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Thursday, February 24, 2011

pulling my strings

 "Heart Strings"
Agnes Strauss
A beautiful group of ladies came to Fayetteville to design their 
Jo Ann, Rita, Charlene, Agnes, and =)
Rita busily worked on her "strings".
Charlene brought along a frozen Charlotte, added wings....
then made her into a beautiful angel.
That touched my ♥. 
This was Jo Ann's very first jewelry class.
She was so proud of the dangle she made for her thimble.
So was I!
This was Charlene's book and locket.
Nesties and etched books 
were just some of the possible attachments!
Then, just this past week I received the spring issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.
It will be available on March 1st.
 I was so honored to see my Heart Strings article inside.
The photographs were dazzling, as always.
My ♥ is once again doing the dance.  
Congratulations to the one and only master stuffsmith
who is spotlighted as the designer in this issue.
 I have been so busy preparing for Adorn Me
It takes every fiber of my being to stay focused.
Forgive me if I haven't stopped by to see what you have been doing.
It is not that I don't care.
It is just because I care so much 
for the students coming to my classes.
The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, 
but must be felt with the heart.   
~Helen Keller
(p.s. Charlene made my apron =)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

filling my heart

I have lived most of my life without art as I now know it.
If any of you might have read my story here, you know my life story is really "not so climatic", as I lived out the very first part (17 years) of my life in the rural part of Texas...
which is really not that far from where I now live.
My first five years were spent on a small ranch just a couple miles down the road from the ice cream capital of the world (*wink*), Brenham, Texas, 
which is the home of Blue Bell ice cream!  YUM!  YUM!
I have so many memories of those days.  It often even amazes me, as we lived very VERY modestly, in a little "provided" wood frame house with a leaking roof when it rained.
But, I loved it there.  The bluebonnets were everywhere in the Spring, and the meadows full of tall green grass...which was ideal for a cattle ranch.
Perhaps if we would have stayed there, at that little ranch where my father was the foreman, I would have been able to take art lessons, as my older sister actually did in nearby Brenham.  
But, when I was five years old, my father had the opportunity to move closer (and make a better salary) to the area he and my mother were born, in New Ulm, Texas, which was only about 30+ miles from Brenham. 
This ranch, which was almost 600 acres, was quite a distance from a larger town such as Brenham, or even nearby Bellville, where I eventually attended four years of high school.  Once I began elementary school,
it required a long bus ride of at least one hour to and from school.  And, an even longer ride once I began high school, which was almost 30 more miles away.
Art classes were not in the family budget,
nor was the distance for me to attend one even remotely considered.
Without repeating the whole story, I think you get the idea.  
So, now....each day as I fill my hours wondering what exactly I might want to do next, 
I often find myself tearing up.  I have so many things in my heart, crying to come out.
I am still that little girl who cried when she was told she couldn't take art lessons.  I have been waiting so many years to learn what making my kind of art really feels like.
I hope that where ever you are today, you are making the art you have longed to make.
Maybe I sound like a broken record.  Maybe I am writing to you, as you wonder why am I even trying to do this.  Make art.  Who am I to think I can do it? 
I just know that I never gave up.  I always kept looking and searching.
And, one day, it just happened.  
I found a small peek into what I would be doing full time...just about 5 years ago.
I wish for you that all those dreams you have held deep inside your heart,
do come true.
And, that your ♥ is filled today and every day after this one.
Filled with art.
P.S. I hope the top picture helped answer your request Margo....thanks for asking =)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

sweet queen

There is a lot involved when preparing to teach a class.
(More on that later).
Have to tell you, 
there is still room in the one I will be teaching in Fayetteville for ARTS this next Saturday, February 12th.  
Yes!  The Art Guild of Rural Texas has a new name.  
So new it hasn't yet been updated on their website.
If you live in Texas, and you haven't decided what you ♥ for Valentine's Day, 
this would be a treat!
I bet your loved one would really appreciate the suggestion!
The class will be great fun, very relaxed and in a beautiful gallery setting.
Just the thing to get your creative juices flowing...
It did mine...as I finished another class example.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

bead soup ingredients (for melissa)

 I had no idea what I wanted to send my bead soup partner.  
I know I often find inspiration in a vintage piece...either a rhinestone brooch, necklace...earrings.
This time was no different, yet totally different.
It really began with a small stash of vintage lockets I had bought from a favorite dealer I head to each Spring and Fall at the antique festival.
She travels from Pennsylvania twice a year carrying with her an amazing stash of vintage lace, ribbon, tulle, buttons, dollies and on this occasion, these.
She pulled a small bag of lockets out from under one of her tables ~ last Spring.  Yes, I have had these for almost a year, and not even touched them until last Christmas actually.  
I bought all she had, as their patina was what I loved most.
So, as I sat at my bench, holding one of them in my hand, 
I decided this was it.  The beginning.  I felt relieved.
I opened it, closed it, then opened it again....yes, 
I did indeed see two spaces that needed begged to be filled =)
How about one of my cool "sisters" covered with mica?  Or, how about resin?  
Yes, but resin would take a day+ for curing.  
Did I mention I can be impatient?
I have to confess, I have a pretty good stash of resin filled bezels I had prepared for Marburger last Fall, and have yet to use in a single piece of jewelry.  
I looked at several, deciding on the one that had a most favorite picture of a Texas Scissor-tailed Flycatcher I had taken last year while RVing on Lake Sommerville.
And, the vintage text I had put in it said A LOT.  I knew hoped Melissa would like it.
The bonus, the bezel fit perfectly inside the wells of the locket.
It was attached in the top.
 Then, bet you know what happened next. 
The bottom had to be filled too.
I decided to form what I call a "nestie" to place down in the bottom well.
And, of course it needed an egg or two.  
This seemingly simple task became more than I anticipated, as it had to be just the right height.  I didn't want it too thick (which is exactly what happened when I added three baroque pearl eggs), as it put extra pressure on the resin piece placed in the top. 
I think I struggled worked on this part of the project the longest, 
but it did start another idea, which I would incorporate a little later...in the rest of the soup.
 Once I worked it out...using one egg, the well was a still a little too empty.
I took a piece of etched metal and made two little tags with Melissa's name on it. 
One to place inside the well,
  and the other I attached to a roll of Dupoini silk strips,
also sent to Melissa.
Oh yes, and the front needed a little deco too!
So I plucked one of the Olivine Jade beads from my bin and attached it in a favorite cold join method.  
Now, it was coming together, as I had chosen a string of these "lemony-green" Olivine Jade beads to go along with a few other goodies....
  A couple of Brass Bouquet filigree connectors, my favorite brass vintage infinity chain, another few lengths of brass rolo chain, several brass lanyards, one of my simple bronze clasps, a couple sizes of brass jump rings, strips of Dupoini silk, bronze wire and a vintage Czech glass button picked up at a bead show.  
Now, this all had to go into a vintage PINK satin jewelry bag I had scored at one of my favorite antique stores in Katy.  
I loved the bag when I saw it and had picked it up to send to my partner, so now it was time to tie it together, along with all the other goodies. 
So, remember when I told you earlier about the challenge I faced when making the "nestie" for the locket?  I first had made one that had way more baroque pearl eggs (three =), and would not fit in the locket as I wanted, so I decided to attach it to the top of the bag.
Which....I really like!
This was fun.  A total unexpected chain of events.
I think know that is how it always happens for me when working on a project, 
and it probably happens just as many times to you.  
It made me realize, once again...how excited I am to be doing this.  Living my dream.  
It keeps me going....makes me happy, 
and now fills most of my day. 
I feel so very blessed.