Friendship Day

I am starting to write this post on August 6th – Sunday which according to some is International Friendship Day.  To tell you the truth I didn’t even know there was a Interational Friendship day; but I like the idea of one.  So I did a little research.

History

Friendship day was originally created by the greeting card industry in 1919 by Hallmark.  Friends were encouraged to recognize their friendship by sending each other cards.  But this made up “holiday” eventually fizzled out.

friendship day

However, in 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations (believe it or not!), and in April 2011 the United Nations officially recognized 30th July as International Friendship Day; although most countries celebrate on the first Sunday of August!  (wonder why)

Here is what the UN says about Friendship Day…

“Our world face many challenges, crises and forces of division — such as poverty, violence, and human rights abuses — among many others — that undermine peace, security, development and social harmony among the world’s peoples.  To confront those crises and challenges, their root causes must be addressed by promoting and defending a shared spirit of human solidarity that takes many forms — the simplest of which is friendship.  Through friendship — by accumulating bonds of camaraderie and developing strong ties of trust — we can contribute to the fundamental shifts that are urgently needed to achieve lasting stability, weave a safety net that will protect us all, and generate passion for a better world where all are united for the greater good.”

Well, I’m on board for sure.  So even though you all will be reading this a few days late.  I want to say I am grateful for all my friends out there who mean so much to me.  Without them I would not be the person I am today.

So I have to tell you a little story.  

A few Saturdays ago Alex and I headed off to one of the popular Farmer’s Markets here in Tucson.  I was mainly looking for fresh vegetables, but then I saw a booth with 4 woman wearing traditional head scarfs and dresses of the Muslim religion.  So I stopped by their booth and was enticed to see an array of traditional Syrian sweets that they had handmade and were selling.  They were very proud of their heritage and culture and wanted to share.  So of course I sampled some and bought a few to take home.  And I hope they understood it was my way to say welcome them and say I am glad you are here in the US.  But I plan on going back….  the sweets were delicious.

Don’t forget about the importance of jewelry… and friendship

Jewelry has always played an important role in Friendship.  Remember those friendship bracelets we used to make at summer camp?

friendship day

I think knowing that jewelry can make someone very happy (both giving it and receiving it) is one of the reasons I make jewelry.  We all need more happiness in our life.  Reach out to a good friend today!

 

Sale – August 5 is Earrings, Earrings, Earrings

Sale - Earrings

It’s Saturday August 5th and there is a sale happening

Here’s the direct link – click on shop the sale now

shop the sale now link button

 

Rituals

A Ritual is……. according to Webster

  1. of or relating to rites or a ritual :  ceremonial ritual dance

  2. according to religious law ritual purity

  3. done in accordance with social custom or normal protocol ritual handshakes 

 

I just finished reading an article in the Arizona Star of a high tech product that I didn’t know about, but now am fixated on buying…. Maybe.  

What is it?  A machine to brew tea.

a picture of a machine to brew tea

 

Really cool – right? 

Err…. but you might ask – what does that have to do with rituals?

 

Tea

I love tea.

I love to drink hot tea and iced tea.  I even drink hot tea in the summer.  I like to drink my hot tea from a porcelain tea cup that my Mom gave me.  I have had it for 30 years.  Drinking tea relaxes me.  So when I saw this machine that touts it brews the perfect cup of tea I got very interested.  And I started to think about my cup of tea and why it made me feel so good.

tea ritual

On a trip to Japan in the 80’s I attended a tea drinking ceremony, which I realize now is not about drinking the tea, but is a choreographed ritual of preparing the tea and interacting with the host.  It is about the aesthetics of the bowls, the pot and even the utensils.  And it’s about beauty and peace and serenity and reflection.

So, I think it’s more than just the tea that I love.  When I lived in Ohio and it was a rainy cold day (which happened a lot) my mother and I would have tea in the afternoon.  ( my Mom lived with us after my dad died)

She bought me a lovely wood box to hold my teabags.  We would get it down and choose which tea to have.  Then I would put on the kettle and we would sit and chat while the water boiled.  And chat some more while the tea steeped.  And finally, we would sip the tea before going back to real life.

I have liked to drink tea most of my life. I realize that when life dealt me things that were hard to deal with, sitting with a nice cup of tea helped me to sort things out.  Last summer – one year ago in fact, my husband and I went on what was supposed to be a fantastic holiday in Great Britain.  I drank a lot of tea there.

 

So back to the perfect tea brewing maching….

this high tech product is the Teforia Leaf  

It looks high tech and beautiful and graceful all at once.

It really appeals to me, but…

Do I really need a $400 gadget to brew tea?

Do I really want a whole new ritual for brewing tea?

Probably not…..

  But damn it looks so cool!

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

Design Element Inspiration

Artists can be fickle

Artists generally love their freedom. They want to experiment. They love a challenge. They crave variety. All that is good.  Except the artist wants their work to be recognizable.

I am very guilty about freedom in my creativity.  I like to try new techniques.  I love taking classes and trying new things.  I tend to get bored easily and want to move on.

But this year the word I chose was “focus”; and that is what I am trying to achieve these days – a cohesive line of jewelry incorporating my glass beads and metal – all inspired by my love of the desert. 

I would like you to see a piece of jewelry and say – “Oh, that’s a Louise Little design”

Repition is Reputation

I have a clear vision for my upcoming “Harmony” collection.  And I can’t wait to share it.

the harmony collection incorporates the sword like leaf of the yucca as a design element inspiration

One of the shapes I am experimenting with for this upcoming collection is the leaf from the yucca plant.  I love everything about this plant.  But the leaf is very special.  It is sword like and distinctive.  And is the basis for a lot of the design elements in this fall’s collection “Harmony”.

 

Here is a sneak peek at a pair of earrings……

these earrings use a design element inspired by the sword like leaf of the yucca plant

Harmony is set to launch on September 6th, 2017

in a brand new shop

Hope to see you there

creating the desert in glass and metal

Alexander Calder

The artist

Alexander Calder was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of moving sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended shapes that move in response to touch or air currents.  

Calder also created over 2,000 pieces of jewelry over the course of his career, many of them as gifts for friends and relatives. They were mostly made of brass and steel, with bits of ceramic, wood and glass. Calder rarely used solder; when he needed to join strips of metal, he linked them with loops, bound them with snippets of wire or fashioned rivets.   I love the organic look of Calder’s jewelry.

Some other interesting facts about Calder that you might not know…

  • he was commissioned to paint a Douglas jetliner for Braniff airlines in 1972 calder
  • in 1975 he painted a BMW car which became the beginning of the BMW ar ar projectcalder
  • he gave Peggy Guggenheim huge mobile earringscalser

Calder – Mobile exhibition at the Whitney Museum, NYC 2017

We spent a week vacationing in NYC last week.  And one of the highlights was a visit to the Whitney Museum to see an exhibit of some of Calder’s mobiles.

calder

calder

I think I even got some inspiration for jewelry from seeing these mobiles.

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

 

 

 

Jewels

Tonight I am excited to be going to the ballet Jewels at the Lincoln Center.  And its not just any ballet.

1. This is its 50th anniversary. Originally created for the New York City Ballet (NYCB), Jewels premiered on April 13, 1967, at the David H. Koch Theater (then the New York State Theater), where it will be performed once again as part of the 2017 Lincoln Center Festival (July 20–23).

2. History is being made (again) this year. Lincoln Center Festival’s presentation of Jewels is an unprecedented three-way collaboration between the Bolshoi Ballet, New York City Ballet, and Paris Opera Ballet, three of the most renowned ballet companies in the world sharing the very stage where Jewels premiered.


3. The costumes are epic. NYCB dancers will wear original costume designs created by Karinska, while the Paris Opera Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet will bring their costumes (designed by Christian Lacroix and Elena Zaitseva, respectively) with them from overseas.


4. Jewels features the music of three different composers. Each act features the musical work of a different composer: Emeralds is set to Fauré, Rubies to Stravinsky, and Diamonds to Tchaikovsky.


5. George Balanchine is regarded as the foremost contemporary ballet choreographer. As artistic director of New York City Ballet, George Balanchine choreographed some of the most highly regarded contemporary ballets, including The Nutcracker, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Don Quixote, and, of course, Jewels. He also choreographed for Broadway, including On Your Toes, Cabin in the Sky, and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936.


6. It was inspired by a visit to Van Cleef & Arpels. After a chance encounter with Claude Arpels, nephew of Estelle Arpels, Balanchine was invited to visit the French jewelry boutique on Fifth Avenue in New York. He told journalists that the elegant jewelry inspired him to begin working on what would later become one of his most classic ballets.


7. It wasn’t always going to be Emeralds, Rubies, and Diamonds. Balanchine initially considered several additional types of jewels, including pearls and sapphires.


8. Balanchine was also inspired by three countries. Each section of Jewels is believed to have been choreographed to evoke the mood and style of a different country where Balanchine had once worked and danced: Emeralds for the silky elegance of France, Rubies for the jazzy vibrancy of New York City, and Diamonds for the imperial grandeur of Russia. On the opening night of Jewels at Lincoln Center Festival, each ballet company will dance the section that evokes their respective home country. (On subsequent performances, NYCB and Bolshoi will alternate between the second and third acts.)

9. The style of each section differs dramatically. The romanticism of French ballet, the bold playfulness of American ballet, and the precision of Russian ballet contrast and complement each other throughout Jewels. It’s a rare—and fortunate—occasion to be able to see such a variety of styles within the span of a single performance.


10. It’s heralded as the first three-act, plotless ballet. Unlike other ballet classics—think The Nutcracker or The Taming of the Shrew—this ballet isn’t propelled by distinct characters or a storyline. But don’t be fooled! Even without a narrative, the impeccable dancing, lush music, and vivid colors of the elegant costumes keep audiences engaged.

https://youtu.be/q7ARFCFOyf0

Hello from NYC

We are being quite the tourists.


The Brooklyn bridge




Tomorrow the Calder exhibit at the Whitney

Do you ever wonder why lizards do push-ups?

lizards

This is just one of the juicy local wildlife questions that keeps me awake at night -tossing and turning, kicking the covers off, – and making it impossible to rest.  I need to get to the bottom of this mystery.  

So thanks to the Discovery Channel I discovered it’s the male lizards that engage in this push up activity (of course it is); and all he wants is attention.

Every morning I open the garage door – this is where I do my morning weight routine arm exercises.  And there he is sitting on a rock on all fours pushing and bobbing  – up and down and up and down.

I imagine all the lady lizards are out there swooning.  Yeah, we see ya big boy!

So aren’t you glad you came over to read my blog today.  Now you too can rest well tonight.

 

Lampworked beads for my artist jewelry

So you all know that I have a real passion for creating glass art in the flame of my torch.  (20 years and still torching)

To show off these exquisite glass beads and cabochons I soon branched out to jewelry design.  Simple pieces.  The glass was the star. 

Well as all things in life change; my artistic jewelry designs have really evolved too.  I still create jewelry designs that show off glass, but I also create jewelry designs that show off my expression of the deserts of the Southwest.  Which means sometimes it’s just the metal that speaks to me and sometimes gemstones and sometimes glass and sometimes all three.

I started adding metals to my glass in the torch to give the glass an earthy feel and to create colors that were totally mine.  The colors become more muted, and I can actually make the glass look like the stones and rocks found in the desert.  

Adding pure silver to the glass (in the form of silver leaf and foil) is a favorite thing I like to do.  I take a glass rod of ivory.  Wrap silver leaf around it.  Burn the leaf off.  And then pull a stringer.  Then I use this stringer to decorate the beads in the flame.

Here is a favorite design using that “silvered ivory stringer”.

artist jewelry

I love 

creating the desert in glass and metal

 

I have been working on how to banish her

banish

 

 

Hey it’s July

So the year is half over.  

Or; we still have 6 more months in 2017.  

Whatever; it’s July,

Where are you monsoon???it's July

In July, I like to look back to last January 1st

and revisit the words that I chose to guide me throughout the year.

Just to make sure I’m on track 

Here is what I wrote….


So now it’s time to choose a word for the upcoming new year
and I have decided I need 2 words – one for personal and one for my art.
For my personal life the word is 
re·build
rēˈbild/
verb
 build (something) again after it has been damaged or destroyed.
For my art and business the word is
re·fresh
rəˈfreSH/
verb
 give new strength or energy to; reinvigorate.
I plan on refreshing some old designs in this new year
And I want to focus on connecting with my online customers
I plan to update my website to add online shopping right there

I am happy to report that I’m right on track.

I have been working on a new logo with a graphic designer..  THAT JUST GOT FINISHED
I have refreshed several pages for the website – BUT YOU WON’T SEE THEM UNTIL SEPTEMBER
july
I have opened a new store – very user friendly; and it will launch in SEPTEMBER
I have developed a brand new collection AND YES YOU GUESSED; YOU GET TO SEE IT IN SEPTEMBER
But I have also been cleaning out my inventory
and it will soon be time to have a super duper sale 
I have to make room for all the new styles!
 
SO EVERY SATURDAY in August I will update my shop with sale items.

AUGUST 5, 12, 19, 26

I will announce the sale on my Friday blogs and give you a direct link.
I hope to see you there….
 

And on the personal front all is well too .  

We are happy and healthy.
My husband and I are enjoying our “new beginning”
 
My grandson is almost 5 months old and I am blessed he lives here in Tucson so I can see him every week
And I am getting to travel to some very cool places soon… NYC, Chicago, and Spain

 
 
 
So it’s good to be on track.
 
 
Keep up real time with me by reading my blog weekly 

 

blog post button

 

 

 
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creating the desert in glass and metal

 

 
 
 

A Bead Journey

Beads – How my passion got started

I have always done something crafty or artsy.  I wanted to go to art school but my parents thought that an art degree wouldn’t be practical.  

My grandmother taught me sewing.  She was a seamstress and worked in a sweatshop mill in upper state New York sewing clothing for a manufacturer until the mill moved south.  I even designed some clothing patterns.  She also taught me knitting.  And being me, I also taught myself to design some knitting patterns – pretty easy ones.  I took a painting class and it didn’t inspire me.  I loved doing needle work in the form of needlepoint and cross stitch.  I was designing cross stitch patterns for a shop in Las Vegas when we lived there.  The owner coaxed me to “name” my business and I chose Desert Bloom. Of course, I instantly designed a pattern in cross stitch for the business.  I showed it to Shirley, the shop owner, and she said “why don’t you add some beads to the design?”  

So I walked into a bead shop….OH MY!

bead journey

Beading can be overwhelming.  What technique did I want to start with?  I chose seed beads for the Desert Bloom cross stitch.  You might not be able to see them in the photo but they are there. And as soon as I finished that project I taught myself how to stitch designs and jewelry with seed beads. 

This is one of the first bracelets I made. (designed the pattern too).  And sold several hundred copies of this pattern online.  I decided that trying to sell the finished product was not feasible.  It takes a long time to complete, and I would never get the price to compensate for the hours of work.

bead journey

I designed more patterns, but I was having a hard time finding button closures.  In the meantime my youngest daughter was in college in Portland, OR and I went up to visit.  I had some time that weekend and decided to attend the Embellishment conference at the Convention Center.  And that is when I saw my first lampworked bead.  Of course I was familiar with Venetian beads.  But the lampwork beads I saw at this convention were tiny works of art.  And I was hooked.  And my journey with glass began in 1997.creating the desert in glass and metal