Friday, July 24, 2009

Art Bead Scene Entry July 09

Art Bead Scene Entry July 09

This month's Art Bead Scene Contest is inspired by the cave paintings at Lascaux. I must say, this was a struggle for me... I've never really thought of cave paintings as "art." A way to communicate - yes...but art -no!

But after giving it some thought I knew a silvered ivory background would work. I sat down at the torch with no other plan than that and made the central body bead and the four spacers used on the arms and legs. I woke up the next day, having dreamed about my little stick figure drawing and suddenly knew what direction my finished piece would take... but first, I had to make his head!

About the beads: layer of .999 pure silver added to ivory glass. The central body bead has a universal circular symbol on one side and a stick figure man on the other. All beads were wire wrapped with 18 & 20 gauge sterling.

Art Bead Scene Entry July 09

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Custom Orders - What Your Designer Needs to Know

I've spoken with several lampworkers who are all amazed that customers, when asking for a custom piece, seem put off by the number of questions we ask. I thought it may be helpful to examine why we need so much information.

As artists, most lampworkers work in a vacuum... not a real one - that would be way too windy to play with fire! But we work alone in our studios, making what we like, hoping it will sell or making what has sold in the past. It's guess work. And the same goes for jewelry designers. We list our items on websites and invariably, someone comes along and says, "I like your work and would like to have you make something for_________."

And it would seem they simply expect to pay an invoice and have it arrive in the mail.

But instead, most of us ask a ton of questions:

What type of piece are you looking for? (Bracelet, necklace, pendant, earrings, ring, cell phone charm?)

What colors does ____________ like? (It goes without saying, we wear our favorite colors most often.)

What are _______________'s favorite shapes? (Everyone has a shape that fascinates they could caress over and over. I love the way a piece feels as much as the way it looks!)

Is there a particular style of beads you are looking for? (Bold, graphic colors; Abstract designs; Cupcakes; Cute; Florals?)

What size of beads does _________ prefer? (I LOVE big, bold beads - I don't want anyone visually digging in my bosom to see what I'm wearing! But, my closest lampworking buddy freaks when she sees the size of my beads... her's are often the size of nickels or less. Scale is everything to an artist! And it means a lot in jewelry design. What will the customer be comfortable wearing?)

What metals? (Sterling, gold, copper, brass?)

And that question that both sides seem to dread - How much were you looking to spend?

We're not trying to be annoying. We're not trying to figure out how much we can get out of someone. No, we're trying to design a piece you / your giftee will love. And it's really hard to do that without much direction.

Think about it... I make focals that start at $10 and go up to around $75 - for ONE bead. There's a whole lot of leeway in there! Knowing what you're hoping to spend and what style of piece you are looking for really helps narrow the field.

A wire wrapped silver pendant is going to cost a lot less than a gold one. A copper piece is even less.

Awareness of the customer's favorite colors and style of beads also helps ensure they will be happy with the piece. The same goes for style of jewelry. I've let my earring holes grow shut because I'm on the phone so much that earrings annoy me. But I love a big fancy pendant or a really elaborate necklace when I go out.

When purchasing a custom piece, expect a conversation. It will make your designer's work much easier and you'll be so happy with the result.


I will return with that other painting post I promised... I 've decided to change tha up a bit, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Publicity Hound

I seem to be everywhere lately! Look what I found on Rosebud101's blog?

Thanks for the plug Mallory! You are a sweet heart.

Now, tune in tomorrow for ...another painting. I promise, I'll get back to beads after that!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Portrait of Moi!

A little non-glass art diversion today:

My friend and hiking buddy, Stella Boyd, is an amazing and gifted painter. She's made her living painting big backdrops for films as well as being a scenic painter on set. In her personal life, she paints watercolors almost every day. I love popping in to see what she's working on.

Last week, I saw she was working on this fantastic, very bright painting... not her usual palette! I loved it and was even more shocked to learn, it was a portrait of me!

She finished a few days later and now, it's being framed to hang on my living room wall. Allow me to present to you Adventurine - my alter-ego.

I'm sort of amused that she sees shy little me on stage! Note my red hair and my purple "wedding dress" - from an off-hand comment I made ages ago about never seeing myself march down the aisle in the whole white-presentation-0f-the-virgin frou frou that society expects!

Of course, Mabel Lou is by my side and ever so subtly in the background, flames....for my habit of playing with fire!

Oh and the "Adventurine" is a play on words. My favorite glass is me some sparkle! And, in the creek, I'm always having an adventure... So Stella calls me Adventurine! (Always with an exclamation point when spoken.)

I'm so in love with my new painting! I think I want to work it into my logo somehow!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Reminder for Houston Area Readers

I wanted to take a moment to remind everyone that my Fantasy Calla Pendant will be part of an auction to benefit the family of Martin Stevens Saturday night, July 11. You can read more about the benefit HERE.

You can read more about the fantastic auction items clicking here. All kinds of goodies have been donated - a sports nut's dream!! Artwork and art quilts, spa package, hotel package, jewelry and MORE. If you are in Houston, this is a great cause and a fun evening. $15 dollar donation at the door.

Saturday, July 11, 2009
Hilton Medical Center Hotel
6633 Travis Street
7 P.M. – 10 P.M.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sharing the Shells

I finally got around to listing one of my favorite seashells from this latest extra large series I've been doing...

Funny thing about this particular bead... It was my effort to make a small version of the shells I've been making! As an artist friend of mine says, "Scale is everything to an artist." We all have a size we are comfortable working in, and small is not mine!

But back to the an effort to make it small, I deliberately worked on a 1/16th mandrel. In the end, I thought all this glass was going to bend the mandrel! It was quite a feat to keep this puppy hot and happy and, because the bead is off center (deliberately so), spinning in the flame! In the end, it is my favorite of the series!

The bead starts as a hollow and then another layer of glass is added. The bead is allowed to droop and then, at the right moment, stabbed to create an opening and reveal all that lovely iridescent glass on the inside.

I'm loving this direction but will have to quit for a bit. Special orders await to be filled and I have to tackle this month's Art Bead Scene Project.

Please do check the Fire Diva's Blog for my Bead pick of the day!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Still Wading Along the Shore

My head is stuck in sea beads and I did manage to get a new shell up on Etsy today:
This is a HUGE focal...over an hour in the flame! I love it's more abstract shape and all the silver over ivory reactions going on... My new fave Chalcedony is there too as well as an irid glass at the top that makes it look like the creature inside is peeking out at the world. SIGH... I love this bead!

I also moved a seahorse from last summer over to the etsy shop in hopes she will find a home. She's a cutie patootie!

On another note: a friend has painted the cutest painting of ME! If you know me at all, you KNOW I hate, HATE having my picture taken. But this is a painting... And it made my day! I've got to get it scanned.... I think I want it to be a logo for my beads of sorts... but as soon as I can, I'll get it up here.

And, sadly, my godson's grandfather passed away suddenly today. I'm not sure how much I will be here this week. However, I have committed to blog on the Fire Divas blog every night this week!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Head Under Water

As I explained on the Folly site... I've been torching and torching ... and torching. But cleaning, staging, photographing beads and sizing the pics...not so much! I love making beads. I love selling beads.... it's just all that junk in the middle that is so time consuming and annoying! LOL! It's that part of life as a bead-maker that makes me feel like my head is under water.

Anyway, it's a holiday and I should do what I want, right??? More torching for sure!

But here's a teaser to come. Each of these babies took me over an HOUR EACH to make...They are huge and the colors are fantastic. Stay tuned! And from the looks of things, my head has been under water in more ways than one! LOL!
In the meantime, I actually made a new bead and put it straight up on Etsy:

Sunny Day at the beach

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Holly's Folly Kandinsky - June ABS Winner!

Oh my goodness... The good things keep on rolling! I won the Art Bead Scene's Monthly prize with my bracelet. Wow! It feels so good after struggling a bit with this design. I'm not a natural jewelery designer... I rip it out over and over! And I know I'm not the only one!

I do hope to get this up on the Holly's Folly site in a day or two. It' been a quiet but busy week and I'm torching every chance I get...instead of photographing beads!