Friday, November 27, 2009

A Special Connection

At the Handmade Paper Guild show last weekend we had a decent crowd and sales were ok.  How's that for compeling blog copy?  Pretty bad, I'd say.  But wait, now it gets interesting.  During the show I met one special young lady with a story that should have you stick with me today.

On Friday, when I happened to be working the show, a young college-aged lady asked us to put aside one of my frames because she needed to think about it and didn't want it to be gone when she returned.  She came back later, put the frame back on the table, came back again, left again.  She may have even repeated this cycle one more time.  She was with a friend, and you could tell that they kept talking about this frame.  Ok, finally, a decision appears to have been made.  She was turning to go without it.

I was at the door as a greeter and had been watching this unfold over an hour or so.  So as they passed me I made some silly comment like "you're not taking it home today?"  She explained that she was on a tight budget and couldn't afford it right now.  The reason that she really wanted it was because her little niece had passed away and one of the last pictures they have of her was at a lighthouse.  This frame was perfect, she said.

My regular readers might remember that I make the paper mosaics in honor of my niece, Taylor, who passed away in May 2007.  I told this young gal this and her eyes got big.  We then discovered that both girls died from a heart problem.  Now all eyes got even bigger and very watery.  After some more talk, this lovely young lady left.

Minutes later, she came back in a rush.  Connections, kizmet, coincidence, fate.  Whatever you call it.  This connection that we made almost required her to go home with the frame.  It could not be ignored.  We made some finanical adjustments.  The frame will be given as a gift to the mother of the little girl.

I am thankful for connections such as this and for the many people in my life that help me remember what is important.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Artist Spotlight - Gera Scott Chandler

I've been toying with the idea of doing some artist interviews for quite awhile.  I'm always interested in how other artists, in all media, approach their work and thought you might be too.  So, with Thanksgiving approaching, and most of us thinking more than usual about what we are blessed with, it seems like the right time to start.  As there are so many amazing artists out there that deserve some added attention, I plan to make the Artist Spotlight a monthly feature. 

I am thankful that I met Gera Scott Chandler last February during the One World, One Heart blogging event.  Out of all the blogs I visited (hundreds!) during that chaotic event there have only been a handful that I've revisited and then tried to establish an online connection with the artist.  What is it about Gera's work that entices me?  Color and texture.  Texture and color, what else?  :)  She is a polymer clay artist and does beautiful work.  Not only that, but she seems to be a beautiful person (and loves to read).  Please take a look here, visit her blog and enjoy.

Where are you from?
I live in Victoria, which is a city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island on the west coast of Canada.

What is your art education?
I taught elementary school for ten years with a prime focus on art education before heading to Emily Carr College of Art and Design. I was planning to focus upon Ceramics but ended formal art studies when I had my children. I used the computer as an at-home art school and explored paper arts and gourd art before becoming fascinated with polymer clay as a foundation medium.

Have you always been an artist or are you "new" to it?
I'm one of those people who has always been an artist... my earliest memories involve boxes of crayolas and the joy of a big new sketchbook.

What is your specialty? And, have you always worked in this medium?
My specialty is polymer clay. I've been using it in various capacities for almost 15 years.

What does your work space look like?
Between January 31st and February 26th, 2009 I blogged about the complete redesign of my studio. The finished pictures are here.   As I look at those pictures, I can't understand how something so crisply organized has turned into the chaotic environment that surrounds me now. I TRY to be organized but once I'm working I find it impossible to put anything where it's supposed to be. I've recently tidied up for an upcoming studio tour but I don't expect things to stay tidy for long.

Please describe your work.
I've undergone a huge shift in my approach in recent months and it's very exciting for me. I'm combining digital photography with polymer clay and found objects to make very organic three dimensional compositions on canvas. My current theme is west coast shores. 

Do you have any special art tips for others?
Experiment! I'm always surprised at how many people email me explaining an idea they've come up with and asking me if I think it would work....I'm always delighted to offer my two cents worth but why not try it yourself? The fun is trying, perhaps making and mistake but learning through the process of experimentation.

What inspires you?
A walk on the beach or through a garden, fashion magazines, random Google Image surf sessions and visits to art galleries and shows.

When you’re not making art, what are you doing?
Reading, watching TV (I’m an addict), noodling on the computer, gardening or trying to tidy up.

How can you be contacted about your work?
Please visit my blog at aMused Studio or email me at  Gera also has an Etsy shop with lots of cool things.

Thanks very much Gera for sharing your work and part of your life with us!


Monday, November 16, 2009

Handmade Paper Guild Holiday Sale

This Thursday, Friday and Saturday the Handmade Paper Guild of Southwest Michigan will be having it's annual Holiday Sale.  We join forces with Kalamazoo Valley Potters and Art Etc. (a group of area artists) on the campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 6767 West "O" Avenue.  You'll find lots of high quality, handmade items that make perfect gifts for loved one (or yourself).  I'll have an assortment of everything I do:  paper mosaics, cards, ornaments, handmade paper fish and mirrors and more.  Come join the fun:
Thursday, November 19, 5:00 - 8:00
Friday, November 20, 9:00 - 8:00
Saturday, November 21, 9:00 - 4:00

Handmade paper fish

Paper mosaic mirrors and picture frames.

Paste Paper Card Packs

Handmade Paper Mirrors

Greeting cards and collages

Paper mosaic artwork

Have a good week!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Everyday Textures of Fall

I had lunch with a dear lady this week.  Her husband was the man that gave me studio space to work with handmade paper and instilled in me an artistic confidence.  Sadly, Paul Robbert passed away a year ago.  One of the tasks that Ros is faced with now is pulling together an inventory of his work.  Oh my, a bittersweet task, for sure. 

One of the pieces I saw for the first time on Monday, and covers one complete wall of their home, is a painting that he did long ago of grass.  Yes, just grass.  And, it is stunning.  It brought to mind the textures of everyday life.  So, I grabbed my camera and shot some close ups of the tall ornamental grasses that are in my backyard.

What a wonderful riot of color and depth!

Reach for the sky!

What's in your backyard?


PS.  Of course, we also have these not so wonderful Everyday Textures of Fall:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Altered Sisters Round Robin - Book Six

For months now the Altered Sisters have been working on a Round Robin book swap.  This is the Round Robin for which I vowed I would incorporate an altered photograph into the artwork of each book.  Well, this month, I caved.  No photograph.  I just couldn't work up any interest in the idea.  That's not to say that the whole altered photograph thing doesn't have huge and wonderful potential.  I'm just not feeling that potential right now.  Gotta go with the muse, or in this case, the lack of one.

For November I had Catherine's book called "Open the Door to Color".  It is a well crafted effort with beautiful pages from each artist.  Catherine was one of my first customers when I started doing my paper mosiacs and she loves artwork that features houses.  So, it seemed like a natural fit to include a mosaic house along with the riot of color.  Here you see "Green House."

This book spread uses acrylics, paper mosaics, collaged flowers and oil pastels.

If you're interested in the altered photograph work that was done in each previous book, please visit the posts on March 22 and 25, April 7 and 11, May 4 and 8, June 4 and 9, and August 30.


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