Thursday, November 29, 2007

Buy Handmade

Continuing along with my theme of buying handmade, here's another artist on Etsy. I love the title of this piece "Men Can't Live on Food Alone - They Need Flowers Too". Her shop has some beautiful pieces in it. I once blogged about the importance of naming your pieces. She's made two pieces that have great names. This one is called Birds of Paradise The 2nd one is called: "My Mind Controls My Reality". Nice job!
And here's another piece that I find really nice as well. It's called Mineral Vein.
I've made the pledge to only buy handmade this holiday season. Last night was the opening for the Brookline Arts Center where my work is presently on display. The show lasts from November 28th - December 16th. Last night was the preview. They served wine, appetizers and desserts. Very nice. I noticed most people walking out with a bag in their hand - nice to see. I myself purchased a beautiful scarf, green and brown. It's one of those pieces if you throw it on, you look dressed up (or put together) really fast. I LOVE those kind of "wardrobe enhancers"! There was another polymer clay artist, Amy Crawley whose work was also displayed. She makes beautiful polymer clay wine bottle stoppers (on a great display) and business card holders. And of course, things always look nicer in person. I loved a cocktail fork and knife set that was for sale. The design was a mokume very similar to the wine bottle stopper on the far right. Gorgeous!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Handmade Holiday Gift Guide

Decorating your home can always be fun. Why not do it with something handmade? Here's an artist on Etsy that offers options. You know I love options! Her shop is called Elly Nelly. They are a mother/daughter team. I like them already! Their strategy is to pattern your life. They've created beautiful and colorful images that enable you to quickly transform a room. You can use them on walls, refrigerators, ceilings, bathroom toilets . . . you get the idea. They're self-adhesive and removable. And, she has an array of color choices. More options? Yup. They do custom work as well. Take the handmade pledge this holiday. Buy handmade and be inspired to be creative with your decorations this year!

Update: Elly Nelly will be adding more colors in the new year. I'm voting for lime, anyone else?

Scenes in Polymer

I came upon the website of Lara Melnik. She does unusual flatwork scenes in polymer clay. She has a number of just released work on her website.

The first one is titled "Winter Wander". The next is "Lake Solitude". The last one is titled "La Lune Et Moi".

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mokume Gane - PCAGOE November Challenge

Back when I was taking many metals workshops, there was a workshop in the Mokume Gane technique being taught by James Binnion. He teaches, he writes, he presents and he is pretty much considered an expert in the field. He wrote a paper on the evolution of this technique. If you want to see how time consuming this technique you should take a moment and read about it. You will certainly feel an amazing appreciation of what we can do with polymer clay in such a little amount of time. We, in polymer, have an infinite amount of possibilities with color combinations that you don't have in metal. Instantaneously too, I might add. Every time I do this technique in polymer, I always think about Jim. Take a moment to visit his site and surf around a bit. Knowing the process, you'll appreciate the incredible work he does. This teapot just blows my mind!


With that being said, the PCAGOE did its monthly challenge. This month it was on mokume. Being a new member of the PCAGOE, I decided to enter. Here's my entry. I called it "Shattered Mokume" because, well, it does look shattered. I had a hard time choosing. This was my second choice:

The entries are in. Voting takes place between 12 noon on November 26th and midnite on November 28th. There's one in particular that has caught my eye. I find it very striking and it reminds me of ink blots or spider webs or "ants gone wild"! Vote for your favorite at PCAGOE.com. You will automatically be entered to win a prize pack valued at over $150!

Monday, November 26, 2007

out of the studio

Just a quick post to let you know I'll be out of the studio for a couple days. I'm having a little procedure done in the hospital tomorrow. It's one of those things you have to have at a certain age . . . need I say more? So, I'm fasting and the head is throbbing! So, I'm going to go nurse this headache and hopefully I'll be back in the studio on Wednesday and I'll have some new pictures to post at the end of the week. Until then!

Marvelous Monday


A little color to start the week off!











Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm back

I wanted to write a post about all the things I'm thankful for this past year. Some may have wondered where I was the last few days. Unfortunately, my computer was in the shop. I felt a huge hole. No blogging, no surfing, no posting, no uploading pictures, etc. I couldn't read anyone's blog. I felt like I was disconnected from life. So, first on the list that I'm thankful for is getting my computer back. But there is a downside. I don't believe it's completely fixed. So rather than disappear next time, I'll be sure to blog before it goes. sniff, sniff. What am I thankful for? First and foremost. My husband and his health. This year has been extremely difficult for him. He was bedridden for 6 weeks the first time and probably two the second. He has two ruptured disks but he is on the mends. He's up, working and looking pretty back to normal. But thankfully for "nerve blocks" his life as he knew it has been restored. Life sure changed drastically in a moment for this family. I'm thankful for the rhythm that's been restored. I've had to let a lot go (things that need to be fixed, etc.) and learn to re-set priorities. Having your own business can be a very busy venture. Sometimes you have to step back. I've had to do that a lot this year. That was a huge lesson. I'm thankful for my daughters who are always there to make me proud. They're good kids with a great sense of humor. I'm thankful that they still to this day look to us for approval (yet are balanced out by the rolling eyeballs, etc.) They teach me everyday who I am. I'm very thankful for my older sister. My best friend. She's always there with a smile. She's very positive, and extremely supportive of not just me but of all the people in her life. And I'm blessed to be one of them. She's a cancer survivor of which I'm extremely thankful.

As to my new life . . . the polymer clay community. I'm thankful of many things. For the great people I've met on and offline. Kindred spirits. We're all in this together. Pushing each other, supporting each other, admiring one another's work. learning from each other, teaching each other and blogging to one another. I'm thankful I took the plunge and entered the Bead Dreams this year. Through that competition, I've met many, many people on-line. It gave me exposure that I would have never had. I'm also thankful for entering two additional competitions that I didn't win. Life isn't always about the winning, but the process of learning and growing. Hopefully, I'll take what I've learned and continue to grow in my work. And last but certainly not least, I'm thankful for all my customers who have supported me in this venture. Through them, I am continually validated in my work. Their feedback at shows has been wonderful. I've met some wonderful people who I would never have met. Not just customers but the vendors who are there displaying their work as well. It has been a great community of learning and sharing (staplers, pliers, tape, etc.) There's nothing better than going to a new show and having a booth next to an "old" neighbor. And I've been fortunate to have some great neighbors!

So, thanks for stopping by, for posting comments, for letting me know your out there. Have a very happy Thanksgiving with your families!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Flickr Discovery - Marvelous Mondays

Sometime in September this year I joined Flickr. I began putting pictures up not knowing how anyone would ever find them. Then I joined Etsy which led to the PCAGOE. Since I joined that group, I've been exposed to a lot of wonderful talented polymer clay artists. When someone spots one of your pictures through Flickr, you might get an email telling you that they have saved you as a contact. What does this mean? Every time you post new pictures to Flickr, they get an email with a link to see your new picture(s). Today, I was added to someone's contact list. I went to see who this person was. Her name is Tatana and she's from Madrid, Spain. She does beautiful work - here is one of her photos.
And as you can see, it is reversible. I like the simple forms, the random dots w/color and the texture. Nice touch!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Supplies Arrived!

Yay! I love when things work out. All my supplies came in today. I'll be heading down into the studio and adding all the beads to the necklaces. I'm putting this resolution(s) out there . . . I will plan better in the future. From now on I will make lists of what I will produce, what I will need, what I have in stock and what has to be ordered. And then order it! I will make a reasonable time table to produce the show inventory. I will stop burying my head in my work, I will do mini meditations (and yes, I will take the dog for that walk break!). That's more than I wanted to list, but all of it is necessary. How about you? Are you scattered? Are you a good planner? How's your to do list coming? Does it reflect who you are?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Procrastination, Upcoming Shows

I find myself repeating some bad habits lately. I've been very busy preparing for my three upcoming shows. They are all shows where I drop off my jewelry in November and pick it up late December. They are all first time shows for me. The first is the Brookline Arts Center from November 28th - December 16th. The second is the Marion Art Center from November 23rd to December 21st. And finally, No. 9 Gems which is a home show scheduled at various times which includes 7 artists. My goal was to make 90 necklaces. As soon as the Bead Affaire was over, I got to work. I hadn't anticipated that they would request the jewelry over a week earlier. I assumed I had until late November. Mistake number 1. I also hadn't looked at my supply of rhodium plated mesh necklaces. Mistake number 2. That's a big one. I'm short uhhhh... 34 necklaces.


Which brings me to my point. Procrastination. Why do I bury myself in making beads, ez bead changers without lifting up my head and doing what probably most people would do . . . like take inventory on supplies? It's called planning. Why did I avoid planning? Referring back to my list of the top 9 reasons people procrastinate. I think it's #6 again. I'm making a HUGE mental note seeing as this lesson keeps rearing its ugly head. Just to let you know, I do have a number of my necklaces out being plated. So, I'm hoping (not a way to run a business) that they are on their way to me as I write this.

So, I'm saying a prayer, crossing my fingers and toes and hoping for the best. Oh yeah, and I am visualizing them coming to me . . .here they come!

Monday, November 12, 2007

She Got In!

The first of 10 has arrived (sooner than I thought). Julienne has been working diligently on preparing her essays and sending her applications off to colleges. Her list consists of "reach" schools, "level" schools and "safety" schools. The first (and only so far) school she heard from was University of Hartford. But the best part (from her parent's perspective, anyway) is that she got a substantial academic scholarship. She came into my studio with the letter screaming "I'm going to college!!!" Now, mind you, this is a school that she has never seen, only has about 5000 undergrads, and it was not a school on the top of her list. And considering the size of the school, I was surprised to see it on her list. But it does offer the program she's interested in. What's really weird, is that I'm from Connecticut and U Ha (as it is called) was in my old stomping grounds - West Hartford, CT.


So, do I really see her going there? Time will tell. But, it's really funny how you react to college acceptance letters. It was like a celebration was in order. And I promise I won't blog about this every time we hear from a college! But, being the first, and still in the spirit of celebration, I just had to. There's such a feeling of relief knowing that she got into one. The college application/acceptance process is such a crap shoot. One never knows why someone gets into one college yet not the other. But for now, we can breathe a little easier knowing that she will be going to college!

To Do List

I've blogged about to do lists and time management in the past. Here's a woman, Sasha Cagen, who is writer, editor, and to-do-list-ologist. She started collecting to-do-lists and has written a book titled "To Do List: From Buying Milk to Finding a Soulmate, What our Lists Reveal about Us". She recently had a book launch party where some contributors read their lists. You can read here blog at http://www.todolistblog.com/

So, what's on your list today?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Inspirations

Every year, there is a show in Chicago called SOFA which is an acronym for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art. The first two pictures I liked because I thought they'd serve as inspirations. I can see a beautiful pendant in polymer clay with these shapes. The next two pictures I thought I'd save as inspiration for wall art. There are so many different ways you could go with this. I like how the shapes are all in white. But making these in polymer clay and adding color would be phenominal.

And finally, I have this little guy. Seeing this makes me think about how we use things in everyday life. Here, the colored pencil was reversed in the sculpture. (Sorry, I wish it could be larger). That was it. Yet look at the effect it had on the overall piece. Funny, because my initial reaction when I saw the wall art above, was to reverse every other piece to be "inside out". (This piece makes me think of animals and how they don't have as much fur on their tummies.)

We see things the way we were taught, the way things make sense. Sometimes it is necessary to think out of the box to create a spectular piece of art. Today is "out of the box" day. How can we "reverse our colored pencils"?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Art of Rachel Tribble

I recently had to have a number of Rachel Tribble cards. It was a pretty extravagent purchase but I admire her work so much. The cards have such a fine finish on them I feel like I have several of her paintings. They have such a luminescent quality to them. Take a moment to view her work - you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Season One Begins January 2008

I was talking about soldering yesterday, and lo and behold, what comes in the mail? My latest issue of Bench Magazine. It was really cool to see a Bench Jewelers Television Network coming to the internet. So, beginning in 1/2008, season one will be starting at BenchTelevision. As a matter of fact, you can go right now and look at some pilot episodes. Some things that interest me are always new products, bench techniques and stone setting. So, if you're curious, interested or want more info, head over to the site and see what's cooking.

Join Me in Taking the Handmade Pledge

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.orgMy recent discovery of etsy has made my taking the handmade pledge that much easier. Well, almost. There are so many wonderful artists on that site. I have dove into finding and hearting so many sellers. I feel like a kid again in Dylan's Candy Store! So please take a few seconds and join me in Taking the Handmade Pledge.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Free Polymer Clay Bead of the Month Winner, Repetition

This month, drum roll please, the free bead of the month goes to Carlie Morgan-Kiesel.





For anyone out there who is learning to solder, I've got some advice. This is what has helped me tremendously - it's called repetition. Yes, the boring, monotonous task of doing the same thing over and over and over. BUT, it can be exciting, really, I swear. That excitement comes when the learning curve gets easier. But, it also means those frustrating moments are now behind you and it's a mere memory. I've had one of those experiences recently. I swear, everything I soldered went bust. There's nothing worse than having to sand that solder off, clean everythign up and start again. So, I started reviewing in my head what exactly it was that was going wrong. Flux? Got it. Cleaned metal? Got it. The solder I use is paste solder so I know it was clean as well. And to be honest with you, I've seen examples of metal being soldered that was purposely filthy just to prove a point. That being, dirty metal usually isn't the problem. The problem usually lies with the heat. OK. I realized I had changed torch tips because I was now working on a thinner gauge metal. So, you have a smaller tip with less heat coming out, right? Yes. But, you can make the flame hotter. But I was so used to the sound of the torch with my bigger tip, that I hadn't realized I was getting less heat with the smaller tip. Once the light bulb went off, it was magic. I was now "one" with the solder. And now, I can "hear" when the tip is at the right heat. Why? Repitition. That dirty word. But sometimes in life we have to repeat ourselves more to "secure" it in our brains.


So, if you're trying to learn any technique in metal, the best thing to do to help you move forward and really set that skill, is to repeat it over and over. You want to fuse fine silver jump rings? Set up 30 or so on a charcoal block and start moving that torch around - over and over. Do this until you "learn" why some work and others don't. Take a break. Think about it. OK, I'm talking to myself again. That's usually the thing I don't do is take a break. So . . . I guess when I'm not procrastinating, I'm not taking a break. Go figure!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Marvelous Monday

Oozing reds and oranges. Transparent greens and golds that look like stained glass. A nice burst of color to start the week off!

You Tube - Tyson the Skateboarding Bulldog

Meet Tyson, the skateboarding bulldog. While other dogs are catching zzz's or eating crocs, this dog's on the move. He never seems to travel without the skateboard as he runs, hops on, turns, and yes, sometimes wipes out (where is this dog's helmet?? ok that was the mom in me). And yes, of course, he has a website - http://skateboardingbulldog.com

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Procrastination - My Big Lesson in Life

OK, it's the end of October, I have a couple deadlines I've known about for a while now. There is no reason to wait until the last second. Yet, I continually do this over and over. A definite pattern in my life. I used to have to be early for things back in my youth. I guess I just didn't feel comfortable showing up late (or even on time, apparently). But somewhere, somehow, my habits changed and procrastination was born. It's taken on a life of it's own. Why do I continually do this? Here's a brief synopsis of what Psychology Today says the top 9 reasons why people procrastinate.

1. False Beliefs - Many (myself included) feel that they work better under pressure. But honestly, do our bodies need this additional stress?

2. Fear of Failure - procrastinators fear they don't have the requisite talent or skills. Better to be lacking in effort than ability. No comment. Okay, just one. I don't like #2.

3. Perfectionism - okay, I guess I have a little of that. But, to my defense, I'm not a perfectionist across the board. I do draw the line. I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc.

4. Self-control. Or as I call it - the "Give a Mouse a Cookie" disorder. Things are getting done, you're in control. Then, realizing you're thirsty, you go to the refrigerator to get a drink. As you're taking the bottle off the shelf, you realized it needs to be cleaned. And then you realize after you've cleaned that shelf, the others don't look so good, so you continue cleaning shelves. There, you're all done now. But now you notice your counters look pretty terrible where you put all the shmutz (drippy bottles, etc.) Once you've done that, you notice the floor needs to be cleaned because you dripped shmutz there too. Finally you realize it's the end of the day and what was it that you started, and where did you go wrong? Naw . . . never had this problem!
5. Punitive parenting. Children of authoritarian parents are prone to procrastinate. It's all their fault! I rather like this one.

6. Thrill seeking. Some procrastinators enjoy the "rush". Some, like myself, play little games as to how much we can put off to the last second and still get it done? Kind of like the eBay skype technique. Wait till that last second to put your bid in and win (well, not always). This thrill seeking is just about as close to a roller coaster as I get.

7. Task-related anxieties. Humans avoid the difficult and boring. Yawn.

8. Unclear expectations. Ambiguous directions and vague priorities increase procrastination. I did a blog about time management. After learning about #8, I had a light bulb moment. Okay. As soon as I'm done with this list, I'm making my list for the day!

9. Depression. The blues can lead to exacerbate procrastination and vice verse. Nope. Not me. I just hit the refrigerator. (Okay, which may lead to cleaning shelves, countertops and floor).

So, that's the list. Can anyone relate to this? Are you procrastination challenged? Any other insights that Psychology Today might have missed?