Sunday, May 14, 2017

Look! Mom's Dishes! ...Connections To Our Past




I've shared this blog post before because it's one of my favorites, and I thought today would be the perfect day to share it again, this time a little bit revised. 

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!


Sometimes I think I have the best job in the world, getting to work with beautiful china pieces day in and day out...sometimes it actually feels more like a privilege than an actual profession. 

There are sometimes moments when I stop and think, wow, this is what I do for a living, this is what I've been doing for so many years - and for that I am so fortunate. 


After all, each of these plates and cups and saucers and other dinnerware pieces all have history behind them. They come from many different countries, from all around the world, and their beautiful patterns and colors give them a unique appeal that brings them to life unlike other ordinary household objects. 


They're used in the kitchen, which I've always felt was the heart of the home. They're filled with cooking - which is in itself an effort of love. Once filled, they are handed to you, passed along, as we sit around a family table and pass the dishes from hand to hand, sharing what they hold. 

We see them and touch them multiple times a day, every day. We use them and we take care of them, washing them carefully so that they don't break, and then putting them away in a safe place. We sometimes even have special ones that we bring out only for special occasions. 

But often we treasure the most humble ones. 

Who doesn't have a favorite coffee mug? Or one plate or bowl or other piece of dinnerwear that once belonged to someone else in their family?

We remember dishes. 

They're a part of our family in some ways, a part of each of our own personal histories. Have you not once in your life been somewhere, maybe an antique market or thrift shop, and come across an orphaned plate or cup that you instantly recognized from somewhere in your own past? 

At that moment of recognition, it isn't just "a plate" or "a cup," but "mom's plate," or "grandmother's cup." There is a connection. Often when that connection is made we find ourselves flooded with memories of family from long ago, or of our childhood, or of holidays and times past. If you're the sentimental type like I amit can be a comforting experience. 


I've been working with dishes for so long now that I know all the patterns by name. No, I don't talk to them, but in a way, they speak to me. I see them as valuable, not monetarily valuable, but valuable in a way that fills your soul with warmth and peace just as memories of loved ones do. 

This was, after all, someone's grandmother's plate. 
Someone just like you. 




I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura



My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




article and all images copyright ©LauraBethLove 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Update And New Broken China Jewelry This Week


Wow I think this is the busiest my shop has been for a Mother's Day in the past few years. Lucky Moms! ;) I hope they all enjoy their goodies, and if you have purchased from me for a gift for someone else - or for yourself, (thank you!) and want to show off your jewelry please send me a photo of you wearing it and I would LOVE to feature it on my blog and/or my Dishfunctional Designs Facebook page! Feel free to send me photos through Facebook or email them to me at sales@dishfunctionaldesigns.com or even through an Etsy message. I LOVE seeing folks enjoying what I make so send me those photos! 

As always, here's what's new in my shop so far this week. I have more on the way. I just listed the antique bluebird calendar necklace featuring the month of June from the year 1916, so if you need a birthday gift for someone born in June, this just might be the piece for you...check it out! Hope you are all enjoying spring!  



















All items shown above are available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns


Have a great week!
love,
 Laura




My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns



article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

where I create, I am absolute


When I was a little girl, I remember my dad spent much of his time at home in his office, which we all called his den. My father was creative, and he had many artistic and creative pursuits. He liked to write, he wrote some short stories, he had a love for languages and I remember him teaching himself French. He loved all types of music, playing guitar, singing in the Ukrainian Millennium Choir, and he liked to draw and watercolor paint and of course build things in his workshop.

In his den were bookshelves filled with books about art and writing, ancient Egypt and the one book that would always catch my eye because it had a bright red dust jacket - his old dictionary. I used to hang out with my dad in his den all the time. I don't think a day went by from kindergarten to college that I didn't visit my dad's den, plopping myself down in the big cushy chair next to his desk, or in the small sofa behind where he sat, just hanging out and talking about this and that. But it never was small talk.

He would always be working on some type of project, and our conversations would often start with him telling me some random but interesting fact about something in history, or something about a famous artist, or how a certain hue of a certain color got its name. There was so much inside of those four small walls, it was like he was so many lives in one. That's how I think of people who do a lot, people who have great varied interests and a great quest for learning things. Those kinds of people are truly living their lives, and it's almost as if they are fitting the interests of many different lives into their one single span of time here on earth. 

I don't know how some people could not have any interests. That's what makes life, well, interesting. But maybe it was just the way I was brought up. Dad's life style of learning, and his love for the humanities sure rubbed off on me. I think tomorrow will be 16 years that he is gone. Time sure flies. After my father died, my mom cleaned out some of the things in dad's den and had some stacks of books set aside for me to look through to see if I wanted any. She had picked out his art books for me and asked if I wanted anything else. I took the dictionary with the red dust jacket. I remember how he used to say to me, "Laura reach over and hand me my red dictionary," and now looking back, it seems like we pulled it out of that bookcase 100 times to look up this or that. I treasure it.

But what use is a dictionary now? In this age of the Internet we literally have everything at our fingertips, and checking the spelling of a word is only a few keystrokes away. So when the day came that I wanted to try out creating some book page art, I knew that inside the pages of my father's dictionary would be the perfect place to create and keep my art. I can sketch and draw on the pages and then one day, I can pass it down to my own daughters. Maybe one day they will add their own mark to it too, and then pass it down to their own son or daughter. 

There is a certain magic in my red dictionary. Filled with words about everything that fills our world, it lived for years surrounded with books about all the things I love, and all the things that stir my passion to create. 

And swirled within the space of those four walls, where stories were written, music played, and languages discovered, it now offers itself to me as a canvas - but not a blank one, bare and untouched, but a lush and joyful, spirited palette that with it's smooth pages offer me the memories of each lesson taught and story told by my father. And when I smooth down a page with my hand and touch my pen to the page's surface, through me flows the confidence and joy to create, and within that, I am absolute. 









I hope you have a great week! 
Love, Laura


My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns




article and images ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Friday, April 28, 2017

In Love With Hydrangeas - New Hydrangea Design In My Socity6 Shop


I'm in love with hydrangeas. Always have been, always will be :) 
A couple of years ago I published a blog post about my three different colored hydrangea bushes that I have growing in my yard, and they inspired this new hydrangea design in my Society6 shop. Just in time for Mother's Day, and ready for summer! Hope you like it!





Hydrangeas from my garden! The colors are so inspirational to me!



I created this design in four colors; yellow, pink, blue, and green...I just may add one more in lilac... 




















Which color do you like best?

I hope you like them! Let me know what you think by leaving me a comment below. 



Have a great week!
love,
 Laura




My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns



article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All About Custom Made Broken China Jewelry


I took a long break from making custom orders from customers' own china. People have asked me why and it's because I feel that doing that type of work just doesn't allow me the freedom of creativity that I need on a daily basis. Here's why. 

Basically it comes down to this: oftentimes a customer will have a preconceived vision in their mind of exactly what they want created from their plate, and then when I get the plate in my hands and take a look at it, I can pretty much determine what the best design would be for a piece of jewelry that fits the china pattern on their plate. Sometimes what the customer wants is just not do-able due to the plate being too thick or too curved. This is when it's important to listen to suggestions from the artist of what can be made from your plate. 


custom order from a few years ago

Sometimes people want me to create a design from their plate that I know just won't look good, or a design that doesn't use the pattern on the plate to its best advantage. Make sense? But custom work is all about doing what the customer wants... and because of this fact I am sometimes pushed against what I know would look best or make the most beautiful piece of jewelry. 



custom order from a few years ago 

Telling an artist to do something that they know won't produce the best outcome makes the artist cringe inside. But then again, custom work is "custom" work. So there's this kind of discord between what I naturally want to do with someone's plate (what I know will look best), and what the customer wants me to do with it (what I sometimes think won't work well), and I can sometimes have a hard time processing that, because in that kind of work I am following someone else's vision and not able to use my own creativity  - but that is only in the case that the customer won't listen to my input. 

Mostly it's because that sometimes I just know that the design that a customer asks for just won't look good. In this case, I will try to gently steer them into what I think will be best, offering suggestions and my ideas, and explaining it to them. This often leads to many back-and-forth emails with photos and me trying to explain what I think works best for their particular piece of china. That takes a lot of valuable time. Trust me! I know what will look best! :) But I will always make your piece as close to your specifications as possible. That's why we email so much. Working together is the key.

Custom work can be extremely time consuming and therefore it can sometimes be on the expensive side. When an artist does a custom order they are taking time away from their regular work (that allows them all the creative freedom they want) to make something to your personal specifications (that sometimes doesn't allow much creative freedom.) You are paying for years of work and expertise when you ask for a custom order, so by all means, listen to the artist's input! 



custom order from a few years ago

I also won't work with certain types of china, such as super-hard porcelain and thick heavy stoneware. This may seem odd, but it's for good reason. These materials are just too hard on my tools. It's like it using expensive jewelry side cutting pliers that are made for cutting precious metal wire and using them to cut a steel fence. Do that and you can say goodbye to those $50 pliers! Same goes with my cutting and saw blades. They are tough, but they're also expensive to replace. It's easy to ruin a $100 saw blade just by using it to cut material that is too hard or thick. Yes, saw blades are an item that are routinely replaced when they wear out, but they should normally last months and months before needing to be replaced. I've many times used a sawblade for over a year without having to replace it. So some materials are just off-limits and that's why. 


custom order from a few years ago


It's a different situation for someone who is say, painting a portrait. There is creativity involved, but the customer chose you to paint a portrait because they like your style, And from looking at your style they probably can get some kind of idea of what your finished portrait might look like. But it's different when I'm working with a material that varies so differently from person to person, from plate to plate, from manufacturer to manufacturer and material to material. There's a huge difference between pottery and porcelain, glass and stoneware, etc. 


My jewelry featured in Country Living magazine - Editor's Fresh Picks section


After my work was featured in the October 2011 issue of country living magazine, I got tons of requests for custom jewelry made from people's own china. I did as many of these orders as I could! I think the main thing about having custom work done from someone who does what I do, is that you consider this:

Have an idea of what you want made, but be willing to be flexible. Listen to what the artist thinks is best and remember, they are the experts in what they do. Even though you will be wearing the finished product and the artist wants you to be happy – as this is the ultimate goal – this is a situation where you really have to work together so that the artist understands what you want and also that you understand you are paying for their expertise. Use it! 

What do you think?

 https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns


Have a great week!
love,
 Laura




My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns



article, images, and designs copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2017 all rights reserved