Sunday, September 26, 2010

Colors from the Kiln

I'm always amazed....every the colors on the bronze when it's fired in coal based carbon. 

There were two layers in the kiln pan.  The tan pieces were on the top layer.  The best colors always come from the bottom layer.  These pieces are thick too.  I wasn't rolling them out.  Just making balls or snakes and pressing them in between the tablet and the mold.  Varing the pressure gave different thicknesses and sizes. 

Here's a pic that shows the bas-relief and sunken relief of the different sides of these pieces.  I'm loving these.  I have to admit as I was making these I thought I was having a genius moment .... LOL .... well ... maybe not genius ... but at least a moment.  A good moment!!!

I have more pieces in the studio to prep.  These were just the pieces I got into the kiln before I went to bed last night.


Busy day today.  Three loads of laundry, went to the computer store, the office supply store, the drug store, the auto parts store, the grocery store, made jambalaya and blew through 400 grams of bronze clay. 

I needed some quick things to make for the show coming up in November so I pulled out the coins molds for pendants and made more connectors.  This time instead of carving, I pressed the connectors between a cuniform tablet and a mold of the tablet.  The effect was cuniform in bas-relief on one side and sunken relief on the other. 

I started to call them Cinna-Sticks.  Only you wouldn't want to eat these...but I might lick them once they are out of the kiln.  You know how I am with shiny things...they're all lickable to me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Necklace

Pendant made from my new set of tear-aways.  The hand drawn design was based on some mudcloth that I have.

The chain is 30" long and includes blue glass from Africa, a coin from the Belgian Congo, white bone discs from African, one of my new connectors, and three greenish brass beads guessed it...Africa. 

Hmmmm....there's a pattern here. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: Jewelry Design Challenge

Jewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects (Lark Jewelry Books)

Actually the full title is Jewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects.  A first pass through this book and I am in heaven.  This is my type of jewelry.  Mixed metals with that a funky, hip edge to them.  When I looked down the list of artists.....some of my favorties just jumped out.  Thomas Mann (whose work I have loved for about 20 years), the charming Robert Dancik, Sara Westermark, Bob Ebendorf, the wonderful Mary Hettsmansperger, Deb Karash, Tim McCreight, Eric Silva, Joanna Goldberg, Sara Hood, and these are just the ones I recognized.  There are 20 more great artists (who I plan to become more familiar with).

The artists were allowed to add one wild card material to the piece which really allowed their individual styles to come through.  And each artists has included a sidebar on what their thinking was in making their piece.  This has definetely become one of my favorite books....if just for the eye candy.  But it is so much more...instructions and even some templates in the back. 

P.S.  Amazon has it right now for $14.93.  That's a steal for this book!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Teachers....are like a box of chocolates

When you take a class with someone new, its just like Forest Gump and his never know what you're gonna get.  Well I'm happy to say Brandon is a delight!!  He's young, full of energy and loves to teach.  I got to class early and had a chance to talk with him one-on-one for about 30 minutes.  He's been making jewelry since he was 12....which means he has roughly 20 years of experience.  He's also a tool junky and makes a lot of his own.  We all gathered round as he took us on a tour of his tool box. 

It's 8 women and I already know 6 of them.  This is gonna be fun!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010


I was looking at Jatayu the other day....and by the way...if you haven't seen Connie Fox's site you need to go there.  You can spend days looking around her website. Anyway, I was looking at a few of the tutorials for wire connectors and ran across what I call dog bones.  A double eye-pin with coils.

I've made them before and was contemplating making some in bronze wire but then had an ah-ha moment and decided to make connectors in bronze clay.  And once they dried...of course they needed to be carved.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

More from the kiln...

More pendants and small connectors

This was created using the kaleidoscope function in Photoshop.  It looks Inuit to me.

The tree of life on the upper right.  If you scroll down through the blog you will see the picture this came from.  Doing all this research on Africa it only made sense to do one of those amazing trees.  The pendant on the bottom left should give you a good laugh.  The Chinese characters are backwards.  I screwed up the tear-away.  Lou gave me a card last year that had these symbols on it....partner, lover, friend.  I really like it so I made it into a pendant. That one will go into the scrap pile.

Never underestimate a cat......

Sophie....on one of my shelves in the studio.  She saw it and started whining.  I knew she wanted to get up there.  So I took down some of the baskets to make room for her.  She need room because she had a pretty big jump to make......


Words to live by...


Thursday, September 9, 2010


Medallions with a tribal feel.  Ready to be made into pendants.  I think this weekend I will do some assembly.  Those pieces I picked up from Bead Paradise are calling my name...insisting they be be mixed in with my bronze. 

I'm still thinking I want to make some copper etchings to make texture that has just a smidge more tooth.  So I ordered Sherri Haab's new etching system.  When it comes I just need to find the time to use it.

Pics of Ben and Sophie....just because :)


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Pendants

After a quick polish, here are some of the pendants.  I still have to clean them up a bit around the faux riviets.  I have another batch in the kiln right now.  I won't get to see them until tomorrow night.

The pendant on the left still needs some work.  I drilled three small holes down the side so I can rivet on some washers....mixing ancient and industrial.  As I drive to work each day I go through an old industrial section of Cleveland.  There are sections of elevated rail for trains to bring in raw materials.  I am constantly looking at the riveting on the supports.  I really want to get out and take some pics but it's not a good neighborhood.  The pendant on the upper right will be used as a base for a glass bead. 

All in all the tear-aways came out nicely.  I do think I want to try etching some copper plates with these designs so I will have something with a slightly deeper cut. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Ready for the kiln

One batch ready for the kiln.  I have at least one, maybe two others.  All in all it was a productive weekend.  Since we didn't have plans the entire weekend was spent doing whatever I wanted.  I love weekends like this.  And it was a long weekend which made it even better!!! 

Friday I finished up some of my tear-aways, Saturday I cut out the basic shapes I needed, and today I put things together.  I was sanding and using slip all day long.....the dreaded "S" words.  With bronze you might be able to get away without sanding but if you want to join two pieces you have to use slip.  "Squidging" them together doesn't work...there's another "S" word.

As soon as the dryer gets done running I will load up the kiln.  They are on the same curcuit so I don't run them at the same time.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Possibly the best bead store ever!!

And it's right in my back yard...well almost...just a 30 minute drive to Bead Paradise in Oberlin.  I've been to a lot of bead stores and this is one of the best I've seen.  Ruth, the owner, has a wonderful selection of beads...all kinds of beads...from all over the world.  When I first started making jewlery, I started like most people...stringing beads.  This shop was always a favorite stop for the huge variety of seed beads and along with vintage Czech, German and Japanese glass beads. 

Now that I'm working in metals and with my interest in ancient remains a favorite.  Cris and I make the booth at B&B a "must" every year.  So today Lou went golfing and I went bead shopping.

I wasn't in the door more than 5 minutes and I heard a familiar voice....Mary Ann and her husband were there.  We were both checking out the clothes....which are another reason to go to Bead Paradise.  The clothes are fabulous!!!  I had my eye on a sweater vest but I bought so many beads I left without it.  I might just have to go back.  It was very cool. are some pics of the beads...tons of beads.  It is heaven!!!  I have, in the past, spent hours here....blissful hours. 

After I had a handful of bead strands, I heard Ruth talking about a new stash of beads that hadn't been put out yet.  So "guess who" started crawling on the floor looking through the beads.  Talk about a kid in a candy store!!!

So here are my treasures... bone, quartz, bronze, brass

A close up of one of strands.  These are really cool.  Check out the second pic....that's a pipe.  Plus all these pieces are separate by African coins.

A strand of bronze beads with a great patina.

Bone beads from Nigeria

Brass beads from the Ivory Coast

And check out the glass beads I picked up.  These are great colors for the bronze.

And the moral of the story....if you are anywhere close to Oberlin, Ohio (just west of Cleveland) have to stop here.  You won't go home empty-handed.