Saturday, October 30, 2010

Art Fairs

I used to do a lot of art fairs and shows. I haven't done many recently - long story. What I forgot about is how hard sometimes the information is to find for someone who is new to doing them.

I received notice yesterday that it is time to jury for the Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans. DH and I have belonged to the organization for about 20 years. We originally juried in as a team - designing and creating some very unique wooden toys. It's been a long and fruitful journey for us as a design team but we have put our business to rest about two years ago. It's a shame and it is greatly missed - by our clients and us. But, we still belong to the Guild and although we have previously juried as a team I also joined as a separate entity quite a long time ago. Well, I have a very low "wait number" - new members are assigned a number while they wait for inclusion in the Ann Art Art Fair. I've received notice to jury and a list of the fairs.

Hmmmmm, I need to get a body of work together and get it photographed by January 12, 2011. I know what I need - but can I make it happen in time. So NOT sure about that. I'd need a booth shot and everything and I do not have items to fill booth. I know the ropes and traversed them for lots of years. Can I create the cohesive body of work? Oh hell yes. ACK! - too many decisions...

For the newbies trying to figure all of this out - gosh it was hard at times - I've found another one of those "treasures" to add to the blog list for you.

There is good information there - for newbies who want to do art fairs and old hands who might want to get back to it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's Almost Here!

Not really! I love to see the costumes...but alas we don't have many kids come by because we are so rural. Luckily we do have a very active Lions and Kiwanis club and they throw a huge party for the kids at the high school football field. They even have the fire trucks and give them rides around the track. Great fun for the kids and when they leave every kid is given a bag of candy. I apologize for the lack of posts and will get back "with it" soon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gaffer Experiments

Deb Batten and Mallory Hoffman turned me on to Gaffer Chalcedony a long time ago. I have other Gaffer Glass and have been doing just a smidgen of playing lately. These are the results of my play. The oblong one is Chalcedony over black/ encased/ with black tips. The one that was squeezed has kind of a kitchen sink approach. The base was Hyacinth, and there is chalcedony (not used to it's advantage by any means), a green lustre, black, and I think a dense black - then it was all encased. It has potential...I need to leave a few of the ingredients out.

One of the things I have to tell you is that this glass works like butter. It's not that it is soupy - it is not. Maybe honey would be a better descriptor. But what I want to tell you is that hands down there is nothing that goes on the way their clear does for encasement. Yeah, I know you can't mix those COE's up. Well, don't. But this clear wraps around in nice little neat circles one on top another. You could stop there and let them stand up and they'd be these optical waves of what is underneath them. It would be a great bead. But, when you heat this encasement up it smoothies itself out and lays flat over it's core - evenly - cleanly - without scum. It's so smooth and skinny no one might even guess that you had added that one extra step. Sometime when you are encasing a Effetre' bead or something else you begin in the same way and pretty soon you are dragging up bits of the the wonderful design you made underneath. Not with that Gaffer, it just tends to stand up in those ridges and slowly melt down in to a perfect flat encasement.

I've been doing beads for over 17 years and have not ever run across how juicy and phenomenal it is. If you haven't tried it call those Gaffer girls up and pick some some rods. You won't be sorry and they are a great help when you can so don't be shy.

I'm going to keep experimenting and I'll post those results here when I get them. Also, if you have an cool combination ideas - post them for me on the blog and I will try to work it out pretty good if I have the glass on had.

Any suggestions will be most graciously accepted.


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bwaahahahahaha - It's coming!

I've started on the "Nightmare Before Christmas Tree". Today after I put some more bulbs on it I'll take the first photos. It's just I like the twinkle so much that I could have those kind of lights up all year long. This tree is kind of a nod to my quirkiness and a way to accomplish it! I even have a vulture for it. Hopefully I will get around to making a veil for the skelton - I've bought netting and lace to do that. Hmmmm, I wonder what the kids will think they they arrive for Thanksgiving. By then I will have Fhairy Strands back in my hair and this tree will be complete. Uh oh!

In keeping with the season here come the holiday jokes!

Who did Frankenstein take to the prom?
His ghoul friend

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ask Harriete

Wow - Another new and exciting web source for guidance and answers! I've read articles by Harriete but never realized she had a great web presence...I should have known. Look for yourself because you will love the content of Harriete's blog:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

They came! I am so excited. I rifled through the box and browsed them all quickly and picked out my first choice to savor…500 Enameled Objects. As you can see from the pile of spoils I already have some pages marked with tabs. I have several favorites but adore Michele Raney’s “Raven”. As you can see that box is still in plain site in the middle of my front room. I know I should move it – but every time I peek over from the couch when I’m perusing my new book I just get this grin from ear to ear and want to do a happy dance! Thanks Sterling Publishing and Lark Books. I’m pretty sure you’ve made my week – uh, maybe even my month.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fall & Winter Color Palette 2010-11

It's always a nice surprise to me what's in the color palettes for the season. But, I think the last time I was shocked was when lime green became so popular. Not that I don't love the color. It was a great treat to have something kind of "shocking" to work with. It's not so shocking to see it anymore but when it first hit it was kind of like "Wow, what are they going to blend with THIS color." I kept thinking of Chartreuse Fire Trucks. This fall and winter's color palette has been out for awhile but I thought I'd post it for everyone to see. I'm kind of grooving on the "clay" and it looks like they've hit just about every version of blue so the sky's (all pun intended) the limit there. It looks like designers have a wide open field of color to use this year.

Friday, October 15, 2010


A round Robin is what I got when I over fed the poor thing who nested on the back of my house this year. How she got herself and the babies in that nest is beyond me, but she did. It's also what the Southeastern Michigan Beadmaker's Guild did this year as a project. It's been fun - it's been trying - but it wasn't the Guild's fault. I did my usual procrastination which is why it was trying...we had two weeks to do our part on each bracelet. It's a great project and the results are going to be fabulous.

What we did - (and I procrastinated on) was this: The Guild provided everyone with a length of chain - a clasp - a notebook - directions - mailing labels - bag - and the box. In case you don't know what a round robin is we are supposed to follow the directions - and move the box along to the next person in the line (always the same person and hence the mailing labels). So, we each assembled our bracelets to fit our wrists. In the notebook we were to put our name and write what color combination or theme we might want to have for our bracelet and attach the first bead to represent that theme/color scheme.

Our only responsibility was attach a lampwork or other bead to each bracelet according to the notebooks in the box - leaving our own note in the notebook as to what we had chosen to attach and why. One bead or attachment, note, back in the mail. Is that hard? No - I have no excuses for having more than one bracelet. Well, except for the fact that the person in front of me sent me five at once. They procrastinated too!

I'm catching up now and have beads made to attach to some of the bracelets. For some others I will have to go back to the drawing board because I didn't like what I had made in the first batch. Now I'm not only late but I'm being royally picky about it too. Frankly, I love pink and purple but have never been much good at keeping them crisp. I get mud or devitrification - which we all know is not a pretty sight.

These are some of the bracelets that are in my possession at the moment. Pretty cool, huh? I'd highly recommend this project to any group.

Tomorrow I am meeting my friend Susan in Grand Rapids. We are doing the Western Michigan Bead Guild's Show. It will be fun. I haven't seen her since this summer - she lives in North Carolina. I'll take lots of photos - I have the camera packed.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sculptures of Ron Mueck

I've been doing quite a bit of figurative work lately - mostly faces and expressions in the glass pieces. My friend Alita thought I'd like this sculptor so she sent me a link. These are incredibly life like. It would be like running around and being a Lilliputian in Gulliver's Travels. You'd be only six inches tall and everything would look gigantic. I'd love to see these in person.

Ron Mueck is an Australian hyperrealist sculptor working in Great Britain. Mueck's early career was as a model maker and puppeteer for children's television and films, notably the film "Labyrinth" for which he also contributed the voice of Ludo.

Mueck works with a particular type of super-realism that has a long history. He invites people to take a close-up look at his work, to inspect the hairs, freckles and blemishes, to scrutinize the carefully modeled expression and contemplate the difference between artist-made reality and the world in which we live.

Look at the size of the baby sculpture! Moving monumental size sculptures has got to be difficult but then moving something so hyper real on top of it...well, it's kind of wild when you think about it.

Off to class tonight - beads in the kiln and I'll post some bead photos tomorrow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Table Top Photography

ACK! and ACK again! I have been photographing jewelry or my husbands line of children's toys for nearly thirty years. It used to be to jury into a show you needed great slides; and for some shows, photographs. Needless to day we have gone through a million photography set-ups and cameras. My favorite of the 35MM cameras was my Nikon F-4. A workhorse of a camera and I loved it. This family comes by camera passion naturally. My father's favorite was an Exacta with a Carl Zeiss lens to die for. Name it and someone in our family has probably had it at one time or another. Fancy schmantzy, point and shoot, and instant prints, we have had a lot of them.

I was working with a Sony F-718 Digital after the big switch over. It's a big camera. Nice - 8 mega pixels. It's like the one Corinna Tettinger used to write Passing the Flame. Or maybe a similar but newer model. I like it but missed the versatility of that Nikon. With digital photography came an entire new set of bells and whistles. We don't exactly have them all figured out - YET!

We just wanted to take good shots of the beads and jewelry and I lusted after the "good old days" so we purchased a Nikon D90 and a Sigma 105mm macro lens. It's a brute and I am far from figuring it completely out. I will - or DH will. So far, so good with some aid of Adobe Photoshop shop (Elements 3.0 - I lust have a full blown version of that too!). I have Gimp (the freeware Photoshop) but haven't gotten the hang of it.

In all of this changing around we've gone through about a dozen different photo set ups. We've boxed, back dropped, lit with tungsten's, domed, draped, table tented, and now we are trying a version of the set up in the first photo. It is difficult to work within the confines of a tent or dome. Tungsten lights are expensive and burn out (luckily not often). Keith on the Frantz Art Glass Blog has been writing about photography and editing bead photos. He's good! Good at photography and good at getting his point across. We switched the set up so pieces can be moved around more easily and I couldn't hardly believe how they lit this photo set-up. Keith used white boards to bounce light back into the photo shot to move light into unlit areas or change a glare. We are trying that. So far so good.

Now, about that photo set up. What was in the picture was interesting. Lots of area to move a piece around to set it up. The example they gave in the B&H web site and their U-Tube of their product kind of whacked me upside the head. They are using a fluorescent light I've purchased before to put under my kitchen counters.

It pays to be married to man who is handy. (A whole 'nother story for all of you looking for a mate. My suggestion - marry handy! - and I'm not gender specific here - just marry handy person whoever, okay?). I showed "Mr. HANDY" the company video and the photo of the potential set-up. "Uh, dear sweet person who loves me (big time butter job) so do you think you could possibly build this for little (gross exaggeration) ol' me?" LOL He saw it coming but loves Home Depot and Lowe's so off we went.

We culled the Lowe's and came up with the light. For the light I purchased two bulbs to test. One is a 5000K and the other a 6500K. They are meant for daylight/ plants/ aquariums and stuff. There is also a setting on the camera for fluorescent. Whoo Hoo! Like I said - being the spouse of a "handy" has perks. Since the original top is made of metal and that was probably out until I wanted to work with roof flashing like I use on my bench top that was out of the question. But - a little more looking and I found something I've used before. Reflective white faced oil board. Oh yeah baby, this was going to be an excellent trip. The rest was easy - he's an extraordinary carpenter. It just needed a little cutting. For the background I used a very cheap Walmart poster board. It is more matt surfaced than shiny but it's definitely white. I used two bent pieces of flashing as easel backs for the side reflectors and I'm in business. Like how the background connects? HA! We found one clothes pin and then he snitched a pair of my soldering tweezers - which I will replace shortly with another clothes pin.

So far the photos are turning out pretty well with this. I'm shocked that the fluorescent bulb is enough - we are using the 6500K even though the camera's setting only go up to 5000K. We are still having some issues with setting the white balance. We will get it - it's only a matter of time.

So what do you think? I like this better than anything so far. Down and dirty cheap and very functional.
If you need an specs on this just leave a comment and I will email you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Day Off at Uncle John's

Some Michiganders will recognize Uncle John's Cider Mill. It's Sunday and we took the day off since it was beautiful weather and DH and I went on a color tour. The trees look like they are on fire here. Many of the trees even had color ranges from green all the way through crimson red - beautiful.

Uncle John's was just hoppin' and there was a line-up of cars to get into the place. I couldn't believe it. And I don't mean like two cars. I mean like thirty on the main road and then about a dozen of us in the turnaround. Whoa.

I knew it was a great day for a ride and it looks like everyone else thought so too. At the Mill they have a corn maze, horse drawn carriages, crates upon crates of pumpkins, train rides, a children's area, the cider mill, gift shop and bakery, wine barn, and on it goes....all decorated up for the holiday. My favorite bread of all time is in that bakery - it's a Peach Nut Bread and I love it. It toasts like a dream and I can thank the universe I do not live close to Uncle John's.

One of the fun things is to watch the mill and the guys making cider. It's a mechanized process all the way through except for where the kids are moving the containers in and out of the filling carousel. Since I have no bead photos to show you I thought I'd take some of the cider making process.

I was in as much wonder as the kids around me watching as the apples ran out of the bin by conveyor into the washer, up another conveyor into the pulverizing crusher. Out of that the juice went down a trough and the pulp was "spit" out the other end down a chute and into a bin. As the juice rolled down the trough by gravity it was spilled into a rolling cylinder (which I think continued to filter any pulp out). From the cylinder it passed through a filter and was pumped up a tube and to the guys on the mezzanine who were placing the jugs on the turntable where the cider was being pumped out. And, off it came and into the refrigerators. You can't get much fresher than this.

I've never been in a State that didn't have a similar cider mill and it's a wonderful season to be out and about enjoying them. When we were done taking in the sites and ooing and ahhing over the live band we took our fresh cooked donuts (they were doing that too!), our cider, and my peach bread and headed home on the back roads to enjoy some more color. On the way out we had to laugh - there was STILL a line coming into the mill just like the one when we arrived. I don't think I've seen Santa Claus lines that long.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

More Useful Sites

Art Biz Blog:

The Jewelry Business Guru:

Etsy Metal Blog:

I know all of you must have others - yup, I'm thinking you do! Come on now, suggest a few more so I can add them to the list : - ).

Friday, October 8, 2010

I Love This Series of Books from LARK

Winner of SEVEN 500 Series books!
October 08, 2010, 09:30 am - Posted by Ray Hemachandra More than 220 people left comments on our blog post hoping for a chance to win seven fantastic 500 books from Lark Jewelry & Beading!

We offered a fantastically diverse bundle of seven non-jewelry books: the newly released and incredibly beautiful 500 Judaica, along with 500 Metal Vessels, 500 Enameled Objects, 500 Knives, 500 Beaded Objects, 1000 Glass Beads, and 400 Polymer Clay Designs.

Our winner is Sharon Driscoll. In her comment, Sharon wrote, “I love this series of books. I use them all of the time to stoke my creative energy when it ebbs. The Driscoll library of heavenly inspiration and learning needs some new additions.” Thank you to everyone in the Lark Jewelry & Beading community who left a comment, and Sharon, we hope you and yours love the books!

So, do I love this? OMG - Yes I do. It's not that I just love winning something, who doesn't! But I truly adore this line of books by Lark Publishing. It is eye candy to the extreme and it really doesn't matter what the subject matter is because a graceful line in a vessel, or a pattern put in polymer clay, or Judaica can be reinterpreted into a great jewelry design. Good art works by other artists are inspiring. Good design is good design no matter what the subject matter. Thank You Lark books - my collection of these books has now grown and my smile is ear to ear.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Do You Zentangle?

I'd never heard of it. I doodle, I draw, I sketch, I journal, but a zentangle? How severely OUT OF IT can one person be. Frankly, I'm probably a bit myopic at times and it's not like I live in a trend arena here but you'd of thought I might have had a clue. Nope, not one! This is a Zentangle: In fact, it's four of them.

I used to sit in meetings at work and doodle things like this. I don't think mine were nearly as elaborate and it wasn't as if I could float off into a zen like state - the meetings kind of required some verbal participation so I was stuck with kind of aimless doodling that ususally hit the garbage shortly after the meeting. These Zentangles though are kind of cool. Here is an explanation of them from Bev Gee at EZineAricles:

There is a buzzword in the world of paper arts at the moment - Zentangle. So, what is a Zentangle exactly? It is a simply a doodle contained within a predefined framework. A pattern created from repetitive lines and squiggles, which becomes more than the sum of its parts.

The term 'Zentangle' was coined by Maria Thomas and Rick Roberts. Maria is a graphic artist who doodled a lot and one day realised that her doodles were putting her into a state of meditation. The couple decided to explore the concept in more detail and Zentangles were born. Today, although they have not trademarked their name, they have built a thriving business based on a website, a Zentangle Kit and training classes for certified Zentangle teachers. The art is used in many ways - for children, for non-artists and in many therapeutic applications too. It has spawned blogs and websites dedicated to solely to the art of doodling.

There are videos on YouTube demonstrating Zentangles, Zendoodles and Zendalas (using a round form like mandalas). People are decorating everything from mugs to shoes, from cars to bathrooms in this distinctive style.
Zentangles are most often created by using black ink on white paper but are certainly not restricted to this form. Color Zentangles are becoming more and more prevalent, as people discover unique ways to incorporate them into other art forms such as figure and landscape drawing.

Creating a Zentangle can take anything from a few minutes to hours and hours. There is something very satisfying about producing a beautiful piece of art with nothing more than doodles... it seems to lull your mind into peacefulness while your hands are kept busy. It has been suggested that this is connected to left brain/right brain functions - giving the job of controlling the marks to the left brain while the right brain is allowed to free-associate. Indeed, it has also been suggested that it can increase creativity and idea generating in other areas of life.

Why not give it a try? Grab yourself some drawing paper and a fine-tipped black pen, put on some relaxing music and lose yourself in a Zentangle. I have to warn you, though - it is very addictive. Once you start, you won't be able to stop yourself creating them in every spare moment.

Everyone loves to doodle so turn yours into works of art! To see many examples of Zentangles and a step-by-step guide to creating your first one click here: How To Zentangle.

There are even several books around on this topic - art shows - and seminars. I wonder if I can sneak a few of these into the Sketchbook Project.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Sketchbook Project

I've added a widget for all of your sketchbook junkies out there. You have GOT to go and check this out. I am definitely ordering a sketchbook today. Art is a participatory craft - you HAVE to do it. It is why art appeals to so many people and especially to children who don't necessarily fit into the "mold" of the clique. It is experiential education all the way. When you experience something you remember it.

The Sketchbook Project

Thousands of sketchbooks will be exhibited at galleries and museums as they make their way on tour across the country.
After the tour, all sketchbooks will enter into the permanent collection of The Brooklyn Art Library, where they will be barcoded and available for the public to view.
Anyone - from anywhere in the world - can be a part of the project. To participate and have us send you a sketchbook that will go on tour, start by choosing a theme.

NOW WITH COLOR! You are now able to choose the color for the cover of your Moleskine Cahier that we send you! Choices include black, red, blue, and kraft brown.

Each artist is sent the same blank Moleskine sketchbook. We've only got two rules: first, the book must be used in some way - no sending us back an empty book or a completely different book! Second, the sketchbook must stay within its original dimensions (because we don't want to have to provide an extra suitcase just for your book while we're touring the country).
Each book will be given a barcode so we can easily catalog it into The Brooklyn Art Library system. Once we catalog it, artists will be able to track where on the tour their book is viewed and how many times someone pulled it from the shelf - we want to make sure you can stay connected with your sketchbook!

So, I'm off now to order my sketchbook and pick my topic and you have the quick link button to the left on this blog if you want one too! You have to hurry - some topics go fast and you have to make your request by October 31, 2010.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Phantom Theatres

In Traverse City there is a great old theatre called the State. It’s fully restored and has a great history. It’s well attended and when we were visiting town they were pretty busy considering the last time we went it was a Monday.

Here we have “The Pines”, and it has a character all of its own. It’s a 450-seat Log Cabin Chalet that originally opened in 1941. The interior is incredible and it’s filled with trophy game animals. I’ve never seen a theatre like it and I’ve seen plenty. What you are looking at below is a shot down one of the aisles from the "family box". It's kind of special is that theatre - it's where the Mom's can go with babies and not disturb anyone. You can see a few of the animals on top of the private room.

Growing up in Mt. Clemens, Michigan we had two downtown theatres. This was before the multiplexes. I even worked as cashier in one of them when I got older. We had the “Jewel” and the “Macomb”. The Jewel was all modern for the time – marble columns inside and marble floor in the lobby. It was grand but sparse compared to my favorite.

This brings us to the Macomb Theatre. I loved that place and it is probably why I still have cravings for popcorn (my favorite snack). This place was straight out of Phantom of the Opera. They had the organ – a huge pipe organ. It had a balcony – and best of all it had opera boxes. They were so beautiful – I remember red heavy curtains on them and gilding on the fronts. It looked like a baroque painting – heavy – dark – glorious. Ushers wore suits in an olive drab green with red trim. And yes, they even had funny little hats but no one made them wear them.

I rarely got up to the balcony area. They had a fantastic concession area up there too. I avoided it and when I had to go and help get out candy from the storage areas upstairs I ran. My Father used to love the movies – my Mom did not. So I was the designated accompaniment for my Dad – even to spooky movies. Parents didn’t get the whole nightmare thing then as much as they do now. I’m sure it’s why I never wandered into those balconies and spent a goodly amount of time in a sprint up and down the steps. It’s also probably why I embrace having a sense of the macabre. Nope, I don’t “see dead people”, but I can frighten myself with an overactive imagination.

I hope you like the theatre photos – and maybe my little explanation of my “spooky side.” There will probably be two posts of theatre photos so I can get them all in. Maybe all this talk of the theatres is getting me ready for new monster beads or more skulls.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Grandpa Pumpkin

New pumpkin bead going onto Etsy tonight. I love the color orange (it's my favorite) and making expressive pumpkin faces is just too much fun.