Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My finger on the button

So we went to Florida for 6 days to visit my husband's parents and one of his sisters. We went last year, but only for three days, so this was a treat. It was my second visit to the state of Florida. They live on Anna Maria Island, which is below Tampa Bay. You can swim in the Bay or on the Gulf side depending on the wind. We stayed on the gulf side and went to the perfect beach every day. It was ridiculous! We love the super bright sun that makes everything go to eleven. And his family is wonderful so we were relaxed and well taken care of. Herons and egrets and ibis aplenty! I never get tired of seeing these incredible birds just standing in someone's front yard like a robin.

I hadn't packed any craft supplies (thought I would catch up on my reading) but on my way out the door to catch the plane from Manchester, NH, I impulsively grabbed my jewelry tools, sterling findings and some mother-of-pearl buttons from my vast vintage button collection. So here's what I made: (and I'm keeping them for myself!)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Latest Beads

I developed new polymer clay beads for this month's Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy challenge. The theme was mixed media so I combined my new roughly faceted poly clay beads with my wet-felted merino beads in mint. It's a wild combination, not for the shy! I also made matching earrings.

I love the little round mint poly clay beads I made to coordinate, they are so round and satisfying! To get that color, I mixed a mint I liked and then added a little of that to translucent clay and blended it completely. The result is almost like that of Fire King Jadeite. The translucent Premo clay has a nice firm texture that makes it nice for rolling round bead between your fingers.

I think the voting is usually around the 28th, so check in with the PCAGOE website from time to time to see if you can vote and enter to win a poly clay prize pack!

UPDATE: The winner is announced :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I am Buzzworthy!

According to the Lowell Sun. Here, Chester reads my press. He is not impressed. It's good that I have him around to keep me humble. (Here's a typical reaction from him.)

Anyway, here's a version of the article you can actually read (just click on it to make it bigger):

So despite all the typos, grammatical errors and innacuracies (It's not "homemade", it's handmade! And what "metal creations"? I could go on and on, I'm afraid) I am grateful to have such positive press in the local paper. In fact I have been grinning and hyperventilating all day.

Getting My Felt On

You heard me :) I love the felt! I love making little firm round felt beads, then I love making jewelry with them. I only learned felting this past winter, but it's been love at first warm sudsy squish.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Super Short Film #1

I have been borrowing my dad's Kodak digital camera to take pretty product shots. Then I found out it takes rough little films, like 16 millimeter for the digital age. I am going to start posting some of the films I take here on my blog. I think of them as vignettes. Hope you can view!! (Probably need a high speed connection)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Etsy Traveling Journal Redux

This previous post tells how I got involved in a collaborative project with other Etsians. From the etsyjournal blog:

"A handmade journal is passed from one Etsian to another, via the mail. Each participant gets a full spread in the journal to create, embellish, draw, paint, write, *whatever* they want. Then they pass it along to the next person until the entire book is filled."

So I have had the book for a week, I am hoping to mail it out today to the next in line. It came wrapped in red tissue, tied with a lacy cream satin ribbon. Origami cranes tumbled out of the envelope as I reached inside. When I opened the hand-bound journal, I saw the previous entries which were inspiring and helpful to cement the idea that had been floating in my head for my pages.

Lowell is gorgeous in the spring and since my shop name is all about being in Lowell, I thought it would be appropriate to paint a love letter to the bricks, the blue skies, and especially the blooming trees which are so glorious for a moment then gone. It's all about being in love with a moment, and in love with a city purely for its looks! I hope this doesn't make me shallow :)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Overcoming Inertia

I would calculate that fully one third of my creative day is spent overcoming inertia. I used to panic at the block, thinking it was permanent, immovable. It would grow and consume me, it was painful. But now (after some therapy, mind you) I find that though I am still struggling to start things, I now view it as part of the process. And accepting that has relieved the unpleasant grip on my stomach.

Now I structure my day by making a list of goals (well in advance of their due dates) that I don't expect to check off in order. Rather, I can sort through and pick from the list with the understanding that I have the right to leave undone any of the tasks without consequence as long as they are not part of a deadline.

This does not relieve the pressure, but it does feel more organic and more workable than a rigid timetable. It seems to leave more room for creative thinking and room for things to happen that I didn't plan for. Things like making an unexpected online connection with helpful information or a like-minded person, or thinking of a new object to make. It leaves room for the anxiety to roam around in a broader pasture which keeps it occupied and far enough away sometimes just long enough for me to grab a project on the list and start it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Newest Cards!

This one is dear to our family, Monique who is no longer with us. She was an exceptionally beautiful cat and mom loved to draw her.

Here is a bouquet that came from Morning Glory Farm! Doesn't it just burst off the page? I love how mom captured the colors of the stems through the glass.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Beautiful Day at Western Avenue

D and I went to Western Avenue for first Saturdays open studios. The day was so pretty we decided to walk over there. We got coffee and tea at Brew'd Awakening and took our time wandering down the canal toward the studios. I still can't get over how close to us that building is. Because of the way the roads are blocked off at the train tracks, you have to make a huge loop around to get there by car. It was weeks after I visited there the first time that I realized the old mill is visible from Thorndike Street on the way out of town. You can walk by the car wash and slip through the Jersey barriers to get there on foot. I know they are trying to get the road reopened, but a railroad crossing needs to be constructed, so I know it will not be an easy task. But that would be an enormous benefit to drawing people to the studios.

Once inside, we took the freight elevator to the fifth floor and visited each open studio (not everyone was in) and made our way down each floor. There are quite a few people I know in there and some I met for the first time. I was glad to see some jewelers! And of course Sonja and Ole in the Friend's Fabric Art studio where we got to see her hand sewn wedding dress and a bridesmaid dress in process. Beautiful! She also has many, many useful and unusual art supplies for me to spend my earnings on in the future!

So of course we had a wonderful time and I was excited to tell people how I was coming in soon, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. I even gave out a few postcards.

But the moment that really made the day was when we stepped into Mill A and saw that the studs were up and I could see the delineation of my studio parameters! THAT'S when I lost it. In a good way. And there was another artist looking at her future space and she seemed as excited as I was so that was very fun. They say June first, and I have signed a lease, so we'll just see!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

People you meet on the interwebs can be very generous

I met my husband online, so I am fairly convinced I can achieve all kinds of happiness by hooking up to the internet. But I am still amazed and full of joy whenever I meet someone online who shows the kind of generosity of spirit that I only expect from my family and closest friends.

Sandra Eileen is such a person and I want to thank her for this amazing feature she has posted on her blog. My heart is full and humble.

Please take a look at her gorgeous Etsy shop, the way she combines shapes and colors in her jewelry is delicious and elegant.

Low Fi Tools of the Art

Low Fi Tools of the Art
Originally uploaded by made in lowell.
Lost my tools yesterday. Actually, realized I didn't know where they were. Tore the apartment apart and drove myself nuts. Even started a thread in the Etsy forums!

Found them after D got home. He helped me puzzle out where to look. Turns out I had packed them to take to a friend's for show and tell and never unpacked them. I have been using these incredibly low-tech tools for years. Amazing how little you really need for polymer clay.

Glad to have them back :) Click on the picture to go to the original Flickr pic and read what the tools are for (though it's probably pretty obvious)

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

New Cards In My Shop!

I am slowly adding the cards I make from mom's drawings and watercolors. She has been very patient :) The latest designs are gorgeous; Daffodils and a line drawing of Evening Primrose. And there are many more to come!