26 August 2010

30 Words::Locks of Love & First Day

{It has been such a long time since I did the 30 Words that I thought I would give you two for the price of one today! Enjoy!}

{Can I keep at least one little lock of hair?}

You begged since spring.
I balked.
Perseverance won out.
Your first real haircut in 9 1/2 years.
Eight inches is enough to donate.
So grown up and making a difference.

{If I were a better mommy, I would have thought to take a before picture!}

* * * * * * * * *

New sneakers, shiny shoes.
Stylin' new clothes on a bright sunshiny day.
You are excited to go back, learn something new.
7th grade?
4th grade?
Where did the time go...

Enjoy the day!

19 August 2010

RAW::Only You Know

{Letterpress from lizardpress on Etsy}

Erin, you're the only person who knows what's right for you.

The only one.

And if you already know what this is, commit to it. If you don't, commit to nothing.

Only you know,
The Universe

P.S. Whether you commit or not, Erin, get busy. There are still things to do, doors to knock on, stones to overturn, trees to befriend....

Today's Random Act of Wisdom is brought to you by TUT - Totally Unique Thoughts.

This arrived in my inbox the day that I was wrasslin' with a big decision that will affect my Tesori Trovati Jewelry business. And seeing it helped me know the direction I was leaning was right. How do they do that?


Do you know what is right for you?

Are you a-wrasslin' with a big decision?

Do you have issues with committing?

What doors do you have to knock on?

What stones do you have to overturn?

What do you think you will find there?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

P.S. Check out the Art Bead Scene today for my post Opportunities Knocking: Collaboration where you can watch a video of my Gallery Q exhibit. Leave a comment on the Art Bead Scene post for a chance to win a giveaway of some of the art beads that I had commissioned for my first ever gallery exhibit!

17 August 2010

The Blackbird Sat

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.
~ from the poem 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird' by Wallace Stevens

It was snowing softly and biting cold that ever-darkening February afternoon.

She bundled up in her snow boots. She pulled on her mittens attached to the inside of her coat with a string and a safety pin. A knit cap with a yarn ball of green and gold was pulled down over her ears. She was prepared for the weather, but that did nothing to relieve the dread gnawing at her stomach.

At eight she was trusted to walk the ten blocks from school alone. But she wished she weren't alone today of all days. Perhaps she had a premonition that something ominous was about to occur. And with no friend along for the walk, would there be anyone to hear her scream?

As she walked, she always kept her eyes cast down upon her feet. She had a long to think about what might happen next. Seven. Eight. Nine blocks. But as she neared the corner to turn toward home she slowed considerably and looked up to the sky.

She dreaded this corner.

Simon was always watching and ever protective of the house that sheltered him, fed him, treated this wild one as you would a pet. No matter the day, no matter the weather, Simon would cast his discerning glance to any passers-by as coolly as a dictator from atop his throne. The instant you crossed that imaginary boundary, Simon would swoop down to assert his power over this bit of asphalt, claiming this territory as his alone. Simon defied all comers no matter that they were merely passing through. This was his patch of sky, his giant tree.

She knew that Simon would be in the towering oak across the street even if she couldn't make out his form in the tangled bare branches. His beady black eye was clearly trained on her approach. He let out one loud 'caw' breaking the muffled stillness of the air.

She gathered her courage to cast a wary eye skyward. But Simon was gone. And in that instant she knew that he was coming for her. Her legs no longer knew how to move.

Simon swooped and dove repeatedly, inching ever closer to her small form standing frozen in the middle of the road. She cowered and whimpered but that only served to make Simon even more brazen.

And then suddenly he landed. On top of her tiny shoulders this great ebony dive bomber sat. He pecked at the green and gold yarn atop her tiny head. The weight of his body made her buckle and she started screaming. The tears were blinding. Peck. Peck. Peck.

So close to the safety of home, yet she wondered if she would ever reach it.

One block away at 6609 43rd Avenue North her mother awaited her return. A mother knows the screams of her own child. And when these shrieks pierced the air she ran to save her daughter with the green and gold cap. The girl found refuge in her mother's arms. But though she could dry her eyes and calm her fears, the nightmare was all too real.

To this day the girl with the green and gold cap dreads the sound of the 'caw' and the flapping of the pitch black wings or the spectre in the tree as if Simon's offspring were keeping watch for another opportunity.

She never walks alone and always casts a wary eye toward the dark limbs of the oaks.

* * * * *

This is a true story.

The people around the corner from my house took in this crow when he was a baby and nursed him back to health. They named him Simon. From that moment on he became the rather macabre sentinel of the neighborhood. I did indeed, get pecked on the head by Simon the crow. And although my recollection may be spotty, the feelings are real in this grown up version of the events.

I lived in Minnesota at the time and I laughingly say that Simon must have been a Vikings fan and saw my Packer green and gold homemade knit cap as a threat. My parents involved the DNR authorities after this incident, who because he was a protected species, released Simon into the wild 100 miles away. But Simon knew his way to this home. They tried again and again, until it was obvious that they needed to deal with this another way. I am not aware what happened after that, but Simon was indeed gone.

To this day, I have a difficulty walking down the street and seeing a crow in a tall tree. I do have this irrational fear that Simon is still out to get me, even though that occurred more than 34 years ago. {And no, I have never watched the movie 'The Birds.'}

When I saw the January Art Bead Scene challenge was Monet's stark painting 'La Pie' I initially shuddered at the thought of trying to use this as my inspiration. While most people might see a calm and snowy landscape, my eye immediately went to the tiny speck of the blackbird and I recalled this rather haunting memory from my childhood.

I decided that this would challenge me to funnel that latent fear into something beautiful.

I like to blend my inspirations and recalled the Wallace Stevens' poem 'Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.' I found stanza XIII to be the perfect accompaniment to this painting. This entire poem is reminiscent of Japanese haiku and deals with the fact that death comes to all lives. The austere nature of these lines reflect the stark scene that Monet depicts so well.

I set about to focus on deconstructing the blackbird of my nightmares into something that dreams are made of.

The wing focal is from Lynn Davis, ExpeditionD. The oily iridescence of the blackbird's wings is really quite striking. And 'Le Pie' or the magpie is typically attracted to shiny or bright things, as Simon was undoubtedly attracted to my yarn ball cap. A vintage button along with a snowy vintage mother-of-pearl feather speak to that habit of the blackbird to be intrigued.

The leather cord and the Vintaj brass chain and toggle are reminiscent of the gate and the stark tree branches against the winter sky.

The painting shows the deepening afternoon sky and the stark white snow drifts. I used smoky quartz in addition to the creamy white stick pearls to illustrate this soft muted color palette made of shadows and light.

My piece 'The Blackbird Sat', featured in the Fall issue of Stringing, is my attempt to turn fear into beauty blending the inspiration of the true story, art and poetry. And this exercise in inspiration has allowed me the courage to move on and rise above.

* * * * *
Please join me in visiting the 23 other members of the Stringing Fall Blogger Carnival by reading the inspiration behind their lovely works of wearable art. Plus, if you leave a comment on my blog post and any of the other 23 posts below, you will be entered to win one of three great prizes: a copy of the fall issue of Stringing, a handmade porcelain pendant and coordinating beads by Gaea, and a small goodie pack of filigree, gemstones & other findings from Rings & Things. Basically, leave one comment on one or more {heck, why not visit them all!} and you will be entered into the random drawing. Each comment on a different designer's page is another chance to win. {Note: multiple comments on a single designer's page counts only as one chance to win.} Giveaway closes on the 23rd and winners will be announced on August 24th.

Go and get inspired!

Enjoy the day!

13 August 2010

Gallery Q Exhibit Opens TONIGHT!

'Black White Red Monoprint' from Roberta Lane and Julsbeads - yummy!

Wish you all were here.

No, really. I wish you were.
I can see clearly now with 'After the Storm' by Ann Waisbrot

You have all been so excited for me and supportive that I can't help but feel giddy. And blessed. Truly, deeply blessed by your friendship. Because I have the BEST followers on the planet! Plus those of you who do this too would totally understand the blood, sweat and more than a few tears that went into all of this. I can sigh with relief, but that is really just taking a deep breath for the next big thing.

Twisting, twirling pen and ink by MaryEllen Pollock and the beads by Dora Schubert

I rushed over yesterday and took some really {craptastic} photos of the displays. These will at least give you an idea of the lay of the land.

'Safekeeping' by Ellie Honl flanked by Lola and Bessie standing guard of all things precious

I was really surprised {and pleased} that I could take up more than just one window. I have almost the entire front half of the gallery. {Squee!}

The window grabs 'em and beckons them in with 'Loose Goose' by Brenda Wenberg and Kerry Bogert's magnificent beads!

The Suzuki Institute is on campus here at the UW-Stevens Point this week and that is the reason that I already have ~$800++ in sales since Tuesday. One woman from Maine {Maine!} bought 8 pieces for sales of nearly $600. {That woman will be getting her own box of chocolates when I mail them to her at the close of the show!} I am hoping she comes back. And brings friends.

'Siljan Glade' by Ann Singsaas and the inspiration pieces (great flash photography!)

I will hopefully have more pictures of the event {if I can find someone willing to take them} that I can share with you next week.

'Bittersweet' by Ann Singsaas with vines climbing everywhere

But between my 2 hour massage this morning {thanks, Al!} and my hair appointment in about an hour, I felt the need to MAKE MORE JEWELRY. Unfortunately, I don't think there can ever been enough. {Don't worry, I only managed two very simple pieces. But I am bringing them with just in case. }

'Lookin' Good' by Brenda Wenberg and a colorful interpretation called 'It's a Riot'

Thanks for all your well wishes, your birthday shout outs and your deep appreciation for what I have done with this show. It means the world to me!

Tulips and butterflies with Ann Waisbrot and Jen Selwyn

If you could have a party in your honor, what would you serve?
Who would be there?
Where would you hold it?

Do tell!

That's me in the window with 'Red Ponies' by Ann Singsaas
Enjoy the day!

11 August 2010

RAW::Find the Reason

{billboard your message and photo with Big Huge Labs}

"You're on this planet for a reason.
Find it."

~ seen on a billboard of a Catholic Church in Port Edwards, Wisconsin

{Note: this is not the billboard that I saw, but you can create your own billboard at Big Huge Labs. Try it. It's fun!}

Have you found your reason yet?
Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

10 August 2010

Artistic Influence

"But perhaps without influence there might be little growth. Like natural selection in the evolution of species, artistic influence is a semi-voluntary device that ensures art never stands still. Further, in a state of flux, if not progress, derivation from others can lead to derivation from the self."
~Robert Genn, Twice Weekly Painter's Keys letters

{Warning! This is a long one. Grab a cup and read on...}
{UPDATE: Apparently, I had started this post on 7/2 so when I hit publish it went back to that date! I have republished it so that others may see and comment if they like. If you have already commented, my apologies!}

This quote came from the Painter's Keys letters from artist Robert Genn. I am not a painter {although I have painted, rather poorly I might add} but I like the correlations that he makes and it causes me to pause and reflect on how his sage advice can apply to any art, no matter the medium. Go there and read a few or sign up for some inspiration to come to your inbox twice a week.

There is always a lot of debate about copy-cats and imitation in art. I know other artists of all media, including jewelry, who have been stung by blatant copycat-ism. I pity those that set about to copy a design directly, and especially if they pass it off as one of their own without any proper credit given. I pity them because they lack confidence. I believe that we have each been called by a higher power to be a creator, not a clone-er. I realize that my art has not been accessible to the world long enough to be treated in this way {I also realize, sadly, that it is but a matter of time before it will happen to me}. There will always be imitators biting at your heels, but that is where I think it helps to have a healthy expectation that your art will never be caught standing still.

"Even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there." ~Will Rogers

Henri Toulouse-Latrec's Rousse, La Toilette (Redhead Bathing)
The picture above is by Henri Toulouse-Latrec entitled 'Redhead Bathing.' The painting shows an anonymous woman who was likely posing in her brothel. The picture shows a tenderness in the attention to the small of her back and her flaming red locks. With her face obscured the viewer can imagine her to be anyone. But it is also an imitation of the style of Toulouse-Latrec's much older idol, Edgar Degas.

Edgar Degas, Woman Wiping Her Feet

Degas did similar subjects. His pastel renderings of faceless women catching them in such an intimate moment as they entered their bath, or climbed into bed were just as tender, if more roughly finished. It is quite obvious that Toulouse-Latrec was imitative of his older Master.

But would you say that Toulouse-Latrec was copying his Master?
Or was he merely influenced by this work,
creating something that is truly his own,
propelling his own art forward?

"A great part of art consists in imitation.
For the whole conduct of life is based on this:
that what we admire in others we want to do ourselves."


I get a lot of publications. I devour each new one, usually keeping back issues. First I love to look quickly at the pictures. Then I return to linger on those that were created by my friends especially. {It is like I am having coffee with a friend.} I like the opportunity to see new techniques, discover new art beads, and learn a thing or two.

I greatly admire all the people whom I see in the pages of these publications, and having been in them myself, I am aware of how challenging it is to do. Often they show me avenues that I have not thought to explore myself. I may not have had the courage to use fiber and fabric and ribbon in my work had I not seen it first in the pages of a magazine. Or the fact that I had never really tried my hand at wire as anything more than a point of connectivity but rather a twisted and twirled integral design element. Not until I saw it in a book by Kerry Bogert. My publications are like a map that show the way. But how I get there, what route I travel is mine alone.

So as I was concocting all the pieces for my gallery exhibit {opening this Friday!} I had these publications and other books nearby for reinforcements. It was like having all my friends in the room to advise me on the direction for each new piece {I may have even had whole conversations with each of you, very late at night. I won't tell you if you talked back ;-}. But even though I have them around me, always studying the construction and materials and resources, I really feel very strongly in making it my own rather than knocking off a copy of something that I see. It is a point of departure.

I am a huge fan of shows like Top Chef and Project Runway {the only TV that I actually take the time to watch}. What I like best about these shows is first that they find immensely talented people and second that they are able to make something out of nothing, completely their point of view, with limited time and resources. They can change elements - like spices - or add details - like military epaulets - and their end-product becomes completely different, unique, one-of-a-kind. When I set out to design a piece of jewelry I might start from the same set of ingredients that everyone else has, but ultimately it is about how I choose to put it all together that sets it apart {I am waiting for a show called 'America's Next Top Jewelry Designer' - I am so going to TiVo that one!}.

Can you imagine anyone who actually sits down with their books or magazines and copies the design piece by piece? I am not naive enough to think that this doesn't ever happen, I am just incredulous that it could. I would think that it would be harder to copy someone else verbatim than just riffing on it and making it your own.
I don't use these printed resources as you would a recipe. If I am inspired by what I see in those pages, it is likely one small portion, like the way a clasp can be front and center or how to use a particular material that I am uncertain about. It inspires me to try something new, whether that is a palette or a material or technique. It is something that I struggle with when a publication wants completely detailed step-by-step instructions from me. When I myself get published I know that I am walking a fine line between inspiring someone to copy me and influencing them to come up with a derivative.

"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it." ~Albert Schweitzer

Case in point.... page 26 of Beads 2010 magazine has the most amazing necklace on it. I was not surprised to see my friend Jess Italia-Lincoln gracing that page with the delicious caramel colored brass pieces and the lush glass beads. I am a huge fan of Jess and her inimitable style {not to mention that I am smitten with all things Vintaj}. I was influenced by the balanced asymmetry of 'Borosilicate Branches' {which is challenging to do well, and Jess certainly succeeded}. I set about to translate that element - balanced asymmetry - into my own work of wearable art for my exhibit. I call this one 'Free Spirit' in honor of the painting that inspired it.

Free Spirit
influenced by the style of Jess Italia-Lincoln
inspired by the
Ann Singsaas watercolor 'Red Ponies, Red Desert'
featuring custom polymer clay beads by Christine Damm of Stories They Tell

So tell me what you think...did I succeed in creating a derivative work, influenced by Jess' style but reflecting my own flair?

"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
~ Herman Melville

Inspiration and influence are uniquely connected.

There are inspiring things to be found around us all the time. We can't help but be influenced by images that we see that we either stow away willingly or those that become part of our subconscious. Ultimately, it is what we do with this storehouse of inspiration and how we channel that influence into our own styles that allow us to truly succeed in moving our art forward in a derivation of self.

In my own way, I have created 78 derivative pieces of art inspired and influenced by the artists and the bead artisans who collaborated with me.

And in this way I am propelling my art forward to new heights.

Tell me what you think.
Do you believe that there is anything completely original in this world?
Or are we all merely imitating all that is around us?
How do you use the images that you see, the recipes, the instructions in your own derivations?
In what ways are you ensuring that you are always moving forward, not standing still?

Do tell!

Enjoy the day!

05 August 2010

Inspired by...Fireworks...winner!

“You are born an artist or you are not. And you stay an artist, dear, even if your voice is less of a fireworks. The artist is always there.”
~Maria Callas

Sorry I am so lax in posting this. I got back from my trip to Houston late, late {or is it early, early} at 3:30 am on Wednesday. Still not quite recovered. But this artist is still here.

I realized today that I have yet to pick a winner for the Inspired by...Fireworks challenge for July. I didn't do a good job of publicizing this, but there were still three people who managed some inspiration.

The winner of the sparkly goodie package is Stefanies Sammelsurium. Rings are all the rage right now. Lorelei just did a great round up of rings. Nancy Schindler and Gaea Cannaday are making some awesome ones. Stefanie's ring with fabric and rivets and her very own glass bead is a winner in more ways than one! I know that Stefanie is from a land far, far away from me, but she is the winner nonetheless and I will be delighted to mail her package of crystal loveliness to her. Email me your address, Stefanie!

Check out her beautiful work at her blog .

I have been contemplating the continuation of the Inspired by... monthly challenges. I am for sure taking a break for August. Perhaps it is just timing, or maybe my expectations are just too high. I love the creative meanderings that I have seen entered, but I had hoped to inspire more. If you are one who has entered faithfully, I hope you don't feel slighted. Maybe I am the one that just needs a break.

So, I am asking for more feedback...totally voluntary, but will help me focus for the future.

Do you enjoy the Inspired by... challenges?

Would you like me to continue offering them? or is it just a distraction?

Are there themes that you would like to explore?

Do you like limiting it to just jewelry or would you like to see more diversity in items allowed?

There is no requirement to use art beads, just something I like to do. Would you like to see that option continued?

Have I inspired you in some other way?

Thanks for stopping by for a visit. Like everyone, I love comments and will try hard to respond, if you have your email turned on in your profile. You are the reason that I do this, so I want to be sure that I am hitting the mark.

Enjoy the day!


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