Monday, June 6, 2011

The horrors of making a website

Ok, here I am after having a week to re cooperate from my adventure in Seattle.  I am finally getting some sleep and my cold seems like it is slowly going away.  If you have been following along about my news of my Pimple ring being posted in the Huffington Post, I have some great news!  My ring has sold!  It went to a fellow metalsmith, Amy Bishop.  I had a chance to meet her finally when I went to SNAG.  A very nice woman, and I am glad it is now hers.  Just sad I didn't have time to hang out more.  I hope she had a fabulous birthday :-)

So Saturday I decided to take it easy and get well.  Of course I have a hard time just sitting without being productive, so I decided to try and figure out my website.  I have to thank my friend Jacob, a computer genius, for helping me in the right direction.  I don't think I will fully understand how computers work, but I am slowly catching on.  Since I get frustrated with this kind of stuff I went with the first thing that would cooperate.  I got my host sight to connect with Wordpress.  Whew!  That took about an hour just to do that.  The cool think about Wordpress or any other blog sight is that they have hundreds of free templates to choose from.  I managed to find one that would work well for making it look like a website instead of a blog.  Ok, now that was pretty simple, just found the template and then activated it.

Now that that was finally figured out after about two hours I could breath a little, until I tried to upload pictures and tried making different menus.  All I have to say is THANK GOD FOR  YOUTUBE!!!!!  After another hour trying to google and clicking on links that lead to other links I found instructions on how to use the template I had just activated.  One thing that is a little frustrating while watching one of these videos is how fast they go at showing you how to do it.  I think I had to go back at least 5 times before getting the first step.  If you are an expert at this kind of stuff, then please, while making the video please talk slow as if showing a two year old.  I don't know what 3/4 of this jargon means!  Entering this world of computers and technology is like learning a foreign language.  And if you don't keep up on it you'll forget everything you just learned.  I took four years of German in high school and can only remember a few things, how to count and a few short phrases like "I love you" ( Ich liebe dich) and "where is the bathroom" (wo ist die toilette?) 

After about 10 hours of figuring out how to make a website I have much appreciation for web designers.  They probably aren't paid enough for what they do.  I spent all day just setting up the basics of what I want it to look like, and here are the results so far: http://www.artbywinona.com

I have much more work to do on this........Wish me luck! 

Auf Wiedersehen!  Bis Morgen!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

SNAG Conference-day four

So before I tell you about the days festivities I would like to update you on my ring.  If you are just tuning in, a few days ago I was contacted by World Entertainment News Network and Ripley's Believe It or Not.  Since then my "Pimple Popper" ring has been featured on the Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/27/pimple-popper-most-disgusting-ring_n_868178.html#comments

Go ahead and take the poll, there is no wrong answer :-)  This has been really exciting for me, and I still can't believe something I have made has received this much attention.  All of this for something I just thought would be funny to make, well apparently it is also very disgusting.  It is so weird in fact that Ripley's wants to put it in one of their books.  I have sent all my photos and signed the release form, so now all I do is wait.  And of course I will keep you informed if it gets published.  Cross your fingers!

I really enjoyed the speakers on the last day of the conference.  Lori Talcott gave a very elegant presentation.  Everything she said kept me intrigued, and I learned a lot about jewelry history.   Heidi Schwegler's presentation showed the various material she has used in her work and kept the whole audience laughing.

I hate to say this but I wasn't really that excited at the student work they showed on the screen.  Maybe because the images didn't do some of the work justice?  There were only about 5 pieces I found really incredible.  Maybe I am being to harsh for student work, after all they are still students.  Or maybe it's because I am not that into the modern, European influence going on right now.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see where all of this is going.

The trunk show was a HUGE success!  I was one of 60 participants in the first ever trunk show at the SNAG conference.  There were a massive amount of people.  I sold several pieces and got to see just what pieces of my jewelry people were drawn to.  Which happened to be the colorful and fuzzy pieces.  I also talked to someone opening a gallery in New York looking for new work.  I am sure she found plenty to work with that day.  I would definitely participate in this event again.





Of course the end of the conference ended with a wonderful meal and dessert followed by an endless night of dancing.  What better way to get your groove on than music from the 70's.



And this is the result of my four days of meeting amazing metalsmiths.  I am not sure if I will ever be able to part with this shirt.




Sunday, May 29, 2011

SNAG Conference-day three

I can't believe today is the last day!  Everything is going by way too fast.  4 days is not enough time to get to know a 1,000 people.  This will be a very memorable conference for me, it will be great to continue the friendships I have made through the internet.  

Now, to talk about yesterday....The morning started off with the Professional Development Seminar with Andy Cooperman, Harriete Estel-Berman, and Brigitte Martin.  Thank you SO MUCH for working very hard on this seminar and providing all of this wonderful information together for us.  Comparing to the last conference I went to in Cleveland, I find that this one has been way more informative.  It's nice to know how people are making it on their own in the jewelry world and that most of them survive by making production work as well as making making that one of kind piece of art jewelry.  There was so much wonderful information provided at this seminar that I can't provide it for you all.  Thankfully, they have provided handouts with all the wonderful information that was covered at the seminar.  And they recorded the whole seminar discussion so you can watch if you weren't able to come to SNAG this year.  So there are two places you can go for information 1) http://www.harriete-estel-berman.info/profguidelines/profguide.html 2) http://www.snagmetalsmith.org/Publications/Professioal_Guidelines/

You MUST take the time to go over this information if you plan on getting yourself out there.  The number one important thing to remember out of the whole seminar is good photography.  If you don't have good photography of the pieces you spent hours and hours on.  What's the point of taking a picture of it.  The picture of your piece is going to be seen more than the actual item.  So spend a good amount of time going over the handouts that cover photography.

I missed a few of the lectures because I wanted to go back to some of the galleries I had missed the night before.  Like the Punch Gallery, which featured Ring a Day.  It was amazing to see 365 rings in one room.  For those of the few that finished out the year I am sure it was quite overwhelming to see that they had accomplished that many rings.  











 I also saw Miel-Margarita Paredes present her work and found out that she too lives in Portland.  I also attended the exhibition in motion at the Bellevue Arts Museum, unfortunately I am running out of time this morning and will have to cover that event at a later time.  I took a lot of pictures and don't have time to go through them right now.  


Must get ready for the trunk show today, I have a feeling this event is going to be a great one!




 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

SNAG Conference-day two

I have forgotten how much lack of sleep I get going to conferences.  I am so exhausted from having such a wonderful time here in Seattle.  The keynote speaker was Glenn Adamson, "Affective Objects: Design and the Image of Craft".  I could not go into this discussion with you because honestly I was pretty out of it and was surprised my eyes weren't closed.  But I can tell you this, that his talk brought up a lot of discussion.  There was a lot of concern on the way he was representing and talking about craft.  And there was continued conversation over an hour.  Anywho.....I had to get up and walk around so I could wake myself up.  Unfortunately I missed the first part of Lola Brooks presentation.  But what I did see I thought was fascinating and enjoyed the humor in her presentation, I would have been awake for that one.  Oh, well I did get an awesome deal on a beautiful Tahitian pearl from the vendor room:-)

They had a presentation remembering a couple of very talented metalsmiths that had passed away in the last couple of years.  Heikki Seppa and Marcia Macdonald.  I had to hold back the tears when they were talking about Marcia.  She was only 51 when she died from cancer, she seemed like she would have been a very wonderful person to meet.  Everyone had nothing but great things to say about her.  Her jewelry is quite beautiful as well.  I really enjoyed David Clemons presentation.  I saw him give a fantastic demo in Yuma a few years back, it was amazing.  He such a nice guy and a wonderful teacher.  Not to mention a very talented artist.  If you get a chance to see one of his presentations or his work, do not miss it.


I really enjoyed the exhibition walk, so many wonderful artists.  The Facere Gallery always has beautiful work by several artist.  I enjoyed the theme of using the letters of the alphabet for the show.  Co:Operation Tableware was a pretty unique show, I haven't seen anything like it.  It was really wonderful to see so many artists in several different mediums coming together to create.  I didn't take pictures, it was so packed in there I had to come out for air!  Nancy Worden addressed the idea of the amulet, a good luck charm for warding off evil at Traver Gallery.




I would have to say Kiff Slemmons show I have enjoyed the most so far.  She did a collaborative exhibition between herself and artisans in a paper making cooperative in Bista Hermosa, Oaxaca, Mexico.  There was a lovely article in Metalsmith about her experience ther.  It was wonderful to see all of the pieces together in person.  Plus, Kiff is such a sweet woman.  I still have my pair of pliers she sent me after I had mine taken away at the airport when heading into Yuma, I use them all the time.



 An example of how they prepared the paper before they made them in to beads.
 Kiff Slemmons





There also was a gigantic sculpture in the middle of a room where Kiff had her show.  It filled up with air and also looked great deflated.  I couldn't help but crawl in and get lost in the sea of pink.  PINK!!



I ran into Andy Cooperman and his wife Kim while on the walk and enjoyed hanging out with them for the rest of the evening.  I can't even begin to tell you what wonderful people these two are.  I really do need to get together with them more often.  They introduced me to more of there friends, I am sorry to say that I can't remember all of their names.  Grrr....I hate that.  

 John Frei in the middle, thanks for the beer John!
 Kim and Andy :-)
This picture doesn't do this view justice.  I am so glad the weather has been cooperation so far for the conference.  It really has been a joy.  Sorry I couldn't write more.  Don't want to miss Andy talk at the Professional Development Seminar.  That's all for now!  Oh and hopefully I can go back today and see some more Gallery's I missed yesterday.  I must see Ring a Day!

 

Friday, May 27, 2011

SNAG Conference-day one

I just want to start out by apologizing for any mistakes while writing this blog posting today.  I am a wee bit tired from all of the good times that had been had last night.

First I want to thank my fabulous friend Stephanie and her fiance for putting up with me during this event.  They are just few of some wonderful friends that I must get together with more often.  My morning started out quite awesome I must say.  I received an e-mail from the World Entertainment News Network wanting to feature one of my pieces of jewelry.  They ran across this article someone wrote about my Pimple Popper ring: 
http://www.odditycentral.com/pics/pimple-popper-ring-is-one-disgusting-piece-of-jewelry.html/comment-page-1#comment-230819
It was a pretty good shock to me!  I found the article to be quite humorous and gave me a couple of more ideas for some new pieces ;-)  AND that's not all!  I then received a letter from someone who works as a publisher for Ripely's Believe it or Not.  He was working on a new book and wanted to include my ring.  The books are colorful encyclopedia of the unusual and are popular around the world.  I couldn't believe it myself!  So I definitely took it upon myself to send them images.  I have not heard any response back from either of them yet but will definitely keep you posted when they do.

I got to the conference a bit early and ran into a few people that I am friends with on Facebook.  It is quite a weird experience meeting everyone in person for the first time.  You have this preconceived idea what they are going to be like before you meet them.  And most of the time I am way off.  I met Lynette Andreason, Jillian Moore, Brigitte Martin, John Whaley, and John Rose.  All of them very nice and seem like fantastic people.  I had a conversation with John Rose about what he will be announcing later at the conference.   As a member of such a large organization, I think it is wonderful so many people can come together and accomplish so many great things.  There is one thing though as an organization we need to do.  And that is work together on getting more information about what we do to the general public.  And I am glad he brought this up, I can't even tell you how many times I have to explain to people what a metalsmith is and that just because I make jewelry doesn't mean I sit at a bench all day setting stones onto a shiny gold band.  One thing that has helped a little bit on getting the word out is the t-shirts I printed with Metalsmiths Unite on them.  I get asked all the time what that is and what I do.  I know it doesn't seem like much but, you got to start somewhere right.  Another issue he brought up was trying to protect ourselves from people stealing our ideas.  I find the internet has been quite helpful by getting my work noticed. But you just never know when the wrong person notices your work and then all of a sudden there it is produced in the masses and sitting on the shelf at Target.  As one person, there is not much you can do about this situation and sadly it happens all the time.  As such a huge organization, and we just keep growing, we should be able to come together and help each other out in situations like this.  You don't see the music industry letting anyone get away with that kind of stuff, right?  I hope these discussion continue on, I would love to help out with these issues in any way I can.

Anyway, enough serious talk.  Overall the fist night went well meeting old friends and meeting new.  I had a few people purchasing my shirts, thank you so much for those that have so far.  I decided to wear my pink one and have everyone start signing my shirt.  So don't be wierded out that I am going to be wearing that shirt everyday to collect more signatures.  I mean the highlight of the night was Boris Bally signing my boob!  (don't worry Evan you'll get over it)  Oh yea, and Ken Bova signed the other one.  Later that night I got together with some of my old crew with Keith Lewis, the greatest metalsmithing professor who ever lived ;-)  I only say that cause he was my only metalsmithing professor, but you know I am right.  He took us to the famous Zig Zag below Pike Place market where everyone knows his name.  I have never seen so many unique drinks, my avation was fantastic.

And to end my first posting for SNAG here are a few photos from that evening:









Thursday, May 19, 2011

The countdown to SNAG

Well, there is one week left until this years SNAG conference.  I am so excited!  I can't wait to see old friends and meet new ones.  The last conference I attended was in Cleveland, Ohio in 2006 I believe.  I don't think I will be participating in the pin swap this year,  instead I have been printing t-shirts!  I will be carrying Metalsmiths Unite shirts around with me if you would like to buy one for $15.  Mostly black and brown in small, medium, large, and extra large.  I will have a few red and pink shirts with me as well.  If you can't make it to the conference this year you can still purchase a shirt from me on either Etsy sight:  artbywinona or visualresistance (just click on the shops to your right)


Thank you so much for those who have already made a purchase,  your business is greatly appreciated!

Also, for those who cannot attend the conference this year I, along with  Harriete, Emiko, and Jillian,  will be blogging about my experience every day.  Hopefully I can provide you with some great information and pictures of the good times to be had.

And if you are attending the conference, please be sure to come say hello to me at the first ever trunk show!  I will be one of 60 wonderful artists displaying their wonderful creations.  And since it is public, bring all of your friends! 
                                                                 Thanks for reading!