Friday, April 24, 2009


To anyone who thinks to check here.... I'm so sorry for all the auto responses that are going to clutter up your in-boxes. I created a vacation message in my Apple Mail preferences to tell folks who e-mail, that I won't be responding until next Friday - but I obviously did something wrong and the computer is sending out the messages to every single e mail I've ever gotten or sent. And I have 10,000 messages cached! Time to clear my email in box.

Anyway, I'm on an Apple so if anyone has an idea for me - I'd love to hear it. To everyone else... FORGIVE ME! I'm so sorry.

Weekend Eye Candy - More Metal Clay Edition

Well, I'm off to Arrowmont tomorrow. Be back on Wednesday and hope to share some of my experiences on Thursday.

In honor of the conference, here are some more lovely metal clay pieces from around the world!

Be sure to see what tempted Paige and Christine's  sweet tooth(s) and have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Crazy Busy!

Just call me Last Minute Lora. My usual lament. I'm leaving early Saturday morning for Arrowmont to teach at the PMC Connection Retreat and I have barely started packing. This doesn't only include packing clothes and such (which some folks do a week or more in advance), but writing lists of supplies, checking them twice and mo' better - thrice. Culling, calling, categorizing...

Teaching away games is usually relatively stressful. Why I put it off this long is beyond me. So all day today I'll be going through my class kits, mentally reviewing the project and making sure I don't forget anything vital.

There's still time for you to sign up for Little Altars. How fun would it be to take a class  in a camp style atmosphere in the beautiful mountains of Tennessee! Think about joining me for some last minute  metal clay play!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Talkin 'bout my Edu-ca-tion

I'm a Senior Instructor for PMC Connection, but I haven't actually been certified in all three levels. When I was asked to join the team, I was still recovering from my foot accident and couldn't fly anywhere to take the class. When one of my classes at Arrowmont was cancelled due to low enrollment, I asked Mary Ann Devos (the director of education) if I could make one of the projects at home and just take the second day of the class during the retreat, and she agreed! Yay. So with only written directions I began to assemble the Inro box.

Bits and pieces - raw clay

I thought I'd make a really simple one. Just rolled out clay, no texture to worry about (I always want to perfect the seams, matching the design by carving and sanding). The box form went together really well. Then I thought about what kind of a design I'd use for the drop catch. I think I may have lost my mind a little when I decided to go with a linen fold draped clay look that I've used before. 

Out of the kiln and wire brushed

I *thought* it would be really simple. And the actual construction of it was.But I wasn't really in touch with my idea of satisfactory. I sanded and filled and fiddled and fixed all the elements ad infinitum until I was relatively happy. It has taken me two and a half days to make something that students are expected to do in one. Oh dear. I wasn't really working every single minute though (gotta break for Oprah) so, maybe it didn't take me as long as I think it did..... Yeah, sure.

I had to cover some hair sized cracks with PMC Paper. Nice detail though.

I'm thrilled with the way it turned out though. I call it "Dirty Laundry". And I promise I'll do a really simple one for a sample when I'm ready to teach the class. This can be the fantasy version. Do you ever get carried away with your designs? 

Patinated and put together!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Enamel Edition

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and I was in the mood for a little color! Hope you have a bright and sunshiney weekend too - wherever you are in the world.

Be sure to check out Paige and Christine's Eye Candy too. They're really cool.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome to the Carnival...

Spring Circus (sold) by Cathy Cullis

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. This month the topic is: 

What is your favorite technique? 

Well, if we're talking about metal clay - I love construction and joinery - making boxes, making my hollow rings. I love fussing. It's actually very hard for me to do "simple". I always want to embellish, sand to perfection. I look at The Bower and want to add granulation balls. I want to put a raised frame around it. And it's funny, because when I look at other peoples art or home furnishings... I like the simple, uncluttered look. But my own home is bordering on Victorian excess. And let's face it - my jewelry could stand a wee bit of the paring down.

On to metal smithing - I do love me some rivets. And conquering solder joins. But does that fall into the fussing portion of my brain again?

So let's just say that I love putting it together; piece by piece; making the connections; adding the details... (a great song that should be the anthem of all jewelry makers). I'm an embellisher at heart. Deal with it! ;-)

Check out what the other carny's love to do:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Drum Roll Please....

There were 84 comments and 15 second chance entries! Thank you all so much for visiting my shop and coming back to tell me which pieces you liked. Two Becomes One and the Paramour pendant seem to be the outstanding favorites. You all like the hearts - made by a Hart!  ha ha.

The number generator at chose...  25! which (including all the 2nd choices) is Erin Fulton!! 

Congratulations Miss Erin.  Please e-mail me at the addy to the right and I'll get all the pertinent info so your pendant can be winging it's way to you this weekend. Woo Hoo!!! Thanks for playing everyone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Advice From The Blogoshere

This post is from the "Who Knew?" files. Somehow the phrase Design For Mankind had entered my subconcious. I knew it existed. But I wasn't really sure if it was a brick and mortar store or a newsletter or a book or a... insert something/anything here. Turns out it's a great blog! I bet you already knew that.

So this morning I discovered that DFM has started weekly video dialogs all having to do with the creative process and how it affects the independent artist. This is the first in the series - "How Do You Balance It All". 

You can view the four others here. I'm going to put the link on my blog roll. I don't want to miss a single one. And don't you forget to hunt down my giveaway post and leave the appropriate comment. The big event ends today at 5:00 Pacific time and the winner will be announced Wednesday evening. Check back to see if it's you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Well Deserved Second Post...

My ad is up on The Paris Apartment! The owner, Claudia, did such a great job and put it up so fast for me. And I'm sooo excited. 

I'm also trying out a new shop at Smashing Darling, which is what my website links to now. I just started stocking it, so it's just a little boutique at the moment, but I have high hopes. Thanks to Ruth Baille, the force behind Birdland Creations for telling me about it.

Is this not the sweetest little bird feeder you've ever seen?
 I just love Ruth's work.

Many of my fingers are crossed. Hope a couple of yours are too. ;-) XXXXXXXXXX

The Bower

I was fully intending to list one or two of the box pendants I made last week in my shop, but as I thought about it I became concerned that Lora Hart Jewels is becoming more of a high end gallery than an actual shopping venue. So I created "The Bower", the first in a very affordable new line of romantic jewelry.

The image is from a painting by 18th century artist Francois Boucher. Such a sweet little cherub isn't he? Wish I could join him in that relaxing grove.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Easter/Passover Edition

Eggs are important in both the Easter and Passover traditions. In fact the Greek word for Easter is pascha, which is closely related to the Aramaic /Hebrew word pesach or Passover.

Because the eating of eggs was forbidden during Lent, they were brought to the table on Easter Day, coloured red to symbolize the Easter joy. This custom [probably has] its origin in [ancient pagan rites which] celebrated the return of spring.  (1)

In the Jewish tradition, the roasted egg represents the Temple offerings and its burning reflects the loss at the Temple’s destruction. Although it is never eaten during the Seder, some believe that prosperity will follow the person who secures the egg after the ceremony. (2)

And of course the egg is universally considered one of spring's symbols of renewal, re birth and re generation.

I wish you all the spirit of these messages, no matter your beliefs. For me spring is a time to sweep away old, worn out habits; possessions or thought patterns - which in turn creates room for new growth; opportunities and sweetness. Celebrate the possibilities!

Be sure to check out my other two Eye Candy playmates Paige and Christine to see their lovely collections of treasures, and have a very sweet weekend.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pimpin' My Shop

Boy, have I been busy. I decided to take a big plunge and dive into advertising. Can I afford it? No. Is my shop (and my production habits) ready for the potential custom? Maybe not. But Lora Hart Jewels has been open for a year and I've only had about 11 sales. Don't let the huge "14 sales" number on Etsy fool you. I've been doing a lot of trades lately and lowered certain prices to .20 so I could claim a few more purchases (don't tell anyone).

So I bid on Project Wonderful ads on Craft Cast and Daily Art Muse. Then when another favorite blog started offering advertising, I inquired. The Paris Apartment is a fabulous blog with luscious pictures that I'd really like to jump into and begin a virtually new life. But her advertising rates are real world. I was taken aback at first. Way back to "Thanks Anyway". But she was so enthusiastic about my work, and I really think her followers are more my type of audience than the typical Etsy shopper, that I'm going to try it out. And I don't realllly need to go out to eat so much do I?

So I've created 6 ads (with much help from Saint Paige) which will rotate in some kind of flash thingie - the P.A. web mistress will take care of that part. I think they turned out beautifully and am really excited about the whole thing now. I'll give it a month and see if my numbers jump. And I can track where visits to my shop come from using Google Analytics. Now it's butterfly time. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Who'd a Thunk It!

This time last year I was trapped in my apartment, unable to fend for myself; walk to the kitchen or energize myself enough to do even one creative thing. I had injured my right foot badly which necessitated an operation complete with the implantation of four screws which in turn meant that I had great difficulty walking (to say the least). Recovery to self sufficiency took about three months.

I always try to find a way to make that danged lemonade though, so I used the time to update my website, open my Etsy shop and start this blog!!! I really can't believe it's been a year already. My foot is about 96% healed, I'm back to my normal routine and I'm happy to say my life has changed so much - for the better.

To celebrate my blogiversary I'm having my first ever giveaway! I'm lifting the rules from my friend Christine's blog. Why re invent a wheel that seems to be turning? Play your cards right and this sweet little pendant embossed with one of my trademark fleurs will be winging it's way to you next week. Here goes:

• Leave a comment telling me what your favorite piece in my shop is. I really value your opinions because they help me to know which ones you particularly like (thanks in advance!).

• Bonus entries (help spread the word):
1. Blog about the giveaway
2. Befriend me on Facebook and tell all your other friends about the giveaway

• And to make it just a little more interesting (for me), come back and leave an additional comment when you blog or FB about the giveaway. That will let me track each of your entries (I wanna give credit where credit is due). Oh, and if you leave an anonymous comment, please be sure to include your name and e-mail addy or I won't be able to contact you!

I'll assign each entry a number and use a random number generator to pick the winner. No playing favorites. Party time starts today and ends next Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time. Bon Chance! Party on!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Peep Show Monday

I keep discovering fabulous artist videos - well, really I keep discovering wonderful videos that other bloggers have already discovered and posted - but none the less, I'm really enjoying these peeks into the process.

Have you seen Coraline yet? I have to admit that I haven't, but I really want to. Maybe tomorrow afternoon. Althea Crome is the bright mind behind that cute little grey star spangled sweater that Coraline wears. She knitted it by hand! Can you imagine? With sewing needles no less. Takes the idea of extreme sports to a whole new level of insanity. Or genius. 

Althea's imagination, attention to detail and dedication to her vision are traits we could all stand to embrace, bring into focus and incorporate into our own traditions. At least I know I could.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Boxed Edition

Today is a new era for the Weekend Eye Candy posts. I'm being joined by Christine Street and Paige Litfin, who is premiering her blog this very week. Maggie Bergman is also starting a blog and will be an occasional participant.

I'm all involved in boxes lately, so I thought I'd continue the theme. When I was doing my search  for "box" on Flickr, a surprising number of nesting kitties popped up! They were so sweet that I had to represent them. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!

That's It!!! I'm getting a small camera that I can keep in my purse at all times. Last night was the final meeting of my Wednesday night class at Otis and every single student made a little masterpiece! Even the very simple box pendants were lovely. They all did such a wonderful job choosing, preparing, fitting and completing the resin inlay and I'm so proud of them.

They made the boxes last week and had to finish them at home because we ran out of time in our little 3 hour class. Then this week we fired as soon as class began, polished, patinated and tumbled them prior to adding our custom "jewels". That's a lot to accomplish in three hours.

I really wish I could show you their work, but this is the one I used for my demo. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.  I used laser cut paper, a piece of golden mica and tiny glass "granulation" beads. This will probably go into my shop sometime next week. I called it Chichester because the fretwork reminds me of the beautiful stone tracery that covers the windows at the English cathedral, and also because the Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein is one of my favorite pieces of music. I'm tempted to keep it, but I can't keep everything I fall in love with can I? 

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fly on the Wall?

Some of you might know that I used to be a make-up artist for TV commercials. 17 years worth! I left that world in 2000 when I found the magic of metal clay and folks are always asking me if I miss it. And the answer is - really... not so much. Once you're in it, it's not glamorous or without political drama, exhaustion and annoyances. I definitely miss the money. Who wouldn't! But one of the few aspects I did really enjoy, that I'd love to experience again, is the access to forbidden places. 

The "back stage" of Disneyland was always fun to explore, especially early in the wee hours with no fun seekers in the way. Going into costume houses with my stylist friends always gave me a little thrill when I would spy something worn by Vivian Leigh or Charlie Chaplin. 

And I always loved going into peoples personal spaces, homes, back rooms. You know how people rent their houses out to production companies to shoot commercials? Well I have a particular fondness for looking at old architectural details, floor plans, wall paper... I wonder why they made that choice, where they got that thing, how they could have painted anything that color! 

I like snooping through open houses.  So did my Dad. He and his wife would intentionally drive around on Sundays looking for For Sale signs. Like Daddy - like daughter. 

And I still get a boost looking into other peoples lives.  I bought a vase from a great ceramist named Whitney Smith a little while ago and just discovered that she's made a video of her dry throwing technique.  A little look into the work methods of an artist I admire. What could be better for my voyeuristic tendencies! And I thought I'd share with you too. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.