Chuck and I drove up to Astoria yesterday to check out a cooler for our local food co-op...I went along to drive and take photos and managed to stop at a few viewpoints on the way home to catch some of the wonderful skies....we had every kind of weather except (thank goodness!) snow....sun, rain, hail and most of it just coming in waves, so we'd have hail and 2 minutes and a mile or two down the road it would stop and a bit further along we'd have sun! The kind of weather we're used to having on the coast in the winter, thankfully!
Also got a shot or two of the container ships waiting in the columbia to go upriver to portland or go back out to sea across the bar, or maybe all of the above...
Also got a photo of my patch of stitching from outside, but it still doesn't show the irridescence of the sheer fabric that's on top of the dark fibers....maybe I'll try another shot taken at an angle...and I found some interesting trim that I may use for the strap, but I'll have to do some stitching on it first...and a possible button as a closure...if I make one.
It's sure fun making a purse improvisationally!

boy, blogger sure arranges photos in a weird way...I'd call it ugly, but I'm too lazy to go back and see if I can fix if...


Blog Changes

I think for the next few days I'll try some changes to the look of the blog...and then on the 1st I can put up the final changes...although with blogger making it so easy now to change the look of the blogs, I might change it more often...at least the header photo.


I'm thinking of adding the 5.5 inch square to the purse...still looking for something to use as a strap/hanger though...


New Bag

I bought some upholstery material to recover a camel saddle footstool and had some left over so I'm making a purse...haven't made one in years so it will be very simple...just have to find some cord for the handle...the solid green is a silky material I'm using to line it.


Creative Every Day

I've been wondering what challenge to take up for next year and after looking at dozens, I've decided to do the Creative Every Day challenge that artist Leah Kolidas hosts...
What I love the most about it (besides the no-guilt aspect, lol) is that you can change mediums from day to day...although my major love is fiber/bead embroidery, some days I'm just not up to picking up a needle. But leah considers all aspects of life as avenues for creativity (cooking, gardening, etc. as well as the traditional arts/crafts) so I feel I'll be inspired to do something creative every day, or maybe just notice that I do something creative every day already, but just haven't been honoring it? Anyway, I'm excited about doing this and although I may not write something every day, I am going to at least post a photo of each day's CED's.

Couching Fibers

I've been playing with this photo for an hour in photoshop and I still can't get it to show the richness of color in the original piece...maybe I'll try taking the photo in daylight...


Happy Holidays

December BJP Finished...done with a few days to spare...my much simpler version of the lovely black madonna and child Russian icons...and my holiday e-card for my blog...and new header...talk about re-using!
Happy Holidays to all the fine folks who stop by throughout the year and may your new year be full of joy and peace.


Solstice Thoughts

This is one of my favorite days of the year as we turn back toward the lighter days and shorter nights.
I'm remembering a winter 37 years ago when we had just come back from our trip to Mexico, gotten married, and decided to give living in california a try...we gave away a lot of stuff, stored a couple of tables with friends and put all we owned, plus our siamese cat, chisai, who had gone with us to Mexico in our bus, back into the bus and headed for San Jose.
As it turned out, the endless sun paled a bit after a few months and we headed back to the cooler, wetter pacific northwest that suited us so much better...but I've always been glad we gave it a try instead of wondering later in life if we'd missed something.
Here're a few photos I dug out today...me and chisai and the van at our tiny hotel in San Miguel de Allende...the van by itself and a couple of photos taken from the hills above the town....can't remember if the photos were from our trip into town or when we were heading out...but it was a lovely few weeks we spent there and still hope to return someday.
The black madonna and child are beaded...the next step isn't yet clear though, so they may sit a bit...


Moving Again

I'm getting excited about seeing how this comes out again...


CyberFyber Postcard Slide Show

Here's a link to susan lenz's slide show of the postcards she traded with artists all over the world (me included!)...the CyberFyber show (which includes the postcards, ATC's and invitational work from selected artists) runs from January 8 - 20, 2009 at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios, 808 Lady Street in downtown Columbia, South Carolina, but the cyber show will be at the blog...how kewl to have both an online show and an "actual" gallery show!


Snow Day

Not a lot, but more than we usually get and earlier....good morning to stay in and work on xmas presents...



I have no idea what I'm doing here, but it's sure fun...I did this yesterday while gallery sitting, so today I'm going to see about adding some other fabric or fibers to it...
The color in the photo is miles off, but I'll correct it next time...it's much warmer and deeper.


What If?

I've followed jude hill's blog for quite some time now and she's been a major inspiration in my quest to lessen the beads and crank up the fiber/threads in my work...along with her first blog, Spirit Cloth, she's also got a blog called, What If, where she (and others) ask just that question and then answer it with fabric and thread...
I don't know if her flickr group is still open, but I didn't think she'd mind too much if I play along in my blog.
Since starting is always the most difficult part for me, I thought I'd make it simple and just ask myself, "what if I put these fabrics together in a simple collage? This is play, pure and simple and I hope I can keep that attitude!


A Bit Further Along

I did a bit more on the icon today but just a little since I had an informal lesson with a couple of friends this afternoon. Neither one had done herringbone so we went through the steps to begin that and then the beginning of flat even peyote...I have fun teaching the two stitches but have not been tempted away from my bead embroidery...and of course, I use the peyote stitch for my face bezels, so it's not like I've abandoned it entirely.


Actually Begun

But would you believe this is a whole afternoons work?


Robin's Post on Selling Your Work

I know that most of you who read here are already members of the BJP but for those who aren't I'd like to add a link to robin atkin's blog, beadlust. She's written an honest and sensitive post about her feelings about selling her work and has requested feedback from some of us who also sell our work.
I first have to say that I've never had to make a living by selling my work...I've always had a "day job" that supported both me and my beadwork. However, I have been selling my work since 1988...first my digital art and then my beaded jewelry when I started beading. And unlike many beaders who start out beading as a hobby and then gradually get into the artistic aspects of it, I came to beadwork as an artist who had a background in other mediums and beads just became another medium for making art to me.
But in 1998, when I was laid off from my job as a graphic designer and couldn't find another comparable job in our small coastal community, I thought I'd see if I could make at least a partial living from my jewelry. By 2000 I had work in 8 oregon galleries and was averaging several hundred dollars a month...not a lot, but I thought it was a good beginning. And then the GW Bush years began and my sales began to drop and a couple of my galleries closed and it went downhill from there.
So, I began to consider doing the kind of production work that robin is talking about in order to boost my sales but I realized fairly soon that it just wasn't for me. Not only was it boring to me to do virtually the same pieces over and over, but they weren't even selling...so I took another look at our situation and got a parttime job at our visual arts center which brought in a small but steady paycheck each month and went back to just making what I want to make. Now and then I get worried about money and make a few smaller, cheaper things to put into my etsy shop, but I find that even the less expensive work isn't selling....so I go back again to making what I want to make....the kind of things that no one else is doing....that are just from me....and they are their own reward, as robin says. And mostly I'm satisfied...but now and then, when I see some of my friends who are able to do production work making a good living at it, I feel a bit sad that my work isn't valued in the same way theirs is...and then I remember van gogh and it reminds me that whether my work sells or not has little to do with it's true value...and that even if I never sold another piece, I'd still keep on making it because it's what gets me up in the morning and keeps me on a more or less even keel through some pretty steep ups and downs and finally, that it's just what I have to do because I'm an artist and I make things...

Life, Life and more Life...

Sorry to be such a slug, but I have nothing new to show today....I've got lots of excuses...bad back, work, anniversary and friends' visiting, but what it all amounts to is I've hit a bit of a snag. I don't know where the muse has been but she's sure not been at my studio lately!
I think it may have something to do with the time of year...I hate to admit it, but christmas just isn't any fun any more. Since my mom moved back up to Washington, we now have a 5-7 hour drive to get to her (depending on traffic, accidents, all that stuff) and it's not a fun drive. There are now so many people on the road that it doesn't matter how early you start, it will still be bumper to bumper all the way up I-5 from Oregon to Washington. And while I took that as a fun challenge when I was in my 40's, now that I'm almost 60, I find it a trying challenge, and if I could vaporize all the idiots driving while talking on their cell phones, I'm afraid I'd do it! So, I guess I'm now officially a cranky old lady or crone or auntie, depending on your viewpoint!
On the plus side, time is now passing so quickly that the holidays will be over soon and I can settle into january and see about getting some work done! I've removed my work from all but one of my galleries and am now still figuring out what to do next...so I think the next few months at least, if not the next year, I will be playing around with fabric, fiber and beads, until my next step hits me on the head...at least that's usually how it happens. I rarely slide gracefully from one series to another, it's more like being a hockey puck, whacked first in one direction then in another, but at least I'm still moving, lol!
Thanks for all your patience and I will make every effort to get some work done here so I can post something much more interesting than my seasonal angst!


Moving Along

I've gotten as far as picking out my palette of beads...all size 13 charlottes...still have some nailheads and/or sequins to add and maybe a few other items to make it look more icon-like. I tried using alcohol ink on the silver hands to color them darker but it's not been too successful, so I'm considering just making/baking some with black sculpey...


Back to Work

Every December our local city-owned art gallery (where I work parttime) has a push pin show that is open to all county residents....all ages, all mediums BUT the piece has to be hung using not more than 4 push pins....that cuts out most sculpture and all heavy, large painting, etc. but it still brings in some of the most fun art work of the year. I think our youngest artists are from the montessori school and are probably around 4-5 and the oldest (at least once) in their 90's! Chuck and I always enter a piece and this is mine for this year....I usually don't submit beadwork...I take this time to play with something I normally don't do. This piece is made from an old balsa wood cigarillo box with some wooden print blocks that say, DO IT, a polyclay mask/face made by a friend of mine, a small accordion book of some of my very early digital prints called Masks, some amusement park tokens, a clothespin I painted black and added an incised copper collar to and on the top, a digital photo of one of our flowers that I used a filter on...I had fun putting it all together and I think it will be a fun piece for the show.
Second photo is the very beginning of my December BJP...I'm thinking of a black madonna and child and my inspiration for this piece is some of the Russian Icons I've been collecting photos of for years...they've always fascinated me, for some reason.
Anyway...at least I'm back to work again!