Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Beaded Horse - Cheval

I have been wanting to create a mosaic with seed beads for the longest time and finally took the time to do it.  I'm so glad I did!  So much fun working so tiny and detailed, exactly how I like to work.

I started out with a 7x7x2" wooden horse I found at a garage sale and sealed it with primer.  I loosely drew a design on the horse, but I ended up not following it and worked spontaneously one section at a time.  Once I finished the first side, I duplicated the patterns on the other side to match.

I used glass fusions as accents, and cut millefiori for the eyes.  I mostly glued the beads down while they were still on the string, but I also had to put them on one by one with tweezers, a tricky business!

Once I was nearly done, I drilled a hole in the backside, created 15-20 beaded strings and then (after grouting the horse) attached the beads for the tail.  It took nearly 100 hours to make, but I will definitely be doing this again!



 













   

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SAMA Mosaic Summit, Houston


I recently returned from SAMA's annual mosaic summit in Houston, TX where I spent four days attending presentations, dropping in workshops to see what friends were teaching and creating, selling my book at the vendor marketplace, and making new friends!

The first day I hadn't signed up for any workshops, but I was very curious as to what others were doing, so with the permission of the instructors, I popped into several classes to check out what they were up to.  I visited the classes of Carol Shelkin, Laurie Mika, and Marian Shapiro, all wonderfully creative artists and teachers who I highly recommend.

Brownian Bee Press booth
On the second day, the vendor marketplace opened where I sold my book with Barb Keith and her two books in a shared booth.  Barb was also promoting her new book, I Love You to Pieces, which will be available this summer. You can find her books at Brownian Bee Press.  It was so great to meet so many new people this way and to share our love of children's books and mosaic art. 


Dreaming
Marian Shapiro and I at the salon
Photo by Carol Shelkin
That night was the Mosaic Art Salon where attendees display and sell their art.  I created a small piece, 8x9" called "Dreaming," made with Mexican smalti and glass fusions, that sold and is now residing in Mexico City.

Friends at MAI
Photo by Carol Shelkin
Flair Robinson and her MAI piece
Photo by Carol Shelkin

The third day was more marketplace, the start of presentations, and the opening for Mosaic Arts International (MAI), a juried exhibition of member artwork.  Always a good time to hang with friends and ooh and ahh over mosaic art!

The final day of the conference started with some flooding in the vendor marketplace (still not sure how that happened, a broken water valve, I think).  Some booths had to be moved and the marketplace was closed for about 45 minutes so all booths lost some sales.  Our booth was at the back of the market so the water did not reach us. 

More presentations followed, then a raffle and a nice dinner with Carol.  She left early and I finished my dinner alone, the first moment I had to myself in four days.  It was rather nice!  The closing party was next, but I didn't go - utterly exhausted!  I went back to my hotel room to pack and relax and flew home the next morning.


Croutons this big are only in Texas!
Photo by Carol Shelkin

Next year, Philadelphia!  A city I've never been to before and am looking forward to getting to know.  My buddy Carol is on the committee so you know it's going to be good!!  See you there.  :)


Thursday, April 24, 2014

I've Been Interviewed!

Jacqueline Iskander, fellow mosaic artist, interviewed me on her blog about my experience with printing my book. Read it here and then read the rest of her blog series On Making Books. Thanks, Jacqui!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

SCBWI New York!

You never know WHAT
you will see in NY!
A little over a week ago I was a first timer at The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Annual Winter Conference in New York.  I only just joined SCBWI in January, though I’ve considered joining for many years.  I sure wish now that I had joined then!  Anyone reading this who is on the fence about joining, do it!  The learning, the inspiration, being around like-minded creatives, and the friendships and support, is beyond value.

On Friday, I attended the optional illustrator’s intensive where I got to meet my online friends, Kary Lee and Akiko White, who from then on kindly helped me navigate my first conference!  Loved the interview with Tomie de Paola (by Cecilia Yung) and the presentations by Brett Helquist and Paul Zelinsky.  Having created my book with no illustration training, it was great to hear how the pros approach it, and to recognize in my book what I did well, and where I might grow and improve.

I won Paul's book!
After lunch was a panel review of some of the submissions by the attendees, where they discussed what worked and what didn’t, and then small group reviews of an illustration assignment given prior to the conference.  As I joined SCBWI so close to the conference, I did not have time to do this assignment, but it was still enlightening to listen to the reviews of others.  We were lucky to have Paul Zelinsky giving feedback at our table, and then I was lucky directly after when I won his Caldecott Honor Book, Hansel & Gretel, in the raffle!

I love my portfolio
The Portfolio Showcase was Friday night, where we got to preview our fellow illustrators’ artwork – loved that!!  I was really excited to share my mosaics, and loved seeing what everyone else was doing.  I grabbed a ton of postcards of my favorites so I could find their web sites and blogs when I got home.  Such wonderful images!  I came away inspired.

Akiko and Tomie
at the Illustrators' Social
I loved Saturday morning’s keynote from Jack Gantos who recounted hilarious tales from his childhood.  I laughed so hard I couldn’t see through the tears!  Of course, now I must go and read everything he’s ever written.
 
At the end of a day of breakout workshops and more keynotes, I attended the Illustrators’ Social, getting to know fellow illustrators and eating delicious cake made by Akiko, winner of the Tomie dePaola award (her award-winning illustration was made with cake!!).  Fabulous being in a room with so much creativity, including the talented faculty, and the friendliest people you could meet.

Akiko's winning cake illustration
Sunday morning Akiko received her award from Tomie (woop woop!), followed by a wondrously inspiring, funny and heartfelt keynote by KateMessner.  Did I think anyone could match Jack Gantos?  Nope, but Kate did!  When she asked us to celebrate the small successes and to take a few minutes to sit with those, it was the most moving moment of the entire conference for me.  Just wonderful.

An entertaining panel on The Art of the Picture book followed and then a keynote by Nikki Grimes, where I walked out excited to read more of her beautiful poetry.  Door prizes and then an autograph party ended the conference.  Fantastic day!

From The Nonsense Verse of Carroll & Lear
at the New York Public Library
But I wasn’t done – I spent the rest of the afternoon with more new friends, Connie and Dana visiting the New York Public Library’s exhibit “The ABC of It:  Why Children’s Books Matter” (loved!), St.Patrick’s Cathedral (beautiful, despite the renovations going on), a browse through Barnes and Noble, and a snowy walk through Central Park.  A perfect ending to my trip, and now, with much anticipation, I look forward to the approaching summer conference in L.A.  Yeah!


Kary, me and Akiko
Dana and I in Central Park





 

 

  

 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Quarterly E-Newsletter

I just sent out my quarterly e-newsletter where I share the latest goings-on in my art and book world, as well as express my great appreciation for the art of Sophie Blackall (above is a detail from her New York subway poster).  If you'd like to read my current newsletter, here's the link.  To receive my newsletters in your inbox, sign up here

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A new community for me - SCBWI!

Woo Hoo!  A new adventure coming up!!  I recently joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).  It is something I have been thinking about doing ever since I started the process of creating my book, but didn't consider myself an illustrator so didn't join.  I am still not sure about giving myself that designation, but now that I have a book, and am planning on another one, I feel a bit closer to it.  And I'd really love to meet others who love creating books for kids.

Soooo, I have registered for the SCBWI winter conference in New York next month.  Eep!  Talk about jumping in blindly!  At least when I went to my first SAMA conference, I had been making friends online for years and felt at home immediately upon arrival.  This will be a completely new experience for me to go without knowing anybody, but from what I can tell reading about previous conferences, these members are an extremely friendly and playful bunch and I think I will easily fit right in.

I am currently getting my portfolio together as I've never had a physical one before.  My presentation folder is being handmade and customized for me and it is going to be so beautiful, I can hardly wait!!  And I just ordered new postcards and business cards so I'll be good to go.  I haven't been to New York in more than 20 years, so I'm excited to be there once again.  I'm really looking forward to what this new adventure brings!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A heartwarming way to share my book

A couple of nights ago I read my book to a group of children living at Transition House, a shelter and resources for the homeless.  The entrance has beautiful stained glass doors, immediately welcoming and familiar!

The questions and comments during story time were priceless. My favorite comment, however, came from a boy who, after I told them my family was in the book, looked at the page where my husband gets a new guitar and said excitedly, “Your husband met SANTA?!” After I read the story, I met each one and put their name in a book for them to keep. The 25 books were donated by a very generous coworker of my husband’s.  Thank you Andrew!!

What I love to now imagine is them going to bed with their books and believing in the magic of Santa.  I hope all of you have a magical Christmas, too!!


Transition House is dedicated to the solution of family homelessness in the Santa Barbara community.  Capable and motivated families with children are offered respectful, non-sectarian residential services and the life skills needed to alleviate their poverty, and to restore self-sufficiency and dignity.