Thursday, January 31, 2008

"The Brass Section" Breaking A Creative Block

Wow, it's been a long week for me. I have had the flu for two weeks and am just getting over it. Not only did it seem to suck the energy from my physical body, it also seemed to bruise my ability to be creative at the torch. Normally, I bounce on the balls of my toes as I make my way to my studio. . . My mind filled with excitement and ideas. Lately, it has felt more like I am walking the green mile or something. It's cold in my studio basement. . .Dark, dusty, musky and creepy. NOT a place one wants to be when they don't feel well.

After days of working at my torch, feeling lower than low due to the substandard beads that I had been making, I finally had an inspiration. . .It was my husband's old trumpet. It sat quietly in the corner of our bedroom on an antique chair that I had reupholstered with an Italian sage damask fabric, and deep indigo and antique gold fringe. It is a beautiful arrangement, but not one that I had ever paid much attention to.

On Tuesday, I carried the idea down the torch with me and my latest set, "The Brass Section" was born.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A pressing situation. . .

Over the holidays I received four new presses from Cattwalk designs. . .The graduated lentil, one inch lentil, chunky lentil and the new elongated crystal press. When I received them, I thought, "Humph! This will be a breeze!" WRONG! While the presses are absolutely wonderful, you really do have to be patient in learning to work with them. This is one of the reasons that my offerings of work have been few and far between lately. I have been trying to teach myself to work with these new tools.

One of the struggles that I am having with the presses is in trying to incorporate the techniques that I use in my current body of work. I need to stop doing tyring to emulate my current style on this new pallet and allow a new style to emerge from the learning process. The idea sounds very easy when I say it, but for some reason I'm finding extremely difficult.

Yesterday I worked with the elongated crystal press and I LOVE this new shape! I made some encased florals and even though the press kind of squished them out of form a bit. Still yet, I think they turned out beautifully so I can't wait to get back into the studio this afternoon to get a bit more familiar with what this press has to offer!

For anyone that actually reads this blog, I will be listing some beads and focals this afternoon.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Special Order Bead Category

First, I want to thank those of you that utilized the "special order bead" option that was offered in my online catalog. Expanding this category to offer more options for ordering was one of my goals. I have since changed my mind and I would like to explain why. . .

Like many other lampworkers, I tend to use a lot of silvered and reactive glasses in my work. That can make the recreation of certain pieces very difficult. Sometimes a reorder may take me 2 or 3 attempts at the torch in order to create one bead that looks like the original. It's unfortunately NOT a practical way for me to do business.

Doing the same work over and over again also keeps me from having the freedom to evolve my style and it hinders my discovery of the techniques that grow my skill as an artist.

I do want to stress though, that if you see something that you missed out on, you can still get it via custom order. Just shoot me an email for further info.

Current orders that are in house for special order beads will be filled and shipped this week.

If you have questions, please send me an email.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Auction for Just Vonna

"Prayer for Peace"

A dear friend unexpectedly lost her young adult son over the Thanksgiving holiday. Most of you may already know her. . .Her name is Vonna Maslanka. It's my understanding that her son, Jonathan, did not have life insurance so Vonna and her family had to cover those expenses on their own.

Marilyn Peraza is hosting the auction and several very talented bead makers gave their beads in hopes to help Vonna. In the past, Vonna has been one to bend over backwards to help others within our community so I hope that her auction does very well. She deserves no less.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season!

This year, my husband and I are staying home for the holidays. We had planned to spend Christmas in CA with my husband's family but couldn't work it out so we will hope to get there next year.

Normally, since we couldn't go to CA, I would choose to make the trip home to my mom's ranch for the holiday. However, my daughter has to work on Christmas Eve, as well as the day after Christmas. Rather than hustle and bustle, a nice Christmas dinner at home seemed like a beautiful idea so that is how we are going to spend our holiday.

I have been thinking lately about how lucky I am to be a full time bead artisan. Many of those thanks go out to you . . . Thank you for the encouragement, kind words, and of course, thank you for purchasing my beads because without you, I would be sitting behind some desk in a cold office building, wondering if I would ever find my place in this world.

From my family to yours, have a very happy holiday and prosperous new year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Thinking of Cheri Blum

Just recently, I was thinking of one of artists that I always found to be so incredibly inspiring. As a muralist, and lover of Italian frescoes I simply adored her work. . .The seemingly time washed background textures that she created on her canvases was only one of the elements of her work that I so appreciated. She was truly gifted and her work continues to inspire me even though she is no longer with us. When I read about her untimely passing in 2003, I broke down in tears. To this day, I miss looking forward to seeing new work from her, but will always treasure the inspiration that she left behind.

Her hydrangea paintings were my favorite. I have tried time and time again to create something as beautiful but Cheri was no doubt, in a class of her own. I am sure she is greatly missed by all that adored her. Hopefully I'm not violating any copyright laws by linking to this photo.

Monday, November 5, 2007

No more excuses. . .I HAVE to walk now.

So, there I was. . . Walking through Walmart with Mr. Muell, pushing a cart full of stuff that I didn't really need, when suddenly I saw it. At first, I thought it must be bathed in the white light of the Holy spirit because it just seemed to beacon me toward it. . . As I approached the seemingly blessed object, I realized that the white light was nothing more than ultra strength florescent lighting. Still yet, I decided that it must be a sign. For I HAD to buy that treadmill. It was on clearance, which further drove the point home.

Mark and I checked out the treadmill and it seemed to be a fabulous model at a more than reasonable price. We looked beneath the pedestal that it sat upon but to our disappointment, Walmart had sold out of that particular model. With heavy hearts, we began to walk away in pursuit of other unnecessary sundries. (For example, I later purchased a whiteboard for my office. Did I REALLY need that? NOPE but it sure looks cool hanging in here, just in case I get the sudden urge to doodle, erase and doodle some more.)

Just as we were about to walk away, we began to scan the attire of stander's by in hopes that one of them would be wearing a blue "Walmart" apron. No such luck. . . It seems that you only see them when they have the isle blocked with something and they need for YOU to move so that they can get by. lol Anyway, after playing the Walmart version of "Where's Waldo", we finally found someone that could help us. To my delight, she offered us the display model while cautioning that the manual had gone missing at some point. HUH!!! I didn't care. I didn't even ask for a bigger discount. I just want to be able to take a brisk walk while I watch Judge Judy.

Later in the afternoon, we finally arrived home with the object that would help us to recover from our couch potatoasitis. Mark positioned it perfectly in the corner of our living room, plugged it, turned it on and . . .NOTHING!! NOTHING!! It did not work. Oh, but he was determined to NOT return this big piece of equipment to Walmart for a refund. He's too smart for that and he doesn't give up without a fight. He took it a part and looked at the onboard computer so that he could be sure that everything was plugged in where it should be.

Yep, according to him everything looked fine. A little red light was on and that told him that the unit was getting power. . . "SO what's the problem? Why isn't the motor turning? Why won't the computer display come on?!!!" He shouted. After an hour of frustration in trying to figure our what was wrong with the seemingly cursed treadmill, he decided that it time to consult Google. After much research on the model number, he found out that there is a key that has to be plugged into a slot in the treadmill in order for it to work. It's this little do-hicky thingamabob that exists as a safety feature. I think it keeps people from being flung off of the belt incase they decide to step onto it when it's moving at break-neck speed.

I bet the little key thing was in the packet of paperwork that was lost, that I coincidentally said I didn't think I needed. Actually, my statement to the Walmart employee that sold us the treadmill was, "No paperwork? Who cares. . .I'll take it!!" Luckily I have a pretty smart husband. He rewired the panel so that it works without the key.

After all of that drama, here I am writing about it instead of getting my morning exercise. lol