Christina Leta interview & jewelry giveaway - ends 4/26

'Overgrown' glicee print from Christina Leta

Hey there. How have you been? I am so glad you stopped by! Christina Leta from ChristinaLeta.Etsy.com  has popped over for a chat. Christina makes some lovely art and one of a kind jewelry pieces; click the photo captions for more information on any of her designs featured here. 

Christina specializes in creating custom heirloom jewelry. Clients send her a treasured bauble with whatever info they want to share: perhaps a photo,  description of "their style", or even a brief history of their special heirloom. This talented lady then then "re-imagines (it) into something you can wear & appreciate in your daily life. "

Sacred Spare Parts Necklace from Christina Leta

Lucky for us, Christina brought along a little something special to share! Her whimsical Sunshine Clock Earrings will be given away to a random ArtSnark reader on April 26th. The random drawing details and a photo of this fun prize are at the bottom of this interview. So without further interruptions let's grab a  chair and cup of your favorite beverage and get to know each other......

Have you always liked making art & jewelry?

CL: I’ve always loved making art. I grew up surrounded by it because my mother is an artist. The funny thing is that I didn’t always like making jewelry & that is the majority of the business that I do. It’s actually a skill I had never even tried until a few years ago. When I first started it was a disaster; I was not thrilled with the craft at all! But something about it obsessed me. I had to keep trying, keep reinventing, repurposing, re-imagining. Eventually I fell in love & here I am today. 

Deco Movement Earrings from Christina Leta

What are your favorite materials to work with? Why?

CL: For jewelry, it’s definitely watch parts. I save every crumb of watch bits because you really never know what you might use them for. I had a “throw away” bin sitting on my worktable for two years, never emptied, & one day I came up with a use for this completely random watch part, so I had to dig through the “throw away” to get them all out. That’s when I learned sometimes it’s okay to kind of compulsively save some things, at least when it comes to watch parts, you just never know! They really do have infinite potential-- and they’re recycled, what more could you ask for in a material?

English Rose Necklace from Christina Leta

What inspires you?

CL: Open-mindedness I suppose, because I never know what will inspire me until I see it ... and then something in my brain clicks. It could be the realization of how something is made, or how some unexpected thing could be repurposed, whatever the end result I always try to look closely & critically at as much as I can — to just absorb as much as possible of that innovation hiding in the mysterious little details of life. 

Do you listen to anything while creating? If so, what are you listening to lately?

CL: Pandora has been a good friend to me. Right now I am obsessed with Massive Attack radio-- it’s the perfect mellow soundtrack for my work with its French & gypsy themes & magical undertones, I love it!

Lucky Penny Earrings from Christina Leta

What is your favorite item in your shop right now?

CL: The Lucky Penny earrings are definitely my favorite. I found the old pennies in a little box of treasures I picked up on one of my many adventures to find supplies to repurpose & I loved the shape & patina of them. I knew they’d make a great component to something. I had been saving the green rhinestone earrings because they were one of my favorite vintage finds. When the two ingredients came together for these earrings it gave new purpose to these beautiful but otherwise unused pieces of history & that’s my goal for each finished piece that I make.

How long have you been selling your creations? 

CL: It’s been a little over two years now, it started just before Christmas of 2011 when I decided to make all of my gifts that year & from there I enjoyed it so much I just never stopped!

My Thoughts Have Chosen To Abandon Ship by Christina Leta

Why did you decide to set up shop at Etsy?

CL: Etsy seemed like an online tool that was easy to use & fun to be a part of. The site really helped me to make an online presence for myself in a way that’s user friendly & not too complicated. 

What are some of your favorite Etsy shops?

CL: Woolandwater & swanbones are two of my top favorite illustration artists shops. Freespiritheidi’s jewelry I really love for its intricacy and mind-blowing creativity. Creaturesfromel is so far my favorite sculpture artist on Etsy. I’m really drawn to a storybook aesthetic, which you will find with each of these shops. I also really appreciate artists with the skill and patience to create things that I simply cannot.

Crescent Necklace (for Francesca) from Christina Leta

What can you tell us about your custom creations?

CL: Custom is by far my favorite kind of project! My friends and customers bring me piles of old & curious odds and ends... and it all has a story! There is always some fascinating origin or sentimental value. Giving objects (with special memories already attached to them) a functional modern purpose is the most rewarding form of repurposing. On top of that it always makes the person it belongs to so happy!

What do you like to do when you are not creating?

CL: Shop! I am an obsessive shopper. If I am not making something then I am probably shopping for things to make something out of. I also really enjoy pizza & movies. And occasional urban exploration: I love abandoned places & it just so happens there’s an entire subculture called urban explorers who love the same thing! It’s sort of a weird hobby I’ve always had. Now I've just happened to discover there was a term for it.

Gypsy Timepiece Necklace from Christina Leta

Christina, thank you visiting with us today! I've enjoyed wandering around your Etsy store and love the shops you recommended - fantastic finds! With your love for historic and interesting items, it is easy to see why the urban exploration would appeal to you. Who knows where the next inspiration will come from?

Readers, thank you for hanging out with us today! Please take a moment to leave a comment. I often receive messages from featured artists on how much they enjoy your feedback. PLUS if you leave your comment in time, you will be entered in the April 26th random drawing for this super cute pair of Sunshine Clock Earrings made by Christina!

Sunshine Clock Earrings from Christina Leta

There are three ways you can enter this random drawing before 1 a.m. (EST) on 4/26:

1) leave a comment on this blog
2) visit Christina's Etsy shop & return here with a link to your favorite item
3) share this interview in your misc social network or blog and return to say you did.

Please be sure to leave an email address if it is not in your blog profile. I will not share this information, but do need to be able to contact you if you are the lucky winner!

This random drawing is open worldwide and prize ships free to winner. I will post the winner here on 4/26.


Singing the blues cuz it is Monday

Today Miz Dolly has everybody singing the blues. I'm jumping onto the Monday Music train with Chris Thomas King covering the eternally classic Skip James. To play along, not all of today's tunes have to be in the blues genre... just sadly pulling the ole heartstrings is good enough.

I'm (once again) listening to lots of Cole Porter lately. KD Lang's version of So In Love is just the saddest song, especially with this video.

Wrapping things up with some timeless John Lee Hooker & Miles Davis - but now I have got to run. Already behind today (seems to be my Monday mantra) and will have to catch you later.

If you're craving more bloozy tunez, pull up a stool over at Dolly's joint and check out her Monday Music blog hop. Who knows? You might find something new to you!


Abandoning Art at the library today

Poe's Muse digital collage ACEO

Catching up on abandoning art today - the Dude helped me leave this one at the Jan Platt Library in Tampa, FL this afternoon. He had fun standing guard at the end of the aisle. And then he kept sneaking back over to see if it was still there when he was supposed to be checking out books for a school project... he had so much fun, I think I have found an accomplice!

In January I posted that I want to abandon at least 1 piece a month.... and then my plans fell off the radar - oops. I'll share a belated February piece soon.

It is great fun to leave something you've made behind for others to find. Ideally it speaks to just the right person or maybe just makes someone smile. I'm sure pieces end up tossed out, rained on and otherwise neglected... But playing with Fate is part of the fun too. Getting too attached to something you've created is not productive. This can be a wonderful lesson in letting go.

If you missed my earlier posts n this topic, last summer I joined a group on facebook started by artist Michael DeMeng which encourages artists to leave works behind for others to find. Participants then share their abandonments on the group page. There are also free printable tags and explanations available for attaching to your artwork.

To find out more about this project, visit DeMeng's page which also includes a video where he explains the concept and how to play along


Winner of GreekArt wooden box + my misc. ramblings

carved wooden letter boxes from GreekArt.com

Woo-Hoo! One lucky person has been selected to take home a lovely wooden box from artisan Evlambios Chatzilazaridis. Today's winner gets to pick their favorite from his online Etsy shop: GreekArt.etsy.com! Drum roll please......

Congratulations to Naila Moon! 

Naila, you can check out the selection of carved wooden boxes to choose from by clicking hereI will contact you today with direction for collecting your prize. 

Special thanks to GreekArt for donating this wonderful prize! If you'd like to learn more about Evlambios's craft and inspirations, check out last month's interview. You can also find his creations online at these locations:

And Thank You to all who entered this drawing. Pop back next Thursday for a new interview and prize. I'll give you a hint... it is jewelry related!

Hopefully between now & then I'll get a few posts out. I have some product & music reviews to share plus I still want to show off my finds from the Gasparilla Art Fair earlier this month. 


Things have been crazy busy at work with many new products coming out soon that needed final touches. Work wise, everyone else is at PAX EAST this weekend - I'm hoping they send me some pictures once the games get underway. So far, I've only received shots of snow - quite a contrast from the 70s temps around here this week.

Since I got to stay home & keep an eye on things, this weekend I hope to snap some pretty pics at this year's GreenFest and maybe cruise a couple of local art shows. I'll be traveling with the kiddo, so we'll see how he holds up.

Do you have some fun plans for the weekend? Do tell & have fun!


Anything Goes in Tampa

(No... this is not a reference to last weekend's Nude Night exhibition.... for that event click here)

Anything Goes is the blast-from-the-past playing this week at the Straz Center. Originally produced in 1934, it has been updated a few times over the decades. While the current production still has plenty of crusty references and corny joke, the catchy tunes and rousing dance numbers will keep you chuckling while tapping your toes.

This is the part where I admit that I am generally not a fan of musicals... but I am nuts for Cole Porter! (In fact, I'm listening to the 1990 tribute album "Red Hot + Blue" right now). When the opportunity to attend this show came up I jumped into the queue. I am glad I did.

The Roundabout Theater Company did a bang-up job, with a boisterous Rachel York leading the way. She stole the show as sassy night club singer Reno Sweeney with her smooth moves, comedic timing and a gorgeous voice .

Several secondary characters also ruled the stage when their solos came up. Fred Applegate's Moonface Mooney carried off his 'Be Like The Bluebird' song with perfect old-school panache. Moonface's sidekick Erma (Joyce Chittick) and her crew of sailor boyfriends had a grand time (& made sure that we did too) during the peppy tune 'Buddy Beware'. Even the muddled English fiance, Evelyn, charmed the crowd into laughing out loud during his energetic performance of 'Gypsy in Me'.

I wont lie, there are some slow bits. Occasionally I found myself wishing Alex Finke, as lovesick Hope  Harcourt, had a stronger voice and presence. Maybe it was just me, but I occasionally had trouble catching her lyrics.

But with regular-Joes mistaken for criminals, troublemakers mistaken for clergy, and our hero Billy Crocker (Josh Franklin) mistaken for everything from a long-legged sailor to public enemy #1,  Anything Goes will keep you smiling.

Overall this classic tale of potentially unrequited love made for a fun night out. The big dance numbers had enough pizazz to impress both Fred Astaire fans and non-dancers like me. Filled with great music, boatloads of mistaken identity and plenty of snarky silly humor, this show was even more entertaining than I had expected.

C'mon - hop onto this stylish time machine for a saucy and slapstick visit to the 1930s. Anything Goes is playing at the Straz Center (Tampa, FL) through Sunday March 17. Some extra temptation: you can save 30% off Thursday's performances with promo code PORTER30.  Restrictions and charges apply.  For tickets and more information, call the Straz Center Ticket Office at 813.229.7827. This show is recommended for age 8+.

By the way, while the Straz Center generously gave me tickets to this event, the opinions stated here are 100% my own.  Have you caught this show sometime in the last 79 yrs? Please share, I would love to hear your thoughts. 


Musical Monday:Nude Night Recap with extra sauce

I wrote the wittiest posts in my head this weekend (with wickedly tacky titles)... but as I've been on the go go go, none of them ever made it to keyboard. Maybe I am just getting really old, but it seems like weekend activities are feast or famine lately - is it the same for you?

feathered 'lizard' performer at Nute Nite Tampa

I will not tell a lie - Nude Nite was a blast! I am already looking forward to next year. Some of the extra tickets I received went unused - maybe I should offer them up on the blog in 2014 (assuming I get in again). Any thoughts?

body painting

DH & I attended night 2 of this three night arty-party. We arrived early and had a grand time talking with the other artists and performers while soaking in the like-minded let's-not-take-ourselves -too-seriously vibe

satyr & nymph
( I missed the artist's name on the super realistic painting behind the models)

As the night went on, it got harder to see the art and live acts through the crowd.... but then the people watching became the real event!

pole dancers & an audience member I nicknamed Dr. Jekyll

Chicken sh*# that I am, it was a big deal to enter a show after 10 years under a rock. Ready to shift into sales mode, you can magine my surprise ....okay, now imagine it bigger.... when I found out that my two pieces sold in the first 20 minutes of opening night. 

guess who

I've had a few folks tell me that means my prices are too low. I don't care. I am happier to sell at a "low" price than bring something back home at a higher one.

So, here we are .... Sunday night, and I am too tired to be clever. I'll just share some family friendly pics from the event since you might be at work.

Avengers Assembly by Robert Monnerat

Saturday afternoon was spent suckin' sauce and knowledge from Daniel Blood, master certified barbecue judge for the Kansas City Barbeque Society. 

Woohee! That was a belly busting and brain filling experience. I will admit I am crazy about good BBQ - which is why you'll never see me walking around  Nude Nite in just a bunch of feathers !

Sunday was all about the time travel. We went back to the late 1800's for the Victorian Picnic in the Park at the Henry Plant Museum. Buckets of fun, old school style: lots of tiddlywinks, badminton, chess (+ anything else that required no batteries or internet).

Tampa Bay Steampunk Society at the H.B.Plant Victorian Picnic
If you've made it this far - many thanks. I am dog tired & probably babbling at this point. If you are looking for a Musical Monday pick me up be sure to pop over to Xmas Dolly's - lots of fantastic stuff over there. This week's theme is "music that tells a story of your life" .

We could be here all day listening to my auditory biography... and still be left scratching our heads (or yawning). So I'm just sharing a couple of tunes today. If you visit Miss Dolly be sure to add your own  musical inspirations to wake everyone up this week.

If you're a Monday morning sleepy-head like me you might like this bit-o-noise from Unkle, Morning Rage:


Before I forget, if you haven't left a comment recently, please do! It will enter you in the 3/28 random drawing for an intricately carved box from the etsy shop GreekArt. There are a few ways to enter - click here for details & an interview with the artisan.


Nude Nite Tampa 2013

photo - Doug Scaletta

I can't believe it is already Wednesday! This week is blowing by. I still want to share my fun finds & faves from last weekend's Gasparilla Art Festival, but I think I'm going to have post a bit at a time. 

Today I want to highlight Nude Nite Tampa 2013. The party starts tomorrow from 6pm - midnight. It also runs Friday & Saturday nights. 

* Since 1997, Nude Nite is a national juried art exhibition with hundreds of artists celebrating the body beautiful by creating a bazaar-like atmosphere of artistic talents from paintings, to photographs but also in live body painting, sensual performances, shapely sculpture and experimental installations. The abundance of imagery makes Nude Nite a 'must-see event.' 

Thousands visit the Nude Nite 3-evening event to linger and engage in the daring conversation the art inspires. Glass of wine in hand, visitors from all walks of life and age groups, mingle with a crowd as diverse as a European market. The background beat of DJ’s and strolling musicians need not compete, there is room for all creative spirits here in its warehouse sized space. Collectors and gallery owners vie for works by emerging artists as photographers maneuver to capture the best shots of the unique and colorful characters that abound. Later in the evening, eyes move from the wall to the stage as performers share their interpretation of the theme. From dance troupes to mimes, the continual buzz of artistic performances creates an ongoing energy that is difficult to leave behind. * - from the event website 

Aqua Fortis - mixed media

I'll have two lovely ladies on the wall, Aqua Fortis and In Fieri. Influences on these pieces include alchemy, metamorphosis, and the female form. Aqua Fortis (strong water) is a solution of nitric acid in water. Highly corrosive it was used by alchemists to dissolve silver and other metals (except gold) while searching for the philosopher's stone. Aqua Fortis was also used by artists, craftsmen, and refiners to alter the materials they were working with. 

In Fieri - watercolor on torn patterned paper

In Fieri = "In the course of execution; a thing commenced but not completed"  Every culture has its own name for the serpent devouring its own tail: Yggdrasil, Jormungandr, etc. And the woman... well, I think the woman is evolving ... but into what? Influenced by a 15th c. ouroborus drawing.

There are over 140 artists participating this year's Nude Nite, as well as performance artists. The event is being held in a converted broom factory on the edge of Ybor City. Visit NudeNite.com for more information on everything from "the history of nude art" to directions to the party.

You an also connect on FaceBook where you will find videos by past performers and artists giving their take on the event.


Musical Monday + some artsy stuff

Josh Ritter's new album, The Beast In Its Tracks comes out tomorrow. 

If you are looking for a mellow start to your Musical Monday you can live stream the entire album early over at NPR by clicking this link.

You can also stream his earlier albums at this link. Once there, click each album cover to listen. There are also a few free MP3s too.

Looking for some other musical genres today? Or want to share what is on your radar? Pop on over to Xmas Dolly's and join the MM hop!

It's going to be a busy week around here! Yet, I hope to share some pics and purchases from this weekend's Gasparilla Festival of The Arts. A juried art fair with over $75,000 in prize money, it attracts a spectacular variety of 2d and 3d creative expression. 

This is my favorite local art fair & I had a blast wandering around with Etsy artisans KcBird of Bird House Designs  

 leather belt with peach & pink handstamped flowers from Birdhouse Designs

& Monique from UniqueNique

gold dragonfly fused dichroicglass pendant necklace from UniqueNique

There is so much to learn traveling with talented folks who specialize in different techniques. I ended up paying attention to leather & glass items that I would have just walked around on my own. So, thank you, ladies for opening my eyes ... and for your fabulous company, of course!

Final note today, if you haven't entered the new Thursday Giveaway, leave a comment before 3/28. On the 28th one lucky winner gets to pick a carved wooden box from the online shop GreekArt.Etsy.com for their very own. Prize ships free worldwide & there are a total of three ways to enter. Click here for details, photos and an interview with the shop owner/ craftsman Evlambios Chatzilazaridis.