I'm still here

I just took a friend to task for not updating her blog more often. I told her to at least "grunt" in the direction of her readers so we'd know she's still out there, even if she too busy to post a full blown blog entry.

Consider this my "grunt." I'm looking up photos, I just returned from Peoria, Illinois from a conference of art show directors and artists, and am getting a shipment ready for a gallery.

I'm still here and kicking and more entries to make.

Carla




Inauspicious Beginnings

If you like my aesthetic in jewelry you may be surprised by my beginnings. I am.

I was rummaging through my drawers the other day trying to figure out what was in them, as most of what I wear regularly was residing on the floor. Why is there no room in my dresser for my clothes?

What I found among many other things was some of my old jewelry from my youth, way before I made jewelry. Eclectic is a nice way to describe my tastes. My favorite watch was a Minnie Mouse (not Mickey) one that I bought in Disneyland. I had earrings with bells, and macrame bracelets, yet not one peace sign. Sigh.

But the thing that made me laugh was the very first piece of jewelry, a pendant that my Dad made for me. It was my pride and joy for many years and I even resurrected it for a party a few years ago.

My older sister’s boyfriend had gone to Hawaii for spring vacation. To show his love or at least to show he was thinking about her, he brought her back a little wooden tiki head on a leather cord. I don’t think she was too impressed, but being 5 years younger I coveted it. She let me hold it and even wear it for a while but then demanded it back.

That was not okay. She didn’t like it much, I LOVED it. I watch where she put it and went and stole it. And we were off to the races. After a few days of this my father got tired of the screaming and yelling. Neither daughter was going to give in. If my sister hid her tiki head, I tore her room apart until I found it, only to re-hide it in my room. She’d throw a fit (much to my delight) and demand it back.

Dad offered to make me my very own tiki head IF I would PLEASE leave my sister’s alone. I agreed. He had teak wood he had scavenged from the beaches of Hawaii during the war. It was off the decks of the military ships. It  had been removed dumped after Pearl Harbor to make them war ready and less flammable. (Or so I was told.)

Taking a chunk of the teak he carved me a tiki head and hung it on a leather cord. I loved it, wore it, treasured it. And eventually outgrew it, to bury in in the back of a drawer.

It made one more appearance in my life in the late 80’s. For unknown reasons I chose to wear it to a party. A drunk with far too many drinks in him came up to me grabbed it and hung on, asking, “What’s dis?” For once in my life I was fast of brain and mouth and replied, “My first husband.” He looked aghast and rumbled off. Here it is for you to enjoy, the start of my love affair with handmade jewelry. How I have evolved….or so we all hope.

Tiki Head

Carla

FoxGlassworks.com

glass tiles

Dave (the hubby) and I like to do things ourselves. Its a point of pride. We have an eclectic background of skills to bring to any task. We've been teachers, outdoor instructors, special ed director (Dave), parents, small business owners, community organizers. I have considerable skills behind a sewing machine, Dave carpenter skills, and a life time spent with a master gardener. What we don't know we like to figure out.

Plus both Dave & I are artists; me a jeweler, him a glass tile person. I sell at shows, he works with architects, designers, contractors, & owners to make his custom tiles. He's my sous chef in jewelry, I'm his sous chef in glass. And both are part of a wonderful group of artists and arts advocates producing a fine arts show, Art in the High Desert, in Bend Oregon. We figure out tough things all the time.

But, no matter how bold and brave, trained or experienced, inventive, sometimes it is best to NOT do it yourself.

With the help of some talented people we have created a new Fox Glassworks website to showcase Dave's work.

Our fine children pushed us off this cliff by contracting with a favorite web designer and friend, Keith Buckley to put together a tease of what a new website might look like. Keith then went to work on us asking for photos and words and some idea of what we wanted the website to look like, how to navigate around it.

What looks so easy once done is in reality a series of interconnecting decisions. We struggled, we thought, we tabled it, and then our kids would remind us that they had a stake in getting it up. We could do this, we thought.

Then we had our best idea and we turned to more experts for help. The best decision of all.

Tom Hassler and his stylist Trisha spent a weekend with us photographing a variety of jobs scattered through-out Central Oregon. We added some of our fortunate shots from jobs out of the area burned them to a CD and faithfully sent to Keith. He still had questions. How was he to use them? What words did we want with them, where on the site should they go?

Oh. Wasn't that all required of us? Pretty pictures and a great product. As good as Keith is, he couldn't read our ultimate needs and intentions from our mass of photos. Ellen Santasiero proved to be just the person to help us, move beyond this. She writes the words for websites. Short, elegant, to the point, words. She sat down with us and asked many thoughtful questions to guide her words and ultimately the Fox Glassworks website. Her focus became our touchstone.

And so it went. Questions asked, answers struggled for, decisions slowly made. Ideas tried out, more photos taken, ideas considered refined or throw out. Friends finally got into the picture urging us to finish it as they were eager to see it up share with their clients. Thanks Martha.

Finally after several days of me learning way more about how domain names, dns numbers, and web host addresses work, I received a magic email from a very helpful tech and viola! Keith published the new website.

Check it out. If you find any boo-boos tell me. Its okay, we know we have a tweaks to do. But enjoy its' elegant navigation, Dave's wonderful tiles and installations, Ellen's words, Keith's web design, Tom's photos, our kids kick in the pants. FoxGlassworks.com

Thanks to all who helped with this. You're the best. Below are just a few of the glass projects Dave has worked on.

Master bath counter DRR


Powder RoomDRR


Brasada Men's side


cmf-head-avatarCarla

Running a show

Arghhh.

Time's short and I too busy. Two or so years ago some artists and art advocates in Bend decided that the West Coast in general and Bend in particular needed a really wonderful show. What's more we realized we had all the skills to put one on. And so it started.

In 2 weeks the 2nd annual Art in the High Desert will come to Bend. Its a lotta work. We are an all-volunteer group.  Which makes it a bit crazy to work this hard. But we all agree that it is worth it. But today, for now, Arggghhh. Why do I have the good ideas I do? I'm way too busy. Our whole team is working hard, on their own art, and each of their show jobs.

Last year was our first year. We could have picked a more auspicious economy during which to start a show...but we like challenges. More important, the city of Bend, and central Oregon love fine art. They came out and bought last year, and they tell us they will be back again this year.

So while my life is filled with little details, final advertising pushes, (I even get to be interviewed on a local TV staiton) here are some images from last years show, taken by our photog Tom Hassler, aerial photograph by Matt Verdieck.  Enjoy the view, come and visit us this year. We have great artists coming again, don't miss them.

Carla

AHD_08 Along the river


BearAHD 2008


Long Day AHD _08


Aerial AHD 08







Post show diddles

Before a show I am focused, on task, getting things done. Today after the show I am bumping around trying to figure out what jobs I put down before I left I need to pick up first. They all seem to be important now.

I'm still halfway at the show, thinking about all that happened, seeing happy customers, reviewing things to change for the next show.

One thing I must say:

I must take back all the snarky remarks I have ever made about the parking lot structure that the Bellevue Museum art festival is in.  I LOVE IT! Its been whitewashed so it looks good, the funky lights have been replaced, but BEST OF ALL, when it got dreadfully hot outside it was quite tolerably cool inside. Since every one of my last 4 shows have had some sort of weather issue, I was delighted to be out of the elements. The Bellevue parking garage is the BEST!

Carla

Cool with no wind or rain





Getting ready for the next show

We're getting ready for our "July" show. Itsa biggie and a favorite. We've tried to catch up on things left undone before the last show, arrange for house sitters, weed a bit, enjoy a glorious summer, and keep at work. But it is hard condensing life into time slots between shows.

We will head north this time to Bellevue, Washington for the Bellevue Museum Art Festival-or BAM-or the Garage Sale. It's held in one of the more unfortunate venues, a shopping mall's concrete parking structure. But it is shady and cool, and we are protected from rain and wind. The audience is an art-savvy interested group of buyers and are there to see and buy art. The artists are always first rate.

At Bellevue we will be showing with our dot,  Sarah, in the next booth. This will be a first, fun, endlessly entertaining, and a challenge. Sarah is our favorite daughter, our only one in fact, and came equipped with everything one wants in a daughter; other then that she's younger, taller, thinner, and has the most outrageous hair. Her jewelry is very different from mine, reflecting her youthful and unique outlook on life.

Our son also lives in the area so it will be a family silly time, to bug each other, laugh, eat, help out, talk, listen....but I digress.

Cow fence green grass

As Dave repeatedly has to tell me I will be there to sell jewelry. And in order to sell it I must first make it. I love being a jeweler, it's home for me. But right now I wanna ride my bike, sit in my hammock chair, kayak, go for an early morn walk with our dog,  or write in my blog. Of course, if  I was told to ride my bike all day, I'd rather be walking the dog. If I was told to walk the dog I'd want to write in the blog all day. And if told to do nothing but write, I'd want to be making jewelry. I call it my "Grass is Greener" syndrome. If I hafta do it, whether I love it or not, suddenly I want to do something else. It's a leftover from a contrary childhood.

So back to work for me. I have some great new work on the bench that needs finishing, some oldie but goodies that also need their final patinas and placing on the cards. Bellevue is going to be fun. But I must first work to earn it .

(And oh yeah, to Johanna, from Des Moines, who reads my  blog - even tho' she's not related to me, and likes it! Hi. It was great talking with you.)

cmf-head-avatarCarla

Rain-Cherry Creek, Colorado 2009

What's worse for an art show artist-a raging wind storm or torrential rains? I'm not sure. But last weekend at the Cherry Creek Art Festival in Denver, we had the opportunity to deal with the rain.

Our daughter, Sarah, was in the Cherry Creek festival. So on the way home from Des Moines, we stopped in Denver to help her set up her booth, and I stayed on as her assistant while Dave flew home to the dogs and our other life.

Fortunately he hung around for Friday of the show. We needed all hands on deck. The Rockies are known for their afternoon thunder storms, so we weren't too concerned as the dark clouds rolled in, nor even when show staff came to warn us that a rain and thunder storm would hit in 20 minutes. As per the show's suggestion we had not set the tent in the gutter, the tent was a light dome and had weathered several storms with nary a leak, and we were Oregonians, we are the rain.

Be careful what you don't worry about. Cherry Creek had a huge rainstorm on Friday. We were fortunate as the river/gutter we were by flowed on without overwhelming the booth. It came thorough the booth but we made an island of plastic boxes in the center, hiked up all the stuff we didn't want wet and rode it out. Other artists were not so lucky. If their booth sat at the confluence of 2 drainage areas water rose a foot in their boothes. Some art was lost. One artist's tool box floated 2 blocks away. It was eventually returned by another artist.

And so it goes. Life in a 10' x 10' retail space....

The Des Moines Art Festival

The Des Moines Art Festival is now in our rearview mirror. We came, we sweated, we sold, laughed, ate, slept, packed up and are now off to the next show. This one is our dot's in Cherry Creek, Denver Colorado. I am her helper, while she sells her amazing sculptural felted jewelry. Check it out: sarahfoxdesign.com

Des Moines puts on a great festival. Set in downtown it has a backdrop of the most amazing sculpture garden. Even though the sculptures sit in a sea of mud in the unfinished site, festival visitors stood next to chain link fences and pointed at their favorites.

Des Moines Interactive mural project, circa 2008

My personal favorite part of the festival is the interactive mural project. Here is a photo from last year's mural.

So now is time to move ahead, plan for the next show, pay a few bills, and get back to the studio. Adios Des Moines, we had a grand time.





Carla

Set up Time at the show

A man stood studying our jewelry and displays. "Does the show provide you with all this?"

set up DM 2009 Nope, each artist brings their own full 10' x 10' retail store to each show. And what they bring is as individual as their art. Some fly in and ship their booth and inventory ahead. Their booths tend towards the minimalist. Others come in large sprinter vans, trucks, vans pulling trailers. What is unloaded from those would put many circuses to shame. I always think this is the most fascinating time of a show, watching the various booths be put together tinker-toy style, until VOILA! a retail spot.

The Des Moines Art Festival has a leisurely set-up day. This is good. It was in the 90's with lots of humidity. It was brutal work. Everyone moved at half speed with lots of stops for brow wiping, drinking, and dirty glances at the sun. I got a little cranky, unloading the van,  putting up the canopy, setting up the display. The ever-cheerful and nothing-bothers-him hubby, kept at it saying it was fine, good for the soul and other such nonsense. Only after I threatened to kill him did he slow up his happy chatter. When one is miserable, one does not need happiness. We set-up the big stuff before I finally said "uncle" as we retreated to a cool hotel room. We went back to work some more after the sun had gone down & finished up the next morning.

The mother of invention being a weekend of intolerable heat, I came up with an idea for a swamp cooler in our booth. My brilliant idea?

So clever, so cool, but does it work.....?

A pan of ice sitting in front of a fan. Ignoring the fact that humidity renders a swamp cooler moot, it was sorta like spitting in the wind. But it made me feel like I had some control of my environment. Dave, the hubby, played along, "Yes, dear it DOES feel cooler in the tent."


The transition between being a solitary studio artist to a meet-and-greet retail sales person, is always a little rocky for me. I've had my head down nose to the file in the studio making pieces.....now its time to show them. It usually takes 1/2 day for me to get my talker going. Some of the most amazing non-sequiturs come out of me in the early stages of each show. Its as if I have forgotten how to talk while working in the studio. Our daughter calls them my "spoonerisms." I have told customers, "If I can ask any questions, let me know and I will ankwer them." Huh?

I like doing shows, I like seeing peoples reaction to my work. I just wish I could be more suave about it. The Des Moinians were patient with my first attempts. And as the weekend proceeded the weather cooled (sorta) and my talker came on line.

On the road again

The last few weeks have been non-stop work preparing for the Des Moines Art Festival. Its a great show, wonderfully-organized, one of the best in the country. It has to be for 2 people from Oregon to travel the 1700 miles to get here. The best part is seeing the wide-open country and antelope, the worst was being eaten by mosquitos at a campground in Rawlins, Wyoming, that sat on the edge of the freeway.

We had chosen to camp our way across the country to save  money. KOA's seem a good idea as they are clean, have showers, readily available. The one in Rawlins meets all that criteria. But it was set between some apartment buildings and the freeway. Our fellow tent neighbors lost something around 10 pm and spent the next hour opening and closing every door in their car repeatedly. But it was the mosquitos that finally undid me. I started to think real hard about camping being a good idea. And I use to teach outdoors for a living.

Grand Island, Nebraska's KOA sat in a grove of trees next to a corn field. Perfect, until the mosquitos came out again. Once we had eaten and been eaten, we plugged in the computer and a small fan and sat in our tent seeing a thunder and  lightening storm bear down on us, while watching Jon Stewart and drinking cheap wine. The silliness of the situation tickled us. Laying in a backpacking tent, watching a thunder storm fly at us, while viewing a TV program on our computer. Man has camping changed.

View from our "window."

Thunder storm moving in










The box clasp

Like everyone else I sometimes have a hard time getting focused and getting going. Life happens and when your work is in your home, life interferes with work. I'm a great believer in my ability to multi-task, but sometimes it just leads to me bouncing around like a ping-pong ball getting a little done.

Metalsmithing requires focus and attention to details. A casual moment can undo hours of work as an over-heated piece falls apart (or melts!) under a too hot torch, a careless saw cuts a kerf into a carefully etched surface, a sanding disc is allowed to go too far.

When I get to this place I need to stop trying to do many things at once and refocus. As I retreat to my studio and sit at my bench more often then not, my thinking is still scattered  and I have no idea where to start. Things seem either too easy and simple or too complex to work on until I get my brain working. What to do?

I recently decided that the best thing I can do at this point is to start making box clasps. Technically box clasps are fairly difficult, but I've done enough to be fluent in them. I know each step, how to do it, what order to do them in. Making them challenges my skills as a metalsmith, with the precision, cutting, soldering, measuring, filing; but I know what to do and have no questions as to sequencing, what temperature solder I need, what the pitfalls are. Making box clasps brings me back together and centers me on the here and now.

All the intricacy and detailed labor of the box clasp is hidden on the inside. My version of the clasp is actually a box within a box. I was taught to make a tight precise fit to insure years of trouble free wearing. It is more time-consuming but ultimately produces a clasp that will last indefinitely and never release unexpectedly. It makes me proud every time I sell one as I know its a special item with a great deal of my efforts and thought put into each clasp.

Below is the very condensed version of the making of a box clasp plus a peek at its inner workings.

1. The inner box is made & a slot carefully filled to accept the tongue of the clasp.

box-clasp-step-1












2. The tongue with the trigger is soldered and carefully filed and fitted to the box.

box-clasp-step-2-tongue-trigger












3. The etched sterling top deck is soldered in place and a the slot for the trigger is pierced & filed into a tight fit. This photo shows the box within a box, part of this clasp.

box-clasp-step-3-box-in-box











4. Once the bottom plate is added the tongue continues to get refined so it has the pleasing and important "CLICK" when it is fully engaged. Then the findings are soldered on, it is thoroughly cleaned, and is ready to be patinaed and added to a necklace.

box-clasp-step-4_cleaned-ready-for-patina











5. Finally the clasp becomes the central part of a necklace. In this case a rough cut carnelian necklace with yellow turquoise. Its ready to go to a client.

box-clasp-step-5-strung




I'm a little Tea Pot, short & stout....

When visitors come to our home the first few times, they seem to feel obligated to bring bags of groceries. Its not that they think we won't feed them, but the concern is that because we live  far from civilization, provisions must be brought, lest we all miss out on favorite foods. While Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are a mere 40 minutes from our home, I don't dissuade this bringing-of-food. I like to see (and eat) this manna from my friends and am always intrigued by what each guest feels is necessary.

Our last guest went even further. He brought his favorite kitchen utensils as he is the dweller of a small-kitchened condo, and he wanted to stretch out and cook dinner in our large kitchen with a view. I fully encouraged this turn of events. If he wanted to cook, I would happily vacate the area for him to play.

While Brad oriented himself to his weekend bedroom I rummaged through his food bags to see what delights awaited us. I came across a little red aluminum pot that sprouted antlers. Intrigued, I set it out and studied it.

What that?

I was instantly in love. Whatever it did, I had to have one. While I put away the groceries, Brad demonstrated his little machine and made me an incredible cup of espresso. This little machine works like a percolator, once the water is hot enough it bubbles up through the coffee, into its antlers, and streams espresso into cups. It was the best I had tasted. So not only was it cute, but its simple, Italian, and made the tastiest espresso our house has seen. I now NEEDED one.

Within 15 minutes I had googled it, found one, and ordered it. Filled with espresso from Brad's machine I spent the weekend bouncing off walls. Mine came a few days later. And it is in daily use as I make my morning lattes. Now I need a new song + new lyrics to go with my new Italian Bialetti stove top espresso maker.

Rudy-Our new Bialetti stovetop espresso maker




Great Zeus! - Zot! - Eureka!


"I so admire how creative you artists are. Where do you get your inspiration?"


cmf-in-lite
.....waiting for inspiration

Good question. Every time I am asked that question I am flummoxed. Inspiration is a tricky thing. When I am very lucky, or very good I walk into just the right spot in my studio and ZOT! a truly great idea comes to me in a flash. The 3 rings in my top banner were a marvelous Zot moment.

My friend and fellow jeweler, Jack, challenged me to get over my prejudice to diamonds. I'd always thought they were over-hyped, stupid stones, boring, transparent, clear, no color; plus there are millions of them around.  Bah humbug, who needed them when there are so many other fine stones in the world. But Jack nudged some of my thinking around and I started relooking at diamonds.

My main gripe with diamonds is that much of the jewelry made with them, makes it all about The Diamond. I am a metal worker. I want my work to be all about well... My Work and the diamond's just a punctuation to my designs.

My 3 rings above came from this double-dare of Jack's. The idea formed in a quick moment of insight, fully-developed. I even found some colored diamonds to use. Bliss. I regularly thank him for his goading.

But mostly my designs are hard fought.

Jestsam & Flotsam
Jetsam & Flotsam

I am currently working on a design I know isn't that good. But the damn thing will not vacate my head until I make it. I know it will end up in my scrap pile...I have days like this. Its like clearing a plugged drain. Once I have design out of my head and at least partially realized I can go on to other things. I have a whole pile of dumb ideas that I poke at from time to time, trying to figure out why I made them. And sometimes they lead to inspiration, often not.

Usually my designs are evolutions from past work. No Eurekas! just hard slogging work. I make something like it or love it, look at it, start to examine it, think about it, and have a better idea of how to do it next time. This drives Dave-the-husband crazy. Why must I keep messing with great designs?  Why do I move on to my next NEW IDEA, when I have so many old great ideas I can still make? I  dunno. I think that's what it means to be an artist. We are always looking ahead to see what's there, how we can do it better, how it can change, evolve, morph into something else.

So when I go back to work, and I do find its work; divine inspiration is a rare event, no matter how good I am, or how many different places I stand in my studio waiting for it to happen.

cmf-head-avatarCarla





Man Jewelry.....

What do guys like, want, wish for in jewelry?

I currently have a friend, P, who is bugging me for Man Jewelry. I'd love to accommodate him and the other men who have stared wistfully in my case and asked...."Do you have anything for men?" No.....I don't, but I should.

What is it guys want in jewelry? Cuff links, quirky lapel pins, bracelets, pendents, single earrings, manly rings?

P is now pondering this question. He hasn't answered me yet. But for all the other men who feel left out of the jewelry game, the question is now yours too. What would you like to see me make for men? Write me, let me know. The first Manly piece I make will be named for the Man who gives me the best answer.

Carla cmf-head-avatar

Channeling Sally Fields...reallyReallyreally.

I don't squeal. I don't repeat myself. I carry myself with dignity and grace at all times.

So what was I doing squealing in a microphone at a city mayor and show director in front of hundreds of people. "ME? You really liked my work? Really?" The show director looked decidely puzzled at this remark and I plopped my mouth shut as I realized what I was saying. I tried again,"Thank you so much, I really appreciate this, I'm just surprised." and with that I staggered back to my seat to the amused faces of my fellow artists and the husband.

I had won much to my astonishment "Best of Jewelry" in the La Quinta Art Show last year. Its not that I don't think my work is la-qunita-awardgood, GREAT! and deserving of an award, but fabricated jewelers who don't use a lot of gems, rarely win these awards. Or so I tell myself when I don't win. Plus I don't really like Best of....prizes as deep down I don't feel art should be competitive. And I have too much admiration for my fellow jewelers to think I am the "Best of them" for any given time or show. But the little girl in me loved winning.....really-a-lots.

I received a chance to be more eloquent again this year when I won 2nd place in jewelry at Scottsdale Art Show, 2009. Oh, I do like winning. But again, I look at my very talented fellow jewelers and wonder, me?

The public seems to like to see the ribbons in one's booth. Kids usually spot the ribbons first and nudge their parents into noticing. They congratulate them & I duck my head with proper humility and say "Thanks." But the kindergartener in me is doing the Snoopy Dance and squealing.

Carla


Booth photos…arghhh

The room sounded like it was full of pirates. Another booth photo had come up on the screen and jurors groaned…..arghhh.

Artists understand what I am about to talk about, for my non-artist readers, an explanation is due. When we artists want to be in a show we just can’t add our names to the list. We must apply and be juried in. The application process usually involves answering a few questions, sending images of one’s work, and a booth photo of how one’s booth looks. Once the applications are all in a jury will review and score them. The highest scoring artists are accepted in the show.

It sounds so simple, but continues to mystify us artists as we apply to shows with our great work and don’t get it. WHY!? is always the question. Part of the answer is Booth Photo!

Jurying circa 2008


I recently had the opportunity to sit through a jurying for a show. I was not a juror but an observer.

What struck me and everyone else in the room was the poor quality of many of the booth photos. Many artists booth photos were just plain awful. Why did they waste their application fee by using such a poor quality booth image?

Well, actually many of us know.

Booth photos are a pain to get. We artists realize we need one in the dead of winter, as we are starting to fill out applications. Our booths are packed away and we try to figure out if we even took a photo of our booth last summer. Or do we have a decent shot from a few years ago, hopefully after we changed to our new work or redesigned our booth. Yeah, I have one...I remembered to take one...now where is it?

This wasn’t a fussy jury. A simple shot of the booth as it would look at this show was all they wanted. It didn’t have to be professionally shot. For emerging artists or non-show artists images of their work as a grouping was acceptable.

Artists without a good booth image had handicapped themselves and their application. As artists we never want to give the jury a reason to say NO to our application. In many cases the artists had done just that with their poor booth image.

The Don'ts:
Images that did not show the artist’s work in situ. Booth images shot with camera phones, shot with the sun coming directly into the camera lens, out of focus, with a turned over coffee cup and other debris in the booth. Images of booths with art work totally unrelated to the work the artist was jurying. (What would they show up with if accepted or is that even their booth?) Booths with the side walls pulled back so only the blue porta potties show, not the artwork. A particular irritant to this group of jurors was the booth images with the names of the artists on the booth, despite the show’s prospectus asking that NO names be visible. Images with people in them, more often then not the artist, happily selling his/her work. Or so many people that one can’t see the booth. The jury saw one side of a booths, a partial corner, the grass and roof of the booth, while the artwork was hard to discern. Heavily photoshopped booth images, were commented on, and disparaged a bit for being too overworked. A screen capture of the home page of a website with an explanation to the jury why no booth photo, was not well-received. Neither were scanned images of photographs or slides, that looked dirty, dusty, and out of focus.

The Do's:
The booth had been cleaned up of misc debris, people, signage, names. The shot was clear, in focus, correctly exposed, and showed the jury how the artist’s work would present at the show. The photos shot at a shows were just as well received as those shot in a photog studio. The jury saw no need to set-up a special shot in a studio setting. The best ones showed similar work in the booth as was being juried.

Moral of this story:
We artists need to be out there shooting our booths all summer long to get the best booth image we can for next year’s round of applications. It is must, so juries can say YES to our applications.

Click for more info on booth photos from Larry Berman...

sm-booth-photo-composite

cmf-head-avatar Carla

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

There are many kinds of artists. Some feel once one is an artist in any media, one can take on any other media….be it photography, graphic design, or web design. I have found that being creative in one area does not necessarily translate to another.

My jewelry photog, Gary and I, struggled yesterday to get a shot of a pair of earrings just right. Actually I struggled. He had done his job, mine was to "style" the earrings into a pleasing arrangement. He took the photos, we evaluated each shot on his monitor and I continued to tweak, as he adjusted the lights.

I am often asked if I take my own photos. I always snort "No" But why not? My father was a photographer, I learned at his knee. I have a friend who is a professional commercial photographer who willingly shares his tricks. I’ve seen Gary shoot my work many times.  I can certainly get a camera that has the capacity to take the images. But as I "styled" my jewelry and Gary rearranged his lights, I knew without a doubt that I shouldn’t be photographing my work. It's not within my creative suite. Its not within my studio set up, I don’t have the years of working in the field.

Consider when Michael Jordan left basketball to play baseball he had a short and unstellar career. Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor, but it remains to be seen if he can be a great singer. We’ve all designed or seen designed the MSWord business cards and/or brochures, that could be titled "Fun with Fonts". I’ve certainly designed my share of bad over-done graphics. But I learned my lessons the hard way & I don’t do graphics nor am I designing my website.

I recently, had the opportunity to observe a jurying for an art show. There are some wonderful artists out there, its damn exciting to see their work. But not all artists are photographers. And as the jury commented several times, "What were they thinking?" What indeed. They didn’t further their own carefully crafted work, with their poor photography.

As my photog sez, it’s not what camera you use...that’s just the recording device. In photography it’s about the lighting. And I am convinced, that is a skill that must be developed over years. As a jeweler I can tell you its not the metal and the bling, its how its put together. The fact that I am a creative person doesn't mean I should take on ALL creative projects that come my way.

I am best at being a jeweler. I’m at home there. I am a poor photographer, a font frolicking graphic designer, and a clueless web geek.

I don’t always have the time or money for it but I have learned to hire, barter, beg, pay-over-time, whatever it takes to get the right creative professional for the job I need done. In the long run it is cheaper and saves more time.

This blog entry is for my Photog-Gary Alvis, WebGuy-Michael Hamilton, & GraphicPeop. Thank you for being so good at what you do, so I don’t have to.

Coming soon:  Thoughts on jury & booth images. The good, bad, and the GAWD AWFUL.

cmf-head-avatar Carla

HANG ON! Here they come.

We giggled as we headed south. Reading from the 2008 La Quinta Arts Festival info, I had come to the page-long set of directions on how we were to stake our canopy. Good grief, what retired engineer did they turn loose on the staking directions? Usually all the info artists are told is to stake or weight your tent appropriately. But La Quinta told us that we MUST HAVE, 3 foot rebar no smaller then 1/2" in diameter, pounded 30" or more into the ground, tape or pipe clamped or roped (with cotton rope, not plastic rope) to our canopy legs. Good grief, talk about overkill. But once there, we did as directed, pounding away and measuring to be sure we got our rebar deep enough. And still we giggled, in our know-it-all smugness.

Then came the high winds as only a desert can know. Oh man! They weren't a woofin' about high winds. Large paintings flew through the air off of panels, trash cans twirled and the trash redistributed itself around the show. Artists scrambled to secure art and displays, festival goers alternately ducked the flying debris, or helped artists retrieved flying displays, art, and hold on. But the canopies stayed put! Not one went tumbling through the air to take out another canopy, a festival patron, or undefended pottery.

Dave & I looked at each other as the wind chaos flowed around us. We both offered an apology and thanks to whoever devised the staking rules for La Quinta. It was brilliant!

As the summer went on we had a chance to look back at La Quinta's staking instructions with fondness. Our 2008 trip to the Des Moines Art Festival fell just after their 2008 floods, torrential rains, and HIGH winds. The winds were still fierce and our well-weighted canopy swayed as it tried to break free of the 40 lb weights plus! sandbags that sat on each corner.

On asphalt our rebar stakes were useless, so we watched our canopy scutch (a derivative of scoot) along

Sandbags & weights

the ground with each heavy gust, and we dutifully moved it back into place.  The show even evacuated the public for a couple of hours while winds blasted through it. Artists were told to button up and hang on.

wind-damage-at-desmoines-08

And so the show season of 2008 went. Heavy winds, flying art, more weights added to canopy legs, one slightly damaged tent…. Summer weather, what a bother.

We hoped for calmer weather in 2009. So far its not been auspicious. The winds found us again at Scottsdale. But we were on asphalt again, no place to pound in stakes, and we knew our 160 lbs of weights might not be enough.

Before the winds came, one kind-clever artist spent much time with his power drill, and kneepads,  screwing his fellow artists' canopy legs into the asphalt.

Screwed in for safety

Walking the show on Sunday morn I was amazed at the inventiveness of artists in tying down their tents. When in danger invent!

Carla

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Yeah, I'm going to marry it....

When small, my son would ask his sister, when she said she loved something, if she was going to marry it. Three years younger, he thought he had devised the bestest of snarky remarks with which to bug his sister.

This month I have found something I want to marry. I'm not often in LOVE with technology but a new point and shoot camera has totally won me over. It started with me wanting an inexpensive "pocket" camera. A quick glance at camera reviews led me to Costco and just before we left for 2 shows, I bought one.

This little jewel is AMAZING!  First it was cheap. Under $200. It of course shoots great photos, plus it keeps voice memo's-so you remember why you took some random photo, it rotates the images as I review them, it chirps when I turn it on, and WOOFS when I snap a pic. The woof tickles the heck outta me. Drives my photog friend Tom, crazy.

But best of all, this deckofcards piece of technology takes movies! And not bad movies at that. No more will I try to capture a series of photos to get the sense of something too big for a 4" x 6" picture. Now I can just slide the button over to movie mode and off I go.

Vermilion Cliffs-Northern Arizona, on a VERY windy day


The dot sez I've reached a new level of dorkiness. The son sez, "No, I don't need a new camera, I have a REAL video camera, Mom." Well, yeah, but not one he can slip in his shirt pocket.

If you need a new camera, get this one. Canon PowerShot SD790IS. Itsa hoot. AND yeah, you'll wanna MARRY it.

Carlacmf-head-avatar

We've been Burgled!

My friend Jan left my house laughing. I had delighted her. She was sent in to retrieve a piece of equipment we had left behind and ship it to us at a show. Our house was tossed, tumbled, destroyed!messy-house

She immediately called us as we drove south to the show, to tell us how much she enjoyed plowing her way through the our getting-ready-for-the-show house mess. She felt so much better about her housekeeping once she'd seen the mine.

My inner Oscar smiled at her amusement. I do what I can to make my friends happy. My hubby's inner Felix, sighed. After a long marriage he's given up trying to keep order in every day of our lives. Sometimes, more often then not, mess happens.

As Jan & I hung up, I observed...."Well at least if the burglars break in they will take nothing....they'll figure someone else got there before them." Felix/Dave, smiled, rolled his eyes, and drove on. :roll:

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Carla