Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a safe and fun fun fun Halloween! xo

P.S. Above is a local banana spider. Harmless, huge, with the telltale "stitches" pattern in the web to give her (identity) away. This is a female and they usually like to live in one place for their lifetime. She showed up by our front steps right after we took our house off the market. Hm.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Carol Carter: : Paint

Today we are visiting painter Carol Carter.
Carol moved into this space five years ago. She loved the northern exposure and installed the floor to ceiling windows that surround her entryway. Notice the huge black door on each side? These close to create two distinct spaces.
So when she wants to, Carol can separate her work and gallery spaces.
Carol paints here six days a week.
Right now Carol is finishing up her series on Italy. This show includes more than 80 paintings and will open in February 2011.
These pieces are ready to go. 
Carol collects toys and other things that amuse and inspire her. They hang on one side of her very large, portable easel.
"I think most artists collect something," she said. She also uses this space to hang photographs and memorabilia. 
The space definitely reflects who Carol is as a person and an artist.
This is not Carol's first studio. "For the first 30 years, I had a studio with no sink and no bathroom, and I'm a watercolorist," she said.
When I arrived, Carol was setting up for her next painting. Carol is able to paint in several different natural lights depending on where she positions herself within the studio.
She teaches painting at Maryville University and mentors many new(er) artists. "I tell my students to be grateful to be a working artist. Don't worry about being an art star. I liken it to Julia Roberts - how many Julia Roberts are there? But there are many many working actors who are happy to do what they do."
Carol says a clean studio is like having a camera in a case - unused. "It's hard to create neatly, so you need a space where you can be messy."
 Below, on her paint cart, is a palette covered with more than 15 years of paint.
Here's a palette with only five years of paint!
Earlier this year, Carol was the artist in residence at Everglades National Park. She lived and painted in the park for a month.
She also traveled to the Wildlife Rescue and Response Sanctuary in Venice, Louisiana, where she saw birds being washed and relocated after the Gulf oil spill. She plans to combine these two series in a show in 2011.
Next year will also find Carol teaching painting workshops in Norway, France and the Virgin Islands.
"When my students ask me, 'How do you get to be a great artist?' I tell them, 'Paint everyday,'
" ok to paint in the mediocre zone. That's where good habits are formed. It's not what you have or who you study with, it's about sticking with it, and striving to be a really successful local artist."

(I'll also post a reminder about it here.)

Thank you so much Carol!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Peggy, where art thou?

So I just signed up for Facebook. I know,  I know....super late am I to get in the game. My kids will be delighted. I met a very convincing artist yesterday who insisted (and I agree) that social networking is a necessity to anyone trying to be self-employed as an artist. So if you know me personally, look out, you most likely have a request from me to be my Facebook friend (still need to learn the jargon).

I've been on Facebook for almost 10 minutes and haven't heard from my Facebook-extraordinaire-friend Peggy. Can't believe it! (Peggy, I need a tutorial!) xo

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Melissa Schmidt: : glass + jewelry

Today we are visiting the studio of Melissa Schmidt.  It is glorious! 
And surprising. Everything is white and there are inspiration pieces, but only a few, dispersed throughout the room.
Melissa has had this space (behind her garage) for more than five years but tells me she can't stop calling it, "The Shed."
She started designing jewelry more than 17 years ago - she loved this medium immediately and soon began making her own glass beads.
Three years ago, she started making her signature glass bubbles. Melissa creates small, glass globes and then combines them to make one-of-a-kind earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
Her inspiration for this construction came from vintage pearl buttons that she found on an antique dress. She bought all of the buttons and experimented until she created a way to replicate their structure in glass.
Here are some of her early attempts. 
Melissa shares her home with her husband and son (who is also a budding artist). She shares her studio with her two dogs, Scruffy and Frida.
The studio does not have heat or air conditioning. Winter months are challenging and Melissa tries to put in 20-minute sessions with the company of a space heater and a lot of layers.
 When the weather cooperates though, you will find Melissa out here every day.
Her kiln was a gift from her husband, and she had it for years before she had a place to put it.
Melissa uses two kinds of glass to create her bubbles: tube glass borosillicate (also known as "Pyrex") and tube rods. Both types are needed to find the perfect balance of thickness and "lightness" so that the piece feels bubble light, but is strong enough to be dropped.
Yes, you read correctly: dropped. Melissa attends 10 art shows a year and people often return to tell her stories of how her jewelry survived being accidentally dropped on slate floors, concrete, etc. If a bubble does break, Melissa replaces it.
Melissa has two favorite quotes that act as her mantras: "The best way to predict your future is to create it." and "Art saves saved mine."
Melissa's mother died two years ago, and Melissa knew she wanted her creative space to also feel like a shrine. "My mother taught me that you can make jewelry out of anything," Melissa said. 
Her mom had an amazing art jewelry collection with pieces constructed from non-traditional and eclectic paper, ephemera and beads. (She even has a piece constructed from animal bladders.)
Melissa created this necklace for her mother's 60th birthday - it's 60 pictures of her mother throughout her life. Melissa often puts film, paper, silk flowers and other miniature items in her beads.
So her studio is also a place of respite and remembering. I'm so delighted she shared it with me (us)! 

If you live in Philadelphia, you can see Melissa's art in person
at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show, November 11 to 14.

Thank you Melissa!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I [heart] field trips!

So my life has been blessed with family and friends who tolerate my passion for craft supplies. We only had two days in Raleigh, but I had to visit Ornamentea. The men folk headed to a nearby sports bar, and my sister came with me (she made the right choice...really she did!).
The shop exudes hospitality. I could have sat right here and absorbed the creative vibes all day.
"Corinne," you say, "are you a jewelry maker?" But if I was, I'd take classes right here.
I recognized all of their art paper - that's what happens when you love paper for a really long time. They did have a lovely selection though for a beginning paper artist - plenty of non-traditional paper which is important.
 My kids would love these paper mache animals.
My sister was a rock star! New ideas were forming for a class I have starting in November and she was willing to help me bag lots and lots of tiny goodness.
Then we found some bracelet-making-supplies for ourselves. We took our supplies home for a quiet Sunday morning, but locals, you can work on your craft right there in the store if you need guidance or hand-holding as you try something new. The whole store was a treat for the senses. The buttons below are simply (but so eclectically) displayed in altered coffee cans that are nailed to the wall.
I love this book's title..speaks to many of the women in my life who say way too fast, "I'm just not creative!"
The ribbon was from another vendor who I just love. I forgot how dreamy that stuff is..what could I make to justify buying a box of it all? (Kidding honey...just in case you're reading!)
Step right up to borrow tools or speak to an expert. The store did not disappoint. It was totally worth the trip!
Thank you Ornamentea! You can check out their blog right here. xo