Monday, June 30, 2008


Yesterday I got an inquiry on my Primitive Series-- Catching Gray Earring. A very kind customer had the brilliant idea of offering interchangeable stones! I plan to start doing that today!

Then as he was showing his prospective purchase to a friend and she asked if I did ear cuffs.
Well, no. I've thought of it, but never gotten around to it. But I told him I'd give it a shot and see what I could come up with.

In short order I had two awesome little designs that I just love!

I'll be making more and putting them in my shop today!
It's worth mentioning that though the Primitive Series was an idea brought on by a visit to the Met, almost every design in it has been created in response to customer requests. That includes the Catching Gray earring that prompted this delightful exchange!
As I sit here wearing my two new ear cuffs, I reflect that this whole thing is a brilliant example of how collaborative handcrafted jewelry is. It connects the maker of the piece, with the person who chooses that piece to say something about themselves, with the persons that contributed to the very traditions that we base our designs on.
It's part of our heritage of art and craft, our human heritage, and it should be celebrated.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Is it news when we spend money? It's complicated. A few months ago I bought some beads during the LEST sale and I made Thalassa.

When I listed it I sent a note to the artist, Carol, of CarolsGlassCreations. She sent me back a note telling me that she'd showed it off on

Well I got a bunch of hearts from lampwork artists almost immediately. But yesterday I got a heart from Paul at FireDanceBeads. And oh my word! His stuff is fabulous! So wonderful that I was afraid to show off my faves in a treasury for fear someone would buy then out from under me. My connection with these beads is physical. I *had* to have them! I'm a little mad that I even ever saw them because I don't need more beads and I don't need to spend more money. But I had to have these. Aren't they wonderful?

That's Interesting

Does any one else hear Johnny Depp in the first Pirates movie as he clinks cursed treasure through bony fingers?

In the the southern part of the US 'that's interesting' can be a sweet way of saying 'if you say so, you're an idiot, but I'm too polite to say that, so I'll just say that it's interesting and hope you don't notice that you're an idiot'. Yeah, you gotta read between the lines in the South.

The problem with all that is when one of us artsy types says 'That's interesting' we usually mean that we really find it interesting, as in of particular interest. As in we may like it very much. Makes for interesting conversations.

So, of interest to me today is my treasury, The Tree Climber Awards. It's been forever since I've had one. I loved DreamON's Tree Climber painting so I went looking for stuff to show it off. EBW is always my first stop for fantastic goodies. I searched cats and trees for most of the rest. And binarywinter's dragon shirt made the cut because the colors were right and I've been eyeing it. Dragons interest me. As do trees, cats and beads. And pirates.

Friday, June 27, 2008

What to Blog About

art like sushi
Originally uploaded by carnivale
Do you know how many blog posts have been written on what to blog about? Thousands. Maybe more.

And here I am with a brand new blog and I'm a bit stumped. Much of it has to do with my audience. I haven't figured out who you are yet. That is, I don't have any regular readers as far as I know and I'm not really sure who I'm aiming to attract. I do want regular readers, but before I can get them, I have to figure out what they want to read about.

Catch 22 and an interesting dilemma.

I've started putting together some questions to use to interview artists, because this is a blog about an art-filled life.

So if you're an artist and you want to be interviewed leave me a comment.

We narrowly missed a post about sushi-- very sad, but not everyone in the car wanted sushi for dinner. Oh so, so sad. Sushi is art.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Art? (Art as Personal Validation Series-- Article 1)

Originally uploaded by thebeadedlily
As artists, we do what we do for reasons. The reasons are as varied as we are.

It's a form of expression, a pressing out of bits of our inner selves into solid form. Why do we do that? Much of the time it's so that others can see and touch those bits and recognize us as unique and special. That's important because we're individuals in a collective. We're part of humanity, dependant on it for the things that keep us sane, like love and friendship. But we are selves, so we crave approval, not based on humanity but based on individuality.

Much of the time it is to give joy to others. We get pleasure from owning something beautiful and/or handcrafted and we share that pleasure when we give or sell something beautiful and handcrafted to someone else.

People get the approval they crave in different ways. Some do it by being a good mother or wife. Some do it with their work, perhaps going into a medical field where they save lives or improve quality of life for hundreds. Others do it with fame or fortune. Artists do it with art. Or, at least, we try.

That's not to say that we can't create something for personal use and enjoyment. We often do. But when was the last time you did that *and didn't show anyone else at all*? We usually show, if not the world, a sister, a mother, a neighbor-- someone. Someone who will say 'Isn't that different.' Meaning 'Aren't you different.' Which we hear as 'Aren't you special.'

There are exceptions to everything. I adore creating something just for me because I can break the all the rules, and flaunt it. Approval becomes less important because we don't expect approval for selfishness, and making something that's completely about self-gratification is selfish. That is the exception, but for all of that, it's an extremely gratifying exception.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eye of Newt Storage Solutions

I'm the world's most disorganized person. I'm not proud of it, but it's true.

Recently, in an attempt to get me off of the floor (I was taking up the whole living room floor-- yeah, it was a problem) and back into the corner where I belong, we installed marvelous shelves to display my beads!

They're practical and decorative! I love that I can see everything. It's easier to pick and choose what I want to pull down for a project. I also love the apothecary look of it. Yes, someone asked if there was eye of newt on the wall. I loved it!

The table is another matter entirely. It's not that I don't try. I'm just not very successful. Isn't there some adage about a disorganized home being a product of a disorganized mind? If there isn't there should be.

I hope it will come together eventually. Maybe then I can move to the table with my laptop, which is, as I type this, not on my lap at all. It's on the living room floor.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If Each Day Falls

Originally uploaded by creaturetheatre
Why is it so hard to quantify likes and dislikes? And why isn't it enough to like or dislike something? I do think some people go through life without wondering why they feel a certain way, but I can't. My personality always want to know why and frequently looks inside instead of outside for the answers.

I like reptiles. Why? They remind me of dinosaurs. I loved dinosaurs when I was a kid. Can't you see me lope through Kroger like a hadrosaur? People must have thought that there was something very wrong with me--- or my mom for letting me do that.
I bought book after book, model after model. When my folks finally took me to DC to see fossils I was beside myself.
I don't know why I like dinosaurs, except that they're mysterious and exciting and so unreachable.

I have friends who don't like cats. They actually believe the cats are going to hurt them. It's a phobia and defies explanation.

I'm not wild about spiders. I respect them and leave them alone, but I was once bitten and since then I'm just not crazy about having them on me. (Or in my shoes, but that's a camping story and I'll save it for later.)

I have another friend who doesn't like birds. His folks used to take him to the park to feed the ducks and one of them grabbed his jacket and pulled on him. He freaked out thinking that he would fall into the water and drown. I wanted to know why it wasn't water he disliked. Fear of water is , well, maybe not rational exactly, but comprehensible. So, he loves water. He doesn't like ducks, or birds.

I wish I liked beans, but I don't. They're mushy. I like lots of other things that are mushy, but not beans. I used to take hours to swallow the few that my mom put on my plate. Childhood trauma (poor me).

I love poetry, but to pick a poem and say this one doesn't stir me and this one does-- that's nothing tangible. So we get to the point of all this. Pablo Neruda. I like his poetry.
I love this one:

If Each Day Falls

If each day falls
inside each night,
there exists a well
where clarity is imprisoned.
We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience.
Pablo Neruda (Chilean, 1904-1973)
tr. William O'Daly

It's mysterious, exciting and the peace it hints at seems unreachable.

Drawing/Photo by Dave Haaz-Baroque

Monday, June 23, 2008


Plantains! Oh, so yummy! I've never had them prepared in a way that I didn't like, but I've really only scratched the plantain surface.

We had them today sauteed in a mixture of butter, brown sugar and rum.

Wikipedia has a list of very tasty looking ways to prepare them, with the Venezuelan yo-yo topping my list of must tries.

I love all of the awesome fruit available this time of year. We had huge blackberries two weeks ago, and peaches (and cream) last week. We even picked blueberries, though they were still slightly pink . . .
Are ya hungry yet?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Midsummer Night's Dream

One of the things that I love about Etsy is the inspiration that's inevitable anywhere artists gather.

I get so much inspiration from the EtsyBeadweaver's Team. The EBW Team is made up of bead artists who aspire to successfully market their beadwoven creations on and elsewhere. As such the EBW Team has two areas of focus:1) Practical business help, including sales promotion by networking, marketing and creating awareness of beadweaving as an art. 2)Artistic inspiration, instruction and encouragement.

We have monthly themed challenges which push me to learn new techniques and to try things that I normally wouldn't.

A case in point is this months challenge theme, A Midsummer Night's Dream. I automatically thought of Michelle Pfeiffer's Titania. Pfeiffer's calm ethereal beauty was perfect for the role. (She's also *the* Catwoman in my book. Yeah, but that's another post.)

I'd had an idea for a previous challenge but opted to do something else instead. The idea was a black netted cuff with red/orange crystal accents. Now I wanted to do a necklace instead of my usual cuff and for Titania all I wanted was white-- different for me, as I use a lot of color, lots of neutrals and blues. Also for Titania I wanted something as ethereal as the fairy queen herself, so I wanted something very unstructured. Freeform! Now we're talking!
I love freeform!

A few false starts later and I got the hang of the netting, which is so much easier said than done, especially when you aren't working off a base thread. Add an extra crystal here and there and a closure and there it was. A crown-like crystalline choker. All moonlight and dewdrops. A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nice People with Good Taste

Nice people with good taste make me so happy!

I'm an artist and most of the time I sit tinkering alone, plucking things out of my own little world, tossing them onto the web like throwing down a gauntlet and just daring people not to love it. It's great, but when people aren't banging down the doors after my stuff it can get exhausting (I have this whole theory about how selling art is all about personal validation, but that's another post.)

From time to time super nice people come to me and say 'I love your work, make me something.' That's incredibly gratifying. I mean, these people are trusting me to dress them! They've seen enough of my vision to believe. I love that. And I love that I enjoy combining my vision with what I know of them to make something especially for them. And I love that they love it when I'm done.

I just finished an awesome pair of earrings-- not the sort of things just anyone could wear, but she loves them. She wanted something primitive-- which these are-- and she sees the uniqueness and beauty in these. It comes down to her seeing the uniqueness and beauty in me, so maybe that validation theory isn't another post after all.