Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Treasury

My new shop, Morebrightideas, already has two treasuries to its name. This one features my Wooden Blocks for Big Kids Too and is called Something for Everyone - Gift Guide.  It was curated by My Hobby Shop, a shop full of some gorgeous knitted and crocheted pieces. I don't usually get too excited about clothes and such, but there's some seriously pretty things in this shop!




I Can't Believe I Did the Whole Thing!

Well, I'm still in the process of doing the whole thing ... it's going to take more than a minute, because Etsy doesn't make it real easy.  I hinted that I was thinking of opening a second shop and splitting up my products: http://feliciakramer.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-this-another-bright-idea.html



So I just went and did it the other day.  It was not without a few hiccups. There's no easy way to transfer products from one shop to the other.  I thought I could keep both shops open in my browser so I could copy/paste what I could and then follow along with formatted pages.  No dice.


For those of you thinking of doing this, here's a warning.  After a lot of swearing and stops and starts, I came to the conclusion that because both sites originate from the same IP address, whenever I clicked on another page in one shop it would default to the other site!  It was mass confusion.  I even tried clearing my cache, opening them in separate browsers, etc., but nothing worked and I gave up.  I ended up taking screen shots and copying every product I was going to move,  I then de-listed them in my first shop, and I'm now in the process of redoing them in my new shop.  I'm trying to go as fast as I can because I have new products I want to list.

So:

My first shop, anotherbrightidea, will keep my digital collages, photographs, greeting cards, notecards, posters and ACEOs.

My new shop, morebrightideas, will have upcycled and recycled products, home decor, and holiday crafts. My popular wreaths will be there and almost all of the holiday crafts I create.  I'm chained to my desk today to get it all done. I'm already running into a number of places where I will have to adjust and/or add my new shop. Oh well, I knew it would be work! 


I'm happy, though, that someone searching for treasury items found my robin's egg blue wreath that I just put in the new shop last night.  


It's called Before First Frost and was created by CozyCaterpillar, a brand new shop with all things baby and toddler.  










Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In the Michigan Studio with Backward Glances and a Giveaway


 Welcome to the first in my occasional series of interviews with Michigan artists. Today I'm pleased to be in the Michigan studio of Kelly Dorman, an incredible bead artist with a unique and historical perspective to her work.

Your name: Kelly Dorman

  
FK: Kelly, you live in a very special Michigan place. Tell us about it. 


I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life. Born a “Yooper” (a resident of the Upper Peninsula), I spent many years downstate. Eight years ago, I fulfilled a lifelong dream by becoming a year-round resident of Mackinac Island.

Mackinac is a small island in the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, with a long history as a “gathering place,” first with the Native people, during the early 1800’s as a center of the fur trade which was replaced by the fishing industry and finally, our current tourists/visitors. 
Visitors come to enjoy the natural beauty, the architecture, the history and the unique experience of life in a place which has forbidden the use of motor vehicles – transportation is by foot, bicycle and most importantly, horse.
In many ways, we have two phases of year, the “Season” and Winter. During the season, we have thousands of visitors each day, from all over the world. We also have many seasonal employees, again from all over the world. Everyone works so hard, it’s necessary when you have to make your living for the year in just six months. But we play hard too and by October, we’re all looking forward to the coming of winter. 
 

FK: Anyone who is a hopeless romantic will know that the movie Somewhere in Time was filmed on Mackinac Island at the Grand Hotel. The hotel is an imposing presence on the island, isn't it?
This year, winter starts on October 26th, when the famous Grand Hotel closes. Over the next couple weeks, nearly everything, with the exception of a couple of restaurants and a few essential services, will be shut away and closed until next May. Then it’s just the year rounders, approximately 500 of us. Winters require a certain mindset, a high degree of self reliance and the ability to make do with what’s available.

Living on Mackinac is truly a unique lifestyle, one that’s a great fit for me. I have the opportunity to interact with so many diverse people, other artists, writers, poets, film makers, people from around the world and from so many economic backgrounds – in many ways it’s very cosmopolitan. And in contrast, I have miles of forest trails literally in my backyard, allowing me to interact with the natural world in complete solitude.  The creative inspiration is endless and is present in all my work.

FK: That creative inspiration is very evident in the incredible beadwork you do.  It's stunning. Do you have professional training? How did you get started?

My professional training is in the sciences, specifically the clinical laboratory, where the emphasis is on following established protocols and extreme attention to detail – creativity and innovation in the lab is not encouraged.

Living history became a creative outlet for me (more about this later); I enjoy the in-depth research, and again the extreme attention to detail, needed to recreate the lifestyle of the past. I soon reached a point where I wanted all the proper accessories to accompany my ensembles and that meant teaching myself how to make them. My adventures in beadwork started by researching and reproducing beaded bags that duplicated the techniques and materials of the original artifacts in every possible way.  I’ve continued to explore various techniques of the past, sometimes using them as they were originally intended to be used and other times in completely new ways.

An Original Design and Technique Edwardian Style Beaded Bag - Caught in the Ne

FK: How long have you had your Etsy shop?  What was your inspiration?
I discovered Etsy a couple years ago and created my shop, Backward Glances, soon after. I chose the name Backward Glances as a reference to the beadwork of the past – all my work reflects a need to combine traditional form and function with my own color and design sensibilities, to reinterpret classic needlework styles in a modern and innovative manner.



 FK: Tell me about your creative life. What do you love doing the most? How do you get inspired to do what you do?




 I try to live my entire life in a creative way and over the years I’ve found that basically everything in my life shows up in my work eventually. Books I read, patterns or colors I see in my daily rounds, conversations, historic fashion, nature especially, end up included in various ways. It’s seldom a conscious intent and I often only recognize the inspiration after the fact. A good example is “Shell Game;" I thought I was just making a turtle bag, but in reality the colors I chose to use all came from the colors of my walk to work in the winter – the colors of a cedar forest in the snow. 


I have a workroom, but it is primarily my place to both store and strew my supplies. Whenever I start a new project, I need to pull out absolutely everything that even might work and then I need to just push it around and look at it for awhile. Then I pull out the bits that don’t work and add some more and look some more, repeat – it’s a messy process.
I work everywhere; beads are relatively portable. I suspect someday in the distant future, an archeologist will be very puzzled – why does an apparent home site have industrial numbers of beads on site? 

FK: I can relate to that - I do the same thing, pull everything out until I have created quite a mess! What part of being an artist is the most gratifying to you, and what part of being an artist is hardest for you, or that you dislike the most?
All my pieces are intended to evoke a place, a time, an atmosphere and I know I have succeeded as an artist when a piece causes an immediate emotional response in a viewer.

Like so many artists, I find salesmanship and self promotion very difficult; I put so much of myself in each piece that I often find myself without the energy to take that next step.
I work in a medium that is often not acknowledged as “ART”, I cringe when someone says, “Oh, this is Kelly – she’s really crafty.”  I know beads are not always art, but I’ve worked so hard to push the limits and boundaries of my materials and techniques. It took me many years before I was willing to give myself the title of “artist”, but I believe I’ve earned it.

FK: Kelly, not to worry - your work is definitely art! What do you do when you’re not being an artist? 

I’m not sure an artist is ever not being an artist! 

I’m a serious reader, both fiction and nonfiction, especially anything with a historical influence – which leads to another love of mine, living history. Both my husband and I have been involved in Civil War living history for nearly fifteen years, portraying civilians living during the 1860s. Our relative isolation on the Island makes it difficult to attend many events, most of which are in the summer, but we have become very serious about research and have given many presentations during the off season. This article appeared in our local paper about our living history:

 Civil War Period is Focus for Island Couple.


Another good example of all my interests being interrelated: I first studied herbariums  as part of a presentation on antebellum botany.  Herbarium, in botany, is a collection of preserved plant specimens. These specimens may be whole plants or plant parts, usually in a dried form, mounted on a sheet. 

This past winter I created my version of a beaded herbarium, “Cycling”, which was accepted into the inaugural contemporary exhibit at our new museum on Mackinac, the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum www.mackinacparks.com/mackinac-art-museum.
 


One of my favorite forms of year-round entertainment is walking the many trails on the Island and taking photos of all the many natural beauties to be found in the woods. These are the natural wonders of the Mackinac that most visitors are oblivious to - tourists tend to focus on our big, obvious attractions. I have literally 1000's of images, taken in all seasons and all places, the complete seasonal cycle.

I wanted to have my beaded pieces rotate or cycle, and what better way than on a discarded bicycle wheel? After all, most of us on the island cycle everywhere, to work, to play and home again. The cedar base was a fortunate find, it had been blown down in a wind storm, destined to be broken down and cycled back into the earth.

Here's two closeups with their inspiration photos. 


  FK: I think your "cycling" piece is truly an ambitious and outstanding piece of art!  I want to thank you for allowing me to visit with you. This has truly been an education, not only about beading but about one of our Michigan jewels: Mackinac Island. (Note: If you would like to learn more about Mackinac Island, go here.)

I'm encouraging everyone to sign up to follow your blog. Your are not only an outstanding beader but an accomplished photographer as well.  Your blog is a visual delight!

What special giveaway are you offering?

I'm offering a $40.00 Gift Certificate for use in my etsy shop, Backward Glances

FK: That's wonderful! Now let me tell everyone how they can win. 


You will have several chances to be entered into the random drawing. Each one must be entered as a separate comment.  


First entry: Visit Kelly's shop or blog, come back here, and enter a comment about your favorite piece(s). 


Second entry: Enter a comment if you have signed up to follow Kelly's blog (or comment if you already follow).


Third entry: Enter a comment that you signed up to follow my blog (or comment that you already follow).


Fourth entry: Enter a comment that you signed up as a fan on my Facebook page (or comment that you are already a fan).


That's four chances to enter for the random drawing!  I will use random generator to pick a winner after 12 noon EDT on


Wednesday, November 3.
 

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Treasury

My White Clematis Reaching for the Sun appears in this soft and lovely treasury called Pure.  It was created by PureIntox, a shop with luscious bath and beauty products. 



Announcing: In the Michigan Studio


I'm announcing a new occasional feature here - In the Michigan Studio - focusing on Michigan artists and where they live and create.  Why? Couple of reasons. First, I would like to do my part to help give some exposure to the artists right here in my backyard.  Second, with all that has happened with the economy and other headline news the last few years, Michigan has suffered the brunt of a lot of bad press. Yes, we have the same problems here as the rest of the country, but they are magnified here because so much of our economy in the metropolitan Detroit area is directly or indirectly related to the auto industry. So I want to counteract some of that.

Michigan is an incredibly beautiful state with so much to offer and that's what I want to focus on.  Besides, in what other state can you hold up your right hand and point to where you live??

There's lots to know about Michigan, and hopefully we'll cover a lot of it in my upcoming interviews. Here's just a taste of some Michigan trivia:
  • In 1939, the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit manufactured the first air-conditioned car.  
  • Michigan has the only floating post office in the world.  The J.W. Westcott II delivers mail to ships still underway.
  • Spanning five miles between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan, The Mackinac Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges in the world.
  • The first people in the nation to receive assigned phone numbers lived in Detroit in 1879.
  • Singing sand can be found on the beaches of Grand Haven.  The sand particles make a whistling sound as you walk upon them.
  • Michigan has 116 lighthouses and navigational lights.
  • The first soda pop made in the U.S., Vernor’s ginger ale, was created by accident in 1866 in Detroit.     
  • In 1862 the current Michigan State University became the first land grant college in the United States.
  • Henry Ford, who produced his first experimental car in 1893, founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903.
  • Michigan is a leading state in the ownership of recreational boats and in the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.
  • The Great Lakes account for one-fifth of the world's surface freshwater supply.
  • Michigan has approximately 40 ski resorts.
  • Michigan has more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails.
  • Mackinac Bridge: Completed in 1957, the five-mile-long suspension bridge (WORLD'S LONGEST SUSPENSION BRIDGE) connects Michigan's peninsulas across the Straits of Mackinac.
Geography Facts:
  • State Size: 57,022 square miles of land
  • 38,575 square miles of Great Lakes water
  • 11,037 inland lakes
  • 3,200 miles of shoreline
  • 36,000 miles of rivers and streams 
  • Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, 31,820 square miles. 
  • More than 90 percent of the Upper Peninsula's land is forested. Maples, aspen, oak, evergreen, and elms are cut and shipped throughout the nation in all seasons.
  • More than 150 waterfalls
  • There are 3.9 million acres of state forest land with about 150 campgrounds and 2.7 million acres of national forest with some 80 campgrounds. 
Want more? Go to www.michigan.org, and view some of the gorgeous award-winning Pure Michigan tourist ads narrated by Tim Allen (a Michigan native).



I'm kicking off the feature with a little bit about where I live: Bloomfield Township (mail address: Bloomfield Hills), about 20 miles northwest of Detroit.  It's a small community, basically residential, with beautiful homes and wooded areas.  There's a few famous residents - Aretha Franklin lives here, and Robin Williams grew up just a few short blocks away from where I live now. Many of Detroit's sports stars also live around here.  Sometimes I'm a little embarrassed to tell people where I live, because Bloomfield Hills is one of the wealthiest communities per capita in the country and sometimes people who don't know better assume I'm wealthy. And I am so NOT!  In fact, I don't know if it's really true, but I was told my small condo complex used to be called the "slums of Bloomfield" before a new wave of buyers came in and refurbished the 1960s era units one by one.  I bought my unit in 1993 and it was a mess - the previous owner supposedly once said, "I vacuum once a year whether it needs it or not." Trust me, it looked like it. Maybe someday I'll do a feature on how much remodeling I did in the the first few years after I moved in. 

Not far away from me is the Cranbrook Educational Community, a national historic landmark.  Its sprawling campus houses PK-12 schools, the Academy of Art, Art Museum, Institute of Science, and House and Gardens. Cranbrook is renowned for its architecture in the Arts and Crafts movement style, the chief architects being Albert Kahn and Eliel Saarinen.  Since I love all things Arts and Crafts, Cranbrook is close to my heart!  It's THE most beautiful campus - I take a drive through the area occasionally just to drink in how pretty it is and I visit as often as I can for exhibits and garden events.  One of my good friends, Mary (a.k.a. sleepymama), has children in Cranbrook schools and used to work there so she tells me lovely stories about the Community's history and activities. This sculpture on the grounds is called "Aim High," Cranbrook's motto.


Okay, enough about Michigan and my neighborhood.  Very soon I'll be posting the first Michigan artist interview.  Til then, "if you seek a beautiful peninsula, look about you." (Michigan state motto)

NOTE: Are you an etsy artist who lives in Michigan? Send me an email if you are interested in being featured to a-b-i@comcast.net. 


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Harvest Inspiration

Wow, I'm really late for the Inspiration Avenue challenge this week!  I have been so busy this week I kept forgetting what day it was!  So ... in the very last minute, here's my submission for the theme "Harvest."  M-m-m-m-m - pumpkin pie ... with whipped cream ....

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Treasury

My newest print, Deeply Loved, is included in another Breast Cancer Awareness treasury called Pink Pink Pink.  It was created by Morethancolors, a shop with some very pretty stained glass pieces.



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Is this Another Bright Idea?

An idea has been kicking around in my brain lately.  I can't decide if it's a bright idea ... or harebrained idiocy destined only to add more work to an already full schedule with no appreciable positive results in the end.

I'm debating whether I should open another etsy shop and separate my offerings. I worry that my shop is confusing and cluttered the way it is. So if I split up, my original shop would contain only:




- digital collage prints









 
 


- photographs













 - ACEOs







  



- greeting cards, note cards

 









The new shop would have everything else:




Home Decor
















Upcycle, Recycle, Destash





 





 Holiday Decor














And quite a few other ideas that I have put off working on because I didn't want to overload or confuse visitors to my shop. 

So what do you think? Is my shop too cluttered and mixed up the way it is?  What do you think are the advantages of splitting the shop? The disadvantages?  I really would like some opinions, please.  I'm very fragile not too sensitive so don't be afraid to be honest. Honest!

New Treasury

My A Rose After the Rain Digital Print is included in a soft and lovely treasury called Dewdrops on the Roses.  It was created by Waterlilyjewels, a shop of original and vintage jewelry.



Two New Treasuries

 My Delft and Tulips print is included in a treasury called Fly Me to the Netherlands.  How sweet!  The treasury was created by liveoakhome, an eclectic shop with some great vintage pieces and other treasures.



 Another treasury includes my Autumn Scented Wreath.  I think this wreath holds my personal record for appearing in treasuries.  The treasury is called Delicious Autumn and was created by CaribooButterfly, a shop that is empty right now, unfortunately.


 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

New (Very Creative) Treasury

This has to be the most creative, put-a-smile-on-your-face treasury to be created!  It includes my A Rose after the Rain digital photo and it's entitled  A Treasury Sing-Along.  Kudos to the creator for not giving away the song, so that everyone can guess (it's pretty easy!) and start singing along.  Try it and see if you can remember all of it. I posted the lyrics at the end of this post but don't cheat - see how far you can get on your own.  And I guarantee you will be singing and smiling for the rest of the day!

Congratulations to Chris of Harvest Moon Designs, a shop of fabric creations. Chris is currently restocking her shop after an extended absence.  Welcome back, Chris - and thanks. I really enjoyed this treasury!





How did you do??





MY FAVORITE THINGS
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
brown paper packages tied up with strings,
these are a few of my favorite things.

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings.
these are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in a white dresses with a blue satin sashes,
snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes,
silver white winters that melt into springs,
these are a few of my favorite things.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New (Gorgeous) Treasury


My End of Summer Series #4 print is included in this gorgeous treasury called Shores Unknown. Can you believe these stunning works of art?? This is truly a lovely treasury created by Cherithbrown, a shop of equally stunning work in drawings and prints. Take a look!




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