Thursday, April 5, 2012

Taking the Leap

After almost 20 years of juggling a day job and pursuing art simultaneously, I’ve decided that it’s time to focus on art full-time. I am excited and nervous and prepared. But mostly I am happy.

I had a great experience at the Boston Gift Show in March and as a result, I’ll be busy this month filling lots of orders for shops throughout the country.
The last few years, I've spent most of my weekends traveling to art festivals in New England and 2012 will be no different.  Next stop is the SoWa Winter Market on April 15. 
Basically, I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time in this glorious space and doing what I love.  So stay tuned for more exciting news...     

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ros Farbush

Today I learned that Ros Farbush, a close family friend and one of my great inspirations passed away. This post is dedicated to her memory and her beautiful paintings.
 Ros was a painter and a teacher.  She spent a lifetime doing what she loved to do.  And she worked hard at her craft every day.    
She painted her way and on her terms. She was a tough little cookie who spoke her mind. 
In her eighties, it was more difficult for her to get around, but she didn’t let that stop her. Ignoring obstacles and armed with sheer determination, somehow she found a way to paint daily.  Somehow she found the perfect spot for her frail, twisted frame and flimsy chair, and consistently pushed paint onto canvas like no one else.
Her paintings capture a colorful world full of imperfections, inconspicuous beauty and everyday things. Her loose style, bold color combinations and artistic voice are clear and distinct, instantly recognizable. I love them and I loved watching her apply paint to her palette and canvas. It was magical.
Ros on Newbury Street, Boston 2006 painting with my mom Dassie
Ros was spirited and soulful. Her passion about art and life was infectious and I feel fortunate that I had the opportunity to watch her work and paint by her side. She had a big impact on me both personally and creatively and I’m forever grateful for the moments I shared with her.

A memorial service is being held at the South Shore Art Center on Friday March 9th at 10:30am.  And anyone interested in seeing her paintings, they are currently on display at Oceanside 17 Gallery, 17 Rockland Circle in Hull.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

What speaks to you?

For the most part, I look forward to working in my studio.   Though there are many days when cutting glass doesn’t go smoothly, my iron isn't working, I burn or cut myself, I drop a finished piece and it's ruined, I mess up a painting and need to start over, or I'm filled with doubt about what the hell I'm doing. 

But then I look up to that spot on the wall I've designated for photos and clippings and I'm inspired... and I keep going.    
This American Life

Monday, January 9, 2012

Making Progress.

I don’t really have much to say about art-related stuff other than I’m spending a lot of time in my studio. And there’s not much “creating” going on, just a lot of cleaning, painting (walls and floors), organizing, chatting, dreaming, and thinking. The high production mode of 2011 came to a screeching halt and I’m still in vacation mode I suppose. But I’ve been filling my time with other important activities like getting to know the other artists in my building and dare I say it, having a little fun.
For example, this past weekend I went dancing at the Good Life and ALMOST lost my keys. And I don't know about you, but for me that's always a fun time.  Fortunately, I found them on the floor at 2am and don't recall being that deliriously joyful in my entire life. ever.  Thus the weekend was salvaged so I could put the finishing touches on an order of mermaids headed to a shop in St. Thomas (too bad I can’t hand deliver that one), spend some quality time in my neighbor George Ford’s woodshop studio,
and visit Boston's Sowa Winter Market (485 Harrison Avenue) and the Sowa Vintage Market (460C Harrison Avenue) where I picked up yet another lovely metal chair to add to my growing collection of beat up, well made, industrial furniture.  LOVE.
So if you’re looking for a unique place to do some shopping over the next few months, both of these markets run every Sunday through April. The winter market features art, craft, local produce and baked goods and I’ll be there a bunch of dates in Feb, March and April..

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy NEW Year.

new jewelry design inspired by Diana

It’s been a strange, emotional, powerful and wonderful year and I’ve learned a lot.  Mostly that I have so much to be thankful for.  And that I have the most amazing friends and family. I’m so very grateful for all the love, guidance and support.  

Moving my studio from Plymouth to Abington was the best decision I’ve made in a long time as I now have one large space to accommodate several different mediums (painting, stained glass and woodworking) and I’m in a building with other artists and small businesses.  And being around other like-minded folks and creating art in that old building, formerly a textile factory, with its exposed brick and wood beams fulfills a long-time desire of mine… and it just feels right.  
the studio space in May 2011
Since I moved there in May and the craft show season was just beginning, I had to hit the ground running and didn’t have time to really fix it up.  So until now, it's been bare bones and utilitarian.. which I’m beginning to think is a good thing.  Because I’ve found that living in a space for a while before you fill it up with all your shit actually allows you to “be” in the space and figure out what you really want to do there before it gets all cluttered up with crap.   So eight months later, I needed to make a decision.  To stay or not... and after taking some time to figure things out both personally and professionally, I'm staying put. And so this raw, open space will be transformed into a clean, fresh studio and showroom for the new year.  Here’s a little taste of what’s to come.. (and yes, that is a WHITE floor.  I know, what the f*ck am I thinking...)
I have some pretty lofty goals for next year and I'm ready to take on whatever challenges are ahead.  Thank you for reading this and supporting me and my artful journey.  Wishing you a peaceful, happy, healthy new year.
Buca - the super, wonder kitty
One final note… I had to say goodbye today to Buca, my devoted, gentle companion of seven years.  He was the best kitty.. so sweet, affectionate and loving.  And he will be missed.  xoxo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

How is it already December 6th?

The last few months have been a blur. I'm behind on just about everything, my 'to do' list grows by the minute, my house is a mess, my studio is a disaster, and even my cats are speaking in full sentences to express their frustration (and by that I mean, they're pooping on the floor..).  Alas, I have three more shows scheduled for this month including a two-person artisan boutique on Saturday, December 10th which I know will be lots of fun because I’ll be set up alongside Marla from Back Porch Soap Company at her home-based studio at 779 Union Street in Duxbury, MA from 10am to 3pm. Between the two of us, there’ll be a great selection of wonderful gifts to choose from for everyone on your shopping list..
Then I’m off to hang out with 50 of my closest artsy pals in Pawtucket, RI for CRAFTOPIA on Sunday December 11th from 10am to 4pm. 
Then the final show of the season is in Jamaica Plain, MA at the Footlight Club on Saturday, December 17th from 11am to 5pm.  Weehah!, AG Ambroult, Hilary and Rocklen Designs will also be there... so you know it'll be fun, festive and full of great goods.
p.s. wishing Emily and Keith a fabulous wedding weekend in sorry to miss it but I'll be with you in spirit! Love you guys.. have a blast!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Local Artist Spotlight: Amy Ambroult

I encounter a lot of interesting, talented people and since I’ve always found it fascinating to see where artists work and hear their stories, I thought you might too.  So let's meet Amy Ambroult from AG Ambroult, Elemental Handcrafted Designs.
She and I met several years ago at an art show in Cambridge, MA and for me, it was love at first sight.  I distinctly recall her warm smile, the inviting colors of her booth and being drawn to ‘the remembery capsule’ (below) a copper container she custom creates and personalizes to hold memory tokens.  I thought it was brilliant and beautiful.  And so very clever... 
Remembery Capsule - A little cylinder of memories
Like most artists, Amy has a lot on her plate and from what I can see, she manages the delicate juggling act with grace and humor.  Her home 20 miles south of Boston is swirling with music, woodworking projects, fine art, knitting, kids, homemade meals and baked goods, books and creativity, and while she's mastered many artistic mediums, her creative focus at the moment is traditional metalsmithing.  So let’s focus on that... and the elegant simplicity of her designs.  And her modern, unpretentious style.  And her awesomeness.
The Cabin Fever Show in Boston - February 2011
Oh! And did I mention that her work was recently featured in Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine? And that there are more exciting things on the horizon??  Well, I can’t wait to hear about that and see what she comes up with next, but in the meantime, I asked her some questions about her work, studio space and life. Enjoy..

Between you and your husband, there’s a lot of talent in your household. What’s up with that?
Amy: well, that's part of the foundation of our relationship, I guess -- fostering each other's creativity, skills, talents... If it weren't for him, I might not be in this business. One day, I simply expressed how much I was enjoying my metals classes and bang! the next day he had built me a workbench and was encouraging me to invest in the necessary tools. And so I did.

I caught a glimpse of some of your paintings in your living room. Please talk about painting.
Amy: Painting was a love of mine long ago, but I never really spent enough time develop the necessary skills, or a "voice" in that medium. I would like to return to painting some day. Some day.

Amy's studio
You work in a tiny space. I’m curious why you selected pink as your color choice for the wall.
Amy: This "tiny space" is tucked in my basement between the stairs and the furnace. It is dark and... gray. I'm not particularly a pink-ish type person, but I had a can of that color sitting around (leftover from a child's easel makeover) and it was just the thing that room needed to give it some life.

Do you think your designs would be any different if you worked in a larger space?
Amy: Now THAT is an interesting question. I suppose they might be. When I think of how my mind is affected by open spaces and sunshine, I can only imagine that everything else might take on a new light, too. My dream studio is all planned out in my head and believe me, it includes high ceilings and lots of windows.

I know you’ve been asked this a million times. But I really want to know. what inspires you?
Amy: It's hard to say. For me, it's not limited to one set thing or idea, like "nature" or "light." I get inspired by random things that catch my eye, or the conversion of a few unrelated ideas, spurred by something my kids said, or a quote from a book, a memory of something from my past (even a feeling), or yes, an object from the natural world.
AG Ambroult's Moss Ring Display
How do you juggle marriage, motherhood and making things?
Amy: Easy. My house is always a mess. Something's gotta give, right? Everything else just kind of takes care of itself. In the summer, when the kids are home, I slow down in my studio to be with them. During the holidays, I don't see my family much on the weekends. It's a constant give-and-take, but it all evens out in the end. Huge pile of laundry in the living room and all.

What is your favorite tool and why?
Amy: My jeweler's saw, because I finally conquered it. For a long time it tortured me, those tiny, delicate blades snapping every few minutes. But over the years I have learned the nuances of working with it, and I actually find it somewhat meditative now. These days I only need to change a blade when it is worn out. Victory!

Oxidized Orbit Earrings
When working on new things, do you keep everything neat and organized in a design book or are you a disorganized disaster with scraps of paper all over the place (like me)?
Amy: Nooooo. Disaster area. Completely. Things in the sketch book, doodles on the board, notes on the backs of envelopes...

What's your favorite ‘word’?
Amy: Circuitous. (though I don't know that I have ever even used it. I just like the combination of sounds. Somebody said it the other day and I totally lost the conversation because I was pondering that word, and its curious sound.)

What’s next for AG Ambroult?
Amy: Looking forward to expanding my wholesale business, which is currently languishing. I am also dreaming up a new line of high-end pieces that will combine illustration with my silver wire work.

Copper Jewel Cocktail Ring

You can purchase Amy’s jewelry and other handcrafted goods online at her Etsy shop or in person at a Boston area art festival.  And if you’re looking to avoid the malls this holiday season (we encourage that...) and shop handmade (that too...), be sure to mark your calendars!! She and I will be neighbors at the Hingham Holiday Market on November 26 + 27. Both days 10am to 6pm.