Monday, September 28, 2009

We're in Stringing!

My Little Bumblebeads are out in the world!

Interweave Press' “The Best of Stringing-- Special Collector's Edition: Celebrating 5 Years of Making Jewelry” is out on newsstands and one of the new projects that is included is The Rusty Convertible, designed by Lorelei Eurto and featuring my Little Bumblebeads!

This is very exciting, to say the least, as I only started doing polymer clay seriously about this time last year. But this little tale of modest success is not about me but more about the generous folks in the beading and polymer clay communities.

I am very lucky that I made connections with artists that appreciated my style and were generous about promoting my work on their blogs and in their designs-- thank you Deryn Mentock and Lorelei Eurto. When I asked these folks for advice, they gave it-- thank you Heather Powers, Jennifer Stumpf and Deryn. These designers invited me to collaborate with them, they let me put their work on my blog-- thank you Heather, Lorelei, Erin Prais-Hintz, Erin Siegel , Cindy Wimmer and Sharon Borsavage. Thank you, Art Bead Scene for the wonderful challenges you promote every month and to Cynthia Tinapple at Polymer Clay Daily for your posts about Stories They Tell. Special thanks to my Vermont clay buddy, Cindy Walcott, for all her advice, creative critique and support! And to Barbara Lewis, another potter and super-creative woman who I wish was my neighbor so we could do enameling together! Not at all least, thanks to my Etsy customers, for helping me to keep those supplies coming in so I can keep doing what I love!

And big warm thanks to all of you readers who leave such supportive and perceptive comments on this blog! They make me believe that what I do has some positive impact in the world and that is the most important success I can have. I am grateful and humbled by the friendship of all of you.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Working Together

As many of you may know, depending on the day and the project, a business partnership with a husband can be wonderful or horrible. Sometimes both on the same day! It's the joy of camaraderie-- or a lot of deep sighs and muttering under your breath. Mars vs. Venus, big time!

My husband, Douglas, takes many of my Etsy photos and has collaborated with me on numerous jewelry projects -- doing metal work and etching--and as long as I tell him what I want but not how to do it, we get along just fine. He doesn't care about the big picture – and, in truth, usually I can't tell him what the final product is going to look like-- I don't know myself! That's just how I roll.

The August Art Bead Scene challenge-- an ongoing monthly call to interpret an artwork using art beads and stringing-- was Hokusai's “The Great Wave ”, a woodcut print I've always loved. If you've ever been in a small boat at sea during stormy weather, you can appreciate how the artist has captured the feeling of the icy, angry sea washing over the deck as you struggle to keep from going under. The picture really captures the majestic yet unpredictable power of Nature.
As I pondered what to make for the August piece, I remembered that Douglas had been bugging me to give him a project so I had him do a repousse base for the clay I planned to use as a pendant. We are still working in nickel, as the price of silver continues to escalate, but this metal sheet actually had just the right kind of dark shine that was needed in the design. After lots of hammering and bending of the edge around a wire to smooth it, Douglas' pendant was ready for its clay embellishment.

I mixed up the clay for the various blues to extrude for the pendant and to make the accompanying beads. I did several versions-- a swirly wave one, one I call the “Cloud Bead” and a simple marbling of all the blue tones together. I noticed that the background of the print is a subtle gradation of charcoal gray to pale gray so I did some metallic marbling for those beads and made them into organic square shapes. After arranging them all on my bench, I realized I needed something to offset all the blue/black/gray/silver tones. I just got my copy of Lindly Haunani and Maggie Maggio's book, Polymer Clay Color Inspirations, I've only dipped a toe into so far, but I had been thinking of bamboo beads so I mixed up some sandy orange clay and scored and antiqued some spacer beads to break up the round shapes and add some complementary color to the mix.

I finally posted the finished work on the Art Bead Scene Flickr site-- yes, I know it's September but I really want to keep completing these challenges once I start them! I'm compiling a nice body of work in the process and every month's assignment really stimulates me to push the envelope of what's possible-- a potent exercise both for the brain and for the creative Muse. The other enjoyable thing is seeing the diversity of what everybody else has done using the same artwork as a starting point. And sharing what we've all made with the same intention in mind is truly the best kind of working together.