Friday, May 30, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy

This weekend I thought I'd share my favorite designers who sell their wares on Etsy.  Since they're "my" favorites, they're mostly jewelry makers. I also have many favorites who make lovely purses, ceramics, paintings and other wonderful pieces, but since this is a jewelry blog, I thought I'd leave them at home on Etsy this weekend. The pictures are links to each individual shop/artist.

After you're done gazing at these lovlies, why not browse the offerings and find your own favorites. Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Post Publication Note: Etsy magically changes the photos whenever a new vendor is added to a Favorites list.  So the artists whose work is pictured in the post above are not necessarily the ones that were featured on May 30, 2008.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Enter Laughing!

 Maxwell Smart- Undercover Jeweler?

Ever wonder how on earth folks find out about competitions, calls for entry and opportunities for shameless self promotion?  

One way to get the goods delivered right to your inbox is to become a member of SNAGnet - the Society of North American Goldsmith's Yahoo! group.  As it states on the home page, the primary focus of SNAGnet is to publicize opportunities in the jewelry and metals field - including exhibitions; job listings; competitions; calls for entry; and other info.  You don't have to be a member of SNAG, but if you are you'll receive a stunningly produced quarterly magazine called Metalsmith.

Other sites where you'll find all the news that's fit to print (or a lot of it at any rate) are:

Art Competition List

Time to let your little light shine. Enter a competition or two, challenge yourself to submit a photo to Lark Books.  Learn the joy of seeing your name (and your work) in print!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What's New?

Such a great song.  Does anyone besides me remember the Linda Ronstadt version? What a thrill it must have been to perform with a band of that caliber.  My one remaining singing fantasy.

I came across some really interesting silk cocoons from Larkspur Funny Farm and had to order some "just because". I had no idea what I'd do with them, but they were just so intriguing, I needed to own them.

I've been doing a bit of riveting and decided to try one of the little beauties in a design I created for "Window on the World", a class I taught recently with Michelle Ross combining metal clay with polymer clay image transfers.

I layered a natural colored Indonesian silk cocoon skin over some olive green felt my friend Jacqui sent me from Asheville and captured both between two pieces of metal clay, one with a scroll shaped cut out, the other solid.  I used gold filled wire for the rivets and the pearl dangle, and soldered a scatter pin finding on the back (not necessarily in that order).

I'm really happy with the way it turned out.  I've used felt a couple of times before and now I'm convinced that fiber's a wonderful accent for my work. 

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Desire - Have a Seat

This post is about nothing else but the fact that I WANT this chair!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy

Kristin Lora - Brooch

Well, if yesterday's post with the link to my new shop wasn't enough Eye Candy for your weekend, check out Facere Gallery in Seattle, Washington and Moondance in my own neighborhood of Santa Monica, California.  

Jude Clark - Little Sparrow


Each of their online galleries offer work by a plethora of artists, so I know just these two will keep you extremely busy and inspire you to shut off the computer and create. 

Anthony Nak - Blue Topaz Earrings

Kristin Lora - Brush Pendant

Keep an eye out for connections, materials, closures and even packaging while you scan the pretties.  I was especially impressed with the goods from Dogeared at Moondance.  The jewelry itself is pretty simple, but the packaging makes a great presentation and really adds value to the line.

Jessica Calderwood - To Shave or Not To Shave

St. Kilda - Iris Crescent Necklace

The two galleries obviously have a different perspective on the artists they represent.  One displays work that is much more main stream and the other features studio artists who create one of a kind pieces.  I prefer the latter, but there is definitely a place in the retail world for the former.  Which do you like?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wanna go Shoppin'?

Well, it's a beautiful morning here in L.A. It rained last night and now it's cloudy, windy and gray after 90 degree weather last week. I love gray mornings. Anytime I wake up to overcast skies I feel like playing music. And taking direction from the lyrics. Let's go for a walk. And while we're out and about, let's go shopping.

I was up late last night getting my Etsy shop open !!!! Woo Hoo! I woke up early yesterday and took pictures until noon, then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening posting and writing descriptions.  Geez that's a lot of work.  But new adventures always take a lot of prep.  So what do you think?  I'm not sure I like the way the thumbnails look, and I warmed up many of the pictures too much - but I'm not redoing them.  I'll just change my background for future pics.  They look pretty in the bigger size. That's good enough. At least they're in focus.

I'm selling finished jewelry as well as components for other jewelry designers like you.  What I'm wondering is... should I have a separate shop for the components?  Haven't finished loading those in yet since I thought of that.  Thoughts anyone?

A Flikr "friend" of mine in Italy even hearted me already.  I feel like I'm on my way.  I'll probably have a mild panic attack whenever I get my first order, but that's the price of doing business.  Nerves.  Wish me luck, take a look and leave a comment.  Your opinion means a lot to me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

What a Day This has Been...

Not my feet, but ain't they pretty?

... What a Rare Mood I'm In
Early this morning Paige picked me up and took me to the hospital for an appointment with my talented young surgeon Dr. Glauser. Now first of all - is anyone as amused as I am that his last name rhymes with Hauser?  As in Doogie? Anyway, he gave me my walking papers!!!  Huzzah! Let the news be read throughout the land, the wicked old walker at last is dead. Or at least closeted.  Can you tell I'm excited?

"The Blue Apothecary Bottle" by Janet Hill

On the way home, we stopped at my mail drop to discover that a lovely painting I'd ordered through Etsy during my long convalescence and subsequent boredom had arrived just in time to celebrate my renewed autonomy.  It's a little "pain and suffering" gift to myself.  I love it, don't you?

Pretty plate by Sandy Kreyer

Then I drove myself to get the car washed & waxed before hitting the grocery store for a little sushi treat. The best way to celebrate anything in my opinion.

When I got home, I started reading e-mail and surfing my blogs to discover from three separate sources that "Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry" by Tammy Powley has hit the shelves, and I'm happy to report that no less than four pieces of mine are featured in the gallery.  I haven't seen the book yet, but when I get it I'll write a review.  And yes, I'll be objective.

Dante's Beloved

Jean's Bead

Shield Earrings

Split Lentil

All of These Great Photos Are by Marsha Thomas

Monday, May 19, 2008

Add it to My Wish List...

Image via Jeffrey Rutzky

I have three different supply catalog wish lists. 

• One is for stuff that is actually needed but I'm waiting to compile a full order before I make the purchase

• Another consists either of duplicates of something I already have but would like to upgrade to a better quality version or things I don't own yet, would like to add to my collection but can't afford

• And finally I have a list of fantasy tools. Tools that I used in a class I enjoyed but don't really have room for and wouldn't use anyway (a hydraulic press comes to mind); those that I categorize as "cute" (a mini magnetic tumbler; a mini kiln that costs as much as a full size kiln; a mini lathe/buffing station that might actually fit in my apartment - even though I'm perfectly happy polishing with my Foredom) or tools I've read about that seem so cool I just want them. I want to play with them and create beautiful things with them and earn accolades from my peers and win awards. 

I've recently discovered a new tool that fits nicely into the last category.

Corollarium Argilla Argenteum - Dauvit Alexander

I took my own advice from the post entitled "Go Ahead, Make My Day" and spent some of my weekend hours going through each and every one of Dauvit Alexander's 1,251 Flickr photos. Not only that, but I read all the comments and descriptions of each and every photo.  I had a little time on my hands.  I got to a set called PMC Flowers in the Technical collection and stopped dead in my tracks.  I'd seen the project he made the flowers for before, but didn't bother to look at the process shots.  To create a particular design element Dauvit cut up PMC Paper/Sheet into little, tiny flower shapes and layered them together to create dimension. The result was lovely.  What I didn't know until I read Dauvit's comments is that he used a tool called a Craft Robo to cut them all out of a single sheet of Paper.  

Robo flowers

This miraculous machine will snip stickers, paper, magnetic sheet, and evidently metal clay into whatever shape and configuration you can dream up.  In other words, it can cut small, intricate shapes in just minutes which would be very difficult or mind numbing to do by hand.  Just imagine the possibilities. Design and easily cut completely original and unique sheet/paper embellishments. Use Mylar to create elaborate templates for slip printing or clay cutting dies. Make unbelievable pop-up elements.

At 15" x 6.3" and just about 5 pounds this little table top cutter may very well fit into my "cute" category.  It uses regular letter size media and has a registration mark sensor so you get perfectly aligned cuts every time.  It's a spendy dream machine at around $300.00, but the price may be right for the perfect project.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Carnival's Back in Town

                                          Image via Cathy Johnston 

This month's query is ~ What do you do to jump start or stretch your creativity?

It's a question that's particularly apropos to me right now and I'm actually quite tempted to skip to the part where I read everyone else's posts before I answer myself.

As you may (or may not) know I've been holed up in my apartment forever following a foot injury and have no partner or children to either distract or entertain me.  I'm definitely in the middle of a big, ugly case of artist's block due to the lack of stimulation here in my 500 sq. ft. world.

I've tried going to online galleries; I started this blog; I've updated my web site; I've completed a couple of pieces that have been floating around my studio for a year or more (very nicely if I do say so myself); I experimented with a new technique last week; I've done metal clay busy work (making granulation balls and such); I've had a couple of art play dates with Michelle and Paige; I taught a couple of classes.  I'm really trying to stretch the mental boundaries of my physical confinement - and one would imagine that all these attempts would have been enough to wake me up from my ennui.  But Noooooo.  I haven't had an original idea or a burning desire to create something new in ever so long.

I thought about taking part in the One-A-Week-Challenge that another group of jewelry artists is involved with, but it would have been hard to get interesting supplies considering my lack of mobility.  And it would have defeated the purpose of the exercise to ask friends to collect my specimens for me.  The minute I can get outside on my own though, I think I might join in their fun. Maybe I'll even do some of the previous challenges.  I like the way they're configured. They're based on challenges adapted from "Project Runway" ( a show I've never seen since I don't have cable).

I'm loving taking part in these Carnivals and they're certainly getting my creative juices flowing, but it's all been cerebral and I need to get physical.  I must inspire myself to set aside this electric juicer of a Mac computer for a few hours in favor of doin' a bit of squeezin' with my own two hands.  Because at the end of the day, creativity , - just like anything else in life - is a decision we can choose to embrace or ignore.

Don't leave the midway yet, there's lots more fun to be had if you visit the other Carny bloggers:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I'm Taking a Casual Poll!

And I'd love it if absolutely everyone who reads this will state their opinion.  You know you have one.

So, Almost every other blog I read is "printed" on crisp, white "paper". And of course, that makes me think I must be doing something wrong. So what do you, my readers, think? Is the layout of this blog too distracting? Colors too vibrant? Is the Italics font too difficult to read?Do you love it just the way it is? Would you rather I re-design it to match the rest of the blogosphere? I mean, there must be a reason for the uncluttered commonality of la page blanche.

To cast your vote simply click "comments" below and pen your preference. Many thanks in advance.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Breaking Up is Hard To Do...

... Or is it? You can concentrate on the bad times, or you can remember the good times. You have lots of things to remind you of happier days. A set of dishes you chose together when you started nesting, a lost sock, the lovely pendant he surprised you with. But even if you left each other with no ill will, maybe you don't want to hold on to the detritus of your failed relationship. That's where ExBoyfriendJewelry.Com comes to the rescue! I just heard about this site this weekend and it cracked me up. Love the pendant, but need the cash? Hate that damn brooch his Aunt Delia gave you last Hanukah? Why, just post an ad and add the winnings to your Stimulus Payment!

I wonder if folks are more willing to surf this site more than they are Ebay, Costco, or any other discount jewelry site because it appeals to their sense of vicarious vengence or just tickles their funny bone as it did mine. Do you think more guys are shopping here for their new loves or more girls in solidarity with their jilted sisters? Would you ever use their services? Have you thought about getting rid of jewels from a former beaux? Would you sell them, give them away to someone who'd appreciate them or melt them down and make something for yourself? I have a beautiful cameo floating around here somewhere, but it's been so long since the gift was given, and the last time I remember seeing it I just smiled when I remembered how excited he was to see me open the package. I'd hate to sell that memory.
This past weekend I had little cold in my nose, and since Michelle's hubby is recovering from a recent surgery, I was un-invited to the follow-up enamel play date. Understandably. We've re scheduled for next week. So instead I had a try at the slip printing technique Kelly Russell describes in PMC Technic. Too fun. Hard to tell from the photo, but it has a bit of a curve to it. I finished it up by colorizing it with some Prisma Color pencils and added a couple of pearls. I'm liking the way it turned out and have already thought of a few other designs I'd like to try using this method.   

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Go Ahead, Make My Day!

So, first  a little bit of  backstory.  I'm a former Luddite and a Luddite wanna-be-again.  I don't know about all these social networking things on the net.  I figure they're for the "young" people who grew up with the computer.  But when I was updating my Class Schedule blog (look for the link on the right) I wanted a way to put examples of class projects up so students would be excited about what they would learn.  I decided that a Flickr badge was just the thing, so of course I needed to open a Flickr account and actually post some of my photos.  Well, it was much easier than I thought (although I'm still not clear about the whole tag thing) and I'm really pleased with the way the badge turned out.  I even made one for this blog.  It's over there on the right and when I have enough blog photos for the magical Harry Potter type badge, I'll change it to that one.
So anyway, how surprised and pleasantly pleased was I yesterday when Christen Olivarez from Belle Armoir e-mailed me to say she had seen the photo of my chain on Flickr and invited me to write an article for the magazine!  Okay.  Now I'm convinced.  I guess strangers do surf all these sites.  I guess it is a good marketing tool.  I guess you can teach a middle aged dog a new trick or two. Huzzah!
I thought I'd continue with the Weekend Eye Candy theme I started last week.  This time let's have a look at some folks who totally understand the social networking sites.  I found out that Etsy has groups (I told you I'm not familiar with all the newfangled happenings on the web).  Well, I found this great blog by one of them.  It's going into the link list, but I wanted to feature it here too. Take a look at all the links to the members sites to see their inspirational work!

Another artist I'm really impressed with is Dauvit Alexander. He's a most amazing metalsmith who works in both metal clay and traditional metals. There are over a thousand pics on his Flickr page, so I know you'll be very happily occupied this weekend. (edit. Although Dauvit used PMC paper flowers to accent his "Corollarium argilla argenteum", most of his work combines iron and found objects with traditional metalsmithing.)
And may I take this moment to say Happiest of Mother's Day to all you mother's and daughter's out there!  Without our Mom's where would we be?!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Six Degrees of a Book Review

Paige came by today bearing gifts from my mail box.  In addition to a brand new magnetic tumbler from Rio (purchased after sending in my silver bits and pieces for refining), the nice people at Amazon sent the relatively new 500 Pendants & Lockets from Lark Books.  
Ellen Burr

Kathryn Wardill

                                                       Lisa Klakulak

I was thrilled to discover many photos of work by folks I actually know personally in some way. I've taken classes from both Cynthia Eid and Robert Dancik (pages 367 and 136 respectively); Wendy Wallin Malinow (pgs. 124 & 330) is a very good friend of my good friend Sherri Haab - so I feel like I know her; I actually own a "Wrapped Rock" by Patrik Kusek (pg. 189) and from pages 109 and 211, felt artist Lisa Klakulak's site is in the link bar to the right (my friend Jacqui from Asheville takes felting classes from her).  And please let's not forget to mention that my neighbor Ellen Burr (pg. 186) asked my fellow guild member Marsha Thomas to photograph her "Caged Porcelain", so I'm counting that one twice.  I've communicated with Aussie artist Kathryn Wardill about the whimsical work she's done with metal clay and little glass globules, but I guess it's pushing things to think that that counts towards the Six Degrees factor.
Patrik Kusik

Wendy Wallin Malinow

                                                         Cynthia Eid

At any rate, Pendants is yet another wonderful addition to Lark's 500 series of books.  It's beautifully laid out and printed of course, but more importantly it's filled with inspirational jewelry.  Lark's goal is to present beautifully photographed; cutting edge eye candy - and they certainly did themselves proud. Not all of it is wearable or commercial... much of it isn't in fact, but every piece is thoughtful, well considered and original.  
Robert Dancik

None of the photos I used in this post are from the book.  You'll have to ask the nice folks at your local bookstore to reserve a copy just for you!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I'm Baaack!

Just a short note to say.. I haven't lost it afterall.  I thought I might have after so long, but it's like that same bicycle everyone talks about.  You never forget.  My class went really well and the students were all successful.  As an added bonus there wasn't a single one of THOSE students.  The ones who need constant hand holding.  They were all lovely and never laughed once at my scooting around in a roll-y chair.  And of course I couldn't have done it without Paige, who lugged and toted and set up and broke down and drove 25 miles each way and is willing to do it all again tomorrow.  How's that for friendship!
Happy Sunday Y'all!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho - It's Off to Work I Go!

The weekend is coming up and I'm preparing for my first classes in two and a half months.  I have Intro classes both Saturday and Sunday and they're each full!  Huzzah!  A full class for me is 12 students, so I'm really coming back full force.  I expect to be comatose on Monday. Luckily my friend Paige, who has been taking such good care of me during this trying time, is assisting me.  She'll be driving, lugging, toting and helping me set up the room.  I'll just position myself at the front of the class and perform my teaching duties from there.  I'm still using the walker, so going from student to student will be tricky for the next month.
While I'm away, I thought I'd leave you with some visual eye candy to inspire your creative inclinations.  As artists I think we all collect websites of individual jewelry makers that we admire, but I really like to visit sites that feature a variety of artists.  Some are more commercial and others focus on studio jewelry.  These are just a few of my favorites.  As you browse, why not listen to an interview with Robert Dancik, Tim McCreight, Barbara Becker Simon or one of the other talented artists who have been featured on CraftCast?  

Craft Boston - Sort by media type / jewelry 

And if you hadn't noticed in the side bar...

Have a lovely weekend!  See you on Monday.