An artisan jewelry journey in color, texture and fun. Beaded jewelry with handcrafted sterling silver is my focus and joy.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Seeds of Glory

I am always amazed by the talents of those jewelry artists who choose as their medium seed beads. If one were to look at just a single seed bead, it would seem so humble. Tiny and cute, perhaps, but very underwhelming. How can this tiny blip of a thing be a part of any substantial beauty? But oh my, in the hands of a master weaver, these tiny bits of glass and color are transformed into swoops and collages of wonderful texture and form. As much as I stretch in my artistic pursuits with gemstones and silver to achieve texture and celebration of color, I stand in awe of the weavers.

One such master is Ann Burke of My Fair Lady on Etsy. A member of Etsy's street team Etsy Beadweavers, she is a crafter of works extraordinaire in seed beads and gemstones. You name a weave, a technique applicable to the palette of seed beads, Ann Burke can give you a beautiful expression. She also loves gemstones, and uses them with a talented eye to balance and rhythm.

So many pretties to see, you must take a trip to visit Ann at her shop in Etsy, and find the time to find out more about her on her blog, where she delves into her art and writes features on other Etsy artists. Her jewelry is truly inspired.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Calling All Sweethearts

Okay, I've got some probably less-than-welcome news....Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Now, you can always postpone thinking about this and go with the last minute grab some flowers-n-candy, whatever sparkly thing the local chain jewelry store has on special, and ho-hum your sweetie again. OR, you can take a little time, find that one-of-a-kind something that speaks your heart's sentiments or appeals to the interests of your sweetie's heart.

While visiting the Etsy shop of Pamela E. Miller, creator of art and jewelry, I found that she expresses her creative philosophies quite eloquently:
I feel that creating art is a way of sharing your soul with others. As you will see in my artwork: sometimes I am very flamboyant and always colorful, sometimes confidant and peaceful, other times angry or chaotic. I think all of my emotions; passions come out in my works.

What better approach to finding that special gift than to look to others with the special gifts of transforming passions into art? Pamela's artwork includes colorful seascapes, vibrant cityscapes, stunning abstracts and fairies/fantasy art. Trained at the Maryland Institute of Art, Howard Community College and Capital College, she has exhibited at the Chesapeake Gallery in Prince Frederick, Maryland, and DMG Artwork in Annapolis. She also has jewelry for sale in her shop - fun creations full of color and fanciful wirework.

So take a little time as you shop for your beloved, and consider shopping for an art piece that speaks to you from Contemporary Original Art by Pamela E. Miller, finding more about her and her inspirations on her blog. I'll leave you with a piece she calls "Huge Happiness" - may you be blessed with some this week.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Whole is Greater than the Sum of Its Parts

Some people live disjointed lives, little bits here, little bits there, nothing really bringing everything together.

Not Kathryn Short. A photographer and all-around artist, she attended the Maryland Institute College of Art as a photography major. Kathryn now teaches art and photography at the high school level (bless her heart!), but also enjoys bookmaking and knitting.

So now Kathryn loves to knit and crochet, take photographs while walking outdoors, craft small books for collecting thoughts, and anything else that keeps her hands busy. And she has pulled it all together in a single Etsy shop, Purple Snowpeas. You can follow along with her on her hikes, as she captures hauntingly beautiful images, keep your head and hands warm on your own hikes, and journal along the way.

How balanced is that?

Learn more about Purple Snowpeas on her blog, too.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Etsy as Art Gallery

There is a perception of Etsy as a site for DIYers doing the crafting thing, when in fact it is becoming a location that professional artists are more and more often drawn to expand their exposure beyond the brick&mortar art galleries, shows and single artist websites. A professional graphic artist by day, and personal artist by night, George McKim is one such artist. After a classical art education, his portfolio of exhibitions and gallery affiliations extends impressively over more than 20 years.

At George McKim's Etsy shop, you can find mixed media collages, paintings, linoleum cut prints and note cards based on his creations. I find his lino cuts especially compelling, as I love their graphic detail, and his series of sunflowers just beg for multiple "Warhol" display. (I did as best I could with Blogger's image load above - aren't they fabulous?!). He has written about the process on his blog, if you're unfamiliar with this particular type of art printing. His prints are all signed and numbered, too. I'd recommend a general tour of his blog, as well, as he writes wonderful features on some very interesting art events (check out this platinum-n-diamonds skull, for example), as well as well-written features on Etsy shops from an artist's perspective.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Where "Nerd" is not a Four Letter Word

uhhhhhh, that would be the ultra-fun "Liz Staley's Realm of Nerdiness"! An Etsy shop that revolves around the themes of gaming and the nerd lifestyle rather than a single craft, Liz Staley from North Carolina provides creations that bring art and nerdiness into one convenient location.

Her imagination takes a variety of materials and upcycles them into items to adorn or use and proclaim in which realm of reality you operate. From keyboard keys and computer circuit boards, to recycled plush toys, her visions open up a whole new perspective on the concept of nerdiness. I for one had no idea that the Tribbles have come to Earth as KAFMAs, did you?

A crochet queen, her delicate fishnet gloves bring a bit of drama to any outfit.

And her pin collections? Some of the wittiest ever - I love these Pirates of the Caribbean quotes!

A self-proclaimed gaming goddess, she claims to bite only when her role-playing dice are stolen - so drop on by Liz Staley's Realm of Nerdiness, either her shop or her blog, and get your own nerd on!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's a Beadiful Day!

There are oodles of jewelry artisans on Etsy, providing limitless opportunities for personal adornment. Most often (like me) they create standard jewelry items of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, yadayadayada.... how mundane! Whilst perusing the artisan creations of C Serpent Designs and all the beautiful jewelry to be found there, I was drawn instead to her wonderful and whimsical "whole lot more". She uses her eye for color and fabulous beadery to create pieces to add the delight of beads to items in your life besides your ears, necks, and wrists. Like phone charms, barrettes, brooches, bookmarks, letter openers....the list goes on.

Susan, the artist behind C Serpent, was nicknamed "Sea Serpent" by her husband following a scuba trip, and has been making jewelry for friends and family as well as selling in a gallery in La Jolla, CA, for four years. She is inspired by all the gorgeous lampwork glass beads she has found on Etsy and other sites, and also works in semi-precious gemstones.

Her enjoyment and excitement in the creative process shows in the beauty and balance of her work, and I just love the way she expands that creativity beyond jewelry. Which isn't to say you should neglect checking out her jewelry! Visit it all at C Serpent Designs, and find out more about Susan and her work in her blog, and have a beadiful day!