Monday, November 29, 2010


Our blog address has changed, but all previous entries are archived there, along with all current posts.

Please update your Bookmarks, Feeds, or other updating gadgets to:

Recent Posts:

Aaarrgg! (11/29/10)

Autmn Snow (11/23/10)
One Down, Four To Go (11/22/10)

Set-up Day at Holiday Market (11/19/10)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Time To Update

Our blog address has changed, but all previous entries are archived there, along with all current posts.

Please update your Bookmarks, Feeds, or other updating gadgets to:

Recent Posts:
One Down, Four To Go (11/22/10)
Set-up Day at Holiday Market (11/19/10)
Welcome To Our New Blog Address (11/17/10)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Making The Move

New posts are now at our new address:

Click the link and we'll see you there!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Stranded on the "Isle of Nothingness" or Why We Went To a UO Basketball Game

While I didn’t drink the bleach water, the momentary, well, despair if I’m maximizing and disappointment if I minimize my emotional response to the news, made it awfully tempting.

If you’ve been reading the last few entries then you know (and if you haven’t, here’s a brief recap) that Groom and I are in the throes of being creative on demand. Yeah, that always works…

The clock is ticking for us to design half a dozen pieces of jewelry to be professionally photographed for the 2011 art show jurying season which opened November 1st. Each day that passes puts us further behind.

We had until Friday (yesterday) to complete the mini collection and present them to our East Coast consultant. I wrote here a few days ago, that if we were given the green light by this expert, the next step would be to ship the artwork to New York for their walk down the runway. If we were booed off the stage, I might drown my sorrows in bleach water.

Thumbs down was the review. We don’t pay the consultant to be nice or to tell us what we want to hear. We pay him to be brutal, to view our designs with a discerning and critical eye, to play judge and jury while there’s still room to make improvements rather than having the actual art jury exclude us from shows and by default, our income.

While he did not like the direction our created-in-a-pressure-cooker-work was taking, we sent him photographs of things we had made over the summer, which, surprisingly he liked. He even went as far as describing several of them as having that “wow factor,” and used adjectives such as rich, heraldic and imperial. A sharp contrast to a few other adjectives that he used about our initial jurying pieces.

The outcome of this consultation was that he advised using a couple of older pieces (circa June or July) and selecting elements from them to design the rest of the aggravation, er um, I mean aggregation.

I just finished a book called The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin and she suggests that when “your creative flow has dried up, leaving you deserted on the Isle of Nothingness,” then go do something else unrelated for a little while.

We took her advice and nothing could have been as unrelated in our bruised brains as going to a basketball game last night. A friend of ours works in the steel industry and had donor tickets so he invited us to attend the tip off game for the final 11 played at the University of Oregon’s historic Mac Court before they move to the newly finished Matthew Knight Arena.

The last time I was in McArthur Court was way back when Groom and I were registering for our senior year, pre-computers. We had to rush around on the basketball court like athletes ourselves, running to sign up for classes needed for graduation before others filled them up. The sweat, fear and anticipation smelled the same.

However, watching a live basketball game was a completely different, and, a surprisingly wonderful experience. I never, ever thought I’d cheer, clap, whoop and holler for five guys running around in squeaky shoes throwing a ball, but I’m glad I can still discover new things about myself. Prevents getting bored being me.

While having a delicious pre-game dinner at The Vintage and then watching the exciting, close game with North Dakota State (tied 84-84 and then going into overtime to finally win 97-92), Groom and I completely let go of thoughts about forcing creation and have decided to play today, allowing the natural evolution of our ideas to emerge.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


“One and one are sometimes eleven.” – K. Miri

What? Two blog entries in two consecutive days? Must be the alignment of the date being 11/11. It is also Veteran’s Day; a National Holiday set aside to remember those who have served their country, thank you.

Groom and I spent all day yesterday developing our ideas for creating the jurying pieces for the 2011 (ah ha, there’s that number again) Art Fairs and Festival season. We have until tomorrow to complete them, so game on!

But first, we must sustain our strength by nibbling crumpets and sipping tea, also known as taking elevenses.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creative Deadlines

The response to our intention of changing the blog from the weekly posting schedule to a more random, spontaneous format is making me laugh. One person sighed with relief as she let slip, “Oh good, your entries are SO long,” while another lamented that she wanted them even longer.

So while the idea in the very near future is to have much shorter musings with a photograph or two posted every day or so, this meantime finds us in a pressure cooker. We have until Friday to come up with a concept for jurying; a theme and focus which ties our different pieces together that we will have professionally photographed and then made Zapplication ready for the purpose of applying to the 2011 Art Fairs and Festivals.

This brief timeline until Friday is not just for coming up with ideas, it is also the countdown until we have transformed these various possibilities into actual photogenic pieces of jewelry, camera ready for their close ups.

We have an appointment to send preliminary snapshots of these gestating objets d’art to a consultant on the East Coast for his judgment, hence the fierce deadline. If he gives us the green light, then the collection can be shipped to New York for their photo session.

If we are given the red light, booed off the stage so to speak, then we must go back to the drawing board. If that were to happen, you’ll probably find me drowning my sorrows in a bucket of bleach water, scrubbing the floors like Cinderella pre-ball, or Joan Crawford a la Mommy Dearest.

So cross your fingers gentle readers, that today and tomorrow (Wednesday and Thursday) bring inspiration and that time opens itself up and reveals hidden and secret caves to play in and that by Friday morning we’ll emerge victorious.

a plus tard (see ya later)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Need for Bead

“Keeping house is like stringing beads with no knot in the end of the thread.” – Unknown.

Oh, how true for us this week! We thought it would take two days (insert hysterical laughter here).

Groom and I consulted the oracle (our calendar), and although it was going to be a tight squeeze, we gambled the result would be worth it. So we set out on a two-day excavation of our basement which turned into a seven day rampage of spring cleaning. The weather here in Eugene this week has been stunning, giving us the much needed energy and motivation to see the project through to the finish line.

As you might notice, comparing le salon photo to the disaster zone in the previous posting, we managed to put Humpty Dumpty’s living quarters back together again.

No rest for the weary. Or is it the wicked? Regardless, with our claim ticket in hand to get our hour back from the Daylight Savings Time pawn shop, we spent our shiny new 60 minutes at the Piccadilly Flea Market (check out these groovy 1960’s flower power pins, booth #163), and then overspent at the Gem Faire. Groom and I felt hypnotized, drawn like magpies to the shiny pretty things.

Okay, time to continue working on updating our logo. See you soon.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

TA DA! This is NOT our new look

When I wrote last week, I had grandiose expectations of Groom and I updating the logo for our Cinderella Lucinda jewelry business and a funny (if not inspiring) tagline to go with our blog and website makeover. You see, we’re considering stepping into the 21st Century and start doing things in the current fashion. What does that mean? For starters, adding photos of our current work. The images on our website have been there from the beginning. Getting a little stale. Okay fine, a lot.

In order to take photos, one needs a light box. Don’t want to buy one? No problem, online sources say. Simply rig up one of your own using tissue paper and sticks nailed together. Groom tried that and it worked…okay, as far as tissue paper and wood scraps go. But the expert advice said nothing about cats.

What do cats have to do with anything? In our 750 square footish bungalow that doubles as our living and studio space, we set up the light box to take pictures. But then once constructed, there was no place to store it, so it had to live with us on the dining room table. When we came back from a walk, our adorable charming never-gets-into-mischief kitty cat had discovered himself a new toy! We came home to shredded tissue paper and a deconstructed light box. So we became disenchanted with the process of taking photos and posting them on the website. Staleness continued.

Then Kimmm calls us with exciting news that she has finally invested in a professional light box (and lights) from B&H Photo after a bunch of investigation and research. She invites us to look and are we ever impressed. Oh boy, it collapses! (On purpose, not because a cat sits on it…)

We ordered a smaller version of the light box (and lights) which are currently en route from New York. But where to put it so that A) it is functional and B) the cat does not decide to sleep in it? Scritchin’ our heads and looking around our already overloaded chateau, le sigh, the only place left is what we call my subterranean closet or “fortress of fashion.”

I took the plunge and descended into le sous sol (a fancier term for basement) and have spent the past two days sorting, hefting, toting and moving; willing to sacrifice hats, cloaks, capes, books and frippery for the greater purpose.

Currently our space is the living definition of chaos. The after effects are spread out everywhere. You know all the stuff you didn’t know what to do with in the first place? That’s what we’re stepping over and around right now. So, I need to continue organizing while Groom continues to work on the logo and updated blog banner.

We’ll be keeping you posted on this process. Thanks for tuning in.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

100th Blog Episode!

I’m having an episode of writer’s block, stuck for an opening line to begin this week’s entry. I’ve typed just as many words as I’ve deleted, the cursor sweeping up the unused words into a pile of nothing, the blank white screen staring back at me like a threatening ghost.

It’s because this is our 100th blog entry and I’m making it out to be super important in my head; a milestone which I’ve turned into a millstone, you know, the really bad kind of jewelry that gets fastened around the neck and causes drowning. Not my kind of necklace at all, thank you.

So I shall remove the self-imposed yoke from my shoulders and instead of mixing metaphors, mix up the blog routine.

For the past two years, every Wednesday, including when we’ve traveled as near as Corvallis or as far as Japan, we’ve met our deadline, which was the original challenge when we launched it back in 2008.

Having been under the spell of “wanting to be a writer” since I could hold a pen, I wondered if I could actually set a goal for myself and then keep it no matter what was going on in my business or personal life. The answer is happily yes.

I was under the misguided belief that designing jewelry was our temporary thing until I could become a writer full time and sadly, I must confess I’ve wasted an awful lot of energy resenting what I thought kept me from being a real writer. Guess what? That was me!

While I do enjoy splashing the page with words, I don’t love it enough to work at the business end of writing, which in this day and age, is the majority of it.

When I decided to create a blog, a venue where I could write about anything I wanted and to illustrate it with our photographs, I soon discovered the weekly experience more than scratched any chronic writing itch I may have had… and then some.

Creating the blog has required two days of work for me and one for Groom each week. Tuesdays have been set aside for writing the initial draft and selecting the photographs. I marinate the composition overnight and then spend Wednesdays editing while Groom sizes the images and formats the text. Phew, talk about time consuming.

Yet a funny thing happened on the way to the computer. As I committed to writing this blog, I discovered I no longer spent any energy resenting the jewelry and in fact, I fell head over heels in love with it, unearthing a growing passion for design and metal.

So I gratefully thank the blog platform for giving my writing an outlet and harnessing the creative power that we’re now channeling into our new line of bricolage jewelry. And I wholeheartedly appreciate all the followers, the long-term ones who have actually read all 100 and the new ones who pop in every now and again. Thank you.

Having said all that, the blog is changing. Into what, we don’t know yet, but the idea that is forming is taking shape in shorter, perhaps more frequent entries: Maybe a photo or two at a time with a paragraph ---but not on any rigid schedule, so you’ll get to check back anytime to see what’s new.

As for this week’s photographs, they were all taken last Sunday on our walk. It felt like we traversed all four seasons in the span of 45 minutes. Starting from the top, it seemed like spring with the blue sky and the tree still in possession of all its green hair.

We were thrilled to find flowers in bloom, their bright petals representing the transition from spring into summer.

And then we ran across this little vignette, an old-fashioned typewriter hanging out between a brightly colored beach ball and picnic table and a pile of pumpkins. This photo is a bridge between the joys of summer and the harvest of autumn.

These pictures are set up for you to click on them to enlarge. Just hit the back button to return to the blog.

The sand dollar paired with the leaf imports more seasonal changes, images of playing on the beach receding into happy memories as the falling leaves become more immediate, but all of it transient.

The progression of photos leads us into winter, but before all the trees are bare and we’re full force into Holiday Market, we must stroll along the calendar pages, stopping at Halloween for a little spooky fun.

For thousands of years, frogs have been associated with myths, folklore and magic. Looks like this poor little fellow escaped being the secret ingredient in a cauldron full of swamp punch, only to be struck down on a side street. RIP little froggie.

Of course the Halloween season, full of cats, jack o’lanterns, candy and costumes, falls just before All Saints Day, November 1st. So whether you party, pray or do both, please remember to clean up the rotting pumpkins!
So stay tuned as there could be a brief entry tomorrow, who knows?

Happy Halloween and an All Saints Day to you! Stay safe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We The Jury

The early years
For most of us, the word jury conjures up the official summons for civic duty, a mandatory “request” temporarily inviting us to join a group of our peers for the purpose of pronouncing guilt or innocence upon the accused.

For artists who’ve run away and joined the festival circuit, the term jury means almost the same thing.

A later incarnation
 Many times over the years, while Groom and I have been in our jewelry booth, innocent customers have asked the question, “So did you guys just show up here and set up your tent?”

Yep, that’s exactly how it happened, except for NOT.

Let me tell you how it’s done. First, we have to cultivate a list of viable shows. This requires a lot of research and sometimes money, because a few smart people - after having discovered how much effort it takes to track down the names of art fairs and festivals, who the promoters are, the dates of the show, the application process, the jurying fee, the deadlines, the criteria and etc., ad infinitum - have decided to keep this information secret and sell it for a lofty price.

Just because a person now has possession of the coveted list does not necessarily mean all of the shows are practical or profitable. More research is required, picking the brains of other artisans who may or may not have previously participated.

So much of one’s success depends on weather, the economic status of the town (or state as we have recently learned on a trek to California), the location of the show (shady park or sizzling street), the length of time it has been operating, how much advertising the promoters are willing to do, well, you get the idea.

In the Pacific Northwest, climate dictates the relatively short show season, so as is often the case, several prime shows occur on the same weekend which quite frankly is heartbreaking. If only they would stagger themselves on the calendar for a more user friendly dance card. It seems as though they all get bunched up at once, having us travel from one corner of Washington to the mid-section of California within the span of a week, leaving no time for rest, stock infusion or petting the cat.

Once the list is in hand, the calendar looking like a drunken game of connect-the-dots, the application process begins.

When we first made our debut, back in ‘91, we were selling exclusively at the Eugene Saturday Market. One day, a promoter of a local show invited us to participate and we were given a lovely booth spot and some column inch space in the newspaper as an “invited artist.” Wow, that was easy.

A promoter of another show saw our work and invited us to apply to theirs up in the Portland area, but said we’d have to take photos and fill out a form. Well, okay. So I just rifled through our box of stock and selected a few pieces that seemed intent on becoming our “best sellers.” Holding them in one hand, I just went out into the front yard and took the photo myself with the other.

Yes, I had to take the film to the drugstore and have it developed, but that was it. I simply dropped five pictures and the application form into whatever envelope I had and mailed it. We got in. The early 90’s were like that.

Nice hair shadow!

In some cases, we actually had to drive to the host town, such as Bellevue, Washington, months prior to the show so that the promoters could take a look-see at our work. If they liked it, we were in, which they did and so we were. Of course, this was expensive as we had to spend money on gas, hotel and food, plus take the time out of our creating schedule to do it, but that’s how it was done so we did it.

After a few seasons applying for shows in that fashion, things began to change. Instead of print photographs, some shows were starting to demand slides, so we had to invest in double the film and developing. After a couple few years of that, most of the shows got on the same page and they all went to slides.

Instead of a local promoter simply looking at the photos included in the envelope and deciding upon which vendors to include, now a bunch of slide projectors had to be set up, all the multitudes of little slides had to be placed into the slide projectors right side up and time set aside to look at them all, one right after the other.

Photographs allowed the promoters time to think, as they could look at them one by one as the mail brought them in until the deadline. They could put them in different piles to mull it over and see what else showed up. We usually got in.

When they switched to slides, suddenly the promoter (and probably some friends or family) had to sit in the dark and see one image after the other, or perhaps all of one artist’s projected simultaneously. Whatever the case, it was overwhelming and after awhile, they all sort of ran together and they got tired and we started not to get in.

After panicking a bit, this is our living after all, we learned that a panel of professional artists had been hired to look at the slides and weed the good from the bad. This was called a jury. Yep, they would pronounce sentence on our artwork and we would be allowed in the show and make some money, or rejected and allowed to starve.

More panic and research ensued. Those who were getting in were paying professional photographers to take the slide shots. For those in the jury, the quality of the slide is what became noticeable and separated the chaff from the wheat.

Suddenly, we had to fork out hundreds of dollars for what we’d been doing ourselves. But the quality of our slides went up and we were getting into the better shows, so it all paid off. Phew!

But evolution marches on and the digital age encroached upon us. Now, it seemed, it was easy peasy to take digital shots of one’s own work. This opened up the field and more and more people started applying to shows, creating a shortage of spaces compared to the overwhelming number of applicants.

We still managed to get in, until… Until those with advanced computer skills raised the bar and now the quality of digital shots had to be flawless. Until a company called Zapplication became the standard by which we all have to apply. Until we started not getting into as many shows.

More panic and research. One now cannot just have flawless digital images. One must create a body of work that has theme and focus. A collection, if you will. We cannot submit work that the customers like, no, because what do they know; they’re just voting with their money.

Insert ominous music here. THE JURY. A panel of our superiors passing judgment on those who will live and those who will die.

Even if the craftsmanship is impeccable, the theme must pass muster. As the jury has between 5-6 seconds (seconds, not minutes) to make their decision, they have been given a point system to use. They judge on a scale of 1-5 with no three’s allowed, which means when they see an image they either give it a one or a two or a four or a five. No middle ground, they either like it or hate it. At the end, those artists with the highest scores are in and those with the lowest…must I say it?

I have since learned that many themes are passé, such as dragonflies and hummingbirds. Juries loathe cute. If it’s popular, fogetaboutit.

The work must be evocative, but not provocative. Any religious imagery is out, for one member of the panel might be very religious and think the work is sacrilege, while another might be an atheist and find it offensive.

One cannot pull from pop culture like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz or Marilyn Monroe for they’ve been done to death. Or say familiar like the Eiffel tower, for one juror might have been engaged near the iconic structure and smile with passion at the reminder while another might have been jilted by a lover in Paris and seethe with anger and take it out on the applicant stupid enough to use it.

The secret unknowable list goes on, topics that are permissible and more that are not. The photographs also have to be composed in such a way that the first image points to the right so that the juror’s eyes follow naturally to the next, while the last image must point up and to the left so their attention does not wander. In the 5 seconds!

Also, all components must be handmade; no more commercial parts such as earwires, jumprings, chain, charms and beads.

And the background. Phew! One must know what the color du jour is a la mode before hand. One season it was all white, but now, any artist who has their work photographed in white does themselves and the artist following them in the lineup a disservice. Why? Because in the dark, a white background is so bright, that the jurors eyes don’t have time to adjust before the next set of slides appear and even if the next artist has done everything exactly right, they may still get penalized on the basis of pupil dilation.

Another year it was all black. Now the trend seems to be a gradient from white to black or some such thing. How to learn all of this before forking out the cash?

Even after the collection, or body of work has been artfully and creatively thought out, photographed by the best in the biz, the images must then be sent to another enterprising fellow for professional cropping, Photoshop magic and layout. Then those images must be sent to another consultant on the east coast for his opinion as to their merit.

It’s all so bloody time consuming and expensive.

And so, to answer that innocent question, “Did you guys just show up here and set up your tent?”

We wish.