Monday, October 26, 2009

Featured Artist at Top Artists' Directory

I am so happy to announce that I have been chosen as the Featured Artist this week at Top Artists' Directory. I am truly honored.

Stay tuned, I am working on some new fused bowls and will be sharing pictures of them in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, please visit Top Artists' Directory as I think you will agree, there is a lot of talent there....consider joining too! Thanks.

Have a great week of creativity. Aspire to be more as an artist and person.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Artist Interview with Daniel Krucoff

I have some great news to share.... Dan is a Featured Artist at You can read the interview here and see some of his latest photographs from our trip to Estes too. I think it provides some interesting insights into his approach to photography, along with his inspirations. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Teaching My First Class

Last month, Lexi and Pat asked me to teach a class at Coyote Creek. They love my wire wrapping and wanted to offer an advanced wire wrapping class to those students who had taken the beginning wire wrapping class that Pat teaches. I agreed and this past weekend I had 5 students at the studio in Coyote Creek located in Fairplay, Colorado.

This was the first time I've ever taught a class and I wanted to provide some tips and tricks that you generally receive when you attend a class. For me, that is one of the real benefits of a class when the teacher shares things that you can't find in books or online. I believe I was able to accomplish that for this class. Some of what I shared were those lessons we learn when we make mistakes...hoping to help them avoid those!

The drive from Colorado Springs to Fairplay is a pretty one and one of my favorite parts was the crossing over Wilkerson Pass. The panorama of the mountains covered with snow as you come over that pass is stunning. It just takes my breath away. At one point there was a hot air balloon taking off and that made for a lovely scene. I only had my little digital camera with me and I just couldn't do justice to what I was seeing, so no pictures to post here.

We completed one pendant and there were a number of "Ah Ha" moments throughout the class. It ran longer than I anticipated and I feel bad about that. I underestimated a few things and if/when I teach another class, I know what I can do to prevent some of the "time eating" exercises. I guess that's somewhat normal, you learn what to do for class preparation and planning from each class you teach. The setting is dynamic and with this being my first time to teach, I didn't anticipate some of the situations that arose.

I put together my first step by step tutorial for them to follow as we completed the lesson. Dan took pictures of me putting together a piece and I wanted them to have something to refer back to after the class. Each pendant had the spin of the person completing it and they were a fun group.

While my focus isn't on wire wrapping as much any more, I am more than happy to share with others who want to learn. As I was leaving, one of them asked me to teach another class and I've heard some rumblings that others are interested too. We shall see. Given the approach of winter, I think a safer bet will be a class later in the spring months.

I learned something from them too and it was a worth while experience for me.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Soul Searching Series

Soul Searching Series
River to Ones' Soul

This is my first piece since my "Chocolate Gelatos and Mountain Sunsets" post. It is part of my new series, Soul Searching, that was inspired by my heart to heart with Lexi. I call this River to Ones' Soul. The stone is a Cobra Jasper that I purchased from Gary B. Wilson. I find this stone very striking in its markings and the color patterns. And I see a river running through this, so that is how I arrived at the title.

The stone is set in Sterling Silver with copper accents. There are a few firsts with this piece too.

I hope you can tell how inspired I've become by that heart to heart Lexi and I shared on September 28th....that was my mother's birthday too. Hmmm, there were a lot of things working to help me that evening and now. I'm certain of it.

Photo credit goes to my dear husband, Dan. Doesn't he do an awesome job? :)

Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I would love to know what you think about this first piece in my Soul Searching series.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person. I know I am.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Estes' Surprise

A Small Grove of Trees

Sunday, Dan & I headed back to Estes Park to pick up our work from The Art Center as the Lines Into Shapes Show was closing at 1 PM. As we checked off our items for pick up, I told them I had a couple of miniatures to retrieve too. She unlocked the case and to my delight and surprise, my piece pictured above had sold. It's great to see that dot on the display card indicating a piece has sold during the exhibition. I don't know who purchased it and I would love to thank them. I hope they will enjoy it for years to come.

On the way back, glass artist Robin Grabowski of Glass Pony Designs had invited us to stop, visit with her, have some tea, and see her studio. What fun! Robin and I met through this land of blogs and met in person last month at The Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery. I have been a fan of her work for quite some time now and it was such fun to meet her. She has a gorgeous and very sweet Irish Setter too, along with her horses and cats.

Dan & I enjoyed a peach bundt cake she had made that was still warm, yum. And I had my first taste of African tea that was very full bodied. She lives in a great location; very inspirational. Her home is so comfortable and filled with some of her works too. I love to see other artist's studio spaces. Hers works so well and we got to see one of her latest was gorgeous. Thank you Robin!

I'd encourage you to visit her blog and check out her website too. If you ever get to Boulder, Colorado, stop at the Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery to see her work and that of the other talented may even meet Robin and that would be great fun.

Here's wishing all of you a wonderful week of creativity! Aspire to be more as an artist and person.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chocolate Gelato and Mountain Sunsets

I’m posting this on my glass and metalworking blogs because I feel strongly about sharing this with all of you creative spirits.

The Creative Block. It happens to all of us, right? The dreaded, proverbial block to our creativity process and energy. I call it “Hitting the WALL”. When it happens, we go through whatever we hope will unblock us and release that creative energy that we all have.

Sometimes it doesn’t last very long, other times it lasts longer than we would care to admit. What causes it? How do we work through it? Many folks smarter than I have written about it, discussed it, theorized about it, and proposed solutions.

I don’t know that I have a solution per se, but I do know that I hit “the WALL” a little over a week ago. The trip to Estes was beneficial, but even when I got home I was stymied. I couldn’t believe it. Here I had all those beautiful stones that I had just purchased at the Denver Gem & Mineral Show and every design I tried looked blah. They all started to look the same. Here’s the stone, here’s the stone shape…maybe a texture, an overlay, or nothing. BORING! At least it was boring to me. I wanted to showcase these stones and do justice to them, not detract from them.

Most of you know that Lexi Erickson is my friend, teacher, and mentor. Lexi has a wonderful ability to tune into others and get a sense of what may be happening with them. I am convinced she has an extra sense. After I got back from Estes, she asked me to come to her home for another lesson. I quickly agreed and told her I was having trouble with designs all of a sudden. She assured me we would work through it.

On Monday evening, off to Denver I went to spend some quality time with Lexi. My design journal and recently purchased stones in tow. As is our custom, we sit and catch up for a bit. She asked to see my designs and could tell my frustration. She commented that she knew I had been frustrated for a while even though I hadn’t vocalized it until that evening. As we looked at my designs, she shared my thoughts about how some of them were just plain boring. She kindly pointed out that there was nothing wrong with them, but I was growing as an artist and what was a perfectly good design was just too plain and boring for where I wanted to go next. She picked one design that centered on my favorite stone; a heart shaped Chinese Writing Stone. Effortlessly, she drew several beautiful designs for this stone to show me examples of how to create Emphasis in a design. Those were signature Lexi designs, just as individual as her handwriting. The key is they were the beginning of what would help me to break out of the constraints of “the WALL”.

I’m a very visual learner and just to see some examples of where designs could go was exhilarating. I didn’t understand why I hadn’t come up with that on my own, but I know that’s just part of the learning process too.

The mentor and her padawan learner; we went over the basics of design.

  • Line
  • Color
  • Shape
  • Value
  • Texture
  • Pattern
  • Repetition
  • Emphasis

Lexi was kind enough to write these in my journal and I am referring to them! She said it's not uncommon to experience being blocked after getting the sensory overload from the Gem and Mineral Show. I'm certain that had a lot to do with it. All these beautiful stones and I am so committed to doing justice to each and every one of them.

And then she turned to me and said, “How about going out for a gelato?”. It kind of took me aback, because to me, it was "what does that have to do with jewelry design?"... oh little did I know what was happening to break through my artist's block. Well, I had never had a gelato and wasn’t really certain what they were, but no matter, we got in her truck and headed out after a little more discussion and review of the stones I had purchased and the stones she had purchased at the Gem and Mineral Show.

On the way, she said that she didn’t think I needed a lesson so much as an evening to relax, talk about goals, art, and life, enjoy a gelato and watch the sunset on the mountains.

I thank those of you who have hung in there to this point, because I finally got to the part about gelato and mountain sunsets!

We enjoyed our respective variations on chocolate gelatos and conversed. A true heart to heart. Sharing our thoughts about our own unique life experiences. Let me tell you, those moments in life are precious and meant to be cherished. I do.

When we finished our gelatos, we headed to one of her favorite mountain viewing areas to watch the sun set. She pointed out that as the sun sets, the light on the mountains shows the variations that you don’t see during normal daylight. It reminded her of metalwork with all the depths and contours. She was right. I never looked at the mountains that way before. We took in all those wonderful colors in the sky as the sun sets too. Inspirational!

She asked why I was ‘blocked’ and the answer that came to me was fear. I was afraid of making a mistake. Gee, that’s how we learn! And believe me, I recognize fear is the worst emotion that can attempt to govern our lives and our decision making process. I KNOW THIS and yet it was holding me back. Calmly, Lexi said, “It’s only metal”. Yes, that’s true and I don’t work in anything expensive like gold or platinum yet. I’m still concerned about the cost of Sterling Silver, but on an individual item basis, it’s only metal and can be recycled into something else when you do make those inevitable mistakes as you are learning or working. It’s ok….you are going to make mistakes. Geez, duh, I know this…time to confront my fear and eliminate it.

Lexi reminded me that her series “Conversations with Harold” came out of a very similar situation; she was enjoying an evening of discussing life, art, and more with her friend and mentor Harold O’Connor. Wow. My response was maybe I’ll have a “Conversations with Lexi” series!!!

So much came out of that evening. We watched the sunset create new lines and outlines of those beautiful Rocky Mountains. I realized, as odd as it was, I needed her permission to venture forth and go beyond what I knew how to do metal work wise. She gave me her permission even though I shouldn’t need it. We’re both over achievers. We both got straight A’s. Neither of us can just do something simple and easy the first time, we have to try to do something more complicated and advanced. We laughed. We discussed our goals. What did success mean? Philosophical topics, dreams, hopes, aspirations, how fortunate both of us are with the wonderful husbands we have. Quite refreshing.

In order to grow in one area, sometimes you need to let go of other areas. I’ve been conflicted with my love of glass and this newfound love of working with metal. I’ve started to come to terms with this. I can’t stop creating things with glass; I enjoy the process too much. Yet, I’m just beginning to understand that art jewelry work is where I am even stronger as an artist….or maybe I should say, where I have my greatest potential. I truly have become consumed with the process. You will still see me posting my glass art as I cannot completely give that up.

She expressed concern that maybe this discussion wasn’t helping me, but I explained that I generally need time to process things like this. She understood because she does the same thing, that is, she needs time to process information about important subjects. I told her that knowing me, my subconscious was taking all of this in and I would probably have my break through in the middle of the night. Typical to wake up at 2 AM with an idea, solution for a problem I’ve been working on, well you get the picture.

We enjoyed the sunset and I headed home. I was drained.

At 4 AM, the flood gate opened and design ideas emerged. I had my break through AND it was faster than I even expected! I think three designs came to me while I was trying to go back to sleep until the alarm went off at 5 AM. The good news is I was able to capture all of those designs on paper. And I’ve been on a roll ever since. Oh what a feeling!

As I reflect on that evening, I think it was more about Soul Searching. You guessed it, my new art jewelry line will be called “Soul Searching”. I have at least 6 designs in that series and I’m running with it.

The next time you hit “the WALL”, remember chocolate gelatos and mountain sunsets. Gelatos are delicious and well, mountains are breathtaking. Find that friend and mentor who will listen and encourage you, while you take in the beauty that surrounds in nature. The point is take in something that is beautiful to you, enjoy something delicious, and just relax. Your internal creative energy will come to life! Trust me, it really will.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. I am sharing this in the hopes it will help you to unblock your creativity. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences too.

Until next time, aspire to be more as an artist and a person! I know I am.

Thank you Lexi.