Thursday, April 30, 2009

Jesse Mathes: Personal Space Metalwork, Wearable Art

These times where people are giving one another personal space, keeping handshakes and contact to a minimum are interesting. I'm thinking of the lead character on the tv show, Monk. Situations also remind me of concepts and then to artwork that I like. This brings us to metalwork artist Jesse Mathes.

To name her amazing wearable sculptural series, she uses terms such as Territorial Defense and Personal Space. There is a clear reference to Elizabethan ruffs and yet very modern bristles to them. The play on power and protection goes throughout several of her pieces.

On her web site, she says, "My work focuses on the psychology of personal space and the ability of large scale adornment to empower and protect its wearer."

"I enjoy making jewelry that is both elegant and dramatic, and strive to make work that makes the wearer feel beautiful. I have chosen insulated copper wire as the medium because it is an industrial material traditionally used in electronics, yet has the ability to create elegant textural forms when manipulated by crochet and other textile techniques."

Mathes makes both beautiful jewelry (some of her jewelry is fine wire crochet) and the larger-scale metalwork designs. She was asked about how she balances her time and talent between the two endeavors in an interview at

"My large-scale designs tend to be very labor intensive with numerous technical issues, whereas my jewelry designs are much more minimal and therefore much less taxing to create. I really love doing both because they give me a good balance. After working on a piece that takes over sixty hours to complete it can be very gratifying to make several pieces of jewelry in one day. Then when I feel like making something more challenging I switch back. "

Her work was recently shown as part of the Equilibrium: Body as Site exhibit at the Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts in El Paso, TX. A slide show of pieces from the exhibit is available on their site. She has taught metalsmithing as well as working as an artist and jewelry designer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Space Treasury at Etsy, Out of This World

I have a pair of earrings in a way-out Treasury on Etsy.

Old joke alert. What do you do when you're driving around and around at the mall at holiday-time and you see a space man??

Park in it, Dude.

Remember, "'I love you,' said The Little Blue Man."

Kanreki, Turning 60, Japanese tradition, Celebrations

Celebrations and rituals are important and ever evolving as people's needs arise. Special times in life guide me when thinking of design for my jewelry. We've had a lot of family, friends and favorite rock idols turn 60 recently and I've been researching different ways of commemorating age.

Kanreki, return to the calendar, is the celebration of a person's 60th birthday which is a great celebration in Japan. According to the lunar calendar, it takes 60 years for a person to finish a cycle on this earth. In a 60-year cycle the honoree has gone five times around the twelve animal years of the Chinese zodiac. It marks a person's rebirth and return to second childhood. The cycle of life returns to the beginning.

The honoree usually wears a red hat and vest. Their wearing red symbolizes their rebirth, as babies usually wear red in Japan. And thus they are embarking on the next 60-year cycle. The honoree sits in a place of honor during a celebration usually hosted by his or her family and friends which may include a special meal and meaningful gifts.

Beyond the Kanreki, other birthdays are celebrated. At ages 70 (koki), 77 (kiju), 80 (sanju), 88 (beiju), 90 (sotsuju), and 99 (hakuju).

The 88th birthday, Beiju, is popular because the Japanese characters for "88" when written together, resemble the character for rice or bei. We took my father-in-law out to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants for his 88th birthday and they told us about this. It's also referred to as the rice year.

Many of our friends and family who are turning 60 these days are Baby Boomers. We may look to create a more contemporary ceremony, one for our time, our place and circumstances. How about gifts?

What will the honoree wear? Fun to make it traditional but put an individual twist on the proceedings. Think about the birthday person. Are they dating? The head of a big family? Make the party about them.

A red outfit, shirt or dress will work. Something special, an old favorite, maybe something new. Dresses by designers such as Kiyonna her Vivienne Cinch Dress, will flatter any figure. You can find just the shade of red to go with your complexion.

Regardless of season, a nice gift is a pashmina, maybe a silk wrap, particularly a red one. If a vacation or retirement is anywhere on the horizon, you can use it as a coverup on the beach. There are many uses in travel. During cooler months use it as a wrap or a scarf. There are many options in silk, cashmere and more.

Junior's® Red Velvet Cheesecakeicon Founded in 1950 in New York, Junior's® created The World's Most Fabulous Cheesecake. This Red Velvet cheesecake is Kosher, serves 12 and can be delivered. What a treat! Check it out. Yum.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Same Name Game - Forget Me Not

This one is so fun because the beautiful blue color is so close. Mother Nature must be guiding us. [Please write/post a comment for information on any of the jewelry you see on this page images and designs (c) ImagineMDD]

The premise of this 'game' is that I look to see what other items on Etsy have the same name as pieces of jewelry that I've created. The name of the day is Forget Me Not. I have a necklace with this name made of some of my favorite Czech glass beads, Swarovski crystals, sterling beads and little freshwater pearls. It's that really 'cool' shade of aqua/sky blue.

I found that layla's Etsy shop has fizzy Forget Me Nots Bath Bombs in virtually the same color.

These will make your skin soft and are sure to give you a relaxing time in the bath. Her shop is really lovely and I'd suggest a stop by at least to look around.

Nature inspires pretty things all the time. Don't forget to look around, take note and let yourself be inspired by what's around you. Oh yes, and take time to relax. :-)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Crafting from your Stash

I'm getting on the money-saving, green, space-saving bandwagon and implementing a Crafting from your Stash regime into my schedule. Not sure what kind of challenges I want to do yet. Does anyone else out there do more crafting from your stash rather than accumulating these days?

There's a book where they talked about a ceramics class. The instructor did a test. Half the class was to be graded on the quality of their final piece. The other half of the class was to be graded by the weight of the amount of pieces that they made total. How much could they create through the duration of the class without considering the quality?

Predictably, I guess, the ones who were just in there creating piece after piece after piece ended up with what people thought were the better items in the end. They were free from the paralysis by analysis that some who were working toward that one perfect piece felt.

The beading, crafting, designing from my stash movement has officially begun. Out will come items like the snakes, once I find them again.

Uncovering a heart

I try to notice the little things in the world. You never know where you'll find a little pick-me-up message. We found this heart on the inside of the top bun of a chicken sandwich. Love is all around. :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Furniture and Fashion, FIDM Chairing Styles and Aiveen Daly

FIDM, The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, is advertising its annual Chairing Styles exhibition, a collaboration between Textile Design, Fashion Design and Interior Design Students. The pieces will be on display in the FIDM Museum & Galleries. The exhibit contains original chairs designed by FIDM’s Interior Design students and coordinating gowns designed by FIDM’s Fashion Design students. The exhibit explores the relationship among three disciplines; furniture, fabric, and fashion.

The Textile Design Students design the fabric for the upholstery and the clothing. The Fashion Design Students design the outfit that matches the chair. The Interior Design Students design and construct a chair that incorporates the fabric designed by the Textile Design Students. Photo to the left is from FIDM's 2008 show.

Hearing about this reminded me of Aiveen Daly, and gave me an excuse to visit her site again. She is a UK upholsterer who's artistic and innovative work.

She gives chairs features such as the long slender lines of a stylish shoe (check out her Stiletto range) or the pleats or corseting of an evening gown for instance, are among her signature pieces and have helped to make her famous. I've heard that she is inspired by 1930's couture gowns and gentlemen's tailoring. That aesthetic comes out in her use of detail, color and fabric particularly.

"I started out at the peak of the trend for sleek Italian furniture, and found it all so boring and generic," Daly said in a 2008 interview with TimesOnline. "I saw the detailing and fabrics that were being used in fashion and decided my upholstery could go down that route."

She is also known for the ability to take an heirloom piece and bring it to life again or turn it into something you never thought it could be. This is what they mean when they say upcycling.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Etsy Day 2009, Buy Handmade

Etsy is an online community where people can buy and sell handmade goods. That's a fact but it's also a really dry explanation. I have a shop at Etsy where I sell my jewelry, including a low-pulp, high-celebration piece I changed up and retitled Zesty Day to commemorate Etsy Day. My husband will be selling some of his guitars and maybe some of his smaller art furniture pieces, too in the future. Etsy's birthday is June 18th.

The best thing about Etsy for sellers is the sense of community. The people who work at Etsy are very enthusiastic and very helpful. I always feel really old whenever I go into their wonderful virtual labs and see the members of their administration who are leading classes and teaching me a lot of valuable information. It's the same way I feel when I realize that two of the babies who I once diapered are now doctor and a teacher who's having her own baby. Unbelievable! I couldn't express how much I've learned from their workshops.

The talent and creative minds of the people who sell at Etsy will blow you away. Some of them have literally been able to quit their day jobs thanks to their shops. Congratulations to them for their accomplishments and all their hard work!

There are a lot of good animal-themed items, particularly my favorite, cat things. Randomly from my Favorites List, I chose this Kitty Cat Decorative Plate from tresse's shop, 20% of the proceeds benefit Mid-Michigan Cat Rescue. Paws Up to tresse's shop! You can get paintings of your pets and replicas of your pet done in needle felting and other fabrics.

Etsy is a great place to find upcycling at its finest. redyellowandblueink's shop has birdfeeders made from recycled traffic lights, and part of the proceeds go to the Audubon Society. The artwork is as diverse as it is noteworthy. Take, for instance, Brain scan light box No. 7 from leee's Shop. Do you want your home to look like you went into a department store and let them take over? It certainly won't if you shop at Etsy, it will show your personality.

Groovy recycled fashion, handbags, sculpture and jewelry and the pieces to make them are available. Katwise creates beautiful sweaters in her Etsy shop. I create jewelry with recycled broken jewelry, tin scraps, computer parts, fabric trim and buttons and hope to have some of these pieces in my shop soon.

I encourage everyone to visit the site and look around. They've recently updated their Search function. (hooray!)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wool Jungle Dreads, How about real soon?

My nephew, a proud graduate of FIDM - The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, wore his hair in dreadlocks for I don't remember how long. He's tall with blue eyes and red-blond hair and he is not an introvert. :) I really love fiber arts and wool roving.

I have some and look forward to using it in my jewelry making. Right now it sits in little potato-sized colorful 'clouds' deep in my supply closet just waiting to be used. "Pick me!" I'm sure it's thinking whenever I open the door. Nope, not yet. The little ball I have that is 'cotton candy' color looks dangerously close to to what it is called and I have a real sweet tooth!

I found Jungle Dreads. They create wool dreads, "all made by hand so you can choose any color, length, thickness or style you want." Their selection is big and so colorful. Some of their Art-Yarn Dreads remind me of old-fashioned candy sticks!

Their site includes a FAQ, color selector and tutorial. I'd suggest a visit just to see what they've come up with. The dreads aren't even all that they offer, but it may give you some ideas.

Candy photo:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Large Stoneware Beads, On Trend, Spirals, Etsy

Have you ever been watching television and a commercial comes on for something you're doing or using right then? A Pepsi commercial comes on and you're actually drinking a Diet Pepsi? You're sitting on that company's sofa? Something like that? It can be an odd feeling.

This week I've been working on some new necklaces and I got an email talking about New Trends in Beading. I could not believe that one of the trends they talked about was big stoneware beads. I am working on a piece featuring just such a bead. I have never been 'on trend.'

The beads they're talking about in the article are gorgeous. I have some that are similar that I got from Lisa Peters on Etsy and I've been looking forward to using them. Her work is fantastic.

I first discovered Lisa's work at one of my favorite bead shows, BABE, The Bay Area Bead Extravaganza in Oakland, California. I purchased some of her pieces through Allene's Beads. They offer items from American and European self-representing glass and clay bead and pendant artists. To walk up to Allene's table at a bead show is kind of like Christmas morning for a beader/jewelry designer like myself. Her variety and quality of work is astounding, and she is delightful to talk with. Lisa Peters was one of the artists whose work I bought from Allene. I've added a photo, too of some of Marsha Neal's pendants.

I was happy to find Lisa Peters was selling on Etsy. So her work is officially on trend now. :-) One of the many reasons that I was attracted to Lisa's work is the color and pattern that she uses.

I'm going to be working a lot with symbolism in the near future. I'll be using a lot of spirals for instance and she has some beautiful, organic spirals. One of my favorite necklaces that I have in my own Etsy shop, No Lifeguard On Duty, has some blue lampwork beads that have small spirals on them. Pieces I have coming soon have to do with life stages and life changes and the spiral or labyrinth is such a powerful symbol there, particularly for women, following your life's path.

I was lucky enough once to have a brief visit to the studio of an artist who does raku, one of the methods Lisa uses to make her beads. It's a fascinating and time consuming process and the result can be so beautiful. So on trend or not, I'm happy to see that these bead artists are getting more press now.

But then again, I'd better start rearranging my paltry budget! I'm going to need more beads and what if they sell out?!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Introverts who Blog - Epidemic Proportions?

Did you hear the one about the extrovert who became really shy and introverted when she blogged? Actually her posts were really short and she blushed while she typed.

I heard a podcast of a panel discussion from the 2008 BlogHer convention about introverts who blog, and when they blog their more extroverted side comes out in their writing. Cousins, identical cousins.... I'm coming out of the IWB (Introverts Who Blog) cyber-closet now. It cracks me up that this is by far the longest blog post I've ever written. :-)

I'm starting a new business and hear a lot about how you have to get out there, swallow hard and talk up your jewelry. It's something I'm passionate about at least. So how about personally? Do we become someone else when we blog? Do we talk about our personal lives as well? Does another part of ourselves come out? What was she doing in there all these years before we were blogging? Garrison Keillor wrote a nice piece on Shy Rights which appears in his book, Happy to Be Here.

Think of a party where you know no one or few people. If you're wearing a name-tag of some kind and told to m-m-mingle, that can be super-strenuous. Hand me a paper plate with some food in a group and expect me to walk around.... I hope you have a hungry dog in the room and I hope no one there has a video camera! [Make the most of it! You'll be remembered! I can hear them saying.]

I looked for information on the dreaded word, Mingle. To be all mixed up or jumbled together. But I hardly know these people! It is compared to the word, Mangle. Of course. I knew that word had dastardly undertones.

I'm married to an extrovert. If he walked into a room where there were 100 people he'd make friends with 99 of them. He's genuinely, enthusiastically interested in people from the get-go. The thing about introverts is that isn't really different with most of us. I'm fascinated by people, their stories, their hobbies. Everyone's experiences are so unique. I'd be interested to hear from other introverts about how you survive and manage these events. Are there other IWBs out there? Power to the Shies.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Betty Pepper, Jewelry Design, Upcycling

Betty Pepper is described on her web site as "a textile / jewellery designer maker. In her effort to find that elusive something which makes an object desirable and multitalented artist and jewelry designer, and I have enjoyed somewhat magical she explores different media and techniques in both two and three-dimensions." I've been interested in her work for years. She's a wonderful artist and just right to share in my blog around Earth Day.

Her pieces are alive with stories behind them, personalities, histories to the varied materials, including textiles and paper. Her art is multidimensional and will no doubt capture your attention. What's there already and what may be created with what others might not see in the materials?

On her site, she shares some of her ideas on how and why she chooses the materials that she works with are very interesting and offer fascinating insight into the design process.

"Books are interesting to Betty in that, irrespective of the text within them, they tell stories. They carry inscriptions, scents and tell the tale of how they have been treated, or mistreated. Betty calls the books orphans and she finds them in charity shops already carrying their own secret stories, looking for new homes."

Her work can be seen in an exhibit called Without Color through the end of June at The Craft Centre and Design Gallery in Leeds, UK. As well as creating her artwork, she also lectures and runs workshops.

If you're reading this on my Facebook Fan Page, you may also want to check out my blog.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Project Jewelry Designer? Project Runway-type Challenges?

I'm a big fan of Bravo's Project Runway. I even have a Tim Gunn bobble-head over my jewelry bench. "Make it work," "I can't want you to succeed more than you do." I love him. His vocabulary alone is awesome. :-)

There are a lot of challenge-type shows out there. Have you heard of Animal Planet's Groomer Has It? I'll use the fact that my bench is in the living room as an excuse to say that I started watching Tabatha's Salon Takeovers also on Bravo She's another one who I really like. I wait for the marketing tips that she gives one each show. "There's no crying in styling," the home page says. I didn't get the genes for good hair or for the ability to tame wild hair, but I've watched a show about hair stylists. Oh well. Those who can't, watch?

I was wondering if they could have a Project Runway type show for jewelry designers. If they did, what challenges might they assign? Who would the judges be, who'd be the host? Who would guest judge?

The definition of jewelry is so open to interpretation these days, it's really exciting. Wearable art enters into it. Jewelry designers are incorporating a vast array of items into their pieces now, the green movement, the slow movement, baby boomers' being influences I'm sure. People buy and wear jewelry often for very personal reasons and to express themselves.

Quick challenges.... Speed-beading? The wild color wheel spin. Draw one of the other contestants' faces in 10 minutes. Feather weaving. Cat collars. Something involving a blender and I don't mean creating something to eat or drink! Name That Pearl! Some test of mineral knowledge. Is this sterling silver or plate? Real jade? The clock is ticking!!

Would there be a metalsmithing challenge? Definitely. This is a particularly scary episode for the young man who's never used a saw before in his life. The episode ends as a cliffhanger and maybe shows us a glimpse of an ambulance? Hope not!

Would there be more than one recycling, upcycling challenge? Lampworking, bead-making. Clay, but what type of clay? Resin. Something to test their design skills. There is a lot of fantastic jewelry being made from paper, collage, beads, stamping, photos, you name it. Oh gosh, the men's jewelry challenge is .... Well, you just have to see it!

A whole lot rides on the Engagement Ring Showdown. Jewelry that's associated with big occasions in people's lives means so much to them. It's apt to be passed on to future generations. A designer may work closely with the client on such a special piece. This is the episode where several contestants break down and cry.

There's the salvaged wood challenge where two contestants nearly come to blows because one accuses the other of giving the first one a really bad sliver. "I could make a better piece of jewelry than you with slivers in all of my fingers!" He yells as he examines his finger. Then they bleep what he says next.

Make a tiara. Is this part of the super-tough wedding challenge? Maybe they'll have to pull an all-nighter. (I won't give it away completely, but the evil twist in this challenge involves extra bridesmaids and less time than they'd anticipated. There's a stipulation that the jewelry design should work and be flattering for all women, real women. This is always tough for some designers.)

Make a belly button ring. The contestant who is against piercings strongly objects to this challenge and threatens to walk off the show! It's unbelievable that someone would think of doing that so late in the game after they've come this far! Group hug? What drama!

Would people watch a show like this? Drama aside. Personalities aside. The process is interesting. Techniques may be different to reach an end. How does someone come up with a design, the idea? Why those ingredients? That's the core, whether it's a gown or a special meal or a killer piece of jewelry.

(Don't worry about the guy who'd never used a saw before. He probably won't be named Top Jewelry Designer, win the money and all those great prizes, but he didn't hurt himself. He didn't need any ambulance. It was all .... Drama....)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Waiting for God, Doc Martin, Stephanie Cole is Back!

Certainly one of my all-time favorite tv shows is the British comedy, Waiting for God. Well written and delightful to watch, so funny.

From the DVD:: "Eccentric Tom Ballard moves to Bayview Retirement Village. He moves next door to a former reporter, Diana Trent, a feisty old woman who complains about everything. Harvey Baines, the head of Bayview, constantly finds himself in conflict with the two old folks. They want decent living standards, while Baines prefers everything that will save money." This only scratches the surface.

The program often veers into political incorrectness, switching from the hilariously absurd to the poignantly truthful in a moment. It ran 1990-1994 but in the US at least, we're lucky enough to see it rerun on PBS stations and everyone is able to get it on DVD.

I'd been looking for the core cast members in other programs for quite a while. Janine Duvitski who plays Jane Edwards in Waiting for God is also in the UK's One Foot in the Grave. She also appeared in The Worst Week of My Life for the BBC, which had a Christmas show.

Recently our PBS station started airing a program called Doc Martin and I'm thrilled to once more see Stephanie Cole, who played the mighty Diana Trent in WFG. Her character on Doc Martin is very good, though I've only seen a couple of episodes so far. She's been busy in the UK but it hasn't been easy to find her films and television programs in the US.

In My Mind I'm Living in Port Wenn, Doc Martin inspired T-shirts, trivia. 

The knife ran away with the spoon, and wound up at our house!

It happened again today. As I was unloading the dishwasher. This time it was {insert creepy Psycho-type music here...} A Knife!! This wasn't one of our knives. It wasn't anything like one of our knives. But it was in our dishwasher. We now have four or five rogue forks, spoons and now this knife in with our own. How and why does this happen? Is it only us?

I have to admit that I don't count them so maybe a few of ours have jumped ship and have gone to live elsewhere. The odd serving spoon, that I can understand. A pot luck at the office. A picnic and you decide to bring something so you're assured there will bring something you're apt to want to eat. But plain old knives and forks and spoons? I can't explain it. Please tell me it isn't only us. Tines like these try a woman's patience.

My husband and I are total opposites. He never loses one of a pair of socks. He has them trained. They just would not dare. They're mated for life. Aw, so sweet. No sock puppets in his future. Once recently he encountered a brief time of SSA - Sock Separation Anxiety, as he sat across the room from me just having finished sorting freshly washed laundry. "You must have taken it," he told me.

Turned out that I actually had it! I was a sock-napper!! Can they put you away for that? We have two kittens who routinely take the strangest things, items larger than they are. They drag them far under the bed so no one can find them. [Like the kitten versions of those men on the World's Strongest Man competition when they pull airplanes down the street.]

Anyway, I was the one who'd 'relocated' that darn sock. If you did it by mistake, maybe they'd go easy on you. I think that if properly investigated, it will be discovered that the phenomena of missing socks and multiplying silverware may somehow be related.

So if you're missing one spoon, one fork, one knife, please don't hesitate to contact me. Send a description of said utensil. You could send a photo of its brothers and sisters. I assume they're missing their kin terribly. Are you holding one of ours hostage?

Cue music.... The Supremes..... "Baby, Baaaaaby..... Where did my fork go???"

Roll Models, Disability in Fashion

Are people ready for something different? What if the something different is really reality? The fashion world is waking up and embracing more and more real beautiful women. Plus size models, size 14 and up, are finally becoming more accepted and commonplace. Jean-Paul Gaultier and John Galliano both have cast plus-size models in their Paris shows.

How often do we see the fashion industry pay attention to the reported one in five Americans alone who are disabled people out here? People like to see themselves represented and like to have their specific needs addressed.

Trend de la creme had a very good post. Brace Yourself about the world of fashion and persons with disabilities. "When fashion editor Mireya Navarro of the new York Times wrote, "The public image of people with disabilities has often hinged on the heroic or the tragic." This is changing, too. Disabled persons are emerging more publicly as role models in the fields of business, sports and other media.

England has Britain's Missing Top Model. The New York Daily News interviewed the winner, Kelly Knox, who was born without a left forearm. "I feel passionately about going out there and proving that disability and beauty goes as well together as do peaches and cream," she said.

Beauties in Motion was an international contest for models in wheelchairs. Wheeliechix-chic offered designer clothes to women in wheelchairs and had runway shows of its own.

As her blog stated, Heather Whitestone McCallum, who has been profoundly deaf since she was eighteen months old, became the first Miss America with a disability on September 17th, 1994. Fifteen-year-old Maryelen Loughran very recently made it to the final heat of Teen Princess UK, a national modeling contest. She was born with one hand, and she has various medical conditions.

Padma Lakshmi is a model and host of tv's 'Top Chef.' as well as being a cookbook author. She has enjoyed a successful career despite having a scar on her right upper arm, a scar she got in a car crash when she was 14 years old. Now she's something of a role model, too.

In a 2001 Vogue interview, she said, "People have told me that my scar makes me seem more approachable, more vulnerable; that it inspires a certain tenderness. Ironically, the greatest gift fashion has given me is the courage to expose what is most vulnerable, to be proud of my body. Including my scar." She recently added jewelry designer to her resume and was interviewed by Harpers Bazaar.

On April 15th, Chloe, a lifestyle magazine for women with disabilities premiered. Chloe's Change the World Fashion Showcases will be featured Abilities Expos this year in New Jersey, Anaheim, Chicago and Atlanta. Logan, a magazine for young people with disabilities, has been around since 2006.

2010 Update: Models of Diversity is hosting an event July 29th. An Evening of Diversity will be held at The Millennium Hotel Knightsbridge in London. From their web site: "This will include disabled, mature, and plus size models, including 5 world-class models (such as Kelly Knox, winner of Britain's Missing Top Model), with opening and closing bands for entertainment."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Connecticut Fashon Week June 2009

Connecticut Fashion Week is June 5-14th, 2009. A week so filled, so jam-packed, razzmatazz with events and excitement that it takes more than one week! That is just how big and thrilling that the state of Connecticut has become. More on this show as information surfaces.

Green is the New Black: Updated for 2011 Shows: Clothing Swaps, Recycle Fashion Shows

Have you attended a Recycle(d) Fashion Show lately? Has there been one at your kids' school? The magical combination of Tax Day and Earth Day merge and it seems we're seeing more and more Recycle/Trashion Fashion Shows out there. It's all good. Maybe you'd like to attend one, donate to the cause or hold your own. Looks like it's a trend with schools and social groups. It would be nice if it were more than a trend.

Let us know of any more that we can add to the list. Recycle fashion means different things to different people which can make for an interesting variety, but it all comes down to the same ethic of saving our resources and changing our habits. Etsy considers 20-year-old items to be vintage, and that includes our clothes. Let's celebrate this and wear 'em if you got 'em.

April 28th: San Francisco, CA's annual Discarded to Divine. The upcoming 2011 Haute Trash Fashion Shows at the New York Fashion Academy in Seattle, WA.

April 23rd: 3rd Annual Kohala Trash Bash Fashion Show at the Kohala Coffee Mill in Hawi, HI.

April 22nd: Largo, Florida's Trashy Fashion 2011.
Stanford University has its Sustainable Fashion Show, CA.

May 13th is the deadline to enter a piece in Brisbane, AU's Art of Recycling Textile Competition. Open to Australian residents only. "Get great ideas from the display of Recycle Reuse Textile Art Competition held in conjunction with the Australian Textile and Surface Design Association. You will see entries ranging from knitted wearables to wall art - made using recycled materials." The Textile Art Festival is held June 11-13, 2011.

This isn't just a seasonal endeavor. New Mexico's Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival has a fashion show is coming in November.

April 26th Cambridge, UK's FACE Fashion Show, Fashion Amnesty, Corporation Ethics, includes The Clothes Exchange.

May 9-10th: Wearable Art Awards Port Moody, BC

Consider the growing trend of renting, borrowing and swapping clothing, particularly one-offs such as gowns and outfits for parties.

This is reminiscent of the Clothing Swaps which have been getting more and more popular recently, both public and private. I'm hearing about friends who are getting together and doing this in small groups. Set it up however you like. Choose one person's house. Everyone brings over 'gently worn' items. Things are organized and displayed as well as possible in the space and with time considerations. Everyone meets maybe for a pot luck meal and then you all decide on any rules. Leftover clothes may be donated.

Some of the fashion I've seen reminds me of discussions I've had about wearable art jewelry. Should an artist/designer always create with the thought of who will wear it, where and when it will be worn?

Don't let those clothes we'll never fit into again, and maybe worse, the ones we're scared we WILL fit into again, sit in our closets, leering at us from the back. Move 'em out and let someone who can use them have them.

Please add any other Recycled / Trashion Fashion Shows to the list with a comment. Thanks

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Falling in love.... with buttons!

They're nostalgic, utilitarian, beguiling, historical and some may be valuable. I've been a fan of buttons for a long time. I use vintage buttons in my jewelry. OK, I'm mastering some of these techniques and creating some original designs with buttons. But I am now outing myself as a PWLB, Person who loves buttons! I've been caught going into thrift shops and buying clothes just to harvest the materials -- especially the pretty old buttons. I'm an amateur and hope to learn a lot more.

Upcycling items like these is not only trendy but very fashionable and kind to the environment. You may find buttons made from rhinestones, crystals, mother of pearl, Lucite or Bakelite, porcelain and a variety of metals and more. One of my favorite books that has a section about incorporating buttons into your jewelry making is Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell's Vintage-Style Beaded Jewelry.

April 17-19 the Colorado State Button Society has its show in Denver. This includes a session on the care and feeding of Bakelite.

Also in the state, When Buttons Fly Over Colorado, August 3-8, is the year's National Button Society Convention. There are 200 awards to be given which show you the vast array of what you might see at such a show.

Another book, Button Jewelry & Accessories by Tair Parnes, has a real variety of contemporary styles. I'd like to find more information about vintage button jewelry and/or the techniques used in creating button jewelry. If anyone has any ideas to share, it would be appreciated.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

OUCH! It's a disability thing, BBC UK podcast

I'm a real fan of a bunch of podcasts. I listen to them over some cheap speakers during the day while I'm working on my jewelry, for instance. One show I found from the BBC is a favorite. The show is Ouch! Their tag line is, "It's a disability thing." I have not found another podcast like it originating from any country and would love to hear of others.

It's part comedy, part information, biography, quiz (Vegetable, vegetable or vegetable?). It's hard to categorize. But it's fantastic. Their web site, where you can read regular blogs, interviews and features and participate in discussions, is definitely worth a visit as well.You can get a fix of fashion info and experience, too which I like as that's an interest of mine, being in the jewelry biz.

Recently on Ouch!, I heard an interview with a woman in a wheelchair. She's a regular character on a British soap opera. I wonder if the UK may be ahead of the US in having a more realistic portrayal of the population on their programs? There's Britiain's Missing Top Model for starters.

It's definitely worth a look and a listen. The hosts of the radio show (available on podcast) are funny and it's really informative.

Michele Brody: Grass Skirts, Dancers for Earth Day

As Earth Day approaches, I start to think of some of my favorite artists such as New York-born Michele Brody. She creates living sculptures incorporating glass, concrete, steel, copper pipe, fabric, light, water and growing plants.

I first came across Michele Brody a few years ago when I saw a photo of one of her grass skirts. She is going to have them on display in New York for their Earth Day celebration this year.

Her public mixed media installations are amazing. She transforms spaces and offers visitors unique experiences by use of color, texture, light, often some kind of motion due to the materials she uses and the way the pieces are presented.

Her web site offers images of her work. "By incorporating the liminal experience with its message of change and transformation as witnessed in the life cycle of flora, or the ever changing makeup of city streets, she wishes to subtly plant within the viewer a desire to be more aware of the tenuous relationship between themselves, nature, and the urban environment. She also wishes to communicate the delicate characteristics of memory and how time can both erode and enhance our interpretations of experience."

The exhibition, entitled River Grass Skirts, consists of five grass-sprouting skirts by Michele Brody that will be on display and growing in the World Financial Center Winter Garden, 220 Vesey Street April 13 through May 9. It's free.

From the press release: In conjunction with Earth Day 2009 on Saturday, May 9, the fully-grown grass skirts will be harvested and worn by a group of dancers during Earth Celebrations' Hudson River Pageant, which focuses on restoring the Hudson River and addressing climate change in New York City.

The event will feature giant river species puppets and costumes dancing alongside live music through downtown Manhattan along the Hudson River waterfront.

So let's all get out there now. Put your right branch in, take your right branch out, put your right branch in and shake your leaves about. Wave your seedlings. Do whatever you can for Mother Earth.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Same Name Game: Mint Mocha....

Time again for the Etsy Item Same Name Game. This one is so close and so fun that I can't resist. My necklace is Mint Mocha Swirl. The other item is from Bubblescum's shop and called Mint Mocha Delight.

This soap is not only pretty and I believe that with the ingredients listed would smell fantastic, but it will have a lot of qualities to make a body feel good, too. Mint soap can be good for hot flashes. I learned that recently. Don't ask when, how, why, etc because I'm not telling!

I've heard of scented embroidery floss, but my necklace has no scent to it. Oh well. I hope you can still see my inspiration, which was mint flavored ice cream with fudge swirl running through it.


[Please write/post a comment for information on any of the jewelry you see on this page images and designs (c) ImagineMDD]

Getting ready to make Jewelry!

I thought that people might wonder about the female half of ImagineMDD. What does your typical jewelry designer look like? Peeking out from behind the curtain is a little hard for me. This is how I usually get ready before spending hours at the jewelry bench. Best to be limber before you expect to wrap wire.

Etsy Day and Al Pacino's Birthday

Do you have plans for Etsy Day? April 24th of course. Arbor day. I know what you're thinking. It's the day before Al Pacino's birthday and you have so much to do for that. We all do....

Last minute shopping. Choosing costumes. Squeezing in one last tango lesson. Buying the traditional Al Pacino Tree and decorating it. Thinking up an offer to make that special someone that he or she just can't refuse. Preparing refreshments. Of course, the very most important would be for the traditional drinking of the "Al Capp-Pacino".... (I've been crazy about him for decades so I hope he wouldn't mind that really bad joke. Al Capp created the comic strip Li'l Abner, btw.)

April 24th is the first official Etsy Day. If you're a member of Etsy, check it out by going to the Forums and searching, "Etsy Day."

This gives the rest of you an excuse to join Etsy today. Tell them you were referred by ImagineMDD if you're in the mood to do that, too. :-)

Etsy Day, it's an idea whose time has come! And a great reason to wear orange for the home team!

Ela Bauer - Redefining 'Jewel'

Ela Bauer studied at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. She speaks about how she tried to get to the roots of what makes something into a “jewel.” Through this process, her jewels became more of an object. They were statements about terms such as: preciousness, wearability, decoration. The artist is known for her use of silicone rubber and her pieces also incorporate a variety of materials including latex, silver copper mesh, wool, pigments, coral. pearls and smokey quartz.

Statement from her web site ...

"Nowadays, the definition of jewelry still occupies me in many ways, as a kind of eternal question. Maybe it reflects the difficulty of naming things and defining meanings anyway. The organic, cell and tree - like forms in my work, express my preoccupation with the fact, that everything; situations, definitions, people…, is in continuous movement, continuous change."

"The processes of change in the organisms; growth, development, and disintegration, are in my view the ultimate metaphors for this feeling. They have a great influence on my ‘organic’ form-vocabulary.

"The organic, cell and tree - like forms in my work, express my preoccupation with the fact, that everything; situations, definitions, people…, is in continuous movement, continuous change. The processes of change in the organisms; growth, development, and disintegration, are in my view the ultimate metaphors for this feeling. They have a great influence on my ‘organic’ form-vocabulary.

"The silicone rubber that I use, is a perfect medium to create the kind of forms that fascinate me. and to express the atmosphere of ‘liquid definitions’. It is amorph, and enables me to create ‘sharp’, casted elements and structures, as well as ‘flowing fields’.

In the last period, I have made works which are constructed out of casted silicone ‘cells’.Those cells are often connected by means of sawing. The act of sawing symbolizes for me the eternal human attempt to create, protect, mend, reconstruct.. There is a certain contradiction between the ‘modern’ material which silicone is, and the ancient technique of sawing, nevertheless they fit perfectly together, strengthening each others impact. My sawing was purely functional to start with, but very quickly I began to ‘draw’ with the needle and the thread on the surface of the rubber. I created veins, rivers, paths, scars...

Colour is very important to me. It determines to a great extent the meanings and atmosphere of the work. I usually mix pigments in the silicone, and actually paint my jewels layer after layer. This manner of work enables me to control the colour, thickness and the transparency of the work, and makes it possible for me to embody ‘processes on the inside’, having a visual impact on the surface."

Bauer's work is included in New Directions in Jewellery II, a London-Black Dog publication highlighting the varied ways in which jewelry-makers challenge the boundaries of design. She co-organized a traveling exhibition of contemporary jewelry, First we quake, now we shake in 2005-08.

Friday, April 10, 2009

He made Squares Cool - Happy Birthday Scrabble's Alfred Butts!

Quick pop quiz. How much is the J worth?

He was a rebel. A loner. He was a trailblazer. So many gamers, craftspeople, competitive souls who gather throughout the year and compulsive two-letter word buffs think of Alfred Butts often and do so warm smiles on their faces. Okay, maybe they don't really think much about Alfred Butts, himself. Maybe there is someone somewhere who didn't hear at her Scrabble-crazed mother's knee that Alfred Butts is the one who invented Scrabble. Yes, if you're wearing a Scrabble tile pendant at this moment, we can give some credit along the line to Mr. Alfred Butts.

Alfred's birthday is April 13th, 1899. Scrabble turned 60 in 2008. My mother was a ruthless Scrabble player. She knew more two-letter words than anyone I've ever met. If you challenged her, you'd regret it. I read that there are 124 permissible two-letter words containing every letter in the alphabet except V. I would bet that she could've come up with a 125th word!

I also read that the US Scrabble Dictionary has banned all offensive words. I remember a librarian I used to know had a T-shirt he got at an American Library Association conference. It said something like, "Visit your local library. There's something there to offend everyone."

There's been a ballet named for Scrabble. People have played the game underwater. I've seen dictionaries slammed open and shut during heated games. Second and maybe even third dictionaries produced from other rooms. This is a highly emotional game.

I wonder if Alfred (whose first and last name adds up to a so-so score of 28) could've predicted that people would be wearing his tiles as pendants and charms in the years to come? I wonder if he'd know Scrabble is used as a method of teaching English. It's hard to say with a guy like Alfred what he might have hoped for Scrabble's future. I'm glad he came up with the game since it's been a favorite of mine for a long time.

The highest number of points that can be scored on the first go is 128 - with 'muzjiks' (Russian peasants).

I don't know if Scrabble tiles were the first game pieces used in jewelry. There is some really great art jewelry out there that incorporates all kinds of game pieces. It's highly creative, often gives you one-of-a-kind results, and it's upcycling at the same time. I have some pieces in the works using game pieces, tokens and other items. Alfred Butts couldn't help but be proud of the status his game has achieved.

Oh yeah, J is worth Ten Points. :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Diet! Marriage in trouble? Help on the way!

I'm a real wordie, and I'd love to be a techie, but I just am not.

I'm always going to dictionary sites, the online thesaurus. (My old paperback thesaurus, which lost its cover long ago but has gotten a lot of use, sits on the shelf in dismay.) I probably consult more reference materials now online than I did back when I was in school just because so much is available. I try to check out who created the site, who supplies the information, etc.

I went to I used to be a great speller. I wanted to be sure I'm spelling a word right. Separate., like so many sites online, has advertising before it gives you the main content. Its advertising isn't random. It is triggered somehow (magic!) by the data the person enters, their search, whatever it is. So when I typed in "Separate," two of the ads I got were for divorce attorneys or divorce software! Gosh, I hadn't been considering a divorce, but now that this site suggests it, perhaps I'll mull it over....

We were joking about pearls, former vice presidents and things, and I went to the site today, typing in the word "Potato." The quest was to prove that the plural of that word actually is spelled, "Potatoes." What do you think the online dictionary tried to sell me? Yes. A low-carb diet plan. "NO!" It told me. "Don't think about potatoes! Is someone looking at me through the monitor? :-o "Protein..." It suggested instead.

Actually it didn't suggest protein, but when even the dictionary is getting involved in my personal life, I think it may be a sign for me to spend less time on the computer and more time making jewelry and interacting with real people!

Same Name Game: Tropical Garden

It's that time again! The time when I've found another Amazing Etsy Item named the same as one of my jewelry pieces. Think Spring. Think gardens, flowers. [Please write/post a comment for information on any of the jewelry you see on this page images and designs (c) ImagineMDD]

Today's lucky entry is Tropical Garden.

My necklace is long and colorful and sparkly.

Well I found the cutest little Custom Made "Overdolled" overalls in pinkpetuniapearl's Shop on Etsy and they have the same name. I'm trying to think. There's got to be a little girl in my life who's about this age. These are really adorable.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cute gloves - No more cold hands at the keyboard :-) No fingertips

Type, text, email and tweet in comfort and style! I have bad circulation. My hands get icy cold while I'm typing at the computer and my "Mouse Hand" (sounds like something from a horror film, doesn't it?) has this problem most. My hand would start feeling like a claw. I could hear the words, "Carpal Tunnel" being whispered in my ear, and feel it tingling in my fingers....

So the doctor had me wearing a glove of some kind on that hand. They make some kind of 'therapeutic' gloves that had all the charm of a slice of buttered toast. Soon, I was buying cheap winter gloves in the store and chopping off the fingertips. They'd unravel and it would get messy.

But the important thing was that my hand would stay warmer and I would live to mouse and bend wire comfortably another day. People would make old jokes about Michael Jackson and his glove (remember??).

Isotoner Therapeutic Compression Gloves by AsWeChange Great customer reviews, these are less likely to fray and need to be replaced as quickly as knit gloves are. If you are worried about appearance for some reason, place these under the cute knit gloves. This is what you need.

One thing I've learned after years is find out what works for you. Few if any of the gloves will last for that long. Knit products will need to be mended or recycled and replaced. Rubbing against a desk or mousepad, etc will cause friction and the gloves may fray. They're not generally that expensive and the benefits are very much worth it!

Fingerless gloves that are sometimes called Tabbisocks or Armwarmers, those that don't have shortened fingers still attached don't work as well for me. They may look fancier for going out, but for keeping warm and keeping the blood flowing while typing they do not do as well. Also, I don't like certain types of wool. Even though again, they may be very good quality and gorgeous, they're too rough and irritate my skin. They may get too hot.

Fingerless Gloves - Comes in several colors! (Black/Purple Stripes) Cute stripes and patterns, fun!

Texting Gloves Choose those with conductive yarn finger tips for iPhone, iPad and all touch screen devices Choose Color. These are popular right now!

Artists on Etsy offer a lot of what are called 'Fingerless gloves.' I was very excited. They're beautiful. "Use them at the computer!" I thought. Alas, they don't work for me. I needed some with the little individual fingers, fingertip-less. .... Try searching that!

I got some pairs for looks and some for when days are really bad and I need to get the work out. Regardless, I wear them all the time. The cutest ones are just darling and coworkers ask me about them. They keep you warm, and you feel like really glam at the computer as you're typing in your tags and your blogs and your.... Whatever it is you type in. The longer I can keep those hands and wrists happy the better I like it.

Anyway, since this was such a hard item for me to find, I wanted to let everyone know about it. Making something functional and helpful and pretty.

Related Pages of Interest:

Flying with Tools, Knitting Needles on a plane

Knit along with Joan Crawford Inspiration

Six films featuring evil, possessed, transplanted hands