Monday, November 28, 2011

Glass blowing in St. Petersburg

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I posted anything.  In that time, along with my usual doings, I took a vacation to Florida, had a week-long bout of pink eye (not fun!), and learned some new choreography and performed it (with pink eye, ugh!  Luckily we were in pirate bellydancer garb, so I just wore an eyepatch to cover one eye.  Aargh!).

One of our stops in Florida was St. Petersburg, where Carl and I each signed up for a half hour "Glass Experience" at the Morean Arts Center Hot Shop.  With the assistance of one of the resident glass artists, we got to make our own glass items.

Since it was not too long after Halloween, one of the choices of things to make was a pumpkin--we both chose that.  I chose traditional shades if orange for mine.  Carl went for purple with yellow.  Not bad for a first try.  I'll stick to polymer and gourds for now, but it was definitely a fun experience.  And now we have our very own hand-made blown-glass pumpkins to remind us of our trip.

If you're ever in St. Petersburg, FL, check this place out.  They have a nice gallery and run a separate small Chihuly museum.  There is also an excellent Salvador Dali museum nearby, which I highly recommend.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

 I wasn't going to bother carving a pumpkin this year, but a few hours before Oct 31, after watching an extreme pumpkin carving show on the Food Network, I got inspired.  I felt like doing something goofy, so here's what I came up with.

I love Halloween, not for the scary stuff or dressing up, but for the pumpkins and decorative gourds.  We finally got out to Forneris Farms, a 5-min drive from us.   They have a great Harvest Festival with an excellent corn maze.  Of course, we didn't get out of there without buying pumpkins and gourds....lots of pumpkins pumpkins and gourds.  Our house now has pumpkins all over.  We keep them as decoration for as long as they'll last, which is usually until Spring.  Here's a sample of what our home looks like at the moment:

We have more pumpkins spread around the house.  I may have a slight addiction.  Thankfully, my hubby likes them, too. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mandala purse is finished

I finished the mandala purse.  Here are front & back photos.  I will have this for sale at The Majestical Roof's Art Market this Saturday.  If it doesn't sell there and/or the store doesn't take it, I'll post it on my Etsy store.

Front view, open
Front view, closed
Back view
In the view above, you can see what the lining looks like.  The whole inside is lined like the lid.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Halloween/Autumn Art Market

I'm signed up for my first craft fair in a long time.  I'm excited!  I'm almost done with the mandala purse, so that will be ready for sale.  It came out beautifully, if I do say so myself.  I'll also have the extrusion jewelry (shown on a previous post), as well as a new rainstick I'll be putting the finishing touches on this week.  Plus, I'll have a nice selection of polymer clay and gourd items -- see my Etsy store & Flicker blog (links on the right) for previews.

This market is hosted by The Majestical Roof, a great little gallery store carrying handmade stuff by local artists.  If I get enough interest in my wares, they'll carry some of them in the store!  So....Please come out and support me! 

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

I've been keeping so busy, that I haven't gotten around to posting anything here.  I added a few Autumn-themed items to my Etsy shop, however.  I haven't gotten much further on the mandala purse, but I'm hoping to work on it this Saturday.  I made some Autumn-themed inchies for the Greater Los Angeles Polymer Clay Guild's swap.  Can't wait to see what everyone else made.

I spent last Fri-Sun in San Francisco at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.  It's held in Golden Gate Park and has six stages of bluegrass and other music.  There were legendary players and new (to me) groups.  Robert Plant (here, with Patty Griffin), Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Gillian Welch, and others all put on excellent sets.  And I was happy to be introduced to DeVotchKa -- what fun music!  The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend (surprisingly).

All around, there were young bands of bluegrass musicians playing unofficially for whoever would listen.  I heard these three later that evening with their other band members; and, yes, that's a washtub bass the guy on the right is carrying.  It was great to see so many new bluegrass bands and so many younger people playing banjo, mandolin, violin, etc. 
 To top it all off, there was a hand-cranked penny machine with two HSB designs.  I'm a card-carrying member of The Elongated Collectors, so this was a very happy surprise for me.  One of the designs was from last year--those weren't being given out, but the operator let me squish a few of those when he saw how into squished pennies I was.  Yay!
By Sunday night, Carl and I were both completely exhausted.  I'm only now-on Wed-feeling somewhat rested.  It was totally worth it!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mandala Gourd Purse

Last week, I started a new gourd purse.  I decided to go with a mandala theme.  I've only done the pyrography and cutting/cleaning so far.  If I have time, I might start the painting tomorrow.  Or not.  Hubby is coming home from the Denver Gem & Mineral Show tomorrow, so I suspect crafts will have a low priority.



Thursday, September 15, 2011

Catching up - Part 2: Gourd Fairy

I was determined to enter something new into the California Gourd Society competitions at the Welburn Gourd Festival.  My original idea hadn't panned out as I envisioned, so with a week until the festival, I took another look at the competition categories and saw one of them was "Fairies."  That was it!  I'd make a little fairy out of jewelry gourds and whatever I had in my craft stash.  I finally found a use for some beads I had bought over 15 years ago!  They were strung on wire to become her arms and legs.  A couple of $1 scarves I picked up at a flea market set the color scheme and served as her skirt layers.  The only thing I went out of my way to buy was the hair.

Front view
 Here she is!  Her head, torso, hands and feet are made from four gourds.  

Back view

Her wings, wreath, and wand tip are polymer clay.

At Welburn with her ribbon!
She won second place in the Fairies category!   Not bad for something I finished at 3am the night before the entries were due.  :-D

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Playing with extrusions

A few months back, I was playing with extrusions to inlay in a gourd.  The colors which looked so bright separately, ended up looking too dark together.  Not enough contrast, I think.  It seemed a shame to waste them, so I put some slices onto the turquoise clay I had used in the blend and brightened it up with some mica powder.  I'm quite happy with the result.

I've also been playing with making kumihimo cords to match.  They're fun to make.  I gave a demo on them at my polymer clay guild a couple months ago and we had a blast :)   The middle pendant is on a custom-made kumihimo cord.  I'm keeping the set with the rubber cord.  The rest I'll list on my Etsy store by next weekend.  For the pendants, you can have your choice of kumihino or rubber cord.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Catching up - Part I: Gourd Purse!

Front view
Hubby got me a new computer back in June, but I haven't been using it as much as I should.  Time to catch up on posting projects I've been working on.  Probably the biggest and coolest thing I've done was take a gourd purse class from Gloria Crane.  We transformed plain ol' canteen gourds into beautiful (and functional) purses, complete with pretty lining.  Here's some pictures of mine:

I lined the inside and padded it a bit
Back view -- I added some free-hand drawings

I love my gourd purse!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Computer troubles & a new gourd brooch

My computer crashed a couple of weeks ago.  My husband thinks he can retrieve my files, but his first attempt somehow recovered an old backup of my files from 2007.  Odd.  And my computer stopped recognizing my back-up hard-drive a month or two ago and I never got around to getting a new one.  Doh!  When hubby gets back from his business trip, he'll try again to get my files back (HOPE! HOPE!).  Until then, I am sharing hubby's computer or using my computer at work.  If anyone's wondering what to get me for my birthday, a new computer or back-up drive would be awesome!

Luckily, my wonderful hubby had sent me a photo of one of my newer creations to my work address, so I have something to share.  Here it is...

It's done with Huichol-style beading on a piece of a gourd.  Rather than the usual opaque beads, I used more translucent, glassy beads. They gave a nice jewel-like effect.  I made embroidery-thread kumihino cord for my border to keep the beads in and bring out the color.

I've made a few other new things, but haven't had a chance to photograph them.  I'll try to get them up soon.  But probably not until after this weekend--I've got a very small part in a group bellydance performance this Sunday.  I'll be one of a bevy of bellydancing pirates and have been busy making costume parts.  Aargh!  Should be fun!  It will supposedly be filmed and posted on YouTube--if so, I'll post a link.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My first public belly dance solo

Last Sunday, I did my first public solo belly dance performance at Anaheed's Dancer's Swap Meet.  I've danced at public events as part of a group and have done a couple solo performances in front of classmates and friends.  But this was my first solo at a public event.  I am shy by nature, so dancing in front of a hall full of strangers was a bit nerve-wracking (and scrambling to get to the stage & get ready because I didn't get my 5-minute warning didn't help).  It definitely wasn't a perfect performance, but I felt like it was at least decent.  People told me it looked good.  I was fortunate enough to have lots of friends in the audience, despite the awful storm that day.

I'm glad I did it.  It's good to get out of my comfort zone.  Plus, it gives me an excuse to buy & wear pretty costumes (or at least make my own--full costumes are expensive)!  I know performing in public will get better & easier with more experience, so I plan to sign up for some more events this year. 

Here's a photo my husband took during my performance.  If anyone else took photos, please send me copies!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Book submissions

Mystic Vision Rattle
 Today, I submitted three photos of my work to be included in an upcoming book from Lark Crafts, to be called "500 Gourds."  Hopefully, my gourds will be part of the 500 chosen.  Wish me luck!
The first photo I submitted (above) is of my Mystic Vision Rattle.  The second photo is my Indian Maiden Doll.  She's got a jewelry gourd for her body & head.  The rest is polymer clay.  I built the arms & legs on wire armatures, so they move (at least they swing up and down).

Indian Maiden Doll

The third photo is of the my Fire Flower and Mystic Vision Rattles together:

Fire Flower and Mystic Vision Rattles
The flower and leaves are polymer clay, as are the stoppers and beads on the Mystic Vision Rattle.  For the iris, I painted the back of a glass stone and inlaid it.  Thanks to Mark Mauthner for the beautiful photos!  It would be awesome to be published!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Starting on a new adventure!

I've decided to make the switch from formal website to blog.  This will make it much easier for me to keep everyone posted on what's going on in my little world of crafting and other interests.  Now that I'm working full-time, I don't have time to make a lot of inventory.  A lot of my craft projects are for myself or for gifts, so never make it onto my Etsy site (though if you see something you like, I'm willing to make another one or something similar for sale!).  This blog will allow me to share some of my experiments and custom work.  I'm hoping it will also encourage me to take more time to create and dance and do more fun things so that I can post and tell you all about it.  So, here goes........