Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Great Giveaway Over on Lorelei's Blog

The one thing I try to do every day (besides the normal, obvious stuff) is read a few blogs that feed my creative soul.  Other artists - and not only jewelry artists - inspire and influence me and allow me to see possibilities that I don't always see right away.  However, I do read quite a few jewelry blogs as they help me hone my skills and my craft.  One of my favorite bloggers is Lorelei Eurto.  We've never met (or actually even chatted), but from what I can glean from her blog, we have similar backgrounds (art history majors, museum career) and a love of a collagey-type style.

(Pause - does reading blogs and then talking about what you've read seem somewhat stalkerish?  Maybe it is just me.)

Anyways, Lorelei always has amazing pics of her beautiful work as well as interviews with artists and, occasionally, an unbelievable giveaway.  She has some absolutely delicious Lark Books she is giving away on January 2nd.  Of course I would love to be the winner, but I also am going right over to Amazon and put them on my Wish List.

Here are the books:
The cover pictures alone want to make me quit me job(s) and make art all day long.  (A girl can dream, can't she?)  I'd start with that Pendant.  I'm not sure what material was even used in creating it, but it is delicious!

So, please, go take a look at her blog and enjoy the eye candy!  Maybe sometime in January I will have time to make my own eye candy to show you.


Monday, December 26, 2011


November and December are crazy months for me - always.  Craft shows, jewelry making, LOTS of pet sitting and dog walking, and the other 10,000 things that seem to happen at the same time.  I spend a month and a half in triage mode - just doing the next thing that has to be done.  It can be exhausting.  In the midst of all of this, our CRV was totaled in an accident.  Thankfully, my husband, my 5 month pregnant niece and myself were all ok.  But, I added car shopping to my "Must Do" list.  Blogging (and many other things) sort of fell to the "If I Have Time" list.  

Perhaps I should have invested in a few rolls of this tape?

But, the car decision is done and the purchase has been made, the work is crazy but manageable, craft fairs are done, and, while I'm working, I have time to get my little chickens in order (I like chickens better than ducks) and start with goals for the new year.  It's really very simple.  I'm concentrating on 3 things: My pet sitting business, my art and the shows I really love doing, and my down time.  The other things that took up so much time this year - cancer/surgery/recovery, the illness and death of my dear MI, and the car disaster - are all mostly over with. I should feel a lot more beaten down, but I'm not.  I'm surprisingly optimistic about the new year.  There will be a few more big changes of course, but they are all going to be instrumental in helping me achieve the things I want to concentrate on.

Meanwhile, back in the jewelry world, I signed up to participate in a Jewelry Blog Hop coordinated by Michelle Mach.  The theme is "Secret Snowflake Challenge" and everyone has the same jewelry components to start with.  

I've been thinking about my own experience with snow which, sadly, doesn't take too long because I have to actually plan on visiting a place that snows to even see some of this illusive stuff.  So, I have very specific memories and impressions of snow.  My inspiration is the granite of Sierras, the red bark and pine green of Giant Sequoias, the pale winter mountains sunshine and the sparkling of new fallen snow.  I've been playing with beads, adding some that reminds me of granite, looking at Carnelian as the perfect color of the sun.  I just need to put it all together in a pleasing piece.  The reveal date is January 15th.   You'll see my piece here and will also have links to others who participated in the challenge.  


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Mention and an Event

I love hearing comments about my work.  Since I sell mostly in stores (and a few select craft shows) I don't often get to hear comments.   I've been doing more to "get out there" in the beading world.  I've got a few project in the works for some challenges and I've been attempting to participate in the Art Bead Scene monthly challenge.  I got a mention this month and this is what it said:

Blending the work of different bead artists might seem daunting, but not to this talented designer! Inspired Adornments brought out the best in all three with the movement of the flowers, the softness of the fabric and the whimsical flower and butterfly beads keep your eye moving over this beautiful necklace. 
Since I am a self-taught jewelry designer, I had no idea that combining bead artists was daunting!   It proves to me once again that I always do better work when I can break rules.

"stay between the lines, the lines are your friends"  NOT!
So pleased to be mentioned!  It keeps me enthused about my craft.

Speaking of enthused,  Friday and Saturday is my last show of the season.  The Uptown Village Market  is at the Expo Arts Center in Bixby Knolls.  This event is one that I coordinated with 3 others.  it is a first-time event and we SOLD OUT of booths.  There are going to be over 65 artists there with some pretty fantastic hand-made items.  I couldn't be more excited about it!  So, if you're local, stop by.  Here's the schedule:
I'm looking forward to getting back to some serious jewelry making after this is all over.  The ideas are literally swarming in my head like a bunch of angry bees!

Until next time!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pictures from Patchwork Culver City

I finally made it a poin3t to take some pics from the show I did last Sunday - the wonderful and amazing Patchwork Indie Arts and Crafts show.  This was the first time the show was held at the re-purposed Helm's Bakery complex in Culver City.  We were indoors, which was a treat.  

We also were allowed to to set up the day before - another big treat!  

I grouped my pieces into 2 categories.  Inspired by Nature, Inspired by Vintage and Inspired by Gothic.  It seemed to work well and add some cohesiveness to my work.  

Inspired by Vintage

Inspired by Gothic

 Inspired by Nature

A last minute addition was the "Charm Bar".  I offered up a variety of charms and 2 different lengths of ball chain and invited people to create their own charm collage.  It was a big hit.

The whole booth

Earring Displays

It was a great show!  The last Patchwork for the season is right after Thanksgiving followed by the Uptown Village Market on December 2nd and 3rd.  I hope I'm still smiling after 2 more shows!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Art Bead Scene November Challenge

I've been trying to do the Art Bead Scene Blog's Monthly Challenge each month (and managing about every other month).  The challenge is to create a piece inspired by a piece of art using at least one art bead.  This month, I used the beads of 3 different artists.  Here's information about this month's challenge:

Madonna Pietra degli Scrovigni
by Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927)
Watercolour, gouache and gum arabic, 30.9in × 24.1 in.

About the Art
Given to the Walker Art Gallery on behalf of subscribers, by Harold Rathbone.
The woman is a character from the Italian poet Dante. She was described as a heartless lady dressed in green. In her hand she holds a crystal bowl reflecting the figures of Love and Dante.
This type of painting, a half length femme fatale in Renaissance costume, was initiated by Rossetti and imitated by many others. The artist of this picture knew Rossetti. She modelled for one of the handmaidens in Rossetti's painting 'Dante's Dream' (Walker Art Gallery).

About the Artist
Marie Spartali was born in Middlesex in 1843, daughter of Michael Spartali, import-export merchant and sometime Greek consul in London, and by birth and acquaintance like Maria Zambaco (mistress of Edward Burne-Jones) a member of the cultured Greek community in London whose doyen was Constantine Ionides. From 1864-70 she trained under Ford Madox Brown, alongside his daughters Catherine and Lucy.
She was a noted 'stunner' (the Pre-Raphaelite slang for a good-looking woman) and sat for Rossetti and Burne-Jones as well as the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. In 1871 she married against her family's wish the American journalist and amateur artist W.J. Stillman; they had three children, one of whom died in infancy. Owing to her husband's work as a newspaper correspondent the family settled in Florence in 1878, and then Rome until 1898. Despite prolonged residences abroad, Spartali became a regular contributor to Grosvenor Gallery from 1877 until 1887, and its sucessor - the New Gallery - as well as at various venues in eastern USA.
Her sustained output proves her professionalism, but little of her work seems to have sold. Her favoured subjects were literary-historical figure groups and decorative female heads preferred by patrons; landsapes and flower pieces are equally representative though less distinctive. Many of her works draw on Italian literary themes, especially Dante and Boccaccio as well as depicting Italian landscape.
Her daughter Euphrosyne (Effie) became an artist, as did her step-daughter Lisa Stillman; her son Michael was an architect and settled in America, where retrospective shows were held in 1908 and 1982.
She died in Britain in 1927.
Monthly Challenge

Challenge Color Palette

The Prizes:
A winner will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on December 1st.

Our sponsors this month are Hint Jewelry and Mary Harding Jewelry.

Anything connected to the PreRaphaelites is right up my alley!  I was an Art History major in college and the PreRaphs were always a favorite topic.  I still devour every book, show, and film about this period of time (no matter how much artistic license is taken).

My piece:

About the piece:

November ABS Challenge.  Enameled Bud Pendant - Jade Scott, Enameled Butterfly - Gardanne Beads, Polymer Clay Flowers - Too Aquarius with Czech Glass Flowers, Dupioni Silk Ribbon, Indonesian glass beads, antique brass chain, Tourmaline and Chrisocolla.

The arch of flowers and the fabric of the subject's dress inspired this piece.  The Chrysocolla looks like the round stone the subject is holding in her hand and the dipioni silk ribbon reminds me of her shimmering dress.  While there is no butterfly in the original painting, it was not difficult for me to imagine one fluttering around her head.

Let's see if I can make it 2 months in a row for the ABS Challenge.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show Season!

Its Show Season for me and I've been super busy making new pieces.  The first of 3 Patchwork Indie Arts and Craft Festivals was last weekend.  Despite the rain in the morning (and the fact that I ended up being in puddle all day) it was a great show.  Patchwork Culver City is this Sunday.  We are going to be INDOORS at the Helms Bakery Building.  I'm really looking forward to this show.  This will be the first LA show for Patchwork and for me!  

The next 2 shows are Patchwork Santa Ana on November 27th and the Uptown Village Market on December 2nd and 3rd.  I'm part of the coordinating team for the Uptown Village Market and I'm having a blast making this event happen.  It has been a while since I've coordinated a big event, but the skills didn't take too long to revive themselves.  

I'm trying to take photos of all of my new pieces.  I've been working with some new materials and collecting (and using) a lot of art beads along with the vintage beads I collect.  Here's a small sample of some of my new pieces.

This bracelet features a lovely clay focal bead by Humblebeads.

This piece features a sweet rabbit by Tree Wing Studio and some clay beads by Humblebeads, 

 These stunning blown glass flowers are by Serena Smith.

 Purple beads by Humblebeads and some leaves hand painted by me.
 Humblebeads made the green swirl clay beads features here.
 More Serena Smith lampwork.

 Blown glass flowers by Mermaid Glass

Enamel leaves by Gardanne Beads, ceramic squares by TooAquarius and blown glass beads.

My style has been evolving.  I'm still influenced by vintage jewels but the theme of Nature is what has been captivating me lately.  Most of my new work has a definite nature theme.  I guess this old punk rocker has an earthy side buried under all of the black velvet!

More to come, I promise.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Garden to Table

One of my other passions is gardening.  In January, I built a series of raised beds for the side of my house and filled them with veggie plants.  We've been eating our bounty all summer long.  The garden is just about done for the summer but, before the veggies ran out, we had a party.  I co-hosted a Garden to Table dinner with my friend an fellow blogger, Heidi.  Her blog Finishing the Hat, accounts her journey through healthy living and weight loss (amont other things).

Heidi has been doing a series of dinners titled Supper Club 600.  Each meal she creates is under 600 calories.  I've attended a few of her dinners and the food is amazing!  For the Garden to Table dinner we used my bounty, fresh eggs and apples from another local urban farmer and neighbor, Jayna and supplemented from the Hollywood Farmer's Market.  My husband - The Enlightened Hedonist - made cocktails and our friend and my gardening partner, Amy made fresh ginger/carrot/apple juice.  Our friend Christy offered up her wonderful backyard for the occasion.

I wore a dress with a rooster print.  Of COURSE I had to make earrings to go with it.

The print of the dress I wore.

I HAD to make and wear earrings to go with the theme and my dress.

More photos from the event.

A plate full of goodness.

 My husband - The Enlightened Hedonist - preparing cocktails.

The food went from Table to Plate (to stomach) VERY quickly!

Heidi made adorable crate labels that we put on gift bags that included fresh produce to take home.

It was an absolute JOY to work with good friends to put this event together.  There's talk of doing it again in Spring when the garden has a new selection of fresh organic goodness.  But first, I must catch up on sleep - and jewelry making.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adventures in Bad Photography

One of my biggest challenges in being a jewelry artist has been in the photography department.  If I lived in a world where I was happy doing a few great shows a year (Patchwork, Uptown Village Market, etc), I'd be fine with my lack of photography skills.  But, I want an active Etsy site.  I want a beautiful blog.  I want to show off my adventures in creativity.  That's difficult to do without good photography skills.  

I've read tutorials.   I've experimented with my D60 and it's various lenses.  I've set up light boxes and experimented outdoors.  I still take awful jewelry pictures!  

Now, I have a decent eye for composition.  Years of art history critical thinking taught me well in that department.  It's the technical stuff that gets me every time.  So, bear with me as I experiment with things.  I hope one day I will turn some magic corner and suddenly "get it" but that day hasn't magically appeared yet.  Meanwhile, that critical eye is really doing it's job!

Too shiny!

Washed out

Unfortunate reflections.

No depth.

Maybe I should just name my pieces after my photo criticism. :)

So, here's a pile of new pieces.  One day soon, I will photograph them in a way that will make me drool over them.  There really are some pretty pieces here!

Thank GOODNESS there are 4 great shows coming up where my work can be seen in person.  

Long Beach - November 6th
Culver City (NEW!!!) - November 13th
Santa Ana - November 27th
December 2nd and 3rd.

I'll be back with more bad pics very soon!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

I have Lamp Lust

Anthropologie is the cause of it all (of course).  They have a line of One-of-a-Kind lamps by Robert Ogden.  They are industrial beauties made with random parts and I want them all.  Want is about as far as I'm going to get since they are HUGELY expensive ($800+).  I wonder if I could make my own version........?