Friday, September 12, 2014

Questionnaire for studio tour participants

Questions for Studio Tour Participants...

Jeanette Bartosik, how many years have you been doing studio tours? 

For the DWAC Studio Tour only a couple years and for the Northumberland Studio Tour, I think a few years more. After applying, the former tour organizer came over with another artist and they watched me make a bead from scratch. Yes, I was a little intimidated at first, but afterwards I explained processes used and everything went well and I was accepted.

What is your favourite aspect of being a Studio Tour Participant?
I love the art of display. Having a background in design, I love to design everything. I've been doing it since I was 4 years old, staging my barbie furniture collection. It wasn't the clothes or the play acting, it was all about the decor and staging the doll house. I also like not having to stuff everything in my car and then try to remember everything on the list. I also really love my clients who come back every year, and who then tell me that they wear my pieces all the time, and how they get tons of compliments when they wear my pieces. Yes, that makes my day. When they buy more for gifts to share, it makes the tour feel even more successful.

What will guests see when they arrive at your studio?
I usually have the front half of my living room converted into a jewellery store. This year I may add some nibbles or refreshments, not sure yet. Last year, I was a guest artist at another local artist's home, and this spring I will be at a commercial gallery. I am always preaching for other artists on the tours to join together to save clients from some driving when they can see more than one artist. I completely understand that this is not always possible and we artists seem the most comfortable in our own spaces. When applications are submitted way in advance and I really wasn’t sure what we were tackling next renovation-wise, that helped my decision to be a guest artist last year. I live in a very old home that my husband and I have been restoring for a long time. It is so much work and most people really have no idea. Anyway, I am very pleased to say that my kitchen is pretty much finished, just painting the walls are left. I feel a studio isn’t and should not always be the sole criteria for being eligible. I heard of one artist whose whole studio is in a tool box? How wonderful is that. As much as I'd love people to see me working, I am a one-woman band, so I can’t demonstrate making a bead while selling my finished pieces when there are twenty people in my living room! Yes, sometimes this happens! So its impossible to open the studio. However, I am working on having a video demonstration. A local videographer offered to film me working, so one of these days. In any case, I would like to have a video running on the tour... Honestly, I prefer to keep it to the front entrance area of my home. This way, I only have to super clean my staging area as well.

Will guests see works in progress/the tools of the trade at your studio?
Sometimes I'll bring out the rods, show a mandrel covered in the ceramic medium, sometimes I'll show some cane twists or my signature cane. 

Describe the best possible outcome for you over the Studio Tour Weekend.
Guess I already answered that one.

What first inspired you to become an artist?  
When I was about 5 or 6 years old and we had a relative come visit from Poland and she was a children's literature illustrator. Very Norman Rockwell, but she would draw them right in front of me and it was like magic. I also lived next door to a very talented girl who drew models like you would see in the vogue during the 60's. So go forward about 40 years and I went to a show and saw Leslie's work and asked if she teaches and low and behold. I had already done several courses of fused glass, I think about 3 by then.

Which artists influence you?
I have a formal design degree background, so my forte and education isn't necessarily the glass work. I love design. Remember the staging. For the glass itself, my favourite glass artist is Paul Stankart and I have the upmost respect for Loren Stump who I was most fortunate enough to have taken one of his classes at the Studio in Corning NY. And finally, it has to be Cindy Jenkins, whose just released book on lampworking, I studied inside and out when I first started.
What style of art do you most identify with?
In the end, I design and make finished jewellery. I want it to be something aesthetically beautiful and if it stirs a curiosity or even a smile, I've achieved. I'm not confident enough to make big loud pieces and its not really my personality either. 

What work do you most enjoy doing?
Glass that takes some talent and control, yes, but also that little bit of magic or luck that makes a perfect bead.

Favourite medium? 
Pencil. Just Kidding, I mostly use effetre soft glass right now as opposed to hard or boro. Its mostly because I don't have oxygen, I use a concentrator (its allot easier, and cheaper than storing and carting oxygen tanks with pressure gauges and allot of other worries. I also use Lausha for my encasing, and experiment time to time with frits, silver foil, goldstone, and fancy stringers of dicro, or the double helix glass. 

Describe your method of working?
I can't be stressed. Even too much coffee isn't good. I'll turn on my radio after cleaning my work surfaces, look at my notes and start. I usually have to work two or three days in a row, to be in the flow as they say. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so there can be some waste. I never throw away glass and do all my own recycling. Sometimes I will spend the first hour or two melting down scrap glass for marble beads.

How has your work changed over time?
I'm faster and more refined, but most of my work is the same as before. I would say that this new line I created (I was applying to an OCC jewellery show at the time) is what I call back to the basics. To me, its like when an artist or a musician first starts working, they put everything into their work. Later, they step back and refine even more. I think that is where I am, but only time will tell.

Describe a memorable response you've had to your work?
I already described my best outcome but I did have this one lady at a "Signatures Show" who kept asking to try on one of my bracelets before she finally decided to buy it. She said she was only going to wear it on special occasions, but she came back a year later to another show I was at and she told me that she wears it everyday. I have another touching story, I was doing the Bala show at Thanksgiving, and this young girl came to my booth to buy one of my flower necklaces. Her aunt who was with her told me that she went around the whole show and came back to me to buy this necklace. I was very moved, and the aunt bought earrings to match her necklace incognito. That happens allot with me. One person will watch what the other person is looking at and trying on, then the friend or relative comes back to buy the piece later, or sometimes when they are distracted looking at something else and we manage to package it all up with no one the wiser. Always so much fun. I have lots of stories like this one.

What is the best thing about being an artist?
Not having a boss. The freedom to be a starving artist, hehe. In reality, it is allot of work and it can be quite lonely at times, and even harder to get yourself motivated, but when you have a good show, its seems to be enough to stroke the ol ego and it gives you another push to continue and perhaps to sign on to another show or tour.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
10,000 hours. Read Blink.

What is your dream project?
I'm still working on it in my head.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hand-made customized grief bracelet

After the death of a loved one, we have the difficult task of living with the immense void created by our personal loss. We also need to get on with the business of living while trying to honour the memory of those whom we loved. For many of us, the natural tendency is to hang on to as much of the belongings of the departed as possible. You will know when the time has come for you to turn a corner of your grief journey and get on with the task to empty drawers and closets, and to deal with some of the personal items such as buttons, costume jewellery, sewing threads, and beads.

What I am offering here is a meaningful way to remember a loved one, by incorporating those buttons, threads, beads or even old, but not forgotten, costume jewellery, into a wearable memorial, in the form of a customized grief bracelet.The picture shown is an "example" that has been decorated with a little over 50 mid century gold and black buttons of varying sizes, a few beads and then finally it is trimmed on one side with black lace on the elasticized base. Of course, this is all a matter of choice for each person and we don’t all react the same, but for me, memories of playing with beautiful buttons as a child, made it difficult to simply throw these items away.

The bracelet pictured here was lovingly put together with buttons from my late mother's sewing box. I also included buttons that were removed from some of her treasured pieces of clothing (a tattered grey fur coat from the 1950's) that I wanted to preserve in something that is both beautiful to wear, something current, and that I would be able to cherish for many years to come.

I also want you to have the same opportunity and I will put it all together for you when you are ready. All you have to do is to provide me with a few handfuls of carefully selected buttons of your choosing, and I will show the same care and creativity in fabricating a personalized custom bracelet.

To begin, please email me ( for more information, pricing, sizing, and delivery options, but primarily it will go pretty much like the following:
After you have made your selection of buttons, simply send everything in the mail or by courier in a package that also includes a pre-postage paid envelope, (preferably a bubble envelope that has postage on it, as well as your address which will be used to send everything back to you), the exact measurements of your wrist, your email address for correspondence, and a deposit of twenty five dollars in the form of a cashiers cheque, money order, or a direct deposit, or by pay pal. Upon completion you will be notified of the remaining balance owed which after receiving payment, your customized bracelet will be sent back to you in the provided postage paid bubble envelope. Bubble envelopes are available at most places that sell stationary products. Turn around time will be a few days and generally the completed bracelets will be between 50 and 85 dollars (primarily dependant on the amount of buttons and the time it takes, so the bigger the buttons the less time and expense it will be).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Intrinsic values getting turned on

Week before last I was solicited to donate work to an upcoming Annual Art Auction happening this March 28th at the Capital Theatre. It is for the Northumberland Child Development Centre which is a not-for-profit organization, also here in Port Hope. They provide programs and services for children who require additional support in our community. I always get excited when embarking on work that will eventually be donated. Designing and assembling the pieces is where all my time and effort went. These bodacious dazzling blue colours are spectacular and right on target for this year's spring fashion colours. I don't think I have ever done a bracelet with that many beads on it before, so it is truly a unique piece. The bracelet took the longest, but I've been working on all three pieces for the past week. I'm always wanting to please others with my work, or my creations. I have always been this way. I tend to express my love into beautiful objects and my surroundings. I do hope they love my work as much as I did making it.

I have and will continue to always support not-for-profit organizations. I have given my work to the Big Sisters/Brothers, the Rose of Durham, Hearth House and Friends of Music to name a few and I always seem to go a bit overboard, like I did when decorating the bird houses, along with 50 other artists. The bird houses went up for auction as well for a local charity and garden tour. I really loved doing them and tend to loose all sense of time really getting into it. I think I spent weeks on this particular bird house. I had even attached one of my original glass bird beads onto the back of it.

When we don't have to worry about money or worry about how much to ask, or if its going to sell, or not, and when money isn't involved, it is just so much more pleasant to work on. Its like giving a gift directly from one's heart. Seeing how difficult it was for me last year, giving from my heart really makes me feel good and I thank Karen R. from ncdcent for making me feel pretty good this week. Enough said. Hope it raises allot of money for them.

Does the pain really go away, or just manifest elsewhere?

Perhaps I shouldn't mix business with my personal life, but its been over 9 months since my last post... I'd like to explain that exactly five days after my last post, my mother passed away unexpectedly. Everything changed. Its hard to fathom that millions of people go through this at least once in their lives, but it doesn't make it easier, just that I'm not alone. 
In her memory, I'd like to share a drawing of her that I did many years back. It was my first project for an art class with Peter Kolisnyk at Glendon College. I didn't know until just this minute while searching online for his name, that he also passed away in 2009. It was not a bird course by any stretch of the imagination whatsoever. I had spent an entire week, maybe two, working on this drawing and hoping to "wow" Mr. Kolisnyk by showing him that I was a good and eager art student. I did receive my "A" but not without a lecture about originality first. 

I wish I could explain now just how original it was now that I look back at everything. I will try to explain. I did this drawing of her based on a photograph. In it was a time of celebration and she was in full gala in her krakowski stroj costume with braids and ribbons in her hair. She was joyful and happy in a school parade in Doddington EnglandI remember Mr. Kolisnyk asking me who this was and why I choose to draw her. I explained that she was a child of war and without her mother in a displacement camp for children. It was just before she came to Canada and she was about 14 years old. He seemed satisfied with the explanation. However, I drew this picture of her based on a photograph of a happy celebration? Perhaps I didn't see it back then, but somehow her pain projected to me and to my drawing of her. My mother was still grieving from her younger sister's death the year prior. You can clearly see it in her eyes. I don't think I even realized at the time, but her intense pain clearly manifest in my drawing of her from when she was quite young. I'm still trying to find the original happier photograph...
Anyway, now that I've explained my absence, I'll get to some happier news shortly. I'm just starting back up, so please bare with me.