Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter Work

If you choose to live in central Vermont, you've got to embrace winter. As we like to say up here, Vermont's weather is nine months of winter and three months of bad sledding. Actually, this winter other parts of the East coast are experiencing better sledding than we--and Vancouver!-- are and I know that's the understatement of the century. And when you're digging your car out of a snowbank, you tend not to think about winter sports.

You've got to get into the cozy-- fuzzy things to wear that feel like your kitty's fur, flannel blankets, rough handknit wool sweaters. There are many positive sensory advantages to winter. Nothing on earth feels like the wave of woodsy heat that comes off a blazing pile of crackling oak logs. This weekend we sat in front of such a fire, chatting with old friends and munching Asiago and crackers. Ahh, the best part of winter!

And the long months from November until April are ideal for the incubation of ideas. It's quiet, you aren't distracted by needing to work in the garden or going swimming and your daily walk is inevitably shortened by concern for frostbite and frozen digits. You have time to think.

And think I have been. I've been experiencing a veritable flood of new ideas. And now I may have the makings of a book. I'm as surprised as anyone by this turn of events, as my next goal this year was to decide where I might want to offer my beads and jewelry for sale-- be it craft shows, bead show venues or other online opportunities besides Etsy. Now my Muse seems to be pushing for a larger commitment to sharing my work than simply by way of this blog. So I'm listening to Her and making notes and thinking up a title. Stories They Tell is going to be showing up in a worldly context in several new ways in the coming months so somebody may actually think a book written by me might be a worthy venture to sponsor.

For now, I'm letting the subtle colors of winter inspire me, either to craft subdued shades in complex designs or to revolt against the subtle palette of the season with a riot of color as I put together submissions to magazines for their Fall issues. The colors of Fall are my favorite but winter is the best season for contemplation and imagination, locked away from the cold in a warm home with a sketchpad and your imagination for company.

Colorado Earrings - in my Etsy shop

Strata Earrings - in my Etsy shop

Marrakesh necklace - my submission for the Art Bead Scene challenge for November 2009

Marrakesh -- detail

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Ideas, New Techniques

One of my favorite blogs is French-- Parole de Pate. I love that they post these little tutorials-- “tutes”-- with new techniques that their readers come up with and then share with everyone. You can try them out and really take them places with a little imagination!

It helps to read French but Parole will cheerfully translate for you if you ask. And the pictures are great so you can usually figure out what's going on just by looking.

On Sunday I happened by Parole's site and saw a post about using alcohol inks on raw clay and just had to try it. I'd been experimenting with TLS (liquid polymer clay) combined with inks to create a glazed stoneware effect on polymer clay and so my attention was really focussed on those sadly-ignored little Ranger ink bottles that had been sitting there just full of potential. I recently re-discovered them while experimenting with some faux raku techniques and so I just breezed along with the latest messy fun.

A while later, my wastebasket full of ink-dabbed paper towel and I had a few sets of earrings that I'll share with you now. Oh, and that paper towel is so pretty with all those inky prints, I might just iron one out and resin it up in a bezel! Potential is everywhere-- even in your garbage can.

Metro earrings - Available in my Etsy shop

Nile earrings - Available in my Etsy shop

Twilight earrings - Available in my Etsy shop

Glaze experiments - faux stoneware