Friday, September 28, 2012

Weekend Eye Candy - Granulation Edition

1. granulation globe1, 2. Pin #1: Stamen Series, 2005, 3. Granulation Cuff, 4. RAW52 #10, 5. Untitled Pendant, 6. Trouble With Lichen 12, 7. Gold "Old Work" Earrings, 8. Chameleon brooch for Andy Cooperman, 9. recycled copper boiler with silver granulation

I can't believe it's been two months since I last posted a Weekend Eye Candy. I've had things on my mind and too many balls to juggle. It's nice to see you again. I promise not to stay away so long again.

I love granulation. The ancient Etruscans made the technique famous, but it's enjoying a return to popularity thanks to modern jewelry makers. Traditionally the tiny balls are made by either clipping uniform pieces of wire or making a series of jump rings in a consistent size and then melting them. When metal (and glass) is melted to the flow point, it naturally draws up into a ball.

I developed my own way of making tiny balls out of metal clay. Roll the clay to the thickness of your choice, I roll two cards thick. Then use a cocktail straw to cut a number of disks. Find a place in your palm where the life lines intersect and roll one of the disks into a sphere. Roll hard at first to form the ball with no lines or lumps, then ease the pressure to make a perfect sphere. Be sure to cover the remaining disks with a damp paper towel as you work so they don't dry out.

Can you think of a way that granulation would add a decorative element to your designs?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It's All About Physics

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

On August 1st I started a grand, new adventure. I left my hometown of Los Angeles, California to move to Richmond, Virginia. The thought of moving had been kicking around in my thoughts since the turn of the millennium. It had become more concrete in the past couple of years as I talked it over with my East-coast cousins. My Father was born and raised in Richmond, so re-locating there made sense.

The move was two years in the planning. At first it was just the fantasizing part, then I flew out this past February to teach a weekend class and look at apartments and actually found a beautiful space that would be available in August. I filled out an application, sent in my deposit, and it was a fait acompli.

I stopped teaching at the end of June. Started packing at the beginning of July. Movers came, car transport took away my Matrix, and I got on a plane with the angel known as Donna Penoyer on July 31. Donna was kind (or crazy) enough to help with the final packing details in LA and took custody of one of my two cats so they could travel as carry on luggage in the body of the plane. Only one pet to a passenger. Then she stayed in Richmond for another week to help me settle in.

After Donna left and the movers made their cross country trek, Cindy Silas drove down from the DC area to help with the unpacking. Then Vickie Hallmark flew in from Austin to oversee the decorating and bookshelf building.

All in all, there was non-stop excitement and company for about two months. I'm so lucky to have had them. I'm pretty sure I couldn't have made the move without Donna, and the touchdown in Richmond would have been much more difficult without Cindy and Vickie. Thanks Ladies. I'm so grateful for your help and friendship. But I have to admit, I was kinda relieved when y'all left. For about four days. Then the ennui set in. There had been so much planning and moving and nesting and activity for so long, that when it settled down - I lost all energy. And once I started to rest and relax, it was hard to get motivated to start back in my regular routine.

There's a saying in physics, actually it's Newton's first law of inertia. "An object at rest will stay at rest, forever, as long as nothing pushes or pulls on it. I think there's actually a TV commercial running right now that references this phenomenon.

So, there I was, stuck on the couch. While I had set up the apartment so well that it was looking pretty good, the studio boxes were unpacked but still unorganized, and I had no interest in putting the table together that would allow me to actually work. Until I had a conversation with Holly Gage, who suggested that we have  Skype-y play date! That was just the push/pull I needed. Now the table has been put together, drawers have been built, tools and supplies organized, and my hometown public radio station's app downloaded to my iPad (I've been missing KPPC terribly and the studio seems a perfect place to listen). Yesterday I actually woke up wanting to go to the studio.

We all need a little help from our friends from time to time. But there are also those occasions when we have to figure out our own motivating force. Sometimes it can be as simple as sitting in the chair and handling tools. Or making little components like bails and earwires to have on hand. Sometimes we might benefit from a trip to the museum or a walk in the rain. Other times the force might be more quiet, necessitating a cease of all technological distractions. And sometimes the action needed to jump-start our momentum is more massive. Sometimes we may need to implement another advertiser's catch phrase - 'Just Do It'.

There are novelists who keep regular hours. They sit down at their typewriter at 8:00 am and don't leave until 5:00 pm. Even if all they're typing is "the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog" 400 times. They're practicing the 'Just Do It' method of creative physics. Once an artist picks up a tool to do something, anything, the muse will spark, one thought will lead to another, and the missing motivation will return. Eventually. We just have to be patient and proactive.