Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Year In Review - 2013

I am looking at all the photos I have to edit and post to my blog and it’s a bit overwhelming so I have decided to do a year in review.  As I look back at 2013 I realize just how blessed I have been this year not only in my personal family life but also in my glass life.  I am very lucky to have studied with so many fantastic instructors this past year; including, Sara Sally LaGrand, Jari Sheese, Libby Leuchtman, Jodi McDougall and Loren Stump.  And I just started off 2014 with Kristina Logan - but that is for another blog post since for now I’m only reviewing 2013.

It has been an exciting year in glass.  I continued to work with silvered glass, masking techniques, elaborate disc beads and started working in depth with my sea life, hollow (puffy and regular,) organic and cremains/memorial beads.  I learned some new jewelry assembly techniques and even had to hire two people to make some of my wire worked pieces for me.  I am thankful for Donna Z. and Emma H. and their creative talents.  Donna continued to create the wire rings and pins and branched out to try her hand at a new pendant style.  Emma learned how to assemble my “Change A Bead” necklaces and is interested in more work this spring.   If I had to pick one specific theme to my work in 2013 I would choose sea life.  I think 2013 will be remembered as the year I let my love of sea life start to grow in my glass pieces.  I have endless sea life ideas and am working on a piece I hope to finish in the first half of 2014 - but for now, it’s a secret.  

I’ll break my year down with the help of some eye candy and fun photos:
February 2013 - My first class of the year was with Sara Sally LaGrand at Bead Camp in Nokomis Fl.  This class really pushed me out of my comfort zone.  I’m grateful for the experience because I continue to use what I learned and find new ways to work glass each time I torch.  Plus Sara Sally was a lot of fun and I met new glass friends!  I think it’s easy to see the influence of this class on my current work.

My finished corsage.

Everyone in the class made a lovely corsage!
A bunch of happy bead campers!
A look at all the components we made at the torch.  Now for the assembly of the corsages. 

March 2013 - My husband, Tom, and I took a mini side trip to Miami Beach after we dropped our guests off at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.  We both wanted to see the area and I was especially interested in the art deco that is Miami Beach.  Tom wanted to see where Miami Ink started and that was a fun place.  I was curious about the Dash store and that was not what I expected.  Very small and while the stuff was kind of cute…. well let’s just say I enjoyed the tattoo place a lot more.  We found a great little Italian cafe that served us wonderful food while we sat outside.  We walked along the strip and the concierge at one of the old hotels let us take a look inside one of their art deco rooms - way cool!

These photos have nothing to do with glass beads - - - - yet.  I loved the lines, shapes and patterns so you might see their influence in my beads one day.

April 2014 - My second class of the year was with Jari Sheese in Chicago.  She makes beautiful hollow beads with puffy mandrels and I wanted to learn how to use these mandrels.  I had made hollow beads the old fashioned way but puffy mandrels open up other options.  We also made buttons and learned her technique to assemble an ornament.  
Jari giving us a demonstration.
The graduates.

Completed Ornaments - all students.
My Ornament.  I enjoyed making this!
Some of Jari's beautiful hollow beads!
Late Spring/Early Summer 2014 - I had the pleasure of expanding my friendships with others in the glass world.  My good bead buddy Dianna D. spent much of the summer  just 20 minutes away from me.  We roomed together at ISGB’s Gathering, took classes together and pushed each other out of our comfort zones by trying all sorts of new techniques and applications. Dianna in turn introduced me to some of her glass friends and I now am enjoying their company as well. Usually I feel like a loner in the glass bead world in NWO but this summer was awesome.  Can’t wait to work together again next summer!  

July 2014 - This was a very busy month.  Tom and I traveled to New Hampshire to visit our friend Cindy and to see her childhood home in Laconia.  She showed us all around Weirs Beach.

I loved the lines on this boat.  Tom got a several nice shots of this boat.

Tom and I continued our travels by spending the early part of a day enjoying Portsmouth and the late afternoon and evening in Boston.  Then, I got to visit The Corning Museum of Glass!  This was my first trip there.  I left there with so much inspiration!

I attended my first full week at an ISGB Gathering.  It was a full week of beads, classes, beads, lectures, beads, glass, tools, equipment, beads, and more beads!  I was exhausted after just 3 days.  Dianna D and I traveled there in her van and we will forever have a good laugh at us trying to get all of our stuff into the hotel on her dolly.

Dianna and I met up with one of our former Bead Camp friends, Anne, at ISGB Gathering.
I took a two-day class with Libby Leuchtman and two mini classes with Jodi McDougall and Amy Ouellette.
One of my beads from Libby's Class.
One of the most memorable and amazing speakers was Ali VanderGrift.  Her beautiful big beads are like no other.  She is young and it will be interesting to watch her grow in her craft over the years.
Not a very clear photo but look at her beautiful bead!  No she did not make this at the torch with soft glass.  Her regular beads are very large but this is a one of a kind special bead made in a hot shop.
August 2013 - This month I really started to concentrate my focus on sea life.  I worked on making larger shells for pendants and modified my mermaid.  With the help of my friend Dianna D, who was willing to share her garden necklace assembly techniques, and the concepts I learned from Sara Sally, I put together a new style of necklace.  These are a work in progress and I have a lot of ideas for other versions of sea life jewelry.
Pink Lady Shell
Sand Pink Shell
Purple Luster Shell
Salmon Pink Shell
My mermaids are evolving and taking more and more time to make them.  I love making these!
Sea bungle necklace - Dianna's clustering technique is used in this necklace.
This is the first mermaid necklace I made and sold.  It will always be a special creation and a good friend now has it in her jewelry collection.
Mermaid necklace on a smaller scale.  A commissioned piece.
Another full sized mermaid necklace.  
Bungle style mermaid necklace. Dianna's clustering technique  was used to create this piece.
My first octopus.  I haven't made any since but I plan to work on these and keep modifying the style.
September 2013 - This month I finally began experimenting with tumble etched hollow beads.  This was another example of Dianna and I working together pushing each other to try new things.  I love the way these tumbled beads look and by using many of the Vetrofond Odd colors I created some great rustic, fall-colored beads.  They were a hit with my customers as well!
These hollow beads are so beautiful even before tumble etching.  
This necklace is made from the hollow beads after tumble etching.  The striations are amazing after the process.
Another style of necklace made with the tumble etched hollow beads.  This necklace sold quickly - but I'd be happy to make more like this!
My creative ideas were flowing this month. I tried many new creations with glass.

Intricate design beads.  I LOVE making these!  Here I tried some new design techniques. 
I made these by combining my star disc beads with another concept I learned in Sara Sally's class.  These were fun to make and I'll never run out of color or pattern options.
I made these funky beads after looking at some handmade polymer clay beads.
Lots of great texture and so much fun to make.
I liked this color combination better than the coral and black.
More colorful "fun-discs"
I completed one of my most memorable cremains bead pendants this month.  I can’t really express in words just how much this particular experience affected me.  I blogged about this earlier but it is worth another mention in my year in review post.  The customer gave me a gift that she may never realize- our communication to make this pendant special to her was a life changing experience for me.  
I created many cremains beads this year and I do find it very rewarding.  
This one I don't think I've ever shared but it's a pretty one!
Lavender cremains pendant.
A tough color to capture.  This is a beautiful pearlescent cremains pendant.  The true colors are a bit more vibrant and I think of a sunset when I look at this bead.
September included a quick trip to visit some friends in Boulder, CO.  I was even able to check off one of my “Bucket List” items on this trip! I have always wanted to see a moose in real life and I got to see two huge bull moose lazing off in a distant field.  It was an unexpected surprise while we were hiking in the mountains.  Next on my bucket list is to see the Northern Lights.

Not a very clear photo but you can see them!  I wonder if they lay down all the way with those big antlers in the way?
I also got the coolest pair of running (walking in my case) shoes on this trip.  My friend also got her first pair of Newtons!
Aren't they pretty?  Can you guess which color I picked?
We visited Boulder a few days before the damaging floods hit but we experienced a flood while we were there.  I wonder if this flood was just a warning of what was to come.
I took this photo from the back seat of the car we were riding in.  We were on the main street and both sides were flooding. 
October 2013 - This fall I was busy completing jewelry for the holiday season as well as potential items for the Mermaid’s Bite Gallery.  But the most exciting thing I got to do this month was attend my first Gem and Lapidary show in Orlando, FL.  OMG!!!!  It was amazing and I got lots of great bali beads, chain and tools!  And Tom and I were able to spend a few days at the beach after the show.
Bali beads!
More Bali beads!
Beautiful Naples Beach - my heaven on earth.
November 2013 - This month may top them all as far as glass goes.  I attended a 5-day (and night if you count the days we worked until the wee hours of the morning) workshop with Loren Stump. I learned so much about glass in those five days.  I had contemplated taking one of his classes for about a year.  I had heard the stories of students crying and the long hours being unmanageable, so I was a bit leary of signing up.  I have no idea where the rumors came from about the crying part. The long hours were grueling, but in a good way.  I was exhausted and my body hurt like crazy by the end.  I remember thinking I hadn’t felt that tired since my daughter was a newborn.  I took so many notes I had to start a new notebook and I will forever have this wonderful book of information to refer to as I continue my love of working with glass.  A friend of mine said she “never looked at glass the same again” after taking Loren’s class and I think that is a great way to explain the experience.  You can be at any level and you will learn from this teacher.  He is probably the most giving artist I have ever known and has teaching talent beyond any I have experienced so far.  He wants to share his knowledge and he wants you to succeed.  There were many failures along the way but in the end each of us in the class was a success and had lots to show for our 5 days.  So if any of my glass bead friends read this, I hope your take away from my post is to be brave, suck it up, rest up and go take a class with Loren as soon as you can.  I had a blast!
The graduates of Loren Stump's Chicago class Fall 2013.  See we are all smiling - no tears at all!
We all learned a lot in this class!
Mary Kay watches Loren create a beautiful dancer.
One of my favorite new things - I learned how to blow a shell! 

These are the eyes, nose and lips that I made for my face murrini.
Don't laugh - I know it's pretty sad but this was the hardest thing I've ever done in glass so far.  I like making murrini but not this big.  I learned so much from this part of the class.
Mr. Exhaust Head.  See we had lots of fun too.  It wasn't all work and no play.
Some of my tiny glass components for my paperweight.  And you can see some of my many notes as a backdrop.
Top view of my glass flower arrangement that will be encased into a paperweight.  Yes, each petal, leaf, bug, stem and flower I made out of glass.  It was intense but I enjoyed the intricate work.
Side view - Loren contributed a hyacinth to my piece.  Pretty obvious which is his and which is mine.
My bunkmate, Dobrilla, getting some assistance making her paperweight.  Dobrilla was a lot of fun and a talented artist.
Now it's my turn.  It's about 2:40 a.m. and I'm really tired.  I'm happy to have Loren do all the hard work encasing my flowers.  He explained everything he was doing but I have to admit, my brain was pretty fried at this point.  Day 5 or really it's early in the morning of day 6.
But I'm still smiling and having fun!
December 2013 - This month is always full of shows and my annual holiday open house.  In addition to the usual pre-holiday stuff, I added a trip to the local hot shop with some friends to make some pumpkins - yes pumpkins in December.  I was so busy this fall that I didn’t have time to go make pumpkins during pumpkin making season so I had to go in December.  
This was Corie's first time visiting a hot shop.
She looks like she was having fun.  
Corie's pumpkin turned out much nicer than mine.
Donna Z is becoming a regular hot shop visitor.

My sister Scotty has better luck when she sticks her tongue out.
Thumbs up for 2013 and here's to a happy and healthy 2014 for all!
So that’s a quick review of 2013.  What plans and goals do I have for 2014?  For starters I just finished another Bead Camp in Florida and had a wonderful time with the other students and instructor Kristina Logan.  I have waited a long time to take a class from Kristina.  I’ve admired her work from the very beginning of my glass bead making.
I graduated from my second bead camp!
I made some great new friends at camp too.
I have many ideas I hope to create in glass of course, but one particular thing I hope to learn is some type of metal work that will help me take my beads to a higher level.  It would be great to have metal work that makes each bead a one of a kind piece unique to me and my work.   I have a lot to learn so my first step will be to find a metalsmith class to start learning the basics.  If I find this to be too much to learn at this stage of the game then my next choice would be to work with another metal artist to design something with me.

Best wishes to everyone in 2014!  May all of your creative dreams come to life!

Thanks for reading my blog!

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Finished Jewelry sold on site at:  
1. Mermaid's Bite Collection at Watson Investments Gallery 1500 5th Ave. South, Naples, FL 34102
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Loose beads (sets and focals) sold on site at:
1. The Bead Boutique 2015 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI 48912
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