Friday, May 16, 2008

Taking a Pause . . .

Due to all of the year-end activities (graduation, prom, banquet, college stuff - not to mention a show here and there!) I am taking a pause from blogging. If I get a moment now and then within the next month, I will post. I had started a 3-leaf tutorial and I will continue that piece. The pictures will be taken as I go along, but not blogged about until the dust settles a little.

Just a thought before I leave the blogosphere. As many of you know, I did the Eckhart Tolle workshop. It's a wonderful tool I have to help me through these hectic days. Yesterday, my husband and I were having a conversation about softball, of course. We were watching the University of Tennessee play against the USA National Team. Monica Abbott is the pitcher for the Nat'l Team and she had graduated from the University of Tennessee in 2007. Anyway, he was telling me how she was such a good pitcher and I should watch her. As I'm watching, I'm noticing that she seems to move her body exactly the same way every pitch she throws. It's like watching muscle memory in motion. So I mentioned to him how amazing it was to watch her. Before she winds up, she's looking at the ground. It was this movement that started the whole conversation about focusing 100% of your energy. He mentioned that she worked with someone who taught her how to develop her focus to 100%. And when she looks at the ground, that's just what she's doing to start her pitch. That's why she's so successful - because of her focus. He then asked me if I knew how hard it was to focus 100% of your energy on what your doing. Oh really? So I brought the conversation back to Eckart Tolle and being in the present moment. But it was really the connection between Monica Abbott's technique and Eckhart Tolle that really reinforced the "power of now" for me. How strong and precise her pitches were! We have so much power when we devote 100% of our energy in the exact moment we are in. So, what does that say about multi-tasking? Not good. As I face the busy days ahead, I'm going to try not to multi-task. Up to this moment, I've always looked at multi-tasking as a good thing, well, at least a practice I've developed over the years. It's that accomplishment thing (and I guess the mom thing too) - how much can you get done in a small chunk of time? The race is always on! But now I'm seeing things in a different light. It's more harmful than helpful. How good is that output when you're not giving 100%? So that's my work in the days ahead - 100%! How about you?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Beach Stones and Beyond . . .

The finished necklaces were outstanding. I took some photos but I wasn't real pleased with the results. BUT, as luck would have it, Jeff (co-owner of the Bead House) took pictures at the end of the workshop for their website. His pictures came out much better! Here's the link . . . enjoy! I've always loved these stones and was grateful to have been able to take this workshop.



So . . . what else can one do with beach stones??? I happened to see this on Amy Butler's website. Wouldn't this be fabulous in polymer clay?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Marvelous Mondays


Here's a few flickr pictures to add inspiration to your week - have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Faux Real

I'm in the process of taking a 2-day polymer clay workshop. I'm very excited about this, being my first clay workshop and all. And with Kathleen Dustin - doesn't get much better than that! I had to post some pictures from today's class on beach stones. Can you tell . . . are they faux or real?





The workshop is being held in Warren, Rhode Island at the Bead House Annex. The Bead Annex is at a separate location from the Bead House (which is 10 minutes down the street in beautiful, picturesque Bristol, Rhode Island). At the Annex, they hold their PMC, metalsmithing, polymer clay, etc. classes. It's an old mills building that was renovated and turned into studios. The studio has old wooden floors, very high ceilings and the walls have beautiful paint treatments on them. It's light, spacious and very conducive to creating. I'd forgotten how much fun it is learning with a group of artists. It's invigorating and always inspiring. And it feeds the soul!

And tomorrow . . . we work with pods!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Finished Tutorial Piece

I never thought I'd get around to finishing this piece. I began this tutorial here. There wasn't that much left to do other than set the tube in place and put the necklace in. I ended up sanding the tube and placing liquid polymer clay on it. Once that was cured, I checked it to see if I could poke it through. Using a centerpunch, I tried pushing against the wall tube, but it's in there good and tight. I sanded the ends of the tube again, sanded the whole piece, and polished the sterling. I then added the necklace. Done - yay!


Today, I began making a custom order for someone. She had seen me wearing the piece below and asked if I would make her one. I started it today and thought I would document the process. So, I brought the camera into the metals studio. You're catching me at the very beginning of the project. I will be doing my best to re-create the pattern.











I started working on the center bead first. I cut two wires, filed them, cleaned them, fluxed them and set them up to solder. Next, once the piece was heated up, I placed some solder on the first join. I'm really happy with paste solder so I tend to use it a lot.

Next, the piece is soldered and ready to be thrown in the pickle pot. Here's the before picture - not very pretty. Actually, it's hard to imagine anything shiny and sparkly comes out of this mess!



Next, I form the leaf using pliers, punches, or anything else that I can find to give me the curve I need for the leaf shape. The thumb works too! Now that I have the form made, I need to file the wire that abutts the other. Once that's done, I need to move the wire back and forth to give it some spring action. What I'm trying to accomplish is to get the wire to "spring" into the place where it needs to be soldered. Here, I've fluxed the piece and am applying some heat to it before applying the paste solder. First I used medium temperature solder and now I need to use easy temperature solder. Without getting too technical, you need to "step down" when soldering. For this purpose, there's hard, medium and soft solder. If you have more than three steps in a soldering job, it can be done, but a little more involved than for this purpose. I'm surprised I didn't melt the wire while taking this picture!



So now I have the first bead done and here's the next two and finally, all three together.















This tutorial is to be continued . . . .



Monday, May 5, 2008

Marvelous Mondays

I found these on Flickr made by a woman name Mireille who lives in Japan . She's an artist by heart but recently addicted to felting. These creations she's made are just a mere diversion! What would you think it is? My first inclination was white chocolate. But then again, chocolate is usually in my consciousness somewhere :o)




Here's another - ok - maybe some strawberry flavored white chocolate, right? And next to that are carrot and pumpkin flower carvings!






One final picture of these beautiful non-edible beauties (hint!). These are papaya, carrots and pumpkins carved by Mireille. She took lessons of this traditional Thai art in Japan, then went to Thailand and learned under famous Penpan Sittitrai who is the author of many books on this topic. You can see the tool she uses at the bottom of the last picture - yikes. I'd be dangerous with that! Have you guess what these items are made of? Soap! But why not polymer clay, right? If you click on Penpan's name, you'll see just one google result for one of her books for sale on Amazon. Can you see a wall sculpture done in these? Or how about the top of a wine stopper? A paperweight? A hairpiece? Oh my - don't get me started!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Beadwork

Sometimes there's an artist whose work just really touches you. That's how I felt when I saw this piece. This choker was made for an EtsyBeadweavers Fire and Flowers April Challenge by an Israeli artist who's Etsy shop is Triz Designs (Patrizia Tager). Take a look through her shop to see her other creations.





I looked up the EtsyBeadweavers group to see what the results were from the challenge. Dante's Spirit won first place with this piece. I've done some beadwork in the past, but this . . . never! I wonder, does she watch t.v. as she does this? Was this an evening project? This took her well over 100 hours to make. And over 64,000 beads!