Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Etsy Front Page

Hallelujah! I was in a Treasury that hit the front page today. Here's the screenshot. I'm in the second row, first on the left.I had actually gone on the site to give you some information about Etsy. Ever wonder who sells a lot on Etsy? Well, you're not alone. Many people do. Today, I'm going to share a couple of those sellers with you. Today, the top seller is Blacksheepbeads. They sell all kinds of beads and findings. They joined Etsy in April of 2007 and at this writing, they've sold 13,795 listings. Phew! That's a lot of shipping! But you can't talk about top sellers on Etsy without mentioning the Black Apple. The owner, Emily Martin, joined in July of 2005 and has sold 12,044 prints, originals, totes & tees, etc. Her work is seen a lot on the site through various Treasuries, articles, etc. Here's one of her prints. It's recognizably Black Apple.

On December 16, 2007, the New York Times did a story on Etsy. Here's what was said about "Black Apple". One afternoon last summer, a young artist based in Athens, Ga., unveiled her latest work. Emily Martin is 24 years old. She graduated from art school about two years ago from the 2007 article) and has never had a gallery show. She announced the date and time of the unveiling on her blog, so at 2 p.m. on Aug. 28, I clicked over and watched as she posted the new work to her Etsy shop: Six original paintings priced between $160 and $250, and nine hand-sewn dolls, for $37 to $65. They disappeared faster than I could click “refresh.” By 2:02 p.m. most had been sold, and Martin had made about $1,400 (minus fees). Martin fully expected to be working as a waitress and confining her art-making to her off hours at this stage of her life. Instead, the Black Apple, as she is known on Etsy, is a full-time artist and perhaps the site’s most famous success story.

So, who's the next Blacksheepbeads? Who's the next Black Apple? Ah . . . tomorrow is another day! Hope yours is a Black Apple kind of day!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Marvelous Mondays, Experiments

Did you ever start doing something and find that you can't stop? All the time, right? I'm really enjoying these new patterns. I started playing more with the technique. These are not so much about making the designs work together, these were simply experiments to play with the shapes. Remember that bead I posted last week for the PCAGOE challenge? This sheet below is actually part of that same sheet. Weird, huh? Looks a bit more pink. This one is one of my favorites at the moment.

With the red/maroon, I continued to play with the patterns adding more shapes to see how they could twist and turn

After making the maroon sheet, I thought I would change the colors and experiment. I added more shapes and shadows with this green/gold/blue sheet. It's also one of my favorite color combinations in this series.

Here, I started reversing the patterns to see what that would look like.

On the last sheet, my intent was to see what it would look like with the dark colors behind the scene. The shapes are way too chunky yet there's something successful about this pattern in that it appears more 3-D than any of the others. But the colors are pretty dreadful!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Image Transfer Photos, PCAGOE Challenge

The other day I had mentioned that I was experimenting with the image transfer method. The first pictures are done via Desiree's transparency method. I noted what I used for the colors at the bottom of each. The one on the left I used alcohol inks. On the right, I used Marvey markers. The colors were a bit brighter on the original. They seem to get muted a bit with the transparency method. But still nice if that's what you're going for.

This picture was done using the transfer t-shirt method. I paid $22.99 at Officemax for a package of 18 sheets. I just looked on eBay and there's a buy-it-now for $13.50 with shipping of $6.00. Anyway, I found this to be much better in terms of the quality of the color transfer. Pretty true to my original.

Today, I needed to squeeze in some time to do a bead for the PCAGOE February challenge. I'll post more info on the challenge next week. Here's my entry. I called it Rafael's Valentine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Days Past, Days Present

Just thought I'd share a couple photos of what's been going on in the studio. I haven't taken too much time to play lately, but what I have done, I thought I would post. I saw something the other day that reminded me of one of my older pieces of work. As you may or may not know, I've done a lot of work with seed beads. There's two shapes that I still really love. That's the elliptical shape (aka football) and leaf shape. Here's one of my leaf shaped pieces that every now and then I "remember" and pull out of the jewelry box. :o)

I recently placed this necklace on an open window ledge that overlooks my foyer and before I knew it - crash - it was lying on the foyer floor. I wasn't sure what I'd find. Fortunately, none of the glass seed beads broke. Phew!

Over the past few weeks, I'd been making a few images to use for the transfer technique. Sorry, no photos - but I promise to post them soon. The first attempt was to print my drawing onto a clear transparency. I used 3M's PP2500 transparency. I saw this method on Desiree's website. Using these transparency sheets brought me back to a metals class I took a number of years ago. I used them in a photo etching project. Actually, it was an exercise in using rivets and photo etching. I love the work of Matisse and used one of his photos as the basis for my project. I had to saw all those letters out (the filing of the letters was an unbelievable process - pure torture and many saw blades later), sweat solder them them onto the backplate and rivet them onto the front cover of the book. It's one of those projects that I thought I'd never get through, but I guess I learned a lot from it. Here are the photos. I still use this book today as one of my sketchbooks.

Anyway, back to Desiree's transparency. When I first did it, I was happy enough with the results. Although, I have to admit, that even though I tried really hard to adhere every atom of the transparency to the polymer clay, I still managed to get a few, what appeared to be, little bubbles (I'm assuming they were air pockets). The next one came out better, but then I realized the colors weren't as strong with the transparency method. I didn't have any bleeding problems but the transfer just didn't "pop". So, today I tried the Ink Jet T-Shirt Transfer method (using Avery #8938). It was an unbelievable difference. Strong colors, no bubbles, and quite nice. I literally put my clay with the t-shirt transfer on it into a heated oven for probably 7 minutes. I took the transfer paper off as soon as I took it out of the oven. I then placed it back in the oven for the remaining cure time. I scratched the image , just out of curiosity, and it could scratch off if you try. Looking back, I should have coated it with Renaissance Wax first, buffed and then scratched. And no, I didn't sniff! The next time I try it, I'll use the wax and see if that still scratches off. If it does I will probably try some other sort of coating.

And here's a continuation of a process that's been brewing lately. I blogged about it here. Today, I didn't really make anything with it other than these rectangular shapes. I've been experimenting with color and making notes of what works and what doesn't.

My Latest Treasury

Thought I'd post my latest Treasury. Chartreuse - one of my favorites! Click on the image to see a better picture. Some nice shops!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

Mondays - we all need a little inspiration to get us going for the week, right? I'm sure you've all had the experience of being blown away by someone's work. This artist's work (Yoko Izawa) is so exquisite. I found her work on Flickr. She has a website, titled "Veiled". She says "Veiled jewellery reflects my assumption that although certainty is often required in modern society, ambiguous expression has been the most distinctive characteristic found in Japanese values and religious beliefs."

Her thoughts and her work I find intriguing and inspiring. If you're wondering what these are made of, Yoko uses lycra and nylon, polypropolene and sterling. Lycra and nylon? For me, these are the fabrics of an unfortunate aerobics outfit! But in the hands of this Japanese artist, they become the essential components of her insanely delicate, fabulous jewelry. Wouldn't you just love to see the process? Here's a few pictures - enjoy!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Latest Treasury I Made on Etsy

Here's another treasury I snagged on Friday!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mandy Budan - again!

Sometimes I just can't control the urge to blog. Especially when I'm so excited about someone's work. I just visited Mandy Budan's blog and wanted to pass this on. She has a sketch of a work in progress. It's very cool to see how painter's work - I would never have imagined this! The picture on the left is her original sketch that has been completed. Now she begins the fun part - painting. She'll be
blogging about the process of this landscape. I know I'll be watching! Here's another one I love in her Etsy shop.

New Work

Funny how the subconscious mind works sometimes. I was in my studio yesterday making beads. I started playing and something new evolved. I had thought about this in the past, but was never able to make the patterns do what I wanted them to do. Whether I didn't spend enough time on it, really doesn't matter. I find it interesting, though, how this just sort of came to me. I blogged about this in the past, the notion of letting go and letting the universe direct you. Sometimes, that's the hardest part. But it wasn't until I posted the pictures and went to title the beads that I realized that maybe, just maybe there was a connection here. Last week I blogged about Kathleen Dustin's new work. Her new purse is titled "Blowing Grass Purse". And earlier that week I had posted some pictures of Mandy Budan's work. I absolutely love the work of both these artists. I guess it's no surprise that this developed. I called it "Blowing in the Wind". To me, they looked like reeds moving in the wind. But the patterns on the reeds remind me Mandy's trees. What do you think, a connection?

Speaking of Kathleen, I just listened to her interview with Allison Lee on Craftcast. If you haven't listed to it yet, it's a great interview! I'm extremely excited because she has agreed to do an installation at the Fuller Craft Museum which is very close to me. It will be from August - November of 2009. She'll be doing more sculptural work so I'm sure it'll prove to be a wonderful show. Where else can she take this medium?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Etsy Shops

Back in late November, I began posting a lot of Etsy shops. As some of you may or may not know, I'm part of the PCGAOE. It's a great community of polymer clay artists. Every month we do a challenge, which I will post here as well. But in the meantime, here are a few of the members and some of their items in their shop. Recognize any?

Wall Art - Shapes & Form

I bumped into another inspirational site the other day I thought I would share. It's called They have some really cool wallpaper - it's 3D. And their shapes are great! Any ideas for polymer clay??

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Tortoise and the Hare

Ever have one of those days when you scratch your head and pose the question - just how many different projects can you have going on at one time? Well, it's been one of those days. I'm not sure if it's because I lost a day in the studio due to the storm or not, but right now I've got beads ready and waiting to be cured, a business card holder waiting to be glued, earrings waiting to be finished, items waiting to be photographed, my free bead waiting to be claimed, and the list goes on and on. The common word is waiting. But I refuse to let it get the better of me. Yup! I'm a new woman!

Today, I had an epiphanous moment. I am a HARE. No doubt about it. I'm always on the run. I'm always rushing, rushing, rushing to get stuff done. But, there's always more stuff to get done. Forever! My husband is a TORTOISE through and through. I've watched him for years and noticed how he manages his workload. Whether it's work-related or personal, it's always at the same pace and with the same intention. Focused and on-task. I, on the other hand, tend to do things rather quickly and I tend to get distracted way too easily.

For months it's been on my mind that we have to do the F word. FAFSA. For parents of a college bound student it's the necessary evil. It's all the information that is needed for financial aid. Whether you think you are a candidate or not, doesn't matter. Everyone should do this. For months, I've been dreading this day. So . . . today was the day. Out of the blue, my husband said he would take care of it. (Note #1 - put him back in my will!) I watched my husband take care of this application on-line. It took him a couple of hours including gathering of information, but it's now complete. Done. (Note #2 - tell him what a great job he did and then give him a list of 5 more things to do). Methodical, focused, careful . . . and done. So, have I learned a lesson here? I sure hope so. Don't worry about what you can't control. And don't worry - things will get done. Maybe not on your timetable, but in the scheme of things, does it really matter? So, today, I'm going to try to slow things down a bit and accept that I can't get everything done at once. Life has a natural flow. Stop fighting the universe, and go with the flow.

In the end, everything will get done. In the end, I want to be a tortoise. That is my goal. So . . . what about you - are you a tortoise or a hare?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

This past weekend, I came across a Butterfly flickr group which had some really beautiful photographs. So, my inspiration this week as we await our anticipated snow storm here on the East coast (go figure) is the butterfly.
Note: Marvelous Monday is late due to the storm. We had no power, no electricity, no heat! BRRRRRR! The worst thing for me was no computer!

Friday, January 11, 2008

From the Studio

As I was overcome with spring fever and fantasizing about a return trip to Greece, here's what evolved. My Grecian Fantasy.

Jig Tutorial

Do you ever have the need to roll out a narrower strip of clay? Or how about the need to make narrower Skinner blend strips? I found a reference to Desiree's tutorial the other day and thought it was a great idea, and fairly simple to make. Click on the picture for the tutorial.

Today as I was browsing the Etsy shops, I came across Melanie West's store. She's busy gearing up for the Synergy Conference Vendors Fair. She's made a number of pattern sheets for image transfer onto polymer clay. Both water transfer and TLC transfer sheets will be available. Melanie just started selling a number of these sheets in her shop. Check it out!

She's gearing up for the Synergy Conference Vendors Fair. To visit her shop, click here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Blowing in the Wind! New Work of Kathleen Dustin

I was so excited when I saw this picture of Kathleen Dustin's new work. It's not even up on her website yet. Her pod series is amazing, but can she raise the bar even more??? Her work is so exciting and such an inspiration! Click on the picture to read her thoughts regarding this purse on her blog.

Rings & Things Contest, Free Bead of the Month

Rings & Things has announced their 2008 "Your Designs Rock!" contest. It's for your favorite handmade design. It can be anything! For more info, read about it here. There's a February 29th (leap year, who knew?) application deadline. Winners will be announced the first week of May.

As I await to hear from the winner of my Free Bead of the Month, I thought I would post a couple of pictures.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

In lieu of my marvelous Mondays blog, I thought I would connect the dots (sorry about the pun) this time with a little about the person behind the art. Did you ever wonder how Seurat managed to make his paintings? I mean, infinite little dots combined together to make a broader picture. A broader picture that can really only be seen clearly at a distance. The place where your eye has the ability to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones. I remember seeing some paintings up close and I was in awe of his vision. It's no wonder when I saw this that it reminded me of Seurat. Not pointillism, but also quite remarkable. Mandy Budan, a Canadian artist, somehow uses shapes and patterns to create beautiful art which you can appreciate for both its abstract and realistic qualities. It amazes me that an artist can paint this up close yet know (is it mathematical?) where to use colors to accomplish what the eye will do at a distance. Besides having a website, where you can read a little about her technique, she also has a shop on Etsy. I love her shop tag line - "BudanART - abstracting the landscape". Feast your eyes on these fabulous colors and have a marvelous Monday!