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More pictures and opinions...

Thursday, August 31, 2006
I've been working with Photo Shop Elements again. It's trial and error...just because it looks good when I take the picture doesn't mean it looks good on my monitor. I just uploaded several pictures of lampwork beads today. So if you scroll down, you will see lots of eye candy....some good pics...some not so good pics. It will take me a while and over time, my photography skills will get better. Well, that's what I keep on telling myself. (smile-lots of eye rolling here)

I've still have lots of work to get done in the studio...I'll be glad when this week is over so that I can get back to doing what I enjoy doing. I've got so many kewl ideas spinning now that I'm geared to be creating. Instead, I'm organizing....stringing...pricing...all the chores that I'm not fond of doing. Ya know, I do believe I need a house elf or studio wench.

I sat down yesterday and looked at the piles of beads in front of me. Then I took a look at the piles that I had ready processed (for lack of a better term). It dawned on me, that I have no life. I’m driven to make beads…driven to make jewelry. My OCD has switched gears, into the creative process. Is that good? Or is that bad? I have no idea but I’m prolific in either case. That or these beads are breeding…which is still a possibility in my mind.

I’ve also come to a “watery” decision…I’m not sure that my focus in the future will be glass. I’m slowing moving away from the medium. I’ve come to the realization, that my glass work/lampworking skills are fair. I will never be great nor will I be cutting edge. I just can’t make glass sing for me, like I can with metal and beadwork. Glass has been a medium that has been very challenging for me. It has taken huge amounts of time on the torches to make a decent bead. That’s the personal side of glass.

On the professional side…well, I’m not sure that I see the lampwork community (cyber) merging into the art community any time soon. Again, who am I to make an opinion on such fragile matters…I’m an outsider looking in. Plus I’m only a speck on an ant’s hindquarters in the big ol’ world.

I, as a lampworker, have a hard time seeing lampworking/beadmaking as an art form. My opinion isn’t very popular but I see it as a component…much like lapidary. A bead is still a bead. It’s one part of the finished whole. I don’t see it as a stand-alone visual art medium like 2D or even glass blowing. Also…there’s just something about an industry standard of using eBay as a selling tool that really bothers me. I can’t help it, nor can I get over it. It’s like mixing religion and politics…the two don’t seem to be compatible and some how it degrades both thought modes by the causal linkage. This is an opinion that I can’t fully express in writing, it also has an emotional charge to it. Much like explaining a gut feeling.

I don’t think that I will give up glass but metals have become more a focus for me. I also hear my seed beads calling my name. There is a thrill to finish a complex beadwork piece that I don’t get with any other medium. It’s like painting in itty bitty dots of color. Again, it’s the color that I love so much.

I started my adult creative side with jewelry, in my college days (mid to late 70’s). I had the dream of doing mixed media jewelry in the 1980’s. I worked it by adding a medium every two years. Then pottery became the all-consuming focus for several years. Then I returned back to jewelry. I’ve still want to add stone carving and engraving to my skill base.

Ok that's enough of my opinions and personal history for today...time for me to start my day!

Have have happy-campy day!!!


I'm still at it!

Lampwork Beads - Testing 1,2,3

Eye Candy - testing pictures again

It's Raining BEADS!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
I've been getting ready for a small bead show and thought I'd share some eye candy of all the lampwork beads. Well, not all the beads. I never knew how many beads I had until I started cleaning, sorting, stringing, and pricing beads. (Do beads breed?) I only booked an 8 ft table because I was unsure if I could fill a 10x10 space. So there will be a bead sale in the next couple of weeks on my website.

I'm also playing with the photos as well. Most of these pics, I'm not fond of the setting I used. Photography is more like VooDoo to me.

The above looks much better in person than in the photo...I doubt I will try the light box on mixed dark and light gaffer again.

Keep scrolling down, there's more beady eye candy. I will be posting more pictures this week.

Same bat time, same bat place!


Lampwork Beads (Southwestern Colors)

Lampwork Beads (eye candy)

Sneak Preview

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Here's a sneak preview of what I'm doing in the studio....more eye candy to come this week.

I’m so excited…it’s kinda raining here and it’s only supposed to be 95 degrees!!!!

I say “kinda” because very little of it is hitting the ground. It’s evaporating before it even hits the ground. It’s very dry here, it hasn’t rain at all this month. The last time I remember it really pouring down has been over six months ago. We have entire length of one acre that is edged with bamboo. It’s so dry, that the bamboo is melting and turning brown. The area around here has an odd wilted salad look about it.

Well…I’m on the mist of a new studio project...organization!!! I have piles and piles of lampwork that has got to get cleaned, inspected, and temporarily strung. (I'm getting ready for a little bitty show but the main reason is finally I ran out of mandrels. They all have beads on them.)

BTW, I got my copy of Belle Armoire in the mail yesterday. It’s fabulous!

Have a BRILLANT day,


Mixed Media Jewelry Contest

Monday, August 28, 2006

I finished this yesterday for Connie Fox's Mixed Media Jewelry Contest. If you haven't entered yet, time is running out. Here's the link:

Necklace base - stainless steel chain maille (Natural/Organic elements)

Clasp - purchased stainless trigger clasp

Pendant ring - key ring (Found Object)

Pendant - old tea ball, made into a locket (Found Object)

The pendant/locket has surface decoration of seed beads and an accent bead, to give the feminine touch to the piece. The tea ball locket opens to a cat face lampwork bead that I made. I used wire in the chain maille and in the surface decoration of the locket.

That was my fun for the week. (I rarely work in stainless and this was the first time I used a tea ball for anything that didn't involve a mug of hot water) Back to the studio, I've got to get ready for a show this weekend.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful day!


Mindless Chores & Lampwork Sittin' on my Desk

Sunday, August 27, 2006
Yesterday was one of those catch-up days. It consisted of laundry, picking up, and lots of cleaning. I had paperwork and emails to catch up on. I only have a few more things to do and I’ll be back in action again.

Daily chores are mindless activities that allow my mind to wander….

Being self-employed has its merits. My passion and hobby is also my livelihood. Can we say conflict of interest? Everyone needs a hobby…personal pursuits that have nothing to do with our ‘job’. There are times that I really miss pottery. Except that pottery, at one time, was also a livelihood. I think that if I went back and sank my hands in clay, it would be totally all consuming. It would be difficult to do anything else but throw clay.

There is a Zen to the throwing wheel, as there is with the torch. It’s kind of a zone you hit, where the mind somehow takes over. The best way I can describe it is, it’s like dreaming when you are wide awake. It’s not like lucid dreaming, because my mind doesn’t wander. It’s focused on what I’m doing. (which is a really good thing since on the torch, there’s a concentrated heat source of about 1700-1800 degrees in front of me)

So today, during my mindless chores I still need to get done in the studio today, I will ponder a hobby.

The above are lampwork beads that are currently sitting on my desk. My other goal today is to figure out a design using these beads. I've been staring at this dudes for over a week now.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Little Issue

Saturday, August 26, 2006
I'm still trying to figure out my template and somehow, I've done something to the comments section. Hopefully I will figure out soon.

It is rude to ask for opinions, then not provide an option for comments. I'm working on the issue.


Opinion and a Confession

I made the above a couple of weeks ago and wanted to enter Connie Fox's contest ( but I'm not sure. Any comments? I don't know.

Here's some more eye candy...I made the beads last week but didn't get them pulled from the mandrels and cleaned until yesterday. I kinda like the look...

I spent most of the day yesterday working on a new design…beadwork bails for pendants. Which sounds kinda easy. It’s not. The reason being is what looks great, isn’t stable. What’s stable isn’t very ascetically pleasing to me. I’ve still got a lot of work on this design.

During this creation session, I had a lot of time to think. I was reflecting back on a couple of years ago and my show seasons. Pre-Texas, we averaged 2-3 shows per month. One year, we did 34 shows. (I have a little bitty show next weekend so this must be the reason why I was thinkin’ about it.) I think that year traumatized me. There’s a reason why most artists don’t do lots of back-to-back art show streaks.

One, inventory. It’s hard to keep up.

Two, the weather…I’m talking rain, sleet, hail, tornadoes, 100 degrees on asphalt (my birks literally stuck to the pavement at that show), and freezing cold at outdoor shows.

Three, it’s the questions that you get from the general public.

Anyway, I was reflecting on the types of questions that stuck with me. A lot of them were the same…like…

Do you have a card? Or website?
When are you doing a show around here next?
Do you take credit cards?
Do you do customs? (a typical question except the one time that a person asked me to make a necklace for her ferret.)
Do you teach? (the answer is “no, I don’t have the time “ and I don’t. The honest answer would be, “I’m not patient enough….there isn’t enough rum and valium in the world to make me want to teach”)

Then there are the ones that vividly stick out…the ones that make you want to hack up a hairball or pee your pants laughing….

(In regards to lampwork) How did you glue those dots on?
I try to avoid answering this question as much as possible…it’s easier to give them a handout with pictures.

Oh…will this match my suit (blouse, outfit, etc)?
I try to keep a straight face on this one and just reply, ‘I don’t know’ with a smile. One time I snapped, I just burst out laughing….while muttering in between snorts, “you gotta go…you are too &8%@# stupid to buy my jewelry” while pointing to the direction out of my booth. Was that a nice thing to do? No it wasn’t nor was it professional of me to react that way. I regret it but I couldn’t help myself. I just lost it.

Oh, did you make that?
Well, one time I just snapped, I replied…”No, actually I run a sweatshop for illegal elves and fairies that don’t want to be employed in the succubus trade”.

Can I take a picture of this so I can make it at home?
This one doesn’t even deserve an answer. I just politely respond by pointing in the direction out of my booth with a smile on my face.

How long have you been doing this?
Generally this one isn’t a big deal and just tell them my life story. Sometimes, I’m too tired to go into a long dissertation, so it’s just “a long time” but I’ve got a smile on my face when I say it. BUT there are people that say it with a nasty tone of voice…I normally respond to them with a “too long” sort of answer and hang my head.

Or the primo one that I used to get and still do…Where do you get your inspirations from?
I do get a lot of my inspirations from nature, and mythology. That’s what I tell the person…but my brain isn’t wired like the normal person so I don’t go into the whole creative mind concept. There was one time that I snapped and told the blunt truth of the situation….”it’s because of the amount of acid I did when I was a kid, I still get flashbacks and tracers even now to this day…that’s where I get all these kewl color combos and abstract ideas from”

There was another time that I snapped (actually, I just wasn’t thinking and the words just tumbled out of my mouth)…”Oh, I speak to dead people.” That was right after I saw “The Sixth Sense” and I thought it was funny. The customer didn’t and pretty much ran out of my booth with a terrified look on her face. I still feel bad about that one to this day.

(disclaimer here…I don’t even drink socially now…my only major vices left is a couple cups of java and cigarettes. I’ve limited my caffeine intake and smoke only ultra lights…even they are on their way out of my life. I don’t have any traumatic or abusive issues in my life. In other words, I’m now boring and count myself very lucky.)

I’ve had almost a two-year break from doing shows. I actually miss them but I have learned a major lesson. I do not have the correct personality to do a large number of back-to-back shows..AND…if you ask me a question, I now work very hard to answer in a polite and professional manner. Maybe I'm growing up or just maybe I know my limitations.

I've gotta run...I've got to clean the studio and pick up the house. My OCD is driving me nuts.

Have a happy and creative day!


Bracelet Story

Friday, August 25, 2006

These are the finished pictures of the bracelet. Two different views to give you an idea of what it looks like. That is what I normally show you...that's the normal. When I was making the bracelet yesterday, I thought it might be kinda of kewl to do a series of how the transformation takes place.

The Beginning

The below is how it starts, the gathering phase. This is the hardest for me...I have to chose colors and select beads. During the time, I have to keep a mental picture of what I want to create. Kinda looks like a bead pilaf...mmm, how the creative mind works. If you look on the far right corner of my bead tray, there's a beady person. Made from fire and glass…a kindred spirit watching over the bead tray. (This is supposed to interject a bit of humor, not get me carted off to the happy farm and be given some happy juice...I'm happy enough, thank you.)

The Selection

Below, I made these lampwork beads a while ago. They have been sitting quietly on my desk waiting patiently to fulfill their destiny. I think it’s very bead’s dream to be praised for their color, shape, and potential in art jewelry. Some of them make the cut and some of them don’t. Who knows, there might be bead support groups for those that didn’t get chosen by the jewelry designers? What can you do to prevent bead anxiety? Use artisan made beads! Give them the place in your creations that they deserve!

The Placement

Here’s the lampwork bead pizzazz placement. It’s just a boring bracelet in this phase.

Beady Excitement

It's lookin' better below....I think that the textured fringe is working out well. We got some beady excitement rollin' here.


It's lookin' MUCH better...I'm getting the groove happenin'. It's just about done.

You can feel the beady excitement....I can hear the crescendo in the background. I can hear little high-pitched voices (think flying monkeys here) in the background, singing:

You know you make me wanna (Shout!)...Kick my heels up and (Shout!)...Throw my hands up and (Shout!)....Throw my head back and (Shout!)....Come on now....Don't forget to say you will....Don't forget to say....Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.....Say you will....Say you will!

That's all there is folks! The finished piece is the first two pictures.

Ya know...I've got to get out of the studio more! Maybe I'm just too happy.

Have a happy(?) and creative day. (What do the beady voices tell you to do?)


Gettin' into the Blue Matter!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The above and below are a bracelet that I made yesterday. I like the contrast of the color scheme. It's not for everyone though but it's something that I would wear to perk up a navy jacket. There is also a flirty feel to it.

The below is how the bracelet first started out. It's very basic and BORING! The components are lampwork beads and chain that I made...then I added some 6/0 and 6 accent beads. After several hours, the above is the finished piece.

Yesterday was kinda of a productive day in the studio. Another one of those, “I got too many ideas!” days. It really started out slow…then I got a second wind. There was about an hour there that I just sat and stared at my beads. Stared out the window and then stared at my beads…this scene repeated several times. Then I started talking to them. Then I was giving them their own voices. OMG, somebody would of walked in, they would of thought that I was in serious need of medication.

Anyway, I had The Sixth Sense on when this was happening…Haley Joel Osment was say, “I see dead people.” I’m laughing my ass off because…I’m talking to beads. Mmmm…it was a lot funnier being there than it is reading about it. I guess you needed to be there to get the full humor of the situation.

Ya know, there’s just some wrong about doing voice overs for beads. Next thing you know, there will be bead suffrage. I guess that really wouldn’t be so bad. Do you think that we would have George W. Bush as President if beads could vote? It can’t be ALL his fault, we do have the Congress and Senate too. Well, it’s kinda like Homer Simpson doing business with Cheech and Chong. Take New Orleans for an example…there was a whole lotta promises made right after Katrina. One year later, half the city is STILL underwater. That tells me that there is a whole lot of talk with not a lot of action being put forth. What hope is there for the people?

Then there is the UN saga…oh my…a South Park with guests from all over the world. So can the UN help the world. Is it supposed to be an unbias body to make decisions for the peoples of the world. Yeah, right! Tell me another one...if you believe that, I've got some swamp land that's for sale.

I see a whole lot of nothing going to get done when the members are looking out for number one’s (govt) interests. So what happens to the people? The UN has turned into a global meals on wheels. What ever happened to that great organization of nations? It was a global TIGER. Mmmm…the tiger got old and toothless…all because nations prefer self-interest. Sometimes doing what’s right isn’t easy nor throwing up smoke screens isn’t always going to hide the dirty deeds either. We live in a world of mass communication…it’s harder everyday to keep those smoke screens up and hazy.

I can't tell if the US is using the UN as a way to be the global police or the UN is using the US as their form of military might. Maybe it's both....either way, it's not working out well. I guess it comes down to this...the day the US citizens decide that their govt works for them and not the other way around, is when there will be changes made on a global scale. One strong voice can be heard over 1000's of screaming ones.

Ok...I'm digressing again. So it's back to our regularly scheduled programing....More EYECANDY!!!!!!!!!!!

Here's another set from the metal series. I must be into blue lately. Every glass rod I pick up is blue. I'm going to work on breaking out of this mold today.

Have a happy and creative day!!!!


New Lampwork-New Design Ideas

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The above is a ‘rough draft’ of a new collection that I’m working on. Be nice, this is the first demo model. I handmade the chain to fit the style of the beads. The large links of sterling give a bit of boldness because the bead colors are poppin’. I think the idea has potential. The necklace looks a lot better on than it does hanging in the picture.

These cobalt beads are plain and simple lampwork beads that I made yesterday. They aren’t anything wondrous or ponderous, just noncomplex beads for jewelry designs. I’m finding out that I like the stripped down, single or bi-colored beads better for jewelry. (sometimes)

Some of the most beautiful pieces of jewelry look great in pictures. They look great in person…but don’t always look great when they are worn. They do if the person is wearing the ‘right’ outfit. I don’t know about you, but I’ve bought art jewelry before. I bought simply glorious piece that I feel in love with. I got it home and didn’t have a thing to wear with it. That's fine....but sometimes I'd like to buy jewelry to perk up what's already in my closet too.

The beads on the above are going to be apart of a ‘metal’ series. I’m working on the sketches currently. They have handmade chain that is bold, in the larger links. That’s it…I didn’t have any major sparks yesterday with it. It’s a project that I’m working on today. It also might be one of those series that evolve over time. Either way, it's really bare bones right now.

Yesterday, I had the DVD player spinning while I was finishing up a bracelet. Every once in a while, some of the stupidest movies provoke a mental image. I was listening to/watching Ultraviolet. It has some great special effects I have to admit, not too much of a story line though. Milla Jovovich played Violet in the movie. She had one GREAT line….” I am a titan, a monolith, nothing can stop me.”

The ideas are spinning so it's time for me to finish my coffee and get to to the studio.

Have a monolithic day!


Garden Bracelet

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Here's a couple pictures of a happy day bracelet. It's bright and colorful. I've got several piles of lampwork strands that are 5 or less beads. Either they are orphans or test strands. These bracelets are perfect for these smaller strands.

Ok...back to the studio for me!


Where to move to?

Well I’ve done some more pondering, moving within the next 9-18 months is definitely in store for us. The weather alone has is an issue. It’s going to be another 100 degree day and there is many more after that. Anyway, nobody wants to read about me bitching about the weather or my watery eyes. It’s an old story that has been told way too many times.

Now for the big question, where to move to? If anyone has any ideas out there, please share. Right now we are looking into Covington KY - Cincinnati, OH area. Boston doesn’t look bad either. Neither does Hartford CT, Providence RI, and a couple other places. Ashville NC would be great except it doesn’t have a major airport.

Our requirements aren’t a long list.

1) We have to be by a major airport.

2)The area has to have an art district or an artist hub. I need a studio and prefer an area that has some type of art walk.

3)Depending on the time frame, it might or might not need to be pet friendly. We have two elderly dogs.

4) Weather is an issue…I’d rather not endure endless summers nor 6 months of snow and ice. The one thing I really like about Austin is the number of sunny days. It doesn’t have to be sunny all the time, but I’d prefer not enduring months and months of gray, dreary days. Indianapolis was the King of Gray; it made everything look dirty and was depressing to wake up to another day of gray.

5) I prefer a historical area; I like the charm and unique architecture aspect.

6) Have decent rentals. We didn't buy a home or building when we first came down to Austin. We are so glad we didn't...if we did, we wouldn't have the option of leaving so easily.

7) I would prefer an area that supports the artists. Supporting nonprofit art organizations isn’t the same. I’m not looking for handouts, I’m look for areas that the local citizens want the artists and fine craftsmen. It’s the attitude that I’m looking at. Cities that have developed art districts and have worked/updated their zoning laws, have the attitude. This is a huge, multi-tangent topic here…one that I don’t want to digress on because I hear my studio calling my name.

Have a happy & creative day!!!


Earth to Moon…

Monday, August 21, 2006

A couple of people have written or called me lately, asking what’s happening and where am I. Well I’ve decided to make a few changes, most of which will have a long-term causal effect. (Hopefully in the right direction.)

Many of you know that my DH (Bob) and I do many different mediums in regards to jewelry…some folks think that lampwork is our main thang. It’s not. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a medium that I enjoy but it’s losing some of its appeal rapidly. I have this bizarre rating system for mediums; it’s a 1-5 scale with 1 being the highest and most beloved. As time progresses, so does my skill base but also my focus changes as well. Lampwork’s primo attraction is the color combos and unique patterns that it produces. BUT lampwork is slowly moving down the my scale where metal and fiber is quickly climbing.

At the current time, I feel the need to develop more as an artist than staying with the jewelry designer mode. I’m also researching, working with both trending studies and projections, regarding where we want to open a gallery. Or if we want to open a gallery, for that matter. There are a large number of headaches attached to a gallery. For one, I would be joined at the hip to the gallery for many years. Any dipshit can own a gallery but to run and establish a successful gallery is a totally different issue. As you might guess, I’ve worn that hat before. It takes a great deal of energy and perseverance, that’s a given for any small business.

It also takes a passion for the arts, and the need to see artists do well. It’s also over looking some of the 3-Mile Island mishaps that seem to take place in the visual (2D or 3D) arts. A prime example is places like (I’m not picking on lampworkers here, there are plenty of other mediums doing the same) or the infighting when the economy gets tight.

It happens in any sub-culture group, it happens in our overall society as well. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that all people have the right to express their opinions. There are times that those opinions seem to slice & dice the humanity that is housed in each of us. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes the difference. Sometimes talk is just talk, with very little action behind it.

So do I want to put up with some of the ‘mishaps’…I don’t know. This is what I’m currently pondering on. As I get older, my bullshit tolerance seems to go down. Life is short and there are some headaches that I'm not willing put if with, if I don't have to. My longterm goal was (maybe still is) to have a wearable art gallery, that supports the area artists. Now what physical location, I don’t know but it won’t be in Austin. I can’t take the weather nor the allergies here.

I’m going to digress here….it is my firm belief that when an artist no longer can make a decent living, they will change their focus. Art will turn into a hobby or done on the side. It’s won’t be that all encompassing, driving force in their lives. When it happens to enough artists, in enough different mediums… a precious part of our culture will die. A precious part of our society will die and what will fill the void, damn if I want to find out.

Well, that enough pondering about my uncertain future.