Now selling on iCraft as Blue Night Designs

After looking at a dozen different sales portals, I’ve settled on one more to try out: Toronto’s iCraft.com.

I can say that (unlike some other sites), registering is easy (not free), and uploading art very simple.

Eventually my Blue Night Designs booth will carry my beaded jewelry, small wall art, fiber art, some book art pieces, and costume/couture pieces.

 

First Look: Politics As Usual

I’ve had this piece of fiber book art in mind since 2011-2012. I’m glad I held off until now: even Mitt Romney’s version of the GOP has been eclipsed by the current crop of corrupt, venal, sanctimonious, and utterly incompetent politicians gracing the Republican Party. (And I say that as a former GOP member!)

‘Politics As Usual’ will combine beaded 18-count cross-stitch with applique patches and commercially-printed fabrics, to make an Abecedarium (ABC Book) using two political terms per alphabet letter on fabric pages. The binding will be a wood box-spine anchored by decorative red-white-and-blue glass beaded tassels. The covers will be woodburned poplar, tooled leather, fiber art, or some mix of those.

The current main word-pair lineup stands at: Alternative Facts / Agenda, Brink / Bipartisan, Constitution / Conflict, Dissent / Doublespeak, Ethics / Emolument, Fascist / Filibuster, Grassroots / Gerrymander, Hegemony / Humanist, Ideology / Impeach, Justice /  Jingo, Kleptocracy / Keynesian, Lobbyist / Loophole, Mandate / Midterm, Nationalism / Nihilism, Oligarchy / Opposition, Proxy / Pundit, Quota / Quorum, Resist / Racist, Spin / Suffrage, Theocracy / Tyranny, Unity / Useful Idiot, Vote / Veto, Wedge / Whistleblower, Xenophobia / X-Factor, Yellow Journalism / Yield, Zeitgeist, Zero Sum Game.

There may or may not be additional smaller-font words worked into the background, along with little topical motifs such as biohazard symbols, radiation symbols, the GOP Elephant, the DNC Donkey, mushroom clouds, dollar and pound signs, Resistance symbols, Trump’s hair, high-heeled shoes, palm trees, golf symbols, etc.

As befits a subversive embroidery sampler, it may or may not be housed in a repurposed cedarwood Bible box, depending on the final dimensions of the book.

It’s going to be a lot of fun to make.

 

Well, that worked

The first necklace with my mini-landscape pendants on stone. I might be playing with gold-filled chains for an even more (for me) minimal look. But for now, this will do.

Materials: black stone pendant, black polyester waxed cord, Toho glass seed beads, India lampworked glass beads, acrylic paint, bronze leaf, varnish.

Necklace adjustable from 15″ to 26″.

Painted rocks

 

A few months ago I scored some carved black stone pendants. A little research into painted shell and stone (resulting in a LOT of humility), I had a film hardener recipe for acrylic paint. And many ideas.

These are the first test batch with bronze leaf accents. Each is about one inch high. Once I decide how to string them, the finished necklaces will be for sale on my page at SaatchiArt and another platform.

I’ll do an Etsy Showcase soon on how the real professionals paint miniatures on stone and shell.

Cobalt Arc Necklace

Many years ago, a wonderful little bead shop called ‘Another Bead Please’ had some gorgeous pieces of multicolored cane glass beads on commission.

I was lucky enough to score two massive curved glass beads, each in two-tone triangular cane glass: one clear and teal, and this one in cobalt and clear glass.

Since I have a stash of glass beads, I was able to match the clear/cobalt with some great coin beads, some dark cobalt pony beads, and tassels with a scattering of cobalt and metallic bronze beads to pick up the copper glass highlights in the coin beads.

It’s strung on heavy duty waxed black polyester cord, and is adjustable from about 15″ to 20″ lengths.

It’s more minimal and modern than the bead work I usually do, but no less fun.

This piece will go up on SaatchiArt Online in the next couple of days.

Added 12-26-2016: It’s live at SaatchiArt now.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Seabird Necklace

This used to be a different necklace, but I sold one of the components separately a few years ago. A different chain, a little Deco style, and here’s a new necklace!

Materials: sterling silver, amethyst, ametrine, rutilated quartz, clear quartz (rock crystal), smoky quartz, labradorite, iolite.

Concept: in a layered 3D filigree oval, a cast silver bird flies over curling waves with a 2.5mm iolite bead hanging from its beak. Filigree scrollwork dangles accent faceted smoky quartz nuggets and a teardrop cabochon ametrine with a distressed mirror backing.

Chain: gemstone beads and filigree lilies, linked by wrapped silver wire.

Chain alone: 18″ Commercial toggle clasp.

My ‘MC’ insignia on the back.

Crane Artifacts, Handmade at Amazon

Well, it was several months in the making, but I’ve finally begun uploading artwork to Crane Artifacts, my sales portal at Handmade at Amazon!

Depending on this portal’s performance over the next six months, I’ll probably gradually be shifting a lot more art and jewelry to it and one more that I can’t wait to tell you folks about.

Why is Crane Artifacts on Amazon? Because SaatchiArt online is a great portal…for specific lines of contemporary art. I can paint (and enjoy painting) stuff that will better fit the Saatchi curators’ unspoken mandates, but just not right now. I’ve never been that in love with Etsy. Artfire and some of the other old art sites are plagued by scaling issues that are now driving many artisans away.

I will still be working with galleries and representative agents in book art projects, and with boutiques for limited wall art and jewelry.

But art, just like publishing, is opening wonderful, terrifying new frontiers for people willing to put in the work to self-publish and market their creations. Amazon is a huge platform with a lot to offer…at least for now.

My art on SaatchiArt online

I finally got the first eleven pieces uploaded to my little piece of SaatchiArt.com!

This batch includes glass micromosaics and beaded tapestries, but acrylic paintings and jewelry will follow soon.

The link: http://www.saatchiart.com/mariancranedesigns

Whether this portal produces sales or not, it’s a great display site for my older work…and hopefully a better venue for new pieces.

A Tolkien-inspired teaser:

Two Trees Tapestry

Coming soon: online direct art sales

Crane tapestry -- Aquifer

Over the next week or so, I’ll be finalizing the details on my shiny new sales portal at SaatchiArt.com online. Even though I’m already registered there, I’ve got a lot of background work left: choosing art, deciding whether to offer prints, verifying shipping weight and dimensions for each piece, researching market prices, etc.

Why Saatchi? I’ve been considering online sales platforms for almost a decade, and found problems with too many. Another artist recently referred me to Saatchi. The US-based, internationally-known fine-art sales platform has a fairly good reputation both among artists and buyers. Their commissions are reasonable, and their marketing and delivery terms seem solid. It’s definitely not Etsy! (Yes, I was aware of certain legal issues before I joined.)

This is very like self-publishing: it could be a great new adventure, it could amount to absolutely nothing, or (as I suspect) it could be a modest new income source and another online portal to showcase my 30+ years of art design and creation. I’m cautiously optimistic. Not only does this give me a chance to regain some storage space (big paintings eat garages!), I have a venue for art styles I’ve always wanted to try but never had any luck in the local gallery scene or with existing art publishers.

What will be available? Surreal, fantasy, and semi-abstract acrylic paintings on wood, cotton canvas, and linen, ranging from 4″ x 4″ to 60″ x 24″ x 3″. Beaded and embroidered tapestries including ‘Aquifer’ above. Glass mini-mosaics of landscapes and still-life scenes, some bordered with glass bead mosaic frames. Some paintings will be offered un-stretched and rolled, some will be stretched and wall-ready. Tapestries and mosaics will be ready to display with hanging hardware attached.

When I’m ready, I’ll post the notification link here, as well as in the Art section of my Author Notes.

 

My art for sale online

Like many writers, I do lots of other creative things.

I’m a gluten-free cook always looking for the best and most affordable ingredients (there will be posts on that later, I promise). I’m a costume and props maker. As a fiber artist, I’m under contract to provide award ribbons for a major twice-yearly regional art fair. I use bits of a bead collection gathered over 28 years to make interesting bead-woven and sterling silver jewelry, some of which has shown up in national exhibits and magazines. I’m a recognized and studied book artist, with works cited in WorldCat.org and carried by over ten university special collections libraries.

wax flowers for blogAnd for the last 17 years, off and on, I’ve been a commercial and fine artist working in the home-decor trade. I studied, worked, and designed with one of the strongest companies in the business. I’m still amazed that they paid me to learn artistic tips and tricks that I would probably never have seen at a traditional art school. I branched off to do freelance and gallery work of my own. I know how to make acrylic paint and gels mimic everything from oil paint, to watercolor, to wax encaustic – and much more.

Trade Winds 1 for blogI tool copper and brass sheets with intricate designs, and use acrylics to apply faux patinas for contrast.

Storm Study 1 and 2 for blogSince 2006, I’ve been developing an environmentally-safe method for reproducing the look of some cast glass at a fraction of the cost. My work has been shown in local and regional galleries, and to-the-trade showrooms.

Unlike a lot of commercial decor artists who focus on ‘big art for big houses’, I go the opposite route. Most of my pieces are under 12″ x 12″. Though I have some larger pieces planned or in inventory, I like smaller art – it’s more affordable for me and my clients. Easier to make, store, and ship. Much easier to show, either by the single piece or as a group. It also invites longer scrutiny, as viewers come close enough to get lost in the details.

Sonoran Postcard for blogSince much of it right now is Southwest-themed, it makes great impulse buys, suitcase stuffers, and life-celebration gifts for SW visitors. I certainly plan to branch out to other regional landscapes and themes, as well as abstract pieces.

While I have artwork in several brick-and-mortar galleries, I’ve been interested in showing pieces online for years. None of the services quite met my requirements, until a gallery owner I’ve known for a decade mentioned her well-respected Ebay estate-sale shop. She and her associates know their business! I’m happy to join up with them.

So wander over to Occasions of Scottsdale’s Ebay portal, to see some of my acrylic paint and glass mosaic pieces (under my artist name ‘Marian Crane’). I’m available to do custom pieces, too, based on client consultation and material limitation.

– Crane Hana