Monday, September 30, 2013


A woman came into the shop the other day.  I vaguely recognized her, but wasn't exactly sure who it was.  We got to chatting and it turns out that her husband runs a watch and antique clocks repair shop in town.  I told her that I'm always looking for pieces to add to my mixed media jewelry.

Not long after she left, she came back!  This time she came with gifts! Aren't all these old watch parts and clock gears the coolest?  I just love them and can't wait to make something with them.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Beaded Links... Jewelry Making
Remember your summer vacation by combining elements from the beach in this new necklace project.

Art Bead Scene
Check out this funky, free project from Gaea, using tons of beautiful art beads!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Take a look at what some of the members of the Inspired by Reading book club made for the September selection, "Dogeaters" by Jessica Hagedorn.

Resin Crafts Blog
A craftastrophy in mold-making turns into a super bangle project after a day of experimentation.

A Bead A Day
Have you thought about or begun making holiday gift projects?  Lisa's sharing her sparkly inspiration for gift giving this year.

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the marvelously innovative book, "Explorations in Beadweaving" by Kelly Angeley.  Get ready to get your socks knocked off!

Beading Arts
Time to add some bead embroidered motifs to Cyndi's new necklace, using African Helix, Chevron, RAW, and St. Petersburg Chain as the inspiration!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


I'm trying to make more of an effort to block out time for production.  Nowadays, I'm so swept up with everything else that there's little time to sit down at the bench and really crank things out.

I did manage to make some time to carve out a new design and press out a few pendants in porcelain.  I still have to tool them and smooth out some of the edges with a wet rag.  It's also a good time to check for quality control.  Then they're bound for the kiln and if all goes well in there, I'll be glazing, firing again and tumbling them in sort order.

We have been really enjoying the new Starz Original Miniseries Event, The White Queen.  They're based on the books by Philippa Gregory and takes place during the War of the Roses.  It follows Elizabeth Woodville's ascension to the English throne and the perils that lie in the much coveted position.  One of the symbols that appears frequently is a stylized rose.  Depending on the color, it represents the various warring houses.  I made my own version of it and hope that people have fun with it.  Hopefully the pendants will be available for purchase in the Shop and online soon!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Jeff Surgent at Allegory Gallery...

There's only a few days left to see Jeff Surgent's photographs from his latest art exhibition at Allegory Gallery!  His show closes October 3rd!  Some of the pieces are still available for purchase.  CLICK HERE to check them out and learn more about them.  You can save 15% off his photographs (until the close of the show) with the coupon code "LASTCHANCESALE".

"Microcosmic Reflections" is the next show at Allegory Gallery and will feature the work of Nick Conti.  He'll be showing his digitally-manipulated abstract photographs.  The show opens Saturday, October 5th with a reception from 5PM to 8PM.

A Gift...

I was surprised to see a package waiting for me at the shop from my brother.  In it was a lovely birthday present.  Dwayne sent this open-winged cicada pendant that he made.  The wings look like a tribal filigree and would be perfect for dangling glittering gemstones from them.  Believe it or not, it's shibuichi!  Shibuichi is a copper and silver alloy and is usually cherry red, nutty brown, steely gray or even a rich  peach color.  Dwayne's finish is a warm silver with touches of iridescence.  There are flashes of beetle-shell green, bubblegum pink, and blushes of cool violet.  I'm a lucky duck to receive such a nice gift.  I am really blown away by his progress in metals and look forward to see what he makes next!

Just For Myself...

I had the day off for my birthday, so I decided to take advantage of the area's natural beauty and go for a hike.  I try to make it out to the Spruce Flats Bog at least once a year and hadn't had a chance to go out yet.  So, I packed my galoshes and drove up to Forbes State Forest.

I love this spot.  You walk along a trail flanked by deep woods and then... all of a sudden... the horizon opens up and there's a dock that goes out into a clearing of topaz-colored grasses, dotted with crimson islands.  The "islands" are actually clusters of carnivorous pitcher plants.  They were planted over fifty years ago by the botanical society that I belong to.  They thrive in a place where little else does.

While I was there enjoying the quiet, taking pictures and brushing up on my plant identifications, I picked some giant cranberries.  I was lucky that there were some left.  Usually the bog gets picked clean this time of year.

When I got back to the car, it was still light out and I wasn't ready to go home yet.  I stopped at the old Airglow Observatory.  I read somewhere that it was built in the 1960's to study upper atmospheric gases and now is used from time to time by astronomy students at the University of Pittsburgh.  Right now it is a being used by honey bees.  They were pouring out of the walls.

I went down the road a piece and hiked out to Beams Rock.  At one time, water rushed through this area, carving the stone cliff and creating these rock formations that look like Chinese Scholar rocks.  There are deep fissures here that you can walk between and steep, 50 foot drops.  I was still wearing my rubber boots, so I made sure to be extra careful.  Some of the "paths" are overgrown with rhododendron roots and the footings here can sometimes be precarious with loosely attached moss.  It's worth it though.  This place feels very old and I could feel a shiver run down my spine as I stood in the shadows of this great, natural monument.

I don't often get much time to myself.  Even when I'm home, there's the cell phone or the computer and it's hard to get away from the connectivity.  It was such a pleasure to go out on these little excursions on my birthday to reflect not only on my own life, but on the world and its beauty.  It was good to have these moments just for myself.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspired by Reading September Blog Hop...

Today is the Reveal for September's selection of the Inspired by Reading Book Club!  We read, "Dogeaters" by Jessica Hagedorn.  It was met with mixed reviews from the participants, but I enjoyed it.  I think what may have turned some people off of the book was how edgy and graphic it can be.  Also, there is a huge cast of characters to keep track of (some with the same names) and it doesn't flow in a chronological order.  It is also told through letters, newspaper clippings, flashbacks, and through snippets of gossip.  But I think those are some of the charms of the book.  It details the lives of those who might otherwise go silent, their stories a rumor that live in the memories of the back alleys and slums.  The book shares glimpses of the lives of the extremely wealthy and powerful and those who are on the opposite spectrum. Her narrators are a collection of imperfect anti-heroes struggling with societal rules and familial expectations.  It's not a book that you can just skim through.  In a single sentence, she can kill off a character, marry the widower, give them several children and then remarry them to someone else.  It reminds me of sitting under the table when my mom and her friends were "catching up" about their friends.  With Hagedorn's surrealist storytelling, she shows how very connected everyone is and paints an all too vivid picture of Philippines.

My birthday is today, so to celebrate, Laurel brought party decorations and games to play.  (Unfortunately, we did not get a chance to pin the tail on the donkey.)  Terri came all the way from Ohio to join in on the festivities.  William also came to celebrate.  Above is a picture that Laurel snapped with her new camera.

In keeping with the theme of the book, I made a few Filipino classics mentioned in the book.  I made chicken adobo and bibingka.  The bibingka served as my birthday cake.  Candice Wakumoto sent an assortment of Asian snacks from Hawaii.  Here's a picture of Connie bravely dipping some of the adobo.  They were all dubious of the dish (and its dark brown sauce) until they tried it.  CLICK HERE for the recipe.

I think everyone had a good time.  I know I did.  I really love the little group that we've formed.  Each person brings a new perspective to the table and it's always interesting to see what someone will take away from the books we read.  It's more than that though... we've become friends that genuinely care for one another and I look forward to our meetings every month!

And without further ado... here's the REVEAL:

This bracelet was made by Connie.  Isn't it cute!  She was inspired by the title of the book.  (The author talks about the title and more in this interview with Ameena Meer that appeared in BOMB.  CLICK HERE to see the interview.)  The little sparkly bead is supposed to symbolize Imelda Marcos' shoes, the gift is meant for my birthday, and the dog... well, the dog is dinner!

This amazing necklace was made by our newest member, Allison.  She created this Asian looking piece using wood, pearls, and cinnabar.  In this piece, she wanted to marry the tribal aspects found in the book and the more urban influences.  I think she created a really stunning piece!

Laurel created these amazing shoes!  Imelda Marcos is a character in the book, even though she is not specifically named.  One of the things that Imelda was most known for was her sprawling shoe collection.  For the Inspired by Reading Book Club, you don't have to just make jewelry!  You can make anything you want.  Laurel took up this challenge and glued on hundreds of rhinestones to her Dansko shoes.  They were really sparkly!

This is the necklace that I made.  I call it, "Pink and White for Pucha".  It is made of wire-wrapped pearls and a mother-of-pearl inlaid bead which just happened to come from the Philippines.  It was inspired by a sentence near the end of the book, so I won't give anything away for those who didn't get a chance to read it.  I wanted to make a variation of the traditional pearl necklace and I definitely wanted it to be very feminine and showy, like the character Pucha.

But wait... there's more!  The fun isn't over yet!  Take a look at what these Inspired by Reading Book Club members made with the "Dogeaters" in mind for this month's blog hop:

The next book for the book club is, "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me" edited by Kate Bernheimer.  For this year's full list, CLICK HERE.  The list for next year will debut at artBliss outside of Washington D.C. this weekend!  The in-person meet up is scheduled for Tuesday, October 29th!  The next blog hop is Wednesday, October 30th!  If you're interested in keeping up with what we're doing, CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook group page.  We also have a Pinterest board with supplemental inspiration.  CLICK HERE to view that.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


I have two cats.  One is named Paulo and the other is named Babette.  They are brother and sister and I love them both very much.  Even though I love them equally, Babette is my constant companion.  (She's actually laying on my lap as I type this.)   Paulo, while affectionate, is more of William's little buddy... except from the hours of 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM, that's when Paulo unabashedly cuddles me and rubs his face on mine.

During the time that we have shared our home, Babette has taught me to seize the opportunity to play whenever possible, wash out the sink, and that doughnuts, coconut cookies and chicken fingers were made for sharing.

William's aunt gave him a book called, Angel Cats.  It's by Allen and Linda Anderson.  I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, but what I did read made me think of one of my own stories.  When I had skin cancer, the course of treatments was to surgically remove half a square foot of skin from my side.  I couldn't move my arm, because it would cause the skin to pull and the staples would send shooting bolts of pain throughout my body.  The newly tightened flesh made me feel like I was wearing a corset and it made it hard to breathe.  The worst though came at night when I tried to sleep.  I've always been someone who sleeps on their stomach with my arm under my pillow to prop it up under my head.  With the surgery, I was laying on my back and unable to sleep the way I normally used to.  I tried warm milk, chamomile tea, and melatonin, but nothing worked.  I eventually graduated to stronger sleep aids, but was rudely awakened when I would roll on my side in my sound sleep.  The only thing that would comfort me was Babette.  First, she'd check and see if I was breathing and kiss my nose.  Then she'd lay by my side and purr.  She did this every night.  The sound and subtle vibration were comforting and relaxed me enough to finally sleep.  I have since learned that cat purrs have been linked to accelerating the healing process.  She was taking care of me.

Babette is certainly an Angel Cat and I am lucky to have her (and her brother) in my life.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beaded Links...

Art Bead Scene
Check out some beautiful  borosilicate glass lampwork beads and their corresponding color palettes with Brandi!

A Bead A Day
Do your jewelry projects ever take twists and turns during the creative process?  Stop by A Bead a Day to share your story.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares some upcoming classes at Allegory Gallery, including a Weekend Intensive taught by him and Lynne Suprock!

Resin Crafts Blog
The Lanvin inspired name plate necklace is easy to make with Resin Clay.

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean is a member of a group of designers for the great store and online presence, Baubles & Beads.  This week was the first reveal for the designers.  Stop by and see what Jean made, enter a giveaway, and scoop up a great coupon code good through the rest of September!  Yay!

Beading Arts
Cyndi is starting a new series on making bead embroidered necklaces.  Follow along and try one for yourself!

Microcosmic Reflections...

Mark your calendars for the next art exhibition at Allegory Gallery.  We'll be showing the work of Nick Conti.  The name of his show is, Microcosmic Reflections.  The show is composed of his digitally-manipulated photographs of his creative collaborator's glasswork.  It'll run from October 5th to December 5th.  The opening reception is Saturday, October 5th from 5PM to 8PM!  Stop by and check it out!

Candice Wakumoto Trunk Show at Allegory Gallery...

Allegory Gallery is pleased to announce a limited-time trunk show with Hawaii-based artist, Candice Wakumoto.  Candice is an award-winning and published jewelry artist. (She was most recently published in the beautiful, coffee-table book: Showcase 500 Art Necklaces.)  She creates unique, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces that are simply amazing.  I think one of the things that makes Candice's work really special is that she loves beads and has been collecting them for over a decade; she travels the world to attend some of the most prestigious shows and has a unrivaled collection.  As a result, the statement pieces she makes incorporate finds that are extremely rare, like gemstones from mines that have been closed for years or from artisan bead makers who have retired or are no longer with us.  She also carves, casts and creates her own metal findings, charms, and components in bronze and sterling silver. Some of the focal pieces of her jewelry are made out of Precious Metal Clay, which is 99.9% pure silver with 24k gold accents.

The PMC process starts with a product that was originally created in Japan by Mitsubishi.  It's pure silver powder that has been mixed with an organic binder.  Working with it is kind of like working with porcelain or a ceramic clay body.  Once the piece is completely dry, it is fired in a kiln at 1650 F for over two hours.  During this time, the organic binder burns off and leaves only the metal.  At the high temperatures, the metal sinters (which basically means the metal particles fuse together) creating a solid piece of metal.  Candice has won several industry awards for her PMC creations, including the Saul Bell Design Award for her Asian-influenced hollow forms.

Even if you're not in the market for high-end artisan jewelry, you should definitely stop by to see the pieces.  They're really a visual treat AND this is one of the only places in the mainland USA that you can see such a large assembly of her work!

The trunk show is one week only!  Her pieces will be on display and available for purchase from September 24th to October 1st.  (Also, if you have your eye on one of the pieces that is currently featured in the shop, several of them will be returning to Hawaii at the end of the show!  So get it before it goes away!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

Learning Curves...

It's no big secret that I like to experiment with new techniques and materials.  Sometimes the results are better than expected and everything works out beautifully.  And... sometimes things don't go according to plan and things turn out... well... a hot mess.

This was my latest failed experiment.  I tried to alter the clay body for a cool raku effect, but I fired the kiln too hot and everything turned into scorched puddles.  Luckily I had the foresight to put down a kiln shelf and I'm fairly certain that the cleanup should be relatively easy.  I might have to replace my mandrels, but that's not too bad.

It's a shame that things didn't work out, but at least now I know.  And what's that they say... learning is half the battle?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Book Club Reminder...

I can't believe it!  There's just one week until the in-person meet-up at Allegory Gallery for the Inspired by Reading Book Club.  September's book is, "Dogeaters" by Jessica Hagedorn.  The meet-up is on Tuesday, September 24th from 6PM to 9PM.  I'll be cooking up all kinds of Filippino food!  The online blog hop is the following day on Wednesday, September 25th!  To keep up with what we're doing, join the Facebook group by CLICKING HERE.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Kumihimo obsessed?  Lisa is too and hasn't even USED the technique yet! She is sharing a super sparkly project.

Art Bead Scene
Revisit a "best of" post with Sparrow Salvage.  The post is on an ever popular topic:  how to take great jewelry photos!

Charleve Sevier
Ever start a piece of jewelry and then struggle to finish it?  That's what happened to Charlene.  There is a happy ending!

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
A beautiful art book concerning Blythe dolls (wearing jewelry of course) has been written by Jean with her co-authors and 40 world-wide contributors.  Preview the book, "Big Eyed Love" and read more about it on Jean's blog!

Beading Arts
Cyndi shows you how to make a necklace that features a "Shower of Pearls"!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bright, Shiny Moments...

When we opened the store, we couldn't have guessed at all the things we would do or the people that we would meet.  Two of those people who happened to come into the store were Jewels and AJ.  Both of them are remarkable and talented people and we were really blessed to get to know them.

Yesterday we were honored to attend Jewels and AJ's wedding at Twin Lakes Park.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ceremony.  Jane West played, the mayor officiated the ceremony and I couldn't help but shed a few tears of happiness for my friends on their most special day.  I feel really fortunate to know them and I just know that this is one of many bright, shiny moments to come for the two of them.  Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Panian!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Patrizia Ferreira Show at Song of Sixpence...

Earlier this morning, we popped by Peg Palmer's shop, Song of Sixpence.  Peg's shop is a block away from Allegory Gallery and features a variety of women's clothing, jewelry, and assorted goods that strike Peg's fancy.  It's a really amazing shop filled with unexpected finds!  She had a really cool trunk show featuring the work of Patrizia Ferreira.  Patrizia creates fiber-based jewelry embellished with beads, fringe, and notions.  Each piece was definitely a statement piece and was completely unique and one-of-a-kind.

Above is a picture of Patrizia at Song of Sixpence during the opening.  Below is her bio and a little bit about her work.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Upcoming Classes at Allegory Gallery...

Here are a few of the classes that are coming up soon offered through Allegory Gallery! All of them will be held at the Annex!  If you're not familiar with the Annex, it is located at 3720 Route 711, Suite 3 (upstairs).  It's in the Oak Grove/ Ligonier Mini Mall where the Somerset Trust Bank and Earth Lotus Yoga Studio are.

If you're interested in these classes, you can sign-up online or in-person at the shop.  It's very important that you sign up at least two-days in advance of your class to make sure that we have sufficient supplies and that there is enough space.  (It's better if you sign up sooner!)  Some of the teachers travel from far away and we need to secure a certain number of students to make it worth their wild to travel out to our neck of the woods.  Signing up early allows us to continue to offer really great classes taught by amazing teachers!

On Sunday, October 20th, you can take this class with Georgette Austin.  You'll learn how to make this really stunning Tree of Life Pendant.  Georgette is a new teacher at Allegory Gallery and this is her first class with us, so make sure to come out and give her a warm welcome.  CLICK HERE for more information about the class and to sign-up online.

Mark your calendars!  Lynne Suprock will be coming to town October 26th and 27th!  We will be co-teaching a Weekend Intensive on creating Mixed Media Art Dolls with Miniature Books.  We'll be doing all kinds of techniques... resin casting, basic face sculpting in polymer clay, cold cast bronze, metal etching, and miniature book binding.  Details will be coming soon about this really cool event!

And don't forget that one of the best ways to keep up with what we're doing (such as classes and special events) is to "like" us on Facebook.  CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook page.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thistledown at Seger House...

Across the Diamond and down West Main Street is a beautiful, red sandstone building with a long history.  This Ligonier landmark was most recently a hospital (for 66 years) and before that, a private home for the Seger family.  It is now home to Bo-Peep Fine Yarns and Thistledown at Seger House Hotel and Cafe.

Michelle and Adam Gardner took on the monumental project to restore and renovate the impressive structure and give it new life.  I met up with Lynne Suprock for a coffee break and we were fortunate enough to get a tour from Michelle of the new incarnation of the Seger House.

The new hotel features eight rooms on the second and third floor that are luxuriously furnished and outfitted with stylish private bathrooms.  The beds are plush, each room has a flat-screen TV with satellite cable, and some of the rooms have gas fireplaces.  The nightstands have mirrored fronts in a Hollywood Regency style, the lamps are made of Mercury glass, and coincidentally, some of the walls are painted in "Knitting Needles"silvery gray.  Don't look for a Wild West Themed room here!  All of the rooms are cohesively decorated in this comfortable, contemporary style.  What I love is that even though they've updated the rooms and made them very posh, they still pay respect to the heritage of the building and leave architectural details like original woodwork, stained glass windows, and lighting fixtures, old telephone decals and traces of evidence that alludes to the provenance of the building.

On the first floor is the super cute new cafe.  They offer an assortment of freshly baked goods, coffee and espresso beverages, cold sandwiches and hot panini sandwiches.  (They also offer gluten-free bread options for those interested.)  I had one of the Strawberry Pie Packets and was quite pleased with my selection!  It was bursting with strawberry flavor and it was only $0.50!   

Also on the first floor is the new home of Bo-Peep Fine Yarns.  They moved the fibers shop from their spot on the Diamond to the newly renovated building.  The shop is light, airy and filled with a rainbow of color!  

Michelle and Adam have done such a nice job!  Everything is simply lovely.  They've put a lot of time and energy into maintaining the legacy of this great Ligonier landmark and starting a new chapter in the Seger House's history.  CLICK HERE to visit the Thistledown at Seger House Facebook page and CLICK HERE to visit Bo-Peep's website.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nick Conti at Allegory Gallery...

Here's a look at the next art exhibition at Allegory Gallery!  We'll be featuring the work of Nick Conti of Unique Perceptions Glass Experience.  He'll be showing new digitally-manipulated, abstract photographs of his collaborator's glasswork.  We're very excited to present this new show!  If you're around, please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, October 5th from 5PM to 8PM!

Monday, September 09, 2013

Pantone Fashion Color Report Spring 2014...

The leaves have still not burst into a riot of vibrant reds, golds and burnt oranges.  Fall is still technically a little over two weeks away and I haven't even thought of decorating for Halloween, let alone baking Thanksgiving pies.  If you're like me, you're probably still just playing with the Fall Pantone Color Report.

But the cogs and wheels of the Fashion world are relentless and ever driving onward.  They are midweek in the New York Fashion Week and have just announced the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Spring 2014.  Above is a glimpse at the rainbowy palette.  CLICK HERE for more information about the new report, including bios of the Designers and the Influencers.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Beaded Links...

A Bead A Day
Looking for a little love?  Pop over for a quick look at Lisa's latest LOVE inspired necklace.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew creates a piece of jewelry in response to Pat Robertson's comment about gays wearing special HIV/AIDS rings.

Resin Crafts Blog
Resin + resin + resin spray = pendant!

Carmi's Art/Life World
The kumihimo braid is ideal if you want to use up lots of interesting fibers!

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean shares Iris Sandkuhler's advice on "making art".  Words of live by!  See Jean's blog!

Art Bead Scene
Check out this month's challenge colour palette from Brandi!  Mucha's Automne is the perfect piece of art to inspire your creativity this September.

Beading Arts
Beads in Motion?  Just what does that mean?  Wait till you see! Jewelry Making
Go garnet!  Lean a little about this very popular gemstone used in jewelry making.

Countess Corpse Flower Painting...

A few weeks ago, we saw the corpse flower bloom at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.  CLICK HERE to read about that trip.  I was really struck by the ruffles of the flower and thought that it would make an excellent collar for a costume.  Once the idea was planted, it was hard to uproot!  I kept thinking about it and decided to incorporate it into a painting.

As I had originally imagined, I used the "spathe" aka ruffly petal for the collar and transformed the spadix (the smelly pointy part coming up from the center of the flower) into the face and a coiffed hairdo.  I call her, "Countess Corpse Flower".

Fusion Beads' 30 Day Challenge...

Last March, I participated in Fusion Beads' 30 Day Challenge.  It certainly was challenging, but it was also very rewarding and I really felt the creative juices flowing in abundance.  I definitely recommend participating!

Here is a snapshot of the calendar.  You can also CLICK HERE for the PDF version.  I find it handy to look through the dates in advance and order supplies early so that there's plenty of time for things to show up.  They are really good about getting things out the door quickly, but I like to have time to examine my beads and let things percolate.  Most of the challenges can be done with materials already in your stash, but there are a couple of prompts that are centered around very specific products like Day 3 with their seed bead mixes or Day 29 with the Preciosa crystal pendant drops.  So look through the dates and head over to

I think the key to successfully tackling this project is budgeting your time and being realistic about how long things take.  If you're a slow seed beader, you might want to start earlier on those projects to give yourself a little extra time.  Also, if you know you've got an all-day function on a particular day, try to make some time to do it in advance. While you certainly have the option of picking which prompts to participate in and disregarding the ones that don't interest you, I think one of the biggest benefits of this challenge is exploring your comfort zone and pushing your boundaries... and the best way to do that is to tackle them all.  I am really looking forward to this fun, creative challenge!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Modest Mermaid Painting...

Last year, Kelly Russell had a show at the gallery.  I've been eyeing one of the collages since we hung the show.  This morning I saw a comment on my most recent painting from Kelly saying that she really liked it. I made an offer to trade one of my pieces for one of her's and she agreed!  She said she wanted a mermaid, so I took a break from writing and editing project instructions and started painting!  Fortunately for me, I had another collaged board ready and the painting came together rather quickly.

This isn't the best picture, but I wanted to post it before sending it out and I didn't know how busy I'd be tomorrow.  I call her, "The Modest Mermaid".  Originally when I had sketched it out, she was holding the pieces of a broken necklace, but as I started painting, it looked more like she was trying to cover her chest instead of gripping broken strands of beads... so I ran with it.  I'm quite pleased with the end result.  I watched Smithsonian Network's Secrets of the Great Barrier Reef in the background for some aquatic inspiration.  I was really fascinated with all the vibrant colors and jewel-tones, and decided to punch up her coloring.  I don't think I would have gone with such flashy pinks and magentas if it were for watching the DVD with fish of the same palette swimming around.  I hope Kelly likes it!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

New Painting...

The other day, I made a promise to myself that I would use today solely for creativity.  With the demands of the shop, it's a rare treat.  While I wasn't 100% successful at avoiding work-related activities, I did get an opportunity to flex my creative muscles a little and finish a project that has been weighing on my mind.  I started the project a few years ago, but kept putting it off "until the right time".  Up until this point, I had only done the collaged background, a few coats of clear acrylic ground, and some preliminary sketches.  At this rate, I wouldn't be finished for another decade or so!

But I took a little time to work on this small painting.  I had promised someone that I would make them one and they've been VERY patient!  I hope she likes it!

Swarovski Elements Innovations Fall/Winter 2014/2015...

Here's a preview of what's to come from Swarovski, including new colors, coatings and shapes:  

Crystal Lilac Shadow and Dark Moss Green

Crystal Blackberry Pearl and Solaris Family

The New Shapes

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Special Ring...

I recently saw a news article about a comment that Christian TV evangelist, Pat Robertson, made about how gay people purposefully infect others with HIV with "special rings".   At first I was outraged by the narrow-minded generalizations that perpetuate hateful misconceptions and community divisions.  Once the comment was leaked (apparently it had been edited from the public broadcast), Robertson clarified his original statement by saying that a security detail in San Francisco warned him against shaking hands in the crowd to avoid the possibility of coming in contact with potential extremists.  The threat was that these activists would attempt a slow assassination by infecting the TV personality with the virus.

At one point in my career as an artist, I used my art to make social commentary about sexuality and psychospirituality.  As I transitioned more into jewelry, I gave up my soap box (for the most part) and focused primarily on creating objects of beauty.

When I heard about the "special rings" I decided to make a tongue-in-cheek interpretation that would thumb my nose at the fear mongering and homophobia.  The ring and setting are made from annealed copper.  I took a electron microscopic image of the virus and altered it with vibrant reds.  I glued it under a magnifying, pebble-like glass dome and set it in the bezel.  I wanted it to look slightly over the top and a little bit menacing.

Disclaimer:  I just wanted to make a note that this isn't a functioning viral deployment ring... nor do I have HIV.   

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Beaded Links...

Art Bead Scene
Check out this month's Blog Tour!  See all the wonderful creations that our readers came up with, inspired by Rufino Tamayo's "Tres Personajes".

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Stop by and check out what the participants of the Inspired by Reading Book Club made for August's book, "The Infinities" by John Banville.

Resin Crafts Blog
Making a locket picture last is easy with resin.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Have you tried Chinese knotting yet?  Carmi has a wonderful tutorial on her blog this week!

Snap out of it, Jean!  There's beading to be done!
Jean's teaser post for Beads & Baubles and what she received from the store to design with is pretty dramatic!  See her blog!

Beading Arts
To help celebrate "Metal Month", Cyndi has collected links to some amazing tutorials for you to try! Jewelry Making
Combine shells, bamboo beads, and hemp for this unisex necklace design.