Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Got Buttons?

I've been madly making big and little, gawdy and classy wired button rings. So naturally I had to buy a slew of buttons. Here's a bit of what's current or coming soon in my Etsy shop . . . and yes there's more where they came from (...sigh, it never ends, does it?)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bead Fest nee Expo...

I'm still processing Jesse Reno's class and (shhhh!) haven't even completely unpacked from my freedom jaunt to Santa Fe and Bead Fest. Color me spring fever.

I had a grand time with Sarah and Betcey and Nikia and many friends, and my class with SLK was well worth the bucks. I came home with cool new supplies (Ice 2-part resin, way too many vintage watch faces, oh yeah, and a few beadz).

And I'm not one to cling to the past. But frankly, the magic is gone. It was a fun show, but it wasn't Bead Expo. I reflected on this with many old friends. The Santa Fe Convention Center is new but still has that old Santa Fe charm, and as always the food was great and the vibe was memorable. But this was not the world bead collector's haven that the old Bead Expo show was. Gone are the lectures on Paleolithic bead knapping and Indonesian beaded baby carriers. Gone are the bead sellers from Afghanistan and Java. This was a corporate America bead show.

Nothing illustrated this more, IMHO, than when I was sitting in my bead class and in walked the touring Aspire board members-slash-investors. Here we are in a room full of women -- and I suspect Interweave's readers are 99.9 percent women -- and here comes the all-male board.

Don't get me wrong, I don't expect a 50/50 split. And I remain very loyal and supportive to the company that's published a couple dozen of my articles over the last several years. And I pretty much adore the (all-female as far as I can tell) staff of Beadwork. But don't you think Clay could have scrounged up a woman banker somewhere? It struck me as odd. These guys wouldn't know felt from freezer paper, or a bead from a sequin for that matter.

And I couldn't help but notice (and hear from a bunch of vendors) that the booths were 2 feet narrower than the standard show layout. I don't know whether the facility was smaller or they were trying to squeeze in an extra row, but both the CC and the Hilton were butt to butt booths. When people were waiting in line at Beyond Beadery, where I worked on Saturday, and others were browsing the outside rack at Hands of the Hills next door, there literally was not room to walk between them to get to the end of the aisle. The Hilton, where most of the individual artisans were located, was a bizarre space. You had to walk a mile from the front door to get to the 2 rooms of vendors. Awkward.

Having emphasized the negatives... I did have a great time, way too much fun in fact. I power shopped at Ben Eagle's, splurged at April Melody's, haggled with Wild Things, and grazed through Pema Imports. I loved helping people find matching beads at Betcey's, and met wonderful artisans from all over the planet. The weather was beautiful, and I'm happy the show is back in Santa Fe. The poetry reading was a great idea, but I was way too wiped out by Saturday evening to attend.

Next year I hope they leave a little more room for people. I also hope they make it more of a community event -- and by that I mean, invite the local guilds to have booths in the lobby. There were busloads of beaders from Albuquerque, and volunteers from the New Mexico Bead Society. It would have been prime time for them to recruit new members, who will become serious shoppers before long. And how about supporting a local charity (hint hint, I could suggest one or two)? What if Softflex sold raffle tickets instead of the free drawing, and gave the money -- or better yet, jewelry making supplies -- to a Santa Fe shelter? What if beaders brought a can of food to next year's poetry event? How about a juried show of local lampworking talent? Or demos and talks by some of Santa Fe's fine Native American bead artists such as Teri Greeves and Jerry Ingram?

I just have this sneakin' suspicion if Bead Fest wants to find a home in Santa Fe, their long term rewards -- monetary and otherwise -- just might come from putting down roots in the community and thinking seriously about what makes the City Different and the Land Enchanted.

[EDITED TO ADD: Carol's comment reminded me that another thing I dream of seeing is for a bead show to promote the local bead businesses. Those businesses sell magazines and grow new beaders. And those struggling brick and mortars often take a big hit when a big show comes to town. But there are ways to promote each other and benefit...]

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Jesse Reno Class

Wow. I spent the day in Jesse Reno's one-day class at OFFCenter (tomorrow his 2-day class begins...) and it was exhausting and envigorating. I knew I was in for a change of pace and a jaunt beyond my comfort zone, and I looked forward to that. I didn't, however, expect Jesse to be so wise and authentic. My skills in painting and drawing, well, suck loudly and I didn't expect to master anything today. I did, however, come away with 3 small paintings I thought were the best I could do under the circumstances, and I'm happy with them... sort of. I'm even happier with what I'll take away with me, which was lots and lots of insight into a devoted artist's creative process.
hibrination by Jesse Reno

I liked the way he worked improvisationally and built up the compositions in layers, some translucent and some opaque. It reminded me a bit of Holly Roberts though she works in oils over her photographs, and he paints his first layers with his hands.

And btw, score! My 13-YO loves his work too and wants to go check it out in person tomorrow. We might bring his BFF, who loves to sketch. Wait till I tell them Jesse paints decks (skateboards for ye of my generation). 8-)

I was chatting with Miz Sarah tonight and sent her the link to Jesse's website while we chatted. Here is a quotation that I really liked that I think illustrates the depth of the insights he gets to in his creative process...

desire over understanding
it is more important to want something than to know how to get it - magic - there are many illusions attempting to confuse themselves as truth - so many things to keep track of - so many things so important - he did not need a headdress as he had grown his own feathers - they brought him a phoenix


Betcey Hit the Big Time!

My friend Betcey was interviewed for the latest issue of Beadwork magazine. Check it out! Betcey started out...well I'll let you read it. Then she moved to Woodstock and...oh, I don't wanna spoil it! Now, as many of you know, she does...hey! you're not getting the story outta me! ;-)


Friday, March 20, 2009


I just got back from the opening of the Exquisite Corpse show at OFFCenter, where a bunch of artist teams got together to recreate that ole surrealist game of painting parts of a piece without seeing the parts the other person...well, it's kinda hard to explain, but each piece was created (painted and drawn, mostly) by (I think?) 3 artists, and the effects were really striking, since all the parts were stacked on the wall, and ended up being lifesize or more than lifesize, the top portion being usually the head and neck, then the torso, then whatever was below that, like fish tails, yoga positions, and leg-like schtuff.

So, Micaela hosted a poetry reading that was really good, but the funnest part was when we took an intermission and took turns sitting at the tables with big sheets of paper, folded to either draw parts, or to write lines of poetry, reading only the line written before us, and then folding the paper back so the next person could only see the line we'd written. The resulting poems were funny, surreal, oddball, passionate, compassionate, and evocative. I think I could actually write poetry if I wasn't responsible for it!

And there were some funny and poignant moments, like when a shall-remain-nameless-well-known-local-performer walked up to an art-therapist-who-shall-also-remain-nameless and said, "Wanna do a line?" We all looked up at her at the same time, and she said, "Of poetry, I mean!" And then a local dude named Rick was sitting next to me passing me the most amazingly heartfelt words, it would send me off into deep poetry land. I did NOT want to get up and read, but when I opened this particular poem he'd contributed to it made me cry, so I said, Ok I'll read this one.

And to think -- I'd mainly gone over there after work for the food, and came away with so much more (including a check for jewelry sales, btw, yeehaw!).

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No I did not get eaten by pigs

Apologies to all 6 of my loyal readers (well probably 2 have wandered off by now, so all 4 of my loyal readers) but I did not quite fall off the face of the earth, or any other planet.

I had a kind of contagious illness not of the respiratory kind last weekend that I vowed to never again make the topic of a blogpost, so there went 3 days right there. Nuff said. Trust me.

And then, in order to have a guilt-free weekend here in Santa Fe at Bead Expo (or Bead Fest, or whichever they're calling it these days...) I had to finish up 3 school assignments last week.

On Thursday I breezed out of work early, sped home, threw things into a suitcase (and not the right things, as it turned out -- you should see my hair!), and drove straight up to the new Santa Fe convention center -- BEAUTIFUL building by the way. I got there about 5 mintues after the show opened, power shopped, hugged Betcey and Mark and Nikia, then picked up chicken and went back to the hotel to finish the last of the 3 assignments -- a brief literature review.

Finally finished at 2:00 a.m. and I was SO tired, but wired at the same time. I love hotel rooms because you can get them really, really dark at night (unlike my house, which it all lit up by the eerie glow of electronic devices). I was wearing some lime green PJ's with metallic threads woven through them, and as I was getting under the covers in my dark room, I noticed the PJs were creating a lot of static electricity under the covers.

Now why I am saying this on a blog I have no idea, but after I saw the first few sparks I got a little nutty and there in the room all by myself, under the covers, I started thrashing around and giggling, creating lots of bright electrical sparks like a darn 3-year old. I'm thinking it was the stress of the week and the need for a little physical exercise, lol. But a few minutes later I stopped because I was suddenly afraid I'd catch myself on fire and not be able to go to my jewelry class the next day.

LOL! "This is your brain on graduate school." I slept really, really well. 8-) That was Thursday/Friday. I am still in Santa Fe and have a lot to say about that. But right now I have to go meet Sarah for a little more shopping . . .