27 June 2009

A Mad Tea Party....and an extra GIVEAWAY!

"If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see?" ~ Alice, from Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland

A little nonsense a good thing.

Today is Mad Hatter Tea Party Day sponsored by the dear and lovely Miss Vanessa Valencia at A Fanciful Twist. I love that girl and her wickedly awesome skills. She is a talented writer, photographer, sculptor, painter and all around artsy-fartsy gal.

In addition to all the stuff and nonsense and all the cupcake towers with extra sprinkles and lacy gloves and chirping birds and even sitings of the Mad Hatter himself during her party today... there is more! Vanessa is having a Buy One Get One sale in her Etsy shop...no limits! These prints of her original artwork are really incredible, printed on canvas, ready to be framed. I received 6 of them in December 2008. I have one in my studio to remind me that my muse is within me all along. Her designs are whimsical and sensitive and so achingly beautiful. I am particularly fond of........no, wait! I am not going to tell you which ones I like best! (I will reveal it with the giveaway winning post.)

With the weight of the world bearing down on us, this is a great way to join the blogosphere in a celebration of light and love and fantasy and fabulosity. To celebrate with her...I am doing a GIVEAWAY!

To enter my giveaway, all you need to do is go to Vanessa's Etsy store here, then come back to my blog and leave a comment on which one of her fab-u-lous prints is your favorite. (This picture is from Vanessa's blog...she is really talented, this one! Doesn't this party look like so much fun?)

Here are the giveaway details:

  1. Go to Vanessa's Etsy store here.
  2. Look over all the prints for sale.
  3. Come back to this post and leave a comment stating which one is your favorite.
  4. Giveaway ends on WEDNESDAY, JULY 1ST at 10pm cst. (REVISED time! I realized as I was going through all the great parties on Vanessa's Blog that it will take me at least until then to make it through! Go and visit all the others there too!)
  5. One entry per person, please!
  6. One lucky random winner will receive some pretty pearl earrings!

(Example of earrings to be won! These earrings, called Cranberry Bites, were featured in the Winter 2008 Stringing...I will make similar ones for you with your choice of pearl color! Just follow the directions above...but hurry! I will pick a winner on Sunday night June 28th!)

And...you really should go check out her blog. Like.... right now. I mean it. What are you still doing here...?! You won't be disappointed!

Check It Out::Through The Secret Keyhole

Enjoy the day!

25 June 2009

Journey with Me

"I'm just riding this train as long as I can. As long as I'm having fun, I'll do it. When it stops being fun, I'll try something else." ~Gabrielle Union

Well, so far it has been all about fun! And I don't want to get off!

I couldn't wait to get my turn at the bracelet round robin exchange with Lorelie Eurto, Heather Powers, Christine Damm and Erin Siegel. And today, my contributions have been added. Tomorrow I will package them up and send them along to Christine for her part in the fun.

Would you like to see? (Spoiler alert! If any participants don't want to see, quit reading! But, if you are like me, you will not be able to stop yourself! teehee!)

I asked each of the ladies to give me one word...the one that gives them strength...or is a personal mantra....or sums up their personality. For my contribution, I decided I would designe a custom component that features their word so that they might wear it as a tangible remembrance of the strength and power within them.

First up, is Chrisine Damm's bracelet. I think that it is now to the size that she wants it to be, but there is still loads of room to jazz it up at the last two stops! I love the color palette on this...the rich reds with the pop of that chartreuse green. There is a certain fall quality here with the mix of copper and brass and even silver metals. It makes me want to curl up in a cozy warm blanket and put my feet up by a roaring fire. (And that focal bead...yowza! That is so much more amazing in person!)

Christine's word: TRANSFORMATION

Whew! That was a long one! I created a copper disk, texturized it with my Fretz raw silk hammer on one side and stamped TRANSFORMATION in a spiral on the other. I dunked it in a liver of sulfur bath and after cleaning some of that off, I added Adirondack alcohol inks in Currant and Meadow to both sides of the piece to echo the color palette.

I also added a few wrapped bronze coin pearls, a vintage (1948 Japanese Whitesnake Co.) goldstone and millefiori oval, and a vintage token from the Charleston transit company. Good for one fare on the Creativity train with a capitol "C" (or Christine). Wooo-wooo!

For a completely different destination, there is Erin Siegel's bracelet. This thing is so light and ethereal and the color palette is so soothing and cool...I am thinking of a forest glen with a babbling brook. This is way too dainty for me to wear, but I couldn't help touching all the beautiful stones that have already been added. It reminds me that we are each so different and our personalities are really coming through each bracelet. I feel that I am really getting to know each person even though we have never met (but we should remedy that someday!).

Erin's word: INTUITION

Erin actually had more than one word, she had a phrase: trust your intuition. But I thought I would distill that down to the basics...this little resin charm has watch gears at different layers and the word taken from a vintage English-French dictionary. The resin turns the paper almost translucent. What a good mantra! We can all benefit from those wise words.

I haven't had the chance (re: guts) to work with the waxed linen thread that Erin started us off with. Now seeing what has evolved so far I have a better understanding of what is possible. I might have to try it in some future designs. I like the mix with the dainty chain. I added a natural purple pearl dangle (I can think of no more delicate gem), a vintage curly shell and crystal dangle and a vintage transit token with "SE" for Stockton Electric (or Siegel, Erin!).

Around the country we travel to our next stop in Texas, home of Heather Powers. Her bracelet started with one of her own polymer clay beads in a ghost of a color. I am so glad that Lorelei broke out the faceted garnet. Truthfully, I was a little baffled with those two links but challenged myself to find a way to pull them together.

Heather's word: INSPIRE

I have been making some new pendants and charms lately. Each one has a bit of something to inspire, so I knew that is what I had to do for Heather, who has been such an inspiration to me. What a perfect word for her, don't you think? This charm I created is a Patera base using their special Gel du Soleil UV curing resin (and the coolest new toy, a UV lamp that I got at Bead & Button when I was there with Heather.) I stamped the word on the back (they are pretty soft metal, don't stamp too hard!) and added the Adirondack alcohol inks to the base and the word to make the word pop. I used the transfer from Patera of a bird and a mustard seed. (Do you know the Bible story of the mustard seed? It grows from the tiniest seed into the largest bush, where birds will come to nest. You have in you all you need to be successful. That is what I wish for Heather).

I have been practicing making bird's nests that I learned from a tutorial from the incomparable Deryn Mentock. I used galvanized steel wire and to make it my own I added some sparkly fibers like any good momma bird would do. And that egg? A granite bead I bought when I was with Heather (remember that bead find?).

And that little bead? A vintage Italian find circa 1953 from Jewelex with an aqua center, gold leaf and burgundy and black spots. Lovely.

Chugging along to Lorelei's stop. That bottle cap bead from Glass Garden Beads is so freakin' cool! I will have to get some of those little novelties. I wonder what a "Jurk" tastes like? I am thinking lemon-lime. Sounds like a good treat on a hot day and today is hot. Lorelei's was the shortest of the bunch so I extended it with some doubled up copper chain.

Lorelei's word: MOTIVATED

Yes. Yes, she is! What better word to describe my tireless and oh-so-creative new friend? I used a texturizing hammer to distress a copper ring and added the word to it. This ring took a dip in the liver of sulfur and then buffed to show the detail. I wired a charm with a little aqua melon bead to carry that color over to this side, and a connector link made out of green goldstone. I love this stone! It looks quite black, but the sun peeked out and I was able to capture the incredible pea green fire within the bead.

In keeping with the travel theme, I added a vintage transit token with an "L" for lovely Lorelei. I just got these faceted lemon-lime lab created citrine/quartz beads from Rings & Things and it looks quite smart in a travel hat of copper. And to continue the fruit salad flavors a pineapple quartz briolette was added, too.

The final stop on our grand tour is my own bracelet. Some of the participants are not adding to their own, but I couldn't resist. I had to add my own vintage transit token. This one has a shiny star in the middle. As in "catch a rising...."

My word? Well, they all picked such great ones and I wanted to be different. And mine is not just one word, but a phrase (I'm wordy like that). One that you will be familiar with...... if you know me at all...

I hope you do! (By the way...that goofy little blob on the left? That is my signature stamp skeleton key but I didn't do such a great job of hitting the hammer at that moment!)

These baubles are now on the track to Christine's studio. Can't wait to see what she does with them in her talented little hands.

Do you have a favorite in the process so far? Or a bead or component that you have seen that you absolutely love? Do tell!

Check It Out:: Make It Your Own
Enjoy the day!

23 June 2009

Meet My New Friend: Wassily

"The artist must train not only his eye but also his soul."
~Wassily Kandinsky

Wassily Kandinsky was a Moscow-born artist who felt the color all around him was alive. Kandinsky’s distinctive style of painting has the color bursting forth from the canvas. His color study painting Farbstudie Quadrate is the inspiration for the June Art Bead Scene challenge.

In studying about Kandinsky I am most struck that he didn’t embark on his art career and study until he was 30. In fact, he gave up a very successful and promising career teaching and practicing law. I take heart in the fact that he found his path to happiness at a later moment in his life. That gives me hope and encouragement that I am not completely off my rocker to want to chuck it all and follow in his footsteps!

Do you use music when you create? The connection between painting and music is very strong with Kandinsky. When I was a 7th grade English teacher (in another lifetime) I used to use music as a writing prompt. Music that was without words and not recognizable to the listener as any genre or time period was the best because it evoked a depth of writing that was intense. The most fantastic writings came from those 13 year olds when we did that, I think that is surprised even them.

"Everything starts from a dot." ~Wassily Kandinsky

Kandinsky was held very strong religious beliefs in sync with theosophy. This was something new to me. I learned that theosophical teachings believe that creation is a geometrical progression, beginning with a single point. This belief is very present in the June challenge painting for Art Bead Scene. The different geometric shapes of circles, squares and triangles are present in much of his work and speaks to his deep thinking of the basic components of life.

I appreciate the deep thought that he associated with his art theory. I think that his color composition is vibrant and full of life. I think his forms are simplistically intricate. I am so glad that the Art Bead Scene is doing these challenges so that we all may experience the art of the Masters through another’s interpretation.

Color is so key to Kandinsky. As a child his artistic renderings were with very specific color palettes because as he said, “Each color lives by its mysterious life.” I really like that image that each color is alive and distinct and separate yet harmonious. And mysterious. What could they be hiding?

My homage to Kandinsky’s Farbstudie Quadrate (Color Study of Squares) is called "The Key To Kandinsky (is Color)." I found the best little pinwheel bead from Jangles and a large ceramic hoop. From there I wanted to play up the abstract nature. I wove three wires through the red banded turquoise. These are from the SoftFlex Trios palette "Sophisticated." To offset that stone there is one disco faceted vintage coral colored bead. The opposite side features two strands. One is an irregular turquoise seed bead alternating randomly with vintage bronze trade spacer beads; a little pop of color comes from the red coral round. The second strand has graphite shell beads with a little glass bead that has turquoise and coral stripes floating on the red coral wire. The closure is a skeleton key from my collection. The colors and the geometry are a good reference point to Kandinsky’s color study. I have found that this can be worn multiple ways depending on the look that you want to acheive. The clasp can go in the back, on either side and even in front as a lariat with the strands pulled through.

If you would like to read more about my creative process, and to see another piece of jewelry insprired by this painting, please hop on over to the Watch Me Create blog here.

Check it out::Dot Art Dude

22 June 2009

Linking to Each Other

"And to learn, you have to be willing to push yourself." ~ Brandi Chastain

Wooo-wooo! Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga...Wooo-wooo!

The bracelet exchange train has pulled into station number 3!

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the lovely Lorelei and the ever-talented Heather to participate in a round-robin bracelet exchange. Modeled after the highly successful book A Charming Exchange, Heather and Lorelei thought it would be a fun experiment in creativity to invite several artist friends on a journey. I am so tickled that I was selected by this talented duo!

Here is the scoop:

  • We each started a bracelet in whatever fashion that we wanted.
  • Then, we sent our beginnings to Heather of Humblebeads where she worked her magic and blogged about it.

  • Heather then sent the package off to Lorelei for her skilled touch.

  • Third stop is the Tesori Trovati studio.

  • I will then send the bracelets with my contributions on to Christine of Stories They Tell.

  • And then Christine will send them on to Erin of Every Heart Crafts for the finishing touches.

Did I tell you how excited I am to play with these talented ladies?

To read about whistle stop number 1 at Heather's, click here.
To read about whistle stop number 2 at Lorelei's, click here.

Here is what I found when I opened the package.
Lorelei started with the coolest bottle cap turned bead from Glass Garden Beads. How can you not love a vibrant green puff that proclaims you a "Jurk"? I don't know what Jurk tastes like, but it makes such a cool recycled bead. Her bracelet has had some glass beads and a sweet little Humblebeads disk bead from Heather.

One of Heather's own beads is the beginning of her design. This soft hued lentil bead sets the color tone....but wait! Lorelei couldn't resist a bold pop of color with the faceted garnets. Now one strand becomes two with the most ingenious little three holed connector from Round Rabbit Extra. Now that the color barrier is breached it opens up a whole new direction!

Erin of Every Heart Crafts has the yummiest color palette in her ceramic beads. It is no surprise that her bracelet started with sherbert inspired hues and a very light and ethereal design. (And I am glad that Heather added one of Erin's own little charms to the bracelet!)

Christine Damm of Stories They Tell started only with one of her meticulously crafted polymer clay beads. (Yes, that red one is made of clay...it only looks like a fancy carved jade bead! Brilliant, I tell you!) Christine indicated that she didn't want to influence the direction...but the additions so far are such a great echo of that fabulous bead!

And my design started with a clasp that I made in the Susan Lenart Kazmer resins and metals class at the Bead & Button show last year. I started with a Japanese coin that had these beautiful blossoms on one side. I heated it, dapped it and filled it with glitterized resin for a drusy effect. I used galvanized steel wire to make a hammered hook and a loop where I added all sorts of pearls and brass heishi beads and watch cogs and one sweet little golden bee. I also started with three links of hammered antique copper chain. Heather picked up on the natural tones and added a sage-y Humblebeads lentil and Lorelei gifted me some cool glass and a vintage ball locket.
Now comes the hard part. But I am up to he challenge. I am willing to push my limits...

My job is to rise to the occasion and add my own flair to these mini works of art while still maintaining the personality of the wearer. And they are all very distinctive and so amazingly true to their creators, don't you think?

Words and quotes are very important to me (have you guessed that yet?). In thinking about what I could do that would add not only my own special touch, but connect with each of these ladies, I decided that a single word would do it. They have each provided their special words to me and I will create something that will remind them of what is deep in their hearts. I won't tell you what they are just yet. You will have to wait until I know exactly what it is! Stay tuned for the big reveal!

I asked for the ladies to answer a question:
What is the one word that sums up your philosophy or outlook on life? or What is your mantra, that thing that keeps you going? or if you could be described in one adjective, what would it be?

I would ask the very same question of you, dear readers...leave a ONE WORD comment in answer to the question of your choice above.
As an added bonus, I entered my clasp in a contest being held on the Objects And Elements blog. This is the new blog for fans of Susan Lenart Kazmer. Her new design team members are the most gifted group of ladies. I understand that Susan is teaching in France right now (I am greening over with envy at that little jaunt!), but her webmaster Jen just posted the entries so far. Right now I am one of three with my clasp. You can go here to see the post and eventually vote for your favorite design. And it is not too late to enter...you have until July 1st!

Check It Out::Objects & Elements

19 June 2009

There Are No Limits....Cast Your Wish!

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” ~ Bruce Lee

So many amazingly heartfelt sentiments were posted in the comments here in response to the very loaded question: What would attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

Here are some of the highlights:

illustrate children's books * run for political office * hike the Pacific Crest trail * teach paper crafting classes * grow massage business* live off the land * start a shopping business/party planning business/cake decorating business * form a philanthropic foundation * climb Mt. Kilimanjaro * study glass art * become an artist/writer/singer/movie star * reach out to more people * open a daycare/start a home for teens in foster care * start a craft club for children to foster creativity * go back to school * become a doctor to help others * have more kids * skydive * create an artist's coop * open a bead shop * become a jewelry artist

The most popular response seemed to be getting published as an author. (Now go and do it!)

And my very favorite...helping others to achieve their goals.

One respondent thanked me for allowing her to "voice her dreams"...but really I had nothing to do with it. These dreams are alive in you all the time. The only way to make them a reality is to first voice it and put it out there in the world. You will be surprised at the doors of opportunity that will open when you let it be known where you want to go. Now that you have voiced that dream, what are you going to do to make that happen? How can you cast that wish and reel it in?
Pattie from all the way down in Mazatlan, Mexico (beautiful place, that...) who writes a blog called The Joy of Nesting had this to say, "It has taken me many years to really believe and practice one of my Mentor's mantras. Whenever I would say 'I wish I could' she would look over the top of her glasses and say to me, "Failure is the not trying." Now instead of saying 'I wish I could' I ask myself 'what would it take?' "

Very sage advice indeed.

So...What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?

I would quit my day job and invest in the tools and materials and supplies that I would need to be successful at creating art...all kinds of art...full time. I would go back to college and study art history and in particular the role that jewelry has played in the art world over time and how it continues to evolve. I would set up an artist's studio with classroom space and a place to sell my work as well as the work of other artist's that I admire (or I would become an artist-in-residence at my favorite place to make art). I would create artist's retreats that would attract participants from all over the place to come and be free to be inspired and get in touch with their God-given abilities to be creative people. I would teach classes (not sure in what!) at venues all over. I would travel the world and be inspired by the richness of our many cultures. And one completely frivolous dream....I would land a role on Broadway in a hit revival musical with the lead role ;-) I would live a creative life. I would live without regrets.

There. I've said it. I have cast that wish before all of you. And now I need to make steps to make it real. I might not make all of these dreams voiced come true, but I can certainly take it out of a plateau and on to the next level. I have cast my wish.

Thank you to all who so graciously played along in my celebration of two years for Tesori Trovati. There were many new names and I do hope that you will be intrigued enough to come back and be inspired. There were 47 unique comments, and I read them all. We didn't quite make it to the magic number of 50 but this was an overwhelming response, the most comments ever. So....I will give away the Grand Prize (Moonstruck truffles and a custom "Seeds of Inspiration" necklace), and I have one additional prize of a pair of custom made earrings.

I used the Random.org number generator to help me select the winners of my 2nd anniversary giveaway...And the Grand Prize winner is..... Sharon of Livewire Jewelry {joyous round of applause}

And the 2nd place winner of the custom earrings is.......
Carrie M. {can I get a woot-woot?}

I will be in touch with you to ask you a few quick questions so that I might tailor your prize package to your tastes and style. Because that is what I do.

Cast your wish each Wednesday at Starshyne Productions!
Enjoy the day!

15 June 2009

Treasures Found Returns

"Know, first who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly."

I just found out that my design for my signature piece "Treasures Found" was selected as the June Editor's Pick for the Bead Trends blog.

This piece is actually titled "Treasures Found" so it really is a signature piece for me given the fact that my company name is Tesori Trovati, Italian for "treasures found." I wear this piece with everything, long or short with different parts to the front. Very versatile. And proves that everything old can be new again.

I had been misssing this piece. You see, I created it last August in response to the Bead Trends cover contest. It was selected for the finalists so I sent it away to them. It didn't win (actually, another piece of mine won the cover called "Stroke of Midnight"), but they planned to run it in April. But then the pictures got lost, so after having it sent back to me for a few weeks it had to turn right back around. I was so excited when I just got this back. It was like an old friend returning to me. I found my treasure again.

If you have been following me, you know that I have had my designs selected in this publication nearly every single month this year (okay, February was a fluke). I won the cover spot in January and I was honored to be the Featured Artist of the Month in March.

Bead Trends does the most fantastic job with photography. By being in their Idea Books I have not only satisfied my goal of being published once per month in 2009 (I am scheduled to be in there through November...keeping fingers crossed for December) but I am also amassing the most amazing portfolio.

Thank you to Tatia and the wonderful staff at Bead Trends for the honor!

(By the way...that bead on the cover is by Stephanie Ann Dieleman who is the most incredible artist. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Bead & Button show and I bought one of her fabulous beads!)

Don't forget!!! The comments are still open on the previous post for my June Giveaway! We are only 14 comments away from making it a TWO prize package giveaway! Check it out here...

Check It Out::Stephanie Beads

Enjoy the day!

11 June 2009

Making Your Mark …and a June giveaway!

“Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it's not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won't. It's whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.”
~ Barack Obama

Today I am turning two (and I promise not to have a tantrum). And I am choosing to persevere in making my mark on the world.

In the Spring of 2007 I told my husband that I was considering making myself a company just to see if I could do it. I reasoned that I was not going to stop playing with beads, and if I made it official maybe I could even sell a few things. So on June 11, 2007 I made it official and registered my company with the state of Wisconsin.

It is a decision that I do not regret because so many good things have come from it.

  • I have done jewelry for large wedding parties. And for the tiniest of babies.

  • I have had my first pieces published in a magazine. And I continue my quest to be published once per month in 2009.

  • I joined the BNI Point to Success chapter and started growing relationships with some of the best people in business. And I learn every day new ways to grow a successful business.

  • I have taught jewelry making classes. And I have taken some amazing workshops with renowned artists.

  • I have exhibited at my first art show. And in a holiday gallery at a local art center.

  • I have been asked to display my work in a local goldsmith’s gallery. And I have been invited to join an artist’s cooperative with permanent gallery space.

  • I have been selected as a finalist in a national competition. And I continue to stretch my limits by entering other challenges.

I am very blessed.

Today marks the anniversary of the day that I said yes. The day that I decided that I wanted to spread my wings and see how far they would carry me. The day that I fully committed to my two life resolutions: living a creative life and living without regrets.

It has not always been easy. And I am learning so much every single day about how to be successful in business and doing whatever I can to grow my brand and develop a following. I have made mistakes, true, but no one said it would be easy. The potential is so very exciting and the lure of doing what I love to do with the capacity for making this something that is permanent and possibly lucrative at the same time is rather enticing.

I recognize that I could fail at this endeavor. However, I do not believe that failure is an option. I have resolved that no matter what happens, I will enjoy the ride.

This week also marks milestones for some of my dear friends. They have both inspired me in so many ways and I cannot imagine how dull my life was without their love and laughter and insight and friendship blessing me daily.

"Without art we are but monkeys with car keys." ~ Author Unknown

Art Village, where I first learned to paint, and throw pots, and taught my first classes is celebrating four years. I am so proud of what my friend Rainy is building and I will do anything to help her be a success. Rainy is the first person who told me I was an artist. It took me a long time to let go and trust her wisdom. She is a wise friend indeed.

"There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and chocolate truffles" ~ A. Nonymous

My friend Rick is celebrating his second anniversary as well with his little shop Sugar Cubed. He is one of the top 10 sellers of Moonstruck chocolates. In the nation. I don’t know how he does it, but his will to succeed is infectious. Who knew that I would be so inspired to have him as a friend and mentor when I walked into his store on a whim two years ago?

This weekend Rick is giving away free chocolates at his store Sugar Cubed and Art Village is celebrating with cake and free art projects. And both of them are raffling off original jewelry designs that I created just for their events with the proceeds to benefit a charity of their choice. That makes me feel good and inspires me to do more to give back to my community.

Since both art and chocolate are favorites of mine, I would like celebrate my 2nd anniversary with a special June giveaway: a box of Moonstruck Truffles and a special resin pendant custom made for the winner. Chocolate and a wearable work of art…can it get any better?

To enter:

1::Post a comment here answering the following question:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

2::You can enter only once. But if we can get 50 or more unique commenters to post I will giveaway TWO complete prize packages to celebrate my TWO years in business! Invite your friends to come and play! (Hurry! Voting ends Thusday, June 18th!)

3::Be sure to give me your name and email address (so that I might contact you if you win). If you win I will contact you by email (to arrange shipping) and ask you some questions so that I might create a pendant that is solely meant to inspire unique and lovely you.

Check It Out::Cake Wrecks (What goes better with celebrations than cake? Especially hilarious ones...I go here when I need to laugh...don't say I didn't warn you!)

Enjoy the day!

P.S. Silver Parrot is having a really cool giveaway! Loads and loads of beads that she is destashing! She even suggests that you might take what you like and host another such giveaway by adding what you have....this is great upcycling and reusing! Check it out!

06 June 2009

Keep the Conversation Going

"Lettuce is like conversation: it must be fresh and crisp, and so sparkling that you scarcely notice the bitter in it." ~Charles Dudley Warner

I told you that I was attending the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee last week. I got home Saturday morning at 1:30am. I am now a bit less bleery-eyed so I thought that I should at least share a bit of the experience with you. More posts to come here and at Watch Me Create and Art Bead Scene. And pictures to boot.

Do you know what it feels like to step off the escalator and realize that you have come home? I may not have known any of the people surrounding me this week but I surely felt a kindred spirit among them. There were beaders and jewelers and artists from all walks of life, all ages, all experiences. The buzz and the hum of the show was infectious. Everyone was just so darned friendly and that made it easy to strike up a conversation no matter where I was.

What I liked most of all was that everywhere I turned there was a friend. No. I may have never met that person before, but as soon as I opened myself to their presence I was greeted as if I were a long-lost friend. I picked up on so many conversations with people in class and on the show floor as if I had known them my whole life. The thrill of the camaraderie was overhwelming, but in a good way. I could not help but find myself smiling.

I met up with some designers that I had met before, some I had only blog-stalked and some that were completely new to me. Like Jennifer Heynen at Jangles (she really has an awesome display and is as bright and fun as her beads...and I had to buy one of those little pinwheels) and Carter Seibels of Bead Trust and Divali Glass. They are each so talented and their personalities match their beads perfectly. And I met new artists I had never known before

...like Lisa Peters with her very affordable raku beads and buttons

...and Pam Wynn with her colorful layered polymer clay beads

...and Joan Miller whose porcelain designs are whimsical and amazingly detailed (I bought the coolest dragonfly button...aren't these little figures the coolest? Their little legs dangle and their detail is incredible!)

...and Stephanie Ann (right) whose starfish bead is precious...and her booth-mate Kerri Fuhr (left)who has an eye for detail and whose color change bead captured my heart (and don't even get me started on that little bee...).

I met new bloggy friends like Melanie at Earthenwood Studios (whose "toolbox treasures" and in particular, the keyholes are fan-freakin'-tastic!), Lori Greenberg of Lori Greenburg glass (who shows on her blog the very unique, highly portable and most impactful bead display ensured that I had to have one of her gorgeous beads) and Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios (she makes the most amazingly thoughtful and detailed pewter charms...I count myself lucky that I got to get through the throngs at their booth! Can't wait for her new book, Enchanted Adornments coming this fall!).

It was funny to watch some of them when they saw me. Since I comment frequently on many blogs, they may have seen my picture when it shows up as my avatar. They each had a moment of clarity when they realized who I was. I was standing next to Andrew Thornton while he was talking to another artist. I was patiently waiting for an opportunity to shake his hand and introduce myself. I could see that he was watching me out of the corner of his eye. When I did greet him I saw that spark of recognition. I had to chuckle because it always struck them as if they had known who I was, when I was merely a commenter on their wonderful blogs. But now they know the person behind the picture and that makes it all the more fun to connect the next time I continue the dialogue on their blog. The conversation just keeps going.

I met new friends in each class I took. Julie Savolt of Sentiments jewelry was one such person. We took Tracey Stanley's class "Frame It" where we cut, sawed, stamped, riveted and patinaed our metal. A great way to release some pent up energy! Julie is a fellow Wisconsinite and is in my area all the time. I do hope that we might have a way to connect with each other outside of the class. She was so helpful and kind. I shared my saw with her. She told me where to go to get some good deals on tools as well as tipped me off about a great company on the show floor. We bonded over this class and I do hope that we can continue that path and keep the conversation going.

In the pure silver clay ring class I stood next to Kathy from MO as we watched the demo. We bonded over the clay stamps she swore I was hording! (I was not! I just happened to pick the prettiest one...) I should have written down her contact info because by the end of the day we were calling each other "silver clay sisters" since we were making similar things and having a similarly challenging time with it. (More on that class with Maria Martinez later.) Again, I hope that she will keep in touch with me and that we can maybe connect at the show next year, or though blogs and emails. If you find this post Kathy from MO...email me!

I met Brenda Schweder, author of Junk to Jewelry and Vintage Redux, two wonderful books. She is as bright and sassy as the yellow chain necklace from her book that I spotted her wearing. She told me all about the Loose Bead Society of Greater Milwaukee and invited me to play along with them. I will be looking into how I can further that conversation because I think that she has much that I could learn from her.

I also got to meet Jamie Hogsett at the Soft Flex booth (where I bought some cool new Trios Wire for their Flex Your Creativity contest) and Cathy Jakicic, editor of BeadStyle magazine, the very first beading magazine subscription I had. She invited me to email her and start a conversation. I am curious to see where that could lead.

And I met with Jess at Vintaj who was a true joy. I am so in love with all the products at Vintaj (and I found out that you can pronounce their name any way you want..."vintage"...or my personal favorite..."vin-taahj"). I love to create with anything they have and they had a cool make-and-take. I slammed my finger pretty hard with my new texturizing hammer but that didn't dampen my enthusiasm. I made a really cool pendant I hope to resin with cool beach-y accessories. I was equally surprised to find that they were looking forward to meeting me, since they knew me from my picture and the work I have submitted to magazines. I plan to continue that dialogue with Jess and Rose (so sorry I missed you!) and all the Vintaj divas now that they know me on a more personal level. I am excited by the possibilities of that conversation.

But the best gift that I got from this experience was to not only meet a bloggy friend but to have her trust me enough to be my roommate for the show (see our mugs below). Heather Powers of Humblebeads is someone I have admired since the day I first laid eyes on her necklace in an issue of BeadStyle magazine in 2006. She is so warm and funny and absolutely passionate about art beads. When we walked down the 1000 aisle dedicated to bead artists she leaned in and said, "I am not responsible for what you do while you are in this aisle." She was absolutely right! That is where I blew the wad that I had (and then some!). But I am oh so glad that I did. I met some incredible artists and that is exactly what my goal was when I came. I didn't go to the Expo to buy beads and findings (although I did a little). I came with the express purpose of buying art and I declared that in every single conversation I had with the bead artists I met and purchased from. I will share pictures and stories of my new treasures in upcoming posts.

To all the friends that I met at Bead & Button show I just want to say thank you for the opportunity to open the door to a new dialogue with you. I consider you all my friends...ones that I will hopefully connect with again...ones that will point me in new directions...ones that will become dear treasures.

"A good friend is a connection to life - a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world." ~Lois Wyse

Let's keep the conversation going.

Check It Out:: Bead & Button Show (Mark your calendars for June 6-13, 2010! I'll be there!)
Enjoy the day!

02 June 2009

Beads, Beads and more Beads!

"You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives." ~Clay P. Bedford

I believe that it is not a good day unless you learn something new.

So I am on a quest to learn as many something new's as I can in the next three days.

I leave tomorrow for the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee. With the country's largest bead expo and hundreds of classes all week long with artists who are masters of their medium and it is all happening a short 3 hour drive from my house and my sister lives just outside Milwaukee so the lodging is free......how can you not go?

I went for the very first time last year. I could only afford so many days and so many dollars so I made the decision to go on Sunday-Monday and attend a two-day intensive class. I chose wisely. I never made it to the bead expo portion (I think my husband was happy!), but the class that I took was so amazing, that I didn't mind.

I spent two days learning about working with metal...sawing, filing, dapping, torching....and working with resins...filling, molding, tinting, layering...with the incomparable Susan Lenart Kazmer. What an incredible experience! I met some amazing artists all getting their creative mojos on. The spontaneous combustion of talent in that room amazes me to this day. I only wish that we could have had more time...to do more but also to get to know one another.

From that experience I met Jennifer Heynen of Jangles. Happened to sit next to her...because I was late. Now I consider her a bead-y friend. I am proud to use her art beads (in two of the pieces that made it into Bead Star!) I am excited to touch base with her this year, even though we won't be sitting next to each other. But maybe we will be learning something new about each other anyway...

This year I decided that I needed to attend more than one class and whet my appetite for lots of different techniques I can expand on. So I am challenging myself to a class to cut, saw, file and stamp on metal...a PMC class where we will make a silver pearl ring....a metal etching class...and a byzantine chain maille class. All techniques I would like to try but need an expert's hand to guide me. I can't wait to see what I will learn and what doors will open because of it.

I am also over the moon about the fact that I will be connecting with Heather Powers at Humblebeads. You may remember that I used her bead in my Bead Star entry titled "Besame Mucho." Well, on Friday Heather sent me a note that she found a flight to come in from Texas and hand deliver some beads to a booth that sells her art beads if she can only find a roommate. Without even thinking I invited her to be a guest at my sister's house. (And then I called my sister to let her know! Backwards, to be sure. But I have the greatest sister in the world who is so warm and inviting, she probably would have invited Heather to stay even if I weren't there!) So I am not only going to be taking classes at Bead & Button, and meeting the teachers and hopefully some editors of magazines and some people that I see online all the time, but I am also going to be tour guide and chauffeur and roomie to my new friend Heather. Color me excited!

I will be posting more about my experiences at the Bead & Button in the next coming weeks not only here, but also on the Watch Me Create blog as well as my guest posts for June at the Art Bead Scene blog (an incredible opportunity in and of itself!). Stay tuned!

And speaking of staying tuned....I just had a post at Watch Me Create about the way that a cause can inspire you. I made four pieces of jewelry for four different causes for the celebrations of four of my networking business buddies for next weekend. Each piece is unique and features something that speaks to the clientele of each business. And I have the satisfaction of helping those in need while also having a reason to bead! Please go read it (click the Check It Out below), and then let me know what you think either here or there.

Check It Out:: Bringing In The Sunshine

Enjoy the day!

01 June 2009

Let the Music Flow

"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons.
You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body."
~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I am a little bit late on the May giveaway. I thank all of you for sharing your thoughts about empowering music. You gave me a gift. I now have several new-to-me songs to seek and put on my MP3 player for those times when I need inspiration. Songs like:
  • Chariots of Fire - by Vangelis
  • I Can See Clearly Now - by Hothouse Flowers
  • 32 Flavors - by Alana Davis
  • Running Up That Hill - by Placebo
  • Revelation Song
  • Hallelujiah - by John Cale
  • Walking on Sunshine - by Katrina & the Waves

All of these songs evoke such different feelings. They would be good to have on hand for just about any mood to strike.

"My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require." ~Edward Elgar

I promised that I would giveaway two of the Dan Mitchell Sound CDs (and a little surprise from my studio as well). So I assigned each comment a number in the order they were written and went to the Random.org number generator. Here are the winners:

Congratulations Deryn Mentock of Something Sublime!

Congratulations Jannie Funster! (Who is a songstress in her own right...go check out her blog!)

I will be in touch with each of you!

"Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."
~Victor Hugo

Check It Out:: Starting Off With Sound

Enjoy the day!


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