Friday, December 5, 2008

Crystal Charms

I'm hosting a swap with my Charmsters group. The theme is "Crystal Twins," and the idea is to make two matching charms, using some kind of crystal. I used Swarovski crystals and some others. I like the idea of matching crystals with metal. I used brass and copper metals, and some sterling chain.

Latest Collage

Just so you don't think I'm only doing jewelry right now, let me tell you about my latest collage. When I signed up for the Fall Fling art festival, I decided to go all out and submit something for the poster contest. Well, I didn't win, but here's the collage I did for it. I prepared a wooden board using gesso, then painted with acrylics. I added oil pastels and charcoal pencil. The photos are color copies, and I added oil pastels to some of them. The whole picture is sealed with a clear gloss spray.

The theme was "Wild Things." I took photos of wild things around my home in Florida. Wild animals, wild plant life. The dolphin is semi-wild, since he lives at the Miami Seaquarium. We watched the dolphin show, then stayed around to take more pictures. This time of year we have mild weather, with lots of sun, so it's a great time to get some wonderful pictures. Here are some other photos I took that day.

This last photo is of a wild iguana outside. In South Florida, there are areas that have huge populations of these reptiles. I guess people had them as pets, then when they got too big, just released them outside. Since they're not native to this area, they have no natural predators. There's a neighborhood down south that is so overrun by them, that they call it Jurassic Park. So far, our neighborhood doesn't have any. But we do have a "Jesus lizard" living in our front garden. That's the kind that runs away when frightened on its back two legs, standing up. He's so skittish, I haven't been able to snap a picture of him.

My First Art Festival

Well, I did it. I entered my first outdoor art festival, displayed and sold my jewelry, and was a success. The weather was beautiful, and we had a good turnout. I sold quite a few pieces on Saturday. Sunday, however, was another story. Lots of people looked, but not many were buying. At the end of the weekend, I was pleased with the results since Saturday was such a good day. Would I do a show again? Absolutely. But maybe I'll pick a show that's bigger; this had only about 30 artists' booths. At least I can say now that I've done one. I shared a booth with another artist, but next time I'll go solo. I over-prepared for this one, and had so much jewelry to show that it looked a little crowded on my one table. Here are some photos.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Latest Jewelry

I had some friends over the other night, and we did some beading together. I've wanted to do a wire and bead necklace for awhile, and I finally made it happen. This necklace is made entirely with 18 guage wire. You cut a length of wire, then twist and bend it to the shape you want. The beads are Italian glass, given to me by my neighbor who bought them on a vacation in Venice. I love the bright colors, but what's really interesting is their size. Usually I'll use one large bead like this as a focal point, but I like the idea of using them all in one necklace. I'll be offering this for sale at the Wellington Fall Fling this weekend.

The Fall Fling is an outdoor art show hosted by the Wellington Art Society. I recently became a member of this group, and am jumping in by participating in my first art show. I've been making jewelry every day for the past month! Here's another one of my metal creations. This pendant is made from bronze and copper sheets and is wrapped with copper wire, and held by silver wire. I love the mixture of materials.

I used raku pottery beads in this necklace, and highlighted them in copper. I raku pottery takes on interesting colors while it is fired, and you're not sure of the colors until it cools.

This next necklace is a combination of glass and ceramic beads.

This final necklace combines it all -- raku beads, glass, ceramic, and copper. I made the pendant first, and sat on it for a month or so until I found the right beads to go with it. I love long, bold pieces like this. I hope the people of Wellington like bold pieces as much as I do!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Jewelry

I'll be showing my jewelry at the Wellington (Florida) Fall Fling the weekend of November 22. I've been busily making more jewelry, and have posted a few photos here. I'm experimenting with some metal pieces, and I'm also experimenting with my photography. Hopefully my photos will show you the deep colors that I'm using.

For this necklace I used colored freshwater pearls and made a free form silver wire holder for a ceramic focal bead.

This necklace uses Swarovski crystals and Swarovski pearls. If you've never tried these pearls for jewelry making, you should seek them out. The wide range of colors are vibrant, hold some shine, and the color doesn't wear off. You can tell the quality and workmanship of Swarovski is behind them.

I've combined ceramic and glass beads in this necklace, and I've accented it with gold beads. This is a little bit of a departure, since I mostly work in silver, but since I'll be showing this at an art show, I need to satisfy the gold lovers!

One of my favorite mediums is metal, and you can see that in this copper pendant. The copper sheet has been cut, textured with a hammer, and folded. The dangle is a cut brass disk.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Art & Soul Portland

The first week of October I traveled to Portland, Oregon for my second visit to Art & Soul. Art & Soul is an amazing week full of art classes taught by artists from all over the United States (and some from other countries). You get to choose which day-long class you take each day, from a list of jewelry, journaling, assemblage, collage, painting and drawing classes. I use this trip as an opportunity to learn new techniques, work in different mediums, and try something I've never tried before. But the fantastic part of this trip is the people you meet. Since I went last year, I've "met" a lot of people through internet groups and have trades charms with them, swapped art, and worked on round robin art projects. I couldn't wait to meet these internet friends in person. This is the event where you need to be outgoing, uninhibited, and not be afraid to try something new or walk up to a stranger and introduce yourself. And so I would say, my trip was a success. I met and talked to about a hundred people. I learned new art techniques. I made some funky, interesting art -- if a year ago someone would have said I'd make some art like this, I would have said, you're crazy. So here's some of the art I made in Portland Art & Soul 2008.

I took Nina Bagley's class, Gatherings, on the first day. In that class we were attaching 3-D elements, pictures and dangles to old book covers. (I never thought I'd be ripping a cover off a book for art. But I guess that's what garage sales are for!) I learned how to use a Japanese screw punch, and how to work with mica. Mica had seemed very mysterious to me, not simply because I couldn't find it in any of my local stores. Now I've got my own stash of it, and will be adding it to jewelry and collage projects. Here are the "pages" I did in the Gatherings class.

Last year I took the class Vintage Metal Treasure Deck with Leighanna Light. I loved her techniques, teaching style, and most importantly, her personality. I took a class from her this year, too, called Funky Found Object Canvas Village. In this class, we used canvas, which we painted, collaged, then covered it all in gel medium, then painted again. The difficult part came because we were trying to get gel medium to try in a short period of time. It goes on opaque, but takes up to 24 hours to turn clear. It was dry enough to paint over, but we couldn't really see our collage work underneath to guide us. I went heavy on the final paint, and ended up obscuring a lot of my collage. But I liked the technique a lot, and admire the final results that Leighanna created, so I will do it again. Here is one I made in class.

My last day I took Lisa Kaus' class Be Still My Beating Heart. In this class we painted on wood (after she had primed it for us), added oil pastels and colored pencils, attached 3-D elements, then covered the whole thing in wax to protect it. Everyone did a tremendous job on their projects. This was a good way to end the week, with a great work of art to hang in my home. Here it is.

Monday, September 29, 2008

12 Hours 'til Portland

It's 8:00 at night, and I've just finished my last piece of art I'm bringing to Portland Art & Soul. I leave at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, so I do have a little time left to pack now. The attendees of Art & Soul were given an unglazed pottery fish plate, to do with what we will. The idea is to decorate it, then bring it to Portland to display for all to see. I got the idea to break it into pieces and make multiple works of art. They all fit down in a decorated cigar box, decorated with the "By the Sea" theme. Here are some pictures of the box.

When the box is opened, you can see all the mini artworks I did with the pieces of the fish.

I made a blue pendant on black cord from the tail; a couple small greenish pieces wrapped in silver to make a bracelet; a black pendant with aged metal chain for a necklace; a red piece with a black piece that lifts up to reveal a book; a hanging piece made from five individual pieces, and collaged; and a red piece wrapped in beads, on a box, enclosing a set of silver-wrapped earrings.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Calendar Round Robin

When I went to Portland Art & Soul last year, I met so many wonderful women, all amazing artists. At that point, I hadn't done much with journaling, but I had done some collage. After Portland, I was ready to try anything. I joined an online group, the Calendargirlz, and signed up to do a calendar round robin for the year. I had no idea what it was, and it took me awhile to understand what the project was, but I was game for it. The quick summary is: each of 12 artists choose and purchase an engagement calendar for the next year. Most of them have two-page spreads per week, which gives you 8 pages to work on for the month. The calendars are mailed to the next name on the list, and that woman decorates the pages for the current month, using paint, ink, fabric, ribbons, buttons or whatever. Then you journal on it -- writing as little or as much as you want, about whatever you want. At the end of the month, you send it to the next name on the list, and you'll receive someone else's calendar to work on. Since we're at the end of the year, I now have the last calendar in my hands. I've worked on everyone's calendar, and will be receiving my filled, decorated calendar, back at the end of next month. I haven't seen my calendar in 11 months. I know it will be wonderful! Then it is mine to keep. Here are some pages I've done in other artists' calendars.

Portland Trades

I'm heading to Portland, Oregon on Tuesday to attend the Art & Soul retreat. While there, I'll be taking classes from Nina Bagley, Richard Salley, Michael deMeng, Lisa Kaus and Leighanna Light. This is my second year going to Portland A&S. I love meeting all the other artists, and finding out what they make and how they get it out there. I'll break the ice by asking to trade with someone. Last year I wasn't shy, and traded about 40 items. This year, I've made over 100 trades to take with me. About half are charms and half are ATC's. Here are some of the ATC's I made, with the By the Sea theme. Most were done on a base of an old Palm Beach County post card, so the backs have pictures of palm trees and the ocean. The fronts were painted or inked. I rubber stamped fish on some, from a gyotaku stamp by Fred B. Mullett. Some have ribbons, yarn, or tags. Here they are.

I have a date with a group of artists I swap charms with throughout the year while I'm in Portland. We'll be meeting up to do trades in the evening. Again, I went with the By the Sea theme, and I made charms that are stamped with a fish, and have a shell and bead dangle.

Each of the women from the charmsters group will also get their own ATC. I made these on water color paper covered with a few different colors of ink. The seahorse stamp is another one from Fred B. Mullett.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some of My Jewelry

I've been quite productive lately, making a lot of jewelry. I'm increasing my inventory to be ready for the holiday season. This necklace is called Shades of Purple, because it contains four different purple elements. I like the way I've attached the purple glass bead dangle, by making a loop of seed beads. And I love how the silver toggle adds to its funky look.

This next necklace has a square glass focal bead that was given to me by my neighbor. She went on an amazing mediterranean cruise and brought me some glass charms from Venice.

This last necklace is rather long, 32", but sometimes I just love that look. The stone pendant is new to me -- I had never seen a rectangular shape like this. I got this in a bead store in Cocoa Beach, and immediately went home and designed this necklace around it.

Where I Live

I'm a Florida girl, a native, actually. I grew up in Cocoa Beach, and if people ask me where I'm from, that's where I like to say. Mom, Dad and 5 kids lived in a house on a canal off the Banana River, five minutes across the street from the beach. We spent long hours swimming in the canal, paddling our surfboards over to the islands in the river, and playing at the beach. For the last 22 years, I've lived in Royal Palm Beach, which is 2 1/4 hours south. Despite its name, our town is 12 miles west of the beach. It was actually built as a land scam in the 50's to attract unknowing northern retirees to a town with a beachy-name but no beach. It worked. I'm here because my first job after college was in West Palm Beach, and my husband's firefighter job was in Royal Palm Beach. So here I am, with a husband and two kids, in a town that was ravaged by hurricanes in 2004 and 2005, but was voted one of the best towns to live by Family Circle magazine in 2008.

This is the view of our back yard -- a typical Florida day: lots of green, blue sky. It's probably 85 degrees here. We won't get cooler weather until December.

And here are some flowers from our front garden. These caladiums are about 18" wide. They keep coming back every year, bigger and bigger. In a week or so they'll die, and we won't see them again until April.

In five days I'm leaving for Portland, Oregon to attend the Art & Soul retreat. I'll enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful flowers of that city.