Monday, May 26, 2008

more bezels

Hi! Here are some animal miniatures carved out of polymer clay. They still need to be painted. The photos are blurry because I used Greg's camera phone instead of my once-trusty canon. The screen went out again (the first time the repair cost me $75 and that was only last year) so I feel like its the beginning of the end. It worked well for 5 years, so I guess I got my money's worth. I think its time for a new one!

I've been hard at work, making one of a kind pieces like the miniatures in a bezel - which won't have resin poured into them. Resin is used mainly to protect and preserve the art under it, but since the polymer is so sturdy, I don't think I need it. These particular pieces are designed with no fragile parts that will break off. The heart shaped one was made by the talented Candace Wakumoto, we're doing a trade of sorts. That piece still has a couple more layers of clay to be added. The guys have been making loads of waxes to cast and have made A LOT of goods for that show, more than I think we had for Tucson, so folks should have a surprising amount to choose from at the Bead and Button Show in MIlwaukee.

Andrew and I are trying to come up with some fun ways to promote the show (any ideas?) he was thinking a raffle or contest to give away a piece of jewelry featuring the newest designs. I'm not sure how that would bring people to the show, but we are optimistic. If anyone has any smart ways to get the word out there's a bead in it for you. Just leave me a comment, and I will draw a few out of the lot.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Hi there! Here are two new bezels and one really old one that never went into production because its so darn heavy. In theory, I could mold it, cast some waxes and tool it to perfection. Originally, I had carved a mermaid inside holding a starfish, it was really pretty, but made it even heavier, so I dug it out and left it blank. It has the last lines of a John Donne poem on the back 'Teach me to hear the mermaids singing' - one of my favorites. Anne Choi has a bead depicting scenes from that poem, one side has a falling star, a mandrake root, a cloven hoof and I can't remember the last side. She makes the best beads, I can't wait to add to my collection at the Bead and Button Show. I'm already making a list. Anyway, I'm making new bezels tonight, so we can fire them tomorrow and get them in molds. I'm shooting for three more. The challenge will be to fill them with nice sculptures. I'm thinking animals for this set. They are fun to carve. Any requests? I think more owls for Andrew (I've been promising him one for ages, but the Fusion Beads girls always beat him to them!). I can hear an owl outside right now, which is nice,but means I have to spend some time trying to identify it. Sometimes its such a nuisance being particular. I should put a movie on, I can work for hours that way, but in the summer I like to leave the windows down to listen to the birds. I like it best when its almost dawn, it seems like every bird in the forest is crying out salutations to the coming day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lookin good

My new pewter.

Bob's new pewter.

Hi! As you may have noticed we have been burning the candle at both ends here at GGS! Its good, because now we are ahead instead of behind, which is unusual. My next thing is to make one of a kind pieces like the bezels with sculpted interiors. I love making those. I'm also working on a new Guidebook to Little Magical Things Vol. 3, this time focusing on new and most favorite pieces with some articles and drawings by me and Andrew. I wonder if I can do it before Bead and Button? Probably end up going blind with major hand cramps. Its a goal anyway. I won't try to draw every single bead we have, its pointless trying to make a completely up to date catalog because I am what you call 'prolific' and can't keep up with myself. So I shall make a 'best of' book that will look like a sketchbook with nice descriptions and histories. I am fond of things with a history...I am distracted by a strange low moaning outside. It sounds almost like a cow, which would be impossible up here (mountainous suburbs). I'm imagining a great hairy beast with spots and big black eyes, waiting for me under the porch when I take Kitsune out. Hopefully this isn't the case, as beast sightings haven't occurred in weeks (Azalea is good at detecting monsters) so the low moaning must belong to a giant groundhog or injured owl. Good night!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

new pieces

Cloud and swallow clasp

Crow and sparrow (front view)

(back view)

New waxes from Bob Burkett (both red waxes)

Hard at work making new masters! These pieces are destined to be made in pewter, except for the clasp, which will be cast in either silver or shibuichi. I made this clasp once before, but lost the cloud part during casting and only the bird came out. I'm so glad I finished it finally. I'm planning more clasps, an 's' and maybe another toggle. Hopefully I'll have time to make lots of one of a kind pieces, like my sculptural bezels or some polymer owls. This latest series is inspired by ancient Japanese ojime beads and I'm trying to finish two more by morning. I better put on another pot of coffee!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

wooden doll and such

Proposal sketch for not so secret project.

Modified mannikan with a lovely necklace from the equally lovely ladies of Vintaj.

Hey there! Here is a sketch from my proposal pack, it's one of my favorites- the watercolor washes are probably the best part. We are optimistic and have enjoyed favorable reviews of the concept, so now its just a matter of finding the right match. I'm not worried, I have bigger fish to fry, like getting ready for Bead & Button this June (yes, I am obsessed) not only because its the biggest show we do, but its fun to shop and meet up with artists I rarely get to see. Like the wonderously talented Anne Choi (I'm currently devising a wish list right now) and the lovely Wynn ladies, Heather and Pam, not to mention the fact I get to spend a few days with my brother Andrew and my all -time best buddy Jess (aka weasel - her name is wiesel). It's a lot of fun and if you've never been, its a very good time all around.
This fun little doll is the beginning of a new display idea I got from Ullabenulla's blog, she had a version of mannikan dolls with crow heads and I totally loved them. It's made with an unvarnished wooden mannikan and a layer of polymer clay added to the head. Its nice because you can focus on the fun stuff and have results fast. I plan to dress her and put a hat or hair on her. She puts me in mind of something retro-futuristic, or steampunk with all her exposed joints. Anyway it was a fun project.

IMPORTANT: I just found out about this Orphan Works Bill on Claudines blog and its pretty scary stuff. Its a bill that will hurt artists and designers by taking away the automatic copyright protection we enjoy now and honoring only copyrights that are through privately held registers. This also means any image you put on the internet is up for grabs. I'd like to meet the giant A-hole who came up with this fancy idea and lecture them till I'm hoarse. So, sign up to protect your intellectual property! Imagine someone allowed to use your photo they found on flickr in an ad campaign against herpes. How mad would you be? What's the world coming to? Tell everyone you know and sign the petition, it takes like two minutes. O.k. I'm calm, but still a little frantic, I need some chocolate.

Monday, May 05, 2008

relaxing...for now

Happiness on the deck.

New Blythe doll, isn't she gorgeous?

Hi everyone! We are gearing up for busy times by relaxing on the porch, staring at ebay and etsy, eating loads of rice pudding (Sheila uses condensed milk AND coconut milk-how decadent is that?) dressing my dolls, undressing my dolls and making dolls... for the show (I'm being sneaky and using them for props on my table - pretty smart, huh, doing frivolous stuff I love for work!). So its been slow around here, Greg has been gone all weekend for the show in San Francisco and he gets in at some crazy early hour, I can't wait till he's home. Well, he will be bringing the illustrious Bob Burkett with him, so we can help each other have an amazing Bead & Button. We will have three weeks to make new goods, finish loads of stock and run around like its armageddon. I'm starting early (early for me) this year and made a new bead and planned several more. I can't decide whether to show it or not, in case it explodes in the process, then everyone wonders why I can't make a piece without air bubbles after 10 years of doing this. I need to make new clasps, everyone says so... I'm on it, I will not cave and make a bead or pendant which is so much more fun to make. Although I could rearrange Blythe in an intriguing pose with miniature food, in an interesting tableau that would amuse everyone when they come in for breakfast.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Black Mountain

We went to Black Mountain the other day and enjoyed the charm of such a quaint little town. It put me in mind of a town we visited as children, but with more to do. In Piggott, AR there is little to do, but the feeling is similar, charming, quiet and as though time simply stopped moving. It was a little surreal, when we had lunch at a cafe sporting the world's largest collection of Dr. Pepper memorabilia, I was instantly transported to a diner we used to go to some 20 years ago- it had the exact same weird, musty smell of a really old building. I ordered the reuben and it was excellent, my sis says the patty melt was more than satisfactory. After that we headed to the toy shop around the corner and played for a bit, then it became too crowded so we made our way to the chocolate shop across the street. Chocolate Gems is just that, a little gem of a shop in the mountains, featuring interesting concoctions like 'lavender infused dark chocolate truffles' and a tempting 'green tea and chamomile truffle'. Needless to say we tried more than a few! I liked their flavors and the silky texture of their ganache, not to mention how friendly the chocolatiers were, but I still love Chocolate Fetish the best. I've tried loads of truffles (probably a ton in my lifetime, possibly more) in almost every state (I haven't made it to North Dakota or Wyoming yet) and a few countries and it is the the best. Yes,I do gorge on chocolate pretty frequently, every day, so I opt for the good stuff...I heard it's really good for you like special vitamins that make you happy.

new drawing

New drawing I made using red pencil and (gasp) a 2H lead in a mechanical pencil. I haven't used such a delicate and light toned lead since I was forced to in college. For some reason, most drawing professors loved that soft focus, barely visible look. I hated it. Give me a black ball point pen! Anyway, I picked up the new Hi-Fructose magazine, filled with noodly images, tightly rendered in all manner of supplies, some in hard pencil. I got all inspired and thought I'd give it another whirl. The results are above... I still think pen is better.