Monday, July 30, 2007

Be Inspired - Texture

This week's inspiration is texture. It's everywhere, so you just need to open your eyes and sometimes take a closer look to find it. Nature is a fabulous place to find some of the best textures, as are urban areas. Here are some great textures I found on Flickr.

Be Inspired Mosiac - Texture

Take some time this week to look through your home and look at things a bit more closely to find hidden textures. Have you ever noticed the texture of your bath scrubby? or the different textures of the spices in your spice rack? How about the texture of your deck or porch? So much texture, so little time! As you are looking, start thinking of how you can incorporate some of the textures in your work. Add some, lumps, bumps, curves and swirls. Take shapes and patterns from the textures and put them together in an interesting way. The possibilities are truly endless. Check out how these artists have incorporated texture into their art (just click the picture to see more work by the artists featured):

Here are some words to get you inspired: smooth, rough, lumpy, bumpy, ridged, valleys, highs and lows, distressed, silky, relief, layers, patterns, repetition, grooves, peeling, pressed, soft, shiny, dull, impressions

Take a little time this week to explore texture and make something that can be enjoyed by your hands, as well as your eyes!

Remember, if you are inspired to create something from one of the Be Inspired features, please send a picture and description to my e-mail, and I may feature you on my blog. The piece must be inspired by the Be Inspired post and cannot be an item created prior to the posting. If your Be Inspired piece is featured, I will send you a free pendant from my Etsy shop (I will choose the pendant and it will be a surprise).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Cuteable Blog Feature

Just a quickee post today. The Block Party was featured on Cuteable this week. Cuteable is a "Mon-Fri treasure trove of cute stuff for you and your home!" If you get a chance, check it out and leave a comment and then check out what else is cuteable this week.

Also, don't forget to vote in the PCAGOE Summer Memories challenge to be entered to win one of 2 polymer clay prize packs. Check back tomorrow for a new artist feature!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Inspired by A Summer Memory

The PCAGOE (Polymer Clay Artists Guild of Etsy) is having their monthly challenge and the theme this month was Summer Memories. I thought long and hard and had several summer memories that I wanted to capture, but since I could only enter one piece, I had to narrow it down. My mind kept wandering to the beach and the colorful beach ball that we would get each year. Inevitably it would get lost or popped or left behind, so each year we would get a bright shiny new one. Oh the joy! My kids do the same thing now, so the tradition continues and the memories grow. These memories led to my entry, the beach ball rings.
The red, yellow, white and blue one represents the old school balls (and my childhood memory) and the pink, yellow and green represent the newer memories. They are both so fun and despite their size (1 1/4" diameter) amazingly easy to wear. They are a perfect way to keep a little summer with you all year round. They are listed in my etsy shop, and custom colors are available, just contact me with your request!

Here are the other incredible PCAGOE entries. To vote for your favorite and be entered to win one of 2 polymer clay prize packs, got to (use this link, or click on the entry picture below) and complete the voting form at the bottom of the post to enter!
After you vote, take a little time to think about your summer memories and how you could translate them into something creative that will keep the memory alive all year round!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Be Inspired - Circular Sensation

Circles (my very favorite shape) are a recurring theme in my work. I love the circular shape of many of my pendants and magnets, as well as pressing little circles into them to create fun texture. Something about a circle seems so perfect and complete to me. I started to make a flickr mosaic when I ran across this great one by nofrills. I know I was inspired, so I decided it would be perfect for this feature today, plus I have orders to get out and I haven't had time to finish my own. I already have a few ideas started after looking at this wonderful circular spread.

Here are some examples of artists who have taken the simple notion of a circle, and created something fantastic:

Are you getting inspired yet? Here's more:

I know you're getting inspired now. So many circles, so little room on my blog! To see the artist or purchase one of these items, just click on the pictures to be taken to their etsy shop.

More circular sensations:

Well if these images haven't inspired you today, you may just need to step away from the art supplies and have your head examined or at least go blow some bubbles! Take a little time this week to explore the circle and create your own circular sensation. Remember, if you are inspired to create something from one of the Be Inspired features, please send a picture and description to my e-mail, and I may feature you on my blog. The piece must be inspired by the Be Inspired post and cannot be an item created prior to the posting. If your Be Inspired piece is featured, I will send you a free pendant from my etsy shop (I will choose the pendant and it will be a surprise).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Inspiration from the Other Side - Artist Feature - Lisa Graziotto from the

Have you ever truly wondered where some inspiration comes from? If you have ever lost a loved one, I bet you can remember a time when you had a whisper in your ear, a vision or a feeling in your heart that inspired you to create something. I don't mean being inspired to create by your feelings of grief or a warm memory of the lost loved one, but I really mean an idea that seems to come from nowhere. Was this just a spark of inspiration, or were you getting a little help from the other side? This is an interesting idea, and I am sure there are non-believers, but I know sometimes I feel a guiding hand and perhaps it is my Mother leading me in the right direction with a piece. I know sometimes when taking a walk I will be drawn in a certain direction and not be quite sure why and sure enough there will be something there that inspires a piece. It does make you wonder. I would love to think that she is around me and helping me. Very talented painter, Lisa Graziotto had a really amazing experience when she did this incredible custom dog portrait for a young widow:

What inspired this piece?

A couple of years ago a client emailed me to ask if I would be interested in painting her dog Zack. She told me that both her and her husband really admired my work and were excited
about someday commissioning me to paint their dog. She went on to mention that this portrait will have an extra special meaning to her as her husband had just died suddenly a few weeks earlier and he would have wanted her to carry on with the portrait commission. Her
husband dropped dead of a heart attack one day in December while walking with Zack in the park. He was 36 and a new dad to a baby just a few months old. This request brought tears to my eyes. I called her to talk over the portrait and as we talked a very clear vision of what the painting should look like crossed my mind. I told her about it. Zack would be in a park setting with snow all around, the time of day would be just before dusk. Zack would be sitting,
looking directly at the viewer and under his paws I would paint a black and white photo of her husband. The photo would look like it is about to blow away if Zack were to lift his paw up. The client cried after I explained my vision. She said that this was the first time she had cried since her husband died. She thanked me. I hung up and spent the next few weeks alone in the studio working on this portrait and I swear at one point I felt her husband stand next to me
while I was putting the finishing touches on the painting. The painting was a huge part of my clients' healing process.

I’m not sure where the inspiration for this piece came from as I just did. Once I read the email I saw clearly in my mind’s eye the entire painting. I’d like to think that my client’s deceased husband has a hand at guiding me.

Can you detail how you translated your inspiration into your work of art?
With this piece I really just didn’t think very much about the process of painting as I had a ‘vision’ of what the enitre composition was going to look like.

Where do you tend to find inspiration for your art pieces?

My inspiration for a painting comes from many sources. Sometimes clients send me a paragraph or more describing their dog(s). It’s hard for me to place into words where my actual inspiration comes from as it often comes from a place where I can’t explain,a dream, a word in a song, a frame of film from a movie, the colour of a butterfly wing. I call my inspiration my muse and I don’t know where she comes from or how she works. On a side note, I like to think that part of my inspiration comes from my dog Dylan who passed away several years ago. In fact he is the reason I have devoted a big part of my career to animal portraits. He was always by my side and loved being in the studio with me.He would sometimes walk around the with a paint brush in his mouth! I used to wonder what he would create if he had the thumbs to really work the brush? I joke now by saying that he is now able to work through me painting subject matters that he can totally relate to! I miss that boy.

Any advice for someone feeling uninspired?

Hmmm, good question. I would suggest looking at the work of artists they admire. Listen to some great music, sing and dance out loud. Take a long hot bath with a big glass of wine.. Do anything to take your mind off of what you are trying to accomplish. By putting your focus on something other that work takes the pressure off the muse to do her job.

To see more of Lisa's incredible pet portraits and more, visit her website, or her blog.

Well you can probably never truly know where some inspiration comes from, but wouldn't it be amazing if those on the "other side" were helping us out. There is probably no way to control this type of inspiration, except to be open to it. If you have a feeling or a vision, go with it and like Lisa, you may create a piece that is both incredible to look at and very meaningful.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Inspiring and Being Inspired byYoung Artists

I received the best convo (like Etsy e-mail) a little while ago from Kathy of Roz Petalz (a fellow PCAGOE Member). She told me "My 5 year old saw some of your work, here on Etsy & has decided to make her own! She has been working on "sculptures" using rubber stamps, clay & paint. Some are really pretty! Just thought you'd like to know you've inspired a young mind. " Here are some pics of Hannah's wonderful creations:

I don't think there is any better feeling than knowing that you have inspired a young artist to create. I love it when my son is inspired to create something after seeing what I make. What is even better is that he always adds his own touch to it and makes something completely amazing. (Hey, I 'm his Mom, I can't help but brag! That's him and my niece pictured below painting away. The finished piece is under Kyle's Kreations on my sidebar.)

Another great thing about kids is that they can inspire us right back. Their bold use of color and shape, and their vivid imaginations can remind us to not put limits on our creativity. Kids create for the sake of creating and not necessarily for the end result, which is something I think we lose when we start to sell our art and become focused on whether or not it will sell. The process itself becomes less important. Kids also aren't afraid to try something new and we, as adults, shouldn't be either. So if you are looking for some inspiration, spend a little time with a kid or kids (depending on your tolerance level!). Try to see the world through their eyes, notice all the small things we don't always see as adults, enjoy the process of creating and you may be surprised by what you are inspired to create!

A special thanks to Kathy and Hannah for sharing!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Be Inspired


Yes, I am still playing with Spell with Flickr and I am running a bit late this week since this is supposed to be a Monday feature, and I planned to create a proper banner for the it, but time has eluded me so far this week. I am also gonna kind of cheat and use my current treasury list as the inspiration. I have to unexpectedly take my mother-in-law to the doctors, so my plans for creating a new Leafletter have been scrapped for today and rather than wait, I will use the treasury list.

The title is "What is your favorite color?" An easy questions, but not always easy to answer. I know my favorite color tends to change like the weather. Today I am really feeling lime green, but last week purple and lavender were my favorites. I tend to follow these favorites and create with whatever color I am feeling that day. So take a little time today and think about your favorite color for today and create something just for the joy of using that color! Go be inspired!

Just click the pic to be taken to the treasury list!
Remember, if you are inspired to create something from one of the Be Inspired features, please send a picture and description to my e-mail, and I may feature you on my blog. The piece must be inspired by the Be Inspired post and cannot be an item created prior to the posting. If your Be Inspired piece is featured, I will send you a free pendant from my etsy shop (I will choose the pendant and it will be a surprise).

I am also in the Etsy showcase today, so come on by and see if you can find me!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Spell Your way to Inspiration - Spell with Flickr

Here is a little visual inspiration courtesy of a new flickr toy find: Spell with Flickr. All you have to do is type in your word and hit "spell" and voila. A lovely mix of letters in many colors and textures and styles. They even offer up the Html code so you can put it in your blog, like me!

B L O C Tokyu Hands

p A R T Y


I really love the industrial feel of my letters, as well as the different color combinations. Something about the scratched paint on the old sign letters makes me crazy (I wonder why). I feel inspiration coming on - Maybe I will make some initial pendants, rings or magnets that remind me of the old distressed letters.... maybe. You'll have to check back and see.

Here's another idea. Wouldn't it look great to frame each letter (Remember, Don't take the flickr images without the artist's permission) of a word that is meaningful to you and "spell " it up on the wall. Also a cool way to put your kid's or pet's name up on their wall. This project would also be a great excuse to get out there and get some cool letter pics of your own.

Since it is Sunday, take a little time to play with Spell with flickr and see if any inspiration springs forth. Put in names or meaningful words and see what comes up. Once you get off the computer, try to take a look at the signs and letters in your area and see if you find anything interesting. If you get a great letter photo or create a letter wall display, comment here or convo me on Etsy and I will post it here on the blog.


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