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Studio Tour

Posted: October 2nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, jewelry, nature | 36 Comments »

Welcome! The fine people over at Cloth•Paper•Scissors Studios magazine put out a call for studio tours, so here we are. I love browsing through all the studios in this magazine for storage and organization ideas, and just to see the artists’ personalities shine through in their work spaces.

My space is not yet quite so evolved. We’ve been in this house for not quite two years now, and I still keep shuffling things around and experimenting with new arrangements.


(See a larger version of this photo with notes over at Flickr.)

My studio space is a “bonus room” in the middle of the rear of the second floor, nestled between the master bedroom on one side and another bedroom (which we use as an exercise room) on the other. There’s a short hallway that leads to the main hallway, too. This is what you see when you first walk in from the master bedroom. My work table is the L-shaped office desk from our old condo. Eventually I will upgrade it, but for now it works. My everyday tools live within arm’s reach, and I move things around as I need to to handle different projects. I have a worktable in the garage for doing messy things, like drilling metals.

The previous owners used this space as a kind of sitting room/office. I absolutely love the light in here, which comes from two skylights and two sliding doors that face west and overlook the woods that make up the back of our property.


This is basically the view from my desk. In a week or two, most of those leaves will turn a brilliant golden yellow. We have several species of woodpeckers that frequent our woods, in addition to a ton of other birds and wildlife. In good weather, it’s wonderful to work with the doors open and the breeze coming in and the sounds of wildlife (when I haven’t opted to crank the stereo).


For now, in addition to the messy, messy shelves you see in the first picture (I didn’t do any cleanup before I took these photos, so you’re seeing the studio in its natural state), I’m using these shallow plastic drawers for storage of beads, wire, and a few tools I don’t use all the time. Eventually the shelves and these drawer units will be replaced with wooden cabinets; it just hasn’t been a high priority this year. Chris at Copper Leaf Studios and I got the same idea right about the same time that the shallow closet organizer drawers from Ikea would make great studio organizers, but she actually acted on the idea, whereas I’m still dreaming about it. (You can see her studio here. See how much nicer that looks than my piled-up shelf mess?) On top of the organizer, you can see the lower part of the mannequin I use for product shots for my Etsy shop.


I keep my bead drawers sorted by type, then by color. I use more Czech and other glass than any other kind of bead, so a number of drawers are dedicated just to them. This is my green drawer. I have a combination of plastic vials (from Fire Mountain Gems) and plastic jars (from a variety of places) in a few different sizes.


Lately I’ve started working more with gemstones and other natural materials. I like to buy this type of material in person so I can see exactly what I’m getting, so I go to a couple of gem shows every year and also shop my local bead stores. The Rings & Things Wholesale Bead Tour is one that I save up for, and they just came through here last week. This is a closeup of a corner of what I got there. I’ve been really busy since then and haven’t had a chance to play with any of it yet, but hope to this weekend.


garnetrain1Here are a few pieces in progress. I do a bunch of etching all at once to create the background pieces. I don’t usually do any sketches or plan out a piece much beforehand, but simply lay out an assortment of things on my work table and see what works well together until I come up with something like my Garnet Rain necklace, shown here. I’ve been really drawn to mother of pearl lately, so I’ll end up using these buttons somehow in at least one of these pieces.


I work in publishing, and I have a great love of books, so I keep a stash of them and subscribe to a number of art magazines to consult for information and inspiration. This little bookcase shows about half of the selection. A larger bookcase is on my wishlist.

Earlier this week I started working through The Wish Kit from Inspired Home Office, which has been really helpful in guiding my thinking about how to reorganize and personalize my studio space, in addition to my office. (My office, where I do my computer work and my editorial work, is in a different room downstairs.) I’m looking forward to putting the things I’m figuring out into place over the next few months.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed this little peek into my creative world, and I hope you’ll stop back again. If you have some time, check out some of the other studios on the tour. (Shannon Okey of Knitgrrl Studios is listed right above me in the list, and she’s got a great space in an old warehouse here in Cleveland.)

tidbits: blustery edition

Posted: September 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, nature | 2 Comments »

[Hi! If you’re here looking for the studio tour, head on over to my second October 2 post, or just click on the “virtuallori” banner above to be taken to the main page so you can see all the recent entries, including the tour. Many of the links in the tour list over at Cloth•Paper•Scissors Studios are pointing to the specific entries where people announced they’d be taking part, not the actual studio tours.]

redspotFall is definitely here. Outside my office window, the trees are bending in the wind, and leaves litter the ground. A few of the trees have already turned — one especially beautiful red maple is in my line of sight if I lean over to the right — and the rest have that anticipatory look, you know, the one that says that by this time next week, or perhaps the week after, I’ll be surrounded by the golden glow of the changed leaves.

Mom was going to join me again this morning to continue our assault on the evil, invasive chameleon plant that is creating such havoc on the slope next to the driveway, but it is just too wet out there to make any progress. I tried digging some on my own yesterday, but couldn’t do much since the soil wouldn’t crumble away, and we’ve had another inch or so of rain since then. It’s going to be years before we’re able to get rid of it all, but it’s choking other stuff out and getting into the grass, so it’s got to go.

5670.StudiosFall09I’ll be participating in the Cloth•Paper•Scissors Open Studio event on October 3; join me here for a little peek inside my studio.

tidbits: extra blanket edition

Posted: September 4th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, cats, editing, life, shows, tidbits | 1 Comment »

It’s started to get really chilly in the evenings here in Northeast Ohio. I’ve dragged out the extra blankets, and I have to admit that I really enjoy sleeping with the windows open to the chill as long as I have all those weighty blankets on me. It really does make it even more difficult to get out of bed in the morning, though.

RR_Fall_Arts_Festival_FINAL_lo2I’ve been accepted to the Rocky River Fall Arts Festival, which will be happening two weeks from tomorrow in the Old Detroit Road shopping district. This is a brand new show, and I’m hoping it ends up being a good one for everyone. A number of Cleveland Handmade artists will be there, and there are some really good restaurants within a couple of blocks; check it out if you’re in the area.

Work has been incredibly busy. I had hoped to coast through August, but a long-awaited BIG project finally came in and morphed into a super-rush project. I’ve been nose-to-grindstone for the past two weeks, and will probably be so into next week. Thankfully, we have a very low-key holiday weekend ahead with no major plans, so I’ll be able to make some progress over the weekend and take next weekend as my very own holiday.

Earlier this week I got notice that the Cat Lover’s Daily Companion has had such strong orders that it’s going into a second printing before it’s even out in the stores. That makes me happy. And Kristen and I talked about doing some local signings before the holidays; I’ll post info here if we get something together.

tidbits: back-to-school edition

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, learning, life | 1 Comment »

This time of year always makes me nostalgic for the return to school. Yes, I was one of those uber-geeky kids who loved school so much that I begged to go to summer school. I was a little sad to learn that my elementary school is in the process of being torn down. It was built in the forties and just two blocks from the house I grew up in. They’re replacing it with one large elementary school that will serve the entire town. Kind of a weird concept for me to wrap my head around, as someone who walked to school most of her life.

So, anyway, back to school. I have the urge to buy new pens and notebooks and other supplies. Which I did this past week, stocking up on my beloved multicolored Uni-Ball Vision Elite Micros and my new favorite, Sasquatch Ideal Books. I broke down and bought a new laser printer to replace my rapidly failing HP LaserJet 1200; it’s supposed to be here next week. I was briefly tempted to splurge on a color laser or one that would automatically duplex, but I just couldn’t justify the extra $250 or more. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the 2010 Moleskine Weekly Notebooks (my calendar of choice) at the bookstore. Yes, I am one of those uber-geeky adults who is already scheduling stuff into 2010.

I still indulge my love for school with taking classes and workshops. Sunday I’ll be taking a class in stone drilling, something I’ve been wanting to learn for a long time. I just heard that Keith Lo Bue will be teaching here in Cleveland sometime next year, so I asked to be added to the info list for that so I can sign up when it’s officially announced. I’m stalking the Bead Paradise site, waiting for their fall class listings, and I’m still on the search for enameling classes.

What are you looking forward to learning?

tidbits: less melty edition

Posted: August 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, life, shows | 1 Comment »

garnet rainAh, coolness. I’m so happy to have the windows open again after a few days of blasting the air conditioning. I’m not a big fan of the A/C most of the time — I much prefer fresh air, and my body is happier just acclimating to whatever the temp is than being super hot one minute and super cold the next — but wow, we needed it the past few days.

Of course Sunday, the hottest and humidest and nastiest day of the year, I had an outdoor show. Now I can’t complain too much, since the show before that had rain in the morning and the one before that one was unseasonably cold, but I’m sure the heat kept quite a few people away. Still, those who were there were buyers, and I had a couple of nice sales and even more compliments, all of which I am grateful for. I was even a little surprised when I got back home and counted up my earnings, and it was more than I thought it would be.

This week I’m the Spotlight feature over at Lillyella; go check it out. (Pssst: You can enter to win one of my etched pendants!) I’ve been a fan of hers for a long time, so it was an honor to be invited to be featured. I love the feedback and inspiration I’m getting over there.

rectxo3To prepare for the feature, I listed a TON of new stuff on my Etsy shop this past Saturday. There’s still more to come, too. I’d love to hear what you think in the comments.

tidbits: August already? edition

Posted: August 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, Cleveland Handmade, life | 2 Comments »

Jodie & Lori kick it with KennyTV was fun. Jodie and I had a great time Kickin’ It with Kenny, who is a really, really nice person and easy to work with. We got a great couple of minutes of publicity for Cleveland Handmade and a great excuse to take a nap later that day. (I do not mesh well with 5 a.m. wakeup calls.) The video has not been posted to the site yet, and I’m not 100% sure that it ever will be. But we have it on DVR and will attempt to figure out how to transfer it to DVD and thence to YouTube sometime this week.

And holy hell that camera does add a few pounds.

I had grand plans for getting lots done over the weekend, but my mind and body revolted against that idea and insisted that I just chill. So, I caught up on some reading and watched some movies and spent time hanging out with my sweetie. Time well spent.

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that it’s August already. I was trying to keep to a relatively relaxed schedule this summer, but a few interesting new projects I couldn’t pass up and a few favors for regular clients kind of got in the way of that, and I ended up packing more into my schedule that I had planned. Still, I’m grateful for the work and for the confidence my clients have in me. I have a few things to clean off my plate this week, then I am definitely taking it easy the rest of the month. I need some time to wander and contemplate and enjoy some of those things that make summertime in Cleveland so great.

And speaking of, I managed to sneak out to the Cleveland Museum of Art last Wednesday to see the reopened East Wing and the Sherman Lee exhibit. Just wonderful. The Lee exhibit closes later this month, so get over to see it if you love Asian art. And even if you don’t, it’s still a wonderful collection.

weekend specials

Posted: July 30th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, Cleveland Handmade, Etsy, special | Comments Off on weekend specials

rounds2In celebration of my appearance with Jodie of la petite libellule on the Fox 8 morning show’s Kickin’ It with Kenny segment to promote the artists of Cleveland Handmade, I’m offering free U.S. shipping in my Etsy shop starting now and going through midnight Sunday, August 2.

Bonus: If in the “notes to seller” box during checkout you say something about how the camera really SUBTRACTS 15 pounds, I’ll give you a 15% discount on anything in my Etsy shop, including custom orders.

Just check out and pay as you normally would, and I’ll issue a Paypal refund for the discount (klunky, I know, but there’s no easy way to change prices and shipping costs en masse on Etsy).

You can see offers from other Cleveland Handmade members on this Etsy forum thread.

find me in Yellow Springs

Posted: June 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, jewelry | 1 Comment »

Urban HandmadeAs of today, you can find my etched copper and brass pendants at Urban Handmade in Yellow Springs, Ohio, near Dayton. This article talks a little more about the gallery, which will be celebrating its official grand opening tomorrow, June 6.

It’s been many years since I’ve been to Yellow Springs — Young’s Dairy was always the big draw in those late college/early postcollege days in Columbus — but I am very much looking forward to making a trip down that way sometime this summer to personally check out Urban Handmade and the other galleries. And probably indulge in a little ice cream. Yellow Springs makes a nice day trip from Columbus, Cincinnati, or even Indianapolis, and they host an art walk on the third Friday of every month. Their street fair is next Saturday, June 13. If you get a chance to see the gallery, I’d love to know what you think.

Photo courtesy of A Yellow Springs Blog; used with permission.

punchjordan Divine Finds Open House

Posted: May 29th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, jewelry, shows | Comments Off on punchjordan Divine Finds Open House

I’ve been invited to participate in the Divine Finds Open House at punchjordan Home in Avon Lake on Thursday, June 11. I’ll be there from 5 to 9 p.m. with a handful of other artists, including fellow Cleveland Handmaders Mary McKinley from the Vintage Brooch Co. and Susan Hale from Numeric Design and photohale. Nibbles from Abundant Table catering will be served. Stop by and say hello!

random bits

Posted: May 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, editing, Etsy, jewelry, life | 2 Comments »

Oddmall two weekends ago was a bit of a bust for me, although I did meet some great people and take a few custom orders, so it wasn’t a total loss. But I ended up with a lot of inventory that I had planned on moving along. It’s been hanging out in my cases waiting to be photographed and listed, but today is the first day I’ve really had time to make progress on that. I’ve got about half the photos done, and hope to list a couple of things over the next few days before hitting it pretty hard next week.

Part of what’s taken up my time was a slew of custom orders, one of which was a big wholesale order. See? Lots of little domes:


Nearly 100 in all.

personalized stamped domed sterling silver pendantIn addition, I got some great new lowercase stamps and have been busy doing custom name pendants using these beautiful new stamps. I’ve ordered another set in a different alphabet, too, and those should be in next week. Lots of whacking with hammers going on around here these days!

Other than that, I’ve been working on a few editing projects and doing some serious gardening work. And trying to figure out how to cram more hours into a day.