Saturday, February 14, 2009

Designers and their Websites

Here is a list of a few designers and their websites that I found. I think they are really thoughtful and inviting websites that promote both the artist and their work. I will post pictures of their websites shortly.

Eliana R. Arenas - This jewelry artist has a black background and white lettering for her font. The pictures are in color and display a range of her one of a kind pieces, as well as her production line. Her biography is simply her resume. Her artist statement is short and I really like the picture she chose to introduce us to her home page.

Jan Harrell - I liked how there were a variety of images and how almost everything you might want to know about her was available in the top bar above her photo.

Lisa Vershbow - This artist uses a simple bio as her intro web page with an interesting piece of jewelry that invites the viewer to explore her website further.

Georg Jensen - This is a web page for a large jewelry store. I really like how there are high quality, and interesting rings on the intro page to his website. I also like the black background because it makes the jewelry really pop off of the page.

Biba Schutz - She has an interesting intro to her website; her handwritten signature introduces the viewer to her website. She also informs the viewer which shows she is participating in with links that create another pop up window. Disappointingly, there is not a gallery of her work on her website.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I had a great Christmas!

Yes, I had a wonderful Christmas, and even though it is almost Valentine's Day, I just wanted to post a pictures of my beautiful jeweler's bench. It has a familiar Ugly Duckling story arc to it. I found it on Craig's list, and drove about 2 hours north to get it. I bought it (no haggling) for $30 dollars, and it is really too bad I didn't take a "before" picture because the entire thing was rusty and warped from being left in a barn or outside in the rain.
I started to repair the wooden desk by prying the wooden slats apart and planing the hard wood, but school started and I didn't have the time or access to the tools. Lo and behold, my dad and my brother in law Brian stepped in and finished the project for me. And it was my big Christmas surprise.

I have no idea how old the piece is, but it is definitely missing the catch tray that came with it. It was made by William Dixon, Inc. in Newark, NJ. I did a little research online, and I think the company was bought out by Grobet U.S.A. in 1964. To make the gift even sweeter we went to Harbor Freight and bought a light with a built in magnifier to go with it for another 30 dollars. A little money and a lot of elbow grease looks pretty good.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Branding? has me covered!

Here is a picture of one of the wool brooches I am selling, after designing a line of jewelry in Jan Baum's design and production class this past fall. I am pleased that a few of them have sold, so I am getting postcards and mini-cards printed from to go with them, and help me advertise more of my pieces. This website, based in the U.K., prints business cards. They have lots of different options for ways you might want to advertise yourself. I want to learn how to take a good picture and manipulate it in photoshop before I buy any more cards, but the plethora of options definately excites me.

For my business card format I used Arthur Hash's mini card as my template, and included my name, blog, email, and phone number.

I ordered them today, and the website said they would be sent by the 23rd, so I guess I will see them in early January. I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Mexico Pictures - the inspiration for my ring project

This is a picture of me and my little sister Tara in Las Cruces, NM in 1986. The relevant part of this picture is behind me. I had to walk about half a block to reach the desert, and an unobstructed view of the Organ mountains. As part of my ring project I have decided to use the New Mexico desert as my inspiration for making my pieces.
On a different note, this picture was taken for the local newspaper in 1996. I was a senior in high school. These outfits were heavier than you might think. It really was a lot of fun to play and sing in this group; we were called the Mariachi Diamante, I think. Go ahead and try to find me.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Second Life - progress shots

Here are a few pictures of the progress of my pop up space in Second Life:
An aerial view of my space.
I really liked the command ctrl D. It was fun to make them all in a row.

A first draft of my space. I edited out the eggs on the corners and made a different texture on the wall of pictures.

Everything got faster and faster with a little practice. My avatar had to rest though. :)

Another picture of the beginning drafts. The table has the first pieces of wearable brooches. I want to figure out how to give them away to the other avatars in class.

The gray and pink brooch. The colors may have to be tweaked before I upload the image as a texture.

The orange egg brooch.

Two acrylic chick brooches.

The pink and gray egg brooch.

The yellow acrylic chick brooch.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Arthur Hash; Another guest lecturer at Towson this semester

That's him: Arthur Hash. This picture of him and more of his exploits and adventures can be found at his blog, The Art Escape Plan.

Arthur Hash was another lecturer that came to Towson to speak with us and show us some slides of his work this past semester. Jan was super excited to have him come and talk to us, and it was so clear why she had so much enthusiasm for him. He is a regular, down-to-earth, easy going guy who makes really cool pieces of jewelry, and knows his way around metal.

During his slide lecture, I was really impressed with his CAD abilities. He definitely knows his way around Rhino, and has made some really neat organic forms with his computer designs.
I was also impressed with the slide of his beautifully raised silver teapot, which he promptly cast in resin and sliced into cross sections during his years in grad school.
I liked seeing the slides of his work that showcased his traditional goldsmith and silversmith skills. I also liked the way he takes easy, ready-made objects and made them into unexpected wearable art. The orange cone brooch, made from a real rubber orange cone, is a great example of this. The steel coffee stain brooches are pretty neat too.
Arthur also told us about, where he had a bunch of little half sized business cards made that advertised his name, website, email and phone number. (I almost forgot about this, but I am glad I remembered. I loved his business cards, and I want to go to Moo and get some cards done too.)
He has pieces on Etsy, and he is represented in a gallery or two. He seemed like a really nice guy who is immensely talented and didn't really have a gigantic ego. He was the perfect person to listen to from our tiny little art jewelry community.

Marcia Lausen: She wrote the book on ballot and election design

I attended the lecture Marcia Lausen gave at Towson University on Election Design this past semester, and while researching her name later, I came across Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design, a book that she had written about election reform. I have yet to read it, but it looks interesting, and I enjoyed her lecture for a couple really important reasons:

1) It was not a partisan lecture, which I was expecting. It was about how to communicate to the public before and during an election in a visually concise way. The Florida debacle did come up, but it was about the poor design of the butterfly ballot, and how she and her students came up with clearer solutions for ballot design.

2) I learned about how reading a piece of paper with ALL CAPS, and lots of subtitles can be visually difficult to decipher.
for example:



She decluttered a ballot by placing only the first and last name of the person on a top row (first letter of first and last name is in caps, the rest of the letters in the name are lower case) and then only their party fell beneath their name with nothing extra, like their occupation.

John Smith

Mary White

It was interesting that the psychology of color played a role in her redesign of ballots and election signs. Blue is associated with calming feelings and red is associated with excited feelings. Blue was the color that she preferred as a complimentary color in an example she showed us of an election sign her class had created, with no red in it, because she wanted to instill a feeling of calm in the voters going to in to a precinct marked by her redesigned voting posters. The city government for whom they had designed the poster threw out the blue only color and opted for their own shade of red, and made a red only election poster instead.

For the sake of politics and an election, Blue = Democratic party and Red = Republican party. I don't think you can get around this fact and creating posters with only one color or the other gives the opposing political party the idea you are trying to subliminally communicate a message about one party or the other. It would be nice to see redesigned election posters with both red and blue harmonized, (the U.S. flag comes to mind as a design with both colors in recognizable harmony).