Tuesday, February 18, 2020

All creatures great & small

 It seems like this is going to be year of "things found in Nature" and all things natural. And of course I don't want to be left behind.  So new for 2020 are my 
BIRDS AND THE BEES' (and assorted other critters)

              I started with this cute little Chickadee 
                    (or Finch or Sparrow). 

Then tried my hand at a
Honey Bee


                     Next I created a 3 D Butterfly

And now I am working on the crawlers. A Spider, a Praying Mantis and a   Grasshopper. 

Be sure to stay tuned to this Blog to see what else makes it into the 2020 season.


Friday, May 31, 2019

All that Bling

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I like to de-construct vintage jewelry to use in my sun catchers. I like the added effect it can add to a piece and I'm a big proponent of Up Cycling. So over the last couple of years, I have amassed a fair amount of jewelry pieces and parts,  which led me to the idea of trying to make a sun catcher completely out of  jewelry components combined with bevels.

 Well, it was a big hit at my next show, everyone kept looking at it and Oohing and Aahing over it. Finally, a lady walked into the booth, said "I have to have that." and it was off to it's forever home.

 I figured I was on to something good, so of course, I had to make another one. Again, nothing but jewelry pieces and bevels. 

   And again, after a lot of attention, it was another "I just have to have that." and off it went with another happy customer. 

Since then, I have made two more, and they both have sold as soon as I have put them on display. 

They are fun but time consuming to make, and I have decided to only do one at a time. When one sells, I will then make another one.  

These add a lot of interest to my show booth although they are not the main focus of my art, but they add a lot of fun and a lot of BLING. And we can all use a little BLING in our lives.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Three's the Charm

Commissions are always a double edge sword. At least for me. On one hand I'm always flattered that someone likes my work enough to want to have me make that extra special piece, something that they will live with hopefully for a long time. 

But on the other hand, I always worry that when it's done, it will not live up to the clients expectations, no matter how hard I worked on it.

This was the situation when a retired co-worker of my life partner,  Dave, asked me to make, not one, not two but three cabinet doors for their kitchen.

Now these are beautiful Quaker made cabinets but they had this amber plexi-glass with an aluminum metal cross hatch thing as the inserts. Not very appealing. And did I mention that their home is a century Farm House? Turns out they have been unhappy with the inserts for quite a long time.

So I started by showing them a couple of designs. 

Something that would work in a Farm House.

 Something that was not too ornate.
 Once they decided on a design, we then moved on to colors of glass.  Oh by the way, did I mention that they did NOT want to be able to see through the glass into the cabinets? So that meant I had to work with opaque glass only.

Beige and Green? Beige and Blue? Cream with Green & Blue? Shades of browns? Mixes of Blues and Greens? Nothing was making them excited until the wife asked if I could get a Pinkish, Mauve kind of color. With maybe a little Rose for accent. Well I found the perfect light Pink/Mauve wisp glass and the most beautiful Rose, but there was one element that I just could not find the perfect color for, so they experimented and mixed up a jar of their own color of paint for me to paint on the back of a clear Bevel.....and as they say, the rest was history.

They chose the single diamond pattern, with a Rose inner boarder and a one of a kind, painted bevel center diamond.  To be honest, I was nervous having to make three identical doors which would be sitting side by side. Any mistake or miscalculation would stand out for all the world to see. But in the end, they turned out perfect. It was great to have the client so involved with the project and they are truly thrilled with the outcome. And I have to say, seeing them installed, I'm pretty proud of myself as well. 

This commission was a challenge for me, and I felt as if I pushed myself and my skills, but I now have just a little more confidence and faith in my abilities and skills. I guess that is the essence of learning.



Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Pitching the TENT

One of the ways an Artist can sell their work is by doing "ART SHOWS". (insert dramatic music).

There are all sorts of shows, from the small church basement Craft Show to the high end Hand Made Art Affairs. All require that you pay for the space which allows you to sell your art.

I have found that the Juried Art or Artisan shows and festivals are the best fit for me and my work.  That means that I have to submit pictures of my work, a bio and pay a jury fee. If the organization or promoter likes what they see, I am then invited to participate in the show. I then send in the Show fee along with their contract and I'm am now ready to hit the road.

  Most shows require a white 10' x 10' artist tent. You want one with sides that you can close for when you do 2 and 3 day shows and have to close the tent (booth) up at night. As for how you set your booth up, there are as many different ways as there are artists. For me, it is an ever changing look, as I try to fine tune how I display my glass. I use black table cloths with teal accents, black metal grids from which I can hang my work so it shows to the best advantage.

However, the grids are heavy and bulky and I have been looking for an alternative. I recently purchased a Mesh wall that stretches across one whole side of my booth (tent) and hang my pieces using drapery hooks. This is a lighter weight option and I feel that it helps show off my work.  

As I continue to read and learn, I am sure that I will continue to fine tune the look of my booth so that it will attract buyers and show off my work to it's best advantage.

Particapating in out door Art Shows can be very challenging, you feel like a circus roustabout every time you are setting up and tearing down your space. You are at the mercy of the elements, and rain is not your friend. There is the unbearable heat and the finger numbing cold, the unexpected wind and even the critter that used your tent for shelter during the night. You have to deal with the event organizers, most of whom are wonderful, but there is always that one who is jerk. Then there is the customers. Some shows, they just walk right on by and you don't sell anything, and some shows, you never get the chance to sit down.

But through all the trials and tribulations, nothing beats how beautiful your work will look in the morning sun. Wow, I made that.


Monday, February 19, 2018

It's all about the Memory

 A baby is born, a loved one pass's, these are two very powerful moments in a persons life. So it is an honor for me when I am asked to create a custom piece to commemorate such an event. 

When I am asked to  design a piece for a newborn, I try to create something that will grow with the child, something that they might like to hang in a window when they are grown. So I try for a little whimsy, a little lightness, but always something with meaning.

 This was for a newborn whose name started with a "J". It just so happened that the father was an avid fisherman.

This was for a baby girl who's parents had decorated the nursery in a Fairy Land theme

                       Then there were the proud 
                parents of a new 
                 Doctor son, who wanted 
              something simple but 

 When I am asked to  design a piece as a memorial for a passed loved one, I like to try to incorporate any poems or verses that the family may have used on the Memorial cards. I also try to convey the loved one's personality in the piece. I want this to be something that will bring peace to the family and hopefully help them remember the good times.

  These were made for the family of a gentlemen who passed suddenly. He was a veteran and loved vintage car and motorcycles. One of his daughters dried the roses that all the daughters held during his service. I just knew that I had to make each box different but with a mechanical feel.

This was for a lovely lady who passed away very tragically at a young age, leaving her husband and three grown daughters. These flowers were brought from the cemetery after her burial and pressed and dried.  I tried for a sense of lightness and openness that I hope will make her family feel as if she will always be with them.

 Being asked to help commemorate these very momentous moments in someones life is something that should be approached with  thoughtfulness and respect. And hopefully, you will have brought some joy and/or peace into the lives of the new parents or the remaining family members.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Silver Plate deuxième partie

 In 2014 I started making wind chimes using silver plated flatware.  Over the last couple of years I have expanded the line to include silver plated tea pots, coffee pots, creamers and sugar bowls.

 They have been very popular and fun to make. 

But another aspect of working with the silver plate flatware has been the pieces.  Sometimes, when I purchase a "lot" or box of silver plate, pieces have been cut, bent or broken. What to do, what to do???   

So I experimented and came up with my Garden Guardians. 

Hanging from a steel chain off of a 3  foot shepherds hook, they spin and flutter in the breeze.  The polished silver twinkles in the sunlight to add a whimsical sparkle to the garden.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

I have been doing the show and art fair circuit for a number of  years now, and like everyone else who is creating and selling to the public, I have discovered that not everything is a good idea. What pops into your head as a great idea or design that you are sure is something that will be the next BIG thing and that everyone will love, is the piece that you end up carrying around for over a year or more with no takers. Now for the record, when I try a new design, I will only make 2 or 3 of them to see if they will sell. If my customers respond, then I will add it to the product line, if not, then I'm not stuck with a lot of unsaleable inventory.

Such as; my rubber duckies.  Who doesn't love a rubber ducky. I found the perfect colored glass, I used my new glass ring saw to cut them out and I kept the design simple, so all the true rubber duckyness would shine through.
  My customers would "Ohhh" and "Ahhh" over them, pick them up, say "How cute is that?" then walk away and not buy them. (Update- They were eventually used as door prizes for a couple of events and found good homes.)

 Then there was my "Garden Buddies". This was a collections of what I thought were cute, whimsical creatures you might find in your garden or yard.
   Who wouldn't like a cute little Bunny or a funny little Frog?

 Apparently everyone. These poor guys hung on my display grid, show after show after show. I eventually sold one frog, and shortly after that, sold a yellow Bunny         (I think that one was around Easter). But the rest were left to languish, watching the butterfly's, dragonfly's and other pieces being picked up and taken home. (Update - The rest of the Bunnies and Frogs found loving homes as gifts and donations to the many animal organizations that I support).

And lastly, there were my very recent "Hopes & Dreams" trinket box's. As I said in the beginning, I only make a 2 or 3 of a new design to see how they will sell, but the box's, well I was so sure that they would fly off my shelf's, I made 8 of them. 

I even had my photographer use them in my promotional photos for 2015/2016. Unlike sun catchers that hang on my display, the box's took up a lot of table real estate. And again, customers would take the lids off, look inside, then put the lids back on and move along. I did eventually sell most of them, but only after I put them on sale for 1/2 price.  
(Update - I just found one more box that I had cut out and that is ready to be assembled).  

It seemed like a good idea at the time.