This life we's strange, painful at times, but oh so beautiful.

I am a fusion dance artist and teacher, a fire dancer, and a visual artist. I draw inspiration from nature, music, and the amazing people that come into my life. I am also a conservationist who makes jewelry and found object multimedia craft type art in my spare time (when I'm not reading, writing, or lighting things on fire and dancing around with them). I love to dance barefoot on the beach, watch the stars move inexorably across the heavens, and to laugh with the people that I love. I am currently based in Greenville SC, working with Discordia Arts to provide unique and exciting entertainment to the Upstate.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Was Featured

In this lovely blue and green treasury on etsy

I get all a-twitter when my pieces are chosen for etsy treasuries, as I have a soft spot for the treasury in the first place (beautiful hand made things all in one place - who wouldn't love to look at that!)

The seller who made this treasury is a rather awesome crochet and knitter (no, I don't know her personally, but check out her shop. I was especially excited about the snake puppet scarf, because how cool is this?
It's a scarf that's a snake...and a puppet! Literally, it's a conversation piece! Teehee - I punned.

I was also featured in a treasury of "Hidden Treasures"

By this seller who creates cards and the coolest finger puppets - I guess I'm having a puppet kind of day. My favorite was this set...
Because, who doesn't love pirates. Arrrgh!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Recently Sold Items

Dragonfly Hand Painted Silk Pillow
I hate taking pictures of the items I make. I love having the pictures once they are done, but I'm not a very good photographer and the act itself of trying to get decent photos is frustrating to me. That being said, I've sold quite a few items that I never photographed, and I really wish I had pictures of them. So, I am going to try very hard to get photos of everything that I make. The following pictures are all pieces that I've sold that I did get photos of. Though no two pieces that I make are ever exactly the same, I am glad to be able to post examples of what I make.

Hand Painted Butterfly Silk Pillow

Hematite, Mookatite, Turquoise and Copper Pendant
Amethyst, Picture Jasper, and Copper Pendant

Hand Painted Hickory Medalion Pendant - Tree

Hand Painted Hickory Medalion Pendant -Lotus

Hand Painted Hickory Medalion Pendant -Om

Carnelian and Moss Agate Tear Drop Pendant

Hand Painted Hickory Medalion Pendant -Branch

Hand Painted Hickory Medalion Pendant - Tree

Summer's Wish Hand Painted Silk Scarf

Autumn Leaves Hand Painted Silk Scarf

Yellow Roses Hand Painted Silk Scarf

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wherein I Make Use of Little Space and Create Happy Accidents

Silk Pillow Drying on a Kitty Litter Platform
 As a working artist living in an apartment the size of my childhood bedroom with another person, I have rediscovered that age old adage "make use of that which is available." The hardest thing to come across here is space...and in silk painting, you need a lot of space. Space to store dyes, space to paint, space for items to dry, space to spread out newsprint in order to steam your silks, space for steaming, for washing, for point should be quite obvious.

Usually, I paint silks on my coffee table. It is large enough for me to work on all but the largest pieces that I paint (one of the main reasons I haven't been making very many veils or large wall hangings in the past few years.)
Silk Pillow Drying On My Wine Rack

But, once again, life lessons imparted to me at a young age by my father come to play a part in my professional development. My father has a place for everything, even a special nail in his shop on which he places used twist ties and one next to it on which he places rubber bands. If you were to walk into my father's shop and tell him that you had a broken whossawhatsit and that you needed a small piece of plastic pipe, he would take you to the plastic pipe department and find the perfect piece. If he couldn't find the perfect piece, he'd cut you one or in dire circumstances, somehow create the perfect piece of pipe using glue, a dowel rod, and some plastic that he had lying around.

Extra Limbs Made Her Far More Normal

I'm not as good as my father about knowing where everything is, but I have a "cloth department" and an "adhesives" area where you can find multiple types of glue, tape, and even my stapler. The talent that I have inherited and developed is the ability to make use of whatever I have available whenever I need something that I do not this instance, since lack of space is one of my biggest problems, I have found a variety of ways to create the space I need.

When I paint, in order to let one piece dry and work on the next, I create drying racks with old kitty litter containers. Once pieces are dry enough to remove from the rack but not completely dry, they are then placed "somewhere" to dry - in this instance, draped across my wine rack.
I use this inherited talent in other ways...happy accidents. Sometimes I don't sketch a piece out before I put the resist lines on the fabric and I just free hand it. In this case, I began with her head, the far left arm, and her hair, I then filled in the body and added an arm. She looked strange, out of proportion, and I decided that what she really needed was an extra set of arms and legs.
Because that's how you fix someone who is disproportionate - you add extra limbs...why not?

Ok, so I admit that it was a strange solution and the final piece did turn out slightly odd, but I love it. Maybe she's a goddess, or maybe she's in the best art, the viewer gets to decide exactly what/why is happening in this piece. I'm just happy that it happened.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bellydancers in Greenville, SC and Henna for Friday

In preparation for Friday's show at Karma in Greenville, SC, members of Discordia Arts, Brandy and Emily and I all decided to get henna done. I chose to do the henna 4 days prior to the show since henna gets darker during the 48 hours after application and usually doesn't begin to fade until 7 to 10 days. This way, I can ensure that the designs will be at their darkest for our performance on Friday.

I worked on Emily's piece first, drawing inspiration from her earrings to create a free hand symmetrical back piece for her.

The piece on Emily's back reminded me of a peacock's tail feathers and Brandy loves peacocks, so those two factors lead to the peacock back piece that I did for Brandy. She played the harmonium throughout the entire application but managed to stay still, and the piece turned out beautiful.

My piece took a slightly different slant. Since I can not do henna on my own back, I chose to do a floral design on my left hand and up my left arm almost to the elbow. As aftercare, we left the henna paste on as long as possible and then scraped the paste off. I even slept in mine, with a sock over my hand, and I'm looking forward to watching it darken over the next few days.

To see the final product, come check us out on Friday. Doors open at 8: music and dancing begins at 10pm.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Plans for Friday, April 15

I have been battling the allergy demons for the past few weeks. My weapons of chamomile tea, honey, orange juice, garlic, and vapor rub weren't enough, so I added dayquil and zyrtec to the arsenal and am now emerging victorious...just in time for final rehearsals for Friday's show at Karma in Greenville.

The lovely and talented Brandy White of Bellymuse has asked me to dance with Discordia while she plays harmonium. Their music is hauntingly beautiful. Dark and emotionally charged lyrics merge with fantastic guitar work to create an absolutely one of a kind sound. I have had a wonderful time practicing with Discordia and am excited to debut four dances this weekend.

I'm planning a prop filled set with a sword dance, veil dance, and fire palm piece, and one solo prop free dance. Also, Brandy and I along with the talented Emily will be debuting ATS to a live piece by Valentine Wolfe. Big skirts and improvisational troupe style dancing. It's going to be a wonderful show!

Karma is located at 520 Rutherford Rd, Greenville, SC. Doors open at 8pm. 10$ cover.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My First Art Show

Materials for making fixtures
One thing that artists and everyone else all can agree on....framing is freaking expensive. I understand why it's expensive. There are a lot of materials involved, and mounting matting and framing artwork is not particularly easy so like anything that involves a special skill, the price goes up.

Close up of fixture edge
Like many artists, I don't have a large amount of excess capital lying around for framing. So, I decided to make my own fixtures for my silk hangings.

I purchased pine molding and cut it to size. Then I cut strips of black felt cloth and used craft glue to fix the felt to the inside of one side of the pine molding. I then sandwiched two pieces of pine molding together and clamped them.

I discover the joys of repeated step ladder trips
 Luckily, my father is the sort of person who likes to purchase practical gifts in bulk and then stick them in everyone's stockings at Christmas. Two years back I got a whole bunch of small clamps. I had no clue what I would do with them, but I put them in a coffee cup on my craft table where they sat unused until now.

Chris and Me
After clamping the two pieces together, I drilled holes in the ends of each piece and placed the silk paintings on the felted side of the fixtures. I used small pieces of acid free artists tape to keep the silks in place and pressed the unfelted piece down over the top of the silk.  I then clamped the edges together and used mono-filament fishing line to tie the fixtures.

The finished fixtures are perfect. To hang the pieces in the gallery, I used clear thumbtacks and more fishing line. The silks appear to be floating on the wall, and they look beautiful! 

I had a wonderful day yesterday hanging my very first art show. It means the world to me that Christy Fricks, the owner of Floorspace, and my good friend,  believes in me enough to ask me to be the first artist to exhibit work in her space.
Silk paintings at Floorspace

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hanging silk

How on earth do you hang a silk painting without damaging the silk? Up until NOW, I have painted silk and sold silk, and left it up to the buyer as to how they would like to display the silk.

Some of my paintings have been mounted on acid free backing, matted, and framed. Other pieces have been wrapped around dowels and hung free on the wall, still others are worn as is or pressed between pieces of glass on tables. Now, though, my very first solo art show is approaching, and I have no clue how I'm going to hang 16 silk paintings!

I am super excited though!

Here's what I think is going to happen. I think that I'm going to buy a massive amount of pine molding from the hardware store, glue felt to the back side of each piece, sandwich the tops of the silks between two pieces, tie the ends together, and hope. The difficulty is that I want the silks to be free hanging and I don't want to damage the silks by glueing, taping, sewing, or otherwise permanently altering them in any way. I also want to be able to remove the silks from the fixtures.

The show starts Tuesday. Any suggestions are welcome, and I'll let you know how it turns out!