Thursday, 27 August 2009

New Blog Challenge New Rules

After some consideration as to how I can boost entries to the current Blog Challenges I've come up with the following strategy to try out:

You can now enter anything created by yourself that fits the theme of the challenge, this might be a photograph, traditional artwork, embroidery, sculpture . . . absolutely anything handmade as long as you can take a photograph of it and email it to me or post a link.

The aim is to creatively interpret the title not just straightforwardly depict it.

There will be a month to submit your entires then a week for voting.

A prize will be awarded to the winner and I reserve the right to award any additional prizes I feel appropriate.

In the event of a tie I will choose the winner.

In order to enter you should make some effort to promote the competition, post a link on your blog, Facebook, Twitter anything you feel helps others to find the Challenge.

There will be a promotion and chat thread on Etsy, which I'd be grateful if you joined in - a link to the thread will be posted with each new Challenge announcement.


Onto the next Challenge.

The theme is 'Creature Comforts'. Please use this title as a basis for creative interpretation. Post your links on this thread or email me a copy of your entry to amazoncat88[at]googlemail[dot]com

Join in the Creature Comforts chat and promotion thread here please drop in and help promote the competition as well as your own work.

The Challenge will close on the 1st October after which voting will be open for 1 week.

Sorry for the silence . . .

. . . I've been very very busy firstly at a veterinary practice clocking up work experience for when I apply to university. The practice I was at is really lovely, which is quite a blessing as the certainly aren't all.

I also had a baby hedgehog brought to me, which unfortunately died suddenly. This apparently isn't entirely unusual although it is obviously quite upsetting. The little fellow had been coming to the vets with me everyday as it needed regular feeding. About a day before it died we noticed some soreness around its bottom and phoned a large veterinary practice that does all the work for a big rescue centre in London and my vet followed the advice of the expert in London in terms of treatment. The baby suddenly went downhill that evening and I called a lot of local hedgehog people for advise, most of them weren't in or passed me onto somebody else and when I did eventually talk to somebody she wasn't all that helpful and told me I'd probably killed it with the medication I was giving it. All rather unfortunate and given that by the time I was off the phone the poor little thing had died not a great evening but it wasn't until I went back to the vets to continue my work experience that I realised just how rude and unhelpful this woman was. Apparently she stormed into the vets that Saturday and started shouting at the nurse on reception in front of the whole waiting room that she'd killed it and they should all know better. Luckily the people there are really nice and didn't blame me for the crazy shouting woman but I felt terrible. I didn't intentionally mention which vets it was as they were doing me a favour and didn't really deserve to get dragged into anything, they were after all following professional advise. Unfortunately there's basically nothing I can do as I can't even be 100% certain who actually went in and did the shouting as there's a little group of women here who all take in hedgehogs and work together, none of them live close to my vets (which annoys me even more because they clearly made a special trip to do the shouting) so it really could have been any of them. Sorry for the rant but I haven't really had anybody to talk to about this; the whole experience has really put me off and I now feel I can't take anymore hedgehogs to this particular vet.

In more positive news Apple finally got back to me after months and months and I have a job! It starts in a couple of weeks, which is great after nearly a year of basically no money. I should also be starting A Levels around that time so my life is going to suddenly get quite busy. The only slightly annoying thing is that I told the Job Centre people that I had a job and they said 'great but you still have to keep applying to places until you start even though you already have a job', so I have to waste my time and that of the companies' I'm apply to applying for jobs I don't want or need; it is frustrating and seems very silly.

I will be launching another Blog Challenge before the end of the week and put up some Artist Features so keep checking back for updates.

Monday, 10 August 2009

And the Winner is . . .

As we have a tie I will select the winner of this round, I hope that's alright with everybody. As Amie, who is the photographer of #6 won the last round I will award this round to Southern Girl who took #1, I will be in touch with you shortly; well done to you both.

My personal favourite for this round was #2, taken by Kimberly Rose, I love her original take on the theme, not to mention it is a stunningly well taken photograph.

More news and an Undiscovered Artist Feature coming up later in the week.

Monday, 3 August 2009

'Hidden' Competition Entries and time to vote!

It's time to vote for the winner of the 'Hidden' photography competition so here we have the entries:


Please use the poll on the left hand side to cast your vote, remember to vote for the photograph that you think best suits the theme 'Hidden'.
The rules for voting are as follows:
- please do not vote for your own entry
- please take the time to promote the competition and the voting on your own blogs, websites etc.
- voting closes at midnight GMT on Monday 10th August.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Show and Tell and Established Artist

First of all a final push for the photography competition which will end at midnight (GMT) tomorrow. Please, please, please take a few moments to pick out a photograph from your snaps that you could title 'Hidden' and email it to me or post a link to it on the competition post.

Next I have a few photographs of recent bits I've been working on.
First off a load of dragons in all shapes, sizes and colours.

Next some random bits and peices, unfortunately my oven lied to me and the moth that took my AGES got a bit burnt but I'm hopeful that I can rescue it with some acrylic paint. The little dragon at the top is attached to a glass pendant bead so I thought he deserved a little extra attention than just being left in with the other dragons. The luna hare is particularly special - a 100% unique design inspired by 'Masquerade' by Kit Williams - if you don't know about the quest for the golden hare that was a big thing in the late 70's - early 80's in England make sure you google it!

Here a few owls that I'm making for charity:

And lastly a phoenix I felt inspired to make having finally finished the Harry Potter series this morning. It took about three hours, which is slow going for me but I quite like how it turned out although I've got a few ideas out what to improve when I feel brave enough to make another one.

All these items are for sale, I will probably list them on Etsy eventually but it takes me a while so by all means get in touch if you would like to buy something or would like to see more detailed photographs etc.

Onto an Established Artist Feature - today we have Dawn Montgomery of First Light Glass, who I have a strange feeling I've featured before but I can't find the feature and I really love the work in this shop so if we have had it, we'll have it again and if we haven't so much the better.

1. How long have you been an Etsy seller?

I have been selling on Etsy a little over a year now.

2. Where do you get your inspiration?

I get my inspiration from my daily life. Sometimes it's a bird landing outside my window like in my blue heron pendant

Or sometimes it's a walk on the beach which inspired several pendants:

My children also love to give me ideas. One daughter was studying Earth Day at school so I created a "recycle" pendant and an earth pendant. Another daughter came up to me after her piano lesson and suggested a music notes pendant

I finally started keeping a notepad with me to write down my ideas (and my children's) as I think of them.

3. How much time do you put into your shop on average weekly?

I probably work 25 hours a week on my business. In addition to creating I spend time updating my listings, posting in the forums, adding pictures to flickr and posting in my blog. I think I spend just as much time trying to help people find my shop as I do creating.

4. What's your favorite item you're selling at the moment?

My favorite item is my organic twigs bowl. I love the way the shadows have an amber color and change shapes with the light.

5. Tell us about three other Etsy shops you love and why.

I love Lady Bumble Bee. She makes amigurumi stuffed animals that are so sweet and have such personality. My two daughters love her stuffed animals and love getting them for special occasions.

The second shop I love is Enfin La Voila. This shop is from Belgium and makes personalized notecards with vintage inspired designs. I love these notecards because they are very unique and I know that no one else in town will have the same notecards.

The third shop I love is Athena Creates. She makes these wonderful unpaper towels. I keep them in my kitchen and my kids use them instead of paper towels. Throw them in the wash and they're ready to use again. It cuts down on waste and germs.

6. Pets? Family?

I have been happily married for 17 years and have three elementary age children - a boy and two girls. I also have a black Labradoodle puppy, Bear, that has made life around our house very exciting. Bear never runs out of energy and is constantly dropping a ball in my lap to play catch with.

7. Tell us about a typical day in your life.

During the school year I work during the morning then spend all afternoon driving my kids around to dance, tae kwon do, golf and piano. Now that it's summertime, I seem to be spending a lot more time taking the kids to the beach and pool and less time in my studio working.

8. What other interests do you have?

I love reading, painting and walking the puppy. I find I mostly read children's books now since I screen them before I let my kids read them. There's a lot more choices in books than when I was their age. I also love painting acrylic landscapes. I spend every July in the North Carolina mountains and paint while I am there.

9. Anything else?

I love meeting other creative people and have met many great sellers on Etsy.

Thank you so much for featuring me!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Worstead Festival, life and Undiscovered Artist WireArtInk

No update over the weekend due to demonstrating lacemaking at the Worstead Festival in Norfolk. I got through two bookworm bookmarks on the first day (really really basic stuff) then had a huge fight with something more complicated over the next couple of days - it is pretty distracting having people staring at you whilst you work plus I was in charge of the 'demo pillow' which meant hopping up and down several times an hour to show children (and some quite big 'children') how to do a bit of simple lace. I quite enjoyed the experience, although the beaurocracy gets worse every year. The Bookworms I made will go up for sale on Etsy over the next few days. If you are interested in them please get in touch - I can easily make them to order.

I made a point of going and seeing the Seal and Raptor Trust people who were extremely kind and accommodating as I took photographs for them. I will be putting some on my DA over the next few days so if you are interested keep an eye on there.
I'm also working on getting more of my mother's lace online so please go and have a look at her DA site.

I had a call from a lady across the road from us last week about a baby hedgehog her spaniel had dug up. I had him here for three days but sadly he died Saturday night. I believe 'Snuffles' had lungworm induced pneumonia, which kills a lot of hedgehogs. I will be using a suitable wormer as part of 'first response' treatment from now on, although it was probably too late in his case it was horrible watching the poor little thing die gasping for breath and if I can avoid that happening to any others that come into my care I'll gladly accept the additional expense.

Another reminder about the photography competition: 'Hidden'. You've got four days left to enter and it would be lovely to see more than four entires this time!

Onto an Undiscovered Artist Feature - this time we have Anotina of WireArtInk on Etsy. I seriously love the stuff in this shop - so unusual and interesting. I find these pieces have a very tactile aesthetic due to the mixed medias used in them. I imagine I will be buying from this shop in the not too distant future so if you see something you like you'd better get in first lol!

How long have you been an etsy seller?

I have been and etsy seller since May 2009.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Much of my inspiration comes from organic form and movement. I am most inspired by trees!! They have several types of textures, move with the wind and grow into expressive shapes.

How much time do you put into your shop on average weekly?

I average about 15 hours of work a week into my shop.

What's your favorite item you're selling at the moment?

Currently my favorite item in my shop is The Mermaid. It is the piece that strongly represents what I strive for in my work. It is a mixed media piece with wire, beads. yarn, rope, glass enamel paint and beads. The wire swirling throughout it gives it movement while the yarn, rope and glass texture lends to its raw energy. It is a good balance of movement and rawness.

Tell us about three other etsy shops you love and why.

Three of my favorite shops are: The Midnight Orange. I love this shop because the seller really shares herself with the buyers with stories about herself and her work. When I look at her shop I feel really drawn in. It becomes a personal experience. Being a new seller it has really shown me the power of making things personal.

My Second favorite seller is SAsessories. I plain love this artists work. I feel as if we are two dogs spotting each other from a distance. I really identify with her style and if I were more jewelry focused I would strive to make similar stuff. What I love most about her work is how organic and wild it looks. I always like to imagine myself wearing one her necklaces at Burningman.

My third favorite shop is Twisted Silver Jewelry. When I first look at this shop was totally amazed with that this artist was doing with jewelry design. It like wire sculpture for your neck. I thought what a great way to fuse jewelry design with fine art.

Pets? Family? Tell us about them.

I have two cats, Willamina and Jordan. Both cats are tabby tan with gray strips. They have different color eyes. Willa has blue, shes part Simiese and Jordan has yellow eyes, shes all tabby. Both cats love my work!! They like to chase the wire like its a ball of yarn.

Tell us about a typical day in your life?

A typical day for me is I wake up at 6:30 and get ready for my day job. Currently I teach wire sculpture and ceramics to adults with disabilities. I start work at 8am and begin my studio at 9:30. We take a 15min break at 10:30 and a 45min lunch at 11:45. Studio ends at 2pm, my students go home and I work on paperwork and or studio ideas until 4pm. I get home around 4:30, eat dinner and relax until 6pm. Then I start work on my etsy shop or work on project for the shop until bed time at 10:30. Right now I'm really trying to find a balance between making the art work and promoting it .

What other interests do you have?

When I have the time my others interests are thrift store shopping with my friends. Its always a real treat when I find an article of clothing that is practically new or a really fabulous book!! I'm a huge book collector!! I just can't seem to catch up with reading them all. Currently I'm working on Bram Stoker's Dracula.

I also love to hang out at my favorite coffee shop. There I work on my wire sculpture, read, listen to music or chit chat with friends. I've made some great friends and some good connections there!

Is there anything you think we should know?

Thank you for promoting my shop! I am so enjoying my etsy experiences here and the friends I am starting to make. Everyone is just so nice and up front with positive advice. Also I am really excited over the idea of promoting myself through the internet verses the gallery system.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

update and Undiscovered Artist ScallyRags

So you've probably noticed the complete lack of posts recently - sorry about that, I've had a lot on my mind and haven't felt much like blogging.

I'm really struggling finding work and things are getting a little desperate - I even got turned down by McDonalds which I find a bit insulting. I should be starting A Levels (again) in September but I won't know if I can have a place anywhere until after the GCSE results come out at the end of August as they give places to the 16-18 year-olds before adult learners. I will definitely need part time work as I will have to pay for the course.

I've got a pile of new clay creations and a few more on the go but in order to actually get a post out this evening I'm afraid you'll have to wait for photographs.

The photography competitions will be having a bit of an overhaul - details of which I will be giving shortly. Thanks to all those who have entered the current challenge so far. I won't be opening voting just yet as I haven't pushed it as much as I should have and it doesn't seem ideal to vote on just three entries. If you would like to enter the current photography challenge please, please, please do - details of how to enter can be found here.

I think it's only fair to give you an Undiscovered Artist Feature after so long a delay so today we have the creator of Scallyrags, I think her name is Jillian but I'm rubbish and forgot to save it in her interview file so very sorry if I'm wrong.

As you can see she makes excellent funky clothing and other fabric dohickies. She's only had one sale since she opened in December so go check her out!

How long have you been an etsy seller?

I opened my etsy account in December, but I didn’t start posting to March.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Everywhere, music, bright colours, my friend their a big part of my inspiration

How much time do you put into your shop on average weekly?

About 15-20 hours

What's your favorite item you're selling at the moment?

Some of my favourite items are my bow pins, The sailor jerry love is one

Tell us about three other etsy shops you love and why.

Amber84: Is a graphic designer, that made my logo, I just love her work.

MissCAlexandria: Is a jewelry designer, I love craftsmanship for her earrings

alenecouture: Is my sister, she makes resin belt buckles, and jewelry

Pets? Family? Tell us about them.

Mom, dad, an older sister, and dog (Pinecone) that we got from the spca about a year ago.

Tell us about a typical day in your life?

Typical day get up, eat, slower, take Pinecone out for a walk. Then work on designing, or sewing, then play around on etsy (post some items, post in the forums, or chat rooms)

On a lucky day maybe I get to do a photo shoot.

What other interests do you have?

Photography, I do my own photo shoots

Is there anything you think we should know?

I love make things, I went to school for fashion art, I might be going to school in September for photography. I love to learn new thing