to no sewing experience would be able to stitch him right up (even by hand!). And the great part is that he can be made from any scrap material you might have laying around and he will look fabulous no matter what!

You can purchase the PDF pattern from Nest Studio here. It's delivered right to your inbox within a day so there is no waiting around for shipping. And for fun check out this Flickr group dedicated to all Moopy creations. As you will see the possibilities are endless!
So run over to Nest Studio, get a pattern and lets all make Moopies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Weekend Part 2 - Westcott St. Cultural Fair

Oy. It's Wednesday and here I am writing about Sunday. I can't help it. I am hopelessly backlogged. Anyhoo, Sunday was the Westcott Street Cultural Fair in Syracuse, NY. This was a new show for me so I had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be fantastic in every way!

My booth location was in the extra loud section of the fair which at first seemed kind of like a bad thing. However, after the first three sangrias (that's #1 in the photo above) and a minor mob scene in my booth I decided that loud was a-o-kay. As the day progressed the bands got increasingly better and by the end of the day my inner Latina was dying to make an appearance and dance along with the crowd. She didn't, however. I kept my usual cool and stuck to the sangrias.

We were lucky enough to have a spot right next to our friends from Syracuse Soapworks. (That's the cute soapy boys above - and a cute Paul sniffing a bar of soap, as per usual) We joined our tents which made for a nice, open atmosphere and allowed our customers to see into each other's booths.


Another highlight of the day was finally getting to meet Helen, of Secret Lentil fame. We have had several near misses at the Farmers' Market and have never been able to connect so it was very exciting to finally meet. Her booth was across the street from mine so I got to spy on her all day and watch all the fanatical Lentil-heads going in and out. :)

What a great show to have on the last day of summer. I am a big fan of autumn so I was happy to send summer off in style. Now, if I could just figure out a way to stretch fall all the way to April...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend Part 1 - Sandi Pierantozzi

My weekend was about as full as full can be (in a good way) and I am still recovering. Saturday was spent at the studio attending a workshop with one of my favorite potters, Sandi Pierantozzi. Sandi is primarily a handbuilder who teaches some basic techniques that can be used in a multitude of ways whether you are a thrower or a handbuilder. My first workshop with Sandi was a year and half ago and it was the most exciting and stimulating experience I had encountered in pottery at that point. Since then, when I have the time to make anything bigger than a quarter, I have used her techniques as endless sources of inspiration.

The workshop was two days, but unfortunately I could only attend on Saturday. I made the most of it and thoroughly enjoyed learning some new techniques and spending some time with my studio mates.

Here are some of the demos (above & below) that Sandi made throughout the day. I was particularly excited to learn how to make the wavy bottom that can be seen on the mug to the right.

I purchased this sweet little pouring vessel (below) that features some of Sandi's hand-carved relief designs that she rolls the clay into before assembling the piece.

And here is my little lidded jar that I made during the workshop (below). I stamped the clay with a a vintage Lucite love bird jewelry finding that I had in my tool box and, just in case there was any doubt as to the birds status of affection, I stamps "love birds" all around the piece. I pierced a hole in the top of the cone lid and will add some sort of knob after the piece is glazed. I am pretty happy with the design and plan on making some more variations on this theme. :)

To see more photos from the workshop click here.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Random oldies

As I finish up preparations for my show on Sunday and get ready to attend a pottery workshop with the fabulous Sandi Pierantozzi tomorrow I will leave you with a few of my latest vintage photo acquisitions. (click for the close-up)

Above is perhaps one of the best antique images ever! Why? It has baby bunnies, that's why! Despite the fact the children look less than thrilled to be having their photo taken this image is one of my favorites. I love the composition - the way the older woman is looking at the bunny in the young girl's hand, the two girls staring straight into the camera and the boy looking off to the side. What do you think the girl on the right is holding in her hand? An eyeglass case?

The photos above and below are not what most people would consider to be "good" photos. The man reading the newspaper is blurry (and yet the porch railing to the left is in perfect focus). This image strikes me as a true candid shot probably taken quickly before the subject knew what had happened. The whole scene makes you wonder what he was reading about.

This man has no head. But who cares. He is tall and lean, his body in alignment with the fence post, his pipe echoing the length of his torso. I just love it! Not to mention his sweater. I want one of those. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I want...

this teapot by Larry Watson.
I mean, just look at it. It's the pot that tea dreams of being served in.

Odds & ends...

The week before a show is usually a little chaotic and this week is no exception. All of my best selling pieces are either gone or in very short supply so I have to force myself to make the same pieces over and over. I don't really mind that at all. I just wish I paced myself a little better and didn't have to whip out 8 chains for my dragonfly necklaces at once.

Yesterday in the studio was fairly productive. I glazed, I sanded, I made some new pieces. I dedicated my latest clay doodle to Kathy from Smashing. She enjoyed the last one I posted so this one is for her. If it dries without warping or cracking I'll glaze this puppy and send it off to her. I can't imagine what she will do with it, but that's what she gets for saying she likes something. ;) (click on the Smashing to see her excellent jewelry - I drool over it on a daily basis)

Large (!) buttons and oval pendants awaiting refining.

These are not my studio shoes. I should have known better - these are now speckled with glaze. Dang.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday street fair - be there!

This Sunday I will be here! Thanks to Helen (SecretLentil) for letting me know about this little gem of a festival. If you happen to live in the central NY (Syracuse) area come on down and enjoy the festivities. :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Another glamorous day in the life...

It's been a strange week. Every now and then particles of the past trickle in and make me wonder just what the universe is trying to say. Not that the universe has much to say, especially to me. I'm not really a believer in a chatty universe so I guess I have to attribute everything to coincidence.
I heard from an old friend yesterday who once told me (at the young age of 22) that life consisted of meeting people, discovering their insanity, and moving on to the next person. I laughed when he first told me his theory but it stuck in my head and has since proven to be based in truth. I wonder how many people have figured out my insanity... (don't answer that)

The early part of my day was spent in the studio. I did a lot of sanding (note the attractive mask) and a lot of staring into space. I have many shows coming up and I am low on just about everything so, logically, I want to reupholster a chair. (Paul snagged me a really cool one at an auction last week and I am dying to make it pretty) But I digress. I need some of that focus stuff I've heard so much about...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Chilly

It's a sure sign that Summer is over when Petey can be found looking like this. He has that look on his face that says, "I'll take my breakfast in bed, thanks. And don't forget my copy of the Times."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

On a roll...

I'm kind of obsessing over my new necklace design so I made another one. This time I made a copper ring at the bottom which I hammered and then wired a lovely little coin of chrysocolla in place.

I love the tiny dots on the piece of burnt opal. Overall the feeling is still in keeping with my whole "planetary alignment" spacey theme.

Now it's off to the studio to do the work I have been putting off for too long. Glazing awaits. (I'd rather stay home and make more necklaces :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tools and torches...

Isn't this the coolest looking torch you have ever seen? OK, perhaps not, but I am pretty over the moon for my new Blazer Stingray. I've been torch shopping for a while now and after reading a zillion reviews I decided on this model. The fact that it comes in this gorgeous aqua blue color didn't hurt either. You might as well look ultra hip while you ignite your hair on fire and melt your eyebrows off. ;)
I found a pretty good deal on Ebay and you can too if you click right here. This seller ships super fast so there is no need to pace the floors while you wait for your torch to arrive. It also comes in black if you want to match your goth decor and nail polish.

Around 17 years ago (I'm old) I purchased my first set of jewelry pilers from Sears (last photo). At that time there weren't many craft shops around and certainly no internet so a hardware store was the most logical place to purchase pliers. I spent about $5 a pair and got four styles. The quality was excellent and I have used those tools ever since. A few weeks ago I decided to head on over to Sears to check out what they have to offer in the way of pilers these days. I grabbed this set of five mini pilers in a snazzy leather carry case for about $25. Once I got the set home I looked them over and came to the conclusion that Craftsman's quality has really taken a dive. My original pilers were made in France, very sturdy and incredibly well made. The new set is made in China, has ugly plastic handles and much shoddier construction. So what's good about them? Well, they work just fine and they are better quality than other tools of a comparable price. I guess that Craftsman at its worst is still better than the economy pilers you can get at Michaels. The best thing about them is that they are Craftsman tools which all come with a lifetime guarantee.

I use the new set now and then but I prefer my old ones. Until the day comes when I feel like splurging on a gorgeous set of Wubbers I will stick with the old Craftsman. :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Focus, not in

It's raining outside. I usually love these kind of days - slightly cool, rainy - days like this used to feel like a free pass to take a day off and just read, eat and sleep. Those days haven't made an appearance in my life in quite some time and I miss them.

Today I woke up around 5 am, my mind heavy with thoughts of all the things that I need to get done. Why is it that when times get stressful I want to do absolutely anything other than what I need to do? I had this problem when I was in college. If a paper was due the next day I suddenly wanted to strip a piece of furniture, make new curtains or even (gasp) clean the house. Today all I want to do is sew a mini-moopy.

Alas, mini-moopy will have to wait. I have orders to fill, orders to ship, pieces to sand, jewelry to assemble, inventory to take, emails to answer (my worst skill ever) and I need to get to the studio to do some glazing. I will try to work in some chocolate and perhaps a Dr. Pepper and maybe, just maybe I will accomplish half of what I need to. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Planetary Alignment

I've been giddily playing with my new beads for the past few days - mostly just looking at them, running my fingers through them, organizing them first by color then by material then by shape. I am a famous bead hoarder and not so much a bead user. That is pretty obvious in my work. For a long time I resisted the use of beads in my work, not because I don't like them but because I wasn't convinced that I could do anything new with them. That idea has been changing lately with the addition of my handforged chains and matching earrings and now with a new line that will combine my own porcelain pieces with natural stone.

This choker is the first in the new series that I call Planetary Alignment. My goal is to keep the design simple in order to highlight the beauty of the natural stones - in this case a gorgeous burnt opal in the center and an amber colored agate at the bottom. I am very pleased with how this piece turned out and I think I have proven to myself that I can begin to incorporate beads in my work and still maintain my own design style. :)

This necklace can be found in my shop.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Girly copper

I have made a new version of my NeoVictorian Dragonfly necklace, this time in softer shades of pink and green. I really love the juxtaposition of handhammered copper with the smooth pink glass beads. And the diamond shape of the bead compliments the lengthened diamond shape of each link perfectly - how nice! :)

And here are the matching earrings (below). After bringing this style to several shows I have done this Summer I've discovered that people seem to like this earring quite a bit all on its own. It feels a little funny to make something that doesn't involve porcelain in any way - kind of like I am cheating on my clay - but I am quite fond of these earrings so I will be adding them to my production line.

Both of these pieces can be found in my shop. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

We took NYC by storm!

You might not be able to tell by our innocent faces (a cute Lorelei on the right and me doing my best imitation of BOTH Sonny & Cher on the left) but we took NYC by storm and left very few survivors (of the bead and metal sort).

Sporting matching Mary Jane Crocs (a total coincidence) we hit the wickedly hot pavement in search of Metalliferous. It was everything I had hoped and dreamed it would be. Piles and piles of beads of every sort and rows and rows of chains, findings, tools, books, charms, sterling, copper, brass, cord, vintage supplies - everything for the jewelry crackhead and more!

We loved it so much that we made a second trip the next day. I just couldn't get these burnt opal beads out of my mind and desperately needed to possess them. Once back in the store I was unable to locate them which nearly sent me into a psychotic episode (notice the stern concentration bordering on maniacal look on my face in the above photo - little did I know that the beads were directly behind me, mocking me the whole time).

And here they are! The beads all the way on the left are the burnt opals followed by grey fossil, snakeskin jasper (found this in a shop called New York Jewelry Mart which was also incredible), and a variety of other semiprecious stones and glass. I also loaded up on metal supplies and some tools. I am very happy.:)

Along with the shopping we did some serious eating as well. Burrito Loco in Greenwich Village was by far some of the best Mexican food I have ever had and a truly charming atmosphere. We inhaled the guacamole like our ship was going down and drank sangria like pros.

We stayed at The Lucerne (the view from our window, below) and had a wonderful breakfast the next morning right next door (above).

All in all it was a splendid little trip and a much needed break. Aside from the misguided subway ride that landed us in Queens (we meant to go there, really!) we had an excellent time. I am so thankful to Lorelei for inviting me! Be sure to check out her blog to read her account of our adventures. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Pointy prototype

Tomorrow I will be hitting the road for a short but sweet visit to NYC with my friend Lorelei. She is heading down on official business and I will be meeting her there for a few days of fun in the city (read that as eating, bead and finding shopping, eating and eating some more).

Before I go I wanted to put up some photos of my latest earring creation. I started working on these forms way back in June and have only just now designed an earwire that I am happy with.

When I first made the hollow points I was aiming for a very modern, sleek look. However, after trying several different earwire designs I settled on this spiral and now the overall look has a very ancient feel to it. Perhaps it is the copper wire (the final version will be in sterling silver) but they are almost a hybrid of ancient Egyptian and Etruscan styles. And that makes me happy. :)

Watch my shop for this style to appear in a myriad of colors by early October.