Saturday, June 12, 2010

Inspired by.......Collaborations

If you are a frequent visitor to this blog, you know that I love to create pieces with other artists. Last summer I collaborated with four artists in a bracelet round-robin and I really became hooked on the concept of increasing the level of creativity by combining efforts with other creative people.

In the past year, the other passion I've embraced is interpreting two-dimensional artworks in jewelry. The Art Bead Scene  has presented their blog readers a diverse selection of works of art in a monthly challenge -- from prehistoric cave paintings to contemporary folkart-- as inspiration for jewelry using art beads and I've amassed a respectable body of work over the past year, something I've never managed to do before in all my years as an artist.

So when one of my online artist friends, Erin of Tesori Trovati invited me to participate in a project of hers using new and unique artwork as inspiration, I jumped at the chance to combine both my passions and create a completely new group of art beads for her to use in her designs for a one-woman show.

Here are the watercolors by Ann Singsaas that were my inspiration.

Siljan Glade by Ann Singsass

This one was a bit of a challenge because the colors were definitely out of my color "comfort zone". But I tested out a new technique with alcohol inks that I'd been wanting to try and achieved the watercolor-y effect I was going for. I decided not to go too literal and to leave the black and white elements to Erin, since she was on her way to the Bead & Button show and was sure to find lots of accompanying elements that would work well against the texture and color of the polymer beads.

Red Ponies by Ann Singsass

I'm a big fan of the red and orange family of colors so this one wasn't hard to interpret. I again used alcohol inks but this time I decided to provide two sets of beads, both using the same colorway in very different styles. So the jewelry artist can use one set or mix them both together in one piece.

The show is called “Inspired by...” and runs at Gallery Q in downtown Stevens Point, Wisconsin from Friday, August 13, 2010 with a reception from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm to sometime in September so if you're in the area, please stop by. Erin's invited Heather Powers and Kerry Bogert to play with her too, so there's a lot to see and enjoy.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Bracelet for Villa - Flying

Villa's bracelet is complete and flying out to Washington state. Not literally flying but it could be, buoyed with all the energy and love and caring craftwork that it carries. And you-- Gentle Readers and wonderful online friends-- helped me do it. Together, we did it.

Just working with the charms and arranging them all and then looking at the finished piece and all of the beautiful little pieces of art, each one a personal gift from one of you, brought a lump to my throat.

Maybe it wasn't endowing an orphanage, or riding a Zodiac out to stop a whaling ship, or rescuing someone from a burning building but I think small gestures are the most significant because almost nobody knows but you and the recipient. You don't get a Nobel Prize but to one person, it's really a big deal. And if we all remembered that our small, individual gestures are cumulatively the ones that change the world-- well, we would be flying every day. Because every day we all do at least one small thing-- kiss a scraped knee, make a phonecall to a friend, remember a birthday, hug that unruly teenager, compliment a friend's work-- that makes a difference. And millions of people around the world, all doing one small kindness once a day-- that would create the momentum to create a world that works.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.

Villa's Bracelet - June 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Puttin' It Out There

I realize that I've been MIA for several months so I'm blogging to let all you readers know that I plan to be back in the action starting today and hope to have new posts at least two times a week from now on.

That said, most of my time was spent either applying to various competitions or “calls” for artwork from polymer clay artists or on submissions to magazines. Stressful activity, in that deadlines wait for no one but exciting too because having your work recognized nationally is very gratifying.

I was actually working on some pieces but mostly I was applying. There are these online sites where you park your uploaded images and then when you decide to apply to a “call” -- as in, call for entries-- you just download them into the application, pay your fee online and off you go! The problem is, the images have to be higher resolution than I need for this blog or my Flickr site or for most of my everyday needs and so I just can't financially justify purchasing a full verison of Photoshop. So a week was mainly spent in frustration at having to dedicate large chunks of prime working time futzing with my Canon camera, reading the owner's manual, playing with settings, re-doing shots and searching for someone in my little rural town who could set up the images the way they were needed.

Grrrr!. But happy to say, mission accomplished, my little works were on their way to the Big Time-- that's the International Polymer Clay Association's “Progress & Possibilities” competition, which only comes around every two years-- and I'm anxiously waiting for the winners to be announced. I wasn't even doing polymer clay last time this occurred! One of my submissions for P&P was my “Lady of Shalott” necklace, which readers of this blog may recall was done for an Art Bead Scene challenge and the second one was “Blossom”, which was also for ABS.

Lady of Shalott


In addition to stressing about various applications, I was also bummed that the piece I submitted to another magazine didn't make the cut.

Remembering Kathmandu

I was reminded of a wonderful quote on my friend Barbara Lewis' website:

“There is a force, an energy, a quickness, that is translated through you into action. If you block it, the world will not have it. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. It is not your business to compare yourself with others. It is your business to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you, to keep the channel open.” Martha Graham

With all the social networking sites and things like Twitter urging us to put it out there, the volume of work being presented is overwhelming. It almost goes without saying that we will begin to feel competitive and work to a commercial standard, even if working as the quote suggests is the best avenue to a body of work that truly reflects our best creative effort and highest artistic standard.

I had a special new piece that I was trying to finish for Progress & Possibilities but it had a mind of its own and evolved into several pieces so I just let it happen. I think this might just be the best way to work.

Steampunk Tidepool