Sunday, June 28, 2009

Studio Time: The Dalmation Wears Lipstick

I was trying to figure out what movie I was in the mood to watch the other night. It was a toss-up between Monty Python's The Holy Grail and Mansfield Park.

Does anyone else have this struggle?

Anyway, I find I'm a silly mix of characteristics: 30% pragmatic (it varies daily), 30-40% creative (again varies daily...and this is an aspect of my life I've only recently unleashed), 6% poet, 12% nonsense, 8% humor, and the rest TBD.

Anyway, today's jewelry is a bit of nonsense--I decided to name it

The Dalmation Wears Lipstick

If Pongo took his Missis Pongo out on a date, this is the perfect set that would complement a Dalmation couple. Missis Pongo would dress up in her best red collar with these beads adorning the collar and her bright, beautiful Dalmation fur. An evening of wining, dining, and dancing for a handsome couple.

On the serious side...oh, never mind...this isn't a serious set. It's a perfectly quirky set. Originally inspired by black and white polka dot shoes with red toes and red heels, this is an 18-inch necklace with one of my floral disks dangling at approximately 1.5 inches. It is completely handmade by me. The dalmation spotted beads, the red spacers (in dreamy Sangre red), with three floral disks and one Cruella DeVil organic disk (spotted on one side and white on the back side) are individually handmade, kiln-annealed, and cleaned by me. It's strung up on coils of silver with hand-hammered eye-loops. It is paired with a simple set of earrings that hang 1.75 inches from the drop.

Because I make one-of-a-kind pieces and usually don't repeat the same exact design, I always do a "test-wearing" to make sure it's comfortable, it hangs right, doesn't get twisted up during the day, and there are no uncomfortable, pointy metal ends sticking out. And it wears beautifully. Despite being slightly quirky, it's actually really cute would look fabulous with a button-down, scoop-neck or v-neck shirt.

The set will be available for $140 in my Artfire shop.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hong Kong Chronicles: Tram Training

I went to the chiropractor for a migraine last week. I thought, "I'll be smart and cheap and take the $2 tram since it ends up right in front of where I want to be."

$44 later I ended up at my doctor's office. (Note: that's Hong Kong Dollars or about $5.60 USD.)

Sigh. There isn't a single straight street here. Between crooked streets, underground warrens of the MTR, and back alleys, even the most healthy of sense-of-direction egos can suffer bruises here. I have a 95% good sense of direction (thanks, Pops!). And then there is the remaining 5%...
The good news for the directionally challenged is that Hong Kong (city proper) is an island. Mountains on one side, sea on the other. If you get to either one, you've gone too far. You might go in circles endlessly, though.

Back to the story: I was so pleased I got to the tram where my friend showed me to go. It's cheap! $2! It lands me where I want to go! So, I'm paying attention to landmarks and looking for interesting things. I noted a bigger stationery shop. Then we passed Victoria Park and Hong Kong Library. Warning bells should have been ringing, but all I thought was, "Huh. I thought Tai Hang was the other way. Oh, well. Must have been looking at the map wrong."

Then I saw the Tin Hau MTR stop. DING! DING! DING! RED LIGHTS! SIRENS!


1 tram ride the wrong way = $2
1 taxi ride to get to my doctor's office = $40
1 tram ride to get the rest of the way because the taxi driver didn't understand enough English to drop me off closer = $2

Then, because I was so late getting there, I wanted to get back to the office in a reasonable fashion. $55 back.

Yeah. My cheap $4 (to-and-from) tram ride cost me $99 HKD.

Well, now I've had my tram training. And usually, two losts make a found for me. Next time I'm lost this way, I should know what I'm doing better.

Yeah. That's it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Artfully Meandering: Local Street Art

Part of my commute is an area where you can find people performing or begging. There are some disabled ones I see regularly that I occasionally donate to. One of the performing groups is a bagpipe and drum. They're quite good! It's a little jarring to see a Chinese person playing bagpipes, but, again, they're good!

Some of the disabled ones work for their money. They play instruments, draw, do Chinese calligraphy. This street artist has been the one that has blown me away the most.

What moves me about his art: since I've been learning Mandarin, I've been learning (slowly) to read traditional and simplified Chinese. I want to learn to write. I think it's pretty. It's foundation is a pictorial system. It's so fascinating to me. I have been make rough attempts at learning to write for 8 years. It still looks like a 3-year-old wrote it.

This man has no fingers on one of his using two hands he writes the most perfect blocks of Chinese text I have ever seen.

Side note: I have no idea what it says. The angle is wrong...I can read some of the characters, but I only know about 300 characters. Maybe 400 on the high side. To put that in perspective, according to once source I read, there was a study done on 900 classical Chinese works and they found 5,000 unique symbols. Just so you don't worry, it takes about 1,200 characters to be able to read a newspaper. So, I'm between 25-33% there.

I didn't get better pictures because my camera was on the last morsel of battery juice and I was able to snap only these two. This is the first time I saw him. I hope to see him again so I can get better pictures. Just had to share some local art...there are some incredible artists here!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Studio Time: Create? Administrate?

Help! I can't stop creating long enough to administrate! See all these goodies below? They need to be tagged and stocked in my Artfire shop. But, I can't stop the flow of ideas long enough to do it. I meant to do it tonight. I had my plans: make dinner, study, do some tagging...

Yeah, well, I got dinner in...then I had to divert to play with fire and glass. I was only going to do an hour and well, you know how that goes. Then I went down and cleaned last night's beads and Ideas came gushing out of my head and...well, I just had to keep going!

What's fun for me is the monthly themes I have created have been pushing my brain and I've started seeing a personal style emerge. A style that feels really unique, and really me. It will be really apparent once I can get my act together and finish the administration...then you can see the progression! A little preview is below which is just beginning to segue into next month's theme, "Southwest."

The story for this half-finished piece (I'm undecided on the finish...leather or chain maille...)

I've been doing florals for this month's theme and hit on the floral disk. I'm improving in my skill and execution of the florals. They're getting better, more consistent. Now I'm starting to embellish the disks with frames. One of my neighbors requested a white necklace. Yawn. What can I do to white? Ah! Florals! Of course! So, I do a set of five florals with the intention of creating a convertible necklace that can be worn as one long one or two short ones....(more on that when I actually finish...)

After a series of white beads...MUST DO SOMETHING TO WHITE! Dots! Dalmation dots. I did one bead the first night. It's a Cruella DeVil bead...white on one side and Dalmation dotted on the other. It's not quite a disk, but I'll be using it sometime.

After doing the Dalmation bead, I saw the most delicious shoes. (I miss cute shoes. For the practical girl who didn't have enough money for cute shoes until the last 5 years to go on a starvation diet from cute's torture! I try to wear cute shoes, but every time I do, I end up with two feet full of blisters.) I digress...I saw a lady wearing black and white polka-dot shoes with red accents. I've been trying to figure out how to convey that in a bead.

Oila! Below! I'm quite excited with this combo...I think I'm going to call it, The Dalmation Wears Lipstick. I wired up some coordinating spacers on a vine of silver. But, I'm struggling with the finish...

Does the leather bug you? I like it...but, it just doesn't seem right. I was going to fiddle with Double Spiral Chain Maille, but I'm not sure about that either. Or maybe embellished hammered silver wire. Any ideas?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Creative Finds: Artful Blogging

The first time I saw Artful Blogging, I thought, "What? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?" I ended up buying it because I loved the photos of the featured blogs. It was such a pretty journal. Now that I'm here in Hong Kong, it's the only journal I decided to spend the money and shelf space on. Why? First, it features articles from a selection of the best blogs out there. The eye-candy alone is worth the money. Second, it gives great ideas from experienced bloggers on things you can do to improve your own blog. Third, it gives me broad exposure to blogs I might never have found otherwise. It has become a staple in my art library.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Studio Time: Today's Eye Candy - Aqua-Turquoise Swirl Jeweled Necklace and Earrings

I have piles of pretty beads sitting in front of me waiting for me to get organized (and get over my migraines) to post for sale in my shop. In the meantime. I couldn't stand it. I had to snag a set of my own and create these Aqua-Turquoise Swirl Jeweled Necklace and never do glass and Swarovski crystals justice.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Creative Finds: Noisy Plume Blogfest

Nancy McKay initiated a Noisy Plume blogfest to support Jillian at her Missoula Made fair this weekend. So, I'm going to repeat one of the previous posts I did regarding why The Noisy Plume is one of my favorite blogs to read......

There are many many things that have melded together into my brain and help me form my creativity. Last September, I wanted to refine my blog. I've been wandering around various blogs, trying get some creative juices going to help me figure "who I want to grow up to be" as Kanna Glass Studios.

For inspiration about how to write a blog, one of my "must-reads" is by Jillian at The Noisy Plume. She writes prose and poetry to the tune of her daily life as she swings her hammer and forms delectable silver jewelry. Go check out her work! Gorgeous! It's a must read and her sought-after jewelry is a must-purchase...if you can get your hands on any of has a tendency to fly off the shelves.

When I try to think of where I want to go as me (Kanna Glass Studios) and I start getting off track, her blog is one of the touchstones I come back to for helping me stay focused on the goal of inspire-inform-entertain. Things I've learned from reading her blog: 1) she writes in her own, unique creative voice, 2) she lives her life creatively, 3) she takes photos of her life and draws that into inspiration for her jewelry 4) she maintains a positive, creative focus. If you have time to read her blog from the start, you'll find this consistency throughout.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Studio News: Designers Challenge & Bead Giveaway

Wow! Wow! Wow! The designers and artists who took up the challenges in the last few months have produced spectacular results.

Remember my version of French Country?

Kookie Designs
Check out Mel's spectacular cocktail ring. The focal is a bead from Mindy Moogin (fabulous bead) finished off with a plethora of color, so Mel! I LOVE the combination of colors and materials.

2009 (C) Kookie Designs

Reprinted with permission of Mel Poxxon

I'm also completely in love with this piece. I love how butterflies were incorporated. I feel like I'm in a lavendar field. So creative!

2009 (C) Kookie Designs

Reprinted with permission of Mel Poxxon

Nancy McKay

Nancy's blog is a delightful place to gather and absorb her photos full of light, florals, and tea. And you should see her recent photos from a trip to Belize. Spectacular capture of lines and design and the essence of Belize. I want to be there!

Nancy took up the Urban Primose Challenge. This is my favorite photo - she captured BOTH the organic design of one building, and the simple geometric of the other building. This idea has been rattling in my mind for a while as inspiration to one of my future pieces in glass and silver. It seems more time to bake, but I'm excited by the spurring of creativity!

2009 (C) Nancy McKay
Reprinted with permission of Nancy McKay


I've started a new bead design for me. I have several ways I'm incorporating this bead into my designs. I'd like to give another designer/artist and opportunity to incorporate this bead into their jewelry. It's a classic, two-toned swirl bead in a base of Glacier swirled with blue.

How to win: just post a comment on this blog. You will be entered into a drawing. Drawing and winner will be announced on Tuesday, June 16.

If you win, there is a complementary set of beads in my Artfire shop for $20.

Last, I just had to mention I posted a set of Carribean beads in my shop as well. I'm having a hard time parting with them because every time I look at them, I get a little flutter of excitement. These are my favorite colors EVER. However, I can make more. I'd love to see what another designer can do. These are available in the Artfire store for $35

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Studio Time: Light & Dark Turquoise

Turquoise and green are my favorite, favorite colors to wear. I recently got my hands on light turquoise. So, naturally swirling light and dark together seemed a no brainer. And it's SOOO CUTE! This floral disk bead is cute as a button! (Hmmm...I think I have ideas for future projects.) It's 18 mm across...

This set of small beads complements the Light & Dark Turquoise Floral Disk bead. I love turquoise and green and it seemed like a no brainer to swirl the two together. They're pretty and dainty (7-8mm) and have so much potential for your designs!

Availabe in Artfire.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Studio Time: Violet and Lime Swirls

What do you do with a severe night of insomnia? Take the pile o' pretties...

String 'em ready for new home in the hands of talented designers...

I will have to do multiple posts on the beads available, but here is the first set.

I translated some simplistic floral doodles I had into glass. And my first attempts knocked my socks off. I had a concept! I was so excited. I'm still refining the swirl process and still working on getting good precision with the placement of the petals, so this is a very organic bead. I have to say though...I really really like the organic style. The bead is approximately 23mm across. It is swirled with violet, lime green, a smidge of turquoise and framed with transparent purple.

This is a set of complementary rounds in a range from 7mm -13mm. Sold separately.

Both are available in my Artfire store.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Studio Time: I'm so excited about a direction I'm taking...

I don't know if I'll have the patience to schedule this as a post for tomorrow or if I'll just shoot this off tonight...but, here is what I've been working on the last few days. That's 130 beads, plus a few from a previous session. Except for the florals, these are small beads...5-7mm range. This is a rice bowl we use here in Hong Kong. (The florals are another story for another post.)

What I'm really excited about: I think I'm beginning to find the foundation for my artistic voice. I've been looking for it for two years. I pulled out some of my new, new, newbie beads a while ago and was contemplating some swirl beads I had made and thinking about how I would go about that again. It was using a lot of stringer and encasing in various colors. One of the beads had a neat faux malachite look to it. Anyway, it's one that's been rattling in my mind for the two years since I originally made it.

What returned me to this path: I made some Kiwi Bead Berries as a giveaway. It was a Vetrofond Odd Lot of transparent green encased in opaque and it made a swirl bead. Kristin, at KS Jewellery, was my lovely winner. She made a beautiful set of earrings and a pendant out of them. Then she requested a set of swirly beads in specific colors. Oooh, that spun my brain off on a wild, and wildly fun tangent for me. It created a challenge, because I couldn't exactly replicate that was a 4-5mm rod with a thin, 1mm sheath of opaque. Hm...I tried a few experiments and then came up with a method that created a stronger striation but was still pretty close to the original Kiwi. Then I started experimenting with multi-colors...up to four in one beads and I'm really, really excited about those. They offer such richness and depth. (More on the multi-color swirls later.)

But, back to the more classic beads in two-tone are the six sets of six beads I just finished off for Kristin last night. They're in demure sizes of the 5-7mm range.

Sorry for the lighting and the colors possibly not showing up that well. I had to use late-in-the-day lighting, with artificial fluorescent lighting. Even with photoshopping and camera settings, it's still not as good as daylight. I'll give you the overall color (I'm debating on releasing the actual "recipe" at the moment, since it's such a new thing for experienced beadmakers will probably easily recognize the colors...)

The purple swirls.

The aqua swirls.

The Lilac swirls.

The Pink Swirls

The Blue swirls

And my favorite, the Cherry swirls.

I'm going to share this recipe because I'm really delighted with it. I've been struggling with the striking reds like Tag Black Cherry and the Aroncio Perfecto. I'm sure it's just my newbieness. The Tag just turns black. The Aroncio, I get varying results. With the swirl method I developed, I decided to use two shades of opaque red...medium red (I think it's Effetre) and CiM Sangre. Both of these are really, really strong colors. Although the pictures show the swirls, these are blown up in the photos. The beads are still quite strong in person, but the striations are there. It helped to "cut" the red by swirling the two around clear and letting the clear be the main color. This cut the reds down a bit and allowed some swirliness. I've been aching for a transparent red and I think I've found a way to get it. It's interesting, I did a batch of the Aroncio with the Sangre one night, then the next night I did the Medium Red, Sangre, and clear. When you put them together, they look very, very similar. But, the latter combo was more consistent since the Aroncio is striking and needs skill (that I'm still learning) to get a consistent color. Plus the Aroncio has just a slight orange hue to it. I love the deeper, Spanish red. I need to attempt this in some bigger pieces. But, that's a project for later. Right now, I'm a swirly binge and can't wait to try all kinds of color combos.

And finally, the beads belows are available in my Artfire shop. I am a very big fan of CiM colors. The first reason, is that Dana and Kathy are so responsive to artist requests...even newbie artists like me. I only have a teeny, tiny, itty-bitty presence in the glass world being new, and not having a definable style yet. CiM welcomes artist suggestions and feedback. Anyway, I suggested a chocolately brown. And I was actually heard. I was able to experiment with the Tamarind as an answer to that request and I'm so happy with it! It's a caramel, chocolate, coffee-with-cream type of brown. Paired with Adamantium (a dark chocolate with a gray tinge) and Phoenix (a warm orange-peachy), it makes a beautifully, yummy autumn set of beads. Below is the three colors swirled together.

Below is a set of 10 spacers that complement the above bead set.

I have so many more swirl combos to show you, but I think that's enough eye candy for tonight. Toodles for now!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Studio Time: Striking Sapphire

The glass beads are these unbelievably gorgeous Sapphire blue by Creation is Messy. Even though these were simple spacers, they are strikingly gorgeous. I've been planning to do a simple pairing with silver. I had done 12 inches of the spacers and wire-wrapped eye-loops. Then I got distracted with the new barrel weave from Urban Maille. I did 24 inches of the barrel weave and they landed next to sapphire beads... hmmmm... rather than finish either off as separate necklaces, I finished them off as a spectacular 36 inch opera-length necklace.

Complementary earrings.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Hong Kong Chronicles: Let the Screaming Begin

I’ve been having my first critter experiences in my new home.

First, I live with mosquitoes. In my apartment. I know my apartment isn’t air tight, but I kill 5-6 mosquitoes every night and have 4-5 new bites every night. I have taken to wearing mosquito spray inside my house. I scare Molly to bits when I go on a mosquito-killing rampage. It scares her to the point of making her rush off to her box and making her shiver with fright. I’m not quite sure what it is that scares her so much. Then again, if you're 15 inches tall and your mistress goes around clapping hands in the air, flailing arms, and slapping at the wall, you might run away in fright, too.

Second, I had a little gecko lizard hanging out in the apartment. I saw something run from my bathroom to one of the bedrooms out of the corner of my eye. I had a suspicion it was the gecko, but I’ve seen VERY LARGE ROACHES and heard there are also large spiders. I had the geckos all over my house in Texas. They make me feel at home. Thank goodness, it was the gecko. I let him be.

However, I saw one of the VERY LARGE ROACHES (VLR) in my bathroom the other day. When I saw him I knew there was going to be screaming. I think the feeling was mutual. I’m pretty sure the screaming was mutual as well. He was crawling on my laundry basket. This is one of the large water roaches. I think he was about 1.5 inches in length. I may be exaggerating. (I think adrenaline can do that to you.) But, he weren’t one of the little roaches. After a few chases, I managed to capture him under a glass, slip some cardboard under and dumped him in the toilet. Only he was big enough to jump out of the water. (Let the screaming commence. Both of us.) He didn’t jump out of the toilet. He just ran around under the rim. It was really creepy. B-Movie Creepy. After screaming and flushing ten times, I felt safe leaving the bathroom. With visions of that VLR running around under the rim of the toilet, I now do a “pre-flush” before I use the facilities. I really don’t want to be surprised.

Do you want to know how big he was? Check out this cartoon...

(Note: I know this cartoon is copyrighted, but I don't know where else to link to it...I'll remove it if requested.)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Studio Time: Blooms

I almost didn't do Blooming in June. I even had a theme worked for it. But, I was struggling with the execution. I didn't have any floral beads. I had some opionated pieces that were wandering off on their own creative path. See! I was planning it! But, jewelry was starting to get it's own ideas.

Somehow, this doogle jogged the final idea for my packaging. I finally buckled down and did my packaging that I've been procrastinating on. I'm coming back to gingham with my graphic flowers inspired by the above doodle and handled with colored pencils, and scanned back in as a pillow.
I almost moved up the July theme of southwest. But, I had an epiphany with the Kristin suggestion for swirl beads.

I’m really excited about my new design for a few reasons. First of all, I read a lot of glass blogs. But I haven’t seen this design anywhere. The swirl design and the floral shape feel unique to me. It feels really nice to have created something solely out of my head out of a combination of my thoughts, techniques, and designs. They aren’t that hard. For that reason, I’m sure they have already been done somewhere else. But I haven’t seen them. So, that’s where it feels good to be a little unique (even if only for a short bit). Beyond that, these beads are so me. They represent the southwest design sensibility that is the epitome of me – clean, uncluttered, simple, and organic. As I develop more skill with the techniques, I’m sure I’ll be able to create a more perfectly formed flower…but, I really like the organic shape.

Tucson Bead Set

Blushing Bloom Pendant
My Artfire store got reset and needs to be updated. The bead set and pendant will be in the Artfire shop sometime this weekend. Have a great day, y'all!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Studio Time: Blooming in June

joyful and vibrant
a photographer's delight
blooming, blushing, bright

Flowers are a popular motif and obvious inspiration choice. For me, it's coming back to a comfort zone. But even in a comfort zone, you can still challenge yourself. Try a color that you don't normally choose. Try an unusual color combination. Zoom in on a piece and abstract the flower. Work with negative space. Ready? Set? Go!

Flickr Group

I'm working on setting up a Flickr group for submitting photos of those who take up the creative challenge. If you're interested in participating, let me know your Flickr ID. It will be invitation only. (Actually, I'm a little nervous about creating and moderating a public group...)

Nancy McKay, has some really beautiful tea/floral photography. I love how she captures light in her blog. Anyway, she took up the challenge last month and came up with some fabulous photos capturing geometric patterns AND organic motifs in the same photo. They are fabulous! I find her photos are spurring my creativity to combine geometric and organic in the same piece. I'll let the creative sprite wander around my mind and see what it comes up with.

Design Theme

Regarding the theme for the month, I'm finding I really enjoy having a monthly theme. Rather than stifling my creativity, I find it energizing. Now that I've been doing jewelry and glass for two years, I was beginning to find myself stagnating into a repetition of patterns and styles. While it defines a style for you, I was finding it boring. I'm really excited about what's coming for the month of June. While I have a few random pieces that don't follow the theme (as usual, the pieces just speak and sometimes have their own opinion on what they should be), I have a really cool theme combining an idea spurred by one of my blog giveaway winners (Kristin at KS Jewellery Designs) and the floral theme. Here is a peek at one of the pieces. I'm so pleased with this results. I'll blog about the creation process for this piece later this week...