Saturday, December 13, 2008

Artistic Vision

I just read a blog by "thebeadedlily" about the value of a vision and it got me to thinking about what exactly my own vision is. In a nutshell, I want to create totally unique, wearable art, jewelry designs that involve thnking outside the box, things that could only come out of my own little warped mind :) Every time I approach making a new concept piece I'm either thinking about how to use materials in a new way or how to take a technique from another medium and use it in the medium I choose. I take inspiration from anything that catches my fancy at the moment, and I stretch the boundaries of that object to fit the boundaries of has to have flow, craftsmanship, imagination and beauty. The uniqueness is my own thing, I personally love to own the unusual if I can, so that's the type of person I create for. I also take inspiration from other artists, but instead of using their design I like to take individual components and tie them into a piece I'm working on in a new way. This is a lot harder than it sounds, but it's also a lot more fun than doing something that's already been done. I usually start out with one idea that goes through 20 or more design phases before I get a finished piece. Some ideas just won't work, or they work and don't quite give me the effect I want. If I change one component, then the other components have to be re-thought...or else there won't be a flow. I also very much create for far as the design goes, it has to fit my aesthetic. But as far as wearing the piece, well, I will enjoy it for a little while but my neck or wrist is not the one that the piece is meant for. That person is out there somewhere and it is already theirs, they are the one person in the world that I created it for, they just don't know it yet. "thebeadedlily" started her blog with a quote from Vincent Van Gogh; “I can't change the fact that my paintings don't sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the picture." Vincent had it right...he knew he had a vision of worth and he never quit even though he only sold one painting in his whole life. A vision has to be made real to have value and is something that evolves with each step; they take a lifetime to achieve. I'm with Vincent, I believe a time will come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hand carved ornament elves by Kathy Robbins

I just love getting ornaments for Christmas  because I get to open them early!

These adorable little guys were made for me by my artist friend Kathy Robbins

They stand from 3 -4 inches high and each one is unique. Some have deep incise marks on the clothing but my personal favorite is the one that allowed the shaving marks to show...I think it's just wonderful to see the mark of the artist in their work. Kathy also handpainted each one of these once they were carved. 

So far she has just carved these for friends and family but I think I've convinced her to open a shop at 1000 Markets after the first of the year where I'm sure these will sell like hot cakes next season...meanwhile she'll have lots of other carvings to tickle your fancy too.

Thanks, Kath!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are you looking for something unusual for the holiday?

1000 Markets I belong to 1000 Markets as a merchant, and of course I like to promote this venue, it's only natural since I have a business there. I already have badges on the side of my blog for both my own store and the market I belong to there. So why this extra post?

Well, today is one of those days that my creative juices decided to take a nap without me and about all the energy I have has been spent cruising around the 500+ stores at 1000 Markets to check things out. I also like to write a blog post every day and when you're not creating and the brain cells also went on siesta, well, you gotta write about something, right?

I've also gotten some environmental news email today, urging people to stop wasting gas and shop online for their holiday gifts...yeah, I say...good idea! There's a glut of advertising on the net, usually for either mass produced goods or top fashion designs. There's a lot of unusual shops out there too, with really innovative and/or beautiful craftsmanship but they're really hard to find. So what to do?

Well, that's the driving idea behind 1000 Markets. It's not just another online site for handcrafted warehousing. It's juried-acceptance multiple artisan shops featuring high quality workmanship gathered together in one place. These shops in turn are gravitating towards markets....regional, item specific, style...wherever they fit well.

Want something modern and sleek to give your significant other? Have a new baby in the family? Is there someone in your house with a sweet tooth? How about someone who loves to turn their bathroom into a personal spa? Want some high fashion wearable art? Or maybe just some lovely unique cards to send out. You can find markets that will cater to each of these things and then pick the shops that strike your fancy.  Or you can just cruise the shops or even just check out the product photos and click on what appeals.

What makes this place different is that, although you get a market experience, you also get quality and uniqueness. And you get love.  Yep, that's right...I never yet have found love at the big department stores or high end boutiques, have you? Do you pick up something you admire and marvel at the craftsmanship and actually feel the love that went into it? Do you know that when this piece is given as a gift that it passes on more than your own love to the receiver? Yes, you can't touch and feel things online, but you can see it and even feel it at 1000 Markets. 

And did I mention unique? The thing about artisans is that when they see a need, they invent something to fill it. There's some pretty innovative stuff in some of these shops...something you might just have wished you had. And loads of things you may not need, or ever thought of wanting, but the sheer inventiveness tickles your acquisition bone :)

The artisans themselves are a pretty special group too...they may be your neighbor (the nice one) or live just down the street. They may live across the country in a place you'd love to see and feel. They bring their world to you, through their eyes and hearts. They give you quality and pride of workmanship and yes, for what they do, love for sharing what they do. And although everyone hopes to make a living doing what they love, almost all will agree that they just want a loving home for that part of them invested in their work. They want you to be happy and will go out of their way to make that happen for you in exchange for your business.

I don't know about you, but these days I feel most places in the service business forgot the 'service' part. Put your money in the bank and they act like they're doing you a favor. Ask a question and get an automated machine. Expect a smile and get impatience. You will find none of that at 1000 Markets. It's real people with a real desire to give you your money's worth.

This is a time in history when things are confusing and on shaky ground. It's not terrible, but it's a little frightening and it makes people want to gather their loved ones around them and settle in to 'comfort' things. The threat of loss makes things we have so much more special and that not only applies to our families, it also encompasses the memories. My memories are tied into little keepsakes that have meaning to me. When I give a gift that is what I want to give that person...a memory. Make a memory today for your loved ones and friends...if you're going to get them a gift, then buy something special that started on the basis of love. 

That's it...give 1000 Markets a try, I bet you'll like what you find :)


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Don't you love inspirational blogs?

I led me to doing my latest concept piece "Lime in the Coconut".  

It all started yesterday morning when I opened my Google Reader to check out the blogs I can't get in my mail RSS feed. I follow several artists and artisans for the most part. The Daily Art Muse is one of my favorites...she has inspiring posts but she also scours Flickr for inspirational photos to share.  

They are always inspiring but until yesterday never actually were the start of an actual piece I made. But she put up a photo of a close crop grouping of coconuts. The combination of roundish repeating shapes and texture grabbed my attention so I 'starred' it for later. At that time I was thinking of the pattern.  

But then it happened. Yep, that dreaded song-stuck-in-the-head thing...'Put the lime in the coconut..." . Over and over it played until my only recourse was to sit down and design this little literal interpretation.

It's only an inch around and it became my favorite piece (so far) once I put it's very textural in your hand and it bounces merrily on your chest...and I'm not even a 'green' type of person but I love the color. Also in real life it sort of captures 'coconut' quite well.  

I love anything that tickles my funny bone anyways, and this certainly does that. So as you all sweat the mechanics of writing your own blogs out there, remember that someone, somewhere might just grab an inspiration like I did, and that makes it all worth while :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Looking for that perfect girl

This is 'Tonya'. She could be that perfect girl, but she's a bit high priced for me :) I'm sure you're all doing a double take right about now...what I'm actually looking for is an affordable mannequin I can use to design my necklaces on.

(I also need a bit of practice using my Gimp photo program on my iMac...I had it down when I had a PC but the layout is different now. I just spent two hours trying to add my last necklace design and a funky dress with no depth lol)

Seriously though, I want a mannequin. I have a design in mind that needs to exactly fit the curves around the neck and over the shoulders to hang just right. Impossible to do on myself and Chopper's neck is a bit thick to use :D

But have you seen the cost of mannequins? I've found a couple that are pretty banged up and really quite non-inspiring in an affordable range but I totally have to be inspired by how the piece looks on the model. Ethnic is great because that great honey tone works with colors so well. But I'd go for your normal WASP model if she had a bit of edginess and was affordable. 

Now, I'm on a budget (Ok...I really have no budget at all, money is extremely tight at the moment, but lets just pretend I have a small one) and it seems to me that I should be able to find a mannequin that will work in my price range (0-50 bucks top lol) 

I want at least a full half figure...I can use the arms and hands for designing jewelry , and I want the head because I'm thinking in some new directions too. I want the edgy look because I think my photographs would be nice on a 'live' model too. And ok, it would be fun to have a life size doll to play around with fashion wise :)

Now it seems to me that there are probably thousands of discarded or lost in storage mannequins out there, left over from failed businesses or downgraded to make room for newer models. I don't live in a very large city, but I'm still betting there's pretty little mannequins that would love a new home somewhere in this town.

I've searched the net and scoured the local ads, but no luck. If you have my 'perfect girl' out there, that's gathering dust in a corner, please drop me a line and let me know, I promise to give her a good home and if all goes well with my designs, I'll also make her a star!