...If It Kills Me

It's the last day of 2010, and I'm trying to stay optimistic as the next year lumbers in.

I've been trying to make a go at this working artist thing since I finished my degree in 2008, and although I haven't figured out how to survive, I haven't failed yet either. For the record I've defined failure as any of the following: having the utilities switched off, eating my cats, having my house forclosed on, burning extraneous doors for heat, or having to work a full time day job thereby sacrificing invaluable studio time. Those are in no particular order.

I had some surprises that got me through this year in the form of blogging. I will never be able to fully articulate how grateful I am to Brigitte Martin at Crafthaus and Mike Holmes, Susan Cummins, and Damian Skinner at Art Jewelry Forum. Not only did they all take a chance on my writing, they helped me attend the SNAG Conference in Houston and SOFA Chicago. When living as a studio hermit, these rare social events are important opportunities to recharge my batteries.

And I'm starting 2011 with a solo show--Nomen Dubium--at the Appalachian Center for Craft, so there's a reason to put my best foot forward. Though progress has been slow, sometimes painfully so, I seem to have had a general uptick as time passes as sales trickle in, exhibitions come along, and writing opportunities bubble up.

I'm going to grit my teeth and get through this year and hope that things continue to be marginally better by the end of it.


The First Fruits of My Labor

A couple of new electroformed pieces--one sculptural object, one brooch. Made the LEAP Award Finalist deadline last week by the skin of my teeth.

Neotenia--7” x 3 ½” x 3 ½”, electroformed and fabricated copper, paint, ink

Spriozan--brooch, 2” x 3” x 1 ½”, electroformed and fabricated copper, paint, ink

I managed to finish two larger foam/resin brooches as well. It was a loooong day.

Orificium--brooch, 8” x 3 ½” x 2 ½”, foam, composite and epoxy resin, fabricated copper, paint

Organella Monstruosis--6” x 5 ½” x 2 ½”, foam, composite and epoxy resin, fabricated copper, paint, ink

I've also been cranking out small pieces for holiday sales. Check out my Etsy site as things slowly unload there...


2 Sales, 1 Month

Lots of bits and pieces in production. If you're in the Iowa City area, here's some info.

-Saturday, Dec. 4th from 10am-5pm, A Jewel of a Show at Modela, 323 E. Market St.
My work along with Penny Adrishok, Kathy Edwards, Satomi Kawai, Susan Shinnick, and Laurie Moore (no relation, but a lovely and talented lady!)

-Saturday, Dec. 11th from 11am-7pm, What a Load of Craft 7 at Johnson County Fairgrounds, Building C4261 Oak Crest Hill Road SE in Iowa City , a list of artists and performers too long to include so check out the facebook site!

Oh yeah, and don't I have a show coming up?


SOFA Chicago

For anyone who missed it, please check out my blog post over at Art Jewelry Forum about SOFA Chicago!


Getting Mangled by the Wheels in Motion

Our completed spoon family! More rushing than I normally like, but I think they make a good group. The "fork" is glossed over with resin making it a spoon by the way.

I had to do some special maneuvers to shoot them because some were still tacky--shh!

Plan B for "South Seas" with a little hitch. I had previously shot this piece with the labels not actually affixed. I managed to epoxy them upside down and had to re-shoot. That's what happens when your brain stops working. The piece is fine, just a very silly mistake on my part.

Below is the story that accompanies the piece.

Essay for "South Seas" at Friends of Carlotta

A collection was recently uncovered relating to the discovery of an island somewhere in the South Seas. Though the names of the crew and many of the papers that accompanied the collection were damaged, scholars have pieced together what survived. Below is an excerpt from the journal found with the collection.

“This first specimen taken from the newly discovered island was at first thought to be a fruit of some kind as it appeared both plump and inviting. They could be gathered at low tide attached to the branches of a sea vegetable that ringed the island. The method of attachment was difficult to discern, and I was not able to verify whether the pods were truly fruiting bodies growing from them or some sort of zoological structure anchored on them.

Unfortunately several crew members attempted to eat these supposed fruits saying that the golden color and shining surface was too tantalizing after so many months of ship’s rations. They might even help forestall the onset of scurvy. The following day these same men suffered fevers, violent fits, and finally hallucinations that they were “burning alive.” To put out the phantom flames they ran into the sea and did not return.

Their bodies later washed ashore, covered in what appeared to be bore holes as if something had made its way out of their flesh. None of the remaining crew would touch their remains so that we could conduct a proper burial.

We left the island.”



Scrambling this week.

I leave for SOFA Chicago on Thursday, and I'll be blogging the fair for Art Jewelry Forum.

But first I've got two deadlines looming. South Seas, an exhibition at Friends of Carlotta that I'm really trying to pull off a new piece for. If not, I have a Plan B.

And Co:Operative Tableware, which I'm doing with Emily Watson. She put the forms together and sent them to me to try and whip up some surfaces. I'm still noodling, but you can see below I'm trying to juggle all of them because I couldn't choose favorites.

And why not throw in more rings, it's not like December is that far away.

At least these last two are done so if I crash and burn, I've got something to show for our efforts!


Willful Abundance

I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that I simply have too much to do in a short span of time. My obsessive calendar and list making has reached new levels, and I may soon have a sketch book full of tiny tiles for the days and little thumbnails of my pieces while I try and win at this shell game I've made for myself.

December is a magical month where people will finally give you their money. I'm trying to make the most of this by participating in a local craft show--What a Load of Craft--that's not unlike the Renegade Craftfairs of other locations. It went well last year, so why not try again. And why not try another independent Holiday Sale? And why not participate in a local holiday trunk show at Modela?

So I'm trying to make about a dozen rings at a time.

And earrings...

And finish this commission that looks awfully slurmy and far from finished in this picture...

Oh yeah, and all those big pieces I need for my show in January at ACC!!!

So I'll just be breathing into a paper bag in my studio for the next few months.



I've finally gotten a few of the electroformed pieces through the ringer, but I've got plenty more to go. I've changed my labeling method, and they're now fabricated so that they're just a little more substantial. I've also incorporated polymer components with resin on two of the brooches. I'm hoping to further combine all of my favorite surfaces in some work to come.

Parasiticus Fructus, electroformed and fabricated copper, polymer clay, resin, paint, ink

2.5" x 3.5" x 1.5"

Fructoma, electroformed and fabricated copper, polymer clay, resin, paint, ink

3" x 2" x 1"

Lutila, electroformed and fabricated copper, paint, ink

1 3/4" x 2" x 1"


Cross Pollination

That's my brooch on Lana Bragina! Since the trade article went up on Art Jewelry Forum there's been some buzz about the internet. It's now making a second appearance on Etsy under blog postings! I was able to include work from a lot of great people so take a look.

Also, new bits and pieces on my Etsy site.


Proof I'm Not Dead

In my disaster of a studio, wearing "Hairy Friend J" by Satomi Kawai.

I've been very lucky to receive a metaphorical life raft in the form of work for the last few weeks as a studio assistant for a good friend and seasonal resident of Iowa City. He's been saving me a little every summer in some way or another with odd jobs, and this year he arrived just in time as I'd hit a rough patch. I don't know about you, but sales have been slower than the molasses I make my swamp drink with in the morning.

With all of this business I've lost the thread of what I was doing for a little while so I'd like to

I've been very lucky to get to play with the electroformer at the University again. It was destroyed in the flood two years ago, just as I was graduating. I've started off with some small test pieces to experiment with the new wax mix and to get back into the motions of working that way.

Here they are ready to go.

And here's the first batch I've gotten back. I've already been zooming along with them in the little windows of time I've gotten, but bonafide bill-paying work has come first. At least my current "day job" involves hand sewing gratuitous amounts of hankies for my vagabond artist friend.


Effing and Jeffing

I've been mulling over a few strategies to try and tackle this delightful economy.

Some will be more time consuming and require more details once I've sorted them out for myself. But the most immediate change that might help people who want to buy work is Free Shipping on my Etsy site.

So I'm now doing Free Priority Shipping on all sales, whether you live in the US or the rest of the globe!


It's Here!

Not only did I receive this amazing neckpiece in my swap with Lana, she also wrapped it beautifully and added some tea and a nougat!

The whole swap process was very fun, and I plan to do it again soon. With the economy as crappy as it is, we should all at least have a little fun with the merchandise that sits around instead of letting it go nowhere. And how fun is it that two artists in separate countries can have a dialog online that leads to such a meaningful exchange?


Who Wants a Big Pink D-nut?

"Big Pink Dnut" (brooch) 2009, extruded foam, composite and epoxy resin, paint, nickel silver findings, 2.5" x 2.75" x 1"

I don't know if you've heard about We Swap, but it's a very new online community that allows makers to post work they'd like to trade with other makers. Two Etsy makers who go by JuliAni and Uloni who both live in Hamburg, Germany started the project.

After you submit a piece, you receive offers from other makers who send photos of a piece they think you might be interested in. Weigh your options carefully, and then decide who you want to swap with based on the piece you'd like to receive.


Who wants a big, pink d-nut?


"underwaterlove" Reception

Some assembled viewers.

I hope she's just scrutinizing my piece, and not angry.

Several of Beate Weiss' pieces. I can't tell in the image if the necklace is Tamara Grüner's.

My work as well as Tamara's.

Several of Beate's pieces.

Tamara's work, and a lovely reflection of Ute Klotzbücher!

And more of Tamara's work--I really love the round brooches she's doing.

I'm so glad Ute was able to take pictures of the reception for me. It was very nice to see images of the work together, and of the gathered masses.



Lumen— (brooch) 2007, electroformed and fabricated copper, epoxy
resin, paint, ink, nickel silver, 2.5" x 2.5" x 2"

Lasche—(brooch) 2010, composite and epoxy resin, paint, nickel silver,
7" x 3.5" x 2.5"

Cordyceps—(brooch) 2009, fabricated copper, composite and epoxy resin,
paint, nickel silver, 4" x 9" x 3.5"

Druplus –-(brooch) 2010, fabricated copper, composite and epoxy resin,
paint, nickel silver, 5" x 4.5" x 2.5"

Bulbate Succulum—(brooch) 2010, fabricated copper, composite and
epoxy resin, polymer clay, paint, ink, nickel silver, 7" x 6" x 3"

Here are the larger pieces that headed off to "underwaterlove" last Thursday. I've also included some of the new rings I was doing as well as some of the smaller foam/resin brooches. Similar to what I did for my Swap pins, but a little more elaborate.

Very excited to hear how the show goes!


Art Jewelry Forum

Check out my article for the Art Jewelry Forum blog!

"Untangling SNAG"

I wish I could take credit for the title, but it was gifted by Damian Skinner.


Post-SNAG Recuperation

No, it isn't a particularly flattering photo of me, but it's honest. I may have slept since returning, but I still feel as tired as I look in this picture from the final night Party. From left to right, Heejin Hwang, Brigitte Martin, Satomi Kawai, and some crazy lady.

I have a ridiculous amount of work to do now that I'm back. A few more wrap up posts for Crafthaus, a more in depth article for another publication (more info. later!), work to finish for a show in Berlin at Schmuckfrage called "underwaterlove", and an order to fill asap. Oh, and lingering commissions I put off when getting ready for the conference.

I met so many wonderful people in Houston and had brief moments to catch up with old friends as well. Next year I plan to reassess my time budgeting. This year was a little too intense for me and my lapsed social skills now that I'm an art hermit.

I hope everyone who wanted a Swap Pin received one. If not, there's always next year!