Saturday, November 27, 2010

Meet Santa Winifred

Want to hear a bit of heavenly gossip?? The day I unpacked Santa Winifred the first words out of her mouth were to inform me that she is Santa Winifred (her art sisters call her Winni) and she is a patron saint in training. Yep I guess Saint Pete thought that there needed to be a patron saint for us "aging beautifully artist gals". Well that's all Winni needed to hear. She was waiting at the PG (pearly gates) the very next morning with her resume in hand. She wanted to apply before the rush of other saints stared. Shhhh... I have it on good authority that she was the only applicant...but don't tell her, it would be a real blow to her self esteem. 

Any way after a greweling interview Saint Peter gave Winni the position, and introduced her to her new boss, Saint Catharine of Bologna. Saint Cat is the patron saint of artists. Just thought you might like to know :)

Actually I have lusted for an antique wooden "Santos" since I was a kid. I saw my first one at the little church in tiny village just across the Arizona border in Mexico. She was magnificent and had to be at least 200 hundred years old. I think that might even have been when I fell in love with patina. Latin American Santos are my favorite even though there are many different Santos statues in the Latin countries where they originated. They were created out of wood and plaster by the Latin American Indigenous to portray the catholic saints, the Spanish priest described. They are amazingly beautiful and folk art at it's very best. 

Many were half bodies perched on top of a wooden "cage" This allowed for them to be dressed in the appropriate robes for the different "church seasons" Like the picture above they can be anywhere around 50-400 years old though most of the ones found these days are from the late 19th early 20th century. They have layers and layers of faded dirty paint with lovely chips, dents, cracks and other well earned character marks!! As you can well imagine when and if you are lucky to find one they are very costly. The little blue lady above is considered inexpensive as she is only from the first years of the 20th cent. Inexpensive still being in the thousands$$. This one is much older, quite tall & in "pristine" condition. Lets just say you could buy a new car with what she is worth.
I have only seen one old one here for sale. Debbie and I found it in an antique store in San Miguel de Allende. He was not very tall, had been a home for termites, and was only about 60 years old. Yikes we both had sticker shock!!

That's when I decided that if I was going to ever have one perhaps I should consider a good reproduction. So I wandered around the internet window shopping. I found a site in Tenn. that had great looking ones that are handmade from resin and wood
Their top half is hand finished resin that has a couple of layers of paint, crackle,patina, and chips. They even use wooden pegs for the joints just like the real ones.
The cages are made from old wood to match their bodies. I fell madly in love with little Winni the minute I saw her. She looks a bit different then most of the others. She has beautiful natural curly hair, and cute chubby cheeks.
The expression on her face and eyes certainly say she is quite an imp, with just a bit of mischievousness. She fits in the family rather well I think! :)
So right there and then I ordered her, well first I checked with my galfriend and partner in crime Jackie D to see if she and her husband might be willing to mule Winni down. When she said  yes I couldn't hit the paypal button fast enough. :)
You never know one day I might stumble across a nice old (affordable) Spanish/American Santos but I'm sure not going to hold my breath. And I'm more then happy that Santa Winifred, the patron saint of  "aging beautiful artist gals" (in training) has come to live with us!!

Have an audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are.   p;)

PS. Don't tell LW but we think Winni might be needing a companion or 2...shhhh... ;) (just sayin)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Can This Be???

No talking shop tonight. :) I'm taking a little Busman's holiday. Although I have been playing around a bit with fabric and the sewing machine BUT just for myself!!

Any ideas on the picture, maybe a guess or two?? No??? Okay maybe this one will help.
Woo before we go any further let me insert a small disclaimer. I don't know if the world was tip just slightly to the left or if I was, maybe the camera, but that seems unlikely because all of them are tilted?? It's a real puzzlement. Anyway if it bothers your sense of eveness (not a word!) try lifting the left side of your computer or laptop just a skosh. See right as rain I'm thinken. :)

Okay so did this picture give you any clues?? And noooooo it's not an old fashioned portable "one holer"!!! But it is portable. Well try this one then.
This would be the inside of the copper bowl. Look at that patina would ya. Oh and the bowl is all hammered and shaped by hand! So about now you are thinking what?? Portable food station, BYOSC (bring your own serving counter), maybe a new fangled pie safe?? Nope, nope and nope. Alright already jeezzz... this picture explains things clearly enough.
Is this not the coolest thing you have laid eyes on lately?? It's an antique portable sink!! Go look at the second picture again. See the two round thingies there on the bottom of the case?? One is to attach a hose to, and the other one is to drain the water from. There is a brass towel rack underneath, and look here a tin soap dish and facet that even swivels so you can shut the lid, which is also the bottom come to think of it!!
When I did a bit of a google search. I found some really interesting info. These little sinks were manufactured by a number of different companies, starting around 1910-1912. In fact Sears&Roebuck Co. sold them in the States through their mail order catalog. I guess it's true they sold everything even the kitchen sink! ;) So anyways these porta-sinks became very popular with the military officers when out roughing it, and war times. It was also on the well out fitted safari camps's list of luxuries. The sink, a portable tub, a nice wooden "porta-potty", surrounded by a white canvas tent and you were on your way to a 1&1/2 star hotel! Since this one came from central Mexico it could have been used during the years of the revolution. Or perhaps in hunting camps What a great way to impress your friends. Take off in one of those new motor cars way up in the high country of the ginormous Hacienda. When you get to "camp" there are fully furnished (huge) tent suites. Then there's the cook tent, dining tent, and the luxurious bath tent, portable, sink, tub,&commode, with da ta da DAAA running water!!! How can that be??? Easy peasy- big water tank on the hill or on stilts, filled with rain and by bucket, long hose from tank to bath tent and Wa La running water for your morning shave. Why it's so civilized you could even take the "gentler sex" along. ;)

Now you have to admit this was one awesome score! Great, incredible, amazing condition&patina to the wood case, copper, tin, and telescoping support hinges. Can you imagine Debbie, Blanca, and I found it, sitting on the table of an old gent selling vintage stuff at the town square market in Patzcuaro. I bet you can guess the look and response LW gave, when I came hauling it in to the B&B room! :) Have I ever told you how wonderfully patient, tolerent, and accepting this man is??? Even though he has no idea what something is or what it will become he finds a safe spot in the Yellow Submarine and hauls my treasures home with only a slight bit of good natured ribbing!! I am indeed a very lucky girl!!!

I mean how can you not love this score??? (okay blogger in it's infinite wisdom refuses to let me post this last picture of the sink on the wall with the vintage telephone and chalk board!! So you'll have to imagine an old black phone hanging on the right side and a little school slate board above the sink on the left side) :(

Have a most audacious art filled day, no matter where in the world you are  p;) 

PS. Happy Thanksgiving my most amazing Bloglandian family!!! How very thankful I am that you have included me as a member of this family!!!!! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

And Life Returns to Normal

Yep we made it through the Pro-Mexico Extravaganza!! If this was a crystal ball peek into the future of our little piece of paradise's economical future is in very deep trouble. Warning: I try very hard to present a positive upbeat feeling here in my little corner of Bloglandia. But tonight I really need to get this off my chest, so if you don't want to hear about the part of my life that isn't all about art projects then now would be the time to hit the skip button. 

 Even though we are the resort area considered the first main land stop on the Mexican Riviera we have been some what sheltered from the worse of the economic down turn. Well it took about 2 years to trickle down to us, and boy howdy it's poring!! In a nutshell. This bazaar is the first social event of the season. It's organized by the women in Pro-Mexico, which is a group of the more/most "influential" (read money) of our Mexican business community and foreigner's (mostly snowbirds) As I'm sure you would guess this is a must be seen at event, of who can "afford" to spend freely. It's a ticketed event with tickets costing around
$20(us). You have access to the vendors and brunch. I have been told that the gals are packed bellybutton to bellybutton, that is is one huge feeding frenzy, they will buy everything you can make, that it's as bad as a Macy's basement sale, that they will literally take things out of each others hands. Well not this year, I wouldn't say this was crowded would you??
In years past they would shop right up to brunch being served and as soon as the program and meal were over they were back shopping. The tables were in the center with the vendor tables around the walls. See behind the two ladies in the above pic? The lady in the burnt red top is a buyer and the blue&white top behind her is a vendor. The vendor tables were never even one person deep!! Over on the right in the next picture these gals couldn't even catch a break, and they are selling white elephants that they announced after the first hour were all half price!!
Funny little side note, especially for my Bloglandian family in the northlands. As you can see by the woman in the picture with the purple scarf is dressed for winter :) Yep it's getting down to a frigid 60degrees(f) at night!!! :). Time to dig out the gloves,parkas,scarves and hats!!

This is pretty much what the vendors did a lot of. They all agreed that what few sales they had were for $200mx or less. That's less then $20us!! They were use to having the women spend $200-250 each at their tables!!
Here is sweet little Helena at our table when we had done the final fluffing.
We set my jewelry up on the right side of the table and Casa Etnika's on the left. The heart holding necklaces is mine. When we were setting up we wanted to be sure that none of the fragile pieces were to close to the edge. As Helena said, there is always a problem with stuff being swept off the tables with the crowds of people at the tables. Yep that's Annalise with the angel wings on. She insisted that only she could do justice to the Vestita. :) The heart frame is actually a cheap (less then $2.00us) wire candle stand from the craft store. For clips I sprayed white tiny metal paper clamps, clamped them over the wire and left the metal levers up. The necklaces hung great that way. The other display assistant I had was Santa (that's Spanish for a female saint, not the guy with the reindeer!) Winifred. Isn't she beautiful??!! She has such a perfect patina complexion!! I can only wish that she was a true antique Spanish Santos. But as a made to look antique she is pretty darn convincing. 
As far as our sales went they were as bad as everyone else's. See the two torn silk necklaces with the crosses?? Helena had them priced at about $15us. She had gotten them at a really good price. Well she sold those and a few other inexpensive necklaces. Nothing over $20us.
 Last year in 3 hours she sold almost $2000us, with nothing priced over $100us This year she sold almost $300us, in the same amount of time. As for me, who had nada, nothing, zip under $20us I sold one bracelet one necklace, and the vestita Annalise has on :( And I was darn happy I managed that because they were all  way over $20.
I am very thankful that LW and I don't have to depend, much less live on the sale of my art. But that does not mean that I'm not very frightened and worried about our city and friends, being able to weather this latest blow to it's economic future. Before even when the US tourists quit spending here the community was still able to keep each other alive with doing business with each other. Now the top of the money tree is all but dry. When they do not have the money to pay for services then no one does because they are what initiates the circle. As many of the businesses in the community have whispered, they hope and pray that the millions of pesos Mexico spent on advertising in Europe and other non-north American countries pays off!!! There are many candles being lit with the prayer that this does happen and soon...

Have an audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are.  p;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Up Periscope

I thought I'd take a bit of a break to see what's been going on in our little Bloglandian community. I really miss visiting and catching up with all the news in your lives. Less then a week now and then it's all over!!! Boy and howdy I'm going to have a hard time convincing myself to take on this mess again next year!!

The Art Walk Friday evening was a great success. We had a good showing of both foreigners and nationals. Not all the snowbirds have roosted yet, and not everyone realized the season's schedule had started. I took 8 new necklaces and 3 bracelets and added it to the pieces already in the store. Now my secret hope is that they don't all sell before the bazaar on Tuesday!! But that might be a pipe dream. When Larry stopped by the store for coffee, Helena said the pearl and amethyst necklace had already sold. YEA&OH NO!! I still get a huge rush every time something sells but there goes my very small (and growing smaller) inventory!! Soooo I guess when it's gone, it's gone and I'm done selling for the holidays.

Here is a couple of pieces I took to the art walk and hopefully will take to the bazaar.I used some more of the huge delicious amethyst, along with some nice lemony citrine. The picture really doesn't do the two colors any favors.

I was so pleasantly surprised to see the two contrasting colors really were good complements for each other. Who knew? I don't have a whole lot of experience with purple. It's not a color I care much for and I think the last thing I owned in purple was a bulky turtle neck sweater in high school. :) So in my myopic little world the only color I thought went with purple was pink. And we all know how deathly allergic I am to pink! ;)
I challenged myself to find a pleasing way to use this big amethyst focal. It's hard to see but it's shaped a bit like the letter L or a straight back chair with lumps. I really had to search around in my stashes to find something that would work. I found this little silver angel charm who just happen to be sitting. Perfect!!! Do I, have a throne with your name on it!!
With this one I used another one of the big milagros we found on our trip. I added a bit of green patina and then "dirt-dy" it up with shoe wax.
There are garnet nugget strings on the big angel and with the smaller angel milagros I used vintage yellow glass trading beads.
Instead of using a couple of rhinestone earrings at the clasp I "deconstructed" (translate tore apart) a little opal and sterling necklace. It's good to be different for a change. Nothing worse then being predictable.
This one is a nice loooong one. I used another one of the big milagros, the Madonna and child.
I used  rosary links with the aquamarine and garnet beads. I've been noticing that chain has been showing up on a lot of jewelry this year. I suppose it's because it can keep the cost of pieces down. It also can give jewelry a bit of a streamlined, uncluttered look. Well except for those necklaces that consist of 20 rows of different size links and chains. Anyway in keeping with this season's trend I incorporated some antiqued bronze chain. One thing is true, it's a lot faster to make these with far fewer wrapped links. 
Now I have a sad story to tell. For the clasp I used a cute leaf and blue rhinestone earring, as the claspee and for the clasper I used a piece of polymer clay. I made it from a mold of an antique knife handle and then did a bit of aging to get the look of an old  hair brush handle made from bone or ivory. Oh I have to tell you it looked sooooo good, I managed to get just the right color and shading. Now remember I'm a real real green newby when it comes to all things polymer. So I thought it might be good to spray a bit of clear acrylic on to protect the surface. OHHHHHH how wrong I was!!! (sooob) Little did I know that all but a couple of acrylic/varnish type agents will react with the polymer clay. The varnish,etc. will never really dry and it forever remain sticky!!! Even if you sand the finish off it still has a tendency to resurface to make the piece sticky again!  Needless to say the "brush handle" is no longer the clasper. And I have learned another one of those "sandbox rules". I think I'll stick to just a soft buffed finish from now on!!!
 I'm thinking it's about time to dive in again. When I finish the necklace I'm working on I'll have another 4 pieces to add to my little nest egg. Oye! and today is only Wednesday! I seem to have stumbled into that very elusive zone where inspiration and productivity manage to merge. Yep so far (knock on wood) the inspirations have been flowing freely. How rare is that?? Most of the time inspiration tends to disappear when you need it the most! So I think I'll just hang on tight and ride this baby out, hoping that inspiration doesn't find the exit sign before next Tuesday!!

Have an audacious art filled day no matter where in the world you are.  p;

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

These Are The Days of Birthdays & Art Shows

Yep this ol' Gal turns 55 at 4:55am tomorrow morning. And yep I'm sure I have as many wrinkles and sags as this woman I however never could do that with my legs!! It sure has taken a heap of living and a bit of blood, sweat and tears, but there has also been a whole lot of laughter, joy and wonderment!! Unlike many people who say they would never change a thing that happen in their lives, I can honestly say from time to time there are things I wouldn't have minded changing. But then I wouldn't be the person I am and I would have missed out on a rather exciting and happy life. Soooo I guess I'll just stick with the one I have, both past and present and hopefully a long future. :)

I've decided I'm as ready as I'm going to be for the Art Walk on Friday. I have about 20 pieces done and that should be way more then enough. Since this is the first show of the season I'm thinking it's going to be a bit slow. It's still hot and humid here and not all the "snowbirds" have come down to roost yet. But maybe I'll get an idea of what people are liking and buying.

Here are a couple of pieces I finished the other day. The fist one is one of those "it's not what you thought it looked like when you ordered it" sorta pieces. I thought I had bought a string of drusy Mexican agates. Well the agates are really beautiful but drusy they are not. And some are cut in some "what am I suppose to do with these" shapes! So this is what I came up with and I have to say I'm really pleased. In fact if it doesn't sell right away I might just keep it!
I used garnet nuggets and light brown glass trading beads. I made a simple hook closure in the front using my favorite copper wire.
I used a little Lobster claw to attach the focal. I'm toying with an idea of making a group of mix&match interchangeable focals and necklaces. We'll see it's just in the pondering stage right now.
I have discovered that it's not necessary or me to "patina" my copper here. Heck in less then a week it will be looking like it has been around for years! :) In the same order as the drusies I also bought some cool large barrow shaped and some rough cut polished amethyst. I added some nice large 14mm Japanese glass pearls with a lovely soft patina. I'm also quite pleased with the way it turned out.
For the focal I used a huge rough cut &polished amethyst, and anchored it with a little rhinestone bling. :)
I have some iridescent gold colored biwa pearls that I used on the back half of the necklace. I thought they might make be a nice counter balance to the rougher amethyst. You know rustic meets sophistication. Think "Green Acres" :)
Since we are headed into the holiday, party, theater season I made this nice piece of subtle sparkle. I used some vintage black Austrian crystals and yellow opals.
A little string of sparkly yellow and black trading beads. And a third little gold chain with the black crystals,yellow citrine and of course a bit of rhinestones.
I finished off the back with two large "new amber" hearts, a little bit more rhinestone goodness and a little cherub milagro.
Oye I think that is more then enough for one post. I'd hate to completely bore you to tears!! :) So I believe I might just start this birthday celebration a few hours early and cuddle up with a nice cup of tea, a new mystery, and my bestest friend LW!!

Have an audacious art filled day no matter where you are in the world.   p;)
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