Yesterday was spent in the studio. I tried to be motivated but it wasn't easy. Too many distractions and too much longing for a nap. I retrieved some fun things out of the kiln so it wasn't a total waste of a day and I did force myself to do some work. Even when I have zero motivation I can usually do mechanical, robotic, assembly-line type of mindless activity whether it's cleaning up pieces or glazing. But even though I appear to get a lot done it isn't the kind of gettin' it done that I would like.
Above shows a nice new batch of molds that I made last week. I am always adding to my collection. Some designs become favorites and others get pushed to the side. At this point I must have over 300 different designs made from all kinds of found objects. I love my molds. :)
This photo above shows some new connector links I am working on. I made them specifically to coordinate with Cindy Gimbrone's glass links for some pieces I am working on. I'm not sure if they will work just yet but they are a pretty cool shape so I am sure I can use them in some capacity and perhaps I will offer them in my Extra shop eventually.
And speaking of my Extra shop... I've had a lot of inquiries lately about whether or not I will be including certain pieces from my own jewelry line in the shop for other jewelry designers to use. Well, this is a tough question. I guess the simple answer is some yes, some no. There are certain pieces (like the dragonfly necklace above that was featured in the Summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry) that are signature pieces for me. I would like to keep them uniquely mine. But then there are other pieces that I make specifically for others, like the peacock bead that was also featured in BAJ. Someone asked about my cabochons from this post last week - yes, I will gladly make some cabs in various sizes if there is interest in them. Basically you guys just have to let me know what you are interested in and I will figure out whether or not I will throw it in the Extra shop. In the meantime, I will have some completed dragonfly necklaces in my RoundRabbit shop sometime in the next week. (If anyone is actually interested in the finished necklace and not just the focal beads. ;)
This month over at the Art Bead Scene the challenge theme is Wassily Kandinsky's painting, Farbstudie Quadrate. Kandinsky has been a long-time favorite of mine but I must admit that this painting didn't so much serve as an inspiration as it did a motivation.
You see, I have a very bad habit. I come up with designs, I make the porcelain pieces for that design, and then I let those pieces sit for weeks, months, and yes, even years. Sometimes for me the thrill of creating is simply coming up with an idea. I am a fabulous starter and a less than fabulous finisher. Sometimes. Sometimes I kick much ass in the way of follow-through. This was not one of those times. I came up with this necklace design around 4 months ago and immediately made a ton of circles in varying sizes and colors. I played around with them, stacked them and envisioned just how I wanted the final piece to look.... and then I tucked them away in their little storage box and promptly moved on to the next impulse.
When the I saw the challenge theme for this month I was immediately reminded of my stash of circles and I decided to use Kandinsky's painting as motivation to finish them. This is a good example of when inspiration doesn't have to be a literal translation of the object (or in this case, painting). Obviously I didn't adhere to the color scheme and I totally ignored the textures and emotions of the painting. I just did my own thing and imagined Kandinsky standing behind me, cheering me on. (Ok, that was totally corny. But kind of a funny visual, huh?)
As fas as design concepts go, this piece is fairly simple. I stuck to the theme of 3's. Three circles, three rings for the bail and three sterling wires connected to the rings. Repetition is always a good thing when it comes to design, be it shape, size, color, numbers, textures, what-have-you... if you are ever in a design jam try to figure out what you can repeat to tie the whole design together. It works like a charm! :)
Last week when I was in a bit of an earring making frenzy I came up this design and thought it would work nicely with the theme. I will definitely be putting this one into my regular production line. I just love the off-center circles and the possible color combinations are just mind-blowing! :)
OK, so this will be the last time I throw porn into my title. I couldn't resist. It's very funny to see how my views jump when I use it, but I'll stop now. But hey, if I can get just one pervert to buy a piece of my jewelry then it will all have been worth it. (Perverts need to look good too!)
The Strawberry Festival went as I expected. It rained all day long. It rained steady and strong. It rained with conviction. The rain was so dedicated to its cause that there was really nothing else to do but sit on the porch with some friends and drink daiquiris all day. And that was just fine. Sales wise I think I may have actually done better than most thanks to some supportive neighbors and a few brave folks sporting hip waders.
In other news, I have a few new pieces to share with you. The first is the pair of Lotus earrings you see at the top. I've made them in many different colors and I think they will be an nice addition to my show inventory. They are quite long and elegant and I have a bit of a crush on them. :)
Next up is a smaller, simpler version of the heart necklace I made for the Bead Star competition (above). I really love the heart links that I designed for that piece so I have made them again. I plan on making some bracelets and earrings using this link as well - it's just so darn cute!
Lastly is a new Funky Buggin' necklace. This is a design I have been making for a number of years now and I never tire of it. This color combination gives it a particularly antique/steampunky feel. It's the perfect piece to wear when time traveling! :)
OK, so I've decided to use the word porn in all of my blog titles. I had so many hits yesterday and I can only assume that porn had something to do with it. So today it's all about business card porn. Last week I had some new cards printed up and I am pretty happy with them. I know, the b's look odd but I like them that way. So there. I like to switch my cards up on a pretty regular basis but this time I ordered approximately five million so I think I will have these for a while. They go nicely with my new matte black boxes, don't you think?
In other news, tomorrow is the Strawberry Festival here in Owego, NY. For the past two years I have had a small version of a craft show on my front lawn which is just right up the street from the main show. It was beginning to turn into a rather fun event and people were starting to look for us. This year, however, it is going to be pretty low-key. Several friends didn't feel up to the drive (total wusses) and a few others just didn't feel like setting up so it will just be me and my friend, Dani, of Thistle Farm Arts. On top of it all the weather is supposed to totally blow, both literally and figuratively. In fact, if the forecast is correct, the day will be a total washout. Hooray! So, if anyone out there was planning on making the trek to Owego tomorrow I might suggest that you don't. If it is truly that awful outside Dani and I will be up the street at the local bar drowning our sorrows in some very large strawberry daiquiris. (You are more than welcome to join us, of course!)
Yesterday I helped unload the gas kiln at the studio. It's a big job and usually requires a few people. The entire time that I am bringing out various student's work I am anxiously, impatiently craning my neck to see if I can spot any of my little pieces. This firing was extra spectacular. The colors.... the freaking colors are AMAZING! I got reds and blues. I got purples and I have no idea how. Seriously. I have never had this purple color before (the pieces in the center of the photo above) and I have no idea what glazes I layered to get it. When I glaze I tend to be a bit of a mad scientist mixing, layering, airbrushing, splattering... I used to write down combinations so that I would be able to replicate them but I gave up that practice a long time ago. Being organized takes up way too much time and usually I can figure out what glazes I have used just by examining the piece - but not this time. I am stumped.
In other news, my little veggie garden is really thriving. It's been raining for about fifty years now here in upstate NY and the garden loves it. My little leggy, stringy seedling have grown into big, strong plants. I have already harvested the first round of radishes! (And boy were they good - extra kicky!) Some of you may have noticed that my raised beds are actually repurposed bookcases. They work like a charm!
Time to do some work! More goodies await me at the studio!
The fabulous Cindy Gimbrone is attending a glass workshop in Corning, NY and lucky, lucky me got to meet her for dinner last night! It is such a treat to meet a blog/beadgoddess in person and we had such a wonderful time. The conversation flowed like mad and all our chatting had my mind spinning all night long and today. It is so inspiring to talk with like-minded people and bounce around ideas. We talked about everything from marketing our work to future collaborations (yay!) and everything in between.
I swiped this photo of Cindy's glass ivory links from her Flickr page. I have a lovely little pile of these pretties sitting next to me at the moment and once I stop running my fingers through them I will begin a very special project with them. Her beads are so amazing and I fear that I won't be able to honor them properly. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
And what would a blog post about a dinner be without the requisite photo of food. So here is a shot of my desert - an apple crisp-thing that seemed to grow with every bite that I took. That illusion may have had something to do with the giant beer sitting behind it which also seemed to grow with every sip. :)
Be sure to check out Cindy's website, her blog and The Art Bead Scene blog, of which she is an editor and contributor.
The seventh package I received in my creative exchange came from Heather Trudeau of The Peacock Fairy. Aside from being one of the sweetest and most patient people on the planet she is also pretty darn talented. When I opened her box I was blown away by all the goodies she had sent! From the handmade card (gorgeous!) to the her handmade wood burned beads - Heather is an extremely well-rounded artist in multiple mediums!
I just love the aqua and teal color combination in this bracelet and the little touches like the bird charm and the wood burned bead make it extra special. I've already gotten dozens of compliments on this little number. :)
Heather's wood burned beads can be found in her Etsy shop, Loose Feathers. They have a wonderful organic feels to them - I can't wait to use them!
Also included in her little box of surprises were these two vintage jewelry finds - both bunnies! How completely thoughtful!
Be sure to check out Heather's blog and both of her Etsy shops, here, here and here. Thanks so much, Heather, for taking part in my exchange!
Hi everyone! It's been a while and for that I apologize. Thank you to all who wrote me, left messages, sent cards, called and popped in to see if I was still breathing. I am. I'm sorry if I scared anyone - not to worry! All is well. I just needed some time off, I guess. I've been spending a lot of time outside working in my garden (check out that gorgeous Alium above), making lots of new jewelry and I've done a few shows. My biggest news, however, is that my very first published article appears in the Summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry, which is available now.
See that blurb on the cover that says "Vintage-Inspired Porcelain for the Everyday" - that's me! In the article I give a tutorial on making your own molds and how to make your own version of my peacock necklace (which some of you may remember from this). So run right out and pick up a copy! It's a gorgeous magazine - you will be so please you bought it. :) (And a special thanks to those who have already sent me some kind words about the article - I really appreciate it!)
I have had two small shows in the past two weeks. Last weekend I did the Westcott Art Trail in Syracuse, NY. It was a beautiful weekend and a nice, laid-back kind of show. The photo above shows part of my set-up. It is time for some new (less wrinkled) table covers and I also want to make myself a banner. I am really not a fan of vinyl banners, though their durability can't be denied, so I thought I would make one out of canvas. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. If it goes at all. ;)
I never seem to have enough earrings so this past week I made approximately 500,000 pairs. OK, so it just felt like 500, 000, but it was a lot, trust me! I am now out of sterling silver wire and am waiting anxiously for my order to arrive so that I can continue with my earring frenzy. I had just designed the MOST AWESOME pair of earrings EVER when I ran out of wire. I think they will work well with the necklace I am making for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge so I hope the wire gets here soon. I failed to complete a piece for last month's challenge (I'll tell that story soon - for now I can tell you that it was all the fault of one bead!) so I want to get this month's done with time to spare. And, FYI, I am one of the sponsors (along with a group of other talented ceramic artists) this month so be sure to check it out!