Sunday, August 5, 2012

Magpies Know a Good Thing When They See It!

Can you believe it's August already!!??  Personally, I am loving all the sun we're having the past few weeks.  I do feel so much better in warm sunny weather.

As I wrote this post I realized that the art I've been engaged in lately is all about pretty shiny things - like shimmer paint and glass - and it's not hard at all to understand why Magpies (and other birds and animals for that matter) find pretty shiny things so attractive.

The image above is a page from my sketchbook.  I decided to play around with watercolour pencils, gold acrylic ink (outlining the pears in the upper right corner) and "Pearlex" paints (a pan of pearlescent watercolour paints).  What fun!!  You can see the pearly sheen in the highlights of the pears in the upper right corner.  Now I want to accent everything in Pearlex paints...!  lol...

Over the past few months I've finished the line of custom bridal stationery and a beautiful colour catalog showcasing it (thanks to the help of Scott at Art Ink Print!).  Yeah!!  A new bridal shop in Green Bay, Wisconsin (USA) called AlfA Bridal is now carrying my custom bridal stationery line.  It's all so very exciting.  : )   My west coast sales rep has three Canadian retailers to show the catalog to and we'll see if any of them are interested in the line.  I also noticed two new bridal shops have opened recently here in Victoria and I'm thinking of approaching one or both of them with the line as well.

As for the "everyday" line (as I refer to the non-bridal stationery card line), some new shops have picked it up including "Buchan's" in Vancouver, BC.  Last week the newly opened gift shop "B&K Jewelry and Gifts" located in the town I grew up in (Sooke, BC) agreed to carry my cards.  (Can you see me waving happy hands in the air...!!??)  A greeting card display rack has been ordered and I hope it comes soon so I can get the cards on display.  Little by little the business is starting to grow... and its teaching me patience... you know... that thing I was told as a child I didn't have enough of...  : )  If nothing else this business of starting a business will perhaps teach me a lesson about patience!  lol...

Somewhere in between working on the bridal card line and doodling in my sketchbook, I also played around with glass.  Glass has always fascinated me - besides being colourful, it's so smooth and shiny.  But I was firmly convinced glass art was difficult and some of the techniques might even be a bit dangerous.  That was then...  Now I know just how much fun working with glass (and fire) can actually be!  I signed up for a 2-evening "Art Glass Sampler" workshop.  Some glass art techniques were simply discussed and samples were passed around.  But for other techniques we got to participate in creating our own samples.  That was the fun part!  The "hands on" techniques included sandblasting, tack fusing, full fusing, embossing and bead making.  Here are a few of the samples I created.

L to R: full fused glass coaster, sand blasted mirrored glass, beads (see them reflected in the mirrored glass?) and tack fused glass coaster
Here's a close-up of the beads

Bead making involved fire - an oxyacetylene torch to be precise. The instructor told us that some people love working with glass and fire... others not so much.  Apparently I have a little pyromaniac somewhere deep down inside because I really enjoyed working with glass and fire.  I can't wait to go back and play around with more glass.  My biggest problem is deciding which type of glass art to do more of -- fusing or beadmaking...?  hmm...

What else is on my creative "wanna-do" list?  I am already starting to think about developing the newest cards to be added to the "everyday" greeting card line.  I'd like them to be ready to debut in January 2013 so I need to start soon choosing the sentiments and images I like the best.  I think I'll probably aim to add 12 new cards to the line... we'll see.  And my watercolour paints are calling to me and teasing me with ideas of how I could combine them with more beautifully shimmery Pearlex paint...  : )  Oh, and of course I'll be busy taking more photos -- that's kind of a "given" as I seldom leave home without my trusty old camera.

I hope you're enjoying your summer... unless you're reading this from the southern hemisphere, and then I hope your winter is going ok.  Either way, I hope you are finding time for some form of art.

: )  Fern


  1. I like your experiments with glass!

    I don't know if you know I started on the path of jewellery design with seed beads - those tiny glass beads!! As my goldsmithing colleague calls glass beads - the gateway drug!! I have many friends who are flameworkers - they say it is addictive! So, this is either your enticement or warning! Ha, ha...

    1. Hmm... thanks for the "heads up" Valerie! lol... I definitely can see how easy it would be to become addicted to glass bead making/flame working. It's soooo fascinating and mesmerizing.

  2. are one AMAZING woman! And fearless! YAY! for getting your cards out there into bridal shops, and double YAY! for experimenting with glass and fire. I am so impressed!

  3. Thanks for your support Pattie! The support of my "Creative Courage" buddies has been key to getting me to this point. Connecting with retail stores and asking them to carry my cards has definitely required choosing to be courageous in the face of fear but it has been so worth the effort. As for working in glass (and/or fire) if others get a chance to try it I would highly recommend it - the "magic" achieved when exposing glass to kiln heat or open fire is really quite wonderful. : )

  4. Congratulations on your card line! I know how much work that is!! Beth

    1. Thanks Beth! Yes, it has been a lot of work but it is also very rewarding. : ) Do you have experience with the greeting card business?

  5. Hi Fern! What a beautiful name, you have. Can I name a bunny after you? Just dropped in to see what you're up to. I love your glasswork but I think I love your watercolour paintings more. So gorgeously vibrant. I wanna paint like you!
    xo Lenore

    1. Hi Lenore. Thanks for dropping by my blog - I've enjoyed your visit! : ) Having a bunny named after me would be quite an honour. I appreciate your comments about my glasswork vs the watercolour paintings - while I love doing all kinds of art I am very interested to know what aspects of my art people find the most appealing. I keep hearing that people resonate more with my watercolours than other aspects of my art. Those comments give me incentive to get back to the watercolour and focus more on that. Thanks again! Stop by and visit again, 'kay? : )

  6. Hi Fern,

    I discovered your blog this morning via a comment you left on Jodi's post.

    What a beautiful sketchbook page and your glass creations are quite lovely too. I've always been amazed when watching glass artists do their stuff.

    I look forward to seeing more of your creative posts.

    Cheers from DownUnder,
    Serena :)