Monday, July 27, 2009
2) I have some custom orders and a wedding gift
3) I'm still trying to figure out how to program my new kiln. I had this one in the States and had a 220-volt one sent to me...after a false start with the wrong adapter, I now have the right adapter and need to play with the programming a little more
4) There is a possibility I may postpone my August newsletter since time is so short, or it may be late if I can squeeze it in, or I may repeat my July theme since it's one of my favorites...not sure quite what to do with a tight timeframe.
5) I have started another website project that will be taking a little bit of time (not too much at first, maybe more in September once I get settled and thing calm down)
6) And a possible move from my beautiful home on Lantau. Don't worry though, I'm picking out a good spot on Hong Kong Island. This is one of the potential flats and the view it has. I will try to get a movie of my current flat before I leave it.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I’ve been walking and dancing, swinging and singing to a Western rhythm. I’ve been conditioned by the music of the U.S. Midwest…snow falling, rustling autumn leaves, quick summers…a little less than half of my life in Wisconsin. Yes. Sometimes that includes the obligatory polka or two (or twelve) at weddings, ya’ know. I bopped a little south for a few years and landed in an area trapped between Midwestern rhythm and Southern music (Southern Indiana). Eventually I two-stepped my way all the way south to the American Southwest in Texas.
With each sidle east to west or sachet north to south, you fine tune the instrument of you. It’s still the same song, same symphony, same swing dance, same ballet.
Making your music work with the new music sometimes means learning the melody a little different or singing a different part of the harmony. Sometimes it starts off with discordant notes.
Making your rhythm work with the new rhythm sometimes means learning a more complicated step or a different dance. Sometimes you have to change to an 8-count Lindy Hop instead of a 6-count West Coast swing. Sometimes it involves toes being stepped on, an elbow to the ribs, or a smack in the forehead. (Did the 90’s swing craze and inflicted all three on my poor partners.)
Moving to a new country means a different symphony and a new rhythm. At the beginning your music is raucously discordant and your rhythm is hopelessly out of sync.
With time, the sheer brute force of repetition can bring your rhythm into sync and your music into harmony. You can sometimes add a brand new layer to the melody of your new home.
In the US, northern life is quick-quick-quick. You talk fast, walk fast, and generally run to keep warm. In the South, it’s slow---slow---slow....... It’s h-o-t, so you drawl y’all’s words and generally mosey. (For all y’all in Dallas or Houston, I’m not including driving in this analogy.) Eastern rhythm in Hong Kong has a quick-slow element. It’s the city (quick) and it’s hot (slow).
I’ve started walking to the rhythm here. When I first arrived, I felt like I was playing "Constant Chicken" because I was walking to a Western rhythm. Driving is on the left side of road. Riding my bike is generally left-sided (but random). And walking is thoroughly random. Sometimes everyone walks left. Sometimes everyone walks right.
I’ve started riding my bike to the rhythm.
But, I have brought my own theme song.
I have a granny-style bike.
It sometimes includes a doggy in the basket.
If I painted the dog and the bike black, would it rosin up your bow for the theme song?
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
My Southwestern desert experiences remind me of this piece. Unexpected. Surprising. And delighting.
I had the opportunity to experience the Joshua Tree National Park near Palm Springs...I drove to it and tried to capture the sunset...and missed it...but the relief of Joshua trees aginst the dusky night sky was even better than the actual sunset. Then, I decided to take the road less traveled and reveled in almost touching the starry night sky in an area unsullied by the pollution of modernity...you must to experience this some day...
People almost never treasure where they grow up. I'm even one of them. I don't dislike where I grew up...Wisconsin is beautiful. I have an Inspiration Challenge for September devoted to it. But, I'm one of those rolling stones who adores new experiences.
For me, it's not just about travel.
Travel is capturing a snip of time.
I love living in a place. I need to experience, drink, eat, absorb, and breathe the culture and the people. I love that I've lived in Hong Kong for 8 months already.
We took a roomie road trip out to west Texas. It's a mind-numbing 10-hour drive for a native inhabitant...it's an awe-inspiring trip for the unitiated. Did you know there are sand dunes in Texas? For real! Monahans. I love surprises like these...
That's why these beads are Desert Dusk...it's all about the surprises...the pleasant kind. I mixed red, chocolate, turquoise and transparent aqua. The red and brown were actually quite close in color...but the pleasing end was a subtle gradient of colors...reminding me of dusk...in the desert.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
With that in mind, as you are establishing yourself, narrow the list down. You can add your other dreams later once you have a solid base and foundation. For me, that meant holding off on soldering and metalsmithing until I have a solid foundation in glass, wirework, stringing, and chain maille. And I'm NOT going to explore knitting, colored pencils, photography, or sewing for business purposes.
What I can't stop thinking about: how to interpret that cute little pair of shoes into a set of glass. Oooh! That skirt makes we want to try this technique in glass and then make that into this piece of jewelry. And since I'm asked advice from very new artists, how can I interpret my experiences into something useful for them?
This little paragraph is a slightly different version of my mission statement. These are the things I dream in.
What medium fires your dream, drives your imaginations, and ignites your creative fires? This is your mission statement.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Then Molly just sits down in the water. Much like when I used to give her a bath with Bijou.
This is the pavilion that is the little "Bijou Memorial" for me. It reminds me of Texas. I had hiked up here a few times before Molly & Bijou were supposed to come and I was thinking how they would enjoy the walk up here. I thoroughly enjoy the view.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I have to admit my influence for this design. It's from the movie, Something's Gotta Give. Do you remember the scene when the Diane Keaton character went on her first date with the Keanu Reeves character? She was wearing a sizzling hot, classic, little black dress. She looked fabulous. And she wore a little black necklace that drew my eye immediately. I think what's amazing about this design is that it drew my eye and this was four years before I began even considering making jewelry myself. I looked it up and it's a Brook Jasmine lasso.
My version is a long lariat style that could be worn looped on the neck for a shorter necklace or tied as a long necklace.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I started reading Modish Biz Tips and found she was already creating some fantastic business advice. One of the exercises that I'm looking forward to doing is writing my business plan for my business, Kanna Glass Studios. So, I've decided to continue my "A Business Bite" section but focus on my experiences as a project manager and translate stuffy business terms into "artish" (a term coined by the lovely Ms. Plume.)
Dreams and Imagination
What do you dream in? [Stuffy business term: mission/vision statement.] Do you look at something and think of how you can express that in: glass, silver, yarn, fabric, paint, words, poetry, a play, a photograph, a story, music? What is it you do that you would do freely simply because you love it so much? What do you do that money isn't an object...you simply must do? This is your passion.
Additional food for thought: when I started my newsletter, I was looking for help to create a newsletter that was useful and inspirational. On the newsletter service I use, Constant Contact, I found a link to Blue Penguin Development which is a very specific service of helping you write a good e-newsletter. I perused his archived newsletters and found this little gem on writing a vision statement. (Note on semantics: mission statement or vision statement...that's the stuffy business term...we're going to go with what do you dream in.)
Part II Next Monday!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
The part of Southwest style that really appeals to me is the organic, uncluttered, clean look and feel it has. As I meander along this journey of making glass beads and jewelry, I feel like I started with crazy, vibrant, and...ahem...cluttered jewelry. I'm trying to learn the lesson that "less is more."
Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't.
My last home in Texas was decorated in southwest style and I went through a year-long process of getting rid of things. When my house was finally ready for showing, I had a really limited set of furniture and I learned how to make it look to advantage...it must have worked. My house sold in a month. In a bad economy. But, the point of this story is that at beginning, I had a lot of "stuff" and was more cluttered than I realized.
I've brought that lesson with me to Hong Kong where everything is shrunken in scale (especially relative to Texas). 700 sq feet is HUGE here. There are apartments, 500 sq feet in size, where they fit 3 (yes, that's three) bedrooms in that space. Don't ask me how. My mind still can't wrap itself around that concept. People asked if I was going to bring my furniture to Hong Kong. I checked into shipping, but decided against it (even though the cost would have been equivalent of buying new furniture here), because the furniture in the US doesn't fit the scale of the HK apartment. I notice homes that are furnished with western style and size furniture here in HK feel more cluttered. I've furnished with furniture built locally (or in China) and it fits and makes my smaller apartment feel more roomy. I've really tried hard not to buy too much stuff. I still probably can get rid of some things. (After all, I moved with 2 suitcases.)
Anyway, the whole point of all that blathering about clutter is that sometimes I get it, sometimes I don't. And Southwest style is sometimes clean and uncluttered, sometimes not. And sometimes in between. That's what this piece Sedona Lariat, feels like to me...somewhere in between cluttered and clean...but interesting, nevertheless. Just like the woman who should wear this necklace.
As I've matured, I've turned into a person that likes options. I'm starting to create necklaces that give options, like this one. The lariat style gives you many wearing options which lets you wear it with different styles of shirts with varying necklines. This can be worn at a conventional length by connecting the clasp to the bottom loop. It can be worn as a choker by clasping it around the neck. Then it makes the remaining length a daring waterfall of a drop.
I could see this being worn with a gray, classic suit, with a plain turquoise, light blue or red top underneath the jacket. Then, swap the suit for a jean jacket and khakis or a leather jacket and jeans and you're ready for a casual evening.
Monday, July 6, 2009
For a saucy cowgirl...laid back at Sedona Ranch...swirls of light and dark turquoise mixed with deep Sangre reds, evoking the southwest...rich, colorful hues in a swirled floral disk on twisted sterling silver wire hanging from a stout cord of leather.
The leather is unfinished and meant to be tied off at the back to vary the wearing length according to whim. All glass beads are hand-made by me and properly annealed in a digitally controlled kiln.
A Marketing Lesson: I recently had some of my friends stay with me. They saw my pile of jewelry and I started talking about glass, jewelry, and silver. Simply explaining the process of how to make glass beads was actually fun. I have a bunch of jewelry I had made before I was able to get my lampwork station setup. However, when I offered each one a gift, they wanted the one with the glass beads I made. Here in HK, beads and findings are common...you can pick up jewelry very cheaply...but the lampwork and handmade glass is less common, and therefore, more special. The marketing lesson: art becomes important when it has a very personal connection to the artist. Jewelry is common. You can buy that at a store. A connection to the heart and the ideas of a piece gives meaning and connection. It moves beyond a piece of jewelry. When you create that personal connection, it becomes a piece of art with personal meaning...whether it's with the artist who created it, or because it evokes a sense of feeling and being that the art wearer wants to feel with that piece.
Urban Primrose got tweaked and sent off as a gift to one of my old roommates...in fact, she's the roommate who inspired my "urban" theme. She had requested silver with clear beads. It took me awhile to finally do some clear beads...I did faceted beads and a tiny floral. Photos can't capture the light refraction, but it is very dreamy. I like it better than the original...
I wish I could afford to give all of my jewelry away...but I can't...
Note: I'm on a lampwork hiatus due to the untimely demise of my kiln. May it rest in peace. (I put that little machine to work! I think it got tired.) So, I need to order a new kiln. I had all the glass laid out for the Designer's Inspiration Challenge for this month, but I'll have to keep you posted on when that will actually happen. So sorry! I finally had energy, but my kiln didn't.
Lastly but not leastly...do you like the new backgrounds, blog banner, poster at the beginning of this post? Yes? I can thank Marina H. for all this work. She achieved my vision I had in mind for my Southwest theme. I have much more in mind for her in the long run. Thank you, Marina!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
It's been six months today since my little guy on the right, Bijou Bear, went to forever sleep. I miss him every day. Some days it aches more than others. He never lived in Hong Kong, but we had routines that included both Molly (left) and Bijou (right). He was only 10 1/2. It's just my Miss Molly Dolly right now and she gives me joy. I'm working hard to enjoy every day with her instead of dreading the day she will leave me, too.
Ok, I just had to share something along these lines that made me laugh. I know...it's a little demented, but I have to say I understand what he's saying.
But, unlike Charlie, I still wouldn't change it. I love my puppies. They're teaching me not to focus on the anxiety of tomorrow. And I have the joy of coming home to furry cuddliness. I just wished they lived longer. Like a parrot. Or a tortoise. Or a sequoia.
I miss Bijou's shameless clumsiness and his willingness to always get snuggled. You were a funny, bright, snuggle spot in my life. Miss you, Little B, my little HunnyBear!
And to my fellow animal friends at Bijou's Whimsy and Rustic Urbanity, I'm thinking of you, too!
Thursday, July 2, 2009
We each had one of my swirled floral disks and a set of swirled beads in different colors. We're all quite different designers, so it's fun to see what we all come up with. Both are pretty busy this summer, so they will be submitting their challenges later this month
Florals are a comfort zone of inspiration for me. Usually, it's just been picking up on the color. I challenged myself to take it a step farther and combine the swirly request from Kristin and see if I could do floral disks. I did! My first ones were quite organic (and I think they still have loads of potential in the right piece) and I'm improving in my execution.
A shadow of a dragonfly...just the idea...
reflections of peace, serenity, togetherness
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
I still haven’t been able to identify exactly what it is about the Southwest that makes me feel this way. I think it's a combination of factors.
country music, southern manners, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, prairie skirts, jean jackets, longhorns, constant sunshine, big sky, wide open spaces, bluebonnets, firewheels, Indian paintbrush, poppies, turquoise, silver, armadillos, geckos, rusted farm implements, adobe homes, stone homes, leather furniture, rawhide furniture, rough-hewn Mexican furniture, cactus, town squares, desert mountains, Louis L'Amour paperbacks, ranches, oil derricks, arched adobe windows, adobe fireplaces, scraped wood flooring, scraped wood tables, punched tin, pick-up trucks, hay bales, loyalty, independence, interdependence, individuality, artistry, crepe myrtles, live oaks, mesquite, Texas barbeque, fence posts, barbed wire, horses, cattle
Something I think I like about Texas is the culmination of the culture and the place. Southern courtesy is rampant—every man allows a woman on the elevator first or opens a door for a woman. It’s really inefficient, but it’s oh so nice to be treated politely. I love and adore Southwestern style…the eclectic mix of modern and old, organic and urban. In particular, the sensibility of southwestern style that appeals to me is the hand-textured, simple, clean, and uncluttered aesthetic.
Although I mentioned I don't care for suburbs, I have to admit, that living in a suburb of a large city provided access to the broad range of people I was able to get to know. There is a certain independence and interdependence that seems part of the culture. I have a diverse set of friends: some who are farmers, some who raise longhorn cattle, some who have a little land for their horses and dog, and some who are the ultimate urbanites. And the artists! Tucked into this anonymous suburb are writers, playrights, actors, painters, graphic artists, jewelry artists, woodworkers, musicians, soap-makers, seamstresses, photographers, poets, to name a few. The people who I have the privilege to call my friends are the best part of Texas for me—fiercely loyal, independent, individual people who are themselves. I have friends who represent almost everything that is “me.” I’ve made some really wonderful friends in Texas. Texas is also where I learned who I was, where I didn't feel afraid to be my genuine self, and released my creative self to explore with happy permission. I’m still not brave enough to be myself at all times. So, that’s why I think I have a special affinity to the place that is Texas …it's the place where I’ve become comfortable with who I am.
So, this month is for enjoying my happy memories of my previous home in the Southwestern United States...Texas.
Post Script: Just in case you’re worried about me living in Hong Kong, I’m a glass half full person and tend to live on the positive side of life. I have learned the joy of blooming where I am planted. Yes, the culture shivers and shocks put little dents in the tender little roots of establishment I'm putting down. But I'm a stubborn plant that overcomes transplant trauma to become hardy, well-rooted foliage. (Sometimes I need to say that last point out loud to remind myself...but, I am. I'm a Southwestern Soul who lives in Asia.)