Monday, January 31, 2011

Marvelous Monday

Big, bold, and excessity royal.  Barbara Stutman specializes in working with various wires using several different textile techniques to create these tactile wonders.  Her combination of color and texture is just so visually appealing.  This first piece is from her Excessity-Royal Series.  Take a stroll through her website - she gives us something to think about and definitely something to chuckle at.

"The work in my Royal Series is inspired by the aesthetics, the workmanship, the scale and the sheer extravagance of Indian royal jewellery; at the same time, it is in no way responsible for exacting the environmental or human tolls associated with the mining of gold, platinum or precious gemstone"

Then thinking out of the box, she made this Empty Bezel Series.  The necklace below has a barnicle kind of feel to it with her use of organic and clustered shapes.  Hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!


Friday, January 28, 2011

Feeling the Love - A Customer's Testimonial

So, I'm feeling a little under the weather, but I wanted to share a really nice email I received from a customer from the UK.  She had purchased my "Crackling Lentil Beads with Polymer Clay" only yesterday and has already made her first bead!  How impressive is that?   So, with a little shameless self-promotion, here's what she wrote:

"I just had to email you to tell you how much I have enjoyed your tutorial. 

It is completely brilliant! I am just about to upload a photo to the flickr pool of the first bead I have made. From start to finish every single step worked out without any problems at all - I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to make hollow lentils only to fail at the final steps and have ended up with a bead that is just not good enough - and now, on the very first attempt I have a beautiful bead!

What is more, the crackling technique - which was secondary to my desire to learn the hollow lentil technique - is just so beautiful that I am probably going to be making way too many of them!!!

I have purchased a few tutorials before, but can honestly say, that this is the only one that has worked from step one right through to the end - beautiful photos, easy to follow instructions and lots of lovely tips!
You should be very proud of it! I remember looking at your beautiful beads about 4 years ago, when I was first starting to sell my jewellery, and thinking "How does she do that!?" I can hardly believe that I have now made my own.

Thank you so much."

Honestly - this email couldn't have come at a better time. But it doesn't even end there.  She wrote me later and let me know she even blogged about it.  Pippa - thanks for lifting my spirits!  

And speaking of lifting my spirits, I kind of disappeared off the blogosphere this week due to illness, and again, server problems.  Here in the northeast, we have been getting bombarded with snow. Wednesday night we got another foot. Our mailbox bottom is about to be buried with snow. If we get the snow they're predicting next week, we're going to have to dig out a little cave for the mailman to get our mail. 

And with the snow comes the sniffles and yet again, no school. But I had an order I wanted to get out this week so I had to stay focused.  I really appreciate weeks like this that I can work in my pj's!  And speaking of business, it's the end of the month, and another Naftali bead will be going out to one of my lucky subscribers. If you're new to this blog, head over to my website and sign up for the monthly bead giveaway.
I don't know about you, but TGIF!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Morrisonite - the King of Jaspers

Yeah, I work in polymer clay.  But, every now and then, I get a little distracted.  You may understand.  It's a color thing.  A while ago I became very enamored with a jasper known as Morrisonite. I first blogged about it here.  Morrisonite is known as the King of Jaspers. I don't do lapidary work, but if I did, it would be because of Morrisonite.  I am in love with this stone.  One day, I printed a picture of Morrisonite and put it on my work table.  I was hoping through osmosis (because did I really have time to figure this out?) that a faux Morrisonite cabochon would appear on my table, along with extensive notes.  Poof!  That just didn't happen.  But if you work in polymer and would love to meet to figure this all out, well then, come on over!

The reason I'm writing all this, is because my Etsy team does these color challenges every couple of weeks.  We now have a photo file in our Yahoo! Group where we can load pictures for these challenges.  Every new challenge, I go to different sources.  Today it was Morrisonite.  I put so many pictures in my new file - that I had to do something with them.  I just had to share.  Grab a coffee, come back, and join me in kvelling.  Big sigh.  If you want to see more of these beautiful stones, take the time and go here.  To see other jaspers that Rare Rocks and Gems has to offer, go to their main page here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marvelous Monday

C. A. Michel is a multi-talented artist whose work includes basketry, sculpture, wall relief, painting and cubes.  While still an undergraduate, she received a Merit Award from the Los Angeles Bicentennial in 1981, which seemed to catapult her future career as an artist.  Take a moment to browse her website and immerse yourself in her art.  You won't be disappointed.  Have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crackling Inspiration

I couldn't resist a little crackling inspiration to finish the week!  Wouldn't this make a great poster for the studio?

And coming very, very soon . . .  my version!   Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Out of the Studio Wednesday, The Project Update

I guess the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. That little project I've been working on, is being released soon.  I've been working on a new tutorial, one that's been long overdue!  It's called "Crackling with Polymer Clay". You might want to head over to Voila! to see photos and details because three lucky people will be receiving the tutorial for free.   I can't believe how many pictures are in it - it's filled with photos - over 100!  And lots of patterns as well.  Seeing as the demand in the European polymer community for learning is at such a high, I thought it would be helpful to put more pictures in to help with the translation.   Anyway, I've been crackling for a number of years and I finally felt it was time to pass it on.  So it will be released at some point this week.  Be sure to keep you eye on Voila!

Last week, I had a wonderful two days in the studio filled with polymer and metal.  Unfortunately for now, my bronze clay piece can now be added to all the others who left the kiln patina-less.  A little disappointing.  But, time got away from us and we had to cut down the firing time.  We were using Hadar's quick-fire bronze clay schedule and fired it in the magic carbon.  I had to shut the kiln down a little early because I had to leave the house, so I just left the piece in the kiln. When I returned 4 hours later, I took it out.  the color I was going for (which happens to be Ruth's piece that she fired at home) is below on the left.  Her polymer piece was too large for the bezel as well - probably a good thing as her other piece (here) would not have worked with this patina.  As for mine . . .  well - not so lovely.  But, when I get a chance later this week, I'm going to try to torch fire it to see if that will help.  If not, it's going back in the kiln.  So, I'm not done yet!

But I did manage to get a few pictures of a Ruth's patinaed bronze bracelet.  Fabulous colors, eh?


Monday, January 10, 2011

Marvelous Monday

The son of a weaver, Del Webber began learning weaving techniques from his mother and continues to evolve as an artist.  From his travels to Northern Africa, Spain and throughout the U.S. Del was exposed and influenced by many ethnic forms of weaving since an early age. 

Each stone is carefully selected and wrapped with various materials into a exquisite design.

His work has such a serene quality.  I hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Little Sharing

Yesterday, Ruth and I began our venture into polymer and bronze clay.  We decided to make a polymer cabochon for our bronze pieces first.  We talked about various techniques and decided on alcohol inks.  Once our cabochons were cured we began mixing Hadar's clay.  Ruth has gone out to California and worked in Hadar's studio and is an enthusiastic customer of her clay.  When I started metal clay, there was only silver.  Now Hadar has copper, bronze, white bronze and steel.  I had seen her video on-line featuring her powder and mixing instructions.  But it was pretty nice to see it done in person.  I love the feel of this clay.  I do own some BronzeClay, and Prometheus Bronze which I haven't tried yet.  And after reading numerous reports of sintering problems with the bronze clay, I had been a little apprehensive to use it.  But Ruth has had a lot of success with Hadar's clay, so she brought her supply for our use.  I mixed it just as Hadar did on her video and found it very easy to work with.  And you get a pretty quick idea as to how much powder to use in order to make the clay you need.  First I made the back plate for the cabochon.  Under the cabochon is an opening in the clay for removing the cab once the bezel is put on. 

I kind of challenged myself by making a bezel (with texture) out of the bronze clay as well. This is what took more time.  I had to think about how thick the bezel had to be, and use the frames accordingly.  So then I cut it about 1/4" wide (I had premeasured around the cab for the length of the bezel).  I then went around the cab (above) lightly with a clay shaper putting a little well into the clay (I think I did this when the clay was still soft).  After I dried the backplate on a hot plate, I went around the well again with a needle tool to make a little more of a groove.  Then I lifted the bezel up and wrapped it around the cab, which was then on the backplate.  Once that dried, I started attaching the bezel to the backplate with bronze paste.   If the bezel shrinks to a size that will no longer fit this cabochon, I can easily replace it with a smaller one.  Actually, I think in the future, I would make the bronze clay first, then make a cab to fit. 

I checked for any gaps in the bottom of the bezel (inside & outside), filled again and dried.  So - it looks like I have some sanding and filing to do today with this piece.  To be continued . .

And here is Ruth's piece:

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

And the Word is . . . Pause, Project Update

I finally chose my word for the year.  Pause.  I'm the kind of person who is always pretty busy.  I'm constantly doing stuff.  I'm not a good delegater but I'm learning.   And I can be, well, kind of impulsive sometimes so having to pause won't be so comfortable for me, but it will be a good thing.  Previously I was thinking of the words reflect or introspect.  But pause, to me, is purposely hesitating.  It's telling me to stop.  Do not continue.   Pausing will then allow me the time to reflect.  To reflect on what it is that I want to accomplish (short term as well as long term) and do I really need to do this right now and why?  It will help me prioritize rather than jumping in.  Kind of weird, but pausing will allow me to move forward with more purpose. So - that's my word and I'm sticking to it! 

Remember that sneak preview of a project I blogged about a couple weeks back?  This week, I've been spending time on the computer.  Like lots of time.  There's actually over a hundred photos I've been photoshopping.  Mindless, time-consuming work, but hopefully the results will be worth the wait.  It's a project that's been long overdue and should be done within the week so stay tuned!   

This Thursday and Friday, I have a woman coming to work in my studio.  Her name is Ruth and she's from Amherst, MA.  She works in metal clay and wants to learn polymer.  I worked in metal clay over 10 years ago and need a refresher.   I have my new kiln all set up and it will be two days of sharing information.  We're both looking foward to this collaborative time - I'll try and post photos! 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Marvelous Monday

The artist who makes all these wonderful sculptural animals is Joey Chiarello.  His work is just what I needed on this first day back in the studio.  Aren't the expressions delightful?  I couldn't find a website for his stoneware/porcelain creations, but I found him through the Pacini Lubel Gallery in Seattle, Washington.  Hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!