In the wake of Sandy, the storm, I'm tired after collecting two parents in their 90s from a cold, dark townhouse in NJ and relocating them to the warmth of our guest bedroom for the duration. I have taken to referring to my dad as the "ice pop," since he's yet to warm up after a number of days. It's no trouble; it's just different, with other people's "things" in places usually reserved for mine....lol!
Where does this leave my beadwork? It's in a bit of a creative hiatus, particularly following a somewhat disappointing show in Morristown, NJ. The show was high-end; the quality of the goods, superlative. The number of fellow (or more accurately, sister) beaders was wonderful! We all work in the same medium, but the end results are so very different! Kathy King, who I adore, works with her beads upended and the thread showing gloriously (and in a very orderly way) on the tops of her "bead quilled" work. Sheila Fernekis has the most creative color sense of almost everyone I know. Wendy Lin's work runs in two directions: subtle like her lariats, or a riot of textures in her bracelets. Robin's work has ethnic overtones with loomed bracelets galore. My work is somewhere in the midst of all of this, and, again, wholly different. See, for example one of my new pieces in the picture.
Unfortunately, despite incredible artists and a broad variety of types of hand crafted goods, from upscale gold and silver jewelry, to outrageous floorcloths, to sculpture, enamel work, porcelain and some of the BEST clothing I've ever seen at this show or any other outside the ACC show, the gate was down. Those who came, walked with hands in pockets. Most artists didn't clear costs....your's truly among them. What got to me were the people who took a great deal of my time and booth space trying on a series of items, having me size them to meet their needs (all written down to make the alterations relatively easy, once they bought the goods), and then WALKING away with nothing. I can only hope they contact me via e-mail or my website. SIGH....
BUT, the camaraderie was wonderful; the time spent with other artists was WELL worth the trip itself. Perhaps we can find a creative outlet to share down the road.
In the meantime, I'm completing some projects that have been in the works, repairing bracelets shredded by zealous (or perhaps overly ambitious) efforts to fit small circles around overly large wrists. The result was rather like the square peg into round hole syndrome -- because something had to give, it often was the jewelry. I've had a few commissions of late. Some larger, some smaller. One with potential to help explode my business! I should know around Christmas if that happens. And I will share a picture of what it's all about...WHEN I can....
Plans for the spring and beyond are shaping up.
1. While we await acceptance, a colleague and I expect to be be teaching "Nerfertiti's Necklace" at Artifest in Ohio. It's a two-part project. My colleague, Roberta Altschuler, will do the necklace part; I'm teaching the pendant and closure. Two days, two teachers....It should be a GREAT opportunity. More as the process evolves!
2. Waiting list for ACC/Baltimore and ACC/Atlanta. I remain hopeful for both. Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!
3. NO Sugarloaf this Spring; family events are conspiring to make it virtually impossible. And they are VERY exciting family events, I must say. (Pictures to come when they occur!!!)
4. Applications in for East Coast shows for Spring; applications in the works for many other shows. Stay tuned for updates to my calendar.
In the meantime, I'll be posting new pieces to the website and working to get a shopping cart up live. If I'm not up to beading per se, I can always engage in the business of the beading business, right??? The holidaze are coming; time to stock up on my beading designs. It's not just jewelry, it's wearable art!
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!
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.
Just in time for summer: Under the Sea: turquoise and coral seaweed --pricing/sizing available through www.theafine.com
The good news is that the shows this spring ultimately were successful. The contacts were great, the opportunities for teaching are superb. Now to find a locale for the classes -- perhaps the clubhouse here at EH would be better than the studio itself.
There is no bad news! I've the time to design and to get some kits and class materials together. Remember, I'm teaching at the Gemcutters Guild of Baltimore at the end of June, beginning of July....check the classes out on their site! I'm teaching three ways of bezeling around the gems they've cut....What fun...and you can join in!!!
I'm awash in ideas for new designs for both Circle the Stone and Under the Sea, but before I go there, I need to finish up the two prototypes for the Judaica collection so I can share with a few shops.
The latest addition to the collection is "Just what the doctor ordered" -- they're custom-made and sized medic-alert bracelets. A large step up from the garden variety from the drug store! Chain maille or pearl or swarovskis are in the works. Stay tuned.
BUT, before I do anything else, I need to finish up a writing project AND a baby sweater for a friend's soon-to-be-delivered new granddaughter!
I'm also learning all about Pinterest -- not sure WHAT I'm doing, but trying hard to do it! LOL. My work has been pinned a few times already.....
I just learned that the Circle the Stone necklace that graces the front of my website (www.theafine.com) is the cover picture for a beading group--Beads and More (BAM)--on Yahoo. It's a group of several hundred bead artists of varying experience who exchange knowledge, share solutions, and undertake bulk purchases to realize economies of scale. While now a "closed" group due to the large membership, my selection and the kind words about my work were quite the honor (albeit, something about which I was unaware until I went to look at something on the site!) By the way, the cabochon focal around which that piece is based is by Marsha Neal whose porcelain cabs and earrings and pendants are absolutely bodacious!!!
Yes, this blog entry features a DIFFERENT piece in the Circle the Stone line, -a hidden-front-closure piece that features a wonderful apatitie cabochon and stones. I barely got a photo of it. No sooner did I finish it than it found another home during the ACC show. I hope my client wears it well and with great joy, since I had a blast creating it!
I show it because I'll be teaching a weekend class--Circling the Stone Times Three--June 30-July 1, 2012, at the Gem Cutters Guild of Baltimore on three ways to create beaded bezels around their freshly cut gems. In the area and want to participate and get more info? Check it out, and check out the other classes, too, on their website (http://www.gemcuttersguild.com/classes.html) and check it out.
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This blog is where Thea Fine, Beading Design meets Fine WordCrafters (my writing/editing activities). I hope you find it a happy collision of my two artful worlds.