March 31, 2019

The Road to Vegas....T minus 7 days and counting!

Full Spectrum Gradient Necklace in progress...
Next Sunday I will present my newest work to the International Society of Glass Beadmakers at our annual conference, "The Gathering", in Las Vegas. This will be the second time I've presented, aside from being on a couple of panel discussions over the years, and it all came about at  last year's Gathering when a few of us (long-time) members were discussing who we'd like to see as presenters in the future and what we felt was missing from the current speakers lineup. Those of us having the discussion have all been glassworkers and beadmakers for well over a decade, some of us more than twice that; we were feeling a bit frustrated that there wasn't much in the lineup directed towards us working in glass full-time - making a living. Granted, there are a lot of hobbyists and part-timers in the organization, so there is a real need to keep them engaged as well. And as in most volunteer-driven organizations, if you are going to offer suggestions on something you'd better be ready to jump in and participate. Hence, I submitted a proposal to speak - and it was accepted.

In a perfect world I would like to see a conversation started that would develop a strategy aimed specifically at keeping our established members more engaged and involved at a higher level that takes advantage of their knowledge and experience. I think it's something all organizations run into at some point...balancing limited resources between attracting new members and keeping the long-term members happy. My presentation grew out of this dilemma.... what could I talk about that could be of interest to both groups?

An idea that really resonated with me (and had for a while) came from seeing some beautifully executed metalwork that also incorporates lots of texture and layers of color, using colored pencils as the coloring agents. I've been aware of the technique for years and had wondered if it could translate to decided to take a workshop to test my theory. I found a class in February, signed up and was off to the races!

Overlapping Squares pendant

This new work has been fun, eye-opening and exciting to see develop! I find that when I'm the busiest is exactly the time "Creativity" takes over....and sometimes you just have to go with it and enjoy the ride.

Full Spectrum Gradient Tribal Necklace

Tropical Punch Tribal Necklace

Hope you enjoy seeing a few of the new pieces, and stay tuned for more to come!

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!