Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Internet Resources

I found a few more and decided to add some I already mentioned - I'm going for that comprehensive list sooner or later...

Lark Craft and Jewelry Forums:
Art Jewelry Forum:
Bead and Button Forums:


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Internet Resource Heaven

Not much to post since I'm heading to the studio to get some torching done but I thought I'd list a few resources for everyone who'd rather just spend the day browsing and catching up on some inspiration. You just can never have to many resources for that!

Lampwork, Etc. Forum:
The Storque on Etsy:
The Bead Nerd:
Glassline Forums:
The International Society of Glass Beadmakers:
Bead Style Magazine:
Art Metal:
Jewelry Artists Network:
Glass Art:
Metal Casting Zone:
Warm Glass:
Art Jewelry Magazine:

This is by no means a comprehensive list (I think I've already mentioned one I don't have listed here) - I was working on that list; and this was the beginning, but for now I'll post it and I'll add to it later. Enjoy! And, if you have any others please add them to your comments and I'll add them to the list.

When is it going to be Friday?

I"ve been doing entirely to much swirling around and it's time for a rest. A nice long an peaceful sleep. Tomorrow some beads. If you're wondering what've been up to - well, I'm working on some classes to submit to Beadfest. We (Susan and I) have co-facilitated classes there before and we think it's time to usher in some tutorials and renew relationship with Kalmbach publishing.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Faces with Character

Old faces show lots of character - traces of life are written in the lines. If someone has smiled all their life you see the little twinkles and lines formed from the facial muscles. Part of my old job was reading the expressions and body language of the children we took care of. To me it's like a puzzle but more interesting. Maybe it's why I took so many semesters of life drawing so long ago. The human condition is fascinating.

Another of the things that fascinated me while I was working was the symbols (tattoos) that the kids bore. Symbols are incredible and we use them every day. Who doesn't understand the universal hand-shake, or a wave, how about the man/woman bathroom symbol? Think about it for a moment and you find you deal with them continually. You have to be able to read and understand the symbols to move about yoiur everyday life. The kids wore gang signs, name tags, histories, and such on their skin. It gave me many conversations as they explained the meanings and symbolism and it also took me to one of my favorite books, African Adorned as we delved into African ancestory and tattoos of a cultural nature.

Historical costuming is fun. Each country seems to have something that symbolizes their culture. Maybe it's why I enjoy the magazine Art Dolls, all the creativity and symbolism. From Art Dolls I happened upon the extraordinary doll maker, Christopher Malone. His dolls are so rich in symbolism you can't help but love them. And as one spark begets another I've interpreted one of Malone's doll faces into one of my own. I'm hoping to expand on the idea and create a felted hat and stand. It will never be a Malone - but the spark of the idea was inspired by him and my well loved book.

I thought you might enjoy seeing the page of my sketchbook and the bead head. When will this be finished? - who knows - it often takes me a while to gather the components. I never rush and could use a good boot in the fanny or a maybe a lion chasing me once in awhile.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Road Trip

Now this has the makings of a great road trip this Saturday when the skys clear. The Chilhuly's are still at the Meijer Gardens and ArtPrize is all over Grand Rapids, Michigan

About ArtPrize®

Designed as a very different art competition, the goal is for the general public and artists to collide, exchange ideas and come away changed.

2010 in brief:
  • Grand Rapids, MI USA
  • September 22 - October 10
    $449,000 prize ($250,000 to 1st place)
  • Top 10 entries receive a prize
  • Artists can submit one entry
  • Property in downtown Grand Rapids can be a venue
  • Venues choose the artists they exhibit
  • Anyone attending the event can vote
  • Winner is determined by public vote

This is one of the works that is being shown and with prizes like this the sculptures are from all over the world. This work was created by Scott Gundersen, who is a Grand Rapid's native.

About the work
Title: Grace
Art form: 2-D
Medium: Recycled Wine Corks
Year created: 2010

Description of work: My work, a portrait, "Grace", measuring 66" by 96" is made from 9217 used wine corks.Grace Karekezi Mwemere, the subject of this piece is a friend from Rwanda. During the 1994 Rwandan genocide Grace was 16 years old. She was captured, separated from her family, tortured, beat and miraculously escaped death. Grace lost her smile and in the ensuing years she experienced anger, acceptance and ultimately forgiveness for her captors. Out of her horrific experience something beautiful happened as Grace came to fully embody her name, shared her story and regained her smile. Her story is a story of transformation. Out of chaos came order and then beauty. My work seeks to do the same. Transforming the ordinary into something more, uncovering the unexpected potential in unexpected things.

Learn more at:
See a time-lapse video of "Grace" being made at:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Road Trip

It was storming here yesterday - it will be storming late tonight and for the next couple of days. Fall weather in the Great Lakes region is full of unpredictability. Today was great! A day sandwiched between thunderstorms that was bright and warm so we decided to skip the daily routine and take a road trip. You know, I think clearer in the car...and if someone knows why this works for me then feel free to chirp in.

The drive took me further North to some resort areas via two lane roads. It's just a little early here for a Fall color tour but the leaves are turning quickly so it won't be long. I stopped to take a few photos along the way and enjoyed some sights.

I love bottle trees and found a new one on our journey so I stopped and took the photo to share. It would have been a great day to be in plane because we ran across this field that was covered in grass graffiti. There were smiley faces, peace signs, USA, and others. To bad I was in a car and not a plane. One of the last stops was Charlevoix, Michigan. Oh my, they are so full of themselves! Man hole covers (especially the fancy ones you see in various cities - they had some really artistic ones in Minneapolis) are generally manufactured here in Michigan at the East Jordon Ironworks. East Jordon isn't far from Charlevoix and now they have this theme around town, "Charlevoix the beautiful." Yup, full of themselves and yes - it is a beautiful area. The harbor is full during the summer, newly renovated, and user friendly. It was nice to walk around the town.

Was I inspired? Absolutely. I had an art teacher once who used to tell us to breathe every experience in. He wanted us to fill our eyes - touch and smell things. I often thought he was instructing us on how to live life. When life is busy beyond reason (usually self -imposed) I often think it's time for a road trip with a vague destination. The city of Petosky was the original goal but on a road trip it doesn't matter if you "arrive" - it's what you experience along the way. Petosky and it's namesake "stones" will still be there next week.

See ya tomorrow!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Art Jewelry

I just thought I'd pop in today and leave the link to Art Jewelry blog. It's an interesting blog and if you like Ornament, Metalsmith, and magazines like that you'll love this blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Who Makes That Color Glass?

Help! - I can't keep up anymore. There are SO many colors of glass.

When I first started lampworking there were not as many glass options. Isn’t that true with just about everything? You had to cut strips off of glass sheets (Bullseye did not make rods then) or use Moretti. When I ordered Moretti it came to me in yard long pieces. What a shipping nightmare that must have been but it was easy storage on this end. Usually five or six of these rods made up a pound. I still have a few of these rods. Nah, I don’t hoard glass but the color palette exploded and they were probably replaced with other similar colors.

It also used to be easier to keep track of the colors – there simply weren’t as many. It wasn’t to awfully difficult to remember that the white was soupy and which colors reacted with others. It’s not that I’m lamenting “the good old days” but it can be hard to keep track of today’s glass companies and colors. And, that doesn’t even speak to the issues of compatibility (and ranges of compatibility within a single COE).

But, I figure it eventually comes down to something like what clothing you wear. Really, don’t we all have a tendency to pull the same couple items out of the closet to wear? Or, we grab pretty much our favorite frying pan to cook in? It’s like that with the colors too. I always gravitate back to the same ones and fight a constant battle to expand my horizons.

So, if you want to add a slightly redder orange to your preferred palette where do go to find that in the right color (and COE) now that there are so many companies? You can check the manufacturer’s sites – way to much work. One of the places you can get a good look at how the different colors look is on Miriam Steger’s Blog (when you click on her name you’re going to get the CIM chart/there are many others.) Yeah, I know most of the glass retailers have color charts but these are some of the nicest.

She's made lentils of each color and you can order posters if you’d rather have them for reference. They would actually make very good studio decoration. How nice to be able to compare the manufacturer's palettes before you place your order.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Traverse City

Shopping doesn't happen much around where I live. We are rural/ recreational. Shopping Malls are not a happening item and progressive health care doesn't necessarily happen close to home. It's beautiful here, peaceful, and IMHO isolated from hub bub. Ah, but what if you like hub bub, crowds, shopping, and all the acumen's you can get in an urban setting? You drive...a lot. It's okay. It's a trade off I made to have my children grow up in this environment. That wasn't necessarily better or worse - only different.

Yesterday we drove to Traverse City. It's where my dentist is located - an hour and a half away. I know, it's a constant whine for me on this topic. Yes, there are dentists around here. Don't forget, I said progressive health care - I like health practitioners who know what the newest "things" are. My dental hygienist is top notch and uses a laser to clean teeth. Gone is scraping and grinding. Okay, well, that is to much information on that topic. What we did have was great time while we were there getting the bi-annual cleaning.

Traverse City is an "arty" and progressive community. Lots of things to see and do. Mario Batali keeps a summer home there on Grand Traverse Bay. Michael Moore is a frequent guest and started the Traverse City Film Festival. The downtown is vibrant and interesting. It's safe, trendy, and walkable. There is an opera house downtown - you'd never know it was there by the look of the buildings but inside it's fabulous and has been restored.

We did the "medical thing" and then took a homemade lunch to a park by Logan's Landing. It's a wonderful park that has evolved over the years and there is path that runs in and around the water for the bikers and walkers. After the lunch it was into downtown (like a five minute drive around the corner). We puttered, window shopped, and I took a few photos. Buildings are always intriguing and I'd really like to go inside and investigate all of them - maybe a better job for me would have been a building inspector. Don't you just love the colors and the blocking on some of these?

Tomorrow it's back to the beads. Maybe with a new color blocking influence. Where did I put those enamels I just bought from Bronwen Heilman at the Gathering!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Art Blogs

I adore the Internet. Everything is so at your finger tips. What I’d really like to try; to see if I’d like them, is a computer drawing tablet. From what I can pick up, Wacom makes a pretty good one. Doodling is kind of second nature to me and I do it all the time – I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that before. And, the really weird part of that is that I have this surge of inspiration when I am in the car going somewhere (although that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with post). There must be some wild scientific reason for that but I’m pretty unsure of what that might be.

I go through rolling ball pens continually and have never met one I didn’t just love to pieces. The rolling balls help with arthritis issues. A pencil requires pressure to express yourself – not so with a roller ball or felt pen. Nice invention! So, while surfing art blogs on the Internet I found a list of the most visited “art” sites. Among that list was The Art Bead Scene, no surprise on that one. It’s always a favorite of mine.

As I scrolled down the list I also found this site on doodling. It’s called Doodler’s Anonymous, great site with lots of eye candy. They rock; actually, and I’ll be going back there often.

Another outstanding person with a drawing is Armin Mersmann. He teaches drawing at the Midland Center for the Arts here in Michigan. If you want a comprehensive studio class on drawing this is your guy. I’ve seen very few of his caliber. Go to his site and take a good look – what you’re seeing are drawings – not photographs. They remind of paintings by Chuck Close and are beyond realistic. I wish my drawing tablets looked like that.

I know where I get inspiration and have posted on the topic often. What I’m wondering is where do you get yours? What’s turning your crank lately? Where are you when inspiration strikes?

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Monday

It's back to work day! ACK...maybe just ten more minutes...please!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday Christmas

Welcome to Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth -Michigan (USA)
Wally Bronner decided he wanted to keep the Christ in the holiday and so that is how it is spelled everywhere in the store.

Interesting title for a post, huh? Today's my birthday - another year older. I've decided maybe those years better start rolling backwards. Why not? No good reason I can think of. Mallory gave me a call today to wish me a happy one and she reminded me to take a look at Facebook. I had left early this morning for Bronner's and rushed out the door. What a joy to return to all of the greetings. It made me blush like a school girl. You guys are great.

The trip for today was to one of my favorite places. I know I misquoted it's size to Mallory but I was close. Bronner's lies on 27 acres of land. It's CHRISTMAS wonderland, 361 days a year (Hey, not on the holiday!). And, the buildings occupy over 7 acres. Some of the trivia is interesting too. For example:

1. The electrical bill on average is $900.00 per day.

2. The parking lot will accommodate 1,250 cars and 50 buses.
3. There are 100,000 lights on the 1/2 mile Christmas Lane that are lit
every evening.
Need a nativity scene? They have over 500 styles.
5. There are over 350 decorated Christmas trees.
6. Can't live without animation? There are over 700 animated figures available.
My suggestion - don't shop on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Over 50,000 people visit on that weekend alone.
Are you a Hummel or Precious Moments fanatic? Bronner's collections number over 1000 of each.

I could go on with this but I need to stop. It's very "Old Crow" of me but I love Christmas bling. Twinkle lights - all the color!

I know my photos are NOT going to do Bronner's any justice but I tried. If you want a personalized ornament for family or friends you can get one on just about any topic. They will customize it right there for you.

Are you into birds, fishing, snowflakes, snowmen, music, ad infinitum, they have at least fifty styles and probably fifty variations on the theme. Ornaments are categorized by type, color, country of origin, country of representation (for example, if you need something to represent that awe inspiring vacation in Australia - they have everything from Ayers Rock to a Kangaroo). An ornament might be as near as I will ever get. English, Scottish, Russian, Indian, African, and so on. They are all represented nicely in the "Ornaments of the World" section.

Need a baby tree or ornament for the grand babies? There is a wall of them. I think you can see them behind the the engagement tree photo (which is next to all of the "Our First Christmas" themed things. How do you like that Christmas brides' dress? Don't forget the fur babies either! They've ornaments of every breed and kind...and can personalize those too.

As you can see, I had quite the twinkly day. I saw trees in every color and bought some lights shaped like colorful spiders for my Nightmare Before Christmas tree. I think my eyes are about to pop out from all of the eye candy. It's time for hot tea and winding down. I sincerely doubt that's possible - I'm designing that silly tree in my head.

If you'd like to check out Bronner's yourself they are online and have catalogs. Oh cripes - more facts - they send out 3 million of them a year!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Emo's need Love Too!

I think I might have had another post title like that at one time or another. It might also be accompanied by the first Emo Girl I did a year or so ago. I find the gothic/emo make-up fascinating. This one is kind of like Abby (the scientist) on NCIS but not nearly as cute as she is....who could be! It's so much fun to sculpt faces. For the eyes I used some Thompson enamels sprinkled on with one of those great metal sifters (ala' JC Herrel - who I will say teaches a mean class on enamels!). I purchased them from Arrow Springs to replace the old plastic ones I kept on burning.

Then, I worked the face over where I put down the enamel. It was fun and then I added the heart. I think she needs be on a pendant with a bunch of hanging Emo goodies.

I have two more pumpkins for show and tell. I will list them on Etsy in a day or two when I add some beads - one is green. The poor guy didn't have time to ripen up in the Michigan weather! Or maybe he ate too many cherries...I've done that before and I took on that same green/ ashen look. But, they tasted so sweet. Which reminds me - next week we have an appointment in Traverse City - the Cherry Capital of the north. They've got the right weather for it and produce one heck of a lot of cherries. When we are up there (it's about a 2 hour drive) I will take some photos of the Cherry farms for you. It's proabably the wrong season for it - Spring is better when the blossoms are out but you'll get to see the land. Who knows what will spark a new idea - for me and you.

Have a great day tomorrow. Be nice to yourself.....artists need love too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Pet Bloggin' - Nellie's my name and beauty's my game

This beautiful wise old face belongs to “Whoa Nellie Belle”. She’s the oldest of the household pets. She is also the prima Donna of the house, the cheerleader, non-swimmer, bull in a china shop, prissy, pretty girly girl. Now isn’t that a descriptive sentence. She’ll blow a fart like a guy and look at you like YOU did it and how dare you, hence her name. She has done that since the day we brought her home.

She is also allergic to flea saliva, cats, mold, dust, grass pollen, and especially to bees. We found that out when she was a year old. You see, she loves to stick her nose in flowers and sniff (girly girl). She has always done this and once ate her way through the petals of the flower chain (and my bouquet on a coffee table) by rose’s first, carnations next, and daisies last. But, that’s another story, back to the bees. When she was a year old she was out sniffing the flower bed and was stung square in the nose. The bed she has access to is about 10 feet from the back door. By the time she turned and ran to the door half her face looked like a bowling ball. It was awful. I stuffed a hand full of Benadryl down her and rushed her to the vet. She was, for a while, the only dog I knew who needed an Epipen and who had bottles of cortisone on hand.

We live up the hill from a lake. She is a retriever but doesn’t retrieve. As I said – she’s a cheerleader. Oh, she’ll fake you out alright – get a ball or a toy and she’ll jump around the deck and get all excited. Heck, she’ll even look like she’s going to make a mad dash for it. Ha, got ya! You throw the item and the other dog takes off and she sits down. Her job, as she knows it – is over. She didn’t make the pass as the quarterback and she is NOT the running back. She is the cheerleader and does not indulge otherwise.

And the lake – oh no, ladies don’t swim – they bathe. She does do a great impression of the Loch Ness monster though. She goes out to her knees and sometimes her belly. Then, she sits down or lies down. Ah hmmm, people, where are the bubbles and the soap? Isn’t this just a big bathtub and please do not get my make-up smeared.

Then there are her feet – ur, ah – paws. She has the usual number and if she were a model those babies would be a size 12. Could you imagine buying four Jimmy Choo's in a size 12? And then there is the issue of grace. There is none. If there were an obstacle, no matter how small, it is in her way – she find's it, trips on it, or steps on it. Sometimes she walks on my feet more than me.

If you aren't moving fast enough to please the Princess don't be surprised if you get bumped into. She follows you excitedly like a race car held in the caution flag waiting for the green. Stop abruptly and you will get a cold nose on the leg. Then there is the annoying habit she has if you are not moving with all due haste to meet her needs...she wil boot you, as if she can encourage you to move faster, with those giant paws right square in the back of the knee.

She has personality - I guess her "Pet Mom" does too.

There are new beads out of the kiln, and a few of them are quirky too. I'll get those bead shots up tomorrow.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Here's Tony!

Sorry, nothing "arty" to report over the past week. Just some studio cleaning and organizing that needs to happen periodically, and never often enough. I'm talking like I actually put a dent in it! HA, barely a scratch. I did find some findings that were lost a long time ago; plus some other stuff. But I still have not laid eyes on my missing draw plate or my good Gerber knife. I use that for wax modeling. It will show up sooner or later....more like later.

It's Labor Day weekend and I've always relished a holiday. They used to be more exciting though because they meant either I was paid copious amounts of money for working overtime or I had these wonderful extended days off. Now, I have all the days off I want.....hmmmmm. That being the case (the days open to do anything!) I often wonder why I don't have that total studio organization I desire. It reminds me of something my father would would say to me. "You can have anything you want if you want it bad enough." Now isn't that a mouth full? It's worthy of more than a passing thought. He was a man who knew what hard work meant and although he was in supervision it was because he had already done the "hard time" with his sleeves rolled up. Put a tiger in your tank, girlfriend, and go for it.

Being a Michigander means understanding we are in one of the cereal capitols of the universe, W.K. Kellogg's of Battle Creek, Michigan. THEE home of Tony the tiger (frosted flakes) and other great inventions like Pop Tarts. I have a tiger to show you. No, not Tony, even though he is terrific. This tiger could come and live in my house anytime. I'd consider doing this for Halloween but I'm not sure either one of my fur babies would stand for it. Isn't it darling? The photo is from China where they like to do this elaborate decorating. I hope the fake Tony's like it.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend and don't forget to pay a tribute to those who know how to roll up their sleeves and get the job done!