Saturday, February 25, 2017

Now for Something a Bit Different

I love living in my small city of Dalworthington Gardens. I have served it in various capacities over the years. The past several years I took on smaller roles as I focused more on my creative passions. In addition, the couple of years prior to last May's elections saw a lot of turmoil that spilled over into council meetings that made them draining to go to and caused me to pull back my attendance in the audience even more. The atmosphere has been more pleasant this past year and I have been attending meetings that I am an audience member at much more frequently. (I have a great attendance record to the meetings I need to attend based on appointments.) I have also had several people urge me to run for city council.

All of this led me to decide to file for Alderman, Place 3 in Dalworthington Gardens when I found out that the incumbent was planning not to seek re-election. Another resident filed too, so we have a contested election for Place 3. It is a small city and I do not know how many of you out there that are reading this actually live in DWG and can vote for me. To any of you that can or can encourage a friend or relative to vote for me, please do. You can join in the discussion on my campaign facebook page or learn more about me on my campaign website and blog which includes important dates for the May 6, 2017 election.

I took a series of photos of some ducks in our park that seemed to be having a conversation. I added a caption to the one below.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Design This - Rework Three Sentimental Necklaces

My customer had an aha moment one day regarding three necklaces that her sons had made for her. While wearing the necklaces could be emotionally uplifting, the closures the boys came up with were not very elegant and could be downright scratchy. She realized that I should be able to help her solve the negative aspects of the necklaces while preserving the heart and soul her sons had poured into the making of them. Two of the necklaces simply needed to be restrung and have appropriate findings added to finish them off. A third necklace also needed more beads added so that the length would fit with my customer's current necklace length preference.

It is a privilege to be entrusted with reworking jewelry that is imbued with sentimental value. I wanted to make sure I got these three necklaces right for my customer. They still needed to remind her of her sons while providing a more comfortable wearing experience. I made sure when I disassembled the two necklaces that only needed restringing and new findings, to keep all of the beads in their original order in order to preserve the designs the boys had created. For the short, magenta necklace my customer had suggested that perhaps some gold beads spaced every so often in order to lengthen it would be a good idea. I told her I would look at my supplies and make some suggestions of beads for her to choose from.

When I started to go through my supplies to find beads that I thought would complement the magenta stone chips, I came across some lightweight, possibly coated paper, magenta and gold beads that I had acquired only a couple of weeks earlier. The magenta in these beads, shaped like 24 sided dice (tetrakis hexahedron) was a perfect match for the chips and they had gold in them like my customer had suggested. I thought these would be so perfect that I stopped looking for additional options and showed them to my customer. She agreed with me. Now I needed to figure out a design to include just the right amount of the new beads to achieve the desired new length. One other challenge that I noticed when disassembling the magenta chip strand was that there were actually two shades of magenta chips. They were very similar but also very distinct. I needed to make sure that I paired similar colored and shaped chips across from each other in the design. Once I finished this process I strung the beads on a wire and placed bead stoppers on each end so I could take a photo for concept approval before adding findings. I received an ok, finished off the ends and took a photo of that necklace with one of the other ones I had restrung.

If you have any jewelry that needs repair or reimagining please contact me and I'd be happy to see if I can be of service. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

20th Annual Great Backyard Bird Count

It's almost here! Dust off your binoculars and print out your local bird checklist because the 20th annual Great Backyard Bird Count happens February 17-20, 2017.

If you aren't familiar with the GBBC it "is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are." Why is this important? Analyzing the data can help scientists answer a variety of questions about migratory patterns, health of bird populations, climate changes, etc. They need our help as citizen scientists to gather this data as there are not enough scientists in all parts of the world to do so. Do your part and have some fun while you are at it. Grab your checklist and head out with your binoculars for some fun outdoors while you count birds. Data submission is easy. GBBC has online resources to help you identify the birds that you find. If you enjoy photographing birds, there is even a photo contest. See last year's photo gallery for inspiration. Happy Counting!

For my newsletter subscribers that were wondering about the solution to why I no longer think the red-bellied woodpecker is grossly misnamed, check out the second woodpecker photo (bottom photo - male). My husband and I have often wondered aloud why red-bellied instead of red-headed when we would see this woodpecker (left photo - female). It turns out, we never had an angle on the bird that allowed us to see the red bit on the belly that you can see in this photo.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Photographic Art Gallery Wrapped Canvases Added to EDCCollective Etsy Shop

I have listed many of my photographic art note cards, bookmarks, matted prints and more in both of my Etsy shops, EDCCollective and EclecticSkeptic, for quite some time. However, until last week I had never listed any of my ready to hang pieces of photographic art in either Etsy shop. I have only sold my gallery wrapped canvases, prints on metal and acrylic, or matted and framed photographic art in person at shows or on consignment in brick and mortar locations. The larger size and higher price points made me hesitate. I decided to go ahead and give it a try last week and utilize the variations option in a listing to give customers a choice from five different images. (There are five listing photos, so this seemed like the appropriate number of options to offer.)

I chose gallery wrapped canvases for my first listing of ready to hang photographic art pieces on Etsy. They are lightweight and I believe they will be easier and less expensive to pack and ship than the other types of ready to hang pieces that I carry.

I do not have the printer needed to print on canvas at home so I have these images printed for me. This means that I had to get manufacturing assistance approval from Etsy just like I did on my boxed card sets that I started offering last year. I inspect each canvas and add a wire for hanging before listing an image in my EDCCollective shop. I do have more than five images that have been printed to canvas over the past few years. A couple of those are in stock too and the others may be able to be reprinted if you are interested in them. All of my potentially available ready to hang photographic art pieces can be seen in my facebook photo album. I would be happy to make a custom listing on Etsy for you if you see one that you want (canvas, metal, etc.) that is not listed, if it is available or is capable of being reprinted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Artist Spotlight - CiCi House of Clay

I have admired the work of this potter for a number of years, however this is the first piece of Cynthia's that I have purchased. I have long been drawn to the amazing colors that she uses in her glazes. Finally, this bowl showed up in our 817 Arts Alliance hut at the Texas Christkindl Market this past December. It spoke to me so much it had to come home with me. I love the free form of the fiery colors inside that contrast with the cool blues & browns dripping down the outside. I photographed the bowl on a mirror so you can see both inside and outside at the same time. The base is inscribed with her last name, year and a leaf. (Click to enlarge.)

Cynthia had a ceramics workshop built behind her house to facilitate the practice of her craft. You can find her and her creations at several shows in the metroplex during the year and she has her things on consignment in a couple of brick and mortar locations, including Potager's Other Stuff in downtown Arlington. You can also find her on Etsy as ClayBabies, where you can find a smattering of her creations, learn more about her inspiration and get a peek inside her workshop. (Check out her sold listings too, in order to see more of the variety of what she creates.) Most of Cynthia's ceramics are functional as well as beautiful. They are microwave and dishwasher safe in addition to being food safe.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Design This - Crane Origami Earrings

Last fall I met with another local artist, Amy Schultz, to discuss her participation in the 817 Arts Alliance hut at the Texas Christkindl Market. I happened to be wearing my origami crane earrings that day. Amy expressed an interest in them and I explained where they had come from and that I had additional pairs of folded critters in various stages of earring completion, made by the same amazing origamist that had folded my cranes. She suggested that I bring them to the hut for her to look at during Christkindl. That had been the plan, however it was not until she stopped by to pick up her unsold inventory that I remembered to have them with me.

Amy asked if I thought the origami would hold up for a necklace. I hesitated because even though it is coated so that the paper is hardened, they still seem rather delicate to me. She decided to stick with earrings and picked out two pair of cranes, one for her and one to give as a gift. One pair already had its finish on it and I just needed to add ear wires and a dangle from the loop under the crane. The other pair was still only uncoated paper. I added eye pins to suspend the cranes from, painted them with hardener and added complementarily colored beads and gold plated ear wires.

While we were looking over the origami critters, an onlooker appeared fascinated and I invited her to look too. She thought the pair of flying pigs would be perfect for a family member. They were also only uncoated folded paper so I treated them the same as the second pair of cranes that Amy had picked out. Because it had been some time since I had stiffened a pair of the origami critters, I made sure I was up to speed before coating any of my custom requests. Both tests turned out and I now have two more pair of ready to ship origami earrings. The folded flying pigs were my only ones and unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of them before they flew to their new home, unlike the cranes, which I have shared pictures of in this post.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Suggestions 2017

Have you given thought to what you will get your Valentine this year? Will your gift be practical, funny or romantic? That could depend on how long you have known your Valentine, whether he or she is a romantic or a practical type and your relationship status. (Don't forget family members, they appreciate a shout out on Valentine's Day too. Remember when you were in grade school and everyone in your class got a card from you?)

There are fun flying pig Valentine's Day cards in my EclectcSkeptic Etsy shop along with a variety of creations sporting hearts. While there are not as many items sporting hearts in my EDCCollective Etsy shop, there are many practical and pretty creations to choose from.

Order ready to ship items from either of my Etsy shops no later than the end of the first week in February (U.S. addresses) so that your gift should arrive in time for Valentine's Day. If you are interested in a custom order for your Valentine, contact me by the end of January to discuss details so I can complete your request and ship your gift to you in a timely manner. You may find inspiration for your custom item, with or without a heart, in my sold items sections in my shops.