Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - RAD January Edition

The Ring a Day project is getting off to a brilliant start. There are stunning alternative rings and stunning conventional metal rings and stunning rings that combine both found objects and fabrication.

It's still not to late for you to join in the fun! The goal is to make a ring a day for 365 days. But you can start any time - no need to make up for the ones you didn't do in January. And they can be of any material, any style, any skill level. It's a wonderful challenge to expand creativity. Wanna play?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Design Away!

My mind is already teaming with ideas for my first project. It's not due till February 24 (and will post even later than that), but I'm such a procrastinator, I have to get started on it pronto! Here's a little tease to whet your appetite! (rude aren't I?)

And more news in a similar vein - the first mini tutorial is up. Anne Mitchell shows how to make an adorable clasp with a steampunk edge. Can't wait for the next one if they're all this good...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday's Tidings

I spent the day yesterday in Anaheim, California at the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) wholesale show/convention. I went primarily to visit my dear friend Tonya Davidson who was in from Tucson where she lives. It was so fun to walk around and see all the new products that will soon be flooding the market. There were some very cool new types of polymer clay from Donna Kato, some gorgeous new glitters from a company whose name I embarrassingly can't remember (but that Whole Lotta Whimsy might be writing an order for) and some ultra fabulous new craft books. Sherri Haab's book looks soo yummy, Mary Hettmansperger's is definitely on my must get list and there are a slew of new luscious picture books from Larks 500 series. I flippantly asked the Sterling rep if he was sure that he wouldn't love to let me take 500 Gemstone Jewels home with me that night and after a short think - he said yes!!! So I have an advance copy of a book that won't be out till spring! Hooray!

It was lovely to see both Tonya and her business partner Sharon, have lunch, catch up and just enjoy each other's company. And in an amazing moment of serendipity Sherri Haab and her two daughters, Kathy Davis and my friend Cassy Muronaka all converged on the same booth at the same time for an impromptu coffee clatch. Without the coffee. Dang. I also got to briefly meet Lisa Pavelka, Christi Friesen and was able to see some stunning jewelry made by Mary Hett in her equally stunning booth. It was all I could do not to pull out my very empty wallet and bring home a souvenir. A good time had by all - especially me!

And speaking of Tonya Davidson.. I'm so proud to be able to announce that I'm a member of Whole Lotta Whimsy's innagural design team! I'm one of just ten Master Muses who will be designing 60 projects over the next year using innovative and inspirational materials and techniques. Tonya will share the projects and free tutorials on her blog each week! Go on over to her beautifully re designed blog to meet all the Muses and read more about the design team.

Monday, January 25, 2010

It Seems I've Fallen...

And I'm having a hard time getting up. I'm sure it hasn't escaped your notice that I've been intermittently absent from regular postings on my blog. I read somewhere that if that happens (and it has happened to many of the other blogs I read) that you're not supposed to apologize or even mention it. Just go on from where ever you are. I am sorry though. Not just for you, my loyal readers - but for myself as well. I love this blog and how it has enriched my life.

I'm stuck. Here. In my jewelry making. In my day to day tasks. Oh - I have ideas! My brain is brimming with them. I think about designs all the time. Entire lines of designs. I think about how I can re arrange the Studiolo to make it more user friendly. I think about doing my sales taxes. Or about vacuuming the floor. I think about cutting my hair. I think about fascinating blog posts. But that's about as far as it gets.

All the ideas are trapped in my grey matter. I think to myself "Self? Just let it alone. You'll spring into action any day now!" But I don't. I'm immersed in ennui. Frozen to the floor. Set in my layabout ways. And Nike doesn't seem to be coming to my rescue. "Just Do It" just doesn't.

What to do? I'm really proud of my ol' tired self that I've managed to create a ring a day since January 1st. No matter how simplistic or just plain silly. And some of them have been really cool. I love the enamel class I've started taking. And the fact that the early morning hour long commute to get there hasn't held me back. Even on a stormy day.

Don't worry. I'm giving myself a break. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. Its a phase. But it's also a house guest who has worn out it's welcome! So perhaps purging my procrastination proclivities in this post will propel me out of paralysis and into productivity! (how's that for alliteration?) I'd appreciate perceiving any positive posings or posturings that have stood you in good stead in the past.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Victoria Takahashi Edition

Victoria Takahasi, otherwise known as Experimetal, is one of my very favorite Flickr contacts. She's so innovative, precise, imaginative and just downright hysterical!

Her humor shows in almost every one of the photos in her Flickr stream. Intentionally goof photos of herself or her adorable fur family, jewelry designs with a slightly off beat bent, and the comments she leaves on others photos always amuse and amaze me.

And the show pieces that she's made for the various jewelry challenges she's taken part in are so spectacular that I've taken a short break from commenting on her photos. Just how often can one gush without becoming redundant? This is one artist whose work deserves to be digested.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Welcome to the Carnival...

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's the most treasured piece of jewelry that you personally own - not your own work.

I think my *most* treasured piece of jewelry is my Mother's gold charm bracelet. I remember as a child that it would tinkle and sparkle and shine... It looked very grown up to me. There were all kinds of beautiful charms on it. It was very full - hardly any room for more.

There was a bell with the rim strung with tiny pearls that my Father gave as an anniversary gift, a tiny naked, curly headed child standing on a baroque pearl and holding a mirror to represent "Monday's child is fair of face" (I was born on a Monday), and many others that my memory has locked in such a hidden box that I can't remember.

My Mother was always cleaning out, getting rid, trading in... And at some point she began to sell the charms so she could buy new, more modern ones. The bell and the child are two that I was sad to see weren't there by the time I inherited the bracelet. But luckily I do have memories of the way those charms swung on my Mother's wrist, the bracelet and one of my favorite pictures of my Mother wearing it.

Estelle Hart Freed

Ivan Graham Freed - These tags were replacements for two identically engraved charms. He told me once what they represented, but I was young and foolish and didn't write it down - so of course now I've forgotten

Tree of Life - Perhaps to represent all three of her children?

I used to wear the bracelet and it's remaining charms all the time. And then I started making silver jewelry and the gold went into a new hidden box. But every now and then I get it out and look at all my treasured connections to childhood.

Take a look at the other carney's blogs to see their favorite jewels:
I'm leaving for the day - but their blogs will have links to everyone else's as they are written.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Talk About Multiples...!

These are the first four rings that I've made for the Ring A Day challenge on Flickr. The goal is to make 365 rings! Even using found objects, that's a tall order. I'm looking at every single thing my eyes light on in a new way... 'Can it be wrapped around a finger? Can it be twisted, contorted, added to, inserted in, bezel set, sewn...'

The white one is a plastic spoon that I melted and shaped. I then used a regular stone setting bur to set the lab grown garnet. The one on the wooden hand is a piece of plastic sushi grass wrapped with colorful 'Happy Tape' from dinner the night before. The sweet pink beads were the name tag ID bracelet that I was given at birth (Mom's name? Estelle Freed). My first piece of jewelry! And the silver ring is a sample for the Level 2 Certification class that I'll be teaching this weekend in Studio City.

Oh, and by the way, there are still seats available - so if you've been thinking about taking your metal clay skills up another level, check out my class blog for more info. I'd love to see you there!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Year in Review

Happy New Year everyone! A few of my contacts on Flickr made mosaics of their work and I decided to take a look at my own collection. And I'm surprise at how enlightening it was.

Most of these pieces were made as a result of either a challenge or as a class sample. Not that there's anything wrong with that. You remember the Project Runway One a Week Challenges from last year? Well this year I'm involved with two more challenges (so far). The Master's Registry and a Flickr challenge called the One A Day Ring challenge. I guess I like to challenge myself. But evidently not enough to come up with a line of my own work.

Everything does have the same aesthetic. A common feel and style. It all looks like it was made by me. But each is an individual. Relatively unique.

I look at others work (isn't that a rule - thou shalt not judge thyself by surfing the masses?) and love the way that some artists take a single theme and expand on it to develop a series of common pieces. I love that. I want to do that. And yet - I don't.

I'm trying to adopt that philosophy for my first level Master's projects. All will be based on wrought iron gate designs. I'm really looking forward to seeing them as a group. 10 items with a common thread.

The ring challenge is very different. Any material is welcome. Metalsmithed, metal clayed, found objects, anything. I really think it will force me to stretch my imagination to find ordinary, yet interesting, objects that I can wrap around a finger.

Anyone can join in! Go see everyone's offerings. it's only day four, but it's already promising to be a spectacular exersize.