Friday, October 31, 2008

old art, or look how far I've come

I read a post a few weeks ago in Art Biz Blog about what do to about art that no longer fits our style. I actually have a few pieces in stock that no longer fit mine, though they're structurally sound (unlike these earlier efforts here today) and not unattractive. I guess they're boring to me now.

I wasn't honestly sure what to do with them, but after today's post I've decided to take them apart and put the beads in my stash.

Sometimes I almost cringe at what my mother drags out to wear that I made ages ago. Today I went and pulled out some of my oldest pieces in my personal collection. I actually wear them from time to time-- usually layered with some of my newer things.

I'm going to share them with you today! You'll see a bit of a learning curve for sure!

The seed beads are on string! Probably some of the first pieces I ever made-- I wasn't beading then-- just crafting. (The beading came later with all of these other pieces. ) I can't believe they're still in one piece actually.

Now closer! (The horror!)

The clasp on this choker? I didn't know how to use memory wire! And since the hook is base metal, it's icky. The bicones are acrylic! All the finish is flaked off! It's been awhile since I've worn that. I may chunk it.
On a personal note I made it to wear to a party. It was the first time my now BIL invited sistermine and I to do anything socially. He invited us, not to spend time with sistermine, but because a friend of his was interested in my cousin. That was a *long* time ago!

The clasp on this one is a wreck! Silver plated crimp beads just pressed together with the wrong pliers for the job. The jump ring is open (why it's never fallen apart I don't know) and the clasp was a failed experiment. Everyone hated them! I also messed up the pattern of the beads, but since it was for me anyway, I never corrected it.
The anklet? Acrylic beads on leather cord.

Before I knew how to make a proper loop-- again with the junky metal-- and also before I knew that some seed bead finishes aren't permanent!

This one's even older! I was still using monofilament! I don't know why they even sell it in the beading section!

Just wow!
I had a piece hit the FP again last night! Whoo! It was this (now expired) treasury from curlysue!

And a current treasury from me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

the grass is always greener, or blues, mine

Today is one of those days when I'm admiring other peoples fashion sense and computer talents and recognition and studios and blogs and bone collections and guts and even, when I look at that dress pictured above, their disposable incomes . . .

Go figure.

On a more productive note, I've finally opened a shop on DaWanda and I'm actively working with my shop on iCraft and my shop on ShopHandmade.

In the beginning, I worked my Etsy shop like mad (actually, I still do) and it was still a month before I got any activity and a month after that before I saw it again! I figure for free listing I can give these other places a shot for at least that long. Perhaps between the 4 of them I can really make a go of this crafting thing.

DaWanda is more geared toward Europe, iCraft toward Canada and ShopHandmade to crafty green people (as opposed to little green men, or grey has the case may be-- haven't found a site that caters to them yet). Most of the patrons of these sites are likely on Etsy too, but iCraft and ShopHandmade are still smaller than Etsy so the possibility of getting noticed may be greater. I'm not sure about the size of DaWanda yet, but with the dollar sliding, a European customer base would be a grand thing. (See? There I am looking at greener grass again!)

I'm selling the smae things too, which I can foresee getting tricky, what with specials on one site or the other and currency exhange rates fluctuating. Ah well, it's worth a shot!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

keep a loved file

That's a tip I got from the Art Biz Blog and I thought it would be a nice thing to pass on. I'm a procrastinator, so I haven't started mine yet. That is, I keep the comments, but haven't placed them all in the same file where I can reach them all at once.

When or if I do, certainly I'd include a comment from a friend whose first remark on the piece I gave her was that, 'It was the nicest thing anyone had ever done' for her. An exaggeration to be sure, but a sweet one!
One of my first Etsy transaction feedbacks has an exciting image in it:
lovely transaction all around, less than a week from ordering a custom piece to it being in my hands. quick like ninja and beautiful, dainty rings that fasten easily (something i always have problems with in cartilage piercings).
More recently a customer said:
Love. Love. Love. Really great beadwork. Interesting and solid. The center pendant is cool as stink. I just love everything in this shop and know I'll be back for more! Thank you so very much . . . again.
Once in awhile I get little notes on Etsy. One describes an encounter with an artist/gallery owner with an MFA who is constantly jurying local work for her store. The note says she was 'blown away' by my work.
Fellow beadweavers have commented that they fine my work fearless and complex.

I always save little comments like this and I frequently look at them when I'm feeling disconnected or brittle bone dry. Sometimes they motivate me to work which can bring me up out of dark places.

So if you've said kind things about my work or the work of others, thank you! Keep it up! It may be just what they need to hear!

And if you tend to fall into creative funks yourself, perhaps a perusal of appreciative comments about your own work is something that could help!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

the import of light

I've started including slivers of light in some of my product shots. I love light. I don't like it when the daylight shortens so that darkness falls early or when it's still dark at 7 in the morning. It makes me want to sleep till 10.

When I wake up with the light streaming through my bedroom windows and gleaming off my white walls I like to take a moment to admire how it reflects off a book spine or slides across my skin.

So let me share this. The last stanza is unforgettable, as are the images of the broken bottle and the cotton dress turning to silk.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, and perhaps find a way, today, to celebrate the light.

It is the first thing God speaks of
when we meet Him, in the good book
of Genesis. And now, I think
I see it all in terms of light:

How, the other day at dusk
on Ossabaw Island, the marsh grass
was the color of the most beautiful hair
I had ever seen, or how—years ago
in the early-dawn light of Montrose Park—
I saw the most ravishing woman
in the world, only to find, hours later
over drinks in a dark bar, that it
wasn't she who was ravishing,
but the light: how it filtered
through the leaves of the magnolia
onto her cheeks, how it turned
her cotton dress to silk, her walk
to a tour-jeté.

And I understood, finally,
what my friend John meant,
twenty years ago, when he said: Love
is keeping the lights on. And I understood
why Matisse and Bonnard and Gauguin
and Cézanne all followed the light:
Because they knew all lovers are equal
in the dark, that light defines beauty
the way longing defines desire, that
everything depends on how light falls
on a seashell, a mouth ... a broken bottle.

And now, I'd like to learn
to follow light wherever it leads me,
never again to say to a woman, YOU
are beautiful, but rather to whisper:
Darling, the way light fell on your hair
this morning when we woke—God,
it was beautiful. Because, if the light is right,
then the day and the body and the faint pleasures
waiting at the window ... they too are right.
All things lovely there. As that first poet wrote,
in his first book of poems: Let there be light.

Monday, October 27, 2008

picture post

Bead Art Originals, Items of the Week includes my latest cuff, Hands Against Time, with free shipping!

Here's a selection of lovely pieces from curators who had the dazzling good taste to feature thebeadedlily in their Treasuries this week! Enjoy! Rainbow Bracelet (OOAK) by ThesePreciousThings

Offset Squares Herringbone Cuff by njema

That Vintage Pair Of Birds - Pendant Necklace by sophiehillartist

Frederick Oyster Necklace by Muntedkowhai

and not to forget eclectibles, though they have nothing in their Etsy shop presently!

Also I heard from Alison over at The Explorer's Notebook regarding her meme that I just did on books. She offered a personalized book recommendation to everyone who wanted it and this is what she said:

Aha, I had hoped to read more of your blog, all the way through, but I'm out of time, so here are my recommendations (and by the way, I loved Alistair MacLean's books when I was a teen, and had completely forgotten about him until now...):

Tigana, by Guy Gavriel Kay (Sword-and-sorcery fantasy thriller, heavy on the international intrigue and light on the gooey fantasy, i.e. made-up words)
Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler (somewhat fast-paced, post-apocalyptic sci-fi with a very strong female protagonist and religious overtones, not always agreeable but always interesting)

I have lots of other possibilities on my list, but let me know what you think of these recommendations first, and if you've already read them, I'll come up with more.

Thanks Alison!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

one dream down . . .

Achievement is a strange thing. I think part of the reason that I lack ambition is because I'm almost-- not quite completely, but enough-- ambivalent to success.

I realized a dream today-- one that's been in my head for over a year. When I found the Treasuries on Etsy I immediately loved them. It took awhile to figure out how to get one, but now I get them regularly. I love the hunt, gathering wonderful things to go in them, whether I'm just fooling around and something grabs me or whether I'm looking for *the* final piece of the 12.

I love arranging them them to give more weight here, or add space there. I love the comments. And I think I'm pretty good at the whole curation thing. So since my first Treasury I've coveted the Front Page.

Yesterday I plopped down in the chair, typed Etsy in the search bar, and voila! I'm looking at my Treasury! What was almost equally exciting was a comment by someone who said they like the EBW/BAO treasuries. I use each subtitle to say that-- just in case someone likes the work of either or both teams-- but I never knew if anyone even noticed. Now I know they do!

Anyway that mild euphoria was quickly replaced with a slight buzz near my atlas-- or maybe that's a headache.

Without farther ado, in case you missed it-- Chocolate and Old Books:

Saturday, October 25, 2008

story of your work

Yesterday, when I blogged about my latest cuff, fellow beadweaver Kerrie Slade said something that meshed with a line of thought on my horizon: "That's a pretty amazing piece Sarah, the cuff, the photos, the story - well done!"

It's the part about the story. I signed up for David Weiman's free Jewelry Seller Newsletter a few weeks ago and on the 10th he did an article about telling the story of your product.

Etsy sellers tend to keep their listings short, because people sometimes don't even read the entire listing! Me, I'll read the listing, the profile, the shop policies, their blog, the listing next to the one I'm interested in, the shop announcement . . . You get the idea!

When I had my 100th post giveaway and asked for comments to improve my blog, one commenter said that I wrote too much. On some front I'm sure they were right, and yet, I find myself on blogs where each post is a paragraph long wondering why people bother to blog if they aren't going to blog. I've already resigned myself to writing for readers, people who, if they weren't reading my blog would be reading someone else's, or the news, or a treasured story or the back of the cereal box. You know who you are . . .

I've found with friends that they want to know the story of a piece. They want to know what the beads are and where they came from, even if they'll forget 80% of what I tell them, they'll pass 20% on to everyone who admires the piece.

I frequently compliment people's jewelry because that's what I notice. When I do, I pretty much expect them to tell me that they inherited it from their mother who was a great beauty with classic 20's taste, or from their mother-in-law who was born in India or that they bought it on a cruise and it was the only opal piece the store had that would fit. I like knowing these things. It interests me.

Weimen says that when people are really interested, they'll read long copy and if they'll read long copy, surely they'll listen to the story at a show. He goes so far as to claim that the story makes the piece special, enhances value. He says, "Given several similar alternatives, the story behind your products and services may make all the difference to a prospect."

Perhaps, but I have an issue with discerning who is open to listening and who isn't. It's embarassing to start telling someone something you think they're interested in and they cut you off . . .

So what do you think? How big a selling point is a story when you shop? How much is too much? When you're selling how do you play it? Does it make a difference if your selling in person vs. on line? Or to friends?

Daily Dose of Art:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Challenge Project: Hands Against Time

I thought the latest theme was pretty amazing and I thought of my immediate ancestors, but the primitivity of more distant ancestors called to me and I thought of cave art.

I looked long and hard for the right cave art to inspire my piece, but even though I selected some samples, nothing really worked for me. What kept cropping up was the hand-print signatures left on the walls, some prints, some silhouettes. Charcoal black or ochre red, the oh so human, I Made This, or even just, I Was Here.

I'd picked up a book for a friend years ago that had an incredible picture of a wall stamped in red hands. I was very moved by it then, but had basically forgotten about it till this challenge.

So I decided to do hand prints on a rock wall. I bought some awesome beads for a closure and edged it in little bones-- I love edging! The cuff is wide, at 3 and 3/8th inches (8.5cm) the widest yet from thebeadedlily and will fit up to a 6 1/2 inch wrist. The closure is loop and bead-- the bead being a fascinating combination of bone and stone.

It's a 2-drop peyote tapestry depicting 7 ochre hand prints on a cave wall and is edged in a primitive style with bone. It's a major statement piece for anyone who loves art and its history.

The first shot is against a cave art backdrop from Dawn of Art: The Chauvet Cave. Note the trueness of the cave colors in the cuff! The mosaic has a shot of the back of the cuff-- mirror image to the front.

I hit the front page again last night! Whoo! I was an alternative in muntedkowhhai's treasury heather blues and when it hit the FP admin slipped me in! I was there for about 20 minutes! I got about 100 views which is awesome. 4 shop and 4 items hearts-- 2 hearts(1 shop and 1 item) every 5 minutes. Nice! And as slow as views are on Etsy right now, my front page appearances feel so good.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

library, personal

I pulled this one from The Explorer's Notebook.

I do think that a person's library is a pretty interesting glimpse into their inner lives, so here's a bit about mine.

Favorite Book(s):
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott
The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
Tales of the Wolves Series, Tara K. Harper
anything by Jane Austen
half of the works of CJ Cherryh
anything by Timothy Zahn
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens
Wives and Daughters, Elizabeth Gaskin
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Enchanted April, Elizabeth von Arnim
Touch Not the Cat, Mary Stewart
No Man's Son, Doris Sutcliffe Adams
Red Adam's Lady, Grace Ingrim (aka Doris Sutcliffe Adams)
most anything by Louis L'amour or Alistair MacLain
Hitchhiker's 'Trilogy', Douglas Adams
Watership Down, Richard Adams
The Blue Sword, Robin McKinley

Favorite Author(s): Anyone listed above-- I also like Patricia McKillip, but it's more for the lyrical way she uses the English language than her actual stories.

Favorite genre(s): Sci-fi

Best beginning to a book, ever: The one that sticks in my mind is, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

Best ending to a book, ever: I don't really like endings. They're my least favorite part of the book. But the ending to Preston and Child's Relic was something to talk about.

Book pilgrimages you've made: I've never made a book pilgrimmage, but I was duly impressed by the Sinai Peninsula. I was just traveling through though.

Book that picks you up when you're in a bad mood: Cherryh's Foreigner Series, because it's so incredibly well written that I can literally leave my life and issues behind for hours.

Book that most surprised you: Fahrenheit 451. The premise seemed incredibly inane to me, but I adored it!

Book everyone else loves but you can't finish: I can't think of any. I don't even try most bestsellers and I only try a book once-- If I'm not feeling it, I'm just not. Oh, but there's anything by Ursula K LeGruin. I'd love to like her, but *yawn*

Most memorable book you just happened to buy on a whim: Anne Carson's If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho or Sam Hamill's Crossing the Yellow River: 300 Poems by the Chinese, both of which were excellent.

Book you mistakenly judged by its cover: I don't. If the title catches my eye, but I'm unsure about the book, I scan the reviews, if they're there, the synopsis, the front page, a few middle pages and the back page. That usually tells me what I want to know.

Best recommendation you've received: Most of my favorites were recommended!

A random recommendation: Alison promised a recommendation once she knows something about me-- she knows a bit already and this will tell her more. I'll let you know her recommendation!

Books from your childhood that you still re-read: All of my faves are from my childhood-- and yes, I reread them!

Book you're reading now: Catfantastic and African Rock Art, Burchard Brentjes

Book you've been actively reading for the longest time: The Bible. I try to read some every day and when I finish I start over.

Favorite guilty pleasure book: The Paladin, by CJ Cherryh

Number of books you own: Who knows? I've no patience for counting them! Hundreds for sure-- perhaps 1000?

Number of books you own that you've never even read: About 50-- I inherited some that I'm working my way through.

Other random bookish fact about you: One year I counted how many books I read that year. It was about 450.

And your Recommended Daily Art Dose: Rusty Waters

Last factoid, 7 of 7: I love the smell of barns, stables and zoos.
Tagging anyone who wants to play!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the study of creativity

I got my confirmation email for the study of cool creations and what motivates them! I do love the human psyche and the study of it as it gives us ways to understand ourselves. I'm game for almost anything that has to do with creativity. And I don't hate a survey either!

They want lots of participants and they offer a creativity evaluation type thing. What makes you tick creatively? Add to your info by participating!

For me, why, is at the very corner of my consent to do this study and it's closely allied with how. Why are some days more productive and how can I enhance my creative productivity every day?

Interestingly, I recently came across a post on a blog that I very much enjoy entitled 'There is no why'. My respectful response is, Of course there is! There's always a why-- even if we're unaware of it. Actually the post itself is chock full of whys!

#6 I don't like sad endings or movies that make me cry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

take care of yourself

I went for a walk the other day. It was coolish out and a bit drizzly ( kind of like this treasury) and I was reasonably sure that I wouldn't encounter anyone. I don't get enough exercise. Most of us don't.
I believe that my work and my health would be better if I did, but I'm not sure where to find the motivation.
I've been thinking about Hughes essay-- Working From Within. In the section about taking care of your tools, she says that our bodies, minds and spirits need care so that our creativity doesn't suffer. If it's suffering we'll feel blocked, and maintenance, perhaps an adjustment, is due.
I have my days when I engage in busy work because I don't have the mental energy to make things, which makes me feel guilty, which further drains my mental energy.
She says never to confuse the block with who you are and I don't. What I do confuse with who I am is my depression and my social phobias-- but I know I shouldn't. I've just lived with it so long that where it ends and I begin can be very hazy, and when I'm having an episode it's like something that's taking over from the inside out-- then it's really tough to tell the difference. (For the record, I'm okay right now, I'm just talking.)
I know exercise would be so good for me and I'm just completely uninterested in it.
One thing I am good about is remembering that what an artist does is very special. We make things that weren't here before. It's not like building a TV. The first TV to include something new is pretty amazing-- then 10,000 more are made, one just like the last. Wonderful. To concieve of, design and produce a work of art is to make something that didn't exist before. That's pretty amazing. And we do it everyday. Sure, we may reproduce a design 50 times (and in doing so, in my mind, we cross over from artist to artisan), but it's that first one that gives us that buzz of joy and energy to keep going. Trusting your intuition, caring for your tools and, sometimes, making yourself do it anyway is all part and parcel of working from within.

Monday, October 20, 2008

pictures, pictures

My Study in Iolite necklace is my BAO Item of the week and comes with free shipping this week!
Thanks so much to all the curators who were kind enough to feature my items in Treasuries this week. Here is a sampling from their shops!

Victorian Style Ribbon and Chain Cameo Charm Necklace by LadyFran

Thanks also to jonquiljuice, who's not currently selling on Etsy.
Also, remember, Thyme2Dream tagged me again! Since I just did this tag, I'm doling the 7 factoids out one at a time over the next week.

#4 I got my first job because I wanted to pay for airfare to Egypt. I was in my favorite restarant and I asked the server if employees got a discount. He said yes and the manager hired me that day.

Tagging Kerstin at earrings, anyone?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

embrace the experimental-- project update

This is a glimpse of my Ancestral Expressions EBW Challenge project.

It's in 2 drop peyote, which has it's perks! You may remember that I started Barbary Coast in 2 drop, but worked my way to herringbone. I turned the 2 drop scrap into a Collage Pendant that was up for a drawing recently. It may have reached it's new home by now!

Every beadweaving project is a bit of an experiment for me, as are most of my wirework projects.

It's good to court the unexpected, says Victoria Hughes in her essay Working From Within. If you don't you'll miss something wonderful.

My work has been called fresh, original and unpredictable (yes, I'm bragging just a teensy bit, but I do have a point) and the reason it has the ability to surprise those who see it, is that it also has the ability to surprise me. I almost never end up with what I set out for, but instead, with something better than I could dream. That happens only when you allow yourself to experiment.

I sometimes fret because I want to take the right path immediately, sans false starts. But the false starts are always teaching me something, and truthfully, when we stop learning from our art, it's time to give it up.

Also, remember, Thyme2Dream tagged me again! Since I just did this tag, I'm following Alison's example over at The Explorer's Notebook and doling the 7 factoids out one at a time over the next week.

#3 When stressed, I'm as likely to vocalize in hisses, growls and howls as moans and words. Old habits die hard and I was a weird kid.

Tagging Hot Rocks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

the girl's gone wild . . . or start with what works

I promised some pictures of what I'd been up to.
The neutral seed are supplies for the months Ancestral Expressions challenge and the green ones are for sistermine's anniversary.
The tooth is for BIL on the same occasion-- he wanted a cuff along the lines of Barbary Coast, but I'm putting it on leather instead of beads.
The two ovalish beads are bone and stone for my challenge project.
The clay pieces are from a search for buttons to close sistermine's present. The round on is from Muddy Muse Pottery and the large raku is from Lisa Peter's ART-- that button is so killer. I have no idea what to do with it, yet, but I saw it and it called my name! Her pictures are fabulous, but I'm telling you, they're nothing like the real thing! Love my button-- will buy more!
The little stash of funky beads were found during a search for bone for my challenge project. They're ancient Roman pieces and they're pretty fabulous too! Not saying I'll use them like that-- it's just how I found them.
I've actually started beading my Ancestral Expressions cuff yesterday. It's coming along nicely! I decided to go with two drop peyote and my false start this time was so incredibly minor-- yay!
I shouldn't have bought all that stuff-- I know. It's a lack of self-control! But I needed most of it, really, and the rest was on sale . . .
And I'm trying really hard to be good for awhile now-- but it's really hard because there's another bead set I'm lusting over . . . .

Start With What Works is Victoria Hughes' 2nd point in Working From Within. After Setting Your Intention, which I mentioned yesterday, Victoria asks us to figure out what works for us and what we really love. These kind of materials work for me. Primitive works for me. It works for my processes. So far so good!

Also Thyme2Dream tagged me again the other day! Since I just did this tag, I'm going to follow Alison's example over at The Explorer's Notebook and dole the 7 factoids out one at a time over the next week.

#2 I've been scratched by a bear, but not hard enough to draw blood. It was an accident actually.

Tagging AJ at EarthFae's Meandering Thoughts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Visual and Philisophical Magnets

I wanted to share this treasury from SandFibers because it was *so* gorgeous!I grabbed a copy of Deborah Cannarella's beading for the soul at the library. I don't really want to own it, but I'm glad I got to read it.
There's a essay in it by Victoria Hughes about Working From Within that I enjoyed so much!
It speaks of specific questions that pull us again and again throughout our lives and moving from the questions to the art. Because art is very much about exploration and understanding, that makes sense to me.
The headings in the essay are Set Your Intention, Start With What Works, Allow Yourself To Experiment, Take Care Of Your Tools and Act On Your Intuition.
Setting your intention has to do with figuring out why you want to make a piece. Is it to explore your magnet? Is it to sell well at your next home party? To seamlessly incorperate a shark tooth? To delight your sister? Hughes says once you have a destination, the path is clearer.
Go to her site and sign up for her newsletter. I did!
This one is also gorgeous! And still up!
And it made the Front Page! Whoo!

Also Thyme2Dream tagged me again! Since I just did this tag, I'm going to follow Alison's example over at The Explorer's Notebook and dole the 7 factoids out one at a time over the next week.

#1 I frequently talk to myself, occasionally talk back to myself, and once in a while refer to myself in the 3rd person. Then I inevitably wonder if it's really a sign of mental instability.

Tagging Ann at Inspired Jewelry by Ann Burke.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Klimtspiration and EBW Challenge Results!

This is another in my series of Treasuries inspired by and devoted to fellow EBW members. Klimtspiration goes out to Amber Middleton of amberleilani.
On my Tuesday's 52 Sources of Inspiration post Amber commented that she felt like her 'muse had retreated and is not coming back.'
I know she finds Klimt inspiring so I searched Etsy for things inspired by his work and also mined Amber's favorites.
EBW's Animal Instincts Challenge closed out yesterday and we have a tie for the winner! 1st Place goes to to Smadar and Triz!
I don't envy them trying to divide the prize-- which is simply the privilege of picking the next Challenge theme!
My special mentions this month goes to High Desert Beadscapes for her Petroglyph.