Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More

30 04 2010

After waiting, planning, working, praying,the much anticipated art exhibit is almost here: my one person art exhibit-

Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More

- is three weeks away tonight. Here is my gorgeous postcard invitation, if you’d like to receive one – send me an email and I’ll be sure to get one over to you!

Read more here...

Oksana Prokopenko: Icons and More





Memories – Oksana Prokopenko

11 11 2009

 

The Image Not Made By Human Hand

The Image Not Made By Human Hand

 

 

 

I got this photo yesterday and it brought a wave of emotions and memories. This is the first icon that I made in glass. This is the one that got it all started. I carried this image in my mind for years.
It’s a very strong icon, strength being a spiritual quality primarily, and aesthetic one when it come to icons.

I remember being taken over by something larger than life itself from the very start. The only way to describe the creative process that was happening is to call it mystical: time expanded and stopped, eternity took over, glass seamlessly flowed into place, all the while I existed in a state of profound peace.

When it was done, my husband and other practical voices around me strongly advised me to put a price tag on it and put it out on the market. Instead, again in that same state of peace and quiet, I brought it to a friend’s house-a friend who happened to be an Augustinian priest. His house was filled with monks and nuns that day, something was celebrated when they looked at it, their faces changed and there was quiet in the room. My husband knew what I had known from the start-this was not for sale, neither was is for keeps.

The icon now is the sole image in the office of that priest, who is now the Head of the Augustinian Order of the Eastern Hemisphere, in Villanova, PA. Everyone walking into his office sees it. He told me, ” I sit them in front of it, and leave them for a few minutes alone, and half of their problems go away. ” Those that do not, acquire a different taste, a different perspective.

I sometimes get asked, why did I let that one, the first one go, without even taking a picture? Well, not taking a picture was silly, I agree but letting it go was not. It was an act of reciprocity, what I received – I shared. And in giving it away- I came alive, and continued on creating, or as iconographers say — co-creating.

The icons travel. Sometimes, when there is a place for an icon out there, and in a strange mystical way, spirit (what they call inspiration in the art world) finds an iconographer somewhere and besieges him to create. And create he does, not knowing where the icon will go, not knowing why. But trusting, trusting fully, listening, following on the subtlest of hints, and then letting go.





Finding the Muse – Andrea Quenneville

5 06 2009

I’ve spent the past few months focusing on my family and settling into our new home and community. Now that I am ready to restart my business, I find that I’m frequently at a loss for new ideas. What inspiration I do have seems to come at awkward moments when I can’t get to my studio and once I’m finally able to sit down, I have trouble translating the ideas into tangible creations. Here are a few of the things I am trying to get myself out of this dry spell and rediscover the muse:

  • Visiting galleries and artisan markets to admire the work of others
  • Going for walks, hikes and bicycle rides in areas of natural beauty to look for new color combinations and intriguing shapes
  • Visiting museums to learn from work outside my usual mediums
  • Giving myself permission to take a break for a weekend or a week in order to consciously remove some of the stress I am creating for myself
  • Challenging myself to create one thing every day for a set amount of time while being careful not to overdo it and get burned out
  • Finding new sources for supplies, preferably local stores and not catalogs or online shops
  • Reorganizing my existing supplies, as handling them often generates ideas
  • Taking digital photos, especially macros, and then examining the patterns and textures I’ve captured
  • Reading a book or watching a movie, because sometimes settings and themes used in the stories provide inspiration

I hope that some of these will prove useful to others!

Andrea blogs at Thoughts from Ms. Q





Education – Annette Piper

18 05 2009

Educating yourself and your clients should be a very important aspect of your creative business.

Naturally, you, as the creative talent behind your endeavour need to know the materials you work with, how they can be worked most effectively and how to look after them.

Experience will count for a lot, particularly in the skills knowledge area, however specific materials knowledge is very important and your customers will appreciate your expertise.

Don’t necessarily accept what a supplier of your materials says – particularly if they are a new supplier or not well known to you. They may be repeating something they have heard, were told, or, unfortunately in some cases, making it up to ‘sound good’.

By asking lots of questions of your suppliers, they will hopefully take on board your interest in the facts and bolster their own knowledge. You will benefit from their efforts of educating themselves and in the process learn more yourself.

Seek out information through courses, appropriate texts, information sites and forums. If someone not qualified offers you their opinion on materials, take it on board – but question everything if you’re unsure. Even professionals get second opinions!

As a gemmologist and jewellery designer, I am fortunate to have a good knowledge of gemstones from my years of study and work in the trade. However, even I get occasions when I’m not quite sure if a stone I am buying is represented correctly. It may be just a little niggle of not being sure, but I’ve found it’s a wise niggle to listen to!

It can be quite an adventure to educate myself further on a little known stone and ensure that I know exactly what it is I am working with. The end result of course, is that my clients know precisely what each stone in a piece is, including any treatments it may have had.

Be sure to share your expertise with your customer.  On the other hand, don’t overwhelm them. Offer your knowledge as part of the selling process. They will gain confidence that you know what you are talking about and in time you will become an expert in your field – at least to them.

Know your materials - can you name all the gemstones pictured here?

Know your materials - can you name all the gemstones pictured here?

 To read more from Annette, visit her blog at http://annettepiperjewellery.blogspot.com and view her jewellery at www.annettepiper.com





If only I had known… – Annette Piper

17 04 2009

Ah yes, if only I had known … there are so many things in life that could have been better with the aid of hindsight.  A wonderful thing hindsight, but in a way – it takes away all the surprise!!  Here are a few of my “if only” moments …

 

If only I had known gemstones would one day take over my life and a good proportion of my house!   I worked with gemstones since my earliest working days but never imagined they could have become such a big part of my life!   And the storage issues are a nightmare – they have to be there to see and to touch and to feel, but there is just not enough shelving in my whole house to accommodate them all!   When we built my workroom I blindly thought that would be enough shelving.  Ha.  How could I have been so utterly wrong?

 

If only I had known that jewellery making was to be my future I would have paid a lot more attention to the jewelers when I was working in the trade and would have taken them up on their offers to let me have a go at the bench!  As it was I only picked up bits and pieces from them (but all valuable nevertheless) and then had to pay to do lessons! 

 

If only I had known the Aussie dollar was going to tumble in relation to the US dollar last year I could have bought so much more stock and saved some $!   I remember that the AUD was almost at parity and I was actually thinking ‘but I don’t need anything else’.  How absolutely mistaken I was – I ALWAYS need more – especially gemmies.  Now I just have to pay so much more for them … it has slowed down my purchases, but certainly hasn’t stopped them!

 

If only I had known the satisfaction I would get from creating and selling my creations I would have started a lot sooner.  It has made me a happier, more rounded person being able to fulfill my creative outlet and sharing my passion with the world!  Of course, others could call me addicted, but hey, nothing’s perfect!

 

 

Bright red bamboo coral - if only I had known it would have been so hard to get really nice quality pieces - I would have bought a lot more!

Bright red bamboo coral - if only I had known it would have been so hard to get really nice quality pieces - I would have bought a lot more!

 

 To read more from Annette, visit her blog at http://annettepiperjewellery.blogspot.com and view her jewellery at www.annettepiper.com





A Sign Of Times – Oksana Prokopenko

31 03 2009

 

St Francis         At a recent art show, what was most on view was not art but human anxiety over the current economic situation.  Sales were slim to none. Mood was grim and all talk had to do with bank bail outs. Not your usual happy go lucky opening night.

        It was only natural for  artists showing to get uneasy, if not downright scared.  Those of us with day jobs quietly promised to do a better job so as to keep it safe.  Those of us without- afterall, we make art! at least that’s how the reasoning went for years- well, we entered into a heated discussion of why exactly do we do what we do.  Questions like these seem to generate a lot more fire (and not just smoke) when economy slows, slumping art sales.  So why do we?

        This is where one could potentially write a multi point list of all the various personal, spiritual, societal, cultural, etc  etc etc reasons for making art.  And they were listed, vocally so, then and there at the art show (and elaborated further during the days after). 

        Watching and listening to all this was a much older lady,  a great fan of the gallery, and a supporter of the arts-

-an emotional/psychological supporter which, even these days I would argue, is at least equally as important as all other support. Though the  lack of the latter, in particular financial, support caused the discussion in the first place. 

 She touched my shoulder gently and, addressing all of us, said with deep gentleness in her voice: “Seeing all of your, young people, work – it makes me so happy, thank you!” 

       There was a palpable shift in the mood.  Question answered.

She then leaned into me, and whispered: “ Good choice with St Francis. Good for the times!”  Now, I was happy too. 





Turn your boring wardrobe into a canvas for Color! – Heather Hertziger

12 03 2009

Color can be very scary for some people. Look at your closet right now, how much of it is black, gray, beige, brown, and white? Are you a color-phobe? I’m not here to scold you or try to talk you out of your fear of color. I am here to tell you that it is OK, and you are not alone. I am here to show you how to disguise your color phobia with three easy pieces.

Outfits with the popular 3/4 length sleeves scream for fabulous bracelets. A brightly colored bracelet not only hides the fact that your clothing color scheme is subdued. If you want to draw attention to yourself a cha-cha bracelet that swings and make noise is an excellent choice, the shorter 3/4 length sleeves seem made for this sort of bracelet as your sleeve will not get caught in the dangles. If you prefer your jewelry to be of the silent type a simple strung bracelet of brightly colored beads is an excellent choice. And if you prefer classic and simple then check out chainmaille. Metal is always a good choice but chainmaille adds an artists touch as well and shows that you are not the type to follow the herd when it comes to choosing jewelry.

pinksetbracelet1byz1
tiger11

Tops with low necklines scream for a fabulous necklace. Bold necklaces draw attention away from your clothing and to your lovely face. Depending on how chunky you like your jewelry to be you have a lot of options. Many artists make fabulous chunky pendants that look great suspended from a simple cord. Strung necklaces with or without pendants are great too. You can combine various materials with different textures to make pieces not only interesting to look at but interesting to touch and fun to wear.

 purplefantasynecklace1 trianglependant
chaosnecklace22
  If your top has full length sleeves or a neckline that doesn’t work well with a necklace then a funky pair of earrings may be just the ticket. Earrings are always fabulous and there are literally 1000’s of designs and styles to choose from. If you are hesitant to wear a really bold necklace or just don’t care for bracelets then earrings are your best friend. If you’ve never worn bold jewelry before then earrings are also the easiest way to start. Without spending to much money you can find yourself a fabulous pair of fun and funky earrings just perfect for you.

blueet2 red31
pinkbrio2

So, take these tips, and turn your colorless wardrobe into a marvelous canvas on which to display some beautiful artisan jewelry. Whether you buy your jewelry from me, one of the other artisans on this blog, or from an artisan you come across at an art show, wearing a piece of colorful, beautiful handmade jewelry tells those around you “I am fabulous, and I deserve fabulous, colorful things.”

See, I told you a neutral wardrobe wasn’t a bad thing. :)

Heather blogs from her home in Watertown, WI. You can find her work on her website, Artfire, Etsy, and 1000 Markets.  You can read her personal blog here.








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