22 January 2015

30 Words :: Art Feeds My Soul


Never realized
how I long to create.
Bringing forth
something from nothing is 
miracle-in-motion.
....open mind, heart....
...playful possibility...
embracing what moves me
to satisfy the
craving in
my soul.

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This week's lesson in the Life Book 2015  was all about being an artful wordsmith, with the expert help of Joann Sharpe and her book The Art of Whimsical Lettering. If there was ever a lesson more perfectly geared toward me, I know it would be this! I have always been artful, and a bit of a wordsmith, so putting those things together and allowing myself the chance to follow the line where it leads was liberating! I am now making more and more of these artful wordsmith pieces... for framing, for an art exhibit... and just for me! So exciting to find a new love!
  
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The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
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16 January 2015

Beacon of Light

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
~ Pablo Picasso

I think that I have always wanted to be an artist. 

But art was not seen as practical in my home. Something to enjoy the experience of, but not to make it my life's work. My mother was an art history major, who never finished college (thanks to me). I remember one time trying to convince her that she should go back to school for those few missing classes and get that degree. She argued with me that there no future for her to do that. What good would an art history degree do for a late 30-something woman with a job, a family and responsibilities? she reasoned. I just wanted her to finish what she started. 

Aside from the usual high school art classes, I have never really had any formal training in art. I dabbled in calligraphy and photography, but that was about it. The implements that artists use intimidate me. So many brushes! So many paints! So many papers and canvas and medium to explore! I never knew where to begin nor what path to choose.

But over time I have come to find pursuits that are artistic, that allow me to play with color and light, textures and patterns. I seem to have a knack for that. My chosen medium is working in beads, wire, metal, gemstones, pearls, polymer clay and all manner of oddities that I find and re-purpose. So I found a medium I can work with, that can make the inner artist come alive.

There is a local artist that I greatly admire named Ann Singsaas. I love her work. She used to be a regular part of the Gallery Q where I sell my work, and I miss her presence there. I don't have a lot of artwork in my home, but a triptych (similar to this) that she painted just for me greets visitors to my home. She introduces me as an 'assemblage artist,' a term that has always made me cringe. It makes me feel like I am disjointed and that all I do is assembly line work. Of course, that is not a true definition at all. I came across a term at the end of 2014 that has really captured my attention, and is in a similar fashion the same as what Ann has called me, but I think takes it a step further: bricolage.
bri·co·lage
/brēkōˈläZH/
noun
Origin: mid 20th century: French, from bricoler 'to tinker', ‘do odd jobs, repair.’
1: (in art or literature) construction or creation from a diverse range of available things
2: blending styles with what is on hand
3: the characteristic mode of production of the 'schizophrenic producer'
 
Bricoleur is a term coined by anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss to describe a type of thinking. This is the opposite of an engineer, who uses specialized tools for specialized purposes (oddly enough, my husband is an engineer and my son is interested in becoming one!). The bricoleur is more of a 'jack of all trades' who uses few, non-specialized tools for a wide variety of purposes. The bricoleur gathers tools, techniques and materials to form a sort of stockpile of skill sets and ideas. Learning all these things, she knows what will come in handy and when. It is not always apparent at the time what that purpose might be, but the bricoleur will be ready when the opportunity manifests itself. Each new work grows from the previous one, drawing on the groundwork laid over time.

I embrace the term bricoleur.

I used to think that my hoarding tendencies were indicative of a problem. Now I see that they were paving the way to where I am now. All those scraps of paper I can't seem to part with? All those markers, inks, paints and brushes that I feel compelled to buy? All the bits and bobs that I store on the off-chance that they might be put to good use? Well, that is just my bricoleur tendencies at work, which are pointing me in a direction that I think I already knew.

"Every day you have to choose to find and cultivate your own happiness."
~ Reese Witherspoon
I follow an artist named Alisa Burke. Do you know her work? She seems to be living this charmed life on the West coast making art and raising a little family in the most idyllic way. I am drawn to her fearlessness to decorate an entire wall in her bedroom with massive outlines of blooms colored with bright paints and markers. I am enthralled by her use of color and the big bold statement she makes with her living.

Back in September she announced that she would be a guest artist in a year long mixed media online class called Life Book 2015, hosted by Tam LaPorte (and you can still register! Join us!). She was giving away a spot in this class for the price of a simple comment telling her one thing (anything) creative that you want to try. My answer was chosen:

What a great gift to myself! (And a good reminder of what direction I would like to go with my chosen medium!). 


"Don't wait until conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes conditions perfect."
~ Howard Cohen

Through a bit of a glitch, I wasn't registered for the class on day one, but I am now. And what a class it is!

There are something like 2500-3000 people playing along with Tam LaPorte and her cast of merry art-makers from all around the world. Each week there are main lessons, along with a host of bonus lessons, designed to let your inner artist free. I know that the registration is still open for this self-paced journey. Even though I was gifted this experience, I can tell you that after just two weeks I can already see that the price is a bargain for what I have already gained.

There are so many newbies in the class, along with so many people who come back year after year after year. That tells me that this is a welcoming place to begin. 

I am still working my way through a few of the lessons from the first two weeks, but the big one - the Beacon of Light - is the one that I have completed, and the one that I was the most scared about. 

I have never had any formal art training. I always thought that I could only draw stick figures. Faces in particular terrified me. 


"I have looked into your eyes with my eyes. I have put my heart near your heart."
~ Pope John XXIII

So imagine my surprise when I followed along the video lessons with Miss Tam and actually saw a face emerge! With beautiful eyes! Eyes have always been the hardest part, but I get them now, thanks to the instruction Miss Tam supplied.. She made it seem so easy, so fun and free-spririted that I could hardly believe what I was creating!

Our Beacon of Light is a symbolic character meant to carry us through the year with benevolent guidance. She is to shine light in our darkness to help us to embrace the lessons we will learn. She is meant to have a message, your word of the year, and symbols that represent all that we are and hope to be. This is the kind of art that speaks to my soul. And it helped that I happened to have an almost pristine set of the Caran D'Ache watercolor crayons at my disposal, the exact thing that Miss Tam was using! It was liberating to watch them transform my rudimentary drawing into something that came alive.

Of course, watching all the Beacons that were posted in the Facebook group has been a bit daunting. They were all so incredible! Each one completely different! Even those that sought to copy the lesson exactly made the lesson their own, in their own special way. I am the worst kind of student in that I never completely follow the directions and I am usually off in a corner making my own interpretation.


  • So I tweaked the color scheme (Tam did all yellows) to add more teals and blues.
  • I wanted her hands to be uplifted to the Universe, to God, open to whatever comes.
  • In one hand she holds a nest (with two eggs indicative of my two children), with the promise of 'hope within' (one of my most requested Simple Truths pendants).
  • In the other hand, she holds an acorn, hinting at great possibilities inside.
  • She wears a necklace with a skeleton key (also my company logo), proving that I alone have the key to my own happiness. My company name - Tesori Trovati - is Italian for 'treasures found' and if you hold your own key you can unlock them, too.
  • Her dress is torn from a reproduction of a vintage map of the world, a reminder that one day I would love to see more of this world in person, rather than vicariously.
  • The sun and the moon have always held a fascination for me, and her face reminds me of the full moon with her diadem of heavenly rays pointing the way.
  • And she holds a banner with my word for the year - GRATITUDE - to remind me to be ever thankful of every new experience I have and every person that intersects my life. 

“We don't make mistakes, just happy little accidents.
~ Bob Ross

She may not perfect, but she is perfectly mine.

Isn't that the way everyone feels about their own 'babies?' Whether you birthed them, or adopted them, or fashioned them from nothing, all our creations are are sacred and special, and it feels like we have birthed them into being. Every mother has the most beautiful child in the world.

I believe we are called by God and the Universe to be creators. Creators of people, creators of art, creators of ideas, creators of things. It is our duty to bring our creations, no matter what form they take, into being as an homage to the great Creator. These creations are born from the culmination of our experiences, our personalities, our unique world view. Of course, only I can see the flaws that I wish were corrected... does she need hair? is the headband too plain?  is her nose too dirty and not formed well? what about the glitter conglomeration? I went a little 'glitter-happy' with the embossing powder (hard to see, but trust, me, gand tried to scrape some of it off, gouging the paper near the bottom. I could fix it, but I won't. I am perfectly imperfect, and that right there is a good reminder. (Also, to reign myself in on the sparkle next time ;-).

She may not perfect, but she is perfectly mine. 

I am not so sure that I would have found this class if it weren't for Miss Alisa. And I am not so sure that I would have enrolled, faced with an abundance of doubts as to my artistic tendencies. But I am oh-so-grateful to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon now that I have dipped my toe in! I am ready to be fully immersed.

This Beacon of Light will be given an honored spot in my studio, a place to shine her light and lead me through the darkness of my own fears. I am so very proud of her and excited that this year I will be embarking on a journey to discover the artist that I was born to be. 


15 January 2015

30 Words :: Emerging


Always an artistic eye, but
Never any formal training
Now with 3,000 others wordwide
Taking a risk
Exploring
the fun of mixed media
Discovering...Drawing...Dreaming
Emerging
as an artist

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This is a sneak peek of my Beacon of Light. I just finished her and will reveal to all her final form tomorrow on my blog. Come back and meet her!
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The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
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08 January 2015

30 Words :: A Good Hat


{-45 windchill}
means
I wear my
handmade-recycled-sweater-colorful-crocheted-edge
hat
people smile & stop me to complement it
so I don't mind {so much} the bitter cold


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
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You will need to sign up for a FREE account at InLinkz in order to grab the code to place on your blog. This is a new protection against spam usage of the InLinkz code. It will only take a minute the first time and then you can add it whenever we have the hop.

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07 January 2015

Featured Artist of the Month

“Be yourself.
Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe,
shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”
~John Jakes

You might remember a few months ago when I detailed the adventures I had out in Colorado to film four videos for Craft Daily.

What I didn't know at that time was that they would like the content so much that they decided to make DVDs available of the information.

Getting the DVDs in the mail was quite a thrill!
And then imagine my surprise when they asked me in November if I would consider making up kits to go along with one of the DVDS, the Fabulous Facets! Heck, yeah!

So I spent much of November and December focused on producing 100+ kits.

Livie-Elf helping to wrangle all the components for the kits.
I had to decide what would be included, what would make the kit as complete as possible. It was all up to me. I began contacting suppliers and amassing the supplies, they were coming from all over the world! At first, I bought the wrong size bead cores (Doh! Why don't I ever read sizes?) and had to scramble to find the right ones, luckily they were right under my nose, so to speak and I got the right ones for the job (so now I have roughly 1100 tube beads... but I am fleshing out an idea I have had for a long time with them... stay tuned on that one!).

Each piece inside the kits is in its own baggie, so there will be no ink mishaps or missing bead cores!
I had to decide how to package it. I was told that others just put them in a zip-baggie with a note. I decided that I wanted to brand my kits as Creativity To Go Kits© and so I used a white take-out box with paper shreds so everything stayed put. I also know that packaging and branding are oh-so-important, and I wanted each kit to feel like a gift packaged just for you! And it was!

Would you like a side of Creativity To Go? ;-)
My dining room looked like the elves had taken over! Luckily for me, one of the best, named Livie-Elf, lives here and she is pretty meticulous about things like this. She packaged almost all of it and took total pride in completing the task. So now I know she would be good in a shipping department should she ever need a part-time job!


I was told that the contents were up to me. I really thought about what I would want to have if I were watching the video. I would have loved to pack a variety of ink colors in each box, but I also wanted to keep the cost affordable. So I convinced them to allow me to offer the kits in two color ways: Mermaid (bright teal) and Wild Plum (bright magenta purple). Along with the saturated color, you need to have some metal patina paint. I like the Vintaj line because it is very opaque but has that nice shimmering iridescence. Nouveau Silver with the Mermaid and Victorian Gold with the Wild Plum. A block of my favorite clay is included. And of course, to make the beads have to have the bead cores, as I call them. A total of nine, three of each color (antique brass, antique copper and gunmetal grey) will have you creating beads in no time!


Beyond that, I thought it would be nice to include a few tools that help me along my way... a tiny paintbrush, a paint palette and a disposable scalpel for cutting the facets. Could you find something similar? Sure. But I knew that if I were buying a kit and DVD combo like this, I would like to just get started right out of the box.

Then they told me that I would be the Featured Artist of the Month in January. Woohoo! So my kit, bundled with the Fabulous Facets video is highlighted this month and is currently on sale for $35.99... that's 41% off!

But hurry... only 50 of each color are up for grabs and once they are gone, they are gone! (But I might be able to scare up the contents for some more soon!)

Thank you, Interweave, for this marvelous experience and for naming me the Featured Artist of the Month! And also, thank you for allowing me to shine who I am through these kits!







06 January 2015

Two Seasons...Make that Four Seasons!

I like the duality of things.

Hard+Soft
Black+White
Smooth+Rough

So it should come as no surprise that I also like the duality of the seasons:

Winter+Summer
Spring+Fall

My friend Heather Powers invited us at the end of 2014 to do what she calls a 'muffin tin challenge.' Basically, you gather up all the bits to make a project and put it in a segment of a muffin tin and then make them! When she first did this on the Art Bead Scene a few years ago, I started doing this. To this day I still have the 'muffin tin' idea going on all the time, but instead of tins, I found that the flocked inserts in these trays that I have abundant in my studio work best for me. In fact, I have so many of these trays going that I may never see the bottom of them!

So I took up the challenge for this year. And I put it out there that I would use this as the push to get some early 2015 magazine and gallery submissions going. Here is a picture of my tray:


See that top left square? That is the necklace I started at the Inspired by Nature retreat this fall, but fell short of working on. See that bottom right square? That is one of my original 'muffin tin' challenges from a few years ago that is still languishing in limbo. All the rest are new things that I threw together. And I did get quite a few going, some that morphed into other directions, some that I am saving for another time. And of course, all of the 6 things that I submitted to the magazines at the start of this new year have been requested to be sent. So I will not be showing you any of those designs, unfortunately! But the fact remains that I did what I said I would and actually made things and submitted them. Score one for the procrastinators of the world!

The one square that I will focus is the one with all the Humblebeads.

 You see I like to think that I have ever Humblebeads known to humankind. I don't really (although if you did participate in my recent giveaway on Facebook, you know that I had 274 of them in a large teal footed glass dish that I serve them up in my studio!). I bought a lot of these up at the Bead & Button show this past year, but never followed through on making anything. So this was my chance.

I lined them up by seasons with some rhinestone gate clasps that I have been hoarding for some time. I wanted to make something for a local annual exhibit called "Winter's Garden" at the Riverfront Art Gallery. In fact I am going over there today to drop them off and hope they will be juried into this exhibit that is filled with live orchids in the middle of the dread winter and all the art is floral themed. These are much simpler thing than I have made in the past, but it is also a fundraiser for this little gallery that I have come to love, so I wanted to make something that would be a sure seller rather than a showstopper that might just sit there.



I call these 'Two Seasons' and they are convertible necklaces. The chain is just left plain and long to slip over your head. The two pendants each feature a little Humblebeads house bead with a different season combination. The beads underneath are all of the more precious variety... pearl, citrine, lapis, moonstone, emerald, carnelian, etc. And a little blingy dangle just because.

UPDATE: Took the sets to the Riverfront Arts Gallery to drop of for the jury process. The director liked them very much but wanted a full four seasons. So I rework them and created a set of Four Seasons. Now I wait to see if I have been juried in, and if so I will be putting together a little shadow box to showcase the four interchangeable pendants. I feel that I might need to buy more Humblebeads! ;-)

Thank you Miss Heather for the inspiration to keep on creating and to make beautiful things! Now I have more trays of to-do's to go!

What is on your creative to-do list?


01 January 2015

30 Words :: My 2015 Wish for You


Before you leap
what I wish for you
memories of the heart
loving
the art of living
LIVE BOLDLY
words to the rescue
making an impression
life is a verb
GO FOR IT!

A few months ago, my friend Michelle Mach hosted a book spine poetry blog hop. I was unable at that time to participate. I have been trying to do a deep clean of my studio these past few days and had pulled down a bunch of books off the shelf. They magically arranged themselves into a poem for hte start of the new year. Please excuse the extra three words in this post! 

The 30 Words :: 2014 book has been a success so far. I will continue to offer it for sale in case you are looking for a gift throughout the year. And every time I reach at least 50 books sold, I will be making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association. On the way to the first donation soon! 

I pledge to keep doing the 30 Words indefinitely, with the goal of creating a yearbook compilation each year to the Alzheimer's Association. I would love to see this project grow to even more participants. Please feel free to invite people to join in the movement for 2015!

Thank you. Whether you participated a lot or a little, or just came to read and comment, it has been a pleasure to connect in this way each week, to share a glimpse into my life, and to take a peek into yours.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The premise of 30 Words Thursdays is simple...
Take an image (preferably one you shot, or have permission to use).
Write 30 Words about it. No more. No less.
Post it each Thursday.
Add your link to the InLinkz on my 30 Words Thursday post.
(InLinkz code will be open for one week.)
Enjoy seeing the verse and vision others have captured by visiting them and leaving a comment.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~





~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Get the InLinkz code for your blog!
You will need to sign up for a FREE account at InLinkz in order to grab the code to place on your blog. This is a new protection against spam usage of the InLinkz code. It will only take a minute the first time and then you can add it whenever we have the hop.
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