Sunday, March 8, 2009

Converging on Playfulness

"Mean Green Mother Earth", collaboration accepted into Bead & Button and ISGB's Convergence exhibition.

For months now Cyndie Smith and I have been giggling like schoolgirls, chatting back and forth with emails and Etsy convos about a collaboration we were doing for the ISGB and Bead & Button's Convergence exhibition. The piece was completed at the end of January and accepted into the exhibit in late February, and we're thrilled. Except for the part about shipping it off and not seeing it again until The Gathering, and not getting to take it home and fondle it until next year.

We've never actually met in person, but after virtually meeting each other in the Etsy forums we've come to admire each other's work, and we've become friends. I love the organic ebb and flow of Cyndie's mixed metal designs, and she's a huge lampwork bead fan.

When I learned that B&B and ISGB would be pairing designers with bead makers for the Convergence Exhibition I knew that Cyndie and I should enter as a team. When tossing out ideas about what type of piece to design, I went out on a limb and confided that I'd been dreaming of a man-eating neck piece for some time. Why? Heck if I know - sometimes these things just come to you and you have to help them to fruition. But once I shared my dream with her, magically she said that she would love to do something like that. I was thrilled.

That was the beginning of several months of intensely stimulating, intensely fun creative playtime. I would make the flower heads, or centers of the flowers, and she would make the surrounding neckpiece complete with twining leaves and tendrils. We shot ideas and sketches (OK, Cyndie sketched, I made and photographed prototype flower heads) back and forth, shared photos through Picasa web albums, and before you know it we had reached the entry deadline and we had an over the top neckpiece that was both entertaining and dangerous. Cyndie created an abundantly exotic wreath of copper leaves in various shades of patina that was the perfect complement to my glass beads. I added some glass berries and buds to coordinate with the leaves and flower heads and Cyndie brought it together beautifully. Don't you agree?

There was one moment sheer terror after I had shipped off the flower heads to Cyndie in January. The few I had retained showed some incompatibility cracks and I was mortified that Cyndie had incorporated them into the piece. The Vetrofond Odd Lot Parrot Green I had used was incompatible with the color I had encased over (to save my precious and dwindling supply of Parrot Green), and the toothy flower heads were cracking at the sides of the mouth. Quickly I searched the web to find people willing to sell part of their stash of this great color, and secured some. I made the replacement heads (solid Parrot Green this time) and we were back in business.

Here is the description we sent in with our entry:

Sometimes our ideas grow wildly when left alone for a bit, or when merged with those from a different perspective. This piece originated from the convergence of two individual dreams of a neck piece made from exotic plants, with carnivorous flowers threatening the wearer. Fed by near daily emails, "Mean Green Mother" clips from the Little Shop of Horrors movie on YouTube, and Etsy "convos", the idea for this piece grew into one coherent design from two artists living on opposite sides of the country. Reaching, grasping tendrils reach out for a toehold on the wearer, while clusters of copper leaves in varying stages of life cradle hungry flower heads. Some slightly amused, some ravenous, some only babies, all of these creatures are the product of a planet that is hell bent on one thing: survival.

We were thrilled to get the acceptance email, and the piece is in Bead & Button Magazine's hands now for photos. In May a catalog of the pieces in the exhibition will be published, and shortly thereafter the exhibit will visit the Ohio Glass Museum in Lancaster, Ohio, the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee in June, and the ISGB Gathering in Miami in July. I'm looking forward to attending The Gathering this year so I can see it in person for the first time.

Soon we'll find out whether our piece will be included in the special October issue of Bead & Button dedicated to Convergence designs. Some of the entries will be invited to do step-by-step tutorials and will include artist biographies. Other more wearable forms of our Mean Green Mother Earth designs will find their way into our Etsy shops and shows in the coming weeks.

My lesson from this incredible experience is to do whatever I can to help my ideas take shape, to not be afraid of them, to not hold back, and to fully participate, no matter what the risk.


Jennifer Cameron said...

OH! I SO wish I was going to the Gathering just to see this. How absolutely awesomely cool and fun and dangerous. Love the concept, and love the execution. You 2 make a GREAT team. Congrats on getting it accepted, but how could they possibly not accept such a cool piece of art?

Patty said...

Jennifer, you *should* come. It would be a lot of fun to meet you. Thanks for the very kind feedback on our piece. Cyndie is a wonderful friend, and an inspiring and talented artist.

Pam said...

I love that!!! It's awesome!

Laurie Green-Whitney - Mermaid Glass said...

Fabulously cool piece!

Patty said...

Thanks Pam and Laurie. This was one of the most fun things I've done in a while.

JewelrybySimin said...

I love this one and just bought one of her necklaces as well :)


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