Friday, December 19, 2008

90 New Jewelry Kaleidoscopes!

That's right! 90! You can check out the whole collection on my website, Dawn Blair Jewelry, or on my Flickr photostream.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yummy Copper Jewelry

End of a Long Road 2, forged pendant by Vagabond Jewelry
Egyptian Cuff copper chainmaille with hand made glass cartouche beads by Redcrow at Corvus Chainmaille
Pretty Pearl Pod Necklace, electroformed seed pod with set pearl, by Tigerlilly Shop
You are probably thinking to yourself, "Yes, it is!" These featured artists are part of a Flickr Group Pool called Yummy Copper Jewelry. Last week, I was invited to join the group pool, and am so excited. The artists in the group do beautiful work. It is an honor to be included. Plus, what could possibly be better than copper?! Check out the whole photostream. And go back often. New jewelry is added to the group frequently.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Paper Treasures! Right here in Topeka!
A very special surprise at BizBaz. I was doing the sprint in an effort to visit all the booths and see what other artists we making, while my mother watched my booth. I nearly fell over when I saw the quilling! I had been on Kathie and Gregg's site, Paper Treasures, many times over the past many months. I've been wanting to do a feature on the blog about quilling to honor my mother and one of the unique crafts we did together when I was a little girl. Kathie's designs are clean, well made, beautiful works of art made of rolled paper. I feel so happy to own one of her mum brooches. It is totally adorable on my vintage Lee jean jacket! What's even more exciting is that they are local- right here in Topeka! I still can't believe it. Please visit their site and consider one of these unique pieces for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

snowy gray inspiration

Yesterday light snowfall inspired me to to bring the camera to work and shoot this picture of our now hibernating garden. I wanted to capture the moment in a piece of jewelry. So here is your first look at "Snowy Day", which I created last night.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Graphic artist, Gregor Volpert, on color

On November 10th, I sent out a call to artists to submit their thoughts about color. And for doing so, your name will be put in a drawing on Feb. 1st... (see Nov. 10th post). Anyhow, Graphic Artist Greg Volpert took the time so share some of his thoughts about color and it's various roles in his work.Beaders and jewelry artists, draw inspiration from Greg's color palette. And please do share your new creations with us. I promise to do the same. Okay folks, here's our mini interview- * Do you believe the region of the country you live in, or city vs. country, influences your chosen color palette? I know that the earth tones, trees, water, fields, and vast skyscapes of my beloved Kansas countryside influence my choices. I spent a lot of my childhood exploring the woods and lying on my belly, peering into creeks at crawdads and pickerel frogs. Frogs, and goats, have the most beautiful eyes, like gold-flecked jewels. An autumn walk through a field that looks uniformly tan from the highway uncovers a whole unexpected world of colors: reds, purples, greens and golds, blues and grays and whites. And totally unexpected juxtapositions, and they work. I'm beginning to think there's no such thing as "a color that doesn't appear in nature". I live in a city where a spectacular rainbow, towering miles into the sky and spanning the eastern horizon, made the front page of the newspaper this summer. Crowds of shoppers were pouring out of the stores to see it and take pictures, calling their friends on cell phones, "HURRY! You've got to see this!" In the east, an electrifying triple rainbow, neon-vivid against a slate-gray sky; turn 360 degrees; and in the west, a breathtaking sunset. No skyscrapers to obscure the view. * Does your color palette change because of current color in fashion or media? No, In SPITE of it! Retro is the new black! (...Sometimes I'll ask myself, "What would Thomas Kinkade do?" Because whatever Thomas Kinkade does, it's precisely what I do NOT want to do. Thomas Kinkade is the Antichrist!) * Are you challenged to find a color palette that defines you as an artist? Hey. I used to be. But I got wise. All I had to do was get me a Grumbacher color wheel. "Okay, I like golds and oranges. Why do blues and purples work so well with those? …Aha."* Are you challenged to constantly redefine your work with color? Once in a while I'll revisit an old project and go, dear god, what was I thinking? ...OR, I'll pat myself on the back and admit that I was a lot more sophisticated back then than I gave myself credit for. So ... sometimes yes, sometimes no. The enclosed piece (email me to view this image) is an example of an older project revisited and major coloristic changes made. The original was fine, but it was time to move into a new area. I can't wait to see what I do with it four or five years from now. * Are the colors you choose to work with influenced by the type of media you work in? Oh, definitely, definitely. If I'm working in colored pencil I tend to use subtler colors and gradations; but switch to paint and I become the Iron Chef. And having millions of colors of digital paint at my disposal gives me the whole symphony orchestra to play with, and the amphitheatre, and the recording studio. In fact sometimes I have to force myself to limit my palette, there's just too many choices.* How do you choose the colors you work with? Frequently I'm trying to achieve a trompe-l'oeil effect so obviously, the appearance of the object dictates the colors. If there's a specific mood or feel I need to convey, I'll make color choices accordingly; taking liberties with values and contrasts and whatnot. * Is your color palette chosen based on personal taste, or your perception of your own self? Well you see, that's one of the wonderful things about being an artist! You can impose your own tastes (or lack thereof) on the world. I'd say most of the time it's based on my own tastes, but wouldn't those be an outgrowth of one's self-perception? "I'm a witty sophisticate, hence my color choices shall reflect that." "I'm a worthless wretch, the world is a cold gray tomb, and my colors reflect that." "I'm an outrageous maverick who prizes shock value, and that extends to my use of color."* Do outside forces like music, politics, seasons, job environment, friendships etc. influence your color choices? You bet! All of the above and more. But you know what? Many times it's like a self-hypnosis thing, for instance: okay, I'm going through the most horrible time imaginable, I need to cheer myself up, I will consciously use happy, sunny colors even though I feel like something you scrape off your shoe. OR, I'm in a good state emotionally and spiritually, I can afford to explore the DARK SIDE.Music is inseparable from my creative process. I've gotta have music be it vintage jazz or Jefferson Airplane, whether I'm drawing or cooking. Music influences my colors, and it influences my spices! * Is your choice of color completely random? A matter of whatever is available to work with at the time a project is begun? Since most of my work these days is onscreen it's not a question of what's available. It's ALL available. And Hobby Lobby is only three blocks from my home, so if I need a different acrylic paint or a Prismacolor, it's just a matter of making sure I look presentable and marching down the hill. Except on Sundays of course. I may do some experimenting while I'm creating a piece but I usually have a good idea where I'm going. (Especially if I'm working under a deadline.) It's in those final, piddling-around, tweaking stages (where I'll move a line of type half a point[*], study it, and move it back) where I may make some arbitrary choices, just to see what effect they'll have. After all, there's always Command Z. [*] I'm not kidding about that half-a-point business. That's One 144th of an inch! Like anybody's gonna notice? * Are your color choices formulaic, or based on spiritual meaning of color? Ummm, maybe a little of both? Maybe there's a spiritual formula, a Golden Section for Color. A Divine Color Scheme: A Red scene is Mean, while Green is Serene? And Yellow is Mellow, but...what the heck rhymes with Orange? By way of winding up, I grabbed this paragraph out of my earlier e-mail to you, Dawn: Although I don't really consider that there's a typical Greg Volpert Color Scheme, I definitely have a signature style; and occasionally when I'm trying to jump-start the creativity I find myself using familiar colors, and combinations of color, that have worked for me before - kind of my Color Comfort Zone, I guess. I want to be more like the Mexicans when it comes to color. You know, BOLD. SURPRISING. FEARLESS. Greg Volpert does freelance work from his home in Lawrence, Kansas. --You may visit him at either website below. PORTFOLIOS:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How do we make a difference?

The above photo is entitled Assume Nothing. This and many more spectacular photos on notsogoodphotography-'s Flickr photostream. The economy is bad and people are losing jobs and..... Yes, it is real. And now it is the holidays. What do we do? Here are some of my thoughts on the topic. And in case anyone is thinking, "I can't afford to do that." Think again. My own income is very, very limited. Yet, I feel I am able to make a difference in peoples lives in my own unique way. That is the thing. It is all about placing value on our own personal expression, and using that as a gateway for creating and giving. Give yourself permission to make things without judging yourself. Realize that just making a gesture of kindness, or encouraging words to others, whether we see a need or not, really does make a difference. Giving someone something that you took the time to make, no matter how it turns out, is worth far more than going to a department store and spending a bunch of money on something the person probably doesn't need anyway. If you are planning to give gifts this Christmas, consider making them this year. With so many craft and DIY websites and blogs out there these days, it is easy now to find cool projects that anyone can successfully do. If you just don't think you can, then consider regifting brand new items that were never used. Add a few other things to give it a personal touch. Like that cute coffee mug with the snowman you got last year- get some gourmet coffee and a few truffles and put in a decorative basket for a new gift to give a different friend. If you just simply don't have time to fuss with all of this, then PLEASE consider buying handmade items directly from artists and crafters. Know for a fact where your money is going. Know that artists really need your support right now (as do galleries). You are really making a difference by supporting the person who put their time and love into creating their art or craft, and the person who receives the gift will appreciate that you thought enough of them to buy a one of a kind gift for them. Above all remember to GIVE YOUR TIME. Your time is the most precious gift you can give. It is important to carve out time, even when it seems impossible, to spend with the people you care about. When you are out and about, y0u can make a real difference by just being helpful. People are so stressed out right now. Just a smile, or helping someone get something off the top shelf at the grocery store, or letting an elderly person go in front of you in line can really turn things around. It can also inspire those who saw your random act of kindness to do the same. Remember, it's NOT all about the money. It's all about being creative. Finding creative solutions to the lack of money and resources can often produce things of unimaginable beauty. Look inside yourself for your own creative gifts to give. Then watch and listen wherever you go. People need the smiles and kind gestures we can all give. Our own lives become richer when we are able to give, no matter what we are giving or to whom we give it. Here are some websites that can help you on your crafty holiday adventures. Craftzine Blog Crafty-Moms Country Living Crafts DIY Network Christmas How To Videos West Coast Crafty ecobites The Elfster This is only a starter list. There are thousands of sites out there. Just do a Google search for what you want to do or buy. With the exception of Craftzine and DIY, the others on the list I just happened upon with one Google search. Have fun everybody, and be sure and share what you are making!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

At the Library on Sunday Dec.7

The Elarius Duo
Music for a Sunday Afternoon: Elaris Duo Sunday, December 7, 1:00–2:00 PM Marvin Auditorium 101BC at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Larisa and Steven Elisha internationally acclaimed violin and cello artists will perform special pieces from their newest recording, Duo Virtuoso.
Larisa and Steven Elisha have distinguished themselves around the world as soloists, chamber musicians and teachers. Together they are the incomparable Elaris Duo whose electrifying performances and consummate artistry have delighted audiences from the moment their association began.
Recipients of the prestigious 2008 Governor s Arts Award in the category of Artist, the Elaris Duo have been awarded a Chamber Music America Residency Grant for 2005-2006, Musicians of the Year 2003 by the Kansas Federation of Music Clubs and selected for the Kansas Artists on Tour Program roster. In March, 2008, the duo appeared as featured soloists with the Taiwan National Arts Orchestra in the famed National Hall and in January, 2007 presented a performance at the Hawaii International Conference for Arts and Humanities.
Steven can also be credited with saving me from a lifetime of neck and back pain. He teaches a more ergonomic way of playing, that has helped me immensely. Please come out for the performance. They are outstanding.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who attended BizBaz and supported the art and craft community. We are all struggling to keep ourselves afloat. So, isn't it nice to know exactly where your money is going this holiday season. Please tell your friends and family to support handmade this season.
I have a major cold due to night after night of working late to make enough jewelry for all my fall shows. BizBaz was my last show of the season, so now I can rest and take care of myself. I will be taking a week off from designing, and may not post to the blog again until later in the week. It was really great meeting you all at the show. Stay warm!