Thursday, October 30, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - You Tube / Halloween Edition

Boy, we just about had the very best time ever at the Trunk Show yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who dropped by.  And we're gonna do it again in January (just in time for Valentines Day), so stay tuned for ongoing developments.

I'm just gonna copy what I just wrote for the Etsy MetalClay team blog.  Instead of the usual Weekend Eye Candy, we're celebrating the holiday with a little fun, video alternative.

Giving oneself a project that will take a whole year to complete is a daunting idea, but the creativity that ensued for Noah Scalin makes me want to take it on! The Skull A - Day project is inspiring in and of itself.  Can you think of a single design that you could exploit, explore and expand on? Every single day? For a YEAR? Sure gets my wheels spinning.  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Etsy MetalClay Team is having a trunk show!

1. Returning Home Fine Silver Necklace, 2. Bronzclay Leaf Earrings, 3. Blossoms_Dark_Sm, 4. Chinese lantern 2, 5. peony pin, 6. Spiral, 7. In safety's keeping, 8. spiral, 9. vintage garden in bronze earrings, 10. polkapin             Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Today, Thursday October 30 at 4:00 Pacific / 7:00 Eastern in the Treehouse! Just go to Etsy, click on Community and then Virtual Labs. Then enter the Treehouse and enjoy the fun! The ten members whose work is pictured above are all participating, each showing 3 gorgeous items from their shops.

There will be pop quiz's and door prizes and much throwing of cupcakes and kisses.

Although I'm not doing the show myself, I am having a 24 hour sale in my shop to celebrate our very first Trunk Show! Please go and take a look. My sale will start on Thursday morning and end Friday morning. And as a special treat for all my loyal readers, I'll drop a little somethin' special in with your purchase if you type "Born In A Trunk" in the comments box.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Welcome Home

I got home from a full weekend of teaching to discover that my Goddess Pendant had been in a Treasury that made the Front Page of Etsy, and that I had sold a pearl lariat! What a nice surprise. Many thanks to Marta Sanchez aka Masaoms for including me in her beautiful Treasury. These are a few of the lovely pieces that I long for in Marta's shop.


Flor De Lotus

Geb Gold

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - Undiscovered

These are all metal clay jewel-ers who have posted their work on Flickr. I really wanted to find eye popping work from artist's I haven't been familiar with before. It took me over two and a half hours to find these.

Not that there weren't lots of photos to choose from, but good work combined with good photography was really scarce. I searched under "metal clay jewelry"; "PMC"; "fine silver jewelry"; and "ACS" (there were only four pages tagged ACS). I'm really surprised how difficult it was.

This is a testament to just how important it is to take the best photos you can and tag them correctly if you want folks to see your work.

Luckily, I think I found some really great pieces to share with you. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woo Hoo!

I just found out that three images of my beads will be in Barbara Becker Simon's new book! I'm the laziest person on earth, and don't usually submit photos for publications that have deadlines - but this time I got my rear in gear and it paid off!  I'm really excited.  You better all go out and buy it now.  Or in April when it hits the stores.  :- D

Kaizen Queen

Did it!  A ravaged assemblage from a discarded soldering attempt went from this...

To this....

I like it!  And I'll be teaching it at the PMCC Artist's Retreat at Arrowmont on April 28. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adopting Kaizen

My desk this morning

I read a post yesterday by Amy Crawley and in it (near the end of the post) she mentioned the Japanese philosophy of "Kaizen". Making small changes or improvements on a regular basis. I love this idea. And I think adopting and adapting it to fit my life would work wonders. 

Green bits, parts of class demos, pieces of abandoned work

In my jewelry making I often get stuck when looking at the big picture.  The end product. As you can see by all the bits and pieces I hold on to forever in little trays.  Bits and pieces just waiting to become... something.  Anything.

Ancient fired and polished treasures - forgotten and forlorn

So I've decided that I need to start giving my bits and pieces new life. It's my one a day challenge to myself. Each day, I'll find some time to take one item and move it to the next step. Take an unfinished piece of greenware, complete and fire it. Or take a fired bit and make a piece of jewelry. Lord knows I have enough to keep me occupied for a good long while.

And on another note... I fired the first batch of student produced bronze last night.  Huzzah! It all came out beautifully.  Not colorful, but sintered, which is the important thing. And can you see the pencil mark on the pendant below? We marked the greenware at the center to know where to drill hanging holes and darned if they weren't still there when I pulled them out of the kiln! Graphite is carbon based isn't it? So of course, if it was buried in carbon it wouldn't be burned away. Fancy that! Another fascinating new discovery about bronze clay firing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Just One of Those Days

This is how I feel today.  Like I wanna curl up, get cozy and sleep the day away.  But there's too much to do. Too many people counting on me to take care of business. Too many errands to run.

Some days are just too too.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New Inspiration

When Barbara Becker Simon was in L.A. a little while back to teach a workshop, she shared one of the books she used to get inspiration for textures.  "Art Forms in Nature" by Ernst Haekel gives a wonderous look into the microscopic world of all kinds of organisms.

I was so mesmerized by some of the images, that I was compelled to create a tiny creature called a Diatom.  Actually one of that species.

I've listed him in my Etsy shop today and invite you to go take a look.  I think it's really lovely and may be inspired to design a whole new line of tiny creatures.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - Spotlight on France

Angela Crispin is an amazing artist. She's one of the most inventive and creative metal clay jewel-ers that I know. She loves adding interesting materials to her designs like Faux Bone™, Copper, Acryllic and Polymer clay. And that ring in the top left corner used a soda can's pull tab and faux grass from the craft store! Clever, clever.

Read more about her creative life here. And have a lovely weekend making some amzaing work of your own.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where World's Collide...

{the tail moves :) }

Huzzah to the global community! I think you know I belong to Flickr. And for those of you who might also inhabit that cyber space, you know that friendships can be formed there. Sometimes good friendships.

Not long ago, some of my own Flickr contacts - who seem like friends to me - had a discussion about a red Italian horn charm and what it meant. Remember the ones made out of coral in the 70's and 80's that were so popular? The original form was actually made from dyed horn and is called a Corno. Well, they all decided it might be fun to join in a world wide challenge. They would each create a unique interpretation of the horn, post the results on the same day and eventually list them in their Etsy shops. Then two other artists, who I'm not familiar with, also decided to join in the fun.

So much beauty. I want each one equally. Amazing imaginations, workmanship, creativity, design. I'm so impressed with each artist. And now Etsy has written an article in Storque about the project. You can see all of the projects in one place on Flickr or visit each shop to read descriptions.

What a great idea. One theme, many artists, a stunning array of designs - joined by the common thread of mutual admiration.  It *is* a brave new world to be sure. One that this old fogey is not only learning to accept, but thrive in.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How to Fake a Bad Photo...

I apologize in advance for the photos I'm posting.  I finally finished the syringe filigree project that I demoed in my Level One class last month and wanted to show it off and explain what a fiddly thing I turned it into. But then I was too lazy to set up the photo tent and lights, so I just used late afternoon apartment light augmented with an Ott light.  This usually works relatively well for me. But this little pendant doesn't have any patina on it and it's really difficult to photograph silver if you're a professional.  If you're a lazy amateur... well, you should just forget about it. Thank goodness for easy photo editing software. I just tuned it up in IPhoto.  It's still too hot though. Fooey.

The project in question requires the student to make a pair of earrings or a pendant using only Syringe type metal clay.  The outside line of mine uses a single extrusion of clay with the tip removed. The inner veins were created with three lines of clay, laying one on top of the other using the pink tip, reinforced with two applications of slip.

I wanted to throw in a faceted stone setting using syringe, so pre-made the two marquis settings, reinforced with one layer of slip, let them dry and then "glued" them in place with more slip and syringe.  Then there was nowhere to drill a hanging hole, so I also attached a tiny bail I had laying around.  That's where the fiddly comes in. As I was doing a preliminary sanding the bail/stones half cracked off.  Dang!  So I rejoined them with slip, placed a decorative "band-aid" over the break and held my breath.

I had to smooth and fill and reinforce and sand and back fill - ad nauseum.  I can never just let anything be.  Learn to love the "organic" nature of metal clay. Heaven forfend!

But attention to detail really pays off.  I think it turned out beautifully.  A perfect example of the project as it was intended. And it really deserves a better series of pictures.  Which I'll take... next week?  Soon at any rate. 

I also spent the morning updating my Certification Class blog. Take a look and tell me what you think.  The next Level One isn't scheduled until January, so no fear of pressure selling tactics. ;- )

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

You Tube Tuesdays

Steve Ford and David Forlano met in Italy two decades ago during  a "year abroad" program in art school.  They were immediately intrigued with the differences in their artistic styles and began swapping unfinished work, each adding something of himself to the other's designs. Eventually this led to a professional partnership which has developed into the most elegant line of polymer clay jewelry that I've ever seen.  Their use of color, texture and form is unparalleled - breaking common shapes apart and re assembling them in unique and often whimsical ways.

This video is a fascinating peek behind the scenes, allowing a first hand glimpse into the running of a successful, artistic studio.

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Logo For My Life

Symbiosis - A close relationship between two (or more) species.

Such as the relationship between a woman's foot and say... Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals for instance. I'm sure that's what Iris Schwarz had in mind when she created this wonderful illustration.  

But when I saw it in her shop my mind went straight to the near-year long relationship between my own poor foot and the myriad wrappings and bindings and sutures and hardware that have enveloped and invaded it in a kind of healing cooperative, working in tandem to restore it to a natural state of being. 

It had never occurred to me before that my life could be so well defined by a single image, but I resonated so completely with the tortured  metatarsals of "Symbiosis" that not only did I decide on the spot to buy it, but I'm adopting it as the logo of my life.  For this year at least.

I like the idea of creating a logo for your life. Inviting a single image to stand as a symbolic affirmation, directive, or goal. Or in my case to act as a reminder not to take life's little bumps and detours too seriously.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy - A Tale of 2 Roses

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

I thought it would be really interesting to look at a body of work from a single design studio. 2 Roses is manned (and womanned) by husband and wife team John and Corliss Rose from Southern California. For the most part John is the lapidary and Corliss is the metalsmith who loves polymer clay, but everybody works on everything and the resulting collaboration is astounding.

Exacting workmanship and a serious sense of humor is evident in every piece (does anyone else think "On Top of Vesuvius" looks like a Borg battleship?), and the found objects they choose to employ in their designs are a delightful addition to the mix.

You can see a whole portfolio of their work by wading through their Flickr photostream and read a great profile about them in the Orchid Gallery.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thanks Giving

"Silver Lining" by CarleyB

I've had my share of challenges in the past two years.  And I seem to enjoy wallowing in them and garnering sympathy just a little bit.  I guess to a certain extent that's normal. (isn't it?)

This afternoon I'm faced with the realization that when other folks say of a horrible challenge in their life "I'm not glad for it to have happened, but I wouldn't change a thing", they're absolutely right.  I never thought they were.  I thought it was their inner Pollyanna rising to the surface to please what ever interviewer was trying to elicit a response.  But it's true.

If not for my accident, I wouldn't have been house bound and immobile for three months.  If not for the fact that I live alone, I wouldn't have had to find ways to entertain myself during that time. If not for the fact that I had absolutely no energy to do anything but stare at the computer for hours on end, I wouldn't have re designed my website.  And if I hadn't finished that task (which had been on the list for two years), I wouldn't have started this blog. And if I hadn't have started this blog, I wouldn't have a list of all the lovely things that have happened this year.  I would have allowed my faulty memory to hide them in a dark corner, and my 'woe is me' tendencies to dwell on the sad and troublesome aspects of my recovery.

But it did happen and I did start this blog and today I get to add another lovely happenstance to it's cache.

I went to my mail drop and there, waiting for me, was a white envelope containing this year's PMC Guild Annual. And I'm in it. For the second year in a row. On pages 91 and 112. And many of my friends are in it too. Chris Brooks and dona Di Carlo are members of my local Guild chapter and Marsha Thomas, another member of the chapter, shot all of our photos. Catherine Witherell and Jennifer Smith-Righter are members of the Etsy MetalClay Team, and Deb Fitz is a former member. Marco Fleiseri and Tonya Davidson are members of the blog carnival that hits town every month. Donna Penoyer is a lovely friend whom I only get to see every two years, but now I own one of her whistles and can think of her every time I look at or wear it. Maggie Bergman was one of the jurors and is one of my very best friends, the entire Pacific Ocean notwithstanding.  And Holly Gage, another juror, is a great friend and published yet another photo of my work in her calender for the second year.

Dante's Beloved

In reading back over just the posts from this summer, I have to realize how lucky I am.  So I want to thank the doggone Smith Little Torch gas lines for entangling my right foot.  And the blogosphere, which I had resisted ever since I knew it existed, for seducing me into not only keeping up this blog, but learning from it and enjoying it.

Sconce Pin #1

And thanks to you too.  Without you to read my scribblings and free associations, it wouldn't still exist and I might be a sad, depressed woman who doesn't have a reason to focus on the silver linings in her life.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm Going Back To The Future

Thanks to everyone who left comments and shared their ideas of which project I should start with for my foray into the Master's Registry. I've chosen to begin with what they're calling the Stencil Process. I call it Slip Printing and used the technique in a bronze piece I experimented with recently.

The challenging part of this project for the Registry is that I have to make my own template. There are lots of great stencils in the market place, most designed to be used with paint -  I found some great ones by Donna Dewberry.  But making my own will entail using a jeweler's saw to pierce a unique design in thin brass or copper sheet.

The Registry requires participants to complete 10 projects before sending them in for judging. The artist can take all the time they want to assemble the set they're working on, and there are no rules regarding an order in which to begin. 

With 50 separate projects divided into 5 credentialed levels, I also decided that I wanted each collection to have a cohesive look, so I'm going to base my first ten designs on images inspired by the art, architecture and gardens of the Getty Villa museum in Malibu (properly the Pacific Palisades), California.  

I'm really excited about this notion.  I get to stay within my comfort zone of ancient, historical design themes - while at the same time being inspired by my research and the resulting interpretation of the amazing 2000+ year old artifacts.  I have some books in my collection published by the Getty, but since I'm so very lucky to have the Villa in my own backyard, I'm going to make an appointment (parking is ridiculous) and visit it in person as soon as I'm able. With a camera and sketch pad in tow of course.

If there's anyone in the area who'd like to join me, I'd love the company.  The Villa is a wonderful artwork in and of itself.  The museum building re creates an actual villa located in Herculaneum called Villa of the Papyri.  The gardens are planted with flora and decorated with statuesque fauna that would have been natural to the ancient city. And there's a lovely, peaceful restaurant/cafeteria that overlooks the grounds and classical outdoor theater. I'm sure I'll be making many trips to complete my research. It's going to be a glorious fall.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Weekend Eye Candy

To see these pieces in all their glory and visit their makers, click this.

These are all fabricated in the traditional hard metals way, but most are totally do-able in metal clay.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Will the Fame Ever Stop?

Y'all know I sell my wares on Etsy.  And I think you know that at one time I applied for membership in a team called Etsy Metal. To make a long story short, I was declined (they're primarily fabricators and I'm primarily metal clay and they didn't think I'd fit) so I decided to make my own team. Nyah. So there!

I started Etsy MetalClay and lots of wonderful folks joined and we're putting together a wonderful team.  Yay! Well, it seems as if the higher ups at Etsy thought that we were cool too so they just wrote an article about us in The Storque, Etsy's own zine!!

Perfect timing.  We've just started up a blog, Liz Hall made us a lovely web site, she and Jen Kahn collaborated on our great logo and we're planning a Valentines Day Trunk show for next year.  Please visit all of our links and if you'd like to be considered for our juried team, convo me at Etsy.

Where you can shop for all things handmade with metal clay!