Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Acc Charlotte- Huge Success

I am just getting back into the swing of things since my trip to Charlotte, NC for the ACC show. I went with an optimistic attitude (well, cause that's my style) but in all honesty I was a bit apprehensive. With all the talk of the economy I wasn't sure what to expect and this was my first time attending this show as an artist- wow- lots of variables! Well the show was an absolute success!!! I had great sale volume even though the crowds were a little thin. The buyers were educated and seemed to know what they were looking for. I feel confident that I have picked up some lifetime supporters, WHEW- I needed this!

The show was beautiful, the artists as always were kind and generous folks!

Thanks to all who came out (especially Kim, Sherry and Rachel- who traveled from Fayetteville)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Geting Ready for the Show

My studio is absolute chaos right now! It got to the point this weekend that I had about a six inch square of clean counter space on which I could work-WOW! I kinda like it when it gets this way- it's like my mind is moving so quickly from design to design that I can't take the time to re-adjust before I move to the next piece. This is a whole lot better than those days where the creative juices are all dried up.
I have really enjoyed working on some of my production work in the last several weeks. Doing production really amps up my technical skills- reminds me to do things the right way- it really bites to ruin 15 pieces just because you thought that really lame shortcut was going to work. I was reading a time management article the other day and it said that we often create more work by trying to take shortcuts- I have done that one too many times- and then spent hours un-doing the "short-cut". Funny thing about that article is that i can't seem to find the time to finish reading is- as is life!
I am heading out to ACC Charlotte in the morning- can't wait!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Producing for shows

I am in super production mode trying to get ready for ACC Charlotte and Piedmont Craftsmen. I absolutely love this time- working in the studio everyday, creating new work, constantly rethinking my booth (probably not the most productive thing I do), and planning my marketing strategies.

The hardest thing for me is creating my production pieces because I really want to just keep making new work. I have my bench set up so that some of my production earrings are surrounding me and the rule is that I have to work on them beteen each new piece. It is working pretty well so far.

I cannot wait to debut my new work at ACC Charlotte- it is such a great feeling to get new pieces into the public eye.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ACC Shows

I found out this week that I will be attending the ACC Charlotte retail show in late October 2008 and the ACC Baltimore Wholesale Show in February 2009- WOW!! This is great.

American Craft Council Shows are truly high quality shows and I am so excited to participating in some of their events.

This is just the motivation I needed to amp up my productivity!!! Time in the studio is more valuable than ever!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New Jewelry Fabrication Beginning class at FTCC

Due to the overflow from the Jewelry Fabrication Beginning Part I class at FTCC last Monday we are creating a new section. The class will begin Wednesday, September 17, 4:00-7:00. If you are interested please come to class the first day to register.

Champleve Workshop

The Champleve Workshop at the Fayetteville Museum of Art went really well on Saturday. The group was enthusiastic and willing to work hard to get the entire process completed in one day. We did torch-fired champleve enamels, they were beautiful. The line quality that can be achieved using the champleve technique is truly inspiring. I hope to have some photos from the workshop posted soon.

Jewelry fabrication classes at FTCC also stared last week- the classes are full and I am eager to start demonstrating.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Verbalizing my thoughts

I had a great conversation with a friend today about the duality of my work. It was one of those fantastically energetic conversations that go all over the map, leaping from one seemingly disconnected topic to another. We talked a lot about my work, where it has been and where it is going. What I love about this type of discussion is that invariably I learn something about myself, at minimum I verbalize something that has been stuck in my brain for sometime but other times I find connections in my work that I was not fully aware of. As an artist I am often making subtle transitions without even really realizing the changes have occurred. Then one day I look back and feel like maybe I have left something behind. But what I realize on days like today during conversations-energetic and open that I have not left anything behind, my work is simply evolving, the concepts are becoming more refined.

Using the hydraulic press

I have had my hydraulic press for several years and use it regularly. This week for the first time I have been experimenting with the possibilities(you know breaking the rules and really pushing the limits),and having a blast. It is always a good idea to revisit tools and techniques, there is always room to grow and we can sometimes grow stagnant in our use of familiar things. The times that I am being experimental I really grow in my technical skills and often find myself heading in new and really exciting directions. New work doesn't come often enough and images seem to come even more infrequently but I intend to get some images of new stuff here really soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Time in my studio

Sometimes I have so little time to truly dedicate to my work and I find that when I am in the studio I rush and make tons of errors, things I don't normally do. I spent all day Monday cleaning out my studio, making things function more efficiently, and organizing my tools. Wow it is amazing what that does for the creative spirit. I worked all day Tuesday and Thursday feeling motivated, driven and creative- these are the days that I cherish. Having the time to do things right. I spend a whole morning making new dies for my hydraulic press, and enjoyed it, really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Coming home from vacation is always a mixed feeling- an eagerness to return to familiar things but a sadness for the end of a time void of daily routine. I have come home refreshed and ready to get back into the studio. But first things first - it's time for some purging. I have got to get out there in my studio and really get things worked out, it is a MESS. For me this is the best way to start a new season- fresh, new, void of the burdens of too much stuff. I do have this huge junk of semi truck tire that I just can't bear to part with, too much exciting potential. Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Calm after the storm

Whew! I have decided I am an adrenaline junkie,of sorts. The Creative Metalsmiths show just went up last week and I am ready for the next big thing. All of the work and stress and lack of sleep is pretty exhilerating, a friend told me once that runners are really addicts seeking that next big rush of endorphins, well I am not a runner but I defintely like the rush of a deadline and the feeling of accomplishment when it all comes together. I must admit that a couple of days of quiet were nice but now I am formulating the next big plan. Hope it's a good one.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Creative Metalsmiths Exhibition

Gallery shots before the opening.

The opening reception was fantastic, we had huge crowds and overwhelmingly positive response. Thank you to all who participated and shared in this exciting night with us.
Kathy, Dale, Connie, Lee, Nancy, Jennifer, Wendy,Pandy, Kim and Terri- Thank you- you all did an amazing job!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Hanging the show

The Creative Metalsmiths exhibition went up yesterday, it looks fantastic. The opening is tonight- I am excited, nervous all of the normal pre-show jitters- WOW! I love this life.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Creative Metalsmiths

Creative Metalsmiths
The Works of Erica Stankwytch Bailey and Students
June 27 -July 23, 2008
Opening Reception- Friday June 27th, 6:00-9:00
Cape Fear Studios
Maxwell Street, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Participating artists:
Erica Stankwytch Bailey, Kathy Moore, Nancy Tiska, Wendy Marsh, KIm Howell, Lee McMillan, Dale Parker, Pandy Autry, Jennifer Grocer, Connie Bennett, Terri Milliken

Pin Swap

Forge Pin Swap 2008
My Pins

Friday we held the 1st annual FORGE Pin Swap, it was fantastic! Twelve of us spent this last semester creating pins for the event, which was inspired by the SNAG conference pin swap. What was truly fantastic about the group that particiapted was the diversity, some students have been with me for several years while others were taking their first class. The results were exciting.

The great food, amazing friends and opportunity to see what they had all created combined to make a great night. I had a blast!! Thanks Girls.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I took these photgraphs in my backyard, it is nice to find such beautiful things so close to home.

Amazing things

Sanddollars, coral and corkscrew shells from my student Cathi- she found them 40 years ago and then shared them with me today. There was a basket full of amazing things.
Anomite?, Ammonite?, fossiled ocean creature- absolutely beautiful- Pandy picked these up at Metalliferous. Fossilized things really blow my mind- just the idea of something being intact for so long.
The coral peanut-New Class Mascot!-thanks Pandy
These are amazing-tumbled ceramic tile from the beach on a small island in Italy- My friend and student Nancy found these as she strolled down the beach- they are beautiful-textural, color and pattern.

Yesterday was like a feast of amazing things for me. I am obsessed with the ocean- what it creates, houses and yields. All of these gifts come from the same place- the sea- look how diverse, simple and beautiful they are.

Share with the people that you know the things that inspire you- it is amazing how much we have to share with each other.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


It feels so good to get rid of excessive stuff- makes my mind feel a little less cloudy. YEPEE!

Enamel Workshop

The Enamel Cluster workshop at Fayetteville Museum of Art went really well on Saturday. We had a great group- everyone's pieces turned out beautifully and remarkably unique.The time flew by and before we knew it- it was 5:00. The technique was fun and was a non-traditional approach to enameling, sometimes it is really nice to break the rules.
Thank you to artist-Leslie Pearson for the photographs. And thank you to- Connie, Lee, Nancy, Leslie, Melissa, Kim, Gail, Kathy and Lise- I cannot think of a better way to spend my Saturday.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Texture, Repetition, Asymmetry, Form

I am constantly defining myself as an artist, trying to get that artist statement just right. It seems like every time I think I've got it nailed down something really remarkable will happen, an epiphany perhaps, or just the realization that nailing myself down, defining what moves me is really hard.

So lately I am obsessed with some new things-birds, flight, decay, the ocean (creatures, the reef, fossilized stuff, the unknown) and bugs (macro-photography)- just to name a few.How does all of this play into me-the artist?

This is how I see it today- Texture, Repetition, Asymmetry and Form are the things that truly move me/ inspire me. And it is through all of these things- a piece of reef, broken shell, decaying rose, etc. that I find moments that for me are profound.

My conceptual work comes from somewhere completely different- I guess I will save that for another day.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I went back to the rose in my front yard thinking that it would be nice to have some photos of its various stages (full bloom, decay)- and look who I found, this little fellow was less than a centimeter long.

Form and Texture-Seaside

Our trip to Ocean Isle was fantastic. I spent a tremendous amount of time combing the sand and found some truly amazing things. I will guess that my bag of seaside finds would probably weigh in at about 10 lbs. I found that walking at different times of the day yielded vastly different finds. In the mornings I saw creatures- jellyfish, crabs, and even a shark (about 4' long) but in the late evening I would find fossils and urchins (my favorites). As always the experience has inspired me to get in my studio and make new things. Form and texture have always been my focus and a good trip to the shore just fills my head with possibilities.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The shore

This sunny Friday afternoon finds me readying myself for a trip to Ocean Isle. I am absolutely beside myself with excitement about this adventure. Time spent with my family and the opportunity to let the tides inspire me. I am always profoundly moved when I take a trip to the shore. On one of my many walks along the coast searching for something new I am inevitably stopped in my tracks- by a piece of reef or broken shell- the texture and form always evoke rapid fire jewelry designs- my mind just goes nuts, and I absolutely love it. I hope to come back with some amazing finds and great memories of real time spent with my family.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Natural Beauty

A blue bird on the streets of Greenville, South Carolina- so vibrant, each feather like a gem.She/he was a welcome sight in the hustle of the city.

I am constantly inspired by things that I see. The intense color of this rose, the delicacy and it is right in my front yard. I am so grateful for this amazing surprise every spring.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Workshop Preparation

Creating projects for workshops is always an interesting task. Choosing techniques that will challenge yet are able to be completed in a strictly defined time limit, various experience levels, a design that is ambiguous enough to interest a wide range of people, etc.. I really love it, it challenges me, makes me think differently about metalsmithing. I have to get out of my own design aesthetic as well as work with techniques that may not be present in my own work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

WOW! What an amazing weekend. Thank you girls. More to come on our trip to Greenville, SC......

Friday, April 18, 2008

off to Greenville, SC

I am leaving this morning for a weekend trip to Greenville, South Carolina. Artisphere- an outdoor fine art/fine craft festival is going on there this weekend and we (my students and I ) are excited to check out what we hope will be amazing work and to discuss the dynamics of good and bad booth design.. I did my first craft show about three years ago and WOW was that an interesting experience- a lot has changed since then, mostly the fact that I am armed with much more knowledge and I have gone through ,oh, about four booths-atleast. I am eager to talk wth my students about booth design and display, there is so much to be said.

The weekend will be fantastic- days spent with friends, viewing the work of amazing artists and then Saturday night- dinner at the Lazy Goat (Chef Lindsay is ure to wow us!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Photos of my Jewelry

I spent yesterday afternoon taking photographs of my work. For years now I have been trying to perfect the art of taking jewelry slides/images, it is hard and by no means have I gotten it right just yet. Traditional layout and lighting is very minimal and when done well it is gorgeous and the work truly comes alive but it is hard to achieve this outcome (well, it has been for me). So, I recently joined Etsy and have been really impressed with many of the photographs- natural light, textural backdrops, props- in the well conceived photographs the work does not get lost at all, a warmth is created, familiarity. So I tried this more laid back approach and I liked it. The photos may still need some work but I really like the textural feel of the photo and the soft, natural light. The process was enjoyable- no aching backs and ridiculously hot light bulbs. New adventures are good- my next will be shots of my work on live models.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pin Swap

I have decided to do a pin swap with my higher level students. I teach so many new techniques in my jewelry fabrication courses that I thought it would be fun to do a project that gave the students an opportunity to show off some of their favorite techniques. The premise is simple- if there are 20 artists participating then you make 20 pins and at the end of the semester we will trade. I can not wait to see what they will bring, it will be exciting and diverse.I am sure there will be some amazing surprises.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Alt Craft?

Is alt-craft defined by what you make are how/where/when you market it?

What a dork

I am leaving tonight for a short trip to DC (yeah!!) So I find myself being really excited about the possibility of returning to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum where upon my last visit I spent an embarrassingly long time drooling over the fossilized shells and ocean creatures (oh yeah! i am an uber dork, and proud). The collection was amazing and as always I was really inspired to create jewelry with textures and forms reminiscent of these creatures. I am sure the trip will be fantastic, time with family and good friends can be pretty priceless.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

New Website

I just launched my new website this week - I am really excited, it is long over due!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Teaching Workshops

I have been teaching metalsmithing and jewelry making workshops and classes for almost seven years. It seems like just yesterday that I was walking into my first class, scared to the bone, wondering if I could possibly impart upon these strangers then passoin that I have for metalsmithing. Those first classes were riddled with overwhelming stage fright complicated by that which can only be called the demo disaster- a phenomenon that occurs when you are demonstrating a technique you have done a thousand times and crazy things go wrong. Well, I have grown, learned to plan, and though the occasional demo disaster still occurs I have now learned to use it as a learning opportunity with a couple of laughs. I love teaching, for me it is an obvious extension of my life as a maker. The solitude I experience in my studio works as a compliment to the intense interactions that occur in the classroom and vice versa. My students keep me on my toes and I cannot thank them enough for that. I taught a workshop yesterday on Torch-fired Enamels, it went really well, we had a blast and the work was truly amazing!

Friday, March 28, 2008

My first

Wow- this is the first time for me. Blogging has existed as an abstract, undefined concept for me until very recently (I REALLY drag my toes when it comes to new things). While at the SNAG conference in early March I attended a lecture/talk given by Megan Auman, it was fantastic. I was truly inspired by her complete embrace of the opportunities available on the internet as well as her willingness to share her strategies, Thank you Megan. This is all very interesting for me- communicating in this way. On the surface it seemed so impersonal to me but after reading several blogs I realize that it can be intimate and revealing, offering an insight into an artist or friend that one might not normally have. I am excited!