Monday, September 30, 2013

Art Wander Wrap Up

Happy Monday, everyone!  I just wanted to take a quick moment to capture my thoughts on this year's Art Wander and let you all know how it went.

First off, I just want to say again how lucky and blessed I feel to be able to take part in this fabulous event.  It is truly amazing to see how many talented and inspirational individuals we have tucked away in Carver County!

This year the artists had the opportunity to go on a little pre-Wander tour so that we had a chance to see what our fellow artists were up to.  (During the actual Wander we are all bound to our own studio locations and don't get to have the fun of seeing everyone else, so this was great!)  A lot of the artists as well as the art students from Waconia High School all met up last Thursday night and proceeded to tour nine of the eighteen studios (by school bus, no less!).  It was so much fun to hang out with everyone and get a little sneak peek into the homes and studios of some of the other artists.  I know I'm now super inspired and motivated to add to our art collection and fill in some empty spots in our house!

I kept making and pricing new jewelry until Friday night when it was finally time to admit that what I had was what I had and it would all be what it would be.  Luckily, what it would be was a fabulous couple of days hanging out with the multi-talented Cathy Jo Menssen, meeting new people, seeing old friends, and talking about life and art.

Here are a couple of photos from the beginning of day one... apologies for the iffy photography, but you can at least get the idea!

A very blurry pic of me behind my main display.

Some of Cathy Jo's gorgeous work!
I love all her little vases and tiny paintings.

Aren't her bird houses adorable?
I have to admit that I was pretty darned tired at the end of the two days, but it was such a fabulous experience and a great opportunity for me as an artist and jewelry designer who is really just starting out!  

I have to give huge thanks to my husband for being so supportive, patient, and understanding of my jewelry making madness and for helping me out in any way he can.  I couldn't do it without his help!  I also want to thank Cathy Jo Menssen for being such a wonderful host and just a lovely person to spend two days with.  She and her husband Dave made it so comfortable and easy to come in and show my work in their beautiful, art-filled home.  To find out more about Cathy Jo and her work, click HERE.  You can also find more of her work locally at the Curly Willow in downtown Waconia.

It's really hard for me to put into words, but the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander really is a very unique chance to see a large number of artists working in a wide variety of media in a fairly short time.  As an artist, it was a lot of fun talking to people about what I do (and why I do it!), hearing about what they had seen and enjoyed on their wanders, and just being excited and inspired by art.  I hope that the Art Wander will continue to grow and evolve and that I have the opportunity to be involved next year.

Thanks again to everyone who came out to see us at Studio E!  Lots of pretties went to new homes... some after minor adjustments to make them perfect for their new owners.  It's always special and gratifying when someone finds just the perfect piece for themselves or for a gift.  As always, I hope the people who bought my pieces enjoy wearing them as much as I enjoyed making them!  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 37 & 38

Wow, the last two weeks have just flown by!  This whole year has gone fast, but with all my last minute preparations for the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander this weekend, it's gone especially fast.  Luckily, those preparatios have included lots and lots of jewelry making... including some earrings.

It's time once again for the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge reveal.  So, here are a couple of pairs I've whipped up.  If you are reading this the day I post it, these might still be for sale at the Art Wander... local folks, you can visit me at Studio E in Waconia, 1412 Beachcomber Blvd.

For my first pair of this week's reveal I used the Vintaj "India Archway" embossing folder with the Georgian Drop altered blanks.  I painted them using their patinas with a bit of bronze metallic shimmer mixed into the glaze.  You really can't see the shimmer in the photos I took, but I promise it's there!  I added in a little link with some shimmery Czech glass in a salmon pink to complete the look.  I made a coordinating necklace that these would go perfectly with!

Week 37: Moroccan Sunset 

Here's that necklace!
My second pair also features Vintaj blanks that I have embossed and painted.  This time I used copper and also used my dapping block to give them a nice domed shape.  I'm a sucker for all things acorn, and this is the time of year for it!  I added some cool green Czech glass that I wire wrapped.

Week 38: Green Oak
That's it for me for this installment.  Please check out what all the other participants have made for this reveal.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Art Wander Preview

I can't believe that the Edge of the Big Woods Art Wander is this weekend already!  I've been furiously preparing and making tons of new jewelry for this event.  If you aren't familiar with it, the Art Wander is a studio tour/art sale that is taking place throughout Carver County and you can see all the details at  

If you're local to the Twins Cities looking for something to do this weekend (Sept. 28 and 29) I highly recommend it!  There are lots of talented folks with all different sorts of art... plus you could come and say hi to me!  It's never to early to start thinking about holiday shopping, and you're sure to find some unique things.

And here's another incentive to "wander"... If you go to just 5 locations and have your brochure signed (you can get the brochures at all the studios) you can enter to win a collection of items donated by the artists.

I'll be at Studio E in Waconia with Cathy Jo Menssen (she does lovely pottery and paintings).  Here's the address: 
1412 Beachcomber Blvd
Waconia, MN 55387

The hours are 9 am to 6 pm on Saturday and 9 am to 5 pm on Sunday. 

Here are some pics of some of my new designs to tempt you with!

Friday, September 20, 2013

September Art Bead Scene Challenge

I skipped last month's challenge over at the Art Bead Scene Blog but I'm back for September!  Fall is my absolute favorite time of year (which may be surprising since I know that fall's arrival means we are one step closer to the long, cold winter).  I've always loved that crispness to the air, the leaves changing color, pumpkin and apple picking...  Fall is a magical and fleeting season and I couldn't resist the gorgeous palette of Alphonse Mucha's "Autumn" and the chance to celebrate the new season.  If you'd like more background on this month's artist and his artwork, click HERE.

Alphonse Mucha, Oil on Panel
Autumn from  "The Seasons (series)", 1896
For once, I didn't go digging through my art bead stash to see what I had that might work.  I knew that I had a Vintaj "Treasured Maple" altered blank in my stash (a thank you from my very first whole sale order) that I could turn into the perfect focal for this challenge.  While they call it a maple, I think it really looks more like a grape leaf.  I ran it through my BigKick with an embossing folder, added some color with the Vintaj Patinas, and voila! 

Freshly painted!
I added in an assortment of beads that pulled from different parts of the color palette including carnelian, Czech glass, and even a Swarovski crystal.  I also mixed in a couple of lovely little lampwork spacers from Beadygirl Beads along with a couple of small copper beads.

I got lots of practice doing wrapped loops on this necklace and I'm certainly feeling way more confident in my wire wrapping skills than I did even six months ago.  I thought the darker color of the Vintaj natural brass chain lent itself well to the darker browns in the artwork.

I hope my necklace captures the feeling and colors of Mucha's painting and the season that we are heading into.  I hope you all have some fun and exciting plans to celebrate the coming of fall!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 35 & 36

Where does the time go?  I mean, other than away!  I can't believe that it's already mid-September and the air is finally taking on that lovely fall crispness in Minnesota.  Once again it's time for the latest installment in the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge.  Participants are challenged with making one new pair of earrings each week that feature artisan made components.

This week I'm featuring two pairs of earrings featuring enameled copper components from C-Koop Beads.  Once again, I'm guilty of having quite a few C-Koop items that have been languishing in my bead stash for way too long... so this week helps make a little dent.

First up I started with a cute little rectangle charm pair with a cool matte gold finish to them.  I think these got stuck in my stash because I don't really do much with gold tones.  I paired them with copper plated components from Nunn Design, copper earwires, and some olive green shell pearl beads.  I love the way the green pearls pull some green from the charms.

My second pair is a little more dainty with small blue and lime green circular charms.  This time I went for Vintaj natural brass and a little bright green Czech glass.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

More Fun with UV Resin - Sparkle Time!

I haven't been blogging as much because life has gotten a little busy with trying to prep for the shows I have coming up this fall.  I'm not sure you ever feel like you have enough pieces made so I've just been working, working, working to get more new things made.  Wish me luck!

I tend to work in batches of's just how my brain works.  So last week I spent some time playing with UV resin and some raised tag pendants from Nunn Design.  I had one specific pendant I wanted to make but didn't want to pull out all the supplies for just one thing.  So, to make the most of my efforts, I decided to try out some of my new Nunn Design Silhouette transfer sheet designs.

I love the way the shine of the metal pendants shows through the color and you see the silver or copper where there is white space on the transfer sheet.  I'm not really sure what got into me, but I decided to try adding some flat backed Swarovski crystals into the resin.  I wasn't entirely sure that it would work if I just set the crystals into the uncured resin, so I started with just one.

I was super excited when I took it out from the UV light and discovered that the resin had covered enough of the crystal's edges to keep it secured... success!  After that little victory I might have gone a little crazy adding crystals to some of the other pieces.  Here's a look at the pendants that I made.  Sorry for the bad was a quick iphone pic while I was working.

Pendants in various stages of progress.
I guess sometimes you just need some sparkle in your world... and I just kept going in that direction as I completed my designs.  Here are a few pictures of the finished necklaces that have helped me get my glitter fix!  On some of them the crystals got a little more covered with resin than is ideal, but it's a learning process and they still have plenty of sparkle for all you magpies out there.

These feel a little different than some of my other work, but I feel like it's a little collection within my whole body of designs.  I still have a couple of pendants that still need to be made into finished necklaces, but I'll call this progress!  Next up, I plan to tackle that big purple butterfly.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

AJE Earring Challenge - Weeks 33 & 34

I hope everyone is having a happy and safe Labor Day weekend.  Once again it's time to share some new earrings with the world... or at least with my blog readers!  This is my latest installment in the Art Jewelry Elements Earring Challenge.  Participants are challenged with making one new pair of earrings each week that feature artisan made components.

This time I'm showing off two pairs that feature Vintaj brass blanks that have been altered by yours truly!  Both pairs feature a floral theme... I guess I'm just not quite ready to say goodbye to summer yet.

First up, a fairly simple pair that I etched, painted, and domed.  I hung a tiny Czech glass flower inside the curved metal to reflect the etched pattern and to add a little more interest.

Week 33

My second pair makes use of some tiny little tags that I embossed and painted at the Vintaj 2 Day Workshop that I went to last spring.  I brought them home (along with some other odds and ends that were not made into finished pieces) and promptly lost them.  I'm actually pretty sure that they resurfaced at least once in my workspace only to be lost again.  Anyway, when I found them (again) I figured I better make something with them QUICK.  I added in some leaf charms, some lucite flowers, and some chain and voila!

Week 34