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Ventnor, here we come!

Tomorrow morning we will set out on our way to the Shore.  A week of reading, walking, eating and resting.  I'll be back on the 28th and will announce the winner of our very pretty scissor fob. 
Miss me!


Beautiful stitching accomplishment...Bravo!!

Cleta Raymond's beautiful piece!

Back in May, I was at Bedecked and Beadazzled to teach a color class.  This particular class really lit things up, just like you see in comic strips when a character gets a light bulb over his/her head!  I love watching students get excited about color, and about their ability to put together color-stories.  This class is a sure recipe for lots of "light bulbs".

One such light bulb is Cleta Raymond's.  This is her completed piece that was inspired by a color story I handed out to the students, a photo of a room from a design magazine.  The task was to interpret the photo into threads and then go a step further and apply the threads to a design.  I am so proud of her, this piece is gorgeous.  Her color choices and the placement of the colors is so smart!  She also has the most gorgeously stitched Jessicas!  
Here is what she wrote: This is a picture of the piece I created from the class you taught a while ago at Bedecked and Beadazzled. I thought I learned a lot in the class itself, and I did. What fascinates me is that I continued to learn as I worked the design and chose the colors for each element. Thank you so much for being willing to share your art!

Thank you so much, Cleta, for sending me this photo.  

Oh, and look out for me to be back at Bedecked and Beadazzled in February!  More on that later...

me, Orna


Nailing it down!

Whhhhhhaaaat? you ask? Yes--I am just going to say it, and I don't care what anyone thinks--I think I'm a bit fascinated with nail art. It meets all of my criteria for a "good thing"--detailed, intricate, time-consuming, sometimes impossible! So why not just say it--I think this is a fantastic art! Here in the States some think of nail art as one thing: tacky. But all over Asia, in particular, Japan, this is as common as a cellphone.

Of course, there are other countries that dabble in the Nail Arts, and the US is one! We have competitions, one just wrapped up in Vegas last week. There are different catagories of nail art, believe it or not. There is one category called "French Twist" in which nails must be an obvious spin of the traditional French manicure. There is a "Fantasy" section, the fantasy being, in my mind, that you would actually wear those things anywhere but to a nail competition:

Viv Simmons winner at the 2009 Nailympics

This is the 3rd place winner in the 3-D catagory in Vegas last week--can you imagine what could have topped this?
Nail Artist Viktorija Prihodko 

A recent NailPro Magazine (yes, this subculture has magazines-a-plenty) had a Back-To-School competition:

Winner of the  Back-to-School contest

Isn't this SWEET?

Below is an example of a Painted Nail. This is a freehand decoration, no sculpture or stencils you help you out!.

PolkaDots by Mistress Ashley

This interest of mine in Nail Art is an unrequited one for me, and will most likely remain the one that got away. I have workers hands you see, and this kind of nail upkeep requires a lifestyle commitment! I will have to just look and sigh....



It's been awhile since we did some givin' away around here!  It's time, don't you think?
So here's what you do:  look at the three new designs on this page and submit your guess for the exact size of the designs.  

Temple of Water
Temple of Fire
Temple of Plenty

This contest ends on Thursday,  July 19th at noon.  Enter your guesses as a comment to this posting.  PLEASE add your contact information.  We won't be able to enter your name if we don't have your email address, please don't forget!

The winner will receive a beautiful scissor fob shown here.  I had the polymer bead custom made replicating a new design.  I love the feel of this fob, easy to grab, lovely to look at,  (a $35 value).

            GOOD LUCK!


July 10th, 2001, and why I will forever be grateful.

I sometimes wonder what it was like.  July 10th, 2001, in Cambodia, the day Nina was born.  It's happy, it's sad, it's a puzzle and a wonder.  Every year, on this day, I feel the true meaning of the word gratitude.  How grateful I am that Nina came to us.  We know very little about the first three months of her life, about that day.  She must have been a healthy baby.  Where did the moment take place? Was her mother alone?  Did she know then that she would not be able to care for Nina and give her everything she wanted for her?  What a brave, brave woman.  Every year on this day, I wish that somehow, in some mystical way, that brave woman know what has become of the little baby.  I want her to know that she has grown into a human being that would make her glow with pride!  How loving, caring, remarkable our Nina is, hers and ours.

Nina is 11 years old today.  We have been with her for 11 of her birthdays.  On that first one, the day she was born, she was held by a brave woman, someone who loved her so very much, and who sacrificed so much for her.  Thank you.  Thank you more than words can say.

The photograph we received of Nina when she was 3 months old


Another fascinating artist, Caroline Larsen.

Black and Orange Oval by Caroline Larsen 2011

She paints needlepoint, textile, weaving.  Using oil paints she employs 
a technique that makes you want to put out your hand and touch the fabrics.  

MSC Napoli 2011

Fresher Than the Harvest 2011

Take a look at her work.


From a place of frustration, a second new design.

I know what you're thinking.  She was moaning about not having enough time to create and here she is giving us glimpses of another new designs, the second in one week.  The way I work new designs is I have between 5-10 creations going at once.  Some are a straight shoot from start to finish, some are a stop and go that can go on for years.  And all of these take up lots and lots of time, but you know that, you too have chosen this turtle paced artistic interest.  When two new designs show up in one week, it's just a coincidence and funny timing.  It really does not negate anything I jotted down here.
I am preparing for what I believe will be a beautiful spread of items for expo night at ANG Seminar in Philadelphia on August 30th.  I've been putting lots of thought into the arrangement of my goods.  I really want to create 5 beautiful tables displaying my work.  I've got some great ideas, some of which have to do with glass cloches, branches, lighting and hanging from iron gates.  I'm very excited about this and I'd love for you to drop by my space to see what I've done.
So, you see, playing around with ideas and making them come to life, all for one night of about 3 hours, would you consider that good use of time?  Isn't that part of what is fueling my sense of frustration?  I have no answer, except that I want to do what excites me, I need to follow my passions and do what I think I do well.

This new design is part of a big surprise.  It will be explained here in Philadelphia, at Seminar.  Watch for announcements...

 *     *     *     *     *

There was much excitement about our Atelier teacher, Teresa Perleberg,  who teaches wonderful felting classes using wool from her own sheep on her own farm.  This week Teresa has introduced a new class with a new creature:  The Beginners Felting class - the Penguin.  Stop over to visit him and see how her bunnies and sheep are doing!

Teresa's Penguin

I hope you are all connected to electricity and sitting in your cool homes, stitching away.


A Smelly Addiction revealed!

My mother always says that the sense of smell is the strongest vehicle for a trip down memory lane.  She says that some of the strongest memories of childhood, associated with home, come from cooking smells.  I tested this on Shiri and she agreed, so many of her memories have to do with what food I prepared, especially for her. 

Another similar experience I remember, from way back, the smell inside an art supply store.  In Israel, at the beginning of every school year, we used to go get our school supplies at a small local art supply/stationary type shop.  It was the highlight of the end of my summer.  The only reason I wasn't extremely upset with going back to school.  Ahhhh, the smells of paper, of colored pencils, of oil paints, of leather bound journals.  I remember standing in the shop, in no hurry to leave, just taking it all in.  Moments of bliss, truly moments of bliss.

The Original 5 floor Pearl Paint in NYC! A treat if you get a chance...
Art supply stores are still an addiction! So much potential inside a small box of a store (or big box of a store). Every aisle, a sea of temptation! Sometimes I buy to have.  Just to have.  Sometimes I buy to make something, which may never come to fruition and then there are the times when I have a purpose, and off I go.  Every crayon, paper and pattern inspire me to think of some project that could be, should be!

Art supply stores that are situated close to an art school are the best! 
One of my favorite stores in Philadelphia
I love my Derwent watercolor pencils!

I love cross over tools.  You may find "specialty" tools in posh art supply stores priced at a premium, but upon second glance you realize, "hey, that's what my dentist uses!  At that point, go for the dentist supply stores, same tools will be much cheaper!

Clay/dental tools, very useful!

And then there is the handmade paper.......... yum.
Casa Papel, handmade paper store in my neighborhood

My smells of childhood.


From a place of frustration, and a new design.

You will have to forgive my mood this morning.  I could keep this to myself, but you have been my sounding board for so long, I feel a need to write this down.  
I've been feeling frustrated and a bit frantic for quite a while.  It's the balance between being able to design and create and the need to do all the rest.  I don't get enough time to do the former and spend so much time doing the latter.  My head is swarming with ideas, and not just the ones that are sort of general, not concrete, fleeting.  I have so many specific, thought out, sketched or started ideas and I just can't set aside enough time to execute them.  The only way to be able to get to these endeavors at the rate I would like, would be to put aside the charting, the writing, the kitting, the teaching.  Do I really want to do that?  I've never considered myself to be the kind of artist who creates for myself, not concerned with the public, not concerned with the connection to the world, not interested in sharing what I discover.  That's not me, I need to be a part of what's going on outside my studio, I want my work to reach others, I want to have mutual connections. I just can't make the balance work and I don't see the way out.  
One of the reasons I'm writing this today is that I have a new design, put the very last stitches in it this morning.  And I love this moment!  I love seeing a vision come to fruition.  I just wish I could have more of these moments.  Many more.

My new piece: THE HOUSE I BUILT
Size: 7" x 6.25"


New with this piece is my use of small intricate polymer clay pieces, (the small round shapes in blue and in yellow).  I've connected with some very talented polymer clay artists and even commissioned some pieces replicating some of my designs. The Scissor Fob/Key Chain below is new in my shop.  It's embellished with silver beads and has a very neat wire ring for attaching to your keys or scissors.

Scissor Fob/Key Chain can be purchased here

I thank you for "listening" today.   Perhaps it is all just a MONDAY thing and I'll be all better tomorrow?



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©Orna Willis
All images, text, and content on this site are the sole property of Orna Willis and may not be used, copied or transmitted without the express consent of Orna Willis. Any other inquiries please email me at orna@ornadesign.com

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