Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Arts and Music Festival

This past weekend, I had a booth at the Quiet Waters Arts and Music Festival in Annapolis, Maryland. The festival was set in the gardens that surround the visitor center. It is a really beautiful setting! The weather forecast stated rain and thunderstorms for the whole weekend-yikes! It rained, I mean poured, all day Friday and I prepared for a wet weekend. Well the craft show stars must have been in alignment, because the rain stopped just as the festival began Saturday morning! In fact, it didn't rain until later that evening and then stopped on Sunday morning, just as day two was starting!

This is the first large craft show that I have participated in, so I was not sure what to expect. My husband (he helped me on both days!) and I were planning on it being a slow weekend because of the weather forecast. Wow, were we ever wrong-both days were amazing! I had almost a non-stop flow of people visiting my booth. All of them had such wonderful things to say about both my jewelry and my displays. The majority of them commented that they liked my jewelry because it was unique and very different from other jewelry that they have seen! I could only dream of comments like that! To have people tell you that they love your art is such an amazing experience. I create pieces that I love and would wear, but to have others feel the same way is an absolute gift!

 My husband bought me an outdoor rug that really gives it a welcoming feel. He also helps me display the jewelry on the tables-he has a fantastic eye for it! I have given him the title of  "Creative Director"!

I created some necklace displays from fallen tree branches. They add a fun, natural touch. I also painted wooden letters to add a little "creativity" to the tables.

Before the show, I had searched for small pebbles to place on my plates. After not finding something I liked, I thought I would try dried peas and beans-worked beautifully. A lot of customers joked that I could make soup after the show was over!

This was the view from our booth! One of the beautiful sculpture gardens.

All in all it was a wonderful experience! The weather, while very humid, turned out to be quite nice. The event was well organized and volunteers of the festival stopped by everyone's booth throughout the two days to see if breaks were needed. I got to meet some amazing artisans (including a lampwork bead artists I will post about in a few days), spend two days in a beautiful park and had the wonderful opportunity to sell my jewelry to some of the nicest people I have ever met! Plus, I had set a sales goal for the weekend and nearly doubled it! I don't mean to brag, I am just amazed and super excited!

These are some of the different areas that had booths set up. I was so busy throughout both days that I didn't get a chance to take any photos of the festival, so I took some photos of the beautiful grounds after the event was over.

I have to give thanks to Lori Anderson for sharing her experience of craft shows with me as well as the excellent advice of having a lot of earrings to sell. She was spot on! Lori: my husband thought your suggestion was a really great idea! Thank you for being so generous with your information.

I also have to once again thank my ultra supportive husband. He helped me set up, ring up all transactions so I could take care of packaging, let me take several breaks, disassemble everything and carry all of the heavy stuff! He also made sure the jewelry was well organized and displayed nicely, filling in any empty spots after a piece had sold. He really is the best-I am very lucky!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Inspired By Creative Jewelry

Last Friday, FedEx delivered a long anticipated package...The 2011 issue of Creative Jewelry!! Equally as exciting as having this awesome magazine in my possession, is having my necklace titled Morning Glory published in it! This was my first time submitting my jewelry to Interweave. Last winter, I submitted four designs to Stringing (a publication of Interweave) and they requested that I mail them three. I was so excited and honored! They then contacted me a few months later to inform me that they wanted to publish my Morning Glory necklace in the 2011 issue of Creative Jewelry. I was floored! Still am.

The beautiful piece on the cover was designed by the ultra talented Erin Prais-Hintz. I have admired her work since I began designing a few years ago. The magazine is filled with stunning creations by a variety of amazing jewelry artists. I am truly honored to be part of this wonderful publication. If you don't already own a copy, I highly recommend purchasing one-you will be creatively inspired!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bead Soup Block Party 2011

This is my first year participating in the Bead Soup Block Party, hosted by Lori Anderson. I was paired up with Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs. Maria creates gorgeous beads from polymer clay. She sent me a beautiful two-sided pendant, three smaller focal beads and a clasp that she made. Along with her creations, she also sent some really cool dyed serpentinite jasper rondelles, copper beads with a turquoise splash, oxidized copper round beads and a variety of bone beads.

The colors are gorgeous and immediately made me thing of summer fading to autumn.

Summer Fading to Autumn...

I added:
  textured antiqued copper chain
 bronze colored freshwater pearls
 8mm antiqued copper round beads
 Parawire in 24 and 28 gauge
two toggle clasps
antiqued copper oval jump rings
antiqued copper earwires

The back of the pendant is textured in a really cool pattern that reminds me of tree bark.  I love that I can wear the necklace with either side of the pendant showing!

I played around with the beads Maria sent me, making some mental sketches. I had a few different options for both a necklace and bracelet. I kept going back to dangling the copper beads with turquoise splash from antiqued copper chain. Once I settled on my necklace design, I then realized that I had enough beads to create two bracelets and a pair of earrings.

The pieces I designed are not like anything I have created before. This was the first time I have worked with polymer clay beads or even beads with flowers on them. This bead soup definitely took me out of my comfort zone, but in a really wonderful way! It is also the most wire wrapping I have done to date, and I must say I really enjoyed adding that element to the design. The only problem I encountered was how to go about dangling the freshwater pearls from the chain. The head pins I used to attach the dyed jasper rondelles were too thick for the pearls. I then remembered a technique I had seen in Heather Power's Inspired by Nature book, wire tendrils. I used 28 gauge wire to create little tendrils on each end of the pearls and then attached them to the chain. It also added a really fun aspect to the pearls.

I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the BSBP. From sending and receiving a bead soup to getting to know my way cool partner to designing outside of my comfort zone. Now I look forward to sitting back and admiring what the other participants have created!

To see what other party goers have created, just click on the link: 

Check out the map too, it is amazing!

Thank you Lori Anderson for hosting the Bead Soup Block Party. Your time and dedication is appreciated more than you know. You are an inspiration. You are beautiful. Thank you for all that you contribute to the beading world! The BSBP is a wonderful way to get to know people in the beading community, be inspired and make new friends. Hello new friends!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Inspired By Nature.

The wait is over. Heather Power's "Inspired by Nature" book has arrived! It is filled with gorgeous jewelry projects, divided into three categories: Woodlands (my favorite), Gardens and Sea. She lists the materials needed for each project with beautifully illustrated instructions. The design layout reminds me of a sketch journal. She also has a side bar giving insight into the inspiration behind each piece (my favorite part)!

One of the reasons for my interest and excitement about "Inspired by Nature" is that I too am immensely inspired by nature. Nature's beauty has always captivated me. It leaves me in awe every time. Whether it is hiking in the Adirondack mountains, walking beside the Atlantic ocean, admiring the beauty of the Autumn season or observing the woodland animals in my backyard, nature speaks to me and I relay it's message through my art.

This weekend, Heather is hosting an Inspired by Nature retreat along the shore of Lake Michigan. If I didn't have to prepare for an upcoming Arts and Music Festival, I would so be there! Sounds like an awesome weekend filled with inspiration, creativity, and making new friends. I can't wait to see what the attendees of the retreat create!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inspired By Beauty

An amazing girl that I went to school with grades 6-12, suffers from Chiari. Chiari is a serious neurological condition that causes debilitating pain and life threatening symptoms. To date, there is no cure. In an effort to bring awareness of the disorder to western New York, where she lives, Agnes organized Buffalo's first Conquer Chiari Walk Across America in 2010. The nation-wide annual event, being held this year on Saturday September 17th, is helping to raise awareness of Chiari, as well as raise money for research.

16 karat gold plated brass square link chain, bronze Czech glass beads, vermeil s-hook clasp.

I wanted to make a contribution to the Buffalo event, in honor of Agnes, so I created this necklace for the auction to help raise money. Inspired by her beauty, inside and out, I designed a modern piece that I felt would appeal to most women. I choose gold and bronze because it has a nice warmth to it, perfect for the upcoming Autumn season. I hope it brings in some good bidding! For more information: Conquer Chiari

Monday, September 12, 2011

Love and Mickey Mouse pancakes.

Yesterday morning, my husband wanted to make sure I was well fueled for the bead show I attended, Northeast Bead Exstavaganza, in Severna Park. So he made me whole wheat Mickey Mouse pancakes, complete with Morning Star Farms soy sausages! I went to the show because there were some vendors in it that I missed at Bead Fest. I was able to find the items I was looking for and a few other goodies. It is one of the smaller bead shows that I have attended, but a decent selection of vendors.

My husband has been quite the savior lately. Last week, my computer pretty much bit the dust and he ordered me a new one. Being married to a computer geek does have it's benefits! It is so cool-everything is built into the flat screen monitor! With a 21.5" inch screen, it is much larger than my old one, which is perfect for photo editing. Perfect timing as I have a lot of photo editing from weekend assignments (in case you all didn't know, I am also a photojournalist).

So, to my amazing husband: thank you for all that you do! And not just because you make me Mickey Mouse pancakes, but also for just being wonderful you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Woodland Bracelets

I have been spending almost every spare moment creating pieces for an upcoming Arts and Music Festival in Annapolis. I am working on different themed collections; Inspired by the Sea, Tribal Arts, Woodland and Winter Solstice. I just completed several bracelets that will be added to my Woodland collection. I really enjoyed working with the soapstone beads. I have had them for several years, waiting for inspiration. After spending time in the Pocono Mountains a few weekends ago, I returned to my studio with a collection of tree bark that had fallen to the forest floor. The variations in the soapstone reminded me of the color and texture of the bark.

I am super excited about my new designs and thought I would share them with you!

Soapstone, hematite, blown glass, antiqued silver twig toggle and pine cone.
I used black cotton cord instead of wire to string the beads, keeping with the rustic feel of the bracelet.
My favorite part is the twig toggle with the pine cone dangling from it!

 Pineapple quartz glass, lamp worked glass, antiqued brass square links, toggle and bird.
I love the element of surprise added by the green glass bead and the bird.

Recycled glass, siamese cassia tree stick bead, ceramic, palm wood, 
laminated wood barrel, antiqued copper wavy discs, toggle and pine cone. 
Reminds me of an autumn sunset!