Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 - What the Hey???

I absolutely cannot believe what this year has wrought.

Jan = spending all my time madly making stuff for what turned out to be a horrible show.

Feb = horrible show, lose trailer tire in blizzard on the way down. Get swindled out of $1100 by show promoter.

Mar = given the boss from hell at a state job. This woman has tried to get my husband fired for years. She's going to be MY boss? Nuh uh!

Apr = good thing, sweet little baby granddaughter Emma. Bad thing. While I'm babysitting her brothers, one of them gives me a goose egg and a black eye!

May = good thing... quit state job and get hired at a stained glass shop. Just feel like a fish out of water because while I've got the experience in warm glass, my stained glass leaves a lot to be desired! Bad thing... loan for house falls through at literally the last minute and I end up living in daughter's basement.

June = busy. Get many projects started, none finished. Start selling at a farmer's market that I sold at last year, but starts out slow, and I can't get there early to set up because of work. Least stressful month so far, though.

July = hubby has surgery on his nose. They keep him extra time at the out patient surgery center because, apparently, he forgets to breathe when he's asleep. He sleeps sitting up, with an oxy concentrator for two weeks. I lose a couple of new candle holders I made to the wind at the farmer's market.

August = I switched doctor's and at a physical he found a lump in my right breast. Not worried, know I've got "dense" ones (packed, not dumb!) and mother has had lots of fibrous lumps. Sends me for a diagnostic mammo anyway, and that Dr. decides to freak out, chew me out for not getting in when I was supposed to. Schedules biopsy. Don't know whether to be worried or not! Biopsy... oh, can we say fun? They had to do TWO of em, and on the second one they couldn't get me to stop bleeding. Ended up with a breast that is 3/4 covered in huge black, red and blue bruise. Not malignant. Yeah. Better to be safe than sorry but... Holy Hannah!
Still living in daughter's basement.

Sooooo... really... can it please get just a bit better for the end of the year??? I really need to finish projects, get stuff sold. It's taken me two full days to catch up with over 2500 email and over 600 deviations here, and almost 200 messages here. For those who faved/watched me... sorry it's taken so long to respond! Hopefully, I will get caught up on projects next!

I did find some torch time, and I've posted pics along with a couple of things I've completed at work.

Monday, June 2, 2008

New Things

I was fortunate enough to be hired by a local stained glass shop. I had taken a couple of bead making classes there, then I took a stained glass class. I had made a sum total of three stained glass pieces before I started there. They knew I had the experience with fusing, etc. and they are taking a leap of faith by teaching me the stained glass stuff. This piece is my first one completed since I started at the shop. The pattern is from a book "Celtic Knotwork" by Rachel Cecere. (Making sure to give proper credit!) The main glass of the knot is NOT tan... it's an antique white glass with a slight opalescence to it that I can't get to photograph any other way but tan! I've been playing with a stained glass design program, so the next one I do is going to be my design!

This shop is "Designer Glass Works" in Layton, and they just finished a beautiful window and 12 stained glass crosses for a local Catholic church. They had the stained glass work done before I started there, but I got the job of gluing the two types of crosses together. I snapped this picture before they went out the door to be installed. I hope to go to that church and take pictures of what they look like installed.

I did manage to get some cabs fused over Memorial Day weekend, and they've all been sold already! Here's a pic though. I'm headed out to the garage to cut some more glass and see if I can't get another fusing done.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ugh! Moving!

We need to be out of our house today and I won't be able to get internet at the new place until May 13th. My website will be down until then. I should have intermittent access between now and then, but the server will be dark. :)

I know there are a couple of orders out there, please be patient until I get things back up and sorted. How the crap did we accumulate so much sh**? Yeesh! We've been moving for 5 straight days and I start a new job tomorrow. So unorganization will be the name of the game for a bit!

Thanks everyone, and I'll be in touch soon!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Art and Depression

Things have just gotten to be too much over the last couple of days. There has been almost no good news this whole week.

My husband, bless his soul, has been so good. Trying to maintain a positive attitude. I, on the other hand, have been in full bitch mode.

I suffer from depression. This seems to be a common thing through artists, only instead of expressing ourselves through art, we sometimes seem to be paralyzed and can't do any art. Fear of our art being ridiculed falls into this category as well.

In an effort to do some self help stuff, pulling together people who deal with this issue I've just started a yahoo discussion group. If you are interested in joining go here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/artanddepression/

I hope to draw a group of people who are genuinely interested in helping to create a positive, nuturing and safe environment to help us all grow as artists and get past the road blocks. Within 2 1/2 hours of creation, this group had 20 members...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A Birth and a Bang

So last Tuesday morning (April 1st!) I get a phone call from my daughter. She's been to the doctor and it looks like she'll be heading to the hospital sometime that day. She asks if I want to head over to her house to be with the boys and then they can just leave whenever she's ready. Sure. I get some things together to work on while I'm over there. I spend a good part of the day in her garage cutting glass keeping an eye on the boys while they play in the yard. Later, we're all in the house, she's taking a bath, her hubby is watching TV, the boys are playing upstairs in their bedroom or down with daddy and I. The four year old pics up a pair of daddy's binoculars and swirls them around over his head. Of course, they slip out of his hand and find landing above my left eyebrow. OUCH! This pic was taken the next morning, and the funny thing is it looked worse a few days later! My eyelid is still completely purple!

Mommy and Daddy leave around 7:30 or so to go to the hospital. By this time my grandson is mortified that he saw me cry; he knows he hurt me and he feels bad. Doesn't want a thing to do with me, plus he knows something's up, mommy and daddy leaving this time is different, even if he doesn't know why. He knows they are going to pick up baby Emma, but... he's 4! Other grandma shows up and helps calm him down. He likes her better right now. That's ok, cause she's a pretty cool lady.

The next morning I take the boys up to the hospital to meet their new sister. They both give her a kiss to welcome her into the family, but after that? DJ is in love with her, but excited to be with daddy, Doug just cares that "ok, there's mom... now how many buttons can I push in this hospital room???" Of course Nana (me) thinks she's beautiful and I get to dress her for her hospital pics. A fun but very exhausting two days! (You can see in this picture that Daddy's in the hospital bed trying to convince everyone he was the one who gave birth...)

Daughter and baby are home and all are doing fine. Life slowly getting back to a normal schedule with them. Me? HA! We're moving... I have 4 projects that HAVE to be done before we move. Add to that the stress of doing the whole house loan thing, trying to fight off a cold, and finding out there may be some fraud involved with the Tucson show... (possibly more on that later!) Hasn't this April fool's prank gone on long enough??? Have a good April!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tooootally Tuuuuubular

Every year I'm invited by the local gem and mineral club to demonstrate lampworking. So I lug my torch and small kiln down there and sit for three days playing in my torch. I really don't sell a whole lot of stuff at this show so why do I do it? Because I get to sit there for three days playing in my torch! It's the best practice time I get all year! All the local elementary schools come on Friday, and with all those kids around it is total chaos!!! But then Saturday and Sunday the adults stroll around and I actually get a few people interested in the fact that I'm playing with fire.

This show is held in the old Union Station building, which is a pretty cool place. You've got to remember that I'm in the area where the golden spike was laid to join the east with the west. There are some beautiful paintings depicting the construction on the walls. Railroad is big here. I didn't get any pictures of it, but the rail car they used during the torch run of the 2002 Winter Olympics is housed here too. Soon it will be a bustling railway station again as it becomes a stop for our new light rail system that should start operating in the next month or two.

So this year, before the show, I ordered in some borosilicate tubing and actually played with blowing stuff from the tubing. I am totally hooked! I really had a blast playing with this and I need to search the 'net for some fun ideas and instructions. I'm still trying to get the hang of the implosion thing for marbles and pendants but I'm no where near there yet. So here is a few of the beauties I made this last weekend, as well as pics of the show, and my torch setup there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Road to Hell is Paved With Snow

I admit it. I leap before I look most times. I actually do look, but then I get distracted by all the sparkly water and before I know it, I've jumped right in. You'd think that after almost a half century, I'd learn. Nope.

If you've read the prior posts, you know I got invited to a show in Tucson. The day we left was a portent; the worst travel day for the entire state of Utah this winter. Since I had bought my hubby tickets for "Blue Man Group" for Christmas, and that was the night before we left, there really wasn't much chance of leaving early.

There was a lot of snow on the roads. Himself is a good driver and is smart about things. My daughter and her two moppits (fondly referred to as "El Destructo" and "The Red Headed Tornado") tagged along for the trip, since we borrowed her SUV and trailer. We really had no problems, other than slow going, until we reached a pass about 30 miles or so out of Kanab. Then we lost a wheel off the trailer. (Remember Ron White's routine of "Sick on Lugnut Day"? The wheel came _____ OFF!) Now. Small miracles did occur here. There was no cell phone reception there, but there WAS a sheriff's deputy following behind us who radioed for a tow truck for the trailer. Not good enough, however. Tow truck couldn't make it up the canyon and had to call a tractor to come pull HIM out. Then a snow plow showed up just as we had decided we were going to have to abandon the trailer for the night and managed to plow out a section off the road for us to park it.
So, we boogey on down the road and check into a hotel, sneaking the 13 year old miniature dachshund into the room. As you can see, the two year old managed to keep himself entertained with the luggage rack in the room. As we finally headed back up the canyon the next afternoon to get the fixed wheel put back on the trailer, my daughter stood next to the snow bank. Loooooots of snow. (Which was almost all gone on our return a week later!)So we finally get on our way, basically 24 hours behind schedule. Not a huge problem, this day is set up day, so I still have some time.
I'm trying to be professional, and let the show promoter know that I'm experience delays, but I have no local contact number for her. I have her California number and I have an email. I leave messages with both, but I don't get a response until about 11:00 that night. We're still driving at this time, but it's ok to come in early the next morning and set up. Fine. It's 3:00 a.m. before we find our camp site and get to bed.

I get there the next morning, she walks in right behind me, and shows me to my booth space. Um, problem. This is not the booth I paid for. "I was across from a door to the outside" I say. She points to a decorative door in the wall and says "Well, maybe it was that one, and walks away." I don't have time to fight it right now, and I want to look at a map before I make a big deal.

Things decline from there. I sold $5 or $10 the first day. It becomes apparent that there is a bit of a "turf war" going on between the promoter and the venue. Each is blaming the other for the change, and each are leaving "he said, she said" kind of papers with us each day, and each are pushing all the vendors to sign with one or another before the show ends. Well, Ms. Promoter doesn't even have a venue for next year, and she's nowhere to be found through the show because she's out looking for a venue and trying to get a contract signed. In the meantime, we've had to fend for ourselves finding passes, where do we park, what about internet access... the questions go on, and I'm getting answers from other vendors. It begins to dawn on me that I never got a contract from her, just a one page document that said I was showing up and paying for booth number X. Also, the only people showing up to this show are bead store owner types who are buying strands of gemstone beads for their shops. This was promoted as an artisan show, and I'm surrounded by imports. It's day number 5 of a six day show before I see the promoter again and after speaking with her outside, she lifts a hand and says "I just can't talk to you anymore", and walks away. Wow.

This is my first "big" show, but I could not believe the unprofessionalism. I'm getting comments like "you're lucky she had this for you" and "she's very unorganized". I'm not lucky, I expect to get what I pay for, and that is more than just a space. I try to be professional and I expect the same in return! I lost a lot of money on this show.

The bright spot of the show was meeting people I had chatted with on line, and in making new friends, meeting new artists I hadn't heard of before. (Ok, with the exception of a well known bead artist who had to be the coldest woman I had ever met! Well, almost, anyway.) I decided that if the show was going to be a financial disaster, I was going to pick the brains of every vendor I could. How could I display my stuff better? Is my stuff just crap? I did learn a whole lot about what to look for in shows from now on. Bottom line, I didn't sign with either group. It was school of hard knocks time, but I did learn, and hopefully have made some contacts that could really turn out to be fun!

So, in thanking those who kept me from jumping off a ledge during this show (I'm actually surprised at myself; I was very calm the whole time!)I want to recommend these wonderful people:

If you are looking for some fantastic glass beads, Nikki Thornberg is your woman! She is totally awesome! http://www.thornburgbeadstudio.com/

If you want to try some chain maille, Spyder will help you out with her great DVDs and rings. Her booth partner from Blue Budha Boutique will too! (Forgive Spyder in the pic... she's just very excited about her Wubbies!{New pliers}) http://www.spiderchain.com/

Joan Tucker from Off Center makes beautiful ceramic pendants, especially porcelain baskets for your beady flowers, and she has a big heart. (Joan's on the right. I don't remember the other young lady's name, but she was sitting in for artist Marsha Neal who had just had a baby! How cool is that?) http://www.offcenterproductions.com/

Sarah Tippet is another great glass artist. She has way cool glass donuts and puzzle pieces. (Stole one of the latter for myself!)

And Holly Gage is one incredible metal clay artist. I work a bit in metal clay, and I still swear that one of her pendants was fabricated... http://www.hollygage.com/

Running a bead store isn't easy. It's even harder if it's on the road, AND you teach classes to boot! I was very envious of Kim St. Jean's students as I listened to her talk to them about cold connections. I wanna take a class from her. Extremely nice and supportive people! http://www.expressive-impressions.com/

I also met people from the great Beads of Clay group that I didn't think to take their picture, or just don't have room for here. What a great group of people! (I hope you're feeling better Lisa... you are awesome!)

So, in the end, I think, an invaluable experience. I might choke on a lot of water, but I guess I'll survive if I continue to just jump right in the pool. I might want to make sure it's not snowing first, though.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Tucson Bound!

I have been so lax on updating my web presence. I was working madly on Christmas presents, then when it seemed like I could breathe easy, I got a phone call just a couple of days before Christmas inviting me to be a vendor at the "To Bead True Blue" show in Tucson... in February! Soooo, I've been holed up in my shop on my days off working like mad, crazy woman I am to get enough inventory put together. (I still can't believe I said yes with 4 weeks to get ready... argh!)

So, I used my saved up money for a big girl kiln to pay my booth fees and to buy a small kiln that would go to high enough temps to fire porcelain. My other small kiln has been firing glass every day and the new one has been working overtime firing porcelain.

So, here's a couple of sample pics of what I'm taking with me. I really hope to find some new customers and maybe take orders to help make up the gap in what I don't get finished in another six days! If you will be in Tucson, I'll be at the Manning House booth #SG175J from Feb 5 to the 10th!

Design by Duane Miles, beaded by Kerry