Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fun with Glitter, Glue and Cardstock (or why Thursday morning turned into a craft project!)

Most people who know me know that I am not a crafty person. There's nothing wrong with being crafty but it just isn't how I roll :)  We tend towards fine craft in all of our class offerings, etc and I just don't have a lot of excess time with which to dabble in assorted fun projects. That being said, I took a look at my gallery window this morning and knew that a little craft project was in order.

Although I am creative and have big, life-sized ideas, I am always on a budget. So this morning, out came the glitter, glue and card stock. I had to dig through a box to find the hot glue gun-yes, we do own one here, although it doesn't get much use. I had to rummage through another box to find the glitter-my least favorite artistic substance on the planet. Why, you ask? Because I am a photographer and glitter is the arch enemy of camera equipment. Then on to the idea......hmmm....

So I came up with an Easter/Bunny theme but Creative Genius style. That means it is not over the top in terms of easter whimsy and has a slightly (and in this case, slightly is the key operative word) modern edge to it. The idea came from a line drawing of bunny ears I came across in someone's cutesy email signature. The bags someone gave me and they were colorful and color attracts attention. In fact, I got more attention for my gallery window when I put white boxes with blue and purple tulle bows on them in my window than with anything else I have done. Incredibly simple but color pops and gets noticed.

Okay, so it is a little crafty but who doesn't love little bunny ears, right? So here's to Spring/Easter...warm weather and sun would be great but for now I will settle for colorful bags and bunny ears...and now I'm off to pack away the glue and glitter...hopefully for a while....

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring awakenings...

I know a lot of artists who hate winter...they literally feel like it saps all of their creative energy. Hating winter as an artist has to be particularly tough if you rely on your creativity and productivity to make a living. Naturally, you have no choice but to muscle through and make things happen, even if you just feel like crawling under a blanket until the weather hits 60plus degrees.

One of my personal favorite jewelry artists (and one whose work I wear a lot) hates winter. Yet this past winter she has been very creative, participating in a Ring A Week Challenge and making all kinds of new goodies. She sells her work all over the country so it isn't like she is having fun with her little hobby. This is her livelihood and she is very good at it.
Even better is that we have all new work from her fresh out of the studio. The new pieces have just arrived and can be found in her jewelry case here at Creative Genius. Here's a sneak peek but certainly come out and see them in person...the rings are my personal design favorites and even more amazing up close.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Art that speaks to me...

As you can imagine, I am in front of A LOT of art and creative creations all the time. Yes, it is an integral part of my job but even beyond that, I am always on the hunt for something hand-crafted, WELL-CRAFTED and super cool. Believe me when I tell you, hand-crafted and well-crafted are very often NOT the same thing and don't always exist in the same piece of art. I am choosy and tend to be very picky about the level of quality and the overall feel of what I bring in for my clients to see. I think high standards are important and I believe my customers have come to expect and appreciate those standards.
Even after almost eight years of choosing art and interacting with artists, something will surprise me. This week's surprise came from an artist named Tracy Stannard from Georgia. My assistant recommended bringing in Tracy's work and I was on the fence but the jewelry was different than anything else we carry so I decided to give it a try. I am overwhelmingly pleased with the results of that decision. We brought in a small assortment, including a bracelet made from vintage tins. I posted the bracelet on our facebook page and got such a great reaction.

When the box arrived, I was helping a good customer select a birthday gift for a friend and happened to open the box and show her this cool new bracelet. And off the bracelet went-gift wrapped in our standard gift wrapping to it's new owner. Wonderful, I thought, I will definitely get in touch with Tracy and get a few more.  Yesterday, a few more arrived. I was showing them to a friend when another good customer saw them, checked them out and the next one went home, again out of the box, with it's new owner. Terrific! I still had one and figured I would get a few more in the next few weeks. A third good customer came in and asked to see "her bracelet", the one she had seen on facebook and wanted. And the last one went home with it's new owner! More are on the way...reserve yours today or it will end up going home with someone else--I can almost guarantee it at this point  :)

I was also fortunate enough yesterday to get in some new art blocks from one of my favorite local artists, who lives right around the corner from Creative Genius. Her name is Abbie Mylod Galie and her company name is Original Abbie Designs. I have helped her with growing her business from a wholesale standpoint and she continually helps me with technology and resource things. Truly a mutually beneficial working she is very cool!

Yesterday's new editions are wall art blocks with reproductions of her original art on them. Very well done and these new ones really speak to me. My favorite is the artist one but I also like the drummer one too. The art is whimsical and fun and would work for just about anyone, regardless of the type of home or display area they choose to put it in. At $ 20 per art block they are a great gift...thanks for the new ones, Abbie...I am sure they will be going to new homes really soon...maybe one might even be going to MY home!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Technical Difficulties...

This morning when I got into the gallery, I answered the phone and directed the caller on signing up for a workshop. She informed me that the Creative Genius website was not working and nothing showed up when she went to it....well, that was unexpected and I immediately checked it out, only to discover the same missing website that my client had experienced.
As it happens, it was an easy problem to fix which took approximately 90 minutes to accomplish. That's right, NINETY MINUTES. Somehow, when you have to fix any sort of problem that involves calling someone these days, inevitably you are met with a bunch of choices (select option one for billing...blahblahblah) and just as inevitably you are left waiting for a long time once your selections are made. And if you are fortunate enough to have someone answer the phone right away, that person generally fits into the following set of options:
a-can't solve your problem because they are actually in the wrong department
b-doesn't speak english well (probably because they are in a call center somewhere far far away) and therefore you can't understand them to begin to resolve your problem
c-that person disconnects you by accident, of course, and you must resort to starting the entire process over again.
It's a wonder we're all not crazy...
Thankfully, the Creative Genius website is now up and least until next year, when some other unplanned atrocities could strike again.
Someone should just shoot me when that happens....

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

If Tim Burton was a lampworker...

As soon as I saw these, I thought they were really unique. My first thought was, if Tim Burton was a lampworker instead of a director, I bet he would make perfume bottles just like these. My assistant and I both agreed that these are very different and very cool. Certainly they are something that I would add to my fine craft collection. They have come to us from Deb DeMarco and in addition to these there are also some beautiful button glass pendants from her which are very well done and easy on the eyes.
If you are looking for a unique and special gift that doesn't take up a lot of room and doesn't break the bank, these are definitely worth a look.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

One of the many fun parts of my job...

One of the best parts of my job is the process of finding cool new things that my clients get as excited about as I do. There is a plethora of hand-crafted work out there but not all of it is at a high standard and in many cases, the lack of a professional product is a hindrance. I mean, it is always great to create something and sell it but hand-crafted work still needs to meet a standard and should not look unprofessional, cheap or like it is going to fall apart as soon as it arrives home with you. Sadly, that is often the case and I always feel badly for those artists because sometimes they aren't even told how to improve their work to make it present better. I am never insulting towards someone's creation but I very often will give advice, when solicited, for how to improve an item's presentation or saleable. I certainly don't consider myself an expert but I HAVE been doing what I do for almost eight years so I might have something of value to add, if someone is open to the feedback.
For me, in finding new items for Creative Genius to represent, it can be very challenging to weed through the lower level items to come up with a product that meets my own internal standards for both creativity as well as something that looks professional and is well-made. I have encountered many people who think their creations are of a high level. Yet they have not even explored the industry further to gain a better understanding of what is out there, what the market will bear for their product and the level that others working in a similar medium might be creating at. All of these things are important to know. It is fine to create off your kitchen table if the products you are creating are professional, finished looking and sell at a level that is consistent for that medium.

Especially with the upsurge of upcycling that has become in vogue in recent years in the crafts community, it is even more important to seek a high standard of creativity as well as professionalism when I am adding art to the existing Creative Genius environment. Our latest artist addition has definitely found the right balance between creativity and a professional product that anyone would be proud to wear. There is nothing junky about her jewelry creations and we're excited to have her as a part of Creative Genius...welcome Tracy!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Thinking of spring...

The last few days have really made spring pop into the forefront of my brain. I love when it's sunny and somewhat warm. In fact, I am perfectly fine with weather in the 50s and 60s this time of year--what a gift!

All the new items arriving in the gallery are really bringing spring to mind for me too. In addition to our great finds at the Buyers Market a few weeks ago, we've also got some other new additions coming in. Some new jewelry from Marianna Bellantoni has really, for me, made the warm weather feel closer than ever. She works with all kinds of sea glass along with metal and other gemstones and her latest works are my new favorites.

We've also got some new additions coming from Michele Grady shortly that will really jazz up her showcase. Here's a little preview...

We just scheduled a bunch of mosaic workshops and added them to our workshop calendar and we've also got some great things coming up, including Figure Drawing, tons of jewelry workshops, Stained Glass and more. Our weekly classes are happening as usual including pottery classes, digital photography classes for adults and kids, painting and drawing for teens, adults, and children and much more...

For me, warmer weather all the time couldn't come soon enough...warmer weather means sun, beach, camps and more...can't wait!

(ps. I'm getting one of these ring sets...this is 5 rings in 1 and looks amazing...!)