Friday, November 7, 2014

That magical connection of human hand, earth, and fire -- Kathy McDonald

Welcome! Our November’s feature artist is Kathy McDonald, a Canadian ceramic and jewelry artist who operates WillowTree Design near Brandon Manitoba.

This is what she says of her journey after several decades of art and craft.


A little bit about me: I live in Manitoba Canada and have operated WillowTree Pottery here for more than 25 years. My training is in psychology and education. I owe my pottery skills to many potters, jewelry artists and mentors, students, and workshops that I've been part of over the years. Clay has been a wonderful muse for me for these decades.

Pottery Chip and Dip Platter by Kathy McDonald

I think it is that magical connection of human hand, earth, and fire that has been entrancing people for centuries that draws me to the process and keeps me wanting to learn more and more.

I particularly like the diversity of combining my work as a potter with work in the metals and metal clays. They overlap and often one inspires or supplements ideas for the other. 

My most recent endeavors have included a series of wheel thrown fairy garden lanterns and sculptures and some new designs created with silver clay and gemstones.

The giveaway this month will feature one of each:

Fairy House by Kathy McDonald

This charming handcrafted stoneware fairy house will please even the most discerning woodland creatures that inhabit your garden. Each house is unique and has it's own special personality.


The silver piece is a hand sculpted leaf with a 3 mm topaz. Ten grams of clay, it is made from PMC 360. Comes with an oxidized sterling 1 mm chain. Value at $75.

Here are the rules to enter the MCHs blog giveaway:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment here so we can keep track.
  1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
  2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
  3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
  4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
  5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
  6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
  7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
  8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to http://www.facebook.com/MetalClayHeadsTeam and click Share) = 1 entry
The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner the week of 24th. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October Blog Giveaway result is here! And the winner is ...

Bethany!!!!

Congrats to Bethany who won! Thanks to everyone who has entered the giveaway. In the meantime please continue to admire our October featured artist Anna Siivonen's amazing creations here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I actually managed in creating my dream job -- Anna Siivonen

Welcome! Our October featured artist is Anna Siivonen from Sweden. Exotic, fairytale-ish (if there is such a word), dreamy ... are the words that wandering in my mind when I wow over Anna's wearable art. Here is an inspiring story on how she pursuit her dream since 6.


Serqet Scorpio Goddess Statement Necklace by Anna Siivonen

I have been dreaming about working with art since I was a kid (after I gave up the notion of becoming a princess or a hockey goalkeeper). I took a ceramic clay class when I was six years and I continued for about fifteen years, my favorite thing was to sculpt small figures. From an early age I felt that I had good creative ideas, but I lacked in confidence. I could not get in the right art schools. So I studied at the not so popular school but after having completed university I still could not convince anyone to give me a job that was the least bit creative. I came to the conclusion that I´ll have to create my dream job for my self, nobody would just give me that. So I settled on a job that was offered and I started a company on the side as a creative outlet.

In my company I did all kinds of sculptures and projects that went nowhere. I painted and wrote a children´s book that suck but had great pictures. I did a cow for Cow parade in Stockholm (that somebody massacred in a week). After two years I stumbled upon silver clay which was unheard of in Sweden so I taught my self everything about it, and I wrote a book about it that no one wanted to publish. So I taught my self about publishing, layout, photography and I published the first Swedish silver clay book, later on published also in Finland. Because of this I got to teach a lot of silver clay classes, but still I had not much luck in selling my art. Then I found Etsy and through Etsy I found my style and a method of creating efficiently. I started thinking in terms of product development, and nowadays when I create I have a plan on how to efficiently reproduce an item even before making it.

Statement Ring Skull Ring Knuckle Duster by Anna Siivonen

The good thing about being a self-employed designer is that I can go a bit crazy without being interrupted. I can create things I find fun and don't have to dilute my inspiration to make it mainstream. I won't sell hundreds of a design, but the few ones that I do sell are treasured. I can have an idea, make it, put it up in my shop and sell it, all in one day. What makes my business special is not one product but my productivity and the uniqueness of my designs. I communicate with customers and sell all over the world. I customize things to their needs and I use their input to evolve my business further. I sell my handmade things, items made in Sweden (a country with really high taxes where most companies outsource their products to Asia and India) to Asia and India, Russia, Azerbaijan, US and Mexico (mind blowing to me). It took me quite a while, lots of detours, but I actually managed in creating my dream job. And the funny thing is that what I´m doing today is what have been my favorite thing since I was six years old, the thing I would have said I wanted to do when I grew up if I ever thought a job like that existed, I sculpt small figures.


Fathers Cuff Links Boy and Girl by Anna Siivonen


A lucky winner will have the choice of prize:
1)
Bronze skull pendant hair tie pony tail holder
2) 

or 3) Both of the prints here.

Top: Girl with balloons, collage print  Bottom: New best friend, collage print

Here are the rules to enter the MCHs blog giveaway:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment here so we can keep track.
  1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
  2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
  3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
  4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
  5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
  6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
  7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
  8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to http://www.facebook.com/MetalClayHeadsTeam and click Share) = 1 entry
  9. If you voted and commented on our last challenge = 1 entry
The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner on October 29th. Good luck!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Kit and Caboodle Shop -- September Feature & Giveaway

It's September and Fall is here. Nature is in full force. Our September featured artist Gayle Dowell lives in the heart of the flint hills prairies of Kansas where she finds most of her inspirations from nature.

Why did you pick your shop name? 
When I first opened my Etsy shop, my two daughters were making and selling jewelry with me. All three of us had different styles and preferences in design when we started, so we named ourselves, Kit and Caboodle Shop, which comes from the phrase, "the whole kit and caboodle" which means a collection of things. It seemed to fit the fact that we were selling a little of everything. What started as a hobby for the three of us to share continued to a business minus the help from my daughters. I'm a one woman business now, but the name stuck so I've kept it. I also sell under my own name, Gayle Dowell, at www.gayledowell.com.

Peppergrass Textured Ring by KitandCaboodleShop

What inspires you?
I'm most inspired by organic textures and shapes. I live in the heart of the flint hills prairies of Kansas where I find most of my inspiration from the grasses and flowers of the prairie. I've heard that many people think that Kansas is flat and boring, but I think that is only true for those who have not taken the time to really stop, stoop down, and look closely at what the prairie is all about. I'm hoping that my prairie grass textured pieces will cause people to realize the wonderful beauty and diversity that this part of the US has to offer. Each prairie grass piece that I make comes with a card stating the name and a photo of the grass or flower that was used to make the textured piece.

When did you first become interested in Metal Clay? How long have you been designing jewelry using Metal Clay?
After my beginning beading phase in jewelry making, I was looking to expand my skills by taking a beginner's class in metalsmithing. From there I decided to incorporate metal clay to give me more design possibilities that could be incorporated with the metalsmithing. Metal clay for me, has become a way to add the textures of the prairie into metal pieces that will last. I've been working with metal clay since about 2010 and have enjoyed the journey.

Mixed Metal Flower Necklace by KitandCaboodleShop

What do you enjoy most about working in Metal Clay? 
I enjoy the flexibility and the unlimited design possibilities that metal clay gives me. Because I love organic textures and shapes, metal clay makes it easy for me to mold and shape pieces that reflect that inspiration, and because I can incorporate it into my metalsmithing, I have even more design opportunities.

Why did you design the giveaway piece? 
What is special about your giveaway piece? My daughter just got married a few days ago and I designed the bridal party jewelry using different grasses for each bridesmaid's pendant and then customizing it with the first initial of each person. I've been wanting to do custom work for some time, making each piece of the prairie a personal experience. I'm giving away a customized prairie grass piece similar to the one shown using the winner's choice of a first initial.

Sterling Silver Personalized Initial Pendant Necklace, Textured with Peppergrass, Prairie Grass from Kansas by KitandCaboodleShop

A lucky winner will win ONE (1) Peppergrass & Prairie Grass Textured Necklace. Here are the rules to enter the MCHs blog giveaway:

Every person is eligible to enter the blog giveaway with up to FOUR (4) entries. How can you get an entry? You can do any of the following and then let us know that by leaving a comment here so we can keep track.
  1. Follow our blog = 1 entry
  2. Check out featured artist and post favorite piece on the blog = 1 entry
  3. Heart featured artist’s shop = 1 entry
  4. Follow featured artist on Facebook = 1 entry
  5. Make a purchase = 2 entries
  6. Refer a friend = 1 entry
  7. Tweet about the giveaway using key word metalclayheads = 1 entry
  8. Share the Metal Clay Heads blog giveaway link on FB (Go to http://www.facebook.com/MetalClayHeadsTeam and click Share) = 1 entry
  9. If you voted and commented on our last challenge = 1 entry
The giveaway will run for two weeks. We will announce the winner on September 25th. Good luck!