Monday, December 30, 2013

What I did on my Christmas vacation...

I've loved having time off.  Visited with family, did some shopping, and got some work done in the studio....well...dining room actually.

I have been working on some new designs to etch in copper for texture sheets.  I finally got most of them onto copper sheet and ready for etching...which will happen today.  Using the bench shear is so much fun.  The metal cuts like butter.  All this time I've been cutting the metal by hand...which is OK in a pinch....but is very hard on the hands when doing a lot.  And it curls when cutting by hand.  The shear cuts clean and neat...makes me wonder why I didn't have one of these a long time ago.

Well...time to set up the etch solution.  Once I have these done I can't wait to see how they look in clay.  I usually grab a wad of polymer and start pressing into the texture.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

How can it be Christmas again...

This weekend was spent getting ready for Christmas.  I went to the Last Minute Market on Saturday with Deb and Brenda.  We spent time talking to Katie and Eva who have studios at the Screw Factory.  I also managed to pick up a few things....

The lamp is Lou's birthday present.
I picked up a scarf which temporarily became a cat blanket.

"What'd ya mean it's a scarf....seems purr-fect for me"
And a sweet little bracelet from Theresa Loomis

I'm loving this.
I've been in the studio...a bit...making potato chips....bronze potato chips.

These are in the tumbler right now.
Today we were out toy shopping.  I kept finding toys I wanted to play with.  Off to wrap them!!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Back in the saddle....

To be honest...I haven't worked in the studio since before June.  I've been away from it for 6 months.  No idea why.  At first it was to take a break and then I just got in a rut of coming home from work and sitting in front of the TV surfing the net....a really bad habit that I need to break. 

And then I saw a black-out poem by Austin Kleon...if you don't know Austin... you should check out his website.  A very techno-savvy, creative guy.

So off to the studio to PLAY.  I say PLAY... loudly.... because there are some who think if you refer to your art as "playing" then you are not serious.  I work at a serious job all day long.  When I get into the studio...I want to PLAY.  I want leave behind the rules and regulations I deal with everyday. I want to smile, laugh, sing, and have fun.  Serious and anal is the last thing I want to be.  Am I going to be a world-renowned artist??  Probably very few of us ever will be.  I can practice my art, hone my skills, and have fun doing it....otherwise...why bother.  Life should be filled with joy whenever possible!!

Anyway....I didn't do anything ground-breaking.  I just pushed some clay into molds...but it was fun and I got back into it...and I had to start somewhere. 

Still getting amazing colors with my laundry room carbon

So now my challenge is to get into the studio at least a couple day a week.  I have some new textures I want to work with and some ideas for new pieces.

Speaking of pieces....when I was out in Santa Fe I picked up a few pieces for myself.  I don't buy jewelry often but when I do...hahaha...I sound like the Dos Equis beer guy....anyway...I buy from people that I admire.

So here are a few pieces I picked up.

Carolyn Morris Bach - this was my anniversary present.
Holly Masterson - this was present to myself

Victoria present for myself :))

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pictures from Canyon Road

We don't get up to Canyon Road nearly enough.  There is one gallery in particular....Chalk Farm....that we love to visit. They refer to their art as visionary.  I guess I would call it fantasy.  Visiting the gallery gives me a sense of I had when I was little.  A time when bears played with butterflies, rocks came alive, and a girl could have a tiger as a guardian. 
Robert Bissell

Tomasz Kopera

Michael Parkes
Some other art up on Canyon Road...

I love the sense of motion in this

This one is for Nancy

Mermaid outside the Chalk Farm
I can get Lou to do anything.  "Hey Lou....go stick your hand in the basket"

Shadow art....the light in Santa Fe is amazing!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Santa Fe is always a good idea....

Last weekend we were in Santa Fe with Tony and LaVette (Lou's uncle and aunt).  We had a great time.  We stayed at La Fonda...which is wonderful.  The rooms have gone through a renovation and they are lovely.
We had a small sitting room off the bedroom
The restaurant is surrounded on all sides by these painted windows. 

The fireplace.  We always end up here at the end of the day.
The stores in Santa Fe are interesting...expensive...but interesting.  Shiprock is a great store on the plaza.  They have gorgeous Navajo rugs and a huge collection of jewelry.

This was stunning.  Of course you don't put these rugs on the floor.

There were a few here that I wanted...OK...I wanted them all.

Another room of gorgeous rugs.

And the jewelry!!  I've been playing with the panorama function on the iPhone.

Overland Sheepskin Co. has the most amazing coats....and some pretty cool hats.  This time it wasn't me modeling the hats. Steampunk mode.
Cowboys and Indians had these great tables that were inlaid with turquoise. 

We went into the Torres gallery to look at the Robert Rivera gourds.  These are amazing.
I didn't catch what he calls these....I call them Worm Warriors.

Turtle Gourd.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Want to go to jewelry school in Paris??

...not a school to learn techniques...but a school that covers the history of art, the universe of gemstones, and .... le savior-faire.  L'Ecole Van Cleef & Arpels offers 13 classes at their school (l'ecole) on the Place Vendome.

Van Cleef & Arpels
In 1906, Van Cleef & Arpels was among the first jewelers to settle in Place Vendôme, a square designed by Mansart in the 18th century. The original boutique was inaugurated at 22 place Vendome directly opposite the Ritz. The Hôtel Ritz had opened in 1896 and attracted Russian and European aristocrats, along with American magnates of business and industry. Place Vendôme became a symbol of Parisian luxury and the new benchmark for international elegance.

Place Vendome at night
The classes are open to the public and are scheduled one week of each month.  Some of my more favorite topics include "Symbols and Power of Jewels", "Art Nouveau: 20 Years of Freedom, "Interpreting Gemstones",  and "Having Access to Van Cleef & Arpels Creations"....Oh Lord....who wouldn't want to have access to their creations!!

I break into a cold sweat just looking at the pictures.  I'd probably have melt down to actually touch some of these....or dare I try them on.
Each class is 4 hours long and costs between 600-950 Euros...yep...that's $800-$1200 per 4 hour class.  For all 13 classes you would pay $12,500.  Well....guess it's not really open to the "general" public.  Only those that have lots (and lots) of disposable cash.  I wonder if they offer scholarships??
The Van Cleef & Arpels website has some fascinating information on it.  In the upper left hand on "The Maison" and you can read about the history of the brand and see some amazing historical pieces.  Also they have a really cool virtual tour of Les Ateliers (workshops).
Au Revoir...Bye Bye!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013


I've been working with new textures.  Taking inspiration from African mudcloth and adding just a few Aboriginal dots, I've created a couple of designs that I really like.  Next step is to etch these in copper. 

And of course I had to throw a few into the kaleidoscope and twist them around. 

These are only a few of the ones I am going to etch.  I have about 6-7 pages of designs to etch.  Some are just random textures for the backside of my pieces.  Like some severely cracked earth

And some animal prints.  This is jaguar.  I also have giraffe.

Let the fun begin!!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daniel Waples and the Hang Drum

I posted a picture of some street musicians we saw on Portabello Road in London.  I'd never seen anyone play this instrument before.  The sound was amazing and least to me...African in nature.

I got an anonymous comment on the blog the other day.  The artist playing the hang drum is Daniel Waples and he is fairly well know. It's great to know who this is and to be able to hear the music again. Thank you Anonymous!!

Check out the video below.  I love watching Daniel play.  He is in such a zone....obviously doing what he loves.

Here's a TED talk where you can here some of the story behind the instrument and get to know Daniel a little bit more.  He's genuine and endearing.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A few more pics from London

A cute area around South Kensington.  We almost booked into a hotel about a block from here.  As much as I loved the apartment...this would have been a great area to hang around.
On just about every street crossing they had painted..."Look Left" and "Look Right"...which was very helpful since they drive on the other side of the road than we do.  As a pedestrian from the US you look the wrong direction for on-coming traffic in London.  I wonder how many tourists lives have been saved due to these signs.
 I cracked up at this one.  The widow was full length and there was a cosmetic counter on the others side.  Based on the sign...I imagine that a lot of people banged into the window.
I always take pictures of all types of cats in museums.  This one was huge.  Big enough to ride. 
Lou at Trafalgar Square

We wondered into St. Katherine's Docks over by The Tower.  I can't begin to imagine how much it costs to have slip in London.

The Dickens Inn.  A reconstructed warehouse from the 18th century.  

Magnificent Aztec tablet at the British Museum.  I was amazed at the pristine condition of many of their artifacts.

Beads...of course!!!