Monday, March 26, 2012

Marvelous Monday

Australian artist Leslie Matthews is a contemporary jeweler and object maker who has been in this business for over 25 years.  Her metal of choice is sterling silver and she dramatically  finishes it with either a glowing white finish or a black patina - both with textures.  In her current work she combines these voluminous metal shapes with polyurethane resin in various matte colors resulting in a very striking portfolio.  I wasn't able to upload more of her current work but it can be seen here.  Be sure to click on the images at the top of the page.  Her pinks and blues are just dreamy.  I hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Marvelous Monday

Her name is Betsy Bensen and she makes one of a kind, art jewelry.  I stumbled onto her Etsy shop and fell in love with her work.  Her stones and settings are fabulous but I also love her sweet photos . . . like this little lamb displaying this beautifully set pink rose quartz and keishi pearl.

Or this Nevada boulder turquoise atop the backside of this little bunny.  Not only do I admire her work, but her photographs really make it stand out.  What do you think?

There's something indescribable about her work that keeps me wanting to see more.  So, as you can imagine, I was very happy when I found she had 24 flickr pages to peruse.  Beautiful stones, beautiful settings, and great props for her photos - hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Out of the Studio

Wanaree Tanner, a very talented metal clay artist and teacher, recently blogged about using Scratch-Foam for making texture plates for her metal clay.  Here are some of the beautiful rings she made using these lo-tech styrofoam texture plates.  Last night, she did a class with Allison Lee on Craftcast.  I had hoped to have this post done in time, but if you want more - you can always purchase the recording!

I was immediately intrigued with how simple it seemed.  Could it possibly be true?  I ordered mine from Dick Blick (12 9 x 12 sheets for $5.93) and I'm pleased to say how easy it is!  As long as you can draw, you can make these texture plates.  And you don't even have to be able to draw - you can trace copyright-free images and then transfer them to your styrofoam plates.  Wanaree has a great tutorial on her blog that you can access here.  She also did her first enameling project using these texture sheets which was truly ambitious!

Here's a few things I did in the studio this week.

And here's a zentangle that I recently saw and drew onto the styrofoam.  As you can see, you don't necessarily have to use a pen to outline the drawings. but it certainly makes it easier to see your design. Once I rolled my polymer onto the texture plate, I formed these shapes for earrings. 

As you can see, this technique is rather simple, and as with any texture,it has so many possibilities.  You can leave the texture alone as I have done, or fill the "cells" with polymer, canes, resin, liquid  polymer, or whatever.

And Michael's also sells something called adhesive foam sheets.  Lois Maisel, a member from the Boston Metal Clay Guild, sent me a link after we discussed the styrofoam texture sheets at the last meeting.  However, I've never used these and don't know if they're as dense as the ones from Dick Blick.

The design lines themselves can't be too fine like you can get with a ppp, but this lo-tech technique offers another option for those of us who don't like to carve and whose design aesthetic it suits.  Thanks Wanaree!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Marvelous Monday

Jack Pine is known for his beautiful glass pumpkins. All of his pieces are hand blown at 2000 degrees.  He uses layers of colored enamels and precious metals in his work.  The results are pretty exquisite. I didn't find much information on his website, yet found his Etsy link there.  Scroll through his website and enjoy the feast of color.  Enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Knead an Update?

Back at the end of January, I mentioned I would be offline for a little bit as I would be busy transferring files and learning how to use my new computer.  Everything went pretty smoothly.  I just found it hard to find the time needed to learn how things work on a Mac.  Thanks for my friend Lori Magno who helped make the transition a little smoother.  I'm not completely where I want to be as the "time machine" (Apple's answer to backing up) hasn't been set up yet.  I found out the cable to the one I purchased doesn't want to stay in my USB port.  I just need the time to go back to the Apple store and change it out.

As for the transition - the first blog I wrote from my Mac took a while as I didn't even know how to right click to copy photos on the trackpad that I own.  Rather than a mouse, I selected the trackpad.  I think I'll be going back to the mouse as I feel I'll end up with carpel tunnel syndrome if I don't.  For me, it seems to take a little more effort to navigate than the mouse. Then, for a long time, call it insecurity, I ended up with this (photo below).  No, I'm not a day trader.  I just kept thinking "what if" that file I need isn't really on the new computer?  Now that I know all my photos (over 6000 of them) are now on the Mac, and my tutorials can be sent without any problems, it's all good.

I did make a bad decision though.  I purchased Apple's photo editing software known as Aperture.  Not a fan. Bottom line is, it couldn't resize files the way I was accustomed to, and you can't do adjustment layers on Aperture.  So, I returned it the next day - have I mentioned how wonderful it is working with Apple customer care?  1-800 . . . any day, any time.  The next day I purchased Photoshop Elements.  They treated it as un upgrade rather than a full purchase seeing as I previously owned the product.  Saved $20.

And I never seem to do things the easy way - in the midst of this, I purchased the Canon G10 camera and had to learn that as well. One thing I'm a mad proponent of, is using YouTube to your benefit.  After looking glassy-eyed at the instruction manual that came with the camera for about 15 minutes or so, I went to YouTube and did a search for something like "using a Canon G10" and found a series (actually numerous videos) from setting up the camera menu to macro - to aperture priority - some of the first things I wanted to focus on.  Those videos helped immensely with the learning curve! Then I had to figure out how to transfer files from the camera to the computer.  There's no card reader involved.  There's a little slot on the side of the machine that I just slip the camera card into.  Easy. 

And what about the photos I take on my iPhone?  I'm now on the iCloud which I love.  Make a change here (iPhone) it puts it there (computer) just like the commercial says.

Speaking of the iPhone, I took a few shots of some cookies I made.  Last night and today, we're celebrating the holiday Purim.  I won't go into the holiday, but if you're interested, you can learn about it here.  In honor of the holiday, we make hamentashen (3 sided cookies).   I used to make these when the kids were little, put them in baskets (Shalach Manot) and deliver them to friends, family and neighbors.  I hadn't done it for years and figured - why not?  So here's a photo journal of some of the process (wine glasses make the best sized cookies).

And life has been still busy in the studio.  I hope to get around to blogging about what I've been up to all these months.  It's long overdue.  But last week I learned a new technique (new to me anyway) and wanted to make a few samples to share here.  I think you're going to really love it.  Until then - ciao.  Sorry, couldn't resist.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marvelous Monday

Leslie Codina makes ceramic works of art.  Described as "sophisticated whimsy", her collection now includes vases, footed pots, platters, bowls and more but her favorite is still the totem.  Her pieces are infused with playful color and vivid contrast. Her work is a limited edition works of art so they don't end up appearing around your corner.  The poles are often referred to as ceramic totems, or urban trees yet she sometimes thinks of them as garden weeds.  You can actually see creepy crawly things from the garden on some of the totems.  The totems can be left out in the sun, wind and rain but have to be taken indoors during the snow.  The sizes range from 5 feet - 7 feet tall.  Hope you enjoy and have a marvelous Monday!