The youngster of this group is a fellah named John, freshly graduated from a local high school. I'd be hard pressed to tell you which of us is the oldest but I'm pretty sure most of us are on our 20th or 30th reunions from H.S. Creativity knows no age boundaries and is unifying for any group with a passion for art. We're all equals there - it's a glorious society which accepts everyone without discrimination.
Some of my friends I have never met in person. I'd of thought this odd to say 20 years ago but if you are reading this blog you get the gist of how this can happen. You meet someone through a blog or forum who has a similar interest and bingo...conversations, sharing, new friendships born.
Over the years I have been trading some of my "talents" for some of theirs. This is another great thing about artists. We appreciate one an others work and are often willing to barter some great stuff. Recently, an on-line friend, was interested in a Kumihimo kit and had some concerns as to it's difficulty. We've had some great conversations in the past and we decided to trade - A kit for a bead! Oh heavens...Eileen (Dorset Hill Beads) sent me a beautiful bead of a genre' I generally do not work in. I love it! She's wonderful and I'd of never met her if it weren't for on-line forums of like-minded artists.
Another recent barter was with person who I have come to consider a friend. I fell in love with a necklace I saw on her Etsy site and asked if she would like arrange a trade for my lampworking services. She graciously agreed to look over my site and found something she liked. I was and am ecstatic about my "Fingers" necklace. And how about those earrings you're looking at? Katherine of Meristem, my friend, created them and included my chartreuse discs. She is such an inspiration I tried a derivative work by riveting beads to some fingers I made; not bad (see them in an earlier post), and in my own style, but certainly not the same panache' as Katherine's original. I wore the original while in Ann Arbor at the art shows. Needless to say, the necklace was a hit with everyone. It is a place to wear your refinery - ARTSY FART-ZZZZZzzzz. Speaking of Artsy stuff...Katherine has a spread (about her and her fabulous talent) due out in an upcoming Bead Trend Magazine. And, so exciting for me, she used some of my disc's in her pieces. YES! YES! YES!
And then there is the LEST team of lampworkers. From LEST (Lampwork ETC. Street Team) I met Mallory, aka Rosebud 101, at Bead and Button when we were attending the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) meeting and dinner. I heard someone at a neighboring table mention her name and I introduced myself. We use so many avatars and pen names sometimes it's difficult to discern who is who but it was a wonderfully serendipitous meeting. She is a ball of fire and energy and I enjoy her work, her comments, and her boundless energy on behalf of all of us artists at LEST and the ISGB.
I began writing this post prior to leaving for the Ann Arbor Art Shows. I have always found artists fascinating. Not because I feel I am one but because if you are passionate about art it initiates an open-mindedness about who and how it is created. At the very least when you walk amongst nearly a thousand artists surveying the work for four days you find yourself often amazed by the person who created it. Stereotypes get thrown out the window as your mind expands beyond the limiting, if not crippling, lines of any type of discrimination. I would not mention this but for a recent article in Belle Amoire Jewelry. It is about a talented lampwork artist named Carter Seibels. At issue is a reference made by the author of the article, Rice (I think it's pronounced Reese but I'm to old to find the symbol to go above her first name-tongue in cheek) Freeman-Zachery. It incensed my friend enough to have a "rant" on her blog (and she is not prone to this). It should have incensed the editors at Belle Amoire, who ought to have known better than to let their writers take liberties with stereotyping any one's beadmaking as looking like they had been created by (and I quote), "typical middle aged bead artists". I am thinking that Ms. Freeman-Zachery has a limiting (or limited) vision on artists, or exceptional and experimental art work. Maybe she or the editors would have benefited from the four days in Ann Arbor. I would hope they had the passion to look at the art and the process and skip the close-minded attitudes.
Disembodied avatars, high school students, instructors, friends...Artists! I am richer and more inspired for having this expanded group of creative peers. Maybe in the spirit of of Ms. Freeman's article I should be pushing myself up by putting someone else down but I think NOT. Instead I'll be singing the song from the Golden Girls (hum along with me...), "Thank you for being a friend."
ONE AND ALL