Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My 100th Blog Post

Fittingly, my 100th blog post is of my favorite art museum which I visited yesterday, The National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, Canada.

It was an incredible exhibit of Bernini's marble sculptures--there were a few bronze ones as well. Hard to imagine how he could get such detail. Apparently he was already an accomplished sculptor while still in his teens.

And as a special treat, I purchased a book of tree paintings by Tom Thomson.

Great way to end the year and get inspired for the next one.

Scenes from Ottawa, Canada

Looking out of the National Gallery of Art in Ottawa at Parliament and the National Library.
Wow!! Such a beautiful city.

Last Christmas Tree for the Year

Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Monday, December 29, 2008

Art at Christmas

While away for Christmas we visited the Burchfield-Penny Art Center which recently openned( Nov. 22, 2008). We have been watching it develop over the last several of years and were so pleased to be inside. It is very beautiful. Wonderful exhibition space. And I love Burchfield's paintings. If I were a painter I would paint like him and Thom Thomson.There was also a nice acoustic effect that somehow muffled the sound of the other visitors and gave me the sense of being one on one with Burchfield. There was also a very interesting exhibit of Western New York artists. And a very intimate view into Burchfield's studio.

Across the street-Elmwood Ave.-- is another wonderful art museum--the Albright-Knox Art Gallery .
Today to finish off our Christmas art visits, we are going to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa to see the Bernini exhibit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays

I wish you all Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year filled with joy, good health, mindfulness and creativity.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Charming Exchange

A Charming Exchange by Kelly Snelling and Ruth Rae
I first became aware of this wonderful book because I was participating in a charm exchange organized by Lynn Davis ( see December 1, 2008 post). I checked it out on Amazon and now it is in my ever growing library of jewelry making books. The theme of this book is collaboration, a theme that embodies much of my life. I love the energy and creativity that collaboration can ignite. And so it is always with enthusiasm that I join in on collaborative ventures. As the book points out, you don't need to live in an artistic community to have opportunities to collaborate with other artists: the internet has many online art groups for you to join, with many different media to choose from. Ah! And the best part of collaborations is that you find new talents and new ideas inside of yourself that you might have never discovered otherwise. The authors refer to this as "creating fearlessly."
What has really endeared me to this book is the wide range of techniques that have come together in such unusual ways. Although the book is not a step-by-step instruction manual to the projects described, it does highlight some of the unusual techniques the artists have used to combine disparate objects into jewelry. Since I am always looking for ways to make non-jewelry objects into linkable entities for jewelry, this book has been a treasure trove of ideas for me. Some of the unusual links they give detailed instructions for that really intrigued me are : coiled jump rings, capacitator charms ( I had some of these lying around, i.e. the capacitators), making a wire basket, eye of god links ,wrapped stone links, bar loop links, baby swing links, decorative swirl links, wire orb links, and I promise you, many more that I haven't mentioned.

Below is a photo of some of the charms that I created especially for the Blessings Charm exchange that I have been participating in. I had never made hand built ceramic charms before so I am so pleased that I dared to "create fearlessly" and came up with these.

You can purchase A Charming Exchange at or Barnes and Noble. You will love it I am sure.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Counting Blessings

I received my amulet bag from Lynn Davis of Expedition D and am so excited to receive such a wonderful collection of charms. The theme is counting blessings which has been so important this year. I will be making a piece of jewelry with all of the lovelies that I received. Here is a photo and names of those who sent me their blessings.

Blessings have been sent by

Lorelei Eurto


Lynn Davis

Erin Siegel

Heather Powers

Cristi Clothier (2ifbysea)

(Lucid Moon Studio). Lisa Harrington

Heartfelt thanks to all of you.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Colorful Yarn

Yesterday I took a yarn dyeing class at the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. I have never done this before and went on the invite of a friend. What fun. I thought my yarn came out beautifully. I hope my beginning knitting skills improve quickly so that I can make something worthy of this lovely yarn.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scenes from my Studio Tour

Here are some of my displays for The St. Lawrence County Artists' Studio Tour. You can see our pastures outside through the window. My studio is in a renovated barn that was originally built in about 1850. There are many of the large hand hewn beams still to be seen.
Here is a close up from the photo above featuring two strung necklaces and two of my felted flowers brooches.

This photo captures several of my free form peyote bracelets and two peyote stitch necklaces.
It was a wonderful time for all. Many people came and tried out fused glass and ceramic bead making. Everyone who came was very supportive of my work and I thank all for making my studio tour this year such a success.
Later this week I will post some of my guests' creative work in glass and ceramic beads.

Friday, October 31, 2008

New Jewelry

This is a close up shot of one of my new Peyote Stitch necklaces to be unveiled at the Artists' Studio Tour.
Here is a picture of some new chunky pendants on the new and stylish rubber cord with sterling silver clasps. The middle pendant has a Sterling Silver bail. These pendants are all made from earthenware ceramic clay. They depict wild plants that grow in the pastures surrounding my home and studio.

These are some new fused glass pendants and two bracelets of fused glass cabs.

All of these pieces will be on display at my studio during the Artists' Studio Tour next weekend.

Toggle Collaboration

Bev Szaton asked me to make a toggle stick for her stunning Red Jasper donut. We did all this through email. I felt very honored to be asked by her to do this. Here is her creation which I think came out beautifully.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Australian Beading Magazine

I just heard from Lisa Kan, fabulous lampwork bead artist and author of Bead Romantique, that her article about me has been published in Australian Beading. Wow!! She did a wonderful write up. Thank you so much Lisa.

Close up of one of my pendants in the magazine article

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Looks Like Spring Kinda

The garden picture is from yesterday. I am experiementing with a winter garden this year. And it kinda looks like Spring except for the dried Maple leaves lying around. And the beads they kinda look like Spring too. We hardly had a summer so I must be fast forwarding.
I was tagged and I have been so slow handling it that most of my fellow bloggers have been tagged too. This is a first for me and being a bit on the shy side it is not easy for me to do this. I will give it a try--hopefully by the end of the week.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gorgeous Dichro

Gorgeous Dichro that I used with students in my fused glass workshop this week. They were a great group and very creative.
And I have been Tagged. I will get to that probably tomorrow. I am working on a special order today and urgent deadline for planting next year's garlic.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Dark and Stormy Night

This month the Art Bead Scene theme is Dark and Stormy Night. I am thinking of some of my beads that go along with this idea well. I have a few others in mind that I haven't got photos of yet.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Art Bead Scene Submission for September

Above are two different photos of my submission for the ArtBead Scene September challenge. The theme for September was filigree. I used a lovely filigree piece in the center of the my handmade ceramic pendant. I wire wrapped some of my handmade ceramic beads and alternated them with wire wrapped mookaite beads. I used one of my toggle clasps. I really like participating in the ArtBeadScene monthly contest because I do work I might not try otherwise. I like trying new things and I like having to struggle within the parameters of the task. I am not completely pleased with my results this month but will keep working on it.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My August Bead Harvest

In August, I didn't get into my ceramic studio much due to family visitors and finally some sunshine later in the month. I harvested beads from the earth rather than making them out of clay. I love all these veggies and am still in the process of preserving them for delicious winter eating.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Let Us Now Praise Famous Beaders

Although the late Peter Francis, Jr (1945-2002) writes from the perspective of a bead collector, (what beader is not a collector as well) I thought starting this series on beaders with Peter Francis, Jr. was most fitting because his research goes back to the many places where beads were first found. He points out that beads are the first known art form of humans, emerging over 40,000 years ago. In fact they predate cave paintings and carved figures.
The Late Peter Francis, Jr. (1945-2002) was a pioneer in the beading movement that we are continuing to experience today. I first became aware of his work when I was surfing the net on Compuserve in the late 80's early 90's. He had a webmall for beaders, he was the first I know of to have shops for beaders to sell their work on the web and he was a very knowledgeable bead collector and researcher. You can visit his original website here. In addition to his extensive research on the history of beads, he had a bead museum in Lake Placid, NY. Here is a link to photos of his museum. There are plans to have his entire collection placed in the Bead Museum in Glendale, Arizona.
I have a copy of his book Beads of the World which is a fascinating look at the history of beads. There are many photos of different beads from all over the world. He also includes some old photos of primitive bead making techniques and some great old drawings of how glass beads were made in the past. I especially love the drawing of three women at a table making wrapped lampwork beads, around 1600. Not so different from now.

Peter Francis, Jr.'s definition of a bead:

" What's a Bead?A survey of dictionaries and encyclopedias will reveal that the usual definition of a bead goes something like this: "A bead is a small, round object with a hole in it used for necklaces, etc."I do not find this satisfying. For one thing, many beads are not round. For another, they are not all small. They do not all have holes, and their uses go far beyond necklaces.My definition would be more on these lines: "A bead is an object capable of being strung and used for the many tasks assigned to it by various cultures. These include (but are not limited to) symbols of status and group membership; ornamentation of people, animals, and things; mnemonic devices; counting devices; amulets and talismans; and others."

I found the following link here that shows a video of Peter talking about African Beads on a UK TV program. It gives you a great sense of his knowledge and love of beads. I found that it would work on my Windows Media Player if I scrolled down to the link for people who can't get it on the screen provided i.e. the 14 mb .wmv file.
I hope that you will spend some time getting to know Peter's work, if you don't already, and enjoy remembering him as I have done in writing this article.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Windy Night

We were away and missed the storm. But a giant branch from one of our 100 year old Maple trees was torn off by the strong winds that chased Ike out to sea. Thank goodness it was a graceful fall. It just missed our car, our house and our satellite dish. We feel so lucky.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Some New Beaded Jewelry

Part of my summer vacation was indulging in a nonstop beading marathon and not going to my ceramic studio. I had a great time but do have trouble sitting still for long periods of time. We remedied that by going camping afterwards and doing a lot of canoeing, biking, swimming and walking.

Here are some pics of both of my fun summer activities:

Here are some of my beaded pieces on a lovely china platter in the almost finished stage. I still hadn't finished the necklace below in this pic. Later I tied and cut off the working threads. I got a chance to try my new thread burner and it works really well for this kind of task.
This is a pic of my first right angle weave necklace. It was a challenge. I had to take it apart several times before it came out the way it did. I like the color combo and it is fun to wear.

This is the view from out campsite cabin looking out on Goose Bay. I spent quite a bit of time reading Looking for Alaska in this gorgeous spot.

A new right angle weave bracelet photographed on a bale of hay that is part of a hayhouse we made for the grandchildren to play in when they visited. I can't bear to take it down now that they are gone. It brings back such joyful memories. So now I am photographing jewelry on it.

Canoeing on Goose Bay. Here the inlet opens out onto the Bay. The mightly St. Lawrence River is just around the corner.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

And Then the Sun Began To Shine

After weeks of rainy and overcast days this summer, about the third week in August the sun began to shine. And at long last our giant sunflowers began to bloom. I was thrilled.

To enjoy these sunny days I took off some time ( I skipped my August Newsletter and blogging) and spent them enjoying the fine weather. We even went camping. What fun. I guess summer is ending now as it has gotten colder on some days and the sun has become more scarce as large gray and white clouds keep rolling in. So now it is back to work and the normal flow of life. I love that too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Platefull of Pendants and Beads

I am thinking ahead today about the Annual Artists' Studio Tour that takes place where I live. This year will be the 21st Annual Tour. Wow!! I can remember back when the tour brochure was a handrawn map and no pictures of the artists' work. This year we are all getting color photos of our work. The picture above is for the postcard I plan to make for the event. My brochure photo is going to be a closeup of one of my freeform peyote stitch necklaces with my handmade ceramic raku fired beads.
The tour almost always takes place in November. This year it will be on November 7th, 8th and 9th. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is presented by the St. Lawrence County Arts Council. Hilary Oak is the director of this wonderful organization that supports and promotes the arts in St. Lawrence County.
I always like to do something special for guests who come to my studio--to give them a first hand experience making art with the materials that I use. This year there will be Ceramic Bead Making and Glazing; Felted beads and flower making and Fused Glass. One of each on each of the days of the tour. Last year we had a great time making art. And happily for me, many folks chose to purchase one of my handmade pieces.

What a Veggie Garden Year

It has rained almost every day this summer and the veggies are growing like crazy. And those giant sunflowers in the background are almost 9 feet tall now and the buds are just beginning to form. Since I haven't had a veggie garden in quite a while I am so thrilled and grateful for every fresh organically grown zucchini, cucumber, green bean and radish I pick. So far we have had lots of these. The tomatoes are plentiful but not ripe. Soon I hope. The peppers are big but I am still waiting to pick them since I want to freeze a few too.
And that field of pumpkins I planted for the grandchildren has really come through for them. As I said in my newsletter they are up to my waist or my neck. They just keep growing and spreading.

Raku Bead Video Part III