Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Studio Time: Color Crazy Necklace

I describe my style as organic, colorful, rustic, textural, and primitive. What makes my design rustic? I strive to show “the hand” in my pieces from the texture, rough shapes, patina, dings, hammer marks, fingerprints, imperfections, and organic lines.

I was particularly excited about the striped, organically faceted tube beads in the middle. I've done beads like this before, but they were a little sloppier. This version turned out better. 

It took me 8 hours on Friday to create this piece. I'm out of the habit of making things, so I'm excited I was able to finish this piece just in the nick of time to make it into the monthly art show. Go check out the other artists submissions - such cool art out there!

I did a test wearing of this piece. For those who are color addicts, it's definitely a look-at-me necklace! If you're not so color crazy, it's a bit over the top. 

Are you a color fanatic? Work with me on custom colors for your core wardrobe colors! I'm taking custom orders on this style or variations on this style.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Effectively Organized: Lessons from my first show

My mom hosted a small mixed media show for our friends last week. Here were some of my basic lessons from my first ever show.


  • This was my first real show ever. It was good practice to pack, set up, figure out what worked, what didn't, break down and go home. That was a lot of work! I celebrated by taking naps for the next 2-3 days after work. LOL

  • One really great opportunity was having the opportunity to practice speaking and explaining all the pieces without being apologetic or minimizing my work.

  • I need to have a greater range in price points. I like to work in higher end materials. For small shows where I can expect people to look for small, inexpensive items I can still work in the higher end materials but make simpler pieces of jewelry.

  • My completely handmade items went over better than the designs I had printed by a third party. I'm not quite sure of the reason other than, that's just the way it went for this show.

  • Being able to explain my jewelry and that I only work with Sterling or Argentium silver was important. I need to display the materials in tags on the specific pieces or as a grouping of pieces. Also, I loved being able to say I made the glass beads - they are so pretty, even when they are simple spacer beads. I really look forward to getting back to lamp working. 

  • Wear my hair up! I'm too hot with packing up and setting up to do anything else. I'm in Florida! But even if I was in a cold weather state, I just get hot.

  • I need to figure out a better post-show routine. I loaded my cabinet back up, but there is still stuff all over the table from making jewelry and it's a week later. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Creative Finds: A Mixed Media Event - Dara Dodson

My mom hosted a small mixed media show for our friends last weekend featuring six artists who sell their work. I asked permission to share their work and links to their online presence. 

Dara Dodson
Website: coming soon!

Highlights from her artist bio: Dara is currently working on a series of "Scenes of St. Augustine" of local architecture and historic sites. She says, "I realized I wanted to be an artist when I 'painted' my first mural in crayons on my bedroom wall at the age of 5. It took hours to clean it off and I cried the entire time, thinking I was destroying a 'masterpiece.'" She continues to study under two well-known artists and has taken several workshops under one of them. She is a member of the St. Augustine Art Association because she loves art and hopes to continue for an eternity!

I am also now a collector of her art! These two Florida scenes capture exactly some of the things I've come to love about Florida. 

#1 thing I love about Florida: the clouds. Oh, the clouds here. The land is flat, but the vaporscape is magnificent! Florida is called the sunshine state. I would think southwestern states like Arizona or New Mexico could claim that being desert states. But, after living here nearly two years, I've learned that we usually have sunshine every day. And we can have rain every day. The winter is the dryer season, the summer is the rainy season. But, even with rain and storms every day, there is also sunshine every day. There are breaks of sunshine in between the storm clouds. It's being able to see that breathtaking slice of clouds up to tens of thousands of feet up into the air that make the heavenly tableau so stunning.

When an artist can capture what how I see the clouds in a painting, I'm very drawn to their work, as I'm drawn to Dara's work. 

#2 thing I love about Florida - the light. This is often tightly wrapped up with the clouds. There is something special about the light, usually as a result of rain or sunsets, sometimes both. Dara pinned this aspect of Florida down in the perfect picture of a lonely mangrove in the keys at sunset. 

She just started her Instagram account and is working on her website. Please follow her Instagram to watch her work progress.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Effectively Organized: Shifting Mindsets and Studio Hours

I've started a Master Class with the intention of transforming my Hobby to a Business. One of the big mental shifts is "studio hours" where I schedule the time I make art. This has been a long mental shift. The first time I heard of setting studio hours was last year, but I had been thinking of the shift as I tried to set up and organize my art business.

Making Jewelry as a Hobby

When I started the jewelry-making hobby, I just dove in happily and made jewelry for hours upon hours. I especially developed a love for making lamp work beads. At the time I was learning to make lamp work beads, it proved to be a welcome respite from a stressful day job. Focusing on the torch would help me turn my mind off at the end of the day.

Hobby Business

Then I started making too much jewelry to wear myself, so I started selling it. Not a lot. Sometimes it surprised me that people would buy my jewelry, but I did sell. This stamp fits me perfectly.

Then I started moving around a lot. Had to stop lamp working. I moved over to polymer clay and had to start over with learning a new medium. Eventually I started getting the hang of polymer clay. Then I moved again. I've been trying to get my art business going again and get distracted by moving or my health issues. But still with an eye to starting the business.

It was during this transitional phase that I started sitting down and figuring out how much jewelry I would have to sell to make a living. It was a lot.

Hobby Business to Real Business

Now, I'm buckling down to shifting my mindset from an accidental hobby business to a deliberate art business. I knew I would have to shift from the mentality of just making whenever I wanted and when creativity struck (which was often, fortunately). I started thinking about the challenge of setting up a pattern of production that would be both profitable and enjoyable. It started making me nervous to lose the joy of just creating for creating's sake. I've explored a number of different pathways to potentially create multiple streams of income so I'm not completely dependent on jewelry, which is a very saturated market.

Now, the big challenge is setting up studio hours... habits of making art, even when I'm not in the mood, learning to manage creative droughts, figuring out how to capture the creativity when it hits, setting up my business to handle illness, distractions, moving, etc.

My workspace with work in progress...

Here are some beads from a studio session on Saturday and Sunday. I'm getting stuff I like and can use!

So, do you have a hobby business or do you treat your art business as a real business? How are you handling studio hours?

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Studio Time: Time to establish my art habit

I had an art session for the first time in. Um. A really, really, really long time. I had done some polymer clay as small gifts when I went to Australia in 2014 (just purse pulls and book mark tassels and a few pins, nothing fancy). They didn't have to be super artsy or sales worthy. But, it's been over a year since I've made any art. 


I hadn't realized it had been that long. I started buckling down on my business last year, getting foundations laid - working with an attorney, setting up my LLC, filing copyright, getting registered properly, etc. That took me a lot longer than I expected. 

Then, I decided I need an inspiring space to work in. I feel like I moved in three times to the place I'm renting. It's taken me the year and a half of moving things around until I finally feel like it really fits the way I live and work. I also spent six months KonMari-ing my home and I swear by her method. Although, I have to admit I ended up getting more stuff - but I only got stuff I loved and I did also get rid of a lot of stuff. It really did take all of the six months she said it would take to get everything done. 

Now I feel quite settled in my place. It just needs a good scrubbing now. A home tour will be in order possibly next week. 

Anyway, this is the first thing I've made in a long long time. I was hoping to be able to make some simple earrings. It started off promising. But ended up as a fail because I didn't make it strong enough. I see potential. And I always learn from my failures. But, I also have to remember... it's okay to fail. This is just a springboard for learning what not to do! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Effectively Organized: The Yarn Hutch is done! (formerly known as a China hutch)

I found this gorgeous Thomasville hutch on Craig's list for only $150. I hired a mover to pick this up, so $135 for picking up and moving and bringing upstairs, I have a beautiful, well-made piece of furniture. For China? Nah. For my art yarns.

I decided a glass China hutch was the perfect storage system for my art yarn. I wanted to be able to see the beautiful art yarn but protect it from moths or other bugs behind glass (as well as my four-legged "bug" who likes to play with yarn).

While most men are looking this beautiful wood and thinking it's fine as is, I have been refreshing my home and unifying all the thrifted, Craig's-listed, discarded, second hand furniture through paint. And everything had come together except for my yarn storage.

This is a heavy, well-made piece. I did have a slight internal struggle with painting it....

So I just jumped in a committed before I could change my mind.

I tried taping off the hardware, but just couldn't avoid painting the hardware. I love how clean and put together it looks when I protect the hardware from the paint, so....

I dissembled the doors. That was A LOT of hardware.

Removing the hardware made the painting go much faster...

The bottom half...


Then I ran into a conundrum over the color. I originally meant to do Duck Egg Blue, but accidentally started doing Provence blue. And I liked the Provence. But I kept getting stumbled by how well it went with the bright blue painting tarp. I really didn't think the painting tarp went well with my decor, but the Duck Egg Blue did.

I painted the bottom Provence and the top Duck Egg Blue to experiment and see what I liked. I thought maybe I'd do the two-toned thing.

But once I put the pieces together, I let it set and observed and decided I definitely didn't like the Duck Egg Blue and Provence as a two-tone piece. I like the white and blue and went with Provence for the blue and Old White.

The main part is done! And yarn is stashed away. It's really pretty with the doors off...

I decided to go white with the doors...

And finished painting the doors and reassembling last night! Woohoo!

Wrap-up.... I will probably distress it a little bit later, but right now, I like it just painted simply.