Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Magazine articles galore...

Since this is March 31, the last day of the month, I thought I might post just once more about my article on the Big Heart Pin which you can access by purchasing the March issue of Art Jewelry magazine.
This issue is no longer on newsstands, but I'm sure you can order it by going to the magazine's Web site or calling customer service at (800) 533-6644.
And coming up: a terrific article on my Rosie Posy Necklace will appear in the June issue of Bead & Button magazine! This issue will appear on newsstands sometime in April, I believe, and you can find my article on page 56. I'm very honored to have an article appear in such a fine magazine; it's my first submission to B&B, and I really never thought they would publish me. Why not? Well, because I'm not what I would call a "bead" artist, but a jewelry designer who works primarily with wire—supplemented by a few beads here and there.
I'm eagerly anticipating the June issue and as soon as I can snag a jpg of the cover, I'll post it here with more info. I did get a chance to go over a pdf of the article with editor Anna Draeger, who sent it to me for final proofreading before it went to press. Very professional of her, I must say! And it was fun getting a first glimpse of the layout of the article. I did my own step-by-step photos, and since the editors asked me to photograph everything against a white background, you might find this funny, but I used a pillow!
This is what I did: I set up my EZ Cube photo system (highly recommended for jewelry photography) which is a white fabric pop-up box that diffuses the lights you set up on either side. I then placed a pillow with a fresh white pillowcase inside the EZ Cube, and proceeded to photograph all the steps necessary to make my Rosie Posy necklace, with my hands, tools and wire against the white background of the pillowcase.
Photographing yourself is a bit of a challenge: I hold my Panasonic Lumix camera in my left hand, hold tools and/or wire, etc. in my right hand, pray a little, and shoot. That's why you'll never see my left hand in any of my step-by-step photos in B&B or Art Jewelry magazines.
So that's the latest for now... but in the future, look for two more articles coming out in the Autumn issues of Step by Step Wire Jewelry and Art Jewelry magazines! More on them in a future post...

Monday, March 30, 2009

Musings on organizing...

Since having a new stove installed in my art studio last week, I've been super-busy cleaning and reorganizing everything. Nothing like a new purchase to inspire me to clean!
I also installed some inexpensive cabinets to store my art tools and supplies, so that meant taking everything out of old drawers, boxes and suchlike in order to reorganize, label, and re-store it all into my new system.
Friends and students often ask me if I'm really well organized as an artist, and, my answer is, well, in my dreams, yes! But reality is something different. It seems that I'm on a never-ending quest to become an organized artist.
My studio is still a mess because this is a huge job; I'm not only a jewelry artist, but a painter as well, so I have lots of paints, gel mediums, canvases, fabric, fibers, yarns, beads, handmade papers, rubber stamping paraphernalia, and book-arts tools and materials to put in order. While working on this task yesterday, I mused over the fact that I have so many friends in the art world who are not organized, not at all, and yet they thrive in a messy art environment. One friend in particular comes to mind; she told me that her studio is so bad, she can't even walk in without walking on some type of art material. Her floor as well as every table surface is covered with stuff. She loves it; it's her element, and it works for her.
This type of creative environment might also work for me, but for one thing: I am a teacher as well as an artist, and since I frequently have students in my studio, I need a tidy space in which to work and teach. I also find that if my art materials are all strewn about in no particular order I'm going to be very frustrated when it's time to find a particular item for a project.
It's quite stressful and time-consuming to search through piles and drawers of stuff in search of a few necessary items, especially little things like jewelry-related tools, beads, and the like. And on top of that, when I'm disorganized I tend to forget what I have, which often causes me to double-purchase items that I don't need.
For example, I recently reorganized my art-book collection and discovered that I had duplicates of three relatively expensive titles. This is a huge red flag for me: It says, time to get it together! So that's what I've been doing for the past week or so. I love what artist Robert Burridge says about art: "Neatness doesn't count." I agree with him, but I also feel that a well-organized studio is so beneficial in so many ways that it's worth putting some time and effort into achieving.
Meanwhile, I've been making art jewelry! Not in my studio, actually, but in the living room, because that's where I've stashed my favorite tools and beads while I reorganize the studio.(I know that some of you are laughing at me now, go ahead, laugh!) Anyway, I wanted to share this new necklace with my readers because I was so happy to find a use for the new beads I purchased from artist Starr May. She's also the talented fiber artist who created a pattern for a beautiful knitted purse called "Desert Breeze." I just took a two-part workshop with her on the purse, which I blogged about in a previous post, at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations.
While taking the class (my bag is almost finished, and I promise to share it with you as soon as possible!), I purchased a few beads from Starr, which are sold through the store. Hence the new necklace, which is a bit unusual, but I'm rather pleased with it. Starr makes some of the prettiest lampwork beads I've ever seen, and her prices are quite reasonable. If you are interested in buying her beads, email her at beadstarr@yahoo.com.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

New Tree of Life Stove

Doubtless some of my readers will find this a bit silly, but I had to share my new "Tree of Life" stove with you.
It was installed yesterday in my downstairs art studio/classroom where it will keep me and my students toasty-warm throughout the winter months. I've lived in this beautiful-but-aging home in Idyllwild for almost three years now, and one of the first things I noticed in the Autumn of 2006 was how chilly it was in my downstairs workshop, even with the central heat going full-blast. It just wasn't heating the space adequately; so, for the last three winters I've had to work and teach workshops upstairs in my dining area instead of in my spacious, well-lit studio.
This has been disappointing, to say the least! My art studio is big and beautiful, with a very cheerful, knotty-pine atmosphere. I find it inspiring to get away from the rest of my house and spend time there creating, and my students love it too. So not having the full use of my favorite room in the house for about half the year has been somewhat frustrating.
That is why I decided this year to use my book-royalty check (from Bead on a Wire, still selling strong) to purchase a new propane stove. It is gorgeous, isn't it? More importantly, it keeps the room very warm and is easily controlled with a wall thermostat.
My students arriving on April 23 for a Wild Wire Women Retreat (the first of this season) will enjoy working in my studio with me. I have four signups so far, with room for two more. This retreat runs April 23-27, with three full days of instruction in wire jewelry technique and design, a welcome dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here in Idyllwild, all breakfasts and lunches, beverages and snacks, plus shared accommodation in my home with beautiful views of the national forest.
If you're interested in attending, feel free to email me at sharilynmiller@mac.com.
I have more retreats coming up:
May 7-11 and 21-25, June 4-8 and 18-22, July 9-12 and 23-27.... and more, into the Autumn. There are many dates to choose from. To learn more, click here.
I hope to see some of you in a workshop retreat soon!

Monday, March 23, 2009

NEW Workshops scheduled for Michigan!

I had such a terrific time teaching again for Brea Bead Works this weekend, and no sooner got back home when I received an email from the storeowner at Bead Weasel in Midland, Michigan, who is scheduling me to teach for her this summer.
In addition to the Celtic Knot Necklace Workshop which takes place August 28, I will teach the following workshops:
Aug. 25, 6 to 9 p Five Rings
Aug. 26, 9:30 a to 12:30 pm Caterpillar Bracelet
Aug. 26, 2 to 5 pm Snake Vertebra Bracelet
Aug. 27 10 am to 5 pm Heart Link Jewelry
Aug. 28 10 am to 5 pm Celtic Knot Necklace
Aug. 29 10 am to 5 pm 10 Trippy Tricks 1 Necklace
Aug. 30 10 am to 5 pm Ethnic Coin Necklace
A special discount price is offered for anyone who signs up by May 31 for all classes: $600 (saving you $150).
Other discounts for early-bird registration of individual classes are also available; please call the store for details: 989 486-1900.
Also check out my Web site for pictures of all the jewelry we'll be making, and to get your supply lists: www.SharilynMiller.com.
Hope to see some of you in Midland!

Friday, March 20, 2009

One workshop down, two to go!

Good evening, everyone...
I am home rather late tonight after teaching a terrific group of gals over at Monica's Creative Quilt & Bead in Palm Desert. I really enjoyed it, especially having dinner afterward with my friend, Barbara Black. Then, a tiny bit of shopping at Trader Joe's and it was up the hill for me, driving a long mountain road in the dark—but I'm home now, so all is well.
Wendy at Brea Bead Works is hosting me in her store this weekend for a workshop series that some of you might be interested in:
Tomorrow I'm teaching my Fisherman's Catch necklace (pictured above) from 10 am to 5 pm; you can find more information and a supply list for that workshop by clicking here.
On Sunday I'm teaching my brand-new workshop, the Snake Vertebra bracelet (pictured below) from 10 am to 1:30 pm (or thereabouts). You can find more information and a supply list by clicking here.
I hope to see some of you in the workshops!
If you're interested in signing up, there are a few openings. Call the store, and they'll be happy to register you: 714 671-9976

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sleeping in a rainbow

Rosie (pictured above) & Sparkle (pictured below) have found a way to pass a bright, sunny morning here in Idyllwild: playing in a rainbow of ribbons!
I had cut fabric strips on the bias from batiks purchased at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, and I've been busy knitting the strips into a purse. When I return to the store on March 27 to finish the workshop that started on March 6, I'll have all the pieces knitted up and ready to attach together, including an i-cord strap and a handmade button. I look forward to sharing my finished purse with you here on my blog.
In the meantime, I'm going to have to work on extricating my two cats from my art materials...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A fun workshop...

I really enjoyed teaching my Spiral Link Bracelet workshop last Saturday, but forgot all about blogging about it! I now wish that I'd taken photos of my students and their work, but sometimes when you're having fun you forget to do everything you ought to do...
Anyway, it was a beautiful day up here in Idyllwild (no snow for weeks now), and I made a funky-chunky bracelet during class (pictured above) to complement the new sampler bracelet I had made (pictured below) earlier to inspire my students. When you teach workshops, you really can't have enough jewelry samples! So now I have two more... if my mom doesn't snag one of them.
It's always a bit sad for me when a workshop ends and last Saturday's class was no exception. I enjoy teaching and sharing my home with people, preparing a nice salad-bar lunch, and just visiting while we work. Now that this workshop is over, I look forward to teaching at The Bouncing Bead this coming Saturday, March 14. I'll be offering two half-day workshops, the Twining Vines technique (morning) and Biker Chick Bangles (after lunch).
If you're interested in signing up for either or both workshops, contact The Bouncing Bead right away. Their phone number is 619 460-2323.
If you'd love to make Biker Chick Bangles but can't make it to a live workshop, I offer this design (along with three others) on my terrific instructional DVD, Bohemian Bangles Workshop with Sharilyn Miller. To learn more, click here.
Hope to see some of you in a workshop soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Happy Students...

Pictured here you can see the reason why I love teaching so much: happy students!
At Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations yesterday, a small group of six ladies and I got together for a class. We made two different Big Heart Pins in this workshop, including the one featured on the cover of the March issue of Art Jewelry magazine plus another one—a variation with a double-coil-wrapped embellishment. To see a picture of them, just scroll down a bit to my previous post.
Congrats to my students, especially to those plucky beginners who are not used to working with 12ga wire and yet still had the courage to take on an intermediate-level workshop! I'm so proud of them. Everyone made beautiful heart pins, and some adapted the design to make stunning pendants as well.
My next workshop is scheduled at my home in Idyllwild. I'm expecting five ladies and have room for three more if you are interested in attending. We're going to make the Spiral Link Bracelet with lots and lots of bead dangles, so it should be great fun. If you're interested in coming to the class, just email me at sharilynmiller@mac.com.