Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvelous Monday

What do you get when you cross technology and nature?  The Insect Lab, but of course.  "Manmade technology is finding that the most manuverable and efficient design features really does come from nature. Ironically and often, this technology closely resembles the musings of science fiction. This hybridization of insects and technology from both fields, is where Insect Lab borrows from."

Mike Libby graduated from RISD with a degree in Sculpture.  You may wonder, as I did, as to how you get from sculpture to the Insect Lab?  Here's what he says.  "One day I found a dead intact beetle. I then located an old wristwatch, thinking of how the beetle also operated and looked like a little mechanical device and so decided to combine the two. After some time dissecting the beetle and outfitting it with watch parts and gears, I had a nice little sculpture."  And my next question of course was, I wondered what kind of toys he played with as a kid. 

Although the work does not intend to function, but playfully and slyly insists that it possibly could.  Delicate work and oh so timely (sorry, couldn't resist).  I hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Out of the Studio

Last week I had mentioned getting a photo sheet made at your local copy store.  I basically, through Photoshop, created a new blank file.  I filled the layer with a radial black to white gradient and reversed it so the inner circle would be white vs. black.  Last week, I had shown this photo with the sheet I had made.  I told them to print it on photo paper, but was unhappy with the paper.  It was rather thin and was a little wrinkled (which ended up actually showing on the photos).  I re-did the job and told them to put it on heavier photo paper.  I also changed the gradient a little so that the circle on the inside was only about 3" wide vs. 5" previously.  The original photo done on the first photo paper from last week is on the left. 

And here's the most recent photo.

I really expected to like the newer photo as I tend to like more contrast, but realize I like the softness of the original better.  So I went back to the 2nd photo and added a light grey translucent fill layer.  Here's what I got (below):

I didn't care for this so much either, so I went back in and made the translucent fill layer a litter whiter (notice how the green is very washed out).  In the end, I'll go back to the first gradient and have it printed on heavier paper.

And one other thing I thought I'd look at - a photo with the piece on a white acrylic panel.  There was no photo editing done on this photo, it was just cropped.  The photos above were cropped and the levels were adjusted.  For most of my bead photography, I use the white acrylic panel.  No color adjustments really need to be made and the photo editing goes pretty quick.  So that's it - now to get into the studio and do some work!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvelous Monday

Today I'm featuring the work of Sharmen Liao. Sharmen makes beautiful knitted and crocheted wire jewelry.  She uses traditional textile techniques to form unconventional structures for her jewelry. My favorites are her limited edition pieces.  And for all of us Skinner blend addicts out there, notice how she "step patinas" this piece to create a beautiful effect.  Her photography is purely exquisite and teases me to reach out and touch.  But wait, she makes knitted handbags as well.  I love the shapes and ripples she creates with her textile techniques.  Collections of today - heirlooms of tomorrow.  Enjoy and have a marvelous Monday! 

Friday, April 15, 2011


I love the scheduling aspect of blogger as I am in actually in CT today helping my sister prepare for my niece Jaime's baby shower.  I blogged about the IKEA vases I got for it here

But I actually finished a necklace which was started last year. This is the first of a series of work that's been sitting on my bench.  One of them is probably 9 or 10 years old.  Does that ever happen to you?  For whatever reason, that's the way I work sometimes.  When I started experimenting with making faux stones, I started working with translucent polymer clay.   I had never really worked with it much in the past but am finding how wonderful the effects can be. I set it in one of my etched sterling pieces.

Also, I took my own advice and had a couple radial style gradient sheets printed out at my local office supply store.  Unfortunately, the radial needed to be tighter so I've got another order in to be picked up later today.  The first photo was taken over a white acrylic panel. 

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Out of the Studio

I'm rather a day late from my usual Wednesday post, but life has been a little crazy lately.  Just when you think things will settle down - wham!  12 hours in the emergency room with my daughter is 11 hours too many in my book.  Anyway, she's fine.  Don't you just love it when you leave the hospital with absolutely no other information than you had going in?   She's back to normal from her mystery illness and even the dog is recuperating from his surgery. He's feeling so good I guess he thought he'd celebrate and help himself to one of Lily's cupcakes.  Jumped on her bed, onto her night stand and onto her bureau for the oreo cupcake prize (he's gotten amazingly agile with that collar of his on).  Remnants were found on her carpet.  Evidence is never good to leave behind.  And what's a cupcake doing in her room anyway you might ask?  Yeah, I was kind of wondering the same thing. 

You may not be surprised when you see what I've been up to.  I've been really having an itch to get ahold of some morrisonite and I finally managed to buy a few slabs.  And no, I'm not stopping working with polymer - just taking a little detour.  But can you blame me?  This stuff is crazy beautiful.  I bought a few pieces from Philip over at Rare Rocks and Gems .  He has these live sales every month or so.  You have to get on at the exact sale opening time and act fast.  I equate it to like going to a Filene's Basement sale- when it used to be good - only you have to act really fast on the computer).    Sluggish computers will not do.  I kept seeing . . . SOLD . . . SOLD . . . SOLD.  I was scrambling and managed to capture these slabs.  Ah the stress of it all!   His rocks are top quality and he is a wealth of knowledge.   And when my package came, there was some surprise Owhyee Jasper in it to boot! 

So this past weekend, I spent some time at Mary's and began sawing off the tabs and sanding the stones.  I cut one of the slabs into 4 pieces and began forming one of those into a cabochon.  I sure wish I had my camera.  Water has to drip on the stone as you cut, otherwise it would break.  So as you saw, water squirts out and about.  You have to protect yourself from getting wet so I literally had to wear a yellow poncho with hood.  Such a sight!

It was very satisfying when I got to the point where I could begin to shape the stone.   Aside from the color, the pictures that are formed within these rocks are amazing.  Faces, rivers, caves, funnels, lightening, planets, universes, it's endless.   The King really rocks!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Marvelous Monday

This week, I'm featuring the work of ceramic artist extraordinaire, Suzane StumpfSuzanne's work has been published in numerous books and has won many accolades in various shows and exhibitions.  I originally was going to show pictures of her wall sculptures, like this reticulated plate on the right,  but I was totally smitten when I saw her interactive sculptures. 

Don't you just want to go play?  To see more of her ingenious interactive sculptures, go here.  Enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Friday, April 8, 2011


I said I would be blogging with photos of the Morrisonite Mary is working on.  Unfortunately, the photos didn't come out that great.  I could only photoshop a couple, the others had glare, camera movement, and bad photograph backgrounds (cooktop and paper towels - nothing you'd want in your photo studio).

She's also working on a couple opals that have some nice flash.  For some reason - these photographed better with the paper towel background!

Mary let me have a go at the lapidary wheel - can you tell I'm getting the itch? 

On another note, I had to take a trip to IKEA to pick up some vases for baby shower centerpieces. I've been told I'm really lucky to have an IKEA near me.  You'd never know it as I've only been in there a couple times.  Each time I've gone in, I've been on a mission.  No time to shop - just pick up what I had previously shopped online for.  I'm probably the only person you know who doesn't take hours in there.  No time to even pick up one of those wonderful smelling cinnamon buns.  Am I crazy or what?  But I have to tell you, it's killin' me!  They had some fabulous plants (palms and orchids), cool frames, great fabrics, organizing stuff, housewares, etc. - man I could get lost in there . . . one of these days. 

AND, it's so close to NTR metals where you can recycle your metal. I'm hooked. They now know me by my first name. Can you blame me? This time last year, silver was $18.24. Today, it's $39.59. It was especially convenient this past time. I dropped it off on the way to IKEA, and picked up my check 1/2 hours later. They pay 90% (which is probably the best % I've heard of) and they take sweeps!  You gotta love it!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Never a Dull Moment

Meet my studio mate Luca.  He looks pretty innocent, right?  For anyone who owns a dog and has had to have one of these contraptions on their pet's head, you know what it's like, right?  When walking and his head bobs down and little, wham, stops dead in his tracks.  Stairs?  No, he doesn't do stairs.  He waits for me to give him a lift.  Going upward usually doesn't work - unless of course, you're jumping on beds.  Somehow, he's got that mastered.  And then there's the warm compresses he gets and the medication routine (place in mouth, spit out of mouth, etc.)  Eating food?  If I wanted to terrorize my dog, I suppose I could just sit and watch him attempt to eat for hours.  How long would it take for him to give up?   So I did take the collar off for a brief eating time (which was supposed be used for eating his food), turned my back for one minute, and he nibbled where he shouldn't have.  Now, he's got 10 days hard labor in this thing.   This little collar has turned my toddler free life upside down. 

My friend Mary purchased some Morrisonite slabs and rough and has begun to make some cabochons.  One piece was too beautiful to cut and will be used for display.  So stay tuned - I'll have some of those photos on Friday.   And maybe some photos of the work that I am determined to get to this week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Marvelous Monday

Janice Vitkovsky's kiln formed and carved murrine glass is rather mesmerizing.  I found myself scratching my head and questioning what it was that I was seeing.  Her use of light, color create such a visual treat.  The glass is cut and layered into strips, fused, then stretched numerous times to create the patterns. The glass is then fused again, carved and hand finished.

"This work focuses mainly on the depiction of motion and the perpetual. By referencing a mapping of sorts, I employ rhythmic and flowing patterns that convey a sense of motion and fluidity."  - Janice Vitkovsky

Enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!