Tuesday, June 30, 2009

C is for Copyright Office

Okay, I pretty much never put my lawyer's hat on when I'm writing in this blog for a variety of truly tedious reasons, and I don't really intend to start here. However, there has been an artists' movement in the beadosphere lately to discuss copyright issues, and I thought I would tack on an addendum to this discussion to share some very simple information with you.

I am not currently practicing, as I am staying home with the Short One right now, but I am an intellectual property lawyer by training. In the years B.S.O. ("Before Short One"), I used to field calls periodically for people looking for information on copyright registrations. I realize that not everyone knows where to find this basic data, so I'm going to offer it to you here. Naturally, the following applies specifically to U.S. copyright law.

As you may already know, you do not need a registration to claim copyright in your original work. However, there are certain benefits to registration, and if, after reading other posts about copyright issues, you are interested in finding out more about the process and legal rights you may be entitled to claim in your work, there is a very easy place for you to go to learn more - the U.S. Copyright Office itself.

In addition to resources for lawyers, the website provides educational materials for laypeople, such as a downloadable article entitled "Copyright Basics" (which I used to hand out to my clients for reference), a concise but quite useful FAQ section and a somewhat interactive section called "Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright" (okay, this seems to have been designed for students - I found the first section, starring Detective Cop. E. Wright a little hard to sit through, but it does contain pertinent information...). (By the way, if you are wondering why some of these links take you to a www.loc.gov website, it is due to the fact that the U.S. Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress.)

There is also a searchable database of registrations and other documents recorded with the office since 1978 (although I make no guarantees as to how easy you find the search engine to use - there is a tutorial for it), if you would like to investigate what registrations are already current and subsisting on the U.S. register.

Finally, there are instructions on how to file for copyright registration, if you decide to do so. Unlike some other forms of intellectual property, it is not necessary to have a lawyer file on your behalf. Although, inevitably, there are some cases in which it would be a good idea - in my opinion at least - to consult a lawyer before filing, the Copyright Office itself does not require it. Basic fees for filing remain relatively inexpensive at $35-45.00, depending on how you file. Bear in mind, however, that registration is not automatic and that any application filed with the Office will be examined to determine its fitness, so to speak, for registration. There is more information on this point on the website.

So, in case you weren't already aware: if you are interested in U.S. copyright law or in the U.S. copyright registration process, you can go right to the source for reliable, up-to-date information. The literature available through the U.S. Copyright Office may not answer all of your intellectual property questions, but it's definitely one of the best places to start.

Be not afeard.

The isle is full of noises,
Sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Will hum about mine ears, and sometime voices
That, if I then had waked after long sleep,
Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,
The clouds methought would open, and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.

- The Tempest, 3.2.148-156

(ps. The photo dates back from our wedding trip. Despite never having visited Hawaii, we found it perfectly plausible to drag ourselves and our immediate family over there to get married. It was wonderful. I believe I took this shot the first morning after we arrived.)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Here's cauliflower from our garden, almost ready to be harvested. I come from a family with almost no talent for gardening (although I understand my maternal grandmother was quite an avid gardener, my mother and I did not inherit her green thumb). It has been a revelation to me since I met my husband just what a difference really fresh produce makes. The cauliflower H. grows is the most tender and flavorful I've ever tasted. We have a great recipe that calls for preparing it with tahini and lemon juice, among other unlikely ingredients - it's fantastic. Who knew fresh veg could be so romantic? I'll take the ones from H's garden over a box of chocolates any day.

Here are your intriguing links for the week:

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew introduces eight new fine pewter pieces from his family's company, Green Girl Studios.

Jean Campbell Ink: Eureka!
Beading in the fresh air clears the mind, bringing fresh creativity

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Searching for some new inspiration? Lorelei's got just the place for you to find it!

A Bead A Day
Lisa shares her selection of summery pink beads and crystals. The "Watermelon Crawl" bead mix is sure to conjure up visions of a family picnic on a warm summer day!

Barbe Saint John
Read Barbe's interview on the Objects and Elements blog

Beading Arts
Cyndi's initial thoughts on working with the new CopprClay. There'll be lots of projects coming this summer!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie mixes up gunmetal chains and components with brass to make a necklace with one of her Toolbox Treasure pendants

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Wirework, a new book by the famous Dale "Cougar" Armstrong

Art Bead Scene
The Trendy Bead shows off wood filigree pendants.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi hand felts a pretty bead from wool roving.

Heather sketches out some new designs using this summer's hottest color.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
A trip to glass city doesn't go as well as planned. Yet Cindy finds inspiration and few new tools!

About.com Jewelry Making
Take these quick polls about wearing and making jewelry. Which are your favorite pieces?

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her new lunar phases and compass rose designs

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Detour Ahead

I ended up getting distracted from the eye-in-the-keyhole necklace and made this pendant instead, with eight full lunar phases, instead of the four I used for the toggle ring. Typical, reallly. The number of UFO's (UnFinished Objects, for the uninitiated - I don't know if beaders really use this phrase or not?) I have lying around the house is kind of embarrassing. Still, I'm determined to get back to the keyhole necklace now. No, really.

Anyway, as far as the lunar ring pendant goes, I'll probably tweak the design just a touch next time, but I think, overall, it works for me.

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pssst - there's a contest going on at Rings & Things

Beads!  Win a gift certificate & get some!

I received this message from the good folks at Rings & Things today and thought I would pass along the word:

Your valuable feedback on Rings & Things products could win you one of five $50 gift certificates!

The rules:

  • Submit your review(s) of any product(s) in Rings & Things’ online store between June 1 and July 31, 2009.
  • Tell us once you’ve left your first review. Do this by commenting at this blog post.
    (Otherwise we won’t be able to contact you when you win!)
  • We’ll randomly select the winners on August 3, 2009.
    Winners will be notified via email.
The lucky 'Wynn' rune charm :)

The lucky 'Wynn' rune charm :)

How to submit a product review:

1. In our online store, pick a Rings & Things product you’ve bought from us before.
2. Click on the ‘Write your own review’ link.
3. Rate the product, between 1 and 5 stars, and write an honest review.*

* Negative reviews are accepted, as long as they’re honest. Rings & Things retains the right to remove fake or nonsensical reviews from the contest.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dr. Teeth

So, here's the question of the day: how far do you go in the name of unusual jewelry design? Here's a vintage set of genuine ceramic false teeth that I picked up recently. They are already drilled through the side and are therefore, in my opinion anyway, beading-ready. My mother, who is visiting, took one look at them and pronounced them "disgusting".

I must confess, though, I rather like them. I think they will add a little je ne sais quoi to the right design. What do you think? Over-the-top? What's the most outrageous beading material in your stash? Inquiring minds want to know.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Here's the new toggle ring to go along with my keyhole pendant. After some thought, I decided that a little moon madness (or lunacy, which originates from the Latin "luna" for the "moon") would be appropriate for the clasp. So here's an abbreviated version of the phases of the moon, in a fine silver donut.

I decided to make the ring reversible, and after some thought, came up with a simple 16 point compass rose design:

This isn't a great photo, but you get the picture. I love early modern maps and the elaborate compass roses you can often find in a corner of the document. I couldn't fit a full 32 point "rose" here, but, for a simple design, I think it turned out tolerably well. This side represents the wind's four quarters.

I've actually had the compass rose bead idea in my sketch book since late 2007. My ideas to cut out or illustrate the rose never seemed quite right, so it had just been sitting around for the past two years. I had a brain-wave last week to try turning the rose into negative space, and I think that turned out to be pretty workable, especially after patinating the piece, to emphasize the recessed design. Really, the whole piece was an exercise in the use of negative space, as it took me some time to decide how to illustrate the new moon phase on the flip side - I finally settled on a blank, indented circle.

I like both designs and think both could look quite nice as larger, more elaborate focal pieces - perhaps with that 32 point embellished rose and eight full lunar phases. I imagine you'll be seeing those from me fairly soon. In the meantime, I'll continue working on my new necklace.

Thanks for visiting!

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Here's the new jewelry in our house for today. The Short One has finally discovered that all of those little machines at the local hamburger joint dispense desirable toys and prizes (he hasn't figured out yet that the others dispense candy and gumballs, though). Now I'm wondering if I can convince him that only the machines at this particular restaurant have toys? Hmmm.

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. Here are your intriguing links for the week:

Snap out of it,Jean! There's beading to be done!
Pink, gold,and cream! Jean creates a lovely necklace and earring set featuring a beautiful Russian hand painted focal from Artbeads.com

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares a new necklace design. Check it out!

Art Bead Scene
Kandinsky inspires this month's challenge. The ABS editors suggest a selection of their handmade art beads for a Kandinsky inspired jewelry piece.

Carmi's Art/Life World
A vintage comic book becomes the inspiration for a necklace.

Jewelry & Beading
Auntie's Beads provided wonderful copper beads and findings so Cyndi could create this necklace!

Barbe Saint John
Barbe reviews Ancient Modern Polymer Clay book

Katie's Beading Blog
In need of a speedy bead? Check out this quick and easy jewelry idea!

About.com Jewelry Making
Summer time is affecting Tammy's jewelry designs. How about yours? Check out her summer jewelry plans so far.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A new shipment of copper blanks has Melanie plotting for some metal playtime!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her work in progress - an eerie lock and key design

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Key to Imagination

Well, ultimately, this will be part of a big concept piece (I hope), but I thought I'd show a "process" shot: here's what I'm working on at the moment. I'm a big fan of the lock and key motif that's so popular in jewelry design these days. Last year, I started pondering what I could do with the idea that would be a little different. At that point, I had a mold/stamp start to break on me. It was the one for this pendant:

It was sort of a fortuitous coincidence. I knew I wanted to re-make a dragon's eye pendant in some form, but I didn't want to just re-make the same mold (although, really, I probably will re-make a version of this at some point, as I still like it). So, I thought perhaps I would combine the two ideas and create a little eerie eye through a keyhole. About 5-6 months ago I made a first version (yes, I really am that slow to design right now, sigh), similar to this dragon's eye pendant:

As with the original, I had intended for a pearl or amethyst cab to sit in the center with tinted resin. However, this draft has just sort of been hanging around unfinished for the past several months. Although I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with it, it just didn't have the right eerie quality to it - it was just a touch too flat.

So, I thought I would go ahead and construct a three-dimensional keyhole shadow box, instead. I made it particularly deep, to enhance the shadows around the glass eye. It works quite well in person, but - I have to admit - it made it difficult to photograph clearly today. Here's a nice shadowy shot of the pendant, though (H. said it was tough to tell in this particular photo that the object inside was an eye - what do you think?):

The key also ended up being a little tricky. My first version was a very organic "skeleton" key using my bone beads. I thought it would go perfectly with the pendant, but it ended up being far too heavy-looking for this design - I've set it aside for a different piece. Instead, I went back and designed a simple, classic antique key instead. It's not in my usual style, but I think it works pretty well here.

I also stamped one of my guerdon's on the back - "a fellow of infinite jest", a reference to, alas, poor Yorick from "Hamlet".

I'm still working on the clasp and gathering materials for stringing, so this project won't be a complete for a little while. However, I think I've made a good start.

I have to admit, I set out to make this piece purely for my own enjoyment, which I have not done for a while. It has turned out to be a very good reminder to me of something I think I've lost sight of a bit in the past year, namely, why I started making beads in the first place: because I love making them. Words to live by, right?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Rose for Emily

So, I found black versions of those great pink lucite rose beads I used last year for my "Gothic Pink" bracelet. Aren't they great? So, what does this piece have to do with the Faulkner short story of the same name? Uh, I don't know - ambiance, maybe? Still, I was vaguely inspired by the story in creating this piece. Plus, I finally found a good use for my fine silver cobweb button!

Hope all is well with you. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

Here's the Short One's loot from our recent trip to New York City. As you can see, even Vikings like ice cream in our world. And, hey, isn't that Russ Nobbs of Rings & Things eating a sundae over there? Nah, couldn't be... (With apologies to Rings & Things, the little Russ Troll is now in the hands of the SO - I'm not entirely sure when I'll be getting him back.)

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. We went to see "Up!" on Saturday - it was the SO's very first movie experience. I never realized what a penetrating voice he had until he announced at a pivotal point in the film that he had to go potty. Clear as a bell, that voice.

On the beading front, I've been working on sketches for a major new piece. I may even break out the silver clay for the first time in weeks (sigh). Either way, I'll have some new jewelry designs later this week. In the meantime, here are your intriguing bead & jewelry links:

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi has decided that this summer is "The Season of Metal Clay"! Check out these inspiring metal clay sites.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew announces a NEW design competition to celebrate Cynthia's new book, Enchanted Adornments.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has a sparkly Swarovski bracelet in July's BeadStyle magazine! Check it oooout!

Art Bead Scene
In this economy, everyone is asking the advice of economists - ABS has brought in The Bead Economist with advice on how to get art beads on the cheap.

Carmi's Art/Life World
A little wood, paint and stickers helps Carmi to recreate a native art inspired pendant.

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy's got the scoop and a link to a free issue of The Crafts Report. They've gone digital! What do you think? Is this a good thing or a bad thing when craft magazines go totally electronic?

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off new jewelry designs using Soft Flex Trios wire

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Books - Tim McCreight

Sorry, too busy reading PMC Technic: A Collection of Techniques for Precious Metal Clay and Working with Precious Metal Clay (Jewelry Crafts) (Jewelry Crafts)
to blog right now! I can't believe it took me so long to purchase these books - they are excellent. I had a least one "D'oh!" moment, when I opened them last night - a much easier method for something I learned how to do the hard way. In 2007, when I was preparing to use metal clay for the first time, I purchased one of Tim McCreight's introductory DVD's (which, unfortunately, I believe is currently out of print) which was excellent, but I never followed up and looked for any of his PMC instruction books. What was I thinking? (Clearly, I was not.) Anyway, have a great day - it's back to reading for me...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bead & Button Part II - The Loot

Despite the fact that I had my camera with me for once, I'm sorry to say that it never occurred to me to take photos of any of my friends or colleagues on the floor of the show. Gah. Robyn Hawk (aka A Fly on the Wall) actually tweeted me to take some pics, so I did do one big video pan of the marketplace - but now I can't seem to upload it correctly to the blog. Double Gah. And I call myself a blogger. It's just shameful. If I manage to figure out how to get the video up, I'll add it to this post later.

Needless to say, I had a great time - met several friends from email and Internet correspondence for the first time this year and also saw friends that I have not had a chance to see since the last Bead & Button show. I still didn't manage to get through the short list I put together before the show, though. Anyway, since I didn't have the presence of mind to photograph all of these lovely people while I was there (triple Gah), what I do have to show today are photos of some of their beautiful work and the general embarrassment of riches that made it home with me.

Above is one of the special fine silver polymer and resin pendants that Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios makes for her shows. I saw the batch for this year's Bead & Button on Andrew's blog right before the show opened and immediately coveted the bird girls. I feel very lucky to be able to add one to my collection of treasures - thank you, Cynthia!

I've been getting into scarab symbolism in a big way these days, and you know how I love cyberpunk and steampunk, anyway, so I pretty much knew I'd be picking up one of Melanie's scarabs. However, I didn't realize how completely fantastically her Toolbox Treasures turned out (she fired them right before leaving for the show)! Isn't that big center pendant just gorgeous?

I love Diane Hawkey's work. I used one of her Beastie head beads (pictured above left) in my current favorite necklace (that I wore to the show), and I picked up another one for a new design on Sunday. Also, her rough-cut faceted beads are staples in my bead box - I use them for everything!

Here's a small sample of what I bought from Gary Wilson. Anyone who's seen my Bead Dreams piece will know why I wanted these. Above right is a bit of coprolite (fossilized dung) - I'd been looking for a nice bit to use in jewelry for several months now. The drilled bead in the bottom left is a very nice piece of dinosaur bone.

I always stop by Joan Miller's booth when I visit Bead & Button. I have a tough time at her booth, because I love pretty much all of her designs, so narrowing down my choices is pretty difficult. I love that new skull bead! I don't know if this is a one-off or if Joan intends to add it to her catalog, but I think it has great character.

Joan had work from other ceramic artists at her booth, including a variety of Kristie Roeder's beautiful ceramic and glass discs and donuts. I have big plans for this donut!

The only real disappointment I experienced at the show was when I learned from Kathy at A/D Adornments that she has decided to discontinue carrying gemstone. While I realize that A/D Adornments is best know for its chain, she always has interesting stone in unusual cuts. Here's some hexagonal-cut amethyst, garnet, kyanite and rough cut ruby that I picked up from her bargain bin. If you have the good fortune to see A/D Adornments at a show in the near future, be sure to check out not only her astonishing selection of chain but her remaining inventory of stone, as it is well-worth the look.

Finally, as I was wrapping up, I stopped by Barbara Becker Simon's booth. Although I've admired her lampwork and metal clay beads from books, this was my first time seeing her work in person (which is always the fun part of attending Bead & Button, right?). She had the projects from her new book on display there, which I found very interesting, but I ended up walking away with this cute cocktail ring.

Well, that's it for me. Needless to say, I'm on a bead diet now, but I certainly have a lot to play with for the forseeable future!

Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

I know I was supposed to post more about the Bead & Button Show today, but I just realized that I dropped the ball - yet again - and forgot to post my bead & jewelry links on Sunday. So, without further ado, here are your intriguing links (oh, and the paper flower above was the Short One's end of year project in his Mom's Morning Away class - cute, eh?):

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi is concentrating on metal clay for the month of June. Come meet some amazing metal clay artists!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
How simply sunny! A focal Celestial Crystal will encourage your love of the summer sun!

About.com Jewelry Making
Are you a Tweep? Do you Tweet? Find out about the fun of networking with other jewelry folks via Twitter.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi recycles the images of an old calender for her new gold bezel necklace.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Last month's Art Bead Scene's theme, Monet's Water Lilies, inspires Andrew to create a new necklace.

Art Bead Scene
Trying to figure out how to use those swatches of trendy colors? Check out The Color Report for Beaders for help.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe opens up about a new venture

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off beads by Andrew Thornton and plays tag this week

Thanks for stopping in. I'll get back to the Bead & Button Post Part II next, either tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bead & Button Part I - Bead Dreams

"Natural History." I overheard a couple visitors muttering as to what this actually is - it's a belt buckle! A belt buckle!

Okay, as you can probably tell from my most recent blog post, I did make it to the Bead & Button Show for a few hours yesterday.

I'm afraid I made some kind of weird mistake - I thought I had photos of all of the metal clay finalists, but I don't. The exhibit was modestly busy when I attended, and I didn't want to get in anyone else's way, so I took rather fast photos of each of the pieces, and I must have missed a couple. I'm really annoyed with myself. As a result, though, in an effort to be fair, I'm just posting photos of the winners plus my personal favorite piece from that category (and I don't mean mine - which is above, yay). If you were a finalist in the metal clay category but don't see your photo here, please feel free to leave a comment or email me - if I have a photo of your piece, I'll be more than happy to send it to you. After metal clay, I've posted photos of the winners in the seed bead category as well as a couple from beaded objects, which was my favorite category this year.

On to the winners:

I know, I know - the photo quality isn't that high. Sorry! This is one of Christi Anderson's delicate hinged boxes with a sepia-tint photo within.

Ruth Baillie's bracelet and Louise Duhamel's spinner ring (below) were my personal favorite pieces from metal clay. I ordered a photopolymer plate kit about six months ago and have yet to break it out of its box. I think I'm inspired to give it a try now! I love the beautiful, crisp images in Ruth's bracelet, and the subject matter is so sweet.

Another lovely, organic piece from Carol Babineau.

This spinner ring is just fab! I love a good concept piece and I can't imagine a better subject for one than a little vinyl and Rock'n'roll. This ring was one of my two favorites from the metal clay division!

Okay, Susan Mandel requested that I jot down the names of the winners in the seed bead category, so I decided to take photos of those winners, too:

First place is Hatsumi Oshitani from Japan.

Second place is Kathy King (sorry, I accidentally cut off Kathy's exhibit card when I took this photo!).

Third place is Sherry Serafini's necklace.

Pssst! And here's Sue Mandel's piece. Isn't it gorgeous?

Finally, here are a couple of my personal favorites:

My absolute favorite from the exhibit - it made me laugh. I love it! Sushi by Linda Rettich.

I also love this one - note the beaded heads of garlic. Lucky totems by Yoshi Marubashi.

Well, yes, I do have a tendency to love beaded food. And miniatures. Bakery by Nobuyo Chiba. I'm sure the Short One would have loved this one, if he'd been with me.

Phew, I think this must be the most image-heavy blog post I've ever done... That's it for Bead Dreams 2009 from me. I'll post about the marketplace tomorrow...

PLEASE STAND BY - Bead Dreams etc., etc.

Okay, I've been getting a lot of hits on the blog this morning, but there's no way I can post photos and put together a long post about the show and Bead Dreams while the Short One is awake. For those of you waiting for metal clay and/or seed beads Bead Dreams winners, they are as follows. Metal clay: 1st place - Christi Anderson, 2d place - Ruth Baillie, 3rd lace - Carol Babineau Seed beads: 1st place - Hatsumi Oshitani, 2nd place - Kathy King and 3rd place - Sherry Serafini. I will have photos up of the seed beads winners, metal clay winners (actually all metal clay entrants) and my personal favorites sometime later today. Sorry for the rushed post, but someone is tugging on my sleeve to play!! Be back later.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Now Open: Use The Muse II

Remember the original Use the Muse Contest (see my entry here)? Remember how you were kicking yourself for not entering? Well, fear not - Use the Muse II (which is bigger - international this time - and better than ever) is now open for your participation. The Muse this time is courtesy of Lillypilly (that would've been enough for me to enter all by itself - I love their beads!). The contest is sponsored this time by the lovely folks at Artbeads.com and Rainbows of Light. The Use the Muse contest is, of course, the brainchild of beader extraordinaire Scarlett Lanson.

The first contest was quite a bit of fun the first time around - the Muse was a very flexible piece, open to many different types of uses, and the results in terms of variety of entries were completely eye-popping. (The prizes this time are also eye-popping, go here to view.)

I've already ordered my kit for this contest. How about you?

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Secret Garden

I don't know if I mentioned this before or not, but I am one of Soft Flex Company's "Spotlight On..." authors for 2009. For my article this month, I decided to explore the creative possibilities in the company's new, wonderful Trios wires. I designed this necklace, "Secret Garden", using Trios Renewal, with its three beautiful shades of green. My intent here was to create the image of a delicate, hanging garden. Please go here to read my article and to see the other two designs I created using this wire.

I hope my work inspires you to try out Trios for yourself. If that isn't enough, you may want to check out the Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest that Soft Flex is holding, where entrants use Trios wire to create their own beautiful designs.

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bead & Jewelry Linky Love

I'm making my list, checking it twice... Since the Short One's birth, each year, my beading buddy Carolyn and I have headed up to the Bead & Button show on Sunday, the last day, to race around the Marketplace. And I do mean race - we usually spend only 3-4 hours there, which is not enough to cover the entire floor, by any means. In order to be as efficient as possible, or because I am supremely anal (depending on which way you look at it - I know what the Husband would say), I've started making lists of people and booths I hope to visit on the day. I am getting excited! (And, yes, that is the stylish penmanship of a 40-something-year-old. I still remember dear Mrs. Westerman in fourth grade who tried to hammer some of the finer details of, uh, fine writing into my brain, and it just never took. Sorry, Mrs. W! I should probably also say "sorry" to the seven secretaries that I had the privilege of working with over the years before I left my job to become the SO's personal assistant and factotem. Curiously, the SO doesn't seem to mind my handwriting. Of course, he doesn't read yet... Anyway, where was I?)

Also, I've just realized that in the confusion of traveling home, I completely forgot to post the bead and jewelry links for the week. These are actually for last week. I'll have another batch this Sunday. Thanks for stopping by!

Carmi's Art/Life
Carmi's newest pendant is inspired by the forest floor.

Jewelry & Beading
More spring cleaning tips to get your jewelry business in tip-top shape this season!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew discovers the online jewelry supply store, Auntie's Beads, and was inspired to create a summery pair of earrings.

About.com Jewelry Making
Silver Threads Web Videos - Watch Jeanne Rhodes-Moen make some gorgeous filigree jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's The Bead Biz offers up a "less is more" philosophy to selling your work

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Easy Beading volume number 5 is out this month and is as great as always--check it out on Jean's blog!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Natural History - Bead Dreams 2009

Well, if I understand the scheduling right, the judging for Bead Dreams 2009 should be finished at this point, although I don't think the winners have actually been announced. To be perfectly frank, I'm not expecting to place (although, of course, I'd be thrilled if I do), but I thought it would be okay to go ahead and show you my piece, which will be on display in Milwaukee at the Bead & Button Show starting tomorrow. Here it is: a belt buckle entitled "Natural History", which is a finalist in the metal clay category of the competition.

I have always been extremely interested in Renaissance-era cabinets of curiosity (also called cabinets of wonder). Towards the end of 2008, I started thinking about how to translate these artifacts into something wearable. In particular, I thought the specimen box format of the cabinet would lend itself to a unique display of found objects in jewelry. I initially created a box containing four objects, both mythical and more natural history-related. This piece is scheduled to appear later this year in a very special book, so I'm afraid I'm going to be keeping it under wraps for the moment. Because I liked the way this original box turned out, I decided to get more ambitious for my next piece, and spent the next several months collecting fossil specimens and designing a more complex box for them.

I have a rather nice collection of small fossils at this point in my stash. The ones that ultimately made it into this piece are an actual fossilized spinosaurus tooth, pearlized and pyritized ammonite, fossilized sea urchins, a fossilized trilobite and a small dendrite plate. The box itself, of course, is made from metal clay and the belt buckle closures are my usual snake and bone beads.

I really had no expectations of making the finals when I submitted this piece. For me, deciding to enter the contest itself is always the big hurdle - it inspires me to get an ambitious piece off of my sketchbook and turn it into something tangible. I tried several techniques that were new to me to make this piece, which I know is not the usual way one goes about entering a major contest, but, as I say, sometimes I really need the contest to get me to risk the clay to try new things - it's just the way my personality works. I am very happy with the way my "cabinet of curiosity" pieces have turned out. I suspect this may be my major work for the year, just as I feel that my entry last year, "I Think Therefore I Am" was my best work in 2008. (In fact, I am still working on various related necklace designs, which is quite unusual for me, as I tend to move on to new things once I've completed a big concept piece.)

I am completely delighted that the editors at Kalmbach judged the concept original enough to warrant inclusion in the finals of Bead Dreams 2009 - thank you so much. I hope that I will continue to learn and grow in my craft and will have something new and original to show for it next year, as well.

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sea Change

Here's what I did with some of that roman glass I purchased earlier this year. It's finally getting to be the time of year to wear something like this where I live. I'm not so sure about the marble I photographed it against, though. Sigh. I wish I were a little better at staging.

Anyway, I like the way the fine silver wave tag turned out. I'll probably be fiddling around with that design a little more.

We're recovering a bit from our vacation. The SO's internal clock is still set to EST, which means he's been getting up at the crack of dawn - not my favorite time of day, alas. The SO has finally reached that age where he's favorite words during a trip are: "Are we there yet?" and "Is it time to go home yet?" and "When are we going back to home?". (Of course, now that we are back home, he's started asking "When are we going back?") Still, he grudgingly admitted to liking the polar bears at the Central Park Zoo and the Children's Zoo was a big hit, although he made H. feed all of the animals, instead. (I'm completely sympathetic to this last, as I, too, have always wanted a stunt-double to handle the more difficult and/or mundane tasks in my day-to-day life. If only H. enjoyed vacuuming...)

Have a great day, everyone.