Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't Go Breakin' My Heart

I was browsing some craft sites and noticed that most every has very sweet Valentine's Day promotions starting...blech. I wanted to pay homage to those of us who are not so in love with cupid and poke some fun at the Hallmark holiday that celebrates the heart. So enjoy the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy collection of items for the broken-hearted!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lampwork Superhero: Lydia Muell

I had blogged about Lydia Muell of Ashton Jewels last year, simply because she makes the most incredible lampwork beads I have ever seen. In fact, they go beyond being a bead, to truly collectible art.

I decided to feature Lydia again, as she has been the target of a malicious scam artist who has tried to dirty the name of many accomplished artists. Lydia has been another superhero in the fight against the evil "fraud slinger", much like Elizabeth Wait (see below), helping to organize the legal fight against the libelous blog posted by a disgruntled wannabe lampwork artist.

From Lydia's Bio:
When I began playing with glass in 2005, it was not with the idea that I would become a career lampworker. Glassblowing was my mission back in those days and I thought lampworking would be the gateway obsession that would eventually deliver me into the moderate-sized hot shop that I so desired. I wanted to make functional art glass pieces like candle holders, huge glass beads that could be used as drapery finials, blown glass spice jars for Tuscan style kitchens. . .I had to crawl before I could walk and somehow I found myself on an unexpected path.

Today, I am a career lampwork beadmaker who takes each day as it comes, rarely questioning tomorrow. Today provides the same challenge as yesterday and tomorrow will provide the same challenge as today. . .Evolving my skill at the torch, searching my soul for the inspiration that always seems to be communicated with strong classical influence.

Timing, rhythm, and repetition are the elements that move me most in a piece of visual art, just as they move me when I listen to beautifully arranged symphonic piece. As cliche as this may sound, if I can SEE the music playing within one of my beads, I know I've achieved something soulful.

These days I don't look to tomorrow. I'm enjoying the journey too much to worry about where my path is taking me or how and when I'll get there. I have found a sense of satisfaction and self worth within those little beads that I create each day. For now, these tiny wearable treasures are my destiny.

You can buy Lydia's available work through her website, Lampwork Treasures.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Featured Artist: Jenny Friske-Baer

Today's featured artist is Jenny Friske-Baer of Divine Spark Designs. Jenny is another fabulous lampwork artist. Jenny works primarily in borosilicate glass, with its beautiful colors and ethereal patterns. Jenny sells her beautiful creations from her Etsy shop and from her own website, Divine Spark Designs.

From Jenny's Bio:
My name is Jenny Friske-Baer and I started Divine Spark Designs in December of 2002. My goal is to provide beautiful, unique, handmade lampworked beads, glass and jewelry that will reflect the love and good energy gone into their creation and perhaps inspire others to discover their own Divine Spark within.
I started beading over 10 years ago (who can remember?) and I blame the addiction on my sister Gretchen! She got me started and soon after I often couldn't find that "special" bead for a project. So I decided to try and learn how to make them myself. After sitting at a Hot Head Torch for an afternoon under the expert and patient instruction of my dear friend Kandra, I was hooked! I played for about a year on the Hot Head - saved my money - and now I work on a Bethlehem Barracuda Torch as well as a Lynx Triple Mix torch from Glass Torch Technologies.

Everyday I feel blessed that I am able to sit down at the torch to try and create something that others might find beautiful and full of good energy. And I feel blessed that the love of my life enjoys working side by side with me in our studio (a fancy word for garage!) creating many wonderful fused pieces and stained glass works of art.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Featured Artist: Elizabeth Wait

My featured artist for the weekend is lampwork artist, Elizabeth Wait of Betsy Beads. Elizabeth makes absolutely beautiful big hole beads, which are made specifically for the popular Pandora and Troll bracelets. She also makes beautiful focal lampwork beads. An artist since a young age, Elizabeth has also designed a 2010 calendar containing beautiful pictures of lampwork art, which is for sale in her Etsy shop. The purchase of this calender supports the Artisan & Glasswork Legal Fund, which was established to help fund a defamation lawsuit brought by numerous artists against a disgruntled wannabe.

From Elizabeth's Bio:
I started with pottery quite young, probably about 5, digging clay out of a ditch bank and making a Mexican hat out of it. I went to college and got a BA in art, and if I had had the money, I would have stayed longer than 5 years. I've knapped arrowheads, tanned hides, made quilts (by hand), done beadwork, weaving, metal work, jewelry, pottery, stained glass, fine art painting, pen and ink drawing and lots of other things, but lampworking is one of my favorite things to do.

I read an article in a magazine in the late 80s about using a plumber's torch to melt stained glass shards on a coat hanger wire that had been dipped in kiln wash. After learning how to do that, I went on to buy actual glass rods and learned how to make dots and plunges and petals, and eventually bought a Hot Head torch. I went from my trusty Hot Head to a Bobcat and promptly melted my mandrel. Now I'm on a Cricket and enjoy it even more than the Bobcat.

Elizabeth also has an Artfire shop and a blog that showcases her new creations and current endeavors.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Featured Artist: Alicia Helsley

Who doesn't like chocolate? OK, I know a few people who don't, but I tend to think they're strange! And what better medium for an artistic soul to work in, than chocolate?

Enter Alicia Helsley of Fat Daddy Sweets. She creates handmade goodies that aren't only pleasing to the eye, but also pleasing to the palette. Her products include chocolate-dipped sweets, truffles and other delectable candies.

From Alicia's bio:
As far back as I can remember being in the kitchen watching my mom and grandma cooking and baking. In November of 2008, I attended a cookie exchange party with a group of local moms. A couple of weeks later, one of my friends sent me an email that I needed to sell my goodies. I started my Etsy shop in December of 2008, and started with cookies and other baked goods, it was when I started adding the candies that things really took off.

In March of 2009, I was contacted by Martha Stewart Weddings, who wanted to have my truffles in an article they were doing.

I truly enjoy creating new chocolates to share with my customers, the best part is seeing the look of genuine pleasure that crosses someone's face when they taste my creations. I look forward to creating more in the years to come!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Featured Artist: Lori Ramotar

My first featured artist of the new year is a talented painter and jewelry artist, Lori Ramotar. She currently has two creative ventures. The first, Artwork by Lori, showcases her whimsical artwork. The second, The Royal Bead, allows Lori to unleash her metalsmithing and jewelry skills.

From Lori's bio:
When I was a little girl of only 6 yrs. old, I already knew what my calling in life would be. It was at this age, I first declared that I would be an artist when I grew up. Creating gave me an overwhelming feeling of happiness and purpose, and it still does.

I have been creating my own jewelry since 2002, and spent 4 years as a professional glass bead maker (lampworker). I had to retire from lampworking when my husband and I moved to Florida. I have since been concentrating on metalwork in my jewelry designs. I have never stopped painting though, and my love for texture and layers in my jewelry designs led me down a new path to mixed media paintings.

First and foremost, I am obsessed with color, texture, and design. I desire all of my artwork to attract second glances and bring visual and emotional enjoyment to the viewer. I enjoy using inspiring or amusing quotes in my pieces. I believe we all need daily smiles and uplifting reminders to get us through difficult times.

Lori's work puts an immediate smile on my face!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

Is anyone as happy as I am that 2009 is finally over?

In reflection, I have been through a divorce, barely sold any beads, and have found a happiness within I never knew existed! I am proclaiming 2010 my "Year of Freedom." I am free from bad relationships. I am free from "having" to make beads to sell them--I can once again simply create for the joy of creating. I am freeing myself from the lack of confidence in me, and ditching the bad habits that have dogged me in the past. I'd say 2010 is shaping up to be pretty darn good!

I know we are all supposed to make the resolutions that we will quickly discard as life takes over the next few weeks. Rather than set oneself up for disappointment, I suggest we make goals for improvement...humans are much more likely to stick to good behaviors when they are working towards something, don't you agree?

My goals? To continue to work out 3-5 days a week. To learn how to eat better and cook more simple foods that provide fuel, not therapy. To write everyday, even if it's just 100 words.

If I can manage to achieve these three simple goals, my lived will be changed immensely.

What goals are you working towards in 2010?