Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Sunday Search for Inspiration: Finding My Bench

Apologies for not having blogged in a while. This is probably why:

Not sure what you're looking at? Somewhere under there is my bench. It seems like the state of my bench and the state of my life in general are pretty much in sync. It was a hectic week or two and things just began piling up and up and soon, in retaliation or out of fatigue, I began to rebel by not picking up a single thing and spending WAY too much time in front of the TV with my new favorite group of wacky characters on Community.

So this weekend I spent some time setting the universe right and I expect that my creativity and productivity will benefit greatly from the result:

I knew it was under there! I even had the time to cut and arrange some flowers from the garden. Amazing what one can accomplish after a much needed break.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Etsy Metal Blog Carnival: From my Sketchbook

This months Etsy Metal Blog Carnival has us all sharing some pages from our sketch books! I love thumbing through sketch books. It's like a window into someone's artistic process.

Sometimes I sketch just to sketch. I start without a plan and see where it takes me. I usually start with a line or a movement that I repeat over and over until something starts to take form. These alien plant forms emerged in that way and I have revisited them many times over. I'm not sure that the forms will find their way into my jewelry work, but it's nice to have something to work on when I'm taking a break from creating with metal.

Sometimes I sit down with a specific project in mind. For the Etsy Metal charm bracelet to raise money for Japan, I knew I wanted to work with flowers because they are so important in Japanese culture so I mapped out some one by one inch squares and started brainstorming. I ended up going with the first sketch for the flower form and refined it a bit to the right.  I'm pretty pleased with the way they came out.

Find out how other Member of Etsy Metal use their sketch books:

Michele Grady
Elizabeth Scott
Su Trindle
Evelyn Markasky

Rebecca Bogan - 
Shirlee Grund - 
2Roses - 
Beth Cyr -
kate jones

Friday, May 13, 2011

Featured Artist: Lorena Angulo

I first came across Lorena Angulo's work through the Ring a Day project and was immediately drawn to her amazing use of texture, detail, and color. Her pieces often explore cultural themes related to her heritage and feature many iconic forms such as hearts, skulls, flowers and birds. I am always stunned by the incredible presence that small jewelry objects can have. Lorena's work is both intimate and powerful.

Flaming Heart
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Lorena Angulo and I was born in Mexico where I grew up surrounded by wonderful folk art and jewelry from the Native Indians of a lot of states. My biggest influence while I was a very small child was when I lived in Chiapas, Mexico; this magical state has filled my heart with wonderful memories.

I always loved to create and I have been a self taught artist since I was young. I decided to study Mass Communications and lost for a little while my passion for art and creating. It was until I moved to live to the USA that I started to missed my culture and traditions a lot and in 2006 my sweet husband told me I need it to follow my heart and find my wings again. This was the year I started to take silversmithing classes at Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas. This was the year also that I was introduced to a very new material called PMC (precious metal clay.)
Describe your work in one sentence
Artisan Jewelry with Soul! 

What pieces are you most proud of?
This is a hard question for me because a lot of my pieces are very close to my heart. If I have to choose a couple of them it will be my first “Milagro Heart” I made and it was also my first piece published, my “Arbol de Vida” (tree of life) and a commission piece I was honored to make for Corliss and John Rose; “Corliss Calavera”.

What are you favorite materials to work with?
Metal clays (Pure Silver, Bronze and Copper) but I also enjoyed fabricating with sterling, copper and brass. In reality I am always in the look out of new materials to play with and my list can get very long!
Lately I have been playing with Creative paper clay and Craft Porcelain.

8/52 RAW 2011

What direction do you see your work going in?
I want to be able to show my work in more places and be able to tell my story in every piece I make. I want to be in more galleries and be able to create wholesale collections but keep on creating my one of a kind work that I love so much.

Who or what is your biggest artistic influence?
My biggest artistic influence is my culture and traditions. My country and all the wonderful memories I have are always present in my work. I admired the work by native artisans.

If you could have your work critiqued by another artist who would it be and why?
Robert Ebendorf. I met him when he came to teach at Southwest School of Art here in San Antonio and I will always remember my experience with him forever. He is an incredible artist and his wonderful spirit can be seen in his work.
I have a big respect for him and his work and I am very sure that taking his class gave me a different perspective in how to transform my work and be able to tell a story in a new way.

What is the best advice you've ever been given?
Follow your heart!
Never compare yourself with others because everybody is unique and your work has to represent what you are.

15/52 Ring a Week

If you could add one tool to your collection what would it be?
A rolling Mill!!!!!!
I will have so much fun with it!

What do you listen to in the studio?
I usually listen to Latin Music from romantic to dance music. I love to have good energy when I work and if I can sing and dance (if it is possible) I will do it!

What is your most prized possession?
My Family.
My husband and kids.

Do you collect anything? If so, do you display your collections?
I collect Folk Art, mostly from Mexico. I have all my folk art pieces display around my house.

How do you spend most of your free time?
Going out with my family. We all enjoyed a lot going to small towns around the city where we can listen to wonderful live music; eat great food and visit galleries and antique shops.

What do you wish you were doing with your free time?
Spend the time with my kids is what I love to do with my free time.

If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Racism and compassion.
I am so sad to see how people can be so rude to each other. Some people and kids do not realize how hurtful their words are sometimes. We need to have more tolerance and be kind to each other.


Where can we see your work?
I will be in Gruene, Texas in September for the Texas Metals Arts

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's New: Humboldt Arts Festival

HAF Main Stage

This weekend (May 14th and 15th) is the Humboldt Art Festival (HAF) and if last year is any indication it's sure to be a great time! This is the second year I'll be a the fair with the North Coast Metal Arts Guild and we are really excited to unveil our new banner, displays and of course our new work.

NCMAG 2010
The line up for the fair includes over 30 performers on four stages including sambAmore, Strix Vega, Company of African Dance Arcata , New World Ballet, Performers from Dell Arte, Karmaja Tribal Belly Dance, the Humboldt Hip Hop Tour, and many more. The HAF hosts 6 galleries, an outdoor sculpture garden, beer garden, art demonstrations, and 18 fine art/artisan vendors. Check out the HAF website for the complete line up and maps. If you are in the area come out and support our vibrant local arts community!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Sunday Search for Inspiration: Mom

She fed and clothed me when I was small, nursed me when I was sick or injured, supported every crazy idea I ever had, even when I'm sure she had to work at biting her tongue. She showed me what love is, encouraged me to question the world around me, and brought creativity into my life whenever possible. She taught me how to treat people and how to treat myself. She's my mother, and I continue to look to her for inspiration, encouragement, and guidance today. Thanks mom for all you've done and continue to do!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

What's New: Events and RAW for Japan

Tonight is the I heart Indie (Fashion) event at Origin Design Lab in Eureka, CA. Come by and meet many of the designers that make Origin special. The first 30 people through the door will receive a swag bag packed with handmade items by the designers. 426 3rd street, 6-9 pm (click on the picture for more info).

Tonight is also the opening of the Ring a Day show at Punch Gallery in Seattle, 5-8pm. The show features 365 rings from 65 artists who participated in the Ring A Day challenge last year. I was lucky enough to have 7 rings chosen for the show! If you followed RAD and have a chance to make it to Seattle I am sure you will not be disappointed. A huge congratulations to all of the artists involved and a big thank you to the judges and team who made the show happen.

And finally, several of the artists participating in Ring a Week have created rings to benefit Japan. Visit the RAW challenge group on Flickr for more information. Here are a couple of my favorites!

17/52 RAW "Japan inspired ring"
Lorena Angulo

RAW52 17/52 2011 Japan Challenge
Adobe Sol

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Search for Inspiration: Fiber, Brancusi, and Fold Forming

When I was a child I had this strange compulsion to touch the clothes in department stores as I walked by. Didn't matter if I liked the style, fabric, or pattern, I just had to touch it. Then, I would have to touch the same fabric or a very similar fabric with the opposite hand. Thankfully, I seem to be beyond this compulsion these days, but when I'm in a fabric or yarn store, I am definitely hands on. This week, Erin House and I covered a wall in fabric for the North Coast Metal Arts Guilds upcoming craft fair. We were going to go with a black canvas, but ended up with a fun pattern that will work well with the brown table cloths and green rug the guild already uses.

The real challenge with design in any medium is creating contrasting and complementary forms, layers and palletes that bring depth and movement to a piece or a room or a craft fair booth.  For jewelry, texture and surface detail can be employed to create the layers and dimension in a piece. For me, texture and surface detail is something I've always struggled with in my work. I think I often viewed the unmarred surface as symbolic for perfection, and there is much to be said for the mirror finish and simplification of form, just look at Brancusi's "Bird in Space".  Brancusi's simplified form evokes not the literal form of a bird, but the perfection that is a bird in flight: sleek, smooth, free.

Brancusi's Bird in Space

Marring a perfectly smooth and shiny piece of metal was often difficult for me and the hesitation could be seen in the texture I laid down. Fold Forming is certainly helping me move past the hesitation, as is the new texturing hammer I recently added to my collection.  Hesitation in fold forming only leads to folds that are not as crisp as one might like and hesitation with a texturing hammer often ends in patterns that are disconnected.  I'm no surface detail master by any means, but my work is beginning to move in a direction that embraces a multitude of textures and layers that better describe the natural forms I enjoy working with and encourage the same tactile experience as that of fabric.

My Little Friend