Remembering Mothers Day

May 4th, 2015
My Mother Staying Warm

My Mother Staying Warm

Mothers Day is the 10th of May. It’s coming up fast!

The best gift is one that required consideration, one that will make her smile. The best gift is exceptional.

We almost always gave my Mother jewelry and handmade cards. I recall one year with astonishing clarity. That year, my mother received matching bracelet and earrings. Twisted loops of silver spaced with small white pearls. I never recalled her getting matching pieces before or since though my father often gave her jewelry after that. Perhaps it was because I was so young and my father let me help pick out the bracelet and let us kids say it was from us. We were very young.

My mother loved this gift. Her smile was pure joy.

What memory do the words “Mothers Day” evoke for you? Is it one you recall as a child? One you recall as a parent? Is breakfast in bed involved? Please share your memory with me, in the comments area below.

If something unique, beautiful, and made for longevity is the kind of gift you are looking for, please visit my my Mothers Day webpage.

Tale of an Autumn Goddess

March 26th, 2015
Autumn Goddess ©2006, Patricia C Vener

Autumn Goddess ©2006, Patricia C Vener

I know it’s Spring, but today I want to tell you the story of “Autumn Goddess.” You see her work every Autumn; the affect of her dance through the woods changing green foliage to golds, oranges, reds and deep burnished purples. After her passing, the changed leaves flutter down to carpet the ground in rich hues obrowns, reds, oranges, and yellows. She whistles to the forest birds reminding the migrators of their long trips to warmer climes; reminding those that stay behind to start getting their winter nests in shape. At the start, the days are still warm, even as the nights are crisp.

Winter demands early entry even as Summer refuses to let up her hold. These two came to a compromise leaving Autumn rushing about a much curtailed region.

The whole world is changing. Summer hotter and drier and more widespread. Winter contained but more furious than ever. Plants and animals react, but not always successfully. What will the future bring? Who will survive it?

Are you asking how pale orange, pale green, and rich purple equate to Autumn? The answer goes back to my experiences doing conservation and restoration of works of art on paper. I’ve repaired and restored works by such artists as Jules Cheret, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Theophile Steinlein and many others. One of the most well known of these, Alphonse Maria Mucha, made the greatest impression on me with his use of ornament and curvature apparent in every one of his posters and non-religious prints. His use of color could be quite subtle even if when least one color was much richer than the rest.

That’s the effect I explore with this necklace with a choice of colors reminiscent of the late 1800s or early 1900s (the Art Nouveau period). Like Mucha I include subtle colors countered by a splash of something richer.

Out of the Dark

March 17th, 2015

Sunny corner, work in progress

Do small spaces make you feel confined or do you find them to be cozy?

As a ballerina I need space to move! I need spaciousness to be comfortable. I need to be able to sprawl. Small rooms make me antsy.

As a fine artist I need space to create large pieces and because my art form is bead weaving, I need space not only to spread out but to move my arms. I use very long lengths of thread on my needles and pulling them through the stitches is a lot like dancing.

Nonetheless, I started out with the idea that my studio could be anywhere I felt like working. Not a good idea. I had to clean up even if the work wasn’t finished. (Family likes to eat at the dining room table.)

There is a room off the kitchen that I had been using as a mini living room where I could comfortably ensconce my mother so she could watch tv or nap and still be in sight. (She has Alzheimers Disease and I am caring for her at home.) But it’s not a warm room in winter and she had become very sensitive to lower temperatures.

Clearly the universe was telling me that it was time for a dedicated studio. One that is roomy and bright. And this is the brightest room in the house! Even in Winter, sunlight sweeps in. Perfect!

Having a dedicated studio has allowed me to work in sunlight, to have supplies and equipment close at hand. I love being in my studio, even with the almost last vestige of livingroom-ness – my brother-in-law’s reclining chair – taking up a large bit of space. Which actually makes reading and researching in there very inviting.

Having the right place to work makes everything flow. There are shelves for books and display. There’s a bay window for my plants (and more display). There’s an air conditioner behind my materials storage cases (in the Summer the storage cases will go across the room in front of the baseboard heater). The kitchen is right over there! I have it made!

Let’s get to work!

Lace-Me-up

March 9th, 2015

Lace Me Up, beaded capelet by Patricia C Vener copyright 2011, by the artist

“Lace Me Up” started out as a response to a challenge. It became the response to more than one chalenge including the crash of a large wall mirror in the middle of the night.

The first challenge was an external one: choose one of the couture gowns from a collection and create a work of jewelry art based on that. I chose a piece that used colors outside my preferences. Greys, neutrals, and black. A limited palette, perhaps, but these closely related hues encourage a focus on subtlety.

My next decision was to reflect the lacy appearance of the fabrics used in the gown’s construction. By chance I owned two cabochons of Mexican lace agate. These, with their rock hard lacy appearance, would be the focal point of my new work.

I chose to work the main body in bead netting using black seed beads with an occasional grey bead for tonal interest. This part of the work was the most time consuming and arduous.

And then; disaster! It’s 3:00 AM when a horrible crashing wakes me. Has a car crashed into my house? My heart is racing. I throw off my blankets and scramble room to room when suddenly I see my living room floor covered in shards of glass. One of the mirrors glued to the wall over the fireplace has collapsed and shattered everywhere, taking with it old family photos, vintage glassware, an old glass lamp, a painting I’d done at 18, and my necklace. I went back to bed thankful that my house was intact. It was enough to encourage me to recreate the massive capelet of bead netted lace.

I invite you to read the full story is on my website,Lace Me Up on its own page.

No Limit for Valentines Day Colors

February 9th, 2015

There’s a new page on my website just in time for Valentines Day. While red is my favorite color, I didn’t limit the page to only red earrings.

Green and Purple faceted crystal earrings with silver accents are elegant alternatives to red for valentines day. Made by Patricia C Vener

Green and Purple earrings made by Patricia C Vener

When I create my large works I get a lot of beads to work with. And I almost always end up with a few beads left over. These are my orphan beads. What to do?

Make earrings!

How about some good drama? Midnight blue earrings with a lot of sparkle made by Patricia C Vener

Dramatic Midnight Blue earrings made by Patricia C Vener

These earrings feature the orphan beads along with Bali silver and sterling silver. These are beaded earrings though not bead woven. In some cases, I do some simple wire wrapping to add a bit more flair. I love making these because they don’t take hours and hours to make. I can see the results the same day I start them! Just like my larger, bead woven works, every pair of these earrings is unique.

Vintage lampwork mist and bronze colored beads create a pair of earrings of non-neutral glamor

Mist and Bronze by Patricia C Vener

Some of these orphans are quite old, “vintage” beads, in other words. This bead is a handmade lampwork bead that has the appearance of porcelein. Some artisan sat before a flame, shaping and adding sparkly colors so a future artist could add more beauty to the world.

“None of these examples are red,” you complain. “Don’t you have any red earrings?” you ask.

I do. To see these please visit my special Valentines Day earring page and scroll down towards the bottom.

Reject the Common Lawn

April 1st, 2014

Lobelia from CT Botanical Society

It’s time to rebel against the unnatural short green carpet that infects almost every neighborhood in the USA. Unless you have kids playing in the yard (and for sure you want to be able to keep an eye on them) or want a place for badminton and croquet, there’s no good reason to be like everyone else.

How about alternatives, like flowers? I love flowers and ground covers along with stone paths, maybe some small sculptures. And ornamental grasses. And dandelions. I like dandelions. But nothing that needs a lot of specialized care because I’m a busy lady! My yard isn’t that big so maybe it won’t take too long to to transform it into a floral jungle. Let’s be judgmental. Lawn or no lawn?

Reasons against having a lawn

* Has to be mowed. A lot.
* Grasses are delicate and usually not native. If they are good for heat, they crumble in cold. Or drought.
* Boring. Yes, this is my own value judgment. They are all green.
* Pervasive. Everyone and all the golf courses have them.
* Beautiful chaos!

Reasons to have a lawn

* Playground at home! Great for lawn games.
* Easy care. Drop some seeds or sod, feed, water, wait for growth.
* Don’t have to plan a garden.
* Everyone has a lawn.
* They look neat (when mowed).

What’s your take on this debate? Do you have photos of gardens that you love (or would love to have)? I’d love it if you would share these with me on a Pinterest Pinboard that I have created. If you are not on Pinterest yet, follow my Pinterest link and join. Then send me your information and I will invite you to add your pins to my garden board.

Recycling Vintage Jewelry

March 18th, 2014

Do you like antique and vintage jewelry? I do, I can’t resist a good sparkle that can be given a new life. These treasures usually come in lots with other pieces that don’t have as much to say to me. It seems these less loved pieces have begun to pile up so that I now have a trove of vintage jewelry that I know other artists and artisans can love and use. As well, there are a few pieces I’m going to give to Clelian Adult Day Center. They can use them as prizes for bingo and other games. It’s a good way to pay them back as they give such good care to my mother and other elderly people with illnesses that can otherwise lower a person’s quality of life.

And I can use the storage space that will be freed up. I have four images and that’s not even everything. Here’s just some of the earrings. I have posted 10 pictures to Pinterest. The whole collection/lot is for sale for $35.00 plus $12.00 for USPS Priority Mail shipping. If you want these, hit reply and reserve them.

Vintage Earrings from stash for sale

Vintage Earrings Looking for Good Home

The Most Surprising Fact Ever

February 20th, 2014

Well, it is to me, anyway. Today I learned that not everyone wants to make art.

A young person was telling me how her sister, who studies medical management, had to take an art class and she hated it because it held no interest for her. We tend to think everyone loves art, but in fact everyone doesn’t. What a shock. I knew there were people who felt they couldn’t do art but I’d never contemplated anyone actually disliking art.

Or perhaps it was the fact that she had to pay for the class and spend a whole semester at it when her goals are very focused on something else.

Do universities have an obligation to require studies outside a person’s major? I think so, but given the economics and narrow focus of today, perhaps these other courses could be made more relevant. Perhaps she could have been offered an art appreciation course or a course in medical art. Or forensic art. Those might have resonated with the medical aspect of this young lady’s mindset and given her the taste of creativity the course designers probably intended.

Mid-February Cheer

February 14th, 2014

The seasons are about to get ready to change again. I know a lot of people in the northern hemisphere are ready fro warmer days while many in the southern hemisphere would welcome cooler ones.

To everyone I say, “enjoy the day!” To my readers I say, “Thank you for reading.”

Thank you card

Winter Art Shows

January 30th, 2014

A couple of Sundays ago, I went to a daytime opening at Davis Gallery in Orange CT. It was very engaging but I was still surprised at the turnout because the weather was not very good. It was wet in fact, and very cold. It even started to snow while I was waiting for a break in the rain. (I’ll take snow over rain!) Nonetheless, people came and everyone was there to scope out the work, talk to the artist, and have a good afternoon.

Apparently, at least in New England, winter is no excuse to ignore the arts.

Do you find yourself staying home more in the Winter? Are you waiting for better weather?

would you like to see hot cocoa served instead of wine?