Friday, November 18, 2016

How is it November already?

No, really?  How is Thanksgiving next week?  I am so unprepared.

I have my last show on Saturday at North Penn High School.  It's a wonderful show full of high quality hand picked artisans.  If you are local, I hope you will stop by.  I have been working on my indoor display set up, and I am quite happy with it!

It feels like a little shop you can walk into.  

I finally got some "real" pipe and drape instead of an old taped and tied up tent frame!  I am really liking it.  Very easy to set up.

I will have my bags and my prints available.  I also changed a few things up.  I have these smaller pieces that I offer, and they usually hang on a T-bar display.  They so often get overlooked though.  I think my other pieces are so big that little things just can't compete.  though I still like to make them, and I know there are still people who would like something daintier.  So I packaged them in individual boxes, ready for gifts.  I love it and I think they will finally get some attention now.  You can really see the detail in each one.

I really like how this style I am holding turned out.  I bought these antique brass belts years ago- because I LOVED them.  And there they have sat.  I have tried a few times to work them into pieces and they just don't turn out.  Soooooo, finally, it came to me, and I made a few of these pendants.  So perfect to show off a great fossil like this fossil coral slab!

I also have some cool news I have been sitting on for a few months.

The winter issue of Belle Amoire Jewelry features me for their Designer Collection.  I was so honored to be asked to do it.  Rice Freeman-Zachery did the interview and wrote an article that made me tear up.  She really listened and captured me and my creative process.  It was a pretty amazing experience.  So if you get to Barnes and Nobles, or a local craft store, check it out.  They did 12 pages of my work!  I also have a 4 page article in that issue.  

(this is the issue- not my piece on the cover though)

Now I am going to try to stop staring at my pieces in print and finish getting ready for my show and the upcoming holidays!!!!


I do plan on having a bead sale early next week, before thanksgiving (monday or tuesday).  It will be on my Facebook page for sales.

I will also be offering some gifty jewelry for sale, and some will be made to order (this is new for me- but I think it will be fun to customize some designs for you guys).  Others will be sale items.  I will also have prints and bags available for the holidays.  So if you know someone who would love a block print or bag, check out my sale, or contact me.  I may be able to do ONE custom batch for the Holidays are over!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Musings on Melancholy, Beauty and Love

This day in age, it is very easy to find causes, and injustice.  Just go online.  turn on the TV.  Listen to the radio.  It is not hard to get yourself into a funk.

We are in an information age where - whether we want it or not- we are bombarded with news and media.  And remember, fluff pieces don't sell.  So we hear and see the worst of it, and more then that, much of it is sooooo skewed that it is not even true to the original story.

Throw in a heated, dirty and maybe the most divided election to date, and its hard to find beauty and peace these days.  I know I am not alone in this feeling.

I took a day on Sunday to go to a high end art show with my mom and daughter.  I needed to get out of the house.  We took the train and watched the landscape change from rural to urban as we approached Philadelphia.  My mom said it always makes her sad to see the city, to see the boarded up windows and graffiti'd walls.  I find an odd beauty in though.  

I don't know, maybe it is the artist in me.  I really believe everyone has some sort of creative gift.  Whether it be words and stories, giving, kindness, art, dance, teaching- everything can be an art form when you put your heart into it.  And I realized, that, my ability to see this is a gift.  Because even on days when things feel hopeless or overwhelming, even when the only art and beauty I see is graffiti on a wall in a broken desolate part of town, I see it.  I see the expression of a PERSON sharing who they are.  And I see the beauty in broken decaying things both man made and in nature.  A life gone by, a past and a new beginning.

I also know not everyone can see those things so easily.

It was also wonderful to see Julia, my 12 year old daughter, and her amazement at the beauty of the city.  

She loved the train, and was overwhelmed at the sheer size of the convention center.

 Just look at that smile!

she took this picture, she loved how it all went up and up and up

Anyhow, we have to try to find the good in the sea of awful being thrown at us daily.  I will try to continue to find beauty in all things.  In all places, and in all people.  I know many families are very divided over this election, and already strained relations are even more difficult when the party choices are different from one another.

There is definitely a melancholy in our society right now.  There is a lot of unhappiness.  People want change.  People are sad about others reactions to the election.......  There is just so much on all sides.  

I saw this video this morning on Facebook, and for some reason, it really touched me deeply.  I can't find it on you tube to embed it, but it is a group of men, I believe called Supermarket Sweet, who randomly pay for other peoples groceries. I saw the people who were helped, genuinely desire to do something nice for someone else.  It's a glimmer of hope.  It was beautiful.

It doesn't have to be something big like paying for a whole grocery order, but try to do something nice for someone today.  Hold a door for someone, tell them their hair looks nice, or tell a tired mom her kids are well behaved in the store (you will not believe how far that one goes!!!)- or better yet, tell a mom with NOT well behaved kids she is doing a great job and kids will be kids (because some days, no matter how good a mom you are, kids have mental breakdowns).  Smile at the guy in the business suit who looks way too busy to notice.  Make a conversation in the produce aisle about how great the oranges look.  
Connect with someone.  Anyone.  You will feel better and so will they.

And as we move forward and try to get along again as friends, families and a nation, we may have to accept we don't understand each other fully, and that is ok.  And most of all, we have to know that love is more important then being right.  
We can't let ourselves become part of the hate and anger.

And sometimes, we have to take the high road, and love anyway.  

"I love you anyway" has gotten me far in this life.  And it doesn't always come easy, and it doesn't always come quick.  But it comes, because it has to.  Because I would rather love someone then be alone stewing in my own words and thoughts.  "I love you anyway" is the path to forgiveness, acceptance and connection.

Karen McGovern did a post the other day, with Leonard Cohen's lyrics from Anthem and this photo.  This sculpture has always resonated with me.  It is so profound and powerful.  So I leave you with this.  Remember, we are all broken and cracked.

"There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in." - Leonard Cohen

Expansion by Paige Bradley, New York, USA

Please please please do NOT use this as a forum to complain about the election, the results or anything else.  These are just my musings, and I hope perhaps, sharing them will resonate with someone who may be feeling the same way, or struggling with the same thing.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sometimes I need a push..............

When Jen Cameron of Art Elements posted this months Bead of the Month, and it was one of her glass sugar skulls, you know I commented on that blog in hopes to win one.  

I mean, looks at how fun these are!

Each month, one of their artists make a bead, and each member, plus a couple lucky readers, get one of the beads, and then they create something with them.

I haven't really had a chance to do that in awhile (to create with something that I did not purchase), and you know what, once in awhile I need that push.

Now, I buy and use a lot of different components.  But when I am making and / or hand picking my components, they are all very much my style, and something I can see right away in my jewelry.  Once in awhile, I like to have something given to me, something that challenges me to think a little more about the design.

It's no secret I love sugar skulls- and Jen sent me a delightful one.  It is however, bright.  Like sugar skulls usually are.  And I didn't really want a bright finished piece.  So it took me some time to figure out how to maintain the color pops, but tone it down, so it still looks like something I'd make- old and a bit gritty.

I love a good challenge and push now and again.

I began to pick beads that matched the colors in the skull, but were earthy.  At first the layout had some polymer beads in it, but it quickly changed to all / mostly gemstones.

I decided to wrap the skull in wire.  Putting antiqued copper wire around something bright immediately tones down the brightness.  So I started there.  

Since the hole is vertical, I could not do one of my chunky classic chokers.  So, it needed to be the dangle, or part of a dangle.  I kinda saw that would have to be the layout from the start.

Well, after much fiddling and doing and un-doing, I am so freakin happy with how it turned out.  I honestly didn't think I'd love it.  As I added elements, I wasn't sure they would work (like those seed beads).........but they did.  It all came together quite nicely.  It is heavy with all those large gemstones and heavy wire (16-18g) and the extra chain, but it lays perfect and is oh so comfy to wear.

I think I need to make some more like this, one one art bead shown off among many large gemstones.  

I am so thankful I got to be a part of this challenge.  I needed that little push.  Something a little different and fun came out of it- and that is what it is all about.

Now hop over to these other blogs and see what everyone else made with their pieces!

Guest Designers

Staci Louise SmithKarin Grosset GrangeSolange Collin

Art Elements Team

Caroline DewisonSusan KennedyLaney MeadClaire FabianDiana PtaszynskiJenny Davies-ReazorCathy Spivey MendolaLindsay StarrNiky SayersLesley WattCooky SchockJen Cameron 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day of the Dead Blog Hop

Love my Art Jewelry is having a Dia de los Muertos blog hop!  Sugar Skulls everywhere!!!!!

Now, if you follow me at all, you know I love the beauty of a sugar skull.  

Recently I have been doing some lino-cut prints, and even had to do a sugar skull for that!

Anyhow, I had also made sugar skull beads in polymer and in bronze clay.  So I wasn't sure which I wanted to do for this blog hop.  I had originally thought about taking my bronze one and setting it into silver with silver work, maybe even some gemstones bezeled around it.....................but it had a mind of it's own, and I have really been into wire chokers with charms lately, so that is what was born.

Once I decided to use one of my bronze sugar skulls, and do a charm style necklace I got to work

I created the base for the necklace first.

Then I started to pick out my beads

Ginger of the Blue Bottle Tree had sent me some of her beads to design with awhile back.  She used her Rustic Beads Tutorial to create these flowery fun beads.  They turned out to be the perfect accent for this piece!  After all, a sugar skull needs some flowers near it or on it! I LOVE the old paint look, and they are so well made (of course!). The only problem was that I could not fit as many as I wanted to use in my piece.  So I think I will have to visit them again soon.

Anyhow, just as things always go, I had to change out some of my original components due to how the piece lays while worn, and for compositional issues.  

I am very happy with how it turned out.

I even made matching earrings!!!!

If you want to see what everyone else made, hop over to Love my Art Jewelry and check out the links posted.  I am sure there will be lots of great creative eye candy and inspiration this morning!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Bead Fest 2016 Here and Gone in a Flash

Bead Fest was so much prep- weeks of making beads, and painting beads and sealing beads and pricing beads...................

Prepping for my class.................

and getting the house ready to leave the family for 4 days................

And then, this:

(settling into my room)

all the beads................all set up!

And then friends started rolling in.

Barb B. and Diana P. showing off their Staci Louise Luna Moth bags- great for bead show shopping !!

Suze Weinburg stopped by (blurry pic by my son!!) and bought some fun and unique beads to play with

Kristie of Artisan Clay stopped by to chat and fondle beads- we even got to shop a bit together

(one of my helpers)

Yvonne of My Elements whose personality is as bright and colorful as her beads

Tracey Donoughe who's matte ceramic beads beg to be touched.  I ended up scoring a ton of beach stones from her this time around, see below in the "booty" portion of the blog

Nikki of Thornburg Bead Studio- who always has some amazing color combinations and textures- her new large urchin beads are a must have

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio - who had not just beads, but fun ring holders, felted art and other miniatures that are just divine

Diane Hawkey with her ceramic beads, and her house sculptures and pot heads.  I love her sense of modern art and whimsy!

And you will never believe who I ran into at Yvonne's booth!  My high school art teacher!!!!  We had so many smiles catching up.  I loved our art program at our high school and took it as a major, so I got to have art twice a day!  I learned as much there as I did my first year of art in college.  This was such an awesome surprise (what a small world it is!!!)

Marsha wore a necklace I made her using her beads, my beads and Nikki's beads all weekend.  I love keeping her adorned with jewelry to wear!!!!

...........................and there were so many more.  I am just happy I got the pictures I did.  Between gabbing, and selling and shopping its amazing I remembered to take any pictures!

I should have gotten a nice shot of my booth / class helpers together, Barb Bechtel and Amanda Leonhart.  They were priceless.  I could count on them to jump in and help customers when I was not there or got too gabby.
Here is a pic I stole from Amanda's page.  She could often be found covering for me when I wasn't there.

And here is a pic of Barb and I at a late night dinner after teaching class.  She was an excellent class helper and I couldn't have done it without her!

Our back corner, Diane Hawkey, Marsha Neal Studio, Nikki Thornburg Studio and me, have so much fun.  Great laughs, and our beads all go well together too.  

Diane Hawkey called us the "best bead squad ever"!  I could not agree more.

Thank you to everyone who stops by each year to support my business and allow me to make new and exciting things.  I look forward to the familiar faces, laughs and bead chat.

I did my own share of bead shopping of course.

Here is the score of beads I came home with.  I tried to be good, really!  but I really do go through the gemstones, and I needed some more colors of certain shapes.

ammonites and carnelian

Turquoise, amazonite, and lots of appatite

some more of these electroplated stone beads!!!  can't get enough of them- they go great with my gold rush beads

citrine nuggets with decent size holes, amazonite and pink opal- these are chunky and gorgeous

star bone beads, and dino-bone beads- i cannot keep these in stock

Golem Studio Beads- my first batch from them- excited to play

Antique brass beads from Hands of the Hills- these have such an amazing patina of time on them

Marsha Neal Studio Beads (I can never get enough of them)- love love love her colors and textures

Lucet's for weaving from Cooky Schock- haven't tried it yet, but plan to take them to the shore with me next weekend

gorgeous glass beads from Thornburg Bead Studio- do you think I like that yellow green????  So glad to get some of those gorgeous urchins!

I managed to steal some of Barb Bechtel's beads while she had them out at our bead swap!

These are gifts and I love them - cards of paintings by Shelley Graham Turner (aren't they great?  I love her work)

It was so nice to see Andrew Thorton and William working the Green Girl Studio booth.  I got my hands on some of Andrew's beads

I pawed through Diane Hawkey's beads until I found the "must have's"  That blue cat and the devil dog are my favorites!

I got double this amount of natural holey stones from Tracey Donoughe- I cannot wait to use them.  They all have natural holes in them

So, it was good shopping and I am really happy with my haul.  I can't wait to start playing with them!

In the meantime, I came home with lots of beautiful beautiful beads to share with all of you who didn't make it to Bead Fest.  I plan to have an online sale, on facebook here.  I will list some Monday night (August 29th) for those of you who work days, and I will list some Tuesday afternoon (August 30th) for those of you who work nights.  So stay tuned on my Facebook page for details!!!!!

My Painting on Polymer class went well, the students all made really cool pieces they can be proud of!  More on that in another post!

For now, I leave you with what they made!