Monday, June 28, 2010

what's been going on....

i wanted to say a big ole thank you to everyone who stopped by the studio last weekend to visit.
 it has been lovely to meet each of you!
i am still trying to pop around to everyone's blogs, but, to be honest...creativity has been calling.
really really loudly!
so, if i haven't made it over to your blog...i will, but it will take me a while, i am sure.

do you wanna see what i've been working on this week?

as of saturday, i think the count was up to 40.
i was trying for 50 by the end of july.
50 finished, strung pendants.
it's looking like it's going to be 40.
and that's ok.
these are just embroidered and cut out. not finished yet. i will be starting that very shortly.
i still have cuffs and earrings to make as well.


i also started working on armatures for some of the pieces i am doing for the show in october.
i actually sketched these out and built the bodies. i usually just fly by the seat of my pants, so having a plan was new and exciting! 
i am very excited about the two pieces that i started laying clay on today ( not these, but two others ) and i will be posting pics as i continue to work on them.

i am hoping to get a few new things in the etsy shop this week and basically, just work work work on jewelry and dolls.

it's pretty much too hot to do anything else anyway...



Friday, June 18, 2010

open studio....

today is OPEN STUDIO day!!!
come in and browse....

today i am going to be sharing a bit of my studio space with you. i know that i frequently post pics of my space (and probably more than you ever wanted of my kittehs and works in progress). but today is a very special day... today is the second annual WHERE BLOGGERS CREATE  blog party!!! yay!!! i've said it before and i'll say it again... i love that we are a global community.

for those of you who don't know me - i am amber leilani -a beader and mixed media artist who enjoys making things and sharing my stories along the way. i also really love my cats. and food.

i share a two bedroom apartment with my significant other, mr. b and our two cats, patches and cash. we live a pretty quiet life in the gorgeous and decaying city of new orleans. we can walk to pretty much anything we need to. we don't though, because we're lazy. we have a big tv and a huge movie collection, hundreds of books ( mr. b is an AVID reader ), and of course...i have my little corner of heaven - my studio. craft room. work room. whatever you want to call it. it's mine! ALL MINE!!! mwah haa haa...

we've only lived in this space a year and it took us that long to get unpacked and organized ( see above = lazy ) and i have just recently started clearing out and organizing my studio. it's in the back room of the house, and is the only room with carpet - which i hate. but, i have it from our good friend and landlord, big steve, that underneath this heinous carpet is even scarier linoleum. shiver. i'm good. i can live with carpet.

several things have changed in my life over the last year and in the last month an even more drastic change has taken place: i am finally going down to part time at my day job and giving amber leilani design a real go. whoo hoo!!!

since i am finally starting to devote more time to my own work, i now spend most of my days in the studio. it's still not the creative space i want it to be, but it's getting there. i have dreams of chinese lanterns and strings of white lights. lots of art on the walls. hopefully soon. still, it's my favorite place in the house. the kittehs always keep me company and  i have my ipod docking station, tape player, my comfy office chair, lots of candles and incense, and i am surrounded by many of my favorite things - works by other artists, gifts from friends, my books, and of course, my beloved crafting supplies.

i suppose you could say that i am first and foremost a bead artist. i've been beading since 1992. i sell pretty well, but i could always do better. i just don't really stress out about it anymore. i do what i can.

since we adopted these crazy cats i use an antique writing desk as my beading station - it has a top that closes when i want to walk away from what i am doing. this thing has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. and it has saved my cats from being returned to the shelter more than they realize! just kidding. kind of....

i just started working in mixed media over the last year, beginning with rubber stamping and moving to paper collage, mixed media collage, and then to art dolls and shadow box assemblages. i am still in the learning process for each of these pursuits, but i have never in my life been as happy as i am when i am sculpting my dolls and masks. the freedom that it gives me to just get down and dirty and let my imagination fly is something i have longed for, for many years. there are no constraints. i can just be me. weird. creepy. odd. eccentric.

so, that's the rundown on little ole me. and now i would love to give you a tour of where i spend my days. i hope you will enjoy yourself and do come back often!....

this is my beading station. it also serves as a photo booth, cat bench, and general catch all when it is closed. this is how i keep the kittehs out of my beads. which keeps everyone happy!

this shelving unit came with the apartment and i immediately snatched it up. my friend, jim gave me the drawers from a movie he worked on, and aside from holding all my stamps and most of my inks, they also serve as a propping/drying station for my dolls and masks. the cats can't climb up here because of the tight space and clutter, so it works well for that purpose.

big wall. tiny masks...

sewing machine drawers which will house dolls for a shadowbox show i am doing in october. i am terribly excited and terrifically frightened by this prospect. but, the show must go on!

the theme of my room: where the wild things are!

a giant hand carved, guatemalan armoir which holds linens and art supplies. i think those two things go well together, don't you?!

yes, those are mixed tapes. from this century. my good friend ande sends them to me and i listen to them while working. she has THE BEST music collection and has shared so much of it with me that i am forever grateful. some of my favorite discoveries are the decemberists, tinairwren, azam ali, andrew bird, the infamous stringdusters, and ryan adams.

mr. b has a bookshelf in my work area, filled with boring financial books, so i had to make a fun little shrine on top of it. you can see my mardi gras cold weather parade hat, my who dat wig for the superbowl, my crafting queen crown which my friend, laurie gave to me on my 40th birthday in march, a sand fibers original triangle necklace, and gaston the green nosed alligator which is a character in a series of books the mister's company publishes.

this area is ALWAYS a mess. there's nothing to be done with it. i give up!
and yes, that is a tiny bottle of scotch. i've been keeping it there since i pulled a muscle in my back last's not half bad, if i do say so myself...

party devil mask completed yesterday.

this is cash's basket. he sits in here while i work on dolls and collages. sometimes he swats at the styrofoam balls i use. this often gets him booted from the craft room.

patches is a fierce creature. she diligently guards the studio...

surly bunny mask in progress

surly bunny mask completed

jar of vintage mardi gras beads. some are czech glass and some are plastic. i love the plastic ones and they work very well with my retro 1985 pendant series

i decided to start a line of tiny watercolors based on my dolls. this is as far as i've gotten...

...and that, folks concludes our open studio tour for today....

i truly hope that you enjoyed yourself. i enjoyed having you over! i tend to keep to myself and very few people ever come to it is lovely to have guests today!

now i am off to visit all the other crafting spaces that are open today and i wish you all a very
happy and creative weekend!


Friday, June 11, 2010

where bloggers create is a week away...

patches and cash wanted me to remind everyone that next saturday, june 19th is the second annual WHERE BLOGGERS CREATE event.

i am going to be participating - and hopping joyfully around to many many blogs that day.

i have a clean and fairly well organized studio to show you, many works in progress to share,perhaps a peek inside where i get my inspiration, and some very very exciting news that just unfolded today! tah dah! but, you'll have to wait till next week. tee hee hee.

so, i hope you will join me and all the other bloggers who will be taking part in this event!

i am off to have some sushi with my good friend, laura...

y'all have a great weekend.



Thursday, June 10, 2010

home again, home again...

well, i have returned from my little vacay to see the parental units. we had a very lovely visit but i am exhausted from the drive home. sleeeeeep!!!

i grew up in - and my folks still live - in rural southwest georgia. i prefer to call it the middle of nowhere. so, needless to say, the visit was quiet.

i did manage to do a little junking while i was there...something i am still relatively new to. i picked up some goodies to use in the show i am doing in october, and i got a million ideas...just didn't have enough moola to purchase all the wonderful items i came across.

i am going to get to work dolls and jewelry to show you very very soon....

but i will leave you with some pics from my day of junking in georgia:

have a great rest of the week!