Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 11, 2010
BEADS! I Love Beads!

I love beads.

I didn't realize it, but I do - I love beads. While working and learning and sucking the minds of my online mentors dry as I grow my metal clay addiction some how beads started to grow on me.

It could be the fact that I am SURROUNDED by these fabulous artisans who make the most gorgeous glass beads. It could be that I'm SURROUNDED by these fabulous artisans who USE beads to make gorgeous jewelery. Whichever it is, however it happened... I LOVE BEADS.

I have a small mason-like jar of what I call "Inspiration Beads"... beads made by Deb Fitz. These are so beautiful. They sit in the jar waiting for a design worthy of their beauty to dribble out of my brain and into my design book.

THEN... I bought the cutest (CUTEST) little cupcakes and lady bugs from Bastille Bleu. They look cute in the pictures, but photos do not do them justice... they are the cutest, littlest, sweetest cupcakes ever!

THEN... tonight, I ordered from Canyon Echos Johanna makes these gorgeous, organic beads that just look so natural and yet have these cool swirls of fine silver through them. I'm so excited to use her beads with my silver!! Here's what I ordered tonight... but add 2 more, slightly larger spacer beads to the brown set. She's special order making them for ME tonight. Yes... FOR ME! makes me all happy inside!!! :o)

OH OH.. and I know they are not beads, but I bought Titanium too. I used two gorgeous pieces of crystallized titanium that I got from Holly Gage in two pieces I made. AND when Chris & Holly sent out the email that they had to pull them off their site for a while I ordered three more pieces because they spoke to me... something pretty about them - and they too sit waiting for something gorgeously worthy of themI cant help but see grapes (thanks to Chris' description! :o) ) in the piece to the right and thanks to his power of description, I have an idea in mind for a larger pendant/closure piece. I'm excited because it will be the hardest, largest piece I try. And the piece in the middle... something about that chocolate 'lace' piece made me love it. I almost want to snip it into two... but the jury is out on that.

And finally - but not least. It is my goal to 'pay it back' to the people who help me on a daily basis as I learn and grow in this exciting medium. So I have allowed myself to purchase from the great artisans above and from some gorgeous jewelry makers. I lusted after this pewter heart necklace the minute Keirsten of Lune Design posted it.
And then when she posted the adorable earrings, I had to make them mine. Happy Birthday to me! The gorgeous pieces have a ton of garnet (my birthstone) in them and I simply love the look AND feel of these pieces. OH and her blog - the Cerebral Dilettante- hilariously delicious!!

And .. yes, there's more. I was asked by my brother and his new wife what I would like for my birthday ... well, I'd already bought the set above for myself (he he he) ... but I had my eye on a piece by Holly Gage. "When Peace Talks" this piece is strong, and meaningful, and gorgeous. All things I admire. And poof... two days after my birthday a gorgeous "When Peace Talks" arrived! Sterling silver on black cord w/ Venetian blue bead. mmmmm!! :o)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Feb 7, 2010
Trial & Error and Lessons Learned

As I continue to try Art Clay Copper in the hopes of one day (soon) finishing the "problem child" project - aka Copper Canyons & Silver Heart - I worked on a piece this weekend I call "Pug Paws".

I created Polymer Clay clay "pug paw prints" one significantly smaller than the other and then made molds of these from 2-part molding compound. My goal was to make a small copper paw and attach it on a larger silver paw to signify two pugs.

I successfully made two of each. One (B in the pics) I partially dried (about 3/4 dry) the silver paw and then used thicker silver paste as a paste and "rivet" under and through the copper pug paw. (I had made a hole in the center of the copper paw before firing just for this purpose.) The other (A in the pics) I "smooshed" (technical term) the copper pug paw (also with a hole in the center) into the silver pug paw. I made sure that the silver came up through the hole in the copper paw and that it formed it's own rivet.

The only other difference between the two was that I put a rectangular 'artist mark' on the back of (B).

If I had been a betting person I would have put 90% of my money on the 'smooshed' (A) version and only 10% on the other (B). GOOD THING I DON'T BET!

(A) had a couple of issues... 1) the silver warped and cracked on the back and while writing this I now know why... as the silver shrank the copper kept it from shrinking evenly because of the copper being smooshed into it - DAH! Why didnt I think of that before RIGHT NOW? (Seriously I just thought of it now!!) My initial thought was that the rectangular 'artist mark' saved (B)... but now just seeing the picture of it firing in my head while I type I know that wasn't the case.

When (A) was put immediately into water to reduce the black fire scale on the copper the piece split apart - the silver rivet broke.

(B) had no issues that I could see. The rivet held, the silver shrunk perfectly because it wasn't impeded by the copper paw, and I just took it out of Silver Prep to remove the rest of the fire scale on the copper and it looks darn pretty!

I was going to ask my "Art Clay Friends" on Facebook to look at the pics and tell me why (A) had issues but I'm excited to say thanks to describing this to "all y'all" on the blog I know why.

Once (B) is dry, it will be polished - MAYBE tumbled - attached to a sterling silver chain and sent off to an unsuspecting recipient! I will post pics when completed!

Ta-Ta for now! :o)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

February 3, 2010

What am I working on now?
Well, I have a 3" long copper pod that is waiting for me to figure out how to fire it. I was over excited by the pod I found in my back yard and thought ohhhhh copper! And didnt really give thought to firing it. Right now, Art Clay Copper can now be fired with a torch... but only to a certain size. You need to keep it evenly hot to completely sinter and my little micro butane is not going to cut it! (Maybe double handed torches but definitely not one.)

I also have a copper pendant that is actually fired and waiting for finishing! AND I worked more on the "copper canyons" for the wedding presents I'm still working on. BUT this time I'm taking it slow and easy. Hoping to do silver portion of the canyons this weekend.

AND right now, after I post this, I'm headed back to my 'studio' to box up a special package that is shipping to NH. My "Ribbons for Mitzi" were a big hit with her daughter and I received a request for 3 sets. One for Mitzi and one for each daughter. I finished those over the weekend and made the cutest box this evening. Sometimes I think I like making the packaging as much as I do the jewelry!!

I added some Red Picture Jasper beads to the ends of the chains. (OH THE CHAINS... I found the sweetest sterling silver chain made from linked hearts at Michael's this weekend. Nice find for this project!) The thought behind this was two-fold. One I had hopes that it would help keep the necklace from wigling around on them. And two - that the colors would help the ladies know which necklace was theirs. The mixed stone of blue/grey & pink is for Mitzi.

The box was made out of one sheet of gorgeous scrap book paper. One piece for the top and bottom. One piece. How cool! :o) The "Paris Couture" landing where it did was pure LUCK! :o)

After these are packaged and labeled for the post tomorrow, I'm going to work on a piece for my cousin who is also my 'god child'. Can't say what it is, she may be reading! :o)

More this weekend!

February 3, 2010

The weekend of January 16 & 17 I was a CRAZY woman! Not only did I complete Hope's Hibiscus and redo the 'googly-eyed' heart, I also created a puzzle piece for Hope. She saw the puzzle pieces in my blog and mentioned that they were used to represent Autism. Hearing the interest in her voice I took a neat looking piece of puzzle from one of mine and made a mold from 2-part molding compound. I then formed the silver puzzle piece.

LOVED the texture!
When I saw the texture the cardboard back of the puzzle piece left while making the mold I thought.. hmm COOOL! So I kept that along with the ridge that naturally formed around the piece during the mold process. The piece is .999 Fine Silver on a 17" 2mm sterling silver beaded chain with magnetic closure. LOVE IT!

And finally Sunday night I made another Awareness Ribbon. This one for a co-worker who lost a dear friend to Lung Cancer recently.

In my love-hate relationship with polymer clay I attempted to make 'pearl' looking inset. Not sure if I accomplished it or not but she was very happy with her surprise! The piece is .999 fine silver with polymer clay inset on an 18" sterling silver chain.