ta-da!

I HAVE A WEBSITE!

 debradewolff.com

The above url is now the domain of my website, and this blog will now be found at debradewolff.wordpress.com. Sorry for the confusion if anybody had a hard time finding me while we made the transfer.

Many of you are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? Everybody has a website these days.” Right? My memory may be faulty (in fact, I’m sure it is) but I think I had an easier time giving birth to my three children than I did getting my website up and running! But it’s finally finished. My enduring thanks go to my brilliant and very patient web developer/designer, Melissa Miller, who is also a fantastic mosaic artist. She really did all the work, including listening to my desires and demands and silly questions. But I had a definite vision, and she was the person I chose to make it real. Most of my problem is that I don’t speak tech. It’s a completely foreign language to me. Gibberish, really. So I especially thank poor Melissa for being so patient while trying to get me to understand how things work (which I’m sure was a lot like trying to explain calculus to your dog). But if I’m going to have a business, I have to do my best to understand as much as I can. So much business these days is e-commerce that I think you’re really missing the boat if you don’t sell online as well as at shows and galleries.

Oh, and the photography! I had to take photos of the images I’m going to sell on my website, right? That’s also something that did NOT come easily to me. But I’m pretty happy with the images of my work that are in my online store. They’re not professional, but they’re good enough. It’s a totally separate category of photography when you’re taking pictures of small jewelry items. And the smaller the item, the trickier it can be, especially if you don’t want to pop for a macro lens. But I’d never even played with a camera before. I’ve never been the one who takes pictures at family gatherings, or has their camera ready to go at all times while on vacation. I usually don’t even remember to take my camera with me on vacations. I’m so new to photography that I had to learn about things like depth of field, f-stop, aperture, white balance, etc. I still don’t really know what all those things mean, but I figured enough things out to get some pretty decent shots. And I sure am glad we don’t work with film anymore. That would have been cost prohibitive in my case what with all the experimentation and struggles I had.

And yes, I’m sure there are little things I’m going to want to change, or tweak, or whatever. There may be problems that we’ll run into that will need fixing. But it’s up upon the World Wide Web and I’m in business. Whew! I feel like I should be passing out cigars or something.

 

6/23/16: Sorry, this website no longer exists.

 

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inspiration

We have a beautiful art museum here in Milwaukee. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Quadracci Pavilion, designed by Santiago Calatrava. It was an expansion of the art museum, an addition to the already existing Saarinen building. The “wings” of the Burke Brise Soleil that you see in this picture actually open and close. Weather permitting, this happens on a daily basis. A world renowned and revered architect, this was Calatrava’s first building in the United States. It is a source of great pride for us Milwaukeans to have such a structure in our city. We don’t have a lot of tall buildings downtown. There’s an ordinance about just how tall a building can be, so we have no skyscrapers. If you’re in downtown Milwaukee, this lack gives you the impression that Milwaukee isn’t a very big or interesting city. But if you’re standing or driving along Wisconsin Avenue and facing east towards the lake, this building is an awe-inspiring sight.

Santiago Calatrava designs buildings and bridges with concrete, steel, and glass that look structurally impossible. His waves, wings, skeletons, and ribs seem to defy gravity. He’s not only an architect, but also has a Ph.D. in civil engineering, so he knows how to design buildings that are actually meant to move. When you’re standing in Windhover Hall (pictured to the right), you see no pillars, no obvious means of support. And yet there are 200 tons of moving concrete and steel above you! Walking into the MAM just makes me happy, no matter what exhibits are there, no matter what part of the museum I’ve decided to see on that visit. I think it’s great that a building that houses art is such a beautiful work of art.

I’ve often felt that to make jewelry one has to be an engineer as well as an artist. You have to know how a piece works, how it will open and close, how the elements fit together, how it will look on the person that wears it, whether or not it will be comfortable to wear. All of these concerns have to be engineered into the finished piece. With some things it comes easily. For a simple pendant on a chain you may only have to determine the length of the chain. But some pieces have moving parts. A brooch, for example – where will the pin back go? What direction should it face, should it go across the back vertically or horizontally and open to the left or to the right? How long should it be? Jewelry artists have lots of engineering decisions to make. And beyond all that, will the person who owns the piece of jewelry be happy with it? Will they enjoy owning it, looking at it, wearing it?

So, here’s to the artists who are also engineers among us. May we inspire one another. And here’s to the Milwaukee Art Museum as they celebrate the 10th anniversary of their beautiful Calatrava.