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Sep. 15th, 2009



OMG - I can't believe it's been 10 weeks since I posted here!  You have to understand that LiveJournal was my first entry into the cyber world of social networks - and because it connected me with my WisCon friends it was doubly special :-)

But I have been seduced by Facebook.

Not just Facebook.  I now have a LinkedIn profile, an Absolute Arts profile, two MySpace pages (one for music, one for art) a blog, an Etsy store and  YouTube channel.  I have given in.  I have realised that one cannot simply live in the real world anymore (and I admit this with some sadness - because I really like it there much better ...)

But I can no longer make a living doing shows.  It really is not the recession that is the cause of this change - it really is the Internet.  People don't buy at shows anymore because they know that they can find you again on-line ANYTIME.  As soon as I got my first rudimentary website back 10 years ago I experienced the phenomenon of people who USED to buy, now taking my card and putting it in their pocket and saying: "I'll visit your website".  But of course - most times they didn't.

Maybe they intended to - but they got sidetracked - chasing down the meaning of valitudinarian, or searching for childhood friends, or playing Scrabble, or looking up Dorothy Parker quotes (all worthwhile activities!)

So I have tried really hard to understand how to re-create those wonderful interactions I used to have with people when I met them at shows or conferences. Exchanging stories, sharing different versions of myths and folktales ... *sigh*. It's JUST not the same. Maybe for those of you who grew up with this medium it's not so bad, and for those for you for whom writing is a vocation ... but it is just not satisfying to me. I have resigned myself to it - I am a smart girl - I can do this! But I am not happy about it.

Except for Facebook. I actually enjoy Facebook,  because it doesn't pretend to replace meaningful interactions - but it allows me to connect with people in a really fun way. I just post what I am actually feeling first thing when I arrive at the studio  (and I like the little moment of self awareness that this brings to my day) and  my crazy friends write silly jokey things back that brighten up my day. It's fun! I have my language set on Pirate English so that I can "Belay" or "Arrr" instead of deleting of OKing (some of us are easily amused)

In fact - on Facebook - I often make plans to meet people, and then actually see them face to face later in the day!

Now that's my kind of Internet interaction!

Jul. 7th, 2009

Latest Projects

I feel like I have been neglecting LiveJournal. But please - don't take it personally - I am also neglecting MySpace, my blog, Absolute Arts and LinkedIn. How did we get so trapped in this world of on-line social networks?? I actually have a LIFE! With real "face-to-face" friends (Isn't it a bit scary that I have to put that in quotations??

Anyway - I thought I would share with you what I have been up to - because it's been REALLY fun! I honestly never knew I could paint! And now I can't seem to stop - and I am having lots of fun exploring different styles. The challenge of firing every layer (about 7 or 8 of paint usually - plus two firings for the base coat on front and back) is getting a little easier

I don't have my camera at the moment - so these are scans. You can't really see it here - but she has a bit of green irridescence on her wings. My first attempt at a human face. I used a photo as a model - put I changed her features some ( mostly without being aware of it!)
This isn't quite finished - but also incorporates some bits of silver foil for the bridle and harness fittings

And here is another addition to my stable of mythic animals

and the fabled hare!

Here is one of my previous pieces - finally bezel set

And last but not least - the white crow:

Next up - a bee!

May. 16th, 2009



I am excited!
I am on three panels this year
"The Story in the Object and the Oject in the Story"
"Where is the Goddess Today"
"Death is Weirder than you Think"

I think I am going to have a good time!

Apr. 25th, 2009


Cloisonne enamel Fish: Procrastination and the Creative Process

Well, I have distracted myself with grisaille enamel painting and SEO and this blog and starting a new business and production work and everything else I can think of - even housecleaning - but the reality is that one of these days I have to sit down and realise those cloisonne panels of the Armless Maiden story that I came up with OVER A YEAR AGO! That is how well I can procrastinate.

Though I have to say that in this case, it's not procrastination of the lazy kind, but of the fear kind. Cloisonne is not a technique that I have a lot of experience with - and you may remember that I did a series of cloisonne designs based on images from nature in order to practice. Well - that was so long ago I have practically forgotten all that I learned. Or maybe I have just been internalising and processing all of that experience...

Anyway I picked up this fish project - which I left unfinished three years ago - and decided that I could complete it now. That wasn't a fear thing - that was a making a living thing. Sometimes it makes me sad and sometimes it makes me angry - but the reality is that I can only spend a certain amount of time on things that are going to be hard to sell. When I started this piece - it was even before the Armless Maiden panels were a thought in the back of my mind. I just wanted to explore cloisonne. But I stopped in the middle of this piece - because it was clear from the labour involved that it would be in the $300-$400 range - and that is higher than I can usually afford to sell ...

I have mixed feelings about having to think about money while I make my art - sometimes it prevents me from doing my best work - and sometimes it forces me to be creative in ways that I wouldn't expect.

I like to think that when someone buys something from me - it's not so much an exchange of money for merchandise - but an expression of the fact that they support my endeavours as an artist - they give me the money to support me while I work - and I give them a gift ...

Anyway - thanks to all of those who have supported me over the years - as I am going to spend some time making a probably totally unsaleable series of cloisonne panels based on a folklore tale! And I am going to do it NOW.

Apr. 20th, 2009


Kevin Mallon director of the Aradia Ensemble
Had a quite different musical experience than usual this week-end - all becasue of a man needing a van!  This is how it started (on Facebook):

 Kevin Mallon  needs a man with a van really urgently!

Dan Restivo :don't we all!

Johanna Maria Rose : Gee, all I can offer is a girl with a pearl...

Catherine Crowe: Does it have to be a man?

Steve Mcdade (via Facebook Mobile) Does it have to be a van?

Johanna Maria Rose: Do you like green eggs and ham?

 Catherine Crowe : or perhaps a side of spam?

Eleanor Verrette : Maybe even toast with jam??

Merrilea Shields : I need a man too.. van or no van!!!

Steve Mcdade (via Facebook Mobile) A rack of Lamb?

Rose Bolton: I am going to have a glass of cran. (~berry juice)

The long and short of it was that Kevin's Baroque Ensemble (Aradia)had been double booked, and had to move to a nearby venue that didn't have any chairs. So just for picking up said chairs I got tickets for myself and a friend to go and see. They did a program of Jean-Baptiste Lully (who is my all-time favorite baroque composer) WITH a period dancer and it was a breathtakingly excellent night of music. FOr those of you who have never heard of Lully (poor souls) run (don't walk) to your nearest video store and rent "Le Roi Danse" from the International section. There are some clips from it at YouTube as well, but the lack of subtitles makes it a LITTLE hard to follow, even for a supposed bi-ligual Canadian like me ;-)

Apr. 13th, 2009

Dome Homes

OK this is where I want to live. Click on the picture to see more

The Codex Manesse: from Medieval Illumination to grisaille enamel

My latest experiment in grisaille has involved translating some illuminated manuscript illustrations into the painted enamel technique. I love the stylised form and composition of these old illuminations. The Codex Manesse is one of the most beautifully illustrated - go and have a look at all the full colour renderings. You will notice that the poets all look remarkably alike! This is not becasue they are all related ;-) The Codex is a compilation of biographies of famous German romantic poets of the period, and the illustrations are idealised portraits of the poets engaged in 'poetic' activities, probably never meant to be actual likenesses.

This one is based on the biography of Der Kanzler (folio 423v) who was apparently a german poet of the mid 13th c of fairly low social status who versified on knightly and moral topics.
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel
Codex Manesse medieval musicians grisaille enamel

This one is based on Herr Konrad von Altstetten (folio 249v) who stood in the service of the Abbot of Gallen, who was himself on of the 'knightly' abbots.

Codex Manesse medieval lovers grisaille enamel

Codex Manesse medieval lovers grisaille enamel

Apr. 6th, 2009

Further Adventures in Grisaille

The last few weeks have been crazy busy as I try to put together an on-line enamel supply store. I have taken workshops in E-Commerc e and had meetings with accountants - which is not something that usually happens in my world ;-)

The only thing that keeps me sane through it all is doing some work in the studio.

Here is the next step in my adventures in grisaille.



Mar. 17th, 2009


St Patrick's Day

I was all set to write a very disgruntled St Patrick's Day post about the evils of green beer and issues of cultural appropriation as applied to Irish culture , but I was completely sidetracked by an e-mail from my friend Bairbre McCarthy this morning.

Bairbre is an amazing storyteller that I met at Catskills Irish Arts Week a number of years ago. It's almost impossible during that week to sit down and get to know someone, as you are generally running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to fit in everything that needs to be done , not including sleeping! However last October our mutual friend Roxanne OConnell invited us both to her "New Media and the Global Diaspora" conference, and we got to know each other better - and found we had all kinds of things in common. She has made her home in Saratoga Springs, NY where she and her husband have a beautiful old farmhouse and acres of lovely forest.

She has just been informed that The Irish Prime Minister (Taoiseach) is bringing her book, "The Keeper of the Crock of Gold," as a gift to the White House today for St. Patrick's day.
Read about it here

How cool is that!

So it is a Happy St Patrick's Day after all!

Mar. 16th, 2009


St Joan

I've been away from blogging for a couple of weeks as I try to get my head around opening my on-line enamel supply business. Been taking E-commerce workshops and talking to IT specialists - which you wouldn't think would be very conducive to creativity - but in fact, once I get into the studio I find myself pretty energized. Here's the latest project:

I am SO enjoying painting. It's very satisfying. I can also complete a grisaille in a day, while champleve takes me six days before I see the results. I have some more cloisonne projects ready to go, so I will be posting them soon.

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