Friday, January 30, 2015

Detroit News

It's always nice to get free press.  Well, for my jewelry anyway.  :)

I received my box of the FEW unsold jewelry pieces from Anton Art Center in the mail yesterday, along with a nice check and a newspaper clipping.

Here's the link:
The top piece sold, the felted piece is now listed on Etsy.
We had really REALLY good sales this holiday season, especially at the small art centers that have holiday market sales.  I'm really pleased.  Best of all, these sites are great to work with - display jewelry like artwork, have a steady clientele of people who appreciate art - and are willing to pay for it, and respect artists as business-people and as artists.

It's a win-win, as far as I'm concerned.

Usually the membership fees to join the art centers are nominal - $15-20.  Most take a percentage of sales - 30-35%.  Some set up their own displays, some have artist input.

I must admit, I love seeing BrisingBeads Designs in galleries!
I suggest doing a Google search for nearby art centers early in the year.  Some of the centers have deadlines as early as February, though most begin accepting applications in early-mid summer.  Search for "holiday shows," "Mistletoe Markets," "art center holiday shows," etc.

Isn't she fabulous?  Artist - Connie Sochacki
The advantage to doing these kinds of shows is that you can do more than one at a time.  J and I have already made our production schedule for next year, as we're going to try to add another 3-5 shows, hopefully in other states.  I suggest starting with 1-2, to get a feel for what is selling, what the market is, if it's a venue you enjoy.  But, honestly, it's become my favorite market.  Especially as I get to know some of the different artists and curators associated with the centers.

Artists = amazing people.

Monday, January 26, 2015

ART CHAIN, day 2

The wonder continues, all over the Facebook pages of countless artists.  YAY, the celebration of art!

Here's my Day 2 feature:

Raku River, 2014
The focal on this piece is one of MAKUstudio's wonderful cabochons.  Mak is a dream to work with, and her spirit shines through her work.  I tried to expand on the texture in the cabochon with my beadwork.

And, I must say, this is one of my all-time favorite pieces.

Raku river, close-up

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Art Chain

Have you seen the wonderful ART CHAIN posts making the rounds on Facebook?

Fabulous examples of art, from all mediums.

I was really excited to be nominated, included amongst this body of work.  Here's my Day One contribution:

Model: Andrea Breau  Photo: Dana Pachl

I love anything paisley and wanted to try creating a paisley necklace.  I think I did okay.  I love the blues and greens of this.  And all of the texture.

It's always fun to go back and see pieces from the past.  I look at this now and can remember where I was when I worked on this: my little apartment in Columbus, while I was working on my MA in Gender Studies.  I remember how tired I was for those two years...but how blessed with the best cohort of fellow students that has ever existed.  We remain friends today.

I'll post the rest of my ART CHAIN features in days to come.  But in the meantime, check out Facebook for other artists' work.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


In the gray of winter, I think a lot about color.  A lot.  And as I've been doing my yearly organizing of my design files, I've noticed how infused with color most of my designs are.

Art glass piece, 2013

I know that there's programs and guides to blending color, to working with compliments or contrasts.  The basic color wheel is helpful.  But honestly, here's my best color guide:

Garden, July 2014
Talk about a riot of color.  

Nature mixes and matches, without depending on a color wheel.  When I'm designing, I try to mimic this.  I pick out a bunch of stuff from my stash of goodies, put 'em down in random order on my work table, and then start shifting things around until something "catches" with something else.

First magpie bracelet, 2014

It's a balance.  I go by how a piece "feels," adding and taking away, shifting things around, playing with things I think can't possibly work and often being pleasantly surprised.  

Art challenge piece, 2012

For instance, in the above piece I worked on staying in the same color palate but used several different textures, shapes, and both warm and cold tones.  Maybe this piece works because it's a larger necklace.  

The key is to not be afraid of color.  Just have fun with it.  I mean, there's a reason why life isn't black and white.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In the end...

what matters most is the love.

Family (minus baby brother) circa, 1968
My dad passed away on January 7th.  We knew it was coming.  He had some serious health issues after years of being a paraplegic, plus he stopped reading his beloved books in October.  He wouldn't even argue politics with me anymore.

Mom and two of my brothers (pictured above as their true naughty selves) were present when Dad passed.  I was stuck on an icy highway.

Dad and I had a pretty challenging relationship throughout my life.  Thankfully, I made my peace with him before he died, deciding that the cost of holding all that anger was just too high.  'Cause in the end, what really matters is the love.

Dad and I, 1962
I got my love of books from Dad.  And my inquisitiveness.  And my love for roadtrips.  Actually, I think roadtrips will be a good way for all of us kids to connect with Dad.  He knew every back road in western Michigan.  The family rule is to never take the same way home.

Maybe that explains my aversion to making copies in my artwork.

I know when I need to remember him, I'll jump in the car and head out for a drive.  We'll always be able to meet there.

Influential Women

Friday, January 9, 2015


While demonstrating felting in Lowell last month, a wonderful photographer snapped some pictures.

Dianne Carroll Burdick of Stellafly, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Such a wonderful photographer.  And, a nice person.  She was totally respectful of my dislike of having my picture taken.  Except for my hands.

Here's a shot of part of the BrisingBeads Designs display, after we restocked.  I haven't gotten the final tally from the art center yet, but by all indications, this was a VERY good show.

Jaynee, who doesn't mind having her picture taken, put in a full day of volunteering at the art center while I did the demonstration.  She's writing up a sale here.

And showing off one of her pieces, here.  Look how well the displays are set up.  This is just an amazing little show, with phenomenal art from all over Michigan.

I'm really happy to have made the contact with Dianne.  I hope to work with her in the future on different projects.  At the very least, it's great to have some professional pictures of our artwork to add to the portfolio.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wisdom Wednesday

Remember: Beauty comes in all shapes, in all sizes, in all colors.

Celebrate beauty wherever you find it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

New Year Inspiration

A new year, a new future in which to make lovely things.

Oh, the joy!

Here's some of what is inspiring me right now, that hopefully will inspire my work throughout the year.

Gorgeous scarves.  Lots and lots of scarves!
An Abundance of Saris!
Beautiful clothes.  This designer's fashion is incredible.
More bracelets.  Of course.
And always.  Always.

More time in the garden.
What are you inspired by in this bright and shiny New Year?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Bead Stash - January

I love to peek in on other people's bead hoards.  Maybe it's the sense of shared shame.  Many of us have more beads than we'll ever use in one lifetime.  I know I do!  Or maybe it because I love to drool over lovely lovely beady things, even if they belong to someone else.

Or maybe it's for the inspiration factor.

A glimpse of 3 of my "stash" trays.
I've been collecting parts for bead embroidery and jewelry for over twenty years.  I try to remember this when I feel guilty about the amount of goodies I have.

About once a year, I go through my stash and rearrange.  It's amazing how jumbled up things get when you're in a design frenzy.  Or when you try to put stuff back in a hurry.

It's a good chance to see what I've got on hand.  And what I "might" need.  Ha!

I also sort out things that it's doubtful I'll ever use.  I usually end up with a decent sized box to give away.  'Cause I've been so blessed over the years to be gifted gorgeous stuff, it's nice to pass things along.  And, sometimes I buy something, and then - what was I thinking?  Like that big plastic doll face I ordered in June...  ?  Creepy.

It's also really really wonderful to go through these bins and remember where some of my goodies came from.  Or who they came from.  Which is often even more meaningful.  And, I think, adds to the eventual design that they end up in.  

It's obvious.  I am very VERY blessed.