Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ending The Year on a Good Note

Well I finally finished the New Orleans piece! I actually completed it a few weeks ago but have been remiss about showing the final product. Here is how it turned out--the person who commissioned it seemed very happy with it and I hope his wife was too as it was an anniversary present. I loved stretching beyond my typical narrative to include a specific place like New Orleans-especially since I have such an affinity for that place. I hope to create more pieces in the future around a specific city or place perhaps. Although I plan on continuing my 3D work, for now I think I'm going to take a break from blogging to concentrate on my upcoming Surtex show in May. I might be starting a new blog under the name "Tammy Smith Design" but not sure yet when that will be but I will be sure to keep you posted! I want to say a huge THANKS for the kind comments and support you have given me since I started this blog--it really helped when I felt like I was working alone to know that someone out there was seeing what I did and it spoke to them. I SO appreciate you for that:) Please keep checking my website for new pieces-I still have at least 15 or so pieces under Artwork-Available. I wish you all very happy holidays and a wonderful new year! xo-Tammy

Friday, November 11, 2011

Creating A New Visual Narrative: Part Deux

Okay I'm finally back to working on the custom commission piece that I accepted many months ago. I hate to think of how long it's taken me to get started, but in my defense the client said they were in no hurry. Plus I actually have been making other pieces in between...okay, enough excuses!'s where I'm at now. I'm FINALLY getting a solid, clear vision of what I want this piece to look like. It took me a long time and a lot of mulling over because, as I said before, I've never done a piece that depicts a certain city. Below I've listed the steps I've gone through so far. Next step is to actually roll out the clay and begin sculpting! Oh boy:)

What helped me most was finding the "stage". Many thanks to my friend Eric for bringing this wonderful old barn door over. I just love the thick, chunky bolts in the top! We had to cut it in half and add a small shelf at the bottom for the city to sit on.

Next I researched on the web-the pics I have here are an amalgam of many photos that I pulled from Flickr, real estate websites, etc. I cropped in tightly on these photos to get the detail of the wrought iron that is so specific to the French Quarter.

After looking at the research and building the stage, I started sketching the piece to scale. I don't have tracing paper large enough so I had to tape several together. I wanted to have the words "Vieux Carre" in there somewhere as that really says French Quarter to me in a romantic way. I also didn't want a realistic depiction of the Quarter-instead I wanted to give the flavor of it by focusing on the swirls found in the ironwork and the shapes in the peaks of the roofs, etc. I also wanted to get the large palm leaves in there as they are ubiquitous to that city--I ended up placing them within the context of the buildings, as when you walk by a courtyard gate and see nothing but a proliferation of palm fronds.

This is showing the trapeze couple that will hang in the upper right hand corner. This piece is to celebrate a 25th anniversary so I wanted to have two lovers flying over the city.

In this antique cheese box, I will have 3 sculpted heads, 2 saints and 1 "sinner", as NOLA is called the city of saints and sinners. The buildings will be constructed from a combination of all the mediums I use: clay, painted metal, twisted wire, and found objects.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Do you know what a murmuration is?

I know I didn't. Watch this wonderful video to find out what it is! This has apparently gone viral and for good reason. It takes place on the River Shannon in Ireland.

Murmuration from Sophie Windsor Clive on Vimeo.

A chance encounter and shared moment with one of natures greatest and most fleeting phenomena.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

60s Graphics Love

Okay how come nobody ever told me about Georges Briard? I've been admiring his work for many years but never knew who was responsible for the cool graphic designs on a lot of the vintage bowls, mugs, and towels that I've seen in antique shops and thrift stores for years. These are just a few of his images but if you're as inspired by him as I am, just do a google search under his name and see what pops up!
On the surface design front, just sent in my payment for my booth so I'm officially committed to doing Surtex in 2012! I'm continuing to pull inspiration from lots of different places and am really having fun creating new collections. I'm also trying to research the places/websites that I think might be a good fit for my work. It's always important to consider your customer first (or who you'd like your customer to be.) I'm starting with the stores or sites I love to shop at and trying to target that consumer. Have a fun creative day!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finding inspiration where you are

I went out in search of some visual inspiration the other day to help me get started on a Moroccan themed collection. Fortunately I didn't have to go very far because I live just a mile from a very beautiful place-it's called the Country Club Plaza. It's a Spanish/Moorish/Moroccan style shopping area here in KC and although I pass these buildings almost daily, I never stop to take photos of them. I thought you might find them interesting and inspiring as well! Is there somewhere near you that's also inspiring or different? If so I'd love to see it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On The Other Hand....Something Completely Different

I am very excited about a new direction I've decided to go in! It's both a departure of sorts and also revisiting my past...I'll explain. When I worked at Hallmark here in KC, I was in the Party and Giftwrap department. We didn't design the cards that Hallmark is most known for--we designed the surface pattern. The decoration that went on everything from wrap to bags to plates, napkins, and cups. I became well versed at creating a repeat in Photoshop (after computers came along-before that we did it by hand with photocopies.)
So I have decided that in addition to continuing to create my 3D pieces (and finishing that commission piece from the last post), I am going to Surtex next May to begin my reintroduction into licensing! I am shooting for having at least 12 collections of 8 coordinating designs each. I started a couple of weeks ago and now have a few card and collection ideas's really exciting to work in another dimension for a change. I think it uses a completely different side of my brain than building mixed media pieces, or at least it feels that way. How about you? Heading in any new directions?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Creating A New Visual Narrative: Part One

I've been commissioned to do a piece for a friend commemorating his wedding anniversary. He has given me free reign to create anything I want (which is a gift but is also somewhat scary to me) but it does need to be about a city-specifically, it should be about New Orleans. This city holds special meaning not only to my friend and his wife, but also to me as I used to live there and still have family there. I've been mulling it over in my mind and I keep getting do I create a piece that depicts a city yet is still in my style? I've never done a city before....I mean, what would it look like? I called this post "Creating a new visual narrative" because in a sense that's what you do as an artist when you set out to create something that has your unique look to it--and it's not always easy. I'm showing you my sketchbook here with some beginning twigs of an idea...(now you can see how bad a sketcher I am.) These aren't the first sketches of this piece by any means, but this is the first one that actually has promise-at least to me. To you it probably looks like chicken scratch, but to me I know what to start on now. A title "Saints and Sinners" popped into my head so I've drawn some saints flying overhead and also contained within boxes (Saint in a Box-THAT should be a product:). Now to create the scene: I'm thinking of trying to do a wrought iron gate along the bottom with a 3-dimensional Saint Louis Cathedral behind the gates. Not sure yet how to build the church, possibly out of wire with either fabric or papier mache over. I'll keep posting my progress here in case anyone else is interested in how a piece comes together. This is what I'd call "Part 1-The Struggle". I know something's going to work out, just not sure what yet!

Friday, September 30, 2011

New Word Signs Too!

I almost forgot to show my new word signs to you also! All are similar to old sideshow signs but with a double meaning. They are handpainted and handlettered on recycled wood, with painted and aged metal, clay, and acrylic paint. All are for sale in my etsy shop or on my website. Click the titles beneath each sign to be taken to the etsy listing for that piece.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Work-Fall 2011

The Invisible Woman

The Imposter

I've been AWOL for a long time I know, but I have several new pieces to show for it! I did these pieces in preparation for the Plaza Art Fair, held here in KC Sept.23-25. This time the theme I focused on was sideshow freaks, but not the type you usually think of--instead I wanted to show how we all have idiosyncrasies that make us each freaks in our own way. In fact I feel like I have been each of these people at various times in my life! The show went well for me and I want to thank everyone who came by. I always love doing the PAF because it's one of the few times I get to see old friends who I used to work with and also make some new ones. Below are most of my pieces from the show. I also have smaller pieces that aren't shown here so be sure to visit my etsy shop to see them all. I'll be putting those that didn't sell at the fair on my website and etsy shop later today. Please click on the title of the piece to go to those links.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More New Lighted Pieces

Lighted lovebird nest-$90.00
Polka Dot lamp with lovebirds-$160.00
Flying Bird lamp-$160.00
Grow Tree lamp-$175.00
Hidden Potential lamp-$275.00
Hippodrome lamp-$250.00
Lighted Circus Cage with bird-$90.00

The Hobbs building show here in KC went really well and many thanks to those who came by and visited my little "light" studio for the night. Here are some pieces that I still have and will now be for sale in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Work for Hobbs Show-Our Lady of The Serpentine

Thanks to a wonderful show in New Orleans, I had to get busy right when I got home to prepare for my upcoming show tomorrow night and Sat. at the Hobbs Building-a cool old building full of artists here in KC. Pictured below is one of my new pieces. This show will be all about light--I'll have some hanging lamps and small lighted lovebird pieces as well as lighted sculptures like this one. The title so far is Our Lady of The Serpentine. She is made of clay and the piece is constructed of metal, fabric, wire and paint. The bulb in the center is a 7 watt bulb, which I found gives off the subtle glow that I was going for. She will be for sale on my site and in my Etsy shop next week if she doesn't sell at the show.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Well-Being vs. Happiness

I was running in the rain today with my trusty sidekick Lucky and somehow started thinking about the H word. Everybody seems to be transfixed on being "happy" but I have to say when I check in with myself to see how it's going and I ask myself if I'm happy, I falter a bit. Well sure I'm happy-- I mean I should be-I'm healthy, I have all kinds of great people in my life and I'm doing what I love--but somehow happy isn't the word I'd use. It seems to require a bubbly-ness that takes alot of energy to sustain...I'd say what I feel is more subtle, more enduring...maybe it's well-being...?
One of my favorite writers is Eckhart Tolle and he said once that if you're aware and living in the present moment, you're either in a state of acceptance, enjoyment, or enthusiasm. Sometimes, like when I don't hear back from potential clients or things don't happen the way I think they "should", I'm doing my best to be in that state of acceptance. In fact, I'm kindof struggling to get there. But I'm realizing now that accepting that state is a sort of well-being...a sort of peace. When I was running in the rain today, I accepted the fact that it was raining. And then after accepting it, it started raining harder. I accepted that. My dog and I were soaking wet, but before the end of the run, I was actually enjoying the rain (not sure my dog was:)
I hope you're able to find acceptance and that feeling of well-being in whatever stage you're in right now, in whatever's happening to you at the moment. And if not, well, accept that too. It will change, you'll see.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Getting Taken (Almost)

I should have known first by the fact that I couldn't find their seller name in Etsy anywhere. But the email came from Etsy and had the seller's name in the message so I thought it was okay, a little odd but okay. They said they wanted to purchase one of my large pieces but that they needed to first make sure I was an "honest and trustworthy" person. Then they said they had their own shipping co. so they would include some extra $$ on the check for shipping and would have the piece picked up from my house. They were sending me a cashier's check that I would need to cash immediately and then pay the excess to their shipper. Fast forward 3 days--the cashier's check arrives at my door via FedEx however the sum on the check is about 4 times what my artwork price is....I should have stopped there I know but I went to my bank, cashed it and was on my way to wire the overage when I thought I'd stop in at a local gallery that carries my work. Started chatting with the girl who works there about my weird sale and she said that had happened to them too---very similar circumstances. After that, I made a beeline back home and called the bank that the check had been drawn from (I did think to scan the check in before I cashed it.) There the woman told me that no account under that name existed and that the check would indeed bounce. Lesson learned!
I feel a bit stupid that I fell for this at all but so glad it didn't go further...I hope this helps any other internet sellers out there. Remember: a cashier's check still takes at least one day to clear and CAN be fraudulent so check it out first.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The "Reveal" Lamps

Had to show you 2 more new lovebird lamps that I've just completed...and as for where the inspiration came for these? I don't really know, all I know is that I wanted these lamps to each have a small "reveal". With the polka dot lamp, when the light is off you just see white dots on black background but when the light turns on, TADA--there are small stars that appear behind some of the dots. With the curly leaf lamp, I made 2 layers of leaves-smaller ones that are made from sheet music and larger light brown ones that cover the others. You can see the outline of the smaller leaves but they really show up when the light is on. Click on this link to see more photos or info on them in my Etsy shop.

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