Blue Cloud Gallery anniversary bash

I have a longer post to write up with lots of pictures of the completed Dig box, and some other things, but first, an important announcement:

The Blue Cloud Gallery, where I sell earrings, is having an anniversary bash on Saturday, April 21, from 2-5pm. It is located in Ball Square, Somerville, at 731 Broadway.

The gallery shows work by local artists and craftspersons, and has A LOT of variety in a fairly small space. I highly recommend checking it out any time!

The party next week will feature a free raffle of items from the artists showing work, and (I have it on good authority) good wine and tasty treats.

Together Festival; new art; oil paint is Bad News; probably some other things, too

NEWSY THINGS

I will be vending at the Together Festival on April 7 from 11-5. The festival itself runs from April 2-8. If you came to the Burner Bazaar in December and liked what you saw, you should come check this out, too!

And I submitted an application for this year’s CSArt program, run by the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. I won’t know for a while whether I’ve even made it through the first round of selections. It’s a really fantastic program, and I hope I get in. If I don’t, well, the proposal I submitted is something I’d like to try out anyway; it’s nice to have another art concept lurking around for days when I get bored with the same old business.

ARTY THINGS

Speaking of lurking concepts, I’ve had this one skulking about in my head for months and months, and I finally took the time to track down some reference images I could use to create the silhouette and cracked pattern:

silhouette of a raven in flight on a shattered heart

"Raven heart" needs a better title.

References used: Raven 13, by EquineStockImages, and Broken by devradiopooh (that link no longer works but it did as of 5 days ago). I have a couple other variations over on deviantART.

One of the ways I pay attention in meetings is to doodle in my sketchbook. It’s a good way to come up with new ideas and work out a million zillion variations before trying them in wire. Here’s one of them in wire now:

Variation on the tooth theme. These are rather large, but very light.

GRIPEY THINGS

OH MY GOD OIL PAINT!!!

So on the advice of several people who sell paint for a living, I bought some Serious Oil-based Paint for painting the Dig Box. And I put on a first coat, and I waited for it to dry so I could apply a second coat, because the first coat wasn’t completely covering the original paint. The cans of paint say “Dries to the touch in 3-4 hours. To apply a second coat, allow to dry overnight.”

And the next morning I checked on it, and it was NOT EVEN DRY TO THE TOUCH!!! In fact, where I touched it, the paint wrinkled up.

That was Friday morning.

Today, Monday, I came in to sand the damn thing and put on coat #2.

GUESS WHAT.

The surface is now dry to the touch, but it’ll still wrinkle up, which means NO SANDING, unless you want to immediately gunk up the sandpaper beyond salvation.

So I spent almost two hours scraping paint off the damn box, so that it might someday dry enough that I can sand ALL THE OIL PAINT OFF and go for spray paint. Or maybe latex, because that was also an option for super-duper, resistant-to-weather paint, and I should have gone with that from the start.

So. Oil paint. I have almost 2 quarts I will not be finishing off. One in a lovely dark green, the other in the wrong shade of pale blue.

Anyone want it? The paint store claims it’s awesome!!

Late winter progress

I have been busy the last few months! Craft fairs in December, which were fun, participating in the art shows at Arisia and Boskone, finally – finally – getting some reasonable photography of many items and updating ye olde Etsy shoppe a bit, plus miscellaneous long-overdue projects at home, and working on my own space at the Asylum as well as some infrastructural things there.

The Arisia Art Show was not as financially successful this year as last, but I consider it a success overall because I figured out a much nicer display system, which I can continue to use. And IT ALL FITS IN MY ROLLING CART!!! While I have more stuff to pack and unpack, the whole system is more organized, and it looks nice.

Table at Arisia Art Show 2012

One side of the table at Arisia.

The raised boxes double as storage for all of the smaller stuff: jewelry, necklace busts, chunks of rock, and the drapes. I still have to haul a poster tube with me for the paper, and the tree branch remains awkward, but it fits into the rolling cart between the boxes.

Here’s where I got the pattern for the necklace displays.

Necklaces at Arisia Art Show 2012

The right side of my table at Arisia 2012.

This year, I again had problems with my pre-con data entry – last year, some of the information got scrambled, and I had to rewrite parts of every bid sheet. This year, NONE of the information survived being stuffed into the internet, but I was saved an hour of hand-writing by a combination of a friend with a laptop, the hotel wifi, my cloud backups of the file in which I’d saved the data, and Arisia staff with the time to take my spreadsheet and turn it into printed bid sheets. Next year, I bring the spreadsheet on a flash drive. And maybe MY laptop, too.

Boskone was a lot smoother. They provide artists the ability to print (or write out) bid sheets in advance of showing up to the con, so I did that, which meant I knew exactly what numbers went on which pieces, so everything was labeled properly in advance of arriving. And, since I had only half a table, my setup was much shorter.

Things were so fast and easy I actually felt a little cheated. Like, there’s supposed to be some adversity to overcome here!

I sold a few pieces, including one of my favorite pendants. I will miss it, but I am glad someone else appreciated it, too.

Stone and wire pendant - Lonely Orbit

"Lonely Orbit" - stainless steel, stone (jasper and agate, I think)

reverse side of Lonely Orbit stone and wire pendant

The other side of Lonely Orbit. It's not intended to be worn this way, but I think this side is also quite nice.

Oh, yeah: I also made another partial torso for photographing necklaces on.

I wrapped plastic bags and plastic wrap around my mannequin, to protect its decoupage and make the new bust easy to remove, and used some slightly thick art paper and watered-down glue to cover the neck, shoulders, and upper part of the bust. I like the beige art paper that’s covering the mannequin now, but some pieces show up a lot better on this black paper. The decoupaging process is quite enjoyable. I’m toying with the idea of doing another black display bust, but with a thinner paper, so the torn edges aren’t quite so obvious.

Other things that may be of interest:

I started a portfolio on Behance. I like the look of the site a lot, adding projects is pretty easy, and it’s a great way to waste time looking at shiny things! I mean, a great source of art and inspiration. Yes.

Also I started a Tumblr. I know, I know, I’m a little late to the party, what took me so long? (Hey look I got started on Pinterest before the whole internet noticed it was A Cool Thing, so I’m not completely behind, right?) What took me so long is that look, the last thing I need is another blog-like thing to update, but I guess I can cheat at Tumblr and post my posts here to Tumblr, right? Mixed in with sporadic additions of whatever else that catches my eye, of course.

Things upcoming: I worked out a new design for ear cuffs, using 2 different metals. It’s my original two leaf design, with a 3rd leaf of another metal overlaying them. I like them a lot, I just need to *sigh* photograph them and make some listings and stuff.

Also, I want to brag about some work I did at the Asylum, because projects that cost NO MONEY and use up lots of scrap and spare materials, AND look great are worth bragging about, but I’ll save that for another post.

Upcoming craft fairs & recently completed things

I will be at two holiday craft fairs in the next couple weeks:

December 5, 5:30-8:30pm: Kennedy School Gift Fair (FB event link, sorry, that’s all I got), 2 Cherry St., Somerville. The Kennedy School is an elementary school in Somerville; the event includes a raffle that will benefit the PTA.

December 10, 1:00-7:00pm: Underground Artist & Burner Bazaar 2011 (FB link only, sorry), Redtail Collective, 369 Congress St., Boston. Includes food and music performances, as well as lots of crafts!

I will also be showing some work at the Arisia Art Show in January, and I’ve signed up for a table in the Artist and Author Alley. I don’t know what time slot I will get, but I’ll update that when I know it.

I’ve been making good use of my space and membership at Artisan’s Asylum, and am now almost completely out of ear wires. Oops.

Here are some terrible images of some recent work – click to view much larger (only way to see the colors in some shots):

Stainless steel, glass, and stone.

I am quite pleased with how the fairy earrings turned out. I’ve made earrings very similar to that style before, but not exactly; the method I used to hang the charm is new – just a loop in the wire, rotated 90 degrees from the rest of the wire, which means I don’t have to make a separate loop to connect the charm to the rest of the earrings. Saves time and space in the design!

More lousy photography:

The boot earrings are HEAVY.

Those are some serious charms, those boots! They are fully 3D, and solid. I see many more earrings in the style of the fairies/dragonflies. It works well for a lot of things. And I have a lot of charms, which until now, I’ve struggled to incorporate into my work.

The beads are cloisonne, I think, and are mostly blue.

Close up shot to get a better sense of the bead color.

The beads have some great iridescence.

I also made a leaf necklace, using stainless steel wire and cultured pearls, instead of my usual brass and glass leaf beads. It’s harder to get nice leaves with the stainless steel, since it is so much stiffer.

The pearls are greyish purple.

I’ve been naming the brass leaf necklaces “Spring Rites,” but that doesn’t seem appropriate for metals and beads that are the color of the late autumn and winter sky. (Oh! This just occurred to me: I must – MUST – make one like this with the BRIGHT PURPLE pearls, and call it the “Beautyberry” necklace. Though it would be more seasonally correct if the leaves were just bare sticks, to match the one in my yard. Hmm. Whatever. “Artistic license!”)

I also spent a couple of hours last night working out a composition for an elaborate collar, along the lines of the Machinist’s Collar, but on a sort of pirate queen theme. AUGH IT WAS HORRIBLE! I spent most of the time feeling completely incompetent and certain it will All End in Tears and Failure, but at the same time I feel compelled to finish. I’ve known enough other artists who have written similar things about their own works to know that this is normal and probably means it will be just fine.

I think this is part of the problem with letting one’s nonverbal mind be involved in the decision making process.

I have a picture, but I’m holding off posting it until I’ve committed to putting it together. Because then there will be no turning back.

Beat the heat during ArtBeat – stop in at the Burren’s SLAM

Somerville’s awesome ArtBeat festival is tomorrow.

Coincidentally, tomorrow is also another fun SLAM at the Burren, located conveniently in Davis Square, right next to many of the art and craft booths of ArtBeat. I will be there in the back room, enjoying shade and air conditioning and the company of fellow artists and crafters (though I do hope to make a brief tour of ArtBeat; I need to replace a glass hair clip, and want to check out the dragon being built by friends from the Asylum).

Stop by! Enjoy the coolth and the nifty handmade stuff! (And the $5 lunch specials, if you are so inclined.)

I’ve been busy during the last month with Asylum stuff (lots and lots of graphic design, much of it for our recent Open House – hey, we’re moving to a big new space!) and with building a UV-reactive art installation for Firefly and attending said event and recovering from it and so on. No good pictures of the glowfish, alas; my camera is lousy at taking photos in the dark, but the fish don’t look nearly as interesting in broad daylight.

SOS spells success!

Put that dictionary down before you hurt someone; you know what I mean.

The exhibit looked great, thanks to the hard work of a bunch of folks at the Asylum, especially Ecco and Carolyn, who organized it all. We – and I mean mostly other people – gave a lot of tours of the space to visitors, and people seemed really enthusiastic about it.

The art was great, too. I didn’t take many pictures, but other people did. Eventually I will have links to those photos. In the meantime:

Art! And a go-kart! There's more on the left; click the photo to see the whole set.

Part of my display, showing off my wire trees and some of the necklace busts.

Here are more photos of the construction of the necklace busts, which were made from cardboard boxes (and covered with the kraft paper the boxes were stuff with, except that black one, which I covered with a layer of black art paper, all the better to show off the necklace). They pack mostly flat when disassembled.

Final SOS Prep

It is a perfect spring day, and soon I will need to get dressed and haul the rest of my stuff to the Asylum, but everything is packed (I am sure of it) and ready to go. I took the big display pieces over last night, and also the pieces I made at Yestermorrow last summer, the only pieces that count as just art.

Wire trees embedded in a chunk of the branch that fell into our yard during the winter.

This morning I am taking all the jewelry and my boxes of beads and rolls of wire (so I have something to fidget with). Like now. Now would be good.

Next: Somerville Open Studios and beyond

The Spring Fever Market was fun! A bit cold, but I can’t complain about having a table in between a chocolate maker and the great and wonderful seller of cider donuts.

We had quite a lot of people ask if we’d be back in May; the answer is still “Don’t know, no plans as of yet . . . ”

I, however, will definitely be at Artisan’s Asylum in just over a week for the Open Studios. We are number 99 on the map, and are conveniently located on Joy St., a short walk from the Joy Street Studios, which has several of its members showing work at their location. Parking on the street is free! And we’re on the trolley route!!

I have a particular necklace idea I want to finish by then, as well as what might be a really awesome display for pendants and earrings, made from a chunk of the massive tree branch that fell in our backyard during the first big snowstorm of the winter. It’s got some really fantastic patches of lichen on it.

I’m also working on making more earrings along the lines of these:

Three pairs of wire earrings, shaped like vines, with glass beads dangling at the end.

Three pairs of "Little Vines" earrings, awaiting ear wires. Brass or stainless steel, plus glass beads.

Earrings made with wire shaped into two spirals, with glass beads dangling from them.

Stainless steel and some of my favorite glass leaf beads.

Earrings with wire spirals and glass dangles

Sterling silver spirals and glass beads.

I’m finding that I can only make 3 or 4 pairs of the spirally kind in a session, because at that point I run out of patience for getting both earrings to have the same shape. I need to develop some really good jigs and clamps, I think.

Also coming up, I’m donating some work to Jumpstart’s Literacy Olympics, happening May 11, so I have that to work on. My original thought was to make some pieces similar to what I already have, but then I got to thinking about the subject of the event.

And then I went looking for book charms, and I found some really neat ones!

And then . . .

I found tiny books.

TINY. BOOKS.

I was so excited by the impending arriving of the TINY BOOKS!!!! that as soon as I could lay hands on my wire, I mocked up a tiny book out of some cardboard and started to work out how to incorporate one into jewelry. Without damaging it. Or letting it get lost. But still being accessible for writing tiny notes in it (these are blank books).

It’s probably a good thing they won’t get here before the weekend (maybe. maybe not), because there is work I need to get done for the Open Studios.

Although . . . I am getting several tiny books. So I could probably do some work using them and have it available during Open Studios, too.

A craft fair!! (Spring Fever Market at the Armory)

Arts at the Armory, located a convenient mile away, has hosted a really awesome winter farmers market this year. Sadly, the winter farmers market is over, but happily, they decided to bridge the winter/summer gap with 4 Spring Fever Markets. (Here is the Armory’s shiny Facebook page for it.)

Which includes crafts. Not just lettuce!

Wonderful though the lettuce is. (And the onions and kale – well, Edgar approves of kale – and THE CIDER DONUTS omg.)

So I signed up for one. As a craft vendor, not a farmer, because the garden this year, it is well I think it may be lying fallow this year. Yes.

I will be there with Sara of Khyamara, Sunday, April 17, from 10 am until 2 pm.

Very exciting. By which I mean terrifying. Though I think we’re safe from an attack by lettuce.

Also! The Feather Forge now has a Facebook page . . . which I can’t figure out how to link to yet. I think it doesn’t have enough fans or friends or whatevers for that to be easy and or possible. Nevermind. Got it.

At any rate, I have made a lot of interesting new things – pendants and earrings, mostly – and soon (after the craft fair, probably) I will upload more pictures. I’m excited about having worked out some designs that I really like, since I’d been struggling for a long time with those particular items. Here’s for doodling during meetings, and that’s all I have to say about that!

In “Finding supplies can be frustrating” news, I can’t find the little green oval glass beads I use in the Spring Rites ear cuffs, and I am very sad about that. I spent HOURS searching online bead stores after discovering my favorite local source doesn’t stock them any more. I also bought their last bag of some really lovely green glass leaves, but I’ve found online sources for them. Sadness. I will have to find a suitable replacement for the little ovals.

I will be updating the Etsy store soon, too, and probably raising some prices (I read several more articles about how to price things and decided that some things should be changed).

And last but not least, I will be at Artisan’s Asylum during Somerville Open Studios (April 30-May 1, 12-6), along with several others!