Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010! A Blast from the Past

Happy New Year!

In honor of the holiday and some dedicated torch time, I thought I would re-share this post from a while back on how to wear lampwork beads.

"Outback Series" bracelet (SOLD).

Many women seem to be unsure how to incorporate colorful lampwork beads into their wardrobe. "This blue isn't the same shade as my blouse!" "But there's green in this bracelet and I'm not wearing any green". I used to feel the same restrictive pressure when trying to coordinate jewelry with my clothing, but I don't any more.

One book I found very useful is Leatrice Eiseman's Pantone Guide to Communicating With Color (North Light Books, Cincinnati, OH, 2000). Whether you're creataing a glass bead, a website, or designing a new guest room, this book helps you choose colors that convey specific emotions and messages to your viewer.

Once I started melting glass and experimenting, I became much more relaxed about mixing color. One approach that works well for me when making and wearing glass beads is to choose a uniform, harmonious color scheme, and just make sure that most of the colors are in the same family. A bracelet could incorporate light blue, dark blue, and teal, and look pulled together. Pinks are fine with lavenders and purples, olive greens are fine with grass greens. This is known as an analogous color scheme, or when viewed more exclusively, a monochromatic scheme (varying shades of one color).

The other approach that works well for me is neutrals. The Outback bracelet above was done with various complementary neutral tones. I find that I can wear this bracelet with almost any of my clothes and it looks great.

"Happy Spring" necklace.

And then there's the more colorful choices. Pantone would put these in the "Playful", "Energetic", or "Fanciful" group. Beads like this make it very easy to decide what to wear. Just pick one of these great colors to go with, lean toward a solid color top near the jewelry, and any kind of print below that plays up some of the themes in the jewelry. Let your playful side out! Have fun!

One final note, since I started watching TLC's "What Not To Wear", I learned that rules were made to be broken. A red purse can look spectacular with a grey suit, and your new blue bracelet can be just the pop that your fuschia dress was waiting for.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Was it Good for You Too?

One down, one to go (holidays, that is). Did you survive? We did, and then some. I hope your Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrated) was everything you hoped for. I haven't heard any reports back on my enchilada gifts, but am hoping they were enjoyed. My mother-in-law loved her new red earrings, the ones I modified as clip ons. I got a new torch for fusing silver, and can't wait to try it out. Today I'm off to restock the fridge, settle on the tile for the bathroom, and dust off my electroforming equipment to do some beads.

Meanwhile, I've got some groovy new earrings up in my Etsy shop - if you're into grape try these:

And here are some festive winter earrings, inspired by my recent frozen morning walk. They remind me of the frozen flowers I saw.

And remember to watch out for these while you're on your walk today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BFF, Intertubes Style

Belt buckle from Cyndie Smith.

I can't believe Christmas is almost here. It was just Thanksgiving! I guess that's what happens when you have people visiting, a holiday art & wine show, work, and a remodeling project all going on at once. What was I thinking?

But life is good and progress on most fronts continues. Did I tell you that Cyndie Smith and I are going to share a booth at the Best Bead Show in Tucson this February? It's so exciting! Unbelievably, we've not ever met in person. She lives in Florida, and I live in California. It was supposed to happen in Miami for the ISGB Gathering, but Cyndie's mother took ill and unfortunately she could not make the trip. But in early February we're going to take a little road trip to Tucson during the Gem Show, and we'll be exhibiting our beads and jewelry at the Best Bead Show together at Kino Veterans Memorial Community Center. If you're there, do stop by to say "hi" - we'll be in Canopy Tent #2.

I feel so fortunate to have met Cyndie - ours is one of those great online friendship stories. We were both on Etsy, she was selling amazing organic metal jewelry, and I was selling lampwork beads and jewelry, and we happened to find ourselves in the same Etsy forum late one night. We both were gaga for each other's work, and we each started buying pieces from each other. Cyndie bought some of my beads, and I bought a cuff bracelet and belt buckle from her that I just adore. Cyndie had been on Etsy longer than I, and was doing quite well, and generously shared some of her Etsy lessons learned with me.

My Life Cuff, custom piece from Cyndie Smith.

We kept up with each other through Etsy convos until one day I got the notice from the International Society of Glass Beadmakers about an exhibition called "Convergence", where bead artists would pair with jewelry designers to create jewelry inspired by the four elements. I knew when I read it that I wanted to ask Cyndie to be my partner in this adventure, and she said yes! So we put our heads together and amazingly discovered that we both longed to create a dangerous, playful, over the top carnivorous flower piece. We shared many a late night in front of our computers, laughing at Little Shop of Horror videos on YouTube, and swapping ideas about the piece, until it all came together and the piece we called Mean Green Mother Earth was finished. We were absolutely thrilled when it was accepted into the exhibition. Since then we've had loads of fun making more wearable pieces inspired by this one - rings, pendants, and some fabulous brooches featuring Cyndie's metal work and my little Meanie beads. We'll have plenty of all of these in Tucson.

"Mean Green Mother Earth" neckpiece, by Patty Lakinsmith and Cyndie Smith.

Cyndie has been the best internet friend I could ever have hoped for. She isn't afraid to give me advice (or a kick in the pants!) when I need it. While I'm lucky to have friends and family who are supportive of my artistic endeavours, being an artist herself, Cyndie understands my basic need to create like few others do. Maybe it's because we're both Libras, who knows. I admire her exhuberance for art and zest for life, her organic style, and her comfortable way of being there for me. I wish we lived closer so we could have studio play days together. I know that I'd be teaching her to melt glass and she'd be helping me learn traditional metalsmithing, and for sure we'd be getting out and about to seek out fun places to visit and see art.

Right now we're busy preparing for the next edition of Convergence - jewelry inspired by a real or fictitious person, and we're busy getting inventory ready for Tucson. Oh yeah, and Christmas shopping. Sigh. But the one thing that keeps me going during all of the chaos that resembles my life of the last few weeks, is the thought of finally getting to meet and play with Cyndie. It's gonna be like Thelma and Louise without the Brad Pitt and driving off the cliff parts. Oh yeah, and swap a pickup with a camper shell for the convertible. Other than that, just like T&L! I can't wait for February!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Rare Treat

Nothing but images from our frosty winter wonderland today. The moist air and sub-freezing temperatures last night worked together to make some incredible textural magic. Click on each photo to reveal the high resolution versions - they will knock your socks off.

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanks for a great show, Bargetto!

New work up on Etsy!

We all survived the cold in Bargetto's wine cellar this past weekend, and I really had a great time. I had Mean Green Mother Earth with me, which was a great conversation piece. It was fun to meet some online customers for the first time, and wonderful to have friends stop by to say hi and shop. In the lulls (and there were a few, though mostly it was quite well attended) it was fun to catch up with fellow artists, get to see their work, and taste some of Bargetto's wine. The chardonnay was especially tasty this year, as was the zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon.

My late nights of work last week paid off and I was ready and even somewhat organized for the show, and I feel very good about my displays this year. I even had time to get my digital photo frame to work, although it would only show photos and not the video I had hoped to show. If anyone out there knows how to get a Coby digital photo frame to play an .avi file, please send me the secret code!

As the extreme chill settles in to the hills around the Silicon Valley, I'm getting to work listing some of my new jewelry pieces from the past few weeks in my Etsy shop. I've got some holiday sparkle to help you get in the mood for your parties, and some other pieces combining glass and fine silver, which is a great combination.

One thing I've been making a lot of lately is these long, sparkly, dangly earrings. I rarely wear things like this, but they just fascinate me with their captivating play of light. They'd be great to wear to a New Year's party (the fancy kind), or even for a bride.

It's going to be in the teens around here tonight, which is not typical. Brrr! Get yer woolies out, and throw another log on that fire! I'm tempted to make some soup tomorrow.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Would you like a little wine with that art?

Then Come on Down and get your holiday shopping done at Bargetto Winery this weekend! I guarantee if you're not in the mood when you arrive, you will be as soon as you enter the cellars. Yes, this wonderful event is actually held in Bargetto's cellars, among the wine barrels, and the ambiance will permeate all of your senses as soon as you step in the door. From the crisp air, the pungent smell of wine and evergreen, twinkling lights, greenery, and smiling artists around every corner, to the sound of holiday music - you will succumb to the festive mood and discover some great art along the way.

I have done this show for a few years now and have really enjoyed meeting all of the regular and new artists, and the patrons there can't be beat. The quality of work among this small group of artists is just incredible.

I will be there with tons of great gift pieces in the Under $50 category, lots of festive holiday earrings, new pieces from my Primitive Directions series, and of course, the Meanie Pendants. Oh yes, and much, much more. I've been busy making new things and can't wait to show them to you.

Speaking of wine, I had a fun, unique opportunity the other day to help a friend label some wine that she purchased from a local vintner. Not a small batch, mind you, but some 5 barrels worth of cabernet sauvignon. My friend got to use a Byington Winery's assembly line to process her wine. My job for just over an hour was to invert the cases of bottles so they were right side up, slide the foil cap on over the top of each bottle, and send them on their way to the machine that sucks them down tight. The next machine put the labels on, and then they were off to Candi and Lois to box back up. We must have processed several hundred cases in that time. I have to admit, it was rapid, mindless physical work and it was very satisfying.

My view down the line from the foil cap station.

Candi, Lois and Bob, packing up the last of the wine.

My heavenly view on the drive home. Monterey Bay was tucked in with fog that day.

If I get a chance I'll post some pictures tomorrow of some new work I'll be taking to the show.


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