Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm on the cover of Art Jewelry Magazine!!!

I'm so thrilled and excited to have a project on the COVER of Art Jewelry Magazine!
My "Big Heart Pin," a workshop that I just started teaching last year, is featured on the cover of the March 2009 issue of AJM. It came as a complete surprise and was a huge thrill when I first saw it. Just knowing that the editors had selected my heart-pin project for their publication was such an honor, it never occurred to me that it would land on the cover.
When I saw it, my mouth fell open!
If you'd like to learn how to make a beautiful heart-shaped pin using 12ga sterling silver wire and a chasing hammer (I also use the little Fretz embossing hammer), be sure to pick up a copy of the March issue, on newsstands now. And if you like my article, be sure to write to the editors and tell them! They love hearing from readers.
Hazel Wheaton's email:
hwheaton@artjewelrymag.com
I'm also teaching this workshop at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, California, on February 10, just in time for Valentine's Day. If you live in the Southern California area, be sure to sign up for this class; make a pin for your mom, a friend, or yourself!
To sign up, call: 760 772-2400.
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Monday, January 26, 2009

Workshop at Monica's...

If you've never been to Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, California, I highly recommend a visit! Better yet, take a class.
I just taught my first workshop there last Saturday (the Fisherman's Catch necklace) and it was one of my best teaching experiences ever. All of my students were so nice and extremely talented as well. Everybody made a different necklace and I enjoyed watching them work. Part of the joy of teaching is seeing your students apply what they've learned in new and interesting ways.
When I first heard that my sample necklace was stolen from the store last Tuesday (see previous post, Jan. 22), I knew that I had to make another one quickly. So I went to work, and within about two days had made a sample piece that's even better than my first. Then I made a bracelet (pictured above) with a big Thai silver heart as a dangle. I placed it near the clasp to act as a counterweight bead, which keeps the heavy turquoise focal bead from slipping down beneath my wrist.
Try this with your next bracelet design, you'll see how well it works!
Another thing to note about the bracelet is that I did some knotless netting on the little focal bead using fine-gauge wire. 26ga or 24ga would work.
I'm repeating this class at Monica's on Sunday, Feb. 8, from 10 am to 4 pm if you're interested in making a necklace and/or bracelet of your own. I hope to see you there!
Cheers,
Sharilyn
760-772-2400

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sad News: Necklace Stolen!

I have some sad news to report: The necklace you see pictured above has been stolen.
The theft took place last Tuesday when a woman posing as a customer and potential student went to Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, California. All I know about the woman is that she has red hair, and had never been seen in the store before. She arrived during a very busy time, when students from another class were checking out and paying for materials. She asked a store employee to see and handle my necklace, and was allowed to do so. When the employee turned her back for a moment, the woman walked out of the store with my necklace and a bracelet made by another store employee.
It is very sad to hear of such a thing happening. Those of us who enjoy making jewelry and designing new, original pieces and also teaching our ideas and techniques to others feel that we are almost an extended family of artists. We tend to trust each other, and let our guards down. It would be nice to assume that the world is a good place full of good people, but unfortunately this is a fallen world, and we all give in to temptation from time to time.
Poor Monica, the owner of the store, is very distressed by this event. I do not hold it against her at all. She was not in the store at the time the theft occurred. Due to the theft, Monica has had to change her policies and will no longer allow any customer to handle or touch the class jewelry samples at any time. Jewelry will stay in a locked case at all times from now on. I applaud her decision and hope that this is an isolated incident, something that we can all learn from.
Meanwhile, if anyone sees this necklace on etsy or ebay or on the neck of some thief, please notify me. I would greatly appreciate it and hope to get my necklace back somehow.
A police report has been taken and there was insurance, but it is still just the saddest thing!
I'll be teaching the Fisherman's Catch Necklace this Saturday at Monica's. I hope to see some of my readers there!
Cheers,
Sharilyn
sharilynmiller@mac.com

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fisherman's Catch Workshop this weekend...

Due to popular demand, I will be teaching this fun necklace workshop on Friday (Jan 23) and repeating it again on Saturday (Jan 24) at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Springs, California.
Monica had scheduled this class for Saturday a few weeks ago, and it sold out almost immediately. Since we now have a long waiting list, we have just decided to repeat the same class on Friday. If you live in the Southern California area and would like to sign up for the workshop, be sure to call the store right away to register.
It is possible that some folks who signed up for Saturday's class will find it more convenient to take the class on Friday instead; in this case, you might be able to get a seat in either Friday's or Saturday's class. Be sure to ask about your options when you call.
Here's the store number: 760 772-2400
Or visit their Web site.
For a supply list, click here.
I hope to see some of you in class this week!
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Friday, January 16, 2009

Painting Workshop with Betty Carr

I haven't posted in a week because I've been in Palm Springs taking a painting workshop with artist Betty Carr. Please don't judge the workshop based on the photo I've posted above—Betty teaches some very sophisticated techniques in landscape and still-life painting (see her Web site for examples), but I kind of went off in my own direction and did my own thing, which is pretty typical of me.
Anyway, I had a terrific time and learned a lot from Betty and hope to see her again soon. She teaches all over the US and next year will be back to teach another five-day workshop at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Since her classes at the museum are restricted to 12 students, you're sure to get lots of individual attention.
Betty talked a lot about values in paintings. She also encouraged us to focus on one area of the painting and to highlight it with sharper edges, brighter colors and more detail. Other items in the painting will be a bit blurred, with softened edges that blend into the background a bit.
This is the way the eye naturally sees: We focus on one item, and other things—even close by—are somewhat blurred. So one must take great care when painting from photos not to paint every item as photographed, in sharp detail. She said it can be a difficult concept to grasp, which is why so many paintings done from photos look unnatural. As a solution to this problem, Betty suggested painting as often as possible out in nature.
As you can see, I may have taken lots of great notes during Betty's lectures but actually applied none of her concepts to my own experimental fun with paint. What can I say—I love bright colors and patterns! I enjoy painting on fabric (silk and muslin) for this reason; no need to worry about a focal point or values or composition, just have fun with color and design. So who knows where this will lead me, but I have enjoyed spending the week in Palm Springs, staying with my good friend Dale Wigley (thank you, Dale!), and the workshop was great.
If you live in the Palm Springs area or anywhere in Southern California, I encourage you to look into the workshops offered at the museum. Check out their Web site, and sign up for a class!
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Lady and the Dragon

This is my friend Celia and her bearded dragon, Bam-Bam.
Isn't she cute? I mean the dragon—Celia is lovely! And she dearly loves her pet. She keeps Bam-Bam in her kitchen, in a special enclosed environment that stays warm not matter how cold it might be outside.
Every now and again, Celia lets her out to explore the house. The menagerie of dogs and cats residing within don't seem to mind having a bearded dragon wandering about. Everyone seems to get along just fine, no matter their species.
A lesson for us all, I suppose!
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

This is my Dad; he just turned 88 today!
Can you believe it? And he's still so cute. In the photo, he's wearing an authentic Greek fisherman's cap that I bought for him while teaching a jewelry workshop last October in Santorini, Greece. He keeps telling me that the cap makes him look like a chauffer, to which I can only say, how appropriate! My dad drives my mom and her friends (and me too, sometimes) on various excursions and he's always quite good-natured about it.
I'm so glad that my father is in good health, with a great attitude (most of the time) toward life, and is flexible and willing to do whatever he can to make my mom happy. Lucky for him, she's easy to please! They have a great life up here in Idyllwild.
Another thing to be grateful for...
Happy Birthday, Dad!
Cheers,
Sharilyn

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year — now go and buy something!

What a funny, outrageous thing to say on the second day of a new year. "Happy New Year — now go and buy something"? What's up with that?
Well, I was watching some political/economic commentators last night on CNN (specifically, Anderson Cooper's 360 program) and was very impressed with the discussion that took place. I've been watching a lot of CNN lately, finding it much more informative, interesting, and (dare I say it) entertaining than the regular news. Here's a quote from Anderson's blog: "We spent a lot of time this year on politics and more recently, the economy, and have really tried to stay focused on bringing you the real news and smart, in-depth analysis." I love it!
So anyway, while watching the program last night I was struck by the advice being handed out. "Go out and buy something!" Apparently this one small act can do a lot to boost our flagging economy, if enough of us follow through with it. I'm not suggesting that you go into debt purchasing a big-ticket item such as a car when your budget won't allow for it just now. But would it kill any of us to go into our local towns and purchase at least one small item that we might not have otherwise?
Last week, when my friends were visiting me from Washington state, they wanted me to give them a tour of my hometown (Idyllwild, California) to visit some of the local galleries and small shops. Anyone who lives in a touristy town knows how easy it is to reside there for years and never darken the door of a gift shop, and that is certainly my case. We have some terrific small galleries up here, and many fine gift shops with unusual merchandise, artsy clothing, and handmade craft items that can be found nowhere else. I was reacquainted with this fact when I visited our local stores with my friends last week — for the first time in years.
We didn't buy much, actually. I saw lots of really cute stuff (no other way to describe it), great clothing, and fine-quality arts and crafts. My friend bought us some delicious handmade truffles and I believe a hat was purchased at some point. While we were in one gift shop, I considered some handmade coffee mugs for sale. I almost didn't buy one. Then I decided that, although the mugs were not on sale and they were not cheap, I liked one well enough to go ahead and buy it. This is how I supported a local shop and the artist who makes these mugs.
Did it break my bank? No. Did it solve our country's economic crisis? Well, no. But it helped. Yes it did — a tiny bit... and just imagine if we all did something, even if only a little tiny bit, to help stimulate our economy. It's the usual cliche: We really can make a difference, if enough of us do our part.
You know, I have great hopes for our future, and I personally cannot wait to see Barack Obama installed into office as our 44th president. (I also can't wait to see our current president show us his hind end as he exits the White House.) I believe that our future can be amazing, and I have incredibly high hopes for the next administration. But it is as Barack has always said: He cannot do it alone. Nor should he be expected to. If we want to turn this sinking ship around, we must work together, each of us doing our small part.
Even if it's just buying a coffee mug...
Cheers,
Sharilyn
ps By the way, I just happen to have some instructional DVDs to sell. Here's my Web site: