Friday, February 5, 2016

Artist interview: Jane Salley

Hello - Jenny here. As some of you may know, I had the pleasure of an art retreat to start this year. Held at Hacienda Mosaico in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico - a sublimely gorgeous location, gracious hosts, all needs anticipated and provided for... a true creative haven. The class I took was with Richard and Jane Salley. It was creatively challenging and invigorating, and you can read more in my blog. I am pleased to bring you a two part interview with the dynamic duo! 
The lovely Jane Salley

Please introduce yourself! Do you have a descriptive term that encapsulates your style?

I’m Jane Salley, I make lovely things for personal adornment, these days it’s mostly jewelry but I design and make clothing and handbags too. I refer to my style as bold and whimsical.

For anyone new to you and your work - how did you get started in jewelry making? Are you formally trained? (And as an aside - what was your career path prior to this?)

Since childhood, I’ve made things to make me or my surroundings prettier, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t sticking “pretty” things together to wear. Sometimes it was a necklace, sometimes a hat, or maybe a whole dress. When it came time to make a living I chose to train as a dental laboratory technician. It fulfilled my need to make things and it felt so good to see someone smile when they had their new dental restorations in place. Many of the skills I used in the dental laboratory translated to jewelry making, such as wire bending, soldering and polishing.

Older work: from her ArtBliss class in 2011 and during her tenure on the Ice Resin Design team. 

What is currently sparking your new ideas? …do you ever suffer from creative droughts and if so how do you deal with it to stay inspired?

My latest thing is setting stone, especially the sparkling ones. I very seldom suffer from a creative drought, my problem is I have too many ideas all competing to be brought to fruition. I will admit that some of them aren’t practical, some are way out of my skill range, and a few stick around and become reality. If I am having a hard time coming up with something to make I just start cleaning and rearranging my studio. Then I come across one of the lovely (or odd ball) things I’ve bought or collected and I’m inspired - I think of it as The Muse nudging me. By the way, my studio never seems to get cleaned up.

What are you favorite mediums/materials to work with?…do you have a favorite or unusual tool?What are you working on now? What materials would you like to explore in the future?
When did you start integrating found objects into your work?

I like silver because it is so easy to make a stunning piece of jewelry with it, but I have a real affinity for copper and brass. I like etching and layering different metals. I enjoy the challenge of attaching them together with a found object in a way that is esthetically pleasing and appropriate for each material. The first jewelry workshop I attended was taught by Keith LoBue and it was all about found objects and cold connections.

My new favorite tool is the hydraulic press and I hope to find ways to use what the press can do in interesting ways, otherwise its just a really big, expense way to avoid sawing.

Mixed media jewelry (c) J. Salley

Your husband, Richard, travels often for teaching/classes. When you do not go to assist, or teach at a venue yourself - what occupies your time most when you are solo?

I don’t mind solitude at all, so when Richard's away for a few days I’m quite content to make jewelry and have the soldering bench all to myself.

What short piece of advice would you give someone trying to find their creative voice and push forward?

My first piece of advice is to find something that speaks to you and learn to do that. Develop skills and knowledge in that area, take classes, read books, watch videos about the thing for which you are developing a passion. I say this because no matter how much natural talent you have, if you can’t handle the materials successfully you will never be able to express yourself fully. Last of all practice, practice and practice, and in that practice you will find your style and your voice. Remember your “practice” may be making a dozen rings, practice doesn’t have to be the jewelry equivalent of practicing the piano scales.

Mixed media jewelry (c) J. Salley

What artist ( living or dead) would you most like to meet and have dinner with?

Paul Revere, he was an amazing artisan. He was also a brave and bold man who was stood for what he believed in and it change the world.

Where can we see your work?

My work can be seen at GVG Contemporary Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico and on FaceBook.

Mixed media jewelry (c) Jane Salley

From Inside the Actor’s Studio: (short and simple)

What is your favorite word? Joy
What is your least favorite word? Can’t
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? I see beauty in what’s around me and if there is none I do what I can to create it by thought, word, deed, or Art.
What turns you off? Arrogance and pettiness
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Actor - I don’t know if I’d be any good
What profession would you not like to do? Corporate middle management
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Welcome home, my dear child.”

Thank you Jane! Your work always inspires this mixed media woman. Please stay tuned for Part 2 with Richard Salley ( date TBD as he is headed to teach in Tucson!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Trying Something New

Do you have a lesson or a 'thing' that you keep meaning to do but never get around to? Mine was LifeBook, for the last couple of years I have been watching the talented Tamara Laporte of Willowing Arts YouTube chanel and I kept meaning to sign up to her LifeBook course but would always talk myself out of it....
  • I don't have the supplies....
  • I'm not that good....
  • I have only painted 2 or 3 times since leaving school (many years ago)....
  • I don't need another hobby....
  • I really, really don't have the space...
LifeBook 2016
But this year I just did it, I signed up! I got over all the excuses and just decided that life is too short to keep putting things I want to do off. If I did not sign up then I would never get the supplies, if I don't give it a try I will never be any good or get better, I enjoy having lots of hobbies as I hate being bored and space.... I will just have to tidy up and organise all my stuff!

'Creativity Takes Courage' Warm Up Exercise
I'm very new to the world of mixed media and that is quiet scary but what I love about this course is the support given is wonderful, there is info on colour theory for those like me that are scared of colour (seriously I love colour but am scared to use it because for me it can make or break a design) , there is a warm up exersise to help combat 'blank page fear', the lessons are just amazing, there are diffrent teachers so you are not just learning one style and you are told that it's fine if you don't like what you create (which happens to me quiet often) just keep going and you will get there!

'The Happy Traveller' lesson by Tamara Laporte
I must admit at first I was some what overwhelmed by the amount of information that was given and at first the fact that I knew I would not be able keep up with lessons bothered me (I'm still amazed how much time goes into each piece of mixed media work) but once I got over that and decided to just do it at my own pace things have been going really well!

Close Up View
I have already learnt so much and I am only 2 weeks into the course (the course is now on week 6 and I may catch up or I may not, I may just bumble along at my own pace and that is fine) and I'm using colour! Big bold bright colours, lots of them!

'This Year I Am Letting Go Of' Zentangle Butterfly
So what dose this have to do with Art Jewellery? Well lots! I am hoping that during this course my drawing skills improve so that I have the courage to be able to draw and then etch my own designs on metal sheet, I would love to be able to make mini pieces of art to set in resin or behind glass and then make into components or pendents, and I would be crazy happy if I got completely over my fear of colour!

If you would like to follow my mixed media journey you can via Instagram!
So what is it that you keep meaning to do but never get around to?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

February Component of the Month-Winners Revealed!

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the February Component of the Month!  Let's reveal the winners...

The two randomly selected winners are:

Renetha Stanziano/Lamplight Crafts

Shaiha Williams/Shaiha's Ramblings

Congrats!  I'll be in touch with you both soon so that I can get your Phaedra components out in the mail ASAP!

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Out of the Archives and Into The Gallery"

This past summer, while I was taking my summer intensive class with JC Herrell, the Pittsburgh Glass Center had an exhibit going on, entitled "Out of the Archives and Into the Gallery".  They invited 17 glass artists to go behind the scenes at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History here in Pittsburgh, to find ancient pieces of glass that inspired them to make something new.  I thought I'd share some of the photos with you that I managed to take.

Mike Mangiafico

Mike Mangiafico (from whom I have taken some glass classes!) chose these roman glass face murrini beads as his inspiration for the pieces below.

 Mike's interpretation in jewelry!

Gillian Preston

I don't know Gillian but I was impressed by her interpretation of a blown glass pig vessel!

To me, her piece almost looks like ceramic - I really love the finish and still marvel that it's blown glass!

John Sharvin

Again, I don't know John either, but was really impressed by his interpretation of the Janus Flasks and the detail in the faces, as well as the ancient look he gave to them.

Travis Rohrbaugh

And, finally, I don't know Travis, but loved his interpretation of this awesome Egyptian vessel.

Certainly, there were other works in the gallery, but just picked a few to show you.  I consider myself lucky to have the Pittsburgh Glass Center in my backyard!  In about two weeks, another exhibit is coming to the Glass Center, the exhibit "Lifeforms 2016".  

I will be attending that exhibit and will be reporting to you on it as well!!!

And now, just for fun...

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Buried Treasure - the "Use your stash" reveal!

Treasures inside, savvy? 
The first reveal of 2016! 

We all unearthed treasures in our hoards, stashes, treasure troves, inventories... now its time to see what wonder we have created. Please join us and out guests this month. 

AJE team:


Friday, January 29, 2016

Beading Library Staples

I'm writing this on a work day - as I'm snowed into my apartment on this lovely January morning.  I'm fully stocked for a nice laid back day:

  • left over pizza in the fridge
  • hot almond chai tea in hand
  • cuddled under quilts
  • cat on my belly...
What else could one want for an unexpected day away from the office?  Oh yes, a fully stocked library of bead books!
If you've been beading or making jewelry for any length of time, I'm sure you have a bead library too!  In fact, even if you're a complete beginner, you probably have a few books or magazines already!  Books are one of the best sources of education and inspiration, so today I'm going to share with you a few of my favorites.  I reach for these books any time my muse has taken a vacation...I flip through their pages and become inspired by all of the colors, textures and shapes, stitches I haven't yet mastered, components I haven't worked with (but probably have stashed away somewhere).  
The History of Beads by Lois Sherr Dubin 
The History of Beads has been part of my collection since highschool.  Originally published in 1987, in 2009 Ms Dubin revised and expanded her original writings to include new archaeological findings (ie really OLD beads).  If you are at all interested in the impact of beads on human culture and society through the ages this book needs to be a part of your collection.  It is so amazing to me that simple objects with holes in them have been so integral to humanity since the beginning...I mean, we're still obsessed with them!
North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment by Lois Sherr Dubin
Also by Ms Sherr Dubin, North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment, is a huge tome.  Full of fantastic full color pictures of works by tribes all over North America.  As a seed beader, I have always been intrigued and inspired by Native American work.  No, my style may not really be reflective of the aesthetic, but of the creative philosophies?  Yes definitely.
The Beader's Color Mixing Directory by Sandra Wallace
Ok, I know you're all probably aware that color is hugely important to me in my creative process and in my finished work.  There are several other color books out there that are directed towards beaders, but this one is my favorite.  The first chapter is all about color theory, and how it applies to beads.  There are a few simple projects, but my favorite thing about this book in particular are all of the color combinations.  The middle of the book is full of 2 page spreads all revolving around a color scheme or theme.  The author has photographed multiple pieces of beaded jewelry that fit into each theme, and broken down the colors contained in each piece so it's really easy to recreate the look of the color scheme, no matter what you are making.  If you are struggling with combining seed beads, struggling with how the beads look different when they're playing with each other, rather than solitary in their packaging, this book might help you!
The Beader's Floral by Liz Thornton and Jill Devon (Amazon link, but you may have better luck purchasing through a UK bookseller)
\The Beader's Floral is one of the very best flower beadwork books that I have found.  I discovered this book when I was hung up on a flower idea in my head...and just couldn't get my thread and beads to make what I had dreamed up.  Not only is this book full of wonderful instruction to make a variety of flowers out of a variety of stitches...but it spurred me to think about the flower in my head differently.  Eventually, with studying this book and experimentation (though no more frustration), I finally figured out exactly how to translate the flower in my head to beads.
Contemporary Geometric Beadwork volumes 1 and 2 by Kate McKinnon
Over the last several years, Kate McKinnon has done something truly amazing with and for the beading community.  She has collaboratively compiled a collection of techniques that allow us to make fantastic, soaring, architectural geometric beadwork...and explained it in such a way that my logical yet freeform brain can work with.  I love that these are truly technique books - if you want instructions for a project, you will not like these books.  If you want to grow your technique vocabulary and learn how to experiment with more geometric shapes, these books are what you need.  I also love Kate's writing style - somehow she manages to write about beads and beadwork in a similar way to how I talk in my head about them.  Maybe someday, my writing will catch up with hers!
Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading by Karen Williams
Freeform beadwork is a hard concept to teach.  A lot of beaders get entrenched in symmetricality, instruction, and doing things "right".  For me, freeform beadwork happens after you have learned a library of techniques and are able to let go and experiment.  A lot of times people ask me how they can learn freeform - there are so few books and tutorials out there.  When Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading arrived in my mailbox, I was ecstatic to find that I finally could recommend something to the next person that asked me about freeform beadwork.  Ms Williams thoroughly describes and illustrates her process with gorgeous photos and techniques...and then branches off into interviewing and showcasing other artists and their individual freeform processes.  Some people plan ahead, some people draw sketches, and some people just have an idea and run with it.  It is so wonderful to have several people describe their own approach in one book, I would highly encourage you to seek out this book just to read those parts!
Outside the Box by Laura McCabe
Confession...I might have a eensy teeny weeny beadfangirl crush on Laura McCabe and her work.  Actually a HUGE one, so when I discovered her self published (print on demand) book Outside the Box, I ordered immediately.  When the diminutive book arrived, I dove right in to discover that this book is not only a fantastic showcase of Ms McCabe's work and the evolution of it, but also of her inspirations and influences.  After thoroughly showing how each of these interests has affected her work, she encourages the reader to self discover their own design influences, to seek those things that inspire your creative side, and to embrace them whole heartedly.  I think this awareness of influence, evolution and inspiration is the main thing that makes each of our art so distinct from the next person.
500 Beaded Objects and Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry, both part of the Lark 500 Series
I think there is probably at least one book in Lark Publishing's 500 Series that any creative person would enjoy.  From teapots to tables, ceramic to paper, these books are purely inspirational eye candy.  These are my favorites, Beaded Objects and Beaded Jewelry.  Visitors to my apartment can usually find one of these volumes in my bathroom, perfectly situated for bathtub browsing or late night insomnia relief.  Any time I need inspiration, I just track down these books (because they're rarely on the bookshelf) and delve into the amazing showcase of color, texture, technique and shape that has been collected between the covers.

And there you have it beadzillas!  My favorite bead books for a snowy (or any other) day!  Are these volumes in your library yet?  Is my bookshelf missing something?!?!  Please do share!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

February Component of the Month

Here in New Jersey the sky is that sad gray tone and the massive snowfall from the weekend isn't quite the bright white it once was.  I thought we could all use a COM that had some bling to it to brighten the winter.

For February, I made some bright aluminum & crystal rivoli chain maille Phaedra components.  The Phaedra design was created by Karen Snyder. You can read all about the design on a prior post I wrote by clicking here.

Want to play along? Here are the rules…

  • I will giveaway 1 Phaedra component (chosen at random) to each of the 2 winners selected randomly from those who leave a comment below this post. Your comment MUST include your EMAIL AND BLOG address so we can contact you should you win.
  • Please — only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging about it on the reveal date.
  • The names of the 2 winners will be announced on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016.
  • This giveaway is open to US and international countries, but please be aware that these will be posted from the US and international addresses will have longer postage times… sometimes up to 3 weeks.
  • The blog reveal will take place on Sunday, February 28th, 2016.
Good luck!