Friday, April 25, 2008

Sources of Inspiration

Its funny how whatever you happen to be thinking about suddenly appears everywhere. Have you ever noticed that? For a bit now I've had images of Dale Chilhuly's work floating in my head. I was at one of his exhibits, saw his work at Corning and recently purchased a video and book about him. I even received an art education journal at school that spotlighted Chilhuly and his work. This then inspired a unit I'm about to begin teaching to second graders titled "Working with Color and Form" I've got GREAT activities for them! I can't wait to begin next week.

Anyways, all this Dale Chilhuly stuff has given me a wonderful well of inspiration for my jewelry designing. I'm working on a jewelry series based on my interpretation of his work & I have a few things in the plans. I don't want to rush thru my thinking here. I want to take my time & let ideas peculate. During my lesson planning I came across a great YouTube video. I've placed it here for you to view. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

April Featured Artist~ LaWatha Glass

There are so many talented artists out there in the big world that a few months ago I decided to spotlight those that I stumble upon & who have turned my head for one reason or another. Jennifer at Cherry Runway jewelry was my first and then Rebecca at Art Paw (pet portraits) followed. My next featured artist (I do this at school also...the students love being highlighted) is a stained glass and fused jewelry artist from Washington. I met LaWatha on the Creative Glass Guild of Etsy where I am a member. She is talented and has kindly helped me out on a number of occassions...she probably doesn't even realize how much that meant to me. Anyways, her is a bit about her. I hope you will visit her Etsy shop.....I already know what I want!

Bella's Featured Artist~ LaWatha Glass
I live on a little lake in North Eastern Washington. Retired, I spend my days working with glass; Fused glass, copper foil and leaded stained glass. When I'm not working in the studio, I'm most likely out wandering around the yard, camera in hand, or playing with our dogs.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and moved to Ventura County in Southern California after graduating High School. There I met my husband, and 2 1/2 months later we were married. That was 32 years ago. We have two grown children who live on opposite sides of the country. Chris lives in Virginia, and Lori lives in Oregon. We have no grandchildren to spoil, but we more than make up for that by spoiling our two dogs. Casey is a 4 1/2 year old golden retriever who really is "the best dog ever". Bailey is the newest member of the family. He is a 5 month old cairn terrier who may not be the best dog ever, but he certainly makes up for it with his goofy personality.

I began working with copper foil and leaded stained glass when my children were little, back around 1980. I took a beginner's class, and fell in love with the medium of glass. Over the years, I've developed my stained glass skills, and a little over a year ago I received a kiln for Christmas. I am so hooked on fusing that I spend as much time in the shop as I can get away with. (I'm out there all the time!) I like to experiment with different techniques. If I had to define my style, I would say "divergent". Some of my favorite glass techniques include everything from colored ceramic decals to full color decals I have made using my own photography, and from hand painted and fused flowers to silhouette images. Some of my favorite things to make with glass are pendants, earrings, rings, magnets, picture frames, plates, and candle holders. There are so many ways to use glass, and I want to try them all.

I love custom orders, so if you see something in my shop or even in my sold section that you would like in a different color or different size, drop me an email. I also specialize in creating personalized photo pendants. I can put any picture you send me on glass, in sepia or color. Custom orders can take from three to fourteen days to complete, depending on the complexity and my schedule. Color pendants may take a week or so longer, as I have the images professionally made into color decals and can not begin working on the project until I receive the fusible decals from them.

I hope you will visit Lawathas etsy shop to see all that she has to offer!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More Studio Cleaning....

Yesterday I showed you the before and after photos of the glass working side of the studio. Today I'll show you the jewelry making side and its new improved look. The first improvement is picture below. New glass shelves for all the knick knacks that I MUST have in my studio. The glass shelving is great since it allows light thru so it doesn't look dark and closed in.
This bead I treasure. Its by Cathy Lybarger at Aardvark glass. I love her sense of humor and her beads are fantastically funny. Go take a peek!

Another great clutter solution are the magnetic bead/finding storage containers I have above my bench. These aren't exactly a new solution but definitly one worth mentioning.

Now that I have glass shelves on one side, the shelving about my work bench can be more effective. Books, supplies and other items are above, off my bench and out of the way. Neat and easy to find. Nice.

As you can see, I still have some cleaning up to do but boy its so much better than before. Be looking for another Featured Artist on my blog coming this weekend! I should have somethings to put up on my site too.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Studio Spring Clean Up

Last week was Spring Break and I focused part of my time on a studio clean up. I tend to work back and forth between a tidy work space to a chaotic one. It was time for that tidy work area to make an appearance so I had my work cut out for me. Here is my studio before the clean up~
Now check it out! Yes, a clean space is a happy space!Not bad Uh!I came up with this little idea that will help me keep my work surface free from that nasty bead old cookie tray will be the surface where I can remove beads from the mandrels and clean them up....the mess will then be in a smaller area and a lot easier to clean up! My next area to tackle is my beading bench!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

NEW~ Mandala Pendants

Last week I introduced my glass headpins (found on my Functional & Findings page) and today I'm showing off my Mandala way I use the glass headpins! I have a few to make into necklaces like the one shown but aren't they great!? I love them. Look for these on my Necklace page....I might offer just the pendants (don't know yet) and if I do, they will be on my Focal bead page.

I'd love for you to leave a comment and tell me what you think about them.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bike Riding...No Beads Today.

Yesterday Peter took a day off from work so we could enjoy some time together. After doing some needed yard work we went for a nice long bike ride around town. We've had a few really nice warm days here in Upstate NY & we had the itch to go out & enjoy the sunshine.

Our first stop was to the Public Market in the city. One of my favorite spots to eat is this little place called the Empanata Stop, they make THE best empanatas & spanish hot sauce. Currently they are only open Thursdays and Saturdays from 8:00am until 2:00pm but they are considering opening a new location close to where Peter works!!

If you live here in Rochester make sure you stop in at the Empanata Stop. I know you'll love it.

No bead making happened yesterday. To tired after yard work and riding around town. I do have some website updates to do but I'm having a bit of trouble with my new programs. Its not the computer or programs that are the problems.....its me.....the new process has me a bit lost so my dear friend and computer/web guru MaryJo will be stopping by on Saturday to help me out.....again!

Today we are biking again to meet friends at the Dinasour. I'll have photos to show....I'm getting in the habit of bringing my camera. I will be making beads today too. I have something I'm working on that I hope will develop into something special.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Something New...

Look for these colorful glass headpins in my Etsy shop. I've used these in my jewelry making for years and just had a Dahhh moment & thought that they would make great headpins. Of course, you can ask for them in almost any color too. I will also have these up on my Findings page. I'm still figuring out my new equipment here so uploading to my site won't be until later this week or a rainy day! I'm totally in love with the sunshine.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Break!

I'm busy writing a post for Watch Me Create about my many visits to Corning and all that it inspires. The last time I was there I purchased a book by Dale Chihuly titled Fire. Very cool indeed or should I say hot? Anyways, this book has been it my thoughts and an idea for a necklace is brewing. I'll be sharing my process and all that develops.

Today I sent out my last back order (a nicer way to put late order) and I'm now working at a studio clean up. It seems that I take a seasonal approach to my cleaning...once in the fall and once in the spring. Each studio re-do has me getting better and better at keeping organized and getting rid of those things that I just don't use anymore. Pictures of the studio reveal are coming too.

I'm sitting here at the computer and I just looked up and noticed that the buds on the trees are looking ready to burst. I love the coming of spring. My forsethia bushes look like they may open any day now.

Enough chit chatting.....It's back to the torch for me!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Skin & Steel

Last Sunday Peter and I went to the Skin and Steel show at the Dome Arena to see bikes and tattoing. Lots to see. Very colorful people there! Its been awhile since I've been to one of these events. I use to go ALL the time when I dated bikers (really). IAlthough my life now is tame, I still enjoyed this show and I was very surprised at the age of the crowd....mostly middle aged! I will always love motorcycles...and I think tattoo art (not all) is beautiful.

I'm the type of girl who loves going to the hardware store just to look at things. Nuts, bolts, gadgety thingies, all that stuff. At the bike show I loved the colorful paint jobs but the wheels & gears were interestinng too.

Hmmmmmmm, maybe some of these things will spark ideas for jewelry designs. Ya never know!

I'll have some beads/jewelry to show you this weekend. This new Mac computer and new programs have slowed me down a bit. We'll see how the upload to my website goes with the slightly different process. Since I will be on spring break from school, my posting should improve too!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Beading, beading, beading.......

I've been trying to catch up on all my beadmaking responsibilities since March was pretty much a bust! Being sick for nearly the whole month put me back a bit but I'm on track again. It feels so good too.

I have some exciting news that I can't wait to share. Unfortunately, I'm sworn to keeping a secret until everything is ready. Hopefully I can spill the beads soon.

I have to photograph some things later today or tomorrow so I should have photos to share. Peter and I are going Skin and Steel tomorrow too. Lots of good photo opportunities I'm sure. Just in case you don't know what the heck I'm talking about....Skin and Steel is a "biker" thing. Tattoo contests and tricked out bikes. I can't wait. Great people watching too. It should be in the low 60's tomorrow so we hope to bundle up and ride to the show....of course, I'm such a wimp, it might be too cold for me. For some reason a runny nose, watery eyes and flattened helmet hair just isn't a fashion statement. Call me crazy.

I've got to find my helmet stickers too. Fun but nasty statements......I like that. You'll just have to see me on the bike to know what I mean. Don't want to ruin my "snow white" image here!