Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Featured Artist: Artisan Goods by Gayle

I am always truly amazed when I come across an artist who does their craft well. I'm even more amazed when I come across an artist who does *many* things well! Gayle, of Artisan Goods by Gayle, is a self-taught photographer and crafter. Her work reveals a love of culture and a diversity of style.

What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?
In my opinion, handmade gifts still retain major credibility as being the most "thoughtful" (ie. "it's the thought that counts"). As an artisan, I know how much thought, skill and passion goes into a piece. Unlike mass produced products, handmade artisan items exhibit individualism which is an appealing aspect to me. If there is a back story shared, then it can actually influence my decision to purchase. Also, as a struggling artisan myself, I fully realize the importance of supporting my fellow colleagues so that they can continue to create, too.

How long have you been active in your craft?
Photography I was self taught during the 1970s I had my own small local photo business until I was forced to close it due to the recession. I began actively selling my fine art photos again in 2003. Jewelry was learned and apprenticed in handwrought silverwork during the early 1970s at an international art institute in another country. I didn't immediately pursue it after returning to the states due to costs and life in general, then began creating and selling my current OOAK styles in 2007. I began creating my conceptual soft sculpture art dolls, accent pillows and art cards in the year 2000

What inspires your work?
My inspiration comes from all that I am exposed to, be it cultures, nature, poetry, films, atmosphere, whimsy, color, heritage, memories, shape and textures. My work conveys my delight in simple pleasures and a passion for life.

Where do you sell your creations?
Currently my only shop is at Artfire. I am currently looking at other venues.

Are there any special accolades you have earned in your field?
Thus far, my fine art photos have received numerous awards, won contests, been used for teaching examples, and have been added to private collections.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Who Says Lampwork Beads Aren't Art?

I am sure many of you creative types have a favorite artist in your field whose work you covet and wish for one-tenth of their talent! In lampwork, many artists (myself included) create beads with the common purpose of being used in jewelry. Lydia Muell, of Ashton Jewels takes her lampwork beads to a whole different level, creating miniature pieces of art at her torch.

I have been a fan of Lydia's work for a long time, and have enjoyed watching her style develop. She has created some of the most distinctive beads I have seen since I began lampworking 5 years ago. Her current floral beads are truly breathtaking and unlike any other artist's.

Not only is Lydia an artist with glass, her jewelry, which incorporates her stunning beads, is equally amazing. Could imagine how good you would feel walking into the room, wearing one of her pieces?

If you are not already a fan of lampwork beads, Lydia's will definitely win you over. She is a trendsetter in the field, and one of my favorite glass artists of all time. Visit Ashton Jewels whenever you want to devour some gorgeous eye candy, and maybe treat yourself to true wearable art!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Featured Artist: Magic Bean Buyer

One of the best things about writing a blog about handmade goods is being able to discover and share uber-cool artists with others. Jamie of Magic Bean Buyer creates the most adorable hand-sculpted and hand-painted figures I have seen in years. A pre-press designer by day, Jamie transforms into Magic Bean Buyer at night, sharing her whimsical vision with the world from her Etsy shop.

What does it mean to you to "buy handmade"?
Buying handmade to me means supporting your fellow artists and crafters. I appreciate knowing that something handmade that I've bought has a lot of care and hard work put into it. I also love being able to know where and from who the things I buy come from. It gives the item more value in my opinion.

How long have you been active in your craft?
I've always been creating things in my spare time and going through different phases, honing in on what I enjoy to make the most. But I'd say I've probably been creating my figurines and jewelry pieces for a bit longer than I've been selling on Etsy, which I've been doing for the past four years.

What inspires your work?
My biggest inspiration would have to be food (who doesn't love food?), with super cute things like kitties, polka dots, sprinkles and anything miniature, a close second.

Where do you sell your creations?
Currently, all of my items for sale can be found in my Etsy shop. I've been slowly building my own website, so hopefully one day my stuff will be available there as well. I love to take custom requests, so even if you see something in my shop that you like but wish it was pink, or wish it had a cupcake attached, or whichever....feel free to ask!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Handmade Harry Potter Fun Finds

Even if you aren't a huge fan of the books, you can't escape the hoopla now that the latest Harry Potter movie has hit the theaters. Today's Fun Finds pay homage to Harry & his Hogwarts friends!

Radish Earrings, inspired by Miss Luna Lovegood, and hand crocheted with wire by Yoola on Etsy.

A stylin', working Hogwarts Crest Pocket Watch by Iheartglitter on Etsy.

Imagine how fun the next office meeting can be when you wear these Harry Potter Upcycled Lego Cufflinks by bitsandbadges on Etsy.

A gorgeous Hogwarts Woodburned Box for all of your magical trinkets, by SixthandElm on Etsy.

Adorable Harry Potter Finger Puppets, handknit by kazzalblue on Etsy.

Catch your own Golden Snitch when you buy Fleur's Snitch Necklace by Trophies on Etsy.

Last but not least, the Hogwarts teacher every fan loves to hate, featured on this Professor Severus Snape Scrabble Tile Charm Bracelet by Islandgirlzjewelry on Etsy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

D-I-V-O-R-C-E Beads!

I'm not really one for broadcasting my private life on my blog, but I figured this one time wouldn't hurt. I wanted to brag about the first new lampwork beads I have made since my soon-to-be-ex decided that our marriage wasn't worth working on. Obviously it was a big blow, and I didn't even want to touch my torch for a good month or so...then came having to pack and move all of my glass and studio set-up. Then, unpacking all of my glass and studio set-up! LOL

But then, the urge started to come back to be creative. I truly believe it was my spirit's first declaration that it is starting to heal. Somewhat ironically, one of the first beads I made was supposed to be a tab focal, but it forced itself to take on a heart shape. It's a little wonky and off-centered; a perfect reflection of my own little ticker (at least this heart didn't break!)

I will hopefully be able to actually list some beads for sale over the next couple of days. But I think I will hold on to my wonky heart for a while before sending it to a new home! ;-)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Lovely Surprise!

There is nothing better for a lampwork bead artist to see their beads made into gorgeous jewelry. The other day I happened to recognize the name of ArtFire's Item of the Hour artisan, as she had bought some of my beads a while back.

As I browsed The Beaded Lily's Artfire shop, imagine my delight when I found two beautiful pieces featuring my beads! I decided to share them here, like a proud momma!

This piece, entitled Chocolate Cherry Velvet Necklace, featured one of my focal beads, and some unique chocolaty rhodonite. So decadent!

In A Bit of Bedu necklace, some of my lampwork lentils are paired with turquoise crystals, mother of pearl and silver. I can totally see this necklace with a gorgeous southwest-styled outfit!