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Thursday, August 29, 2013

My first online sale!

Just a quick note. I made my first online sale in my Etsy shop! Yay! Ok, it's true that I promoted myself and my shop on my Facebook page.... and the person who bought my item went to high school with me.... but hey, you gotta start somewhere! Just a quick thanks to Lori. I can't wait to see a picture of you wearing my pieces.

One of a kind up-cycled, vintage, brass fish pin turned necklace

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bead Fest Fun!

Yippee! Bead Fest Fun!

I’m on my way home from my 3rd Beadfest Philadelphia. My personal chauffer (er umm…. Frank, my husband) is at the helm and I’ve got 2 hours to go until we arrive home.  I thought this would be a good time to reflect on the past two days and share all of my wonderful experiences with my readers.

I signed up this year to take Kathleen Robinson-Young's  beginning lampworking class. (Click her name to see her Etsy shop) First…. I loved Kathleen’s relaxed, “no worries” approach to teaching.  What a nice lady and oh so talented!  

One of the many amazing flower designs by Kathleen Robinson-Young
Second…. I LOVE PLAYING WITH FIRE!  Every time I take one of these classes where torches are used, I marvel that they actually LET US play with fire!  There were probably 40 torches going just in the area of the expo center where the lampwork was being taught. You should have seen the set up! Huge tanks of propane and oxygen set up outside the building with hoses going in every direction to the partitioned work rooms and ultimately into each individual torch.

For those who may not know what lampworking is all about, it is turning thin rods of colored glass into beads or baubles for jewelry.  While Kathleen makes it look easy…. You know, you just melt the glass, turn the mandrel, make it round and decorate it….. and voila it’s a bead……. it is an art that is going to take a lot of practice. Hot glass is always moving….with gravity….. so you have to pay attention to it  constantly.  I’m trying to think of something comparable to molten glass….it’s somewhere between  honey and a jolly rancher candy.  And everywhere in between. 

The downside to this class and all of the others I’ve taken as workshops is that there is just not enough time to practice the techniques that you learn. I know that the teachers are trying to give you enough information to take home with you to hone your skills…..but I just don’t have the workspace to have a lampworking studio along with everything else I do!  I’d like to try my hand at it in someone else's studio for a while longer before I invest in the whole shebang. Hey instructors.... how about having an "open workshop" where students come and work "where they are" in their journey....with your tools....and you standing by to help with whatever they need?  I'd sign up for 16 hours of that! 

Anyway, here are the pics of my first lampworked beads…. suprisingly round for a first attempt.

My favorite "end of the day" bead. It reminds me of SCUBA bubbles in the Caribbean sea.... on a night dive....with a full moon....looking up from the sea floor.

And here is what I aspire to. The artist is Sheila CheckowayThese are some of the treasures I bought at Bead Fest. Sheila hand makes each bead out of glass. These are etched to make the glass look almost like stone. She was kind enough to look at my first beads and was very encouraging. She also taught me how to get the etched look on any of the other soft glass beads I may have at home. (Click her name above to see her Etsy shop)

Look for my next blog to see what other treasures I found! And please.... if you enjoyed this blog, click the button to follow me by email. BECOME A FOLLOWER! :)  Until next time.... create happily.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The mermaid house.

On another note, which is also a work of art, I wanted to show off the icing to the cake of my home renovation. The fireplace! My husband and I (it's still weird to say that word) have been working for over 2 years at remodeling my house. I bought the hand painted tile almost 2 years ago from the talented Marlene of Water Spider Designs. I live in a water town. I wanted my house to have a beach cottage feel to it. So when I saw this beauty I knew she would be the crowning touch to our project.  I have always loved the water, water sports, SCUBA diving.... and I feel a kinship with the mermaid. I am fascinated with mermaid lore. Anyway, I am very pleased with the house. Sadly, now that it is finished, we are going to put it on the market to sell. It is just too small to house our artistic hobbies. Frank wasn't sure about putting up the mermaid tile. He was afraid it wasn't generic enough for buyers of houses who want to do their own thing.... not everyone likes mermaids after all....and he was afraid that it would end up being torn down. And he asked if I wanted to bring her with us to our new home? But she belongs here. This is the mermaid house. Whoever buys it will buy it in part BECAUSE of her.   And our new home will be... different. It will be a new artistic project with a feel of it's own.

Hand painted tile by Water Spider Designs -  mermaid series.

My antique fireplace mantle found at an auction. It is covered with generations of paint. Beneath lies beautiful tiger striped oak. Too big a project for me to refinish... so I just repainted.

My living room. Ahhhhh. Yes. 

I hate mass production!

I spent the entire day making holiday dangle earrings for the craft show I'm participating in come November. While I liked the idea at first.... all that sparkle and bling that comes with Swarovski crystals... by mid-day I had had enough.  I made 22 pairs of gold and silver ear wires. Then I cut 22 pairs tiny gauge sterling and gold filled chains in varying lengths. Then I made 22 pairs of pave crystal ball bobbles..... exhausting.... and BORING!  I much prefer making one of a kind pieces.  But alas, a wise person I met at a metal smithing class told me that you have to make a lot of THAT (to sell) so that you can DO WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO!  (hopefully to sell) 

THAT (below)

Swarovski crystal pave holiday ball dangle earrings.

A day's work.


One of a kind silk wrapped choker and earrings.

Glass beads and Catholic medallion.