Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Whack Your Head Wednesday

Change Viewpoints

#6 Long ago, a curious plague struck a village. When afflicted, its victims went into a deathlike coma and most died within a day. The problem was that the villagers couldn't tell if a victim was dead or alive. After discovering that someone had been buried alive, an alarmed town council convened. The majority- hoping to save lives-voted to put food and water in every coffin. Another group proposed a cheaper solution: implant a stake in every coffin lid directly over the victim's heart. When closed, all doubts over the victim's condition would vanish. What differentiated the solutions were the questions used to find them. Whereas the first group asked, "What if we bury somebody alive?", the second group asked "How can we make sure everyone we bury is dead?" Remember: the second assault on the same problem should come from a totally different direction. How can you change your viewpoint?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Messing Around

Okay, I was suppose to post another Featured Artist today but I just had to show you what I've been messin' around with. I'll get back on track next Sunday :)

I've been doing lots of knitting. I made two baby hats for ladies at work who just had babies. Of course I had to add some of my glass work......I made my Baby Head buttons into Baby Pins. This can easily be removed and pinned to a sweater or jacket. I should have some in my Etsy shop soon.

I recently purchased a book at the Gallery store titled Kanzashi In Bloom. This is the Japanese art of folding fabric into three dimensionl flower petals. I love making my felt brooches but this style of pin will be great for the summer. Love this new option and plan on having these too in my Etsy shop...soon!

Okay this was just for pure FUN. Meet Tweedle De or is this Tweedle Dumb? Anyways, the movie Alice In Wonderland inspired this cute pendant. I feel another one coming soon.....I'd like to try a different style of arms. This was my first.....I still like him. I'm hoping my friend Marcy hasn't forgotten about making her Tweedle.......I can't wait to see what she does for arms. Maybe I'll get an idea from her.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Whack Your Head Wednesday

Put a Lion in Your Heart

#51 "To fight a bull when you're not scared is nothing," says a well-known bull fighter. "And not to fight a bull when you are scared is nothing. But to fight a bull when you are scared-that is something." What gives you the courage to act on your ideas?  Having a well-thought plan? Encouragement? Faith in the idea? Past  success? What puts a lion in your heart?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday's Featured Artist

Amber Ballard~ That Bead Girl

I met Amber on Facebook and discovered her beautiful beads and her fun personality. I have really enjoyed facebook & meeting loads of wonderful glass workers through their art work. The nice thing about facebook vs a forum is that you get a better sense of someones personality by the way they interact with friends, by looking at their pictures,  etc...Connecting to people in this way brings a whole new respect and appreciation of their work. Please read on and learn about Amber and her gorgeous beads.

How long have you been making beads and how did you get your start?
I took a beginner's lampworking class back in 2001, which seems like forever ago to me now. I had a great teacher who showed us how to make basic round spacer beads on a hothead torch. Tht 4 hour class is the only formal trainig I've had in lampworking. I can't believe it's been almost 10 years already! Today I work on a duel fuel torch (a minor) with on oxygen concentrator.

Do you sell your work and where? What venue seems to work the best for you?
It took about 2 years of practice before I felt like my work was "good enough" to sell the public. I started out selling on ebay, began to build a client base and then expanded online. Today I sell through my personal website, etsy, and I also continue to sell via ebay. Thought it has it's ups and downs, ebay continues to be my most rewarding selling venue.

Where do you see yourself in 3, 5,10 years?
Gosh, this is a hard question. I often ask myself the same thing. Lampworking started out as a hobby, a chance for me to "escape" my life as a full time mom. Having a hobby was so important to me, especially to my identity as a grown woman. Its's become so much more to me after all this time has passed. I've got 3 children and once the younger one starts school this year, I'd like to start taking more formal lampworking classes. In the short term I'd like to expand my skill set, work my way into boutiques and shoppes and in 10 years I hope to be able to pass everything I've learned onto anyone new to lampworking who has a true desire to learn this art form. Will people know my name in 10 years? I hope so!

What has been most challenging?
My biggest challenge has been trying to teach myself. There is a certain joy in discovering things naturally, but I really am a visual learner. It's frustrating at times to have to desire to learn a new skill or technique and not have the luxury of running away for a few days to take a class. I'm not my own best teacher.

What are you most proud of?
My biggest challenge has also been my biggest reward. I certainly am proud of myself for how far I've come. I take great pride in knowing that everything I've learned, I've learned by being tenacious. I'm excited everyday knowing that I am the one responsible for how far I've taken this journey.

What inspires your work and who are some artists that you admire?
I find great inspiration in simplicity. I don't think any of my glass work is overly complicated or overworked design wise. I really like modern, clean lines. Sometimes less is definitly more. I really enjoy finding odd colors of glass and letting them sort of speak for themselves with maybe an interesting shape rather than lots of detail. I am thouroghly obsessed with metallic glass.

I try not to actively look at other lampworker's beads because I'm always worried that something I see will work it's way into my glass unintentionally.

I definitely have great respect for so many artists out there, and admire not only their skill but their intuitive eye for design. They include: Michael Barley, Kate Fowle Meleney, Jill Symons, Mary Ann Williams, Alicia Abla....the list could go on for pages!!

Describe yourself in 3 words.
Joyful, Focused, Unfettered......can I buy three more words? :)

I hope you enjoy Amber's work as much as I do! Please stop back next Sunday to see who the spotlight will shine on then!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Baby Heads

There are two teachers at school that will soon be having new babies! Its a first for one and a second for the other. So, I'm knitting little hats for both of them and thought they needed a glass button to liven them up. Aren't these cute....cute as a button that is. Can't wait to finish the hats and place these on them. I'll be sure to take a photograph & show you what I plan on doing.

Oh, if you really like these, I will have them in my Etsy shop tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Whack Your Head Wednesday

Change Its Name

#30 If an architect looks at an opening between two rooms and thinks "door," that's what she'll design. But if she thinks "passageway," she may design something much different like a "hallway," "air curtain," "tunnel," or perhaps a "courtyard." Different words bring in different assumptions and lead your thinking in different directions. What else can you call your idea?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday's Featured Artist

Marcy Lamberson

I love to learn about different artists and their roots. So the next few Sunday's will be dedicated to Featured Artist interviews so we can take a peek inside some of the artists I admire. Its fasinating how much you can find in common with people who share your interests and how much you can learn from them. We all have stories to tell that help others to see our work in a new light. To know someone is to love them.....and their work. So I am very pleased to introduce you to Marcy Lamberson a.k.a Studio Marcy. I know you will just love her :)

Dear Studio Marcy,

How did you get started and how long have you been making beads?
I've been making beads for about 8 years now, which has flown by. I thought I wanted to blow glass with the big equipment, but after getting my toes wet with lampwork, I decided that I'd get to melt more glass with a torch I could use in my own home. I painted watercolors prior to it and love the luminosity that both mediums embrace.

Where do you sell your work? Is there a particular venue that seems to be most successful for you?
I sell my work on etsy. I have had the most success on it. I tried Artfire and a few others and didn't enjoy going back and forth between them.

Is this full time or part time work?
Technically I am a full time flameworker, however, facebook seems to have crept into my life pretty strongly. I'm trying to kick the habit and make it less important. (It's just so much fun!)

What is your biggest challenge?
My biggest challenge is marketing myself. I love making the beads but telling everyone to by my beads is the hardest. I know they're fun, whimsical beads, but I have a hard time telling folks about them.

What are you most proud of?
I have a lot that I'm proud of- I teach glass to a lot of people and seeing the joy that they get from it, really makes me proud. And also that I've won two torches from contests is pretty sweet too. I've had pieces in museums around the country and been chosen for some pretty nice honors. I have glass displayed in other countries as well.

What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in 3, 5, 10 years?
My goals are shorter term. Each year I pick a few areas that I really want to focus on. For example, this year I want to improve in human forms and faces. I like the childlike ones I make for etsy, but I want to start a gallery line of glass that has a mor sophisticated look too. So thats this year's major goal.

What has the most influence in your work and who do you admire?
My influence is the world around me and my customers. I look at life rather skewed. I see chubby cheeked babies and fluffy dogs and think they look like beads. I see wizened faces or colorful plants and mentally figure out how I would make them with glass. And I love custom orders because each time a customer requests something I haven't made before, it's like my own private art puzzle that I get to solve and create at the same time.

Three words that describe you are;
A. Joyful, B. Creative, C. Humorous (ha, ha, luckily it wasn't 4 or I would have included "lousy housekeeper".)

Well, I certainly hope you will stop over to Marcy's etsy shop and check out her work. I'm hoping to get my two silly dogs made into beads sometime soon!

Friday, March 12, 2010

3 Beautiful Things

1. Leaving for work yesterday morning and hearing the geese coming home for spring! Love to see them fly in their V formation.......have you heard about the practice of leadership?

2. A great cup of coffee, the smell of spring and sunshine with a little nip in the air.....all on the way to work.

3. Because spring is on its way...I have loved seeing the earlier sunrise. That sun rises each day and never takes a day off :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Last Night was Class Night!

Last night my PMC class meet to conclude their class and I'm happy to say that I believe they were all thrilled with their treasures they made last week. Its fun working with grown ups! They work so differently then the 5, 6, 7 and 8 year old students I work with during the day.

They work rather neatly, organized and they don't simply blurt out things loudly. Aaaahhhh, such a calm work environment.

This is what I'm use too. Really not bad but the mess is a lot bigger!

Who am I kidding.......children are very special to work with and I love every minute of it!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whack Your Head Wednesday

Do the Unexpected

#59 In 1334, Hochosterwitz Castle was besieged by the Duchess of Tyrol. As time wore on, the defenders became desperate: their last food was an ox. The Duchess's situation also was severe: her troops had become unruly, and she had urgent matters elsewhere. Then, the castle's commander had an idea that must have seemed utter folly to his men. He had the last ox thrown over the wall in front of the enemy. The Duchess interpreted this scornful message to mean that the defenders had so much food that they could waste it.  At this, the discouraged Duchess quit her siege. Because the commander did the opposite of what the Duchess expected, he made her believe that her siege wasn't working. What surprising tactic can you use to reach your objective?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile, Laugh or Cry

This makes me laugh! I could just picture myself doing this when I'm elderly.......just ask my sister or could happen :) I hope you can read this.......just too funny!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Etsy Blog Carnival~ March is National Nutrition Month!

Etsy Bloggers~ Blog Carnival
I'm part of the Etsy Blogger team and each month we all participate in a Carnival....a blog carnival that is. Each of us responds to a particular theme and then we talk about it on our blog. This month one of the topics was March is National Nutrition Month. Being a health nut of sorts, I was inspired by this one........BUT I'm also going to include that March is National Youth Art Month too. A topic I'm totally passionate about.

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with A Heatlthy Burger Alternative
I'm a vegetarian so I am passing to you a healthy burger alternative that is one of my favorites. My husband who is not vegetarian also loves these so I am certain that many of you will enjoy them too.
This recipe is from the Horn of the Moon cookbook. I've tried dozens of tofu burger recipes and have been mildly disappointed in most of them. This one I REALLY love. They hold together when frying and they taste great.

Tofu Burgers

1 lb extra firm tofu
1/2 cp tahini
4 tb sunflower oil (I used canola)
3/4 cp finely chopped spanish onion (I used a regular onion)
1 tb dried dill (I used chopped fresh dill)
1/2 cup finely chopped sunflower seeds ( I omitted this)
1/2 cp bread crumbs
2 tb tamari
black pepper or cayenne to taste ( I used creole seasoning)
whole wheat flour

Mash tofu and mix with tahini in med. bowl. Heat 2 tab. oil in small pan, saute onion and dill until onions are translucent. Add to tofu mixture. Add the sunflower seeds, bread crumbs, tamari, and pepper. Add more bread crumbs as needed until firm.

Form into patties and lightly coat with flour on each side. Fry in about 2 tab. of oil until brown on both sides. Serve on bun with condiments you like.

March is National Youth Art Month
Being an art teacher I wanted everyone to know that March is National Youth Art Month too! If you have a child or teen at home why not try the following to honor their creative efforts this month. These ideas are really easy, take little time and will make a great memory once your child is a young adult looking back at their childhood.

1. Create a book about their art work. Take photos of particular art pieces and upload them into a book format using any number of publishing options. I have a Mac so I can do this right on my computer but Blurb and Snapfish offer book making options too. Short writing pieces can be used with each art piece noting when it was done, title of the work and what materials they used. A fantastic idea if I do say so myself!

2. Purchase a few simple black framed 18X20 inch frames (or larger) and place them in an area that works with your home decor. Each month rotate art work that goes into these frames to honor your little or big artist. Have them create a writing piece that can also be displayed that explains what materials were used, a title they have given it, and their age. Love it!

3. Attend your childs school art shows and functions. It takes just a little time but delivers BIG impact!

3 Beautiful Things

1. So amazing how one week can be so different from the previous. Last week Friday we actually had our first snow storm and snow day off from school. This Friday you could just smell spring in the air. Sun was shining, snow has melted a lot and the birds were singing. I love spring and all that it brings.

2. I am not a big fan of doing daily housework. I just don't have time to keep things neat and in place 24/7. Thats not to say that I don't like things orderly 'cause I do but I perceive it as a vicious thankless cycle that I have little extra time for.  However, the simple task of cleaning my kitchen was actually meditative and peaceful. Time to pause and think while washing the dishes, a maintained focus on putting things in there place and then enjoying the result of a fresh smell and tidy environment. A clean kitchen is a beautiful thing!

3. Simple silence. The morning starts with the television & listening to the news. The ride to work has the radio with more news. The school day has children and teachers talking, meeting, helping, explaining....etc. The ride home is more of the same radio followed by television followed by talking with family and phone calls. I actually enjoy stretches of time in silence. No noise of any kind. Just space to think and be completely relaxed. I did that for almost 2 hours and it was fabulous!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

March Challenge

In art class later this month our school will be hosting a Monet traveling art exhibit so I felt it was fitting to use this as my March challenge. Monet was all about light. Capturing light and shadow during different points of the day. One day I hope to be lucky enough to visit his home/museum in France but at this point I simply must enjoy images.

So what does Monet's work say to you? This image of the Japanese bridge arching over a portion of a pond filled with waterlilies is one he revisited time after time. Something interesting to contemplate during March.

My February challenge isn't yet posted since I've been a bit busy. I hope to have that one up next week but I'm going to begin thinking on this current one too. Won't you join me? Here is how you can be part of the creative challenge too.

Here is How to Enter:

1. Create a bead or piece of jewelry that is based on the image/theme of the month. If entering a peice of jewelry, please don't just string beads but push yourself to explore new materials, techniques and ideas. Beads can be made from any material such as paper, clay, lampwork or seedbeads. Or anything else I may have excluded.....Its all about the beads!

2. Post your creation on our flickr group.

The purpose of this challenge is to find inspiration and to then inspire others by what you have made.