Sunday, November 30, 2008

Now I understand....

why they call it the Windy City. We got here yesterday and it is the only day that we had to spend together. So we walked around...saw this great statue and right there on the street was a mounted weakness....

....horses....I had the chance to go scratch his head. He must have liked it because he lowered his head so I could keep doing it. I grew up with horses but I haven't been around them since I was 16...but I still feel very comfortable around them. I have no qualms walking right up and petting them. The downside of my little love session with the horse was my hand smelled really...horsey. So we had to find a place where I could wash up. We stopped in to Bistro 110, some place I always stop at for a nice little lunch and a few drinks....

We walked around a bit and then went to dinner at Ballo. Excellent restaurant with huge portions!!! I ate too much. We walked around the city. It is all decorated up for the holidays...even the high rise condos.

This is marina city. We are staying just across the street from it. There is an art store in the lobby of the Westin and they have this amazing wire dress in the window. It is so delicate. It looks like a fairy dress.

Yesterday was a nice day but today was totally winter. Rain, sleet, snow and wind. But I went out anyways. I walked over to Bloomingdale's home store. It is in what used to be an old Shriner's Temple. It's a great building with onion domes at the two corners and stained glass windows all around. The domes are a feature seen on many religious buildings in Eastern Europe. I went in mostly to see the features of the building. There is a great dome in the center of the store on the third floor. The store itself is really nice. If I were rich I would be able to decorate my house very well. They have some beautiful pieces of furniture. These were on top of an entertainment unit. I can't figure if they are decorations or weapons or both.

Monday is suppose to be snowy so I will do something indoors. Probably the art museum. I usually spend my time looking at the impressionist, but this time I will be looking at the eastern art...looking for more inspiration for texture sheets.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

to all of you. We spent the day at George and Sue's house. Sue cooked an amazing meal for about 20 people. All Lou's kids were there along with one of the grandchildren...Matty. Jason and Magaly announced that they are pregnant. It was good to spend the day together. We ended up playing Wii. I am hooked. I think we need to get one. I can see why they put straps on the controllers. It would be real easy to accidentally let go of it and send it crashing into the TV. I hope you all had a peaceful day surrounded by family and friends.

I am trying to design a logo picture. Here are a couple of my first attempts. Which one do you like??

Number 1

Number 2
I work Friday and then we are off to Chicago Saturday for Lou's conference. He is in meetings and dinners for the entire trip so I am virtually on my own except when he gets back from dinner. Most of the Lou's peers are stunned that I don't have a problem with being alone and most say their wives wouldn't put up with this.....but I like being on my own so I'm fine with it. Besides...he is there on business and it gives me an opportunity to sleep in, stroll around the city, window shop, museum hop....especially museum hop. I love the art museum and the natural history museum. There is an Aztec exhibit that I want to see and hopefully find some more patterns for texture sheets.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I wish I could go to Tucson....

I have used up all my vacation time at work and need to work out a deal with my boss to use some of my 2009 vacation so I can go to Chicago with Lou next week. But if I did have vacation I'd be heading to Tucson for the Gem Show in February. I haven't yet had the chance to go to this show but I'm sure it is mind-numbing to travel around to the various shows and see all the beads, gems, and what-not. But most of allI would love to go to Anne and Gail's Patina and Metals Workshop. Check it out if you are going to be there or even have an inkling that you might go to the Gem Show. Anne makes my short list of "Best Teachers" and will be receiving Bead and Button's Bead Excellence in Bead Artistry Award at the conference in June 2009. Gail is this amazing and creative artist that just seems to do it all. To say her work is beautiful is and understatement. They are both great people that I love to hang out with so I'm sure the class is going to be awesome.

I spent a long weekend in Tucson with Anne and Cris in August and it was such a great time to just hang with the girls and work side-by-side at Anne's house. I was thinking about that weekend today and I miss them both.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

All Done...

I'm done with shows for the year and it feels great. I have the next 6 months to play...create new texture sheets, design new pieces, remodel the house...hell...clean the house...that would be a novelty. I also need to start applying for next year's shows. The brochures are already coming in.

The show was OK. I did better than last year which is good, but not as good as the ladies selling booze labelled sweatshirts across the aisle. And I think the ladies selling decoupage planters next to me did quite well too. I might need to rethink this show :)) But I made more doing this in 8 hours than I do at the hospital. They had a high school jazz combo playing 2 booths away from me. At one point I started laughing because of all the bad notes they were hitting. For the two hours they played I couldn't talk to any of the customers without yelling. I had one man look at my bronze pieces....then he asked me about my suppliers...wanted to know if I bought my stuff off the internet. Hello....I make all my pieces. I had a lady ask if I had any bronze in purple cause she had a purple shirt she wanted to match up. Go figure.

I was ripped off yet again.....$125 bracelet. What is wrong with people??Why can't they understand that artists work hard to make their money and the pieces are not mass produced by some machine but made with our heart, our spirit and our imagination. Go rip off Walmart and leave artists alone. I have one wish for the thief..... I wish that I see you some day with it on.....there's gonna be a smack down.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pretty Maids All in a Row....

Some of the earrings I prepped for Sunday's show. Her name is Athena. I didn't name her. A very nice gentleman who was at the By Hand show gave her the name. He wanted to know where her image came from and I told him he would be disappointed when he found's a mold of a button. But he liked then just the same. He bought his wife a pair.

More earrings...hoops with various textures.

This piece split in the kiln and everyone kept telling me how great it was. I added one of Meesh's bone beads.

A zen snowman :)

I am looking forward to getting this show over with. The house is a wreck. I need to clean it from top to bottom. You know things are bad when I look forward to cleaning. I also have some e-mails to answer. If I haven't gotten back to you yet....I will after this show.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Next Show

I'm getting ready for Sunday. I am doing a one-day show at Landerhaven. It benefits the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital....specifically the Drew's Beads Program. Children being treated for cancer get colorful ceramic beads for various milestones in their treatment. The strand of beads chronicals the process. One day shows are tough because you have to set up, do the show, and tear down all in the same day. It usually ends up being a 12-hours day. I'm always glad when they are over. How do people do this for a living?? It seems so exhausting.

So I used my last pack of bronze to make about 30 pairs of earrings. They sold so well at the last show. I fired a batch last night and the rest are firing tonight.

The next few weeks are going to fly by. We have a family dinner at my Mom's tomorrow night. Show on Sunday. Dinner at Lou's brothers on Thanksgiving. Saturday after we go to Chicago until the following Thursday. Back to work on Friday...Yikes. When I was in my 20s I remember thinking that I wanted to cram every second of my life with doing things and going places. Now I live for those weekends when I have nothing to do...but even those go by too quickly.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Show

Here are some views of my booth. Once I got the tent and tables up...I realized I needed something on the walls so I ran out and bought some sheer curtains to place in the corners with sunflowers accents and a large mirror. I then realized that my walls were extremely wrinkled, but I didn't have the time to do anything about them. I wonder how many customers noticed...or were the just looking at the jewelry. After sitting in the booth for a day I decided that I will make floor length light beige sheers for the walls and accent them with a darker green in the corners with some type of wrought iron accents to hold the corner curtains in the center. But overall, I thought it looked good...if I don't say so myself :)

I found some $5 elephant trays at Pier 1 to display some of the bronze necklaces. A few people commented on how nice they showed off the bronze....and if I got hungry I could cook the beans.

All in all the show was OK. This is my second show since the economy tanked and most people are being very careful about what they spend their money on. All the artists I talked to were down in sales. I am fortunate that I have a day job. The artists that do this as a sole source of income are hurting. A number of them are talking about getting jobs.

What I love about doing these shows is the people that you get to meet. Because this was a 3-day show, there was lots of time to get to know the artists around me. They were all great. The last 2 hours of the day the show seemed to we all stood out in the aisle talking to one another.

The bronze sold fact almost exclusively. I sold all my earrings and a number of necklaces. I now have to make earrings for this Sunday's show. Since I have to open a 100 g pack I will also make more pendants. I had a number of men come in and look at the bronze and one little boy was so enamored by them his mother bought him one for Christmas. He put it on....and it looked good. I think as long as it isn't a girly type of design the necklaces could be worn by both men and women. I had a discussion with one man about the designs on the necklaces and he suggested that I look into Mayan glyphs....which I already planned on. He recommended a good website to find authentic glyphs.

I am looking forward to the shows being over so I can do some research on new designs and work up some new pieces. But first I think I will sleep for a couple of days. I am so tired.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

For Lou......

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

When I saw this pictures I had to recaption it and post if for Lou. Now if he would just read my blog he might see it. Isn't that funny....all the things I write in this blog and he has never read it.

The show was slow today...for everyone. All the vendors are hoping that the weekend will be better. Although people seemed to be spending money at the Fabulous Food Show. Two women came in from Nebraska to see Guy Fieri (the Friday's guy). Besides the airfare and hotel, they paid $30 dollars to get into the show and then another $150 each to see him. We kept hearing people screaming and applauding...I kept thinking... "they are only chefs....what's the big deal?" But I guess it is all about your passion. They are hot for famous chefs.

Speaking of hot...I have a new respect for onions. Thanks to Anne for her poem about the onion. I never knew they could be so......erotic!

More later

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where in the world did these colors come from??

These were all in the same batch. I refired these pieces because I didn't like the original color. Some I had tumbled and there were all shiny bronze and others had come from an early batch that didn't have any color. The last time that I fired using this carbon I got browns and tans so I thought maybe the carbon was getting exhausted. I was expecting browns with this batch. What a surprise. This batch has it all...golds, greens, blues, purples, reds. The blues are irridescent. Did the carbon absorb something while it was sitting around? Is it because there was an acrylic coating on the pieces? I had sprayed them about a month ago as an experiment to see if it would keep them from oxidzing. I have no idea but they are really colorful.
I set up tomorrow for the weekend show. I convinced Lou to take off early to help me. The biggest thing for me is popping the tent. Once that is up then I can do the rest....although there is alot hauling of boxes and containers. Then it is 10-8 Friday/Saturday and 10-6 on Sunday. I am excited to be in this show but I will be glad when it is over. This is my biggest show of the year. I have only one other after this and it is a one-day event.
Wish me luck :))

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fall Colors

I took these pics early this week when it was sunny and warm....

Japanese Maples in the back yard.

The view out our front door

Japanese Maples in the front yard.

I'm in love all over again.....

I decided to make some silver earring pieces for the show coming up this weekend and I have fallen in love with silver all over again. Although I went through 2 packs of silver PMC when I would half only used have a pack of bronze....when I pulled it out of the tumbler I got all excited about silver. Working through 10 packs of bronze also helped me refine my techniques.

When I aged the PMC pieces I also aged a bunch of silver chain. It was much, much too bright and pretty. I needed to blacken it up a bit. So I'll be putting together earrings and making some necklaces for pendants over the next few days. If you are in Cleveland this coming weekend stop by the IX center for the By Hand show. It is combined with the Fabulous Food Show and the expected attendance is ~ 30,000. If only we can get half those people to wander through the art show and half of those to buy things it might be a good weekend for the artists.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A toast to Obama

After work today we gathered together and drank a toast to Obama. Working in a place where many countries and races are represented, it is interesting to hear the views of people from other countries. One of the attendees was a woman who grew up in Denmark. Her parents still live there. She said that all over Europe people have changed their feelings towards the US. We only won by a small percentage, but we have shown that enough of us care about the state of this nation and the world to vote in change.

Here is an excerpt from Gary Kamiya's article in Salon:

"...Only rarely does one know that one is experiencing history while it happens. Barack Obama's victory is one of those occasions. This amazing day marks a decisive change, not just in America's politics but in its soul. It announces the arrival of a new America, of a multitudinous, multihued people whose time has come and who have demanded a politics worthy of them. Their voice echoes across the land from Stone Mountain to Seattle, and its message rings out loud and clear: We have taken our country back."

"We have taken it back from the mean-spirited demagogues who were willing to tear the American people apart to stay in power."

We have taken it back from the apostles of selfishness who pretend naked greed is noble individualism."

"We have taken it back from the deluded hawks who cavalierly sent our youth off to die in a war that should never have been fought."

"We have taken it back from the incompetent officials who lived up to their anti-government credo by bungling everything they touched."

"We have taken it back from the reactionaries whose intolerance, xenophobia and religious zealotry have been encouraged by a distorted Republican Party for far too long."

"Some will say that this election didn't prove that much. They will argue that considering Bush's unpopularity, the war and the financial crisis, this race should never have been even competitive. They will say the race was tied in September and only an inept McCain campaign and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression tilted it toward Obama. They will say that America is still a center-right country."

"But those arguments are like dead trees standing in the path of a spring-snow torrent. A great change has come upon America."

"Watching Obama speak after his victory, I was reminded again of the subtle and profound depths of this man. It was a subdued speech, on the surface almost disappointing, but its eloquent restraint spoke volumes about not just Obama's character but what we could call, harking back to another age, his taste. He chose not to mount the messianic pulpit, knowing that if he did he would alienate many Americans. Because of his complex and hard-earned comfort with his own racial identity, he is a self-reflective man, a man of many parts."

"We have seen his facets. Obama can parry and thrust with Hillary Clinton. He can be hip with Jon Stewart. He can speak eloquently of race, as he did in his victory speech, without foregrounding his own race. He can reach out to those who didn't vote for him, and his native sensitivity makes his words believable. His rhetoric is soaring but never self-aggrandizing: He is too confident in his own identity to need the fix of adulation. A leader with these qualities, a black man whose racial consciousness is so evolved as to be unreadable, has the ability to take America places it has never been before."

"The election of Obama marks a change in what it means to be an American. It is a change that is as true to the essence of conservatism as it is to liberalism, for it has its roots in a generous vision of civic life that both share. And all Americans will benefit from it."

There is more...follow the link to the article if you want to read the rest.

V graffiti in Paris

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Best Post-Election Comment....

comes from my friend Meesh....

"I can see the end of Sarah Palin's career from my house."

And she inspired me to make this.....

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

A quick post....

.....just because Donna will be checking Thursday morning and I don't want to disappoint her. I haven't posted in a couple days because I was doing a show....but I didn't lose touch with what has been going on in the world. Tuesday night we were pulling up election results on the Blackberry until 9PM...then we all ran home to watch the election results come in. I am ecstatic with the results. The world outside of the US is ecstatic with the results. There is alot of hard work that will have to be done in an attempt to correct our many problems. It will take all of us to do this. But in doing so, I think we can bring the US back to the great country that we all want it to be.

The show....less than desirable for me and many of the vendors I talked to...although a few people seemed to be doing well. People stopped to look and tell me how beautiful my pieces were....but it was not a buying crowd for me. Sales were down by 50%....that hurts. I think it is the economy. People are being very careful with their money right now. The only good news is that I won't have to bust my butt getting ready for the By Hand show. I have plenty of pieces. People were interested in the bronze...wanted to know what it was...and I did sell a few necklaces and earrings. It's a nice add to the silver as it gives me goldtone pieces to sell.

Well...I am exhausted and I have to be up early tomorrow morning for an 8AM meeting at my day job. Sweet dreams......

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Calm before the storm

I have a show on Tuesday/Wednesday of this week, then one on Friday/Saturday/Sunday of the week after, and then a show on the Sunday after that. I am rather calm right now. All my show things are sitting in the living room waiting for Tuesday. I'm printing new business cards which is a really tedious process since I can only put one sheet of business cards into the printer at a time. I checked my wrapping supplies and found I need more small bags so I put an order in to Bags and Bows for a chocolate colored mini-cub.

My cash box is complete so I don't have to run to the bank. I've gone through all the tables displays and checked my table covers to make sure they are still in good condition. All I'm worried about now is the amount of jewelry that I have.

Last year most of what I displayed was the lampwork bead pieces with a few silver pieces thrown in. This year will be a mix of lampwork, silver and bronze. I haven't made any lampwork pieces since before June, but I have about 20 necklaces and 25 bracelets. I have about 20 silver PMC necklaces, 25 bronze necklaces, and 20 pairs of earrings. And about 40 pair of Swarovski crystal earrings. But all I can think about is what I don't silver PMC earrings, no bracelets in either silver or bronze. Of course it is ridiculous to think that I will sell everything that I have in stock right now but I am trying to plan out days to work in silver and bronze between my show this week and the one next week to try to fill in some of the gaps. I get a tad obsessive-compulsive at show time.

I think the economy is going to have a big impact on shows this year. Over the last 5 years I have listened to the veterans in this industry talk about how it isn't like it used to be....that people just don't have disposable income anymore....but I still managed to do least what I thought was "well". I am really skeptical about this year. Everyone I know has lost money in the crisis that we are facing and trying to figure out how to conserve. Jewelry is not a necessity. By Wednesday evening I will know what I'm facing in the next two shows.

Enough depressing talk. Below is a pic of the bronze mixed with lampwork. I have to make chains for them yet.

Another shot of the plethora of necklaces that I have been working on.

Time for dinner. Au Revoir, Bye-Bye

Cats in Egypt

The earliest feline cat goddess recorded was called Mafdet and is described in the Pyramid Texts as killing a serpent with her claws. But the most famous cat goddesses in the world, first revered by the ancient Egyptians were Bastet (also known as Bast, Pasch, Ubasti) and the lion-headed Sekhmet.

Bastet was often depicted as having the body of a woman and the head of a domestic cat. She was associated with the Eye of Ra, acting within the sun god's power. The Egyptians loved Bastet so much that she became a household goddess and protector of women, children and domestic cats. She was also the goddess of sunrise, music, dance, pleasure, as well as family, fertility and birth.

Her supposed evil counterpart was the goddess Sekhmet who represented the cat goddess' destructive force. She is known as the goddess of war and pestilence. But even she was tamed by Ra (who supposedly got her drunk) and she eventually became the powerful protector of humans. Together, Bastet and Sekhmet represented the balance of the forces of nature.

Cats were not only protected by almost every occupant of Egypt, but also by the law. So extreme infact was the devoutness of the Egyptian culture to the cat, that if a human killed a feline, either intentionally or unintentionally, that human was sentenced to death. When a cat died their former owners and occupants of the house would go into deep mourning and shave their eyebrows as a sign of grief. People are not the only mummies in Egypt, as the cat was also mummified significantly.

Below are some mummified cats on exhibit in the Louvre. I can't help it....I think they are cute.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Congratulations Anne!!!!

Well deserved!!!! If you have never taken a class from must. She is an excellent teacher and artist!!!