Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The past couple days I have been searching for creative pins. They can be worn so many different ways, fit everyone, and in any season. These two pins definitely were stand outs. And, both artists used the sea as a topic for their creative expression. This felted sea urchin is made of 100% merino wool. There are other beautiful sea forms on Keri Rounding's website. There is much more I could say, but see for yourself. www.KeriRounding.etsy.com This is just so inventive. These brooches are actually made of real colored pencils. Jennifer Maestre's work also has influences of the sea. Visit her site to see her pencil sea urchins and her other beautiful pieces. jenmaestre.etsy.com
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I really enjoyed making this piece. I bought the large stone at a fabulous bead store in Milwaukee (crazy lace agate, probably enhanced with bright pink dye). One of these places where you walk in and are just dazzled by the beads of every shape, size and color and covering every possible surface imaginable. This place had gallery lighting, so everything sparkled and shimmered. And the colors just looked amazing. Two hundred dollars later, I was finally able to walk out of the store....but I didn't want to!
On my long train ride back to Kansas, I could hardly wait to break into the new beads. So I took the supplies I had brought along on the trip, and the new goodies and went to the "observation" car. This is a car completely encased in glass so you can see everything. It has a section of sociably arranged swivel chairs and little coffee tables, and a section of booths like they have at restaurants.
I grabbed a booth and went to work. I made several pretty pieces while I was on the train. One lady even bought a piece I had just finished and set aside. The change of environment and a few new materials really gave me a great charge. I have another trip to Milwaukee soon, only this time by plane to O'Hare and then a bus to Milwaukee. I am taking my supplies. We'll see what I come up with next!
This is an amulet I made using a spike taken directly from the tire of an artist friend's truck. I was there on a visit to his family's ranch. So anyway, he says, "Here. See what you can do with this," and handed me the spike. Only an artist would say something like that, don't you think? So, I made this special amulet to reflect the graceful lines in his paintings, and to abstractly reflect the curves of a cello (since I am a cellist and am very inspired by music). The spike is an unconventional item I never would have thought of or considered using had it not come from someone else's hand. It is special to me. I love the piece and wear it often. Looking at it reminds me to think outside the box.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Those of us who craft or make art know that it really is a process. Our creative expression comes out in whatever we are making, no matter what medium. Sometimes people in our lives bring us down, or maybe an illness or event has sucked the energy out of you and now you don't feel like being in the studio. You feel like there will never be another creative moment. Or, maybe you just think anything you make is going to suck, because you are in a bad place right now. How do you deal with that? How do you get back on track? What is your habit when things don't go well? Habit? Yes, habit. We all have that thing we do...you know I am right. It might be sleep a lot, it might be eat a whole pie in one day (I've done this). Maybe it's veg in front of the TV for hours, letting time pass and hoping on the other side of the door your materials will jump around, be happy to see you, and tell you what to make next. The negative energy and attitudes always affect your work and make your time in the studio unproductive. Spend some time thinking about this, and ask yourself, "How is this helping?" It is important to accept whatever the situation is. But then, processes it, and make efforts to move past it. One of the best things you can do as an artist is visit another artist's studio. It doesn't even need to be the same medium or type of art that you yourself make. All of us go through this, and it is very validating to spend time with other artists talking to them about their process. Plus, for me anyway, I always walk away with a new concept of how materials can be used, or the desire to become more skilled in some way. We may not think so, but all artists and crafters have a well a mile deep filled with ideas, we just don't know it. We need a catalyst to trigger the idea and bring it up and out of our well. Other things that I do when I am having a hard time are surfing for fun things online, putting random words into the search box on Flickr and seeing what comes up, looking for a webcam that is located in a tropical or fun area, or of someone doing a craft I can't do. I like to go to fabric stores and look at all the buttons and baubles. I can be equally happy in a paper craft store. The best thing I have found on the internet, by far, is Craftcast with Allison Lee. She does a weekly podcast speaking with artists and crafters about their creative process, the things they make, how they started making what they make, etc. If nothing else, the theme song will cheer me up. It makes me want to dump all my craft stuff (about two tons) on the floor and have a crafting frenzy! If you go to her site, click on "listen" which is included with the posts that have podcast interviews. Be patient. It takes a few minutes to load. It is worth the wait, I promise. Just something to think about. Find things that make you smile or bring intrigue, and you will have more productive time in the studio. It will stimulate growth in your designs. And best of all, you will be back on track, feeling your fabulous self again.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Okay... so this isn't very crafty. Unless you want to craft your own Kansas tornado out of paper, wire, legos, cheeze cubes...whatever floats your boat! (But if you do that, you have to send me a picture because I am a weather fanatic.)The tornado pictured above happened in Oklahoma.
I am sure if you live in Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas, you are already hearing on the news that we need to prepare, as we do every year, for tornados and severe weather. There are other states that can be included in Tornado Alley (where the most tornados occur every year in the United States). Here is a map of the areas that have been historically the most tornado active.
If you live in one of these active zones, please consider taking storm spotter training. You do not have to become a storm spotter for the local weather service. It is just a really great way to learn and be able to recognize when a weather situation is right tornados or severe weather. Most states offer these programs, which are usually free. This is a fun evening to plan with your family and an opportunity for children to learn as well. Here are the dates, locations and times for storm spotter training here in Northeast Kansas. Check with your local TV news station to find out about events in your area.February
25 Concordia, KS (Cloud County) 7:00pm CST Cook Theater, Community College 26 St. Mary's, KS (Pottawatomie County) 7:00pm CST Fire Station 405 West Lasley 27 Garnett, KS (Anderson County) 7:00pm CST North Park Community Building 28 Oskaloosa, KS (Jefferson County) 7:00pm CST Fire Department 508 Jefferson 28 Clay Center, KS (Clay County) 7:00pm CST Catholic Parish Hall 730 Court Street
2008 - Upcoming Day City, State Time Location
03 Junction City, KS (Geary County) 7:00pm CST 4H Senior Center 1025 S. Spring Valley Road
03 Herington, KS (Dickinson County) 7:00pm CST Community Building 810 S. Broadway 04 Minneapolis, KS (Ottawa County) 7:00pm CST Courthouse Basement 307 N. Concord St. 04 Seneca, KS (Nemaha County) 7:00pm CST Community Building 1500 Community Drive 06 Eudora, KS (Douglas County) 7:00pm CST Community Center 1638 Elm St. 10 Topeka, KS (Shawnee County) 7:00pm CDT Washburn University Memorial Union 10 Location Undetermined (Osage County) 7:00pm CDT 11 Holton, KS (Jackson County) 7:00pm CDT Senior Citizens Building 312 Pennsylvania 11 Ottawa, KS (Franklin County) 7:00pm CDT Celebration Hall 1701 S. Elm 12 Topeka, KS (Shawnee County) 7:00pm CST 12 Olpe, KS (Lyon County) 7:00pm CDT Knights of Columbus 212 Iowa St. 13 Location Undetermined (Osage County) 7:00pm CDT 17 Westmoreland, KS (Pottawatomie County) 7:00pm CDT Fire Station 305 South 6th St. 18 Abilene, KS (Dickinson County) 7:00pm CDT Civic Center 201 NW 2nd St. 18 Marysville, KS (Marshall County) 7:00pm CDT Helvering Community Center 111 South 8th St. 19 Manhattan, KS (Riley County) 7:00pm CDT Fire Station 2000 Denison Ave. 20 Lawrence, KS (Douglas County) 7:00pm CDT Arts Center 940 New Hampshire St. 24 Burlington, KS (Coffey County) 7:00pm CDT Courthouse Basement 110 S. 6th Street 24 Council Grove, KS (Morris County) 7:00pm CDT Courthouse 501 W. Main 25 Hiawatha, KS (Brown County) 7:00pm CDT Fisher Community Center 201 East Iowa Street 25 Perry, KS (Jefferson County) 7:00pm CDT American Legion 410 Perry Place 26 Topeka, KS (Shawnee County) 7:00pm CDT Kansas Museum Of History 6425 SW 6th Avenue 27 Emporia, KS (Lyon County) 7:00pm CDT Anderson Building Fairgrounds West Highway 50 and Industrial Road 27 Baldwin City, KS (Douglas County) 7:00pm CDT Baldwin Elementary School 100 Bullpup Drive 31 Washington, KS (Washington County) 7:00pm CDT First National Bank 101 C Street 31 Alma, KS (Wabaunsee County) 7:00pm CDT Wabaunsee High School
April, 2008 - Upcoming Day City, State Time Location
01 Belleville, KS (Republic County) 7:00pm CDT 4H Building Fairgrounds 901 O Street
Monday, February 18, 2008
The gal who made this used it for her bridal bouquet. She's a crafty librarian extraordinaire! I found this great blog entry on http://www.getcrafty.com/. If I ever get married again, I'll have to consider this fabulous idea! The beautiful paper flowers are crafted from old romance novels. Check out her other great projects at Get Crafty!
Sunday, February 17, 2008
I'm not really sure how I feel about dressing up pets. On one hand...the poor, poor dog. You have to wonder what this is doing to its mental health. But on the other hand, awwwww! How cute! How can you resist admiring the adorableness?! How can you not admire the talent of woman designing these beautiful garments? The fabric is quality, the fit is exquisite, and the style... oh, the style! If you have a dinky dog who deserves a dash of darling, THIS is the place to go. www.designsfordinkydogs.etsy.com.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Got the winter blues? Here these crocus are poking their sweet little heads out of the snow. The first sign that spring is around the corner. We might have to stay inside to keep warm. But while we snuggle up in our easy chairs and sip on our hot cocoa, we can plan our gardens and chase away the blahs.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
On Sunday afternoon, my friend Nyree came over and we made some special Valentine cards for a few friends and family members. We had such a good time playing with the pretty papers, trims, and accessories. By the time it was all said and done, we had gone through quite a few glue sticks and had scraps of paper, rickrack, die cuts, and and little brads and things everywhere. We spent the day talking and giggling over stupid stuff. That's what friendship is all about. These are a couple cute cards Nyree made. Mine were already in sealed envelopes before I thought to take any pictures.
All of the little tags and hearts come out of the pocket and have sweet messages on them. Just adorable!
Nigel felt like he needed to be part of the fun. So, he decided to crawl up to the very top most shelf of my closet and have his own paper party. Of course, he would only choose to lay on my nicest, most expensive papers. Only the best for Nigel!
Well, here we are again... the holiday of love and romance. I prefer to see it as a time to appreciate my friends and family, and indulge in Necco conversation hearts and Valentine kitsch. Though it would be nice to have a romantic date complete with fillet and flowers, I have a nice evening planned with Nigel and some Neapolitan Breyer's. Well okay, maybe only the strawberry is left. But who cares!
Monday, February 11, 2008
Hi gang! So, I start this blog and so far have done nothing with it. I have had a crazy bout of brochitis, and that has put a damper on my excitement (and my ability to create an original thought). I have many people to thank for the encourgement and support I needed to boldly put my right foot forward and start my business, create a website, and this blog. The biggest support has been Dave, who was there from the very beginning, when I made my first pair of earrings from old cut up jewelry, and has contibuted generously when I have needed a hand to move forward in my craft. To Steve, who has held my hand through the technical aspects of my business, and to both he and his wife June, who have listened to me talk endlessly of beads, and wires, and customers, and shows, and never let on that they might be bored to tears. To Paul, for giving me the kick in the butt I needed to do my first show and put myself out there, and for believing in me as an artist. To Allison Lee for Craftcast. Listening to Allison and the guests she has on her show has given me a sense of community with other artists making a living in crafts. I have recieved volumes of practical information and inspiration listening to Craftcast. To Kandace for always encouraging me in every creative venture I have explored, and given me unwavering support. To all the ladies at the Library. Without you, I would not now be achieving my dreams. A million thank yous could never be enough. And to my mother, who taught me to craft as early as I can remember. She taught me that fine craftsmanship is everything, even if no one appreciates it. In the coming days, as I recover from the brochitis, I will be adding fun stuff to the blog. Keep your eyes peeled for my website dawnblairjewelry(dot)com. I should have a photo gallery up within a month and be open for business shortly thereafter. Okay gang! Start posting, and please share with your friends! I would love to see your craft projects and links to cool websites. Let the fun begin!