Category Archives: blog/website

2017: A New Year, A Renewed Blog

Welcome back, dear blog!

I originally started writing this blog as a creative journal for myself, to document what I was working on – and more importantly – why. Then a few years back, when social media took over the discussion bandwidth, I personally found myself unable to keep up with the blog properly. I devolved into sporadic posts here and there. It was easier to just post a photo to Facebook with a single line description than to craft an introspective and insightful blog post about my creative journey. However, it’s less satisfying as well. And since this is all by me, for me (although thrown out there to the few who might care to follow along), I’ve decided to try a big change. I want to go back to the more creative me, and short-attention-span social media isn’t really helping.

bird owl ceramics sgraffito

Persistence – handbuilt stoneware with underglaze and sgraffito, ready for second firing (Vickie Hallmark)


Goodbye Facebook!

I’ve flown the coop. I suspended my Facebook and Twitter accounts (I still have my Instagram account active), at least for now. Actually, it has been several weeks, and I’m feeling like it’s a very good thing. More time in the studio is really what I need to focus on – more sketching, more playing, more learning new skills. I’m reassessing this new year. Where do I want to go with my art? How do I go deeper and more intimately into connection with the muse? How do I achieve flow, rather than floating from distraction to distraction? How do I select my path through the myriad options to make art that truly speaks to me and to others?

I’m making time for my new agenda:

  1. Daily meditation (I like Headspace)
  2. Daily morning pages (kept from my foray through Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” years ago)
  3. End of day listing of accomplishments (back from the past, as well)
  4. Regular metal studio time, even if I only sweep and putter
  5. Weekly artist dates
  6. Weekly play time in a different medium (ceramics)
  7. Weekly sketching time
  8. Weekly study project (more about that to come)
  9. Weekly blog post
  10. Monthly newsletter (sign up here)

Please join my conversation with myself by leaving me a comment!


Blog Location Changed – Please Update Your Feeds!

Welcome! You found my new blog, which looks much like the old blog, at least for the moment. Everything below is a duplicate of content on the previous platform, but new content will appear only at this location. Please subscribe!

Vickie Hallmark | Amethyst Cardinal Earrings - sterling silver, amethyst

©2014 Vickie Hallmark
Argentium sterling silver and amethyst

You might have noticed a dearth of blog postings lately. Along with jewelry making and filling orders this spring, I’ve been working slowly on my website as well. As of today, my blog is moving from Blogger over to WordPress, so that it can live directly on my own website instead of relying on a redirect.

If you’re a regular (or even occasional) reader, please update your feeds while visiting Vickie Hallmark Jewelry Blog.

This has been more work than expected, but I hope to make things easier in the future and have more time to show you what’s on the bench.

Website Update

Happy 2013 to everybody!! I find December to be a hard month to work in the studio due to holiday distractions, so I focused this round on a website update. Very overdue, to be certain.

My first thought was to switch to a WordPress website, so I dutifully spent hours looking at themes and finally plunked down my dollars to buy one. Of course, being an original, artistic type, I didn’t want what everybody else had, so I purchased something less common. Almost immediately it caused me grief, when I couldn’t get it to behave properly on mobile devices. Yes, my note to the theme author was answered fairly promptly, but the notion that I would have to abide indefinitely by such arbitrary choices as no capitals in my filenames sent me back to the drawing board.

Eventually, I decided to go back to writing my own HTML, and just learn what I need as I go. So I pared down the website to a minimum and started in again. Slowly, slowly, bits and pieces are getting ported over to the new look, although all the old glass and fiber work is present albeit hidden. HTML and CSS are getting less formidable.

But now that 2013 has arrived, it’s time to move back into the studio and start working on the major goals of the new year. So, please, leave me feedback on the new site and stay tuned for more updates.

Blog Updates

You might have noticed that things are changing here on the blog. Links from the sidebar have been disappearing. Not to worry — all the information, and more, is still here! It is being relocated into “static pages.” These new pages, accessed by the bar of blue links under the banner at the top of the blog, take you to the information, organized in a cleaner, more accessible manner.

Photography Tutorial Link

So if you’ve come looking for my photography tutorial, just head to the Tutorial page to find a link to it and many more informative guides.

Metal Clay Jewelry Link

If you’d like to see an overview of my metal clay work, that’s in the Metal Gallery.

The new pages provide a bridge between the blog and my website, which is still waiting its own much needed update.

Updates for a New Year

Happy New Year! I, like everyone else, have a lot of resolutions for the new year. Among them is a plan to get more organized and to catch up on some small details that niggle at the back of my mind, but don’t get the attention, including website and blog facelifts.

New Header

One such item is my blog and website header. Because Facebook Timeline is coming and allows a large cover image, I decided to modify my existing header to fit. While I was at it, I thought it was high time that I updated some of the small images that make up my simple design. Not every single one changed, but there’s clearly a different feel.

Old Header

Now I’m busily trying to remember how to insert the new images into the blog and website templates, along with updating copyright dates and other minor tweaks.

Top Blog Posts

I’ve been looking through a lot of blogs while researching my upcoming kitchen remodel. One of the things I found most helpful was a fixed list of most popular blog posts, which helped me quickly get a sense of a blogger’s relevance to my project. So I thought I’d steal that idea.

According to Google Analytics (in the almost two years since I started tracking), the top nine posts are below:

Details of how I make photopolymer plates from my own original drawings, using some simple gear and the Texas sun.
My applications for Ice Resin, including tinting with alcohol inks.
Ideas learned in a workshop with the innovative Kate McKinnon.
My favorite earrings by Ida Ida Studios (no website).
A three part tutorial directed toward photographing metal jewelry. Part 3 seems to be the most popular, but I’ve linked them all. You can also use the Photography Tutorial summary on my website, which is linked permanently in the sidebar. Part 3 also discusses basic Photoshop adjustments, so that probably explains its popularity.
A compendium of resources for patina on metal.
Another multi-part tutorial, now immortalized on my website and accessible through the sidebar link.
Even better, updated and full of photos and resource list in my Blurb book, Copper On, Copper Off.
8. Original Textures for Metal Clay

Original drawings for photopolymer plates, tear-away papers, or polymer clay texture plates.
I think the image itself is the draw, as there’s not a lot of info.

9. Bronze Clay Rings at Bead and Button

A synopsis of making bronze rings in a workshop with Celie Fago at the Bead and Button Show. Only this ring is my own spin.

Now, I just need to think some about what those analytics mean.

The Internet as a Crazymaker

If you’ve read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, you know the meaning of crazymaker. That’s a person that sucks up your time and energy and keeps you from doing the things you intend to do. Cameron means people, but if I invoke personification, the internet qualifies. She characterizes them as “irresistible: so much to change, so many distractions…” Bingo.

For the last week, I’ve been updating my website. Or at least, I thought I was improving it. Today, it has become apparent that I’ve taken one step forward and two backward.

Every time I changed a page, I carefully viewed it to see that it was the way I wanted it. That is, I checked with Firefox, the browser I use most of the time. Today I had a question on how to do something in HTML, so I asked Keenan for help. He opened the page on his computer, in Internet Explorer, and behold: the internet crazymaker had rearranged all my carefully designed layout into babel.

Ah, so now I’ve figured out the problem and I’m fixing every single page with checks in both Firefox and Explorer.

This is not how I meant to spend my Sunday afternoon. ;-(( If you happen to wander over to my website, please forgive the garble!

Blogging Anniversary

After several days of watching my 100th blog post anniversary approach, I blanked on it yesterday!!!

So here’s the 101st post instead.

This morning I stumbled upon these photos of my earliest lampworked beads, made on a hot-head and annealed in a fiber blanket, created in the spring of 2004. Seems appropriate to mark progress…

Cyber Tag

Just home from Spring Break in San Francisco, I found a note in my inbox letting me know that I’ve been tagged. Karen Ponischil selected Fiber.Art.Glass as one of her seven favorite blogs. Thanks, Karen! What a compliment…

So, Rules of the Game:
1. Place the name of the person and URL on your blog.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write seven things about yourself.
4. Name seven of your favorite weblogs.
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged.

And, seven things about myself:

1. I speed read. Good thing, with all those blogs I try to stay up with, right?
2. I prefer tea to coffee; soy chai latte to be exact.
3. For the first time in my 50 years, I’m starting to be drawn to the color red.
4. Some of my favorite art-making music: Chris Spheris, Dancing with the Muse; Dar Williams, The Beauty of the Rain; and Anna Nalick, Wreck of the Day.
5. I LOVE earrings — that’s what I often buy when traveling; they’re small, personal and memorable.
6. I can’t sing a note on key, but I did finally give in to my childhood desire for piano lessons, only 30+ years too late.
7. I’m a sunshine girl. I wouldn’t survive in the Pacific Northwest.

And seven more blogs that I regularly read:
1. Ruth Rae at let the beauty we love be what we do, who crosses media from fiber to jewelry like I do, and has the best quotes to get the gears whirring upstairs.
2. Andrea Guarino-Slemmons, a phenomenal glass beadmaker whose workshop I get to take next month, yahoo!
3. Judy Dunn at Artpreneur, whose writing about the Collision of Art and Business transcends polymer clay and applies just as well to all of us in other media.
4. Judy Coates Perez, a prolific fiber artist whose work has been blanketing Quilting Arts and Cloth Paper Scissors recently.
5. Joanie SanChirico, whose recent work has emphasized digitally manipulated paintings printed onto silk, with stitched details.
6. Lindly Haunani‘s fun blog about color.
7. Sarah Lechner, a very original fiber artist whose 3-D works fascinate me.

You Make My Day!

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

– John Steinbeck

Isn’t it amazing how interconnected the blogging community is?? Since I’ve been blogging (not even a year now), I’m continuously amazed by the serendipitous connections that lead to my Bloglines list being rather embarrassingly long. Some days I have quite a backlog of blogs to check up on. It’s especially exhilarating to find your name in print, and finding it attached to the word “award” is just the best.

Recently, Emmie gave me the “You Make My Day!” award. My pleasant duty is to pass on the honor by selecting ten (what, only ten?) other blogs that I can always count on to amuse, inform, inspire, or otherwise addict me.

I hereby bestow my own “You Make My Day” Awards to:

  1. Judy at Painted Threads — who always has some lovely new art endeavor underway to make my fingers itchy
  2. Joanie at adventures of a mixed media & textile artist — whose artistic creativity under adverse conditions is a true inspiration
  3. Andrea Guarino-Slemmons — who gets me out to the glass and metal clay studio regularly trying to learn “how did she do that!?”
  4. Catherine at HappyDayArt! — a source of great connections for me lately, and an incredible metal clay artist
  5. dj pettitt — whose sheer productivity, not to mention creativity, is always a kick in the pants to get into the studio and work
  6. Nina at Ornamental — who inspires a huge following and has made me think more about jewelry, photography, poetry and the simple beauty around us everywhere
  7. Loriola at the accidental jeweler — whose way of combining media I admire
  8. Jen, aka Glassgirl — whose work I love, who makes me laugh out loud, & who is a GREAT teacher
  9. Ruth at let the beauty we love be what we do — one of those universe connections, who crosses almost as a many media as I do, beautifully, and collects quotes, as do I (ah, reminder, I’m supposed to start adding them here!)
  10. Melody at Fibermania — for a shot of color energy, be it fiber, food, or yarn

Well, there are many more, but I had to limit myself, and I had the handicap of spreading my awards across fiber, glass and mixed media, but then I do tend to spread my interests…

Thanks, Emmie!