Friday, January 29, 2010

Solder Bliss

Andy was over tonight and gave me another soldering lesson. Am I the luckiest Mom EVER?? I tried it without his coaching a couple of nights ago and got so discouraged I nearly cried but tonight I think I am starting to "get it". #2 heat setting. Wipe the tip then set it down, wipe the tip then set it down. Repeat. These don't have the jump rings soldered on yet and I don't have any of the special, magical flux and patina remover to clean them but I am pretty happy with the results so far. Not bad for a soldering virgin - no? Oh, I made the hand colored paper and stamped the images. Did I even mention that? Probably not. More to come. And I think I will hang them on ball chain. Or maybe ribbon. And they will be shiny by then, yes they will.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sometimes you just need a party.

So. I am simply exhausted tonight from earning a living. The only comfort place my brain can find is Alexa's (aka Our Baby Girl) 5-year old take on party planning. The menu is roast BEAST with American Sauce and Princess Cupcakes. Who doesn't want some of that???

Monday, January 25, 2010

Poodle Shrine

Signed, sealed and delivered! This is the project I said I had been working on for my friend Carol's birthday. She is a collector of everything poodle including four real live ones that fill up her heart and her home.
I searched the world over (well okay just eBay) for the perfect poodle and finally settled on this cute little guy even though he isn't gazing longingly skyward at the birdie the way I visioned. Use your imagination. I am sure he is thinking about the little birdie. In the process I ended up with three extra poodles. I'm pretty sure you can never have too many poodles in the world according to Carol so they were included as collateral giftage.
The poem on the inside of the doors is a haiku Carol wrote herself about a year ago. When she showed it to me I grabbed the paper right out of her hand and knew EXACTLY what I would do with it.
I robbed pictures of her real dogs for the reverse side of the dangling tags. Who says what you find on the Internet isn't free for the taking!
The shrine itself is made from a salt box. Thank you Julie and Paul for eating all that salt! The lid and base are both metal and came from my "I might make something out of this someday" stash. I can never have too much junk, Carol can never have too much poodles. Yep, that's us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Fun with Molten Metal

Gosh, my 2010 has been so fraught with troubling events that I kind of fell off the blogging box for a while. Just the blogging box, not the art making box - that never goes away. Might be even more important during the troubling times!
I need to get back in the grove posting the things I am fooling around with. I have been working on a secret project for SOMEONE'S birthday that's had me busy for the last week. I will show that soon. Shhh.....
In the meantime I took a timeout on Saturday to play with the new soldering iron I got for Christmas. Thank you Andy and Alayna. THIS IS TOO MUCH FUN! The little trinket with the rose on it is my first attempt. It's very crude but I was happy that I managed to cover all the edges and attach the jump ring to the top without getting cranky. I can hardly wait to try again. I have all kinds of ideas for little collages I want to make. So tiny, so easy. Well, at least the collage part is easy. The soldering will take some practice. But it's the fun kind of doing something poorly - LOL!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Haiti By Hand

If you follow Rebecca Sower's blog (there's a link on the left, too) you know that she has been gone for awhile and left behind a tease that her absence was somehow intertwined with Jenny Doh's new endeavor, Creshendoh. Art Saves is the Creshendoh mantra.

Rebecca returned a few days ago and began to slowly reveal that she had been in Haiti where she met many talented artists eking out a meager living from their handcrafts. She gave us a peek at what was to come by profiling an impoverished young woman who supports herself and her baby by crocheting little purses.

Rebecca's plan was to set up an Etsy store as a method for the artists she met to market their crafts. 100% of the profits go to the artist in Haiti. She was in the process of setting up HaitiByHand when the news came in about the devastating earthquake.

Today she took a leap of faith and went ahead and filled up the store with gorgeous metalwork by a very talented young man named Jean-David Remy. Read his story on her blog. You won't be sorry. Every single item sold today. Every. Single. One.

One woman taking her own popularity as an artist and redirecting it to benefit others who don't have a way to do it for themselves and so desperately need a leg up. Yes, art really can save.

She does not know if Jean-David is alive. Say a prayer for Jean-David as well as all of the people suffering through this horrific tragedy. And say a prayer for Rebecca Sower. The world can use more people like her.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

When did creativity become a luxury?

I have been thinking about how much is written lately about lack of time for creativity and making time for making art. It seems there has been a huge cultural shift over the last half decade. Skills that were once commonplace and considered necessary have become hobbies. We feel indulgent when we spend time on them and they get pushed to the bottom of the list.

Sewing, knitting, weaving, embroidery, letter writing, folk art painting are all things women used to do as part of their everyday lives. They were necessary skills. They made clothes for themselves and their families. They fashioned quilts from the scraps and the quilts really went on the beds and kept them warm. They used their creative skills to beautify their homes making them comfortable and comforting.

Then something happened. The variety of ready-made goods soared and stores sprang up on every corner and there was no need to make things for yourself. But there WAS a need for the money to buy the things. Our appetite for the beautiful things and the instant gratification of buying them grew until nearly every household needed two incomes and there was little time for making things. We spend our time making money instead of things.

But the NEED never left. The need that is inside us. The craving to take something that is nothing and make it into something that is beautiful or useful and do it with our own hands.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think women shouldn't have careers! I just wish people would stop and think about what drives the need to create and put a little higher value on it. Maybe that would make it easier to find the time.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Art saves...

... if not lives then at least some sanity. I worked the first two pages in my Whispered Thoughts prototype journal today and began to wrap my head around this latest dieing time. Maybe it was karma leaving it on the corner of my desk at just the right time. Yes. Art Saves.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stranded and numb with one foot on each side of a decade.

I had a plan for this vacation week between Christmas and New Years. A plan to remodel my Etsy Store. A plan to finish two projects to submit to Somerset. A plan to dabble on a painting for a book jacket. Yes, I had a plan. A plan.
The train stayed on the rails for a whole week. A joyful Christmas. A shopping trip with my sweet Alayna preventing me from talking myself out of every purchase (no easy task). Dear Andy taking Mama on a field trip to Hippo Hardware. Good times.
A trip to visit my Grandmother. Her favorite Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch. A grateful smile for a short visit on an icy winter day in December. One hundred years old this coming March. ONE HUNDRED years. Maybe not.
A stroke on New Years Eve. A woman twice-baked like biscotti by a life that just wouldn't cut her a break. Memories baked so hard they are all she can remember.
Always, ALWAYS look for the joy. They say that if you smile a lot your wrinkles will be in the right places when you get old. I think you can say the same about looking for the silver lining. I hope my thoughts will be in the right places when I get old.