Posted on Leave a comment

Sunshine beckons

So that “nasty head cold“? It may have morphed into bronchitis… On the plus side, the doctor has me on a treatment plan. I’m doing my best to be patient/gentle with myself while I heal, and to get as much creative time in as I can. I kind of need to be creative right now — it keeps me from climbing the walls and helps me to stay positive.

Three weeks is a long time to be sick, especially when we’re finally starting to get a bit of summer sun! I’m hoping it will stick around long enough for me to be able to get out and enjoy it. In keeping with that wish, here’s a sunshine sugar skull mask that I recently finished 🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

Oregon Country Fair

I went down to Oregon in early July to visit with old friends, and to work in their booth at the Oregon Country Fair. The weather was perfect, and the event was absolutely lovely. The Pacific Northwest is stunning in the summertime.

The morning that I headed home, we had a good downpour (which is not too bad, considering that we enjoyed a full 6 days of sunshine). By the time I got back to Seattle, I had a nasty head cold, which is still lingering two weeks later. So I’m a bit sluggish, and running very behind on email and custom work. (If you are one of the people who’s been affected by this, please bear with me — I’m doing my best to get healthy and caught up quickly!)

As terrible as that must sound, I assure you that the trip was well worth it. The OCF is an amazing gathering of artists, musicians, dreamers and doers. I’ve attended this event a handful of times over the past 22 years, and it is always a memorable experience… this time was certainly no exception.

I deeply enjoyed the performances, art and ideals that were reflected there, but the very best part (for me) was the chance to reconnect with people that I love! Even though my body is still paying for this trip, it was so good for my soul. I would do it again in a heartbeat 🙂

I’d try to expand on that concept, but as I mentioned above, I’m still moving slowly and trying to get caught up. Hopefully these pictures (courtesy of my amazingly talented friend, Alyson) will give you a good sense of what a magical experience it was!

This fellow was sitting in a shady spot between the trees, just off of one of the paths. The image was taken moments after he gave a reading for, and bestowed a magic rock upon a young girl.

Many of the attendees wore extravagant costumes. This group of raven people randomly mingled amongst (and heckled 😉 the crowd.

I was pleasantly surprised to spot this gal, wearing one of my fairy masks. She makes it look great, doesn’t she? I was so happy that Aly was there to get this shot 🙂

Posted on 4 Comments

April happenings at Beadmask

Wow, I’ve got a lot going on this month! Some of the highlights include the Beading for a Cure Charity auctions, a  gorgeous new Fae Team Exhibit, vending at the Spring Fairy Festival in Auburn and of course, more school. Reading it back to myself, that list doesn’t look anywhere near as big as it feels… but regardless of how it looks, it’s enough to keep me hopping. Hopefully, some of this will be interesting and exciting to you as well 🙂

This year’s Beading for a Cure auctions have been live for a couple of weeks now.  There are several lovely item listings ending tonight, including a gorgeous bracelet made by my friend Nikia Angel, a beautiful beaded mask, an incredible beaded dragonfly wand and so much more!

The mask that I donated (pictured above) has been listed today, and the auction will end on 4/18. In case you’re not familiar with this charity, Beading for a Cure is an annual art challenge and fundraiser. Participating bead artists each purchase an identical kit and create something with the materials. They can create anything they choose, as long as they follow the same ground rules. Starting in March, the items are auctioned off and the proceeds are donated to the National Colorectal Cancer Research Association in memory of bead artist Layne Shilling, who lost her battle with colorectal cancer in November of 2002. It is an amazing gift of love and talent. This year’s participating artists went all out, so please visit BFAC’s eBay page and show them some love.

Annnddd, the new Fantasy Artists of Etsy (or Fae Team) exhibition is live! These exhibitions showcase the artwork of the team’s talented members, and they’re a real feast for the eyes. The theme for the current exhibition is “Faeries, Elves and Pixies, Oh My!”, and it is truly fabulous. Please take a moment to visit the site, and tell them that I sent you!

Last, but certainly not least, we will be vending at the Spring Fairy Festival in Auburn WA this coming Saturday, April 16th. The event takes place at the Green River Community College in Auburn WA — please visit the website for details and directions (cause I assure you that you never want to get your driving directions from me 😉 Besides an impressive array of talented vendors to shop from, there will be fun workshops, exciting performers, a kid’s corner and a costume contest! It promises to be a fun show — hope to see you there!

Posted on Leave a comment

Vampire’s Masquerade Ball

one of my painted domino masks

We traveled down to Portland Oregon this weekend to vend at the 9th annual Vampire’s Masquerade Ball. It was a fabulous experience — despite the fact that I had a raging migraine the entire evening, we had a blast! The show’s producer, Lady Raven really goes all out to create an elegant event. Her careful planning and attention to detail are evident everywhere you turn.

The crowd was amazingly well dressed, colorful and friendly. I foolishly forgot to bring my good camera, so I’ve only got these blurry camera phone photos to share. Sorry about that, folks! Hopefully they at least hint at the elegant characters and vibrant costumes at this event.

 one of my “Fae” masks

Oh! And I got to meet my fellow Fae Team member, Susan Tooker (of Susan Tooker’s Spinning Castle). I have long admired her amazing jewelry and costume design skills, so it was a real treat to see them in person. I wish I’d taken a photo of her (the vampire pirate to the left is not Susan) but the aforementioned migraine really put a damper on my thinking/social skills. So,  for now you’ll miss out on photos of Susan as a dark and mysterious faerie queen; however, we had such a great time at this show that I hope to make it down for more Oregon costume events. Maybe I’ll get another chance to connect with her and share some photos on this blog — in the meantime, do check out her store link above. You will not be dissapointed!

red and black “Imp” mask

Another very talented artisan that I met at this event was Laura of Taken by the Sky. She creates exquisite corsets and fantasy clothing. In getting ready for this show, I realized that R & I are in desperate need of new costumes! When we quit smoking, we both gained an absurd amount of weight and nothing fits anymore … I am working on losing the extra pounds, but of course it’s a slow process. I think I will set aside money for one of her cutaway pirate dresses (or a fancy coat?) so that I can reward myself when I’ve made some progress toward weight loss goals.

“Cat” mask

As fate would have it, I was set up close to Cindy of Portland’s Mystique Artisan Gallery. She and I had traded a few emails before the show, to discuss whether my work would be a good fit for her gallery. Almost as soon as we met, we realized that it certainly seems like a good fit! Robb and I stopped by the gallery the next morning on our way out of town, to check out the space and deliver a selection of masks. She’s got a great eye for quality, and she represents some of the most talented mask artists in the US. I am thrilled to have my work included there, and I hope you’ll stop by and say hi if you ever find yourself in the Portland area!

Posted on Leave a comment

Happy Halloween!

I am deeply grateful for the support of my customers, family and friends, who have helped to make this another wonderful mask making season! It makes me realize how very blessed I am, so I’d like to pay a little bit of that positive energy forward…

The last mask that I created this Halloween was this “Day of the Deadheads” calavera skull mask, which I’m going to donate (along with a couple of others) to be auctioned off at EPIC’s Annual Dinner and Celebration. The proceeds will go to their campaign to help save the old growth redwoods in Richardson Grove. Fellow treehuggers can check it out on Friday, November 5th 2010 at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, California.

Posted on Leave a comment

Madness takes its toll…

It’s exactly one week till Halloween (home stretch!) and I’m definitely feeling the effect of the last 2.5 months of non-stop mask making. As this photo suggests, my studio is feeling it too! I typically work within a certain degree of controlled chaos, but at this point in time, any semblance of “control” is long gone … my workspace is just flat out chaos. I had to clear a path just to get this shot.

That said, I’ve decided to slow down a bit. We’d considered setting up at the Fremont Sunday Market today, but it was pouring rain this morning and R is just getting over that flu bug. So instead of doing the show, I’ll get my studio in order and put finishing touches on a few custom orders.

If I have time and energy, I may mess around with those dark faerie wings that have been sitting on my worktable for the last few months … or possibly the sugar skulls that I started, but haven’t had time to complete. There’s also a raven queen mask that’s just begging for final details.

Yeah, this is my idea of  “taking it easy”. Fortunately, I love what I do so the majority of today’s to do list is relaxing and enjoyable … well, except for the cleaning up part 😛

Posted on Leave a comment

Evolution…

.

I was recently searching through some old files, and I came across this picture (to the left) of one of my imp masks. It may be my original prototype, which I created around 2001.

The reason it caught my attention is that I still

create this style of mask today. The picture at the right shows the current version. I’ve made some minor modifications to the original pattern, such as lengthening the tips and horns, and rounding out the cheek area at the bottom – but for the most part, the pattern is still the same. I think the biggest changes are in the intangible factors, like time and skill.

In the 8 or 9 years that I’ve been making this particular styleof mask, I’ve honed my skills and learned better techniques for shaping and coloring. In addition, I’ve had the benefit of a few mistakes along the way, which have taught me which paints and sealants to use. It may not have felt “beneficial” at the time, but the knowledge has really helped me to improve the quality of my work.

I still have much to learn, and I view my work as a constant process of experimentation and evolution … which includes plenty of mistakes. Still, it’s nice to be able to look back and realize that I’ve made a bit of progress along the way. Here’s hoping that my work will continue to improve and evolve over time.
.
Posted on Leave a comment

Rainbows and Sunshine…

 .
While my photography skills are (still) in need of improvement, I had fun with this one … adventures with negative space. I’d love to pretend that the little sun shape in the center was an intentional effect, but honestly? I had a small working area, and I was trying to fit as many masks as possible into a tiny space. I was pleasantly surprised with the results, and I may try a do-over at some point when I have better light to work with.
This is the first year that I’ll be making these basic little leather masks available for sale. I used to think that they were too simple to sell as is, but I’ve had many requests from DIY folks so I’ll see what happens.
I usually use these little half masks as bases or building blocks for more elaborate pieces. Sometimes I simply paint them, as you can see with this little rose gold and  tourmaline colored mask. The pattern is a simple free form floral & sunburst design in burgundy and tourmaline green, and it’s been accented with vintage Swarovski crystals. 

Another way that I like to decorate these simpler masks is to embellish them with sculpted leather shapes, like the little flowers shown in this “Skyblossom” mask (my take on a spring sky as seen through the branches of a cherry tree)

My all time favorite use for these masks is as a base for elaborate beadwork. I really hope to find some time to work on a few of these heavily beaded masks this fall. Fortunately, I now have a whole bunch of bases ready and waiting!

.

Posted on 1 Comment

“May Weather” and “Whispers in the Woods”

.

Yesterday I learned that one of my masks was included in this “May Weather” treasury. I love the balance of soft grays and blues in this one, and the selections are wonderful. A few of the items that really grabbed my eye are the Irish proverb calligraphy book by Cindyyount, these beautiful letterpress printed coasters from FullCirclePress, and this photocard set featuring blossoming trees by JulieWebb.

This treasury was curated by Ranzangel, who creates “fine art and funky craft”. Her work is joyful, colorful and generally awesome. She’s got everything from whimsical jewelry to trippy polymer clay sculptures to paintings. Please take a moment to check it out!

Annnd, last night I got inspired to curate a treasury too! I’ve never tried this before, so it was pretty fun (and a wee bit frustrating) to learn how it’s done. My selections were quite varied, so it was difficult to think of a name that would “fit” with everything, but I settled on “Whispers in the Woods” because each of these images looks as though it belongs in a quiet forest. The only exception to that woodsy theme is this “Calm Cup” by AdrienArt – which is evocative of the way that I feel after a good walk in the woods.

I featured a few faeries – like this gorgeous print by RenaeLeaTaylor – and several birds, including this stellar print of ravens and a tree spirit by TommyDaceos. There are also a couple of beautiful butterfly themed pieces, and a liberal dose of trees, leaves and branches.

I enjoyed putting this together, and I may try it again in the future since I dig the whole treasury thing so much. They’re such beautiful and interesting collections, and it’s also a fun and simple way for artists to support and encourage one another.

.