I Have my Evil Eye on You

I blame my morbid curiosity for the Illuminati on my children.  I don’t know why it has infiltrated the 5th grade, but the kids flash each other triangular hand signs and point out the countless eyes, pyramids and triangles throughout our daily lives.  Free Mason architecture is all throughout New England which just fuels their imagination. My son is always taking his magnifying glass to money and even our family photos have the four cousins creating a pyramid.  Each time the kids yell out “Illuminati Confirmed!”  They believe man.  They get it.  The world really is a conspiracy!  

Boy oh boy.  Lately, I almost want to go there and believe it with them.  Secret societies.  Big brother watching with it’s electric eye.  Those with power and wealth trying to keep “the man” down.  When one is feeling helpless, there is comfort in explanations, alternative fact/fake news or not :)

The flip side of the eye motif is the Evil Eye.  Many cultures have adorn themselves and their homes with eyes to watch over them, protect them and ward off evil.  Again, superstitious or not, it brings people comfort.

Myself, I think of it like that college anthropology major.  I’m simply fascinated by relics and humans attachment to them.  I love to study people. I love to study things.

My observation:  thousands of years ago until now, humans haven’t changed much.  We all seek comfort from the fears of the unknown.

do do do do

Walk Like an Egyptian

7

Is anyone else obsessed with all things ancient Egyptian or is it just me?

I can remember in sixth grade when it was finally time to start studying Mesopotamia.  Everything was fascinating. The architecture, papyrus drawings, science, culture, they had it all.  Why did they always seem like they may have had it better?  How did they get their entire civilization to work towards common goals? And because of this, look what they manifested.

My grandmother’s formal silver tea set had eagle talons, a Sphinx bodice and ancient hieroglyphic patterns on it.  It was the most exotic thing I had ever seen.  How did my grandmother wind up with this archeologist-inspired tea set?  Well I’d later learn about Tutmania.  In the 1920’s King Tut’s tomb was discovered.  The first undisturbed burial chamber ever (most had been plundered over centuries).  The jewelry, pottery, artwork and sarcophagus were remarkable.  Soon clothing around the world showed ancient Egyptian influence as well as jewelry, architecture, artwork and literature. Many art-deco pieces look like objects taken straight from the tomb.  This is how my grandmother’s tea set came to be.

When I got to college I would take every Mesopotamian class I could find.  In fact I wanted to be an archeologist until enough people talked me out of it.  apparently my chances of digging in Egypt were pretty slim and digging in dirt is not all that it entails?  Alas…I put my curiosities aside and worked towards other things.  Now I occasionally watch Indiana Jones to continue the fantasy as well as running into some weird pharaoh stones in the jewelry mills.

To me, they’re a reminder that I’m not alone. There have been generations before me equally fascinated by Egypt.  Fascinated enough to adorn themselves in cultural images reflecting thousands of years of culture before them.We are the recipients of all of the knowledge and accomplishments of those that came before us.

The continuity of humanity is amazing. It leads to other questions.  What will be our legacy to humanity?  Gulp.

When they dig us up and ask the questions, I hope we rose to our capabilities.

Actually, I pray.

2018-03-03 17.09.52

Creepy Crawlies

This post is devoted to all the strange animal findings I collected this trip.

A crab.  A deer head with antlers?  Owls & birds.  But my favorites are the insects.  Probably because I’m an avid gardener.  All the creepy crawlies are my friends.  Boy, do I miss them. Weird right?  I love digging in the earth. smelling it. Watching every inch of my yard teaming with life.  Our fence has carpenter bees boring throughout.  I know, I know, I’m supposed to get them exterminated, but it is amazing how they go into the hole and a couple of minutes later you can actually see them push the saw dust out.  If they were attacking my house, that would be one thing, but the fence is like a science channel show.  I love science channel shows! Here’s another one: I still remember watercolor painting outdoors sometime back and a baby praying mantis the size of a popcorn kernel was hanging out on my painting.  For at least two hours this tiny thing was running back and forth on the paper.  I couldn’t kill it.  I didn’t want to swat it away because how often does a praying mantis hang out on ones painting?  So I just worked around it.  Kind of laughing.  Totally amused.

Oh and birds.  The birds. Yeah, birds are my other FAVORITE.  I’m a little obsessed.  I nearly run myself off the road staring up at the hawks and blackbirds that seem to be in the sky every time I drive.  I guess I probably shouldn’t admit that one :)

In a nut shell, I love nature.  I love color. I definitely love sparkle.  Creating jewelry with the occasional grasshopper. Totally awesome!

 

2018-03-01 09.29.59

Flower Power

Flowers are so cliché.

I know, I know, but I just can’t help it!

I love them. They are such a wonderful way to use color and pattern. These pendants are jam-packed with rhinestones. Many of them vintage. When the stones get old they have this distressed patina to them which I actually like.  It reminds me of playing in my grandmother’s junk jewelry drawer when I was little. Everything seemed so fancy and sparkly in there. Most of her pieces were from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  It’s a fond memory and clearly influences my jewelry work.

I just got the postcard for the show I’m in this weekend. It’s a cute card.

2018-03-01 09.29.59

It looks a little 1950’s inspired itself!

Switching Hats

2b

I was invited to show my jewelry at the Deblois Gallery in Newport during their upcoming show Anything Goes! March 3-25th.

The only catch is that I didn’t have anything left.  It has been well over a year since I made any new jewelry.   But…But… I am ONLY PAINTING this year right??? World don’t you hear me??? … Yeah, I couldn’t resist. I said yes and took a couple of weeks off from painting.

I went to Providence and dug through my favorite mills and came out with the coolest beads, rhinestones and cabachons to create mosaics with.  I had a women tell me this week she didn’t know what a cabachon was.  So, in case you didn’t know – rhinestones are cut and faceted and cabachons are smooth and round.  However, when I’m in the mills talking, it seems anything that isn’t cut and faceted gets labeled a cabachon.  I found cats, pharaohs and dragonfly glass stones and they all got called cabachons.  So loosely,  -cabachons are the little glass, crystal and stone pieces I put in my jewelry.

2017-12-20 10.13.562017-12-20 10.49.14

I hope these photos give you an idea of what I mean by “digging around”.  Every single tiny cardboard box is filled with a different jewelry component.  Up to the ceiling and down at least 18 aisles. It takes hours and hours to sift through, but you come out with jewelry components no one has seen in 50 years.

In the upcoming days I will share some of the mosaic pendants I’ve created.  I wish I could convey just how much they sparkle, but cameras just can’t capture it!

I had a lot of fun and feel pretty good about just how funky this new line of work turned out.  After many years, I finally feel like I have something polished and unique to offer.

That feels pretty good.

The Simple Joy of Taking Photos

_IMG_0665

Still quiet on the creative front.  Without “producing” anything, I almost forget to blog!

But as I reflect on the month, although not robust or showy, I still am embracing the creative daily.

For the past month I have been painstakingly & slowly photographing and loading my work onto Etsy.  I knew it would take a long time and with this knowledge I have pushed it off for years.  But my intuition has been saying “NOW” and “DO IT” and “GET IT DONE” and who am I to argue with the big voice inside me?  Heck, it generally knows more than my ego bird brain!  … so I sit day after day, at my computer.  I have read up on Etsy strategies.  I’ve been struggling to understand the best way to calculate shipping…day by day I am learning, tuning in and observing.

It’s through this quiet process that my photography has greatly begun to improve.  It could also be that I am always rushing and I don’t give the lens it’s proper due, but in this month I have really stopped and tried to take better photographs.  Here are some examples:

These two images above were taken on white fabric using a light box.  They are perfectly acceptable or one might say perfectly average.

_IMG_0009_IMG_0068_IMG_0167_IMG_0222_IMG_0377_IMG_0370

Now these photographs were taken incorporating backgrounds and visual texture.  As I read the Etsy strategies, it was explained that a better approach to photography is to try to incorporate where or how someone might use the product.  If you have a piece of jewelry, photograph it on a dresser where someone might put it in their own home.  If you have a piece of pottery, photograph it on a hutch or filled with flowers, giving ideas to the person on how they might use it.

More examples:

Above plain old backgrounds… or….

_IMG_0518_IMG_0665_IMG_0622_IMG_0524

…the products can become more personal and interesting.  You can better envision incorporating them into your life.

IMG_5537

Again, above is a plain photo…… or…

_IMG_0466_IMG_0429_IMG_0482

Show your potential customer how they can use your product.

So, if you are a creative you might be saying “Big Duh!” to this simple concept, but for me, I sometimes forget these big duhs!  I was totaling planning on plowing through all of my inventory with the trusty old light box.

I’m glad I took the time to read some of the Etsy tutorials and slow down enough to pay attention.  In doing so, this project which I dreaded for it’s monotony and data entry foibles has become quite fun and enjoyable.

When I look at my little Etsy store and how it is coming along, I can now take pride in my work , I can see my progress as an artist and I can see the joy I exude from being creative every chance I get. It feels really good.

…..Amazing Awesomeness Baby!!!

 

SCRATCHING THAT CREATIVE ITCH

_aIMG_0023 (1)

If I’m being honest, I’d have to say organizing, creating print media, picture framing and the overall creation of the 365 Art shows is driving me crazy!

All of the administrative work has kept me from creating.  I haven’t picked up a paint brush since December.  I don’t even want to count how many days have passed.

One thing that has kept my creative urges in check is the pottery studio.

Especially the first few weeks of January when my 365 challenge ended.  I had no idea what to do or where to be.  I found myself wandering over to the pottery studio, where I’d poke and prod clay, still not knowing what to do.  Somehow the physical manipulation of the wet cold clay, the cutting, molding, stamping allowed my mind to drift and not worry about what needed to be done. I guess one could call it “coming back to earth”.

From this time of “just being”, came many jewelry pieces.  First I worked in the studio creating the pendants, next I glazed them and soon the project found its way home.  I’d select some beads here, string a pendant there. The simple act of creating this jewelry gave me an outlet, a ritual, even a purpose when I was feeling lost.

_aIMG_0023 (6) _aIMG_0023 (3) _aIMG_0023 (7) _aIMG_0023 (4) _aIMG_0023 (5) _aIMG_0023 (10) _aIMG_0023 (2) _aIMG_0023 (8)

I am thankful for my pottery muse.  I needed this to keep my hands busy and my mind at peace.  Luckily The Guild where I take pottery is having a pottery show next week.  I will bring my wares there in hopes of finding interested patrons.

You’ve probably heard this before from many an artist, but it’s worth saying again.  For those who need to create daily, just to be able to breathe freely, it’s generally never about amassing their creations.  It is like the Buddhist monks who spend a week designing mandalas in the sand only to sweep them away when finished.  I have this incredible urge to make things, to use my hands and to work with color.  If I don’t, I begin to feel like I am going to explode.

——————

I certainly miss painting, but alas I have “grown up” work to do.  Until I get back to my art studio time, I will have to derive pleasure from the small creative processes that make my heart sing.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY # 364 – BUTTONED UP

 

IMG_9565

I spent Day 364 home sick in bed.  Well actually, I did go to the doctor to get antibiotics for my mangled throat and then I got in bed and slept – a lot.  It’s funny, this is what I envisioned doing on January 2nd – minus the sore throat and ear ache!  I guess I’ll have to find something else to do now on January 2nd – Like be healthy!

IMG_9535

I tried to figure out what I could do from bed today in between resting.  I have this giant box of buttons just begging to be played with, so I pulled it out.

IMG_9534

First I went through and picked my favorites and then I had to figure out what I wanted to do with them.

IMG_9536 IMG_9552

I have these gold-plated bangles with an empty bezel in the center.  I use to fill them with polymer clay designs and sell them to gift shops.  They just happen to be the perfect shape for vintage buttons.  I assembled different combinations of buttons and then wired them to the bangles.

IMG_9549

Next I made myself a necklace.  I tried to make the necklace symmetrical in design yet each button is different.  I love that look.  I’m definitely not matchy-matchy. I guess you could call me mixy-matchy!

IMG_9539b

Of course my daughter popped in to see what I was up to and had to join in on the fun.  She found the wiring a bit difficult, but as usual, she’s always keeping up with her mom! Her necklace looked great.

So although my head is pounding, and my ears ache, I still made time to be creative. Tomorrow, when I’m feeling better and I’m on my last day of my 365 Challenge, I will now have something fun to wear.

OK. Off to take my evening dose of amoxicillin.  Tomorrow I have something fun planned, so I better rest up!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #307- OFF THE CUFF

IMG_7361

In order to complete a week’s worth of necklaces, I had to make a few bracelets to go with them right?

I’ve had a very busy weekend, but I squeezed in three bracelets today.

IMG_7212 IMG_7222 IMG_7369

In one way or another, these three tie in to the necklaces of the week. One by technique, one by materials and all by color.

IMG_7221

I have a bag full of these vintage 60’s acrylic and brass clasps.  They are what I call “Grandma Sheek”.  I love costume jewelry from the 50’s to the 70’s.  Hmm.  Maybe that’s because my grandmother would always let me play dress up with all her baubles.  Boy she had a wonderful costume jewelry collection.

IMG_7341

I always get asked, where are the earrings???

Well, I only where studs.  I figure with the bright clothing, colorful jewelry and crazy eye-glasses, I really don’t need to add one more thing!

I do when I sell jewelry, design earrings for other people, but the pieces this week were for me, so none are required.

I’m pretty psyched, I wore one of my necklaces out last night.  It worked perfectly.  It wasn’t scratchy.  It didn’t twist and turn.  All of the features I am generally looking for in a necklace.

So, I think this is it for jewelry.  I’m getting the itch to try making a print with hand-crafted stamps again.

So that will begin tomorrow.

I hope everyone enjoyed their extra hour of sleep this morning.  The turning back of the clocks always symbolizes hibernation for me.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary