Sunday, February 24, 2013

Frosted Tree Branches

These days photography is mostly a means of documenting my jewelry designs, but there was a time when film was my medium of choice.
When I was twelve years old my friend, Ann, had a neighbor who worked for Polaroid.  My memory is a little vague, but I think she was testing a new color film for her job.  I do remember dressing in my favorite fuchsia dress to be her model.  After that I wanted a camera of my own in the worst way.  The next Christmas morning I found a camera under the tree and I was thrilled!  It looked like a 35-mm, but was a point-and-shoot.  Made completely of plastic, it was not manufactured by any known camera company, but it was mine!  It came with a couple of rolls of black and white film.
I loaded a roll of film and went outside to see what I could photograph.  We lived a few miles north of Boston and it had snowed on Christmas Eve, the kind of wet snow that sticks to the tree branches like frosting.  Behind the houses across from mine was a wooded area that looked like a winter wonderland on that Christmas morning.  I shot almost the entire roll of film on those beautiful, snow-covered trees.  
I still can't resist snow-covered trees.  This photo was taken during a snowstorm on April 28, 2010.     
Back then I didn't know anything about composition, the rule of thirds, depth of field, or that a red item hanging from one of those tree branches could make all the difference.  
Same late-April snowstorm.  We had put out the hummingbird feeders about a week earlier.  Those poor hummingbirds were really taken by surprise with this storm!
These azaleas were in full-bloom when we were hit with the storm.  Fortunately, the flowers survived. 
Money was far from plentiful when I was a child, so when my parents had the film developed they were horrified to see that I had wasted all that film on trees.  They didn't get it.  They thought I would take pictures of people that we could put into a photo album. I lost my enthusiasm for photography after that, although I did take an occasional picture of our dog dressed up in the jumper, tights, and bonnet that belonged to my sister's Patty Playpal doll.  That poor dog.  I'm sure she would have been happier if I had continued to photograph trees.  I think the camera was eventually stepped on and broken.
It wasn't until the day I graduated from college that I invested in a 35-mm Minolta and began taking pictures again.  This time I read photography books, joined a camera club, and eventually set up my own darkroom.  I even shot two weddings!  Kodachrome was my color film of choice, although I still loved taking black and white photos.  After a few years my job became more demanding and began taking up so much of my time that my picture-taking ended.
A couple of years ago I bought a wonderful 35-mm Fujifilm digital camera.  I love that I can take pictures of trees now and not worry about wasting film.   I love that I can fix mistakes and crop out unnoticed distractions in my photos from my computer.  I really should  learn how to use all the settings on the camera and stop depending on the Auto setting.  Is it too late to make a New Year's Resolution?
I love the textures of  the wood, the peeling paint, the sugary snow, and the frost.    I also like the vertical and horizontal lines of the wood.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Color Me Exited!

Waiting for my Bead Soup to show up is a delicious kind of excitement.  It's a little bit like Christmas.  You just KNOW that you're going to get something good!
The other day Lori Anderson posted a "gentle reminder" on her official Bead Soup blog.  
She wants us to keep in mind that what we receive in our Bead Soups might be totally different from anything we're used to working with.  She doesn't want anyone to be disappointed, but instead, use this as an opportunity to try something new.  She says, "Embrace the challenge."
I think that's what makes this whole thing so exciting!
Many years ago I read Color Me Beautiful, by Carole Jackson, and learned that I am a "Summer."  According to the original concept, there are four basic color types, named after the four seasons.  With ash-blonde hairnow more silver than blonde—blue eyes, and a pale complexion that leans toward pink, I fit nicely into the "Summer" category.  According to Jackson, it means that I should wear silver rather than gold and stick with cool colors.  It was easy to figure out.  The color was cool if it had more blue tones in it and warm if it had more yellow tones in it.  Blue is cool like the ocean.  Yellow is warm like the sun.  
No wonder I didn't enjoy wearing that rusty-burgundy-colored dress!  It looked so pretty on the hanger, but when I'd put it on, the dress and I both looked drab.  From then on, I stuck with my Summer color palette.  I was happy to know that pink, which is my favorite color, is in my palette.
The problem is that I have a tendency toward picking only cool colors when I choose my components for making jewelry.  One thing that I have figured out is that I can wear copper metal.  I used to avoid it because, as a decorative painter, I saw that copper paints were all warm colors.  In reality, copper metal has a pink undertone.
My goal is to be more daring in the colors that I use.  
I recently made a pair of earrings at a customer's request using copper wire and zircon-green crystals.  That green is definitely a warm color, with plenty of yellow in it.  I had passed over those crystals so many times when designing other jewelry.  To my surprise, I really liked those earrings!
No, I will never wear a shirt the color of those crystals because it would look terrible on me.  But, if I use turquoise or pink crystals and add the zircon-green crystals as accents, I could wear those earrings with clothing colors that do look good on me!

So, I'm ready for my Bead Soup.  No matter what's in it!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bead Soup Mailed

I mailed my Bead Soup to Kimberly last Friday.  According to the USPS tracking system, it arrived in Grand Rapids today.  It still has a little under 200 miles to go.  Because this is Presidents' Day, the Post Office is not open to the public and  there won't be any mail deliveriesbut the trucks still roll.  I hope Kimberly receives her package tomorrow!

Kimberly is a very talented designer, whose tutorials have been published in polymer clay magazines a number of times.  Here are the links to her blog and other sites:


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Bead Soup Blog Party Partner

Lori was very sick with the flu, which caused the Bead Soup Blog Party dates to shift forward a little bit--but now I know that my BSBP partner is Kimberly Idalski from Michigan.  Kimberly and I have emailed a few times and we find that we have quite a few things in common, especially the colors and types of beads that we like.  
We both love to work in polymer clay.  From what I've seen of Kimberly's polymer clay work, she's quite a bit more advanced than I am.  Kimberly's work and tutorials have been published!  In fact, she's about to be published again!  Looks like I'll have to stop wasting time on housework and spend more time on polymer clay!
I also learned that Kimberly likes to mix polymer clay beads with crystals and pearls in her jewelry pieces, which is something that I frequently do.  I like to combine texture and sheen along with some sparkle. 
Another thing we have in common is our pets.  We've both been known as "the Bird Lady" because of our pet birds.  Kimberly still has her parrots, but I'm sad to say that all of my parakeets and cockatiels have gone to the Rainbow Bridge.  We both have dogs, although hers are MUCH bigger than my little Yorkies.
We've agreed to mail our Bead Soup packages by the end of this week, as Kimberly had a request from a magazine to submit her work for publication, which interrupted her Bead Soup preparation.  That was fine with me because it gave me time to make a few beaded beads to add into my Bead Soup.  We have plenty of time because we're in the 3rd Reveal.  We'll have almost two months before we have to post photos of what we create with our Bead Soups.
I know you'd like to see a picture of what I'm sending to Kimberly, but that's against the rules.  What I CAN do is post a disguised photo of the Bead Soup that I've put together.  
I've edited my photo so that it's black and white--after all, I don't want to give away the colors.  Then I used "solerization," which takes away all the detail.