Monday, November 30, 2009

Lark Books - 500 Gemstone Jewels

Resin, Various stones

Seems that my work has been accepted into Lark Books - 500 Gemstone Jewels juried by Cindy Edelstein!

Due out in stores Spring 2010...

Although I am extremely happy to be included in the book, I will be ecstatic to read the description and finally be able to find out which stones I used! I had accidentally deleted my original description and had to use "various" stones :(

Also, unbeknown to me same piece had been featured on The Carrotbox in July!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Thumb Thumb Ring (for Douglas Adams)

Thumb Thumb Ring (for Douglas Adams)
Ring, 2009
Sterling silver, resin, prismacolor

I have been working on a few pieces for an upcoming show and though I would share one.

If you don't know who Douglas Adams is CLICKY!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Latest publication...

1000 Ideas For Creative Reuse

I'm in this book :)

Two Shows!

Two Shows!

I'll be at this one!
Click here for more information about this show.

Participating Artists:

Hoyeon Chung (Carbondale IL)
Artemis Herber (Baltimore, MD)
Ellen Jantzen (St. Louis, MO)
Eun Yeong Jeong (Champaign, IL)
Ji-Leun Lee (Woodside, NY)
Amy Lipshie (Pittsburgh, PA)
Ryan S. Murphy (Brooklyn, NY)
Midori Saito (Seattle, WA)
Emi Savacool (Bloomsbury, NJ)
Hyeseung Shin (Chicago, IL)
Michelle Sotolongo (San Marcos, TX)
Francesca Vitali (Rochester, NY)
Brian Weissman (Brooklyn, NY),

Eliana Arenas (Charlotte, NC)
Stevie B. (New Jersey)
Melissa Borell (Houston, TX)
Brenda Bregman (Bethesda, MD)
Burcu Buyukunal (Mugal, Turkey)
Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez (Henrietta, NY)
Bifei Cao (Indiana, PA)
Cynthia del Giudice (Navarro, Argentina)
Sung-Yeoul Lee (Smithville, TN)
Emiko Oye (San Francisco, CA)
Michelle Pajak-Reynolds (Stow, OH)
Mary Hallam Pearse (Athens, GA)
Jon Radermacher (Pittsburgh, PA)
Carol Ann Rafferty (Clarence, NY)
2Roses (Anaheim, CA)
Rickson Salkeld (Toronto, Canada)
Anthony Tammaro (Philadelphia, PA)
Carolyn Tillie (San Francisco, CA)

I'll try very hard to be at this one as well :)
Click here for more information about this show.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Collaboration (or How To Kill Yourself Without Really Trying)

The following is from a post I responded to on Crafthaus on collaboration. Thought I would re-post it here for everyone to see because (1) It's sort of funny, (2) It's true, (3) I am lazy.

Here is the link to the original discussion:

Here is my latest reply:

I would love to try a collaboration as discussed here, it has to be better then the one I recently tried (see below).

I blame this discussion for almost ruining my relationship with my girlfriend of 13+ years. I blame everyone who has responded or will ever respond in the future in this, and every other dimension.

While my girlfriend (I'll call her "Tabitha")...While Tabitha and I both "do" jewelry and other art and work next to each other in and out of the studio we have never worked together before. Sure, we have always asked each others advice, bounced ideas off each other, and all that, but we never worked on the same project together.

So we tried it. A simple project combining simple metal techniques and some fiber work Tabitha has been "researching".

It surprised me...more then surprised--It feckin scared me to find out after 13 years of knowing each other that our artistic view was so different! The piece started very simply with 1 square wire oval(ish) shape and 1 square wire rectangle(ish) shape. I placed the shapes in what I thought was a nice simple design but Tabitha kept moving them around to what she thought was a great design! HOW DARE SHE!

I moved the shapes back. She moved them around again. This went on for a very long time. I even skipped making dinner (I am the house chef ). We ended up "compromising" on a design we both sort of hated equally and we ate frozen gluten free chicken for dinner.

The next morning Tabitha woke with "a really cool idea for the piece", which she was really excited about and I, of course, immediately rejected and hated from the depth of my soul.

The fun continued on and off for 3 weeks. When I say "fun", I of course mean "misery". She wanted both parts of the piece to include fiber, I did not. I wanted a black and white fiber, Tabitha did not.

We continued with the 3 C's. Choke. Compromise. Kill. (Alright, "kill" doesn't start with a "C", but 3 C's sounds better then 2 C's and a K). We did this for another week and after about a month we came up with something that should have taken 2 days at most to make.

This was the most stressful and painful piece I have worked on. Many of my super, great, fabulous, and amazing ideas were shot down as soon as they left my mouth, if not before. I had to deal with a whole other person, with her own distinct vision, personality, and grooming habits. It was much more of a challenge then either of us anticipated and it sometimes took us far outside our comfort zones.

Of course we are already collaborating on our next piece.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

2 Professors & Stevie B. !

That's Arkansas.

Which just happens to be where I went recently to be a juror.


Yours truly, Stevie B., along with Associate Professor Erica Spitzer Rasmussen (Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, MN) and Professor Richard Hirsch (The School for American Crafts at Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY) were invited by the Arkansas Arts Council to juror their Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Contemporary & Traditional Crafts. Many artists entered, but only 3 were chosen to receive the $4,000 grant.

The Process & What I Learned From Behind The Curtain Instead Of In Front Of The Curtain Where I Usually Am...

Until the opportunity to be a juror presented itself I have always been on the other side of the curtain (for a real visual of "the curtain" and for what it means when I reference it please see the movie The Wizard of OZ), the other side being the wrong side. Maybe not really the wrong side but at least the side that quite often wasn't chosen for an exhibition, photo inclusion in a book or other publication, an artists residence, or even an art grant. Which left me many times voicing the questions, "What the hell goes on? And why the hell wasn't I chosen?"

The Process

This is a short summary of the process I went through on a panel as a juror but is probably much like every other.

Tables are arranged in a U shape, the top of the U facing a screen were the images will be projected. Along with the 3 jurors are other members of the Board and a spokesperson.
After short introductions and small talk the jurors are given a hand out with all of the entry's listed, no names of course, artists are refered to by numbers only. The jurors are suppose to make comments in the space provided (think adjectives) next to each number.

The first round starts with the first artist's number being called and the images being shown. Each image is shown for about 3 seconds, then it's on to the next artist/number. Now 3 seconds doesn't seem like a long time, and it's not, but let's say 80 individuals responded with up to 20 images each as the max...That's a lot of images! Anyway, this is the norm. The first round is the "cattle call" as I heared it called in the model & acting business, a quick yes/no filtering out the fluff. There is little or no discussion during this round.

After the jurors see all the images in the first round each number is called out and each juror must respond with either a yes vote or a no vote, referring to their paper and notes for guidance. An artist need only one yes to proceed to the next round.

I didn't make many written remarks during this round other then scribbling a "Y", "N", "?", "*". "?" were turned to yes's, since I obviously needed to see the images again to decide. "*" were for very excellent work. It was sort of like watching a subtitled movie. If I watched the action I would miss the words and if I watched the words I would miss the action. So I decided on the action and scribbled some words and symbols. I was amazed to find that Erica on the other hand, could do both very well and later shared some really good adjectives! She has had some past experience as a juror, which obviously counts for something.

The 2nd round proceeded about the same way with some major differences. The time to view the images was little longer. Jurors could ask to go back to artists and images. Artist statements could be asked to be read. Image dates could be asked. Discussions could be made. Two yes votes are needed to proceed to the next round.

I guess we, the jurors, could have asked questions and had a bit of a discussion in the first round but it wasn't really needed, we all new that the first round was to quickly get rid of any fluff.

By the 3rd round, there were only about 8 artists left, with two artists already having 3 yes votes. We discussed. We asked for artists statements, dates of completion, dimensions, and then did it all over again. Eventually we had our 3 artists, but the choices were not easy.

Tips...From Behind The Curtain.

Here it is, what I, as an artist who participates in many call for entries, got from my experience as a juror other then some words on my resume, a free trip, and the opportunity to work with and meet many wonderful artist and people. Many of these tips I've heared before but they never sunk in as deeply as they do now.

(1) Have really good photos. If you plan on becoming a successful artists it makes sense to spend a little money to have your work photographed by a professional. It's an investment in your career, much like a suits and ties are in other careers. It should be a mandatory investment.

(2) Have really good photos. That's not a typo. Good photo's are that important. Your pictures may be good enough for your web site or Etsy shop but they probably won't cut it when projected on a big screen. At least three artist's received 3 no votes in the first round and I bet it was because of bad photos...Pixelated...Blurry...Bleh! I couldn't even make out the media, forget about if it was good or bad.

(3) Have really good photos. It's so nice I said it thrice! Seriously, if your trying to recieve money, say from a grant that will give you $4,000 if you receive it, spend a few hundred on some professional photos. Even if you don't receive the grant the first time you have the photos for next time and for many other entries. Believe in yourself, invest in yourself!

*If you must take your own photos or have them taken by someone who has never taken jury photos here are some tips...

(a) Use a white, black, or gradient (black to white) background only. In the first round the jurors got to see the photos of each artist for 3 seconds each, that's not a whole lot of time to decide. Why make the decision even harder by having a distracting background, like a pool or forest? Or even a lawn chair? Even those rocks that look so nice with your piece is distracting enough. You want to keep the juror's eyes on your work, your work must be the focus and nothing should compete with it.

(b) Your whole piece should be in focus. Short depth of field (part of an object in sharp focus with everything else get's blurrier) shots work in advertising but they completely suck when it comes to a jury shows. I want to see your work in complete focus! How else can I see if it's well constructed? How else can I really see what it is? Use a large f-stop. 20 and above. If you don't know what "f-stop" is, then don't take your own photos. If your camera's f-stop doesn't go up that far then buy a professional camera and take lessons on how to use it or hire a professional photographer.

(c) Don't use a model unless asked to. Models are distractions that you don't need. It doesn't matter if it's for a full length dress or a hand model for a ring it's a distraction. I will long remember the odd hair on a woman's knuckle more then the piece the finger wore.

(d) For jewelry artists - Don't use head forms. They are just as distracting as a model. Even if you could get all that dust and hair that all head forms seem to be born with off, they make everything look too much like a cheap "we buy gold" jewelers window then any sort of art or craft.
(e) Think about using a professional photographer. One more for the road.

(4) Keep your work consistent. Perhaps it fascinates people when you tell them that you create jewelry, dresses, woodwork, and can juggle, but it doesn't make for a good portfolio. At it's core all jury shows/competitions are portfolio reviews. Pick your best art or craft and stick with it. This is also not the time to showoff different techniques. Be consistent. Remember you are telling a story about yourself and your work with these images.

(5) Less is more. You don't have to send the maximum number of images allowed. You want to leave the jurors wanting to see more.

(6) Don't send crap. Why did you do it number XXXX? You had some really good work up until those photos. You should have stopped at 7 photos, if you had you would have had a chance at the gold ring. Maybe next year. (see 4 & 5).

(7) Keep your artist statement short. Even if not asked keep your artist statement under 250 words. Trust me no one wants to read or hear your manifesto! Yes, you used College taught juicy adjectives, but there is only so much bullshit that one can digest in one sitting, and fellow artists can digest even less than the average person having digested their own for so long. Again, less is more.

That's all for now.

The after...

When I was done with the Arts Council, Professor Richard Hirsch invited Tabitha and I to join him at the Arkansas Arts Center to see the work of ceramist Jun Kaneko. It's not very often that a ceramics Professors and artist of Richards caliber invites us to see a show so of course we joined him.

TIP! Next time you go to a museum forget about the show books, self-guided listening tours, or any sort of museum tour guide. Bring a Professor! Especially one who is very knowledgeable about the subject matter. You won't regret it!

With Richards knowledge + his sense of humor = we all had a great time!

Special Thanks to Sally A. Williams! Fellow artist and great person! For her kindness, help, and for her role in my selection as a juror!


NEVER, EVER take a 19 hour train ride from NYC to Chicago and another 16 hour train ride from Chicago to Arkansas just to get back on the train and take a longer trip back home even if you get to see your Aunt & Uncle in Chicago during the 8 hour stop over. It's just NOT WORTH IT!

Sorry Uncle Howie. Your good, but your not THAT good.

Additional Reader Comments available on my blog @ crafthaus.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Judge, Jury, and Executioner

Yep, that's me!

Judge, jury, and executioner Stevie B!

Or something like that...

Actually I've been asked to be a judge in another state for some sort of art grant. That's as detailed as I can get.

It's all mysterious and hush-hush I know but if a prospective applicant got wind of it you never know. ..

I promise an update as soon as I get back from wherever I may be going.

Say No More. Say No More.

*edited by Tabitha*

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

500 Plastic Jewelry Designs


When I heared the doorbell ring I did not expect it to be this book! I expected it to arrive sometime in September, at least that's when I heared it was to be mailed. Silly rumors.

I've only quickly checked out the book, somehow finding the page my piece is on, but so far so good. Like Disney World a Lark 500 book needs at least a few days to see everything.

Now if only I would finally receive some sort of news from the other 2 Lark books I submitted to...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Harold O'Connor

MAD had an open studio today, June 25: Peters Valley presents Harold O'Connor.

To be honest I haven't gone to many of MAD's offerings to it's members or the public. Most just didn't grab me, and to get me to go to anything you have to really grab me. I mean physically. With hands and arms and all the rest that go along with kidnapping someone for their own good.

This time it was quite different. I actually wanted to go.

I admire Harold O'Connor's work very much. It just speaks to me. He is a master of design who's technical prowess helps him to create sculptural objects that just so happen to also be jewelry. I like that view of jewelry and follow it myself.

Suffice it to say, I had a great time. Even though NYC does not allow open flames in public buildings so no reticulation demonstrations. Even though Harold O'Connor's furnace kept tripping the electrical outlets so it couldn't be used to show how to make silver and gold granules for granulation. Even though there was no sound on the DVD Harold O'Connor played as a last resort (this was MAD's fault because no one thought to attach speakers to the set-up).

Despite all this I had a great time.


Because of all the different words connect to Harold O'Connor he is first and foremost a master teacher. He answered questions with full answers. He didn't say, "Well, take my class at Peters Valley and you'll find out." Or, "Buy my DVD to know that." He didn't keep anything back and that's the mark of a great teacher.

So, with the DVD going and Harold O'Connor narrating while answering questions I learned a lot about design, granulation, and a bit more about reticulation. But mostly I learned about what it takes to be a true teacher. We could sure use more of those.

Harold O'Connor's web site:

Monday, June 15, 2009

20th Annual New Jersey Small Works Show - REJECTION!

June 19 - July 17, 2009
Reception: Sat, June 20, 2-4 PM

For further information and directions please visit

I will be going, but I didn't get in.

Why post it then?

Good question.

The answer?


We all get rejected from time to time, it's a fact of life.

Leaning in for that first kiss and ending up on the cold, hard, floor.

Lifting your hand up when you know the answer in math class and not getting picked to write it on the blackboard (Which, in retrospect, turned out to be a good thing as you total suck at math and got the answer completely wrong).

Not getting picked to coach the girls topless volleyball team at your local College. There not being a girls topless volleyball team at your local College in the first place no matter how loudly you insist there is. You getting physically rejected from the grounds and placed not so nicely in a police cell to "sober up".

In the art world however, rejection is the norm. Yep. It's quite normal to get a ton of rejection letters. Instead of getting all depressed about it, I try to see it as a sign that I am doing something right.

Something right? You got rejected! Denied! Dismissed! Rebuffed! Excluded! Nothing! Nada! Do Not Pass Go! Collect Nothing! Thumbs Down! Kicked In The Teeth! Passed Over And Pissed On!

True, except maybe the pissed on bit. But the rejection letters remind me to get working on my call for entries.

Am I a glutton for punishment?

Maybe, and just in case my release word is "goats".

The truth is that an artist can expect a extremely high number of rejections compared to the low number of acceptances. It's true! I have a graph somewhere that proves it!...everyone believes in graphs...where did I put that stupid thing...maybe a PowerPoint presentation...

The cold hard fact is that you will get rejection letters, many, many, many, and a few more. It's just the way it is. You can take it personally if you want to. It doesn't matter. Just keep trying.

The more you try the more rejection letters you will get. What you do with them is up to you.

Plaster a wall.

Keep them in a memory box so you can look through them when your famous, or infamous, as the case my be.

Personally I use them for guest toilet paper. I'm not using the fancy TP on the kind of people I have over my house. Really, they could all use leaves for all I care and since I don't let them use my toilet and they are forced outside anyway they may as well. I don't think most of them use anything.

Regardless what you do with your rejections letters, and guest TP is always an option, one day you will find buried within those rejection letters an acceptance!

Be overly happy! Dance! Sing! Call everyone you know and tell them! Call all the other people that you don't know and tell them as well! Make a blog about it!

To sum it up:
The greater the number of call for entries and artist enters = the greater the number of free toilet paper the artist will receive + once in awhile one of those letters will be an acceptance letter , which is a good thing unless your trying for the free toilet paper.

BTW- Tabitha WAS accepted in the show. She will be using the guest toilet paper from now on.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Thea Clark & The New Jersey Metal Arts Guild

As usual I was reluctant to leave the house. I am a bit of a homebody, enjoying spending my time in the warm womb of my home and hopefully, sometimes, the studio (which is just as warm, though a bit less womby).

Unfortunately Tabitha insisted. Tabitha from Compulsive Jewelry, aka The Girlfriend, aka The Pants, aka Some Other Words That I Better Not Say.

So we headed out recently to the open studio of Thea Clark, with Tabitha smiling and thinking what a good time we will have and me grunting the opposite. My pessimism had nothing to do with Thea, quite the opposite as I am well aware of her work and enjoy it very much. No the pessimism is some learned behavior I must have picked up while I was busy living. Or I got it from a toilet seat. Either way, it's a vice that I haven't completely let go of yet. It's also one of those things that Tabitha says is, "Un-Stevie B.-Like", and that I need to "work on it".

So there we were in front of Thea's house, with me "working on it" and grinding my teeth.

"Fifteen minutes," I said between grinds.

"Huh?", Tabitha smiled. A blue bird landed on her arm and tweeted a love song while a brown bunny and a gopher danced in a circle around her legs. Well, that's how it seemed anyway.

"Fifteen minutes," I repeated. "Then we are out of here."

Tabitha didn't respond as she floated toward the door, rose petals leading her.

We left three hours later and only because Thea's daughter kept on insisting that she needed to be fed and that she, along with the rest of the family, was starving. Like kids need to eat everyday or something...Sheesh!

Obviously I ended up having a great time. Thea was warm and welcoming, and the three of us talked for what seemed like hours, which it was.

While at Thea's Tabitha and I also joined the New Jersey Metal Arts Guild.

So in the end what did I learn? That perhaps I shouldn't be so pessimistic about going out? That sometimes, despite myself, I end up having fun? That Tabitha is sometimes right?

BAH! I refuse to learn a thing!

Except that maybe sometimes it's really fun to be wrong.


Monday, June 1, 2009

UPDATE: The Art of Opening: Bottles & Their Toppers

The bottles that go with the bottle stoppers have been posted online at Online Exhibit.

It's really interesting to see what the glass artisans made to go along with each piece.

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Art of Opening: Bottles & Their Toppers May 1 - July 18, 2009

The Art of Opening: Bottles & Their Toppers
May 1 - July 18, 2009

The Art of Opening: Bottles & Their Toppers, will run at the Center through July 18, 2009. Here is one exhibition that is bound to make truly unique gifts for wine lovers and collectors!

To push the frontiers of American and International Craft, the Wood Turning Center sent out a prospectus calling for original hand-made, limited production corkscrews and wine bottle stoppers. The Center recruited two internationally known artists, Boris Bally and Michael Hosaluk, as guest curators for this exhibition. Each juror reviewed the content, forms, materials and construction methods utilized in the corkscrews and bottle stoppers. This highly-imaginative exhibition is shown in conjunction with the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) annual conference, Revolution, in Philadelphia, PA, from May 20-23, 2009.

In an exciting collaboration that evolved from how to display these works, the Wood Turning Center and WheatonArts and Cultural Center, Millville, NJ, have partnered to work with local glass artists to create one-of-a-kind glass vessels inspired by each bottle stopper. These hand blown glass vessels and bottle stoppers will be on display.

Link to Online Exhibit

Monday, January 19, 2009

New Works

I've updated my web site with some more work.

Please check it out here.

Corkscrews and Bottle Stoppers Exhibition

Stevie B. is happily amazed to be participating in
Corkscrews and Bottle Stoppers Exhibition

The Wood Turning Center is putting together a juried/invitational traveling exhibition of corkscrews and bottle stoppers. Internationally known artists Boris Bally and Michael Hosaluk will curate this exhibit. We are looking for original corkscrews and wine bottle stoppers for a show scheduled for May 2009 in conjunction with the 2009 SNAG Annual Conference in Philadelphia.

More images are available in the resin & more gallery of my main web site.