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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.
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