Monday, April 30, 2012

Honey Bijou Hive: April

The Honey Bijou Hive is a  monthly (month-end) feature here on this blog where I choose 5 polymer clay and/or jewelry artists ("The Hive Five") who’ve inspired me and share what I love about their work.

For more details about the Hive, see my first post.
Our super cool new graphic here started as a 1920's scrapbook cover scanned and shared by Cathe Holden. Thanks Cathe!

APRIL 2012’S HIVE FIVE ARE (In no particular order)…

1. Heather Powers/ HumbleBeads

How have I not mentioned Heather yet? She's like the queen of Polymer Clay Bead Land. Not only does she churn out beautiful beads like a one-woman factory, she's also the brains behind Art Bead Scene. Oh yeah, and she's an author, illustrator and a mama. I guess there are extra hours in a day over there in Polymer Clay Bead Land....where she my mind.

More Heather at: Her website, Etsy, Flickr, Facebook and her blog.

2. Kristi Bowman/ Kristi Bowman Designs

Kristi does some amazing stuff with metal clay. I especially love her sea-life-inspired designs and think I might have to snatch some up for use in some summery jewelry. She's also got a great design eye for finished jewelry pieces. I've been watching her submissions to the 52 earring challenge come in every week, and I love them all.

More Kristi at: Etsy , Artfire, Flickr, and her blog.

3. Lorelei Eurto

Lorelei uses her impressive command of color and balance to create gorgeous beaded jewelry. I imagine that every art bead she uses feels honored in their little bead-hearts to be part of her pieces. She's got an e-book out called Asymmetry Made Easy which I may have to get my hands on (Figuratively speaking. It's digital.) soon

More Lorelei at: Etsy, Flickr, and her blog

4. Roberta Warshaw

Roberta has a collection of little tiny stamps that she combines into larger original designs and apparently creates molds with to create raised reliefs. The longevity that she gets out of her tools is a great reminder that the most important tool we have is our own creativity- and Roberta's got a healthy dose of it!

More Roberta at: Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

5. Lynda Moseley/SCDiva

Lynda keeps a high standard of precision and polish in all her works. Her sophisticated pieces do a great job of proving polymer clay as a legitimate artist's material, rather than just a children's toy as some regard it. She's mastered transfer printing like no one else I've ever seen, and her faux techniques are incredibly realistic.

More Lynda at Etsy, Flickr, and her blog.

As a little gift to our new Hive initiates, we have a badge which you may post on your blogs/websites/wherever if you like. Just copy the code and paste it where you want it.

Honey Bijou‘s Blog

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"I don't even own *a* gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack."

Hey look at all this garage sale crap I got!

See the bullet? Yeah! Bonus bullet!

This garage sale had 4 suitcases and several boxes full of jewelry. At first I was carefully combing through it all looking for the most useable stuff, but then there was another lady there who was going through it all faster than me and I got all caveman competitive and started grabbing handfuls of jewelry and grunting and showing the lady my teeth. OK, that last part was a little embellished, but....something came over me and I ended up with about 70% usable stuff and 30% WTF-is-this stuff.

This photo has grunge textures on it. My table isn't that dirty.

What are these things? Fancy schmancy labels for a gun rack or something? I really haven't got the slightest clue. Guns are alien objects to me. But....methinks now they are awesome spacers for bracelets or something.

 Kind of a weird coincidence that there were 2 things with names on them in the box- one has my grandma's name and the other has my dad's name...which is also my grandpa's name. The Donald thing is one of those "Your name on a grain of rice!" dealies that they used to do at theme parks. Do they still do that? I kind of liked the idea of maybe making something for myself with my dad's name on it, but the other side of the grain of rice says "Yonnie" and I don't know no stinkin' Yonnies.

Does anyone know what those copper-rimmed things are in the pic? does one safely dispose of a bullet?

There were actually a lot of treasures in there, but you'll see those when I make stuff out of them. 

Speaking of my grandma (I vaguely mentioned her several sentences ago, remember?), I was going through her stuff today looking for some old tins to make bezels out of (found some awesome ones) and I came across this thing- it's a check register with sewing needles in it and this schlock written on the back. 
 I kind of wanted to joke about it, but the more I think about it the less funny it gets. So, I'm just going to be glad that I live in a time and place where this would get a business shut down.

For the record, my grandma was Queen Bad-Ass Independent Woman. 

Don't forget to stop back by tomorrow for April's Honey Bijou Hive post so we can all go "ooh" and "aah" at some fantastic wearable art!


Friday, April 27, 2012

Creative Courage

I have decided that today is the last day of the month. My calender disagrees with me, but I don't care. Actually, I made my calender, so I am smarter than it and what I say goes. Woops, I just turned into my mother for a second.

You know, I had this deal to list at least 2 things a day and blog daily for the rest of the month, starting on the 15th. I've been slowly getting more lackadaisical about sticking to that and now I'm just over it. I think that the only thing I accomplished was making the few readers we have totally bored of me. So, instead of acknowledging the fact that I said I'd do something and I didn't, I'm just going to re-write the structure of the Gregorian calender and knock the next 3 days out of existence. Art Bead Scene usually does their blog hop for their monthly challenge on the last day of the month, but for whatever reason they did this month's today, so that makes me feel more justified somehow. Oh- I will have to make one exception, though. I always do the Honey Bijou Hive post on the last day of the month, and in that case, the last day will be the 30th. BECAUSE I SAID SO!

I listed this bead in the shop last night and it hadn't gotten one single view. Would somebody please click on this picture and restore my self esteem? Thanks.

Medallion Shaped Doodlebead- Purple and Yellow
Speaking of my self-esteem-or perhaps my "creative courage" might be a better term- it's really all over the map lately because I feel like I'm coming into a stronger definition of my personal jewelry making style, and with that comes some scary stuff. In everything creative I've ever done, people have urged me to go down a path toward more marketable be a people-pleaser. Hey, I like making money and I like pleasing people, but any attempt to do this falls flat because my heart and soul and guts and sweat and tears aren't in it. There are zillions of artists out there and the only way to stand out among them is to do something that really resonates with people. And since I can't wow all the people all the time, I'll focus on wowing myself. If I love it, the chances are someone else will, too. And those people will find me. I may alienate some potential customers in the process, but in the long term I will find the folks who will treasure my work as much as I do, and keep coming back for more. I'm finally starting to see people coming back to the shop instead of popping in one time for that random thing that I listed thinking, "Well, I'd never wear this, but someone else might like it". From now on those items will get torn apart and reworked until I love them and can list them confidently.

Here are the things that I often have to remind myself when I'm in the middle of creative projects. They're applicable for all the different things I do- painting, drawing, graphic design, jewelry design, and hair & makeup styling- so I bet you can apply them to your craft as well.

My Creative Courage Credo
  • I do not need permission to experiment with materials in new ways. This is called "being inventive" not "doing it wrong". If it functions better or looks better upside-down or backwards, it's totally valid to do it that way.
  • I can and should take other people's opinions into consideration. However, I should never forget that in my work, my own creative voice is the most important one.
  • My worst critic is my own internal naysayer. He's the little fellow (I imagine he looks like Rumpelstiltskin for some reason) in my head that says, "That looks stupid! What's the point of this again? Why'd you put that there?". He's not allowed in my workspace.
  • I'm allowed to change my mind on whether or not a piece is finished. If I think of a way to improve on something 5 years after I decided it was done, it's OK to pick it up again and re-work it. That's how good things become great things.
  • No masterpiece gets made without having some awkward stages during the process. If something is looking like poop, that just means it's not done yet.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sick day/ BUTTONS!

"I'm so bored, Mom."
I'm drafting this blog entry from bed today, since this illness I've got has rendered me vertically challenged. I've got my snugly pup on one side of me, a giant stack of old National Geographic magazines on the other, and a belly full of Subway sandwich that my dad brought me, so being sick isn't all that bad at the moment.

I'm going through the National Geographics for images that might work well for 1-inch pendants like the one on my radioactive gelatin necklace. There's a section in the back of most issues called "flashback". That's a gold mine for interesting vintage images. Check out this one:

These little German girls are wearing Scarlett caps which were traditional symbols of youth and vitality and are believed to be the inspiration for the story of Little Red Riding Hood. History, fashion and fairytale all in one image! I may colorized this picture if I do decide to use it. Back and white doesn't really relay the story well enough.

Oops, I fell asleep for 5 hours between the last paragraph and this one. I feel about 70% less like death now. First thing I did was check my email and there was a blog comment notification with where someone was just gushing, “I love this blog SO MUCH!” and I was like, “AWWW!” and then I realized it was a follow-up comment to one I left on someone else’s blog. Boo.

I guess it's time to reveal some buttons from the swap that Sweet Bead Studio is hosting! I've been seeing other people sharing what buttons they got. I guess my partner, Kristi Harrison, and I were really on top of this one, because I've had my buttons and my creations with them done for a week or so. It's driving me nuts just sitting on them until May 13 when it's blog hop time. But, I suppose it's OK to just reveal the buttons themselves...

First, here's what I sent to Kristi-

I made the 2 celestial ones and the others are picked out of my collection by my niece (I could not make up my mind!). I made the card by texturing gesso with the handle-end of a paintbrush and then working on top of it with watercolor crayons and pencil. Photo credit goes to Kristi. I forgot to snap a pic before I sent them.

And here's Thingette showing off what Kristi sent me-
Vintage, mother of pearl, and in the middle a ceramic beauty made by Spirited Earth. I can't wait to show off what I made!

Every time I work with buttons I get this song by Sia stuck in my head. I love the video. I totally used to do the tape-on-my-face thing all the time when I was little.

Reminder- Just a couple days left to take advantage of our Earth Week freebies!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Big Time Bead Table Wednesday

Oh hi. I broke my daily blogging rule and I don't care. I'm sick and grouchy and I'll write when I feel like it. Which,is now, I guess.

It's bead table Wednesday. I took lots of pictures of my bead table today, in various states of disarray.

 Damn it, I rotated this picture before I uploaded it and it just didn't take or something. Let's all just tilt our heads for a minute. These are random supplies I gathered up from my desk this morning.
  • Gold chain, leaves and faux pearls in a bag.
  • Glass slides in a bag.
  • A little bundle of wire links, wrapped in hemp.
  • More wire pieces, from a pair of earrings that I decided against finishing. 
  • Some cured discs of purple clay- color tests.
  • A cutout illustration of a little girl carrying a gelatin dessert of some sort.
  • 2 Doodlebeads from a new batch.
  • Seed beads.
  • Shrink plastic pieces, finished, but not yet utilized.
  • Yellow Bowenite nuggets.
  • Gray suede cord.
  • A little angel figurine. She lost her wings.
  • A bag containing blood amber, a jasper disc and a button.
 I grabbed my Doodlebeads and some hemp and drew some earring sketches. I always forget that a sketch of one earring is sufficient when designing a matching pair. Duh.

 I cut the pointy parts from shrink plastic.

 Shrunken pointy parts, blus some rouch cut disc beads. Not looking very attractive at this point.

 I painted the plastic parts with Golden fluid acrylics in bone black. I love that stuff.

 I was just going to seal the pieces with matte finish, but then I saw my gold spray paint and decided to spritz the pieces with it before sealing.

 Wrapped the pointy bits in hemp cord, found some faceted hematite beads that I wanted to include.

 All assembled, except for ear wires.

Eye Spy Earrings

 Next I connected the hemp-wrapped links and some of the suede cord, although I wasn't sure at this point where I was going with them. I stuck the 2 leftover shrink plastic discs on there, too.

 Considering some options. I pulled the jasper disc out, as well as this huge metal pendant that I used to wear back in my goth days.

 Opted for some polymer beads that I made a looooong time ago, plus a big glass disc. The necklace was closing in on being done, but I hadn't quite given up on the metal pendant yet.

Desert Flats Necklace
Done, without the pendant. I guess it's destined for another project. I'll get this necklace listed tomorrow.

And here's how my desk was left looking when I finally acknowledged the fact that I'm sick and went tumbling into bed to hibernate for the rest of the day. Those strawberries were delicious.

You can check out what's going on on other people's bead tables today at the Bead Table Wednesday flickr group.

Also new in the shop:

Royal Solo Doodlebead

Monday, April 23, 2012

April Art Bead Scene Entry + Masks and Dawson.

 My "weekend off" was not as restorative as I'd hoped it would be. I just feel like I'm further under the pile-o-stuff to do. I really have no right to complain, though. I don't know anyone else who gets to do what they love all day long every day.

Skinny Man
So, I'm going to mix my general Monday stuff-to-say in with my entry for the Art Bead Scene April challenge. I hope that's not against the rules. If you're here for the blog hop and you don't care to read my random ramblings, scroll down. I'll leave my entry till last.

Over the weekend I created a third mold for tribal mask pendants and proceeded to give the 3 different designs really stupid names. I'm so bad about naming things. My mind fixates on the most obvious physical characteristic, names it, and no attempt at being more eloquent or creative can replace that name in my mind. I even do it with people, and then I can never remember their real name. Ask my friend Pirate Guy or my neighbor, Walks-With-Sticks. I decided not to fight it this time, so the pendants are listed under the names Skinny Man, Mr. Whistles, and Grumpy Cat. I am so sophisticated.

Grumpy Cat

Mr. Whistles

Mr. Whistles is the new guy. I thought about calling him Mr. O-Face, but decided that's on the edge of inappropriate. But, then I mentioned it here anyway which kind of defeats the point. *Shrug*

James Van Der Beek demonstrates the O-face, so that you don't have to google it.
Since yesterday was Earth Day I've decided to celebrate all week by sending out one of these pendants free with every order of $25+. Just write "Grumpy Cat!" or whichever one is your favorite in the "message to seller" box during checkout and it's yours. I also have the masks up for sale individually in the shop, if you just want one and don't have need of other stuff from us.

Hey, here's some random unsolicited advice: If you have ADD and you're writing a blog post, wait till the end to add your animated gif pictures or else you'll spend 75% of your writing time just watching James Van Der Beek make an O-face over and over and over.

Check out these goodies my neice got for me in Mexico! And my cat scratches and dirty fingernails! I'll just go ahead and take credit for her good taste in jewelry, since she hunts through my collection once  a week.

Let's move on to that ABS entry, shall we?

The challenge image this month is this gorgeous Waterhouse painting, Boreas.

My interpretation is a drawn reproduction pendant on shrink plastic, wrapped with steel wire and accented with beads of jasper, glass, and wood.

Shrink plastic probably wouldn't have been my first choice as a material to use for this piece if I hadn't  just impulsively bought a TON of it. I blame my parents for never doing Shrinky-Dinks with me. It ended up presenting a really fun challenge, though. I'm still learning the ways of working with the material. You may notice here that the skintones are kind of blocky. They un-blended themselves when I shrunk the plastic because some shades become more opaque when they shrink, others just become more vibrant or darker.
 The plastic piece started 5" wide and shrunk to just under 2 1/2". While I worked on it, I was imagining it being more of a bib-style necklace than a pendant. I forgot how much it shrinks. But, once I added the wire wrapping I was pretty happy with it's size and shape. For the dangles I chose jasper beads that reminded me of the background of the painting and a metal leaf that I patinaed and bent to give it more movement and evoke thoughts of wind.

For the other details I made a length of beaded chain using handmade glass beads from India and some wooden spacers. On the other side I added a swirly link of hammered steel wire because I just can't seem to get enough of that stuff. The bronze chain holding it all together adds just a bit of a warm shade to the otherwise cool-colored piece.

Oh, and the clasp! I oxidized a huge lobster clasp and made it fasten in the front because that's how the cool kids are doing it now.

And I almost forgot to mention the headpins that I strung the Jasper on. I thought I had invented this faux-enameling technique, but then I saw a bunch of people on Etsy had also figured it out. Darn. 

Check out other entries in the Art Bead Scene group on Flickr.