Monday, May 28, 2012

Hair Raising Days

I’m a dinosaur I admit it. As of today I have a brand new computer. A Samsung laptop, something or other, with a terabyte of space. Cracks me up since my first computer was an IBM with 2GB of space and w­e were totally up to date and cruising. It didn’t actually feel like that long ago. Now I want to take a class at Bead and Button that uses Photoshop CS6 and my poor little old Dell couldn’t handle it. It was old – admittedly 5 years old and I was still using A 2003 office suite and XP. I liked it – it worked for me. Now I am in hyper drive trying to get Windows 7 figured out, trying to down-load CS6, and am totally lost in my TAO class.

Okay, getting back in the real world again was definitely a must, but like all of you I’d rather be creating things. If I could afford for someone else to photograph my work I would. I’d also pay for cleaning the house and cooking meals but then I ain’t Oprah either so I might as well just skip that happy fantasy plan.

So, soon I will purchase the book Window 7 for dummies and try to dig into it. Last night and today totally challenged any menopausal brain cells I have left. I’ve never had a computer drive that didn’t have en eject button – Really – WTF. When the darn disc was in it and wouldn’t come out I had flash backs of discs and cassettes getting stuck in tape players. You and I all know people who’ve had to dig one of those things out of the slot. Sometimes you got lucky and sometimes the machine ended up toast.

I got it out – not manually. I did was as my DD always says – “Mom, Google it”. I found the answer and out it came. I will also say this dinosaur nearly packed the Samsung back into it’s cute little box for a return to the Best Buy store.

Now just how am I going to get this class accomplished? – Maybe if I tape recorded the whole thing while he’s teaching since I think I’m going to end up messing up a lot of info while fighting my computer. I leave in a week and I promise to practice but don’t hold your breath We’ve family coming – a wedding and lots of packing to do. If you see me at the show just give me a pat on the back and help take some good notes while we are in class, I'll be the one with my hair standing on straight end and making little twirls of it to pull out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

I Haven't Got Time To Tweet - Should I?

Manifest Destiny Mixed Media by Drew Shade
Have you seen the Creative Mixed Media Blog? It’s good and full of delicious information. Rice Freeman-Zachery has a great article about having a presence on the Internet. You have got to admit the fact that it’s really hard to know what sites might be an important factor to your voice, vision, and your business. Rice has made this a little easier to navigate with her article.

This is a quote from the article titled - Blog? Website? Facebook? Flickr?  "If you’re pressed for time and can’t manage a presence on every single site, where should you focus your energy? Rice asked several top mixed media editors what they’d recommend – where do you go when you are looking for new talent?"

It’s a very informative and eye opening article. You can click on "Creative Mixed Media Blog" in the first paragraph to access the article.  In fact it’s pretty great for all of us who are short on creative time and looking to focus our voice and marketing time to media that is the most useful.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Free PDF's from Lark Books

Good Evening everyone! Two great free project pdf’s are available from Lark Books on their blog site. They are from the new book Making Wire and Bead Jewelry: Artful Wirework Techniques, by Janice Berkebile and Tracey Stanley. I love Lark Books and all of the creative energy they bring to their blog. There’s always something new going on and they are so generous with offering project pdf’s from their current book selections. I’d love to tour those offices during one of my Asheville trips to soak up some high spirited book energy. This is a blog everyone needs on their daily reading list.

And did I mention Lark's last post on summer desserts? No?….OMG, they had a S’mores recipe that you can do on the grill. What family wouldn’t love that after a great evening cookout. It sounds like a memory in the making.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Playing Catch-Up

The Lansing Art Fair and the MSU Show were wonderful.  It was a hot day with lots of beverages and rest stops.  I'd show you photos of the show but gheeze - I'm not getting any A's in I-Phone usage.  I thought I was taking the photos when instead I was turning off the phone...LMAO.  How I can be THAT dense sometimes I do not know.  But when I tell you I am a techno-weenie, well, it's the absolute truth. 

I have been working at getting my beads ready for B&B.  I'll be showing with the Southeastern Michigan Beadmakers Guild - Glass Act.  It will be fun but it's a lot of work to get together to take.  All that tagging....ugh.

So how do you like these recently finished earrings?  It's the set I mentioned in the earring tutorial with the red beads on the wire.  They're made of recycled tin which I'm enjoying working with immensely.  I made the bottoms on a looped swivel arrangement so they can move around freely. More to come....

Friday, May 18, 2012

Art Show Season Begins

Tomorrow begins the round of Art Shows in Michigan.  Most of the outdoor shows wait until late May to get started becasue the weather is unpredicable until about now.  I am hoping to be able to travel to Lansing tomorrow to take a look at the show.  Actually it is two shows.  One is in town and the other on the campus of MSU (Michigan State University).  They are just across the street from one another so I hope we can see them both - It's doubtful but a girl can dream.  I'll try and capture a few pictures if I go.  Either way -


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Janel Gradowski - Friend, Writer, Beader

I first met Janel when going to meetings of the Midland Bead Society.  It's a wonderful social group for anyone who makes jewelry with beads.  They're a great group of people I adore.  Through the MBS I met Janel, Linda Dana, Anne Sturdevant (The Bead Weasel), and many others I consider good friends.  Janel is not only an accomplished beader who has had many of her patterns in Beadwork magazine but she is an accomplished writer period.  I've been an avid fan of Janel's flash fiction writing and short stories for quite some time.

She's offering one of her Trilogy of shorts, "Haunted", free.  It's a great way to get started (hooked : - ) on Janel's fiction.  And, please - go ahead and spread it through our community - Pin it, repost it, Facebook it, but go ahead and move it along to others.  Janel is one great person - giving of her art and her talents.  She's - well, one of US.

I've included a photo of the cover of the e-book and "Click Here" link below it which will get you to Janel's blog so you can make the more instant and quick connections.  Below is the quote from Janel's Blog.

"I have started revisions on my first novella. To celebrate I am going to give away my first e-book, "Haunted". The free promotion will start tomorrow, Wednesday, May 16 and run through Friday, May 18. Just click on the cover above, any of the links in this post, or on the slide show widget in my sidebar.

"Haunted" is only available for the Kindle, but remember, you don't need a Kindle to read it! You can download a free Kindle app for your computer or smart phone. Also, you can read any Kindle e-book on your computer, without any app, by using the Amazon Cloud. Please feel free to spread the word and help me get "Haunted" out to more readers!"

You are going to LOVE these stories.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Earring Wire Tutorial

It's been a busy week - Aren't they all in the Spring?  I'm way behind on my On-Line class at TAO (Teaching Art On-Line).  I need to be into the second module and I just now completed the first one....I think.  What we've been doing is to work on a down loadable PDF to give away.   Since I make my own earring wires I thought it would be as good a place as any to start.  I've taught - a lot - and always given away handouts when I teach.  I mean why make everyone try and take notes when they want to be concentrating on the project?  So I create a decent handout they can write details on but they don't have to try and write the entire lesson.  But, this is my first PDF.  I've uploaded it - and universe willing (which basically means I've got my fingers crossed I did this right) you can download it and it's free.

Let me know how it works for you and what you like or don't like.  Does it make sense?  I'm a work in progress here and welcome constructive criticism.  The photography could be more consistent but it's not awful.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Good Morning Everyone!  I can say this because I know I am up earlier than my buddies - maybe!  Actually, I haven't been to bed yet.  That will come when the thinking is over.  So, you're saying to yourself " Self, what is that woman up to?"  She hasn't posted regularly and what's that about.  Okay, I hear ya' all.  I've been doing stuff.  You know art stuff, life stuff, junk too!

Don't hate me because I procrastinate. I'm just one of those people who has about 10 projects going on all at once.  At some point what happens is that it all ferments at the same time.  It's like a continuous process for me.  Silence, while the soup is cooking, and then a quick boil over of goodies.  Soon, my love, very soon......

1...Let's see - Kittens left today from the rural areas of Michigan to the Urban roads of West Bloomfield.  Two out of the five will be adopted tomorrow and then the rest will be given the all out shot for new homes.  After that they might eventually end up at the Humane Society.  They make sure our little clan is up to snuff and places them in Pet Smart stores hoping for a loving home.  Where I live there are kill shelters and we didn't want that to happen.

2...I am taking an on-line course called TAO - Teaching Art On-Line.  Goggle it and it will be near the top of the list or use my fast hyperlink.  So far so good.  I have a lot to learn but the students and the teacher - Susan Lomuto have been very patient and helpful with us "fish out of water" types. Patience is a virtue and I'm glad they are - good teachers help everyone in the curve.  You should check this out.  It's a very interesting course.

3...Two eye glass appointments, dentist, lawyer, accountant call, doctor, and a hairdresser.  What the heck was I thinking when I scheduled these?  Gheeze, you say - Sharon - just quit whining and get it done.  Okay - optometrist 1 1/2 hours away -1 way, same with the dentist, lawyer -31/2 each way, doctor 2 1/2 each way.  Thank the heavens above the hairdresser and accountant are in the "hood" - 1/2 hour - one way.   Have I told you lately that I am not enjoying living rurally any more?

4. We'd like to get the house on the market and move.  We've lived here about 32 years.  Art clutter aside (and there is a Everest size mountain of that stuff) can you just imagine the accumulation made through raising three children and having run a business out of what looks like another small house (studio) in our backyard.  (Bang my head here - over and over and over).  What am I going to do with all of this life accumulation?  It's daunting.

5. I have been using the on-line course to work on a free tutorial.  As soon as I figure out how to get it posted so it's easy for you to pick up - I will.

6. I've been making some new tin earrings - mixing up the tin, steel, and sterling.  I love the look and hope everyone else will when the small collection is complete.  Maybe another week.  I am really busy with TAO and want a full dozen different designs before I show you.

Have A Great Day Everyone - Make satisfying art and take the time to smell the new grass growing and a fresh breeze too!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


A great deal of what I used to do in college revolved around printmaking. One of the colleges I attended was Northwestern Michigan in Traverse City. They had an incredibly strong art department and I learned stone and plate lithography (which I love), etching, and serigraph (silk screening), and block printing. I’ve never lost my love of printmaking. When my husband and I created the Countree Toy Shoppe we designed and created a line of toys that contained 50 designs and many of them were also silk screened. Screening on wood was fun and a good way to use my training. It required a particular skill set and the knowledge to pick out inks that were safe and toxic when dried – even if they got chewed on. We are lucky that in Michigan is a multinational company that creates all kinds of inks (Naz-Dar).
Recently a recycled Sari bundle of scraps brought me around to thinking about the printing and I purchased a wood block used for printing on sari’s. I’m not going to print with the block but will use it in a necklace once I alter its depth. It’s a nice teak wood and will look good on a necklace with other bits and pieces to things I find fascinating. Totally fascinating is how fabric is printed with these blocks. Check out these video’s on U-Tube. It makes me long to try printing again some day.

While checking around for these blocks I also ran into a great resource for new blocks: The Indian Block Company. The designs they have range from intricate to simple. But simple applied in a great pattern never looks simple when it’s done. What have you thought of working on lately outside of your normal artistic medium?

Aren't the patterns on this material just wonderful?  Wouldn't some of the patterns be great on beads?  I think you would even print on some fabric and bead the patterns.  Everything rolls around to the jewelry eventually....LOL

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Good Art Fair Advice

This is a re-post of an article appearing on a newsletter I receive from Tonya Davidson. I thought you might enjoy it since we are beginning the art show season and everyone who does art fairs is getting ready. Sometimes it’s hard to psyche yourself up for it. You have to set up a booth (not easy work) and try and look sane and together if the show starts that day. With any luck you have a Friday set-up and at least can get a shower and good nights sleep before it begins. But still, sometimes it can be hard to look all perky when you’d rather be home creating rather than selling. I get it! I’ve been there – done that. Read on…..

Do you enjoy selling your work or would you rather just create?

Did you know that you are a born salesperson and that you can sell your work better than anyone else?

So why not embrace your salesmanship qualities and realize the profits from your gifts?

7 Ways to Sell Without Being Salesy…and Enjoy It!

1. First and always, have a good mindset/attitude.

Embrace the idea that you are sharing your genius, your gift with that person, and shower them with love and confidence. Believe in your work and in your ability to connect with the customer.

It’s not about you. It’s about them.

How can you make them feel welcome on your site, in your booth, in your ad? How can you improve their life with your art? You need to believe in the importance of your work and in connecting with your ideal customer.

2. Be likeable!

Work hard to share content, ideas, and support others so they know, trust and like you. People buy from those they like. People refer others to those they know, trust and like. Be honest, insightful and lead with integrity!

3. Come from a place of service

If you approach every sale from a place of service you will win them over. Ask yourself, how can I best serve them? How can I shower them with love?

We are all here to serve in some greater capacity. What’s your level of service going to be?

4. Be a great listener

As the famous marketing expert Harvey Mackay says “A salesperson tells, a good salesperson explains, and a great salesperson demonstrates.”

Listening gives you the secret sauce. Hear their objections and take advantage of the opportunity to meet and dispel their pre-conceived notions.

5. Be prepared

Having systems in place, a booth that is well put together, an ad that is well constructed with great copy, a 3 month marketing campaign prior to your event, and the energy to meet and greet your customer is essential.

Having this energy and preparedness is the ultimate way to serve and it allows you to attract top shelf customers. Remember we are all energy and we attract to us what we exude and embody.

It won’t do you any good to go to that show grumpy, or to list that piece of jewelry without a loving description or effort.

6. Have a thirst for self-improvement

By improving and investing in your business you have the inside track to sales. Your booth, ads, website should exude that professionalism, authority and confidence. By improving yourself and getting support, you’ll find your business at the top!

7. Be a goal-setter

Going to a show, paying for an ad, or listing items on Etsy without goals in mind of how fast they should sell, how much you expect to make, or how many connections you intend to make are mindless actions without merit… or measurable results.

Start setting goals, setting expectations for yourself and your business and do whatever it takes to meet those goals. You take one small action each day toward those goals until you conquer them and then you ask “what’s next”.

As Ben Franklin said “Plough deep while sluggards sleep.”

Have a way to track your goals, gets stats on how you are doing and ask what you can do better.

And most importantly TAKE ACTION!

Original Article by…

Teacher, mentor, artist and founder of the Artful Success Program, Tonya Davidson helps artists take their techniques and business skills to the next level. As the CEO and founder of Whole Lotta Whimsy she has passionately empowered artists to live creatively from the inside out. Create the life you love by subscribing to her ezine, reading her blog, or following her on facebook/twitter!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Atta Boy Chuck Close

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who'll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you're sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that's almost never the case.”
― Chuck Close

“Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”
- Chuck Close

This is Chuck Close (known for his super realistic portraits) doing a self-portrait.

I’ve been thinking about these quotes for awhile and how true it can be.  It’s often that I’ve sat – perusing Pinterest, Tumblr, or some other site looking for something that makes the big light bulb go off in my head.  Really – WTF.  It’s true I have gotten a certain “springboard” moment off of a visual image, but it’s always the process itself that makes it work.  You work, you rework, and the inspiration hits – the solution is at hand and the piece you finish makes you feel – well – satisfied you took the time to work the process.  And, if you are satisfied you find out people recognize that - and they tend to, "feel the feeling" you did, while you were creating.  It’s a difficult but necessary process in a “ready-made” production world.  But, the more mass-produced things get the more people are turning to handmade.  And THAT is a good thing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Alcohol Inks on Metal

I’ve never used alcohol inks on metal but I really think the look is great and it can add a dash of color or a deep almost enameled look. And we all know from my recent retail therapy shopping spree that I have some now.

B-Sue Boutiques says that you might need a little “tooth” on the on the metal since the inks like to grab on to a little something. She does her regular patina (or uses a fine steel wool) and then uses her inks. She follows this up with a coat of Renaissance Wax to seal it all. I’ve highlighted her name so you can check out her instructions. Since I don’t any experience with these inks I thought I’d pull up a little extra info for all of us and I’ve listed it here. Look out brass and copper here I come!

The Enchanted Gallery

Lima Beads

Tim Holtz

I really didn’t know it was so versatile and can be used on polymer clay too. What a wonderful product.