30 July 2009

Destination: Craftland in Downcity Providence

After a deep sigh of relief, I boxed up my lovely wares and drove into Providence to deliver my inventory to perpetual Craftland.

Lucky for me I was able to take a peak inside and see all the bits and pieces coming together. Even luckier, I get to be a part of it, my jewelry is there! Every year I have made the journey to their holiday sale to buy some handmade goodness for family and friends. And every year I told myself next year I will be a part of it, as an artist, not just a buyer. This year I found myself with time to work in my studio and some designs to offer. Curiously, I searched the internet for Craftland, hoping to apply for their holiday sale. Instead I found myself applying to their store, which is to remain opened year round. I couldn't be more excited. And my trip into downcity just made me even happier about this new adventure.

After finding some parking I walked down the street to look up and see this...
....I am smitten with the intricate beauty of downcity Providence.

This is the corner of the building which Craftland occupies. Why aren't buildings made with this same attention to detail any longer?

Just in case you need some help finding "a huge space full of glittery magic!"

I thought the street signs may not be enough, this is the address to the new home which displays my work.

As I walked out the door, after meeting all of the nice people working hard on making Craftland sparkle, I looked up and saw potted impatiens and vinca. Dangling behind them are unlit christmas lights, certain to add some sparkle.

Then I glanced down Westminster...
...a smile came to my face. The lovely store fronts aren't bare. The street is lined with cars, trees, plants, beautiful brick and iron grates. Oh, we can't forget the bicycles. I so envy city living, being able to pedal to a destination and to see the sights in the open air, not through a car window. I guess for now, I just have to park a distance away and bring my camera.
With all the bustle, I am content knowing my work will be seen.

25 July 2009

Favorite of the Weekend!

I made a short trip to aquidneck island on Friday for an eye appointment and the trip wasn't enough for me. Newport is normally an escape, a place of respite, a lovely island home to friends I enjoy visiting, filled with beautiful sites and the smell of the ocean all around you.
I utilized my favorite new tool on etsy "shop local" to get my fill of Newport, finishing what I started on Friday. This time I viewed familiar sights of my small state through another artist's eyes, leisurely, just the way I enjoy taking in Newport.

As a child, a ride into Newport meant seeing fascinating windmills causing me to stare out the car window, just waiting to catch a glimpse of the massive blades in motion. Year after year, I sadly watched them fall apart. This photograph has re-captured my memories with the glare of the sun causing me to squint my eyes as I struggle to take in the awe of the simple machine which seemed to carry out complex duties under it's shell.

I love the antiquated look of this photo, an old, fuzzy memory of Newport. The colors are vivid but some details are blurred over time.

The artist describes the technique she uses to evoke the feeling of a memory through her photographs: "This photograph was taken using the TtV method which employs shooting your digital camera through the lens of a fixed focus camera, like a Kodak Duaflex. The result is a square picture with a signature black border."

SchuGirl carefully captures images through different techniques, causing a variety of emotions to surface while keeping the subject similar.
picture perfect Newport, made vivid, a memory brought to life.

another picture perfect Newport, clouded with fond memories.
We can choose to keep our memories fresh or hazy, either way they are lovely.

I just love these flower shots, details of our port coming to life in the Spring, likely to be overlooked by tourists but to a resident it is vital to see new life spring forth.
There are winters so dreadfully long, when you finally see spring it seems like a dream. SchuGirl captures this burst of life with the gleam of the season's bright sun shining on her subjects. The close cropping of the flowers remind us of the first blooms we discover. We all have an urge to get up close and take in the smell of a poppy or blow really hard on the puff balls emerging from the grass.

There is fun to be had in Newport even if the ocean is cold and the sky is overcast.
Take a ride on some swings, enjoy being carefree. Feel the sun on your shoulders, kick your feet in the sand and glide through the air, she makes these swings look so inviting. This angle makes me feel like a kid, running up to swings that seem so large, like something I can fly on.

Or rest your head on the grass and gaze up, daydreaming into the dreamy blue sky. Watching the pussy willows yield to the breeze, let your mind wander and enjoy.

If you are like me and can't get enough of Newport trot over to shugirl's etsy site and take in the scenery. Did I mention, she has more to offer than Newport? I am just smitten!

20 July 2009

Favorite of the Weekend... a few days late

I spent Sunday under my white tent at the Boston Open Market. I could hear vendors telling potential customers where they were from and what college they attended. I started to realize just how small of a world it is. I travel over an hour to get to Boston and figured others may travel this far but not necessarily from the same direction. I was wrong, right across from me was a ceramics artist who went to the same college as I did and the photographer next to me lives about twenty minutes away. All of these connections stuck with me while I conducted my weekly etsy search for my "weekend favorite." I used the shop local option to see which etsy artisans were right under my nose. I discovered so many that I think this will keep me covered for the next few months. However, still remembering the heat of yesterday as I tried to sell my jewelry I decided to choose designer135's shop. Can you guess why?

This tank top looks so glamorous. Just what I need to stay cool in my tent and attract attention!

Or maybe a lighter color with flowing material would have been better? And the addition of pearls adorning the metallic rosettes would have matched my jewelry wonderfully!

This denim ruffle would have gone nicely with the long jean shorts I wore. This girl can't resist color, especially when it replicates the color of a rose so beautifully.

In New England we can't forget that days under the tent will get cooler. For those days I will keep this t-shirt in mind. Did you think a t-shirt could be so elegant?

Visit Mimi's Designs for more styles as this is a mere introduction. With over 25 years experience, she certainly has more than this up her sleeve.

17 July 2009

I walked into a cafe...

armed with necklaces and earrings eagerly looking for a man wishing to buy his wife a necklace. I had been contacted through etsy by this fellow who came across my tent at the Providence Open Market. He told me that his wife loved my jewelry and he couldn't wait to buy her something of mine. Needless to say I was so very excited to be remembered and sought out for this special occasion, a five year anniversary celebration.
In the spirit of supporting local, independent artists, we met at White Electric Coffee owned by a fellow etsian and her husband. This is perfection, finding a new cafe, supporting independent business and selling my jewelry all at once.

I found my fellow and sat down, ready to get to business. Immediately I am drawn to the beautiful hand-picked zinnias on the table. As my customer studies my necklaces and labors over making a decision (I have been warned by him that this would happen and I decide I must have too many beauties to choose from) I notice that the walls are covered in a decorated sheet metal so retro and lovely I think I may drool. Did I really forget my camera?

There are floods of people swarming. Open laptops, unofficial business meetings, jewelry sales and people seeming to love this cafe are all about. Some are at tables and others in lovely red retro chairs. Then I spot a flyer announcing the use of biodegradable cups.

"saving the earth, one cup of coffee at a time"

I need to buy something and contribute but I also need to focus on my mini sale and answer the questions this fellow has about the beads I use. A decision is made. All other extraneous jewelry is put back home in it's box. I am quite pleased with his decision. An olive jade/serpentine vine necklace, the one that I wear daily, it accompanied me to this very business venture.

Once his necklace of choice has been placed in a box, made of 100% recycled materials and tied closed with a green ribbon he is off to take on his role of father. I walk back into the cafe, buy a delicious iced red tea and am pleased with my day. But there is one more surprise, the cup isn't plastic, it is made of plants, renewable. Even my cold drink saved the world by one cup.

12 July 2009

Favorite of the Weekend!

A long time ago I stumbled upon an etsy shop selling clutches and coin purses. I rediscovered this shop all over again while going through my favorites and fell deeply in love all once again. There is something so attractive about the clutch, maybe it is nostalgia, seeing photographs of a time which seemed more glamorous and playful or maybe I am attracted to an idea foreign to me, going and with bare essentials, only what is needed for a fun, relaxing time.

This clutch is so elegant with the pleated ribbon detail and subtle feminine fabric. Perfect accessory for a strapless cocktail dress. Or is the dress the accessory in this case?

The play on colors in this fabric is luscious. Contrasting blue with orange is flirty while the pleats are reminiscent of a classic clutch. An irresistible combination.

Memories of my grandmothers immediately arise when I see this classic coin purse. Digging for the exact change seems to very retro. Maybe we should try it on for size instead of being too busy to bother? And don't we all miss seeing these familiar brass frames which make a small click as they are closed?

A matching set in retro colors is irresistible. Seeing chartreuse green and turquoise blue brings back fond memories. This palette never gets old, in fact I believe it gets better with age.

With this material we are reminded just how glamorous the clutch is, a Parisian flight schedule. References to Paris and a jet set lifestyle just can't get more glamorous.

Let's not forget about the nights out with the girls. Getting gussied up, feeling special, celebrating friendship are all reasons to pull out this style clutch. A modern print for memories being made today.

I must mention, the interior has not been forgotten. Gorgeous colors have been carefully chosen to accentuate the exterior fabric. A pleasure to look in. No detail has been over looked, even the pockets are exquisitely made.

And one of my favorites, olive green with a turquoise bird and red Japanese flower equals smitten. I am thinking I need this one for a night out in Newport. So, here is the last glimpse, but there is much more to see at: http://Ikestaedt.etsy.com

Did I mention that she will make special orders for bridal parties? A wonderful gift for those ladies who have taken great care to make your wedding perfect.

11 July 2009

Rough Sketch to Finished Piece

My interpretation of nature is a major theme in my art form. I set aside some time to make a piece of work which better represents me as an artist. Not that my "production work" doesn't represent me, I have fun playing with different beads concentrating on their colors, shapes and textures. It is metal work, therefore, I love it. But my true passion comes out when more tools come out. I love noise: the hissing torch, bubbling flux, the steel of a hammer hitting silver, a saw blade cutting at raw materials... All of this noise means I am more active, more involved, thus, the work is a better representation of me.

I must admit, this is quite a rough sketch. When it comes to drawing I can draw anything put in my line of vision, yet sketching something from my imagination, well, you can see what happens.

So often I forget about the early days of metalsmithing when seeing the raw materials didn't seem to have any resemblance to jewelry. I forget how foreign the basic materials are to the majority. It has been brought back to my attention thanks to some curious visitors in my studio, so I remembered to take pictures of the tubing I used to make the "dew drops" which collect on the fronds.

I hope these inspire the same awe that one would feel upon discovering fronds sprouting up from the earth. And the woman who decorates herself with these earrings should feel just as lively and fresh.

In the end I decided that I would create a finish which represents how the original fronds appeared in my mind, sketchy, hazy and with a satin sheen. Like a fond memory getting cloudy over time.

Staying close to the theme I chose packaging which is made of recycled materials. And you choose from a pink or green ribbon, which I know you will reuse. Maybe as a little bow around the neck of a vase to make that flower arrangement sizzle?

07 July 2009

Breathtaking blog

just wanted to pass along the new post on 18kt's blog about these amazing jewelers...

Rara Avis Nidus by Elena R.Gasp√° i Elvira H.Mateu

she did such a great job with the post it only seems fair to provide you with the link.

05 July 2009

Favorite of the Weekend!

As a lover of nature I found myself immediately drawn to Hightower Botanicals' etsy shop. Not only is her jewelry beautifully detailed but it is photographed in the earthen mulch, the very place that her subjects sprout from.

The detail captured in the casting of an oregano leaf is stunning, as is the gold she cast it in.

A perfect example of art and the inspiration behind it's creation.

As someone who loves writing descriptions of my work I appreciate another artist with the same passion.
"Rememberance, friendship and love all have been associated with rosemary. So what better to make into a ring? Two interwoven Rosemary leaves form this elegant ring."
Might I add, these would make for perfect wedding bands.

Isn't this the very place that one would expect to come upon a maple seed?

And here begins further exploration of the maple seed. From it's perfect recognizable self to...
...a surprising composition in a ring.
With this, we realize that nature is a never ending subject. It causes one to contemplate, wonder and inspire awe.

This is just an introduction, browse Hightower Botanial's shop and read her profile to find out where her name came from. And take the time to read the descriptions of each piece. You will discover more than beautiful jewelry, behind it there is an amazing artist who truly loves her subject.

03 July 2009

Fourth of July Summer Celebrations

Fourth of July brings to mind the beginnings of summer. Cookouts, long days at the beach, enjoying nature while it is all green and flowering and a time to enjoy tradition. I don't mean fireworks and the usual hotdogs and hamburgers. I am talking old fashioned picnics. Pack a lunch in a basket, lay out on a gingham blanket spread over grass and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Enjoying your fresh, healthy, homemade lunch with a little class and dash of fun.
Make your picnic special and make them grand.

reusable, hand washable, stain resistant..... did I mention bamboo utensils?

If you can't find time to get away for a real picnic with the blanket and hours of lounging bring the picnic with you. A little reprieve from work, with your picnic place mat will make lunch time all the more relaxing.

And they roll up so neatly, perfect for any outing...

Maybe I am biased, I did make them. But who can resist a romantic tradition so timeless.
Enjoy the holiday and go on a picnic!

To shop, please visit: http://unusualthreads.etsy.com

thanks for reading!