On occasion, I receive requests for custom-made mosaic art jewelry. Since I love making custom pieces, I delight when someone contacts me for a custom order. Oftentimes, the request comes with a story about why a custom piece is required instead of selecting a piece from existing inventory. This blog post is predominantly visual; a pictorial if you will of requests for custom pieces and their accompanying stories.
The home page of my website is essentially a gallery of some of the mosaic art jewelry pieces I have created over the years. Many of my custom orders emanate from people who see something they like on the home or shop pages of my website but they would like the piece to have a different color scheme or perhaps be set into a different metal. Usually, I am able to accommodate custom requests.
A mother and daughter participated in one of my mosaic art jewelry workshops. They loved the workshop and the pieces they made. Later, the mother asked me to create these earrings for her daughter as a gift.
These very large pendants were requested by a customer who saw one of my pendants at a show. She requested two pendants with brighter colors than the original pendant and she wanted the pendants to be similar to one another but not identical. I believe one pendant was for herself and the other for her sister. These particular pendants are challenging to create as some of the circles have to be hand carved using a pumice stone. The black circles are a hand-cut Italian glass called Filati. I really love this pendant, and though challenging, loved making them for the customer.
The above photo on the left is the original pendant and the photo on the right was the result of a custom order request. The customer asked for two pendants similar to the original but in a muted palette. The pendants were for himself and a close friend. He wanted the pendants to be similar to one another but to also have slight differences. He had expressed to me that these pendants would be symbolic and important to him and his friend so I took great care to listen to what he wanted. He was very happy with the end result.
The heart pendant on the right is a piece that was on my website but was no longer available as it was sold. The photo below is a custom order based on the original pendant. The client really liked the glass heart and wanted one similar to give to his girlfriend. A few months later he and his girlfriend came to a show I was participating in. She expressed that she loved the pendant. It was nice to meet them in person.
These hearts were custom-made for a customer who wanted heart pendants for herself and her sister. The photo on the left was the photo the customer referenced. She wanted the custom hearts to be a little brighter and wanted them to be the same color scheme and as identical as possible. She also requested sterling silver chain rather than cord.
Occasionally I receive requests for sets. This customer wanted a bracelet/earring set that was bright and vibrant. The bracelet is not a bracelet style that I usually make. She wanted a slim bar style bracelet to match the earrings so I was happy that I was able to accommodate her request.
A while back a customer purchased a glass and tile pendant from me at a show. About a year later, she reached out to me and asked if I could create matching earrings. I was pleased to create earrings to match. She didn’t want them to be “matchy matchy” but she definitely wanted the earrings to reference the pendant. Below is a photo of the matching earrings.
If you’d like a custom-made mosaic art jewelry piece, you can either go to my website at www.mothandtwig.com to peruse existing designs that you might want modified, or you can visit Artistic Portland and view the pieces on display in the store. You can then contact me directly at email@example.com and let me know what you would like to have created. The piece will then be available for purchase at Artistic Portland.
This week's blog was written by painter, Jennie O'Connor. Jennie interviewed glass artist Kandyse Whitney of Blue Fox Glass. You can see Kandyse's exquisite works at Artistic Portland Monday-Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from noon to 5.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined Artistic Portland in February 2014. I had recently moved back to the Portland area and was looking for places to sell my work. I enjoy being part of a community of artists who inspire each other.
What’s your background?
For the most part my non-creative work has been typical 9-5 office work providing administrative support.
Why do you do what you do?
Glass fascinates me because of its wide range of colors and what you can create with it. I love that artists can work with it in both liquid and solid states. Recently, I have also been working with recycled glass, turning it into functional bowls, decorative starfish, and unique pendants.
Where do you create?
I turned one of our extra bedrooms into a studio where all the designing, cutting, and assembling takes place. The kilns (I have two) are in the garage. Another bedroom is where I photograph my items and package them for shipping.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
I think my favorite piece is from when I was working in stained glass. I made a clown wearing patchwork pants sitting in the rain with a ribbon umbrella. Maybe someday I’ll recreate it in fused glass.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
Probably the ability to see things in abstract. There are times when my left brain is too rigid for the vision of how I want a piece to look.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
Reading a book or spending too much time on Facebook.
This week's blog was written by mosaic jewelry artist, June Martin of Moth & Twig. June discusses her observations around finding her voice as an artist.
I admit to a guilty pleasure. Project Runway! What does Project Runway have to do with this week’s blog you ask? If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll recognize Heidi Klum exclaiming, “I don’t know who you are yet as a designer!” Or, “I knew it was you when it walked down the runway.” That got me to thinking. Is my voice as an artist apparent? This is something I’ve struggled with over the years because, to be honest, I think I have two voices. Let me explain.
I like clean lines; bold, saturated, complicated colors and interesting geometric patterns. Perhaps this is why I’m drawn to mosaic. I can manipulate materials and transform them into patterns and shapes that please my mind.
But I also love a rustic, bohemian vibe. I believe this to be a sharp contrast to my love for bold and graphic. I love both styles equally. These styles are reflected in my home environment as well.
Before mosaics, I used to spend inordinate amounts of time “playing” with my living spaces. I’ve lived in a number of unconventional abodes over the years. I love creating unique, vibrant living spaces. Clean lines, bold colors, interspersed with rustic and unusual curiosities. I currently live in a small 100 year-old Cape Cod house/loft. I’ve kept many of the original features of the house, in particular the amazing, though highly inefficient windows in the living and dining rooms. My orange mid-century modern sofa looks great next to the antique windows. My antique rustic seven-foot farm table looks smashing with the Eames-like molded plywood dining chairs. Don’t get me started on my chartreuse library/music room, which features a rustic potbelly stove, antique Gabbeh rug, and modern black umbrella chairs; perfect for cocooning into with a glass of red on a cold winter’s night. I have a voice; it’s just shared between two camps.
At a recent show, my booth featured bold pieces, which were mixed in with my rustic, natural pieces. I don’t have as many bold pieces due to the complexity and length of time it takes to create them. At this show, a gentleman from Texas was sifting through various pieces on display. He gravitated towards a piece that I made a while ago; a small square pendant made from dark stained glass and acid green mosaic gold! Yes! Acid green mosaic gold! A stunning material that I use sparingly due to the cost. The pendant was bold and graphic but was set into an antique pewter base so it shared elements of rustic and bold. It spoke to him so he joyously bought it as a birthday present for himself. He then gravitated towards a piece I had made for a gallery show. It was a very labor-intensive pendant that I was quite fond of. I told myself that if it didn’t sell at this show, it was mine. Well, it’s in Texas now, as well as five other pieces he was drawn to. I couldn’t be happier. He appreciates my work, so for me, that’s a win-win as they say. I joked around with him about how he was zeroing in on my favorite, though not as popular pieces. We connected. He also purchased a rustic style bracelet. I was sad to see some of them go but very happy to see them go home with him. It was nice to see both of my voices could be appreciated by the same person. I guess it’s ok to have more than one voice.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
I joined Artistic Portland in February 2014 when we were located in the Hollywood District. I had recently moved back to Portland and was looking for a place to sell my work in addition to weekend art shows.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Montana and lived in New Jersey for a couple of years, but Portland has been my home since the early 90s.
What jobs have you had other than being an artist?
I worked for a short while in retail, but the majority of my experience has been in administrative support roles. Most recently I worked for a company in a financial capacity and got to play with money all day!
Where did the name “Blue Fox Glass” come from?
Blue Fox is a nickname I use in some outdoor games I play so when I was trying to come up with my business name it was the first thing that came to mind.
What lead you to working with glass?
A former co-worker brought in a stained glass panel she made and I thought to myself “I can make that.” Within a week I had signed up for a stained glass class. I worked in stained glass for about 15 years before taking a break from it. In the fall of 2009, I decided to get back into glass and bought my first kiln.
How would you describe your style in three words?
FUNctional, whimsical, colorful
What do you love about creating with glass?
I am continually amazed at the creative works I see made from glass. I am fascinated by the colors and the “magic” that happens inside the kiln. Some glass changes color when exposed to the high heat so I don’t always know what I will see when I open the lid. All the glass I use is manufactured in Portland and I love being able to handpick each sheet of glass I use.
What frustrates you about glass?
Glass can be temperamental at times. There are some days I can’t seem to get a straight cut no matter what I do. Many factors come into play such as the temperature of the glass, the brittleness of the particular sheet of glass, or how hard I press down when I’m scoring.
What inspires you?
Though my style is constantly changing, I seem to circle back to mosaic-style pieces. We always had a jigsaw puzzle in progress as a child and there is a sense of satisfaction when all the pieces fit together nicely.
Where is your studio?
I turned one of our extra bedrooms into my studio where I do all my designing and cutting. An old door and a counter-top sitting on top of a set of cabinets I found at the Habitat for Humanity store serve as my cutting surface and a wire storage rack in the closet holds my stash of glass sheets. The kilns (I have two!) are in the garage. My husband would say that the whole house is my studio since another bedroom was turned into the photo studio to photograph my pieces and various items can be found in the kitchen either waiting to be photographed or put back into the kiln for a second firing.
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill what would it be?
I wish I was more right-brained than I am. My strong left-brain comes in handy for the record-keeping part of my business, but I struggle to see things in abstract.
Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
Some might say I have a bit of daredevil in me. I think the scariest thing I have done was bungee jump 440’ above a canyon in New Zealand. I was slightly under the minimum weight requirement so they added a couple weights around my waist. Talk about a rush!
Stop by Artistic Portland any day of the week 10 am - 6 pm (noon-5 pm on Sundays) to see and purchase Kandyse's work in person!