Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Context and Contest

(A new pair of earrings to be added to ETSY soon!)

Today I found out that I was one of 50 finalists for the Bridge Art Fair Miami Competition at www.myartspace.com.  The photo above is probably confusing, but just to clarify, the Bridge Art Fair Competition had nothing to do with my jewelry.  if you want to see my online gallery to see what I applied with you can go here.  It means that I am not in the show (which would have been SWEET!!) but that I at least get some visibility on the list of finalists.  I recommend any artist to join My Art Space because if nothing else, it is like a Facebook or Myspace for artists.  They post competitions and scholarships and it gives you a chance to communicate with really interesting artists.   

This is another new pair of earrings.  
I LOVE these.  
They are 7 inches long and seriously elegant.  
(I should take a photo of me wearing them so they are a little more in context!  I'm still learning how to take interesting, lovely and informative photos of my jewelry... hrmm.)  

Tomorrow and Friday Mikel and I will attend a work conference so I will not be able to post anything for a while (because starting Monday I will be at the "other" school).  Bummer!  
By the next time I sign in I will have new treasures to share with you.
Happy To-furkey Day!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sweaters and Beaks

This is a blanket I made last year out of recycled sweaters.  
I recently found the pic and remembered how much I liked that blanket!  
It's currently in storage in VT.  
I can't wait to use it again and I am inspired to make more someday!
These are the cups I bought last week in Nagano City.  
They were hand painted in India so they are the same pattern but slightly different.  
I especially love the fact that the birds on the yellow cup have no beaks.  
Cute and one of a kind!  
I think my future kitchen will be inspired by these colors.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ETSY Japan

Ok, not the best photo.  Unfortunately this was taken on a day when I was taking many photos of jewelry, all of which turned out this bad. Anyway, 
I just became a member of the ETSY Japan group.
YAY! I feel less invisible as an ETSY seller.
I read a good post on the My Art Space blog (which I highly recommend for people interesting in art!!) about the importance of networking online as an artist. I am not very good at it yet because I am always so nervous that it will get out of my control, but that's only because I am a bit timid yet. I decided I will just dive right in. The more people that know about my work the better.
I will soon be posting on the Etsy Japan Team's blog for store/Japan updates, etc.  I might be able to make a pod cast for them... but I don't know what I would do.  Any ideas?

Me in Nagano. 
 I went yesterday to get a new visa, but this was taken the last time I went with Mikel.  I forgot the camera yesterday but I wanted to post a pic today.  Blogs are no fun without pics!  I went to a cool little shop that sells things from all over Asia and Hawaii (Asian influenced I guess) and found some beautiful things!  
My favorite are two hand painted steel cups from India that I bought.  
No pic of them today, sorry!  I will post a pic soon though, because they totally inspired a new rush of ideas in my studio.  

Off to Photoshop more earring pics!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Flickr Account

I now have a Flickr account where I will post images of jewelry that I have made but aren't necessarily for sale (inspiration for commissions?  just eye candy?)  
Just wanted to let you know!

Sea Urchins and Bad Wine

Yay!  I sold these beauties today!  I will be sad to see them go but also excited that they will have a life of their own.  They are called "Sea Spray Pink Urchin."

Although I have been spending more time on painting lately and less on jewelry, with the holiday season upon us I am excited to have a little jewelry party at a friend's house in Iida and perhaps put some more creations on my Etsy site!  Nothing like a little flow shift in my business to give me an energy boost!

Random thought:  I think there is a wine conspiracy between France and Japan.  I truly believe that wineries in France that have a bad year and can't sell their wine to anyone else, send it here to Japan where people seem to have no idea they are buying TERRIBLE wine (they must not be drinking it because if they were they wouldn't be paying for it).  I'm seriously not a wine snob.  I totally believe in the fact that if you like it, it's good.  The problem is that I have bought wine 5 times in my town, hoping each time that it will be at least drinkable and not like nail polish remover, but the truth hurts: there is no good wine from France in Anan-cho (nor from anywhere else!)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mold and Sparkle

"Meghan and Noah"
I miss these buddies.  
This was from a photo taken in Florida when we all lived as happily as we could in Tampa.  None of us live there any longer...

OK, all of these images are a little blurry but I really wanted to post them today so I just quickly snapped pics of them last night before bed.  If I post them now, they will feel finished and I will stop messing with them.  I have a MAJOR problem with overworking my paintings.  
I will do better documentation later on for website posting.

"Sisters in Cali"
This was painted from a picture of my sisters and I in California on the beach, but of course you knew that from looking at the painting.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Abstraction can be such magic.

"Toxic Self Portrait"
Oh, so blurry.  Sorry!  At least you can see my duck-like rotten-yet-cute face.

I am really liking the sparkling and molding quality of this way of painting.  I have some more landscapes and other pieces too so I will post more soon.   I'm on a roll!  I worked hours this weekend sanding 13 mini panels by hand  (NEVER AGAIN!  My back is killing me!!)  At least they turned out smooth and ready to be new paintings.  All of my more recent paintings have been on paper and I miss the feeling and different process of panels so mini panels seem to be the answer right now.  I am loving painting people but running out of compelling photos so I need to take more (and maybe I will get some excellent Christmas card photos or find some Facebook treasures?)  

I finally feel like I am able to regurgitate my experiences here like I haven't been able to yet.  It's like they have been hibernating inside me, influencing my work but never totally waking up.  And now, "Good morning Japan-ness!"  Just in time for me to be LONGING to be back in the USA. 
(I wonder what Japan-ness eats for breakfast?)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tofurkey and Mr. Butter

What can you do on the train for an hour?  
Read, write letters, pick your nose,  OR practice making funny faces and take pictures for comedic relief!
Mikel and I went to a puppet show in Iida last weekend.  It was the first time I have seen people with black bags over their heads that weren't either terrorizing or being terrorized (or executed...)  The performance was really amazing because it takes three people to make one puppet move and there is one or two people off to the side making music and speaking the dialogue.  The puppets seem to float and move on their own.  It's really spooky and lovely. It made me think that the puppeteers, the puppet-makers and the music/dialogue performers could be considered the puppets' souls.  I wonder what my soul would look like if it were outside my body.

This piece received special recognition along with, "Silkworm Castle" in the current show at Upstream Peoples Gallery.  Out of the five that are showing, I would not have expected this one to receive special recognition.  
That's the interesting thing about putting work out into the world.  
So here's some more I'm putting out there! 
"Radioactive Maggie"
This is my "Old Lady Baby" kitty who died last Spring.  Suddenly I have a streak of spooky, decaying, toxic paintings coming out of me, all of which are from photos and are mostly recognizable.  This isn't my favorite of all of the new pieces, but it gives an idea of what I have been making (and it is one of the only ones I have on my computer at the moment).  I like this one, though because it looks like there is a fairy or something magical sitting on Maggie's shoulder.   

This was a totally happy accident and It makes me giggle when I see it unexpectedly.  I say it was an accident, but what I really mean is that I made it really quickly and was being silly and this is what I came up with.  I think it looks like it could be a children's TV show...  a future possibility? It is one of the illustrations I made for "The Scavenger Project."  The theme word is Toaster.  

"There, They're, Their"
The title of this illustration is also the theme word for this piece.  
These are so hilarious and so much fun.  I will be making more this morning during my much awaited free time.  Hopefully I can get these submissions in the mail in the next few days.  I have about fifteen so I need nine more to finish the project.  Here I go!
In case anyone was doubting that tofu can actually be made from scratch: 
Here is proof!  
1.  In the right pot, is a mixture of soy beans and water that were blended and then boiled until the smell changed from "grass" to "tofu."  (The fact that tofu has a specific smell is a good indication of the subtlety of Japanese olfactory senses.)  
2.  Then, we put a colander in a bowl (middle) and two pieces of cheese cloth.  When the mixture on the right is cool enough to handle, put it in the cloth and squeeze.  What comes out is soy milk.  Don't drink it even though it looks delicious and creamy!  The stuff left in the cloth is called Okara (I think) and we put it in the bowl on the left.  (It is mostly fibre and some protein.  Many people mix it with meat to make a kind of burger here.  Mikey and I mix it with veggies and spices to do the same burger-making.)  
3.  When this is finished (there is nothing left in the cooking pot) take the soy milk and put it in a pot.  heat it to a certain temperature and then take it off.  Add Nigari (which has an English name I don't know, but I DO know that it is made by boiling sea water for about 12 hours.  This process makes sea salt and Nigari, a bitter coagulant.  My students made sea salt and Nigari from scratch and used the sea salt to make Udon from scratch also.)  Anyway, add the Nigari to the heated Soy milk and quickly put it in moulds as the tofu starts to form right away.    
I was thinking about making a tofurkey from scratch for Thanksgiving...   

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Show and Tell

Hello from Sunday afternoon in Japan!
Yesterday a new exhibit was opened at an online gallery called Upstream People`s Gallery out of Omaha. I am part of the Current Exhibition. Yay! It was my first "congratulations" letter after so many "sorry to inform you" letters. They are showing five of my new paintings, none of which are my more "realistic" works which will be posted soon, I PROMISE!
Today I am working hard on finishing my pieces for The Scavenger Project. Hopefully I will get to some painting by this evening. I miss it! I enjoy the new problemsolving that this illustration project brings me, but I love getting lost in paint most of all.