Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Angela Gerhard Edition

I've been exploring enamel finally and an wondering what has taken me so long! And who better to become inspired by than Angela Gerhard! I've been a fan for a long time, and loved her recent article in Art Jewelry magazine, so I wanted to contemplate her technique and discover what particularly attracts me to her work.

Angela's graphic shapes fascinate me. The color blocks, the amoebic forms, the scraffito'd interruptions. I'm quite enamored of the imperfect circumferences she pierces, the more elegant bezel set 'cabochons", her etched; matte finish surface textures and the seeming simplicity of her designs. This quality of enameling is anything but easy.

I'd be honored to take a master class from Ms. Gerhard, although I know I don't have the skill set yet. And of course quite aside from the fact that she's said that she doesn't teach. Shame. I think it's time for another workshop over at Creative Arts Group.

Take a little walk over to Michelle and Paige's sites to see what eye candy they've come up with. Christine is winging her way to Philadelphia for the Buyer's Market. Wish her luck!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reuse, Recycle, Renew!

I've been making things with metal clay for about 10 years now. And I've taken my share of metalsmithing classes too. Yet I'm still not a world class jewelry maker! Imagine that. In all of that making, experimenting, designing and fabricating there are also a lot of failures, scraps, uglies and bores. What to do with it all?

Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to pack it all up and send it off to Rio Grande for refining. Rio will pay you good money for fine silver, sterling silver, argentium silver and gold "clean" scrap. "Dirty" scrap includes clay infused sanding sticks, baby wipes, stuff vacuumed up from the floor etc. There's a company called Hoover and Strong that will help you with that kind of refining. Don't turn your nose up like that! You can make a bundle from all those little "no see-um's" of precious metal. 

Want the dough? Okay, you'll get a pretty good price for it. But ask for goods instead and you get a credit worth more than the cash refund. For my baggie of junk I got a couple hundred dollars worth of wire, tools, supplies, to say nothing of the joy of not having to count every penny only to wind up having to put something back. Which is my usual modus operandi.

So look through your reject pile with a careful eye to see which pieces might be reused and repurposed into a different design than the one you originally had in mind. Then bite the bullet, fill out the proper forms and send off that forlorn silver to join the melting pot!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Proud Mama

Last Wednesday was the last meeting of my 8 week class at Otis in Los Angeles. I had such a great group this semester and even though I'm kind of thrilled that I don't have to go out tonight, I'm going to miss them. They were all sooo creative, self starters, enthusiastic, funny and endearing.

I scheduled really ambitious projects including bezel setting un fireable cabochons with fine silver milled bezel wire and a hinged pendant. Those two projects were completed on the last night, so unfortunately I don't have photos of them, but here are just a smattering of the wonderful work my babies created.

Tone Sarian - Class Project, Hinged Pendant 

Terri Godat - Personal Project

Terri Godat - Class Project, Ceramic Setting 

Lori Indgin - Class Project, Box Bead with Resin 

Renée Sacks-Day - Personal Project

Judy Peck - Personal Project, Dog Tag

Eric Ho - Personal Project

Lori Indgin - Class Project, Ceramic setting

Birgitta Kastenbaum - Adaptation of Class Project, Pillow Bead

The next session starts in September. I have to think of some really great projects to do. I know they'll be able to master anything I put in their path. I'd love to have you join us at Otis Continuing Ed in the fall!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Glamor Schlamor

It looks like only Victoria and I got it together for the One a Week challenge. Remember it was based on Season 1 Episode 5 from Oz. 1960's movie star glamor.
7.27.09-PRJC- by experimetal
Victoria isn't into the whole glamor thing and decided to make another kind of 1960's statement. Look at that beautiful enamel work!

And I thought I'd try my hand at a circle pin. My Mom used to wear them all the time and *I* thought they were very glamorous.

Circle Pin#1

I like the form I made, but when I tried to cover the whole thing with Keum Boo foil, my design took a left turn. I wanted to experiment as a prep for one of the Master's Registry tasks, but I know now, I'll make something much more simple. There are a million layers of foil on this and I still couldn't achieve full coverage. Blast! But I love it in gold, so maybe I'll have the next version vermeiled.

And when I tried to attach the brooch to a sweater, the dang pin mechanism broke! Too long on the heat? So I'm going to saw off the pin, put the circle back in the kiln and see if the gold will sink into the silver. Then maybe some enamel. Paige gave me a few really pretty colors to try.

Next week's challenge is based on Season 5, Episode 9 - "What's Your Sign?". We'll use any sign of the zodiac for our inspiration and the interpretation is up to us. Wonder what I'll come up with this time. Wanna join us?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Elvira H. Mateu Edition

I've been thinking about "bodies of work" and developing both a line and a personal look for my jewelry lately. I definitely think I have a point of view, but not sure that my pieces, laid out on a table, present a cohesive theme. So I've been looking at the work of artists that I admire and trying to pinpoint just *exactly* what it is that attracts me.

I love Elvira Mateu's jewelry. I'd own almost every piece she designs if my wallet would let me. I love the organic nature of her work. Her pieces are both whimsical and sophisticated. The natural textures that she utilizes are beautiful, the matte finish has an industrial bent that I love, the stark black and white patina's are deceivingly simple and raw, the unfinished edges are seductive and her vision is clearly understandable.

I see a great argument for a university education in the arts. It offers a broad background in materials and technique. The ability to experiment and play while learning your craft is a gift I'd love to have been able to take advantage of. The sheer amount of time spent creating and the challenges presented by the teacher's assignments with the luxury of having someone to answer questions the minute you need an answer sounds heaven sent.

This is what I was hoping the Master's Registry would do for me. But I haven't even started it yet. And when did I write the post asking for suggestions? How many months has it been since I signed up for it?

Well, I'm starting my prep right now. By beginning a series of Eye Candy's featuring some of my Flickr contacts. I hope you enjoy the journey with me. And if you have thoughts about the artists I present, I hope you'll share them here.

Welcome to the Carnival...

Twilight Swings - 8x8 - Fine Art Photograph
Image via Sherry Conley

Step right this way... Each month a group of jewelry artists use their blogs to get together online and answer the same question - each in their own way. The topic this month is:

Deadlines - How do you feel about them? Are they a necessary evil or something you left behind in school?

Ha! Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a putter offer, a delayer, a master of procrastination. It's not that I actively admire Scarlet and Whimpy, but really... Why on earth should I do something now that I can just as easily do next Tuesday? In fact I started to write this blog and then felt the need to check my e-mail. Procrastinator! J'accuse!

(Just in case you'd like a little distraction in the middle of my post)

Deadlines are the bane of my existence. Do they help? If the event is important enough to me they do. If I'm ambivalent, a deadline is pretty much a moot point. 

I try making to do lists. On paper. I like the action of crossing things out. I try making them on the computer. Tonya Davidson told me about iCal. Never knew it existed and it's been right there in my Mac's hard drive all the time. I like that too. I can enter events for the whole day, in 15 minute increments. Then I print it out 'cos, well, I like physically crossing things out. ;-)

Do *they* help? Sometimes. The things I have to do on a daily basis seem to get done. Mostly. But things I put on a long term list like submissions, taxes, paying my car registration, making jewelry for the expensive show I signed on to do in November... those tasks get buried in the morass that is my brain.

I've had a cute little saying about myself that I've used since college days. "My Hippo is Off Campus". Meaning that I've forgotten something. The hippocampus is one of the areas of the brain that stores memory. And of course the older I get, the further that damn Hippo wanders.

So, back to deadlines. Yes. I need them. I need the stress of *having* to get something handled. But I also need the added stress of *right now!* for the deadline to be effective. I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I could take action in a timely manner. How much more efficient would I be? How much more money could I make? How much more fame could I garner? How much more happiness could I feel? But then my evil twin Scarlet rears her seductive head and says to me... " Oh, too much to do. Let's think about that tomorrow"

Now why don't you wander over to the other carney' s blogs to see what puts them off? Now. Do it now. Or later....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Color Me Wowed!

I'm super happy with all the pieces for my first curated edition of the PR challenge!
I really love the intricate mosaic texture from Nina Gibson: "I perforated a piece of sterling silver sheet with many tiny holes, made an interesting bail to turn it into a pendant, and then sewed tiny colorful seed beads into the holes. The colors gradate from orange to pink with shades of red in between. There's something great about the texture that seed beads make when sewn snugly together that I've always loved, and I've wanted to use seed beads on metal like a cross stitch pattern for a while, so here it is!"

And just look at all the fabulousness from Victoria Takahashi. "This piece didn't start out to be this way!? It is a collage of 100 "ORANGE" items i found in my house. I hope as a whole the accumulation of color would make the "Blazing Color" that was to fulfill this weeks challenge. Think about it, "100" things in your house...."

I chose to continue with my Linenfold experiments and add some color with enamels. My first time enameling in the Ultra Lite kiln, which I love! Takes longer for the enamel to melt, but this is good for me. I could actually double task - make a sandwich or check e-mail and be sure that the glass wasn't burning.

I was a little heavy handed with the sifting, considering I didn't actually use a sifter (forgot to buy one) and just poured from the bottle. So I had to drag out the diamond burrs and grind a little and re fire, but I liked the practice of fixing mistakes. I also sanded the enamel with 320 wet dry sandpaper so it would look a little less shiny and a bit more like satin. I think I'll get some etching creme and see what that does to the surface next time.

Next week's challenge is fashioned after Season 1 Episode 5 from Australia! the PR designers were grouped into teams of three to come up with a matching line of work based on Loreal Paris' Spring Collection called "Angelic". The inspiration board for Angelic referenced 1960's European movie star glamour. This is such an amazing decade - everything from the grace and elegance of the Camelot era to the wild and experimental times of the mods and hippies. I just know there will be some out of this world designs materializing here next week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy -Handmade Edition

All these lovelies were found on Flickr searching for "silver handmade jewelry" in Everyone's Uploads.

Have a great weekend. I have so much to do. I'll be helping my friend Christine of Chocolate and Steel with her very first wholesale show at the L.A. Gift show at the Convention Center today, then tomorrow I'll be dropping in on Patrick Kusek's copper/bronze class and I have a class of my own to teach on Sunday! Whoosh. Busy girl. ;- )

Why don't you go visit Michelle and Paige to see what they've discovered?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

En Garde!

Finally finished my challenge project and took pics. Woo Hoo! I was inspired by a wacky hairdo of my own that I sported in the 80's. Heaven help us. I also had in mind a fire that was blazing near the Getty museum. We've had such dry winters that the hills of LA are being threatened more than ever. If there's no rain after the fire season (isn't it sad that we *have* a fire season), then little green grasses barely get the chance to grow, which means that all that old dried out wood and brush goes up in flames just that much faster.

So's this avante garde enough for you? I hardly consider myself a cutting edge designer and this was realllly a challenge for me to even wrap my imagination around. I decided to think of this project as a prototype so I made this cuff out of polymer clay gilded with copper foil. The "denuded trees" are bits of my palm tree which were blown down in the last wind storm. This idea might actually make an interesting production design. I'll have to let it stew a bit. 

I'm sure that Alisa will get her last post up sometime later this evening or Wednesday, so be sure to check her blog periodically for  pics of all the challenger's work, but aren't these two entries from Nina and Victoria amazing?!  

Project Runway Jewelry Challenge by Nina Gibson DesignsPRJC-EnGarde' (3) by experimetal
          Tiara and Earrings by Nina Gibson              Cuff bracelet by Victoria Takahashi

Remember to tune in next Monday after 6 PST to see the next colorful creations.

OAW -Colour Me Right!

So, the final work of last week's avant garde challenge is yet to be posted. Victoria is the only one to have finished in time. I was feeling punk yesterday and wasn't able to get to it, Rachelle and Alisa aren't done either - hopefully it will be posted by this evening.

But since my curating duties start this week, I'm posting the next theme. It's another one from our sister to the north, Canada! Season 2, Episode 3 to be exact. The designers were put into pairs for this team Challenge with each couple asked to design two outfits. The first was to be a sophisticated day look and the second a dramatic evening look, based on the L'Oréal Paris colour story for Spring 2009.

All of us work in silver and mostly leave it at that, so even though the PR designers worked with a lot of beiges and browns   - I'm thinkin' that for our challenge each design should incorporate Blazing Color! No neutrals - luscious, regal, natural (or not) living color! Whether we choose a daytime or evening look is up to us.

Can't wait till next Monday evening to see what shades we all pull out of the crayon box.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Button Edition

I had so much fun with my button ring that I thought I'd see how other's are using them in jewelry designs. Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Make sure to stop by Michelle's, Paige's and Christine's blogs to see what they collected this weekend.


• The next OAW challenge is based on season 4, episode 8's "En Garde!" The PR designers were teamed up and asked to design an avant garde creation based on their model's wacky hairstyles. Then in the middle of their prep, they're told they also have to design a ready to wear version of their confection. For our jewelry challenge we won't team up, and we don't *have* to do both looks, but we can if we want/have time/ are inspired. Can't wait to see what develops. Mwah ha ha.
Alisa is really busy at the moment and it looks like I'll be hosting the challenges until the end of September at which time I think we'll break for winter (and the holiday show/sale season). I'm really excited about this. The host job will be the biggest challenge for me considering I don't have cable and have never seen the show on TV, only on You Tube! So if you have any favorite episodes, please send me the season, episode # and title and I'll add them to the list. Thanks Alisa, for bringing the challenge back this season and doing such a great job of finding fun shows to emulate!

three leaves necklace
Alisa's Three Leaves Necklace

The other regular players are: Mike and Mary (really Mike and Rachele), Victoria and Nina (oh, and of course myself). I think we may occasionally have some guest players too and you're invited to challenge yourselves along with us. 

• I still have 3 spaces in my Level One Certification class on July 25, 26. The class will take place in Venice and what could be better than the beach and metal clay play! Won't you come and join us?

• My chapter of the PMC Guild has a new page up on which, aherm, I wrote. Check it out!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


And it looks so good! Here's the radical makeover of a ring that's been gathering dust on top of my bench for months and months.

It never did work exactly. The uneven angle of the top isn't dramatic enough to make a statement, the arch thingie was a piece of a broken toggle that fit perfectly, but looks horrible in silver. I was thinking of threading some felt through it, or adding beads and baubles, but nothing ever felt right. So I cut it off! I had a few ideas on how to re make the ring and you can see them here if you're so inclined. I'm really happy with how it turned out.

Shall I put it on Etsy or hold onto it until the November Contemporary Crafts Market? And speaking of the CCM, I just found out that my Woodland Altar will be used for the promotional postcard for the June 2010 show!!! Sooo cool.

I'll be adding links to the other contestants makeovers throughout the day, so keep checking back to see what other lovliness ensued from this challenge.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

OAW - Radical Makeover

This week's OAW challenge is based on Season 2, Episode 9.  The Project Runway designers were asked to make over a fellow contestant to give them a new look. Us jewelry contestants were asked to go through our own jewelry boxes, unfinished projects, piles of scrap etc and breathe new life into them.

So yesterday morning I went into the bathroom cabinet where I've kept boxes and boxes of my Mother's and my old jewelry for too many years to think about. My Mom died in 1978 and I've never been able to donate any of her old gems. I still have some of her clothes hanging in my closet too. "Out of the Closet" (my favorite thrift store) is definitely in their future this year.

Just look at it all!

Disco Days. The brooch and the expandable cuff bracelet are my Moms', but the four glittery bracelets on the left were my own purchase. Yeesh.

More disco loveliness. These are clip on earrings that I even wore to work.

Hippie wannabe. Except it was 1983.

Remember this logo from "Love Story"? I saw it for sale on Etsy a while ago. Wish I remembered what she asked for it.

When I was in 11th grade, I was trying to think of a stage name for my illustrious singing career. Michael Learned from "The Waltons" intrigued me and I was trying to come up with another man's name that would work for a woman. I ran into a secret crush at a department store and told him what I was thinking of and he said "You look more like a Lora Lust to me". Oh be still my beating heart. I actually wore this pin all the time. I also had a "gold and diamond" LUST bracelet. Ah youth.

I'm very pleased to have re-discovered these. My baby bracelet, the earrings my Mother wore when she and Daddy got married (in Las Vegas) and my Dad's dog tag.

But I've decided to work with silver. So here are some pieces that I never finished, odds and ends of scrap and stones and buttons that are catching my eye this morning. The project is due tomorrow, so I'd better get my butt in gear!