Monday, January 30, 2012

How'd She Do That?

Last week a Flickr contact left a comment on this photo. She said: "This photo is actually very helpful to someone like me who knows nothing about metal work... glad you shared :)"

Kathryn's bench
I guess there are a lot of creative makers of many different disciplines that aren't really familiar with traditional jewelry making techniques, aka 'fabrication'. Fabricators use saws, metal stock (flat sheets and wire), torches, files and hammers to create a piece. Hammers are also used in 'forging', 'chasing', and 'repousee'. Wax carvers cast their models into metal. But a fabricated (or metal clay) model can also be cast in multiples by making a mold.

I thought I'd search for some good examples of these techniques to give the interested ones in the audience an introduction to different techniques.

Follow the pictures in this Flickr set to see how Kathryn Reichert makes a Posey ring.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

WIP Update

Almost finished...

A Little Tidbit

This week's nightmare! (see the white prong on the upper left?
how did fine silver get into the sterling compartment?)

Well, no one said brooch making was gonna be easy. But I thought it would be! (insert whine here) Just a little wire backing and make some prongs. Look at all those solder joins! What was I thinking? And I still have one last soldering job to go. Sigh. This setting will be a support for two separate pieces in my next FAM brooch. The first one was so complicated that I thought a simple little setting would be faster to complete this week. But noooo....

Last week's brooch. Memory Stone #1. The slip printed door is on a
hinge and swings open to reveal a photo of an unknown girl.

I have to fire more base metal clay pieces for my students today and then class is tonight. The firings have been going really well, but it *is* time consuming to fire for 12 people. I like Hadar's stove top process for the first, binder, firing. But I think I may be turning the flame too high. I've already blown through one dog dish and am on the second. A lovely man named Jeremie posted on the Yahoo! board about another way to stove fire using just a mesh platform (the video's in French, but you'll get the idea) - not carbon in a dish. I'm going to try that today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Monday, January 16, 2012

Drinkin' in the Artsy Sunshine

As I may have mentioned in a previous post, I live in a teensy apartment. A single. Less than 500 sq. ft. So whenever I get the chance, I get out of it. I've started using a couple of local restaurants as my mobile office for writing articles, cyber surfing and basically taking care of internet related business.

Yesterday was so beautiful in LA that I was wishing I had a balcony so I could wrap up in a blankie, drink coffee, and read a magazine in the chilly sunshine. Then I got the brilliant idea to use a local corner park as my backyard! I grabbed Ornament magazine and headed out the door. There was a furniture blanket in my car, a Starbucks on the corner, and a song in my heart.

Patti Grazini, Joanna Gollberg, Sally Vitsky          

I found a cozy bench, wrapped myself up, and opened my mag. Ornament is a fabulous magazine dedicated to the amazing world of handmade craft. This month's issue has a profile on one of my favorite jewelry artists, Joanna Gollberg, and introduced me to a phenomenal paper artist, Patty Grazini. My cousin, Sally Vitsky, is a paper cut artist so I always have an eye out for that discipline.

See me on the left, scratchin' my weave? 

Imagine my surprise to see a review of the jewelry scene in San Diego with a focus on Jay Whaley Studios, where I took a class in 2010. Now imagine me looking at the accompanying photos to see a photo of myself in Andy Cooperman's class! And to make it even better... it's a photo I actually like. I look kinda cute. :) I was definitely having a good time.

I'm a firm believer that when life hands you lemons (in the form of  a less than ideal living space), you figure out a way to open a lemonade stand. Using my imagination to create a more interesting way to bide my time was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Four a Month Mosaic

Four a Month Mosaic by lorahart
Four a Month Mosaic, a photo by lorahart on Flickr.

These are just *some* of the fabulous pieces being made for the Four a Month challenge over on Flickr. And no, I haven't even gotten started on mine. That's on the agenda for today. I swear! (little miss procrastinator pants)

I'm really thrilled with the imagination and level of skill shown in these first works. There's still time - I hope you join in too!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's hard to write a post with a purring kitty curled up on your forearms, but I'll try.

Diego Pigletta de Velazquez y Santana (see his goatee?)

It's a quiet, cozy morning here in Venice, California, and I'm stuck between wanting to curl up myself and dancing around the room in anticipation as I wait to see what beauty comes out of the kiln! Last night was the first in a series of 5 classes working with Hadar's rose bronze clay, and my students were all so excited to experiment with it. We'll be playing with copper and steel in the coming weeks, learning how to carve, make textures and combine colors.

I'm also prepping for my first ever Craftcast class! Woo Hoo! (too many exclamation marks?) I'm kinda nervous about the process, but I guess anything one can do in their PJ's has gotta be fun. Hope you'll join us at the pajama party... er... class. Pillow fight!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Word of the Year

Many people like to make resolutions right about now. It makes sense. The new year is starting, the seasons are changing, and we want to join in with the cosmic renewal too. At least for the first couple of months.

I don't like setting myself up for failure, so I've stopped with all that nonsense. How many times have we all dedicated ourselves to one uplifting promise or another, simply to let the desire fade away. How many times have I said in the past year that I want to start posting here regularly. And then life gets in the way yet again and this space is static.

Last year I decided to adopt a new idea that's making it's way into our collective consciousness. That of choosing a single word to guide me throughout the year. The word for 2011 was Risk. And I did risk a bit. I submitted a ring image to Lark books. Didn't get in - but it was a difficult submission for me to make for some reason and I'm really proud of myself for taking that step. I proposed a seminar talk for the next (and last) PMC Guild sponsored conference, and was accepted! I made the decision to move to Richmond, Virginia. That won't happen until the fall of 2012, but to make the transition easier I proposed a weekend class at the fabulous Visual Arts Center there, and that was accepted too - I'm rather thrilled to say. There were a few more risks that I took, but I won't bore you with a self-aggrandizing laundry list.

Cockroach series by Cami Ruh Clemo. Just one example of using a
single theme to drive creativity.
The last risk of 2011 I undertook was to propose a new jewelry making challenge to the folks who participated in RAD and RAW. Neither of which I followed through to completion. Mostly because I was tired of making rings. For this year, my thought was to see how making a series could raise my personal work to a new level. That way I could design rings, earrings, brooches, necklaces or even tiaras if I chose.

Work by Vina Rust. Another way to take advantage of a series by using the
same materials (commercially made tubing) and theme (cell structure) to
create an entire, cohesive, body of work.

So I created the group on Flickr, sent out one comment on FaceBook, and now there are over 100 members of Four-a-Month (FAM) who are all as excited as I am about this challenge. So, that's my word for 2012. Challenge. I'll challenge myself to see this one through to the end, to post more regularly here, to vaccuum my floor more often (about twice a year is how I roll at the moment), to submit to calls for entry that I'm not sure if I'm right for, to 'work' my website, and to think of more challenges that are bound to make me a stronger person.

Will you join me? In FAM for sure, and perhaps in choosing a word for the year to fuel your creativity? Or do you prefer to stick with the tried and true resolutions? How do you like to take advantage of the new year?