Tuesday, February 28, 2012

woodland babies

Paper dolls are really fun to make, especially cutting and assembling them. The activity brings to mind long afternoons spent with my sister and brother, gathered around the dining room table quietly creating fairies, monsters and mermaids for our little world. The picture above is the first draft of the dolls, a sketch to see how the parts will fit together.
This is a shot of the transferred sketch (the line drawing) and the watercolor in progress.
The finished watercolor! I like to use a variety of materials when I paint. Egg tempera is used over washes of Daniel Smith's gemstone pigment watercolors, which have a delightful tendency to form patterns while the water is drying. The egg tempera is an opaque paint, which has a satiny sheen that is very luminescent. The last details are painted with acrylic ink and a crow quill pen, for the tiniest lines or dots (like in the eyes).
I took this assembled set to a park where I knew of a few stumps with turkey tail and lichen growing on them. It was really windy, which made taking pictures especially challenging.
Here are a couple close ups of the assembled dolls. I made lots of parts to mix and match between the dolls, which is kind of fun, I think.
I had them printed on heavy cardstock, with a nice satin finish. The colors printed surprisingly well, almost identical to the original. I love this batch so much. I think I'll paint a background for them, although they look pretty good in a shadowbox frame! I'll put these in my etsy shop for sale within the next few days.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty

Last night, we had a girls night out and went to see The Secret World of Arrietty, a Hayao Miyazaki film. Its based on 'The Borrowers' by Mary Norton, a classic story about tiny people living in the walls of houses. I am a big fan of Miyazaki's films, my favorite being Howl's Moving Castle and Spirited Away, so I was prepared to be dazzled by beautiful animation. I wasn't disappointed! This film is full of little details, which are a pleasure to find. My daughter loved spotting all the big people things the borrowers used (like a chess piece as a sculpture, a pin served a sword, stamps used as delightful artwork for the walls). The story is well paced and the soundtrack a perfect backdrop to the action. The actors are really adept at following the animation, so there are no lags or weird spots where the lips are moving and the voices are all wrong.

We really loved this movie and highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys classic stories or great animation. I can't wait till this is available on dvd, so I can have it on while I work!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


So the shows are coming to an end (only one day left of The Best Bead Show) and its time to wrap it up and take stock of the whole experience. I've been seeing some posts and updates about negativity, not making a lot of money, people behaving clique-ishly, how the economy is bringing out the worst in folks and how its not fun anymore.

I have an observation that I want to make in reaction to these negative comments floating around about how the Tucson Shows have become unpleasant. I think I am more than qualified in putting in my two cents, since I've done the shows since the early days, when there were only TWO bead shows.

All gatherings of people will attract a few folks that love to talk, that love to bemoan their situation, love to cause a stink and some really love the spotlight no matter if its good or bad. That's life. You can find this behavior in schools, doll shows, dog shows, bird shows, comic cons, art shows, retreats and bead shows. I've attended hundreds and hundreds of gatherings and its always the same. Here's what makes a difference: when people stop the negativity. It sounds simple, but the reality is, you are in control of who you spend your time with, where you shop, where you eat and you can say 'well, since that person is a buddy of mine, let's talk about something else. Where'd you find those amazing stones?'. I've learned from experience that if you nip the 'neg' in the bud, people usually get the hint.

When I was starting out, I received some good advice from a successful vendor I was set up next to, that was doing amazing. They told me to always try and have a great time, even if you aren't selling, its raining, you're hungry, tired, whatever. People attend shows to have a good time and find amazing things. If your a huge downer, no one is going to stick around to see what you have. If things aren't going well, I give myself a mental shake and think about what IS going great, like making new contacts, seeing old friends and looking at all the great art shown around me. Things always improve.

We set up booths at three shows this year and we did very well. We always have an amazing time. Really, how can you not love seeing all the beads, specimens and precious stones gathered from every corner of the earth? You kind of have to try and not enjoy yourself. Even someone as jaded as I am has a blast. Its a wonderful gathering every bead artist and collector should attend at least once. Don't be influenced into not going because someone had a bad show, or is resentful of the success of others. I look forward to it every year and have yet to be disappointed.

Friday, February 03, 2012

close ups

Here are a few pictures of some of the new pieces cast in metal, including the horse clasp in shibuichi. The lucky cat and wolf will be available on our website, or on Fusion Beads or Lima Beads sites. The horse clasp will be available on Jess Imports site.

Thursday, February 02, 2012


We have been working hard, so now its time to take a short break before getting ready for Art Fest! I have the classes hammered out, but I want to make lots of delightful things for vendor night and some special prizes for my students. Anyway, I've spent the last couple of days relaxing with the kids, taking walks and drawing pictures. It has been lovely, but I need to get back to work making new things.

New for Tucson!

Bronze and shibuichi fairy pendant.
Bronze and rose cut sapphire owl face pendants.
My new little articulated turtle! Finally molded and cast!
Greg's sweet faced baby bat with articulated wings (I didn't put in his garnet cabochon eyes in the picture above). These pieces and more will be available at The Best Bead Show and also at The To Bead True Blue Show, followed by The Tucson Show.

It has been nice to finally relax a little after the storm that is the preparation of these big shows. Its a little subdued around here, now that the shows are in full swing, but I've stayed busy since there's always something to finish up. Maybe I can take the night off and read a book.