Updating the site!

If you’ve visited before, you’ll notice a few changes. I’m working on updating the site to make it more responsive – that way it will display nicely on mobile phones and tablets. I’m also working on updating the way the collections display. That is still a work in progress, so bear with me! Please let me know if you see any broken links or images that don’t display. Thanks for visiting today!

The blog has been quiet for a long time, but I’m still here :)

Yes, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything to this blog.

In fact, I’m kind of shocked to see that this is the first post I’ve made in over a year!

There have been lots of things going on behind the scenes, some personal, some professional.

On the personal side, I spent a good part of last year recovering from an accident – I was hit by a van while crossing the street. Although I wasn’t seriously injured at the time, I developed complications later that required many months of painful physiotherapy. I’m happy to say that I’m now almost fully recovered and pain free!

I spent a bit of time traveling in Europe, soaking in the atmosphere and the history, celebrating birthdays with family, meeting some of my online friends face-to-face for the first time.

On the professional side, live classes have been the focus for the past year. One of my long-time students, Camilla Gryski, completed her course of study with me and last June celebrated her “graduation” with a very successful gallery show. I’m enormously proud of her!

Right now, I’m hard at work on preparing for a new course I’ll be teaching at Haliburton School of the Arts this coming July: Wire Weaving & Coiling. This course will introduce students to the foundations skills used to create wire jewellery using weaving and coiling techniques. If you’re looking for a chance to get away, come join me in Haliburton from July 20-24!

I’m also hosting the Year of Jewelry Project 2015, which is now on Facebook.

Finally, I’m up to my neck in renovations! After many years of thinking and planning, I’ve finally been able to design a dedicated workspace, with everything exactly where I need it. My new studio is taking shape, and I’m looking forward to moving into my new space by the start of summer!


A long overdue update!

I know it’s been forever since I posted something here, but I have been insanely busy behind the scenes.

Last September, when both my kids finally started going to school full time, I thought “Great!  Now I’ll have more time!”

I was wrong.

I run 10 different calendars on my iCal – 4 for my projects, 3 for my husband’s, one each for my kids and other family.  It’s the only hope I have to keep up with my deadlines.

So… what have I been doing?

Among the projects I was working on in the second half of 2011, was The Metal Arts Guild of Canada’s inaugural Exhibition in Print.  Getting the issue in my hands finally in December after so many months of work was thrilling and rewarding.

I’m really hard pressed to choose the one thing that stands out for me about the experience.  Initially, it felt very intimidating:  except for the bit of volunteering I’d done setting up other MAGC exhibitions, I had never been as intimately and directly involved in planning and running an exhibition.

Because this was going to be a virtual exhibition, we decided to try using an online jurying system.  There was a real learning curve involved in getting it set up and functioning in a way that would make it easy for the applicants to submit their work and for the curator to review and make selections.  My experience as a tutorial writer came in handy, when we started getting flooded with questions, and I had to quickly write a “how to” instruction email, detailing all the steps.  As the deadline for submissions drew near, I was in daily contact with the Memberships Chair, Charles Funnell, and our treasurer, Janet Ma, to make sure people were paying the right fees, and dealing with assorted last-minute questions and glitches.

Response to the call for entry was outstanding:  165 entries.  MAGC was the beneficiary of a wonderful stroke of luck, in the form of an introduction to Gloria Hickey, an award winning Canadian craft writer and curator with extensive experience, who agreed to take on the EiP.  Gloria went through all of the entries with a discerning eye and picked out the grouping she felt was most representative of our theme “Larger than Life”.  It was an enlightening experience for me, during the conference call on the final selections, to listen to Gloria explain how and why she chose the pieces she did.  I sat back and absorbed the discussion between Gloria and the Exhibition Chair, Mary McIntyre.  The pieces weren’t always an obvious fit to me, and the most frequent question out of my mouth was “How does this relate to the theme?”  This prompted Gloria at one point to tease me laughingly:  “You’re very pragmatic, aren’t you?”

It brought to mind a friend of mine relating a similar story about my time in university.  The project was to design a kitchen.  My classmates were busy coming up with all kinds of wildly outlandish designs.  “And here’s Dianne saying “But what about the BUDGET!?  What’s the BUDGET?!”

“Yes,” said Mary, in my defence, “but it works.”   She saw this tendency to stick with the facts as a benefit:  it kept her own – in her words – “harebrained” ideas in check.  (For what it’s worth, I would call it “brainstorming”, not “harebrained”.  She has an awesome talent for it, so in many ways, we balance each other, and it makes the results in print that much better.)

Twenty-one pieces, representing a wide swath of Canadian metalwork, were selected for final publication.  They can be seen on MAGC’s website.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been focused on other areas of my life.   One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to get a grip on my health, which has taken a beating the past couple of years.  So, I’ve been making a concerted effort to work out and lose weight.  It’s making me look better physically, but I haven’t been able to make much progress on the stress levels I live with – there still seems to be no end to the juggling I’m doing.

I’ve been teaching a lot of workshops and private classes since last Fall.  I added Chain Making to the list of con-ed courses I’m teaching at George Brown College this year, and the Wire Art Jewellery course is running for the first time in several years.  I’m pleased to have been invited back to Haliburton this summer for Wire Jewellery 2, and I’m very excited to be heading to Germany in August to teach at the Beaders Best Perlenkunst Messe in Hamburg.  (See my class schedule for a full run-down of my classes.)

I’m also taking part in the Lake Scugog Spring Studio Tour again this year, so I’m in active production mode, making pieces for sale there and through my galleries. Photos will come at some point.

So, it’s a busy life, with a seemingly never ending To Do List!  My white board has become my best friend…

Starving Artists Holiday Wrist Candy Giveaway – Oct. 26-Dec. 6, 2009

SATeam Holiday Wrist Candy Giveaway

A bunch of members of the Starving Artists Etsy Team pooled their talents for a Christmas Promo this year.  We all contributed a charm, and put together this wonderful bracelet.

Valued at over $400, it will be given away to one lucky customer!  With each purchase at one of the participating shops, your name will be entered into the draw!

For a list of the participating shops, check out the SATeam’s Blog.  Or, do a search on Etsy using the tag SATEAMWRIST.  Members have also contributed items to the SATeam Etsy Shop, so be sure to check it out as well!

This holiday event runs from October 26 to December 6, 2009!

We’ve come a long way, baby :-)

I’m spending time in the studio cleaning up today, and came across this letter I wrote to Lapidary Journal in 2000.  It was in response to a comment published in their February 2000 issue.

From:  Dianne Karg
To:  Editor, Lapidary Journal
Date:  2/4/00 4:46:57 PM
Subject:  Lapidary Journal “Beating the Wrap”

I couldn’t help but chuckle about the comment in the February 2000 issue of Lapidary Journal that “wire-wrapped jewelry could be said to be the Rodney Dangerfield of the jewelry world”!  It’s unfortunately a true statement, precisely because it is a craft that can be done b y just about anyone with very little training.  But just simply changing the name to “wirecraft” doesn’t change the fact that there is still a serious perception problem on the part of “traditional” jewellery craftspeople and the public.  I’ve had many an encounter with others who upon hearing what I do, give me a condescendingly benign smile that says “Oh, you’re not a SERIOUS artist.”  The attitude bemuses me – I’ve made jewellery using traditional fabrication methods, and I don’t consider myself to be any less an artist just because my chosen medium is now solderless wire.  Part of the bias comes from the notion that because there is often no soldering, there is no real skill and very little innovation involved creating these pieces.  Quite the contrary is true.  Wire art – which is my preferred term for this type of jewellery – can involve a high degree of dexterity and technical complexity.  For many people who turn their noses up at the idea, it comes as a revelation to see just what IS possible with wire.  There is also a perception that because the craft is so labour intensive, it can’t be profitable.  In fact, based on what your survey results showed, it can be just as profitable as other forms of jewellery.  At the recent Wire Artists Group Convention held in Tallahassee, Florida in January, I had the privilege of meeting an international group of people who are truly pasional about wire art jewellery, and it shows in their work.  I believe that Lapidary Journal could make a significant contribution to the changing of peoples’ perceptions by featuring a story on wire artists who are doing inventive and original work.  The general public could have the opportunity to see that wire art jewellery is much more than simply wrapping wire around a stone.  It could also inspire others who work with wire to stretch their creative muscle and move beyond the traditional forms into new directions.

In the almost 10 years since I wrote that letter, LJ (now Jewelry Artist) has featured wire artists several times, and started publishing the Step-by-Step series of magazines. The wire jewellery I’ve seen the past decade has improved vastly in terms of its creativity and quality of workmanship. My perception is that wire jewellery is commanding a lot more respect. While there are still challenges, I think we’ve come a long way :-).

No internet access for a few days *gasp*

I’m going to be minus my internet access for a few days.  *GASP! Hand on forehead, completely overacting*

I’m still going to be busily working on my tutorials though.

For those of you purchasing tutorials over the next couple days (thank you!), please hang tight if you run into any problems.  I’ll be back online on Sunday evening, so I’ll deal with any issues then.

Have a great end of the week/weekend!

Metal Arts Guild Pin Swap 2008

dscn7454 As part of this year’s Annual General Meeting, the Metal Arts Guild of Canada hosted it’s second annual Pin Swap.  Intended as a “get to know you”/game for the participants, it’s a great opportunity to try out new ideas. Participants make anything they like and trade with each other.  At the end of the evening, I was the proud owner of pins made by Mary McIntyre (a copper bar pin, made with rare earth magnets), Alistair Crombie (a Google map pin), Sarah Hamel (a plastic conglomerate pin), Sara Cummins (a pierced rectangular stick pin) and Robert Mitchell (a sterling silver swirl with pearl drop).

Prior to the event, I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something, and finally thought, “Well, it’s Fall, so why not do leaves?”  So, that’s what I did.  It was great fun, and I’d encourage anyone coming to next year’s AGM to join in!

Glitches resolved *Whew!*

The new tutorial proved to be so popular that the demand temporarily crashed my server.  While having to be glued to the computer yesterday wasn’t exactly fun, I’m very pleased about the response to the new tutorial.  Thank you!

The website is now back online and running smoothly.