Monday, August 31, 2009

And The Winner Is...

Me! I spent part of the weekend cleaning out a closet and opening boxes that haven't been examined in well over 10 years. Amazing the things you'll find. Tight velvet leggings from the eighties, enough books to stock a small library (I'm giving most of them away) and *the* most beautiful drinking glasses ever! I have absolutely no memory of buying, using or packing them. But I'm sooo glad to have found them. I just broke the last wine goblet (which I use for all kinds of beverages) of a set I've had for, um, probably 15 years and was just about to go to a thrift store to look for replacements.

Aren't these beautiful? There are two versions. This one which I think of as a goblet and a shorter one in the same style that would look beautiful holding chocolate mousse or freshly sliced nectarines. Very Tudor-esque don't you think?

And this one is more of a juice size glass. if it were larger I'd definitely go out and buy a bottle of dark ale to christen it.  As it is, I can't wait to imbibe a little pomegranate juice. There are four of each. I'm such a lucky girl.

And so is Brenda! She's the winner of the three cameo's for her remembrance of her dear  Grandmama. My friend Michelle, the one and only juror, said " She made it so personal. I really felt her surprise and delight". So Miss Brenda if you'll look over in the right column - you'll see my e-mail addy. Just drop me a line with your full name and address and the triplets will be winging their way to you post haste.

Thanks to everyone who played with me. There'll be another chance for more goodies, but heaven only knows when. Anticipation is the best part of a pop giveaway.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Emily Watson Edition

One of my very favorite Flickr contacts is Emily Watson. Her eyes see mundane objects like clay concretions, ancient smoking pipes, and rust patterns which sparks her imagination to reinterpret them, creating some of the most wonderfully inventive and whimsical jewelry I've seen.

Emily works with Faux Bone™, plasticized wood, enamels, and silver to carve her miniature sculptures. The mix of these materials and the shapes she draws out of them combine in a way that both surprises and delights me.

Let's see if Paige, Michelle or Christine have concocted their Eye Candy's this week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


• There are only 2 more days for you to compose an imagined history for the model who posed for the Three Cameos that I'm offering in a special giveaway.  I know you all have great imaginations. You can do it. Deadline is Friday by 11:00 pm pacific time. Winner to be announced on Monday.

• Two new PMCC certification classes have been added to my schedule. A Level One on  Thursday and Friday, October 22 & 23 in Orange County and my first Level Two on the weekend of January 9/10 in Studio City. You can read more about them here.

• And if you've ever wanted to learn to create an original texture using the water etching technique, hurry on over to The Beading Place September 26 to make a beautiful half lentil pendant using your own design! 

Monday, August 24, 2009

Shamed into Action

A few of us girls have decided to work on the metal clay Master's Registry together. Cindy Silas, Donna Penoyer, Vickie Hallmark, Tonya Davidson and I have formed a sort of artsy cheerleading squad. Some of us have had the best of intentions for way too long (hrumph - no comments from the peanut gallery), some have just decided to take the plunge and Miss Tonya actually had 6 projects completed before she got derailed.

Final Doodles and Drawings

So we all need a little nudge. In fact Tonya and I talked about joining forces as support for each other months ago. Then at the beginning of summer Donna heard about it and wanted to join us. See, even the squad itself has been in the works way too long. So last week I sent out an ultimatum! With my tongue firmly nuzzled into my cheek I said that we all had to have a paper mock up by the end of the week! The nerve.

Decided to make a template with no flowers so I could place them individually

And didn't little Miss Vickie, a brand new member, shame us all and get the job done! Well! So yesterday I took myself to a lovely little hole in the wall coffee joint/newsstand with my Penland book for inspiration, a pad of paper and some colored pencils and sat for about three hours, trying out different designs. 

What a great time (I want to type another exclamation point - but I think I've passed my quota). Dola in Venice is my new backyard. The entrance is just an alley between two buildings that opens up onto a magically dilapidated brick courtyard with vintage tables and chairs sprinkled about. The coffee is served out of a party thermos with milk, cream, a variety of teas with a hot water thermos, raw sugar cubes and your choice of china or paper cups. That's it. No food, No frills. Just drinks and reads. I may be back every day.

Drew over the design with soft pencil and burnished it onto a Speedball Rubber block

Anyway.... I drew a design I really liked and went straight to Staples to blow it up 118% - then got home and had to get to work immediately. This is what I came up with.

Didn't like the imprint, so I carved  it on cooked polymer clay instead. Better.

I'm still not sure about the lower level (which will be flocked copper) or the sapphires (might be gilding the lily) or what kind of brooch finding I'll use (commercial or home made), but I'm likin' it.

I think perhaps I'll just post works in progress and not the final piece. I may want to keep it private and special for a while. Then, a year from now, when I pass the first level I can post them all at once.  Won't that be impressive! (another exclamation) Wish us all luck.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy -Allyson Bone Edition

Unadorned by sparkling gems; elaborate settings or the distracting gleam of gold or silver metal - the stunning craftsmanship and attention to detail in Allyson Bone's work is evident. By using only the intricately pierced shapes of birds; bunnies; bows and stylized coral, enhanced by a deep black patina Allyson asks the viewer to focus on the bare 'bones' of her work.

And after examining the stark contrast between the sensuous; feminine cutouts and the industrial; precisely soldered geometric silhouettes of her constructs how could anyone fail to admire the playfulness; imagination and skill of the maker. This is design at it's purest. 

Please take a look at what Michelle, Christine and Paige have cooked up for their Eye Candy this weekend.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Welcome to the Carnival...

Image via Leal and Eve

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:

How do you find inspiration going from the design to the finished piece

Inspiration... Well we all know I'm inspired by historically based themes. Textures, erosion, histories. That aesthetic is something I've lived with forever, for as long as I can remember anyway. But inspiration of jewelry design? That's actually something that I struggle with. 

I'm a teacher. I make things as samples for a class I want to teach and then incorporate a bit of my aesthetic into it. Making a finished piece of jewelry out of those components is always an afterthought. But I'm not happy with that way of working. Although everyone I know thinks I have a look, a style that's immediately recognizable - I don't. And I'm searching for ways to take things that I *do* find interesting or inspiring and creating a design based on that exact idea or object.

That's why I'm exploring words and how those verbal images might excite visuals that I can translate into metal. I'm  fascinated by Vickie Hallmark's way of carrying a pad with watercolor pencils with her everywhere she goes. And my friend Maggie Bergman's habit of scanning pictures into the computer and using Photoshop filter tools to alter the image over and over and over until she develops something she feels like making into a 3 dimensional object. 

I've just barely started journaling in conjunction with the Master's Registry projects. Using tear sheets, quick sketches and brief descriptions/definitions of the projects to jump start my creative juices. I'm thinking of the MR as a means to an end. The path to my being able to create what I think of as a signature look. I'm hoping that by the end of the first 10, I'll be well on my way.

So my current inspiration from design to creation is pretty hap hazzard.  I wish my mind was teaming with designs pushing to get out like Angela's is. She's such a creative girl. But my path is different. My creative efforts require a bit more toil and intention. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Be sure to visit the other Carney's to see how their boats float:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trash to Treasure?

Remember a few weeks ago I was going through all my old jewelry boxes and unfinished silver work? Well, I think I'd like to share some of those odd pieces with you to play with, add your own touch to, break apart and re design or simply enjoy as is. You may do what you like with them, including incorporating them into your own jewelry work for re sale. So from time to time I'll be doing a little giveaway. No set timeline. Just like a pop quiz, only nicer.

The first offering is this little trio of cameo's made of fine silver metal clay. These were samples for one of my very first class projects about 6 years ago. I called it Frames and Bails. We used the same focal design (in this case an intaglio ring with an incised cameo I used as a mold) and finished them in different ways to see how details can change a simple design.

Each giveaway will have it's own set of rules. For this one, tell me about the lady who posed for this miniature sculpture. What do you imagine her life was like, what was she thinking, what was she going to do later that afternoon after her sitting.... Imagine a history for her. Not an entire biography though. Just a few lines. I'll ask one of my friends to read the answers and pick her favorite. The contest will be closed next Friday the 28th and the winner will be announced on the following Monday.

Please make sure there's some way I can contact you. If you don't have a blog of your own, leave me an email addy. Bon Chance! Can't wait to read all of your stories!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Can't Get Started....

I'm having a hard time getting started living my life today, so I thought you (and I) might enjoy a little musical interlude! Hope your day is more productive than mine. ;-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Name Game

T-shirt by Xenotees
from the marvelous book of collective lists - An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton

My friend Ruth is having a "Name That Pic" contest with her FaceBook friends. I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with something clever, but only think of obvious titles for her picture of a field of birds with only one headed in the opposite direction. "Wrong Way Wren". "Headed My Way". "Independent Thinker". I'm sure Ruth wants to convey a feeling of confidence and independence as opposed to doing something wrong headed. She's all about positive statements and reinforcement. None of these are right though. She'll come up with something fabulous I'm sure. And now that I think I know what they're for, I think I'll enter "Looking For Home" or "Homeward Bound" into the contest. That's the way I name my jewelry for Etsy too. Make the piece, then think of a word or phrase to go with it. 

Recently when I decided I want to assemble "lines" of similar pieces that will "tell a story" when I lay them out on my table at the Contemporary Crafts Market in November, I wanted to try coming up with the names first and the designs after (perhaps *I* am the wrong way wren). So I've been writing down words and phrases that I like. That feel good in my mouth. That are evocative of an idea I want to convey. I have the idea that sometimes the words will match something that I've already created and sometimes they'll inspire a design or family of work. Sometimes, they might just make me smile when my designing mind is blank. As I re read the ones I've saved, I realize that some of them actually refer to someone else's work more than mine, but I'm keeping them on the list anyway.

It's an interesting way of working, non? I spend an hour or so in my Mother's 1934 edition of the Thesaurus (so much better than the online version) jotting down synonyms. And looking at them afterwards, pictures *do* appear in my mind's eye. Maybe if I read the book before bed, I'd dream galleries of jewelry. Here are a few of my recent additions to the list: 

Collection Device
Past Perfect

I'd love to read some of your favorites.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy - Dee Wilder Edition

Hello, My name is Lora Hart and I'm a craft snob. I've never been a fan of polymer clay, unless we're talking makers in the upper stratospheres like Kathleen Dustin or Ford Forlano. I think it looks too "crafty". And I say that with a derogatory sneer.

My friend Michelle Ross started to change my mind a few years ago with her beautiful work. And maybe those seeds have opened my eyes to the point that I am now beginning to notice artists who are taking the medium to a new and better (IMHO) level.

Dee Wilder, known as Malodora, is one of those artists. I love her precision. Her attention to detail. Her inspiration. Dee is interested in the natural world and actually has her own "beetle factory" that she keeps to denude found skeletons of small mammals and birds. See those bird skulls in the third picture? Dee made them. And I own some. They're fabulous. See the trilobites and the antler bracelet? The realism is amazing. I dream of owning one of those!

Now she's hand rolling impossibly thin threads to construct micro mosaics and lathe turing beads. Even her canes are perfectly executed. And those metal clay bead caps? They were her first try with the great grey goop!!! I'm inspired by her mindfulness and will strive to incorporate more of that attribute into my own work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Up and At 'Em

I did it. I'm so pleased with myself that I didn't use tiredness as an excuse.

The first phase of the shop update is complete. Phase 2 will occur next Wednesday. Please take the time to peruse my new pretties, and perhaps give some of them some love (a heart would be great).

Non me related post working for tomorrow! ;-)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Ring Around the Rosey...

I know I'm supposed to be taking pictures for the shop update tomorrow, but I woke up this morning and had the urge to make some rings! I made the copper signets a while ago and they have been gathering dust in a tray ever since. 

This shank is 12g sterling silver wire that happened to also be hanging around. For maybe 7 years! I want to experiment with Kate's oval metal clay ring shanks. Love the idea. But then again,  I want to brush up my soldering/fabrication skills, so I like the idea of milled wire shanks too.

pickle me, picklllle meeee..

My original idea was stacking rings, but this particular size would fight with others. So he may end up being a solitaire. I want to spend the morning making ring shanks in various sizes and use up all that ancient wire, then I might solder on the signets and run errands that haven't been attempted since last Thursday.

I'll take the pictures tomorrow and do the shop update in the evening. There's that inner Scarlett pushing to get out again. I should wrap her up in her hoops and shut her in the barn!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Well, unfortunately neither Victoria, Nina Dinoff (haven't heard from Nina Gibson yet) nor I got around to the OAW after all. If they had, I would have spent the day completing mine. And since  neither of them are available next week either, I'm viewing it as a sign. The One A Week challenges are over until the spring. :* (
WIP - including a little corno charm I made with the last little scraps of the lump.

But that frees up my time to really and truly start working on the Master's Registry! Woo Hoo. :- ) Donna Penoyer and I are going to begin on the first project together and then Tonya will join our cyber support team. D and I have decided that the first project is to be the Stilt Riveted Brooch. I've made lots (4) of stilt riveted beads, so this should be a snap. But maybe I shouldn't jinx myself with too much self confidence. The project I was going to do for the OAW was to be a prototype for another of the projects, so I might lobby for that one next. No hints.

Today I'm working on a few pieces for my new Swotch line. Some for the shop and some to hold for the Contemporary Crafts Market in November. I'm also sending out a couple of surprise prezzies to a couple of lovely ladies... just because. They've made an impact on my life and they deserve a little som'in som'in.  And I may very well go get myself a new TV too. That danged digital converter box is worth about what I paid for it. Government discount and store sale included. Naw, not even the ten bucks I shelled out are worth the frustration of having to adjust the antenna every single time I change the danged channel!

Hope you have a wonderful day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Weekend Eye Candy -Vina Rust Edition

Vina Rust's work is the perfect example of taking a single element and a single theme and exploring the heck out them to create a signature style.

Using only commercial tubing (sometimes called chenier), a bit of sheet silver to act as a skin and her fascination with cellular structures and botanical illustrations, Vina has developed a line of jewelry that is truly unlike any thing I've ever seen before.

She groups individual pieces in series' called "Stained Cell", "Cysts & Symmetries" and "Stamen", but to me they're so harmonious as to be conceived with a single thought. Microscopic slices of organic origin that are both contemporary and comfortably familiar.

I love her work. And the very next time I'm in San Francisco I'll be sure to drop by the Velvet Da Vinci Gallery to see some of it in person.

Please remember to visit Michelle, Paige and Christine's blogs to see their lovely collections!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Work

I've been wanting to simplify my work for a while and these are the latest designs. I really like how modern they look while still reflecting my style (and my favorite texture). 

I'm calling the line "Swotch". Small samples of texture and color. Enameled versions to come.

When I dreamed it up I spelled it Swatch. But since they're not watches and I don't relish the idea of court, I'm taking liberties with the spelling.

Shop update scheduled for next Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Try, Try Again!

I got some lump copper clay from Hadar quite a while ago and was really excited to play with it. It was lovely to work with and I had fun with my quick little designs. Unfortunately I could never get it to sinter! I put it in the kiln at a variety of temps and ramps and techniques 4 or 5 times and it never worked. I was sad.
These dangle 2" below the ear wire and the blade is 1.5" wide. Love them.

I almost threw it all out a couple of weeks ago and would have done so today with my big desk purge (scheduled for this afternoon) if it hadn't been for a Facebook comment by Angela Crispin. Gotta love that you can get advice from France in real time. 

Sweet, simple little hoops with a bit of carving. The hoop measures about 1.25"

Just to check out her schedule I threw those old failures in the hot blue box and waited. Guess what happened?  They sintered!!!!! Yay!!! Success. If those old things fired right, then anything will. I think. I threw some student work in and that sintered too. First time. I have another batch in right now, charms for the Etsy MetalClay team's charm swap.

A big pile of other stuff waiting to be finished. The soldering's done on the blades in the front, but they haven't been polished yet.

So the magic formula is: (insert drum roll here)

• Step 1 - Place your pieces flat on a kiln shelf or supported on fiber blanket in an open firing at ramp 480ºF to 555ºF and hold for one hour

• Step 2 - Wait until it cools down enough that you're comfortable handling them and transfer to the stainless steel sink and carbon in the way we've been taught with a full ramp to 1650ºF for 3.5 hours. I fire to 1670ºF myself, but you should try 1650 and then up the temp by ten degrees with each successive firing until you see pimples from the coal. Then back down to the previous temp. Copper doesn't melt until around 1980ºF and I figure that just like silver clay, the higher you fire, the better. 

Thanks Angela. You may have just renewed my faith in the wondrous CopprClay.

Look for my Etsy shop update next Wednesday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Day Late and a Project Short

I spent all Saturday researching astrology for the OAW. Even looked at the Chinese version. Thought I came up with something good, but on Sunday when it was half finished decided I hated it. And then I stupidly made a date with a friend to see Harry Potter today, so that leaves no time for last minute designs. Which means that I'll be posting results and the next challenge on Tuesday. Sorry. I'm a big wastrel.

EDIT: Victoria didn't get to it either (perhaps she had company she found much more interesting), so I think we'll just carry over this challenge to next week.