Monday, November 24, 2008

YAY! My chic treasury made the front page!

I missed all the excitement because I was sick in bed, but I'm so excited this treasury made it to the front page. I really worked hard on this treasury to give it a different look than my usual ones. Congratulations to all the featured sellers!

Meet "Chief Build a Dam....His Friends Call Him Beaver"

As promised, here is my latest mask now grouted. If you refer back to my previous post, you can see what a transformation grout can make. The "Chief" is getting packed up and shipped off to a two month show that's opening in December. Details will follow soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Yay! Bob made the front page!

While my treasuries have been on Etsy's front page a number of times, MY art has never been on it until today. Unfortunately, I was taking the rare nap and missed this historic event, but thanks to some Etsy friends, I was alerted to the fact that "Bob, Why the Long Face?" had graced the front page.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The perfect gift for women on your holiday gift list!

ara133photography on Etsy's new photo pendants have arrived! Amy is now putting her photographs on glass pendants. She's offering them in a variety of designs. The peppermint candy one looks real. Pendants would make lovely gifts for wives/girlfriends, teachers, babysitters...any woman on your gift list. Remember to shop handmade this holiday season.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Get ready for a big sale on Etsy!

Many talented sellers are gathering together on Etsy to have a huge sale that runs from Thanksgiving, November 27 to the following Monday, December 1st. This sale will be heavily promoted and will be an excellent chance for people to save the hassle of going to the mall and fighting the crowds. Not to mention it's a fantastic chance to purchase handmade items from talented artists around the world. If you have an Etsy store and would like to sign up, see this thread for more information and go here to sign up. Thank you to Softpencil for designing the graphic!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Are you from the Atlanta area? Check out this must see show!

After 15 years, this is it, and then it's over. Once the cash box closes on the 2008 "Big Angel Blowout", Some Call It Art is calling it quits on our annual holiday show and sale. Not just because people were creeped out by our mutant chicken-baby mascot, but also because our wings have somewhat outflapped thier flutter. We cordially invite you to this last blast of a last call and extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation for your ongoing patronage over the past two decades.

So now, for one last hurrah, the inventions nonpareil of the South's brightest artists are yours for the asking price. The usual vanguard suspects - artists and artisans, vagabonds and outsiders, tax fraud lawyers and bandits, plus the occasional burlesque queen - are bringing forth the chaotic assortment you've come to expect: whimsical and thought-provoking paintings, sculptures, pottery, photography, textiles, jewelry, ornaments, wreaths, stockings, artcards, metalworks, mixed media and, of course, angels of every size shape and persuasion.

Thursday Nov 20 6:00 pm - 9:00pm PREVIEW
Friday Nov 21 10:00am - 9:00pm
Saturday Nov 22 10:00am - 9:00pm
Sunday Nov 23 10:00am - 9:00pm

814 Edgewood Ave
Atlanta, GA 30307

Susan Bridges

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mosaic Lesson

This is my latest mask that still has to be named. (You can click on his picture for a larger view.) He's my first one to have teeth and hair. He still has to be grouted and everything that is currently white will be transformed into charcoal gray with the grout. He'll also have recessed eyes once he's all finished. I'll post a picture of him after he's grouted so you can see the difference.

An interview with the talented Lyse of ImagineStudio!

I am thrilled to present an interview with Lyse Marion of ImagineStudio. I'm a huge fan of her work and after learning more about her, I'm even more impressed. Thank you so much, Lyse for taking part in this interview and sharing more of yourself with the online world. To see more of Lyse's amazing work, please check out her Etsy store, ImagineStudio where she's currently offering free shipping!

Where did you first learn the art of collage?

Around the age of 15, I started taking art classes and continued exploring many different techniques and mediums within a creative arts program at college. I studied drawing, painting, metal and clay sculpture, etching, carving, silkscreen, and collage. I fell in love with doing collages and it became my primary medium for artistic expression ever since.

When did you make the move to digital art?

In the late 70’s my collages where mainly photomontages using images from magazines to create new single images. They were often about war, peace, women's issues, exploitation and similar issues of the times. In the early 80’s my collages became more like assemblages whereby I would incorporated many different objects unto a base photomontage I had done, thus exploring textures, depth and more abstract forms of self expression. This lead me to work on new-found art collage pieces, small assemblage sculptures and jewellery during the 90’s. I returned to my initial passion for photomontages in the late 90’s as a need to express my feelings, thoughts and at times overwhelming emotions in relation to the work I was doing with people with severe mental health disorders. My photomontage collages during this period were dichotomized and polarized...half being about social exclusion, isolation, social injustice, poverty etc... and the other half being about the beauty of life, hope, spirituality, love, friendship, wonderment, colour, etc.

It is my constant need to express myself through collages that brought me to explore the digital editing tools about 6 years ago. Since then I have been working on transferring the collage art form into the digital world. Layers upon layers of thoughts, emotions and research have been turned into transparencies, textures, colours, depth, emotions, portraitures, etc. This virtual digital world of seemingly endless possibilities has given me a new take on my artwork, allowing me to pursue even further my undying need to produce lyrical, evocative and sometimes provocative

Do you ever put hidden messages or images in your collages?

I can’t say that I put hidden messages or hidden images in my collages. I do however, often try to convey emotions, thoughts or ideas beyond trying to state the obvious. I know that I have an inclination towards symbolism and some form of mysticism or spirituality and I love poetry. Perhaps it is these that seep into my collages and makes one feel that perhaps there are hidden messages.

I believe that the fact that I work with layers of images and transparencies may also contribute to that perception, but nothing about my work has an intentional component in regards to wanting to send a message other than that of hope, beauty and life.

A few weeks ago someone told me that my artwork had an intellectual feel to them. I was very surprised to hear that because I had never felt that about my work, but after reflection and taking into consideration my life experiences and non-conforming temperament, I have decided that person is probably right. I cannot separate my mind, heart and soul from my artwork. I guess I do use all three to create my collages and as such certain parts of my unconsciousness could certainly reveal itself though my artistic expression.

What I feel, when I step back and look at my artwork, is that many of them appear to have something to do with different aspects of the soul, life’s fragilities and tender moments, one’s capacity to overcome life’s obstacles or challenges and our ability to transform not only our life, but also the way we live it and envision the rest to be.

Each is a story unto itself and for me it permits one to take flight in one's own imagination and find a place to acknowledge and the freedom to feel what we do.

If you had to choose ONE artist's work to fill your home with, who would it be?

That would be impossible for me. I enjoy so many different artists, styles and artistic movements that I would be devastated if I could only choose one. I can tell you whose artwork I mostly have on my walls right now…that of my husband. I must be his biggest fan! Other than his work, I have a few pieces from Etsy artists, a few from artist friends and some of my own.

In your Etsy profile it says you've worked for over twenty years with people with mental health disorders. What has that experience taught you?

It has taught me about some of life’s ultimate sacred beauty involved in joy and tribulation, about the power of hope and the power of support and encouragement. And that the most important and poignant inspirations come from individuals who overcome life’s obstacles. It has taught me about empowerment and the possibility of transforming one’s life.

Where do you find your inspiration for your collages?

I would have to say that I have two fields of inspiration. The first being, the love I have for others and the love that I receive and my ability to daydream. The knowledge of everything I have and the gratitude I feel. My family and friends' support and encouragement, my two cats, my love of life and all it has to offer.

The second being my love of art and the sometimes overpowering awe that I feel when I see certain paintings. It is difficult to describe this feeling other than to say that I am inspired to bring back out or forth it’s essence but within a more modern context or environment. It is as if I feel that they still have something important to convey about our humanness, life's joys and tribulations.

Other than those two major fields of inspiration, I also like to have fun with my artwork.

What is your favorite collage in your store right now?

I have always had a rebellious nature against the status quo, whenever it imposes limitations on human rights or calls upon bigotry and prejudices. For a number of years the majority of my collages where comments on conformity and critiques of social injustices. In this sense, Above the Odds, which is kind of a remnant of my past work, is still a favourite of mine because it ultimately symbolises the beliefs and values I hold dear in life. I also feel a strong personal connection to it because it is a reminder for me that no matter life’s challenges, I too can rise above the odds!

Is there anything else you'd like Etsy readers to know about you or your art?

I would like for them to know that I literally place all artworks on the same level. I believe that creativity is what is important, no matter the art form, style or technique. This is not to say that I personally enjoy all other artworks, but I do admire the creative process involved in expressing oneself through art. In other words, I love the idea of creativity and it’s process more than I love art just on it's own.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Helping those in need

As the temperatures begin to dip here, my heart is sinking along with them because I'm seeing more homeless people than ever in my community. Yes, we have homeless shelters, but they intentionally make the homeless move from one town to the next so they don't stay in one place for very long and they're only open for the overnight. If you have spare blankets, winter clothes or even small soaps from hotels, please keep them in your car to hand out to people in need. This winter is going to be hard for so many people.

I barked at my husband last night because he complained we were out of sour cream and he wanted some on his quesadilla. I told him to be grateful he has food when so many people are struggling.

I'm not saying you have to give from your pocket. Get creative and give from your heart. Everyone has something to share or donate. Look deep within yourself and you'll find many ways you can enrich the lives of others.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Custom made tutus for the little girls in your life

Aren't these tutus (and the models) adorable? Etsy store, BabyMakesThree offers custom made tutus with elastic waistbands in sizes newborn and up. Choose up to three colors of tulle from their wide selection of forty-two colors and get a free matching flower clip! If you're a new customer, you can get 10% off by putting the promo code "NEW CUSTOMER" in the notes to seller.

Are you looking for gifts that smell good and look great?

Check out elladean on Etsy! She has homemade lip balms, air fresheners and body mists and everything comes with creative and fun packaging. With 225 items for sale that are 100% vegan friendly, affordable prices and international shipping, what's not to love?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Do you love handmade greeting cards?

Check out Etsy seller, RandomScraps for lovely handmade greeting cards and mini albums. She's currently taking custom orders for Christmas cards.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Excitement from Down Under

Last Christmas season I was up in my studio each day, working away on a large mosaic toucan. I finished him in late January and mailed him off to Australia. Sandy Robertson, a brilliant mosaic artist from Oz brought the international mosaic community together for an incredible project honoring the late Steve Irwin. We donated animals on mesh and she's been working like crazy with a team of assistants to create magnificent mosaic panels that will be installed at the Australia Zoo. The first panels will be installed in mid-November for Steve Irwin Day. This week the mural made the paper in Australia. The article tells more about the project and shows pictures of the panels that have been completed thus far. I am so thrilled and honored to be a part of this.

My Treasury is on the Front Page!

Last night I discovered that Etsy had rearranged my treasury, which from what I learned in the forums meant it was being considered for the front page. Apparently once that happens, the treasury is locked in to how they want to present it on the front page. I replaced an item that was sold out, but unfortunately it wasn't included on the front page. I'm sad about the exclusion, but I'm happy for the sellers that had work go to the front page. Congrats!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Just another manic Monday....

Okay, so "manic" would indicate crazy energy and I'm definitely lacking that. LOL I'm still in my funk that's been hanging with me for a few weeks, but I've been trying to push through it. I made something for the simple reason because I wanted to. Do you know how long it's been since I've done that? I honestly can't remember the last time I did that. That's sad. I made a handful of centerpieces using gifts from nature: scented pinecones, leaves, gourds and pods. They were so simple, but they looked beautiful and made my heart sing. I used to have a floral designing business and the daily grind took all the joy away. It was great to feel good about it again and absolutely no pressure. My dogs were a little confused as to why their Mommy was in the backyard with a flashlight at 3AM picking up treasures.

I gave one of my neighbors some leftovers from our "Doggie Halloween" party. She ran inside and came back with a book for me, "The Power of Giving: How Giving Back Enriches Us All" by Azim Jamal and Harvey McKinnon. As she handed it to me she started to cry and explained why she was giving it to me, which in turn had me in tears. I haven't had time to read all year, but it seems like a special book and I'm going to try to make a little time to read it a chapter at a time. I'm a big believer in giving back. You don't have to have a lot of money or tons of spare time to be a giving person. If more people realized that, the world would be a better place.

I have to do one more art drop off/pick up with a gallery in town today and then I'm done with that for a few weeks.

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm in love with this incredible Etsy find!

SWOON! Yes, I know I recently featured Jill of JillreDesigns on my blog, but I had to share with the blog world her newest earrings. Aren't they amazing? The intricate, lacy wire work is fine copper wire that's adorned with Czech firepolished beads. Gorgeous!

Tantalizing Landscapes, Pysanky Eggs & Singing Cows

When I discovered Etsy at the start of the summer, I began reading the forums to learn all about Etsy and how to have a successful store. I took note of who posted to the forums and was helpful and friendly. The store name ara133photography kept popping up and when I began to make treasuries, I learned that the talent behind the store was a woman named Amy. What I didn't learn until very recently is now Amy's store features some photographs taken by her husband AND she has another store on Etsy, ara133 that sells notecards, magnets and notebooks featuring her photography, Origami cranes and pysanky eggs. As part of my ongoing series of interviewing fellow Etsy sellers, I asked Amy if she'd take part in a round of Q&A and she happily obliged. Please take a few minutes to learn about the woman behind the beautiful photographs and check out her Etsy stores, ara133photography and ara133!

Your profile says you're a graduate student. What are you studying?

I’m studying Plant Biology; my research focuses on the way roots change their growth habits in response to nutrient stresses and plant hormones. Someday I hope to be a professor of biology in a small college. My dream is to develop a lab plan (including computer software and realistic manmade models) for courses such as physiology, so that no animals are harmed!

Do you take a camera with you everywhere you go?

Almost! I typically have at least my little digital camera – it fits nicely in my purse and is great for those unexpected shots I come across on the way to school! Sometimes I bring my SLR if I plan to take a walk at lunch around campus. I always bring both cameras on any trips!

I see your husband is now selling photos in your store. Is there any competition between the two of you?

Actually no, we don’t compete. Sometimes we do find that we’ve taken the exact same shot somewhere, which is kind of funny – we do tend to think alike! We have different strengths photographically and artistically, though, so I think our work is complementary. We also enjoy critiquing each other’s work, which helps us both develop! When we go on photoshoots (which is what any vacation or hike turns into!) we share both cameras - we just keep handing them off to each other depending on the type of shot we're taking. Also, my husband is 6'5" tall so he takes all of the 'tall' shots and I take most of the 'shorty' shots (things that require a very low point of view) :) He also doesn't like to have squirrels running around on his feet so he throws food to them for me while I photograph them, when we're getting very closeup shots.

I love your "And They Sang All Day" photograph. Did you already own the cow creamers or did you have a vision and then have to go out and collect the cows?

Thank you so much! Those are actually from my husband’s cow creamer collection! I only left one out, because it is a bunny! A few years ago we went to a little restaurant that served cream in a cow creamer, and he got such a kick out of it that the next time we saw one in a store, we bought it! The ones in the photograph come from all over – a Menonite shop in Pennsylvania, a few grocery stores, a tourist shop in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, a little store in Connecticut…

What is your favorite photograph in your store right now?

I have a hard time deciding!! Right now I really like “Katie’s Enchantment” and “At Tara in this fateful hour” – I like the dreaminess, plus they both look exactly how I imagined them in my head! My favorite by my husband right now is “And the dusk was full”. We are planning to get a print of that one matted and framed for our apartment soon, I love the way it just seems to dance with lights!

How do you envision your photography evolving in the next ten years?

I am starting to do some more photography collages and pieces that might be classified as digital art, though they are all based on my photography. I plan to continue developing my technique, and possibly start incorporating my drawings and paintings into my work.

It's really a joy for me to go beyond what is often termed traditional photography, and use layers, collage techniques and other digital art formats to bring to life the images in my mind. This is especially true when it comes to books I read - I have such vivid pictures in my mind, and it's really a fantastic feeling when I can create them using my photography.

In your second store you sell pysanky eggs. For those people that don't know about these intricate creations, could you please describe the process and a little bit about them?

Pysanky eggs are an Eastern European tradition that began in ancient times; one of more modern prevailing legend seems to be that the existence of the world as we know it depends on the making of pysanky every year! Traditionally, the eggs are kept whole, ie not drained, to symbolize life. However, I’ve heard many horror stories about very old eggs developing pressure inside and exploding during a hot spell or upon being touched.. the stench would be abominable! Therefore, I drain my eggs! To make these, I start with a plain white egg (or brown!). Lately I’ve been using goose eggs, as they offer a nice, large canvas, great for animal designs. Then I draw a design on in melted beeswax (I heat it in a pencil-sized funnel over a candle flame every few moments) – the parts that are waxed will be white. Then, with the wax still on, I dip it in the lightest dye I plan to use. For my red and white Christmas ornaments, only one dip in red is needed. For multi-colored eggs, the next step would be to draw more pattern on top of the dye… this pattern will be the color of that dye – you are basically protecting that color with the wax. Then the egg is dipped in a slightly darker color, and these steps are repeated until the egg is dipped into the darkest color (usually deep red, blue or black). The method I use to remove the wax is to hold the egg next to a candle flame and wipe away the melting wax with a lint-free tissue, bit by bit. Then I spray the egg with acrylic as a sealant. The whole process can take several hours to a few days depending upon the intricacy of the design.

Thank you, Amy for letting everyone get to know a little bit more about you. I know Etsy wouldn't be the same without your lovely work. Best wishes for a bright and successful future!