Told you that I'd have news....and I do, but not about beads exactly.
The news is that I've been away for a bit of R&R with the husband...to RUSSIA, and yes, with love, too.
It was quite the trip. A river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow (and I don't mean Florida to Idaho!). The recharging of the spirit, the feast for the eyes and other senses was just what the muses ordered. From the gardens of the Peterhof Papace to the glory of the gold room at the Hermitage Museum and from the onion domes of St. Basil's to the treasures of the Kremlin's Armory, the views were amazing. And the people quite fascinating as well.
The "party line" may have changed, but the depressed economy remains the same. After seeing the opulence of the palaces of the czars, I can understand the reason the revolution succeeded. And seeing some of the summer houses -- dachas -- of the oligarchs, it looks as if little has changed! The have-nots are lacking a great deal; the haves are frightening well-off! The number of bmws in Moscow as surpassed only by the number of seemingly homeless people we saw! YES, they do exist.
But the beauty of the country -- rough is some places, and quite elegant in others -- cannot be denied. The art is remarkable; the treasures a feast for the eye. If ever I got a sense of what was and what is, it was here.
The "home visit" we had with an 88-year-old woman in the town of Uglich (a real working-class town with a watch factory, albet not too far beyond the Moscow environs) was a highlight. When asked about her memories, the saddest and most unfortunate chapter in her life was during WWII. She was a teen living in a small town in Belarus. She told how they marched everyone out into the center of town, separated the Jews, shot them, and then took all the able-bodied remaining Christian men away as conscripts in the army or for forced labor. She then told of how she survived and her road to Uglich and life in a small town, first harboring children not much younger than she during the siege of St. Petersburg and later as a teacher in the town and, finally, as a factor worker. Throughout it all, she continued to make crafts--you can see one version a doll that converts from summer to winter clothes by turning her on her head. I do wish I could have bought it from her!
Jewelry was remarkable -- mostly under cover at the Kremlin's Armory and at the Hermitage's gold room. Amber was ubiquitous, and likely not all was real. We DID see some craftspeople -- including a beader. Her work was bead crochet, and not particularly remarkable. The communication gap made conversing about stitches and bead sources a bit of a challenge -- aka, impossible! But the work is universal, something we all knew. The element that distinguishes one from another is the creativity that goes into the work.....and the current beadwork I saw sadly, was not particularly inventive or even colorful. Other artists -- working in watercolors, in silver and in enamel--were much more gifted and much more creative in their approach. As we'd planned, we bought a lacquer box from the artist at a gallery. It is one special, special gift to ourselves and wonderful reminder of a two-week float down rivers and lakes from St. Petersburg to Moscow!
Now to get back to the beadwork!!! I've been applying to shows since our return and will keep everyone up on what's happening. Also, am working on new pix for the website, a shopping cart for the site, AND a kit or two for my beading colleagues. I've also got a project ongoing for a two-woman class at Artiscape next April in Ohio....we'll see if we get picked up for the class!!!. Colleague, Roberta, doing the necklace; I'm doing the focal piece -- a combo of bead embroidery and off-loom freeform work!
D'as-vedanya for now....
What is exhausting, I've discovered, isstanding in one place for hours during a show. A week later, despite good shoes, despite sleeping with feet raised, and despite being off salt for years, my otherwise skinny ankles are still a bit puffy.
The Ann Arbor show ran 4 days, opening at 10 am each day; closing at 9 pm but for the last day, when it closed at 6 pm. That's four 11-hour days (not counting partial setup and takedown each day.) It also doesn't count the heat and humidity and the RAIN! [Mercifully, when we had a deluge overnight, my neighbor had a sump pump. He used it to bail out the backs of both of our booths. Apparently, we were in the lowest part of the street, and the water rolled downhill right into our booths. So glad I'd picked up the carpet!]
Nonetheless, it was a very successful show from many perspectives. My work was validated and valued by my colleague artists, which is most gratifying. Sales were better than they've been for at least the last 18 months (but then, again, so were the crowds, probably since it's a free show of very long standing).
And Ann Arbor is a GREAT town! Stucci's ice cream (so fresh, such unusual flavors, so MELTED!). The pilgrimage to Zingerman's deli where they serve corned beef that is the next closest to New York City's that I've ever had. Wonderful dinners at great restaurants -- including two meals I received in boxes after John went to dinner with our midwest relatives who visited. Clam pie from Mani Osteria was particularly remarkable --even tepid/cold! And we met the most incredible, friendly and wonderful people, whether other artists or locals.
I must say, the shows really know how to make it comfortable (relatively, given that we're talking an outdoor 4-day show) for the artists. Breakfast is available for us in the morning -- coffee, bagels, muffins and other goodies. Staff bring around ice cold bottled water during the day without asking. Booth sitting is readily available and the (ahem) facilities are very clean and tidy --and include sinks and recycling, too.
What you see to the right is the view I had from the BACK of my booth. It's the University of Michigan "Diag"(I assume, short for "diagonal.") Out front, in addition to my wonderful "across the street" neighboring artists, is a stunning old church (barely visible in one of the pictures). How much better could it get?! Not much!
I do hope to return next year.....perhaps at a different place to lay my head. The B&B was nice, but the large dogs, turn-of-the-century AC (and I mean 1800 to 1900!), shared bath, and the fact that I left before breakfast made it just OK. [That, plus the fact that being accepted late meant we wound up sharing a double bed. We're small, but it was small for even us!!] But all of that is a year away......
In the meantime, I continue to rest my sore tootsies and stretch my seriously compressed spine, a problem that I can't afford at only 5' tall!
My most fabulous and creative photographer (a rare combination for a man whose daily life is as a nuclear engineer!) has beautified some of my latest work into magnificent photos. They're so new that I haven't put them up on the website yet!
When I get back from my travels to Ann Arbor, MI, for the 4-in-1 series of shows that run from next Wednesday through Saturday (with 11-hour days in the booth for the first 3 days!), I'll probably be putting a new area up on the website for items that are "hot off the beading table," such as these pretties. Wait until you see my latest "under the sea" creation with an all-bead ammonite! I haven't gotten a picture take of it yet; I only hope it doesn't sell before I do. [No, that's not true. At its high-end price, I sure DO hope it sells and fast!!]
I'll be blogging from my perch on State Street (booth C04) in Ann Arbor. That is, I'll be doing it IF the weather (yes, both heat and thunderstorms are in the forecast, gulp) and the crowd (yes, let there be a large crowd) permit, and my level of exhaustion doesn't catch up to me too quickly-- a big ask at my advancing age, LOL. If you're in the area, stop by -- but you MUST bring me a cold drink if you do so. I wilt very rapidly in warmth, particularly when combined with humidity. [No pictures of the artist are allowed under such circumstances; the appearance is much like someone emerging after 15 minutes in a warm sauna!
Let's all keep fingers crossed that the weather holds, the crowds are legion, and we have a bang-up successful show.
And the winner is.................
The Reef. NOTHING else ran close....
Since the product is a bracelet, we MAY expand the name to "A Reef Around the Wrist"
Why did I want the BEST name possible? I'm going to be submitting the bracelet for possible publication in a beading mag. The better it sounds, I think the better my chances. I've been published in scientific journals, in women's mags (ghostly wonder who I am), and in books. I've even edited a few. But NEVER before have I even tried to get my beading designs published. So, fingers crossed and wish me luck.
AND COUNTLESS THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR SUGGESTING WONDERFUL NAMES!
We shall see if the winning name gets published as the moniker for this unusual bracelet!!! Of course you all will be the first to know (well, at least right after my mother and husband are told!)
Oh, and another bracelet in the Under the Sea line -- my sea urchin bracelet -- is being put together as a kit for those of you with an interest in DIY. Keep an eye out on my website and here on the blog! I should have it up (with a few different kit colors) later this summer!!
So, we've got 11 possible names for the necklace. IT'S TIME TO VOTE. To do so, go to my blog site
by clicking on "go to my blog site". I need your input to help make this happen!
So, at last, I've created a new bracelet. It uses 11/0 rounds, 8/0 rounds, 15/0s and daggers and I'm in love. It undulates, it has movement, and even with the same daggers, when I change up the base beads, it looks so very different.
I provide a single picture, since I'm still learning how to use the new camera. When I've got it nailed, it'll be brilliant, but until then, I'm limited in what I shoot and HOW I shoot. Please forgive some color that isn't quite as bright as it is in reality.....
HELP ME NAME THIS GOODY! Obviously, it's part of the "Under the Sea" collection....but WHAT is it?? ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS COMMENT HERE .? No prize to the winner other than basking in the glow of a title that will be credited both in this blog and on my website.
I think it's a winner item; what do YOU think???
Now I KNOW I shouldn't even lead with a header like that, since it's really tempting fate, but it seems that the muse may have returned -- along with the first hummingbird of the season! Both flit in and out of my life in the spring and summer, but I'm hoping they'll both decamp for a while and become a part of my life.
The picture appended to the left is the latest goodie--a beaded wave in my under the sea collection. What you can't see very clearly in this rendition is the changing nature of the necklace beyond the wave or that it's offset, with the clasp close to the shoulder, not the nape of the neck.
Even better, I've been creating some chain maille/beaded bead necklaces in multiple colors and looks..They're part of the "just what the doctor ordered" collection. With loop and bead closures in the front, they're designed particularly for individuals who have trouble with arthritis in the shoulders, elbows or even hands. In fact, they've been "test driven" by several friends who, sadly, have limited mobility in these ways. Let me know if you want to see some of them. I'll load them up.
I'm now working on a few "finish ups" that have been in the works for quite a while. Stay tuned. It's getting exciting to see NEW THINGS. And I hope to get them up on the website for EVERYONE to see.
Challenges for the rest of the summer: getting new pictures shot of a few special pieces; getting instructions written for a few bracelet kits; getting instructions for a different bracelet AND pictures to a beading magazine for consideration as a published article; getting materials together for a class I'm teaching at the end of the month, and getting show applications for 2013 started. Hard to believe when we're just halfway through 2012! And oh, boy, do I have a lot of work to do.
Hope those of you in the heartlands (or those who want a great town to visit!) will find time in mid-July (18-21) to come to the Ann Arbor Craft Shows. FOUR different shows all at the same time! And I'll be there -- at the Guild Show -- State Street, booth 4! Drop by!
my picture-not theirs; mine's better?
So, there I was, minding my own business, editing a newsletter and checking my e-mail. Got an invitation from the American Craft Council to apply for the 2013 season.....ok....nothing to jump up and down about, just something to which I need to pay attention.BUT THEN.......I clicked on the following attachment, the prospectus for 2013 proposed exhibitorshttp://craftcouncil.org/sites/default/files/2013-Exhibitor-Prospectus.pdfWell, you need to go there and turn to page 4!!!!!! THEA FINE, BEADING DESIGN is in the prospectus! OMG, OMG, OMG.
While I do like MY picture of the necklace better than the one taken gratis by the ACC folks, this is SOOOOOO cool. WHADDA YA THINK????
Well, the annual case of "it's almost summer" malaise has hit. My creativity has shriveled to a nub of its former self; I repeat previous designs in limited edition while I await the muses to regroup and rejoin the community of art and color that populates my studio.
In the meantime, projects already in the midst of completion are receiving attention, but no new work is being incubated. Much of my one-of-a-kind work takes weeks, if not months to gestate and then come to fruition. So when NOTHING is in the containers that incubate the work -- beads come and go along with add-ons to the focal piece--I get seriously worried. Of course, that only serves to amplify the angst and worry that go along with the dearth of creative thinking...
To jog the mind and jumpstart the vision, I've taken to looking at nudibranches (see picture above). They're sea slugs, if you can believe it. According to Wikipedia, they begin life nude and plain and evolve over time -- much like my jewelry. Their colors are remarkable and, at times, absolutely surprising (such as the case of these two). I've been pinning them to my Pinterest page as creative juice, along with some other visuals that I've found online in an effort to energize the synapses that extend beyond the replicative movement of the hands to bead mindlessly....
The other thing I'm doing is writing up directions for the sea urchin bracelet. It will be offered in classes for those nearby who learn best in a class environment; it also will be available on my website in kit format (in a limited assortment of colors only).
Stay tuned....We WILL jumpstart the muses -- I'm working on food as a means of luring them back home for the summer season.
NEW SHOW ON THE WEBSITE CALENDAR: Check it out! October 19-21, 2012. I'll be at the National Guard Armory in Morristown,New Jersey for the 36th annual Morristown Craft Mart. Don't know the booth number yet,but stay tuned. Check out the website for further updates on this and other upcoming 2012-2013 shows.
I'm on the WAITING LIST for Fall Paradise City shows (Massachusetts) and WAITING LIST for One-of-a-Kind Show in Chicago (December). Let the show organizers know you want to see me there if you can!!!