Saturday, October 18, 2008

Chocolate to Wear

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me to make jewelry for her daughter's wedding. She initially asked me to make earrings for herself to match her mother-of-the-bride dress. After bringing the dress to work (where we clandestinely snuck out to the parking lot to see it - it was like we were making some sort of, you know, transaction), I made several pairs for her to take home and see how they worked. Her daughter joined in, and decided that I should make the jewelry for her bride's maids, too. Three brides maids later (they all had different/similar earrings - how cool is that?!), it turns out that my friend needs a bracelet to match her earrings. The photo here to the left is my first attempt to make one that she'll like to go with her dress. I decided to make some matching earrings, too.

I really like the design of the earrings; I think I'll make them again in different colors. Brown is a great neutral color, and has been selling well for several years. These are made of faceted smoky quartz, brown seed pearls, and Swarovski crystals with sterling toggle and wires.

Making custom pieces to match an extisting outfit is so much easier for me than just making something and hoping that someone will like it well enough to buy it. I've noticed that women tend to buy what they have bought before, or something for which they already have an outfit. Occaisionally, however, I run across women (like my wife or mother-in-law) who buy jewelry they like and then go buy clothes to match.

I guess it's your philosophy on accessories: Are the clothes there as a backdrop to the jewelry (my wife's opinion!), or does one wear jewelry because it's expected, and therefore shouldn't really detract (read not noticed) from the overall appearance?

In my opinion - remember I'm male, so take it for what it's worth - if no one has commented on your jewelry in the last couple of days, there's something wrong. Personally, I don't notice what brand of jeans you're wearing, but I do notice if you have k.a. jewelry! My mother-in-law can afford designer labels. Yet she shops the sales at WalMart and then dresses them up with artistic jewelry which has flair. Today we went pumpkin picking and she had on a jacket that was on clearance, jeans, but her earrings were from an art show several years ago - at least $100.

Tasteful, artistic, well-made jewelry never goes out of style, and you get years of wear. But those $100 jeans you bought last week? They'll be yesterday's news tomorrow.

For what it's worth,
Pastel Guy (pastels website)

Like what you see? For $65 (includes shipping), I can make a set for you, too!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Christmas in October...?

Yep. It's true. 71 days.

I just counted each little box on the calendar, because sometimes I just don't trust my head to do math (like somehow counting each one is more reliable than adding up bigger numbers!). There are 71 days until Christmas. (For those of you out there who celebrate something else, you might want to ignore this post.)

While I always decry the retailers whose Christmas display outshines their Halloween one, I made my little shop on Etsy in October to take advantage of gifting, so I thought I'd better get crankin' on some stock. Yep, I like to think positively!

Therefore, I thought that I would start with my Christmas earring collection. This design is an old one for Studio 206. I came up with it about 7 years ago when I was in the transition between stained glass and jewelry. Every year, I make about 15 - 20 pairs, and each year I swear I will never make them again.

Then they all sell, and I'm happy....and another year goes by, and before you know it, I'm back in the studio cutting out little triangles of green glass.

I've also made them with green mirror glass, which is pretty cool, too. I thought they might not be as popular since they are grey on the back, but no! I guess the extra sparkle on the front make up for it!

So it you're the type who decorates for (or at least starts thinking about) the holidays as soon as the jack-o-lanterns disappear, then visit my Etsy shop. They're $25 plus shipping ($3).

After all, you only have 71 days left to wear them!

Until next time...

Pastel(and whatever)Guy

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ramblin' Art - As Usual

OK. Back to pastels for a moment.

("Yeah, right," you think. "He's always got something more to say than just art!")


You know, I never really ever had an opinion about anything. Now I can write about all kinds of things. My opinion on this subject of not having opinions is this:

If you're never asked for your opinion, you don't learn how to form them. Now that I'm a teacher, I have to make all sorts of decisions throught the course of a day. I remember that during my first year of teaching, the one factor that really caught me off guard about teaching was all the decisions I was having to make. I knew there would be lots of grading, and lesson plans, and committee work, and blah blah blah. What I didn't expect was, "Where should I put this?" "If I turn this in tormorrow, what will my grade be?" And then there are the questions that I could never answer: "What's my grade?" "If I get a 100 on this test, what will my grade be?" And the worst question ever: "Did we do anything important yesterday?"

Anyway. Where was I? Right. Pastels.

The painting shown here was actually painted last year. It was taken from a photo shot from a moving car. The reason I dug around and found it was because the picture was taken on our way to our first camping experience with the kids. Fortunately, they loved it, and so this last weekend we had our first 2-night camping experience with the kids. We have the best family! We have so much fun doing not much of anything... Every time we pass this portion of the interstate, I have to point that particular farm out to anyone who's listening (they're getting pretty adept at feigning complete absorption in other activities by now!).

A little story about this painting.

The farm went pretty well. The buildings and trees went in without too much trouble. The sky was just plain blue and the field was green (it was just soybeans, after all). After sitting on the mantle piece for a while, I decided the field needed some visual weight to balance the busy farm. So I started adding that red color, and it really made it work for me. That led to the yellowish highlights, and pretty soon, I had this amazing foreground.

Then the sky. (I have to admit, there was a little alcohol involved with this one).

The sky really irritated me. The clouds were too fluffy, so I started adding purple. After a couple days of this, I finally poured myself a couple fingers' worth of whiskey and started really adding texture and color. I had to adopt that who-cares-I'm-so-flippin'-tired-of-this-stupid-painting-anyway attitude. Presto change-o. Dramatic clouds with a dramatic foreground suddenly made the busy farm seem somewhat, well, pastoral.

This was one of those times when it was the journey that really made a difference, and not the product. I learned several lessons from this one that I have carried over into subsequent works.

Keep Doin' What You Love!

Pastel Guy - yes, I do jewelry, too. - the official pastel website.