Sunday, May 31, 2009

What? No shopping again??

Alas, I'm out of time, and haven't done my weekly shopping posts - again! I've been on a roll in the studio all week, working on gallery and custom orders, and even finished long overdue pieces for my mom, and my best friend.

Also have several new designs about ready for my Etsy and 1000 Markets shops. Only one little picture for now, though. This is one of the custom pieces finished this week. I'll be putting this design in the shop as as well. I'm going to make one for myself, too! This one is sterling, with a 5mm opal in the center. I'm going to do one with a brass flower and perhaps a moonstone in the center for myself. I got a ton of yummy little accent stones this week, so there are lots to choose from. And a big order from Rio, too with some gold. I'll be listing some gold stacking ring sets soon, too.

I've got to report for jury duty for the first time in my life tomorrow morning at 8:00. Which means I have to actually go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight, so that's it for now...more photos coming soon. And of course, more garden pics. I never get tired of my garden, which is still blooming beautifully with new treasures each week. This week the Penstemmons are strutting their stuff!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Saturday Night at 1000 Markets

My mom and I had a wonderful trip down to Hanover Gallery in Chattanooga, TN on Friday afternoon to deliver all the pieces I've been working on for the last couple of days. We decided we needed to get out more often, so we'll be traveling to the other galleries that are close enough to visit, as well. I always wanted to be a travel writer, lol! Just the one photo of Missy Peirano, who is the owner of this delightful gallery, sitting behind the jewelry display case for now, though - I'll be writing a post about our trip with more pics and details of some fab food later this week. Now it's time to move on to the great new items I've come across at 1000 Markets during the last week!

First, there is a new member in the Wearable Art Market, and her work had my full attention the very moment I first laid eyes on it - meet Peggy and her shop Maskwoman. Each of her wondrous creations has a many-layered story to tell. These are the type of pieces where you notice a new delight every single time you look at them. She makes masks that are small enough to be worn as pendants (they come with a tube bail affixed to the back for hanging), as well as larger masks to be used as wall art.

One of my favorites is the sweet 'Empty Nest' pendant mask with its lovely shining gold. The dreamy look of the eyes in this one gives me the feeling that just about anything is possible - if you dream it you can do it!

And of course, I can't help but love her 'Back to the Garden' pendant with it's lovely sagey green paired with a sweet rose and a touch of deep red - most definitely on my wish list!

As a bird-lover, the ever so unique 'Birdgirl's Prize' caught my eye right away. I would so love to hang it on my wall - the colors were just made for my house! This is a large piece, 12" by 8", and the little 'prize' at the end of the string is a wonderful touch of whimsy. The expression of the bird reminds me a lot of my own little african grey, and I definitely think he keeps me on a string, ha ha!

The Metalcraft Market is a 1000 Markets marketplace that I manage with the help of several other metalsmiths who are members. The work there ranges from jewelry to fine sculpture and wrought iron work - just about anything that can be created from metal is represented. The longer I work with metal, the more I am fascinated by what can be done with it. You can push it to the limit, then anneal it, and it returns to soft pliability waiting to be push to the limit once again. I was greatly inpsired when I first saw the work of Patrick Conlin, who creates both stunning jewelry and amazing metal vessels.

His piece titled 'Seaform Teapot' is just simply one of the most amazing pieces of functional art I've ever seen. Incredibly, the teapot is functional, and includes an infuser in the lid, a beautiful hardwood handle, and two matching cups. Unbelievable.

The 'Flared Vessel' is a perfect example of the distance that metal can be moved through the skillful use of hammer and torch. This one has me inspired to try and create one of my leaf pieces with ragged edges. Read more about how to create raised vessels here.

Another way to form metal into a 3-D design is through the art of Repousse. Patrick has a gorgeous Repousse Sterling Cuff in his shop that is a stunning example of this art form.

This is another technique on my 'short list' of things to learn. Hopefully I will be trying this at the annual jewelry retreat in October. Read a more about the art of Repousse here and here. Oh, my, how I want to take one of Valentin Yoktov's classes!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A little quickie.....

Life gets so busy in the spring it's very hard to make myself put in the computer time needed to keep my poor blog up to date. I thought it was high time to brush off the cobwebs here and say hello! I've been busy in the studio working on several custom pieces, and in the garden. The peonies and roses have simply outdone themselves, and I've enjoyed two weeks of sumptuous blooms. Now I'm looking forward to the calla lilies, which are sure to bring some great photo opportunities. And I need to mow......always the endless mowing.....

I'm taking a trip down to Chattanooga to hand deliver a gallery order tomorrow, so I am feverishly finishing up items today. I can't wait to see what the shop looks like, and do a bit of browsing through the downtown art district. There will definitely be pictures when I get back. I'll also probably take my new dragonfly leaf piece, and get busy making another one for the shop next week.

Also made a new pinkie ring for the shop with those yummy little pink tourmalines that arrived last week.

This weekend I'll be showing you some completely fabulous work from both Etsy and 1000 Markets - the kind of stuff that takes your breath away - can't wait to see what you all think!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fairy Boots, A garden and the camera....

Last week was a busy week in the studio making lovelies for lots of mothers (including my own mom). I hope everyone here in the US had a great Mother's Day on Sunday. It was the only day without rain here in almost two weeks! I might be a bit tired of all the rain, but flowers love it after two years of drought. I've filled the house with bouquets, and I'm full of inspiration and ideas for new flower pieces in metal.

Spending so much time with my camera photographing jewelry has definitely made it easier to photo the great flowers my garden giving me this year. My white wisteria is just gorgeous for the first time since I planted it two years ago, and it smells completely heavenly. The little buds look just like a pair of fairy boots before they open, don't you think?

I must admit that spring in the garden distracts me a bit from my blogging and computer duties - but I'll be back in full swing as soon as I get everything planted and mulched to protect against the long hot summer.

I still have a lot to do as you can see. Have to get the flower beds weeded, the garden plot turned over and planted, and the big black tubs filled with dirt and planted. I'm using the tubs to outfox the rabbits, cats and the neighbor's male dog. I really need a fence, but until then, I'm just going to use the tubs to keep my lettuce and other greens out of reach. These are cattle feed tubs from my best friend's cattle farm. (Best beef in the world - I haven't bought meat from a store in years!)

I spent Saturday morning doing a bit of the weeding, and while I was out there, had a wonderful time cutting bouquets and photographing the day's best blooms. I think my favorite right now is my yellow floribunda rose that is blooming its heart out right now.

And of course, my little bed of pinks right outside the back door is providing heavenly fragrance - these two look like a little pair of twins. I keep a cupful of these in the house so I can smell them all day.

Also blooming now are the elegant siberian iris and my favorite flower of all time - peonies. I have six bushes, and even though they are only 3 years old, the provide gorgeous bouquets for every room in the house when they are in full bloom. they just started this week, so the house will be filled in a few days! The pink and white single cup peony was the first out, and they look good enough to eat! The other peonies are huge fluffy double pinks, Sara Bernhardt, if I remember correctly, and another semi-double cup peony. I've got to go find my pile of flower tags and figure out what which ones I have.

Well, my coffee's done, and I've got to get busy in the studio. I'm finishing up a dendritic agate custom ring today, working on a custom yin yang pendant, and an 'organic' vining ring shank design now that the rush of Mother's Day orders is finished. Also got some yummy pink tourmalines that I'm making a pinkie ring from for myself, and I'll be listing a bunch of new single stacking rings in the shop this week. Pictures later......really, I promise!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Saturday Night at 1000 Markets (Sunday morning version)

Oops, late again! I was not too tired to shop last night, but I was too tired to blog. But now I have my morning tea in hand, and I'm ready for a new week. Very ready for a new week! Last week was not the best down in the studio - one of those weeks where everything was a struggle for no reason. I'm so glad that doesn't happen very often! The garden had a great one, though, and my Moje Hammarburg rugosa rose put out her first bloom of the season - live inspiration for my rose pieces. I'm going to keep making silver roses until they look just like hers!

Things are getting more and more active and exciting at 1000 Markets. Traffic and sales are up, and special events are happening everywhere.

It's already time for the monthly Wearable Art Market get-together tonight and you are all invited!! Hosted by Streetnoodles, the party is at 7pm EST, 6pm central, 5pm mountain and 4pm pacific time, till whenever in the Wearable Art Market public forum.

Here's what she writes about tonight's get-together:
The "Wearable Art Market" is eager to break down the walls between buyer & seller...opening the doors of discussion that will help everyone to understand a little more about our varied crafts and the inspiration behind it...even the day-to-day mundane tasks needed to be done to follow our passion.

Art will be the subject of course-- inspiration, latest ambitions, recent successes-- or works in progress-- BUT i recently watched an old video of "A Chorus Line"...and the question that came up, "what i did for love"...corny i know BUT i would like to ask a variation of that question--"what is the most silly or humiliating thing you've done for art? ...think about it & bring it to the forum!

I suggest you pop some popcorn, or maybe some salsa & chips, beverage of your choice, barefeet or "bunny" slippers a must, and maybe a pillow for your bum...we're in for the long haul.

Another market that has wonderful things going on is the Wear it Out market - "the place to find your total outfit head to toe".

The market blog, as well as some of the members' individual blogs feature an entire outfit of wonderful pieces created by market artists. Check out the fabulous turquoise and blue collection put together by Silver River Metal.

I fell in love the the gorgeous Reflections in Water knit bolero by Designs by Velvet, and found that she has an entire collection of gorgeous shrugs and boleros. Another one of Velvet's pieces that I love is her Lace of Lilac knitted shrug. I adore the sleeves!

Althea Peregrine is another member of the Wear It Out market, and has put together a lovely outfit and featured it on her blog. I was thrilled to have my copper cuff bracelet featured along with her gorgeous collection. I'm also glad to have discovered her gorgeous silk art!

This little drawstring purse is definitely something I'm going to treat myself to. Feathers have a special meaning for me, and I love the beautiful blue and purples she has used.

Her silk wall hangings are also stunning. I will definitely be saving up for one of these - they would look just perfect in my house! I think my favorite is the Ancient Landscape VIII. This one is quite meaningful to me, and I'd love to look at it every day hanging on my wall.

I also love the Ancient Landscape IV. The color is simply spectacular, and I love the unlikely mix of giraffes with a bevy of ancient ladies. Both motifs are from a prehistoric rock art site in Africa by the name of "Beautiful Ladies".

And speaking of landscapes - I am lucky enough to live in an area with an abundance of beauty that I hope to find time to photograph this year. (since I can't paint, alas) I'll close today with one of Jeff Pittman's gorgeous views of the mountains around Asheville - In Yellow Light.

Have a wonderful Sunday! And don't forget to come visit with us at the Wearable Art Market get-together tonight at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.