Friday, September 30, 2005
Basically, yes, I am handpainting my pieces - but not with "paint". I use liquid polymer, tinted with artist's pastels, for my "paint". Which ends up making the entire piece totally polymer clay - the color will stay "in place" this way...there is nothing to peel or chip as regular paints could. It's all fired (numerous times) so the color in the design actually becomes a part OF the piece, rather than just paint ON a piece, if that makes sense.
I also get asked a lot about custom orders. Yes, I will do them. I can paint ANYTHING as long as I have a photograph to work from. Realistic pieces take longer and will cost more. My impressionistic work is less time consuming, therefore those are less.
I put up a couple of 40mm x 3mm art cabs I made for designers to use as centerpieces. Already I've had a couple of requests about doing those in certain color combos...YES...I can do it! Just send me an email with what you want! Pricing is on the site for my various pieces I've already done, so that gives an idea of cost involved. I will always give a quote for custom orders upfront, and I require 1/2 payment in advance. If a customer doesn't like the work for some reason, or doesn't want to follow through with a purchase, I give them their 1/2 payment back and I place the piece(s) up for sale on my site for the full price. That's fair, I think, isn't it?
My site hits have more than doubled since last month. My web fees went up as of today as a result. Yet my sales have not. It's time for them to start happening. I am hoping my upcoming online fall show will generate those sales to get things moving. Send good thoughts my way! :)
Thursday, September 29, 2005
I'm thinking of writing up an article on painted jewelry. Painted jewelry has been popular for well over 100 years and there are all different types out there...hand-painted porcelian, enamel jewelry, tole art jewelry, painted wood, the Russian painted jewels (I love those!), egg art jewelry, and now my polymer painted jewelry. I also like scrimshaw art jewelry...it's not really a painting, more like a line drawing, but the work is so detailed and intricate!
And wood-burned jewelry...I used to do wood-burnings. I made a pineapple wood burning for my mother for her kitchen. I colored it with colored pencil and sealed it. Gosh, I guess that was almost 20 years ago! It's still hanging in her kitchen to this day and looks just as good as the day I made it. I stopped doing wood burnings because the smell from the burning wood was bothering my eyes badly. I've thought about going back and doing some more of those just as a hobby. Maybe someday, as I really liked the way they turned out!
Well off to do my exercises. I lost another pound...9 more to go!
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Good morning! Here's two new pendant pets I finished up yesterday! Misty Blue is a blue Persian cat. I didn't even know such a cat existed, but discovered this morning there is actually a Blue Persian Society! Check it out: http://www.bluepersian.org.uk/
It says : "The Blue Persian is one of the oldest recognised pedigree breeds of cat. It can trace its origins back to ancient times and is thought to have originated in the area which was then known as Persia. Blue Persians are depicted in paintings centuries old and the breed was know in Renaissance Italy. It appears that the predecessors of the Blue Persian were initially imported into this country during the early 1800s from France where it was extremely popular, probably having originally been brought back by sailors returning from exotic places."
I thought that was pretty cool. I didn't intend on this kitty turning out this way, but like REAL PETS, they "come to life" on their own and develop their own unique coloring and personality as they evolve.
After finishing Misty Blue, I decided to create a pendant with what seems to be very popular with me this year...a red-eyed tree frog. I've named this little guy "Rizzo", and he is holding onto a RARE piece of turquoise. Rare, because I created that "stone" from polymer. I guarantee you, there isn't another like it out there!
Isn't he just TOO CUTE? I love these little frogs. I guess because they have spent the summer nights plastered to my studio glass door. I had the best time making him...he is a totally FUN pendant!
What's on the agenda for today...lots of action going on here...my daughter has a riding lesson, I'm thinking through an article in my head, and I have 2 pendants in process on the work table. One is a pendant pet (bird) and another is an Impressions design for my online fall show. I decided last night to give my newsletter subscribers a special opportunity to buy the Shades of Autumn pendants at discounted prices before I officially "open" the show on the 23rd. Those folks have been good to me over the years, supporting and encouraging me, and they deserve that. If you want to subscribe to my newsletter, you can do so on my site: http://www.michelejanine.com, and then you'll get the chance for the special sale prices too!
Well, off here to get to work. Later!
P.S. Check out my weight loss blog for today too...I shared my good news over there: http://jaislosingit.blogspot.com
Monday, September 26, 2005
I completed this little fella yesterday. Rocky is the first in my collection of "Pendant Pets" I'll be making. Each one is unique, and different, and has their own name, just like REAL pets! Only this one you can wear on a necklace and take with you everywhere. He turned out to be a real gem, but he definitely looks like one who is going to run his own show. I'm heading back down to the studio shortly to work on another Pendant Pet. I'm also working on pieces for my upcoming fall art jewelry show I'll be hosting on my website on October 23.
Rita came through here yesterday and made a big mess. I really feel for those down further south of me who were hit so hard. The weather has been incredibly nasty the past few years!
Oh, if you want to see some of my past work, go to my site http://www.michelejanine.com and click on Gallery. Then look in the "Premium Collection" album. I uploaded several of my past art jewels into that album this morning. All of the past ones are representative of different techniques and styles I used within the past year. Comments are always welcome and appreciated!
Well I'm off to work on another pet. I am thinking of another cat, a tree frog and a bird. I'm not sure which one I'll work on first.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Jewelry Artist Jai Johnson Announces Shades of Autumn, An Exclusive Collection of Signed and Numbered Fine Art Pendants
The Shades of Autumn collection is a vibrant celebration of Fall, presented in striking art jewelry. Twenty designer pendants depicting a magnificent blend of the rich and dramatic colors of autumn will be unveiled on October 23, 2005. Inspired by photographs, the designer prepares a colorful, contemporary abstract art pendant based on the colors, shapes, and other elements found in an inspiration photo. Each art pendant is a signed and numbered, one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry.
The designs in Jai's Impressions series clearly display the artist's love affair with colors. Unlike her realistic pieces in her Portrayals series, the Impressions jewelry selections are full of bold, bright colors and a wonderful sense of movement. Each piece adorns the body with the same mysterious wonder and splendor as the objects from which they were inspired and created.
After the initial reaction to one of her art pendants, the designer is often asked what kind of paint she uses. "No paint is used for my work," Jai explains. "All of my jewelry is created completely using translucent polymer clay, both the solid and liquid forms. Color is added using acid-free artist chalks and/or pastels. Layers of color are applied in a similar fashion to that of enamel work, and between each layering of color, the piece is fired to set the design before adding the next layer. They can be as many as 20 layers of color on one pendant. This layering process creates the depth and focus needed for the piece."
Customers exhibit awe and amazement as they hold the finished pieces in their hands. Since it feels like hard plastic, they find it difficult to believe the jewelry begins as clay in the raw form. "I love Jai's pendants in her Impressions line for several reasons," says Sara Mitchell, a customer from Knoxville, Tennessee. "They are lightweight and easy to wear. I like bold jewelry, but don't like anything too heavy. Since I wear mostly solid colors, these pendants go with the bulk of my wardrobe. It's so nice to be able to add a little pattern and design to my outfits, without having to do it through clothes. And most of all, I love these pendants because they are so colorful, they make me feel alive."
Jai Johnson has been designing jewelry for the past ten years. In addition to her jewelry skills, she is an accomplished artist and published author. She is a member and active participant in the International Jewelry Designer's Guild, an internet-based group of over 800 artisans who create jewelry in a wide variety of mediums.
More details about the Shades of Autumn jewelry collection can be found on http://www.michelejanine.com/. Visitors can sign up for the artist's monthly newsletter and receive a reminder the day before the special collection of pendants will open for viewing. The collection will be available for sale at set prices on the preview date direct from the designer's website. On October 24, 2005, all available pendants will be placed on Ebay for a three-day auction to millions of jewelry collectors from around the world.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
It is with great pride, and a little sadness, that I announce the completion of Tropical Aves & Flora. The neckpiece is now complete and the photos are in my gallery for viewing, along with all the details. I am also placing the photos of the finished, reversible neckpiece here in my blog, for my fellow blog friends to view. Comments can be left here or in my gallery on the website. Thank you all for coming along with me on this journey...this necklace will always be close to my heart and I'm so glad I got to share its progress with all of you as I went along.
Remember, all posts about this neckpiece in order appear on my website at this link.
Thank you all again for your support, kindness, and encouragement as I proceeded with my project. You are all dear to me!
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Good evening! I have been SO BUSY lately and haven't had much time to post. I still haven't finished putting together Tropical Aves & Flora either...bad Jai...bad Jai!
Anyway, I do have TWO new pieces to show you that I just finished. One is a Santa pendant which can also work great as a Christmas ornament. The other is a Siamese cat necklace.
Take a look!
Both of these can be seen in more detail in my album here:
You can leave me comments in my new album if you like my work. I do like hearing what others think!!
I've also finished my first piece for my FALL SALE, Shades of Autumn. I can't show it to you yet though. All of those pieces will be revealed on the preview date of Oct 23. You can read more about it here:
And you can sign up for my mailing list and I'll send you a reminder the day before the show opens.
And I got the NICEST letter from a customer today! She bought three pendants last week from me and LOVES THEM. I am so thrilled to hear it. Lately, comments about my work have been kind of sparse, and then I start getting discouraged again. Especially since I've had very little sales lately, even on EBAY at reduced prices. So her comments REALLY made me feel good. And you know what? *THIS* is why I design jewelry. Not for the money (obviously, or *I'd* be out looking for a job by now!), but because of this kind of response. I've always wanted to make a difference in someone's life...and I love to make people happy, especially with something I create, because it is so personal to me and such a part of me. This just made my day. I think it's time for a little steak and salad! WOOHOO!
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Good MORNING world! What a beautiful day here in West TN! Thought I'd share a piece of work I finished up last night. I've been thinking for a while about doing some cool art pendants based on current fashions. I saw this SMASHING ad by Loreal featuring Beyonce' and I designed a pendant to match her cool pink and black Pink Prowler hat. You can see details in my NEW album titled "Fashionables" on the website: http://michelejanine.com/gallery/albums.php
Also, my daughter was in her first horse show yesterday. She's only been riding since July, and she won 3 second place ribbons and 1 fourth place ribbon. Here's a photo of her on Copper Top. Copper decided to be a stinker and act up on her in her first class, and if she had of controlled him better during that, she probably would have received higher than a 4th in that class. She needs to work on controlling him better. Still, she did VERY WELL for a beginning rider and especially well for her first show! Now I need to sell some more jewels so she can enter the last show of the season on October 15! She had a BALL and she now wants to do every show.
I'm off to take a walk on this gorgeous fall morning and enjoy the cool, brisk weather. Later,
Friday, September 16, 2005
My new gallery! Right on my OWN SITE! Everything so nice and organized now...ooh lala! Go by and check it out, leave me some comments by your favorite jewels too!
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
All beads shown together:
So now what happens? Now it's time to make the actual necklace. I'll be using black rubber cord - and I know you're wondering how in the WORLD will those large, heavy beads hang on a black rubber cord to make a collar necklace without sagging? I have a secret there....and I believe I'll wait to share that on the last post when I share the completed neckpiece, so yes, you'll have to come back here to find out the answer. :)
I should have this completed by Friday. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
P.S. To see all previous posts on this necklace creation, go to this link and see everything in order:
Announcing SHADES OF AUTUMN:
An Exclusive Collection of Fine Art Pendants 20 Jewels, Signed & Numbered
Click here to read about this incredible collection which will go on sale October 23, 2005!
Sale Date: October 24 (Monday) - October 27 (Thursday) - On Ebay
Preview Sale Date: Sunday, October 23 - 2PM CST.
To receive a reminder on the day before the collection opens for viewing, sign up for JAI Art Jewelry News.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Okay, I see you cringing! But they WILL get better! :)
Here I have drawn my design, transferred it onto the bead, and carved in the outlines of the design for both the birds and the flowers on the opposite. Then I take my artist CHALKS and using a tiny brush, I added the base colors from my chalk palette. Notice I am using CHALKS here...I also use chalk PASTELS in my work, only the pastels come out very light when placed dry on raw clay...so I use PASTELS to mix with the liquid clays later on, and in the beginning I used acid free artist chalks to lay down base color.
Now I could keep on going right here with the chalk and deepen this design by continuing to add more and more chalk colors, just as featured in my ebooklet Create Miniature Carved Paintings. Doing that would create a very cool, artistic "painting" type look. But in this necklace, I want MORE vibrancy - I want the colors to POP off the beads...I'm looking for a very BOLD, BRIGHT look. In order to accomplish that, I need to switch over and use liquid clay tinted with pastels for the rest of the design.
Notice the DARK black on the birds' eyes and beak, and around the edge of the Cockatoo. That dark black is tinted liquid clay. See the difference between that black and the other black surrounding the main art? The other black is softer, and would need several applications on raw clay to deepen it and get it dark enough.
As things stand now, I've handled these beads all I can at this point without getting chalk all over my fingers and risk smearing it onto the rest of the design (something I need to be more careful of with beads rather than flat pieces, where I don't have to handle the design in the raw form). So these beads have just gone into the oven for their first firing. This will harden the bead, as well as set the colors I've already applied.
These beads have to fire 30 minutes and then totally cool before I will take them out of the oven. After I get them out, I will proceed to color the rest of the design by adding the tinted liquid clay in layers, with multiple firings between layers.
If I were going to work in chalk only on these, I would apply all chalk while the bead was RAW and THEN fire, only at the end. But because I'm switching over to liquid clay now, I need to do multiple firings. The dry chalk will only stick to RAW clay - it will not stick after the clay is fired. So a basic rule of thumb is dry chalk goes on BEFORE firing, and liquid colored clay goes on AFTER firing.
I just thought you might be interested to see what these look like to start with - and every time I end this stage, *I* cringe, because I wonder how in the world I'm going to get the bead looking NORMAL. :) Now while these are firing, I think I'll go take my walk - it's a beautiful morning here in West TN and I need to get refreshed...after all, I'm tackling the LAST TWO BEADS in this design today...yep...normally I only work on ONE at a time - two is more challenging for me because I'm one of these people who finds it easier to only focus on one things at a time. :)
Thanks for stopping in!
P.S. I've already had two people write and ask me about the device holding the wire which has my beads on it. That is called a "Helping Hand" and it is available at CostumeJewelrySupplies.Com - third row down at that link, left image. I have the magnifying glass with mine as well, but I never use it as I wear magnifying glasses when I work.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Go here to see the details and inspiration photo:
And I completed two other pieces as well...both of these are pendants:
Aha! Notice something? My photos are different looking! I picked up some new background materials and after spending about about 12 hours with my camera, FINALLY got some quality photographs for submission.
Phoenix Rising and At Rest have both been submitted to American Style Magazine. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Now that I feel more confident about my photos, I am ready to complete Tropical Aves & Flora and submit it as well. So be watching...this upcoming week both bird/flower beads will be completed!
I'm also working on a KatsEye Pendant in silver, at the suggestion of one of my customers. I'll be working on it TODAY, so the silver lovers out there might want to pick up one of those after I get it listed. 50% of every one of those I sell goes to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund who helps artists who are in need. http://www.craftemergency.org Currently they are raising funds to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. So every KatsEye pendant I sell helps those artists in need to rebuild their lives!
Off to mow the yard...yes, I still have to do normal things like that, though I wish I could work on jewelry ALL DAY AND NIGHT!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Click here to see more details about this piece, including the inspiration photo I fell in love with about five years ago!
I am REALLY enjoying this looser, more abstract style of work. Not only can I work more quickly, but I'm able to produce a wider range of pieces and price them lower than the realistic work.
I'm also having FUN - and that's what this is all supposed to be about, right? We are supposed to ENJOY our life - it's our right to enjoy life, and sometimes....just like everyone else does...I get caught up in the "non-enjoyable" parts of life. It feels really good to LET GO and not be such a perfectionist about my work for a change. And guess what? From the comments I've been receiving, maybe my perfectionism was hurting me?
But alas, I still have a lot of realistic pieces here to finish. I have two more bird/flower beads in my tropical necklace, and then I have four florals already carved out and ready to work on. With these new pieces, I'm not carving the design...I'm just laying the color on in the manner I want before firing the piece. They turn out very interesting too! Most of the time, when I put it in the oven, I'm thinking UGH! I can't believe i just did that! But when it comes out, it looks pretty cool!
You'll notice my work is full of color. I love color and I see so much jewelry which is bland or too simple for me. Although, I have worn simple and very striking jewelry for the necessary occasions. But I think everyone needs to own at least ONE artistic and colorful piece of jewelry...to really step out beyond the norm. And I want to provide that jewelry for those people who are ready to get a little more colorful and bold with their life. That's my mission in life, I believe. :)
There are some additional photos of it in the gallery here:
I've titled the piece "Wave of the Flowers". It's based on an inspiration photo of a float in New Orleans. I'm doing a whole series based on photos from New Orleans. I'm not sure how many there will be, but they are all going up on the website.
Today I'm working on a larger, more involved neckpiece, and some additional pendants. And I've still got two more beads to finished in my tropical neckpiece as well. And sometimes coming up later this year, the Guild is having another online trunk show. I'm not sure if I will participate this time or not. I guess I probably will, as I'm sure I'll still have items available which haven't sold on Ebay.
Well, it's back to the studio for me! Lots to do today and I'll share new pieces later!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
And a photograph of the group so far:
So - how am I doing here? Leave me your comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Two beads to go in this challenging design, and then it will be time to put it together into the necklace itself, and hopefully get some decent photographs for submission to a variety of places. As I said in the last post, the neckpiece - when complete - will be for sale, and the buyer will also receive a printed journal I've created to go along with the neckpiece, along with a certificate signed by me inside the journal.
Thanks for stopping in to view the evolution of this design, yet again!
P.S. The wonderful group of designers I belong to - The International Jewelry Designer's Guild - is hosting a charity auction for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. One of my designs - my Kats Eye Pendant - is included in all of the wonderful jewelry donated. If you wouldn't mind, please stop by and take a look at the beautiful jewelry being offered up on auction - perhaps you might find the perfect gift for someone and help a good cause at the same time? The URL is here: http://imageevent.com/tascha/newpage
My first pendant in this style "New Orleans Night" (on Ebay...click auctions above to see) was my first adventure into stepping out of perfectionism into just LETTING GO. It turned out so well, I decided to try a few more like this....the photos are below - please click on each one to see the details as well as see the incredible inspiration photos for the designs:
Hibiscus Dreams...based on a photograph of those beautiful Hibiscus flowers my brother planted for me when he was here in May.
Mardis Gras Happy Hour, based on a fun photo of a float in New Orleans
Blues Tonight, based on a photo of a neon Blues Club sign, from New Orleans
Creating realistic art is very rewarding, yet it is very time consuming to get all of the details as close to exact as possible, especially in such small spaces as the beads and pendants I work with. By letting go with the above works, I realized I am able to create a sense of realism, in a fun and different way, and I think it really helps to eliminate that need for CONTROL I have going on. Right now, it's very difficult time for me (personally), and I feel that letting go is all I can do. My first step is by excuting the letting go in my work, and I am hoping that will carry over and help me to let go of things I have no control over in my personal life.
Off to do a walk on this beautiful morning, and when I get back, Bead #5 in Tropical Aves & Flora will be shown here.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Click here to see the details including a photo of the back. This is another one of those reversible lentil bead pendants I've kind of gotten hooked on making lately because I love the shape!
And then, I finished this design I've titled NEW ORLEANS AT NIGHT - it's based on a neat photo of a courtyard in New Orleans. The colors are spectactular in the photo, and I attempted to replicate that dramatic color in the pendant.
Click here to see details of this piece, including the inspiration photo.
I didn't get any work done today on the next bead in Tropical Aves & Flora. :( I was working on my photography skills (or lack thereof) today as I was attempting to practice and get a good photo without a glare. I was shooting the bird beads all together. Over 200 photos later, and one dead battery, I finally gave up and decided to look at it with fresh eyes at a later date. Unfortunately since my battery died, I won't be taking any photos of anything for a while. Can't get a new battery until I have a sale. So I'm kind of stuck now.
But I'll take the time to work on the Toucan bead and some other pieces and get them ready to put up. I have some auctions ending this week, and maybe, just maybe, some exciting will happen!
Oh and speaking of looking at things with fresh eyes - I've noticed my eyesight is getting worse. It's really frustrating me on reading things more than anything. I've always had 20/20 vision, so I'm not very familiar with eye issues and it kind of worries me a little. I'm afraid I may end up needing glasses soon. Sigh. The trials of life!
Saturday, September 03, 2005
So anyway, since this bead cracked I decided to get the pendant bail out to use on another piece. It was a pretty good sized crack, so I figured well hell, I'll just break it apart. I tried with my fingernails....nope. So I stuck a small screwdriver in there to break it apart....nope. So I let it sit for a while, went back and tried both those things again, to no avail.
Finally I got so p'oed and frustrated, I took it outside on the patio with a hammer. Would you believe on the first hit it didn't break? Geez. So I slammed it...and finally, I had success. Of course the part with the bail in it flew out into the grass and I had to go locate that. Thank goodness I mowed the yard yesterday or I would have never found it which would have proceeded to frustrate me more.
After all of that, I am thankful this happened. I always knew my material was very strong, but I didn't know to what extent.
Oh, and I think I mentioned some time ago I was working on a Halloween piece. I usually do one piece for each holiday. I did do a Halloween pendant and I can assure you, it will never see the light of day. How I could go from making those beautiful birds to something completely horrible, I don't know! The good news is I started - and am now working on finishing - a Halloween pendant which is turning out GREAT.
I also recently obtained a few parts to mae some lamp finials. So I'll be working on one of those in the near future as well. The type of finial I got is a long one, which will hold one large bead or a combination of beads on the stem. And the neat thing about these, is they can be placed on a lamp as a decorative topper, or they can stand alone as a display item for the home or office. It will be interesting to see if they work out okay!
I also plan on making some flat, colorful, abstract pendants based on some inspiration photos of New Orleans. Such a pretty place, with so much color, destroyed...and I never got to go there in person. Bummer.
Well, it's back to the studio for me!
I am taking orders now for this design. Be sure to click the link above to read the story behind it and see the reverse...YES! It's reversible! The pendant will swivel around to reveal the other side, which has a different pattern rainbow and gold leaf design.
Although I am making multiples of this pendant, each one is slightly different, because the brush decides how to swirl and the gold leaf decides where to land! :) So each one is still a signed original. And such a happy design I think, with all of the bright colors. Shown is the pendant, but I will also make lentil beads - side drilled at the top - for the jewelry makers out there who want to string this on cord for a necklace or incoporate it into a colorful design.
Tropical Aves & Flora is still in production as well, and I'll give ya a clue - the next bead is the TOUCAN and an ATHURIUM on the reverse!
Friday, September 02, 2005
Okay, here is BEAD # 4! It was time to integrate some pinks and purples into the design. Therefore I have chosen the Flamingo in rich pink and coral, and a Water Lily in shades of purple and pink:
And a shot of all of them together:
And another view of these...photographed in different lighting. I am attempting to get my photographs just right for the Lark Books submission. I still have a way to go on this! LOL
I hope you are enjoying seeing the evolution of this neckpiece...please feel free to leave me your comments here by clicking on the comments line below!
I also just finished setting up a project I'm calling Pendants for People. You can read more about it on this website:
Since it's only just been set up, I am currently the only member. I expect other artisans will join me soon, though.
Basically I wanted to do something with what I have to help donate to a charitable organization. In the Pendants for People project, I chose to make donations to the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (http://craftemergency.org/) in an effort to help other artists in times of need.
I began this project after hearing the devastation and wanting to help in some way. While I donated through my usual channels (Red Cross & others collecting locally here), I wanted to do something to specifically aid other artisans who will have to totally rebuild their lives after this horrible event. Pendants for People is going to be my ongoing charitable project I will participate in throughout each year in order to raise donations specifically to help artisans like myself to recover and rebuild their lives.
I've listed my first Pendants for People listing on Ebay...just click the "auctions" tab on the menu at the top of this page to see the listing and make your bids if you want to help!