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Showing posts from 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 …

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-…

The Making of a Show piece

Earlier this month I made the decision to compete. The competition is for a monetary prize that will be awarded in an upcoming show. This is an art show in which I have participated for the last three years, and, for me, the awards are fairly substantial. I am not usually one to go after awards, but I figure I’m going there anyway, so I might as well compete. 
    The other motivator for me is that I need a new jury image or two. Somewhere along the line I learned that jury images need to show a constistency; the pieces need to look like they are all from the same DNA, so to speak. I have had a concern that my jury images are too dissimilar, and someday I need to make them more cohesive. 
       So someday arrived this week. I had three days off work, so I scheduled studio time to design and build a show piece that 1) could possibly win a prize, and 2) be photographed for a jury image for next year’s shows. 
       I thought I would show you some photos of the work in progress, as w…

Just can’t wait to get in my studio...

My dear sister recently reminded me that of us three children, I was the one who was most content to stay inside and color while my siblings craved being outside.  Okay, she was right. I remember being 6 or 7 and spending time in the closet. And by closet I  mean the toy closet, so it was a cool place to hang out. But I wasn’t in there just to play with toys; it was mostly to make art. Once a friend of my mom’s came for a visit and her young daughter was with her, so the girl came into the closet with me and we made jewelry out of newspaper. Go figure, it was fun! 

       Now don’t get me wrong. I spent plenty of time outside. We lived at the end of  long dead-end street. Between our house and our neighbors there was a vacant wooded lot, across the street there were two vacant wooded lots, and behind our home was a huge open field.

      It really was the perfect place to grow up and be outside. My sister and I were bona fide “daughters of the woods”. The outside world, in our own neigh…

Another perfect match

It was a summer art show in southern Indiana. We were set up in an open field in a park on a very hot muggy weekend. There was not a great turn-out of visitors, and those that did come were just too damn hot to try on jewelry. The artists in the booths next to me and across from me were grumbling, as artists tend to do when it’s not the perfect show. I spent my time drinking large quantities of water, cooling myself with cold washcloths, and doing my best to not give in to the negative vibe around me.
      And then along came this wonderful lady, all sunshine and smiles. She took a real interest in my jewelry and wanted to see everything I had in her color choices. She seemed oblivious to the heat. For the next 30 minutes or so she tried on and oohed and ahhed over several pieces, ultimately deciding on a bracelet and two pairs of earrings. 
      Once again, it was as though I had made the pieces just for her before we met! 
       In my studio, I squirrel away for hours on jewelry p…

Taking it on the road

I always tell folks when they purchase a kit from me to send me a picture of the finished earrings and I will post it on my blog. I even tell people that they will be FAMOUS!! ( to all 5 people who read my blog!) So occasionally I get pictures of the earrings that are made from the kits. Here is the latest entry, and here’s the story of the artist: 

      This past June I was set up at the Old Mill Festival in Noblesville, Indiana. Across from my booth was a very cute, very old school camper that was artfully decked out and looked inviting. I had to go check it out. What I found was two lovely ladies that have taken their passion for art and their love for teaching on the road. 
Look at what they’re doing!!

      How fun is that?! I want to take one of their classes just so I can hang out in the cool camper with kids! 

     I love that one of the ladies made earrings from one of my kits, and that she only used a little bit of the stuff in the kit. I wonder what she will do with the …

Chaos vs. Order in the Artistic Process

In my art I use a lot of stuff, and by stuff I mean paper, beads, canvas, leather, wood, clay, and of course the requisite dried slices of acrylic paint. I have a wonderful work area devoted to  jewelry making, and as soon as I sit down at my work table I can dive right in to the work of making new pieces. In the artistic process there tends to be much shuffling of stuff. It is easy to  get so involved in this process that the work area becomes a chaotic mess of stuff. 

    There comes a time in my work process that I simply need to 
stop, put everything back in order, and start up again. Curiously, I  find that this brief time of setting things back in order is also the time when I get my best ideas and inspiration. It’s like getting a breath of fresh air. Once that occurs, I am eager to dive in and start the work all over again.

     I know artists who seem to thrive amidst the chaos of their work. For them it’s "the messier the better." I know other folks who won't ev…

Words and colors

I am a huge fan of words and the many shades of meaning between words. I also love to describe and name my art pieces according to their color group. This is why I was delighted to find a lovely chart called the color thesaurus by Ingrid Sandberg.

     Seeing the color thesaurus brings up the question “ why would I describe a jewelry piece as white when I could paint a imaginative image in the reader’s mind if  I call it eggshell, porcelain or chiffon? After all, if you’ve ever strolled the aisle of paint colors you know there are a zillion shades of white.

     Once a friend asked if I would come help her decide a color to have her living room painted. Being a student of color and an ambitious professional artist, I agreed to meet her in her home. All the way over to her house I was drilling my mind with everything I could remember about colors and their psychological effects. I got to her house and she showed me the room, then presented several swatches of paint samples she had con…

Fish bowl vs. privacy

"The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing......and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they're doing, and they love it in front of other people" Fred Rogers

   That must be why successful artists are always looking for their next show. That’s where they get to love it in front of others.

I personally really love and look forward to my upcoming shows for that very reason. It's my time to tell my story! 

     I often thought in making my art, that I need to work in a "fish bowl" where people could see me work. Of course the other side of this coin is the need to work in my private studio, which is where most of the work gets done.

      I once had a shop that was about the size of a large closet, which was also a fish bowl of sorts. It was 1988 and hand painted clothing was popular. In the front of the shop, right across from…

Harmony 101

Harmony, that wonderful balance when there's not too little, not too much, when visually it's just right.  At times it eludes us, and we have to get back to the basics.  So here it is: Harmony 101

Do it Yourself!

I have these fun little kits I sell at my art shows. They  each contain everything you need to make one pair of earrings. Actually there is more than enough parts and pieces, because I like to give you lots of options.
     The kits come with a link to a video where you can see how to make them.

  Whenever I sell one of these kits, I tell my customer that if they will send me a picture of the finished earrings, I will post them on my blog and they'll be FAMOUS  (to all 10 people that read my blog!)
Finally, someone took me up on it. Drum roll please.......  Here's what she sent: 

      So a big thank you to Ginlee from Etsy who is now a famous jewelry maker!       The kits are packed with beads, canvas, paper, acrylic paint films, fabric, leather, and findings. I pack them myself, so each kit is actually one of a kind. I’m just giving you the stuff; it’s up to you what you do with it. Here’s some available to order: