Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coffee Rabbit

Totally loving this shirt by Caanan Grall. You can purchase it here. You can also check out his kick ass comic Celadore, over on Zuda.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Love/Hate

So, as I mentioned before I'm FINALLY taking a book arts class this semester. I've been waiting to take book arts for almost two years and I get to take it with one of the coolest people on the planet, Lisa Beth Robinson.
I love it, but this class is SO frustrating! So far, we've made a simple journal, which wasn't graded and our first graded book, a 12 page accordion with spine and covers that demonstrates some type of narrative is due tomorrow! The class is really demanding craft wise.
For the record, I'm not really a precision person. I'm not even a precision metalsmith. So the craft is really hard for me. I'm terrible at cutting and tearing paper, folding, and keeping my paper CLEAN. I think I've mastered gluing (fingers crossed), but narrative is also something I'm not particularly comfortable with.
Above are my efforts in the class so far: my journal at the back and the 2 1/2 accordion books. (The first one I made was actually better than the second!) The taller, standing accordion is the one I'll be turning in tomorrow. I just need to add my narrative and my spine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Busy Busy!

Well, we never quit here at ECU! This week several of us grads installed work in the Burrough's Welcome Gallery. Unfortunately, we couldn't book the gallery for the Symposium, but since we had it this week we decided to use it! It's a really informal grouping of works by Jeniffer Wells, Abigail Heuss (top photo), Kat Cole (middle photo), Marissa Saneholtz, Laura Wood and myself. Brushes from Bob's workshop are also on display.
My piece is titled "50 Days of String". It's bits of found string stitched onto Denril. It's a bit different from my usual work, but there is something that I really enjoy about it. You can see more pics of my piece "50 Days of String" here.
And if you'd like to see more photos from the Symposium, check here!

Rabbit Star

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Quote of the Week

"No, I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world shits on everybody. Pretending it ain't shit makes you an idiot, not an optimist."


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is it Possible. . .

***Disclaimer: I'm about to get pretty idealist here. I realize that. But it's not costing me anything to go down this path, so I'm going to go ahead anyways.***

At some point in Seminar, Linda mentioned that the Cleveland Institute of Art was considering absorbing it's enameling program into its jewelry/metals program. For those of you who may not be aware, CIA is the last school in the country to offer an undergraduate degree in enameling. Not jewelry, not metals, not jewelry/metals/enameling. Just enameling. Kent State, my alma mater, was the next to last school in the country to offer an enameling degree, before it got absorbed into the Jewelry/Metals program.

I came across this wonderful letter, written to the CIA by Bruce Metcalf, encouraging them to keep enameling as a separate program. He writes about Cleveland's historical connection to the field of enameling, how enameling is it's own distinct set of knowledge and skills, and how the loss of the last degree granting program in enameling would be like a species going extinct. I highly encourage you to read the entire letter on his blog.

This weekend, at our symposium, Linda gave her presentation on the resurgence of enameling in the 21st century. The title pretty much says it all. After being classified on the level of leather work and macrame, enameling has come into it's own, and contemporary enamelists are plumbing the depths of what this medium has to offer.

These two view points got me thinking (a dangerous thing!) . Is it time now, or more likely could it be time in the next few years to consider the re-opening of enameling programs? To not only have the enameling degree preserved at the CIA, but to have other universities either regurgitate the programs they once absorbed, or start brand new programs devoted solely to enameling?

Of course, it all comes down to numbers. Finances and enrollment. I realize that. The economy would have to make quite an upswing to produce that kind of funding for university craft programs. I realize that metals programs all over the country are dwindling, and that the enamelling degree at the CIA being lumped in with the jewelry/metals degree wouldn't be such a tragedy, in light of crafts programs disappearing all together at some institutions.

But, isn't it interesting to consider, however briefly, what might be possible?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

I've started reading a book of poetry by Rumi, for my readings class this semester, so over the next few weeks, you might get a poem of the week, instead of a quote.

What's Inside the Ground

Whatever gives pleasure is the fragrance
of the Friend. Whatever makes us wonder

comes from that light. What's inside the
ground begins to sprout because you spilled

wine there. What dies in autumn comes up
in spring because this way of saying no

becomes in spring your praise song yes.

Monday, January 18, 2010


What a weekend! We had our long awaited symposium "Material Topics" this weekend. We had metals students from University, Appalachian State, Winthrop, VCU, and even someone from SCAD. Of course there were a ton of ECU people, even some from outside the metals department. We even had alumni and some community members from outside the university. I think our final count was up around 100 people!

The whole thing kicked off Friday night with an opening for a fantastic show between ECU metals and textiles. "Adroit" is currently up at Mendenhall Student Center here on campus. If you haven't seen it you should go! There was much mingling as everyone from out of town started to arrive.

Saturday morning Mary Hallem Pearse from UGA gave a WONDERFUL opening lecture on her work and image and object. It was so inspiring! Then we split up for break out sessions: Rob Jackson's The Eloquent Nail, Linda Darty's Enameling in the 21st Century, and Mary's Design Challenge. I spent the first session assisting Linda. Even though I'm pretty familiar with enameling and have seen several of Linda's demos, it was still exciting for me. There's so much that can be done with enamel, and sometimes I forget what all my options are! She also gave a short power point that had tons of inspiring images and even threw in some fascinating historical details. It was so cool to see people with little to no enameling experience get so excited! Nobody wanted to actually try anything just then, they just wanted Linda to keep talking!

After lunch, I went to Mary's Design Challenge. She also gave a quick presentation full of great work by other artists dealing with alternative materials. Then, we each got to choose one or four materials to work with: rubber bands, scotch tape, saran wrap, and this black plastic mesh (similar to what you sometimes buy fruit in). We could only use that material and hot glue and scissors. We weren't allowed to talk for the first 30 minutes, but let that material speak to us. I made a funny hat, and a brooch out of the black mesh.

We then had a panel discussion with Rob, Mary, Angela Bubash and Margaret Yaukey (App. State), Courtney Starett and Micheal Gayk (Winthrop), Christine Zoller (head of ECU textiles dept.), Linda and Bob. It was really fascinating. We discussed whether the current publications accurately portray our field, the need for critical writing in the field, CAD fabrication and a few other things, followed by a little reception for the show of student work from all the participating schools, and later, much partying.

Sunday started off with more breakout sessions: Tool Making with Tim Lazure, Beaded Beads with Christine Zoller, and A Brush of Creativity with Bob Ebendorf. I did Bob's work shop, which was so great. There was a variety of materials (including leftovers from Mary's class!) and the object was to just play with the materials and make brushes. These pictures are from Bob's class. I went to my space and made four brushes with stuff I had. I took a little break after that, because I was so wiped out, but wound up back in the second session of Bob's class and made a couple more brushes.

Linda then gave her presentation on the resurgence of enameling, and then we broke down the display of student work, and people took these to their critique sessions. I critiqued with Linda and Mary and several other students. It was good to see and talk about work from other schools, as well as work from our own undergrads that I'm not terribly familiar with. I had a really great talk with Mary, and I'm just in love with her work.

Margaret Yaukey gave a presentation on funerary urns that was really wonderful and fascinating. It was a perfect way to wrap up the symposium. Bob made some closing statements and then it was time to really party!

It was kinda like a mini SNAG, only I got to see the other side. This was a primarily student organized event, with wonderful support from our faculty. I was part of the exhibitions committee, so I got to handle work and set up with displays. It was a lot of work, but I really did enjoy it. I wish I would have gotten to spend more time with the visiting faculty, who were all super awesome. I also feel like I didn't get to do a whole lot of networking with my peers. I only had one visiting student stay at my place, and most of my time at the symposium was spent running around doing my part to make sure things were running smoothly. But I did get a chance to connect with a few people.

All in all, the symposium was a huge success. There's already talk of next year. Not to shabby for something that started as a little idea from some grad students!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Process Shot of the Week

Here's a pic of the brooch I made last week. I used copper and mica. It's kinda biggish. The copper is matte black, which doesn't really show in this photo. I made a similar pair of earrings the other day. Pics soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Wow, I have so much to blog about! The brooch I made last week, the earrings I made today, the Symposium!!!, my book arts class and fun surprises that arrived in the mail. But, first things first, here's the sweet brooch I purchased from Amy Tavern last week. She lowered the prices of everything in her etsy shop. This little guy was $5! I just couldn't resist! It's small and sweet and two of my favorite colors!

I'd like to blog more, but I left my camera at school! Curses!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quote of the Week

"When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy."

Friday, January 8, 2010

Just Right. . .

Totally diggin' this.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Here are my charms for the "Charmed" show at the Society for Contemporary Craft. I struggled, as I always do when trying to make something that actually has to function as a wearable. Since I work with a variety of materials, I have to consider which ones will hold up to the everyday abuse jewelry can take. Especially a charm. For some reason, I picture charms getting whacked around a bunch. I found the scale challenging too.

These are gold leafed lava rocks, with sterling silver and lava beads. I'm fairly happy with them. I like the simplicity of them.

Here's the rest of the info on the show:
an exhibition of artist-made charms and charm bracelets at the
2100 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
January 19-February 27, 2010

Other participants include:
Bob Ebendorf
Robert Longyear
Margaux Lange
James Thurman
Jen Townsend
Marlene True
Rob Jackson
Robin Kraft
Ana Lopez
Victoria Altepeter
Mary Hallam Pearse
Kathryn Osgood
Brittany Sondberg
Erica Stankwytch Bailey
Allyson Bone
Vince Pontillo
Adrienne M. Grafton
Lynette Andreason
Bryan Peterson
Tavia Brown
Autumn Brown
Talya Baharal
Tim Lazure
Renee Zettle-Sterling
Colleen Heineman
Rachel Ketzner
Sarah Holden
Stacey Webber
Lynn Batchelder
Raissa Bump
Alissa Lamarre
Tedd McDonah
Becky McDonah

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Calling All Metalsmiths. . .

So I'm teaching beginning metals this semester, for the first time. I have to cover the basics (texturing metal, rivets, soldering), but other than that, the projects are entirely up to me. I've been thinking about what project I want to do, what projects I don't want to do, projects I enjoyed, and what projects will get good results. All of this got me wondering about project other metalsmiths have done.

So I want to know: What was your favorite project, either at a beginning metals level or above? What did you enjoy about it and what did you learn from it?

Leave a comment by Friday, and I'll pick one at random and send that person a little surprise!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon."

Monday, January 4, 2010


Well, I finally made it back to Greenville yesterday morning. I was suppose to arrive Sunday night, but was delayed leaving my original destination by about 2 1/2 hours, so I missed my connecting flight. I was put up in a hotel for the night. The TV was busted, but I cranked up the heat as far as it would go, and there was free breakfast, but still, it was a bit aggravating.

When I got back (exhausted) there was unpacking and a nerve wraking, heart attack inducing email snafoo, waiting at the wrong study abroad office, waiting at the post office, wandering around downtown looking for the correct office, which, ironically is located in the Self Help Building. Clearly my break is over.

All of this left me wondering what happened to my great start of the new year, but I'm trying to take each situation as it comes and trying to have a more positive outlook. I'm trying to remember that most situations aren't so dire and that I can learn from each experience good or bad.

Sounds corny, I know. I read a lot of women's magazines while I was home. Can you tell?

Sunday, January 3, 2010


I just found out that I'm a featured artist of crafthaus this week! What a great way to start off the new year! Check it out here.

Oh, and my model for that piece is the ever lovely and talented Jennifer Wells. You can check out her work here.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Etsy Rabbit Love

Earrings by artistcreations

Vinyl Wall Decal by circlelinestudio

Acrylic Rabbit by Iwannabe

Shirt by NYhop

Zombie Rabbits Print by BadBird

Rabbit Pendant from the "Ate Series" by tuplipstokiss (this seller has a bunch of different animal pendants based on this clever idea.)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Looking Back. . .

Well it's that time of the year, the end of the old and the start of the new, where we pause and reflect. The tail end of 2008, and beginning of 2009 brought a lot of changes for me. At this time last year I was packing up my apartment in Maryland. I thought I would pause and reflect on what else happened this past year.

In 2009 I:

- moved to North Carolina
- started a different grad school
- made a TON of work (some of it good)
- got in some serious beach time
- went camping for the first time ever (also on the beach)
- did some great fossil hunting
- taught a college level course for the first time
- TA'ed a metals course for the first time
- was in a few shows
- participated in Art House's Sketchbook Project 3 and Sketchbook Library
- made some nice $$$ at the Holiday sale
- made a little bit of $$$ on etsy, including one big commission
- bought a sewing machine, and made some simple things
- became a North Carolina state resident
- was on a plane for the first time in 8 years
- met a ton of great people and made many new and close friends

This next year brings an ECU hosted Symposium right off the bat (read more about it here), trips to Houston (for SNAG) and to Italy, and (fingers crossed) Pendland, and teaching metals for the first time. This year will also likly bring my thesis and my inevitable graduation. I hope to continue sewing, baking and cooking, fossil hunting in a few new local locations and exploring the great state of North Carolina. But my sincerest wish for this new year is to be able to give at least as much help as I receive.

Wishing you all the best in 2010!