Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shout out!

Good morning L.A. (and the rest of the world)!

I'm told that someone tried to sign up for my next Level One Certification class which is on April 10 and 11, but neglected to leave their name or an understandable phone number. It would be such a shame if they missed the class due to such a simple snafu. If it was you, you know who they might be or if you just want to sign up yourself - This is how ya gotta roll!

In other news... Miss D'Ella Cato Fitzgerald is approaching her first birthday! As is her brother Diego Pigletta de Velazquez y Santana (who is camera shy today). Isn't she just the prettiest bench mate a jewelry lovin' gal could have?! She's a tiny little thing though. Only about the size of a 6 month old. Her brother is probably 4 pounds heavier and half again as big as she. Although I don't know for sure 'cos they haven't been to the vet in ages. Thankfully.

They're so different in other ways too. Ella is much more active and a bit smarter I think. She loves to play fetch with a felted ball and jumps high in the air to catch it sometimes. Maybe her father was Chatquille o'Neal. She knows her name (although she doesn't always come when called) and purrs better than any Mazarati ever could.

Diego is a big lumbering boy. He *wants* to chase the flies, but loses interest after about five minutes. He's excellent at lounging though. Descended from Roman Senators I'm sure. He's more the quiet type too. Except for when I'm a little slow at mealtime. Then he's all activity and noise. Isn't that always the way? ;D

We'll be celebrating their birthdays on the 23rd and I'll try to catch a snap of Diego to commemorate the occasion. In the meantime - here's a little remembrance of when they first joined the family. Shot right before they totally devoured that plant. Which I had kept alive for 6 years!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - RAD March Edition

A slightly different format for the eye candy this week. That's 'cos this particular one will be used in a secret project. I think it'll be secret for about another month or so. Fun!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Welcome to the Carnival...

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

"What kind of patina tips and tricks do you use to enhance your work?"

I'm not a color lover! So just about the only time I use Liver of Sulphur is when teaching. Therefore I have very few if any tips to share about that. Tonya has a great post today with an LOS tutorial and Holly Gage has a fabulous long article on her site called Beauty and the Beastly Smell! That said - I've heard (although I have no personal experience) that you can also use Lime Sulphur from the garden store with great results if you don't have access to a jewelry supply near your home or don't want to wait for the mailman to come.

I do however love black patina's. Sometimes I laboriously paint them on in specific areas with a tiny brush and sometimes I get the whole dang thing dark and remove high spots with a Pro Polish Pad to develop an antique look. And I'm not particular about which product I use either. Whatever I can easily get my hands on - I learn to love. All of the black oxidizing liquids are basically the same. They're all hydrochloric acid in a solution that's proprietary to each manufacturer. These products go by names like Black Max, Silver Black, Black Oxidizer, Silver Oxidizer... etc.

If you get any on your clothes, you'll have holes by the third washing (ask me how I know). If you get any in a paper cut you'll run screaming to the nearest water faucet (ask me how I know). If you get any in your eyes, you'll need to do multiple eye washes and wait for the pain to go away. No - I don't know this from my own experience, but a friend on Flickr does (read the caption on the photo). She called poison control who told her that the only thing the ER would do is an eye wash with their super special medical eye wash and some ointment to ease the pain. She's totally fine now, never fear. I never risk any of these nasty occurrences because I do NOT decant the liquid to dip my pieces. I use a cheap brush from the craft store with a plastic handle to brush the patina onto the work. Afterwards I like to rinse in hot water and baking soda to neutralize the acid. In a perfect world that is. I usually just rinse really well in cold water and wash with a little soap.

There are those who think HA (hydrochloric acid) is very dangerous and should be handled only by someone in a HazMat suit. Which may be true for mass production makers and commercial jewelry companies. If your skin is verrrrry sensitive then yes. You may want to wear gloves. You ABSOLUTELY do want to wear eye protection if you dip to protect from splashes, but I'm really careful and in the 10 years I've been using it I've never had a problem. Yes, I suppose it might be cumulative - but ya know - I don't use it all day, every day. I don't patinate thousands of pieces at time. I'm a very small scale user. And perhaps a bit of a daredevil. ;D That said, a look at the MSDS never hurt anyone.

Please be sure to read the other carneys much less frightening thoughts on patinas:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top O' The Mornin' To Ye

Happy Saint Paddy's Day to one and all. It's a beautiful, bright day by the beach and I'm reminded of the last lines of a particularly lovely Irish blessing.

May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.

My joys increased exponentially yesterday. Not only did I totally clean up (straighten up - we won't use the white glove test) my taa, but I got the most wonderful e-mail from Mr. Tim McCreight inviting me to be one of the four jurors for this year's PMC Guild Annual! I'm just much too excited. And honored to be in the company of Barbara Becker Simon, Lisa Cain and Bruce Baker! And it will be the fourth volume to include my work too! In celebration of this stunning news, I'm having a little giveaway. I'm inviting anyone who doesn't already own the first volume of the Annual (can you believe those prices!) to tell me in ten lines or less how metal clay has impacted your life. I'll ask a disinterested party (one of my friends) to choose the best mini essay. Don't worry, you won't be graded. ;D

I'm certainly hoping that some (many) of you are going to submit luscious photos for me to try and choose from! Names of artists aren't attached (I think), so no playing favorites. And that's as it should be isn't it? The book comes out in August - so we'll have a long time to wait unfortunately. But anticipation makes the heart grow fonder. ;D

(That's a porcelain doll leg on the left)

Oh, and to really put the cherry on this confection of a day, my first tutorial as one of Tonya Davidson's Master Muse's is up! I really love how it turned out.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It's About Time, It's About Space...

(Does anyone within sight of this blog remember that series? I've been singing the first two lines of the theme song for years.)

We're all ready for it, the media is hyping it, blogs are pushing it. But Mother Nature is oversleeping. And who can blame her with all this dreary weather? Wait - it's all her fault that spring hasn't sprung yet!

"Growth" by Gillian Smith

Maybe it's time to give her a little nudge. Apartment Therapy is starting it's annual Spring Cure today and I think I'm gonna try to play along. I have a laundry list of chores that need to be tackled in my Tiny Ass Apartment. I've been a real potato for much too long. Do you think if I embarrass myself by listing the tasks that need to be accomplished that I'll actually take care of them? Let's see. Wanna place bets? Here we go:

1. Do laundry in a timely manner. Two loads tonight and the rest tomorrow or Wednesday.
2. Clean the kitchen in a timely manner (I live alone). Wash all dishes and dump trash tonight.
3. Tidy bedroom each day. Start tomorrow morning. (I'm writing this Monday night)

Okay, those are all things that will definitely help me get started. I know that they're all chores that should be done every single day. Millions of people do it. I just can't seem to get the hang of keeping things looking good.

4. Donate, gift or otherwise dispose of my Mother's clothes. She passed in 1978 and of course I saved some of my favorite outfits and accessories as mementos. But they've been bagged or boxed up for so many years - I'm afraid to try and figure out just *how* many.
5. Paint said TAA (tiny ass apartment). I've lived here for over 20 years and have never painted. But I've re arranged furniture and paintings many, many times. You can imagine what the walls must look like.

6. Sell, gift or donate my Mother's Winfield set of beige and green Bamboo china - re-read explanation #4. Any takers? I'll probably try to sell it first. Maybe.
7. Go through other mementos that are boxed and stored. I've done this many times in the past and have really pared down. I might actually be down to the last bits and baubles that I really do want to hang on to. But there's no harm in looking again.

"This Light" by Gillian Smith

8. Frame art. I traded with a Flickr friend for two lovely original drawings a year ago. They're still in the wrapping they came in and put away to make sure I don't wreck them with my slovenliness. That was a smart thing to do. : )
9. Slip cover the couch cushion. I have a sheet wrapped around it now. It's white and I eat on the couch. 'Nuff said.
10. Get window screens fixed. Kittens! Get my drift?

I think that's enough, don't you? Enough for my home life that is. My work life? Don't make me contemplate that! I think I'll save it for another day. Oh, goody! Something to look forward to Scarlett. >: \

Friday, March 12, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Lady Orlando Edition

I'm in love with this artist! I've never "met" her, not in cyber space and certainly not in real life. I just stalk her gorgeous work on Flickr. Allow me to introduce you to The Lady Orlando.

"I'm not an artist, a painter, a singer, a photographer, a poet, a human, a child, a man, a woman, a cat, animal, mineral, vegetal, a ghost or a dream.

I'm not nothing of this and I am all."

She's from Mexico and has the most interesting visions I've seen in a long time. Her illustrations are dreams, fantasies, worlds waiting to be discovered. Earths inhabited by a stunningly beautiful population. Their cheeks intrigue me so. There are always the cheeks. Pink, red, white, black, outlined... the unifying theme in her illustrations. Are they blushing? Flushed with exertion? Glowing with contentment?

Most of the drawings on Flickr are taken from the pages of her piles of journals. I long to hang something of hers in my little studiolo, but alas - she does not sell online (that I know of).

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How aMUSEing

Have you all been checking out Tonya Davidson's blog? For the past few weeks, every Wednesday has been dedicated to some fabulous tutorials by her fabulous Master Muse's (of which I am one).

Today's is by Kelly Russell. A fabulous steam punk, layered, slip printed, cog encrusted stilt bead! Soon my hopefully just as fabulous steamy sampler will be up! I'm so excited. I really like it. (word of the day = fabulous evidently) Hardly want to send it away to get photographed. But I will. grumble, grumble Here's a teaser of my project! ;D

Monday, March 8, 2010


The last of the Rings For Haiti are up for auction now on Ebay.

Over 50 jewelry makers contributed some stunning rings and are happily donating every single penny to the Global Giving Relief Fund for Haiti Earthquake.

To date we've raised over $1600.00!

This is my donation. I'm thrilled that it has garnered 5 bids. Thanks so much to the generous benefactors.

It's not too late for you to get in on the beauty and do a good deed.

There's one that I'm hoping you don't bid on, but if I lose out at least it will be for a good reason.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Dauvit Alexander Edition

Dauvit Alexander aka The Justified Sinner aka Beardie Bloke was one of my very first Flickr "friends". I admit to having had quite a crush on him for a while. His work never ceases to astound me. He's what I consider the consummate goldsmith. Not that he works with gold very often.

His chosen materials are most often found around his home town of Glasgow, Scotland. Ancient sewing machine needles; bits of broken steel, bits, washers and the like from a local dump site; anything rusty and corroded that shows the wear and tear of use will be co opted for use in his designs.

He can carve waxes, engrave, wield a jewelers saw like nobody's business, set any stone shape in any number of styles (just look at those diamonds pave set into the sides of a twist drill/auger in the first picture). Dauvit uses cad cam technology and microscopes to achieve the look he's after. And I bet he could repair any of the queens jewels in the traditional way, if he had a mind to. Although I'm sure he doesn't.

I'm so honored to have a ring and a pendant that he created. I consider his style to be the very best of steampunk design. The Haute Couture version. I'm very concerned about offending him with that label - found object work like this really defies categorization. But whatever he or you choose(s) to call it, just call it magnificent!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I think you all know that I'm taking part in a Flickr challenge to make a Ring A Day. Although I've been very absent for the last two weeks. It's hard to live one's life and be creative *every single day*! Not really - I guess I've just been distracted.

But now is a great time to jump back in with both feet! 50 jewelry makers have joined in with Thomasin Durgin to donate a ring for Haiti! The auctions are being listed here and my ring goes on the block starting today! Please take a moment to peruse the offerings and see if there's anything listed that tickles your fancy. And check back - there are still more waiting to be listed.

My two day ring class went really well. We learned how to make a wrap ring, a traditional band, a riveted Roman ring and on the second day I shared my technique for making hollow rings. This is the one I made as my sample. Yet to be fired. Looks a bit like lips or a mustache doesn't it? Happy accident.