Sunday, March 23, 2014

MZ - New Glass and Wood Creations

More notes from The Best Bead Show, Tucson Feb 2014! Yes, enough stories to talk about for months.

Here is Margaret Zinser's booth. She has a whole new line of eco- friendly, US sourced wood jewelery. The designs are drawn by hand, then are laser cut into finished pendants and earrings. Exquisite designs continue her ongoing love and inspiration, insects.

Margaret Zinser's detailed enamel insect beads continue to grow in complexity and richness.  Holy wow, you won't believe the time that goes into these vitreous enamel painted pieces. Each piece is painted with one color, and then placed in the kiln for an entire heat, flame and annealing cycle. The next day, when cool, each piece is given the next layer of color. Often the colors are built up in layer upon layer.

 If you've ever painted on paper, just imagine working on a completely non absorbent material. Where does the moisture go? What does the paint adhere to? Yes, vitreous enamels are a labor of love, getting them to stick, stay where applied and not crawling, not running. Yet each application must be thick enough to not disappear during firing, which believe me, happens! These are her newest moths.

 And honeybees, honeycombs, and honeypots are new glass beads to make visitors mouths water!

 To see more of Margaret Zinser's work, checkout her website,

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chuck Burton

 Selling at bead shows means more than meeting new customers, and connecting with other businesses. Artists welcome each other as family, even when newly met.
Chuck Burton is a super great guy, and a fixture at many shows, large and small. This year at The Best Bead Show in Tucson, I was saddened that he wouldn't be my booth buddy. In past years we have been neighbors, and no artist could ask for a nicer guy next door than Chuck.
I once had a friend in a booth outside on a 14 degree Fahrenheit night. The wind was blowing, and she (idyllically thinking this is Tucson, we don't need no jacket!) didn't bring her winter coat. She had a leg in a cast, had the chills, and I walked thru the building asking if anyone would lend her their coat. She wore my husbands coat for a while, until he had to leave, and my coat would maybe cover a toothpick. No one would lend a coat. No one except Chuck. That is the kind of guy he is.

Thank goodness Chuck can't keep away, even when he isn't an exhibitor! Part of reconnecting with artists at shows is sharing the growth we've had in our separate worlds over the year. Chuck is taking a year off shows to work on his craft, and allow himself to play - as all artists must - to rediscover why he loves glass. He stopped by my booth at the Best Bead Show to share his recent discoveries.

These delightfully hilarious and morbid skull flowers, created using Karen Leonardo's skull stamp, represent Chuck's new artistic trail of discovery. Where has his creative trail led? To multi-media, and how rich are these little gems? He is making dioramas inside tiny little coffins, including his flowers, and creating a little world where beauty and decay laugh and dance a jig together.

Creative work requires a dialogue - the work itself can't speak to an audience without the feedback only an audience can provide. Every piece is one step in a journey, and each step is closer to the goal each artist aims for. But my steps are guided by my response to the feedback of other artists, and customers, and friendly passers by who I grab and prompt, "Hey, I need your opinion."

Shows, I find, are a great place to drink in the vital fuel, the second half of the dialogue, the response of viewers and artists.