Monday, June 30, 2008
That's right. Despite gas being $4.00 a gallon, I will be showing and selling my work at the Cajun Festival in Grove, Oklahoma on the 4th of July. I will be unveiling new and fabulous work.. My assistant Kassie will be with me and we are going to have a great time. So, if you are going to be at Grand Lake, or near the region, stop by and say hello. The big draw for me was CAJUN FOOD! You will be able to see pictures of the new pieces I am taking with me after I return from Oklahoma. They will be added to my online gallery at www.dawnblairjewelry.com.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Hi everybody. Just a reminder that First Friday Art Walk is tonight for July, because of the 4th of July weekend. You can see some of my work at the Westboro Fine Arts Gallery. For a complete list of participating galeries, click here. It is always a lot of fun. Most of the time, the artists are on hand to talk about their work. Hope to see you out and about!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
You know, this is something I have eased into over time. I always know what I was thinking about, why I made each design decision, and what was going on in my life when I was making a piece. When a piece is finished, I don't necessarily title it right away. Sometimes, I spend time looking at it and thinking about it for several days. Eventually, I realize the source of the inspiration and that makes it easier for me to name it. Sometimes I try to make a title, and then the piece, but it never works. I end up agonizing over every design decision, and the piece rarely makes it to a finished state. Really, the only decision I can make before starting a piece is what the main stone or piece of glass will be, and what kind of wire I will use. Beyond that, the decisions for addition materials, like accent beads, can only be made at the point when the piece demands it. Nothing can be preplanned. I can't decide today, that I am going to make a piece with obsidian tomorrow. My work isn't random by any means. It just can't be thought out before I sit down to make something. What I make is completely a result of what is inspiring me at that very moment, whether I am conscious of what it is or not. So, if I am unsure what to title a piece, I sit down with my apprentice, and we talk about the piece, and the thought process I was going through at the time. She interjects the feeling and reaction she has to the piece, and we discuss how that relates with what I was thinking about. Then we start throwing out ideas for appropriate titles. When I decide on a title, I am 100% sure that it is the right title for the piece. The titles really can be anything. They just have to be right. Sometimes, I know what the title will be right away. Sometimes, Kassie names off a title upon her first glance at the piece and it is dead right on. The fact of the subject matter only being revealed to me after the piece is complete makes the process and unfolding of the design very much more interesting for me. Fairly soon, I will be starting a series of pieces for the Kansas History Museum gift shop. It will be a collection of work based on Kansas and the tallgrass prairie, our weather patterns, and the colors of our land, water, and skies. I am sure local folk music with influence these pieces as well. So, the next couple months, I will be immersing myself in all of these aspects. Spending time looking at all of the grains and grasses, their movement, and changing colors, and the shapes of things. The work and the titles will come out of me spending thoughtful time out in the elements.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Yes, it's true. The same artists who are staying up all night drinking coffee/latte/espresso art making art with the foam on their drinks. It makes sense really. One could potentially sketch out the design for the cover of a letter which will someday bring world peace! Well, maybe. But I know this, with enough coffee in our veins, we artists can change the world! I found these amusing images on Flickr. From Pacific Bay Coffee's Photostream.
On Saturday, I had a rare and wonderful opportunity to get out of my studio and go exploring with my friend Sandy. When I say "explore", I mean going places where I can see things that will trigger my creative soul. We went to Westin, MO to visit a boutique that might possibly be interested in carrying my work. That part didn't work out, but that's a topic I'll save for later.
First of all, it was an incredibly beautiful day. The drive was nice and the fresh air cleared my mind. Just being out of town and out of my studio with no real agenda made it such a vacation for me. We went in all of these wonderfully artsy shops and I got to talk to some of the artisans. There were really creative garments, made from natural materials, handcrafted jewelry, and beautiful things created with fiber.
When we had visited the places in Westin we wanted to go, Sandy drove us to Parkville and we went in the most amazing yarn store. It is so much more than yarn though. Maybe it is more of a fiber art materials store, or a color haven. Visiting this place was like walking into the most amazing garden. The colors in the walls and walls of yarns and cording were just mesmerizing. And to feel of it was incredible. I walked around the store and touched everything.
I have been using creative fibers in my cording, but wanting to incorporate it into my designs in a more prominent way. This experience confirmed for me that this is a direction I need to explore in my art. So, at the moment, I am digesting everything I saw and touched. Hopefully sometime soon, a vision for how I will design with it will come to me. I am excited to see what is going to come of this experience. When my work evolves to a new level or arrives at the next part of the journey, it is always a surprise to me. It is never a surprise to anyone else. My friends and clients always tell me that it is a natural progression. When I get further down the road, I can see that as I look back. It's how I know I am doing what I should be doing and paying attention to what speaks to my artist spirit.
One of the things that made this trip so special is that I got to experience these places with someone who completely understands my vision and my work. Sandy totally gets it, and understands why I can pick up a glob of green wool and say, "Ooooo! Check this out." It is a rare and wonderful gift to have a non-artist friend who completely understands what I am trying to say in my work.
So, in the weeks ahead, I will be sharing with you what I am doing with fiber, and what inspired the use of it.
The above photo was taken from a blog called The Yarn Designers Blog. Very interesting, worth visiting.
Friday, June 13, 2008
As most of you know, I am very into Kansas weather. We had a line of thunderstorms last night, each showing rotation. Definately a tornado chaser's dream. So, I waited in the basement (who are we kidding...in front of the TV) until the sirens stopped and the dangerous part of the storm had gone east of us. I got in the car and headed south to get closer to the back side of the storm, and was able to take these pictures.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I have a good tale of Topeka tackiness for you. I was completely appalled by this. Monday on my lunch hour, I ran out to Hobby Lobby to pick up some jewelry findings and supplies. So, I am in the aisle with my basket and I see that the natural stone beads are half price. So, I look in the spot where I had bought some larger beads that I like, and there they were. There were two other ladies there talking and mulling over what they were going to buy. So, knowing that nearly every time I go to Hobby Lobby they are sold out of these particular beads, I just took them all and put them in my basket. These women who were standing there were kind of shocked. And then I took the remaining 3 strands of companion beads at put those in my basket also. They commented, and then I said, "Well, it's my livelihood." And the other lady said, "It's my livelihood too!" So, being the friendly person that I am, I said genuinely interested, "Oh really? What do you make?" She replied, "Bracelets and necklaces." And I said, "Cool. Then she asked about my jewelry and I told her about my wire work and where I sell my work. She had already seen my work at the library and was very complimentary. So, I gave her my business card, and told her to visit my website sometime. Now, this is where it gets tacky.... She then says, "Oh thank you! I can't wait to see everything on your site so I can go home and copy." Can you believe that?! So, then I explained why it is bad to copy, and that it is always good to learn techniques from others, but copying will neither benefit the copier or the designer. If the copy is a very good copy, the public will only recognize that the original designer made it, and the copier won't get any credit for it. And more importantly, the copier will be known for just that- copying, and people won't be interested. I told her these things, and it is best to only copy techniques. But truly, this woman didn't understand. Beading is a hobby for her that is fun. It has nothing to do with making art, or making a statement through the work. It's sad really. It is so much more fun to take inspiration from other things, like a garden, the sky, a building, a person, a poem, etc. The work then becomes thoughtful and meaningful, not just another way to make a quick buck. And believe it or not, the average person CAN tell if something has been copied, because the work has none of the original energy or spirit. If you are one of these people who copy, let me give you some tips on how you can come up with your own designs. We all copy to learn. But, it is unacceptable to copy someone elses work and sell it as your own. I know, there is so much out there that it seems impossible to come up with something original. Try some of the following: *Make the said design using different materials. Example: Original piece- natural oval shaped cabochon accented with copper wire and hung on sheer ribbon. Try: Large glass bead, silver wire, and leather cord. *Use a different color palette. *Change the shape and size. *Add surprise elements. * Most importantly, experiment! Don't be afraid to mess up or make something hideous. I often take the time to make something and then cut it up because I don't like it. *Keep trying, and don't give up. You can't develop your own look overnight. Use your own taste as your guide. But, be aware, it takes a year or two working in a medium consistently to develop your own look and style. Don't get discouraged, just play!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Okay people, I tried the root beer float Daddy Cake this weekend, and let me tell you. This is a cupcake you just can't overlook. The frosting swirl on top is buttercream, but that's not the whole story. This frosting tastes exactly like the foam that the root beer and ice cream make whe the icecream scoop is first droppped into the root beet. It's the fun part that we used to suck off the top when we were kids. The rolled waffer and cake in combo with this wonderful frosting really make this a special flavor. They only make this one on Saturdays, so put it on your calendar!