Thursday, April 30, 2009

Blackbird, Bluebird, Redbird

The days are getting longer, it's warmer every day now. I saw a cardinal, a bright red fellow, through the kitchen window. There's a robin redbreast that peers into the studio sometimes from the back yard, sitting in the grass.

Maybe that's why I've been making more birds and wings lately. It reminds me of the growing sunlight, the warmer breezes. The sparrows swoop and soar, in spite of the light spring rainstorms.

I even heard the tune of the ice cream truck going past. It's almost May Day, time to enjoy the season.


I finally got caught up on all my orders, I've shipped everything and I'm so relieved! I hate it when I owe things to people, and everyone has been so patient. Because I don't have orders right away to fill without guilt tripping myself, I can make some plans for new projects.

Plans for the weekend studio:

1 - make some more resin charms and finish some of the ones already made and waiting

2 - make some glass soldered pieces with collage images inside

3 - enamel and fire some glass, to make faux gems

4 - carve and cast some clasps and closures

5 - fuse and fire some fine silver links and make chains

6 - take parts of all of the above and make hair gems, earrings and bracelets

NOT necessarily in this order! I think I have plenty to do, to keep myself busy, don't you?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ship's Wheel

I wanted this ship's wheel to look like an old carved wood piece, maybe made for a model boat, with a map image on the back.

Years ago I owned a fourteen foot sailboat, and sailed on the lakes of North Texas. When I lived by Galveston Bay, I crewed on sailboats and raced.

That's probably why nautical, ship-related images attract me, they have that romantic ideal of using the wind to push your boat through the waves, no motor sound. Just the sound of the wind in your ears.

It's been a long time since I was on a sailboat. But I remember what it's like being out on the water.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Counting Up to Countdown

From somewhere a facination with numbers is showing up.

These little hearts have the numbers "3-2-1" counting down on one side.

The color reminds me of the inside of a ripe peach. I think I'm hankering for summertime.

And this one has the number "5" on one side. In a sky blue color, made to use on a charm bracelet or necklace pendant.

Maybe counting blessings. Or a reminder to count to three, before letting loose. Or five times the joy in a sweet family dinner spent together.

Whatever the numbers mean to you. Counting jelly beans in a jar. Flowers in a vase. Baby bunnies sitting in the yard in the early morning.

Speaking of counting - I just passed my one year anniversary in the expeditionD Etsy shop, it opened last year at Easter, and now it's over 500 sales. Thanks to all of you for your continuing support and encouragement, and for your lovely Feedback on the Etsy site. I'm planning a special sale event in the shop to celebrate the anniversary, you'll be the first to know.

And the blog just hit 22,500 hits since April, 2008.

Blessings to all of you for coming back so often, for frequently commenting, for continually making me feel supported and connected.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Airship Key

Use your imagination with this little ornament.

Are those wings on each side of the central, black skeleton key, or just pretty little eschuchons from some decoration on an old piece of furniture?

Were these wings part of a wall ornament on a flying machine, an airship?

Or is this a symbol of the heart's secrets locked away, flying out of reach.

The key to freedom and peace, soaring past, from some box of mysteries.

I had a good time making this focal piece. I am tempted to make something from it, but went ahead and listed it in the Etsy shop. There's lots of color and detail in it. I can see it with golden toned freshwater pearls, antique brass wire and a lot of black burnished glass beads.

What does it make you think of, does it create a history in your mind?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Solo and Duo

I tried out the 'Take Time' beads with the lettering going slanted on the side, since the hole is offcenter, so the words will be more readable when they're hung, maybe for earrings.

I made a single one, for a charm or pendant. And a pair that are matched, in case someone wants earrings.

It's been a hearty day, lots of different designs and colors. Now I'm headed to work on the goldenrod cotton lace afghan.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sweet Hearts

I've been playing with the heart shape, and with color. Making new heart designs, that look like enamel porcelain or like fabric brocade patterns. Here's a little group of them clustered together.

This one reminds me of the faces of old clocks, but in a heart shape, with the bright green color. I think one of my relatives had a jelly pot that was this color, a little chipped at the top, the kind with the handle in the flattened, enamel porcelain lid. The color is like a jolly rancher candy, the tart apple flavor.

I put a lot of antiquing and wear look onto these two Tuscan fleur de lys hearts, they are a matched pair.

The window is open and the brand new leaves on the tree are moving around outside in the breeze. The clapper on the bamboo windchime is knocking, making the percussion for the day's song.

Friday, April 24, 2009

MEME and Keeping The Flow

I've been tagged by my friend Catherine Witherell at HappyDayArt! (that's her lovely picture up above, she manipulated it ever so wonderfully) and one of the many things I love about Catherine's work is that, when you see one of her pieces you know, right away - that's her work - it's got her look and touch to it.

She asked me to answer some questions, and I was just thinking the other day about how I would interview myself. Sounds silly, I know.

But if I was going to be interviewed, there are some questions I'd hope definitely WOULD be asked, so I could answer them. These aren't those exact questions, but they are fun questions all the same!

Anyway, just for Catherine, who collaborated with Deryn Mentock on the Jewelry ZINE and is so very special, I am answering these questions. Hope there's something here that you're interested in knowing!


Rules of the meme: Respond and rework. Answer the questions on your own blog; replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention; add one more question of your own. Tag some friends to keep the flow going, let them know they've been tagged.


What is your current obsession? Knitting a cotton lace afghan and crocheting handmade lace with a tiny hook and thin, wispy cotton thread.

Which item from your closet are you wearing most lately?

Black acrylic lightweight microfiber FLAX brand label stretchy knit tops and slacks. They're light, they don't wrinkle and they're super comfortable.

What was the last thing you bought? Opie and Linda O'Brien's two-hole metal punch at Artfest, right after the pair of bronze earrings I garnered from Catherine Witherell, beautiful - see these gorgeous things! They're mine!

What are you listening to right now? Audiobooks by Agatha Christie, specifically Murder on the Orient Express read by David Suchet on the bright red SANSA MP3 player I got for the holidays.

Favorite vacation spots? Ireland, Scotland and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

What are you reading right now? Exhibition 36 by Susan Tuttle, on collage and mixed media, which is visually stimulating and has a lot of insight into how other people work, a subject of endless curiousity to me.

What four words would you use to describe yourself? Stubborn, Determined, Persistent and Indulgent.

What is your current guilty pleasure? Sleeping late, because I never do it, and always get up very, very early in the morning.

What would you do if the internet was irreparably damaged and you had to find another way to connect? Write long, rambling illustrated letters and never send them out to anyone, most likely. Make voice recordings onto tape or CD and send those instead, with photos and maybe movies, possibly.

Where are you planning to travel next?
Just got back from Washington State, Port Townsend, for Artfest, next trip is to Louisiana to see the young family and the beautiful baby girl grandbaby at the Independence Day holiday. See the two bottom teeth?
What was the best thing you ate or drank recently? Sweet potato fries with salt, dipped in ranch dressing.

What flower are you most anxious to see bloom this spring?
I want to plant some zinnias this year at this house for the first time and see them bloom. I've always had zinnias and marigolds until 2006, and haven't planted any flowers since then. I'm getting the pots out, buying the potting soil and this year I will have zinnias all summer.

What are you most happy doing? Having a cocktail on the deck with the sun shining, warm and lovely, under the shade of a big tree, sitting barefooted with a good book nearby and a snack in arm's reach on a breezy lovely summer day.

Care to share some wisdom? I love the quote by Gandhi that's on my sidebar, I think it is something to ponder every day. "Live as though you would die tomorrow, Learn as though you would live forever."

I've tagged:

LeAnn Weih at SummersStudio
Nancy Schindler at Round Rabbit
and Kerry Bogert at Kab's Creative Concepts

Hope they don't mind, and they'll keep the MEME going for Catherine. Besides, I want to know what is the best thing they've eaten or drunk, what they're listening to, and what they're reading.

And secretly, I bet, so do you, don't you?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wings to Soar and Glide

Heather Powers of Humblebeads is the main editor on the Art Bead Scene blog, a wonderful source of information about jewelry and fantastic art beads. I'm one of the other editors, posting from time to time.

This week the editors are posting about originality, finding one's own clear expression and voice, and the questions around copyright and not using someone's ideas.

My post ran on Monday, April 20, I titled it "Water Skimming Wings" - you can follow the link to read it if you haven't seen it yet.

I realized in doing the post that I've been using wings a lot lately in my designs, so it was easy to use that imagery as a way to talk about icons and ideas - pop over to the Art Bead Scene blog and take a look at all the great feedback and ideas being shared there - and if you are inspired to do it, add your comments to the conversation.

I'd love to read your thoughts about the topic.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Armchair Traveler

Since making the Journey: Destination book at Artfest, I've been thinking about making some insertions and tags, that could be attached to the front of a book or top of a box.

This one was made with that idea, but it could also be used as part of a keychain or necklace design, I guess. Or even a connector piece.

I wanted it to look like an antique souvenir of Paris, maybe a bit worn and scratched, like enamel that's been rubbed in heavy use, on a piece that has been used a lot.

The back is solid black, I guess it could also be a handbag charm. Or used on carryon luggage.

It reminds me of an old enameled copper plate, found in a deep bin of a flea market, well worn but still visible, with the Eiffel Tower's image on it. Maybe it used to be on the corner of a leather steamer trunk that traveled across the ocean to the World's Fair.

Bon Voyage - even to the armchair tourists who only travel on the Travel Channel. You can travel over to Etsy to see it in more detail ...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rose Drops

I can see these as charms on a bracelet, or drops for earrings.

They look very vintage style to me, something from the 1920's or even earlier. Like carved stone, or cinnabar.

They're really quite small and dainty. Little roses, with a wish for warmer weather after the April showers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hints of Spring

These three oval beads, with double loops to make as connectors, or part of a link in a chain, are made to look similar, but they're not identical.

Since I hand tint all of them, making them look rustic and ancient and applying the color to each one, they can never be just exactly alike.

But I like that about them. They have small differences, but they are similar enough to use in a related design.

I wanted them to have that patina of age, with the dark blue barnwood color, like they've been out in the weather for a long time, in sun and rain, a natural darkened surface that tells a story.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Focus and Fair Sunday Lately

It's a rainy, mild Sunday. I made my way down to the basement studio, opened all the windows to let in the freshly washed air and the songs of the birds, relishing this mild weather.

I found my stack of partially finished projects just where I left them before the trip to Washington State for Artfest. Turning on all the lights, the overhead and the central lights to use for fine polishing work, I just took up the first thing I saw and started in on it, to break the ice and give my hands a chance to re-establish the rythmn.

The hands know what to do, they start in immediately, to use the tools right in reach, the buffer all set up to polish some beads that are on the brink of being finished, just lacking their final shine.

The oval bead and round bead have the image of the daffodil flowers that were still in bloom before I left, now they are also designs in blue on connector beads that look like enamel, with a shiny blue color and areas that look worn and antique.

The music playing in the background is upbeat and instrumental, mostly Irish bands with pipes and a brisk pace and rythmn, to increase my mental energy and keep my wandering thoughts entertained, while the hands do what they need to do.

I try not to leave the studio with all the projects completely finished, but to leave each session of creativity with something waiting that just needs one more thing to get it finished, to help me prime the pump the next time I'm in the space, to start the process and get back into the zone.

The buffer brings out the final natural sheen, after all the sanding and polishing is done; you can't see the bead in my hands in this picture but I was finishing the blue oval daffodil bead, before taking its photo for the Etsy site.

It's a new design, I hope someone will like it and use it, possibly with blue freshwater pearls or maybe turquoise beads, to make something they will look and enjoy often. Something playful and folk art inspired, or delicate and sweet, whatever it says to them.

I enjoy making them, and think a lot about where they will go, and what they will become. A small link between my hands and those of the person who makes the beads their own in their design.

A peaceful re-entry into the studio, into the cycle of creating, to the backdrop of the rain sounds and music.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daudle and Slow Train of Thought

This week has been a blur. Like time shifting, going past infinitely slowly, but incredibly fast. So far this week in the day job I've worked four twelve hour days. Not including a week ago, when the entire twelve hours of the Saturday were worked, like running on a treadmill going as quickly as possible, but arriving nowhere new.

So needless to say, I haven't been in the studio until today. And I haven't been very productive today yet. But there's always some time tonight, and hopefully all day tomorrow.

I did get the Artfest roller bag of supplies into the studio basement so I can start unpacking my tools. And I did get some posts lined up on the blog I created to commemorate the Artfest experience, keeping the excitement and the learning active and fresh. I hope tomorrow I'll be rested, energized and back in the creative groove. I have orders to make up and ship, and I have ideas to explore.

The only thing missing has been the time. Like time in a bottle, I wish I could save it, store it or grow it somehow; but it feels more like the sands of time in the hourglass, slipping away.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whither Art?

If you wonder what happened to the art honor medallion focal bead I made, pop over to the Adventures of Artfest on my other blog to find out how it turned out! I wore this necklace at Artfest, many people asked me about it - what fun ...