Mid-Century Modern from Charish. I would love to see this credenza on wheels, Picasso print and scoop chair in my home. Gotta love the little bohemian touch of the pillow and teal shell chandelier.
I’ve been having fun spending time on a new website I found called Charish. It’s for people who love design and want to sell and buy unique vintage pieces. I find myself drawn again and again to the Mid-Century Modern pieces. The lines, the shapes….oh they slay me! One of the coolest things about Mid-Century Modern design is that its easy to DIY style. For those of us who are into an artsy, eclectic look, there’s nothing like it to get your creative juices flowing.
I have a spot in my family room that I keep looking at and my brain keeps saying. “You know what would look great there? A vintage club chair and a desk or dresser. An accent pillow, a cool vintage focal. Blue, I definitely need shades of blue.” I’ve been visualizing this space for a couple of weeks now and hanging out on Charish for inspiration.
Ahhhh….I’m having so much fun with the design process of Polyvore. Here’s a totally different look for my family room space, but still some really fun and unique pieces. The detail that makes the dresser pop for me is the cute little striped legs. Reminds me of Alice and Wonderland stockings in some crazy way.
Now comes the synchronicity part. My fabulously creative friend Jennifer Priest has been raving to me about Polyvore for months now. Since she’s pretty much on top of cool new stuff, I finally decided to start poking around the site to see what it was all about. Oh my Heavens! I think I have a new love…and a new time sink. Drat that JP! Love that JP! Drat that JP! Polyvore is a community powered social commerce website where people from all over the world interested in fashion, interior design and artistic expression create image collages.
So today I start poking around Polyvore and guess what? Lo and Behold I was able to shop Charish and create my very first Polyvore set. My brain went into overdrive! I immediately see a dozen ways that I want to use this website. The first one being a way to show you how my brain makes visual connections.
I’ve often been at teaching events where students of mine will say in an offhanded way that they wish they could be inside my brain. Truthfully, I’ve never completely understood why anyone would want to be inside my head. It took me a long time before I realized that what they were saying is they wish they could get a glimpse of the way I see the world in colors and pictures. Now that’s a pretty cool thing to say to someone! Hopefully as I dig into this a little further this coming summer, I’ll be able to share a little more of my favorite things. Art, color, design, imagery.
I’m coming to Austin, Texas y’all! I can’t wait. I’ve spent some time in Dallas and Houston but I’ve never been to Austin, and I have heard some really awesome things about it. Right now, I’m trying to talk one of my best girlfriends into a road trip so we can spend a couple of days enjoying all the sights and sounds after I finish teaching at Art-Xscape. If you have any suggestions for great stores or places that I must put on my to-do list, I’ll take ’em.
Registration for Art-Xscape is open now. I’m happy to say that I developed a brand new workshop that I thought would be perfect for Texans and other art makers who enjoy cowgirl chic. It’s called Buckle Up, Baby. We’ll spend the day learning about Iced Enamels and other cold enameling techniques, as well as making jewelry-sized collages for belt buckles that we encase in ICE Resin.
Last year during the Tucson Gem and Mineral show I found really high-quality antique brass belt buckles. I bought a dozen and couldn’t wait to return to my studio to create. Like a lot of what I do, I went into the studio and spent a couple of days trying to push the limits with my techniques and materials. The results ended up in some pretty fun pieces. I took the best of my techniques, bought more buckles and created a new workshop. I’m thrilled to be debuting it in Austin.
I’ll also be teaching two more resin workshops while I’m there. The first is Create and Resinate, where I teach the basics and beyond of working with ICE Resin. I’ll also be teaching mold making and casting, which is honestly my all time favorite thing to do with resin because I get to play with found objects, as well as molding putty, acrylic paints, Gilder’s Paste, mica powders. We spend a lot of time working on the surface design techniques I’ve developed that pretty much guarantees people cannot tell the difference between the real and cast objects.
If you’re looking for an intimate art retreat getaway in a great city take a peek at the Art-Xscape website. It’s October 8-12 so there’s plenty of time to grab your best artsy friend and plan a road trip with me. I bet we could have some serious fun in Austin together.
It was such a crazy week when I did this DIY jewelry holder for Walnut Hollow’s blog. The deadline for that project also happened to be right when it was Jen Cushman week in conjunction with my DVD releases. I wanted to give the project a second go around to ensure you all got to see how cute, fun and simple this is to make. You can easily personalize the colors and stencil to your tastes and home decor. My little twist on it, of course, is using a piece of steel wire for the earring holder. Wood and wire = great mixed-media. Seriously, this project takes less than 30 minutes to make. The longest part is waiting for the paint to dry.
I have this hanging in my bedroom and it honestly makes me smile when I look at it. I never seem to get enough of this blue/green color palette. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this basswood base from Walnut Hollow. It’s rustic yet elegant and so versatile.
Want to see the full tutorial? Hop on over to Walnut Hollow’s blog now.
The May/June 2015 issues of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is available on newsstands now. My Mixed Media Metalsmith column for this issue shows how to make a birds nest bead. Oh how I love this messy bead! Some people make these beads sweet and neat, but I like to take my 20 gauge wire and just go to town with my style of organic wire wrapping. My technique is a little different from the way most folks do it. I like to think it’s easier.
I find that birds are a pretty constant form of imagery in my work. I know it has to do with wings and freedom and my wish to fly ever since I was small. Since I see birds everywhere in mixed-media art, I know this is a common theme for a lot of us too. Every time I wear this necklace, I get compliments.
In this issue, I teach you how to make the focal bead. I also give the step out directions to make this necklace:
And this ring:
Some other highlights include a lesson from Julie Fei-Fan Balzer on how to turn a utilitarian apron into an artsy accessory you’ll love to wear, as well as an inspired quote scarf from my friend Lesley Riley. Also, my friend Ruth Rae is at is again with her amazing sewing and free motion stitching skills where she creates a poet’s shirt that’s so pretty I’d love to hang it in my studio for inspiration. I can’t begin to tell you how cool it is to flip though the pages of this gorgeous magazine and know the artists whose work is featured inside. I’ve said it before, but I truly love our mixed-media community and how willing people are to share art techniques so we can all learn and grow.
If you’re not a subscriber to Cloth, Paper, Scissors yet give it a look see. The publishing industry is changing as a result of the way we’re seeking and consuming information. To keep magazines viable, we need to buy them. We need to support the companies that advertise in them (as long as we like and use the products that is). If we don’t, they fold and the marketing folks have to keep finding new (and sometimes more invasive) ways to get to our eyeballs so they can get to our pocketbooks. Not trying to give a hard sell here by any means. Rather, I’m just putting it out there so we can be intentional consumers.
Thanks for reading. Here’s wishing you an Artful and joyful weekend!
Every weekday morning I set my alarm for 6 a.m. I get up, make myself a cup of coffee, grab my phone and snuggle into my favorite corner of my leather sofa for 30 minutes of quiet time before I have to wake my kids for school. The early morning light streams through my picture window and the plants outside cast shadows that dance across my living room wall.
Every morning without fail, I take a few moments to watch the graceful movement where the leaves form positive space shapes on the negative space filtered sunlight. I breathe in a few deep breaths and exhale. Without fail, I’m inspired by the shadows and the interplay of form, light and movement.
I’ve sketched this scene in an art journal. I’ve painted a canvas of it more than a few times. I’ve taken photographs and played around with various filers in Photoshop. Despite the fact I see the same scene every morning, my response to it varies according to my mood. Some days I feel reflective. Other days I take it as a good omen for creativity in my studio. On rainy days, I miss nature’s shadow puppets on my wall and silently will the sun to peek from the clouds so I can feel the comfort of my morning routine.
As I was looking at the photographs the other day I realized these images are a good teaching tool for seeing in a new way. Take a look at the top photo. This is exactly what my eyes see each morning. Soft beautiful light intermingled with the repetitive pattern of the leaves. The pop of blue chair next to a cluster of dark objects – wood chair, vintage shoe forms and woven wire basket. Pretty scene, but you have to really focus to notice positive and negative form.
Take a look at the next photo using the Photoshop Express app’s vibrant filter. The positive shapes of the leaves are starting to become much more prominent, as is the shadow behind the blue chair. I also love the way this warm filer makes the image appear as if I were looking though an old Edison bulb.
Now take a look at the third pic using the invert filter. Wow, this one is an amazing transformation. All of a sudden you can “read” the light in a way your eyes and brain cannot. Take a look at how the blue chair and the wooden one are now reversed color wise. Notice how strong the shadow of the light is behind the chair. See the double imagery of the wire bag, and like an X-ray machine you can magically see the cloth bag inside the wire one. The lovely play of shadows from the leaves is now a long vertical strip of black. It’s fascinating the information one can get changing focus.
Teaching your brain the look differently as an artist is important. It’s tantamount in what Marcel Proust meant when he said:
How about you? Is there anything in your home that inspires you every day and causes you to simply stop and be present?
Hey peeps! My editor at F+W just sent me an email saying that the marketing folks gave me my own secret code. Sounds so very spy-like doesn’t it??
I can give away 25 of these codes and it’s only available to my blog followers. It’s a 20% off coupon for my new dvds. I can’t publish the code here, but if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org then I can send it to you. The code expires April 30th.
You can find all of my new dvds in the sidebar to the right. These are affiliate links with the publisher so I’ll make a few pennies when you purchase them using these specific links. Just click on the image and it will take you there. Once you have the code from me, you can fill in the box before purchase.
Also, if you do read my blog and you’ve already watched any of these videos I would sure appreciate you leaving a review on the Interweave site. Obviously the more stars, the better the review, but please give honest feedback because it’s important that people who don’t know me and who’re taking your reviews into consideration get your authentic opinions.
I know I’ve said this before at various times, but it bears repeating because its true for myself and my fabulous friends in mixed media. If you follow an artist’s work via their blog/social media/classes and she/he has truly inspired you in some way or added to your personal knowledge base, one of the very best thank yous is a good review of the artist’s books on Amazon or her products on sites that let you offer customer feedback.
It’s not a simple path to fully embrace the artist’s life because you need to have multiple revenue streams to make a living from your creativity. There are a fortunate few whose work is in demand to the point where they paint all day while their sales reps and/or agents and/or business partners take care of the rest. Most studio artists are juggling marketing, emails, sales, Etsy stores, branding, etc. and that can gobble up more hours in the week than actual art-making time. When the career-making projects such a books, dvds, ebooks, online classes do make their way into the world, your public support counts.
Here’s to all of us beautiful creatives!
There are changes coming in my life. While I’m beyond excited for them to begin — for new beginnings, it’s also been months and months in the making. There have been days… weeks… that I fret about all the “what ifs” and “how tos”. I’ve had many nights when I wake up at 2 a.m. and cannot get back to sleep because my mind is racing.
As all the machinations continue to move at this slower pace than I’m accustomed to, I’ve turned my working hours into pages of new ideas that I cannot wait to get started on. I’ve read books on marketing and the new economy. I’ve listened to dozens of podcasts with some of the world’s best business leaders and innovators. I’ve made a little bit of art, but honestly my heart is driving me in the direction of information consumption rather than reflection and introspection. I feel my muses happily taking a nap rather than indulging my creativity. They’re a million years old — infinitely wise — so they’ve already got this thing figured out.
I’ve visualized where I’m headed and already felt the changes deep in my heart.
The problem is this damn in between. The waiting. It goes against everything I am. Action-oriented, results-driven, always moving in the direction of my dreams. Type A, for shizzle.
So I take my work days a littler easier than I’m used to. And I remind myself to honor this space. While it’s difficult, it’s here to teach me an important life lesson about patience.
Have you ever found yourself between the no longer and not yet? I’d love to hear your thoughts.