A is for Avatar

Because I’m always searching for ways to entertain you, it occurred to me to try a series that was a favorite in blogland several years ago, called: “ABC-Along”.

The idea is to periodically have a post that corresponds with a letter, in alphabetical order.

So, as you’ve guessed by now, today is: A. 😉


If you have been visiting here for a while, I’m sure you’ve noticed my banner/logo (above) and also my Avatar. But did you know that it was Sir Beads who designed them?


When I was setting up my website, and deciding on a name for my business, I chose a “fairy tale” theme as a way to tell our story.

Although he’s much too modest to admit it, Sir Beads has a real talent for art, so I asked him if he could draw a fairy for me . . .

Here’s an early prototype sketch:

And here’s a version getting close to the final design:

I think he figured that was all I wanted (LOL). But, oh no!

Next, I asked for the banner shown at the top of this page. In keeping with the fairy tale theme, you can see that the little fairy is sitting on a glass slipper filled with beads.


Here’s our original “glass slipper” – a photo, also by Sir Beads, which I currently use for my website bead store.


Eventually, I requested the Avatar and since then he’s done my business cards, blog buttons, labels, etc.

I’m so very proud of his work and it’s fun to have something unique!

Of course, the price was right, too. 😉



Interview with the Artist: Carapace

In this installment of Interview with the Artist, I am so pleased to introduce a versatile artist with many talents. Whether she is working in clay or in paints, her style is wonderfully unique, often humorous, and always thought-provoking! Her etsy shop is filled with a colorful array of choices – each with its own delightful “story”.
Please meet Carapace 🙂

Were you interested in art as a child?
Goodness, isn’t everyone? At least until school grinds it out of them? But yes, I very much was. I’d spend hours looking at my parents’ Audubon books, or reading comics, or hanging out quietly in museums. It was and is all art to me! And I was always happy to play quietly if I had paper and pencils. This is not to say that I was any good at art of any sort when I was a child, but I was interested!


Summer Oak 1 Clay Pendant

What were some of the earliest projects that you created?
Aside from the standard awkward elementary school hand-turkeys and such, I took a pottery class and made some shockingly passable coil pots and wall hangings. Even a candle jar, which totally worked…! As a sort of scraps-holder. I didn’t really have the concept of delicacy down. But man, I sure could slab some clay! Had a lot of fun, too. To this day I yearn to take another proper clay class. Perhaps someday…

There was also my Hearts Period, sometime in pre k or so, when I attempted to draw everything solely with hearts – the one shape I knew how to make. Horses, people, trees, they were all made of variant assemblages of heart-shapes. That…was really ambitious of me, actually. I’m not sure I could pull that off now. I may have to try it again, see if I can capture that mad-child creativity.


Tea Leaves

When did you first become interested in working with clay?
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I took the clay class? And loved, loved, loved it. Drawing will always be my first and most accessible love, but clay offered the chance to make something useful, something graphic art rarely provides. It appeals to my practical senses. Buying a firing rig, however, does not. So I had to wait for polymer clay to be invented, and then to find out about it. And now I can make jewelry! Which is not very useful, perhaps, but did you know some anthropologists credit jewelry as being a crucial part of Homo Sapiens’ eventual genetic triumph over Neanderthal? It’s true! Apparently it helped establish group identity, and encouraged abstract thinking. So I am at least theoretically participating in shaping our
evolution as species with my friperry. Take that, criticizers of adornment!


Two Sisters Clay Pendant

Your work is showcased in several different media. Do you have a favorite?
My favorite is whatever I’m working in at the time! If I’m painting, I wonder why I don’t paint constantly, it’s so cool to watch the colors happen on the paper. And when I’m working with polyclay, I wonder why I ever pick up a paintbrush, the feel of the clay in my fingers is so satisfying, and I love the unpredictable way the colors blend. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been experimenting with paperclay? No one told me about inclusions! Thank goodness I never learned how to sew very well. I have made these dolls, though… So, short answer: No. Though it would probably be good for both my productivity and my mastery if I just picked one and worked at it, that doesn’t seem to be in my nature. Strange, since I’m a very static person otherwise.

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
From books, from natural settings, from other artists…but increasingly from the media itself. They have personalities, you know. Stop moving away from me! Try painting on a paper bag and a piece of bristol board. You’ll see how the line changes? The limits of the media suggest subject and composition, more as I know the material better.


Cephalady of the Sea Court

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself? 🙂
I keep too much of my work! I want it all to go away. When I finish a piece and keep it, I feel like a mom whose kids have graduated college but won’t move out of the basement to look for work. Darn it, kids! This is Texas, I don’t even have a basement! Get out in the world!


Golden Notes

What advice would you give to a person who would like to begin selling his or her art but could use a few pointers?
Make friends, in whatever venue you’re pursuing. If you can stick to a schedule, do that, even if it’s very slow. Try as many venues as you can–you never know where you’ll find a home, or just a new friend. Always assume good intent, but not necessarily good sense; some of the sweetest people will offer you some of the worst ideas. Have a blog, an email, a Twitter, and any other way you can manage to stay in touch. And have fun! If you’re not having fun, you may as well stick with the fabulous world of Day Jobs.



Interview with the Artist: Cherylsart

Today marks the beginning of a new blog feature – ‘Interview with the Artist’

We are very pleased and honored to begin this series with the absolutely amazing work of polymer clay artist Cheryl Harris of cherylsart.

Cherylsart: Beach Bead Series

Cherylsart: Beach Bead Series

Cheryl’s designs have been showcased in PolymerCAFE magazine and in Belle Armoire Jewelry. She has an extraordinary ability to transform polymer clay into beautifully dimensional beads, pendants, bookmarks, clay-covered vessels, and sculpture. With her rich palette of colors and her unique talent for adding exquisite detail to her creations, each of Cheryl’s pieces is truly a work of art!

Here’s a breath-taking example of Cheryl’s “way with clay”.

Cherylsart: Clay Vessel

Cherylsart: Clay Vessel

Recently, Cheryl graciously agreed to an interview . . .

Were you creative as a child?
I have been into art since I was a toddler and scribbled in my mother’s books!

When did you first become interested in beads?
I made my own earrings when I was in high school. I’ve also been a portrait artist since I was in my teens, and I was more focused on that than any other art form. I really got into making beads when I moved to Tehachapi, CA and met Karen Lewis, aka Klew. I saw her polymer clay beads and I was fascinated with her canework. I watched her videos, bought books and searched online to learn to work with polymer clay. Almost eight years later I still love it.

You have an extraordinary ability for choosing shades and tones of color in your work. Have you always had such an incredible eye for color?
That’s one of the compliments I get most often- that I have a great eye for color. I don’t know exactly how or when that happened, but I’m thankful for it! But believe me, I do make bad color choices from time to time. That’s the stuff you don’t see! Being an artist is a constant process, a journey of experimentation, trial and error and the constant striving to push your creative boundaries and find new ways to express your talent.

Cherylsart: Beach View

Cherylsart: Beach View

Is it relaxing to work with clay?
It really is. I get frustrated doing beadwork, the needle and thread part of it, but making the beads is just plain fun. Even the process of mixing the clay and making the blends for the canes is a pleasant experience.

You also make lampwork beads, do you enjoy that as much as working with clay?
Lampworking is a completely different process. You can’t put a hot glass bead down and come back to it later. Once you’ve started melting the glass you’re committed to it till it’s finished. For me it’s not as relaxing but it’s more of a challenge, in large part because I’m still relatively new to it. I’m in the process I was in seven years ago with the clay- the learning curve. But I love it just as much and I see it being a permanent part of my creative life. I also do glass fusing and I have plans to begin making larger glass pieces such as dishes, wall hangings and kiln-formed bracelets. Oh, and precious metal clay. Guess I’d better get busy!

Cherylsart: Polymer Clay Pendant

Cherylsart: Polymer Clay Pendant

From where do you derive inspiration for creating your art?
I get my inspiration from Nature. Flowers, plants, animals, the ocean, etc, etc! I love tropical and garden themes, and it shows in the things I make and the colors I use.

Do you keep any examples of your best work – just for yourself?
I sure do! Sometimes it’s something that has a tiny flaw which makes it unsuitable to sell, and sometimes it’s a bead that I just decide I can’t part with. It’s funny but I’ve had jewelry in my own collection that I’ll eventually sell to someone else. I’ve sold stuff right off my neck! I may as well be a walking advertisement for my own work!

To view more of cherylsart, please click here.