Thursday, February 26, 2009

Book Pig

If there were a 12-Step program for the Artsy Book addicted I’d be in it. The problem would lie in the fact that I do not wish to be cured. It’s an addiction and I’m not alone, hahaha. So how many Borders/Barnes are there? Gazillions, you say. My most recent spree netted me some interesting books so here and there through this blog I’ll add a book review when I find something interesting.

I’ve taken Susan Lenart Kazmer's classes and loved them. Her book is dynamite and so is she. Mixed media jewelry is complex in looks and fun to make because anything goes. Some times it doesn’t go well, but what the heck….trial and error will at least show you what not to do. Since I think both Susan and mixed media are the bomb I look for other books on the subject.

What I bought was: A Charming Exchange – 25 Jewelry projects to Create and Share, by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae.

It’s a collaboration of a group of artists, 37 of them. They are an on-line group from various countries, with varying degrees of experience. They are supportive to one another and inspiring. In addition to the book they have on line instructions for the 25 charms they created to exchange, Just Simply Charming.

What I like most about this book is the unusual necklace links and beads that pop up. The necklace called “Forest Fairy” has this neat link made into a web with beads and a spider. I can just see it re-fashioned in many different ways.

“Sacred Heart, Eye of God, Tire Swing Babies, Sea Shore Bracelet, and Fabric Orb Bracelet” all have wire connections in them that I have never seen before. It will be great to add them to others I learned from Sharliyn Miller’s “Ten Trippy Tricks” class.

Would I recommend this book? ---- YES, If you like wire work and mixed media it would be a great addition to your library.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sharon Always

I saw this activity on Mallory Hoffman's blog (For the Love of Beads). It's from a new lampworking forum called Torch Bugs. The title of the thread was called "Kevan Always." Now, what you need to do to play this game is to google your name with the word always after it. Then you post the ten most interesting items you find. I googled my name with the word always after it: Sharon always. Here are the results..

1. Sharon always faces the latest crisis head on, picks herself up, dusts herself off, beams that adorable smile and goes on. ...

2. Sharon always has been a great mother to the boys, very supportive.

3. Sharon always goes for the jugular with her enemies. (Nope, I kill 'em with kindness!).

4. Sharon always seems to keep me in awe with the perpetual tri-multi-tasking. How does she do it?

5. Sharon is Sharon. Always doing or wearing something that either is great or scary.

6. Sharon always seems to be snow covered. Is Sharon running snow removal overnight or not? ... (Could this not be truer - I feel like I live in a snowbank.)

7. Rose of Sharon always comes along and blooms when we need it. And you are right about its care, it will survive about anything. ...

8. Sharon always found herself with pen and paper in hand and ready to write.

9. Sharon always seems genuinely nice! (She IS!)

10. Sharon always had wild ideas before they became chic
Now, what are your ten " Your name + always" statements? And Thanks Mallory! this was fun stuff and I found so many famous Sharon's out there. And the new forum is a great place for all of us lampworkers to check out.

Pandora Mania

I have gone Pandora bead wild. Here are some quick shots of what is going on the Etsy site soon. I have about a dozen more to do. The one thing that is great about being a metalsmith long before I was a beadmaker is being able to smooth the ends of the tube down like you would a fine ring bezel. I'm pretty happy with these - now I just have to make some fancier beads!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Zen and the Art of Beadmaking

Philosophy and Religion are fun topics. Oh Yeah, you heard me right…discussion unending to be had here. Not that I really like those continuing discussions because I prefer to have the philosophy of “live and let live” or “agree to disagree” and have always found it does my psyche’ and mental well-being a whole lot better to keep an open mind, listen, honestly state my opinion of what I believe and let it go. An ideal; yes, impossible…NO! But sometimes it ain’t easy.

Since I debate with teenagers most days (an unending losing battle) I’ve been thinking about an old read – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Working around teens tends to scatter the thought process a tad. You have to think on your feet, be quick witted, and sometimes deep thinking can last a whole 30 seconds, hahahaha. I have freely admitted to scribbling on ANYTHING. I always have an ink pen in my pocket. In fact, I could use a pocket protector for my neckline since I often put one there. What a fashion statement that would be! It works for me because if I can’t hold a thought for more than 30 seconds without an interruption I can often scribble a note or draw a quick picture. Glue sticks work great for adding them to drawing tablets, making them easy for quick reference or later refinement.

While I was looking through some recent sketches of beads and metal pieces I want to create I was thinking how UN-Zen my life has become…like somehow I had actually found my “happy spot”. Uh huh, sure. The researching and sketching fool that I am led to some Zen research. If I want some Nirvana then I’m thinking I ought to be able to define it first. Name it and claim it – right? Profound, that would be doubtful. But what the hell, making beads is a lot like Zen. You get into the zone if you work at it. Every once in awhile you get a kiln full of beads that are “just right” and you feel like Goldilocks. Here is what I found.

How to practice Zen

“There are numerous ways and different approaches. If you wish to approach Zen casually, one way to add a touch of Zen to enrich your daily life is to be aware of whatever you are doing at the moment. When you are reading this line, be aware that you are reading this line, including its meaning and significance. This may not be as straightforward as it appears. Some people, for example, may be thinking of a hundred things other than the meaning of the line they are reading. Another way is to be simple, direct and effective in whatever you say and do. If you want to borrow your friend's tennis racket, for example, ask him politely or in whatever way is appropriate if he can lend you his racket. It will be unZenlike if you start by saying how pleasant the weather is, or how nice his shoes are, and drag on for half an hour before losing track of the tennis racket

Recent activities have helped with an understanding of what goes on in the art-making brain. The encouragement of Zen-like lapses can be useful both in the studio and the great outdoors. We start with the understanding that a relaxed brain more easily accesses natural creative

In the preparation phase, minimal anxieties, few regrets and a state of well-being preheat the oven. Shuffling of the recipe cards is also valuable. Here are a few ideas:

Have an attitude of low expectations and nothing to lose.
Try to make deliberate, thoughtful, rhythmic movements.
While not necessarily alone, be solitary.
Allow yourself to dream, flow and indulge your fancies.
Be philosophic about your weaknesses and creative faults.
Let your tools and your media do the talking.
Let your work tell you what it needs.
Let yourself yin and yang between thought and no thought.
Accept imperfection.
Try for the spirit of attaining.
Teach yourself to teach yourself as you go.
Be in the now, but look gently ahead.
Be not lazy in your relaxation.

In the mystery we call life, certain work can be certain joy, and it has something to do with surrender to the more primitive, playful and automatic parts of our brain

I’m not trying to be funny here, but artists need to develop a feeling of privilege and a sense of good fortune, even if the feeling has to be artificially induced. This self-foolery, a sort of mental levitation, brings on a state of mind that facilitates easy-going exploration. The active seduction of one’s own mind is a significant key to creative progress.”

So, what do you think? Goldilocks here needs a little mind seduction. First I’m going to ply the palette with some buttered popcorn (the self-privilege part). I’m planning on being
one with the bead.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oh How the Time Flies

Just a quick post today but there is a lot more coming soon. I just wanted to show you some earrings. These are what Cherie (Glitterbug Originals) did with my "mice" and how lucky I am to have such good buddies.

"Well, Sharon Driscoll, now that you've won the Super Beader Bowl - What's Next?" "Uh," replies Sharon, "Well actually, Mr. announcer, I'm going back to the basement and torch some more! But, thank you for asking."

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Viking Knit is about the neatest way to use wire I've ever encountered. I like doing it so much that I make custom wooden paddles for other artists and bead shops. Teaching Viking Knit is fun - well, actually - teaching is fun in general. Ever since I've been making the paddles I have met a great group of teachers and from these customers I have made many a great friendship. Everyone, once they try it - "GETS" doing Viking Knit. Because it's really not beyond any one's skill set.

Recently I received an email from Beading Daily about Viking Knit. It's a very informative article with lots of references. This stuff is really catching on! It's great to use with handmade beads or all by itself in bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. There are even free downloads about finishing your Viking Knit pieces By Kathleen Pierce.

I’d also like to introduce you to the artistic work of Diana Frey, although I am sure you will immediately recognize her work when you use the link to her blog. Diana is an acquaintance of mine through Etsy. She purchased a Viking Knit Kit and has added her incredible talent to the humble knit and is now teaching it to others. I thought everyone who stops by here would certainly enjoy seeing her art, who wouldn't! It’s inspirational and has a romantic mystic about it. Not sappy; but clean, beautiful and well crafted. Above are a few photos from Diana’s blog site . If you get an opportunity to visit and leave her a quick note you’d been there I’m sure she’d enjoy it. What artist doesn't enjoy feedback? And, thanks Diana for being willing to share!