The Official Only Time I Will Discuss This…

Hello Art Lovers! I’ve been on the road the last couple of months, saving up topics and all sorts of cool new designs to share. However, before I can move on, I would like to discuss the delicate topic of “another wire artist”.  At shows, I hear one of two things: 1. “Oh my! I’ve never seen any thing like this before.” or 2. “Oh, don’t you have your things in a gallery in Santa Fe?” 

The first response pleases me, if you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am trying to take the world over with wire. Therefore, when people are intrigued and experiencing what wire can really do for the first time, the education of the populace (you fabulous art fans out there) can begin. I’m honest about where my wire training began and with whom- Mary Hettmansperger, Barb Switzer and Lisa Claxton. My one week of classes with these three ladies has informed the whole of my artistic sensibilities when it comes to wire. After that, I can credit a unique and rich internal life in which my brain poses questions for which I must experiment and come up with answers. The year to year evolution of my work circles around several themes– 2 Dimensional vs 3 Dimensional, small vs large, entrapment vs exposure. Patina, pattern and structure are the vehicles with which I explore the aforementioned dichotomies.

In the second case, I have a canned response, “Oh no, I don’t show in Santa Fe, but I know of whom you speak. Certainly, my designs are much more original than that!” Unfortunately, I have had the not so pleasant experience of meeting the artist of whom most folks are talking about at a show in Houston, TX several years back. Not only did this artist fail to exhibit any common courtesies of exhibiting artists, but the negativity and territorial bent of the pursuant monologue was quite shocking to me. You see, I’m a friendly smiley girl. If we have met at a show- you know it to be true- customers and neighbors alike. If my goal is to take the world over with wire, then I believe wire artists need to band together and support the diverse way we each express our designs along the path of our individual art careers.  

Women have been twining for tens of thousands of years, to believe that any one person in the modern era came up with the entire idea of connecting large wires with small wires is ridiculous. (In fact, I believe Arlene Fisch’s work predates any other contemporary wire artist. A lovely customer in Palm Springs told me to look her up this year.) And furthermore, to believe that any person working with wire in the modern era can trace all there designs and techniques back to a particular contemporary artist is also ridiculous. I do believe that if we put enough monkeys in a room with typewriters, one of them would come out with Romeo and Juliet (I’m showing my age here, I believe today we would have to supply the monkeys with iPads, Android tablets and vitamin water to expect them to produce anything at all).

In conclusion, I’m just another monkey with a couple of pieces of wire trying to figure out what willl happen if I do this, or that, or whatever has popped into my brain after a 1,600 mile, 25 hour drive straight through from Seattle to Tucson. I would also like to formally state that I have a busy family life, and up until recently was running dual careers in both the defense industry and art. (Funny saying it like that.)  I didn’t, don’t and never will have time to give two blinks of an eye to stalking someone else’s work. I have too much to do!!

I have to admit, it feels really good to get this off my chest.

Thank you to all the customers I have met on the road. Your enthusiasm and interest in my work humbles me. I am honored to meet each of you.

And for those of you who decide not to be customers but critics, I have one final series of questions for you: do you buy clothing from Nordstroms AND Macy’s? Target AND Walmart? Will you buy produce from the grocery store AND a road side stand? Have you ever purchased jewelry from Tiffany’s AND Kay’s? Have you ever owned a Ford AND a Honda? Have you ever had a Maltese AND a Retriever? Please note, that these need not occur at the exact same time, but over the course of a life. I’m guessing the answer to this line of questioning is “yes.” So, here’s one more logic test: if you can purchase jewelry from two different goldsmiths, than why does purchasing work from two different wiresmiths seem so wrong?

This is the only time I will officially discuss this.

My piece on this is said, done, put down and never to be mentioned again.

Right before a BIG SHOW… Sort Of…

What a crazy long week it seems to be. And the more I work, the further I am from being finished.  I’m using further instead of farther because the proverbial finish line is in my head; although if I considered Check In at the festival the actual finish line, I might use farther. I mean, I know that’s 850 miles away. Anyway, with the Salt Lake City Utah Arts Festival opening just ONE WEEK from today– I should expect this mental tick. I mean, I’ve been in the “business” for a dozen years (or so, ok, definitely longer, but don’t I seem younger by only saying a dozen?) and I know my own habits.

This is what happens right before a big show… sort of… let’s back up 6 months to get up to speed.

I put the festival on the schedule and apply after researching through Art Fair Source Book, asking other artist friends and occasionally going on gut instinct alone. This normally happens approximately six months out. For Salt Lake City, that means in January I was beginning to ramp up for the show. When I apply, I normally use one of two online systems, Zapplication or Juried Art Services and a cadre of wonderful photographs taken by George Post and Hap Sakwa.

Oh wait, back up again, another 4 months.

First, I have to produce the work to be photographed. True creative work and “Hero Shots” as they are called in Artist slang, can take quite a while to come up with and production is often a steep learning curve. I only have 10 seconds to make an impression on the jury, and it has to be amazing! So back up 4 months from the 6 months and that’s when I’m really thinking about what work I’ll be showing NEXT YEAR. And I’m hoping both the Jury and I will still be in love with it NEXT YEAR.

Fast forward a bit:  Show – 6 months – 4 months + 5 months

I’ve gotten the shots (T-10 months), and I’ve applied (T-4 months). Now I wait on Jury results. I’m not sure I could explain Juries in a blog posting, I might do a pretty good job after an entire bottle of wine or Southern Comfort, but here– I got nothing. Jury results come (T-3 months) and I’m either bummed (not invited) or walking on sunshine (invited).

So, Salt Lake City Utah Arts Festival June 21-24. It’s March. I’m walking on sunshine!! I just have an average of two shows a month until June to make work for my current shows and keep an mental eye on my new stuff for the summer (of which the Utah Arts Festival is my kick off show this year).  Plus I have special orders to complete, while logging 3,000 ish miles in driving every month. Driving is alright with me though– it’s my most creative mental time and many of my designs come while driving (if they don’t come while trying to sleep).

Fast forward again:  Show – 6 months – 4 months + 5 months + 2 months

It is (was) May.  I clear(ed) my last show before Utah Arts Festival. This show is so big and long and AMAZING that I do not schedule another June show. My Utah fans are so fabulous, I want to give them the best that I have. I’m lock myself into my studio, coming out only for lunch and dinners and wine. If it were a test, I would say that I am MAC DADDY CRAMMING. But we all know cramming doesn’t work– you know it or you don’t. The same is true of my work– I either know what I’m doing and get focused or I push a heavy cart further and further (mental distances here) up a hill. However, this is not a test where I get a grade that I can post on my fridge– this is a test where either my customers will part with their hard earned dollars and purchase a new piece or they won’t. It’s pressure in a totally un-academic way. I do not want to let my customers down. I want to be edgy, creative, technically perfect in production and proud. If my work is excellent, it will sell itself. And I will enjoy talking to all the folks whose business I truly appreciate.

Fast forward to NOW.  T- 1 week

I have pushed out an amazing amount of jewelry this week. I have been making parts, plans, and pieces since 10 months ago, 6 months ago, three months ago and every time I sat at my work tables since. Right now, I am a jewelry machine. Check it out in just one week in Salt Lake City at the Utah Arts Festival. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you all there for just about a year!

And that is what happens right before a big show in the studio– sort of.

P.S. If you tell me “May the Force be with you!” at SLC UAF I will give you 5% off!!

AND PRETTY PLEASE LIKE MY FACEBOOK PAGE

 

I Really Do Work!

Howdy! Howdy! Howdy! I tried posting this yesterday, but got snagged on some technical difficulties with the photos. Thankfully, I’m over that hump and can bring you this series of shots from the studio this week!

I’d like to point out the Painted Jasper Collar. This piece was haunting me all night Monday night. I mean, I should have been sleeping all night, but all the details intruded over and over again. It took two days to complete the weaving. The alternating squares are quite tricky, and changing metals out added another notch to the difficulty rating. Curving them is tricky, then finishing off the ends in a cohesive, organic manner, tricky. Overall, it was tricky and I’m just feeling a bit of a peacock over my accomplishment. However, it’s not quite finished yet. Now I will Patina it and polish some highlights in, but the 14 KT gold will really POP when the silver darkens. It is going to be AMAZING then, but you’ll have to come by a show to see the finished product– I really am just teasing you here.

New Collar Waiting for Patina

Almost finished! Oh la la!

A couple of the other photos show some Tapestry styles I’m whipping (weaving) up for SLC Utah Arts Festival. I love the new stone drops to the woven Crown Hoops and if you like the Rutilated Quartz pieces, you should show up early– because I think they are going to sell quickly. These are all one of a kinds.

 

Woven Silver Earrings

New Hoops for this Summer

Woven Hoops and Tapestry Pendant
Shiny new Gold for the Summer shows!
 
So now I will tease you with a couple of shots of my work tables. I might say young children might be frightened by the sight of my piles. Keep that in mind when you leave your computer up and on the counter for anyone to see as they are getting a bowl of Trix. Or Apple Jacks. BEWARE!! But also be intrigued!
 
Tapestry Bones Waiting to be Born

"Organized" BonesSwirls and Crowns

 

More New Work to See this Summer

Swirls and Crowns

There is one more piece from my Monday night haunting. It is a ring. I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with my “Vortex” rings, tiny tornados for your fingers. They swirl up from an adjustable band. Sometimes I crust them with crystals. I currently have 3 in silver, copper and gold. Well. This new ring will be a “Fountain” ring. It will blast up from the center and fall in curving swirls out and down from the center. Certainly, only big girls need apply for ownership. I try to make dainty things, it’s just really hard. My work is most definitely for folks who KNOW who they are. The “Fountain” rings might even need folks with an entourage! No matter, it will be born this week. And maybe if you’re good, and I’m good, I’ll even post a sneaky photo of it. Maybe not. I’m just teasing after all. 

Back in the Studio Saddle!

I have been out of the studio since I left for Beverly Hills, until today. After the Beverly Hills show, my son was being promoted from the 8th grade and my wonderful parents were in town. It was a really great week. As my children get older, I’m reminded that I’m getting old. I’ve been working in jewelry since my oldest was in uterus— I was pregnant and on bed rest when I discovered beads. Yes. Beads. It is an excellent gateway drug into the world of creating your own jewelry. First come beads, then small wire loops and earrings. Then classes. Take classes anywhere and everywhere you can. It stretches your mind and helps stave off the build up of plaque in the brain (my theory, not tested in a double blind study). Next thing you know, you have a concurrent career in, let’s say defense, and Art Jewelry. And then, you take the plunge and are a Jeweler full time. But not a diamonds in a gold band kind of jeweler– a jeweler who challenges what adornment is, uses different materials and techniques– maybe you’re even a jeweler with a world class engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy. Of course, you know I’m talking about me. And my degree is also in English, and a minor in Russian. Wow. Such a use for Russian on the art festival circuit!!

Anyway, I was out of the studio for over a week. I always approach my work bench with a combination of excitement and dread. I am not exactly tidy– I’m a pile-er in my studio. So whenever I am gone, I have to sift through what I WAS working on and decide what I AM working on now. That’s the dread. It’s hard to say goodbye to what I was excited about two weeks ago; if I’m not completely done, it gets moved into another “to come back to pile”. My worktable(s) are like the sandstone and limestone layers of the Arizona and Utah deserts, each one revealing some design point along my creative timeline. The excitement comes because after hundreds of miles behind the wheel, after interacting with other artists, after having time AWAY from production and creative work– I always have so many ideas on what I’m going to be working on NOW. Or what I will be working on if I can only clear a little spot to get some fresh supplies out. I’d like to add that I don’t take my Mom and Dad into my studio; it’s appalling and messy and my creative mess shames me just a little bit, but I’m committed to my process nonetheless. I also rarely make my bed–GASP!! I just pull the sheets up and call it done, no more quarters bouncing or 6 inch folds for me!! I am in complete military rebellion.

Yesterday, I sketched and made a list. I was anticipatory, but gave myself one extra day to let the mental design cream rise to the top. This morning I picked a design from my sketches and started on it before 7am (as soon as I cleared my soldering station from the tiny tourmaline’s I was wiring onto gold swirls before Beverly Hills). I’m in a swirls phase, so I can tell you today was about soldered swirls, which I then shaped into circles, squares and upside down triangles (my husband calls these shields, it’s always about warfare with boys, isn’t it?).  I will be rolling out to SLC with swirls, woven, soldered and hammered- circles, triangles, and squares.  Ain’t geometry grand? It’s good to be a nerd and it’s good to be back in the studio.

p.s. I tried taking photos to post, but I am so inept that I deleted them in horror at my own lack of photographic talent. I’ll have to take out my light cube to post some sneak peaks. Maybe this weekend…

Those Who Have Gone Before…

Memorial Day. My youngest asked what the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day was at dinner a few nights ago. I explained that on Veteran’s Day we honor those who served our country and lived to tell the tale, while Memorial Day honors our fallen– those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I am lucky to be a Veteran. I am luckier still to be able to honor members of all the Armed Services by being HERE in the NOW.

I often wonder how I got “off track” from serving my country in the Navy to becoming a roaming-gypsy-festival-artist.  Yet, in a way, I have seen more of THIS great big, beautiful, green, brown, forested, coastal, prairie, desert filled country since I became a gambling, rambling artist than I ever did while I served my country. In those times I saw the ocean. A lot of ocean. I saw foreign ports and drank Johnny Walker Red in Poland, Vodka in Sweden and dark, chewy beer in Denmark. But now, now, I see MY country. I meet heros at every show, the hard working people of America looking to express a bit of their soul in the art they put in their homes and the art they put on their bodies.

Thank you America. You have shared your soul with me throughout the countless miles and under the white roof of my not-the-best-canopy. I listen to your stories. You listen to mine. We are alive to tell them. Together we make the fabric of our great nation. We would not be able to share and engage in the most amazing democracy yet to march along history’s swift moving river of time but for the greatest sacrifice of all– the lives of the men and women who have fallen in battle. For us. For you. For me. Remember our fallen, don’t forget them.

And please don’t drink and drive.

Potty Post- What????

Hello all!  Some readers may find this category of posts too far down the sh#$%er for them, and while I apologize for possibly offending the delicate sensitivities of some of you, I feel compelled to explore the dirty, nasty side of Art Festivals- Port-a-Potties.  I salute the logisticians and organizers who have to put other people’s poop and pee on their radar. Some Festivals get it right, and some fall straight down an open hole. Every region has their own style of port-a-potty, from air conditioned trailers to sad corners, wide doored, ground level, to narrow, step ups. This is the world of portable potties on the Art Festival circuit. Read on at your own risk.

Imagine this- you have driven anywhere from 500 miles to 1500 miles (longer even).  Your bladder is loaded with Vitamin Water Zero, Gatorade, Water and a sneaky Diet Cherry Coke. (Please don’t post comments in support of Cherry Coke Zero, I get enough of that at home.)  You have slammed more and more coffee more and more often as the sweet, endless miles of highway have rolled under the tires. You set up, sometimes in the dark, sometimes in the middle of a 90 degree day, and sometimes in the rain.  Ok. So you is really me. I drink that, drive that and have to pee and poop that. Everything that goes in must come out somewhere, somehow at sometime. At festivals, it comes out in port-a-potties.

This weekend, I was at the Beverly Hills Art Fair, a lovely show spread across a park along 4 blocks of Santa Monica Blvd abutting Rodeo Drive.  The road behind the park boasts homes of beauty, size and price. These brave neighbors put up with three days of set-up, show and break down. Brave souls, they are. The port-a-lets were delicately shielded from the lovely homes with canvased lattice work. Each block had a series of 10ish, although I did not have a chance to sneak down to the beer garden and see if they had more staged where the real drinking was going on. I was worried. How can the Honey Truck get to the potties if they are so walled off from the street?

The middle of day one saw the port-a-potties in standard state. I don’t understand why we all can’t just be neat and tidy. In an effort to avoid GERMS, folks make a little fiberglass haven into a Ganges River Banks experience. I go in armed with paper towels, Lysol spray and my own wad of TP. I’ve got pockets for a reason. I have added Clorox wipes this year. And I use them. I generously sterilize everything that touches anything in the little blue house of #1’s and #2’s. I’m not shy. If one is too gross, I move onto the next one. I need a place to start from, something I can work with. I will look behind every door to find an acceptable one, line be damned.  BH also had the foot pump hand washing stations and adequate trash barrels for the paper towels. Bravo!!  There was water, soap, and paper towels for the duration of the show. The trash was emptied regularly and there were no blowing paper towels in the area. Encore! Encore!  The park staff from the Greystone House is to be commended.

I was worried day two, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. Thank you Beverly Hills for shielding your homeowners from the unfortunate sight of the port-a-potties AND having the Honey Truck come.  Thank you for not letting the canvased lattice work stop the sh#$%t work from progressing!!  My only “Huh” for the port-a-let logistics is this– why put them directly behind ANY artist booth? I might have had a coronary if my booth was right in front of the the stand of sh#$%tters for two days. Folks do not need an audience getting in and out of those. Sometimes it is good to separate some types of work from other types of work. 

It is good to have the inaugural Potty Post a positive review. Let the Beverly Hills waste management program be so noted as a success!

Just one question– where were they recycling bins? I brought my bottles back to Pasadena for recycling rather than throw them out.

West Palm Beach, FL Classes!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the ladies out there working the mornings, noons and nights.  I admire your life long commitment to raising children up to be productive members of society. I applaud your efforts to teach them to put the toilet seat down (boys in my house), do their own laundry, and gasp– put their own dishes in the sink. Hopefully someday they will be off the payroll more than they are on and maybe even have an appreciation for all the cookie baking, classroom volunteering and near daily arguments about why homework IS important. Ok. So this may all be a bit more about MY motherly existence, but I hope a few of you are smiling out there.

If you’d like to reward yourself for all of your hard work both on and off the battlefield we call parenting, consider taking a class in my technique! Below you will find a link to Beads Gone Wild & Crystal Creations shop in West Palm Beach, FL. October 19th-21st I will be there teaching my technique to the creative hearts who would like to become more intimate with wire. It is NEVER too early to calendar block and claim a few hours or days for yourself!

Each day is $125 or you can book into all three days for only $300. I promise that you will learn so much about wire and jewelry making. We will conquer not only weaving/twining, but how to make your own clasps and earwires. Why pay suppliers when you can make your own? Glenda and I have lined up three home run classes. Day one is an introduction to simple woven shapes. Geometry is not just a class in high school! Day two will see us conquering a soldered setting fossilized turtle shell cuff– but without the soldering. I’ll bring the settings pre-done and we will focus on pattern and finessing technique. Of course, I’ll talk about the construction portion and we can walk through the design process. Day three is going to be free form collars. You bring the focals! Glenda and her staff will have the wire available for purchase and I bring the know how. Woven collars are the perfect way to set off lamp work focals in a new and fascinating way, or special nuggets or faceted gems you might have of the larger variety. Click away and sign up before too long!

http://www.beadsgonewild.com/site/guestteacher_detail.php?guestTeachersId=53

Store Location
Woodhaven Plaza
4058 Forest Hill Blvd.
West Palm Beach
FL 33406
t: (561) 649-9909

I hope to see you there! Comment or email if you have any questions– let the learning begin!!

Beverly Hills and Rodeo Dr Here I Come!

I’m not a real girlie-girl. As a child I played more with my Breyer Horses than my Barbies (both of these toys are trademarked and owned by other folks, I’m not trying to steal the rights to these toys, just mention them fondly in my blog). I had a Barbie Jeep and Horse trailer that saw a ton of action in hauling horses. I don’t know if Barbie or her friends ever drove it. Shopping for me involves a list, a planned time frame and a maximum of three stops. There is normally wine at the end of the day to compensate for the trials and tribulations of parking lots, cashiers and the outflow of cash. Back in the day, I found my prom dress in the first 10 minutes and then wanted to get out of the mall. Anyway. I’m not a girlie-girl. But I have to say I am tickled pink to be participating in the Beverly Hills Art Show (formerly known as the Art Affair in the Gardens, but as of a press release–voila–new name).  When I looked up my location (#143) and saw it was right of Rodeo Drive, I giggled. Of course, I pronounced it incorrectly at first. In my head I was thinking Tucson Rodeo, cowboys (yummy), cattle and beer (also yummy). Then I thought, “hey stupid– it’s Ro-Day-Oh Drive”. That’s when the giggling started. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I once sat second seat in a helicopter, stood the mid-watch as a US Navy Cruiser steamed across the Atlantic and smashed Vodka glasses with some Soviets turned Russians at a fancy event in Stockholm, but Rodeo Drive. I mean, can’t a not-so-girlie-girl be a little star struck?

If you are in, around, or close to Beverly Hills and would like some funky, authentic jewelry, PLEASE stop by May 19th or May 20th. I accept Visa, MC, Discover and AMEX (celebrate!) and I’m certain you will find a few things not yet in any Rodeo Drive boutiques.

 

Beginnings are exciting and challenging

Howdy! Howdy! Many of you have had me greet you in just that fashion as you walk into my booth at festivals. I think it’s fitting to begin my first post in the same friendly way. Over the last couple of years I know tons of you have heard me talk about my terrible (out of date, very last decade, tacky graphics) website. I’ve searched high and low for a good replacement and am going to try this wordpress thing on for size. I’m scared. I don’t talk to computers very much, or with a great degree of fluency. I am so worried to screw it up, make mistakes, kiss frogs. However, despite my fear and complete illiteracy in this sphere of contemporary existence, here we go. I am both scared and excited. Imagine a place where I can post new work as it comes off my work table! Imagine a place where fans, friends and family can connect with me and learn about the daily comings and goings, musings, moods and even mistakes of my artistic journey! Imagine a world where thin threads of wire connect us all and pull us from our lonely, commuting, asleep-at-the-wheel-lives and into something real and magical! Okay, that might be above and beyond the capabilities of this humble e-domicile, but maybe not. Join me and lets see what we can learn, share and discover.

No matter how many times I screw it up, if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing. Deal?