Diving into art

I’ve taken the plunge this week and become a working artist again. It’s not so much a mid-life crisis as an economic one. We’re in the middle of the fall shoulder season for birding in southeastern Arizona, which leaves me with several weeks of no SABO activties and also/therefore little or no salary. My paid writing gigs for WildBird and the Audubon Guides blog have helped to fill in the gaps between paychecks, but the gaps grew into yawning chasms in the aftermath of this summer’s wildfires.

Making and selling art will keep my mind and hands busy even if it doesn’t keep food on the table and the bankers at bay, and so I introduce you to Mountain-Gem Arts:

Mountain-Gem Arts screenshot

Mountain-Gem Arts

For the grand opening, I stocked the store with a few pieces of my own handmade polymer clay jewelry and several pots I’ve purchased from the artisans of Mata Ortiz in Chihuahua, Mexico (about a half-day’s drive from my house and a short jog off our route to the land of Thick-billed Parrots and Eared Quetzals). I sold two jewelry items in the first 24 hours the store was open and have another two reserved, so I’m walking on air.

The creative direction I’m most excited about is my Hummingbird Hearts series: The vivid colors and patterns of hummingbirds superimposed on an iconic shape.  The Ruby-throated Heart is available now, and one inspired by the Fiery-throated will be along soon. It could get pretty crazy when I take on the coquettes. I’ll also be working on sculptural bird portraits in the form of pins, pendants, and earrings as well as colorful abstract things that appeal to my ADOS (Attention Deficit Oo-ooh Shiny!). When the next edition of the Supplement to A Field Guide to Hummingbirds goes to press (= when I can afford a new laser printer), it will be available in the store as well.

If you like what you see in the current inventory and/or in my Art set on Flickr (as a taste of things to come), I hope you’ll bookmark the store for future browsing and/or “like” it on Facebook for updates on new items, discount codes, etc.


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