Christina Romeo: I am a mixed media abstract expression artist working in multi-disciplinary media such as contemporary abstract paintings, textile work,modern ceramics as well as odd, irregular drawings and watercolor illustrations.
Please help me welcome Jesika Wolff to Try Handmade! She’s a writer, artist and web developer and here on the blog she’s going to be detailing tips for Small Space Living. I live in a small space so I’m looking forward to her tips, and if you have any special requests, please leave them in the comments.
This mosaic inlaid candy dish by Smith Mosaics would be perfect for holding those little hard candies our grandmas loved so much, but maybe you’re not a candy person. Let’s say you’re more carrots and celery sticks. Those won’t keep too well in an open dish on the counter. There have been plenty of little bowls and silver dishes I’ve found enticing, but couldn’t fathom a use for. There are only so many “change bowls” a person needs before you end up losing the bowls with the change. Still, I can’t help but be drawn to beautiful craftsmanship; particularly if I can conceive a purpose for it.
I like looking at things. I can’t help it. When I’m driving down the highway I read all of the signs. When I’m shopping every window display has my undivided attention for at least one minute. I’m an observer by nature. One weekend, while observing a vase full of bracelets at my favorite boutique I had an epiphany: I was looking at bracelets in a vase. A grand realization, I know, but stick with me. I promise you it’ll all make sense in the end.
Why did I grow up thinking Jewelry had to be kept in a box? Stores keep necklaces on hooks and rods. They put earrings on trays and bracelets in bowls. I’d been hunting for the perfect Jewelry box for over a month, to no avail, when the solution was sitting in my kitchen cupboard! Boutiques keep it cute and classy by putting jewelry in random containers. Why couldn’t I do the same? Now, for those that want a little more flair than the standard glass vase, I highly recommend Bottlehood in San Diego, California. Take a look at this gorgeous upcycled Absolut bottle:
Wouldn’t your bracelets look spectacular in there? You could even put a few tumbled rocks in the bottom for filler, if you don’t need the bottle to be that deep.
But the earrings! What shall we do with those? We can’t possibly put them in a jar or bowl, even a little one, without making quite a mess of things. There’s a cheap and easy solution to this dilemma. Remember when you bought a shirt with buttons? Did it come with an extra button in a little plastic bag? I’ve already lost track of the shirts those buttons belonged to, but I still had those button bags. I took all of the buttons and condensed them in a jar, then used the bags to hold my earrings. This way I could put them in a container without making a mess. I’m also a big fan of organza pouches:
Home2 makes these lovely jewelry pouches. You can usually get them in any size and color, and they look much nicer than little plastic bags.
Here’s what I ended up doing:
I don’t have much jewelry, so I put the bracelets in a vase, stacked the really thick bracelets, and put my earrings in pouches. That weird looking metal contraption in the middle is actually a candle holder. I found it in our new house’s basement and couldn’t bear to part with it. Took me a month, but I finally figured out where to put it! I put my earrings in the glass “candle holder” and dangle my necklaces from the hook at the top.
Now I know there are two necklace boxes that managed to sneak in there, but for good reason. Some jewelry is a bit too important to put in bags and hang on hooks. One box has my wedding necklace. A beautiful piece I purchased from Etsy seller Leela Bijou. The other box has an anniversary present from my hubby. It’s another wonderful handmade piece from Etsy, by seller Kivaford.
What I love the most about this arrangement is that everyday I wake up and feel like I’m shopping for a new piece of jewelry. It makes the ho-hum of morning ritual a bit more interesting. Go ahead, give it a try! I’m sure there a few wine bottles left over from last weekend, maybe a nice vase from that last flower arrangement you received, or my absolute favorite way to spend a weekend: garage sale discoveries!
So next time you’re thinking of buying a new jewelry box for all of those earrings, necklaces, and bracelets you’ve accumulated, why not take a stroll around your abode first? You might be surprised by the random containers you find.
That’s right, artist Greg Stones can make poop into a funny subject matter in his sharp landscape paintings.
Maybe it is because a penguin is pooping? Wouldn’t you have the same reaction if a huge reptilian monster was coming after you from behind the hedges? I think so. This little penguin thought he was just off for a romp in the woods, maybe coming upon a lake to catch some fish for dinner. Then the big green monster appears. What do you think happens next?
It seems we never know what to expect with Greg. He is able to create these quite serious looking landscapes. Ones where you expect to witness some stunning feat of nature. But isn’t bigfoot one of those stunning feats? This scene reminds me of King Kong where the damsel in distress is always trying to flee the man who loves her. Isn’t it sweet that the sheep escapes by a little red balloon. This scene is quite a fairy tale. Or do you see a tale of human loss? A child running for the red balloon he let slip away. The artist may have a sense of humor, but he gets us thinking about the story he is trying to tell.
Stones has a great formula here. He describes his process as: “I start with a basic landscape or figure-study sketched in pencil. Then I add a light wash of watercolor. And then I try to think what would make the painting especially awesome. In most cases, this means creating a frozen, transient moment where either something has just happened, or something is about to happen. A few hours and many layers of paint later, a new piece is ready to be framed and sent out into the world like a bat out of hell. (I don’t know what that means, exactly, but it sounds cool.)” I am grateful Greg started to add some humor to our lives. ‘Zombies Hate Clowns’ has become a classic in our little state, my husband has this one hanging in his office. We need smiles brought to our mundane work days.
I thought the flashers were my favorite series, until I saw the new work posted on Greg’s site. Now I am in love with the sock monkeys. Who do you think wins, the sock monkey or the reaper? My money is on the sock monkey. They seem like survivors to me.
I am glad Greg Stones found his voice in his paintings. As most educated artists stumble trying to make something they love and something that sells, Greg did the same: “When I first started out, I painted lonely self-portraits, landscapes, and animals. I was strictly a nostalgic and technical artist. Not to mention an isolated artist who rarely did anything more exciting than watch cartoons and nap. And possibly eat pasta.
At some point along the way, I remembered that I had wanted to be a cartoonist when I was in college, and I started tossing a little humor into the paintings. Flying people? Hungry sharks? Nude blue alien women getting picked up by UFOs? You bet. And for reasons that I cannot explain, meeting the stunning woman who would become my wife somehow led to the addition of penguins, robots, zombies, flashers, and poop. In fact, these elements have become such a dominant part of my work that people are actually shocked and horrified when I resort to my old ways and create a landscape where no pooping penguins are killed by topless robotic zombies. It’s pretty cool.” I would like to thank Greg for imposing his sense of humor on us. We all need to remember to be less serious and have some fun.
For more prints, paintings, books and notecards visit Greg Stones’ site. Try not to laugh too hard.
Upon one of my many trips to Craftland I discovered this cute as pie zippered pouch. I fell in love with the fun fabric (designed by the artist) and made a note to find out more about the artist and her work.
Allison Cole is an artist who lives and works in Providence. She is a graduate of our very own Rhode Island School of Design where she received a BFA in Printmaking. She is currently focusing on making work for gallery shows, her fun little Bang Bang You’re Thread shop and freelance illustration. Not too shabby!
After poking around her shop for a bit I realized that I own some buttons of Allison’s design. Well, not the bag of rocks collection but the veggie button set. I love that they are in sets of three and you can spread the love around on your coats, bags or hats. I think this jeweler needs to add these rock buttons to her collection.
Allison makes it easy for us to collect her work. Her designs litter so many functional items. I always keep a hefty stash of cards around so I have the perfect greeting on hand for any occasion. These are so cute and playful with great color combinations. The part of me that is dead set on learning french loves the Bonjour Elephant the best.
I know I compulsively collect blank books. You never know when you are going to need to sketch an idea or jot down a note. This is the perfect size to keep with you at all times. And I am smitten with the bright yellow frame and cute flowers the artist lovingly placed on the cover.
Soon enough this print will find a home on my walls. This print is just darling. It looks like a doodle, a thought from a lover, decorated with swirls and flowers. Playful and powerful, really a perfect piece for this married couple.
Amber Alexander, whose work reminds me of a modern day Beatrix Potter, is an artist to watch. This Vermont based artist creates interesting characters with her paints and brushes. Her watercolor and acrylic work is stunning!
It’s rare to find art that can find a home on any wall. That is another great aspect of Amber’s work. You could hang any of her paintings in any room of your home and it would simply ‘fit it’.
You will find affordable prints, originals and even some cards featuring Amber’s artwork in her shop. There is a lot to choose from that will make your collection all the more special. Enjoy!