kind of more of an engineering project than bead art...

So earlier in the summer I was posed with a pretty challenging project...

A lovely couple wanted a rendition of a cork, from the bottle of wine on the day they were engaged, to hang on the wall of their wine cellar. 

But I thought that a plain old flat piece wouldn't capture the essence of being a cork...more of just a rectangle...

So we decided to make it more of a 3-D piece. The first of such I have ever tried to create.

So after pondering a bit, I bought some stainless steel ductwork, long L-brackets, and wood for the base, and built a half-cork. Then I carefully measured and cut some semi-circular wood end pieces, and fit them into the ends of it. Almost complete...

But I was a little afraid that it might be kind of flimsy and prone to denting...which would not look very cork-like...

So I cut  a little hole in one end piece and squirted in foam filler to fill up the entire piece...which made it nice and solid. 

Then I set about my usual beading...

I think it turned out pretty awesomely...

 

 

Where do they go....?

I really love seeing where my pieces end up. 

Whether someone gives one as a surprise or a gift, or whether it was planned for a specific spot in a specific room....it's always great fun for me to see where they end up...

Here are a few of my favorites: 

Random bits and pieces

For a variety of nonspecific reasons, not every piece that I do ends up on my portfolio page. But I do love each of them for their unique details, and for the people who came up with the ideas...

So here is a collection of a handful of some of my pieces not on the portfolio page:

rob-corley-volleyball-small.jpg


OH Valentines!

So...about a year or so ago, one of my favorite crazy artists Ashley Longshore posted a valentines 'challenge' of sorts to all of her 30,000 or so Instagram followers.....to create their best coolest most unique valentines and send them to her...and she'd choose her favorites and send them a valentines of her own...

So of course I had to take part in this little event!

I decided to do a take on the classic little chalky candy hearts we all know and love...

And if you are at all familiar with Ashley's ebullient personality and wild sense of humor..or happen to come across her nearly continuous flood of crazy instagram posts ...you'll understand the subject of my valentines.

so i made a little heart-shaped box...and packed them up....

so i made a little heart-shaped box...and packed them up....

and sent them to New Orleans just before Valentines Day...

and sent them to New Orleans just before Valentines Day...

So....I think she liked them. 

even hinted that she was pleased with my entry on my instagram page...

They are pretty cool I must say. But...not really something you can just hang up anywhere....

As for a valentine from Miss Ashley....Well...still waiting....

COORS LIGHT Mardi Gras 2016 Advertising Campaign!!

So back in mid-summer I got an unexpected call from an advertising agency in Denver. They told me that their client MillerCoors was interested in commissioning me to do a piece for their advertising campaign for Mardi Gras 2016....!!! How unbelievably awesome!!

So after a confidentiality agreement and several proposals, we settled on a plan and I got the green light from SAB Miller. A 40 x 40" piece that would be translated into billboards, flyers, and posters in the Southeastern US....during the 2016 Mardi Gras season. 

Again on a pretty short timeframe (which seems to be a developing trend for me...), it came together beautifully and was shipped off to Denver..

One of my favorite southern clients spotted one such poster in Mobile, Alabama in December....

Keep your eyes out for one!

 

blakely and tommy!

blakely and tommy!


Ozzie - a few more details...

So when I was asked to do a portrait of vintage Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith, I had my usual misgivings about how I was going to translate this photo of a dude into mardi gras beads...with at least some semblance of realism...

But fortunately I was able to get a little graphic design help from my trusty pal Cheree, who crucially modified the photo into a more "beadable" image...and then I took it from there....

Here are a few of my favorite close ups..


Wait! I'm being followed on Instagram by....!!!!

Yes, I too am on Instagram...though not as avidly as my lovely wife or most of the other people I know. I'm kind of lazy about these kinds of things...

BUT, a few days ago I happened to check it...and among a smattering of a few new followers, was one new follower in particular..:

Only one of my favorite artists of all time!!! James Michalopoulos. 

He is one of the most renowned of contemporary New Orleans artists...one whose style, textures, colors, and subjects have always entranced me...

http://www.michalopoulos.com

And also the owner of Celebration Distillery...which incidentally makes my favorite Old New Orleans Rum!

I am stunningly flattered that he liked my art and started following me.....

 

Just for fun, here's his gorgeous original painting on which I based my michalopoulos-bead-interpretation:

So awesome...

ICE...

ICE. 

So how in the world am I going to make mardi gras beads look like ice..?

And how do I make it look like there's a little bourbon peeking through under the edges....?

Those were some of the things I'd never done before and I had to ponder a bit (and stress out about a little) while I was working on my recent mint julep piece....

So I tried painting a few parts of the underlying plywood with a metallic brown paint, then overlaid a huge array of clear beads on top..some sparkly, some opaque, some clear, and all different sizes. The brown showed through just enough at the edges. Then, to give it a kind of 3D 'ice' appearance, I layered extra layers of beads on top of certain patches of the first layer...and....

I think it turned out pretty icy!

At least for mardi gras beads.....

;)

So how long does it take...?

Honestly as ridiculous as it sounds, I have no idea. 

After all the years I've been making these things, I've never really clocked any of them. Those of you who know me know how hectic my days can be with everything else join on. Usually, you know, I work on a piece a little here...a little there...a couple hours one day...an hour or so the next...until whoa! it's done. 

So when I sat down to start working on Humphrey and Marilyn (under a pretty tight timeframe I might note), it dawned on me that it would be kind of fun...and maybe a little enlightening....to keep track of just exactly how long they took me to finish. 

From blank plywood to finished portrait...

The final tally??

Humphrey was 10h, 30min.....

Marilyn took 14h, 45min.

So there you go. That's how long. 

Letters!@!

I'm not sure how exactly this idea started, but somewhere along the line i decided that it would be fun to deviate from the mardi gras bead portraits and make letters...jigsaw-cut letters...

I think the first ones were for my little girl Marie and her almost-twin and best friend Biz for their 3rd birthdays.

The little chicks loved them, and pretty soon these letters became some of my most requested commissions...and so my love for my jigsaw blossomed...

Here are a few of the many so far...and many more on order...

julia and her J

julia and her J

Hen loved Marie's M so much that he requested an H for his room...in his favorite color gold...

Hen loved Marie's M so much that he requested an H for his room...in his favorite color gold...

A little mid-project modification for Bazaarvoice..

So I was commissioned to do a fairly big piece for this Austin TX-based company Bazaarvoice, which was pretty cool...no idea how they found me...

Basically, a big version of their logo in beads. No prob. Pretty quick deadline...no prob.

But....after I'd finished the logo and was getting started on the background, I got a call that they really wanted to incorporate a fleur-de-lis...since this was for a new-orleans-themed gala...

After a few ideas back and forth, they decided that they wanted the two circles to be changed to fleur de lis'. I had a few misgivings about getting relatively little fleurs to turn out looking good, but...ok. So I chiseled up the circles I'd made (yes this hard-core glue I use has to be chiseled off)... 

But in the end I think it turned out pretty damn righteous. Lucite-coated for extra sparkle!

I think I kind of like it better this way...

a few sports logos

one thing that I always think turns out pretty well in beads is a logo..sports logo, team logo, whatever...

There've been a bunch, and they're pretty straightforward, and really vibrant...

Here are a few

rob-corley-stl
rob-corley-blues
rob-corley-orioles
rob-corley-brewers
rob-corley-cubs
rob-corley-cardinals

paintings of my guitars (series 1)

So for years i've collected vintage electric guitars....partly for their sound and tone, but partly (and largely, honestly) for their beautifully sexy shapes and looks...

Some have been great instruments that play and sound incredible, and some have really not, but each one has a unique and artistic design, from the shape and curves of the body, to the sparkling chrome pickups, tremolos, and tailpieces....

There's something indescribably magical to me about each one of these instruments, and there's something about them that deep down inside just makes me happy...just to look at them. To me, each one is more than simply an instrument. Each one is a work of art in and of itself...

So with that sentiment in mind a number of years ago, I began painting...trying to capture one beautiful aspect, one detailed curve, of each one of my guitars.

Eventually I moved on to other art projects, but I thought I'd post a retrospective of some of my favorites...

Here is the first series:  

reverend slingshot
mosrite combo
fender resonator
fender coronado 2
fender P bass special
fender gemini
gretsch superaxe
fender starcaster
series 10

love in STL closeup...

one kind of neat little feature (that no one can really appreciate in the portfolio picture) of the "love in STL" piece is that the heart is actually a separate piece, adhered to the top of the blue state of Missouri…giving a a cool kind of raised appearance when you see the piece close-up...