Thursday, January 28, 2010

Read this post and win a prize... maybe.

I've gotten a bit behind on my blog partner duties with Artbeads.com so I've been hammering my face off trying to get these pieces ready for show and tell.

First up is a bracelet I made using this sterling silver beading bangle. I wanted to do something a little less predictable with it so first I threaded sterling silver wire through the provided loops and balled each end. Then I made a zillion hammered copper paddles in various lengths and attached them all the way around. I finished it off by threading these beautiful opaline alexandrite/Picasso Czech glass beads on oxidized copper wire, hammering the ends so the beads wouldn't slide off, and attaching them to the bracelet. Then I "dirtied" up the the shiny copper a little with some alcohol inks. All done!

It looks pretty cool all fanned out.

Believe it or not it's actually a very comfortable wear. Lightweight and shimmery. Like a big fishing lure for your wrist. ;)

I fell in love with these Hill Tribe etched bead caps instantly. My goal was to give them a little more spotlight than they would usually get so I turned them into sweet little blueberries.

I made a matching pendant using a slightly larger fern stamped bead cap. FYI, I oxidized the bead caps in liver of sulfer and then sanded them a bit with some fine steel wool to bring out the design.

Lastly, I made another pair of earrings by pairing vintage glass beads and copper headpins with these Hill Tribe sterling silver hammered cones. They were very simple to put together but I think they make a nice modern statement.

OK, so now we get to the prize portion of this post! The good folks over at Artbeads.com have generously donated a $25 gift certificate as a prize to one of my readers!
Artbeads.com Beads and Jewelry Supplies

All you have to do is a leave a comment (just one pretty please!) telling me what person has been most influential to you in your creative life. It can be an artist you admire, or simply someone who once gave you some great advice that you have carried with you. I will do a random drawing on Wednesday, February 3rd at noon EST. Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was sent these products free of charge in order to review them. I was not paid to do so.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

yum

I probably shouldn't enjoy cream filled doughnuts that are covered in dreamy pink strawberry flavored bits as much as I do. But I do.

It had me at pink. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jen Allen Workshop

I can finally share the photos from the Jennifer Allen workshop with you! I been having some Blogger issues for the past few days - not sure what it was all about but now it's working (I hope).

Anyhoo, the second day of the workshop was just as inspiring as the first. Jennifer showed us how she glazes her pieces in her unique style. Much of her influence comes from textile designs. I love the layers of patterns and motifs that she uses - very reminiscent of Japanese textiles.

For several days now I have been thinking about ways I can translate some of her concepts into my own work, in my own voice. I am so anxious to get started. Yesterday I spent all day in the studio feeling very frustrated because I have so much work to finish up before I can start to play around with new ideas. I sat at a table with a pile of several hundred pieces that needed refining (code word for wet sanding), meanwhile my brain was feeling all melty with new ideas. It would be easy to abandon all ongoing production to play around with fresh concepts so I have to continually remind myself to stay on track and finish the work at hand. Boy, is that hard when your creative thoughts are twenty steps ahead of the work you hold in your hands. Patience, patience...

Here is Jennifer demonstrating how she decorates her pots.


Here, above and below, you can see how she builds up layers of patterns and colors. Some of the glazes will be transparent when fired which creates a wonderful sense of depth.




I scored a sweet little tea bowl like the ones pictured above - mine is buttery yellow with aqua and gold. I love it so!

Wouldn't you just love to have this tulip vase in the center of your table?

This plate is a perfect example of what I love most about Jennifer's work. The little vignettes of decoration peek through like antique wallpaper that was once painted over or an ancient fresco that comes to light as layers of plaster are taken away. There is something hidden and secretive about it.

All the photos of her finished work were taken at the Gandee Gallery in Fabius, NY (just outside of Syracuse). She has a show, Domestic Flourish: Recent Work by Jen Allen, that runs through February 28th so if you are in the CNY area please be sure to check it out. The Gandee Gallery is an excellent place full of the hippest and most current pottery. Check out their website and let's all show them some love and join their Facebook fan page! :)

Click here to see all my photos from the workshop.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Serendipity, baby!

This weekend I have the pleasure of attending a pottery workshop at Syracuse University with Jennifer Allen. Those are her beautiful cups above (I snagged the photo from her website).

Today was so inspiring in ways that seem completely unrelated to anything. It was odd, but as I watched her demonstrating her process my mind was flooded with ideas for my own work. Ideas that on the outside appear to have little in common with what was laying before me. And yet had I not been watching Jennifer work my creative thoughts would never have gone in the direction they did.

I just love it when that happens.
(Inspiration is where you find it.)

I'll be back tomorrow with photos of the workshop. :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Soup's on!

Several days ago I received this marvelous pile of beads from my Bead Soup Party partner, Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. Lucky me! There are an absolute ton of jewelry makers participating in this fun party and on February 10th we will all be blogging our final creations. If you follow the party link above you will see the complete list of all of the participants and on February 10th you can spend all day hopping around from blog to blog seeing what everyone made. Sounds like a perfect day to me! The only rules are that we have to use the focal bead and clasp that was sent to us. The additional beads are optional. At the moment I am suffering from I-want-to-roll-around-naked-in-the-beads-syndrome so I haven't had a moment to really think about how I will transform these beauties. Oh, what ever will I do??? Must think...

I wanted to thank everyone for all the kind birthday words from my whiny post yesterday. I had a lovely day and a big part of that was due to all of you! Just think....if it weren't for the internet I would have spent yesterday alone, with only my rabbits to comfort this aging artist, working on my manifesto and drinking Red Cat until I passed out....

Just kidding! (I prefer whiskey.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One day closer to death and hey! it's almost Valentine's Day!

When I logged into Flickr this morning I was greeted with the above image. It is by the fabulous Lisa of SeaUrchin and it shows some of her latest slab work. The giant number 38 jumped out at me. Today I turned 38. Seeing that photo must be a good sign, right? I can't say that I am overjoyed about turning 38. I never thought I would make it past 25, to be honest (it's a long story that involves a Barbie doll and old age as perceived by an 8 year old). Each year I sound more and more like everyone who has stumbled their way towards middle age - I don't like it and I'm not going to be all "with each year comes wisdom and growth and opportunities to better ourselves" and blah blah blah blah give me a freaking break it sucks to get old and I don't care who knows it. And besides, I was born wise. I haven't learned anything new since age 6 and the way I see it the longer I live the more in danger I am of being dumbed down by all the many morons around me. Soooo.....

OK. I'm just kidding. 38 isn't so bad and certainly nothing that a good 4 pounds of chocolate and a bottle of wine can't fix. Above is my self portrait for the Thursday Flickr group. Me at 38. I'll get used to it.

In other news, it's that Valentine's Day time of year. I have brought back the conversation heart earrings that I introduced last year. Aren't they sweet? I love them. :)

LOVE posts.

There are several other pairs in the shop at the moment along with some heart bracelets and I will be adding more in the coming days. I'll also be tossing a ton of heart pendants in the Extra shop very soon as well. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The House at Riverton - Part 1

Finally! Man, I didn't realize how hard it was going to be for me to carve out some time to read these days. I must apologize for getting so far behind. I hope you all aren't cursing me. "That damn Nancy can't get her act together and get going on a book club that SHE started. What a loser."
OK, so that was me cursing myself out. I'm done now.

Well, how does everyone like the book so far? I know, some of you are done already, so bear with me as I chat a bit about part 1.

It was a little slow of a start for me, but that may have more to do with my distracted brain and twitching eyebrows than the book itself. Right away I loved Morton's writing style. The character of Grace is an instant friend. I identify with her entirely. It doesn't hurt that this story starts during the Edwardian era, that the location is England and that Grace hides Sherlock Holmes novels in her dresser drawer. I may have been her in a past life as all of these elements rank high in my wheelhouse. The fact that I have obsessed over the British series Upstairs Downstairs for the past several years doesn't hurt either. If you are familiar with that show you would most likely have a pretty good grasp on the class system that existed in England at the time. What makes Grace such a compelling character is the fact that her life spans a length of time that saw many changes to that system. As a young girl she is part of the serving class but by 1999, when we are first introduced to her, she has clearly lived a life free of servitude (and accomplished some pretty interesting things as we learn in the next part... I read a little ahead.)

I don't know about you but I have already had a lot of inspiration for creating jewelry. I can't help but think of that era in jewelry with its festoon necklaces, filigree, colorful pressed Czech glass beads and long sautoir necklaces that would later transition into "flapper" strands of pearls and beads. There is mention of the suffragette movement (Hannah's amusing performance in the recital)- did you know that there was such a thing as suffragette jewelry? It was made for supporters to wear in the colors of Purple (for dignity), White (for purity) and Green (for hope). Grace wears a locket early on in the book, which I am sure will have greater significance as we delve deeper into the story. And finally, my favorite touch, how about incorporating a white satin ribbon in your creation - like the one that Hannah slips from her hair to give to Robbie as a keepsake as he goes off to war. Oh, the possibilities are already endless and that was just the first part of the book!

Let's set a date to have our books read by and our pieces ready for show and tell. How does February 15th suit everyone? I know a lot of us are doing the Bead Soup Party and that ends on the 10th, so I thought the 15th would give us enough time. Of course you can make your pieces sooner and post them to the Literary Rabbit Book Club Flickr group at any time. And who knows, maybe I will pick a random winner and give them a special prize. (ohh, what should it be???)




Friday, January 15, 2010

Round Rabbit Extra Update

I am so excited about these new components (above)! They offer so many possibilities it's crazy! I'm seeing double strand necklaces and fancy clasps.... I can't take it!

I just tossed (ever so gently) those and the pretties below in the Extra shop. I am furiously making more pieces like the ones I listed last week, so stay tuned.

And I have not forgotten about the book club!! (though I am sure it seems like I have) I've been a bit overwhelmed this week and hope to get on the ball by Sunday. For real! :)

My Petey

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I wish my eyebrow would stop twitching

I am often hard on myself for always waiting until the last minute to do things that have deadlines. I beat myself up over the self-inflicted stress and I believed, until very recently, that if I were to become one of those plan ahead people that my life would somehow fall neatly into place and peace would abound. Not true. So not true.

You may recall a while ago that I received some gorgeous beads in the mail from Anne of Gardanne Beads. Prior to that I had received some fabulous beads from Cindy Gimbrone. I knew that I wanted to somehow use these beads in something that might be considered for publication, so I sat down and I planned. I drew up ideas and came up with designs that made me giddy. I sat in the studio and made custom porcelain pieces that would coordinate perfectly with the glass beads. I bisqued them, I glazed them, I fired them... and they sucked. They just weren't going to do it for me. I no longer liked the ideas I had come up with, I no longer liked the colors I had chosen. It all stunk. Several weeks of planning was all for nothing and I was out of time.

The resulting two necklaces that you see here were made in the past 24 hours. I had to overnight them to California so that I would make the submission deadline. I am pleased as punch with how them came out. My nerves are shot and my eyebrow hasn't stopped twitching but they are done and gone and maybe, if I'm lucky, they will be published. So, no more planning ahead for this freak of nature. It just wastes time. :)



Thursday, January 7, 2010

Newness

First off... Thank you to everyone who zipped right over to my Extra shop and loaded up on porcelain goodness! I'm so thrilled that you all seem to like my new components! And don't worry if you weren't able to get the pieces you wanted - I will be making more of those same styles and in many more colors so have no fear. :)

Today I have several new designs that I listed in my Jewelry shop and I am excited to share them with you. Above is my favorite at the moment. I call them Rodeo Star. I was so happy to see how the glaze came out - it wasn't really planned so to have the green turn out so defined was a real treat!

These little sweeties are called Perfect Pansies. I will also have this design in a dangle style for those who are less hoopy.

This cool pair is called Modern Hive. They are very dimensional.

This design (Piccadilly) isn't all that new, just a new color combination. I love chocolate brown and cornflower blue together.

This lily of the valley design reminds me that Spring will some day return. I hope. It's 16 degrees outside right now. Spring seems like a fond memory.

This pair is called Antique Lace Medallions. Because that's what they look like. :)

And finally, my two favorite things combine to make a perfect necklace - a rabbit and the color purple. (I also named it Rabbit Run after one of my all-time favorite books.)

And speaking of books... I need to get reading!! I'm not quite done with the first section yet. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone!

I've joined the party!

Hop on over to Lori Anderson's blog to join in the fun! There are still a few days left to register, so hurry!! :)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Round Rabbit Extra Update!

Whew! I just finished a marathon listing session in my Extra shop. All this colorful loveliness can now be found there. There are several new connector designs with lots of fun possibilities (like the cool things below) so be sure to check them out. I will be putting many new creations in the shop this month so stay tuned! :)



Monday, January 4, 2010

The up side of insomnia

Sometimes there is an up side to laying awake for hours on end. Last night as I tossed and turned in my freezing bed I thought up this ear wire design. I really like the modern feel, especially when paired with my porcelain discus pieces. The little silver ball peaks out from behind your ear when worn - a little touch that I just love. :)

They can be found in the shop. :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Literary Rabbit is in the house!


My apologies for not posting the book club info yesterday, as I said I would. I woke up to a bunny with a tummy ache (not a good thing, but little Emma is just fine now) and then I ended up working in the studio until 11:00pm. I was sleepy and slacked on the blogging front. Sorry!

Anyhoo, let's get this book club rolling! Some of you have already gotten a good head start and at least one of you has already finished the book (Leslie!). I am just getting started and I think there may be a few who are still waiting for their book to arrive. The book is broken into four parts so I propose that we aim to have a part done each week. Some will read ahead and that is just fine (but try not to reveal any juicy details on your blogs, please!). Every Friday I will do a post about the previous section and we can try to get some kind of discussion going.

I started a group on Flickr called The Literary Rabbit Book Club. I know, it's not all that exciting of a name but I didn't want to make the name exclusive to one particular type of art or craft. I would love for everyone who has a creative itch to be able to participate, even if their chosen medium is Spam. So please join the group and let's get started on our House at Riverton inspired pieces!! (And please feel free to post your creations to the group at any time.)

You may be wondering who that delectable bunny is pictured at the top. That was my sweet girl, Salinger. She was my second house rabbit and my best friend for ten wonderful years. She had some health problems towards the end of her life and had to have regular visits to the vet. Every time we went for an appointment the vet would say, "Ah, it's Salinger, the literary rabbit!" (She was named after J.D. Salinger, of course.) So this group is named in her honor. (Because I am THAT sentimental and she was the best bunny ever...:)