Thursday, December 10, 2009

student work - bronze clay

Last week was a bit crazy, but one of the many highlights was my Explorations in Bronze Clay class at the Fine Line. What a great group of artists. Here are just a few of the pieces:

Marlene, Frani, Pamela, Jennifer. I usually don't have time to photograph the student works, like Joyce's - she picked hers up on Saturday, so I didn't get a chance to take a picture, but she did a few twisted pendants that also turned out delightful.
I really love how the bronze pieces are right out of the kiln. As you can see, the patina caused by the oxidized charcoal is as varied as the artists' idea. They can be polished to bring out the bronze, or left as is. Thank you everyone for a great day. If you like, check out some of the new classes for 2010.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

early christmas gift

Remember this post of the process of my love | life holiday card. Well on a whim, I entered it in Daniel Smith's Handmade Holiday Card Contest – And guess what? I WON! So excited to do a little shopping!
Seems a my efforts this season have paid off! Thank you, Daniel Smith Art Supplies!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

sneak preview

busy as an elf getting ready for the Fine Line Show. I met so many nice people at the Naperville Show yesterday. Lots of comments on my unique style, which is always so nice. Also sold a few pieces, all to good homes. Here is a few of my newest creations:

Cityscape Night
Unsettled Ideas
what do you think?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

shOPPORTUNITY - Holiday Shows

Happy cyber-monday.
Here are a few local holiday art shows happening this week:

Ladies' Holiday Tea & Boutique
TUESDAY - Dec. 1st at the Naperville Country Club
Boutique Sale is from 12 - 4pm {Open to the Public
a charity fundraiser for Family Shelter located in Wheaton

Christmastime at the Fine Line
December 4-12, 2009
{Opening Night – FRIDAY, Dec. 4th
Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

mixin' it up

last but not least - the third in the series. Gocco print (copper, silver, gold metallic inks) with the debut of the 2009 mixed-media madness papers as and accent. a bit different than the last two, instead of painting, there is zen-like doodles to create the nuances of each piece of unique art. Perfect to give or keep. The photo is a bit light, I'll try to take a picture in the morning light. So glad I finished what I started. Focus, such an amazing thing, I should try it more often. Nah, what's the fun in that. Now it's time to relax. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

warm woolen mittens

just like grandma made - okay not my grandma ;) but I'm sure you could find some warm striped mittens at one of the Christmas Art Shows coming up, along with these cards. Christmastime at the Fine Line starts Dec 4 - 13 OR if you are in the Naperville area, the Naperville Country Club has a holiday Boutique on Dec. 1 between 12 - 4. Come by for some holiday spirit.

The second in the holiday series. Limited edition of 28. Watercolor, Gocco print and acryllic accents. Signed and dated.

One more holiday card design to finish. Hopefully by tomorrow. Then on to more mixed-media jewelry making. I should look into hiring a few elves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

love | life holiday card

I have been handcrafting my holiday card for several years. This year I decided to make a special set available for purchase. Here's the first in a small series of limited edition holiday cards, using some of my favorite techniques:

These are a limited edition of 50. I'm thrilled with what the customer/friend who has purchase the first 25 said "...for my family and closest friends ... they will be my gifts, a work of art and a card of holiday greeting all rolled into one."

I started with an original illustration from my sketchbook, then inked it all in black. I scanned in the illustration and made it to size, printed it on a lazer printer. I mixed the special ink and gocco printed the tree. Gocco was developed in Japan. In gocco printing, a thermally imprinted screen is used to hand print liimited edition of images. Production of print gocco materials has recently been discontinued, I have limited materials. Gocco prints are now becoming an increasingly rare form of printing.

The little bird was also an original sketch. I hand carved the bird stamp using mastercarve substrate and carving tools. Now I can position the little cardinals anywhere.

painted highlights of the leaves and added splattering of festive red and spray of sparkles.

I'm finishing up a few different designs. Each edition will be less than 50, all signed and numbered. These are monarch size card (7.25 X 3.625) and come with a open end policy envelope. I'll be posting a few more handcrafted cards by the end of the week. You can purchase them through my etsy site or email me.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

perfectly imperfect

I've been a bit blog quiet. It's been an eventful and productive October, but I have a lot to talk about and many posts to get out of my sketch book and into cyber space. So here's a little look into one of my creations. When I started sketches for my piece for the Collage Sisthars Alphabetica Show my idea/sketch looked like this.
A happy angel with wings that flutter a light air about her, a heart put away in a drawer in her chest. But when completed it looks like this.

After a few unplanned but happy accidents, like my bronze bust breaking. It seems more dark, but somehow more real. I'm not sure if this an evolution in my work or the work taking on a life of it's own. Letting the dark come through, intergrating my short comings rather than hiding them. This piece was originally intended to use the flash card "woman" and depict a happy, motherly angel, but has unintentionally become a bit of a self portrait, distorted, shredding of what a woman means and the roles played. These roles are a bit tattered and worn but truthful and heartfelt. Perfectly imperfect.

retrospect realization
(added nov. 10)
After reading this weekend found this quote:
"I have no fear of making changes, destroying the image, etc, because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." - Jackson Pollack
reminds me a bit of the process of my creations.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

cherished charm bracelet

Here is the lovely charm bracelet from all the charms I received from the Etsy Metal Clay Team charm swap. I finally had a bit of time to put it together. This is a bracelet that delights my senses - a wonderful weight, beautiful sound, lovely texture and a breathtaking site. I'm so lucky to be part of such a wonderful group.

Friday, October 16, 2009

uncommon threads

There's still time to get tickets for Fine Line's Uncommon Threads Show at StoneGate in Hoffman Estates this Sunday. A great runway fashion show and luncheon. It's a wonderful show of textiles, jewelry and other handmade wearables. The boutique will be open at 10:00 for perusal and purchasing your one of a kind lovelies for a friend or yourself. If you are attending, please be sure to come by my booth and check out what has inspired me lately.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

how 'bout 'em apples

Had a wonderful family day. Apple picking with the girls. Someone said "how 'bout them apples" on our walk and it reminded me of my Grandfather. It's nice how a scent, image or saying can remind you of those that are not with us in this life, but are still in our hearts. Here is a video I whipped up this evening.

Such a fun and quick video program. If I would have done this in iMovie, I would have never finished it (hmm, hence I have a ton of video not edited) But maybe you should try to put your day to music. it's kinda fun! I thought this music clip worked perfectly with the video. Listen to more of Debra Arlyn's music.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

a must see show

I'm forever grateful to be a part of such a wonderful group of artists. Come to the opening night Friday, Oct. 2 at 5:30 - 8:00 at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center, for a bit of laughter, some snacks and a collection of creations that will not disappoint.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

and the winners' are...

Thanks to everyone that played along with me with my Charmed, I'm sure contest. And the rave reviews were a added bonus! And without further ado, the winners...
Sara Jane
and Sue!!
yay! Congratulations, I'll get these done shortly and get them to you. Please email me with your addresses. And hopefully will have some in my etsy shop soon.

I've been working quite diligently lately. It seems my October is a bit busier than I realized. I'm teaching bronzeclay next Saturday, the 26th.
And then, the Collage Sisthars Show, Alphabet Soup Show at the Fine Line. Opening night is October 2. This group is extremely talented, it's a must see exhibit.
Another PMC class (PMC put it together!) Oct 3 and 10 and then Uncommon Threads Show! October 18. Wow, I'd better get busy.

Isn't this photo perfect, it's royalty free from The Graphics Fairy

Friday, September 18, 2009

a whirl wind in chicago

I'm in complete awe and humbled by my experience the last two days. Attending the CUSP Conference was a remarkable roller coaster ride of emotion, inspiration and absolutely intense. The creative talent and ideas of speakers was so diverse, but seemed to be speaking the same language. Conversations of a better future by hard work, perseverance, confidence, compassion and design. It was inspirational, spiritual, political, challenging, admiration and intriguing. In the words of Greg Samata (one of the curators of the event) "I love smart people... I wish I was one". All this higher level thinking has indeed made my head swirl with possibility and promise. I'm so thankful to Sharon, that I was able to attend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

a charmed life - the process

Here's a little sneak peak at my process for the charms I highlighted in my previous post. You might be a lucky recipient of your own personal charm, just comment on this post.

To start I formed 14 gauge wire into a square, added the circle with solder, pulled it and hammered it into a shaped that's a bit off.(shown on the lower right). Now to create the bezel, I used two part molding compound RTV and made a mold (the green blob shown top). With fresh bronze clay I formed small squarish balls, I did this to try to keep them about the same weight. I pressed the clay into the mold and smoothed out the back. I sign (or stamp if I'm doing that) while it's in the mold, so the charm is not distorted.
The one thing I really love about bronze clay versus silver clay, is the way it carves. After being in a dehydrator to leather hard state, with an exacto and some carving blades, I finished off the sides, digging out the center for the jump ring and cleaning up the bezel. I did some light sanding where needed. Then when completely dry, I loaded them in a kiln. A stainless steel container with an inch of charcoal between the 3 layers. I put the container on posts, so the air will be able to heat the whole container evenly. The one main challenge in bronzeclay is it's unpredictable nature. It needs to ramp up slowly and hold temp for a long time, but I've had success with the following: on my Paragon Kiln, I set my program to ramp up 250 degrees per hour, holding at 1565 for 3 hours.
beautiful, right out of the kiln, see how different each of the charms are, all from the same firing. Like I said, unpredictable, but lovely none-the-less.
with a little buffing (I used a scotch pad for a matte look) the patina in the inside really starts to show.
I was almost tempted to leave the inside as is, loved the coloring.
next I placed little mixed media pieces in each one: scissors, tweezers, pva (acid free archival glue) and a lot of time and patience for each colorful creation.

Here is the first layer of resin to seal the mixed media art. I use Envirotext which mixes 50/50. But I know there are a lot of other jewelers' grade resin, including Susan Lenart-Kazmer's ICE Resin.

For the final touch, after letting the resin set-up for two hours, I added the words. I prefer them to blend into the background a bit, so I placed them right on the resin. But if you would like it to be brighter, apply PVA to seal the words before pouring the last bit of resin. I placed a jump ring (I used solder-free Snapeez jump rings from Via Murano through the hole and they are ready to attach to a bracelet or string on a cord.
Now don't you want to enter the little contest and win your very own?
Hope you enjoyed the process.

charmed, i'm sure

The EtsyMetalClay team held a charm swap. Here is my contribution, doesn't it look like a tapestry of goodness? These are made from BronzClay, mixed-media collage and resin. I love this type of collaboration, I'm so lucky to be involved with such a talented group of people and I'm anticipating the lovely pieces of art to arrive next week. Today, was the due date! Finally received my jumprings, so Teresa, they are in the mail.

What I especially love, is the team all agreed to make one extra charm that will be used to create a charm bracelet that will be donated to a charity. The Andruzzi Foundation is the charity we chose. They have a live auction to raise money and the proceeds to use towards cancer research, which is dear many hearts in the group.

But I also wanted to thank all you that read my posts and have encouraged me along the way. So I would like to give a similar charm to a few lucky readers as a token of my appreciation.

Here are the Giveaway rules:
1} Please post one comment to this blog, that includes a word that describes your personality, outlook on life or any other word that is meaningful to you. Just be aware that it needs to be pretty short to fit on the half inch charm.
2} give me a color combination and I'll try my best to fit it into the mixed media piece. (ie. cool tones, warm tones, blues, tuscan, neutral) Your charm will have a jump ring so it can be easily added to a charm bracelet or strung on a cord for a necklace.
3} After a week, so next Thursday, I'll will announce the 3 winners. (update: I've been away at a conference, so I'll take entries until Friday at midnight and I'll announce the winners Saturday, September 19)
} One entry per person please ;)
if you are having technical challenges posting, I will except an email note)
Thanks again to everyone. This weekend I'll post the process on how these charms are made. Good luck.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

artistic exploration and relaxation

Just home from a wonderful weekend by the lake – relaxation, artistic exploration and perfect weather. Starting off with the welcoming smile of a Debbie from Circle of Life Studio. As I drove in, before I even got out of the car, I felt the warmth of a invited kindred spirit. I was lucky enough to spend the morning at her paper making workshop. I felt like a kid in the candy store flittering about in an artistic frenzy without care of space or time. I sure was busy, my handmade paper, shown above, proves it. Pure bliss.

Here is Debbie showing us how to release a perfect piece of pulp from the screen. Loved all the natural light coming through the studio windows. Her workshop was so informative (kinda wish I took notes), inviting and inspiring.

And here are a few of the dimensional handmade paper creations, I plan on using in some mixed media work in the near future. I picked up my dried, pressed paper on Sunday and she graciously showed me her Studio with beautiful pieces for sale. There is the Northwoods Gallery Tour Oct 2-4, I would highly recommend visiting some of the artists, especially Debbie(#23). I loved spending sometime in her shop chatting and it was great to see the grounds which are as inviting and creative as she is. Thank you!

I spent a bit of time finishing a few jewelry pieces and photographing some new pieces for my shop. Here is a sneak preview of one of them. I hope to find time to refresh the pieces online soon.

And one of my favorite things, spending time with my niece and spirited daughter, a little "Tween-Toddler" friendly artistic time of creating. They created hand-painted stationery card and envelope sets. Using acrylic paint and a scrape off technique. Didn't these turn out great!? Not sure if it will inspire any actual writing, rather than texting - but none-the-less it was great messy, creative fun. Hope your weekend was chock full of goodness.
And be sure to check out my blog little later this week. I'm sure you'll be "charmed" by my give-away!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

weather man says...

SUN!! Looking forward to getting away this weekend. Taking the trek UpNorth with plenty of inspiration to read, journals to draw in and supplies to create with. Especially looking forward to spending sometime with Debra in her studio. I hope to have some pics so show when I get back. Oh, and the little secret I talked about last post, also. Hope everyone have a relaxing labor day weekend.

Monday, August 31, 2009

neglected nuances

One of my many passions is gardening – nurturing the flowers, planning the beds, transplanting. Always mystified by the magic of one little seed to flourish. I'm not very fussy about it. I take it all in stride - a sensibility derived from my mother. But this no nonsense approach has been borderline neglect this year. I haven't had much time to spend weeding, watering or pruning. This past Saturday I shut down my life for awhile and spent over 4 hours weeding. My poor neglected garden has been overrun with the critters. As a result, I was graced with the image above. This sticker bush was about 6 feet tall with a trunk about an inch in diameter. But, I try to enjoy the moments for what they are, for a sticker bush, it's pretty beautiful.
If you noticed I enhanced it's beauty a bit by playing with the image in photoshop, (read on for more info and a link to a great tutorial) I must have a bit of green thumb despite my unknown efforts, as seen here.
and here.
I know my weeding is not really done, but at least it's manageable now.
And I can enjoy a few fruits of my ummm... labor? homemade sauce and pico de gallo. Both terrifically yummy. Fresh from my garden.
} As promised, a bit of info on the photo manipulation. I love the vintage flair that Susan Tuttle adds to her photos. True mastery. She has an online course that I'm dying to try called Visual Poetry - the name alone makes me swoon. But I did a bit of surfing and found a plethora of information on retro photoshop "filtery" - yes I'm making up words - at Smashing Magazine (LOVE this blog/resource)
Here's a little before and after. And here is the link to the vintage photo tutorial I followed, using Adobe Photoshop and adjustment filters.Oh, I definitely need to explore this more.
} p.s. - a little secret to those of you that were patient enough to read this whole post. A little giveaway will be coming soon. So stay tuned!
} Hope you try to enjoy each moment for what it is.

whoa is me - of the computer variety

Sorry I have been so delinquent to my blog posting. I have a bit of bad news to report. My computer is out-of-order. The hard drive on my Mac fails to boot and I have lost a ton of pictures and work from January 2009 and maybe before. The lost of data upsets me more than the thought of buying a new computer. So everyone, take note make time to back up your information, because once it's gone (in the digital world) it's gone. So looking on the brighter side, I'll get to play with my new camera and reshoot all my jewelry for my etsy shop. My boss has graciously allowed me to use my work computer at home on occasion. So very grateful. And I guess I'll have to save my pennies and do my research. I believe there is a new computer in my future.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

as promised

The judge and winners of the Art on Main Art Show a few weekends ago. The lovely judge, Marsha Newkirk, 1st place Debbie Jirck (clay sculpture), 2nd place - Karen Lenhart (water color) and me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

kudos from my home away from home

Wow, another wonderful show. Last weekend I took my show on the road to my weekend getaway place, Three Lakes WI. I normally go UpNorth to relax with family and do some quiet creating, but this time I decided to enter the Art on Main artshow. I'm so glad I did. Not only did I get to meet a bunch of wonderful people. They all seemed to love my creations, it was a wonderful day. But the icing on the cake was when I was presented a third place ribbon for my creations and space (conveniently shown backwards in the only photo I took, err). I also had the pleasure of meeting a few of the Northwoods Art Gypsies, the lovely Debra of Circle of Life Studio won first place, really inspired me with her birdhouses. And the watercolors of the second place winner (I need to research her info and will post it) were so full of life. I'm honored to be among these talented women. Thank you.

{ps - this post is a bit tardy. I'm currently mending my sick computer and posting when I can on what I can. Hopefully I'll get this fixed soon.

Monday, August 3, 2009

just a few things

} coffee or tea on my back porch in the morning
} a good cry while watching a movie about dying too young on a rainy Sunday afternoon
} watching butterflies and the occasional humming bird - how fast their wings go without seemingly getting anywhere... hmmm
} little confirmation on my intuitive hunches
} friendships that are sometimes quiet, but always deep
I hope you have a lovely day.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

they liked me, they really liked me

I'm awe struck. I'm showing my latest creations at the Art and Soul on the Fox Show this weekend. I was elated to receive a ribbon for my artistry, only 7 of the 70 artists received this recognition. After a very blustery, rainy day with a few challenges this was just the encouragement I needed. Thank you to all that weathered the storm and kept me company. Now what I really need is sleep, so I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed in the morning. Stop by if you're in the neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

all about process

I must admit I’m all about the process rather than the finished product. Sometimes to a fault. so much in fact that I probably have no less than 20 projects in some state of incompletion right now. But once in a while I do finish - a deadline is a good thing for me. Even if I might still be late on the final product. A deadline was one of the reasons I started an ATC exchange with the CMP. This month’s theme was ingredients. I thought I’d share the process.
First, I’ll start with a bit of thanks to Sara, our fearless leader of the Collage Sisthars Collaborative and Mary Ann Moss from Dispatch from LA for showing me most of these techniques and fostering my passion for quick backgrounds and the fun of stencils and spray paint.
I started with watercolor paper and applied tube watercolor paint directly onto the paper. I used cadium yellow, yellow orche, a bit of sap green and some cobalt violet. Some of the paper already had a bit of color on it, and I just went right over it. Next with a credit card I scrap at the paint to cover the whole surface. As almost always I feel the need to have a bit of explanation on my ATCs - my thought for ingredients was Life and Lemons.

I had a few sketches for this idea. I enlarged the sketch to fit on the ATC (2.5 X 3.5). I cut out a few cards, or you can leave this step for last. Here’s the fun part, well fun if you like tedious cutting with an exacto.

I placed my copy on a stiff card stock the same size as the ATC and tacked it down with a glue stick. just enough so it wouldn’t slip as I was cutting. Using the sketch as a guide I cut around the lemons. Now with my little stencil ready I’m off to my makeshift spray booth (a box from the local grocery store) outside.

You’ll notice a few bubbles in my spray paint, it began drizzling as I was spraying, but I don’t mind the effect. I used yellow short cuts spray paint from Hobby Lobby - you could use more than one color or even another stencil if you like to create more depth.

I see now that some of my background worked better than other against the yellow lemon stencil. Now I cut down all the cards that weren’t cut to size. I went ahead and inked in the rest of the card using colored Sharpies and a white paint pen. Using a white, orange and green for the lighter cards and black for the darker ones.

Here are the finished cards. Hope you enjoy all you creative processes like I do, but it’s so fulfilling to finish, too.