Posted on September 19, 2015
I apologize for the extreme delay in relaying my experience as an exhibitor at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015! I promise this post will have been worth your wait! There are plenty of things to talk about, so here is the break- down: I updated my display, I fabricated several new pieces for my Adorable Mayhem line, saw many new and familiar faces, and I bought several new graphic novels from independent publishers. I can never leave the convention without purchasing a few incredible, beautifully illustrated books.
Let’s start with display. Every year I have exhibited at Comic-Con, I always assess my space and continually make enhancements to my set-up. I further embellished my circus turret by adding additional painted gold details throughout. In addition, I lined the edge of the turret with white floral lights.
I finally created a wooden base for my tree branch necklace display. Last year, because of lack of time, I merely taped the tree branch to a table leg. This did not display very well as the branch would project out at an odd angle away from the table. I finally carved a base where the branch could sit stably and stand upright, allowing the necklaces to be viewed much more easily. Frankly, the fully completed tree stand looks far more finished and professional.
In the display, you can see several new felt mini sculptures I made for the show. Several people were very interested in my little felt animals and ended up selling out of most of the pieces I made! I try to combine felting with some metal work to make the felt sculptures more unique and detailed.
This year, I also started to invest more time into my physical appearance at the booth. In previous years, I found the idea of dressing up to be too tedious because I must be there at the convention very early in the morning to set up each day. I have to admit, it does take a little more time to get ready in the mornings before the show, however, I figured Comic-Con is one of the few opportunities to dress up in playful costumes. Why not have fun and take advantage of it? I don’t attempt to dress up as any specific character. I mainly dress in such a way that is light and colorful and matches the pastel color theme of the booth. My matching costume seems to pull the aesthetic of the booth together as a whole. Below, I have several images of myself at my booth and the various wigs and outfits I wore throughout the five day event.
Onto the main event! The featured body of work in my Adorable Mayhem line is my jewelry. One of the new pieces I added at this year’s Comic–Con is my sheepicorn or uni-sheep, whichever you prefer. 😉 I was inspired by my best friend, Keyanna, who is a lover of all things sheep-like. Since I have known her, Keyanna has always loved drawing sheep and renders them in her own characteristic way with rounded bodies and tiny heads. Her sheep sketches were both cute and endearing and I wanted to maintain those qualities while I was carving the wax for my own sheep. Since this necklace is a part of the Adorable Mayhem collection, of course, I had to add some additional quirkiness to this character. The little horn I added to transform my sheep into a sheepicorn gave him that much needed extra sprinkling of magic!
Some of you may remember, my smokin’ fox necklace. Last year, I made him entirely in silver. I wanted to visually create a greater separation between the fox and the cigarette, so I decided to make them in different metals. I cast the fox head in bronze and then fabricated the cigarette in silver. This helps differentiate the two parts and makes the pendant more visually eye-catching with the added color contrast. Whether you’re a man or a woman, everyone deserves to feel like a smokin’ fox!
I added more color to my new bronze and silver necklaces. Colored donuts, pandas, tigers, and tiny birds are just a few of the many new pieces I added to the Adorable Mayhem collection.
Those of you who were not able to attend Comic-Con or didn’t have the chance to stop by my booth, you can check out my Etsy site and see if there are any goodies you might be interested in!
Now that I have been coming to Comic-Con for six years now, I have had the opportunity to get to know my fellow exhibitors and make new friends! It is always a treat to see familiar faces each year I return to Comic-Con! Below is long-time exhibitor, Sandra Adair. She is an amazingly talented illustrator and is currently working on a children’s book version of the Three Musketeers. She very generously gave me a beautiful print of a scene she illustrated from Alice and Wonderland as well as her latest self-published book of her work. Definitely click on the link below to see her work!
Sandra’s website is: http://sandrachang.net
Once upon a time I was an avid YouTube content creator. One day, I will dip back into the pool of video editing, once I redirect the focus of my channel to more inspiring content. I met fellow YouTuber, Montel Thompson, at Comic-Con last year and he kindly stopped by my booth again this year. Montel creates very thoughtful videos revolving around the topics of relationships, comics, gaming and movies. Check out his videos on Youtube!
I cannot leave Comic-Con without purchasing some graphic novels. I focus on buying comics from independent publishers because I primarily look for more unique work. Often times, when you purchase books on the last day of the show, many exhibitors will discount their prices and you can often find good deals.
Those of you who may not know, I was originally an illustration major in undergraduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. I can’t believe that was fifteen years ago! It is certainly evident that a lot of the work that I make, be it jewelry of felting, is heavily influenced by illustration and tends to be representational. I find graphic novels inspirational because they often spark new ideas for my own work. I look for great content and unique drawing styles.
My favorite booth is Drawn and Quarterly which is a graphic novel publishing company based in Quebec. This year, I picked up several comics from Anders Nilsen. I purchased a wonderful book last year called, Big Questions, which contains highly detailed pen drawings and its story poses deeper philosophical questions about existence. Anders manages to scatter bits of humor along with the heavier content to lighten the story. Big Questions still remains his piece de resistance but this would be hard to top since this book took the author 15 years to create and is almost 600 pages long! I purchased three books from Anders this year and I was lucky enough to meet him in person. He signed and drew several small sketches in each one.
The third book by Anders Nilsen, Poetry is Useless, has escaped me. It is lost in my shamefully monstrous collection of books. When I do find it, I will write a future blog post review of this comic.
Melody is an autobiographical book about a woman’s experience working as a stripper in downtown Montreal in the 1980s. She does have a primitive drawing style because she took on this project without extensive drawing experience. Somehow her simple drawings make sense as it coincides with her naivete’ as she enters the forbidden world of stripping. Melody is a fascinating autobiography and I definitely recommend this as a good read! This was another purchase from Drawn and Quarterly.
If you are interested in any of the above comics, you can check out Drawn and Quarterly’s website: https://www.drawnandquarterly.com/
From First Second publishing, I purchased the New York Times bestseller, This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki. One Fine Summer is a fictional story about two young girls, Rose and Windy who spend the summer together as they enter that awkward stage between adolescence and puberty. The novel’s refined sketchy drawing style and candid content was definitely reminiscent of Craig Thompson who authored Blankets.
From Top Shelf publishing, I purchased a book called God is Disappointed in You. The book was written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Shannon Wheeler. Do not read this if you are a deeply Christian person! Some of the content may be interpreted as irreverent, perhaps even sacrilegious! Russell summarized each book of the Bible in just 2-3 pages which ended up being quite an undertaking and took him 3 years to complete! If you can read this with an open mind, I cannot recommend it enough because it is absolutely hilarious! My stomach was hurting so bad from busting out laughing. Let’s face it, the Old Testament in particular is fraught with violence, plagues and sexy times and can make for an exciting read especially when composed in Russell’s pointed and comical writing style. Keep in mind that Russell had no ill intention in composing this graphic novel. His was simply to write a candid overview of the Bible without glossing over the vulgar bits.
Another book I purchased was a self-published version of The Wizard of OZ by Evan Dahm. Evan illustrated the original story by L. Frank Baum with his own unique visual interpretation of the characters. Evan’s charming illustration is so well done that I look forward to re-reading this classic.
My last stop was at the Fantagraphics booth where I purchased Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein. The author recounts her experiences working as a bartender. Late at night was when inspiration would strike her and Leslie would spend hours drawing a comic page a day. This book is a compilation of her best content from her 365 days of comic creation in 2014. Her beautiful watercolor and pen drawings are simply breathtaking! I have to admit the illustration is what really drew me in to purchase the book.
I only took a few pictures of costumes while I was at Comic-Con. Below, are a couple of my favorites that I took while at my booth.
I know this was a long recounting of my Comic-Con experience! This was my sixth year exhibiting at Comic-Con and it never ceases to be an exciting time! It has become something of a phenomenon here in San Diego with this year drawing in over 135 million in revenue for the city and over 130,000 in attendees from across the country and around the globe. I certainly hope that the convention continues to stay here in San Diego and I look forward to my seventh year exhibiting at Comic Con 2017! If you are one of the lucky people that manages to obtain Comic-Con tickets, stop by my booth at E-04.
Category: Uncategorized Tagged: 2015, adorable mayhem, anders nilsen, bright eyed at midnight, comic con, convention center, donuts, drawn and quarterly, evan dahm, fantagraphics, felting, fox, god is disappointed in you, graphic novels, handmade jewelry, illustration, jewerly, leslie stein, made in san diego, mark russell, melody, montel thompson, pandas, poetry is useless, rage of poseidon, san diego comic con international, sandra chang, shannon wheeler, smoking, sylvie rancourt, tara magboo, the wizard of oz, this one summer
Posted on October 9, 2014
This will be my second year exhibiting at Designer Con at the Pasadena Convention Center. November 8 and 9 is fast approaching and many preparations need to be made! I just need to squeeze this in along with my teaching, custom jewelry work, and design work for Virgil James. Can’t we all have minions?!? I could use some right now. 😉 I just finished the graphics for my ad in the brochure for the convention. I had to make some minor tweeks to swtich the ad to a vertical orientation but I’m satisfied with how it turned out.
The colors are a bit off here because the color model is CMYK which is commonly used for printing. Just imagine that the image isn’t quite so purple and green. 😉
I definitely have some new cast dessert-themed jewelry pieces that I am currently working on that will be debuting at Designer Con. We all love sweets, don’t we? However, since this is Adorable Mayhem there will be a little dark twist on these sweet numbers. I will be posting images when I finally finish casting them.
I always have new felt animal sculptures at every show. I sold out of virtually everything at Comic-Con and have to build up my inventory. My jewelry inventory is pretty well depleted as well. I have some new ideas I plan on testing out with my felt sculptures by incorporating more metal components. I think this will really enhance the look of the sculptures and make them a little more detailed.
Lastly, I’ve been having a wonderful time going back to my illustration roots! There is something so satisfying about the immediacy of painting which offers a much needed break from the tedious nature of jewelry making. I have been creating tiny art on small birch plywood canvases. These illustrations are 4 by 4 inches and I’ve been painting with my favorite medium: gouache. I love the matte finish of gouache and I enjoy the limitation of painting in blocks of color. I plan on offering both original artwork and small giclee prints on cotton rag paper.
Save the date! If you happen to be in the city of Pasadena on November 8 and 9, definitely stop by my booth at Designer Con! Here is a link to the show: http://www.designercon.com/
Posted on May 8, 2014
I recently took my Marriage of Metals class last quarter on a field trip to visit David Freda and Trish McAleer’s studio. I thought this would be a great way to expose the students to practicing metalsmiths who incorporate good design and phenomenal craftsmanship. This was such a great experience for everyone that I would like to incorporate more jewelry field trips in the future for my students! Both David and Trish were very gracious in letting me schedule an appointment with them for my students to come to their home and see their metal work and jewelry processes.
Every time I have walked into their studio, I am always blown away! The huge space, abundant natural light streaming in from windows surrounding the entire studio, and every tool you could possibly imagine: quite simply, this is every jeweler’s dream! The studio is impeccably organized down to separating each step in individual containers of every phase of David work.
I have known Trish and David for quite some time. I became more acquainted with Trish early on as she was the former president of the Metal Art Society of Southern California. Though she finished her term as president several years ago, Trish is still very involved in the MASSC organization. Trish is a very kind, outgoing and friendly person. She is also an accomplished metalsmith and wrote a book on metal corrugation techniques that she had been exploring for many years.
Trish investigated every possible texture you could create with metal corrugation. There are textures you wouldn’t believe would be achievable with this technique! I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t picked this up already. If you are interested, you can find it here:
Below is an example of Trish’s work. This piece of jewelry was a collaboration between David and Trish. She fabricated the piece and he enameled it. The corrugated textures truly enhance the piece!
I had a small mention in Trish’s book. I fabricated a necklace a long time ago using the metal corrugation technique. You can see what my very early work looked like.
While I was in graduate school for Jewelry and Metalsmithing at SDSU, I took a Professional Practices graduate seminar where we were required to interview a current metalsmith. I was and still am a big fan of David Freda’s work and I contacted him in 2007/2008 to request an interview. He, fortunately, said, “yes” and this turned out to be a great opportunity to become better acquainted with his work and life story. I met him in the past through MASSC functions, but never talked with him at length.
David Freda was first a wildlife illustrator, falconer, and taxidermist. He took jewelry making on a whim and became instantly hooked! His jewelry work later evolved to incorporate all his abilities. His hyper-realistic, representational metalwork shows clear influence from his illustration and taxidermy background. David renders his depictions of wildlife with almost terrifying realism, but his work is so expertly crafted that it elevates his work to the level of the precious. It’s his juxtaposition between beautiful and disturbing that really drew me to his work.
I recommended for Jay Whaley of Whaley Studios, where I teach, to interview David Freda. Check out David’s recent interview on Blog Talk Radio with Jay! David is truly a renaissance man!
Below are some examples of his personal jewelry work.
He also won grande prize for his Stag Beetle Necklace in one of the most prestigious competitions in the jewelry industry: Rio Grande’s Saul Bell Competition.
David currently works for Tiffany and Co. making one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces for elite clientele. Sultans have purchased David’s work! Apparently, Tiffany puts out two catalogs: one for the general public and another for the high-rollers. He recently completed a series of orchid brooches, finishing close to sixty pieces! Below is a photograph of his work in the Tiffany catalog. As you can see, the work is exquisite! If you are in the market to buy meticulously crafted enameled gold brooches, you know where to get them!
David is one of the few people in the world with such tremendous skill that can carry on the tradition of fabricating the well-known Tiffany orchid brooches made famous by Paulding Farnham in the late 1800s-early 1900s.
He is currently working on a new series of jewelry pieces for Tiffany which has yet to hit the marketplace. Coming to see David’s work in progress is quite literally watching history in the making!
Back to the orchids, David and Trish have a nice collection of unusual orchids that has served as inspiration for his orchid series. David has also cast directly from their flowers as well.
It was very generous of Trish and David to allow my class into their home and to generously share their knowledge and experience with us! All of the students, myself included, left very inspired by this field trip. Thank you again David and Trish!
Category: Uncategorized Tagged: art jewelry, david freda, grande prize, illustration, jewelry, jewelry casting, orchid brooches, orchids, Patricia McAleer, paulding farnham, saul bell award, stag beetle necklace, studio jeweler, tara magboo, taxidermy, tiffany and co., turtle necklace, whaley studios
Posted on February 27, 2014
I was an Illustration major when I was in undergraduate school at the Rhode Island School of Design. Even though I went on to teach and work in the jewelry industry, I still find tremendous satisfaction from the drawing process. I came across this sketch book in 2012 at the San Diego Museum of Art gift shop and immediately fell in love with it! The book is called: “One Sketch a Day” and is by Chronicle Books.
I love the sketch book’s retro styling! It has a 1950s textbook feel. In the interior, each page is divided into two sections for drawing, making it a manageable size to tackle on a daily basis. At the beginning of each section, one can write in the specific date of when the drawing was created.
Above are some of my early drawings in the sketchbook. I find the paper quality to be decent, despite what I read in some of the reviews of this sketchbook. This is not a multimedia sketchbook, therefore I found pens to work the best. Micron and Copic Multiliners are my favorite brands to draw with to achieve the kind of fine detail that I am looking for. Here are a few links for sets of these pens:
Good old ball point pens are also excellent to sketch with! I can build up light layers when shading that give my drawings a similar feel to those done with pencil!
Below are some later sketches.
I worked in the sketchbook more consistently in 2012, however, in 2013…well…I ceased to make it a priority to draw in this book. In 2013, I finished a dismal two sketches! Now that we are in a new year, I want to draw on a regular basis and I feel, hopefully, that creating blog posts and videos about my weekly progress will give me the structure I need to produce. This time around I will use the sketchbook as a tool to aid in my design process for jewelry designs and other creative freelance projects. This will in turn give me more purpose in utilizing this awesome sketchbook! I hope you enjoyed looking at some of my drawings! I hope this encourages you to practice sketching as well! If you are interested in this specific sketchbook, check it out here:
If you would like to watch my video review of “One Sketch a Day”, you can watch it here:
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