Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Making Time for Spring

All winter I've been enjoying the view out my studio window onto my garden and fields, the snow falling and blanketing everything so that  the shapes of things transform and soften. It's been very serene and calming but Spring is finally here in Vermont and between the arrival of baby chicks soon and the garden badly needing my attention, my work schedule has suddenly accelerated and become like a young, frisky pony that's a blast to ride but a bit out of control.
I'm currently working on multiple projects, all of them showing up at the same time and all needing to be coordinated with each other. When you're a working artist, playing with the art stuff is the fun part but the scheduling, writing, arranging and all the other business aspects still have to be done so it's like having to eat your veggies before you get to dessert.   

ArtBliss 2013, which happens this year September 27-29th just outside Washington, DC went live last week. Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix have gathered some amazing artists this year so be sure to visit the site for more information on the three intensive days of classes. I've planned two completely different topics to teach this year so if you've taken classes with me before, I'll still be teaching my unique method for applying color on polymer clay but there will be some new and exciting things to learn if you'd like to come and join the fun!

Coral Reef beads – Polymer clay, natural coral
Example from “Worlds of Color: Textured Polymer Clay Beads” workshop for ArtBliss 2013
Stonehenge beads – Polymer clay, moonstones
Examples from “Worlds of Color” workshop for ArtBliss 2013
Polymer clay, pigments
Example from the “Colorful Landscapes” workshop for ArtBliss 2013

Next, I'm back to making beads! Yes, where I first started with polymer but with lots of new twists and techniques. I made some mokume gane beads (based on the Japanese metalworking technique) for Lori Anderson's Bead Soup book last year and it turns out that someone saw them and ordered a custom set from me. Then she sent photos of some of her tees to match to new sets of beads for her to use in her own creations. I love working with clients like this and it's very gratifying to know they're getting exactly what they want. Here’s what beautiful work Dianne did with one set of beads.

Comic Book beads in an ensemble by Dianne Dies
As if all this wouldn't keep me busy enough, I have taken a BIG plunge and am planning two large endeavors this year-- a book and  polymer workshops at my home. Yes, very big news for me and I’d be lying if I said I was completely confident of pulling it off. But it’s out in the Universe now and I’m going to make it happen!
The book has been in the works (that is, in my head and my notebooks) for over a year but now I'm actually ready to submit a query to a publisher. I'm not saying which one yet but the one that’s attracting me the most is a very respected house and I love the books I've seen from this publisher-- the photos, the organization, the artists they choose to represent. I've talked to several other friends who have entered the publishing fray and am using their generous advice to set my compass for this sail of mine into totally unknown waters. Luckily, I have a firm grasp of my purpose in writing a book and in what I want to put out in the world so I already see it in my mind's eye. I'm essentially working backward-- the book exists in my life, work and notebooks and now I'm merely writing it down.
Everglades necklace – Oil paint, acrylic, pencil
Mayan cuff – Embossing powder, acrylic, patina
  The second big project is to create a 3-day intensive retreat at my home in Vermont for an intimate class of students who want to delve deeper into my method and techniques and benefit from more individual attention and from watching me do what I do. After my ArtBliss classes last year I was invited by a couple of my students to come to their home town to teach but the distance and time away from our mini-farm was prohibitive so an idea that had been in the back of my head for a while began to evolve. I have a large free-standing workshop in the garden behind my house with space for the classes and although our home is rural, we are only 5 miles from the nearest small town with B&B accommodations, restaurants, and all the other amenities. I have to hammer out the details yet but I'm planning to open registrations soon for the first session during Vermont's foliage season this October. I'm hoping students will view this as an opportunity to plan an entire vacation in Vermont with the retreat as one part of the fun since there is so much to see and do here-- biking, riding, antiquing, Colonial America history, photography, etc. As I firm up the details and class information, I'll be posting it on this blog and you can always leave me a comment here if you want me to e-mail you directly about the classes.  

In Alice’s Garden necklace – Oil paint, Byzantia metallics, pencil
Layered heart pendant – acrylics, oil paint, pencil