Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's your spirit animal....

HA!  You see those quizzes all the time on Facebook.  I came up with my own spirit animal.....Hermit Crab.  I have definitely become a Hermit Crab this winter.  Crusty, cold, grumpy, pale....carrying around my own shell and crawling into it most of the time.

I think part of it has been the extended winter we've had this year and the other part is stress at work. I come home and I don't want to talk to anyone or do anything.  I signed up for a Zentangle drawing class just to get myself out of the house one night a week.  I enjoy doing it and it is very relaxing.  

I did manage to test out some of new shape templates I made.  Making adjustments here and there to get the size and shape just right. 

This last piece is made from a cork that I carved. 
I want to play with the patina a bit more.  Get the recessed areas a bit blacker.  Well...back into my shell for the rest of the day. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014


I'm drawing shapes.  Seems so basic but when it get to the bench I seem to make the same shapes over and over.  Even when I free-hand a shape they seem to be all the same.  So I have been studying some books on Ethnic and Tribal jewelry to get a feel for the different shapes.  Here are some of the drawings.

And of course I'm so mathematical (anal), I can't just freehand these drawings.  I"m using graph paper and making them precise with various drawing templates and tools.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bright and Shiny

All polished up.  I'm loving some of the new textures.  It took me a long time to create them. A number of times I put them down and walked away.  Glad I stuck with it.

I love this one.  Based on a African Barkcloth (see below).
African Barkcloth
Front side of a lentil.

Backside of the same lentil.  I realized that I like designs that are embedded in the the front side....rather than raised.  The embedded designs work better with patina or even things like gilder's paste.  
This was a dual texture.  The top has an embedded design and the bottom a raised design. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

More from the kiln

I had a chance to finish a few things this week.  They came out of the kiln last night.  Still getting amazing colors.  What appears to be tan in the picture is actually green.  I couldn't get my camera to capture that color.

And though I didn't get out to Bead Paradise I did manage to take advantage of their on-line sale (25%off!!).  The sales goes through today.  I bought a strand of quartz, a strand of Tuareg silver and a ring.  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My new textures...

I finally have some pics of my new texture sheets at work.  I have fired a few loads of work and still have a few more.  Funny how the first few loads have reds in them and then the next few loads shifted to a bluish green.  I'll never understand why the colors shift.

The textures came out really nice. Creating a second batch of copper textures sheets with a deeper etch was the right thing to do. Although I went through a lot of copper and totally exhausted a gallon of ferric chloride, this deepth is just perfect for me.  Sometimes with a shallower depth the design gets lost on the piece when you look at it from a distance.

Unfortunately that big beautiful lentil bead blew out at the seams on the top and bottom.  I am not very good at getting a knife edge on lentil beads.  I usually square off the edge.  The edge on this bead came out really sharp but I was concerned with how little contact there was between the two sides.  I should have listened to that inner voice.  The bead is beautiful but blown out.

The other lentil bead in the picture...squared off the edge...came out perfect.  I think from now on, squared edge is how I will make these.

Below is a look at the texture after tumbling.  I always feel so bad tumbling these since it removes 99% of the color.

Next step is to put a black patina on these so the recessed areas really pop.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Saturday Afternoon at the CMA

The Cleveland Museum of Art is always a good idea.  Lou and I went this morning to see the "Fragments of the Invisible" exhibit.  It's a collection of sculptures from the Congo collected by Rene and Odette Delenne. The CMA acquired 34 scupltures in 2010.

We must have been some of the first people to arrive today because we had the entire exhibit to ourselves.  Unfortunately they didn't allow photography but there were a few pics form the CMA website I grabbed.

Female Figure

Songye Male Figure
The Songye sculpture is an amazing power figure.  The face is covered in copper and there are iron pieces embedded in the head as well as a redbuck antelope horn. The abdomen is embedded with various substances that were considered to have magical powers.

Exhibition Catalog
The exhibition catalog was a finalist for Tribal Arts Magazine's book of the year.  On the cover, you can see a close-up of the Songye sculpture.  One eye is made of copper and the other of iron.  There are two human molars embeded in the head...which gives me the creeps...but adds to the mystique of this piece.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Funny last Saturday... I felt terrible with a cold but I needed something to do so I worked in the studio.  Played with some bronze.  I had etched up all that copper and I wanted to see what the designs were going to look like.  I also worked with some molds.

The good...the molds came out nicely.  But molds usually do.  I've been using the actual object that I molded to give the backside of the piece a mirror image design.

This came from a mold of an African gold weight.  This is the front side.

Back.  I like that it's not perfect.  And is has my fingerprints on it. 

Another gold weight mold

The one on the right shows the back side.

This came from a mold I made in a Holly Gage class.  This is from an ancient coin.  It's the head of Apollo.
The bad....The copper I etched looks really great but in my rush to etch all the sheets, I didn't etch them as deep as I wanted. They etched about the depth of a tear-away...which is OK but I was going for just a little bit of a deeper etch.

The ugly....well..I love the shape, love the texture and love the faux rivets.  But....the texture is too shallow and some of the faux rivets fell off.  I am going to try to attach and refire them.  If that doesn't work I will drill out the spots and add real rivets...maybe with some screws to make it different.

Well...back to the drawing board.  I am going to etch new sheets so I can get a deeper texture.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bead and Button Registration Opens Tomorrow!!!

Cristina Leonard and I are happy to be teaching classes together again at the 2014 Bead & Button Show! We will be offering 6 metalsmithing and metal clay classes.  Below are the pictures of our classes.  We guarantee you will gain new skills and techniques and have a great time doing it!!

Hot Forged, Twisted Bronze Bracelet ‪#‎B141347
Bronze Metal Clay Pendant Necklace ‪#‎B141445‬ 
Carved Wood and Fine Silver Pendant and Earrings ‪#‎B141568

Metal Clay Embellished Bracelet ‪#‎B141553‬ 
Mixed Metal Layered Acid Etch Earrings ‪#‎B141551‬ 
Metal Clay Tube Bead Bracelet ‪#‎B141351‬

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sorting the Bead Stash....

Spring is never the time I clean the studio.  January is usually the time this works best.  There are no shows and all the holiday obligations are over.  I've had this very large basket of beads in the studio.  Over the past year, every time I bought something it went into the basket.

Today I emptied it out on the floor.  Ben was impressed.  You can see it in his eyes. This pile is 5" deep in the center.

So I started to sort them out by color.  I hang the beads on hooks on the wall above my assembly bench.  I decided....I need more hooks!!
Sophie decided to hide in the corner while I was going this.
Browns, blacks, wood, ceramic, bone
I still have greens, blues, roman glass, oranges/reds to sort through.  I'm really going to need more hooks. 

Annual Review

I've had a raging cold the last couple days and no desire to do anything a little contemplation is perfect right now.  I found a website called Marketing Creativity written by Lisa Jacobs.  She has a 7 day, step-by-step process for reviewing 2013 and planning for 2014.  Just thought I would share the website.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

What is it about New Year's....

I seem to always get sick.  I had 10 days off and luckily it was just in the last two days that I got the crud...headache, sinus pressure, sore throat, stiff neck and my voice is all squeaky.  I did go to work today but left early to avoid the grid locked traffic that always occurs on bad weather days.

The snow was so deep it buried the Baby Jesus...only the cow made it out of the snow drift.  Oh the humanity!!

Called Mom and she demanded that I take some aspirin and go to bed immediately.  Seriously....she said "Listen to your Mother".  That was at 6pm.  I haven't made it to bed yet.  Sorry Mom.