Whatever happened to my blog?

After years of some pretty regular blogging, I've obviously given up on it:)  I don't particularly love writing, but there is some good information on my old blog, so I leave it up.  I do, however, LOVE to read blogs, so I'm a bit sad that many of my favourites have also given them up.  Maybe they'll have a renaissance...maybe mine will....hmmmmmm.......

Around the World Blog Hop

I was recently invited to participate in an Around the World Blog Hop by my online friend, Vickie Hallmark.  Vickie and I, although creating very different works, are very similar in many areas.  We both love to learn, are prolific 'class takers', understand the business of art and have a love of Argentium Silver....the magic metal:)  I am also in awe of Vickie, as she can draw.  Anyone who knows me well knows that this is the one artistic thing that eludes me.  Anyway, hop on over to Vickie's blog.  It's filled with inspiring and informational posts. Below is one of her quick jewelry sketches, which I adore.



So, as part of the hop, we answer a number of questions as to our work and processes, and link to two (or more) blogging creatives for the next week.  I love hearing about other artists, we go....


What am I working on?

What am I not working on:)  I can promise you, if my head were mapped (as they love to do on Grey's Anatomy), the technician would be calling her friends saying "Hey, ya gotta see this!".   It would be lit up like a Christmas tree, or, rather, like 1,000 Christmas trees, with areas lit that I'm sure no technician has seen before!  I am constantly on overdrive in my head.  I think in pictures, and the images never stop.  Oddly, you would think that the way to help this would be to relax or meditate, but I find the most helpful thing is to do two things at once.  If I keep part of my brain occupied by an audio book, for example, another compartment is freed to focus on something entirely different, such as  learning a new technology.    


Initial Experimental Object


 Experimental ornament in paper


So.....I am currently working on new designs in my paper/ silver and enamel line....Secret Gardens. I've been working on incorporating houses for quite a while, so I'm exploring that right now.  I've always done bird houses, but I don't like to be so literal.    I've taught myself enough Rhino 3d software to get me started with creating a test shape (above, no relation to the houses to come), then realize it in physical form.  I've also downloaded the free trials of a few Rhino plug-ins, and need to fully assess them before the 30 day period expires.  



I've also just started a Graphic Design course, online out of Australia.  You can read about my decision here.  Having to use a notebook and 'diarize' as an adjunct to the modules is something I really don't enjoy.  So.....that makes me happy, because when I'm forced to do things that I don't enjoy, I always learn.


How does my work differ from others in my genre?



My  work seems to have no correlation to anything that others working with silver and/or paper create.  This can be confusing.  Although I think my art is very understandable and clear, a few still come up to me at shows and say "I like the way you're displaying the frames":)  They are referencing my vignettes.  Then they want to know how they go about removing 'the jewelry' to try it on.   So....I don't even know if I have a genre.  Miniature metal sculpture is not often made using precious metals, and paper sculpture does not typically involve metals or enamel.   Although my work is clearly made of mixed media, I tend to fight that label as well.  Go figure... FYI, I am juried into shows as Sculpture. 


Why do I create what I do?

I create what I create simply to get it out of my head.  If the pictures don't manifest physically at some point, It becomes an issue for me...disrupting my life.  Also, I only make things that make me happy.  I am my customer.    If I don't love what I'm doing, I won't do it.  It will be apparent in the final piece that I loved it, or not.  Make what you love, and you might be surprised at the response.  No, you will be surprised.


What is my creative process?

My process is very linear to me, but it involves many tangents, which require hours of research in their own right.  I'll lay out an example using the development of my Secret Garden series.  The idea started when I had to come up with a paper project for a Craftcast I did on using the Silhouette cutter.  I was inspired by a single photo I saw of a stacked, felt lighting fixture (approx 10 layers), and I immediately envisioned stacked paper sculpture incorporating 100's of layers.  My Secret Gardens are currently at 220 layers.  Although the class project was simple, the resulting pieces I wanted to create for myself would be far more detailed, and internally complex.  This led to the wild ride of 100's of hours over many months, involving research and experimentation on the following topics:

  • papers
  • archival varnishes and hard coats
  • cutting machines
  • design engineering
  • 3d software packages for non-symetrical shapes
  • learning platforms for said packages
  • forums for ferreting out answers to questions not answered by these classes and videos
  • enamelling

It has now been 1 year, and the design for my Secret Garden Series has been perfected.  I am just now in the middle of the non-symetrical shape adventure.  Also, as my ideas have expanded, I have just come off of a marathon researching session into laser cutters, for far more intricate designs. 




There are so many choices out there, from entry level of a few thousand dollars to almost $100,000.  Obviously, the high end machines will not be joining my family! After spending days on a fabulous online woodcutting forum,  I discovered that entry level cutters also won't work for me...there is a cutoff point where the machine might do what I want.   I will be visiting the Trotec Laser office (makers of the Rayjet) in the near future, with my own paper, to see it cut before my eyes...and will go forward from there.  

This led to the idea of doing a Kickstarter Campaign in order to purchase a laser, if it all works out.  This, in turn, led to hours of research on what makes a successful Kickstarter campaign.  It could still be a bust, but I won't be left wondering if I could have done a better job of it.  I'm tentatively planning for February, 2015.

So, the journey from 'I need to come up with a simple paper project for a class' turned into a completely new direction for my work, a year in the making.  This is typically how my inspiration map works.

Stay tuned..... 


What happens now?

Next Monday, on December 15, hop on over to read how two of my fellow creative friends answer the same questions:

Kim Paige of Red Tree Studio -
Michelle Loon -
I was honoured to meet these two lovely ladies in person last year at the Metal Clay Mojo conference.  Can't wait to see them again in 2015!  Here's a sneak peak of what you'll find next week, by way of a short introduction.
Kim Paige, of Red Tree Studio, is a fellow techie living in New York State.  She makes lovely, nature inspired jewelry, primarily from metal clay.  




Michelle Loon hails from California, and is a recent graduate of the Gemological Institute of America.  I'm so excited to see where her new CAD skills take her.  She's also involved in the world of aerial arts, which completely freaks me out!



Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to school I go.....again.

After years of saying "I should have been a graphic designer", I had an aha moment the other day.  Go back to school and become one.  So I shall.  

I LOVE to learn.  The list of classes I have taken in the last few years alone, online and in person, is diverse:

  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe InDesign
  • Shopify
  • Wordpress
  • Snowboarding
  • Enameling
  • Macro Photography
  • etc....

 I'm currently learning Rhino 5, although the certified class I signed up for was cancelled.  I'll figure it out:).  

When I arrived in Calgary in my early 20's, one of the first things I did was sign up for western riding lessons, simply because I had always wanted to learn how to gallop on a horse.  I experience no embarrassment as a matter what the subject.

I've spent the past few days researching this idea.  I could attend a physical University or College, but I prefer the flexibility of online learning.  This really is the future of higher education.  Don't even get me started on the outdated models of teaching used by many educational institutions, and the archaic practices of Universities for some programs...NOT all.  I'm 95% decided that The Graphic Design School based in Australia will be my initial foray into this.  I like their fundamentals program, and I think it will give me enough to decide whether to further pursue a degree program or other learning.  I currently have no desire for any sort of designation, just knowledge.   I have a good eye and decent sense of style, which I think is important,  but I'm interested in learning the fundamentals of color, layout, etc.  I also do well when I have assignments to do, and a community of others to share with.  

I currently do all of my own marketing and display materials, photography and website, but I know about 1% of what a professional may. The next step may be their web design program.  It's all fluid.

My goal for this is to start a virtual graphic design business to help artists and sole entrepreneurs with their marketing materials, at a reasonable cost.  It breaks my heart when I see people with poorly designed business cards, signage, etc., thinking they can't afford to have someone help them.  For example, when you have a beautiful business card, people actually keep it, and will show others....even if just because of it's physical attributes...think Moo cards.  The person they pass it to may actually be interested in YOU.

At 51, I have about 25 years of work left...meaning I WANT to continue working for another 25 years, on projects that inspire me and make me happy.   I can't envision a time when I don't want to be engaging my brain in a creative way.  If you are contemplating doing something, or making a change.....DO IT!  It is NEVER too late.  I've often said that if I feel like going to medical school in my 50's, I will. Funny, I just googled that and look what I found:)  I'm not alone.

At 50, I took up snowboarding.  I SUCK.  I am still on the baby hill, and may remain there.  I went with a friend, and after we battled the beast, we looked up at the mountain and she said "Is that the hill we were just on? There is not even a slope!":)  We had fun.  That's the goal.  If you want to learn something, research it today.  And, let me know.  I might be interested:)

Yes, I will still be producing art.  That will never stop.  Since I'm inspired by technology, expect my work to grow and change.

Stay tuned.

p.s.  Many thanks to my dear friend, and fellow creative, Diane MacLeod, for our school photo.  She is the historian in the group.  I am second row, 2nd from left, in my favorite polyester and vinyl dress:)