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.