Sunday, April 24, 2011

Artfully Meandering: Re-Blooming

This is my first attempt at digital scrapbooking... I wanted to take my photography up a notch and combine it with digital scrapbooking. I have much to learn, but for a first try, I think I'm okay with this version.

I'm using the dogwoods as a symbol for me... re-blooming. Again. I miss my Hong Kong adventures. I had an unexpected struggle with resuming life in the U.S. I feel like the box of adventuring has been opened and I can't stuff it all back. However, I am the sturdy type... I thrive on challenge and adventure. And sometimes the challenge is making the best of your situation. I have much to be happy for and new friends across the world.

This is my inspiration theme for the next three months through June. The white and green of the dogwoods, the dogwood flowers themselves... and the piercing blue sky in the background. If you feel like using this theme as part of your inspiration, feel free to gather inspiration from the lovely dogwood and take up the Inspiration Challenge.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Artfully Meandering: My new "Photo Studio"

What happened as an experiment and a desire to take a "quick picture" turned into new photo studio! With a good camera (i.e. Canon Digital Rebel), I am less dependent on perfect lighting conditions. I had just purchased this small bust for displaying necklaces and was going to set up my "studio" in a different location. But I love vases of CiM glass. When I took the photos in the previous post, I liked it so much, I moved the original painting and hung it in another location. Then I obtained a canvas, textured it and colorwashed it in my "Kanna Green" that matches across all of my cards, packaging, websites, etc. And !Oila! a new, photo studio. I am still learning my new camera. I will need to get a flash to practice the bounce technique to get that ethereal light quality I really love in the best photos. Sorry, this one is a little fuzzy. The pieces laying flat still need a little tweaking.

The next three are my favorite photos. I love the splashes of color with the glass props...

The simplicity of the textured background and white foreground...

And the interest of the slightly off center photo... so many choices, so much fun!

I also just opened my business account. That took a little while, but I'm going to go at my jewelry business (spare time, still) this year and see if I can make it profitable. If not, then I'll reduce back to hobby. But, here we go! I'll share the bits and bites of the business side of things as I go.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Artfully Meandering: It's almost home

I shined up the necklace I made last week. I love it! I'm getting my home more set up and feeling like home. I have my CiM glass in lovely vases. It's amazing how glass is just pretty without being made into anything. I love having it as decorations in my home.

A picture of my colorful mantle.

And a little bit of interesting news...I took the silversmithing class at the Beaded Frog. I went back today and visited with Heidi, the owner, to pick up more tools and get myself set up. I love the way she runs her's like a studio for those who aren't able to set up their own studio. She has a nice array of tools, beads, materials and various classes you can take. We started talking about lampworking and I'm going to teach Beginning Lampwork classes at the Beaded Frog! I'm quite excited about it. My focus will be working safely with a torch. It will be for beginners using the Hothead torch. I plan to do one-on-one sessions. The goal is to teach how to make spacers...enough to make a necklace or bracelet or earrings, or a full set of jewelry. I'm going to work on the course documents and the kits. We haven't settled on the price yet as I need to figure it out based on the kit of equipment and the overhead associated with the class. Once I have that information, I'll post it. So, if you're interested in learning beginning lampworking, and you're in Greenville, I will teach one-on-one classes at the Beaded Frog on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

And more white dogwoods. I want to get some pictures of the pink dogwoods. They're so interesting and pretty.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Artfully Meandering: My last few days - in reverse

I'm starting with the end...I found the need to take pictures at lunch to settle my brain down and divert it from obssessing. I have been making little lunch drives to clear my head and found a delicious country road with an old bridge. Walking up to the bridge, I found textures that needed to be photographed (they asked me to take their picture). I know this is just a rusty metal thingy, but it gives me ideas based on the metalsmithing class I took this weekend (picture of my project is at the end of this post.) Tree texture. Branch texture. brain is like a night of fireworks with ideas from this post alone.

I usually take pictures of things...objects. Traditional photos. This is my first step in taking pictures of design elements. I LOVE me the arches of this old bridge.

This is a sample of the more traditional photo I would normally take. I gots to try me some more photography based on design elements rather than subject matter.

And the dogwoods are in bloom! (These are definitely dogwoods. I know what these are.) Driving north toward Duncan, SC, there are scads of white and pink dogwoods all over the place. However, most are on private property. Although I did spy out a cemetery that had pink and white dogwoods. I think that will be tomorrow's lunch trip. And the day was spectacularly blue...taking the photos from a different angle is always interesting... the following are my favorites from the 50 photos I snapped at lunch today.

I just love this picture in general. But, it's one of the more traditional photos. I want to start stretching and pushing myself in the photography arena. Even though it's traditional, I still love has elements of texture, color, composition that make me just want to sit on this rock and watch the traffic whiz by and listen to the river whoosh merrily along.

And now for the big treat: the low-tech metalsmithing class I took with Anne E. Mitchell...outstanding! I've been wanting to expand into metalsmithing. However, I wasn't entirely keen on the traditional metalsmithing route. A friend told me about this class and took it with me and it was exactly what I didn't know I was looking for! Anne is a proponent of no waste usage of fine silver in the form of metal clay and fine silver. She fuses, rather than solders (in general, but she does some soldering). She also uses more natural substances like warm vinegar with sea salt instead of pickle for removing fire scale. The first class I took in metal clay wasted a lot of clay by using too much water. She teaches you how to waste NOTHING. And I mean nothing. Not a snip of the wire, not a crumb of the clay. Anyway... I got my wish and expanded my repertoire. Most of the class made their project as the designated bracelet. But we had so much material, I wanted mine to be a necklace. Sorry for the dirty background, but I had to show it off. I'm still learning to work with my camera in various settings.

And of course, the cutie-patootie Molly Dolly. This little stinker is such a hard critter to get pictures of. I have hundreds of pictures of her where she has just turned away from the camera as I'm shooting her photo. Now I have the Canon Digital Rebel and can shoot at leisure and get her adorable, sweet, sassy little face. I love that face. I look at the series of pictures I took and then I go smooch up the real creature.