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. 


Monday, October 31, 2011

Missing Painting...

The painting (above) called “Footsteps” was a piece I completed earlier this year as part of an invitational group exhibit in Jamaica Plain's UForge Gallery called Defined By Light.  Over the weekend, I went to pick up the paintings from the mother/daughter show on display at the Hanover library only to discover that this piece was missing.  Apparently stolen... FROM A LIBRARY. (?????) Frankly, I’m not sure what else to say about this.  Sigh...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rekindle the Light Within

I had an amazing summer of discovery and was fortunate to visit many spots I’d never been to before including Watch Hill, RI and Mystic, CT.   And before summer slipped away, I took inspiration from those trips to create a new earring design, something that reflects the awakening of spirit, and the joy of movement, harmony and sound... and this is the story behind Love Loops, the newest item to join my jewelry collection. 
Shifting topics slightly, I spent this past weekend in Wellfleet, MA surrounded by many familiar faces including Twigs + Heather, Heart at Work, Len Shartle, Kimberley Deane Jewelry, Look at Me Designs, Bill Chisolm, Bumble Belly Designs, and Two Son Jewelry. I felt right at home at this incredible festival… and being by the ocean, well that didn’t hurt either.  Plus my new EZUP tent managed to stay intact and in place even with the overnight rain and heavy winds.  And I think my last minute decision to pick up an extra 80lbs (in the form of four 20 lbs containers of cat litter) to hold that tent in place certainly did the trick... 
After setting up the tent in the rain and encroaching darkness on Friday night, I found a warm and inviting spot at Mac's Shack on Commercial Street to sip wine, regroup and try some tempura fried pickles with Ponzu dipping sauce.  Oh yeah... highly recommend...   

Monday, October 3, 2011

October delivers goodness

Letting go to start again has been my mantra this last week. And sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and let it go. Right? So here’s to starting off this new season with some apples and honey, some sweetness and hope, and some gratitude and thanks… oh, and if you’re looking for a movie to add to your viewing list, might I suggest HappyTHANKyouMorePLEASE.
I'll start with a huge thank you to South Shore Living Magazine for spotlighting me and my jewelry in October’s Living Arts Section.
Also, thank you to the John Curtis Free Library in Hanover, MA for providing the Abelson gals with a colorful space to exhibit our mother/daughter show.
Please feel free to attend the opening reception on October 5th from 6-8pm. Or check out the paintings during normal library hours through the end of the month.
Thank you to the Marshfield Chamber of Commerce for putting on a fun Octoberfest.  And thank you to papa for coming to keep me company, bring me wine and snap this photo.
It's great running into friends from the old hood and, of course, it's bound to happen when exhibiting somewhere on the south shore... so what a fun surprise to find Andy and SpitDUDES with their locally inspired t-shirts and beach accessories at the show. Grab your outerwear with local flair...
Thank you to my sweet neighbors from Emmett's Edibles who add a little spice to every dog's life with their organic, gourmet treats.
Next stop... and final outdoor show of the season... October 15 + 16 at the WELLFLEET OYSTERFEST!  Happy... Thank you... More PLEASE!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hard River to Row

It's been another strange week of mixed emotions, but once again, putting my thoughts down on paper has proven to be a helpful practice. So the writing continues and when I stumble onto good things like new artists and places to visit, then documenting these discoveries and sharing them is hopefully worthwhile. Especially since this past week, I made some great new discoveries.
Going to the Red Sox game with Louisa is fun even when they lose and we're surrounded by joyless, rowdy drunks.
Looking up from bumper to bumper traffic to see this scene is, well, peaceful and inspiring... so ya, put a bird on it.
I like Newport, RI.  I like the sound of the cars rumbling by on the cobblestone streets.  I like walking around and visiting the shops and galleries.  I like being by the water.  I'm glad I came back solo though it was bittersweet.  And I will return again.  
Taking a moment to chat with the girls and enjoy the peaceful view before the start of the Newport Arts Festival.
Bonding with my neighbors in Jessica Pisano's (right) fine art booth with her nature inspired paintings. Oh, and not surprisingly, she received the "Best in Show" award. 
NatanyaElka's eco-friendly, one of a kind enamel jewelry...
And Nautical Boards handcrafted locally in Pembroke, MA.
And being captivated by the bluesy, soulful, funk/rock sounds of the Delta Generators.  I can't wait to hear more of Craig Rawding's rich, velvety voice.
And hello... beautiful sunset.
And twinkling, ambient atmosphere at Diegos
And my good fortune to wake up to this Pisano painting with its gold glimmering in the sunlight.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall is upon us...

Nothing like a weekend filled with good weather, wonderful crafty friends, supportive art enthusiasts and a brand new EZ UP tent to make your spirit soar. I spent a beautiful Saturday in Hopkinton at the Polyarts Festival with some familiar faces including My Urban Kitchen, iDazz, Little Man and Lucky Bird Studio.. and some new friends including Tiffany and Melanie from Look at Me Designs. They have a fabulous collection of clothing and accessories that make a statement and are truly unique.  And as an added bonus, all pieces are made with recycled felted wool sweaters. You can find them at the SoWa Open Market or the upcoming Wellfleet Oysterfest (I'll be there too!) on October 15 + 16:
After a long day, it was nice to stumble into the cozy Zio’s Bistro in Hopkinton Center for a quick bite and glass of wine before heading home.  And then before I knew it, I was up bright and early on Sunday morning to meet Heather and Kerry from Twigs & Heather to get ready for Worcester’s StART on the Street.
It was a great event with several hundred exhibitors and I always love being part of such a festive day. I ran into some fellow crafters including Red Staggerwing Designs, Ansel Blue Design and Guilday Glass... and I’d like to thank the gentleman who stopped by my booth near the end of the day to let me know that the sign hanging on my tablecloth was backwards, yet again, (oops).  And most importantly, to all the wonderful customers who expressed interest in my work and made purchases, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Up next, I'm returning to Newport, RI (September 24 + 25) for the rescheduled dates of the Newport Art Festival.   I'll be in section 10, booth C - it's the second tent on the pier.  Wish me luck... it shall be an adventure.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mid-September already!!

So I promised myself I would keep up this blog, even if I encounter some bumps in the road. And needless to say, this particular week has been very bumpy. So I’m trying to stay focused and positive and continue my creative routine and ritual of documenting what’s gone on. So here goes:
My booth partially set up in Cotuit, MA on Aug. 20
The Newport Arts Festival was postponed due to Hurricane Irene. 
As a treat, I decided to go anyway and spend the day in Newport… and it was a great day.
Nothing beats a $5 martini.  Or good company.
Or a beautiful sunset when you need it.
Or a crafty friend smiling at you - thanks Heather (Codman Estate Show in Lincoln, MA).
I'm looking forward to a busy fall season starting with shows in Hopkinton, Worcester and Newport. Click here for the show schedule.  Also, Save the Date: Wednesday, October 5th from 6-8pm in Hanover, MA. My mom and I will have paintings on display at the John Curtis Free Library for the month of October.