Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Works in Progress

Wow what a great weekend.  I had the pleasure of taking yet another fine silver clay class from Jonna Faulkner with my close friend Riki .We worked on hollow-form beads and bezel beads.....so fun.    Here are my "works in progress":
This is an elongated primitive heart, hollow-form bead with a reveal soon to be showcasing half-drilled pearls. I still have to antique this piece which will really bring out all of the details of the appliques and bling and, hopefully, look less like a blob of clay. Those three posts you see will soon be adorned with half-drilled pearls, accentuated with flecks of gold.  I'll share my completed piece.
These are my three bezel beads in the greenware state waiting for the quality control team to take care of a few details before firing.  I will then string all three pieces onto a necklace.
Other than taking this class, the last week or so has been filled with good times with friends, enjoying this gorgeous spring weather we are having (my heart goes out to you who are enduring the inches and inches of snow.....stay warm my friends), long walks by the Pacific, filling orders, and preparing for classes this year.  Oh yes, and all of the other day-to-day things that are part of all our lives...taking out the garbage, cleaning my studio, doing laundry, working out, paying bills, going to appointments, washing the car, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Speaking of classes....have you heard of the new West Coast mixed media art retreat Art Is You  in Petaluma, California????  If you haven't, dance on over to their site and check out the fantastic line up of classes and instructors.  I am treating myself to the entire week and seem to be focusing this year on the art of doll design.  Yes, I'm stepping outside of my "jewelry" box and venturing out.  Perhaps I will have the pleasure of meeting some of you blog friends there. 
Wishing you all a great week. 
Take care

Monday, January 17, 2011


To Shift .... so many definitions of this short, 5-letter word.  For this post, I am looking at the "to change position, direction, place, or form."  Shifts are taking place in our lives every single day, visible shifts, or those that are more subtle.  Looking at the history of fashion is a typical example how many influences (whether it be culture, economic, seasonal, technological) factor into play the current trends in clothing design as above.
Movie star sense of drama and fashion cross over into what we see in our stores....like these Lady Gaga shoes...aren't they outrageous!

Eyewear is always changing.
And, of course, hair and makeup fashions are getting edgier and edgier....I happen to love it.

But what do changes or "shifts" in the fashion world have to do with mixed media art you ask???  Last week I was visiting my friend, Deryn Mentock's, blog post of January 8 "The Creative Path Forward" and loved her message (and that of Rebecca Sower).  Each expressing the importance of looking back to where we've been, where we have come from, and acknowledging the changes and shifts that have taken place in our lives, and how they have shaped our lives.......shaped who we are today as a human being and for the purposes of this post, in our artwork.

I, too, like Deryn and Rebecca have created a mosaic typifying my artwork over the last few years.  This was such an eye-opening exercise and allowed me to see what has influenced my artwork, the shifts I have made, and the different directions I have taken.  Enriching my education through classes and retreats have definitely added to my design direction.  The people I design for have an influence over my work to a certain extent, incorporating their interests with my style......always staying true to my ideals and creative self.  My found object, gem and mixed media treasure collection has an impact on my designs.....my inspiration. Most importantly what I see when looking at this time capsule mosaic is the growth I have made during the last 4 years. Growth in self-confidence,  growth in allowing myself freedom to express.....or not to express....if I need a nourishing hiatus, I take one, without feeling I "have" to produce.  During those down times, the shifts of creation going on inside our being (both conscious and unconscious) in the deep recesses of our souls is what will manifest itself in our future artwork.

With the beginning of each new year, we tend to look back over our shoulder at the paths we have chosen and at the same time, look forward to where we are or want to be going.  This year, I want to become a sponge and soak up new experiences both in my personal life and artwork.  To be fully present to life, moment to moment.  I look with anticipation as I venture into new territory in mixed media art.  Perhaps some would consider these "goals", and not shifts.  But there is a point when pursuing new goals, through self-discovery, we make those shifts that have an everlasting effect in our lives.  
When contemplating the shifts I would like to manifest in my life, I try to consider the following five elements gleaned from one of Oprah's broadcasts:
1. Do I have a realistic vision for myself?
2.  Believe in my heart that I can achieve my vision.
3.  Know that I am deserving.
4.  Acknowledge barriers that may be keeping me from achieving my vision.
5.  Put myself first..and ask for support when needed.
So here I go, with one baby step at a time, making the Shifts for 2011.....can't wait.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Summer Classes

It's the beginning of a brand new year and I'm looking at my teaching schedule.  In my last post, I shared with you the classes I will be teaching at Art Unraveled the beginning of August.  In this post, I would like to personally invite you to join me in my studio for two classes during the summer months.  Classes in my home studio are quaint (8 students) and packed full of learning new skills, creating  new treasures, meeting new friends, lots of laughs and good times. 


The first class I will be offering will be Tres Chic Woven Bracelet, June 4 & 5.  The medieval art of Viking Knit, basic wire wrapping and metal smithing techniques will be shared during these two fun days.  
Click on the flyer above to get all of the details.

The second class is Oh La La Fine Silver Clay and is for those of you wanting to learn fine silver clay basics.  This class will be held August 20 & 21 AND August 27 & 28...you have a choice of weekends.

You will work with Art Clay Silver and create wonderful components to add to your jewelry creations.  Students will work with molds, learn to incorporate posts, set stones, create appliques and make free-form bezels.

Hoping you will choose to spend some of your summer days playing with me in my studio.  Reservations can be made by emailing me at:  belladonna1351@charter.net.


Saturday, January 1, 2011


What a great holiday I had!  How about you?  My hubby and I, all our children, their significant others and grand children gathered to celebrate in grand fashion.  We always take a family portrait and here is a version of this year's group.  We would all like to wish you a very happy new year filled with good health and joy. 

Today I was sitting at my desk recording dates in my 2011 calendar and my this is going to be a fun, inspiring year indeed.  My sister and I will be attending our first Artfest in April in Port Townsend Wa.  I am signed up for an assortment of jewelry design classes here in California and look forward to learning new techniques.

I will also have the pleasure of teaching at Art Unraveled August 2 and 4 in Phoenix.  I will be teaching the following two classes:
Briar Rose Shrine Pendant
Using assemblage and dimensional soldering techniques, your Briar Rose will take on a fairy-tale essence as she is encased in glass and solder.  Let the fashionista in you shine as you design your Briar Rose's couture gown complete with sweet pewter shoes.  The theme, color and content is left up to your imagination.  Students will learn basic soldering, assemblage, collage and metal stamping.
Twisted Sistah Choker
Using heavy gauge wire, students will learn sculptural, free-form wire working techniques to create the foundation of this choker.  With a little forging and patina, this wire structure will be ready for your selected embellishments.  Working with fine gauge wire and using techniques similar to weaving and sewing, various beads, stones, crystals, found objects, shells, buttons will be whimsically attached creating the encrusted allure of this piece.

Art Unraveled is a fabulous mixed media art retreat with an outstanding line-up of classes.  I encourage you to check out the offerings and consider joining us the first week of August.  Registration is done by mail and the first class assignments will be made January 10th.  To be sure you are able to get into your first-choice classes, now is the time to send in your registration form.  I'm sending my registration in on Monday with crossed fingers and toes.  All the information is on the site. 

Hoping you are all having a relaxing New Year's Day.  Looking forward to the coming year and getting to know all of you better.  Thank you for stopping by.