Thursday, July 14, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

Doing a collaborative project with other polymer artists is always an exercise close to my heart. Blending styles and ideas produces some amazing surprises-- the sum of the parts is always better than the individual elements.

You may recall that Rebecca Watkins, Claire Maunsell and I worked on a necklace together last October.

KatManDo necklace

We enjoyed it so much we vowed to do another, passing the stringing/designing work to Rebecca for the next round. Well, as we all know, life intervenes and the best laid plans, etc. etc. I must confess that I was definitely the sloth on this one but lest you judge me too harshly, I will soon have some interesting news to reveal about why I was M.I.A. for so long!

That said, I want to acknowledge my two incredibly patient co-artists and thank them for their forebearance with the delay of my contribution to the piece!

A planetary theme had been decided upon, which would give us a broad scope for color and offer an infinite number of interpretations for bead design. Here's what I'm sending to Rebecca today.

Little Planetary beads

The second photo shows what they might look like in a starry firmament. I took these shots with my new Nikon Coolpix, a point-and-shoot digital camera (not really as easy as they make it sound but without the advanced degree necessary to use a digital SLR). If you haven't checked these out, this new generation of cameras have all the memory necessary to shoot high resolution images that magazine submissions require. I'm doing an article for Handcrafted Jewelry this week and they told me the images I submitted were well within the standards for publication. Hooray for that! My Nikon has a large screen for use in framing the shot-- I hated the my Pentax's teensy viewfinder-- and all kinds of adjustments for low light/poor light/color correction so post-shot enhancement in a Photoshop program is minimized. In fact, it even has a “skin softening” feature for portraits, a real boon for those pesky headshots that publications always seem to want.

Watch my blog for the results-- and thanks again to Rebecca and Claire. Their Etsy shops are chock-full of delicious beads-- check out some of my favs below!

Available in Rebecca's Etsy shop

Available in Claire's  Etsy shop

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Color = Energy

Color is energy, the colors of sunlight, of emanations from the great Star itself, flooding our world with blues and greens and reds and yellows. Don't get me wrong-- I love my black tees but black is the color of sleep, of night, of the absence of light and energy. It's a great background for a starry display. Although it is the combination of all colors together, black subtracts light, and therefore color, from our world. A “black hole” is called exactly that for a very good reason-- it swallows light.

The colors of Vermont's landscape are vibrant now with summer but in a very subtle way. Just as the native American peoples of the far North have a hundred words for snow, there are a hundred colors of green in my backyard. Our flowers are not the riotous palette of the tropics but rather the occasional splash of bright but diminutive blossoms amid the green of grasses and meadow hay. I recall picking tiny native strawberries nestled among orange and bronze Indian Paintbrush in my uncle's field when I first visited Vermont the summer I was seven. They are still my favorite Vermont wildflower.

I usually experiment with earrings or beads when I'm trying out new color ideas. Small shapes, easily completed are just the thing to play with on a lazy summer's day. If there's more potential there, they become elements in a necklace or bracelet. Here are some of my favorites from the last few weeks' work, using colored pencil and some “garbage” cane-- bits and pieces and leftover ends-- made into a mokume gane veneer.

Sands of Mars bead - idea from the work of Rebecca Watkins

Leaves of Grass earrings

We Are the People earrings

We Are the People earrings - detail

Latitude earrings
Latitude earrings - detail