Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Round of Applause!


   I had arrived at my art show for the day, unpacked my vehicle and found a parking space. My vehicle is a compact Chevy, which you would think easy to slide right into that parallel parking space on the curb in the heart of downtown. But no, I am apparently parallel parking challenged. I line up next to the car in the space ahead, then slowly back up while turning the wheel. Sure enough my little car goes in to the space at the correct angle. It’s just not close enough to the curb and much too far from the car ahead of me. No problem, redo. Up, back, adjust the angle, back, back, okay now forward, okay back, back, then forward, turn wheel a little bit, no too much, now back, angle is off, adjust, okay forward, then back,  now tweek, adjust, check the mirror. Oh dang I am right on the curb and way too close to the guy behind me. Re-do. (Jeesh, good thing no one is watching.) Finally after about ten minutes of up, back, angle, up and back I manage to land my little vehicle in the perfect space where it is neither intrusive or obtrusive. 
      As I am getting out to head over to the show, I hear cheers and applause coming from above.  I look up to the third story of the high rise I had just parked in front of, realizing that I had an appreciative audience watching every move! Embarrassed but encouraged by their applause, I did my best curtsy and went my way. 

      It would be nice sometimes to hear that applause and those cheers coming from above, to keep us encouraged about the work we do that nobody sees. When we’re chugging away at our artwork in the studio and start wondering things like “Who the heck is going to want this?” or “What was I thinking when I painted this?” Or, worse yet, when the excitement for our craft starts to wane and we have a lull or mental block. Or, the worst anti-inspiration offender of all: discouragement comes to pay a visit and doesn’t want to leave. 

      I remember talking to a friend who is a store manager for a large department store. I mentioned that I have have an art studio in the country. He said sadly “I wish I had an art studio in the country.” At that moment, as at many, many other times, I realized how what I have is but a pipe dream for many people. Because of my friend’s work responsibilities and urban lifestyle, he would in no way have what I have in terms of a space to make art. And yes, I love my country studio, and the work I produce in there. Still, there are times the inspiration, the motivation, the encouragement dries up and blows away like a tumbleweed. Then what do I do?

1. Breathe. Just getting away from your work for a breather can allow you to have a fresh clean perspective when you return. Don’t worry, it will all still be there waiting for you when you’re ready.

2. Organize your space. Nothing zaps inspiration quicker than clutter. Reclaim your space and dedicate it to your art. 

3. Learn something new. Research a new material, technique, or process. Or put new colors out on your palette. 

4. Remember what used to excite and inspire you as a kid, and do that again. For me it was those pure inviting cakes of watercolor paint in the tins. It was playing in the wooded lot next door to my childhood home. So now I do watercolor paintings of woods! 

5. Put it out there. Nothing is more gratifying to me as a professional artist than a customer happily giving me good money for something I made. A juried art show, a gallery show, a studio open house, or whatever it is you do that gets your work out there is the best “applause meter” you can have for that otherwise very private part of your life: your art. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Show schedule for 2017

To my loyal followers and future fans, here is where you can find me in the coming weeks. 

After surviving strong wind gusts and damp chilly air in Palmer Park last weekend, I am happy to report that my booth as well as my inventory is intact and ready to do it again! I hope to see you soon at one of these venues: 

May 20th          Brick Street Market, Zionsville IN

June 3 & 4        Butchertown Art Fair, Louisville KY

June 17 &18     Talbot Street Art Fair, Indianapolis (waitlist)

July 7 -9           Art in the Park, Ft Wayne In 

July 29 & 30      Glenview Art Fair, Glenview IL

August 11-13     Salt Fork Art Festival (waitlist)

Sept. 16 &17     Park Forest Art Fair, Park Forest, IL 

Sept. 22- 24       Funky Ferndale, Ferndale, MI

Oct. 7               Monument Circle Art Fair, Indianapolis IN

Nov. 11              Deja Vu, Columbus, IN

Feel free to visit my online shop, where I am offering 20% your purchase or order. Just type “ARTPARTS111” in the coupon code.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Parts of Parts of Art

     If you were to come to one of my shows, you may hear me refer to the jewelry pieces as collages of "all kinds of stuff from my studio.”

And that is an accurate statement. After all, they are called Parts of Art, and they originated from the stuff in my studio. 

Here is one of my favorite Parts parts, and the story behind it.

      I occasionally make cards and frameable art pieces that involve hand stamped verbiage. The process is wonderful and fun, because the letter stamps have a uniqueness to them that adds to the one of a kind nature of my work. When I am stamping, I keep a piece of paper on hand to practice the stamp before applying it to the art. This paper becomes a story in itself, full of letters that spell nothing but look pleasing and random.
    Because our art studio is out in the country, and because we had not yet plugged all the holes left from the years before we moved back here, sometimes unwanted visitors would venture in at night. One night, one such visitor came in, dipped his paw in my watercolor water container, then walked across my work table, leaving his signature paw print on my practice page. (He left his mark in a few other ways that are unspeakable.)

      So now this page is part of the story of my studio life. It is, like everything else I use, one of a kind. It does find its way into my jewelry pieces. I have made copies of the page, painted it, glazed it, embellished it, and even added resin to it. 

These pieces and more are available at my store at

Monday, March 6, 2017


     Greenery is the Pantone color of the year for 2017. Why is this exciting? According to Pantone spokeswoman Beatrice Eiseman, 

“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the hope we collectively yearn for amid a complex social and political landscape. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate, revitalize and unite, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.”

This Spring and Summer, Greenery will be showing up in fashion, jewelry and home decor. It is the must-have color for the season.
Here are some jewelry options for you:

Forest Floor cuff bracelet

Green earth dangles 

Spring green dangles 

Want to see more about Pantone? 

Here’s a colorful trip down memory lane for those of you who have lived at least four decades
PANTONE the Right Color: 40 Years of Color
Pantone looks back at four decades of color and
culture on the occasion of its 40th anniversary.
It reflects the influences of world events, politics, art, media, fashion and music. From the avocado and harvest gold of the '70s to the pink that echoes today's hopes for a rosier world, color punctuates our memories and scores our emotional lives.
For 40 years, Pantone, Inc. has been recognized as the global authority on color. Clients the likes of Apple, IBM, Mattel, Nike, Pottery Barn, Liz Claiborne, Whirlpool and KitchenAid rely on Pantone's color prophecies to make million-dollar product development decisions.
The Pantone Color Institute® tracks color trends and produces semiannual forecasts for fashion and home. Here, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Institute, recounts the major color trends of the last four decades, along with the cultural influences that impacted them.
Youth culture erupted in the '60s, and sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll were the (dis)order of the day. From Swinging London to Haight-Ashbury, Mod to Mondrian, and Jimi Hendrix to Janis Joplin, music and psychedelic drugs turned people onto color. Timothy Leary influenced the fashion scene as much as Mary Quant. Fashion models and photographers were becoming as important as designers, and Twiggy emerged as the face of 1966.
The recession of the 1970s brought a retreat into safe, sober earth colors, and the dreaded "A" word of both fashion and interior designers -avocado- had the American consumer in a full nelson, especially in the kitchen. African-Americans became more aware of their heritage and adopted native African patterns and colors, which were, again, earth tones. Disco was crowned king, and in the fashion world, no one was hotter than Halston, with his luxurious Ultrasuede® pantsuits and decadent Studio 54 lifestyle.
The economic upturn of the '80s heralded a return to vibrant color. Christian Lacroix and Jean-Paul Gaultier's extravagant fashion cacophonies validated flamboyant color at the highest taste level, and women flooded the workforce with glamour, sporting big Dynasty-inspired shoulders and hair.
With the advent of MTV, kids saw and mimicked what pop stars like Michael Jackson and Madonna were wearing. Following Brooke Shields's provocative commercial for Calvin Klein jeans, supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista emerged as the seraphim of fashion. Nancy Reagan's signature red became popular, later giving way to Barbara Bush blue. Toward the end of the decade, Giorgio Armani's sophisticated neutrals provided Yuppies with a quieter alternative to all-out glitz.
Meanwhile, in the home, designers flipped the color chart for consumers who had OD'd on avocado and spice tones, and America became mad for mauve.
The economic downturn at the end of the '80s became an opening for the dirtied colors of Seattle's "grunge" movement in the early 1990s. In the middle of the decade, the digital revolution with its promise of outrageous amounts of money was reflected in the eye-popping colors of the iMac®. Urban street styles, body piercing and tattooing became mainstream among young culture. Green, a color that became important with the environmental movement of the '60s, hit its vibrant zenith in the '90s with lime green and chartreuse.
Minimalism became a strong influence at the end of the '90s, as evidenced by Jil Sander's fashions and Calvin Klein's Zen-influenced home collections. As the dotcoms began to crumble and the Millennium Bug threatened, people were feeling the need to stop and escape. Spas boomed and designer water abounded. These influences led Pantone to pronounce Cerulean Blue, the color of sea and sky, "the Color of the Millennium."
The minimalist influence continued into the new century. Today, big ticket items have retreated into neutral or deeper colors, but it is the perfect time to bring touches of color into the home with accessories and small appliances, allowing consumers to enjoy color without spending a great deal. Yet neutral does not equal boring - all grays, beiges and taupes are not created equal, and even white has hundreds of subtle variations.
Eiseman is the author of Colors for Your Every Mood and the PANTONE Guide to Communicating Color, as well as The Color Answer Book (Capital Books), due out in the fall.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The moxie and mojo of earrings

      I have a reputation for earrings. If I ever show up without them on, I am just not dressed and something is terribly wrong.

   I remember once when I was to speak before a large group. One of my friends was in the audience, one who always looked forward to seeing what earrings I would be wearing. We were doing volunteer work at a farm, and I would show up wearing earrings even if I was raking leaves or painting walls. So as I took my place at the podium, I reached into my pocket and dramatically pulled out and put on a rather bodacious pair of earrings. Looking straight at my friend Mario, I said, “Okay, now I can begin.”

      To me, that is the importance of earrings. They not only complete the look, they are the look. The finishing touch. The expression of the moxie and mojo within.  Without them, something is missing, and I can’t possibly go into my day complete. 


      One morning at my job at the fine jewelry counter of a major department store, a woman came in to return a pair of earrings. They were what I would consider an average, common looking size and shape. But to her, they were too much. She was just too timid to wear them, not being a personality that wanted to attract attention. The thing is, she kept saying how much she loves them and wanted them. I had her try them on, and as soon as she did she looked complete. Attractive. Had just the right razzle dazzle. If only she would see herself that way!

    In the process of helping her, I took off my earrings, (which are so long they touch my shoulders) so she could see the difference. She had already commented that I have a sassy hairdo and that’s why the earrings work for me. When I took them off, she said “Wow your hair is not nearly as sassy as I thought!” Okay, so, in my case the earrings complete the look, but there’s something more. You gotta already have the moxie, then the earrings simply express it. No moxie, no expressing. She clearly lacked the moxie for earrings. 

So, in honor of the importance of earrings and moxie and mojo, I present to you some of my personal favorites and their wearers. 

 Alexander Calder earrings 

                                             minimalist mojo


So what fits your style and expresses your moxie? Simple and elegant? Bold and tribal? Minimalist or over the top? Or a blend of all the above? 
It’s a new year, and a great time to find your perfect earrings!

Friday, December 2, 2016

What Do You Do After Season?

     It took me a few long cold winters to get used to life in the Midwest, after living in Florida and doing the show circuit there for 25 years. In the south, shows start up in September and wind down in April, and by then it's too hot. In the north, it’s just the opposite: May to October, and after that it's too dang cold.
      I know there are road gypsies out there that can pull off the year-round art show circuit, and I tip my hat to them. As for me and my house, I am glad to have my in season as well as my off season. It helps me stay organized with my work and stay focused on production.

      So here’s my plan for what I lovingly refer to as “winter work":
1.    Make a new show piece or two for the coming year. This for me is the project that gets me in work mode. Coming up with a new show piece takes sketching, designing, contemplating, and planning. The whole process requires that I get my ducks in a row. The show piece needs to be similar yet different from my previous show pieces. Judges of juried art shows look for a harmonious body of work that looks like it’s made from the same artist “DNA”.

  2. Revamp the inventory I have left from last season. Every piece is fair game to be dismantled, repurposed, tweaked, upcycled into some new and current wearable masterpiece. Attack this with vigor and be resolute and decisive. Don’t get sentimental about keeping favorite pieces. It can be cathartic to tear old stuff up and make it new.


3. Check out the hot Pantone colors for the New Year. The new colors are announced in September, and designers utilize the Pantone colors in their lines. A dominant color for 2017 is called Niagara, and is a denim-like blue. Then there is a great red-orange called Flame, which is gregarious and fun-loving. I find that staying with the Pantone palette helps me stay in the lane of what my customers want. That being said.....

4.  Embrace nature's color combinations. I use the seasonal palettes for all my inventory. Even my Etsy store is categorized into the four seasons. Autumn’s palette is warm and muted, like mustard yellow and ruddy red.  Winter is cool and clear; its colors are jewel tones and pure. Spring is warm and clear, like pink and yellow and lime green. Summer is cool and muted. Think grayed down lavender and cool sage green. Why do these color combinations work? Hey, I didn't write the book, or design creation, but the Creator did, and I think it makes sense to imitate Him.

5.   Make lots of components. For me that means rolled paper beads in the seasonal color combinations, painted pieces of canvas, hammered copper toggles, textured handmade papers, and all shapes and sizes of clay beads. Making the component parts ahead of time is an artful experience in itself, and once I am in production mode on jewelry I don’t have to stop the creative process to make  the perfect bead or toggle. It’s already done.

6.   Commit to learn a new technique or application. Last year for me it was learning to make resin over copper forms. Before that it was enameled paper beads. This year my new endeavors will include using a torch and copper wire, as well as a leather stitching machine for leather cuff bracelets.

7.    Put yourself on a production schedule. The only thing that's gonna scratch that creative itch is to make your art!! So figure out a workable schedule that keeps you in forward motion. Pretend it’s your job and you have to clock in, if that’s what it takes for you to produce.

8.    Have a dedicated work space that is specifically for making your art. Don't let it get cluttered with non-art-making parts of life. There's other places for all that. It doesn’t matter if it's a card table in the corner of your kitchen or a whole studio inside a pole barn out in the country (for which I fought long and hard).  Just have that space where you can make your art and then go make it.

9.    Rethink, repair, restore the booth. The booth is just as important as the artwork. Your acceptance into juried art shows totally depends on the four or five jury images you submit, as well as your artist statement. Those four or five images are what the judges utilize to decide your fate! And one of the four images is your booth! Time spent improving and maintaining the booth is definitely time well spent. Imagine how awesome it would be to start your new season with a whole new booth! Make it happen!

10. Lastly, although perhaps most important, is to mentally picture yourself and your artwork in your upcoming shows. I love, love, love doing shows and meeting the people who purchase my art.  When I am in off season, I visualize being at the shows. I picture the new pieces I will have on display, and people’s reaction to the work. I imagine new styles, color combinations, designs on display. I picture  the right people coming into the booth and finding the perfect piece, the piece I made for them before I ever met them. I even picture how I am going to package their piece and hand it to them! Playing it out in my mind helps to keep me focused and productive. It gives me fuel and motivation to keep plugging away at the winter work for weeks and weeks.

So, now that I’ve put in words how I plan to spend my time, it’s off to the studio for winter work!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Aliens and Autumn palettes

      So you know it’s autumn in Indiana when you happen to see one of these guys. It is a praying mantis, called that because they appear to be praying when in repose. This one however, was not praying. We noticed as we got in closer for a good look with our handy smart phones that this poor guy is missing a front leg. No wonder he can’t strike the praying pose! However,  he did seem to be posing for a photo shoot,  so I kept getting closer and snapping pictures until, BAM! It flew right at my face!! And no, I did not get that moment on film, I was too busy shrieking and dropping my camera and nervously laughing and saying “OMG he scared the crap out of me” to get that on film.

      A fun fact about the praying mantis is, although it is a carnivorous predator, it will not harm a human. Whew, that’s good to know, because they are lightening fast when their little alien body comes flying at you.

    I appreciate how the praying mantis is colored with the hues of autumn. It’s a built-in camo suit, so he can fit in to his autumnal environment and thrive. 
    So speaking of the hues of autumn, here are some other palette choices that will help you thrive with the season.

These can be found on my Etsy store,  along with lots of other autumnal treasures.