Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Polymer pendants for 'Enchanted Adornments'.

The last few weeks have streaked by, unnoticed by myself as I've settled into a rhythm of sorts. It seems like one never ending evening, since I work all night, sometimes till dawn. I work better at night, listening intermittenly between books on tape and the wind rustling through the many trees. Its nice. I'm loving this strange cycle and I'm getting a lot done in the process. I feel slightly panicked as the deadline is rushing toward me, focusing my attention all the more sharply. The only drag is not spending the usual amount of time with my family and friends. I'm glad they are patient and undemanding.

I just finished listening to the 'Twilight' series by Stephanie Meyers, caving after hearing all the hype. I think they are o.k., but not amazing. I had difficulty relating to the young heroine, smitten beyond reasoning, ready to give up everything for a 'beautiful' boy. Maybe its just me, but I couldn't wrap my brain around the concept of being that entirely dependant, ready to die, ready to give up my family for a dude. Ok, I'm well over the intended age group, but I can still remember being an angst ridden teen, staring wide eyed at the local pretty boy. I think I may have thrown a tangerine at him. I liked to show affection by tormenting the object of my admiration , if they stuck it out, well then there you go. I was a tomboy, hopelessly disheveled from hanging out in orange groves and lake sides, hunting for interesting objects. Yep, I can't relate. I prefer a more rambunctious heroine, not afraid, not completely sissyfied (said sis-a- fied!). Anyway, it was o.k., I was entertained and annoyed (I hate figuring out the mystery too easily) and some of the characters are really funny. I'm going to listen to Susanna Clarkes 'Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell' and Neil Gaiman's 'Anansi Boys' again, because those are really darn good and they have a nice magical quality that I love. Ok, time to get back to work!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

found by the sea

These are some little studies in watercolor and gouche of specimens one might find out on an excursion by the sea. They remind me of a time when we went to St. Pete a long time ago, we cut through a neighborhood of beach cottages and one had the most beautiful garden of potted plants. I seem to recall columbines and bleeding hearts...but not the fritallaria (tall bulb in the middle) those are grow in the valley's of Turkey and have to be brought here. I used to grow them, along with any other rare or unusual plant - my garden looked as if it were from some other world, tended by witches. Anyway, these little sketches are also for my book, to lay on top of backgrounds and look like they were made while overlooking the ocean. I think I'm enjoying the backgrounds and drawings more than I should. Its an escape, a luxury, a delightful excuse to do what I love. The jewelry is nice to make, but it comes with so much pressure to make something new, interesting and totally original. While the art is comfortable and easy to get lost in, like a cooking a recipe you've made hundreds of times and need no directions. Maybe because its my first love, one I've had since I was young, it still gives me the same pleasure it did then as it does now. I feel like I'm still getting to know this many sided craft that is jewelry, even though I've worked at it and studied it, taken years of classes, have been guided by pros and have made my living from...but it still remains mysterious to me. It feels as though there is always more to learn, new ways to make the same forms. Which is exciting, but daunting. I suppose I should be saying how easy and effortless it is to make, since I'm writing a book on it and I want loads to sell, not blabbing about how intimidating it can be to make samples! I guess its that i know these tips and tricks backward and forward, but its so hard to make pieces to showcase that formula, because it has to be amazing, its going to be in a book with my name on it, so I better make the best work I'm capable of. See, that is how to drive yourself crazy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The title is...

Enchanted Adornments: Creating Mixed-Media Jewelry with Metal Clay, Wire, Resin, and More. What do you think? Thanks to everyone who strained their brains to help me name this book, especially Gaea who came up with the first part and Andrew for the dozens of options! That was fun, stressful, but fun. So, I'm part way through the beginning stages, I've made props (see my girl holding that apple house that used to be a gourd?and the bust behind her, that was dark brown in previous pics) and jewelry and drawings. Not as much jewelry, yet. I've laid loads of things out, then rearranged them over and over. I have to be the slowest beader of all time! The problem is how long it takes me to pick things out, my collection is quite large, so sorting through just labradorite takes ages.
The creative process for this is really intuitive. I made an outline and I know exactly what projects I have to make, but designing everything so the colors coordinate with the backgrounds and props is a challenge. I am now very aware of how much work it takes to complete a book and can hardly believe how much is left to do! I won't be sleeping or leaving the house, or my studio, because I never leave. I've only left when necessary and then its like I'm creeping out of a warm cocoon, into the cold, windy and bright outdoors. I get seriously bundled up to face it. We went to the mall the other day so Azalea could play on the playset and I felt like I was going to go into some sort of sensory overload induced seizure. I'm shocked I forgot what chaos the holidays are. Ick. I am not into holiday shopping. I suppose I should start thinking of presents, so far all I've bought are things for my dolls. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

more progress

Hi! Here are some props to set up with the jewelry. This doll is based on antique mannequins. She's made out of polymer and wire and still needs her skirt - that piece of gauze is not it.
I thought this little snail would look neat sliding by a bracelet or something. I used a toy snail and doctored it up with polymer and acrylics.

This is a polymer and aluminum foil bust, sanded and sculpted to look like an antique wooden angel head. It needs paint and maybe hair, or painted hair. My mom has loads of Madonnas, cherubs and angels all through her house. I guess being surrounded by all the glittering wings and sad eyes soaked into my brain and manifested itself finally. Anyway, I thought she'd look good sporting a necklace, once she's finished.
Ok, that's what I've been up to, along with staring out the window, trying to think up the best, most awesome title the world has ever known. I like the input, keep it up! It's close, I can feel it.
Also, don't forget about Andrew's Fabulous Studio Sale! He's got owl's! He is giving away an artist card to winning bidders! That in and of itself is a good time. They are really nice, lots of layers of paint and paper, with swirly ink on top. Here's the link:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

progress report

Hello! I've been hard at work, making these ink drawings....
and these watercolor backgrounds for my book. The ink drawings will be dropped on top of the backgrounds in different colors to look like a sketchbook page. There are so many layers to making a book! It's not just making pieces and directions - its creating an atmosphere with loads of other elements, like photos, quotes, props and half a dozen of each project. Its fun work and I'm not tired of it at all! I just wish I had another year to create all the props! Silliness, I know.

Ok, I'm hung up on the title and would love some input on this. Its tentatively called 'Magical Mixed Media Jewelry' and it will feature pmc, polymer, resin and wire. So, I'm looking for a title that totally sums it up, sounds enchanting, but not cheesy or too sweet. Part of me likes the straight forwardness of the original title and I wish I could stop agonizing, constantly debating over more poetic versions. Any suggestions out there?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I fell in

I know, people, I fell in a monster amount of work and couldn't get out. These are a few things that kept me from going glassy-eyed and slumped over my desk, but not in any particular order. One, my girls! Andrew got me the strapless dress for my birthday and Greg surprised me with the blond doll and the other outfits. I'm feeling mighty spoiled. Note: I repainted the red wig doll's make up, fancying myself a 'professinal' since I know my way around paint and brushes. Its much harder than it looks.

Two, Paloma, a Mourning Dove we rescued from death by Paddy (our loving, yet murderous gentleman cat). We found this bird on our back porch, freshly hatched and looking scraggly. We took pity on her and brought her in and proceeded to try and figure out what kind of bird she was. At that point, she had a few pin feathers and was mostly covered with fluffy down. Our detective work included comparing beak shapes and local bird varieties and sizes, till we finally agreed on 'dove'. Sheila fed her baby bird food for weeks until she could eat seed. Now look at how she has filled out! We moved her out of quarantine to join the other birds and now she is very happy and makes the sweetest cooing sound. She is also remarkably soft, so much so that it is tempting to squeeze her little body hard like Lenny, from Mice and Men.

Ok, here is three! I took my sister-in-law Jenny shopping downtown and we stopped in at Tops (a delightfully well-stocked shoe store) and I found these lovelies! They are from Seychelles and remind me of something a pirate queen, or steampunk girl might wear....yes, its love. And yes, they hurt after a few hours.
The last and best, would be the awesome visit with Jenny (Greg's sis) and Anne (his mom) who came for Thanksgiving. It was nice to catch up, feast and run around town. We went to the Grove Park fancy pants spa and hotel to look at an exhibit of gingerbread houses. It was really amazing what folks can do with dough and sugar.
It was nice to relax and watch some t.v., we picked up Hancock and watched food network mostly. I really liked Hancock, it surprised me and made me love Will Smith even more. I really want to see Twilight and Secret Life of Bees, but I'll have to put in more hours before I earn it. Now the house feels a little bleak with Jenny and Anne back in Cincinatti. Azalea is running around chatting up a storm about when is grandma coming, where is Aunt Jenny, why is it just YOU and daddy? Yep, its back to the grind.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

dang...its getting cold!

It's unpleasantly chilly outside, but toasty in my studio! Look how nice I cleaned it! Yes, that's organized for me. I long for a japanese minimalism, but its the same kind of wishful thinking that gets pitch black-haired girls like me, goin' blond....a little unnatural, you might say. I've been home for a couple of days and I have to admit its slow getting back in the swing of things. We ran around town, checked out all the new buildings that are being raised in the Biltmore area (a new Barnes and Noble! Stadium seating theaters! Restaurants! Maybe an Anthropologie! ok, pushing it) Then we drove over to the new Wal-Mart, which I proceeded to look at everything and come out with just milk. After all that excitement, I parked my butt on the couch and continued my reading marathon, only stopping to get something for Azalea. I count my lucky stars that she has days when she feels like crafting and is too busy for mama.

Well, I finished the whole Sookie Stackhouse Series (only 8) in about a week. I'm very depressed now. I know I should have paced myself, but I couldn't stop. Now I have to wait till MAY of 2009 for the next one! Perhaps I could implore Charlaine Harris to get me a copy if I made her something, anything that she might like. Kidding. I know no amount of groveling ever made me do anything faster. So, in my agitation I decided to go through a pile of junk that had been in the trunk of the Mustang, which proved to be an unwise decision.

The box in question was a collection of bits and pieces from high school to my days in Ohio, so it had the stink of teen anguish, disappointment and finally, apathy on it. Yikes! The box was filled with many smaller boxes, so I could open one and remember the things within (or not) and move on to the next. The majority of the lot was papers and receipts, reminding me of foolish purchases and just how inexpensive things used to be. The big prize of the batch was old sketchbooks that I thought were lost, a nice thing to come across. I found a list of goals written in one and on it were the following things: 1. Move to L.A. to work at Lucas Films ( I longed to work on Star Wars) 2. If 1. doesn't work out, move to N.Y. to become a painter 3. Go to store and get pistachios, chocolate and dr.pepper 4. Finish painting. Well, well looks like only managed to get the last things on the list! I did move to L.A. but I didn't go to work for George Lucas, by then all the special effects were done on the computer and my sculpting abilities were pretty much useless. Some things don't change though, I still have pistachios, chocolate and dr.pepper on the list. I no longer have the desire to make movie props or to move to N.Y. I remember being so passionate, so on fire, so ready to challenge anyone who said it would be too hard for a girl. I am now content to make things peacefully, procrastinating only for as long as I can get away with it, which in my case, isn't long. So, I walked most of the pile to the trash, wanting to be free of the 'old' me, a person I don't know anymore. It was nice to get rid of it, like weeding a garden. I think I'll do a little more of that tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Hello folks! Here is a sneak peek of a texture technique that I will be sharing in my book.

Darlene D'Agostino (my editor) and Joe Coca (photographer) setting up a shot.

That's me, grinning like fool. It is so wonderful to see everything coming together!

This is a bezel encasing a pearlecent moonsnail. Its super tiny, less than an inch long. I will also be sharing this fun technique.

Ok! Today we worked hard to finish up photographing the technique section of the book. There was a lot to cover. I'm not being stingey here! The projects will have step outs to show exactly how everything is made, but don't get scared into thinking its all complicated and overly time consuming. I have lots of tricks to make the projects go fast. I hate dawdling and like instant gratification (thus my dislike of seed beading) which is why I love the immediacy of polymer clay and pmc (most of the book features pmc, followed by a good helping of polymer and then resin). So it should be useful. I've also been working on a section about finding and harnessing inspiration and how to develop your own symbols. This section will be full of drawings, paintings and pics, demonstrating a few methods to kick start your creativity. Sound fun?
Well, I am so wiped out, all I can do is curl up and read my books. It is quite a luxury to spend an evening just reading! I read a couple chapters every day, any more and I'm filled with guilt. I just finished Diana Wynn Jones 'House of Many Ways' a kind of sequel to 'Howl's Moving Castle' - both of which are very good. I started Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book' a week or so ago and its really quite dark and mesmerizing. I should be doing some line drawings or working on text, but my brain is soft and fuzzy and needs the escape of my current obsession, the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, which are as addictive as sweet tea ( I think that's how my bro put it). I feel like if my eyes are open they should be staring at a project! Anyway, this book making business is quite exhausting. I have to say, I am very glad Andrew and I worked so hard to organize everything for the pics, otherwise I'd be crying. It is a lot of work! I'm slightly horrified that this is just the first section and there are many more to go. I feel like I did when I was a young and ambitious freelance artist, working all hours of the night and always saying 'You need it when? No problem.' Those were the days. Well, its easier now, I know how to budget my time, which was my biggest problem back then. The trick is to start as early as possible, because its never enough time. Well, its meetings tomorrow to talk about the cover and design of the book. I may get a chance to drive to a doll shop outside of town that carries ball jointed dolls. I've never seen any in person and would love to take a peek. We shall see!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Here we go! A few pieces for my book! Blood red heart with golden bird caught within, polymer crystals and resin.

Magic egg, polymer, crystals, gold wire and drops.

Chained heart, polymer, crystals, acrylic, glass and chain.

These are for fun, more bird girls, one from the owl family, the other decended from rare pink doves.
Hi! I'm in Colorado now, at Interweave, working on photographing basic techniques for my book. There is a lot to cover, hopefully we can finish it all in two days! I spent today with my editor, the charming Darlene D'agostino and we sorted through the loads of pieces and step outs, organizing it all. It was fun. I was so nervous this past week, worried I'd forget something, or not have enough to show. I'd carried so much anxiety that my shoulders are knotted like a macrame planter! So, after a day of hard work, I decided to go to Barnes and Noble, thinking it would be nice to roam around undisturbed for awhile.
I was mistaken. I went to look for the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris (I knew I'd finish the first one within a few hours and would want the next, and the next...) and found them and began flipping through them absently. I became really annoyed when I didn't see any mention of my favorite vampire in book three and began to wonder what the heck happened and why did I have to go around snooping so far ahead. Now, i will have to read non-stop for a week to find out what happened to him. I really like Bill, the tall, dark and handsome 1860's vampire. I will have issues with this Charlaine, if she kills him off. Or writes him into a jerk. No me gusta. I got so aggravated I went to Target next door to take my mind off it and bought a couple of t-shirts, aspercream, the next two Sookie books and Midol. I went back to my hotel and got into the hot tub and began reading like it was my life's work. I think I got cooked and had to drag myself out, weak and bright red. I now know it is not wise to take a riveting book into the hot tub. I can be a real wing nut.
Interestingly, I'm no longer nervous about my book. I feel like I'm ahead, with new ideas on how to make it even better. I can't wait to get home and start right up on more projects! One of the ideas is to write it like its an artists sketchbook, an artist that encounters magical beings and makes things inspired by her experiances. I'm really excited by the concept and have been sketching up a storm! I think I may include an encounter with a certain magical creature that only comes out at night...ok, enough about vampire's! I can't help it if I have a natural obsession with mythical beings, especially ones that horrify me. I'm one of those folks that can't stand the sight of blood. I get really lightheaded and dizzy at the thought. See, now isn't it obvious why I can't get enough of vampires? Used to love Anne Rice till she got weird. Same thing with mermaids, I am terrified of deep water, can't swim, can't stand being on a boat out in open water. Anyway, back to the book, its coming along swimmingly, with loads of techniques already, so you get your money's worth. Ok, I think my new favorite show is coming on, gotta go.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Hey there! Today is our 4th anniversary! We were married at the Botanical Gardens here in Asheville. It was the most perfect day, we had a fairy procession up tho the gazebo, while Greg played his guitar as I walked up. That was the best day.

Azalea and daddy, having a rest from searching for water fairies. You have to be very quiet, or the pixies won't show themselves!

That's me, staring at my doll with love in my heart, while Andrew digs around in the bank. I think he was hunting for what he colorfully referred to as 'frat kid glass' (the garden is next to a college), lovely, tumbled glass pebbles from broken boro pipes. We deduced this from partially intact specimens laying nearby.

I love this picture, it reminds me of something on a cd cover. Everyone looking off into the distance, slightly bored, except the lead singer, who always gazes right into the lens. I could be just that I'm really tired and everything looks good in this light.

This is my darling, Eva. We named her that because are bestest buddy by the same name, came immediately to mind when I opened the box. She is from Wilde Imaginations new line for fall. Look at the trouble maker heading for a hole in the tree.

Another view (because I know you can't get enough) looking gothic and overdressed in the warm sunshine. I have to say, I love her clothes and shoes and wouldn't mind being 16" tall so I could try them on. Although being any shorter than I am right now doesn't sound that great.
What a day! We went to 'our' garden, visited the place where we said 'forever' and wished our happiness would last another 40 years. We drove the mustang around, praised her purring engine, then promptly ran out of gas. Not surprising in a gas guzzler. We went across the street and filled her up and continued the adventure. I can't count how many times I've run out of gas. In that car especially, the gauge is off, so even if its running on fumes, it shows as having half a tank. It used to not work at all when I was in college and had to gather some art school boys to help me remove the tank from under the trunk. That was an amusing sight. Skinny girl getting dirty under the car with six guys standing around looking blank. Eventually one read the manual and helped. Those were the days I could fix my own car, 'cause I was too broke to take it in to the shop!
Anyway, we got back and worked on the book, Andrew wire wrapping crystals and me writing away. I love the process, so many layers to work on. I've painted backgrounds with jewel toned watercolors, inked decorative borders and made transparencies to lay over backgrounds, to add texture. we are really having fun laying out the pallette of beads to use. Goods are coming out that I didn't even know I had, vintage swarovski's, baby blue kyanite strands, faceted pearls....Andrew jokes that folks are going to get annoyed if I use too many hard to find beads! I can't help it, I'm a collector and my collection is vast. So, I'm dying to post pics of our progress, but its all unfinished and I don't want folks to see before its done- pieces can change so quickly. We shall see what I have the nerve to show.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Weirder and weirder

Ok. I've been tagged to list seven weird things about me. That should be fairly easy- or hard to decide which seven of the dozens of oddities that I posess.

1. I love cosmetics. Passionately. Especially perfume. I could spend hours in Sephora, trying out lipsticks, spraying colognes, perusing eyeliners and smelling creams. Although the weird thing is, I don't really wear much at all. I think its the promise of a product that will change my life, like the way vanilla essential oil eliminated my depression forever. Totally true. Sephora is my candy store.

2. I am obsessed with dolls- it was Barbies, Little Kiddles, Strawberry Shortcake and oddly Golden Girls (a type of She-Ra doll that has nothing to do with the show) when I was kid (is 14 still considered a 'kid'?). Now its artist dolls and most recently, Ellowyne Wilde, a gorgeous doll that makes me feel like sewing for her. Now I need man dolls. And shoes.

3. I tried to have a home birth for Azalea Belle. I didn't have so much as an aspirin when I was birthing her. If I ever get knocked up again, I will probably not try to give birth in the house. There aren't enough pain killers here.

4. I despise musicals. The moment characters begin singing and dancing for no reason (a good reason is they are performing on stage or recording) I begin to feel very aggravated and annoyed and start looking for a way out. The Phantom of the Opera is an exception and happened during my opera phase (which could be a weird thing, I was very into Luciano Pavarotti and saw him up close in concert). I never saw The Sound Of Music or Annie. An American Werewolf in London and Dragon Slayer were favorites when kids were talking about disney movies (shudder).

5. I love junk food. Especially spam. This is terrible, I know, but its love so I can't help it. I also love fancy food and slow cooked meals, but my heart is all aflutter at the thought of fair food.

6. I bought a lime green Neon with a black racing stripe down the front, when I was young and ignorant. Now I know that a fancy paint job does not mean good, or fast. Man, I looked like a fool.

7. I used to work at a haunted house prop workshop and made all manner of nasty, gross and scary masks and bodies. I had a real gift for making a corpse look like it was writhing with maggots. Very convincing.

Ok, that's all I can think of right now. I could mention my deep respect and utter admiration (maybe stalker-like obsession) for Neil Gaiman. I check his blog a few times a day, to see what's new and ready to read. He is just so interesting... no facinating! But I don't like him like that, of course! Greggy is the apple of my eye. Well, luckily for me, I'm too wiped out to mention anymore tidbits. We worked long and hard today on polymer samples for my book, they look really neat.

NY to Asheville

Little Miss Sassy Britches.

Posing with new paper wings acquired from a vendor at Faery Con.

Look what was waiting for us! A huge box from Theo and Holly Black, a surprise package of her most recent books and lots of fun things featuring her fantastic stories of 'Spiderwick' and also art from Theo's company The Black Arts. I love those guys!

My newest, most favorite doll, a brownie by the talented and friendly Wendy Froud. She worked on Yoda, from Star Wars, and the puppets in Labyrith and The Dark Crystal. She also created several childrens books featuring her beautiful dolls. He will be right at home with my family.

My new hip pouch from the fancy-pants steam punk company Skin Graft. I liked their leather jackets, but decided against dropping 1200 dollars on one....I do have a doll habit after all.

Yes, my baby dog was happy to see me! And yes, I did fall to the siren song of comfort that is Crocs. They are metallic purple and very comfy. I like them.

One of the best things in NY, Max Brenners Chocolate- go there and enjoy their deliciously thick Italian hot chocolate. It is so good. I highly suggest the banana bread served with a hot flacon of melted milk chocolate and strawberries. It is soooooo yummy.
Ok, I'm finally home! Thank goodness. I like NY, but it is a different way of life. For example, driving is like some kind of a sport, where the rules are unclear, although one of the objects is to not hit the famished models wandering into traffic. I got very good at paralell parking and navigating through all the illegally parked cars. I loved the shopping, the fashion watching and seeing familiar things from tv. I had an interesting experiance when I went into a Fresh store in Union Square. I love theier fragrance Lychee and Sugar, but I'd never tried their makeup, so the shop girl suggested I try it. She sat me down and proceeded to put concealer on my eyes (yeah, I know, what the heck) and then a generous coat of silver and blue eyeshadow with a considerable dollop of mascara. When she was done, she turned to my brother and asked "what do you think?" his grinning face said it all....she turned me into a working girl. Azalea looked amazed and said 'Mommy you look like Barbie!" I just laughed and bought an over-priced face cream and lip gloss. I noted that the new look attracted a few crazy people, so I won't be sporting that business again. I had a good time, all in all and I'm glad I could run around and see everything. Its good to be back and I am so ready to work on my book! I 'll show some progress pics soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Faery Con 2008

Hey everybody! Here are some pics of our recent adventure...Faery Con!

This is Azalea and Greg posing with Toby Froud and his goblin (can you believe this guy is the baby in Labrynth with David Bowie?) Azalea made fast friends with the goblin, attempting to tame his wild ways with Snapee Crisps. I think it worked, at least it did on Toby.

Here's the view from our hotel window, overlooking the city at dusk. It seemed otherworldly in that lighting.

Azalea posing in front of the view. She's a ham, in case you didn't know.

Look at the concentration on that painted brow...determined to make the finest fairy finery for mama. The folks at Faery Con thought up a good plan to keep the little ones occupied, Faery Academy, a place for kids to make corn dolls, wands , crowns and also to paint faces.
Well, Faery Con is over and I'm relieved. I don't think I want to vend again, its three long days , you miss all the talks because your'e tending to customers and its exhausting working all day, then going to the masquerade after. So we will just go next year to meet the authors and artists.
We had the best time visiting with Wendy Froud, the acclaimed doll artist and Holly and Theo Black (she wrote Spiderwick ) it was nice catching up and talking about artistic processes. That is my favorite part, spending time with artists I admire so much. That and shopping the market- buying wings and masks is so much fun!
So Azalea, me and Andrew are in NY for the week. Since we've been here, we explored Chinatown, ate dim sum, went to FAO Schwarz (to look for Ellowyne stuff) strolled through Central Park then went home to make a pork tenderloin with roasted apples and onions and mashed white sweet potatoes. It was yummy. Now we are heading out to find big shrimp, perfume and possibly more dolls. I brought one of my girls so I could take pictures, but I've found that I don't like haling a lot of stuff around. What i need is some kind of wagon or cart to put it in. Now that would make it easy. And slightly crazy.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Hawaiian happiness

Here I am, at the edge of the world. This was a beautiful, if not treacherous place - the ground was made up of sharp lava rock.

Greg and Azalea at the serene Byodin Temple. See the black swan and huge koi?

Andrew discovered an 'egg' of some ancient water beast, it seemed out of place among all of the black lava rocks. We found this amazing location where one particular tide pool would continuously fill with water and recede, leaving loads of sea glass. We couldv'e spent the day there, pocketing treasures.

Greg and Azalea hiking through the beautiful Manoa Falls, a lovely forest that changed as you traveled higher and higher. It started out an easy walk through a valley, ascending through a bamboo forest, a damp rainforest and who knows what at the top. I decided to turn back after nearly plummeting to my death down a steep ravine, as my thin flip flops slid around the muddy path. I didn't need to see the falls in person, after all a pic is worth a thousand words.

A sweeping sunset at the very tip of the west side of the island.

Giant clams grown in a huge tank. They put me in mind of stories my mom told about using clam shells as sinks and tubs and how one clam could provide a feast for a big family. I had no idea they were so colorful, or so patterned.

Andrew looks thoughtful as he gazes at the beauty all around. As the sun set and the light began to to dim, I started to get seriously creeped out, as there were weird sounds (probably just the wind blowing through the slash in the mountain that was a cave). I kept imagining sea creatures emerging from the dark pits dotting the shore, so we left before it got too dark to see the holes.
I'd like to say I'm happy to be home, but I'm actually a little sad to have left such a beautiful place. I've traveled to lovely places plenty of times, but the friendliness of the folks combined with the landscape make it such a wonderful location I can't wait to return to. I love the bustling Waikiki with all the shopping and the small towns, rich with polynesian culture. I want to live there and see the ocean every day.
So I'm home and really jet-lagged and too tired to get to work on goods for Faery Con and the NY show next couple of weekends. I spent today unpacking all the goodies I acquired and pretty much relaxed all day. I'll get cracking tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big News

Hi there! Look at this fabulous handbag that Anne Choi sent to me! She knew that Ellowyne would love it. Yes I'm obsessed. While I'm carving, I'm thinking of handbeading a dress, or sewing a miniature corset. I'm considering designing a line of tiny charms, so she can wear GGS! That would be a real trick, carving a tiny version of something already small.
Ok, here is the news.......I'm writing a book on mixed media jewelry and I just signed the contracts! Yay! The good folks at Interweave Press will be publishing it and I couldn't be happier, because I love their books and magazines. They produce some of the best stuff: Stringing, Beadwork and Fiber Art (just to name a few).
The book will be presented like an artists journal, with watercolors and drawings, loads of useful tips and overflowing with magical looking examples. I will go over techniques using polymer, pmc (like creating your own ojime, making a bezel to fill, creating your own stamps, bead caps, chain and more!) I'm adamant that it will be worth the money (which is important to me, something you'd know if you took one of my classes- no one leaves until they are satisfied). This is partly because I hate to feel gypped and don't want anyone else to feel that way and I'm a perfectionist and can't abide the thought of doing something half-assed. So, it will be a lot of work, but I'm determined to make something useful and inspiring. I've been dying to put up pictures of the projects and of the sketchbook I submitted, but I wanted to sign first then show the goods. I'm so excited! I feel really fortunate to have this opportunity to share my knowledge of these materials. I've spent the past 12 years learning, making mistakes, experimenting and discovering ways to make beautiful things. It makes me happy to share.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hi! This is a tiny watercolor and gouche art card. I've made loads of the swirly, bubbly backgrounds to paint on and this is the first one to get finished. I love painting the patterns and creating the watermarks with the gemstone paint, they settle into a shimmery, miniscule design. I really like the size as well, they lend themselves to constant shuffling. I also gilded the edges, which adds to the preciousness of the small size.

It would seem like all we do is eat and make tiny things (that's almost true) but we also love movies. Our dvd collection is good sized and I'm always on the lookout for 'background' films that we can have on while we work. While I painted the girl on the card, Forbidden Kingdom (a kung fu movie with Jackie Chan and Jet Li) was on , which was visually delightful, with the best girl villain sporting magical hair. Its a new favorite, along with Practical Magic, Sense and Sensibility and Star Dust.

The other day I spotted Hot Fuzz and immediately put in the cart, pleased I found it for 8 bucks. When I got to check out, the cashier asked to see my i.d. and said I had to be 17 to buy the movie (its graphic) and you can imagine how pleased I was! Andrew was like 'What, did you get a new eye cream?' to which I replied 'nope-dr.Bronners water drops!'. That stuff is good, made from fruit juice and green tea, it totally cleared up my skin and its easy to drink, a dropper full in juice has the same amount of antioxidants as 15 cups of green tea. I know, awesome. Well, its time to get back to it, I have a lot to do to get ready for the Hawaii show! I can't wait!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hi there! Here is my new doll, Ellowyne Wilde displaying two shrink film drawings. Yes, we are obsessed! And why not? It is a fun and portable craft that is extremely satisfying to shrink. Andrew has made tons of charms and we've gotten our friends involved in the 'madness' so everyone around us is making them.

I've been cooking a lot, making slow cooked beef over parmesan polenta and my tasty chocolate gravy over biscuits for breakfast. The GGS team pretty much loves to eat and craft. If you come for a visit, plan on feasting then making stuff till the wee hours of the morning. Bob brought a fancy 1000 dollar espresso machine so we've been jacked up and slap happy while making art. Always a good combination.

I can't stop staring at my new dolls. They look nice with my Blythes. I am a smitten kitten, I just got another on ebay, like some sort of addict. Everyone is so tired of listening to me go on and on about the quality of the resin, how beautiful her clothes are and how gorgeous her face is. I also ordered books so I can make clothes for her, I might just turn into a doll artist!

Of course, that would be dreamy, but unlikely, as we have bead shows to do! The Central California Bead Society hosts a show in Fresno this Sunday and Greg will be there along with our friends from Bead Trust. I wish I could go, because I love that part of the country and wouldn't mind visiting my buddies! I will be attending The Soft Flex Honolulu Show with most of the gang (Andrew, Greg and Azalea), so if your lucky and live on Oahu, stop by and say hello! Also, if you mention this blog (at either show), you get a free pewter bead! Ok, back to work!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Flower fairy pins, unpainted and needing some hair.

Ball jointed dolls wearing silk dresses my mom made. I'm totally obsessed!

Baby Belle enjoying a cream soda at Izzy's during the Lexington Festival.

Mom pleased as can be with our blueberry yield at Graveyard Fields.
I've had a great week - my folks came up for a visit, then Andrew and I went down to Atlanta to see our good friends Anne Choi and Lynn. I really enjoy that city, so much to do and see, although our favorite thing to do by far, was going through Anne's amazing studio and witnessing where all the magic happens. She has neat stuff everywhere and my favorite things (besides the beads) were her vast array of ball jointed dolls. They are like tiny mannequins, posable in a very naturalistic and somewhat creepy way. I love them and have spent hours researching them, their clothes, shoes and also on how to make all that stuff (because I ordered more dolls and they need sassy outfits). It brought back my deep desire to make dolls and produce my own line. Maybe someday I'll get lucky and find a manufacturer.
Saturday we hosted a party for our artist buddies, then went out for drinks afterward a the Flying Frog and new wine bar Vault ( I don't recommend it, terrible service). The next day we went to a picnic and I learned why it is never a good idea to poke a stick into what I thought was a groundhog hole, but turned out to be a bee hive. After getting stung on the hand and taking a fair amount antihistamines, we went to the festival downtown. Folks in Asheville tend to get funky and weird when they get together, sporting unusal ensembles, many including wings, tails and the occasional space helmet. The people watching during an Asheville festival is unrivaled, I think it beats Venice Beach.
We've been crafting like crazy, making art cards, beaded jewelry, flower pins and t-shirts decorated from instructions in Alabama Stitch. We have been having fun and it doesn't look like that trend will be slowing down soon, there's still a lot left on our things to do list.