Sunday, August 30, 2009

Challenge - Kanagawa oki nami ura by Hokusai Katsushiki

Well, it's nearly the end of the month and I am just now getting around to finishing up my entry for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge. I must admit that I wasn't too terribly excited when I saw the Hokusai print that the challenge was based on this month. Not that it isn't a beautiful woodcut, it truly is, it's just that it didn't initially incite any great ideas or inspirations for me. So, I was going to skip it this month. Until... I was sniffing around Michael's last week, completely drooling over their new and hugely improved bead section, when I spied with my little eye these completely perfect tiny ceramic dot beads. I fell in love (hard) and knew right away what to do with them.

I built the necklace around two of my porcelain rings, which represent the boats in the print. That is about as representative as I get in this piece, other than colors. Oh, and the very cool little vintage glass beads that look like tiny bubbles of white water, I can't forget them. They represented the foam spray from the waves perfectly (see the close-up below)!

The overall design came from moving and shifting all the components around until I was please with the arrangement. I was determined to use the ceramic dots in clusters but that proved to be more of a challenge than I had expected. In the end I figured out a way to keep everything attached securely and without any floppage.

The cobalt beads are recycled glass and the larger white glass beads are vintage.

This is what it looks like on. People always ask to see these challenge pieces being worn so I listened this time. The necklace looks great but my face was channeling the Exorcist so I cropped like the wind. ;)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Belle Armoire Jewelry - Autumn 09

The new Autumn issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry is out and, as always, it's a real gem! There are so many great, inspiring projects in this issue, it's sick! And once again I have been fortunate enough to be included in this wonderful magazine. This time around I featured some of my butterfly pieces. (And I am just about to head off to the studio to glaze some sets of butterfly beads - they should be available to all early next week!) In the meantime you can check out another version of this necklace in my shop. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Head spin

My working frenzy continues as I spend nearly every day in the pottery studio and every night in the jewelry studio. And yet it will be a while before I feel I have anything to show for it. Perhaps when I set up for my next show in a few weeks I will be able to see the fruits of my frenetic labors. Right now I just see piles of pieces in various stages of completion, beads scattered all over my floor, tubs of freshly mixed new glaze samples that I am itching to try out and my resolve curled up in a corner sucking its thumb.

I did get a small, wee break last weekend when I hitched a ride down to Long Island to have a quick visit with my family. That's the Northport Harbor above.

It was a very short visit but I did manage to find the time to scavenge through my grandmother's extensive sea glass collection (with her permission, of course). She allowed me to take a nice little pile with the promise that I would make her a piece of jewelry using a piece of it. That's a bartering deal I am up for!

In the studio this week I am working on all kinds of things. Some one-of-a-kind earrings (above) and sets of butterfly beads (below) are in the works. I'm also trying to finish up my Art Bead Scene challenge piece before the month runs out. Keep your fingers crossed for that one - somehow time is not my friend this month.

I'm sure I am not the only one running around like a freak these days. What are you guys up to? Any exciting projects in the works? :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

New dottiness for the lobes

Sorry I have been absent this past week. The show I did last weekend wiped me out both physically and inventorally (new word!). That and the fact that it has been hot as Hades has accounted for my perpetual sleepiness mixed with frantic making-ness. These fun earrings are one of the new things to come out of that sleepy/frenzy. Very colorful and super dotty equals a good time for the earlobes!

They can be found in my shop. :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stocking up

I've been a bit MIA the past week trying to get ready for a show that I have this weekend. Actually, I am trying to get a bit ahead for the upcoming Autumn/holiday season. This time of year flies by very quickly and before I know it it's holiday time and I'm in a panic.

I'm trying to have more one-of-a-kind piece for shows so this week I have been working on owls, peacocks and dragonflies. I pilfered all the owls from my Extra shop and made this fun little pair of necklaces (above) and this bracelet (below). I really love the chains on the necklaces - the glass beads slide around freely and really provide some nice movement to the necklace.

I made the two bracelets below using some of my peacock beads and random beads and buttons. I'm on a roll with them so I'm off to make some more!

Incidentally, the green owl necklace is listed in my shop (until Friday) and if anyone has any interest in any of the others feel free to contact me. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft

Last Sunday two friends and I zipped down to Philly for a quick runaround of the Philadelphia Buyers Market of American Craft. I've been attending this show for years with my friend, and former employer, who owns an American handcraft gallery. This is the show to go to when looking for outstanding Artisans who sell their work wholesale. It's also a great place to go when considering selling your own work wholesale - you can really get a good idea of what is required when doing this level of show. Booth design is very important as well as display. I would really need to put on my fancy-pants creative hat in order to prepare for such a show.

One very nice surprise was running into several Etsy Street Teams that had booths at the show. I spent a particularly long amount of time chatting with the very cool ladies of the Richmond Etsy Street Team. I think I squealed with delight when I spotted the pottery of Tasha McKelvey - someone who's work I have admired since my very first days on Etsy. And she is every bit as sweet and wonderful as her pottery and jewelry (for real!). Also there was Kelly from Modern June who makes the most kick-ass aprons and other oilcloth accessories (see the top photo). There are some pretty bad cheapy imitations of her work out there so don't be fooled - her work is original and top notch.

Also displaying with the Richmond Team was Suzanne of Silver Tree Art and Susannah of Zou Zou's Basement. Both do beautiful mixed media work (see above) from tiny collages to prints to wearable works of art.

All in all it was a great day. The high quality of this show is certainly inspiring, and quite honestly it was wonderful to get out of the Etsy world for a while and to be reminded that there is a lot more out there. :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Acanthus bracelet

I made this bracelet today using my new acanthus leaf connector as the focal bead. It has a nice blend of vintage glass and natural stone beads in the mix as well as this totally cool face bead that I have had hanging around for years (I have one left that I am hoarding away).

This one-of-a-kind bracelet is now in my shop. And I have put three acanthus connectors in different colors in my Extra shop. If there is interest I will be making more over the next few weeks. :)