Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I'm quite confident that this book will be a MUST HAVE in your polymer clay library. I have written the instructions so that those of you who "think" you want to work with clay...and those of you who "want" to work with clay-but are just scared to try it can take the plunge and be successful the first time! Each project is like taking a class with me and learning a new technique.
Even though this is a technique based book, there are also guided instructions on what to do with all the beads and focal pieces you've just created so that you can create stunning jewelry all from scratch. Believe me, it's a real "high" when someone compliments you on your jewelry and you can say "I MADE IT MYSELF!!".
The book features techniques on simulating semi-precious stones, easy caning and more along with lots of ideas to string and finish your piece. Get creative and mix-n-match designs with techniques. This book will definately spark your creativity and give you lots of inspiration. The possibilities are endless!
I was also pleased to have Marie, a very talented editor work hand in hand with me. Together we came up with the names for each project. They are all named after a classic movie or song. How fun huh??
Here's a sneak peak at one of the spreads!
The book is scheduled for release in late February early March 2008. It's 128 pages. Click here to add your name to the list for your autographed copy and the premier price of $24.95 which includes shipping!
(page spread and cover courtesy of Cico Books)
Check back tomorrow as I'll have more Art Buzzy news with more photo's of more jewelry...this time METAL !! You won't want to miss it!
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
It's autumn and the only means one thing, I'm a hunting widow. My husband spends most of his time out and about on the hunt for anything that is in season. What's the solution? Autumn scrapbook parties with all the other hunting widows! They hunt....we scrap!
We continued the creative girls weekend with a cozy little scrapbook party on Saturday. Before the party, the girls and I made home made potato chips for the party (couldn't wait to use my new kitchen gadget) We had a ball. The party started later that afternoon and by the time we finished, between the 4 adults, 1 teenager and 3 kids, we finished 26 pages in just a few hours.
No matter how much space we have it never seems to be enough. We sprawled out onto chairs and even broke out the ironing board to set stuff on....oh what a mess!!!!Jennifer, another hunting widow whose husband blogs on alphatrilogy.com worked on pages from a recent trip to New York. She also brought her scrapbook from the 80's party we had back in February...what a riot! (Did we really dress like that??) I helped my mother in law put pages together and journal. Mariah created some pages about her best friend, Kaitlyn. Elise and Julia created pet scrapbook pages about our english pointer named Maggie, my Mom started a heritage album about her dad and Emma, Jennifers daughter scrapped her trip to Mexico. It was a great time, quality time with friends and our kids. Everyone really enjoyed it and .....they ate some really yummy potato chips!!
PS.....looking at this mess to clean up...I know now why I love digital scrapbooking!! I love to make the mess...just hate to clean it up!
Sunday, October 21, 2007
It's the third weekend in October and a tradition my mom and I started when I was a teenager back in the early 80's. We had just moved from Springfield, Illinois to Branson and had no clue of what "War Eagle" was or even craft shows were for that matter. Since that time, my mom and I have only missed a few years. This is serious business folks....we get up at 4:45 and leave at 5:30 AM...that's in the morning for all those of you who sleep during that time...to leave. The 2 1/2 trip south into Arkansas is breath taking, especially during sunrise.
People from all over the country flock to attend these area shows. War Eagle is a working grist mill located on the King's River.
This area really is three separate craft shows combined into one huge one. Tradition has it that we first walk over the wooden planked bridge to the "art" side. Here this on this side, it's all juried work...no imports! (you know how I feel about import's at craft shows...). There are 4 huge circus tents and one barn, featuring everything from handmade wearables, jewelry, wooden furniture, decorative painting, homemade gourmet foods and sculpture.
And the food....we'll as long as you like it on a stick....you're in luck!
This year my Mother In Law attended for the first time. I think she really enjoyed herself!
I particularly paid close attention to all the jewelry. I loved seeing everyone's interpretation of beads, silver, copper and gold...simply beautiful. There was one outstanding booth, that was just packed full of shoppers. I believe it's because of his uniqueness and creativity and it was MAN art, something you just don't see alot of at a show. This man made sculptures literally out of discarded junk (washers, sparkplugs, I'm talkin' JUNK!). He took a toaster and sculpted it into an RV. A flat food grater was the awning, a church key can opener became the bumper and old discarded metal wheels from rolling skates became the wheels. His creativity was beyond amazing! So he wins the most unique art award!
There was one booth that sold polymer clay miniatures like those that I used to sell. The expression on her faces were adorable and being that this is the second time I've seen her display, I would say that her mini's were doing well. As for polymer clay in general though, I saw only two booths that featured jewelry and they were both at the Bella Vista show not at War Eagle. Personally, the way the unique jewelry artists were swamped with people, I think that there is a market for UNIQUE polymer jewelry. It must be exquisite in its finish, because the people that come to buy at War Eagle are savvy when it comes to shopping and only buy the best. The price range of the jewelry artists ranged from $20 to several hundred. But, being that it is unique and one of a kind, I thought the prices were fair.
Though I didn't buy any jewelry, I did buy a rather large scarecrow, the kids named him BOB and now Bob has a home in front of my studio. I'll say "goodmorning to him" everyday before work. I've also given Bob some pumpkins to look out after.
My only other purchase was ....believe it or not...a potatoe chip maker. The demonstrator looked like he was having so much fun making chips, that I just had to have that much fun too!! (See demo's do sell.......)
It took us close to 3 hours to go thru all the booths on this side. Now it's time to head back over the bridge to the other side. By this time, the bridge is a solid line of people.
The other side features more imports, flea market goodies and a little bit of anything goes. (This is where I bought my potatoe chip maker).......
While I did not photograph anyone's art. I did pick up their business cards and thought I would post their website's for you do peruse and have a "virtual War Eagle" experience.
http://www.katebaerfossils.com/ A family run business, the kids find the fossils and the parents create beautiful jewelry...love the whole family involvement!
Metal Sculpture by Bill Blackford Studios: http://www.metalsculpture.net/
Stewart's Original Silver jewelry: http://www.stewartsoriginalsilver.com/
The metal sculpture guy....he doesnt have a website...but if you email, I bet he'll send you some pictures if you are interested in purchasing. firstname.lastname@example.org (cute email huh?)
Creative Instinct - Hand made jewelry http://www.creativeinstinctjewelry.com/
Unfotunately, the other's didn't list email or web addresses...BUM!
After War Eagle, we head thru Rogers and Bentonville to the Bella Vista show. This show is juried as well. You'll find more painters and fine artists at this show.
As we were walking along, we stopped at a booth that had beautiful dichroic and silver jewelry. They also had "name jewelry". ...so here's the story.... During my craft show years, I met a couple of girls that became really good friends of mine named Becky and Paula. They sold name bracelets. I would always stay with them when I did shows in and around St. Louis if Mariah wasn't in the hospital having her chemo treatments. We all became such good friends that Paula gave us a place to stay, for 3 months while Mariah underwent radiation. After we discontinued craft shows and went our separate ways, we fell out of touch....that is until the name bracelets that I mentioned earlier. As Mariah was looking at them, she said, "Remember Becky and Paula who made those name bracelets, what ever happened to them?" Just then Becky STOOD up!! and we had a great re-aquaintance. We found out everyone was well, but like us had left the craft show circuit in pursuit of other things. It had been nearly 11 years since we've seen each other and had a chance to visit! What a great reunion!!! SMALL WORLD HUH?
I have more to share about our girls weekend...but I'll save that for later
Until next time on the Art Buzzzzzzz............
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Need a gift idea? Something personal? Calendars are great gifts to give your family. Every year my Mother in Law loves to have photo calendars made for each of us. Looking back over the years its a nice keepsake and sort of picture journal of the years events.
This Saturday, I'm hosting a girlfriend crop at my house. It's from whenever they get here to whenever they leave...even if its on Sunday! We'll move the furniture out of the way and make room for tables and loads of fun. We are even planning a swap for all those things you just had to buy when you saw them, but have never used. What better time than to get out the photo's and scrap a couple of calendars as gifts? Once the layout is done, it only takes minutes to duplicate it.
I tend to keep my calendar pages quick and easy. I especially love the 8 x 8 format. This gives you a bit of extra coordinating paper to use throughout your layout. Call me the frugal scrapper! I am so excited about this weekend. I'm sure I'll have lots to talk about.....
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
There is more to art, than just creating art, especially if you want to make some extra money or work full time at it. You have to develop the art of selling your art. And believe me, that IS an artform! That also means you must SELL YOURSELF. Self promotion is one of the hardest things to do.
When I began my art career 16 years ago, the last thing I wanted to do was sell myself or show off my artwork. I might have feared rejection...no, I definately feared rejection! I chose to market my work thru art and craft shows. I thought if they came into "MY" space, they must be interested and then I could sell, I wouldn't come across as pushy.
Though, I no longer use this means to sell my art, it can be very effective...IF and a big IF...you do it right. As I shop the Arts and Craft shows I take note of who's selling and what is selling. I look at displays. I look at how crowded and how well attended the event is. Is it well advertised? What is the quality of the show.
Today I visited an event put on by the Springfield Arts and Craft's guild called ART IN THE PARK. (If you want to take a walk in a park...this is definately a much more interesting way to do it). What I appreciated about this JURIED show, was that, although it was small in size, each artisan had their own presence and their own style. They set themself apart. All of the jewelry artists did their own thing. And you know what? They were selling. I saw everything from watercolor artists, raku pottery, jewelry, stained glass. Lots of beautiful work!
Maybe you use this time of the year to put a little extra income in your pocket or maybe you are preparing for your first show. In either event, here are some tips I would like to share with you to help make your show successful.
- Dress up! This doesn't mean you have to be in an evening gown all decked out. But it definately doesn't mean you wear your sweat pants and comfy clothes either. Jeans are okay, maybe you have an artsy blouse or shirt. I had crafty and artsy shirts that I only wore when doing shows because they fit the occassion.
- Greet everyone with a smile and a hello regardless of what they look like. Everyone deserves to be treated respectfully.
- Do NOT have your nose stuck in a book or talk on your cell phone or be busy playing Words with Friends. . If you are on the phone when customers arrive, excuse yourself from your call and attend to your future customers. If you are not interested in your customers, believe me, they will not be interested in you. Do not look bored. One way to overcome boredom at a slow show is by doing the next....
- DEMONSTRATE! It draws a crowd. Everyone loves to see an artist work - it's intriguing and you may be able to engage them in a conversation. This builds relationships and over time relationships build customers
- YOUR DISPLAY SAYS IT ALL! Don't think of spending money on your display as money down the drain. Think of innovative ways to display. Keep it neat and uncluttered so that you don't detract from what it is you are selling. Today, I saw a tree made of copper wire which was twisted together. The branches held beautiful jewelry and earrings. Shelves might be the answer for displaying miniatures. Try to set up your display so that the customer can picture either wearing your work, or picture how it will look in their home. If they feel a connection, they will buy.
- Start a mailing list - an email list if possible-it's a very inexpensive way to promote where you are going to be. Send an email a month, and a week before the show.
- Give the customer a reason to buy, maybe mention that these make great gifts. Pick up on clues that they give you regarding their taste. Show personal interest.
- Scope out the show BEFORE you sign up or ask for references. How well is the show attended, advertised. Are there other artists selling things just like yours? Don't be afraid to ask for references, this is business and a shows promotor should be more than willling to provide this information. It's their business to have you in business!
- I used to sign up for every single show that was local. Big Mistake!! Even though the shows were well attended, the attendees would say "Where will you be next?". That's code for "I won't buy from you today, because I can get it next week. I'll save my money for something I can only get today". Only do selective shows so that you become a "special treat" to the attendees and make them look forward to seeing you and knowing they can only buy from you right THEN!
- SET YOURSELF APART! This is typically not a problem when you are showing at a juried art show, but in general art and craft shows this is a huge necessity. Why sell the same thing as the competition??? I noticed a lot of jewelry artists at the Ozark show. They were all selling very nice jewelry, but the problem was, it all looked the same after a while. Anyone can string a bead onto a headpin and make a set of earrings, so how can you make your's different? Follow color trends for home decor and fashion trends for accessories. Mauve pink is a beautiful color...but that was the 80's and not alot of people decorate or wear it anymore..see what I mean??
- Lastly, but definately not in the slightest bit least. DO NOT SELL YOUR SELL CHEAP! Cheap doesn't always sell. This tells the customer your work is not worth anything. If you don't value your work, no one else will. It takes a lot of time to manage and run a craft business. Do not work for minimum wage or just to recover your costs so that you can make more.
- Okay...the above one was supposed to be the last, but this one needs to be said. Make sure what you are selling is handmade by YOU or your friends. Please don't purchase imports and pass them off as your work. This will RUIN your reputation!
Share your experiences with me! Until next time on the ARTBUZZ.......zzzzzzzzz it's bedtime!
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Today in Missouri we're waking up to a very beautiful, yet cool autumn morning. I think the birds are delighted to have a break in the temperature too. They were singing quite happily when I went outside around 6am this morning. I'm welcoming fall with open arms! I love the crispness of the air, the beautiful colors of all the trees and the thought of pumpkin pie! MY FAVORITE! I can resist alot of sweets, but cookies and pumpkin pie are not on that list!
I had to run to Michaels and get a few things I was out of and desperately needed. I love to decorate with pumpkins, I think they create such a "homespun" feel in the house. But, have you noticed just how expensive fake pumpkins are? OH MY GOODNESS!!
In hopes of curbing some of your fall decorating expenses, I thought I'd share a favorite project of mine from the PROJECT OF THE MONTH CLUB - volume 2 CD rom collection. Made mostly from scrap clay and some aluminum foil, this pumpkin centerpiece will last for decades to come and it won't hurt your budget. You can make it as big or as little as you would like. There is even a variation for turning it into a candle votive. (ooh pumpkin pie scented candles...)
For more information about all the projects featured on the Project of the Month Club - CD Rom collection - click here.
Click on the above picture to view a larger printable version...and don't forget to take sometime out to smell the pumpkin pie! YUM YUM!
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
This year my oldest, Alex graduated from High School. How could that be? I just graduated from High School a few years ago...(okay...so it was actually 1984! Don't laugh...I just gave away my age...) It was 1982 that I first took a graphic arts class at the local Vo-Tech school. I just thought it would be interesting, not knowing for the slightest where this early journey would lead me.....
My parents thought it was a waste of time, but nevertheless, after much convincing, they let me go my junior and senior year. We didn't have word processors back then. Business cards and stationary were made the hard way. We had a strip printer. It was this little machine in a closet. Sort of like a camera. It had a film strip with different letter typestyles and you exposed each letter - one at a time. There was no automatic spacing, you did that with your eyes. When you had your words all spelled out, you stuffed it under your shirt and ran as fast as you could to the dark room to develop it. Then it went to the wax machine. After that you literally cut a pasted it to your layout.....the process continues until it finally reaches the press and your "whatever" was printed.
My senior year we were in style - we got a typsetter machine. This machine was HUGE! Full of buttons and options and little one line screen that held about four words. I became a pro at the machine. I would sit for hours just playing with words, different typestyles, different sizes of letters. I love titles, writing, though I'm not a poet...I just love words.
Fast forward to NOW. Im sitting here typeing to you on a laptop computer that is way more powerful that that huge typesetter we had in 1983. I use all the skills I learned back then everyday. Whether Im designing for publication. laying out a project sheet, or just for plain ole' fun. In fact, I wonder what graphic art's class would be like now?
While I love scrapbooking, I have a real love for digi scrappin. It takes me back to High School days and makes me feel young again! Here's a sample of my latest layouts to share with you. I did it on the plane on the way to England last month. I hope you enjoy.
I use Photoshop Elements. The papers and other accessories and embellishments I downloaded from Scrapgirls.com (i think...it's been a while).
Well...since my ice tea is gone, that must mean it's time to go to the studio and reminisce some more. I think today's theme will be metal jewelry memory crafts.....
Saturday, October 6, 2007
I've had my share of getting ready for craft shows, working night and day, all weekend and all the next week to restock what sold the weekend before. Until you experience that for yourself, you don't realize just how hard these people really do work.
In my neck of the woods, October begins the month of back to back craft shows. The closest one to me, and one that I did for many years is in Ozark at the fairgrounds. Mariah and I went to it yesterday.
Although I don't do craft shows any longer, I really do appreciate the talents of the many crafters and artists I met with and talked to. The talents ranged from jewelry artists, furniture makers to those who made pre-made scrapbooks, an altered artist and a young girl who was selling her adorable polymer clay figures. I saw a variety of styles and skill levels and what I appreciated was that they were out there - giving their all and offering their handmade work to the public. It brought back some really NICE memories of when my kids were younger. They traveled everywhere with me to all the craft shows. They were so much help! I don't know how I ever did it without them. The first thing we did every morning was paint their faces. Every so often, they would walk the show together with a group of kids who's faces I also painted and advertise to kids to come by and get their face painted for 50 cents. One show we made an extra $400 by painting faces (that's alot of kids! - do the math). We had quite a routine. Alex was about 7 or 8 at the time and was very good at running the cash register and working with customers. Mariah loved to talk to people and package their purchases. It was great family time and it was fun! It taught the kids what it was like to work hard and earn money.
Of course that was back in the time when "crafts" were generally handmade by the artist sitting in the booth. Disappointingly, there were so many imports at the show yesterday, that it really spoiled the occassion. My heart went out to all the true crafters, who really put their heart and soul into the work they were selling.
I am a supporter of the arts. I would rather pay more for a piece that is handmade by the person I'm purchasing it from. Many times that person will share an experience about the inspiration for the piece or how the whole family is involved in the business. I like that! I support that! It's impossible to get those kind of memories when you purchase imports.
I visited with an adorable older lady who was giving up showing at craft shows because she said that she just couldn't compete with the imports at shows any longer. HOW SAD! She was a decorative painter and her work was gorgeous. She had a fishing scene painted on the side of a suitcase that caught my attention. Next to it were some primitive carved wooden fish. She told me how her son carved those fish and she painted them. They called them "Finley River Flounder". That story really spoke to me and so I bought a pair (they are perfect for my lodge style house, and Dana jokes about how those are the ONLY fish I'm able to catch!) Now when I look at those fish, I think of her and the Finley River Flounder story.
We ate lunch at a booth who offered Buffalo Burgers, Brats and Hot Dogs. They run about 90 head of bison and work the farm as a family. He shared with me his story about the family business. They butcher and prepare their own meat with their own recipes for the brats, summer sausage and jerky. So what did I do? I ate a Buffalo Brat. It was delicious and not only that, I was happy to support a family run business.
I'm sure many of you will be visiting Arts and Craft festivals in your area. I hope you will give consideration to the people who truely put their heart and soul into their work and support them. Have a chat with them, see what inspires them. Get their story, buy their artwork! If you want imports.....go to Hobby Lobby or Pier One.
Next weekend I'll be off to Art in the Park and the following week...WAR EAGLE!! I'll be back later this week sharing some teasers from my next book on "Making jewelry with Metal". But for now....Now it's playtime with some metal!
Thanks for stopping by the Artbuzz... please share your thoughts with me!
Thursday, October 4, 2007
I've always remembered those words and realize that they can apply to all aspects of life. So when I was tired of my hair....what did I do? I changed it! You may have already noticed the new photo on the blog. That is a brand-spankin new hairdo. Change is GOOD! Im not afraid of change! I got the hairbrained idea last weekend. So yesterday, without further adieu, I called my stylist and said CUT MY HAIR! I left with a new look on life, felt creative and just feel great about my new style.
Okay...I know that has nothing do to with art...well...in a way it does, Jen can do wonderful artwork with hair, but in a small way...if you find yourself in a creative rut...change it! Doesn't have to be drastic, but at least take a small step.
I've heard of artists creating "chaos cards". These cards are about the size of an ATC and can be decorated in a variety of ways. The one thing they have on them are ideas such as "Add a color", another may say, "Change the shape", another may say "Add texture" and so on. When your in a creative rut, you randomly draw a card and do what it says. It can go a long way in to jumping over a creative rut.
Now...let's change subjects for just a minute and talk about giving and sharing . I'd like to introduce you to someone who I don't think know's what a creative rut is. I've had her website link on the side bar for quite a while. She's known in the art community as JLO...yep we have a JLO in the industry. Her real name is Jen Lowe. One of the BEST things about being in such a creative industry is constantly meeting wonderful talented people and developing lasting friendships with them. Jen and I met on a cruise three years ago...the cruise was another subject in itself, but we were on a cruise and our personalities just clicked - she was teaching for Spellbinders and I was teaching for AMAC. Since then we've shared creativity, personal matters, family stuff and in general have ridden one heck of a roller coaster between crafts and family.
You'll have to get on her blog site and read all about Lucy McGoo. Recently I've been blamed for her having to create a blog. (I take full responsibility and blame Katie Hacker for inspiring me to blog). I'm proud to say I've been inducted into the Lucy McGoo hall of fame and been dubbed as the Lindy Loo (my knickname from way back) of Lucy McGoo. She even wrote a poem! Will her creativity ever stop?
The creative industry is all about giving and sharing. The more you share, the more you get. When I was a "green - so new to the industry I didn't have a clue" designer, Donna Kato & Barbara McGuire took me under their wing and graciously guided me. Told me what to do, and what NOT to do. They are responsible for my contacts with book editors and magazines and even TV. I will always be thankful to them. I show my thanks by giving back to the industry and sharing with others what they taught me. When I met Jen she was a fabulous artist, but had no idea of what it was to be a designer in the industry, so I took her under my wing and proudly became her mentor. I'm her cheerleader! I know you'll be seeing more of her in magazines and books...and who knows...we just may create our own TV show...(my hubby has promised me a camera for our anniversary - hint hint to the hubby!) So there's definately more things to come from Lucy McGoo and Lindy Loo McGoo....
Okay..that's all the jibber jabber I have for the day...until next time on the ARTBUZZ!