Sunday, November 20, 2011


Here's the finished paper doll! Now to find a good printer.....any ideas? Sourcing printers is probably my least favorite part of making things. Maybe I'm too particular, but I find it really difficult to get good color, thick paper and a nice finish from one shop. Its either great paper and weak color, or way too contrasty. Of course when I say 'is it possible to make the print look like the original?' I get a blank stare, as if I asked for it to be printed on homemade marshmallows. Anyway, the search continues to find the perfect printer that doesn't cost a fortune.

The other day I found myself on a website featuring fantasy art and I wondered vaguely if my stuff would fall into that category. Generally, I find categories annoying, since I have trouble thinking of myself in one. 'Fantasy Art' seems to exude a strong air of fluffiness, not that I don't completely appreciate that aspect of it, but it doesn't seem like a good fit. I don't like 'female artist', as that implies a lot of huge flowers and a fixation on being oppressed. That feels a little too much like focusing on the negative, so I'll leave that to more angsty folks. I can't really claim the whole 'asian artist' thing either, since I'm a halfy - or 'hapa' as my brother Andrew likes to call us. Maybe there's a 'folklorist' category, since I'm hugely influenced by folktales and mythology and how stories become part of the fabric of everyday life.

I've never liked titles, compartments or categories, this isolation of an individual, this separation. I go through stages of not signing my paintings, since its not important that I made it to the person looking at it. That doesn't mean I think we should all work anonymously, but it is interesting to think of how much importance is placed behind the art and not on the art itself. On the surface, this doesn't seem to be the case with craft artists, but the more I sit here thinking about it, the more I realize that all aspects of art are broken in to parts, divided and ranked.

Most of the artists I know are many faceted: fiber artists that make jewelry, painters that sculpt and make knitted handbags, etc. We've talked about how hard it is to pick a direction and push that particular thing forward: make a website, establish a brand, then promote. I suppose I'm all over the place and should separate everything, a different website and blog for my dolls, for the crafts I'm into and for the beads and jewelry. I've been advised to do this many times, but I balk at the idea. Again with the categories! So much time and energy spent on partitioning off aspects of one company. I think i'd rather make something fun, like a felted vest or some slippers and not worry if I'm considered a jewelry artist or a mermaid painter.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

drawing board

Yesterday I read my brother's post on 'The Art of Thinking' (his reaction to an interesting article on Sparrow Salvage) and it got me thinking about my expectations of a days work and what I consider wasted time: fooling with materials, testing paints, organizing beads, picking up the house (how many times in a day?) and the worst time thief of all - staring at my laptop, searching for inspiration in beautiful images, reading tutorials and perfume descriptions (of all things!). Why I love to read how a particular fragrance smells is odd - I guess they paint a fantastic reality, imagining opening a bottle and smelling a cedar forest, all sharp, dark and green. While I love doing this, it doesn't help me carve beads, or work on my shop, or tend the kids. So I feel guilty and try and make up the time by furiously carving away on something. More often than not, these projects born of guilt look shoddy and done by a lunatic, so of course I don't cast it! This bit of failure leads to its own set of insecurities all artists have about their work.

The last few weeks have seemed incredibly unproductive. I keep staring around me, sort of shocked at all I need to do, but can't find the time or energy to finish anything. There's a huge pile of wax that needs carved, but I took out my watercolors and made a little booklet called 'possibilities' to sketch ideas for a little book. My esty store needs updating, so instead I began designing paper doll creatures that look like the forest floor has come alive- little beings built from mushrooms, lichen, bulbs, roots, sticks and flowers. Azalea will enjoy putting the bits together, since I'm designing them so the parts can be interchanged to form new creatures. Again, this lovely little project doesn't include carving, so I consider it frivolous.

After reading Andrew's post, I understood the idea, that its necessary to let yourself idle, to not make anything.... in order to create something wonderful. Of course this is an over simplification of the idea, but I see the importance of slowing down and allowing ones mind to process the stimulation, to let the creativity percolate uninterrupted. The stubborn part of my mind argues that this is a ruse and that I need to stop fiddling around and just get to the drawing board or nothing will get made. The inner argument continues, one side validated and delighted to have an excuse to stare at dolls and read hundreds of perfume descriptions, the other side appalled and furious, insisting I get off my hind end and finish something! Ah well, I think I'll have a glass of wine, the workaholic self will settle down and let my hands make what they want to.... I don't think this discussion is over quite yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

pretty new things

Fresh from the workbench! I carved these awhile back, but it's so busy around here with shows and new projects, that there hasn't been time to cast them. The mermaid in front is designed to either work as a pendant, with a dangle drop from her tail, or as a link. I'll try both, I think. The silver queen is a pendant with a hole through her crown. Her tail is looped around to accommodate a little tassel of crystals or pearls, like a spray of ocean water.

I made this necklace last night as a sample for the new lacy pendant we made this summer. I designed the piece with Victorian collars and delicate cuffs in mind, something I could add lots of sparklies to. I'm going to try this design with a single pendant and loads of dangles and also as a pair of earrings. We'll see how those work out.

Azalea was patient enough to sit still to model the necklace.....although I cropped head, since she had chocolate smeared around her mouth (still working on Halloween candy) and that wasn't really the look I was going for. Anyway, this pendant and many others will be available for purchase at the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza (or BABE, as everyone calls it) this weekend November 12-13, Sat. 10 - 6, Sun. 10 - 5. There's also a $2 off coupon on their website.

I'm making a small collection of bezels, glass capsules and will have the mermaids pictured above for sale, so come early to get the best selection.