Friday, July 27, 2012

My Bead Soup - Revealed at Last!!

Here are my "soup ingredients" from Karen Williams

Karen gave me some exquisite glass beads along with this beautiful
stone disc (Jasper?) which I embellished with a green hollow circle bead
and added a lampworked bead of my own at the bottom  With all the
wonderful beads, I also made two pairs of matching earrings and a
bracelet that I added some more of my torched beads to.  I love to
make things that don't match and go for the unsymmetrical look!

Here's a closeup of the focal bead with the matching earrings - and below is what I made
with the creamy stone and one of my lampworked bead skeleton keys!

Here are my Bead Soup offerings from my exchange with the wonderful and talented Seattle bead Queen, Karen Williams .  Karen was my first ever Bead Soup partner and we've remained email friends and "bead buddies" ever since.  I was so excited about my first Bead Soup project that I signed up for it again the next year.  When the time came for that particular unveiling, the partner I had been given didn't post and I have to admit, I was disappointed.  I tried to get into the next exchange, but there were so many participants that Lori had to do a lottery, and my name wasn't chosen.  No problem - I had already had my share of fun and I was happy to follow those who were lucky enough to be selected.

This time around, my exchange partner had to back out at the last minute and I felt like I had Cooties!  Not wanting to miss the fun again, I turned to the Bead Soup Board on Facebook and was quickly rescued by Dot Lewallen, an amazing bead artist from Ohio.  Karen had also heard of my plight and surprised me with a fabulous and unexpected package of goodies too!  I went from having no partner to having two fantastic and generous friends who helped assure me that I truly did not have anything contagious or icky.

So it looks like I've got two bowls of soup to serve and I am so excited!  I have already started working with the ingredients from Dot for my second bowl of soup, which will be served on August 11th.  I went from "starving" and having no soup ingredients to having lots of bead candy on the soup menu, thanks to Karen and Dot!  I am truly a lucky girl.

Be sure to check out the rest of the Soup recipes from the talented list of jewelry artists below:

Hostess, Lori Anderson,
Alice Craddick,  Alice's Beads and Baubles
Alicia Marinache,  All The Pretty Things
Amanda Tibbetts,  Amanda Made
Amber Dawn Goldish, Inventive Soul
Annita Wilson,  AW Jewelry
Beti Horvath, Stringing Fool
Birgitta Lejonklou,  Create With Spirit   
Candida Castleberry,    Spinning Spun Sugar
Carolyn Lawson, Carolyn's Creations
Cassie Donlen, Glass Beadle
Cheryl McCloud,  One Thing Leads to Another
Cheryl Roe, BeadRoe
Christina Hickman, Vintage Treasures Jewelry
Christine Hendrickson,  Clamworks
Cilla Watkins, Tell Your Girlfriends
Cindy Wilson, Mommy's Dream
Cindy Wimmer, Sweet Bead Studio
Cory Celaya, Art With Moxie
Cory Tompkins, Tealwater Designs
Cris Peacock, Cris' Page
Cynthia Deis, Shiny Little Things
Cynthia Machata, Antiquity Travelers
Cynthia Wainscott, Exotic Peru
Dana Hickey, Magpie Approved
Denielle Hagerman, Some Beads and Other Things
Diane Valasek, Dragonfly Close
Doris Stumpf, Glaszwerg
Dyanne Everett-Cantrell, Dee-Liteful Jewelry Creations
Elaine Robitaille, Too Aquarius
Eleanor Burian-Mohr, The Charmed Life
Enik√∂ Fabian, Perl-eni
Erin Prais-Hintz, Treasures Found
Heather Davis, Blissful Garden Beads
Heidi Post, Ex Post Facto Jewelry
Hilary Frye, FryeStyle
Inge von Roos, Inge's Blog
Jami Shipp, Celebrating Life
Jayne Capps, Mama's Got to Doodle
Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
Jennifer Pottner, Rock Candy Beads
Jennifer VanBenschoten,  Jewelry, Art and Life
Jenny Davies-Reazor, Jenny Davies-Reazor
Jenny Vidberg, Shyme Design
Jessica Dickens, My Jewelry, My Life, Me
Jessica Klaaren, Beadful-Things by Jessica
JJ Jacobs, Coming Abstractions
Joan Williams, Lilruby Jewelry
Judith Johnston, Judith Johnston
Judy Riggs, Rigglettes
Judy Turner, Silver Rains
Julie Anne Leggett, The Peaceful Bead
K Hutchinson, Jumbled Hutch
Karen Meador, Dreamcatcher Ranch
Karyn Bonfiglio, Plus Size Bangles
Katherine Gale, Terra Beadworks
Kathleen Lange Klik, Modern Nature Studio
Katja Benevol Gabrijelcic, Slovonske Technobe
Kelli Jacobson, Creative Moon
Kelly Ramstack, Adventures with Kelly
Keri Lee Sereika, Pink Lemonade
Kim Bender-Hora, KimmyKat
Kirsi Luostarinen, Kirsi Luo Korut
Kitty Bozzini, Kitty Lampwork
Laura Demoya, The Bead Therapist
Laurie Hanna, Laurie's Jewelbox
Leah Curtis, Beady Eyed Bunny
Lesley Watt, The Gossiping Goddess
Linda Inhelder, Must-Haves Jewelry
Lisa Liddy, Metal Me This
Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads
Marge Beebe, Rock Creek Creations
Marianna Boylan, Pretty Shiny Things
Marion Simmons, Shade Tree Studio
Marla Gibson, Spice Box Design
Marta Weaver, Marta Weaver Jewelry
Marti Conrad, Marti C's Clay Blog
Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens, GlassBeadArt, Lampwork Beads
Melanie Brooks, Earthenwood Studio
Michelle Hardy, Firefly Visions
Mikala Coates, Maybe Just Perhaps
Mowse Doyle, HoCArt
Nancy Boylan, Snazzy Doodle Designs
Nancy Peterson, Beading From the Heart
Nicole Rennell, Nicole Rennell Designs
Niki Meiners, 365 Days of Craft
Niky Sayers, Silver Nik Nats
Norma Turvey, Moonlit Fantaseas
Paige Maxim, Paige Maxim Designs
Pamela Gangler, She Always Loved Pink
Patricia Johnson, Patricia L. Johnson Glass Art
Perri Jackson, Shaktipaj Designs
Raida Disbrow, Havana Beads
Renetha Stanziano, Lamplight Crafts
Shannon Hicks, Falling Into the Sky
Shannon LeVart, Miss Fickle Media
Sharon Driscoll, Right Turn Art Werks
Shelley Graham Turner, Fabric of My Life
Sherri Stokey, Knot Just Macrame
Shirley Moore, Beads and Bread
Skylar Bre'z, Brising Beads
Stacie Florer, Soul to Substance
Stacie Stamper, Park Avenue
Stacy Alderson, Iridal's Attic
Stephanie Haussler, Pixybug Designs
Stephanie Stamper, Rainy Day Designs
Suzette Bentley, Ellie's Bijoux
Tammy Jones, Jewelry Making Daily
Tanty Sri Hartanti, TJewellicious by Tanti
Terry Matuszyk, Pink Chapeau
Vonna Maslanka, Just Vonna

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

About Living the Dream

"Living the Dream"
Mixed media on canvas
- SOLD -

This morning I rolled out of bed around 6:30 a.m. and hopped on my bike to take a spin around the neighborhood before the heat set in and rendered me a human slug.   After my ride (which included an unexpected brief meeting with one of my RentUps clients) I came home and showered before heading out to take a walk and have coffee with my talented photographer friend and former studio mate, Dianne Poinski.   Enjoying an iced coffee outside of Starbucks, we chatted about our art, Dianne's new computer and our marketing goals and accomplishments.  

As we were walking back I listened as Dianne talked abut how busy she'd been with her recent studio move;  celebrating her birthday and uploading files onto her new Mac (I'm green with envy and want one too!).  She commented how she hadn't been in her new studio much and had a big list of things she wanted/needed to do.  While she talked, I realized her thoughts of "not doing enough" and "must be working on my art at all times" were mirrors of myself and my beliefs, and that perhaps this thinking wasn't as exclusive as I had originally believed.

When I worked in real estate development, I kept regular 8-5 hours and rarely worked nights or weekends unless there was an emergency or I had a big project under a tight deadline.  My off-time was my own and I spent little time thinking about what was on my desk since I knew it could generally wait until the next work day.  

But this mindset isn't what happens with self-employed artists.  We don't keep "normal business hours."  In fact it is nearly impossible to work from 8-5 since we tend to work when the creative moods strike or when a client calls and says "help."

Like Dianne, I feel like a slacker when I'm not actually working away at my art or trying to market it.  But there are only so many hours in the day and just a limited number of wet noodles I can continue to flog myself with.  It's time to give myself permission to "slack off" from time to time.  In fact -- I'm going to encourage it......these early morning bike rides and coffee breaks during the day are manna to my creative soul.  

So, after I hit the "publish" button for this post, I'm heading out to go to the movies with a friend.  Tomorrow I've got a yoga class and later a date for a play and a movie......and who knows what can happen on Saturday?  Who cares -- I'm living my dream!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Painting in Progress

This morning I awoke and decided it was going to be a paint day in the studio.  The fact is I really haven't picked up a paintbrush in weeks and am struggling within my Self trying to decide if I need to force the issue or "just let it ride" until inspiration comes and pinches me in the butt!  But today is Sunday and I had no plans whatsoever and figured I needed to do something creative and fun.

So - I decided to get a blank canvas out and throw some paint around.  When I do this type of work (i.e. no clue what I want to paint but I want to paint something), I force myself to use whatever brush or color paint I pick up and there's no covering up the design.  My rule is "What gets put on the canvas stays on the canvas."  This is intuitive painting -- there are no mistakes!  

I took some photos of my progress and am sharing what it's like to do one of these "fantasy house" paintings and the steps I go through.  This painting is most likely about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way finished.  Here's the evolution of this 48" x 30" painting thus far:

Blank 48" x 30" canvas

Background wash with Caran d'Ache house outlines

Playing with my favorite "circle" brush

Adding some "x's" to go with the "o's"

Trying to establish some balance with the shapes

Painting colors on top of colors and filling in the houses
Stop point for tonight - this fantasy house painting
is starting to get too busy for my liking but I've got
to follow my "rules" and cannot start blocking out the
work I've done.  Right now the painting is suggesting a
name of  "Summer Camp."  Do you agree or disagree??

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pick a Pony and Ride!

Making decisions is sometimes very difficult for me - especially when there are so many choices to choose from.  When I was about nine years old, I remember being at Baskin-Robbins, trying to decide which flavor ice cream to choose from the 31 flavors they carried.  I was absolutely dizzy with indecision and couldn't make a choice.  As the line grew longer and I felt the pressure from the crowd behind me, I finally said "vanilla."  The lady behind me laughed out loud and a man behind her said something like "all those flavors and she chooses vanilla!"  I was embarrassed almost to tears.

Since closing the studio in June, I've been concentrating my marketing efforts to on-line venues.  My philosophy is that while the studio was excellent local exposure for my art; kicking my on-line efforts up a few notches would multiply the number of viewers tremendously.

But over the past few years, I've managed to hook into so many different art marketing venues that I found I couldn't keep up with them all.  To give you an idea, here is a list of some of them:

1.  My website
2.  My blog
3.  Facebook
4.  Twitter
5.  LinkedIn
6.  Laguna Art
7.  ETSY
8.  EBay
9.  Wholesale Crafts
10.  Fine Art America
11.  Zazzle
12.  CafePress
13.  Art Slant
14.  Turning Art
15.  HARO
16.  Tumblr
17.  Weebly
18.  Squidoo
19.  Glossom
20.  Zatista
21.  Artfire
22.  The Craftstore
23.  Tophatter

And then there's my newsletter and emails that I send to my clients in addition to keeping my 4 galleries stocked with current inventory plus the Original Art 4 Rent business that I'm working on.  With all of these things to keep up with, when is there time to make art???!!

A few nights ago, I was unable to sleep.  It was 2:00 a.m. and I was anxious and edgy and  filling myself with the old Catholic guilt, telling myself I needed to work harder and not giving myself credit for what I've done.  As I started to write out my thoughts and my "to-do" list for the next day, I decided instead to write out all the things I had accomplished and went a step further and made up the list that you see above.

No wonder I felt overwhelmed!!  Who could possibly maintain a presence on these sites and do any art? I had a bad case of  "paralysis by analysis" and I needed to make some changes.  Quickly.

As my beloved grandfather used to tell me, "pick a pony and ride it."  And he'd follow it up with "and don't ever look back."  He was such a wise man.

Today the list has been whittled down to 8 items and I've put these items on my calendar so I know when to update them.  I finally have some peace of mind, and am actually starting to swirl some designs around in my head again.  I've "forgiven" myself for not keeping up with all the sites and am in the process of deleting and closing my accounts.

What a relief.  With these new ideas in my head and a clear path ahead, I may actually get some art done!  If nothing else, I think I'll definitely sleep better.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Main Course + Dessert

On Thursday last week I got a fabulous Bead Soup package from my exchange partner, Dot Lewallen.  Check out the adorable little "Monster" and the exquisite rose-colored beads that are going to look amazing with the clay owl focal and the silver rose clasp.  My mind is churning with ideas of what to make with these goodies and I have to say the Monster is definitely pushing some of the ideas completely out of the box.  I like it when that happens, so stay tuned.....the reveal date for this bowl of soup is August 11th.

On Friday the 13th I had another wonderful surprise waiting for me in my mailbox.  This time I had a package from my very first Bead Soup partner, Karen Williams, who after reading about my first partner dropping out of the exchange decided to honor me with a lovely gift of beads! What a beautiful and kind gesture.  After reading one of my previous posts in which I alluded to the possibility of my having Cooties (because of my past two partners dropping out of the Exchange), Karen's generous and unexpected present assured me I not only didn't have Cooties, but that I had a very dear and kind friend.  Thank you, Karen -- this set of lovelies will debut on July 28th's reveal.

So it's time for me to show the "ingredients" I sent Dot to work with for her own Bead Soup meal.  I can't wait to see what she makes with the beads, and the ceramic doll heads are an added bonus since I know Dot makes incredible dolls.  Here's a photo of the beads Dot gets to work with for the August 11th reveal:

I am very blessed to have these two talented ladies as partners for this year's Exchange.  I went from having no partner to having two angels who came to my rescue and ensured I'd be able to participate in my favorite bead exchange.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Karen and Dot -- your kindness and generosity touch me beyond words.

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's Bead Soup Time Again!!

Every year I take part in several exchanges for my fused glass and lampworked beads.  There's the annual "Magless Exchange" with the Warm Glass Board that I've participated in for eight years (fused glass); the regular exchanges that are organized by various members of Lampwork, Etc. (most recently a "Beach Charms" and an "Earrings" exchange) and my all-time favorite exchange which was created and expertly organized by the Energizer Bunny herself, Lori Anderson.  

Each participant in the Bead Soup Exchange is given the name of another beader/jewelry artist and the two exchange a small package of beads.  The receiver is free to make whatever they want from their offerings, so long as their final piece incorporates the clasp and main focal bead that the sender included.  Here's a photo of what I received from my first exchange partner, Karen Williams.  Karen is an amazing beader and teacher from Seattle, Washington who makes the most exquisite peyote stitched jewelry I've ever seen.  Click on her name and the link will take you to her blog with lots of eye candy!

And here what I made from Karen's wonderful beads -- a beautiful necklace, two pairs of earrings and a matching bracelet (wish the photo was better, sorry!).

Last year I exchanged with an artist from Canada who unfortunately had to bow out before the exchange was finished due to family obligations.  Above is a photo of what my partner sent and below is what I made from her offerings:

This year the partner Lori assigned me to was also beset with scheduling/family issues and needed to back out at the last minute.  I started to feel like I had Cooties or worse!  Two partners dropping out in a row??  I was bummed but I understood -- it IS a commitment of time and resources to participate in these exchanges and not everyone is able to follow through.  So after I got the news, I posted my situation on Lori's Facebook page and Lady Luck showed up......a generous and talented beader named Dot Lewallen said she'd happily be my partner for this exchange.  I was psyched and relieved that I'd be able to participate after all.  Dot is another amazing seed-beader who makes exquisite beaded necklaces and stunning dolls with faces she makes from plastic clay.  I can't wait to see what she sends me....I've got a feeling I'm going to be stretching my humble beading skills to the limit!