Monday, January 31, 2011

New Designs Available Today

Set of 4 Printed Coasters from my original art

You might remember seeing these designs at the first of the month  here on the blog or on my facebook page...I was playing around with painting on vintage sheet music with some of my favorite spirit animals from the Native American tipi art that I love so much and came up with these four designs.

The Guardians 
They are printed with archival inks on art paper and look so close to the originals that my husband thought I had painted them. I will have to say too, that it's even hard for me to tell the difference unless I pick them up and feel the paper. I couldn't be happier with my new printer!

Order as shown or choose your favorite(s)
 They are built just like my hand painted coasters, only the printed design is applied to the canvas rather than painted on it. The design is then finished with six coats of acrylic poly and to protect your surfaces they are backed with cork.

Cork backed Coasters
They are a nice 3 1/2" in diameter...perfect for mugs or glasses. I have already tested our set out over the weekend and received good reviews from the home front.Today, they are now available to you too, from our Etsy shop. The best part is that these are available for immediate waiting.

Watch for more designs in this same style later this week in the shop and our online shop.

Talk to you soon!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Featured Shop Items

Each weekend we will spotlight several of the unique goods you can find in the shop and not available in our online venues. Remember, you don't have to wait for our seasonal sales. Schedule an appointment...and bring a friend. We have items for every budget...

Here are today's features:

Hand painted reclaimed vanity and chair

Detail of flower motif on drawer and distressed areas

Decorative paper lined drawers inspired the hand painted details

Matching chair

The chair has colored spindles inside facing the seat...come see!


Chenille Mermaid

How big did you think they really were? Maybe this is why they are rarely seen....
I hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Value of Art...Who's to Say?

Assemblage Art Doll by Angie Nelson
Here's Junk Baby again...this post is her official adoption announcement....but, first I want to talk about something that has been on my mind for several days since reading about a situation over the weekend.

Junk Baby is in my Etsy shop today. Since she's my first assemblage art doll I'm selling her for less than most of the same craftsmanship listed there...not that I  believe she's inferior, but for the mere fact that the other assemblage artists have developed a following, will be producing more and are making a living in their I do with floorcloths. Assemblages, to me, are new and fun for now. I may make more and I may not.

When I was in college many moons ago, my instructors stressed, fussed at, and humiliated us design students until we completely understood the meaning of "craftsmanship". Long before graduation, we knew if we were to pass our final project everything thing must function and everything must be made to last the test of time.

Circa 1980 college design class project..yes, that's dirt under it!
One of my favorite college design class projects still sits in our living room. I designed and made it in 1980...and, yes, it is now considered vintage. I made an was my first A in design class and it finally came in my first semester of my sophomore year.  We could probably use a new coffee table now. I would actually love a large leather ottoman...but I continue to use it because I'm practical and it's still in great shape, despite two rowdy kids and a husband that props his feet on it every night.

I try always to put the same work ethic into everything I do, whether it be my art or cleaning the horse's stalls. Thank you Misters Norris, Johnson and Slack.

What sparked this post is that I saw a status recently on Facebook by an artist friend where she had been asked by someone, "what is the lowest price you will take for your (art piece)?" My friend was not as much insulted as she was hurt. I will tell you, the piece in question was a one of a kind, and masterfully created. She is a collected artist, and a named artist/designer for these world wide special collections. She was hurt because she'd spent probably the same amount of time the potential buyer had spent at work the last few weeks, and was in actuality asking less than a dollar an hour for the time spent designing, researching and painting the piece...not to mention the supplies.

If you're an artisan you understand this already. The potential buyer probably meant no harm whatsoever, but if she had stopped to think before she questioned the price, she may have been more sensitive. If she didn't feel like the piece was worth the asking price, would it have been more desirable to have, if it were actually worth less?.....Exactly. Why would she want something from a collected artist that had a depreciated value?

Given, the artist only knows how much time was spent working or painting or whatever is required to make the art, but can she put a price on the time spent thinking and planning and starting over to make it perfect? Not usually. That part is free to the buyer.

The value of art is always what it's worth to the owner, not the artist. To the artist it is a chunk of their soul -who can put a price on that? - and we always want to keep it...but we know when our hands are gripped tightly around something then we can't hold the tool of choice and create anything we let it a fair price, most always to the buyer's advantage.

...and in the words of Forrest Gump, "that's all I'm going to say about that."  Except...good luck on your sale my know who you are!

So, back to Junk Baby...                                            

She's signed and comes also with a Certificate of Authenticity

Today, she goes up for adoption to a new family, as junk lovers - ME - are not good parents to junk babies...they tend to push them aside when new junk comes along. Sad, really but true! 

I love you Junk Baby!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Highlights from the Junk Workshop

The junk workshop on Saturday was loads of fun! I really had no idea exactly how it would go. I've mostly taught children and teen art classes and have never actually attended any type of workshop myself that I can recall. I thought maybe I should begin like I always do with art classes...with an introduction, a demo or instructions...etc. and then let them move into the fun part.

 I did none of the above. I did get to greet everyone individually but once they were in, well, it just happened. After everyone arrived they promptly took inventory of the junk, scooped up what they wanted and went to work. I was impressed. Most everyone arrived with a vision and if they didn't come with one they had one within the first hour.

Here's a look at the afternoon....

Getting started

The first hour was really quiet. Everyone settled and concentrating...

Can you tell what this is?

Jan brought the BEST junk from her barn. I'd love to go there and   "pick". 

Notice her and re-styled...just for fun. I would buy one of those!

Notice the cute bakelite alarm clock...another of her great junk.

Lauri making a screen frame for her earrings. I didn't get a photo of  the finished product for some reason...It turned out great. 

These girls are pro's. They could have taught the class! I loved their ideas.

I laughed when I took Krista's picture. I may have as many of her as her mom. She's been coming to  the studio since 5th grade. She's almost 17! 

Hour 2 and several completed projects later.

I wonder if Jonathan was channeling Tom Mix? ...He built an alter that he can pack up and take with him wherever he goes. I am looking forward to seeing it when he's finished! 

Aren't these great coasters? Zinc jar lids with paper inserts coated with several coats polyurethane. 

Cigar box turned jewelry box

Windchimes by our youngest participant

I'm so happy to know there is a use for all those corks I accumulate. Don't you love it?

My sister, Lori putting to good use all those windows she replaced in her old farmhouse. 
I hope everyone had as much fun as I did. We will definitely have to do this again. Thank you all for coming!

Today, the studio seems a little empty. I've packed away the extra tables and all the unused junk is back in my "stash". I've completely cleaned off my worktable and put away all the tools. The only thing left is the inspiration I got from being with all of the other creative people that spent the afternoon here.

Now, I've got about 12 weeks or less to get ready for the show in May. Ready or not, here I come. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We are Going!

It's not that I've been keeping anything a secret...I'm not very good at it anyway, but my page is up on Design America-Texas today, so I will go ahead and tell you. We are going!

I'm excited not only to be included in this show, but this one is close to Erin. She can come to Texas for a day and we can work in a visit to Oklahoma after the show.

I hope you will take a few minutes to look at the website and check out the fabulous artists and designers that will be there. Oh My!

Now, to work. I've got lots to do!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In a Junkin' State of Mind

I've been in a junkin' state of mind all week. One project only inspires another and another. I haven't gotten around to doing all that I've wanted to, but now I'm at least organized enough to make myself a list.

It's only three days until our Junk Camp for Beginners Workshop and I've got several new and simple projects ready to use as examples.

Goodwill frame with embellished horseshoe hanger
 This is a simple 1950's picture frame that I've repainted and distressed in my used to be another color before it was this I've hung it from brown velvet ribbon attached to a rhinestone embellished horseshoe right off Checker's front foot. Well, several years ago actually. He's a barefoot boy now and loves it! Oh, and this is for sale in the shop.

Horseshoe courtesy of Checkers
 How 'bout this sconce? You can see it's a garden digging tool that I've attached to a piece that I'm thinking may be the front of an old radio or some kind of speaker. It had a thin fabric backing... anyway, it turned out really cute. I can see a candle sitting on it or maybe even keys hanging on the teeth. This one too, is for sale at Ranch Dressing Handmade and Vintage.

Digger tool sconce
 The next two are from my personal junk and will go back on my porch where they came from. I'm all about adding feet and bases to things. I've been using this pot as a planter for years in the herb garden but it's almost rusted out and I wanted to bring it onto the covered porch before it was a goner. I added some drawer knobs for feet and a milk cap for a little color. I have just the perfect spot for it on our screened in porch.

Coffee pot turned planter with feet
 And this piece is made from one of my many, many enamelware pans and a ceramic snowflake planter from Goodwill.  After I put it together I realized the base is upside down...I think it looks better that way...evidently. I painted it with gloss and acrylics to look like rusty enamel itself. I believe it turned out better than I imagined. Now, it needs some little winter pots of pansies or some bird seed...haven't decided yet.

Winter birdfeeder  or planter
These are all simple and good beginner projects taking only about an hour more or less to complete. I'm looking forward to the workshop and seeing what the students come up with. I will be sure to post photos next week from the class.

Have you made anything from your junk finds lately?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Junk Baby

I wanted to give you a quick peek at one of the junk projects I made this week. Here again for the second week in a row...and only the second week in the new year...that I am a day late posting my Worktable Wednesday post. I hope this is not an indicator of the year to come!

 I do have a legit excuse...I left my camera in the studio last night and by the time I had taken off all my layers and my boots I was NOT going back out. We have a thin layer of ice left from Monday's and Tuesday's storm and by 10:30 last night it just wasn't worth risking a broken leg to blog!

But, here she is...

I don't know that she's completely finished yet. I feel like she needs to be holding something. I'm still looking for that something.

I love her!...and I think she is a real cutie. I've had the baby oil bottle for a while and no one bought it at the last open house so I put it back in my stash. While I was reorganizing some things I found the doll parts that I got at a friend's yard sale last summer. I never know what causes the initial spark but it ignited and I put the two together on my work table and other elements started showing up. As you can see there are pieces of vintage costume jewelry, silk flower petals from left over "Fairy Camp" from years ago, vintage buttons and scrabble pieces.

The frame was a steal (well not literally!) from a flea market last fall. I wish now I'd bought more than the two I came home with. I should have listened to my friend Ruth Ann! 

My junk baby actually hangs straight on her little diaper pin hanger, but I didn't want to leave her up long because the epoxy on the button hadn't completely cured when I snapped the picture.

This is an example of what students can do at our Junk Camp for Beginners workshops on the 22nd and 29th. This little girl will be for sale in Ranch Dressing Handmade and Vintage and may be listed in my Etsy shop as well after the workshops are over.

It's not too late to sign up for the class on the 29th. There are a few seats still available. You can register online or contact me email, phone or text. All of my contact info is in the side bar and in the link above in the About  tab.

More project peeks to come.

Talk to you  soon.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Our First Workshop is Full

I'm very happy to announce that our first workshop Junk Camp for Beginners is full with nearly a week to go before the registration deadline. This doesn't mean though that you can't come if you were waiting until this week to sign up. I am continuing registrations, but for another date, Saturday January 29th. It will be the same time slot, 1pm - 4pm.

If this is the first you are hearing about the workshop you can read the description here.

With  all this said, I have much to do to now get ready for something I only dreamed up a week ago. Yes, this is how I the seat of my pants...on a daily basis. Keeps life interesting!

Also, this week I will be shopping for a new printer. I need something that uses archival pigments. I think.  Any suggestions?

Boots and Saddle 
These are two more of the coaster rounds from the vintage sheet music I did last week. I tried printing some of these on the printer I have now, but it just doesn't capture the color and detail the way I would like it to. Recently I bought an ACEO on ebay that was printed with archival pigment on special paper. It is stunning! I want that. I think I will contact her this week to see what she has.

Well, back to the drawing board. Literally.

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Thoughts and New Work

Ideally, this should have been posted yesterday for Worktable Wednesday, but time slipped away. I have purposely been staying off the laptop so I can be more productive elsewhere.

So, when I am in the studio I have lots of time to think...and think I have done. I've made some decisions about my work that I feel very good about. For starters, I am going to offer some printed things. It's really hard to be a prolific artist if I'm reproducing the same designs day in and day out.

This week, while working on said same ole, same ole designs, on canvas, I somehow ended up with vintage paper, acrylics and pens. The results were a series I've named The Guardians. Without even realizing it at the time I ended up with artwork for 3 future projects.

The Guardians
These will become printed coasters in the same fashion as my painted ones (canvas backed with cork). I can seal them the same as well with 6 coats of acrylic poly. I needed art for the tops of my soy candle tins so they can go there too. And lastly, the originals can be framed and sold that way. My sister, just today, suggested that they go behind wide mats and black frames and sold as a set. Sounds good to me.

I'm working on 2 more pairs on this same vintage sheet music...then off to something else. 

Look for these finished items soon in our shop here at home and in my Etsy shop. I'll let you know when they are available.

Talk to you soon.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Our First Workshop of the New Year

Like all of you I'm excited to be starting a new year and I'm excited to announce our first workshop of the year.
Remember the clock case jewelry box? Junk find.

It's called Junk Camp for Beginners. Over the holidays when I would tell my friends and family what I was doing with junk these days they looked at me a little funny. So....I thought I'd give others the opportunity to catch the "junk bug" and join me in the studio for an afternoon. I have to warn you. It's addictive. You will never be the same again. 

I've already told you about all the "good junk" I have stored under my work table, in the stove house, in the barn, behind the tool shed and even a piece or two behind the tractor shed. To the naked eye, it is only junk and the typical things you see around farms, but to me I see art supplies.

For those attending, this may be the cheapest afternoon of fun you've had in a while. I know, we are all running a little short after shopping, eating out, partying, and splurging more often for Starbucks in December, but this mini workshop is a DEAL. Registration is $10 and the cost of the class is....what ever you decide you want to spend. 

We are setting up bins with junk ranging in price from $0.25 to $25.00. You choose how little or how much you want to spend on your project. We also encourage you to bring your own junk to swap with other participants. 

We will supply tools and materials for manipulating or connecting your junk into art objects...functional or decorative...large or small. It's up to you. Cool? We think so. I will have new projects on hand for inspiration and I will help you to see the potential in the items you choose to work with. 

When is this workshop?
Saturday January 22, 2011.
1pm - 4pm (you know I am NOT a morning person, and too, I am most likely going to be out yard sale(ing) until noon.)

Where is the workshop held?
Free Rein Art & Design Studio (upstairs studio in Ranch Dressing Handmade and Vintage)
1882 Kennedy Farm Rd

How do you register?

Or call, text or email. I will pencil you in and you can mail in or stop by the studio with your $10 fee. All of our contact info is in the sidebar.

Is there a deadline to register?
Yes, January 15th. The workshop is limited to 6 students. If we should have more interest, I will offer the class the following Saturday as well.

When you register, be sure to leave me all of your contact info for further instructions for the class. I will send and email or post card before the 22nd. 

Have I left anything out? Ask any questions in the comments section and I'll clear it up for everyone. I look forward to hearing from you and am really excited about the workshop!

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

   In the New Year!

I'll be back to work on the 3rd and ready to get the blog rolling again. See you soon.