Friday, March 14, 2008

Plum Blossom Necklace

Last night I was up burning the midnight oil. I just couldn't stop until I was finished. Now this is just my first attempt but this is the idea that I am working with now. It still needs a bit of tweaking.
Opinions anyone?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Pendants Take 2

When I was in Baltimore at the ACC show I watched a demonstration of a Chinese painter. He was telling about the significance of the plum blossom which is the national flower of China. The plum blossom has five petals that symbolize five qualities of life that everyone desires. I can't remember what all of them were right now. But listening to him tell the story of what he was painting got my mind going on a way to expand on my floral pendants.
I really like the way this one turned out and I'm planning on doing more in this style. I also changed the bail from a silver ring to a clay bail that is hidden. I like the all clay look especially with the softglass cord. I still have a few more ideas that I'm going to try, hopefully tonight after my kids are in bed. I had an idea late last night and I had the hardest time falling asleep, so tonight I think I have to get in the clay!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


So I just had the most frustrating thing happen to me and I feel like I'm going to explode. So I thought I would write it out here.
In June I will be participating in a pageant. I've never done anything like this before, but it's one of those things that I wanted to do when I was younger and never did. A good friend of mine participated in the Miss Iowa pageant and had a wonderful experience. So I looked into what was available for married women. It turns out there are tons of pageants for those who have said "I do" so I emailed a couple for more information. A few days later I received a call from the pageant director asking me if I wanted to participate. After a bit of though I said yes!
That was in November, and now as the pageant draws near I am getting into high gear to get ready. One of my get ready steps is getting shoes, and thus begins my frustration! Because I live in the middle of Iowa there aren't a lot of store that carry the 4-5 inch high heel, clear acrylic (death trap) shoes that are typically worn for the swimsuit portion of the competition. So I turned to the Internet. The friend I mentioned earlier had let me try on her shoes. They were too small for me but I thought the style was very classy looking and not too, well, stripper-ish. So I found a place online where I could get the same shoes in a larger size. The place I found with the best price ($70.00) does not take returns because since people only wear the shoes for a very brief time they could be returned after wearing. Understanding this I ordered.
The next day a received a call from the shoe store telling me that they are no longer carrying this particular shoe and they only have one pair left that was the sample shoe that had been tried on and showed signs of wear. They offered me another shoe that they said was almost the same only that it had a different colored sole that wouldn't show anyway. I told the very polite woman that I was uncomfortable to order a shoe I had never tried on. The woman assured me that I would be very happy with this shoe but if I wasn't to call and specifically ask for her and in spite of the policy we would make it right under the circumstances. And so I ordered. (by the way they had already charged me for the shoe that they didn't have, $1 more than the shoe I received. $1's worth of salt in the wound!)
Yesterday the shoes arrive! I was so excited that I felt like a kid at Christmas. When I opened the box I felt a bit uneasy thinking these looked a little extreme. I tried them on and yikes! I could barely stand let alone walk! I thought these are not just like the ones my friend had. I measured the heel and they were a full 1 inch taller than the ones I had ordered! I looked like a street walker! UGHHHHH! At this point I'm more disappointed that anything else because I really needed to start practicing wearing these shoes. But I thought at least I can return them, good thing I specifically asked!
So just an hour ago I called the shoe store and told them I was unhappy with the shoes and they were not as originally described (the heel height). She told me the woman I wanted to speak with was not at the store but she would call her and get back to me. A few moment later my phone rings and the sales lady tells me that they will not accept a return or exchange and The woman I spoke with never told me otherwise! I was LIVID! So she is calling me a liar! I keep my composure and spoke a bit more with her about how I specifically expressed my concern about the no returns and I was assured that we would work around it. She told me flat out no returns. What could I do????? I told her I guess there is nothing else to say and I hung up.
How infuriating! So now I am out $70 that I don't have just lying around, and I have a pair of hooker shoes!
Well I feel a little better writing out my struggles. Even though I doubt anyone except my mother will even read it. Oh and by the way, they kept the $1! Tacky!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Synergy Lessons

I've been home now for over a week and I still haven't had the chance to clay, but my notebook is full of ideas for new stuff and ways to make the old stuff better. So instead of posting pics of my latest work (of which there is none) I thought I would share some of the things I learned while at Synergy.

#1. Everyone makes crap. This was the most wonderful and freeing thing I heard all weekend. I know that it was completely unrealistic but I had this idea in my head that "real" artists sit down at their work table or go into their studio and just make beautiful pieces and the ideas are always flowing and everything they touch comes out looking gallery quality. NOT TRUE! I learned that even the artists that I most admire go through times when they don't have ideas and everyone has a box, a drawer or even a closet full of junked projects. How nice to know that I'm not the only one with a box full of stuff that I consider rejects! One presenter even said that when she wants to create a new line first she makes about 20 drawings of an idea, then puts the 10 best drawings to clay, then narrows that down to 5 and after revision maybe 1 or 2 will actually become a product for her. In the past I have felt like every time I want to clay I have to create something fabulous and award worthy. So many times this has caused a complete creative block. I was told over and over that the only way to really make something good is to make a lot until it becomes good.

#2. There should be evidence of decision making in every aspect of your design.
This was the main point in Kathleen Dustin's session on earring design. She gave us examples of earrings that were a wonderful bead or design and then were put on a store bought earwire without thinking. By adding a little thought and a bit of time to make your own earwires that relate to the design of the earring the quality of the design as a whole is greatly increased. This leads to better sales and also greater value of the earring itself. I'm already trying my hand at making my own earwires (I think it's one of those practice makes perfect things) and I already feel more confident in my finished products.

More Later!!