Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Tutorial Edition

Surprisingly, there are a lot of great tutorials on Flickr. Some are videos, some require that you click from photo to photo and some will link to another site with all the information.

Do a search for Tutorial, How to, Tute... I'm going back right now to look into that torch fired enamel lesson in square #3. They all look great though. And these are only from my own contacts. I'm sure there are thousands more to discover.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Here it is. All done. Decided I liked the underneath of the Mother of Pearl button since I'm all about distressed textures, and I used stuff that was hanging out on my bench. Does that count? Baby steps. Thanks for the inspiration RadPack!

RAD Pack #1

Okay. This is it. I put all the little packages in a ziplock bag, stuck my fingers in and pulled out a random inspiration. Going to lunch to sketch now. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hold Me Back

The Flickr Ring A Day project was started on January 1, 2010 by Nina Dinoff. I got on board right away, but only lasted 3 months. Many of the current participants are members of the Etsy Metal team. One member, Katherine Riechert had the bright idea to send out little bundles of inspiration to other participating EM members. Victoria Takahasi (Experimetal) continued sending out surprise packages and now Sara Westermark has generously thought to include non EM team members too!

I don't know if it was all my Facebook grousing about my high levels of ennui and my low levels of motivation or if I just lucked out, but what to my wondering eyes did appear at my mail drop but a little white envelope filled with 15 teenier little brown packets of.... I don't know what! Along with the goodies was a list of rules. First and foremost, and most cruel of all - "If you open a package you have to use it or use it for inspiration and make a piece within 24 hours! No Peeking!"

What! Arrgghhhh... I'm already late getting ready for the first night at Otis and my hair is filthy and I have to take a shower and I have no time until the weekend and this is worse than Christmas. Even for a Jewish girl! I feel like Gollum. Wanting to fondle my pretties, pet them, admire them and hide them away to fondle another day. Sigh. *Is* anticipation a good thing? The jury is out. But Thanks Sara! Can't wait to hit the bench now.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Pretty Is As Pretty Does

I have just about the best job in the world I guess. Where else can I teach all I know, get to work with talented people and have too much fun in the bargain?! I taught a Level 1 certification class this weekend to 6 lovely women who all made beautiful jewelry. They were so motivated that I was actually able to work on a little some'in myself. I never complete a project in a class I'm teaching (or one I'm taking for that matter) and didn't really finish my little tea pot, but just being able to work on it to a recognizable state means that my students were more than capable of completing their tasks with minimal shoulder hovering by me.

Work by the lovely and talented Dawn Miller, my charming apprentice

Margaret Hamilton had never so much as touched metal clay before Saturday!

Michelle Vandenbroeck made the most fabulous vessel complete with a stopper and moveable "barbells"

PattiDean Wohlford is a Senior Instructor with Art Clay Silver (teaching in the San Fernando Valley)

I adore the "champion" wreath on the half lentil and the dimensional leaves on the dichro project by Sherri Armstrong

Isn't the "S" Tracy Karbus added to her little vessel just darling ?

And here's my little work in progress

If you missed signing up for this L1, there's another scheduled for November 13/14. And save the date - the next L2 is tentatively gonna happen January 15/16 (location TBD). Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weekend Eye Candy - Texture Edition

I'm running out of time today, so I thought I'd look in my Flickr "favorites" for some inspiration. I love texture. I love how many glorious images of unusual and spectacular surfaces can be found on Flickr. Does anyone besides me see some wonderful unintended jewelry here? I so want a brooch exactly like the first picture. Might have to get out the ol' grey goop (or bronze) and make myself a little artifact! Next week. I'm prepping for my Level 1 Certifiation class this weekend. Hope y'all have an inspired weekend too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Book 'Em Dano!

I'm in love with books. Almost any kind. I grew up with an actual library of them in the den. A whole wall's worth. There were my Mother's psych/social work tomes, classic novels, musical scores (I adored the Rodgers and Hammerstein Songbook, so sad that it's lost to a moldy storage locker now), Bibles, dictionaries... all with hard covers - some bound in leather.

(The den in my palatial childhood estate. Wasn't my Mommy a great decorator? There are more books to the right and in the cupboards below - along with my Father's accordion)

And it seems as if I inherited the book hoarding gene. I've still got all my gorgeous childhood picture books (in a trunk in the closet); one bookcase filled with art/jewelry/hand craft inspiration; one with novels, inspiration and old journals and still more books in bags that I have no room to display. This is one disease I have no interest in curing.

Books are a gift. Especially when they come to you unexpectedly! I've gone to my mail box four times in the past month to find beautiful books. Thanks Universe.

Okay, one of them I actually ordered. I decided (on a whim, late at night) to create a "Look Book". I was watching "The Rachel Zoe Project" and she had one with the new fashion collections. So I made myself a vanity print filled with my own jewelry designs on Shutterfly. And it turned out beautifully! I ordered 7 copies. What on earth will I do with all of those? Good grief. I actually like it so much that I might do one every season. I'm in for it now.

Tim McCreight was so excited to get the proofs for the next PMC Guild Annual that he generously thought to mail the jurors a set too! The loose pages are stunning. I can only imagine how beautiful the bound book will be. Thanks so much Tim!

Somehow I got on a list over at Lark. A while back I received 30 Minute Earrings. I'm delighted to say that I'll have a project in 30 Minute Rings, so I was really curious to see what it might look like. And if Earrings is any indication - I'm thrilled. It is, of course, beautifully shot and laid out. Would Lark do otherwise? But the projects people! The Projects! There are earrings made with mixed and found objects, simple and elegant wire wraps, soldering challenges (love the solder inlay project), sawing, metal clay, riveting, fold forming, cuttlebone casting... the techniques go on and on! Although you do need a basic understanding of the methods described, I think it would be a great idea for any beginning jewelry maker to start at the beginning of the book and work their way to the back to get a feel for what each discipline is like. It's a perfect jewelry making primer. And a well scripted "handout" that's as valuable as any beginning class. Challenge yourself, gift yourself with 30 minutes each day (or every weekend) to do nothing but play. To allow yourself the freedom and joy of pure creation, without the angst of coming up with a design. It's all laid out for you. Take advantage of the gift and see how many unique and exciting earrings you can create in a year!

THIS is a Dreidel?!

Then last week I was shocked to discover a copy of the latest Lark 500 book in my box. Now *that* is a gift! 500 Judaica, Innovative Contemporary Ritual Art is just fabulous! I don't care what your personal faith is, this book is photo illustrated with exquisite examples of ritual tableware; textiles; toys; sacred objects; furnishings and texts that will inspire and delight you. There's even a glossary in the back that briefly defines and describes the various terms used throughout the book - giving the casual reader an insight into the meaning of each precious object. It's my goal to own every single book in this series. 500 Judaica is my 11th volume. Thanks Lark, for pushing me past the decade mark.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Make Sure The Price is Right!

Do y'all know about Crafthaus? It's a Ning site where "Professional craft artists display their work, and connect with each other across all fields of interest". There are stunning photos, blogs, how to's, challenges and gallery showings. All in cyber space. I belong to it and you should too. Even if you don't fill your page and update it (I don't), it's worth it just to get the e-mailed newsletter with featured artists and events.

I got an e-mail this morning that featured a pricing article from guest blogger Anne Havel, an artist as well as a CPA. What a great combination. The article is in 3 parts. Part one talks about calculating your own labor charges; part two details pricing strategy and part three covers assistants and contract labor. These and many more interesting and helpful articles are all part of eMERGE, a Business Blog for Creative People - which is part of the Crafthaus site.

I have to admit that I haven't taken the time to explore all that Crafthaus has to offer. I think I'll spend some of my ID (indirect labor) time surfing this weekend.