Friday, January 20, 2012

A Gift

Don't you love surprises?

Here's my little surprise this week. A cold! Isn't that cute picture? I love the colors!

How can this be the second cold in a month, you say? My husband works at the school and brings surprises home. ;-)

Sometimes it's chocolate. yah! (not from school unless he bought some over priced box of turtles from a fund raiser, which are usually, surprisingly good) The frozen cookie dough I can do without. (two are in the freezer now. Maybe I should bake some for Bunco--hmmmm good idea)

Sometimes it's other surprises. He caught a cold no doubt from one of the gazillion middle school kids he works with. And... passed it on. It's part of the blessings of marriage. sharing! LOL

He's a sweetie. Really truly he is. And I've brought home a few viruses (virii??) myself when teaching. This is inspiring enough to send me to the torch. Which it did. We'll see how the beads turn out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


This is a great month for bead making. It's fun to make hearts. So coming out of my kiln this past few weeks have been many hearts. Florals, stitched, plain colors, shards, frits, just all kinds of melted glass shaped in the flame.

I love the symbolism that is involved with so many types. One example is a Purple Heart. Traditionally they signify a heroic act.

If a friend has been battling cancer, it is very special to gift them with a purple heart. When they finish treatment, or go through a tough time, I'll slip one in the mail for them, or on their desk or somehow get that gift to them. It's a talisman that I give them to help them remember, 'You are brave' and hopefully they will never have to be 'brave' in that way again. Sometimes a friend will ask to buy one, and I give it to them for whoever they wanted it for. Sometimes at an art show, someone will be in my booth that needs that purple heart, and it again, is a gift to them. In a small way, that glass can maybe help make at least that moment better.

Another place my beads go to is Beads of Courage, which is a marvelous program for children with cancer. The kids can pick out a bead for milestones in their treatment. It may be for a test, or a treatment, an act of courage. Hopefully, the strand of beads a child puts together, each marking some moment in their cancer journey, will be a short strand. Unfortunately there are times the strand is long. Sometimes a very long marking of a journey no child should have to take.

Purple hearts are often made by lampworkers and donated to the program, in addition to any other beads one might send. The beads can be 'any' bead, not just a heart. So maybe a bead is red and polka dotted. A kid might love that bead and can pick it out of a pile, and hopefully it takes their mind off their big problem for even a moment.

As we know, sadly, a cancer journey can end with dying. The strand of beads a child had showing their courage, is something for their family to save. Beads of Courage also gives a butterfly bead to the family who has lost their loved one. I hate to think of a strand of beads with a final butterfly at the end of it, yet know that each of the beads on the strand 'does' show a moment in time and a reflection of the child's personality in color and design, with hope and some happiness tossed in.

Beads of Courage is a wonderful program. You can read more about it here. And you can also donate if you like, not just beads, but financial support to augment the handmade beads. I hope one day to see this program end because no one needs beads anymore. But in the meantime, hopefully more and more purple hearts will be made and will mark the SUCCESSFUL end of treatment for a child with cancer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Elements and Principles of Art

What defines your own tastes in art work? Can you put it into words? Is it "I just like it!" ? Or do you have a clear reason? If you put a collection of your work out in front of you, how can you sum up your style?

Finding your own voice in Art actually can take some studying. As an art student, I just figured, things would happen naturally, and if someone was 'famous' it was because they had massive talent, or in this world today, great self promotion. Many people who have no formal art training, do very well with their work already. Although there is usually room in anyone's work for some fine tuning.

As an Art teacher, I found the most success in student's work came from insisting the students used the elements and principles of design. No matter how I taught it, it didn't come easily for the students to really think about this when working, but when a student said to me 'Mrs. Lambert, I used complementary colors and look what happened! That's when they see the magic of using what they were taught. Comments like that would just make my day. Teaching can be a tough, tough job, but the rewards like this keep the teachers coming back every August and September.

One year, the final exam in my Art 1 class was to work in their altered book and to use a specific list of design elements. Two hours of work, two pages. Students mentioned to me 'this was the most fun exam I have ever taken' (who says an exam has to be brutal?) and 'this is the best page in my altered book. I should have done this before'
Which taught me something too. Insist on students listing what elements/principles they have used or that they have a plan before starting. This led to me learning also, that a 'block' of 'I can't think of something to draw/paint/whatever' doesn't happen to someone if they decide what their plan for elements is.

Did it happen naturally for the master painters? Did DaVinci say, 'I'm going to use line and color to balance this painting' ? Does a child think that? Who knows about DaVinci, but I do know a child thinks, 'the sky looks empty. I'll put a big sun there' already with a taste for balance in their drawing. Very possibly, my thoughts as an art student were correct. It's natural thing to have a good design. But extremely possible, is your own work will flourish with a bit of studying and planning. My own work changed drastically when I decided (I hate at an age of at least over 40 ) to practice what I preach. (duh!) After this revelation, not only did my work change, but so did my teaching! Lucky, to learn from my students success. :-)

Check back to this blog for some 'lessons' and exercises in the elements and principals of art. I'm not teaching school anymore, and have some time to put a few things on my blog for anyone interested in stretching their personal art zone.
Intrigued? Ask yourself. What is it about the picture posted that I like? Possibly you clicked on this post because of that picture. It doesn't matter why because there is no right answer. (isn't art the coolest?) But keep it in mind and try to carry one of those reasons into your own work for at least one piece. ( Look at my piece in the previous post. Can you see something similar? )

Monday, January 2, 2012