creating beauty & simplicity in functional objects
Author: Ann Brooks Studio
Creating beauty & simplicity in functional objects - ArtWear Jewelry Photography - MarinMOCA - 781 Hamilton Pkwy, Studio H, Novato CA
I’m Back! After nearly two years without a studio, I’m back in a new art community, with a new studio. You’ll find the backstory HERE.
Interesting coincidence, I found Art Works Downtown because when I was looking for a place to locate for Marin Open Studios in 1996, someone mentioned an art center on Fourth Street that visionary, Phyllis Thelen was creating. I ended up there 24 years until July 2020.
In the summer of 2021 I was coming out of Civid hibernation and realizing I needed to find a new art community. In September I went to the opening of Phyllis Thelen’s one woman show at Marin Museum of Contemporary Art. Seeing all the positive changes that had taken place in that building over the years since I had been there, by the time I left, I knew I wanted to be part of the MarinMOCA community.
It took half a year waiting in line for a studio and by early spring 2022, I had the keys to a wonderful studio with a real window in the 781 Building on the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art campus.
Wonderful lighting! I’ve already spent many happy hours working there at my workbench. I invite you to come see for yourself. Best time is the Second Weekend of Marin Open Studios – May 7 & 8 from 11 to 6.
Here is the sign that will be hanging right outside my studio door on the MarinMOCA campus. You’ll find me and several other artists with doors open at 781 Hamilton Parkway.
I’ve been posting lots of images at my newInstagram site. As it’s Bio says: “Creating beauty and simplicity in functional objects. ArtWear • Jewelry • Photography • LivingSpaceDesign”. It includes visuals for all my art and design loves. I hope you will want to become one of my Instagram followers.
For up-to-date Studio News, click News above and/or Subscribe to my Newsletter.
As some of you may have discovered, I don’t update this blog on a regular basis.
However . . . You can always get the latest from my monthly Studio Newsletter, by clickingNewsat the top of this blog. That’s a great place to check out my latest Art to Wear: kimono vests and jackets, tote bags, aprons and my “Secret Pocket” series – convenient for carrying a phone, glasses, keys, possibly an iPad Mini, you name it.
Last October and November I spent a lot of time working on new brooches, which could also convert to pendants.
The first two shown below began with skinner blends. Then I had a great time going through scraps and canes I had, using them to create little collages on the center strip. Using gold and silver leaf scraps added great accents. Some have said they look like shimmering silk! These pendants were inspired by the work of Lindly Haunani.
Continuing on brooch/pendants influenced by textile traditions, I got into weaving polymer with variegated, extruded strips!
Last September, with fall coming on, I designed a new version of my popular Floating Cloud earrings. I guess these should be more more properly named Floating Rain Clouds. In California seems we can only hope for rain.
And that was the month I took out the desk in my studio in exchange for my Cozy Corner, a wonderful excuse to bring some of my Indian textiles to warm up and soften my fairly stark white studio. Even better is the pleasure of plopping down in the corner to read or visit with a friend.
A few weeks ago I set out to make some brooches. But the muse came and lead me in an entirely different direction; Minimalist earrings! Oh my!
It’s been such fun to find a way to combine beads from my earlier ethnic beaded jewelry with the polymer. So far I have about a dozen different color combinations and in different sizes.
In the photos the drops feature – left to right – green shell, turquoise and glass beads. The hoops, turquoise and matte black glass. Sterling accent beads with sterling hoops and wires. The black and light grey polymer is textured while the red and blue (not shown here) are matte polymer.
Comfortable and lightweight for summer and beyond.
I keep being drawn to making Skinner Blends. Then adding silver or gold leaf is irresistible! The latest set of bracelets is in warm colors from deep red through orange, sunny yellow to chartreuse. The bracelets are edged in medium soft green or dark fuchsia.
Each bracelet has a unique design on the interior that only the wearer can appreciate or choose to share with admirers.
Here is one of several different earring designs from the same blend with silver leaf. Some earrings are spirals. Much fun!
In April, wanting to return to my textile roots, I thought it would be fun to make “ikat” cuff bracelets. Then I realized that some of the canes I had already been using could be translated into ikat. I pulled out the canes I had made late last fall using Melanie West’s tutorial for striped Skinner Blend canes. I had made or adapted four different canes from this tutorial and they had been wonderful to use in making brooches and other bracelets. Now they would be pressed into service as ikat “cloth”! But then, a funny thing happened when I used an extruder to make little ropes to edge the bracelets with. I had extruded stacks of color so that I could reveal dots of color to add to the ethnic feel of these bracelets then . . . It occurred to me that by making extrusions this way, but a little larger in diameter, I could make hoop earrings. And so, my “Circus Hoops” were born, some with polkadots, some without, but all with contrasting colors revealed at the ends! And the stacks of color in the extruder had also given me variegated earrings.
One day early in March, Polymer Clay Daily took me to a tutorial by Barbara McGuire, “Translucent white graduated spiral”. This was my introduction to working with translucent clay. Once I had my translucent spiral cane, I found there were a number of things I could do with it.
I had been on a bracelet-making binge and the white spirals worked wonderfully on a base of half translucent and half solid white with silver leaf rolled in as I successively reduced the clays thickness. That became my canvas for random application of various sized spirals. I call the bracelet “Many Moons”.
To the right is a pair of earrings inspired by earlier “Floating Cloud” earrings I had designed using commercial silver beads. The thin wafers of translucent polymer spirals are interspersed with wafers that incorporate flecks of gold or silver leaf.
In late February I returned from an inspiring week of polymer clay workshops on the East Coast. I was chomping at the bit to get to work in my newly remodeled, enlarged studio at Art Works Downtown, where I had been in a smaller studio for seventeen years.
As I began my this new phase of my polymer adventure, my greatest surprise was the direction my work took as it didn’t seem to have any direct connection to my week studying with some outstanding polymer artists. It turns out that what the week had given me was the confidence to take risks and be open to new ideas my muse might bring. I suddenly found my self using gold and silver leaf with my polymer. Glitz and glitter! That is something I hadn’t been into before. It almost seemed to be a new reality, a new way to look at the world!
Ideas for new bracelet/cuffs began emerging. I started with a Skinner blend and then ran it through my pasta machine with gold leaf a few times. The final touch was the royal purple extruder-produced edges. This was the first time I had found a use for extruded clay. And it turned out to be only the beginning!