Monday, May 9, 2016

Studio Time: BonBon Necklace and Earrings - Jewel Tones

Riffing off the other stackable necklace in jewel tones, I thought of an earring design I had done in the past in glass and wanted to create in polymer. I created itty bitty polymer beads, large silver hoops and !oila! tiny bon-bon earrings. And with the leftover scraps, I created large gum ball beads and a matching necklace. These were easy, pleasant and fun to make. I expect to be making a lot more. I need to learn how to solder the copper so I can make the earrings in copper and not just silver.

And while this set is super simple and anyone can make it, there is a lot to be said for the basic. Laura Sparling had a brilliant blog post about In Defense of the Basic. While I love making lace and want to learn how to knit a sweater, I like the mindless activity of knitting a basic, repetitive pattern scarf. And even though the beads in the above necklace are super duper basic (pinching off clay and making a round bead), the result can still be really, really pleasing. Why do we as artists get offended with doing the basic and simple? I know I like to do the more complicated difficult techniques, but I also like the basic and simple.

Do you have a basic technique and style you go back to time and again? 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Creative Finds: Uppercase Magazine

One of my current favorite things is the magazine Uppercase. It's a visual feast for the "creative and curious." Janine Vanpool explores everything creative. She creates themes and creative people submit articles and photos around that theme. I've submitted a short article around the theme of rustic for the next issue. Waiting to see if it gets selected... first magazine submission ever!

I love this magazine because it allows me to explore creativity and find artists across all mediums and genre. This is a highly recommended read for anyone creative.

Do you have a favorite indie magazine?

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Studio Time: Developing a Cohesive Body of Work

So, I've been buckling back down to studio time.  While I would make art and dabble in bits and pieces over the last several years, it really had been 6-7 years since I was in the "I-can't-help-but-make-art" phase where I was really productive. I have to admit, it was a little bit of effort to get myself going in my art again. I had some fears. Some fears of not being good enough and a mental block knowing I had to get through the slog of “beginner work” again.

And now that I have, studio time is coming naturally (and obsessively) the way it used to when I started as a hobby. I’m still in a wildly experimental mode, but as I was taking pictures of the pieces and looking at the pile on table, I realized I am developing a cohesive body of work. It’s still in early enough stages that other artists can replicate easily if they want to. (See the bon-bon necklace in simple basic colors.) But, I’m beginning to riff off previous work (working in a series) and the result is getting more and more cohesive and recognizable. I’m not sure it would qualify as “art jewelry” completely yet, but we have to start somewhere, right? My simpler pieces have more mass appeal (and I kind of like these pieces because this is what I used to wear before I made my own jewelry) and I enjoy making these. These are going to be the ones I have available for farmer’s markets and craft/art shows. I’m working at building up a reasonable inventory and want to start doing first Fridays maybe next month? 

This is a huge breakthrough for me to look at this picture and see “me” in it. It's been about 6-7 years since I saw such a cohesive style in my work. I've been in wildly experimental mode which can sometimes induce "style whiplash" where you can't find a discernible link to previous work. But, as long as you persist, what starts out as whiplash eventually links previous work to current work. Sometimes you just have to "play wildly" to move on. 

While I’ve taken a few techniques classes (and didn’t master them), and I follow other polymer artists to see what they’re doing, I’m really trying to develop my own methods and techniques. I find this is method is really working for me. I might take some expensive classes from masters later, but I’m liking putting blinders on a really focusing on putting my own stamp on this medium. 

Do you remember when you saw a cohesive "body of work" in your art? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Studio Time: Getting that giddy feeling

Have you ever been doing studio time and you start getting giddy about the work you're creating? Yeah. I'm there today. Even when it's simple, I'm learning ways to improve the quality, be consistent, and continuing to experiment with carved beads.

This is the latest piece I created. It was originally going to be a single two-stranded necklace. But, one of the things I love about creating jewelry is making it flexible. So instead of creating a single two-strand necklace, I created two different necklaces that can be stacked on top of each other to create a lush bouquet of buds in the center.

Here they are separately. The colors are all mixed up so you can wear them with multiple outfits.

Now that I'm creating, my mind is brimming with ideas and I can't wait to execute them all. I have some textured beads that are turning out EXACTLY as I wanted them to. I'll share those in a future post.

Do you get on a roll with creating work you absolutely love?