Friday, December 23, 2011

I was so happy to leave work yesterday that I was dancing in the elevator...luckily I was the only one in it.  It's been brutal lately and it all came to a head these last few days.  We finalized a $12 million grant that was the most complicated thing I have done in 15 years.  It was a massive project and trying to manage all the doctors and scientists involved was like herding cats. 

I decided that I need a break....so I'm not going back to work until January 3rd.  I have 11 straight days with no grants, budgets, or scientists.  As I walked out.....I had a smile from ear to ear....and that's when I started dancing.

Today I'm cleaning house, doing laundry and getting ready for Christmas.  My sister flys in tonight from Montana.  Presents aren't part of the picture for us anymore.  It's more importnat just to spend time together.  We talk, watch movies, and eat....family life revolves around food.  Meals are what bring us all together in the same place. 

So I'm going to dance my way around the house, finish the laundry, and enjoy my time off. 

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy New Year. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Last Minute Market...SATURDAY

The Last Minute Market....my last show for the season..really just my second show for the season.  This one is a really cool show.  The Screw Factory is a factory turned into artists lofts and then an additional 65 artists come in for the day to sell all their cool stuff the Saturday before Christmas. 

If you look close at the flyer...those are my earrings in upper left corner....YAY!!
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Colors...

I sound like a broken record but the colors that come out of the kiln on the original bronze never ceases to amaze me.  It's the same carbon I have been using for 3+ years.  I let it sit out in the open and absorb everything in the laundry room.  My reward for this abuse is tons of color.

Of course a lot of it will disappear once I polish these.  But an underlayer of color will remain on the textured surfaces.

 Buddah has a broken neck.  I saw the crack when I was sanding this piece so I added clay to the back and a small snake to the front.  It still cracked a little when I fired it but without the extra clay it may have cracked wide open. I tried breaking it.  It's strong...just a happy accident to make it look old.

 This is the Parisii coin that I have been working with for a couple of years.  I first made it with a polymer clay texture sheet.  Back in October, Holly Gage came to town to teach her repousse class.  I decided to work with the coin again.  I made it in silver in class and now in bronze.  The next thing I want to do in repousse is the stylized horse that was on the other side of this coin.

This was a piece I had sitting on the bench for a while.  It has an African pattern on it but you can't see it because of all the color on the piece.
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Firing up the kiln...

I haven't been in the studio for about a month.  Work has been so insanely intense these last few weeks.  We are submitting a $12 million grant for cancer research.  I am totally wiped when I get home.  I can't wait until this thing gets submitted. 

So I slept 12 hours Friday night and had lots of energy to work in the studio.  I meant to go in and clean it but instead I made new bronze pieces.  I put a few in the kiln tonight.



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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

12 years together

Well...really it's 24.  Lou and I have been together for 24 years...married for 12.  He asked me to marry him within the first year and I said "No... not yet".  He told me he wouldn't ask again.  So when I was finally ready... I started dropping hints...and more hints. 

He wasn't getting it??  He's not stupid....he just refused to ask me.  He finally said...."Do you want to get married...is that what you want?"  And I said "Yes"...and a few other choice words for yanking my chain. 

But we're like that...constantly teasing each other about something.  It's flirting.  We still flirt with each other after 24 years. 

This was a second marriage for both of us so we eloped... and got married in a cave north of Santa Fe.  We hiked 2 miles out into the desert to a place called Windows in the Earth. 



Inside this massive sandstone butte is a shrine.  It looks out over the Ojo Caliente River Valley and the Jemez Mountains. It's a beautiful place and it was a beautiful day.  The next day is snowed 2" so our timing was perfect.



It was just Lou and I....and the minister...and the photographer...and the videographer...and the woman who helped us plan it...and the van driver...and I think there was someone else.  All our closest friends....LOL.

Our finery for the day amounted to blue jeans and hiking boots....just like I wanted it.  I did manage to wear a pearl necklace and Mary, my friend from work, gave me an old handkerchief with blue embroidery to carry.



So last weekend we celebrated out time together, looked at the wedding pictures, and talked about everything we've done together...and what we want to do in the future. 
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A little something extra....

When I first started working in bronze, I hung the pendants from simple chains.  About 2 years ago I started mixing different sizes of chain and adding little beads here and there.  A little something to catch the eye. 

I spent the last 6 weeks prepping for an art show.  And during that time I saw my necklace designs evolve.  I no longer liked a little something....I found myself drawn to necklaces that had a lot more to them.  Probably because I have all these beads hanging on my wall that are just screaming to be included in a design.


Here are some of the pendants and necklaces I made over the last 6 weeks.  I made good use of all those beads. 






 



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Beaded Shoes....


An awesome pair of beaded shoes by Christian Louboutin.  No idea how much they cost but I'm sure I can't afford them.  And even if I could I wouldn't be able to walk in them without falling over. 

I like the next two better...especially the brown pair...with the Indian mirror embroidery... called Shisha.  I'd like some of that fabric for a purse.  I've been fascinated with making purses since the last Project Accessory. 




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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Good Theft vs. Bad Theft

Theft is never a good thing.  In the context that Austin Kleon uses the words "theft" and "steal"... they are more like hipster terms for where/how you find your inspiration and creativity. Austin is really interesting.  I've been following his Tumblr feed and I'm looking forward to his book "Steal Like an Artist"


People ask me where my inspiration comes from.  I think it comes from the sum total of everything I see, hear, smell, feel, read, love, etc.  It all goes into my brain and percolates somewhere in the dark cob-webbed corners and then comes tumbling out again when I sit down to create. 

Sometimes it's good, sometimes it bad.  We all strive for the good...for originality.
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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Cure for Black Friday...Salvation Army Saturday???

Getting pepper sprayed over discontinued toys.....rioting over $2 waffle irons....REALLY.  I find the whole phenomena of Black Friday disgusting.  Holiday shopping the day after Thanksgiving is nothing new, but the "Jerry Springer" mentality that a good portion of this country has....has brought it to new lows.  I mean really people....how many of you are going to make waffles once you have that waffle iron.  Or are you more the type to pop an Eggo into the toaster.  The panic that occurs on Black Friday is something that is created by retailers, usually over stuff that nobody really needs. But we've been brought up on greed....he who has the most toys wins.  So masses of people go out to push, fight, pepper spray, and shoot our way through the crowds.  Not exactly what celebrating Thanksgiving is all about.   


I spent Black Friday cleaning out my closet. We all need to clean out our closets now and then.  I needed to get rid of clothes that no longer fit...but I usually clean it out once a year anyway.  So today I'm on my way to Savation Army to give away 5 bags of clothes.

What would happen in this country if we all cleaned out the "things" we no longer need or use and give them to a charity that could use them or resell them??  Or if you must go shopping.....how about giving an equal donation to charity??  I know, I know....my bleeding heart is showing. 


But think about it....think about the change we could make in our country if we all just remembered that Thanksgiving is about family, giving thanks for what we have, and helping others who may not have anything. 

I'm loading the car up and I'm off to Salvation Army.  See you later.
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Repousse Class

A few weekends back I took a repousse class with Hollly Gage.  Great class.  The technique is something that I've been wanting to try on the coin pendants that I have been creating.  Here is the result.

The first one came out OK.  It was the result of just learning the process and getting a feel for how much pressure is needed on the mold to get a good impression.



This second one is much better.  I had a better feel for how to do it to get a good impression and I put more work into the surface texture to give it a hand hammered look.


It was a fun class and Holly is a great teacher!!  I really want to see her come back to Cleveland to teach her pod class.  And bring Chris....his gourmet lunches were gooooood!!
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Friday, November 18, 2011

It's all fun and games until someone gets poked in the eye....

I ended up in the emergency eye clinic this week.  I took a hit in the eye with the hook of a bungee cord while setting up for the show.  I was having some symptoms of a detached retina so I decided not to take any chances....and after many friends yelled at me....I went to the eye clinic. 

Interesting procedure to examine the retina....she had to put pressure on the eye and look at it under a bright light with a opthalmascope.  She took two long cotton tipped swabs and pushed on my eye from various sides....oh that was so much fun.  The good news is that she couldn't see any rips or tears.  The bad news is that I now have a large floater in that eye.  It's annoying but I guess I can get used to it.  Hopefully it will dissipate with time. 

And I found out I have a cataract in the other eye.  Woo Hoo...I'm getting old!!!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You don't see stuff like this at Michael's.....

We all have stories of comments that are made to us or that we've overheard while doing a show.  I remember two years ago at Cain Park I overheard some guy wondering about the price for a booth because he wanted to sell his old t-shirts.

Well....this show was no different.  It went something like this....

Lady: Where to you get the pieces to make your jewelry?  I can't find anything like this at Michael's

Me:  That's probably because these are all handmade by me out of bronze.  Most of the embellishments on the necklaces are artifacts from Africa.

Lady:  Ohhhhh.  Well you just don't see stuff like this at Michael's.

Would "No Shit, Sherlock" have been an inappropriate response??  I just smiled and laughed.... politely.
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By Hand Show...Success

The show is over.  It was a good one for me.  Good thing since I'm only doing two shows this year.  It's a lot of work and I don't know how some of the artist do 30+ shows a year.  But set-up and take-down become routine.  Although this year I almost had a CSI moment.  It got hit in the eye with the hook on a bungee cord when I was setting up.  It hurt like crazy and my vision in that eye is a little blurred now.  I think I have a visit to the eye doctor in my future.

Talking with the other artists is a high point for me.  I was across from Paul for the 2nd year...he's does amazing encaustic paintings.  I was fortunate to have this as my view across the aisle for 3 days.


I was also able to catch up with Tim and Marsha from Studio by Ski and Joanne and Dave from Wren Works.  

There was a fantastic carving of an amoured horse on exhibit.  The artist, Joe Leonard, carved 17 different armoured horses for the carousel at Euro Disney.




Another huge piece was a dinosaur made by Roland Paronish.




Brandon Holschuh was there.  He has some amazing new work...gemstones in metal geodes.  They are really cool and he's making stands that go with the jewlery that make them sculptural pieces when you aren't wearing them.


It was an intense 6-weeks getting ready for this show but it really hit me how my work evolved over that time period.  I realize that I have to spend time each week in the studio to keep my work moving forward. 

My next show is December 17th at The Screw Factory in Lakewood.  I have so much stock that I don't think I will need to make more before the show but I will...because I still have a pile of bronze pendants just calling to me.

au revoir...bye bye
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Photo Essay....Fail

I was going to put up a photo essay of my booth construction.  I thought it might be fun to see it take shape.  I got two photos into it and my battery went dead.  Here's what I have....




So here's a picture from last year.  The booth looks essentially the same.


Come see me at the IX Center in Cleveland.  10-7 Friday and Saturday.  10-6 Sunday. 

And Monday I will be sleeping in!!!
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Off the Grid

I have really been off the grid lately.  I am exhibiting at the By Hand Show at the IX Center next weekend.  The show runs November 11-13th. 

This has been my schedule for the last 6 weeks.

Wake up
Shower
Get dressed
Feed the cats
Go to work
Come home
Feed the cats
Eat
Go into the studio and work, work, work
Sleep
Rinse
Repeat

Occasionally I see Lou.  The other night he came into the studio and said he will be glad when this show is over.....he misses me....AAWWW!!  I miss normal life....but I have put together quite a few pieces.  100 earrings and about 90 necklaces....not that I will sell all this at the show....wouldn't that be nice.  But I have another show on December 17th and I will be re-stocking the Etsy shop once this weekend is over.

Talk to you later.
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tribal Bells....


I have an entire huge strand of bells from the Yoruba tribe in Nigeria.  I'm using them to make necklaces just in time fo the holidays.... Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells!!



This started out as a drawer pull.  I picked up the master in Tucson.  This one is made from bronze and hammered for a dappled texture.



The writing on this pendant is from a tablet in the Louvre.  I hand drew the tablet from a photo that I took and etched a copper sheet that I use for texture in the bronze clay.  I started cutting windows out....I have no idea why...but it reminds me of the windows in a high rise building.  It has both an ancient and modern look.


This bad boy is an Aja Vaz bead....so cool .  I have 2 more....I think I need to make one of these for me!!!


Close-up of the necklace.  It has bronze pieces, turquoise (which is actually the brown bead), Roman glass, Dogon glass donuts from Mali, some teeny-tiny ceramic beads and a wood bead inlaid with silver and copper spirals.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

More work...with beads

There is something that feels so right about putting beads in with my bronze work.  I've said it before...it's like coming home to me since I started stringing beads.  THEY...COMPLETE....ME....sniff....sniff.