Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lofty Goals

Do you have lofty goals? I have lots of goals but not so many lofty ones, you know the big kind you think "really? can I do that?" One thing that's been rattling around in my brain for a long time now is spending a winter, in a remote cabin somewhere. Snow, and lots of it is part of the lofty goal. Isolation, quiet and time to think. Of course I suppose I could develop cabin fever, but should I ever get a chance to per sue this goal it's a risk I'm willing to take!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Featured Artist - Olga Cuttell

Olga Cuttell, Vancouver BC

Ola Design -

Olga is another non Sateam member who we are featuring on our blog. It’s really nice (and inspiring) to see other mediums and hear what makes those artists tick.

I adore the lightness and whimsy is Olga’s work. My absolute favorites are her birds. You’d think being a horse person I’d be drawn to her horses which are also lovely. But her birds make me think of a warm spring morning, sun shinning and birds chirping. They give me such a inner warmth I could look at her shop all day. My favorite is her Moment of Silence.

How long have you been working in your medium?

Not that long actually. Recreationally, I’ve done pencil sketches and the odd illustration for years, but my ink technique – which is, by far, the most prominent among my professional pieces – is something I discovered only about 3 years ago.

What drew you to this medium?

Many things. It’s more versatile than water-colour (allowing layered compositions and shorter drying times). It also tends to generate a more vivid final colour output, which is key to generating my themes and is a source of joy as an artist.

What is your favorite thing about your art?

See above. Colour and it’s ability to tell an emotional tale. I tend towards the whimsical and I actively seek out themes that raise the spirit.

What's your favorite piece?

Impossible question. The Sisters is one of my earliest ink pieces and I still come back to it…but even then…my favorite piece is the one I’m working on at the time.

What's the hardest piece you've ever made?

Anything commissioned. The vast majority of my art, I paint for myself and hope people like it. When I take on a commission, the pressures are different; that is to say there is pressure, and so I have to change my mindset and work harder to relax.

What’s the one favorite tool you cannot live without?


What’s your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?

My favorite thing is also my biggest headache sometimes. My studio is in my home, which is convenient and keeps me close to the things that are most important to my life. Of course, it also makes it harder to step outside my life sometimes. My husband and son are great about giving me space, but my two-year-old daughter…not so much.

What is your other craft?

Pottery. I love the textures and having a piece that you can use in your home. Home-made pottery, even amateur work, has a wonderfully unique character about it that never grows old with me. I have great admiration for those who have developed both skill and style when working the clay.

Who or what inspires you?

I love the natural world and believe it to be both an inspiration and an expression of living art. I’m also captivated by the inherent strength that I believe lives in the hearts of the world’s women. We are beautiful at all ages, and in all shapes and colours. I like to remember that and I see evidence of it every day.

What's your favorite inspirational saying?

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.

What's one thing you've never done you’ve always wanted to do?

You need more space in this blog... If I have to choose just one thing, it would be skydiving. We’ve got some friends who do it as a lifestyle choice (they do instruction and videos to supplement their addiction) and it sounds like everything I’ve ever wanted in a hobby – excitement, challenge, fellowship. Expensive though.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Asking all my blog watchers for some votes in a facebook contest if you happen to be a facebooker!

If you go to the Funky Cowgirl Party Like a Rock Star thread, you'll need to hit "see previous posts" about 7 times I am at the very top of the thread. Then please "like" my post only NOT the whole thread, just my post. You'll see the "like" button for my post just below it and to the left. I'd appreciate all the votes I can get!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Photos can be complicated

Photos can be so complicated. I struggled for a very long time with my pictures. Glass is reflective which makes things even harder. I did daylight outdoors photos for the first year, using a point and shoot. Then I switched to a Fuji camera with a macro setting. Finally I settled on a Nikon D70 with a 60mm macro lens. Indoor shots all in a photo tent with photo light bulbs. WOW! Why did I wait so long? I now just crop my photos and they are ready to use. No tweaking light balances, or color of clarity. I adore my photo set up and recommend it for anyone shooting glass!

Friday, January 21, 2011

What a great give away!

Lori Anderson of "Bead Soup" blogging party is giving away a letter stamp set!! It's called Ballroom Boogie from PJ Tools Supply and what a cool font it is!

She made this pair of earring using the font randomly stamped on the hearts and I really think it a pretty unique way of using the font!

I think this font would look great on my stamped stacking rings and spinner rings!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Frost Flowers

We had a pretty frost on the ground this morning. made me think of a hike I took last year with a couple good friends. This picture is from that hike. I'm thinking I need to get it printed big and framed.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bead Soup

I got my Bead Soup partner! Lisa G a fellow canadian. I'm pretty excited about this. We send each other a selection of "bead soup" including a nice clasp etc. Then we assemble a finished piece out of what we sent each other. Of course she's going to get some of my lampwork beads! I have a couple ideas for the clasp and some additions I'm pretty happy about.

Lori Anderson runs the swap and it sounds like this one was a bit of a nightmare for her. She had a lot of people sign up and computer issues. We all really appreciate all the work she puts into these. For me it allows me to connect with other jewelry makers and make some new friends something I really appreciate as I often feel isolated here on the Island!

Water everywhere

We've had pelting rain for going on 24 hours now. I think when the Farmers Almanac said there was going to more snow than 96 they meant more condensation, not necessarily snow. We're holding up ok, I had the flu yesterday and today. I pretty much spent today in bed, once I managed to gravol up myself enough to go out I realized how much it had rained. Our big ditch is full, which I can't remember it ever being before. If we hadn't dug it out a bit more we'd have lost our hay shed and one stall by now. Horses are ok, the rain is hard on the old guys as they just stand in their stalls all day, it makes them a bit stiff.

I'd still rather have had snow!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bangles - start to finish

I thought some of you may be interested in a simple start to finish description of my bangle bracelets. This isn’t a tutorial just a simple run through of how I make the copper bangle bracelets.

All my bangles start out from heavy gauge copper wire. I need to pull it apart and cut it to length.

A large pile of wire, cut to length ready to be filed and brought into a rough circle shape to be soldered.

Filed and brought into a rough circle shape ready for soldering.

Soldered wire, ready to be hammered round. This is now ready to be hammered into a proper bangle shape.

A nice little pile of bangles hammered into a bangle shape. Ready for texture hammers!

Bangles textured! These are now ready for patina’s. I have about 10 different patina styles and colors I choose from.

They might wind up looking like this after patina.

Or they might wind up looking like this! I really enjoy making these, there are various styles and patina's available in my Artfire shop.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's ..........


Yesterdays snow melted but it's snowing again now! WOOT!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's snowing!!

It's snowing! My favorite weather! I'm all geared up to try skijoring, if it sticks we'll be trying it tomorrow! We saw it in Red Lodge many years ago and I've been wanting to try it ever since. I never got up the nerve last time we had a decent amount of snow but this time there is NO stopping me. We've got inner tubes ready instead of skis. Helmets at the ready and even a little jump ready should we get feeling brave!

On another note I've got some gorgeous violet patina hearts in my Etsy and Artfire shops. Perfect for Valentine's Day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Resin Images

I have lots of exciting new goodies in my Artfire shop! I've been playing with resin a lot the last few weeks. I've taken Canadian pennies (2010 mint) and up cycled them into charms (can be worn as pendants). Drilled holes so they are really durable and voila! Wearable art! I've got copper ball chains and fantastic bangles you can add them to like charms bracelets, they look amazing stacked up. There are simple hammered ones and ones with a small sterling silver wrap. Patina'd ones will be coming within the week!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Redman Ride #2

To give Redman credit right off the top, he's been ridden way more times than twice. But it's my second ride in this epiphany stage of things so I'm calling it ride #2.

It's been pouring here for at least 24 hours, and I hate the rain. No, I'm not exaggerating. I am a snow girl, how I was born and raised in a rain forest is beyond me. I love snow, my years in Calgary are some of my fondest. It's wet here very very wet, and as I said above I do not do rain.

That may be why Redman looked and me and blinked hard a couple times when I went out to catch him to ride. It was only drizzling then, that didn't last long. As I tacked up it started to rain again, but I was looking forward to my ride and continued on with my plan.

I pretty much had to drag Redman out of the barn into the ring "It's wet out there you know?!" He flailed around on the lunge line for a bit avoiding puddles and muck. Then let out a fairly big spook and a odd noise. Went back to work, another spook, same odd noise. Redman had the hiccups! His hiccuping was startling him, a pretty funny sight! I think it may have had something to do with the wet sand splattering his belly. But he worked out of it and it really didn't set the ride back at all.

When it came time to get on I headed for the fence. He's 16+ hands (tall) and I am 5 ft 2, I need help. So I always mount from a fence, bucket, stump, vehicle, what ever I can find. Redman stepped into the soggy mess in front of the fence and looked at me as if to say "NO, nuh uh, no way, muck, ick! wet, mud, really, must I? ok fine!" and over to the fence he went.

During this lovely ride water splattered on the vents of my helmet, my jeans got soaked, my butt was wet from sitting in a wet saddle, my shoulders started to get wet through my jacket, all things that would normally make me miserable. But I had fun! Yup, you heard me I had fun! I cannot remember the last time I intentionally rode in the rain, let alone enjoyed it.

As I cleaned stalls and paddocks and fed the horses the fog settled in with the rain, and I realized how content I was. Who knew?!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mission Statement

Keeping on track with my 52 weeks of blogging I've been working on my mission statement this week. Here in it is!

To create unique wearable pieces of art, that beg to be worn.

To inspire and challenge myself and other artists.

To strive for excellence in materials and technique.

Question for you, does my work have a distinguishing feature? Can you tell it's mine? If so how can you tell?

Monday, January 3, 2011


Today I had an epiphany about my years of riding, a fairly major one. I realized it's been a long long time since I rode a horse that was just a horse. Let me back track my riding career for you. These are the horses I've ridden fairly full time over the years back tracking from my current horse.

Indy - a sweetheart and has become family. A horse we'll never part with. When he was so sick about a year ago I was sure there was a reason he lived, I'm now sure that reason was to make me smile every time I lay eyes on him. But, he's as athletic as a tank with no power steering in a stall. While he's broke and sensible he's large and hard to maneuver, and that's something about him that won't ever change.

Annie - my dream horse. We bred her ourselves, I hand picked her lineage. I wanted a fancy hunter/jumper and while I wanted a bay gelding and got a chestnut mare she was my fancy horse. But, she was HUGELY high maintenance. She needed to be ridden a minimum of 4 days a week and you really never got to relax while riding her. She went to a much better home, she's in a program being ridden regularly and is very happy.

Kinsley - Annie's mom. How I wound up riding her full time I'll never know. The most athletic horse I've ever had the pleasure of riding. Versatile, could win a jumper round then smoke a decent barrel run. But, VERY volatile. VERY. She was a difficult horse to manage in any situation. She lived out her days with us and passed away several years ago.

Prior to Kinsley I was teaching professionally and had often 3-5 full time horses of my own. All projects, often re training involved. Jamie, athletic but high strung. Chanti, sensible but often disjointed and strung out. George, willing and sweet temperament but very large and heavy on the forehand, difficult for a small rider to handle. Hoka, my childhood pony who I rode for 25 years. Very versatile, steady, willing but as he aged became more and more herd bound.

I'll finish here as far as listing horses goes. I'd estimate this to be about 20 years ago, possibly 25.

See a pattern? I do and it hit me like a ton of bricks today. It's been a very very long time that I had a horse that was just a horse. A decent mind and body that had no real quicks to manage. Just ride. Now let me be really clear I've been blessed by the horses that have come into my life over the years, there have been dozens I've not listed here and they've all taught me a lot. They've made me into the rider I am today. But, I realized today as I sat on top of Redman the sorrel gelding in the top photo. I've not gotten to just ride for a very long time.

Fast forward to yesterday. I gave my husband a mini lesson on Redman. I watched him trotting around the ring with a lovely long and low trot. Trot over some cavaletti's not really batting an eye. Something wiggled it's way into my brain, and it was want. Big, juicy WANT. I wanted to ride that horse, just a horse.

So today I did. Redman and I spent a summer together in Alberta about four years ago. I put his basic start on him. I'd forgotten how simple he was. Give him a job and he's happy to do it, he'll try his best. You may have to show him a couple times but once he gets it he's got it. It's rare he argues much, he just wants to be ridden.

Today took me back about four years. While Redman hasn't done much over the last several years. He worked on the lunge line fairly well, getting confused a few times but settling in once he remembered how it all worked and what I was asking. I mounted up and while he's still fairly green for his age I just rode. RODE!

No bucking, no super athletic maneuvers, no leaping, no trying to steer while in a stall, to pins and needles waiting for the next spook.


Sunday, January 2, 2011


“You've got to have a dream, if you want to have a dream come true.” - Dennis Waitley


Wow is it really here already? Seems like 2010 flew by.

This coming year I’m going to strive to

Laugh more

Slow down and spend more quality time with family and friends

Stay focused

Create new and unique pieces that make me smile (and hopefully my customers will smile too!)