RSS Feed

Friday, December 31, 2010

Art Bead Scene December Challenge!

I know I'm trying to squeak by at the last second. I hope I'm not too late. It's been a very busy holiday season, and then I was too sick to be creative most of the week. So at the eleventh thirteenth hour, here's my entry for the December Challenge!

First, the painting that I chose to use for inspiration:

I made the robin out of paper clay, painted it with acrylics, and finished with Diamond Glaze. I made the clasp as well. The rest of the necklace includes recycled sari silk ribbon, a fine silver leaf charm, copper leaf charms, freshwater pearls, crystals, agate, a carved bone bead, and various antique brass findings. I wish I'd gotten this done sooner, but I had a lot of fun and I'm pleased with the result!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bead Show Booty

I have a difficult time controlling myself at those big bead shows. Did I NEED 10 more strands of pearls? No. Could I pass up the discount offered for buying 10 strands? Of course not. I try so very hard not to get the same colors all the time, but I can't help what I'm drawn to, can I? I tried to diverge a little -- at least in shape if not color. Plus I got some cute fine silver leaf charms, and some super fun gunmetal bits. Some chain (not pictured), and some brushed gold vermeil cones. I've already used a little bit of it for some Christmas presents. I have been a crazy busy little bee making lots and lots of Christmas presents, custom orders, and belated birthday gifts for the picky sister. At least I've gotten my shopping done, and only have a few things left to make. Then plenty to wrap!

Here are some pics of the loot I scored at the bead show on Sunday:

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Helping Fellow a Artist - You Can Help Too!

Many moons ago, I attended NOCCA, a public arts high school. It was a unique experience going to my normal school in the mornings, then taking lunch at home every day before heading to NOCCA for the afternoon. I studied Visual Arts, which included ceramics, photography, printmaking, painting, drawing and more. However, it was grossly underfunded. The building was ancient and crumbling. There was no A/C, which in New Orleans is a most unfortunate problem. Piano students practiced in closets. We painted on the cardboard backs of newsprint paper pads. We had to bring our own toilet paper!

Years went by, and the school's more successful graduates (Harry Connick, Jr., Wynton & Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, etc.) gave NOCCA more and more credibility and finally the school began to receive the funding it needed. A state of the art new facility was built on the outskirts of the French Quarter, and I nearly died of envy the first time I toured it.

I graduated in 1989, and 3 months later, a little girl named Emilie was born. At an early age, she developed an untreatable hearing disorder, which led her to down the path of becoming a visual artist. By the time she was ready for high school, the new and improved NOCCA was ready. Before she graduated though, Hurricane Katrina had other plans for her, so she finished her education at an arts high school in Florida. Ultimately, she wound up in New York, pursuing her undergraduate degree at The Cooper Union School of Art in Manhattan. Then this past October, while stopped at a light, on her bike, an 18-wheeler driven by someone not licensed to drive that sort of vehicle jumped the curb and hit poor Emilie on her bike.

She survived, but her injuries have been horrific. And while her body should eventually recover, she's now blind. That is devastating for an artist! You can read more about her story and see pictures of her and her artwork by clicking here. I didn't know her, but I read about her this week in a NOCCA alumni newsletter. For some reason, I was particularly touched by her heartbreaking story. I donated what meager amount I could to her support fund, and I've donated two pieces of jewelry to the Etsy shop created in her honor. I also intend to create something special, specifically made for this cause - but I wanted to give what I could right now. After the holidays, when things slow down and I have more time, I'll work on it.

I have seen how so many wonderful jewelry artists pulled together to help fellow artist Andrew Thornton with his mounting medical bills after his awful bout with cancer. And I am hoping I can inspire at least a few of you out there to do the same for Emilie.

Thank you, and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Birds & the Bee

I finished another necklace with the sari ribbon last night. It took me eons to convince myself to use this particular piece of ribbon because it was so beautiful. All of it is pretty, but there are a few pieces I just love and would hate to ruin with a bad design. I have that problem with all of my jewelry parts though. I hoard my prettiest beads and findings for use on some future piece of perfection which never seems to materialize! Does anyone else do this??? Beads are for using! And even if I use up my favorite things, there are tons more potential favorite things out there for my eventual acquisition. I seriously need to get over my supply hoarding problem.

So here's the new necklace, modeled by my lovely brand new half-scale dress form! (Click on the images to see them larger.)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm So Sari!

Hooray for my gorgeous batch of recycled sari ribbon. It is truly beautiful. As I mentioned last post, I had begun work on a necklace with it a couple of nights ago. Well, I finished it last night, as well as a pair of earrings that had been started months ago, but that just needed something. Apparently, that something was some sari ribbon! I was pretty pleased with my first attempt using it, though I have dreams of someday creating pieces with it as lovely as Deryn Mentock's jewelry. I tried the necklace on for Steve, who usually has good opinions about my jewelry, but he just didn't get it. However, he doesn't read the jewelry mags and blogs, and he doesn't really know all that much about non-traditional jewelry styles. Still, I was a little uncertain if it was all in my mind or if there would indeed be people out there who liked it.

This morning, I took both the necklace and the earrings (along with some other new stuff) to my hair salon. Jeanne (the salon owner and the best hair stylist in NOLA) put it on and started squealing. She LOVED it! "This is art jewelry!" she exclaimed, and demanded that I make tons more just like it. Then, a customer who was reading a magazine waiting for her color to process asked to see it. She loved it too -- and it was just her colors, but she wasn't going to buy anything for herself. So as I packed up my stuff and was about to leave, she said, "I could sit here for 45 minutes trying to talk myself out of it, or I could just get it now." Then she went over to the display and picked up another necklace of mine as well, declared that she'd just give the bill to her husband and let him wrap them up for her and give them to her for Christmas!


So without further ado, I present:

The Necklace

And here are the earrings:

Friday, December 10, 2010

I Definitely Need My Staycation to Get Here!!!

It's not because I'm so burnt out and need time to relax. It's because I cannot handle the amount of inspiration I have going on in my head these last few weeks, and by the time I get home from 9 hours of work, I'm usually too tired/busy to accomplish much. And some of the things I want to do can't be done at night. For example, I was hammering my little heart out the other night when Steve told me he thought he heard our downstairs neighbor knocking. Oops! I've always lived in a house before. I'm not used to worrying about neighbors.

Then there's the desperate need to get to some of the many junk/antique shops and malls around town. That definitely calls for daylight hours. And of course there's all the life maintenance that's required, which currently includes the growing medical bills for my sweet little dog, Crazers. She has a bunch of problems (enlarged spleen, mysteriously tiny liver, fluid around her heart and lungs, arrhythmia, mammary tumors), and tonight she starts some diuretic medication to try to reduce the fluid in her chest. That means she'll be having to go for walks. Lots and lots of walks. At least if I'm stuck home all weekend, that means I have no excuse not to make tons of jewelry right?

Yesterday, I got in some recycled sari ribbon I'd ordered. I can't wait to play with it! I started a little last night, but didn't have much time to get too far. It's so beautiful, though - I have high hopes! Before I started that, I finished up a bracelet from my homemade fruitcake tin connectors. You can see a barn, a window from the house, a horse's head and his legs, and a wagon wheel. The beads are mookaite. It's super cute on, and if you're interested, it's for sale on my facebook page.

I also need to get busy on my necklace for the Art Bead Scene December Challenge. I was waiting for the sari ribbon to come in. The most crucial part about entering that challenge is that the necklace must contain a handmade art bead(s). If you click that link and look at the two paintings offered for inspiration, you'll notice the second one features a robin. Now remember back to a couple of blogs ago, and you'll recall this little fellow! Now could the timing have been more perfect or what?!?!! 

There are also many more ideas waiting in the wings, but I'll save them for future updates. I can't give away all my plans at once!

I'll leave you with a collage of some more recent earrings I've made. I'm going to be dropping them off at my hair salon tomorrow, along with a new batch of day of the dead earrings and pendants. All my other day of the dead stuff sold right away, so I was asked to make more. Yay! And thank goodness too, because with my sick lil doggie, I sure can use the extra income.

And just for fun, here's an old picture of Crazers showing her holiday spirit!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fruitcake Put to Good Use

I spent much elbow grease and suffered several cuts on my fingers cutting up some tins this past weekend. And for my all my misery, I've got tons of bead caps & bead caps in waiting, and three finished pairs of earrings. I made the pieces pictured below into connectors rather than caps - but you get the idea. The first two come from a fruitcake tin a friend donated to my cause, and the third pair comes from my dad's massive stash of Altoids tins.

Cowboy & his boot.

These were the layers of a lady's long skirt.


I apologize for the sub-par photography, but with these short winter days, the only time I can catch natural light is on the weekends.

Again, I credit the amazing Lorelei for the inspiration for making bead caps out of old tins.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paper Clay Birds & Beads

Because I can't stay focused on one new project without getting detoured by another new project, I have temporarily abandoned the bead caps for paper clay. I read about it a few weeks ago on another blog, and decided I'd finally found what I'd been looking for. Or at least a starting point for what I'd been looking for. I wish, oh how I wish I could do actual ceramics, but that's not feasible right now. Then there's polymer clay - which is loads of fun, and I used to work with it in college. But I didn't want to invest in 10 colors just to find out that I wasn't into it or my fingers aren't capable of what they once were. Paper clay works pretty much the same, in terms of sculptability, but the bonus is that it air dries, and can even be filed and carved after it's dry. Since it's white, all the painting is up to me - instead of working with a bunch of various colors of clay. I certainly have a ton of paint and brushes at my disposal. So I decided it was time to give it a shot. I really had fun with it, and it has potential to be even more fun once I work with it more. I'll definitely be more careful and detailed with practice. I also want to (new project alert!) make my own molds - not just from found objects, but from little carvings I want to create! I am really looking forward to my Christmas staycation!!!

So here are some of the results from my initial Paper Clay session!

I made the robin and the clasp.

I only made the owl. The gray beads are seeds.

I love brown and aqua together. I made the brown beads.

And the green ones.

Future jewelry parts.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pink is Soooo Last Month

I know October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and that's when you're overloaded with pink, but what can I say. I'm always either a little behind the times or WAY ahead of the times. I prefer to think it's the latter! So I've been working with pink lately. It's not my preferred color scheme, but sometimes something pink will really capture my attention, like the crazy lace agate beads I bought earlier this summer. They reminded me of a pink marble decorative jar my grandmother had in her formal living room. That thing fascinated me as a child, and when we were helping her downsize from a house to a smaller condo - I made sure to snatch it before it wound up in the Goodwill pile.

 My grandmother's pink jar.

I recently bought a beautiful Fleur de Lis charm from Martha Eason's Menagerie Studio. I discovered her after reading about her work over at Marie Cramp's blog. I was particularly drawn to a piece that strongly featured pink, and it was the perfect match for the crazy lace agate beads I'd been jealously hoarding since summer! I made a necklace, which also includes some pearl chips recycled from my grandmother's vintage jewelry collection. It's funny how things come together that way. Not to mention, the Fleur de Lis is pretty much New Orleans' identity (for those who aren't aware, I live in New Orleans). Plus, my mom (whose mother is the grandmother I always talk about) is named Martha and was born in Dallas - and that's where Martha Eason lives. I love all the little coincidences. 

Make sure to click on the photo so you can see the detail!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Good Problem to Have

I couldn't wait to make a pair of earrings with my latest batch of bead caps. It's another part of the same tea tin as before. I need to work on getting some more tins! Anyway, I finished this pair last night using some of the supplies I recently ordered to satisfy the Particular Sister's birthday jewelry specifications. Ordinarily, I don't work with gold tones, but it really worked with my bead caps. I was so excited that I had to bring the earrings to work with me this morning to show a couple of my friends. While I was at it, I showed them to the coworker who's my best customer -- the one who made me stash a dozen pairs in my drawer last month so she could buy a few every paycheck. I told her that I was by no means trying to sell them to her, I just wanted to show her because I was so proud of my efforts. Wouldn't you know she told me to throw them in the drawer with the rest of her earrings. She loved them, and she just has to have them!

Now, I can't tell her NO! You buy TOO MUCH of my jewelry! Save some for other people! We're not talking about free cookies here. She loves it. She's buying it. That's the point! But between her and my hair salon, I can't seem to replenish my stock.

Like I said, it's a good problem to have. Here they are in all their glory:

Aren't they so much fun? 

In other news, I just got back from my massage and I gave my therapist the shoddy booklet I discussed in my previous post here. As she flipped through it she commented that she loved this, and that, oh and this one too, and... so on. Hopefully she'll have some things picked out soon, and she'll call or text me like she promised.


Please don't forget about the necklace I'm auctioning right here. It's for a very worthy cause, and you have until Sunday, Nov 21 to get your bids in!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just Made a Booklet

I'm panicking because I don't have enough stock right now to show my masseuse tomorrow night. She's been asking all about my stuff, but is rarely online and hasn't been able to visit my jewelry page. Last time she suggested printing pictures and putting them in a binder. Since my best customer and my hairdresser have vastly depleted my reserves, I don't have much really good stuff to show off! I've been trying to do a couple of things a night, but plans and life and housework often get in the way. The last two nights were spent working on a new batch of homemade bead caps, and tonight I must fill a custom order for an upcoming birthday gift. I know I know! I'm busy and selling a lot. I can't complain! If only I could afford to work part time. If only I had a studio. If only I won the lottery.

So I did the only thing I could do and quickly made a little booklet of everything I have for sale (including what's at my hair salon), and a few things that have sold recently that I could either duplicate or that could serve as inspiration for a custom order. It's 56 pages total -- double sided letter sized paper folded in half and stapled down the middle. Most of the photos look pretty crappy, but it's a starting point. It will fit in my purse, and I can whip it out as needed in case I want to show someone some of my jewelry, and they don't want to stand around awkwardly while I wait for my slow 3G phone to load up my Flickr page. That might be just the kick in the pants someone would need to actually look me up when I give them my card. We'll see how that works out.

In the mean time, have a look at a couple of pairs of earrings I made this week.

These look like they're about to fly away!

My best customer immediately snapped up the first pair of these.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Homemade Bead Caps in Action

Last weekend, I was finally able to finish the necklace I'd begun with my first batch of homemade bead caps! I also made the S-shaped clasp. If anyone is interested in purchasing it, check out my jewelry page for details.

Also this weekend, I dropped off a big batch of jewelry at my hair salon. So many things sold the first week, she was eager to get some more to display. I'm not complaining by any means, but my stock has been severely diminished, so I need to get cracking! I made a couple of pairs of earrings last weekend, as well as the above-pictured necklace and the one being auctioned, but that's not enough. Last night, I was useless. I'd had a bad day and just needed to take a break, so I have high hopes for my production levels tonight!

Please don't forget about the necklace I'm auctioning right here. It's for a very worthy cause, and you have until Sunday, Nov 21 to get your bids in!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Very Special Blog

I mentioned in a recent blog that I was working on a necklace to be auctioned off, and it's finally ready. A dear friend and fellow blogger, Sister Wolf, is in need of some help. During the last couple years, she has suffered more personal tragedy than anyone should ever have to withstand. I don't want to get into the details here - if you're here because you clicked on a link from her blog, then you already know what she's been through. And if you don't know her, you have a link to her blog should you wish to explore it. You should check out her blog anyway because she's hilarious.

100% of the proceeds of this auction will be going to the Sister Wolf Relief Fund. Bidding should take place in the comments. I'll give it a week, and next Sunday (Nov. 21) the winner will be determined. I'll send the winner a PayPal invoice, and then the necklace will be shipped out on Monday morning. Shipping is free - worldwide! Please bid high - it's for a very good cause!!!

The necklace is 25" long plus a 6" dangle. It's wrapped with antique bronze 20 gauge wire, with antique bronze findings, quartz, apatite, and ceramic beads, and a carved dark red Buddha.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Very Exciting!

I awoke this morning to a call from my hairdresser. Some of you might remember that last week when I got my hair done, I left her with a dozen earrings and a handful of necklaces to display for sale in her salon. This morning, she was wondering if I could fit it into my schedule today to stop by with some more jewelry, and to pick up some money I'd made this week. And also, do I think I could make a little sugar skull necklace - just a pendant on a chain - for one of her clients who's buying some earrings and would love a necklace to match!

Of COURSE I could do that!

And I better get to it. She's waiting for me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random Websurfing Led to My First Blog-Related Sale!

Very exciting news! My blog has barely gotten off the ground, and as of today only has 9 followers, but already a complete stranger stumbled across it and purchased the butterfly necklace from the previous post. The guy said he was planning to give it to his wife for Christmas. How fun that my necklace will be wrapped up in a little box under some Christmas tree somewhere. I've sold plenty to friends and friends of friends in person and through my Facebook page, and of course I've sold things at the two art market/craft fairs I've done. But this was a first for my blog, and I'm very happy and proud of myself. Yay!

Meanwhile, I've had quite a social event-packed week, so I've only made one pair of earrings and started a new necklace. I'm pretty excited about the necklace though. When it's done, I'll post a blog about it. I'm planning to auction it off here, and the proceeds will be donated to a dear friend and brilliant blogger who has had a very tragic and traumatic year (or more). More info in that blog. But the necklace is beautiful so far, and I can't wait to show it to you.

Other than that, I'm waiting on some supplies to arrive so I can begin the November Birthday Sisters jewelry projects. 2/3 of my sisters have birthdays within a few days of each other this month. As if that's not enough, one shares the day with my Dad (who has no use for jewelry), and a week prior is one of my niece's birthdays. She's a creative girl (just like her cool aunt), so instead of getting jewelry, she'll be getting a Michael's gift card. Those two sisters though, they're pretty particular (especially one of them, and she knows which one she is), so I had to order a whole batch of supplies. Hopefully it will all arrive in time for everyone to receive their gifts at the November Birthday Party.

I have no new jewelry pics to post, so you'll have to make do with this photo showcasing my fab new haircut and modeling some of my own designs!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend Update

Happy Monday everyone. I had a very busy weekend, so I didn't get to make much jewelry. I've been working on a necklace with the purple bead caps from last post; however, it's been assembled and reworked several times already and I'm just not happy with it yet. Sometimes, it's good to put things on the side for a while and finish them when the proper inspiration strikes. I try to avoid forcing myself to finish something I'm unhappy with just for the sake of finishing it. Case in point, the brass & yellow tiger eye bead portion of this necklace had been sitting on my jewelry table for 6 months waiting for the perfect focal bead(s) to present themselves. Over the months I've tried different things; but it wasn't until this weekend that these recently acquired vintage/recycled Cloisonné round and Cinnabar butterfly beads solved the problem. Ta da! I will shortly list it for sale on my Facebook page.

In other news, one of my sisters and I got our hair cut & colored on Saturday. I chopped off about 8 inches! It looks really cute, but that's irrelevant. I finally brought in a bunch of my jewelry to show my stylist. She runs her own salon, and caters to a very cool & tasteful clientele. She picked out a dozen pairs of earrings and a handful of necklaces to display for sale. If they wind up selling, she said she'll take more! I know some of her clients own funky little stores, and they may like my jewelry and want to sell it too. Who knows where this could lead?

And if that's not enough, my massage therapist wanted to see some of my things, so I pulled up my Flickr account on my phone. She said she saw at least 6 pairs of earrings she wants, and said she'd call to remind me to bring them to my next appointment. She also suggested that I print out pictures of everything, and carry them in a binder everywhere I go. That way, instead of just giving people a card, they can actually see the jewelry, which will inspire them to go to my site, or even work out some sort of deal on the spot. That's not a bad idea, actually. I'm trying to figure out ways to reach a larger audience, and until this blog gets a bigger following, I have to be creative.

Does anyone else have any other ideas? In what ways do you market yourselves?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New project underway!

Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days - the weather's been awful, which meant no natural light for photos 'til this morning. And I didn't want to just post old pictures. So here's a pair of earrings I made a few days ago.

There's nothing vintage and there are no handmade elements, other than that my hands assembled them. And while I would have thought they were pretty fun several months ago, I now feel like I'm cheating. That's definitely a good thing, because I really want my stuff to be unique. And these could have been easily made by any handy 12 year old with access to a decently stocked craft store. Someone, somewhere might love them and need to have them, and that's great for me. But things like this will be ending soon. 

And things like this will be starting:

This is the early stages of my first attempt at homemade bead caps. All I had time for last night was punching and sanding. It didn't really take too long, I just had many other things to do before I could play with my new toys. This was the lid of a Hedley's Tea tin (Black Currant). I was saving the part where there are pretty paintings of berries and scrolly bits for once I had the technique down, but honestly I think it looks pretty cool with all the chopped up text. It makes you wonder what the words might have said. (Hint: it's all in French) Tonight, I'll punch center holes in them and pound them into nice little domes. I can't wait!

Earlier this week, on Facebook and IRL, I put out a call for tins. All the tins you can't throw away, ('cos they're perfectly good tins!) but that you don't really want to keep. My call was answered in the form of 9 big silver tins and several big white tins. At first, I was mildly bummed that no one had any crazy floradelic tins or zoo-themed tins, but then I realized silver and white will be perfect blank canvases for me to paint whatever I want! Then with a nice varnish over it, it should be okay, right? That way I'm not being as derivative as I fear and I'm being even more homemade than I originally planned! Now, that doesn't mean I'm turning down any crazy floradelic tins. And I'm still pretty excited about the text pieces as well. But I'm looking forward to exploring this brand new concept (painting on the bead caps) on top of the less brand new, but still really new concept (making the bead caps in the first place). Go me!!!

And for those of you who may have been hoping I'd be getting that craft desk I mentioned last post, it's not going to happen. There's no way to feasibly make it work without just sticking it in the middle of the way. One day in the future I really hope I will have my own room to turn into a studio. For now, I'll just have to make do.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Need to Update My Workspace

I wish I had my own room to be my studio, but instead I must inhabit a corner of the living room. I thought my little corner was great at first, but I kept expanding and now I've really outgrown it. Not to mention, it is not even remotely ergonomically arranged.

For a year or so, I've seen fancy craft desks in the Pottery Barn catalog or places like that, but they were ridiculously expensive and I didn't have room for one anyway. But finally, this morning in my World Market newsletter, there was a coupon for 25% off furniture, so I clicked on their site just to see what was there. And wouldn't you know they have an affordable version of that craft desk I'd been secretly admiring!

It doesn't look too big, and I think with a little creative rearranging I might be able to make it work, but I'm not sure. I wish they had the dimensions on the site, but I'd be willing to go check it out in person. Then of course, I'd need a stool, but I'm sure that's manageable. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fun with photography

I've been reading about the importance of photography lately. It's obvious really, and I have a pretty good camera and I know how to get good shots of the jewelry. However, I have been a major slacker about the settings and I don't shoot in natural light as much as I should. Everything looks better in natural light, so I made a point of setting up some props that would lend themselves to the task and snapped my heart out. I'm quite pleased with the results!

Here for your viewing pleasure are a couple of things I made last night:

Both the necklace and earrings are available. See my Facebook Page for details or just send me a message.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...