Friday, October 29, 2010

Out of the Studio

Wednesday and Thursday I was working on a pair of earrings and cabochon .  I made a special texture plate for these.  When the design worked up, the texture reminded me of some sort of beginning weaving project.  Kumihimo possibly?  The electroforming of these type of designs can take painstakingly long.  When there are raised areas that I'm painting, trying to stay on those long thin lines is no easy task and it makes the painting go that much slower.  And usually I do 2 coats of paint to guarantee a successful electroform. Without any raised areas, the painting could be a lot more free form and possibly less time consuming.  Then there's checking of the bath, agitating (the bath), removing, replacing, filtering the solution and on and on.  For the earrings, I did a textured skinner blend.  I think they have a southwestern feel to them

As for the cabochon, it was slow going.  The first problem was the bath.  It wanted to lean on the copper sides which would be a disaster.  I tried re-tying the wire, shortening the wire, moving the beaker, anodes, and finally pulled it out.  Then I thought of using a weight (reminded me of fishing when I was a kid).  I had these copper beads put aside to be enamelled one day and thought their weight would be helpful.  Well, it worked.  The bath began - finally.  But every time I checked it, the copper had a really matte finish to it.  So I added more brightener and more brightener.  But I did remember to take some set-up photos.  I had enclosed the cab with wire, and twisted the wire to tighten.  
And here's the result!  I used metallic paints on the cabochon - can you tell?  I might have one of my BAO friends make something with this piece. It measures 2" x 2". 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out of the Studio Wednesday

The monster bead.  So - most of you that know me, know I make a particular kind of bead for the most part.  Lentil.  So this exercise for me was to create something that wasn't round, had two parts, and worked as one.  I went back to my crackling style using a very neutral color as I was shooting for an old world kind of feel to it.  I attached the two parts with 3 copper wires.  Cheating, but I was going to electroform the connector "wires" anyway so I just eliminated a few steps.  The bottom line is do I love the bead?  No.  If I were to do this over again, I would have just made the top bead a little longer (keeping the shape pretty much the same) and eliminated the bottom bead.  The total length of this bead is 4"!   It barely fit in the bath!  I think that making only one bead 3" in length would have worked much better.  I'm really enjoying creating the shapes that get electroformed as they have a very organic feel to them.



I've also taken a little time with the patinas.  Those earring forms I blogged about on Monday have now been polished and sealed.  How about you - are you a fan of the colored patinas or do you just prefer the liver of sulfer patina?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marvelous Monday

This past weekend, I managed to experiment a little more with the electroforming of beads & earrings.  Last week I had sold a pair of earrings before I had a chance to photograph the backs.  I was explaining how I realized you didn't necessarily have to paint the entire back with the conductive paint thereby making it all copper.  You just needed a little something on the back to be sure the copper wouldn't just fall off the front of your piece.   I made another pair so you can see the process. 

And the once you start experimenting with copper, you just have to add some color.  And here's a pair of electroformed copper earring forms.  I just kept heating up the piece, adding patina, heating, adding patina, until I got to this point.  I think there's some brown, red and green.  I haven't polished and this is in a pretty raw state.  But you get the idea . . .

Below is the other bead I did.  I have one last bead (my monster bead) in the bath right now.  It was almost too big for the bath!  There's probably one other thing I want to electroform this week and that's a cabochon.  Wouldn't that be yummy?  Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

Oh - it's getting towards the end of the month and you know what that means.  If you haven't signed up to be put in the drawing for my free bead of the month, head over to the website and sign up.  You could win this month's bead!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Patinaed Bead

Here's one of the pieces I blogged about yesterday.  I put a patina on it, polished the surface and placed it beside the original photo.  Makes a pretty big difference.  I happen to like the richness of this vs. the shiny bright copper.  What's your preference?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out of the Studio Wednesday

As I mentioned, I'd been working on something new in the studio.  I had purchased Sherri Haab's Dual E3 Etch/EForm Kit about a year ago and had only taken the time to do some etching.  It only takes about 30 minutes for sterling to get a good etch and I love the fact that it's environmentally friendly.  And finally, I took the time to experiment with the electroforming set up and I have to say, I'm hooked.  I've been into this mixed metal phase lately and I'm looking forward to combining some silver/brass with it in the future.  The first thing I did was texture some black polymer clay.  After it cured, I drilled a hole, cleaned and covered the whole piece with the graphite conductive paint.  I set the electroforming solution up and plated the first piece.  That piece was eventually made into a pair of earrings.  For now, all I've had time to do is a LOS patina.  But there are so many color possibilities - my mind is spinning. 

And the piece I got out of the bath late Tuesday and haven't had a chance to patina, is this bead.  

I had plated every inch of the first three pieces and blackened with the LOS.  It wasn't until the 4th piece that I realized I would just paint the part I wanted to be copper figuring I would patina the background anyway.  I like it because the variation is so strong.  For the back of this piece, I only painted the exterior rim.  If I hadn't done that, the plating would literally fall off the front of the piece.  But again, it wasn't necessary to paint the entire back.  So I will be experimenting a little more with color and texture.  Oh, the earrings look much heavier than they are.  They're actually very light because they're polymer inside!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marvelous Monday

I recently came across this artist's shop on Etsy.  I was happy to learn it's the work of yet another collaboration.  This time it's the husband/wife team of Kelly and Mark Payne.  The partnership began in 1995 with Kelly working in enamel, and Mark doing the metalwork.  They exhibit at over 25 juried fine art shows per year throughout the southwest.  Their Etsy shop creates an opportunity for people to collect their work without travelling to one of their shows.  They also have a website where you can see more of their work.

Last week I was going to post pictures of some new work I created.  Before I do that, I want to try one other experiment.   Hopefully I'll get that done this week.  Until then - have a marvelous Monday!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Out of the Studio Wednesday

This Saturday, I'll be at the Bead Designer International's 32nd annual Bead Affaire.  It's a one day show held at the Armenian Culturual and Educational Center, 47 Nichols Ave, in Watertown, MA from 10 - 5.  It's probably the best bead show in MA.  There's such a diverse amount of beads (glass, metal, polymer, resin, metal) along with any beading supply you may need.  There's over 50 vendors, door prizes and demos.  Here's a list of vendors you'll find there.  It's an action packed day so get there early as there's always a line to get in.  I had originally started going to this show to learn about beading.  They have both demos and info for the beginner and the experienced beader.  The admission price is $6.00, but go here for a $1 off coupon.

I'll be selling my beads, now with their enlarged holes - 2.7 mm.  I'll be busy today and tomorrow re-drilling!   Also, I've been working on something new behind the scenes.  It's something I've had on my to do list for one year now.  I have no photography yet, but it is made from polymer.  A woman from the class I taught yesterday, when she saw what I was doing, claimed my first pair of earrings.  I have to say, it is a pretty cool process.  I hope to have a few of those pieces ready for the show. Sorry I'm being so cryptic, but it's always nicer to show the pictures first.  If I don't have them up by Friday, look  for Monday's post.

Oh, and you know how I always listen to audiobooks in the studio?  It kind of transports me while I work.  But sometimes, the cd's can be fine one minute and go wonky the next.  The worst thing is it's usually on the last cd!    Anyway, a friend of mine showed me her Kindle and talked about all its features.  They just came out with the 3rd generation so I became pretty interested in owning one.  It has free Wi-Fi.  Actually, I set my daughters up to tell my husband what I really wanted for this past birthday.  It worked!  When I opened it up I was looking all surprised and Mark said, " yeah, yeah - big surprise, huh?"  Busted.  Don't kids know that they're not to mention I put them up to it?  Man.  Anyway,  I hadn't realized you can buy audiobooks from and listen to them from your Kindle.  But sometimes you can also listen to any book the is "voice enabled".  But it's a very flat computerized voice so I don't know if I could listen to a whole book of that.  So, what's the first book on my Kindle?  "The Girl who Played with Fire" by Stieg Larsson.  I loved the first book.  And to protect the Kindle, I need a cover - so I've been shopping on Etsy for one handmade.  If any of you have any suggestions for an Etsy shop, give a shout!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marvelous Monday

Did you know that an inro is a flexible knitted tube band worn on the wrist?  People can put object/objects in them and the form changes depending upon what the user puts into it. 

Yoko Izawa has been interested for sometime in containing, wrapping or covering things.  She had searched for something elusive. 

"Veiled jewellery reflects my assumption that although certainty is often required in modern society, ambiguous expression has been the most distinctive characteristic found in Japanese values and religious beliefs."

I keep looking at these forms and wondering how their shapes are held. What do you think is inside - clear plastic?   Don't you just want a little touch?

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bonnie Bishoff (Cont'd).

A few years back, the Peabody Essex Museum did something pretty cool.  They had a three day workshop ("Inspired by China, Contemporary Furniture Makers Explore Chinese Traditions") where they invited 21 furnituremakers to view, privately, 29 examples of historic Chinese furniture.  J. M. Syron and Bonnie Bishoff were one of the makers selected.  There, they viewed the historic pieces and then returned to their studios to make something new inspired by their experience.  Below is a photo of their altar coffer that was the result of that workshop. 

All of these objects that were made became part of the exhibit at the PEM. You can read about it here. Also, on that page, you can view a video where Bonnie explained her process and you can see a little of the work. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bonnie Bishoff (Cont'd.)

Bonnie and her husband progressed into making other functional art.  Beautiful fish emerged on lamps where the head was carved, and the body was made from polymer.  The structure itself was made from wire and aluminum pan parts.  Each gill was individually placed onto the fish.  The first lampshade is a paper shade, but eventually, utilizing the beautiful translucency of polymer, Bonnie began making the shades from polymer.

Bonnie loves using the metallic clays for its chatoyancy.  As she uses her metallic canes, they get stretched in making the veneer and that makes them glow even more.  The results are shown best by the photos below. 

Many of us who work in polymer, work in a much smaller scale.  But things look very different when you all of a sudden back away from a large piece and take it all in.  It can look totally different.  Because of this, Bonnie finds she's always thinking about micro vs. macro.

Her work space is, as you'd expect, big.  She organizes much of her work in these large flat files which are under her working tables.  On the surface of her table is glass and underneath the glass is a grid.  She works on waxed paper and does a process called marquetry.  Using her canes, Bonnie pieces them together, cuts where they overlap, removes the overlap and brayers the veneer smooth.  She cuts the veneer in sections to cure.   She flips each section over, removes the waxed paper, corn starches that side, lays tempered glass over it, and flips it back over.  It's now ready for curing. 

I've got one last post on the lecture.  I should have it up on Friday.  Stay tuned.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Marvelous Monday

Li-Chu Wu is currently a student in the School of Jewellery in Birmingham, UK.  She recently created a paper series for her MA studies.  She layers her paper jewelry to create subtle movement with tactile qualities.  They function both as wearable art and sculptural objects.  She is a member of Crafthaus and you can see more of her work here.  Enjoy - and have a marvelous Monday! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Evening with Bonnie Bishoff - Part I

The other night I had the pleasure of being at a lecture given by Bonnie Bishoff.  It was held at the Lexington Arts and Crafts Society and sponsored by the Beadesigner International Association.  She and her husband have been collaborating in the designing and making of furniture since 1987. I'm sure a lot of you couldn't imagine working with, and therefore being around, your husband 24/7.  But it definitely works for them and she stressed how they work as a team - always bouncing ideas off one another.  She spoke of their work with such enthusiasm and passion.  And she delivered her lecture with humility and humor.  I swear if a pin dropped, 20 people would go "shhhhh"!

Bonnie's lecture was centered around a slide show of their work over the years.  We got to hear the stories behind each piece.  They began making tables, with polymer on the top and glass over it.  Initially, the thinking was to protect the polymer.  But they soon realized it was the wood that would really show water stains, not the polymer, so they eventually eliminated the glass tops. 

On this next piece, she talked about how much more flexible a polymer veneer is than a wood veneer.  So, this next table you see is concave.  It was done in three vertical sections.  They appear virtually seamless.  They are superglued together (side by side) before they are bonded to the surface of the furniture.  

If you're like me, you're wondering what kind of pasta machine does that woman have?  She has one major pasta machine, and a smaller one that looked like an Atlas with a motor.  The large pasta machine is actually a Somerset dough sheeter that looked similar to the photo below.  You can see a small video of one of these machines in action.  Scroll down the page to view the video. 

Bonnie talked about how their new work can sometimes be very challenging. As she went through the slides, she discussed what the problems were, and how she went about resolving them.  The problem solving is what seems to be her thing. However, sometimes that equates to lots of polymer clay (as in pounds).  

To be continued. Have a great weekend!