Wednesday, September 1, 2021

EEEK, it's a Spider

So anyone who knows me well, knows that I hate spiders. And when I say hate, I mean close my eyes if they show up in a movie or TV show, locked myself in the bathroom for 3 hours until my husband came home, stood on top of my desk at work until my boss shooed the the little arachnid out of the office, HATE. (PSA - I will not kill them as they are good for the environment and are considered good luck in many cultures.) So how come Spiders have become such a main stay of my current work?


 Because the general public seem to find these little 8 legged crawlies cute. 


It all started when I was invited to be part of an exhibit at a local Nature Center. The theme was "What's the Buzz", with an emphasis on Spiders.

So I decided to face my fear and try to have fun with the subject. I started by creating an army of what I called Marching Spiders

 Then I decided to be a little more precise and educational and looked up all kinds of spiders. I wanted to find out about the spiders that weave those beautiful webs.  I decided on an Orange Orb Weaver spider and web and even added an informational card, just for good measure.


 And so here we are.  

Three weeks ago I was invited to be part of a month long Skeleton and Skull Exhibit and as I was designing my feature piece, a large hanging Skull, I couldn't help it, I just had to add the spider details.

 

This doesn't mean that I  will go out and pet a tarantula or anything like that, and I will still probably lock myself in the bathroom if one decides to march thru the house, but I can at least appreciate their importance in nature and the beauty, in their own small way,  they bring to the world.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

My Covid Year

 For all of us, 2020 was a challenging year to say the least.We all had to learn to deal with a reality that was so different from anything we had ever dealt with before. One of the many things that I, as an artist had to come to terms with was the cancellation of every Art Show, Art Venue and  outlet that I was used to participating in. 

Like many of my Artist friends, at the beginning of 2020, I found it hard to be creative in.  It was as if all the artistic juice had been wrung out of me. 

But then I got a call from a person who had bought from me at a local show, asking if I could make a custom piece as a gift. That helped get me back into the studio.

Then, I received an email from my Glass supplier that they were going to have a contest. Everyone would get the same piece of glass (a 12 inch chisel shaped bevel) and you could make what ever you wanted with it. Well that seemed to spark something in me and I ended up recreating a USCG boat that my daughter had commanded. 


 

And suddenly I was creating for special exhibits, like "Whats the Buzz", about bugs and spiders in particular, for a local Nature Center.

  


 And I had customers start calling for special pieces and personal gifts like the cat plate hanging for a Sister-in-law, or the cake plate hanging for a                   Grandmother.

   

 

The holidays brought the chance to create some fun pieces for a couple of local Art and Gift shops in the area. which helped while away the cold winter afternoons.

So,by being more open to new and different opportunities,thinking outside the box and staying active and creative, I made it through 2020, feeling productive and creative and excited to see what 2021 will bring. 

 

 

And so to end this Blog, I would like to share my latest piece, that I made for my Orthopedic Surgeon who fixed my left shoulder in January. After years of horrible pain in my joint, he has given me a relief that I have not had in years. So I made him a replica of the Tree from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He just didn't seem like a Butterfly or Dragonfly sun catcher kinda guy to me.


 

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 
                     masculine.










 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.