Thursday, November 21, 2013

Holidays Are Upon Us - Hooray!!!

Love My Art Jewelry Black Friday Sale

This time of the year is such a busy time for most people with the holidays coming up.
In our house both of my little ones have December birthdays - so we have at least two added formal family parties to throw in addition to Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

And that is not including all of the family gatherings going on to prepare for those events.

I love all of it to tell you the truth - lots of food, drink, stress and laughter to keep that stress at bay and help each other out! And I love being here within driving distance to most of my family.
It makes the holidays just that much more memorable!

Speaking of holidays...

Holiday shopping and crafts are upon us!

If you are looking to grab a great handmade item for a gift, for yourself, or for a project - you should jump over to the Love My Art Jewelry Blog on 11/29/13 (Black Friday) and click around through the links there to see all kinds of handmade artists and their shops - running promotions and possibly a sale!

I'm a blog contributor over there and I really LOVE to organize ways for people to jump to one place and see all kinds of really great handmade items. And if you've heard the hype and the uproar from many artists - Etsy is no longer that artist, maker handmade site it started out promoting.

And with their site searches in the last couple of years - it is just about IMPOSSIBLE to find real, actual handmade. That is the point that really stresses me out - that a buyer cannot find the real handmade items! Check out my posts on Love My Art Jewelry about it.

So I'm on a personal mission to help promote handmade however I can through Etsy Teams!
Check out the First Friday Art Walk team and the Delaware Etsy Street Team where we are also helping to promote handmade, vintage and supplies to make handmade items!

And don't forget to follow my new blog as I am posting over there (a Wordpress blog) more regularly.

PS - I have an ETSY SHOP SALE going on RIGHT NOW too!
Items are already marked down on sale (and my MarshaNealStudio Facebook Followers have a coupon code to use all the time).

Friday, May 3, 2013

Art Loop First Friday May 2013

Marsha Neal Studio Small Scale Terrarium Sculptures
And over on AWETeam (Art Walk Etsy Team) blog, it's First Friday Art Walk Weekend!
First Friday Art Walk Weekend
Make sure to check out all the really cool art work offered by Etsians through this monthly blog hop event!
Location Teams (like the Delaware Etsy Street Team), Theme Teams, and the AWETeam.

PS - I only post here to remind you to hop over to my new blog.
This one just has lots of links established...

Happy First Friday!
Hope you get out and see some Art this weekend!!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Just wanted to quick post on this blog that I'm using my Wordpress Blog more now, and check it out for some recent posts...
Bead Fest Philly:

D7 Studio 2013 schedule (where you can find my work here in the Northeast US at bead shows):

And in just a few hours, we are going to support my sister and her fight with MS by walking on her team "MS Informed" for the MS Walk here in Wilmington, DE.

Here is a link to my page for her team:

A huge Thank You to everyone donating and sending their prayers and thoughts for a cure for this paralyzing disease!

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! And if you are in the mid Atlantic US tonight, around midnight, see if you can go out and see the aurora borealis!

Friday, March 1, 2013

First Friday And Where I'm At

In January 2013, I picked up being Captain of the Art Walk Etsy Team.
Our team, the AWETeam hosts First Friday Art Walk over the First Friday of the month.
It's a virtual blog hop of artwork for sale on
Click HERE to check out the March Blog hop.

Like many teams (in my experience) things seem to have died off quite a bit in the last couple of years.
Life happens, people change direction, changes take place that people are not thrilled about, and they move on...

And right now I'm standing here, getting ready for the March First Friday Art Walk, and I'm a bit wondering how it is I got HERE...

As 2012 was ending, I was really looking at where my work, my life, my time spent on 4 heavy volunteer group commitments were all going.

I was looking forward to some changes in direction, and moving on with my focus to make new work, and really get my website, Etsy shop and blog all put together.

New work is really starting to trickle out of my studio (now just to get it listed for sale!)

In the fall of 2012, I was asked to join as a blog contributor to Love My Art Jewelry Blog (to which I said, I'm a bit full at the moment, would 1 post a month be ok? Yes, it is).

I was asked to move into Captain of the Art Walk Etsy Team (my brain said No, gut said "YES")

I moved into a Chair position for the NCCMG's for the Programs Committee for this year to help better organize things for arranging trips and speakers for our group - along with the help of all my MG friends (I love my garden friends!)

We have some ambitious new members on the DE Team, and with my level quickly approaching burn out, I happily stepped down as Captain of the Delaware Etsy Team into a supporting Leader position.

And my commitments with the ceramic bead makers group was suddenly gone. Totally unexpected and unplanned. Woke up to an email and blocked out of everything. At first I was confused, but after a couple of days it became not a huge deal since I am still doing what I have always done, but now, there is more time for me. It was time for a change for me within that group, and I guess that decision was put right there for me, seemingly made for me, and I just walked on.

I knew my 2013 was going to be a busy one.
And I hope that with all of this reorganization of all of these volunteer commitments, that by mid-March, my time will once again become mine. 
And I can get back on track for the goals I had for my business.

PS - All of these brand new headpins are making their way to Darlene of D7Studio this weekend at the Berks Bead Bazaar. She is still traveling around to sell my work, other artist work, and jewelry making supplies here in the Northeast US.

I had SO much fun making them, and will be making more ASAP to list for sale in my Etsy shop.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Starting The Move To WordPress

A couple of weeks ago, I started to set up a self hosted WordPress Blog for Marsha Neal Studio.

The plan is to streamline EVERYTHING for me and get my "brand" cohesive.

It's a lot of work trying to figure it all out, but I think I'll be really happy I made the move (after a few years of thinking about it).

With my new line of work starting to emerge, I think this is the perfect time to transition.

And once I get brave enough, I'm going to use a plug-in over there that is supposed to import all the posts from this blogger blog over there to my WP blog.

This is just one of the ten balls I have up in the air right now!
How has your 2013 been so far?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Etsy Shop Update Saturday Evening

I've been working hard on getting new work made, photographed, edited, listings created, and so much more for this Etsy Shop Update at 7pm EST tonight 2/2/13. 
And I'm pretty excited about launching this new line of work.
Terrarium Ceramic Mushrooms Sculptures Marsha Neal Studio
Terrarium Ceramic Sculptures Marsha Neal Studio
Terrarium Bird Nest Sculpture Marsha Neal Studio
Terrarium Tendril Sculptures Marsha Neal Studio
Textured Finger Bowls Marsha Neal Studio
Small Ring Holder Marsha Neal Studio
Textured Rustic Ceramic Discs Marsha Neal Studio
Spiral Ceramic Shards Marsha Neal Studio
I am so excited at how this new line will grow and develop as I work through the mountains of ideas that these forms and colors are creating.

By the way - if you purchase something, and go back for more - while I have your item in house (orders will most likely be packed up by Monday 2/4/13), and have already paid for shipping, use checkout coupon code FREESHIP to avoid excessive shipping fees.
If you pay by direct checkout - this is especially important as I cannot credit your account for the excess fees. I can only send credits back via PayPal.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Handmade Bead Pairs Process

When I have time to work with clay in my studio, there are a few "modes" of process that I fall into.
This is my most comfortable, my meditation... 
My handmade production mode.
 I roll out clay coils, cut them into sections, roll them into balls, then form them into beads (here they are being made into my clay shards for a custom order and Etsy shop update).
After they are dry, they are loaded into bisque containers to load into my kiln for a bisque firing.
I load in the mornings so the kiln can fire during the day as I can be present to tend to it.
Peeves, our cat, loves the early morning one on one time.
 When pieces are unloaded the next day, the pairing begins.
I like to work in pairs.
There are lots of reasons in my mind that justify this way of working...
From logical marketing to whimsical visual thoughts to romantic ideals of things that are meant to be together... 
 There are many that do not have mates, and they go back into the tray for sorting through later.
But I find that since I work in batches, and when I work with clay, my mind and heart take over and things never quite turn out the same. 
Imprints of things going on in my life are put into these small objects - my physical and mental state affect how the clay works in my hands as well as how the glaze is applied to the work.
 So working in this routine and rhythm of pairs works for me.
Because I have been firing my beads and pendants for years in the same manner (on hooks, on rods, on racks, in kilns to Cone 5/6) I have a firm grasp on how to load and fire efficiently.
I cringe at wasted kiln space and using excessive energy, so I avoid that.
Keeping pieces together in pairs allows for more controlled results in the firing itself as the kiln atmosphere varies and can change a glaze easily.
 Opening a glaze fired kiln is like receiving a gift that was unexpected and very thoughtful and perfect for that moment - a pure delight... For the most part (there are those disappointed times too).
With unloading there is a process as well.
I have different size hooks rods that need to go back into their proper containers.
And pairs that need to stay together to avoid excess work later...
 Looking at a tray full of finished beads is such a delight.
Taking them off the rods to see their entire surface is beyond words at times.
The way the clay texture and glaze interact is so awesome.
Ceramics and Glazing can be magical...
And for me, this process of working in batches, keeping things in pairs, keeps me organized and helps cut down on excessive repeat sorting work, which could take hours - not to mention the headaches of matching (and matching, and matching...)
In the end, this process of making handmade beads in this sort of production mode will allow me to have more creative time to see what other new ideas will emerge.

Etsy shop and website updates are happening very soon!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Progress and Thoughts

Finally! I spent some time in the studio with these pieces again. It has been far too long...

I cut and cleaned the steel wire for these head pins (my friend Nikki of Thornburg Bead Studio makes them).

And used Epoxy to set them into place. Now they are dry and I could play with then.
Just like anything new - I like to see how they look and hold up. Do I need to change anything before selling them?

Now for photographing them. How do I want to do that?
I need to get some nice house plants and terrarium shots for some that I have in mind, but what about the every day sell them shots?

So I grab what I can find: I had a brand new block of that green oasis (must be in that "safe place where I can easily find it" because I cannot find it...
Oh we'll. the one that was poked at by my Chloe (5) will have to do.

I remember being a kid and loving to do that too (heck - I still do!)
Just fill it in with little other bits - not a big deal for this purpose.

Cover it with moss (just randomly spritz the moss with water to keep it alive over time). This is a messy process, so do it somewhere that can be wiped easily.

Then fiddle with accents.
Wait. Isn't this a prop for photo shooting? ADHD kicked in and I totally started fiddling...

Oh - wait didn't I make other things intended to use in little terrarium type planters?

The little turtle I made for Chloe (was in one of those shape cutter sets from the store and I added some texture to the shell).

My friend Nikki sent me a photo of a few sets she had fiddled with, and she added a couple of her head pins that she spiraled the steel base, then put them in as accents. Perfect!

But this is such a small space, and my brain says too much. Well maybe. Then decided upon that this is one of the joyous things about this line of work I am now making... That it is a changeable display. It will change to suit your mood as you move pieces. Remove some. Add others.

And then there is the "put some into house plants to be found by curious eyes". It reminds me of the holiday tradition of hiding the Christmas pickle ornament on the tree. Makes people stop and take a look at the details when they know something may be there hiding - waiting to be found...

So this is where I am at with this.
I am dedicating more time this week coming up for photographing this new work.
Then a website and or Etsy shop update...

- Posted using BlogPress from my mobile device

Friday, January 4, 2013

First Friday Art Walk Weekend on

It's First Friday Art Walk Weekend on!
And the AWETeam (Art Walk Etsy Team) is hosting this monthly weekend long event of artwork on Etsy by AWETeam members.
So I'm going to quick show off some of my work that is over in my MarshaNealStudio Etsy Shop, something I should have done back in December. Some work is new, some is from December.
Marsha Neal Studio Line Curls Crescent Earrings
Marsha Neal Studio Porcelain Clay with Patina Glaze Disc Bead
Marsha Neal Studio Chocolate Clay Crescent Spiral Textured Beads
And realizing that my OOAK random 2mm silk strand color palettes were down to a couple,
I spend an afternoon relaxing with the kids watching some movies, and pulled a bunch of new palettes and then listed them in my Etsy shop.
This is one of those things that happens 2, maybe 3 times a year.
So grab some while they are fresh!
Marsha Neal Studio offers 2mm Hand Painted Silk Cords
Marsha Neal Studio offers 2mm Hand Painted Silk Cords
Marsha Neal Studio offers 2mm Hand Painted Silk Cords
Marsha Neal Studio offers 2mm Hand Painted Silk Cords
Which now makes me think. Darn. I just reshot a bunch of the ones I keep in stock and have multiples of. Do I need to re-shoot them too? Eh. Not right now...
Marsha Neal Studio offers three kinds of silk cords/ribbons (2mm, Fairy, Silky Silks)
Also, I just purchased a self paced improve your photography class:
Photographing Fine Art & Craft by Brit Hammer
Which I found through an email I received from Susan Lomuto of  Daily Art Muse

So far, I read up through page 41 and I am digesting it all.
Letting my mind get around some of the basic concepts she puts forth and letting my mind settle in and relax a bit to be able to enjoy photographing my work instead of getting overwhelmed with it.
(I'm not to lighting yet - and that is the part that always frustrates the heck out of me - so we'll see...)

The new terrarium pieces are still being glazed and preparations are underway for them being photographed with this new state of photographing my work in place...

And don't you know... I got a summons from the State of DE for Jury Duty on Jan. 8 (figures!) so their arrival into the public realm will definitely be more mid-month than early.

Happy First Friday!
Hope you are out there seeing some amazing art (or if online, checking out some of the awesome work that is out there!)