Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog Party 2015 and a Giveaway Contest!

Hello and welcome to Cynthia Crane's Art and Gardening Goodness! If you've landed here today you may well be visiting in response to the yearly Grow Your Blog party hosted by the fun and fabulous Vicki Boster of 2 Bags Full. I want to send a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Vicki for this generous effort - last year my blog went from under 10 followers to nearly 100 in just a few short weeks!

Thank you for visiting me and I hope you enjoy your stay! I promise to try and keep this post short and sweet because I know you have LOTS of other blogs to visit today. And because your visit means so much to me, I am having a GIVEAWAY CONTEST! But first a teeny weeny bit about me and the "skinny" on what you'll find on my blog.

My first outdoor show with my porcelain ceramics!
I have been a working artist for nearly 30 years and have recently begun working with porcelain ceramic clay. This is a photo of me at a show this past fall in nearby Berryville, VA.

Cacapon River in Morgan County, WV

I recently returned to my home state of West Virginia (east coast USA) after living in Virginia for over 30 years. It is good to be back - it is so wild and beautiful here! 

Harpers Ferry, WV
My home is very near the historically rich town of Harper's Ferry, WV.

The Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers at Harpers Ferry, WV
It is understood that this was the part of West Virginia that inspired John Denver to pen his famous song "Take Me Home Country Roads."

My new cutting garden.
When I'm not traveling the hills and valleys of this beautiful area, I can be found working on my gardens. I have lots of gardening ideas I'll be sharing here on my blog. I do a series I call "I'd Rather Be Gardening" because, well, I would probably rather be gardening than just about anything else!

Coming soon: new post on how I made this kitchen island.
I also enjoy decorating my home, which includes making over furniture. This island was made from pieces/parts I put together from here and there. I'll be blogging the details on that soon.

I collect tole painted trays.
We did a large kitchen reno right after we moved into our home. You can see and read more about that here. We "finished" about 6 mos ago and I've already made some changes to my decor. Like replacing a painting over the range with this lovely vintage tole painted tray. I found this tray at a shop on Etsy - VintageKeepsake - and I know I'll be shopping from her again. (I see she has added some new things recently, but the Vintage Shabby Chic Floral Picture is MINE so hands off ya hear?!!!) Just kidding! Actually I can't buy anything else until I get my buns back to work on my own Etsy shop and start making more pottery!

I love crafting!
I've been playing in my studio lately making everything BUT ceramics actually. I made some fabric covered balls today, something I've always wanted to do. 

Fabric covered balls.

And I had the perfect basket to display them in! Get the how-to here: The Feathered Nest. I love sharing how-to's, whether of my own creation or someone else's.

Well, I better get on with that GIVEAWAY CONTEST now! Because I adore making little sewing projects that involve buttons (and I hope you do, too!) I'm giving away this set of sweet little birdie buttons from my Etsy shop. They are hand sculpted from porcelain clay and have been hand painted and fired to stoneware temp so they are quite sturdy. I do suggest hand washing only, however!

Little birdie buttons from Cynthia Crane's Pottery
The buttons you receive are not this EXACT set, but are very similar. Here is a really sweet idea for a way to use one of these little buttons:

Fabric Wrap Bracelet by Etsy Shop AndreaCreates
I had Andrea of Etsy Shop AndreaCreates make this lovely bracelet for me, but they would be quite easy to make if you like to sew. I have a lovely pin board just for button craft ideas on my Pinterest. Take a look - lots of really pretty button projects on there!

My button GIVEAWAY CONTEST is open to anyone and everyone both near and far. All you have to do is comment on this post and be sure to leave me an email address to contact you if you win. The Contest closes on February 15 and the winner will be announced soon thereafter. 

Good luck everyone and thanks so much for visiting!

UPDATE: All entries were placed in his big old popcorn bowl and Papa Crane picked the winner - Congratulations to Andrea for winning my Buttons Giveaway! Many thanks to everyone for all of your lovely comments!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Enchanting World of Contemporary Folk Artist Paul Gordon

Reclining Snowlady Sculpture by Paul Gordon
This adorable reclining snowlady sculpture by folk artist Paul Gordon is a pretty good representation of what I've been doing for the last several weeks. All she needs is an iPad, a Pinterest account and a stack of decorating books!

After all the hustle and bustle of managing Cynthia Crane's Pottery and Paintings biz last fall, I've given myself a nice long vacation to catch up on some projects in my home. But more on that later - this post is all about Paul Gordon and his amazing folk art, his fantastic studio, his fabulous home AND his yearly art show "Friends In Christmas".

Contemporary Folk Artist Paul Gordon
If you have been following my blog for a while you know that not long ago I moved to a very small town after residing for over 32 yrs in a large city with a huge and very diverse art community. 

I have indeed met some very talented artists here in my new area, but none quite so uniquely talented as Contemporary Folk Artist Paul Gordon. Imagine my surprise when quite by accident in early 2014 I stumbled upon a blog article on Paul and the wonderful art show he puts on each November in his local studio and antiques shop.

Paul Gordon's Studio/Shop Window

Friends in Christmas Show, November 2014
Oh, my goodness! How delighted was I to learn that an artist of such renown as Paul - who has long been well known by folk art collectors near and far - actually lives and works right here in my little town. But to have the opportunity to participate in his small but exclusive show was such a joy!

And to be in the company of Paul's hand-picked group of extremely friendly and talented artists was truly wonderful! 

Deborah Hartwick of Heartwells has been making her delightful velvet creations since the early '80s.
Heartwells - Pin Cushions and other Soft Sculptures.
Kim Stout and her lovely Ceramic and Soft Sculptures.
Kim makes the sweetest Jewelry and Strawberry Buttons, among other things.

And here is Stacey Bear with her precious artwork.
I adored Stacey's Miniature Paintings. I wanted them all!
Deanna Ellis and her incredible sculptures. These were truly amazing!
Santa Sculpture by Paul Gordon.
And of course Paul was there with his enchanting and wonderful holiday characters. Long before the show opened on that Saturday morning eager shoppers were lined up at the door, all hoping for first dibs on either the fabulous Santa sculpture in the window or any one of Paul's other amazing creations. He actually has collectors who come to his show from as far away as the west coast. His work has been licensed by major gift manufactures and can be seen in several galleries and museums nationwide, as well as at the Ghoultide Gatherings show each October in Chelsea, Michigan.

Pauls work has also been featured in magazines, as shown in this recent issues of Treasures. 

Yes, that's Paul, truly "One of a Kind".

How imaginative! You just know he's having so much fun making these!
Paul's creations clearly reflect his former career in the textile and fashion industry. After forming the head and body, he brings a character to life by drawing from his ginormous collection of vintage textiles, trims, buttons and various accoutrements, all neatly stored in his vast studio space. Room upon room (13 to be exact) are filled floor to ceiling with anything and everything he might need in order to outfit each character.

And if his studio isn't enough to make an artist and vintage-lover green with envy, his home - filled with the most amazing collections - is certainly a joy to behold!

Paul's Christmas Tree Room, which remains on display year round.
A lovely vignette in Paul's fabulous home.
Many, many collections like these can be seen throughout Paul's home.
If you'd like information on how/where to buy from Paul or any of the others artists here, just contact me by email as most of these artists currently do not sell online.

So now that I have once again flexed my blogging muscles be sure to check back again in a few days for my post in Vicki's 2 Bags Full yearly Grow Your Blog party!