September 11, 2018

How I Spent my Summer (Un-)Vacation

This view!

It’s been a fabulously hot, busy exciting summer....full of first experiences as well as revisiting a couple of my favorites from last year. As much as I prefer not to leave Cape Ann during the summer, when an opportunity presents itself that is too good to pass up....well, I don't pass it up! I was lucky enough to be invited up to Haystack Mountain School of Craft in Deer Isle ME for a week to study with Holly Cooper, an amazing glassmaker from Austin TX - I couldn’t say yes fast enough. You will definitely see some of the techniques she taught us show up in my work at some point, as the ideas muddle around in my brain and start to form ...I loved some of what she taught us and can imagine several ways I may adapt some of the recipes. These are some of the beads I made experimenting with her techniques plus some earrings and a pendant....such fun!

Some of the samples I made during class
Haystack is one of those rare places that allows one to just focus on work; the only distractions are those you allow (or encourage) to creep in. The surroundings are stunningly beautiful and the week I was there was sunny and mostly hot, with uncommonly warm, clear ocean water to cool off and relax in. It was a week to rejuvenate, learn and spend time with old and new friends who share my passion for learning. It was a great experience and I highly recommend checking out their many options for classes!
The ocean water was in the 70's, almost unheard of for coastal New England!! We took full advantage....
Creativity can be found everywhere on campus....

More balancing rocks.....
Some of Lois Russell's baskets

Can you guess? (looking down into a textured vase made in the glass-blowing class!)

The day we were leaving, there seemed to be an unending parade of schooners out among the islands; this was the view from the top of the stairs as we were packing up the car to head home. Until next time.....

Full moon through the pine trees.....

May 1, 2018

Turning a corner.....

Happy May Day!

I think - dare I say it? - that we've finally made the transition out of winter, and I have flowers to prove it! The sun is gloriously warm - and the pollen is starting to show...the good and the bad.
Anemone Pendants
So much is going on this time of year! Congratulations go to Cape Ann Artisans and all the craft artisans and artists in our creative city of Gloucester, just announced as one of the Top Ten Craft Towns in the country! They even used a photo of one of our founders, Anni Melancon, opening her unique kiln, with many craft-loving visitors looking on...a fitting tribute to celebrate our 35th year! You can see for yourself during Cape Ann Artisans Spring Studio Tour, coming up June 2-3; more details here. You can also join us via Plug-In Tours and enjoy visiting a select group of artisans by way of a comfortable small tour bus and leave your car in the driveway.

Going in circles....that seems to be a major theme in my work still, as it's been for the last couple of years. Coming out of the bleak landscape of winter, color is exploding in my studio and in the jewelry I've been working on. After a class in January, I started exploring mixing metalwork with my glass again and am happy with the results so far. There will be much more to come as time allows me to lose myself in the work.....
Trapeze Earrings.....
New Pendants.....
Primal Tribal Necklace
Amber/Teal Anemone Pendant

There is so much more to show (and tell about) but I hope you can come and see for yourselves! (you can always email or call about a special order if you can't make it by in person.....)

Take a deep breath and enjoy the color and joy around you!

Happy Spring!!

September 22, 2017

Collaboration - on so many levels!

The concept of collaboration has been buzzing around in my head increasingly for the past couple of years. I've made a few collaborative pieces with friends working in various media and talked to several others about working with them in the near future; it seems like something that is rumbling around in many people's brains at the moment. Not just limited to crafts or artwork, collaboration is defined as "the action of working with someone to produce or create something" and as such, our next presentation of the Celebrate Wearable Art 4 runway event is a massive work of collaboration. It started with the groundswell of behind-the-scenes work, leading off with the terrific presentation of WOW, The World of Wearable Art at the Peabody Essex Museum earlier this year.  In early September the Cape Ann Museum's panel discussion "Exploring Expressions on the Human Form" was a stimulating lead-in to our fourth Runway Show and Marketplace on October 1st, coming up very soon!! One or two of those aforementioned collaborations may be seen walking the runway....don't miss them!

Teaser alert! just a peek at some of what's to come....

On a similar wavelength...

Cape Ann Artisans has our annual Fall Open Studios on the Columbus Day Weekend; another event that would not happen without lots of folks working together. With a new member added and some other members back after a year off, there are so many opportunities to get a glimpse into the working studios of Cape Ann as you enjoy the beautiful landscape! It's the perfect time to get some holiday shopping done - and treat yourself to a little something special as well. Many of us will be demonstrating our working methods as time allows....we love showing what we do!

Making a glass finial for a ceramic lidded jar

From the "Blue Shelf" in the studio; collaboration with Marty Morgan
Hope to see you at one of my upcoming events!

April 27, 2017

Color Challenge...(trying new ideas!)

Red Rock Canyon, outside Las Vegas NV
 Incorporating some new ideas from an online marketing "class" I've been taking, this post is veering off in a new direction. I'll talk more about the class in upcoming posts, but first I'd love some help. Take a good look at the photo (above) here, and then compare it to the colors to this next photo. These are rods of glass I chose to create a series of beads/earrings(?) based on the desert-ish colors in the photo, as challenged by a friend.

Something seemed a bit off, so I thought I'd try to find a "palette generator" online, to see what changes a computer would make, based on pixels and whatever else they use. (What a great exercise it turned out to be, it made me think I'm going to try this with other photos for some new inspiration when I get stuck....)  I tried a few different ones, and interestingly none of the first three brought any green into the palette! Surprised, I kept going and found "CSS Drive" which gave me several options: Light, Medium, Dark and Complete. As you can see in the next photo, the only one with any green was the Complete... 
...and even it knocks out the deepest shade of blue and one of the greens I had pulled. I'm going to make some samples and will show them in the next couple of days....if you have a particular combo of these shades you'd like to see, please post in the comments and I'll try them out. I looked to see if I had anything already made with these shades but nothing....spring in the desert isn't my usual mindset, a true challenge!

So many other ideas come to mind...playing with the Pantone 2017 Colors (US or London, below) could also be fun!
What three colors from each palette would be your choice? Maybe I'll try them....stay tuned!

April 14, 2017

Catching Up!

Red Rock Canyon, 30 minutes outside Las Vegas
Where to start? With apologies for my long absence; I find I tend to shut down a little in the wintertime, I pull into myself and use the time to think about new ideas, new designs while also hibernating a bit. This past winter was the first time in a few years where I didn't get away for a few days to someplace warm during the height of winter, so hibernation at home went on a little longer than usual... but with a week-long trip in late March to our annual ISGB Gathering in Las Vegas and another few days in North Carolina right after, I can now see winter disappearing in the rear-view mirror and Spring is bursting out all around. (Spring pics in another post....)
View from our hotel room at South Point Resort
We were able to spend a couple of extra days sightseeing in the Las Vegas area before getting down to business at the conference; a trip out to Red Rock Canyon provided so many photo ops and color inspirations! 

A huge dust storm cancelled our trip to the Neon Boneyard Museum, but I'll get another chance next year as the conference will be held at the same place, same time....
Wonderful angles and colors, from the tram on the Strip
Spending time walking on the famous Las Vegas Strip and through huge hotels yielded more inspiration for colors and shapes....
South Point Resort (photo by Viyada Cheng)
Almost "other-worldly"....nothing is quite what it seems....
The Venetian Hotel, complete with canals and singing Gondoliers (this is inside the hotel! The "sky" is the painted ceiling....)

Domed ceiling in the Venetian (I think?)
In the everywhere!

The "Girls" in the Gardens.....
More flowers, in wild and beautiful combinations: 
And of course....
The famous Chihuly Ceiling in the Bellagio
We ended the day with dinner and a show: "O", by Cirque de Soleil.....most incredible! Sorry no pictures of that, but here is one from the cab ride home....
The Eiffel Tower and Ceasar's Palace....
Here are a couple of last images, maybe a bit more restful to the eyes....I'm thinking about using these colors in a new project, so stay tuned....
Barrel cactus (?) out at Red Rocks (photo by Viyada Cheng)

Lucky Bamboo
Hope you enjoyed this quick trip through Vegas.....thanks for following!

September 12, 2016

“From the Studio” -       September 2016

As a member of Cape Ann Artisans, we are each asked to write a couple of "From the Studio" blog posts a year for the website. The "theme" this season has been "Getting to Know You", as we have been reaching out into the community in many different ways from those we have done in the past. This posting is my way of telling a little more about myself and my work inspirations, and I've modified and reposted it here for my own (somewhat negelected) blog.

As the light starts to change and Fall closes in, my focus turns to the shows and events coming up in the next couple of months. That tends to push away my sadness at the passing of gardening season and the dwindling daylight, and happily I’ve gained much inspiration from my gardens this year - despite the drastic drought conditions. If you’ve been to my studio, you know that I’ve done my best to create my own little garden sanctuary right here in the middle of downtown Gloucester.

Gardening is a theme that seems to run through my life….in my glasswork, I make several designs based on Mother Nature’s designs; my Anemone Pendants, Leaf Necklaces and Tribal Pod Earrings are just a few. Even when not visually representative, often my color choices come from observing Nature’s palette…and the wilder and more unusual, the better!

When I travel, one of the first questions I always ask about an area I’m visiting is about any botanical gardens nearby…. those are often my first planned foray. In the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to experience The Queen’s Garden and Namtokphilio National Park in Thailand, Kew Gardens in the UK, (the amazing!) Butchart Gardens in British Columbia as well as Santa Fe Botanical Gardens, the Portland Japanese Gardens, Bellevue Gardens, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Naples (FL) Gardens, Phoenix….the list keeps going! October 1 & 2 I’ll be exhibiting at Tower Hill Botanical Gardens, just outside Worcester MA….it’s been on my “go to” list so I get to work and play at the same time!

 I hope you’ll get a chance to stop by my studio and see some of the work inspired by my love of gardens/gardening; if none of the upcoming events fit into your schedule, you’re welcome to stop by anytime you’re here in downtown Gloucester! And don't forget, Cape Ann Artisans' Open Studio Tour is a wonderful opportunity to drive around the "main streets and back roads" of Gloucester and Rockport, stop in where our bright pink banners mark our studios - and find a hidden gem or two! 

I hope to catch up with you at one of these events or at my studio....until then, don't forget to slow down, stop...and smell those roses! Enjoy.....

Until next time....

PS....Look for this pink banner when traveling around Cape Ann October 8-9.