Retail therapy

Saturday was a day of retail therapy and fabulous friends – old and new. I went to the Berks Bead Bazaar with my friend Marsha (Marsha Neal Studio) and her daughter Chloe – bead babe in training! I stated emphatically in the car ” I don’t NEED anything…” but was very much looking forward to lunch with friends and a bit of eye candy…

First stop: Lisa Peters Art

Lisa Peters1

Stoneware, cabochons, buttons Oh my!

Lisa Peters2

I met Lisa – what is it now? – 4 years ago at the Moravian Tile Festival – through Marsha. We three had a great time, and I have counted Lisa a friend since! She is a generous, creative, funny, fabulous woman who makes exquisite one of a kind ceramic creations. Why – you ask – do I need to buy ceramic cabochons since I make them myself? They are attractive, inspiring, different… Every truly creative clay person makes pieces so unique, stamped with their personality – I need all the more because I love clay so much…

Next up – catching up with Diana P. of Suburban Girl Studio ( back to her later) and finally meeting Staci from Staci Louise Originals

Silly. Silks.

Staci Smith at her booth

Staci’s booth display was gorgeous!( As is her polymer.) She works on PMC, bronze clay, and polymer. I especially like the crackle finish pieces. They had an air of antiquity I liked: 

crackle polymer

We had an epic lunch with Sandra Miller and Mary Hubbard & Molly Hubbard and Kristie Roeder and Melinda Orr  and Diana P. – service was slow, but we were talking and talking and didnt notice – except that there was a bit of shopping to be done…

bead babes

(L to R: Melinda Orr, Lisa Peters Russ, Marsha Minutella, me, and sleepy Chloe)

But I said I didnt need anything… I was very restrained, let me show you the loot: 

loot1

2 Stoneware cabs from Lisa Peters Art. Strands of green garnet, amazonite and aqua terra jasper. 

loot2

And thinking of Spoutwood Faerie Festival, I wanted some cabs to tab set. (wrote them down, cant remember…) That bronze moon face by Staci might be mine to keep!

And I did get one more bit of bead loot recently! I said I would tell you more about Diana of Suburban Girl studio? Well, I am a member of her first annual design team. She is going to give us challenges – seasonally – to create an original piece using one of her ceramic components. This Spring challenge includes a lampwork bead from Jan at Molten Mayhem (also a design team member). I think the palette is very “Spring” but a bit out of my comfort zone. Well, it IS called a challenge.. I definitely have some ideas percolating in my head. I will keep you posted!

suburban girl loot

Convalescence and care packages

So I mentioned that I was recovering from surgery. Here are some images of my convalescence and some fantastic care packages I received…

Burton

Burton was my constant companion the first few days when I lived on the couch!

SD care pkg

Christmas and bonus from Cooky in San Diego! Books, treasures, and home made cookies! Divine!

Snowmen

Snow quintuplets – from San Diego of all places – to stitch and embellish. 

Nina's treasures

Nina’s Treasures – this was a treat to myself. Nina Bagley – the soulful, poetic, mixed media and jewelry artist was doing a bit of a de-stash late last year. I purchased a small box of mysterious treasures – that I managed to NOT open until after surgery. I havent created anything yet, but the wheels are turning. Its a fantastic assortment of treasure. 

flowers

Who doesnt love flowers? 

felt pouch

My triple spiral pouch – I felted a thrift store sweater for the first time and stitched up a few pouches from the sleeves. It was great fun to do a little freehand embroidery. My mother taught us when we were little girls. Some skills never get lost! I prefer to have my hands busy if I am watching TV or a movie, and I am not so handy with knitting needles… What do you occupy yourself with as you bask in the glow of the magical electronic picture box? 


 

The Soup is ON! Bead Soup Blog Party…

Arrival

It came nestled in purple, a color often associated with royalty. And I surely felt like a queen when I opened up one precious pouch after the other! SO many! Such treasure… Jelveh outdid herself.  Now I had seen her blog and her Etsy site – and I can honestly tell you, I was eager to take a peak at the lampwork. For she is a lampwork goddess, and I assumed I would get a lampwork focal. This is a busy part of the year for me and I was most often in the basement studio glazing ceramic tiles and pendants. So one Saturday, I cleared my schedule, brewed fresh coffee (the brew of inspiration) and sat down at my table…

work table

(This is a clean view of my table. Believe me – once the magic starts there is not so much empty space visible…)

BSBP sketchbook

And I sketched, and planned. I wanted to be able to share the process with you, and also have a record for myself, for the future. The ideas for the main pieces were pretty immediate. 

first BSBP

The first piece. Made entirely of BSBP beads and clasp; nothing at all from my stash. I had challenged myself to do that, and being my first BSBP had no idea if I would succeed. My generous partner made it easy! This piece was designed for my mother, as it is not my color palette. The lampwork focal is such rich gorgeous deep colors. You need a better view: 

first BSBP view

And then for my sister (who now will know what one of her birthday presents will be…) as she is a Scorpio. Classic, versatile black and silver – she is a lawyer and often likes to dress up the professional uniform with a little non traditional bling. (Again – all BSBP stash)

scorpio earrings

These green beads shouted spring, vegetation, plants… so I paired them with glass floral beads and copper. I wanted the warm copper tones to mellow the sharp fresh green hue. 

spring earrings

Now – for the biggee. Drumroll please…

BSBP the biggee

When I saw this lampwork focal I immediately knew I wanted it to stand strong with accents to support it yet not compete. It is large and exquisitely detailed, with a diverse color palette. The blue stones from the soup worked well in scale and color; so I added silks, double strands to bring out some of the other pastel tones in the focal. The only items from my stash: the silks and the clasp. How serendipitous to have cones in my soup? 

BSBP focal

And them there is still soup to savor on another day! As with homemade soup – it is often better the next day after the flavors meld. I look forward to returning to a second helping with this: 

doggie bag

And the most delectible morsels…

favorites BSBP

The lampwork goddess bead I simply adore. That one is mine! She is a dark plum/brown which makes me think of Earth, fertility, vegetation.  I am thinking of breaking out the seedbeads. I know – shocking! But beading a fringe bouquet with gladd flowers and leaves – are those even the right terms? I see it in my mind’s eye, and know those relatively simple beadweaving techniques. 

Oh! Don’t go yet. I have to give you the list. But thank for stopping in – I would love to hear your thoughts on my creations, and I hope to see you around in the future…

Here is the full list of participants! Bead soup Blog Party 2011


 

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Standing over a cauldron, tossing in snippets of this, portions of that – brewing up a potion, a recipe in a cauldron. You imagine them, sisters three, over a large smoky steaming cauldron, aged, gnarled and bent – Shakespeare’s Three Witches. Or perhaps you imagine a younger more contemporary potion maker – young Hermione sitting, small cauldron inher lap, brewing Polyjuice Potion in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom. (I DID just get back from vacation to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando…)

Cauldron are symbols of creativity, inspiration, transformation in Celtic myth (see the myth of Cerridwen I blogged recently.) So I find it apropos that I am participating in a creativity challenge/bed swap dubbed “Bead Soup Blog Party”. I have been sent the beady ingredients and I will start brewing up a creation of my own – little of this, pinch of that…and what comes out will transform the disparate parts into a wearable piece, or two, or three…

Jelveh's box

This lovely arrived inthe mail from my talented partner Jelveh of Jelveh’s designs. Eager with anticipation…

BS box 3

So full, so many treasures… 

BS box4

…irridescent beauties….

BS box5

…a riot of color…

BS box6

…metallic medley…

coral and clasp

Sterling and coral…

lampwork and focals

…and the focals! WooHoo. Oceanic landscape and a goddess? Sweet! The detail on the Oceanic treasures necklace is stunning. I want to do that bead justice, and really show it to its full glory. And of course I love the goddess bead for me; and she has a little flower on her bottom… Not to mention the gorgeous colors in the lampwork beads. They range from pinks, mauves, lavenders, blues -and are so harmonious together, just my style. 

Many thanks go out to my Bead Soup Blog Party partner, Jelveh, for this fantastic generous package! And to Lori at Pretty Things for masterminding this whole event! I have to say – I started working with my soup last weekend. I have the focal planned, and have already created a few other pieces since my soup was so bountiful! Stay tuned for the big reveal on September 17th! (There are 362 participants around the world!)

 

 

Bead Fest, bead swap, bead abundance.

When I left for Philadelphia Saturday morning, with Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio, I had the best laid bloggy plans. We were headed to Beadfest. I wanted to take pictures of inspirational items, gorgeous gems, beautiful beads, and the people…Here is all I managed: 

beads1

beads2

Once there – it was a frenzy of shopping, familiar faces, chatting, shopping… Such a great day! And the camera stayed in my pocket. Oh well. I can show you the loot, and there is some loot…

A highlight of the day was the Bead Swap organized by Diana of Suburban Girl Studio. This wasnt about a contest, or a challenge, or a blog entry – it was simply a great way to meet, and share the beady goodness with friends old and new! My new friend and swap partner was Meredith Arnold – a very talented and humorous lady! I crashed her class and got a handful of her gorgoeus polymer beads! They are a bit of a challenge as I am a gemstone junkie, but I already am starting to have some ideas!

swap beads

Then there is the shopping, the loot, the treasure. Lets start with artist beads, shall we? 

artist beads

goedes and fossils

Geode slices and fossilezed starfish!

loot1

Amazonite, calcedony, mystery gem, sapphire!!!, kyanite. 

loot 2

Moonstone, calcedony (?) and yes, more moonstone…

gems loot

Apatite, mystery gem, amethyst, smoky quartz, rutilated quartz, moonstone, lapis, garnet, labradorite, amazonite. 

I know. I bought quite a bit. I get dazzled by the gemstones in all their glory. But I am officially doing Art on the Avenue in October as a “jewelry/mixed media” artist. Meaning I am juried in for jewelry, a coveted spot, and I am allowed to bring tiles and shrines as well. So excited!

After the shopping and swapping marathon – time for a little wine and conversation! The large group of us settled in at Legal Seafoods, and had a great evening! I thoroughly enjoyed getting to meet and chat with people whose work I admire, people who were inspirational/influential to me when I began making ceramic beads, people whose blogs I read regularly. Thank you all, it was a pleasure!

candid camera

Candid camera with Lorelei Eurto and Diane Hawkey. (Elaine Ray and Cynthia Deis look on…)

dinner 1

Nancy Schindler/Round Rabbit, Lisa Petrillo, Lorelei Eurto, Diana P/Suburban Girl. 

dinner2

Mary and Molly Hubbard/White Clover Kiln, Melanie/Earthenwood Studio

dinner3

Kristie Roeder/Artisan Clay, Melinda Orr, Marsha/Marsha Neal Studio

I hope there are many future meetings in our futures!

 

 

Good things happen in threes…

Well, I am back. Back to the blog. Back to the studio after teaching for the summer. Back from vacation. And I am happy to get to work on a few things that have come my way…

The first is this little gem. It is an enameled bezel by C-Koop Beads. Lorelei – bead blogger extraordinaire, is hosting a challenge/ blog hop. I was thrilled to be pulled out of the proverbial hat as a participant. The real challenge for me is what to do that leaves that gorgeous enamel color visible. I do many bezels – collaged, with resin, found objects, and the like. But this one I need to fill, and yet not fill… Hmm. The reveal will be here on August 27th, so stay tuned! ( The list of all participants, and their log links will be on Lorelei’s blog that day.) 

enamel bezel

Then there is Bead Soup. The Bead Soup Blog Party to be exact. I have wanted to be a part of this for years, and never knew who? how? where? when? This year I heard the siren song in time. The tireless Lori Anderson has matched up all 350+ participants by hand. No random generator, there! A true labor of love. I mailed my package today to my partner. Here is a sneak peak…

bead soup

soup package

That little treasure box is headed to California into the hands of Jelveh J. She is a lampwork bead artist and I cant wait to see what treasures she sends me to work with! Once they arrive, I will detail the beads, and my process, my ideas, and my methods. There will be a focal, a clasp, coordinating beads, inspiration. Sweet! Here is a pix of Jelveh’s work from her site: 

Jelveh's beads

See what I mean? Eagerly awaiting that box! The big reveal will be September 17th. I will post my creations here, but the list of ALL the participants can be found at Lori’s blog – Pretty Things. 

This weekend is Beadfest in Philadelphia. I have to say – I usually dont go, and my wallet thanks me. But this year, I am participating in a swap! Yes, another swap! Purely for the love of beads this time. Diana of Suburban Girl Studio organized the group of us. Swap, meet and hang out, dinner… What a great way to end a day of bead orgy – I mean shopping. My partner is Meredith Arnold – who will be teaching, so I can pop into her classroom and see her students polymer creations. Looking forward to meeting many of the bead blog friends. 

 

Last but not least – I had work featured on the Faux Bone blog. Thrilled! I am experimenting recently with Faux Bone and I am really liking it. Looking forward to taking a class with Robert Dancik (he developed the material) at ArtBliss in Sept. Now if I can just get her finished so I can wear her Saturday to Beadfest…

FB goddess

 

 

More give away madness!

My last post – a give away I was involved in. This post – a give away I would truly like to win! Barbara Lewis of Painting with Fire –  enamels beads using a lampworkers torch – with gorgeous results. As you know, I have been doing more enameling lately. (Thanks to Melissa Manley!) And while I havent enameled beads, having the other kind of torch – they are beauties!

And Barbara’s new book will be out soon!The giveaway is pictured on her blog – and you get to select the color. Hmm…

Painting with Fire

I sure do like that chartreuse! 

Happy Blogging, more later. I have been a bit silent, yet have stored up things to say. Soon, promise!

 

Plethora of Pretties! Veritable treasure trove…

Did that pique your interest? I thought it might. So, many of you know – and if you don’t – be prepared. About to toot my own horn… Recently I had the honor and privilege of being included in the Interweave Press annual publication: BEADS 2011. (They are the people behind the magazines: Beadwork, Stringing, Wire Jewelry, Handcrafted Jewelry… You know. Those magazines!)

Beads2011

(That is my ceramic butterfly focal right there on the cover.)

This month – in connection with the release of this treasure trove of creative goodness – Art Bead Scene blog is hosting a give away. It is the mother of all give aways. You look at the pictures and think surely this is multiple prizes. But no. Its all one humongous uber prize. Take a look for yourself, see what I mean…

So why havent you entered yet? Get right on that! Leave a comment. No harm, and you might win!!! Sigh. Jealous. I am not eligible… since I am a contributor. 

beads 2011 detail

From the left: Polymer bezel charms by Tresori Trovati, Ceramic hearts from Gaea, and ceramic components by – me!

On a serious note – I am thrilled to be amongst these fellow artists and artisans. They are people whose work I have admired, and I am thrilled to start out with my ceramic components in such good company. 

 

Wednesday – Work in Progress

Just a quick update – what is actually happening this week? Some people blog a Wordless Wednesday – here is a Work-in-progress Wednesday. I try to be in the ceramics studio on Mondays and Wednesdays. I work at home the other days – on everything from mixed media, glazing, jewelry…

So here is the clay in progress: 

Celtic flora tiles

Here are the initial sculpted pieces – a set of tiles depicting the four Celtic plants. (Scottish thistle, Irish shamrock, Tudor rose, and Welsh daffodil.) They are rough at this stage, and obviously one tile short. When the clay is a bit dryer and firmer, I will carve in details and neaten everything up in general. The shamrock is tough, it is such a simple plant, I may take out the four leaf and enlarge it even more. They are 5″ square, and will be ready for fall shows. 

Yesterday was a glazing day. I moved things up to a temporary spot in the dining room; it was too lovely a day to be in the basement for hours. (Now when it gets hot – I love the basement!)

goddess pendants

From an Indian goddess icon, these are half way there. The color to bring out the details and a transparent glaze will be applied over that. 

Plate-o-pendants

I wish I could say I got all these done! – but they are also awaiting their clear transparent coat of glaze…

Milagro pendant WIP

These milagro eyes are my current favorite. I have a finished one I wear almost every day… 😉

But there is more to be done:  the chipmunks for Robert, the buttons for Noelle, and the molds for Cooky… and that glazing to finish. Back to work. Maybe I will load the kiln before dinner…

 

Hibernation…

Forgive me blog readers, for it has been 7 days since my last posting…

I was really getting into the swing of my new schedule. Clearly it wasnt routine yet, though. Last week I had  head cold, and after my latte post I pretty much retreated. Hibernated. Withdrew. Holed up. I was foggy, and lethargic, and didnt have a thing to say…

So the A to Z post for “B” is missing. And I will sneak it in there some time in the near future. Look for the first of the 2 “B” entries tomorrow. 

Since I was last here – we have gone from this: 

Oscar's tree

to this: Oscar in snow

And I have been loving the time housebound – spending it in the studio. I have many items to list on Etsy tomorrow morning…

Tray of hearts

And thats just a few! My favorite is the far left: dark brown and teal on the ceramic heart, apatite, smokey quartz above. It says “Amor”.

 I will be listing necklaces and ceramic components. First time listing the pieces as materials – as opposed to finished pieces. 

I look forward to next week. I dont mean to wish the weekend away, but I will be glad to be back in the studio, back to reality. Between my cold and the snow – I have had a chance to retreat, now its time to get out there again…  I leave you with one more snowy image…

Dryad - snow cloaked