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Friday, April 30, 2010

My Beads Will Be Out of This World!

I can't tell you how totally tickled I am that four of my beads were chosen to go up on the next U.S. Space Shuttle for the Beads of Courage Program.


There was a call for artists and I thought I had a chance to have one chosen because my beads are rather child friendly generally in design, so I sent in six choices, just in case.

Here are two of the ones that will be heading into space on May 14th at 2:19 pm EDT. You can bet that I'll be watching tv then.

Here's a link to the crew scheduled for this launch and a short description of what will be done.

But more importantly, I'm hoping that the beads will somehow inspire or bring happiness to the kids who are in the Beads of Courage program.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

US Mint Call for Artists

Did you see this call for artists?

The United States Mint is looking for American professional artists to help design coins, certificates of authenticity and promotional materials.

Wouldn't that be sweet, having a coin in circulation that you designed? Here is the link for more information on the program. And if you are chosen...PLEASE let me know. That would be so exciting to hear about.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Back from Italy and....

I feel like I have a bit of a split personality...both happy and sad to have returned from my wonderful trip to Italy.

Knowing it was a chance in a lifetime, I enjoyed every minute there. Made new friends, saw lots of sights and took an amazing class with Lucio Bubacco.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll post photos and share with you a little more of what I saw and experienced in my adventure.

For now, I'll leave you with this shot of one of the small Venetian canals. I could never get enough of these types of views...perhaps it's the old watercolor artist in me. But to my eye, the combination of the slightly crumbling textures along with the glassy water, makes a composition worth looking at twice.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Euclide's Vision

Artist Gregory Euclide constructs landscapes depicting nature as idealized images.

His recent work starts with a beautifully rendered painting and then he adds bits of nature and other materials to make it protrude from the original piece.

He might add layers of paper, pine needles, ferns and even styrofoam to depict his vision.

Stop by his website and take a peek. I think you might enjoy the 2D into 3D approach and stylized way he represents his landscapes.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Photographing Beauty

International photographer, Thomas Straub's work sends little chills of delight, when I look at his beautiful pictures.

Fashion, jewelry and still life are just a few of the categories that this German born, Paris based artist books.

These two photos were taken for Vogue Magazine, although he does a lot of advertising photography for clients such as De Beers, Piaget, Yves St. Laurent and Hennessy.

Click on his website and just poke around. I promise, you won't be sorry.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stephanie Simek's Jewelery

I was delighted to find this pearlized Turbo Cinereus shell necklace by Stephanie Simek.

Seashells are always a favorite, but she's also added the extra touch of filling it with a silvery powder, than when gently tapped, dusts the wearer's chest.

She includes a natural cork to fit in the opening, which works as a stopper too.

It's about an inch and on a Sterling Silver chain.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Handy Amusement

Hand tattoo decals. I had no idea how entertaining this concept could be while beadmaking.

I noticed these on, which is a wonderful Australian website.
I think technically they are supposed to be more for kids, but I bet they wouldn't mind if we bought them.

They're non toxic and applied with water. You can find them here. And "monster hands" are available too.

I'm thinking I might need a set to see if my hypothesis is correct. Can we make beadmaking even more fun than it already is? Let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sketching on Glass

I recently tried "sketching" on glass to see what the results would be like. And the answer is...I need a little practice!

I wanted to try the equivalent of a line drawing on a simple background. So I picked up a piece of stringer and after laying down the first line, realized, I should have chose a more opaque piece. so I went over the same line again and made the "sketch" too wide.

Ah, life's lessons. And after looking at this bead some more, I think I would want the "drawing" to be smaller for a better proportion. So I will try it again sometime. But meanwhile, I'm hoping you'll post links to some of your "sketch" beads and show me what you can do too!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dawn Wain ~ Nature's Jewelry

Dawn Wain's exquisite jewelry from nature, fashioned by her hands is something you want to gently touch to see what it feels like.

She creates large art pieces which are striking and yet, don't seem over the top, because of the patterns, colors and textures.

I've included a link to her website gallery, which gives you a better scope of her creations.

I visited with Dawn in person, and was delighted by her personality. She told me how she encourages customers and friends to increase the size of the pieces that they wear a little bit each year. She is a petite woman and her neckpiece included Asian paintbrushes as well as other large focals. She wore them with flair and although you notice it, it doesn't smack you in the face. Dawn mentioned that part of the trick is to wear clothes that coordinate with your very large necklace, so it seems more like art and blends in slightly with its background.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Car Shopping- It's All In The Details

Shopping for a new car with different look?

Have I got a deal for you. (well, they're actually expensive!)

I found these cars on a movie prop website, and these are left over from one of the Flintstone movies.

I wanted you to see what they look like in the broad daylight and also to think about adding details and interest.

Of course I'd like to hear what you were thinking, but here are some of the things I noticed....

The sports car on top is embellished with faux wood and seashells to look long slung, sleek and expensive for a prehistoric times. Funny how they've achieved that, in such a chunky way. It's called a Maserocki and is available for only $55,000. (wow!)

The lower vehicle is mean to look like a SUV and the natural colors, skull like body, and massive horns do give it a rugged look. It's called a 4 Heel Drive and I can't help but imagine the old Flintstone cartoons with Fred sticking his feet out to brake when driving his car. This one is a deal...only $40,000.

The designers have done a great job to show us visually how these cavemen imaginary cars translate into our current frame of references. They add details to enhance their car's focus and point of view. I think as artists, we need to keep this in mind. Are the details extraneous that we are adding, or do they enhance what we are trying to say as an artist? It's a good point to ponder as we create.

See you tomorrow, right here at

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bee Girl Sparkles

Corny bee jokes aside, this cute little bee girl has been hanging out with my other lampwork glass beads and creating a bit of a buzz.

I was experimenting a bit and she was my first one. I wanted to see what adding silver glass to my wings would do. And she was the result. I found out something...that I prefer silver glass to totally cover the wing area, instead of the tiny dab, that I attempted this first time.

It shows up as much more splotchy in the photo, and has a lovely lustre in person. But if it doesn't translate well in a photo, then it won't sell as easily anyhow. So she's mine. At least for now. Or until I have a show where someone can see her for who she truly is. A honey of a bead.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dance Like You've Never Danced Before

Artist Nick Cave's SOUNDSUITS totally delight me. Cave, who is a faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a former Alvin Ailey dancer, has been creating these for years, and is inspired by African ceremonial clothing and masks and their spiritual influence.

I see these and think "bead recycling" on the left and "technicolor Sasquatch" on the right, although neither is accurate. What do you think?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jeanette Montgomery Barron

Photographer Jeanette Montgomery Barron was known for her portraits of the New York art world in the 1980's.

This web page includes some stories of her life in the art world. She entered in her 20's and photographed some really big names. Jeanette also recounts some little stories about life, her surreal lunches with Warhol, and other tidbits.

Basquiat, Warhol, Mapplethorpe and more are featured here. Her work has been made into books and of course is found in many museums.

I chose this photo of Keith Haring, whose energetic pose looks like he belongs in one of his own paintings.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Black Cats & Winged Hearts

I was playing around with surface design the other day and decided to try a little black cat on a bead.

Making a base bead was easy and I added a little color to what seemed rather bland standing alone. So aqua swirls joined the periwinkle base. I had considered using frit, but I preferred less contrast.

After the base bead was made and flattened, I started adding the black kitty. I wanted to mostly melt in the design, keeping part of it raised. The funny thing for me, is working with a black animal. I find I want to add either dimension, or details to bring out the features.
A bright orchid color collar helps in this instance. as well as the eyes and ears to help bring out her face.

I almost always make a small heart on the back side of my beads, if there's a place. On this one, I added some wings to not only add interest, but fill in a little space. I'm going to make more winged hearts on my beads. What is it about them, that makes them appealing?

In all, it makes a sweet little bead. Decorative and fun, it's sure to make someone smile. And that's what is important.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good Morning from Murano

I am staying across the "street" from the canal through Murano and when I open my window, this is the first thing I see each day. What a view.

I can hear the people passing by below chatting away and see others waving out of their windows to friends.

I said street, but I really haven't seen cars since I arrived. Everyone walks and takes boats to go places. Boats are buses, taxis and of course the gondolas are wonderful tourist attractions. We see those in Venice.

But Murano is different. More like a small town here where people know each other. I think I read about 5000 live on this island. And so many are in the glass business. Everywhere you go, you see glass shops, or workshops tucked away. I'll add more photos later on. But wish me luck. My first day of class is today. And I'm so excited, I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gizmo Skirt

I happened upon this "Gizmo Skirt" by BRIAN LICHTENBERG made from tweed with Swarovski eyes...and the ears are pockets.

I can't help but wonder, who wears this? And yet, I am strangely drawn to this absurd, but somewhat charming skirt. It certainly is an attention getter and makes me smile each time I look at it.

What do you think? Do you know anyone who would wear it, much less pay $2100 for it? Or, is it an attention grabber for this designer, to bring eyes to the rest of his clothes? Should we be learning a lesson from it in marketing?

Let me know what you think. I'd love to know.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hand Stabilizers

I noticed this "Ultimate Hand Stabilizer" (large) on the ABR website. I love the idea that it's magnetic and ergonomic too.

I've noticed over the years, that various equipment is used to help give us a little steadiness, when creating detailed work. This one's simplicity intrigues me.

So I thought I'd ask you today, what do you use to support your hands when doing that teeny tiny line, or dot, that a slightly shaky hand can throw off?

I've heard stories from over turned flower pots, to aluminum foil covered toilet paper rolls, (okay, I have one, it's soft and cheap!) to a Creation Stations (I have one of those too!) and other creative solutions, whether manufactured or handmade.

Spill your guts. What do you love to use and why? If it is commercially offered, please post a link too.

We'd all love to hear what makes you work more easily, so give us a shout and tell us about it.
See you tomorrow!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Used Coffee Cups Have A Better Life

What a fun use for used coffee cups! Can you just picture someone at a coffee shop drawing away after they drained their cup? I wonder if these are fellow coffee drinkers from that same spot.

I found these on a website that is "illustration and things"

Do you have any great uses for items that you would tend to discard? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Counting Down the Hours

I'm so excited. I leave tomorrow for my trip to Italy. Venice and Murano are on the list, as well as a fabulous class in Murano.

I'll try to post a few times while visiting, but just in case, I've prepared some blog posts to tide you over until I return. Cross your fingers though. I'm hoping to send some photos while there.

Any travel tips, thoughts, or other words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated too. Ciao!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tennyson the Armadillo

I've never seen a live armadillo before, but they interest me. So strange looking and have some fun texture to their body.

It probably doesn't come as a surprise to you then, that I wanted to try making a glass one that had quirky patterns on it's shell. (or whatever you call its exterior)

I decided to use neutral colors too. Just for something different. Needless to say, I tend to think they'd be much more attractive with a red and turquoise gaily decorated exterior, but Mama Nature didn't have the same sense of humor.

So meet Tennyson the armadillo. He's just posing in the top photo. Showing you what happened to his Uncle Army when crossing the road at the wrong time. I hear it happens a lot.

See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Charley Harper and Cardinals

Artist Charley Harper was known for his stylized wildlife depictions. Whether it was prints, posters, illustrations or other media, you could see what he called, "minimal realism". He wanted to show the essence of his subject with the fewest details.

When asked to describe what he does, Charley said, "When I look at a wildlife or nature subject, I don’t see the feathers in the wings, I just count the wings. I see exciting shapes, color combinations, patterns, textures, fascinating behavior and endless possibilities for making interesting pictures. ."

I chose these housewares with his design, because I have a special place in my heart for cardinals. Perhaps it's more like a family conclave who live in my yard, and one pair who especially touch me.

Every day, I see when the female is at the birdfeeder, the male is nearby watching out for her. It's nice to know chivalry exists in the bird world....or is that, "safety in numbers"? Either way, I like what I see.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Amelia's World

I came across photographer Robin Schwartz, whose daughter Amelia, is often featured in photos with animals.

Schwartz mentions that animals, fantasy and of course her beloved, only child, Amelia dream and discover a world that they invent together.

(Wait until you see the rest of them!) None of the photos were photoshopped and yet, they all look magical in their own way.

Schwartz's photographs are in the National Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and many others.

See you tomorrow for a little more magic.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Treasures- Now Available

The Ebay auctions to benefit glass bead artist and jewelry designer Michelle Goldstein and her family has gone live now and bidding is open.

For years, I have heard her name- mostly as "Meesh" and just wonderful things about her- but it sounds like life has given her lemons.

Her husband and the father of her kids is rapidly declining. She's caring around the clock for him and being young, the "back up plan" hadn't been put into place. So glass artists, jewelry artists and friends have come together to help her out.

I first found out about it, through a post by Gail Crossman Moore. Although not knowing Meesh personally, Gail's plea for help, really touched me.

And now hopefully you'll see something and help.

It was hard choosing a photo from the auctions to represent all of them. Terri Caspary Schmidt's "Bird Bead" using masked dots and etching, has always been a long term favorite. I own one similar to this and still take it out and marvel at how much I enjoy it.

I am always proud of the way the glass and jewelry artist community supports our friends- especially when needed. Hope you find a treasure that you want love too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hipster Puppies and Anthropomorphism

I've always loved Boston Terriers. My friend has one named Sprocket who is dressed in leather and studs and seems quite pleased with his appearance. But his owner is a bit of a biker chick and they look pretty cute together.

Just recently, I saw this website... hipster puppies and fell in love. I haven't ever seen a dog in glasses and a scarf, and I totally fell in love. What a cutie.

So I'm asking you a couple of questions today, do you or would you dress up your pet? If so, what's the most outrageous or cutest outfit that your pet wears (or your friend's pet wears)?

Anthropomorphism (which is the term for attribution of human characteristics to a non-human being- like animals or plants) tends to always intrigue me. Whether the roots are from children's stories that I've always loved or somewhere else, I tend to smile when I see it occurring. Clothes do make the creature, whatever it is. Here is one of my beads that illustrates that. Definitely a handmade glass necklace makes her look ravishing, so to speak.

See you tomorrow for a little more fun. Right here,

Friday, April 2, 2010

College Notebooks Used for Libations

I have always been a fan of the black and white college notebooks. I just didn't know how big of a fan, until I saw this product.

Nothing like having a "Secret Hidden Flask" in a school notebook. I just hope no one is fooled by it. Seriously, who would carry around a book with that title anyhow. But it does make me laugh.

One year I got all the relatives the flasks that were masquerading as cell phones. That's when cell phones were large enough to hide a reasonable amount of liquids. Any more, they're not big enough for even a shot. Doesn't do you much good, if you know what I mean.

So thought I'd just toss this one out here. and if you poke around on the website, you might find all kinds of interesting things. I think these full body tattoo shirts are quite interesting. The men's geisha dragon shirt is my favorite. What about you?

And don't miss the body jewelry. It doesn't interest me personally to wear it, but I'm such a nerd, I'm looking at the piercing tools to see if I want any to use for my glass.

So have some fun and look around. I know, it's not the most polite or PC stuff, but definitely interesting, so what the heck. And I'll see you back here tomorrow for more fun stuff or perhaps it's a good day to discuss glass art.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Scientists Develop Muscular Trout

Muscular trout? Who knew that there are body builder rainbows out there?

Well...scientists from the University of Rhode Island's Department of Fisheries have been working to genetically engineer these hunks. They have 15 - 20% more flesh on them and really look weird. (okay, the last part was just my opinion.)

Scientists injected 20,000 trout eggs with dna from other species making them transgenic. It apparently worked on about 300 fish, making them more muscular.

And you know one of the most interesting things about all of this? It isn't an April Fool's joke. You can read about it here.

See you tomorrow. And I promise, no more weird fish stories.