Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Featured Artist~ Deb Batten of Firebird Flamework

Each month I try to spotlight a fellow artist whos work has interested me. I find it fasinating to learn about each individuals journey with glass and finding the connections we share. So this month I'd like to introduce you to Deb of Firebird Flamework. I "met" Deb on a team webjam and loved her style. After reading her interview, I hope you will visit her etsy shop and say Hello!!

How long have you been working with glass? I had been looking for some nice quality beads to use in jewelry and could find nothing in New Zealand. After spending about 5 minutes on ebay, I was absolutely amazed at the stunning array of artisan lampwork beads. Still not fully comprehending that these were made by individuals in their home studios, I purchased a simple set of black and white beads. The arrival of that set was a revelation. I couldn't believe the quality, detail and uniqueness of these wee gems from across the ocean. Quite simply, I was hooked. I emailed the vendor saying so and she suggested I try it myself and gave me a few pointers. The rest as they say is history!

Who or what has influenced your work? I don't feel there is any singular person or thing that influences my work, aside from nature itself. But, there are many artists I admire hugely. I started out wanting to make bold bright beads but very quickly got drawn into creating the illusion of movement in glass and the wonder of color reations. Often I feel extremely challenged as I will sit down to play with bright colors and attempt to make structured designs but I almost get taken over by the glass and what IT wants to do. If I stop to think about it I'd have to say the the beads I find myself consistently drawn to would be those that come out of the Seraphim Flameworks Studio. They have such a timeless quality and wonderful sense of movement to them.

What has been your biggest challenge? The distance between me and the availability of materials or classes. For me, learning without acually seeing someone give a demonstration is quite difficult. To counteract this I have worked through many tutorials found online.

What do you hope to learn next? Oh, dear. This is a tough one as there is so very much to learn. I really am a technique junkie at heart. I love learning something then putting my own twist on it. I think that the best thing I could do for myself would be to take some classes with one of the many artists I admire thereby refining certain techniques and perhaps finding my own voice in this wonderful medium.

Please visit Deb on etsy at

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Next Book Club Read Is.....

I couldn't decide which book to pick. It was either going to be The Art of Racing in the Rain or this one. I made the choice right at the last possible second....I think I did good. Really, I think either one would have been good. So, if your interested, read along with us! I'll talk about the book here at the END of September so you have plenty of time. I'll get some of the book worms to post thoughts here at that time too!

On to bead talk. I've got some things in process so I think today will be dedicated to that. I have some orders to get at but I might hold off making beads until later today. I want to get a nice long bike ride in before the rain hits us....I have bad luck with getting caught in the rain lately so I'm sure it will pour once I'm halfway into my trek.

Enjoy your day....and be nice to someone today...I should say, EXTRA nice....I know your already nice :)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Earring Update

You might not know this but earrings are my least favorite thing to make. I love earrings but there just isn't much to them. But, once I get started on them.....I go with it. The inspiration for my new Mismatch line of earrings came from a shopping trip. I had to purchase 2 baby shower gifts when I came across baby items, such as socks and I can't remember what else, that were all mismatched! I then noted how my favorite socks....can't remember that company right now either, they too are mismatched.

So, I thought, Why Not?! I now have mismatched earrings. They are also a great way to use "left over" beads from projects!

What do YOU think of them?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Earring Party Fun & The Art of Running in the Rain

Last night was the earring party and I had 8 women here creating their hearts out. My camera battery pooped out so I only got one picture to show :( We were inside since the weather man threatened rain. I would have rather been outside in the garden area but oh, well. We all had a good time and things didn't wrap up here until 9:30 or so. Good luck Connie on your knee surgery :)

The Art of Running In the Rain. I finished this book last week and just thought it was fantastic! I picked it up at Starbucks and thought it would be interesting to read a book from a dogs point of view....a good read, I definitly recommend it.

After reading that book or while reading it, I thought about how people are to one another. The people in the book were examples of how power, money and other misdirected emotions can be used as weapons to hurt others. But, the story has a good message...perseverance......eventually the "good" wins out.

Check that book out. Book club is here Sunday and thats going to be my recommendation.....I think anyways. There is another good book I'd like to suggest too.

Time to go...have a great day!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Directions

Sometimes you just have to mix things up a bit and thats just what I'm doing! I'm hiking down farther on the path of precious metal clay, metalsmithing and wire working. Sometimes you need to experiment with different materials to come up with new ideas and stimulate your thinking. I purchased a great book a few months back and have just started to dig into it....a book review on it will come up next week. I'm also digging out some "old" books on metalsmithing and wire working. Who knows what I'll do with all this digging but I'm bound to come up with something. Here is one of my favorite glass/pmc pieces. The necklaces I did in this style went very well at Corn Hill.....
Tonight is my Earring Party! I have 8 ladies coming by and I think it should be a fun time. If I think of it, I'll take a few snaps. I really need to get at the torch today too since I just sent a large order out and my bead cupboards are bare! Oh, boy. Lots to do, I guess I have to go!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Book Review~ Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads by Stephanie Sersich

I love books. Especially GOOD books. I recently purchased 2 jewelry books by 2 awesome artists to stir my creative juices. Today I'm going to review the book by Stephanie Sersich, Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads, and have you peek at what I've done using Stephanie's projects as my inspiration.

Now, how exactly do I review a book? Its totally based on my opinion & taste. Everyone is different and what I like, others may not and what others like, I might not. So please just take my point of view as just that.

What I look for: I know I like a book when, it is easy to follow, has great pictures (if its a picture kind of book), keeps my attention past the first page....well, okay, chapter and, if its a how to book, it gives clear instructions. The projects also have to be appealing, of course! I want to feel like I've learned something from the book rather have it rehash something that has appeared elsewhere or something I already know.

Designing with Glass Beads gets 5 stars from me! Oh, and 5 stars is the tops!! Right from the start, this book grabs you. The cover is simple but colorful, a trademark of the artists work. The book reads like Stephanie is talking to you making it very personal. She gives insight into her growing up with beads and her sources of inspiration. Stephanie also provides a brief history of glass beads, making glass beads and then what I think is the most important ingredient: Elements of Design. I teach art and the elements & principles of design are essential content to the art curriculum and this little chapter happens to be, in my opinion, what sets it apart from others.

The projects: Stephanie's projects are wonderful. Her very popular Spiny Knotted bracelet is among the projects offered. I love how she has used a simple macrame technique found in many different sources (I've taught this knot to second graders as the basis of a friendship bracelet for years) and made it her own incorporating her colorful glass beads and other elements. One of the best parts of the spiny knot technique is that no ones is going to look alike. You could not possibly "copy" since the bracelet is layered with many different beads.....and individual character.

The project I was inspired by was rather simple. Its the Berber Style Necklace found on page 96. Its a multi strand necklace with a tie closure. I won't detail the directions here and I haven't even taken a picture of the page to show you the necklace. I hope you go to the store and pick this book up to add to your collection! But shown below is my interpretation of this idea. Yesterday was oppressively hot outside and I just couldn't make beads. Instead I took my jewelry stuff out onto the porch and created this.....
I happen to love it!! I took the concept of Stephanie's construction and made it my own using my beads, my colors & my style. People often associate bright colors or a certain shape as "someones style". I think not. Color is color and shapes are shapes.....its how you choose to put it all together that makes it a YOU.

In closing here I'd like to say again that I think Designing with Glass Beads by Stephanie Sersich is fantastic. I've met Stephanie and know that she is a wonderfully kind, giving, and talented person. Stephanie's book is simple, straight forward and the projects are great. I hope you will choose to invest in this book.
:) Linda

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chihuly Model

On Saturday, Mary, modeled one of my Chihuly inspired necklaces. I love seeing my necklaces worn vs. displayed....they look so much more lively.

Here is another interesting necklace.....what do you think? Would you like a baby python around your neck? No thanks....but I do like how it was draped...hmmmmm, I know inspiration is there but need more time to process.

I'm currently getting ready for my earring party next week. Can't wait! I just hope the weather is nice so we can sit outside in the garden area.

Time to make the beads...........ta, ta for now :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mr. Toad's Wild Ride...

I certainly feel like I've been on some sort of wild ride these past few weeks. That has been the reason for my lack of posting here. I just didn't have time or interest. Sad but true. I don't feel like getting into the reasons at this time, just know that they have been there but I'm determined to shake it off starting NOW!

Okay, now onto the Corn Hill Arts Festival. What a strange weekend it was. I certainly can not complain, I did well but the fact remains that the crowds were down considerably and the weather stunk! 92-93 degrees on Saturday (hot, sticky and stinky) and Sunday was rain for much of the day. It did clear around 3:30-4:00ish....right before the show closed down at 5:00. I really don't think that the weather was the reason for low attendance (even the show promoters agreed that attendance was way down) I really feel its the shaky economy. No Biggie. I don't spend to much time worrying or complaining about this point. You must take it all in stride.

Corn Hill highlights: My sweet friends Kathy and Susan gave me a hand and made my booth at Corn Hill filled with silliness & laughter. Kathy helped out on Saturday.......she arrived at 9:30 sweaty and worn out from trying to find my booth....I wanted to laugh but knew it just wasn't the right time. Kathy, like many of us, doesn't do well in the heat so I plunked her in front of the fan until she dried out :) She does a great job helping friendly and helpful. Kathy also helps me at Clothesline....look for her smiling face in September :)

Susan helped out on Sunday even though the weather kept the crowds away. What a laugh riot she is. She is so up beat, positive and easy to be with that she made everyone who visited at ease. Her 11 year old son, Max, came by at the end of the show and helped pack up things. Watch for him someday soon. He's a terrific jewelry designer already!!

I know....No Pictures! Tomorrow okay. I just didn't feel like downloading them. How lazy am I?