Saturday, July 14, 2012

Who Are You Making This For?

Yesterday my husband and I went to an opening reception for local artist Nancy Brittelle.  Her work is on display in Blowing Rock at Arts and Artifacts on Sunset.  

The announcement for the reception was in the one of our local newspapers, and the description of her work made me very curious so we went!  When I entered the room where her work was displayed, it took my breath away!  It was one of those moments when you see something beautiful and say to yourself, why didn't I think of that?

 Nancy incorporates things that all of us throw away when ever we receive something in the mail!  Boxes, packing materials like Styrofoam, egg cartons, and "peanuts."  She arranges them into patterns, adheres them to a surface and then paints them with a combination of metallic paints like silver, copper, and bronze.  Who would have ever thought that such materials that everyone throws away (or recycles in the usual way) could be assembled to create such beautiful pieces of art?  Not me, but I wish I had!

 As my husband and I stood there, practically with our mouths open, Nancy approached us to thank us for coming.  We didn't know her, but I feel like we made a friend.  She was so warm and delightful!  My husband BK used to run a gallery here in Boone many years ago and is familiar with many of the now famous local artists around here.  So he told her why and how he was so impressed with her work (does that make sense?).  Her response seemed genuinely delighted that he would express such interest in her.  She was very open to answering our questions and was very articulate in her descriptions.  Bottom line, she fascinated us!

As did her work.  I couldn't find pictures of my favorite pieces so I must describe the amazing imagery and intricacy of some of the pieces at the show.  My favorite piece was a large one that hung vertically and was divided into horizontal spaces of repetitious forms. These forms were wine bottles!  We used to have wine shipped to us and I thought, what a shame to throw these Styrofoam forms away....certainly we could use them for something!  She created a line of patterns using the positive side of the shape, then in another line she used the negative side of the shape!  She also used other pieces of Styrofoam to repeat smaller patterns to frame and divide up the larger sections.  I wish I could describe it better, but it was almost spiritual (pardon the pun!) to behold it.

Another piece that held me spell bound was a smaller one with intricate spaces.  It compelled me to get closer to see the details.  In this piece she used strips of the very thick (but not dense) cardboard to create patterns of spaces.  This was the kind of cardboard that is two horizontal sheets divided by many many lighter vertical sheets.  The impression was of little secret spaces all different and all magical little doors of curiosity.  I wish you could see it!

Something she said about her jump, moving  from realistic 2D work to 3D nonobjective work left me thinking.  

She was extremely well known for her drawings and paintings of old places "still standing" around the countryside of Watauga County.  Her work in this genre sold extremely well and people were dying for her to do more and more.  She recently went to Italy and took tons of pictures with the intention of coming home to continue in the same vein of successful, sales worthy work.  However, when she started trying to churn it out, she hit a wall and just didn't feel the same energy to create it.  

She asked herself, "Who am I making this for?"  A light bulb came on and she realized that painting for someone else wasn't what made her happy.  She needed to do art for HERSELF!  That's when the light bulb came on for me!

I churn out beads all the time with the pure intention of making some money.  Well yeah, I gotta pay for my glass and gas somehow, but is it making me happy?  More than often, I find myself veering away from "the plan," and I just play with my molten, colorful, reactive glass.  It's not always about success, even fails can be fun.  That's when I'm making beads for me.  

As artists, that's the best thing we can do for ourselves, is just create to please YOU.  The more you do it, the more likely it will be that you end up doing something that pleases others in ways that exceed your own expectations.  How awesome that must feel!

So I leave you now to explore the links above to the story of Nancys' work on her website, and in the news paper stories about her.  There you can get a feel for the warm, lovely and talented lady she is, plus see more of her work.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Soup From Jane!

 Oh boy!  Don't these look like the most yummy ingredients?  I hope my photography is doing them justice.  I certainly took enough different pictures!  But finally, I think I captured the right composition to present Jane Haag's lovely gift in the right light.

Here is a close up view of Jane's handcrafted silver pieces.  This is my favorite part of the soup.  To me, the best part of this challenge is to be able to hold little pieces of art that were made with the heart, soul, and sweat of another artist.

All of these pieces were stamped, soldered and forged by Jane.  The flower will absolutely make the best focal, as she needlessly sent me two.  I keep dreaming up different arrangements for using these pieces in a jewelry design, and I haven't decided anything for sure, but never doubt these will be the highlight of the piece!

Jane sent me a nice selection of ceramic, pressed, and lampwork beads.  They all coordinate with the African Kazuri Bead which is the alternate focal.   I'd never heard of Kazuri beads, but since Jane sent me one as an alternate focal, I knew it must be special.  When I Google'd it, I learned there's a charming story behind these "small and beautiful" works of art. 

She also sent me some jasper cubes to compliment the whole set.  I particularly like the ceramic beads!  They are so earthy, yet they have an organized stripe design on them.  The pressed glass is also really lovely.  I think they will make a nice bracelet combined with the Kazuri bead.

I love the silver leaves and flowers she sent me.  I'm fairly sure these will be used in the necklace I'm going to make with Jane's other silver pieces.  She didn't mention the brass spacers as being her own handy work, but they are stamped and I think they would look neat in an earring design.  I've linked three together and we'll see if that works. 

This is going to be such a fun adventure!  I am VERY glad we have an August 25th reveal date!  If that doesn't give me enough time then I'm just a louse!  

Jane, thank you so much for selecting such a neat collection of your stash to share with me.  I hope I can do it justice.  

Now I'll Show You What I Sent to Jane

 I had a time deciding what I wanted to send her.  I have a lot of beads!  So my strategy was to pick out one of my favorite focal beads and work around that.  Seems logical?  It took me long enough to figure it out.  

This arrangement is the only photo I have.  I just poured the beads and other nick-knacks into a bowl, like soup.  Therefore it is sort of hard to see the details and differences between them.  The focal bead is at the top of the picture, but it doesn't contrast very well with the disc beads.  I bet Jane does a better job of showing them than I have. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stuff Going On

I'm still waiting to hear from my Bead Soup partner Jane Haag, of MJDesigns so that I can show you what she sent me!  Also waiting for the postal service to deliver the wire and other components I'm planning to use for my Bead Soup jewelry.

Got my "Bead Design Studio" magazine today, and what do you know?  There's an article in their "Marketing 101" section about Blogging!  You know, tips to get your work seen and sold?  Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to read that Lori Anderson is one of the main people they interviewed to talk about blogging and how to get your work seen by others!  Kinda feels like I know a celebrity!  There were lots of neat tips and ideas to jumpstart a blog.  Lori is the perfect person to ask about that, especially since she's the one who inspired me!

As I did some "hopping" this morning, I ran across a post about one of Lori's "GiveAway's." She's always doing them and she is such a generous lady!  To win one of the lovely things she brought back from the Bead and Button Show,

1) Post on your blog about this,
2) Leave a comment below her blog with your favorite giveaway


3)  Facebook about this
4) Twitter about this

In your comments, please let Lori know what you've done.

CONTEST ENDS Friday the 13th of July
  (how can that day be unlucky????)
So I'm in it to win it!  I commented that I would love to win anything she has to offer such as a selection of "bits and bobs," jewelry components that are so pretty and inspiring.  Then there's her Bead Soup Book!  I would love that just to read more about how she does it.  Can you imagine what she puts into a project like this?  She is also offering her eBook on blogging inspirations.  And a neat "I'm a Bead Souper!" tote bag!  

Wish me luck!
As most of us in the United States know, it's hot as blue blazes out there!  North Carolina was promised a "cold front" to come thru today, but I think the dang thing has stalled.  It's overcast and about 78 degrees.  I shouldn't complain, it could certainly be worse!  I am sympathetic to those of you suffering triple digit weather....we've hit a hundred here too for a couple or three days.   But I moved out of Louisiana and up to the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC to get away from the heat!  The idea of not needing an air conditioner in the summer sounded like heaven to me.  So here we are in these beautiful mountains with no AC.  I'm sure ole Al Gore is doing a happy dance!  I may have to move in with Sarah Palin to have year round AC.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Got My Ingredients!

Yesterday I was excited to receive my package of Bead Soup ingredients from my partner Jane Haag of MJane Designs!

When I opened the package, she presented me with 2 lovely gift boxes wrapped in raffia bows!  It was like having a surprise party!  I guess that's why it's called a Bead Soup Party....duh!

Inside each box were beads, spacers and of course a lovely handmade focal and clasp.  She gave me SO much to work with.  I think I have enough to make a necklace, a bracelet and probably a couple of earrings.  I kinda feel like I was stingy with the ingredients I sent her.  Is it fair to send more extra spices after the initial mailing date?

I don't know how much I can divulge about the contents but I'm sure it's OK to say that Jane has lovely taste!  Lori did a good job of pairing us up because I sent Jane mostly my lampwork beads.  Jane being a silversmith sent me some of her beautiful handmade pieces!  The focal she sent was of course her own work of art, as well as the clasp....I love them!  She sent me some beautiful hammered pieces in silver too.  Each set was labeled as her own, or where they came from....She sent an extra focal that came from Africa, but that wasn't necessary since her own handmade focal was the best thing in the whole package!

I think I've arranged and rearranged about 25 different combinations for a jewelry menu, but I'm sure I'll do about 50 more before deciding since Jane sent so many ingredients!  One thing I'm sure of, is that I will use  all of her handmade silver pieces with my lampwork beads to create my meal; plus use some of the extra beads she sent me as garnish. 

I plan to serve set of earrings as an appetizer.

 A bracelet will be served as the bread (Southern cooks always provide bread with the soup).

The main course will be the necklace because the combination of her silver with my beads will make for a hearty meal.

Don't know if the set will match, but variety is the "spice" of life!  Right?

Bon Appetit!