Archive for June, 2010

I’ve now got the whole new group of ornate masks listed on Etsy. So far they’ve been really well received and are already appearing in a number of treasuries.

Venetian Masquerade at the Indie Bride

What’s really exciting is that my silver and brown mask, Marchesa, is the star of a feature on the Indie Bride! It’s a really cool site that showcases a wide range of non-typical bridal ideas. I haven’t generally made my masks specifically for the bridal market, but considering how many of my buyers are purchasing for weddings, I’ve come to realize that they are a great fit. Now I just have to get the word out more that I will create custom pieces, for these types of occasions! (actually, I just have to get the word out generally about my willingness to do custom)

Read Full Post »

I have to ask myself that this morning. Back in the beginning of April, workers came out and dug a giant pit in front of the store. Actually, they dug a series of them all along the road,

construction, June 2010

alternating sides. It was the first stage of work for installation of a sewer system for the Hamlet.  We were thrilled at the timing, well before the start of the season, and they worked in a very efficient and clean manner. It was all supposed to over before the start of June.  Yes well, that didn’t happen. They finished, packed up and then nothing happened for the next two and a half months!! So here we are, it’s the end of June and this is what the front of the store looks like. The trench is 10 feet deep and, if you count the dump trucks, we have seven construction vehicles arrayed along the road fronting our property. I’m here, because I have stuff to work on, but I don’t think I’ll be having many people stop in. I had a delivery from UPS and the poor guy had to walk from the corner! (I think he just wanted to take a little walk, because the weather is just gorgeous today) They tell me my driveway will be open again by the end of today, but looking at the size of the trench right now, I have my doubts. After they finish with us, they will keep moving towards the main intersection, so traffic is going to still be disrupted a bit for hopefully no more than another week or so.

Read Full Post »

I first started photographing the masks just to keep some log of what I’d done. It started with one shot, done with actual film, straight on, then three: straight on, and one each side.

ornate Venetian mask, Violette

When I started listing on Etsy I was relieved that they give you five photo slots to work with because, if people couldn’t handle the masks themselves before buying, I wanted them to get as accurate an idea about it as possible. As a result, I now do: straight on to show full, both sides, a detail close-up and a back shot. I also use a fairly neutral grey/brown background so the colour accuracy is good. They may not be glamorous pictures, but they come as close to seeing them in person as I can manage. That being said, I’m still sometimes surprised by how different a piece can look in a photo. “Violette” here, is part of the group of ornate traditional masks I just finished. I had decided to try accenting the bottom edge with these heavily detailed lace falls, in addition to the open-work crown. I’m really happy with how it came out and decided to go with purple feathers and rhinestones to enhance the lushness of it all. In person, it looks gorgeous and rich, on a face the points look very exotic and feminine. I was excited to photograph it but, when I got the pictures up on the monitor, I wasn’t as thrilled. Maybe it’s just me, (I’m really hoping it’s just me!) but something about the way the points look, with the shadows behind, reminds me the mouth of the alien from Predator. (and/or the vampires from Blade) I’ll have to use the shots, because they are technically accurate, and hope people can visualize how different it looks on a face. It was a good reminder of how the camera can, sometimes, lie. Sort of.

Read Full Post »

I’ve once again set up a garden of teapots going up the stairs to the workshop. This year I branched out a little and am trying a few new types of things.

teapot garden, June 2010

Miniature roses are one, and I love how they look! (especially in the rose patterned teapots)  I’m not sure how well they will do in the long term. But a couple are setting new buds so it looks like I should have flowers well into July. The veggies we’re trying this year are peppers, red and yellow. I had two more really large pots, along with the coffee pot that hosted an eggplant last year, that looked like they should be able able to hold fruiting plants. So far, we’ve only got one pepper of size set, but it is still very early in the season. I’d be a bit more concerned about the lack of large amounts of vegetative growth on them, except all our peppers are doing the same thing. They are flowering, and fruit is setting, but the plants aren’t getting any bigger. *shrug* This is my first time growing them so I’m not sure what’s normal.

Read Full Post »

With the difficulty I’d been having with new mask base making, I’ve had trouble creating any new ornate traditional masks. They need a particular shape of base that wasn’t one of the

silver ornate Venetian mask

styles I had stockpiled. While I love making these types of masks, they are also a ton of work ( and materials) and so I rarely keep more than one or two on hand. While they always make a huge impact on anyone who comes into the store, it actually took me a while to get around to listing any on Etsy, because I had my doubts that photos would do them justice. I was pleasantly surprised at how positive the response was. I then ran into the problem of trying to keep up with the demand! With the base making back on track I just finished a brand new group of them and will trying to get them listed over the next week or so. The rest of the group have gold leafing, but I’ve always loved the combination of silver leaf with the variegated coque feathers (and I’ve never been able to hang on to them when I do shows) so I had to try it in this style!

Read Full Post »

When it comes to framing, I’ve run into conflict with artists a couple of times. A few seem to have the idea that anything other than the most minimal of frames will distract the

teacup print, in frame

viewer from the artwork. While I support the idea of plain “gallery” framing when one is doing shows, it’s often not the best way to set off art. When selecting a frame the idea is to enhance the art, so the whole piece is greater than the sum of it’s parts. The idea is to have the entire framed unit be the art, rather than just a piece of art in a protective case. (some artists embrace this idea and actually make and design their own frames for this reason. It’s not the only reason artists frame their work, but it is one of the best reasons for it, in my humble opinion, even if it means less work for me! ) Sometimes that means going with a strong frame or mat choice. This piece is one that I’ve done for the gallery. The piece is a signed original print. The artist had printed it with a strong up-centering of the image on the paper. I decided to leave it, since it works well, and not go with a mat surrounding the image. The colour of the paper is good, clean and unmarked so it was a viable option. (and it was printed so it was square in relation to it’s edges, the lack of which is one of the more common reasons to cover the print paper.) The amount of the room on the edges was exactly enough to give the print room to shine and balance the weight of the frame. The frame is substantial, but the soft colours, that tie back to the art, and the co-ordinating designs mean that is isn’t too much frame for this print. The result the whole piece just pops, without being over-the-top.

Read Full Post »

Last year we lost a number of our tomato seedlings to birds. This year I only put big plants up on the balcony and they were fine. The small lemon balm that I put in our

tomato bed, June 2010

hanging pot has been getting mowed down every week or so however. We also lost a pair of tiny tomatoes that were given to us. I came out the morning after putting them in and they had been completely razed! I’m not sure what they’re doing with the leaves since not much can actually eat tomato greens but all the traces were gone. I had been blaming the starlings that nest in the large maple behind the store, but I’ve discovered that they more likely culprits are bronze grackles. Last week, when we actually put in the rest of this years tomatoes, we decided to be proactive about the grackle threat. The whole area now has a netting cage over it and it seems to be working. The seedlings are getting much bigger and we haven’t lost one so far. We’ll keep it up for another couple of weeks at least, and I hope that the intensive planting of tomatoes, leeks, basil, lettuce and peppers will be enough to keep the weeds somewhat under control.

Read Full Post »

I had been having a bit of a problem with making new mask bases for a while. I’ve been able to make them, but not easily or as quickly as I would like. It was a combination of trying to

steampunk mask "Steam Nihilus"

get the work space for it set up as well as having some challenges with a couple of types of materials that I needed. Things seem to finally be resolved and the system is working. As a result I’m hoping to be able to move forward on making sure I have lots of pieces ready for the fall. (and try to keep up to the constant demand for a couple of styles I keep running out of) I just finished this new one of the “Nihilus” series. They are inspired by a character from the Star Wars “Old Republic” games but, in this case, I took that mask as more of a stepping off point, rather than an exact guide. This version is very steampunk, with a copper ridge that I’ve set with a couple of antique brass clock gears. The brass parts that detail over the eyes are accented with pieces of actual garnet (since I had no rubies on hand) and a cut one is set in the upper ridge gear. The rest is finished to look like old bone. He’s not for everyone, but I love making pieces like this. Now I have to get him listed so he can find a home!

Read Full Post »

Swans are the symbol of Stratford. There is a flock of them that are maintained by the city and they live and nest on the Avon river. Near the end of March you can come out and see

vintage swan buttons

the “Parade of Swans” as they herd them from their winter quarters back to the river. With that in mind, I thought it was pretty cool to have found these swan buttons in one of the vintage stashes. They are plastic and, I think, probably from the forties or fifties. The colour is a dark brown (white would have been ideal, but don’t know if they would have held up to use)  and they have seen a little bit of wear, but are generally in good condition. I only have the pair, but since Swans are one of the birds that mate for life, I think it’s kinda appropriate.

Read Full Post »

pick your own

Mother had to open the store today. Dad and I were out picking large amounts of strawberries! The season has started and we wanted to make sure that lots were on hand.

fresh strawberries

They will be converted into freezer jam so we’ll be able to enjoy the luscious flavor of fresh strawberries for the rest of the year. (or as long as the stash holds out. We barely made it into December on last years supply) There is a local farm (Smelski’s) that offers pick-your-own for a number of different berries. We missed their strawberries last year, since the season was so short, but scored raspberries and blueberries. They have great produce and are less than a 10 minute drive from home. The season for strawberries looks like it will be stretching out a bit longer this year although the weather has resulted in most of the fruit having somewhat stunted shapes. The taste seems fine. We were able to get around 10 pounds with both of us working for a little over an hour. Not a bad deal!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: