Monday, September 12, 2011

The Choctaw Labor Day Celebration and Art Show

Each year the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma has a big celebration over the Labor Day Weekend.  There are many interesting events that take place over the course of the weekend and they have several musical artists entertaining along with traditional dance, food, and an Art Show.

One of the highlights of the event is the selection of the princesses for the coming year.  The winners for 2011 are shown to the right with the assistant chief in the traditional ceremonial dress. You can find out more about this part of the festival on the Choctaw Website

Another of the traditional events is the stickball tournament.  Stickball is a traditional sport that has been handed down from ancient times.  You can read a bit about the history of stickball in an article that I wrote some time ago on my Art Gallery page.  The Game Of Stickball

Along with all of the traditional activities and entertainment fun there is also an Art Show that is open to all Choctaw artists.  They offer everyone an opportunity to participate by allowing artists like myself that live a long way from Oklahoma to mail in 3 pieces for entry into the show.  This year I was fortunate enough to win some very nice prizes with the pieces that I sent in.

First off I sent in this miniature Mother and Child Bottle which is a reproduction of an ancient bottle made by the mound builders.  The Choctaw descend from the mound builders so I look to the rich culture of the mound builders for my traditional inspirations.  I really like the effigy type pottery and I like to make many of them in miniature.  This piece won a Heritage Award at the Labor Day show.  The Heritage award is defined as a work, regardless of category or other awards which exemplifies specific, traditional Choctaw culture.  Those items that promote and educate those practices that are specific to our Choctaw culture.  I am very honored to have won this award.  But there was more to come.

I also sent in one my Swift Creek Pipestone and Copper necklace.  This piece incorporates a traditional design from the paddles that a group of potters from the mound builders known as the Swift Creek potters used to paddle clay into pots.  Their paddles were wooden paddles that they carved with these designs.  They then put the clay over a gourd or rock and paddled it to create a bow or pot which would then have those designs overlapping over the outside of the pot.  I find these designs to be very interesting and thought that they would make wonderful pendants.  For this particular necklace I took a piece of catlinite which is the traditional indian pipestone used for making ceremonial pipes and I carved it with one of the swift creek paddle designs.  I then used copper wire to make a setting and chain for the piece that also incorporates the circles and spirals of the piece.  I used copper for two reasons.  First it is a metal that was used extensively by the ancient ancestors for their jewelry.  They used it because it was a metal that was found in a workable state and it is soft and easy to make into beautiful pieces even with their limited tools.  I also chose it for the beautiful warm color and how it matches well with the stone.  This piece won second place in the Jewelry category.

As I didn't attend the show I didn't even know I had won until I emailed a friend about a different subject.  When she replied to me she told me congratulations on the win, so it was a rather unexpected but wonderful revelation.  My thanks to Theresa Renegar of Chahta Nueska whom I have just discovered also won some prizes.  Looks like between us we swept the Jewelry category.  She won first place with this lovely repousse spirit horse on hand woven chain. Again utilizing copper.  She has done a great job of creating the horse.  She also won 3rd prize with a beaded piece which can be seen in the gallery on her website Chahta Nueska.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bead & Button Giveaway and Musings

Hello everyone Happy first day of summer to you all.  I am finally more or less caught up on the mundane chores that piled up while I was off to Bead and Button.  I fully intended to post the winner of my giveaway sooner but I kept running out of time doing those exciting things like bills and taxes and the like.  But I woke up today and said to myself the first thing I'm going to do is get that announcement out there.  But first a bit about the show.

This was the first year I have gone to Bead and Button and it was a great time.  Lots of fun with friends some good sales activity and new places to visit as well.  We drove to the show as the displays plus all the beads are a bit much to fly with and besides with the two of us the cost is less than flying.  But it is a long trip and a grueling one to do in two days.  But we survived.  On the right you can see a shot of Vlad's side of the booth after we got all set up. 

After setting up for the show we had the Thursday evening preview time.  It was very busy and we met several of our online friends in person for the first time.  Here in the photo to the left you can see Linda and Petra, two of the online friends we have met on facebook.  Thursday was the busiest of the days at the show but Friday and Saturday were also very busy and there were more new friends that stopped by and said hi.  Unfortunately we didn't get photos of everyone but we did get a chance to chat with most of them for at least a few minutes.  These photos were shot by Vladislav Ivanov of Golem Studio, my booth partner.

Saturday night we went to a very interesting restaurant called the Safe House.  It is a restaurant with a spy theme and there are lots of fun things going on there.  To get in you first have to pass the door keeper she first asks you for a password and if you can't guess the password you have to do some odd behaviour for a few minutes to get in.  Our group of about 16 had to waddle around like penguins and make penguin noises.  Finally when you get in there are all sorts of spy like things.  Old fashioned phone booths that are not exactly phone booths, secret passages, stools that slowly sink into the floor, interactive pictures on the wall, etc.  I had seen a special on tv about this place and recognized the interior immediately so I knew it would be a fun evening.  Here on the left you can see a rather dim shot of our group table with one of the interactive walls on the right of the photo behind us.  The top of the wall moves back and forth to change the tops of the figures. Thanks to Marianne Kasparian of Maku Studio for this photo.

Here is another photo from the Safe House taken by Vlad.  In the background here you can see Lisa Peters and her mother who arrived a bit late and were not able to join the rest of the group but did stop by to chat for a bit.  In the foreground is Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood and Heather Powers of Humble Bead, Diane Hawkey with her back to us and a couple more of our group that I can't quite identify.   Vlad and I were sitting next to Marianne Kasparian on one side of us and the Vintage gals were on the other side.  Across the table was Loreli Erto whom we finally met at this show after knowing her online for quite some time.  This was a great evening outing and really finished of the Saturday evening beautifully.

So now to the original subject of this post to give away the $100 gift certificate to one lucky winner that was selected by random selection from all of the people that entered the giveaway by answering my survey questions.  First off thank you to you all for answering my survey questions and entering the giveaway.  Now!

Congratulations to Howard Sawhill of North Carolina, you are the winner of the $100

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Just a quick little post to wish you all a very Happy New Year.

I would like to take this opportunity to send out a big Thank You to all of you that like my work.

Thanks for all your purchases over the course of 2010 and before.

Thank You for your encouragements, comments and support.

I truly appreciate all of you and the friendships I've managed to build online.

I hope you will all have a very Happy and prosperous 2011.

I am looking forward to another year of exciting interactions and conversations with you all.

Don't forget if you are coming to Tucson for the Big Bead Shows and Gem Shows be sure to stop in and see us at The Best Bead Show in the side hall booth H21-22 My good friend Vladislav Ivanov of Golem Design Studio and I will again be sharing.

All the best to everyone for the New Year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Crystal and Blue almost icy

Finally I got the time to actually make up one of my new Slide sets myself.  This one is the one I call Fancy.  I just love the design on this set.  This set as well as a couple of the others in the collection were created using architectural accents as a starting point.  As is frequently the case when developing new designs and ideas a few adjustments must be made.  Currently I am in the process of refining and re-shaping some of the cone ends for these sets to give a greater variety which will better accommodate more types of cords.  I may also make somewhat smaller holes in the slides available as and option.  These refinements will serve to make the collection much more versatile.

The pale blue with palladium accents really gives this one a sparkly icy winter look to it I think.  I used a variety of strands for the Kumihimo braid on this one.

I used a 'silver yarn', blue and white braiding cords and 4 strands with 4 different types of beads for a total of 10 strands. 

I used two types of large 'e' beads or size 6 in pale blue and a clear silver lined.  Also some small round silver beads and clear silver lined seed beads.

I was quite pleased with the look this combination gave me.  I added a large clear crystal to the bottom of the slide completing the icy look.

This style of slide is available in my Bead Shop Currently in the 'NEW' category.

And Don't Forget that EVERYTHING in the Bead Shop is on SALE at 25% through Christmas.