Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Sale For My Mom Pattie Etsy Shop...

I have asked all the artists that make stuff for the My Mom Pattie Etsy shop if they would mind if I ran a 20% off sale in the MMP Etsy shop (starting at Midnight EST tonight): January 28-30th. 
Everyone thought it was a good idea, so here are the details:

On Friday, January 28th you can use the coupon code "MMP20" to have 20% taken off your order (excluding shipping). The sale ends on Sunday January 30th. 

I think this is perfect timing for Valentines day gifts… 
Even if it is a gift for yourself (you should be kind to yourself - you deserve it - and you will love the jewelry - and it helps me with the room dedication!)

I really want to get the room dedication (or whatever remains) at the Tri-State Bird Rescue taken care of in February. So this will be a last hurrah for collection for this "cause".

Because all of the artists keep the finished pieces in their possession until it sells, all the items will ship from the various artists individually after the sale is over. If you ordered multiple items from the same artist - then I will send you a refund for the extra shipping charges via paypal. You can always select "other" as a form of payment and I can send you an updated invoice as well.

And a reminder to you, your purchases through the MMP Etsy shop automatically get you entered to a drawing I have over on my Marsha Neal Studio Specials Blog. And I have decided that for those people that do make a purchase this weekend and use the coupon code MMP20 can also use that code for my Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop in February to get 20% off your order just as a personal Thank You for helping me gather funds for this room dedication...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marsha, Remember Form… Copyright Issues Part 3 - Zentangle®

Do you Know what this pretty little Red Square means?
Have you heard about Zentangle®?
I have. I had some questions…
A photo I took of my Christmas Present (the ZT kit)
So I find myself arriving at a place that is a bit more clear, still slightly uneasy, about Copyrights. I still have questions as to how copyrights work in Jewelry designing (my original part 3 topic). But I have stumbled into an area closer to my heart and my work - specifically my drawings and a newly found obsession: Zentangle®

I am almost certain to say that I am not alone in my initial reactions to Zentangle®. Delighted, Interested, Confused, Addicted, still a little confused (I have been drawing patterns for a long time like this! How I am just hearing about this)…

Now to keep this post somewhat short and to the point, I think that with all my looking (links are listed below) around, experimenting with drawings & techniques, I feel confident to say that an actual Zentangle® is done in a short period of time, on a small piece of paper, using a string (in pencil) to begin your design, and by filling in the areas (with a black ink pen) within that string by using patterns and lines with each stroke having a direct intent, then use a pencil to shade in the drawing to make the piece "pop" of the page. The main point is to find relaxation and a state of meditation within those said small drawings - the Zentangles®

It is a wonderful way to meditate - really… And very addictive if you are into doodling, drawing, coloring, shading, and the like.

I am no lawyer, law maker, law writer, or professional when it comes to Copyright, Trademark, Patent, etc. But I feel safe again, continuing to draw as I always have done in margins, sketchbooks, napkins, placemats, sugar packets, matchbooks (you get the point right?) and using those items, images, drawings as I want. Here are some pictures of some of my very first clay texture plates (2002) that I carved into clay. 
Marsha Neal Studio Carved Clay Texture Plates
As long as you are not out there trying to re-create what Rick and Maria have created with Zentangle® (they were clever enough to give us parameters, utensils, directions, advice, inspiration, materials - all bundled up in a beautiful green box with a red square on it) then you should feel no animosity towards them for coming up with this wonderful business idea. I thank them for giving me another direction and a purpose (to meditate) through these small drawings.

And as far as I can tell with the coming up with a pattern and naming it - that has got to be for communication purposes. If you were going to teach patterns or reproduce the patterns (in a profitable way) in the method and steps you would probably have to get permission from the Artist or Zentangle® first. It is always best to ask if you are uncertain.

I personally am happy to have a name other than "doodles" to refer to the drawings and patterns that fill my sketchbook and texture plates. And names to be able to call them when I talk to other people interested in drawing like this. 
Marsha Neal Studio Texture Plate and Clay Pendants.
Brings back memories from a business class I took once where they talked about being careful with  branding: Like BandAid® Bandages - there is a brand thing there - the name is BandAid - not the product. Do you ask for a bandage or BandAid®? Do you Zentangle® or Tangle or Draw or Doodle?

Here are some links that I found helpful:
Zentangle's website - legal page.
Zentangle Flickr discussion.
From Sandra's Blog (which has lots of helpful links there).
From Sandy's Blog.
3/5/11 Additon: Copyright 

Join in on the fun! Lots of challenges out there and websites with patterns (I personally had to get some books in hand to be able to sit and obsessively draw out as many as possible to get my head focused).

Want to see some of my tangle drawings? Click HERE.
I would love feedback - what do you think? How do you feel about this? Am I on the right track?

My 2011 Motto: Draw Every Day...

Zentangle Challenge #6: IXORUS

So this week's challenge hosted by Laura over at I AM THE DIVA CZT Blog is to use the new tangle IXORUS.

Here is my drawing:
Which now that I am looking at it, by me wanting to enclose the ends of it, has it become Crescent Moon - or at least is is pretty darn similar… Hrmph…

 I was in a bit of an angular mood when I drew this out… I may end up doing another one this week sometime.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Thinking About Glaze Application

My latest "Third Friday Cone 6 Glaze Post" on the Beads-of-Clay Blog was asking fellow earth clay beadmakers what their thoughts are on applying their glaze.

Not necessarily on if you brush, dip, spray, but more along the lines of how do you think about color application? So you think about it when you are applying the glaze or is it just something random that you do?
When I first started making tiles - which in turn became pendants, I found out that by applying glazes with a brush I could get really cool shadowing effects with translucent glazes (see the clouds in the pieces above). I also figured out that certain glazes, when applied with a tiny brush over top of another glaze created a stable outline and color changed area (see bottom right spiral wave textured piece). 

I am such a control freak when it comes to glazing. I want a part of me to be able to be a bit more like Kylie Parry in just cracking a pint of glaze and going for it… This science part of my brain just does not want it to be though - a constant battle to loosen up!

I am participating in Drawing Lab 2011 - 52 drawing lessons in the year. The first assignment was to draw a cat. After a page full of drawings, I found that this sleeping kitty was really pleasing to look at. So of course I had to put her (my cats are girls, so it's a she to me…) onto some beads… I had these already glazed pieces laying around, so I put some decals on them. 
Now to me, the little green tube beads with white on the bottom is much more appealing to just plain white. And the line placement - just at the level where the cat is resting, makes my brain happy. I find that I am turning a page in my glazing techniques - thinking about colors and color lines. What works and what does not...

And how I can apply that to my designs I am going to be printing as decals and firing them into the glazes…

Darn I am such a control freak… 
My brain just wants flow and symmetry and happiness for my eyes.

Maybe I'll just see how Kylie loosens up (Kylie - any advice?)
Seems like maybe she just puts on some good music and gets to having fun making a mess (a very cool kind of mess!)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Head Is A Bit Tangled...

Ok, so you have heard of Zentangle? If not, check out that link to get started… I am warning you now - it is very addictive… For me - add it to the Online Drawing Lab I am taking in 2011 - and you have stuff like this coming out:
Marsha Neal Studio Cat Drawing from DL2011 - Tangled...
Basically it comes down to drawings. Little repeat drawings. Ooodles of doodles
I have been doodling forever. A lot of people have (our poor mothers - we came out with some sort of drawing utensil in hand at birth I'm almost certain of it…).

So I came across Zentangle through a blog somewhere (those links - they will get you every time!). Sent the link to Dave as a "check this out, looks cool - maybe a good Christmas present idea if you are looking for one"…
Marsha Neal Studio Sampler Variations from Zentangle Books
Now I'm not so sure he is happy about getting it for me. I'm addicted. Well, I guess you could say - I'm inspired and a bit obsessed. Ok - addicted is right…

I feel like I am on a mission of sorts, then I can relax a bit…
I blame this almost fully on the fact that
1. I am currently dealing with federal lawsuits of copyright infringement issues with my porcelain pendants and
2. my general way of being brought up as "do something right from the beginning".

What makes a drawing or doodle a Zentangle (insert Registered Trademark here).
Why does it seem like there is this huge rush to put a title to a drawing and your name on a doodle and say you created it (or am I just overwhelmed - and making up the "rushed" part - because I am just discovering this official business of Zentangle drawing)?
And really - other than categorization for teaching and communication (I totally dig the scientific method of naming things: KPGOFGS) and becoming known, why do this?

One thing I have come full circle to realize after cruising blogs, websites, videos, and at least 4 Zentangle books is that Zentangles - the actual drawing in the mindset of Zentangle is to use a small piece of paper. They have super sweet 3.5" squares of really nice paper (repeat - really nice - it has such a feel to it!) that are perfect for little masterpieces.

Because I feel that using a full size sketchbook page takes away from the "zen" of the "tangling"… It can take HOURS that may lead into days to complete a full sheet of paper.

Then there is the shading… (Oh, what shading can do for your drawing! It pops right off the page at you if it is well done). And add in the graphite finger prints on things (or the hurdling over toddlers to get to the sink to wash before wiping a running nose or making lunch).

I'm not saying that is a bad thing to be into drawing like this…
But when you have other things to do in life, sitting drawing obsessively will raise a few eyebrows (I had no idea the cat could do that too!) when other things are being pushed off to the side.

I just wanted to share with you a little about my mental state right now with my obsession with Zentangle and questions I have.

I want to take it to the next level too. Well, technically, full circle in a way because I want to be inspired to make new clay pieces, with textures from my drawings and carvings… But need to walk carefully because of all this business stuff. Would love feedback on this one. If you have discussed this on your blog and want to share it, maybe I'll create an inlinkz for this post…

For now I am admitting to my obsession, I have put the Zentangle books down. Put the sketch book and black gel roller pens down. And will be pulling out the 3.5" Zentangle kit I got for Christmas next week when Laura posts her next challenge and getting back to the zen of tangling again, and try to not get too obsessed until I have gotten my studio office, jewelry making area, and clay studio organized.

I put it in writing…

Rear In Gear...

I really hoped that the Blogpress App update fixed this issue with blurry pictures - Grumble, grumble…

I wanted to share a series of photos with you that I snapped of Peeves with a choice to make about new catnip toys she received from my friend Vicki (I got a great wheel thrown vase for myself and a necklace to add to the My Mom Pattie Etsy shop)…

I can relate to her having to make a decision. I had one too yesterday morning...

As you can see, she went back and forth a bit, rolled around on them, played with each one a bit, then decided to run around like a freak and play with them both seriously… It was great fun to watch!

So every stinking day I go into the basement studio and see this - piles. PILES of filing (my organized mess - where if I needed to grab something, I could begin in an area where I had placed it - or did I move it to a "better place"?).

I despise this. I really do.

So the entire morning was spent pulling bins and going piece by piece, business card, receipt, catalogs, magazines, notes, old pictures, all of it - PIECE BY PIECE… and into the recycle bin or shred piles (very little had to be "thrown away") if it is not something that I need to keep.

I feel like a hoarder at times. But then again - here is the excuse of all times, I'm a busy person. At least I have been. And I need to have a good plan in place to get myself re-organized to be able to keep up with it. There is a LOT of self searching going on as these piles are gone through. And after I am done with the filing - I get to the fun part - going through all my arts and crafts "piles" and bins that are stored on shelves. Going to introduce myself to them… "Hi Stuff! I'm Marsha… Wanna play?"

More pics will be posted later today or tomorrow of my progress… Stop back for more!
This big ol' rear is getting in gear...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Color Inspirations: Seed Pod In Decay

Here is another selection of 5 of the 2mm silks inspired by some of the colors in Seed Pod Shells in the photo that follows.

Now mind you, color inspiration does not have to be from a perfect photo (this one was taken with the iPhone and just would not focus properly for me. I was probably rushed that day.)
I often look at things with squinty eyes to just get an overall feel for color hues, shape, symmetry, etc.

Here is the Seed Pod Shell palette from my ColourLovers app:
And the silks are available in my Etsy shop by bundle or website by individual strand.

Color Inspirations: Winter PaperWhites

I am determined to get color palettes picked for some photos before I go to bed.
Marsha Neal Studio Winter PaperWhites (December 2010). 
I picked these tones from the image above...
Here is a photo that I took with my iPhone Hipstamatic app of some paperwhites in bloom around Christmas 2010. I opened the photo up in the ColourLovers iPhone app, which uploaded to, then I downloaded the palette & saved to my computer, then uploaded here to my blog. Talk about a bit of a P.I.T.A… sheesh!
Seems like there are so many cool things that technology can do, but shouldn't there be a faster way to do this (I know - it is probably me, doing things the hard way… Will have to practice it a bit more).

It's cool that they give you some html code to post so you can find Marsha Neal Studio Palettes on their website (will have to test it out to see if it a direct link. *Nope. I checked… not a direct link. Well click HERE to see my palettes)
Here is what I have picked out as far as the hand painted silks that I carry on my website and the colors I think would work in this palette. I have it on my "to do" list for tomorrow to pull these actual colors and photograph them and update this post with them.

I just did a blog post with new photos of the new silk colors HERE.

**Here are the colors I pulled in silks, inspired by the color palette for the Winter PaperWhites...
Oh, and I just added them to my Etsy shop!
And that's all… Pshew - one down...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Circles. A Constant Theme In My Life. And An Orb Zentangle Challenge.

Do you ever feel like things in your life run in circles, through cycles, sometimes spiraling out of your grasp? I do. Quite often. Maybe even daily…
Detail of Circle Challenge - with shading!
I think it has a bit to do with having this slightly obsessive personality - more controlling than anything…

I have lists, with lists for those lists.
My brain gets overwhelmed and nada gets accomplished.
I become the excuse queen...
This is one of my circles.
I am a professional non-finisher (can't there be income for that sort of thing - darn!)
A perpetual idea person...

Drives me nuts…

So I am super grateful to parameters. To deadlines. To structure.
Without those things I flounder all over the place.
This is not so good for a person that works at home for oneself.
Well, actually I work for my customers…
I make stuff for myself, then sell it.
I am really bad making stuff custom for people. I don't know why - I just stink at that…
I would say it is too much like work, but I like work.
I think I just don't do anything without parameters. When people say: just do what you like…
That is when I get to the point of too many ideas, and I don't do anything.
Those are the ways I make too much work for myself.

So being grateful for structure, I give you my drawings for this week's challenge for Laura over at "I Am The Diva CZT". Week #5 Circles (known also as orbs)…
Circles Beginning Parameters (thank goodness for parameters!)
Laura talked about how circles kept coming to her this week, and some of the meanings for her behind using them in her drawing… As I worked on this today, I had my immediate little family of four on my mind. Me being the center circle, my two little ones to my lower left and right sides, and above all of us, Dave (he is our provider, our protector… such a great person - really…).
Circles In Black & White
I kept thinking about a conversation that Dave and I keep having. It is kind of depressing, but truthful. This circle conversation about what is the monetary point to what I am doing. Did I mention that I get a bit obsessive about things that are new and I am getting into (a non-finisher). Not that everything I do has to be a source of eventual money, but having an income is quite helpful to paying bills. And with having two kids now there are more things to think about rather than just paying bills.
Circles Finished with Shading...
So as I'm drawing, as I am typing, my brain is racing. Ideas abound, but are they ideas worth pursuing? Is where I have been in my life with making porcelain pendants still going to work out? Not the way it has, that is for sure… But on a smaller scale? Maybe...
Here is a side view of the drawing...
For now I am going to keep at it. Keep drawing (this is where my inspiration starts to go from mental to actual)… Try to make some new things and actually list them on Etsy. Why does my brain always go to production mode - drives me nuts.

So that is it for now…
If you want to check out some of my other drawings Zentangle and the like: Click HERE.
And if you want to view this blog in whole, click the picture header and the entire thing will refresh (that is a cool thing about a lot of blog headers if you arrive on a blog from a direct url link - did you know that? Probably, I just figured I'd share if not)…

Have a great week all! I plan on spending the next couple of days actually working on some drawings that will give a lot of my pendants some cool tangle inspired edge looks… M.J. I am SO with you on how that back of the pendant looks - those edges are yummy!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I have the "MyPantone" app on my iPhone and I have been fooling around with some palettes from some photos I have taken. When I went to my account online there was a place to share through Blogger, FaceBook, etc. So I'm trying it through Blogger… I was hoping a picture showed up, but nothing is showing during the writing phase except this link:

Hmmm… wonder how this can work out?
I'm going to give the Big Huge Labs color palette picker a go too…

Here are some of my photographs that I am working with for the palettes. What do you think?
You have to click through a lot to get to the images through myPantone, so I think the ColourLovers (which is the same one - yay! - that I was going to check out through Big Huge Labs) may work out better. They have an app too, so if it works out, I might be able to really use that one…

Now to just figure it out...

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Silk Photographs

Here it is! The complete color selection of silks I have for my Marsha Neal Studio website shopping cart. If you visit my website and don't see the new color swatches (they will be skinny still, but snippets of these) hit the refresh button on your browser address bar, and they should reload.

It has been a process pulling every color (75 currently) in each string type (3 kinds) and getting a photograph that is as close to the actual string color as possible (of course your monitor and printer will alter that too). 

Marsha Neal Studio's Hand Painted Silks (by SPIF)
Marsha Neal Studio's Hand Painted Silks (by SPIF)
Marsha Neal Studio's Hand Painted Silks (by SPIF)
I started selling these hand painted silks when I was selling my pendants through Bead Shows all across the country. When I first met Ute (Silk Painting Is Fun) she was wearing a many-strand silk necklace in Royal Blue (and totally can pull off those colors!) and commented how her silks would go great with my selection of Porcelain Pendants. She of course was right, and ever since I have been selling them through shows (which is now run through my friend Darlene of D7 Studio), my website and a selection of silk knot bundles in my Etsy shop.

Not all of the new colors are in my website shopping cart yet (we are working on the new site right now, although I think I may convince Dave he needs to show me how to add the codes - even without pics to the current site for ease of ordering… He does not like it when I get in there and fiddle with all the website stuff - it becomes super cluttered - much like my studio ;).

With the addition of new colors by Ute, some of the old ones have been discontinued. This is because they were too close to another color or some ingredient changed within her dye mixture and it can no longer be reproduced. I can totally relate because sometimes I get variations in my glazes because ingredients have change and colors need to be discontinued.

So refer to these pictures for the correct number and name to order the silks by until we update the website (by tonight? I sure hope so!) **The silks page of the website is updated!!!

Oh, and if you have a moment, let me know what you think of those three images. Are they useful, hard to read, etc… I appreciate the input since I have been working on the computer all day and my brain is now shutting down.

And one last thing. If you want to get hands on with these high quality, beautifully hand painted silk strands (and many more colors) shop with Darlene of D7 Studio in person. This weekend Jan 14-16 she is in Marlborough, MA at the Innovative Beads Expo show.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weekly (#4) Zentangle Challenge: Starry Eyed Surprise…

I think by finding challenges and keeping up with them - motivation and inspiration comes about a bit more easily…

Over on the "I Am The Diva CZT Blog" Laura hosts a weekly Zentangle type challenge.
This week was using a star in your design. Click HERE for more details.

This is my drawing which I am submitting to the challenge via blog link up...

I too am a taurus, so there in the bottom left of the drawing are some bull horns…
I have been trying to texture the outer line of the drawings recently… Something I think I am quite drawn to when looking at drawings on the Zentangle Flickr group. One day I'll get some pics posted to that group…

This star shape is something I draw a lot. I always have...
This string (the starting line to any Zentangle) was drawn to pass under the star so I could draw on the inner part of the star.

I also want to bring drawing these tangles into my clay work. I already create my textures for my clay pieces by carving out designs and drawings into leather hard clay (then after that is fired, I have a texture plate to be used).

So the other day I used my Wacom tablet to draw this out on the computer (not quite "Zentangle" because it goes outside of the drawing parameters - the feel of the pen on paper where your mistakes can be made into more). The computer takes a bit of that away (love "command - Z") - but not much with that tablet pen to use:
Marsha Neal Studio Jan 10 Tangle Drawing 
Inspired by the star challenge, but drawn into more of a spiral (who me - draw spirals???)

Then I printed it out on my laser printer water decal paper and transferred it onto one of my porcelain pendants and fired it in my kiln to over 2000 degrees F (I like quality - that image will not be coming off of that piece - the iron from the ink is now fused within the glass that makes up the glaze).
MNS Jan 10 Front of Porcelain Pendant after decal firing.
MNS Back of Porcelain Pendant after decal firing.
I am rather fond of this particular piece…
There is just something about the edges of the drawing that really make me think about micro-organisms (SEM images: Scanning Electron Microscope images), cellular structures, and the like (here comes that scientist part again)…

Now I'm thinking about form which takes these drawing past just Zentangles of the doodling layers, but into the next level of working with drawings and images to transform them into something more than just a drawing on paper...
This tile (behind the writing block) is my "Lick" texture which is copyrighted by me (my texture plates are copyrighted). Is one of my oldest texture plates that I carved years ago and still use if for making pendants. Check out my textured pendants on my Marsha Neal Studio website to see more of what I mean…

I am so inspired to draw and carve out new texture plates by all this tangling and drawing…
These circles that life seems to run in are quite remarkable.

Stay with me - much more to come (let's hope!)

1/11/11 Etsy Sale

In celebration of 1/11/11 Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop is in day 2 of the 33% off with coupon (MNS333) sale…

There is something about numbers - one I always see is around 3.
Yesterday when I filled up my gas tank the total was $33.33.
I reset the trip mileage and it said my range until empty was 333 miles.

So it just seemed fun to do a 1/11/11 sale for 33% off…

Shop the Marsha Neal Studio Etsy shop and use coupon code "MNS 333" before checking out and your order will be 33% off. It's that easy. The sale is running for three days 1/11 to 1/13.

Oh yeah, and don't forget… Any purchase with monies being spent being over $25 will get you automatically entered into the "What MNS items did you buy this month" giveaway over on my specials blog… Then you can make stuff and post pictures and win more stuff (and if you don't win, you will be entered in the end of the year "I entered, but didn't win anything giveaway…). 
I like to give stuff away - can you tell?