Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Let's Compare Pictures

 I am super happy today, because I finally got my new camera.
Wanted to see if I can take better pictures with it.
Obviously there is a whole lot to learn, but I am impressed by the results so far. Very much so.
The picture above is the best one I took with my Fujipix point and shoot. It's a better angle, because the camera is tiny and I could fit it in the light tent better. I used a slightly greyer back ground  on the older picture as well.

With the new Nikon D3100, the colors just pop! The angle is worse, because the tent is tiny, I will need to get a slightly bigger one ,but I love how much more alive the octopus looks on this picture.
Now I just have to figure out all the settings, it's a tad bit intimidating, but everything worthwhile ever is.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Last Octopus, For A While At Least

 After the light purple and orange octopus bracelet, I felt like there was at least one more octopus left in my system that needed to get out. This last effort produced a Midnight Octopus. Not very different from the last, but for a while the octopi seemed to hijack my best creative efforts.
I moved on. For now.
Can't guarantee that they won't  resurface...
 The thing I am most excited about this week, is that I am getting a new camera.
When I have my awesome new Nikon D3100, I will take pictures of my old camera with it, and that will really put all my previous pictures in a better perspective...
 Not that a fancy camera will make me a better photographer, but I think it will help to develop this side of my art, so to speak. There is only so much you can do with bad equipment.
Like this picture: I used a light box, ok lighting, good back drop, and the picture is flat as could be, the beauty of the multicolored beads is lost on this photograph...
Hopefully I can do better then this with the new one.
 What my ittsy bittsy point and shoot camera is really good for, is outdoor pictures, like this one, Sammy enjoying the beautiful spring weather.
 It's so nice to live in such a beautiful place, we take advantage of it as much as we can. I wish I had any camera on me earlier today, when we went for a nice walk along the Boulder Creek. There were two young deers grazing by the bike path, and Sammy was mesmerized. So were the deer, and one of them came really close to us, her nose was about a foot and a half away from Sammy's, they were sniffing and studying each other.There was almost an inter-species Eskimo kiss!  Meanwhile, there were people walking by, runners, cyclists, and the deer were just acting like they were part of the evening crowd, enjoying the last rays of the sun. It was such an amazing experience!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Better pictures of the Octopus Neck... Thing?

 It was exactly a week ago that I visited my best friend Monique, and got to hijack her camera and make her my model.She was most gracious and entertained my follies.
 I really love the outcome. This photo shoot inspired me to get my own camera, a better one then I got, which is really not hard, given that what I have is a tiny little point and shoot Fuji Finepix.

I like how soft these pictures turned out. They have been edited a bit, nothing major.
 Unfortunately, my muse and model Monique is moving back to France soon.
She will be hard to replace. Her modelling skills are unparalleled.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On The Subject Of More Tentacled Life And Small Details That Make Big Differences

 After how much everyone liked the "Octopus Neck....Thing?", I decided to make an octopus wrist thing!
I went for purple and orange, a combinations  long favored by Crocuses, Irises and myself.
Part of the challenge building an octopus that will encircle a wrist, is the closure of course. I had a beautiful clasp from the Elegant Elements collection from The Beadsmith that I really wanted to incorporate. This particular clasp is a box clasp, only , unlike any other box clasp I have encountered in the past, it's extremely well constructed, it's sturdy and and has a nice feel to it, and in many ways it's just so suitable for this project.
I wanted the octopus to hold it's jewel in it's tentacled paw, like it's holding onto it, and by that, it's also holding on to the wearer's wrist.
 Here is a close up of the all seeing eye....
 And here is how it looks when it's closed.
 When it's on, it takes a while to figure out if you  are seeing it for the first time what exactly it is that's watching you. But I kind of like that aspect of it, the mysterious octopus.
 This is how it looks on the wrist, when viewing the back ,how the tentacles grasp the jeweled clasp.
 And now more on the importance of details. As I have "grown" in my craft, so has my taste grown finer.
Gone are the days of being able to enjoy the simplicity of tube clasps.
 Utilitarian little objects without much elegance,  I am sure I will still use them for certain things, but let's just say,  Steven Weiss of the Beadsmith ruined simpler clasps for me when he kindly sent me one of his company's clasps ( the one I used on the octopus), all parts of the Elegant Elements collection.What a difference. They even feel different in your hand. They are somehow fuller, less hollow,the closing mechanism is superbly engineered, and they come in such variety of gorgeous designs, I just want to try them all! 

The ones above I have purchased at my favorite local store, the Arvada Bead Connection. Hopefully soon enough they will sell them online too. They are pricier then your average clasp, but when it comes to finishing a piece like a pro, and adding that special touch to jewelry, it makes all the difference.

Recently I have decided to label my jewelry. I worked with a fellow Etsy seller , Greenbeansnstrings, who created some really awesome custom labels for me. I have done my research about labels, I knew I did not want little metal tags, they just fall short on style for me, and I really wanted something small, something easy to recognize, yet barely there.
 I decided on these.
The color was a  work in progress, the owner of the store Lindsey, very kindly and patiently worked on it with me, and the one I am using  now is the crimson tags with the black fat little frog. While my choice might not work for everyone else, especially because not every store is as easily represented by an image as mine, I think there are some really creative options out there to label your own work.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Octopus Neck... Thing?

 Here are some rather horrible pictures of my otherwise pretty cool new neck thing.( I am working on some better ones...)
 Do you ever notice, how artists like to use big words for their work, like neck adornment (and such monikers really have their place with certain, really distinguished artists, who I am not trying to dis by any means) , and some necklaces are also called bibs, or collars?

Well, Dear Reader, let me introduce you to my new invention, the Octopus neck.... thing?
 I mean it's wearable, it's hardly a necklace, definitely not a collar or a bib, and I just can't say it's a neck adornment either.
 The octopus itself was the child of some insomniac night where there were ideas swirling in my head, and I couldn't sleep, because there were too many and I was  afraid of forgetting all by the morning, but the octopus stuck and so I completed it. 
 It was definitely a before falling asleep partially HP Lovecraft inspired idea. 
But then it turned out to be rather friendly and cheerful, not dark and dreary as I first imagined.
It also turned out to be completely impossible to suspend  from any sort of soft necklace, because I wanted it partially offset, not  having the octopus in the middle, so that made it difficult, because the weight of it would have pulled it in the middle if I just made a chain for it.I

t just set in a drawer for a long time. I kept pulling it out, I even got a beautiful clasp for it, but it would still not come together, until a randomly purchased brass cuff ended up on my desk right next to the octopus, and a "Eureka!" moment, an epiphany.
 The neck cuff allows for the octopus to dangle, and stretch out on the chest, may that be human or canine, as modeled by the lovely Samantha Regina here.
The inspiration to pull out this project and finish it was also due to the fact, that the May challenge for the Etsy Beadweaver's is Nautical  themed, and I just HAD TO finish it. (Voting will be between the 9th and 15th of may, here )
 I am happy with the final product, I think it's a worthwhile exercise in taking bead embroidery to new places, where instead of weight, form and negative space rule with unusual shapes and great textures.
 Talking about all that , check out my new plant: it's a Jade called Gollum. I went to a nursery with the intent of purchasing a plant that makes me happy, a plant that's like me. I was thinking ferns maybe, but then I saw this guy. I love how it looks like a coral, but with ears, like it's listening to the world with all those little ears trying to pick up some radio signals from it's home planet.

Then I had to find the perfect vessel for it, and so I tried all the pots on to my new plant, until I found this one that looks like it's a block of cement. And I love it!

Textures and colors and pleasing chaos is also important in food too. So here is a bowl of steaming spring broth with turmeric, fenugreek and cumin, but light and refreshing. Usually these heavy spices are paired with creamier things, like coconut milk or ghee. But I just wanted an orange colored broth with floating spring veggies, like English peas and bell peppers and leek ...

It's easy too: You toast the fenugreek seed and cumin in a pot in a bit of oil, like coconut oil, and then add whatever broth you prefer, I used some veggie stock throw in some turmeric, garlic chopped, leek, then random veggies, cook till it's just right (not mushy) and eat.
Tastes like spring.