Inspiration. Using Others’ Work to be Yourself?

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The Face Beads are Growing Hair…

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The Process of Making Glass Face Beads

If you know me or have read any of my blogs you know that I have some challenges.  Bright colors used to be a challenge…I’m coming out of that one.  Florals.  Hearts.  Faces.   These are things that I wish I could do better and once in a while I’ll try again…usually to fail miserably and then not to think about it again for months.

Well, this week I picked up on faces again.  I’m not there, but I’m getting there.  At this rate I’ll be there in a couple years.  Maybe.  So here’s my progression…

I started out with Earl (over there on the right) who actually has a home now with someone that truly loves him.  Good thing too because it’s a face only a mother could love!  I swear I dated him though.  Earl was created in July 2006.  The bead, not the boyfriend.

So this time I started out and was inspired by a ceramic piece I saw in one of the clay magazines.  I also had the idea (still do) of making mini sculptures off the end of the mandrel so the hole only goes partway into the piece.  Smashing the bottom flat and using the hole out the top of their heads for some crazy hair or wire or something.  Here’s what they started out like:

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I could tell it was going to take a lot of practice to get these to where I liked them but I was really digging the toothy smiles.  So I used my own rule of exploiting a characteristic.  That is, if there is one thing you like about an experimental bead, do a lot of it and exaggerate it.  So, this was born:

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This smile-in-the-round used another favorite idea of mine.  Components.  I love disjointed things, or things that go together in odd ways.  So these choppers propelled me into working with facial components.  One bead for eyes, one for nose(s) one for teeth.  I wanted them to be able to move freely so I made eyes all the way around and noses all the way around too, just like the teeth so no matter how they moved, you’d always see a face.  Well…that just took it one step too far and didn’t work:

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I could tell there were parts that I liked though and decided to go back to the teeth/smiles and scrap the component idea for now.  This is what came out next, with added looped ear lobes that I’m going to make earrings for.

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Did I mention that these finally got named and that they grew butts?  Yes, they’re my Grin and Bear it series.

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And that’s where I stopped.  I’ve been busy…I have lots more and they’re waiting for hair and earrings.  I’ll have try some for sale at my studio show next month and can’t wait to see the response.

Lori Greenberg blogs about beads and the business of beads from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. You can see more of her beads at her web site: www.lorigreenberg.com.

Let your tools and materials guide the way…

I was reading my Art & Fear book yesterday, as I so often do when I feel a little stuck or stale and read about something that had just happened to me:

The dilemma every artist confronts, again and again, is when to stick with familiar tools and materials, and when to reach out and embrace those that offer new possibilities.  And on the average, the younger artist tends to experiment with large and varied range of tools and materials, while the veteran artist tends to employ a small and specific set. (p. 59)

Two things hit me.  I had just changed my materials.  Still glass, but a brand made by a different manufacturers (Bullseye and Gaffer) which meant different colors, different types of colors (lots of translucents, veiled cane and richer color), and a different feel to how it melts which meant I would work differently.

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I had no idea what to make so I set out just testing one color next to the other.   Making the disks that I so love and are so popular.  I was excited again, even though I knew I wasn’t creating masterpieces.  Color called me like it hasn’t in a long time.

The second thing I realized is that I haven’t been using many tools.  Lord knows that doesn’t mean I don’t have them!  But I’ve been using a flat marver or two, parallel mashers, tweezers a little rake and scissors.  I was feeling so, um, earthy.  I don’t know how to explain it.  Like when a gardener digs in the dirt.  More hands on.  Free.  it felt good.

Sometimes, changing materials or tools, or eliminating them altogether can push one into a new direction.

Lori Greenberg blogs about beads and the business of beads from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. You can see more of her beads at her web site: www.lorigreenberg.com.

Frenetic Bead Making

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Lori Greenberg blogs about beads and the business of beads from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona. You can see more of her beads at her web site: www.lorigreenberg.com.

Refining Designs, one color at a time.

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The end of the line…

Last I was writing about my pod series and that they would be my new line for shows this year. Well, show season officially started for me Saturday and the pods were a hit and boy did it feel good.

I love to see people’s reactions when they actually see them in person and these were stunners. More than one person mentioned that they felt ‘alive’ that you could ‘feel what went into them.’ Yeah! That’s what I go for.

lori greenberg glass podsAfter watching a style being built step by step and then the finished product, I never know what people will think. Of course, by the time they get to the completed stage I am in love with them. I wonder though, am I in love with the process that took place, the components I created to make them or the actual end result?

Often, what I love is not what the public loves…at least not the masses. But that’s ok because I know there are some people out there that like what I like…I just have to find them, or they, me.

At this point in the process (with the Fall Tucson Show coming quickly next month) I will be making some old designs and making many more of the pods. Even though I feel like I have these to a completed design, it is hard to make the same thing over and over so variations will occur. Different shapes, different color combinations, etc. This is the most exciting stage to me because the technique is now refined so most anything that evolves now will be top notch…at least, as far as this series goes. I will keep you posted (no pun intended) on what new evolves.

The other part that I love about being here and ready to go into production mode is that, by the end of show season (February) my technique and skills will be even better. But, time to stop wishing time away and off to enjoy where I am with all of this.

My next project is coming up with some sets to update my catalog. I’ve been stuck in focal-land and it’s time to get some new stuff out there in small-bead-world, don’t you think?

Lori Greenberg blogs about beads and the business of beads from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.