Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Saturday was another lovely day at the Artist Market.  I managed to finish lots of new earrings, including several pairs using the Bronze Clay.  I tried out a few of my silver designs and they transfer really well to bronze.  They are much harder to hammer but the result is a very light earring, even lighter than the silver, which means I can go even bigger with my designs!  It was such a fun day and the weather was perfect.   There was an occasional gust of wind and at one point one of my earring stands blew over and sent two earrings flying.  I fixed the stand but I didn't notice for a few minutes and suddenly, in a panic wondered why I was missing a pair.  It occurred to me to look in front of my table and there they were, about a foot in front of the table and a foot apart from each other, just lying there, helpless.  Luckily they had not been stepped on and it was as if I could feel their relief when I rescued them.  I imagined they had been crying out "MOMMY!"  I know, I know.  They're just earrings, but they're all my babies!  
    Speaking of babies, there were so many puppies around.  This adorable little one was just chillin' in a bag.  Thus the Market pic of the day.

On Sunday I went for a bike ride with Claudia and sadly realized that it had been 7 years since I was last on a bike! But, it was just like riding a bicycle so it was all good.  We rode on the causeway and the lake was just magnificent! 
The first shot is looking to the left and the second is the view on the right.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bronze Clay!

I had such a blast working with Bronze Clay this past winter! I eagerly watched over Celie's shoulder as she worked with Bronze Clay but it hadn't occurred to me to ask to try some. I was busy setting things in PMC. I was searching high and low for interesting things to set (unusual stones, coin, shells, beads). I got frustrated and wished I could find (or make) some kind of tribal artifact. Then a bell went off and I asked Celie if I could try the Bronze Clay.  She generously gave me a whole package!
Making my PMC settings is very precise and
working with the Bronze Clay was very freeing. The pieces I made were very primitive but I loved the outcome. I think the combination with the PMC setting results in this "modern relic" style and its a direction I'm very excited about pursuing.  I'm so thankful to Bill Struve for inventing this wonderful material.  I feel so lucky to have gotten to work with it. 

 I feel even luckier to have 3 images of my work (the two rings featured here and the other side of the pendant shown left) in an article in the June issue of Art Jewelry magazine titled "Now Entering the Bronze Age".   Its such a great article and it begins with a giant and amazing photo of Celie's spectacular carved bronze snake chain.  

I've wanted to make myself a cuff bracelet similar
to my patched rings forever but the cost of PMC prevented me from ever doing so.  I finally got to make one using the Bronze Clay and I just love it!  I've also started making several pairs of Bronze earrings to sell at the Artist Market (which I will soon post in my Etsy shop). 

Celie will be teaching Bronze Clay classes in the fall, check out her website for more info.

A new Bronze Age is here!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My New article in Jewelry Artist Magazine!

The June issue will be on sale on June 3rd, subscribers will get it earlier - mine came in the mail today!

    Three years ago I wrote a project called “Metal Clay Bezel: Setting stones in PMC after firing” (Lapidary Journal, May, 2005). I wanted to find a way to set stones in PMC that could not be fired in place. In it I describe how to make an entire setting out of PMC by making the setting big enough in fresh clay so that after firing (and shrinking) the stone fits. (I didn’t want to make a mold of my stone and a plaster replica to fire in place, I just wanted my stone to fit.) Through trial and error I found that if I scanned my cab and enlarged the image by 118% (to account for the 15% shrinkage), I could print that image and use it as a template to make my setting. 
    I have set over a hundred stones, in all shapes and sizes using that calculation. In that article I used PMC Sheet for the bezel wall, which works very well. The technique did not require soldering, so it provided those without metalworking skills a way to make beautiful jewelry out of their stone cabs.
    I recently had the honor of contributing a chapter on setting stones for Tim McCreight’s book “PMC Technic”. Writing that chapter caused me to think more about settings and to create some pieces that go beyond surrounding a stone in silver. I wanted the settings themselves to be compelling.
    I wanted the backs to be beautiful, in fact, why not reversible? I wanted the sides to be decorative too; why not textured even? In that chapter I touch on the techniques that I expand on in the article.
    Instead of using PMC Paper, I use very thin strips of textured PMC3. This comes with its own advantages and challenges. This project also features an open back setting, a lovely option if you’d like to show off the back of your cab. In the first article, the bezel wall was attached to the edge of the backsheet, in this project the backsheet is extends beyond the setting and I use a PMC syringe to help support the bezel wall on top of the backsheet.

I hope you enjoy the article!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"You should have a blog"

   This remark was made to me yesterday at the first Market of the season.  "I have a blog" I responded, "only it's horribly outdated."  So I've decided to create a brand new blog.  One that I hope to keep exciting and current and full of bloggity goodness.  So here we go...
   I'm really not fond of the winter and this past winter was especially cold and snowy but the best thing it had going for it; it went by really fast!  I can't believe that it's May and that the trees are almost full and that there's flowers everywhere and how green everything is!  It's as though my eyes are still having trouble adjusting to the color after so much white.  I'm in sensory overload and its grand!  
   This feeling was experienced at its fullest for me yesterday, at the first Artist Market.  I got to reunite with old friends and see all of the wonderful art that they have been busy creating all winter.  I got to gorge on yummy market food, including a root beer float!  
   I saw kids and dogs and smelled basil plants and flowering trees and witnessed the smiling faces that were also taking in all of these amazing things.  It's graduation weekend and there was a kid's day parade and I think it was the most crowded I've ever seen this scene!   So many friends and loyal customers stopped by, and it was just the best day.   
   I enjoyed showing many of my new designs (like the earrings shown above) and introducing my jewelry to new faces.  I also realized how much work I need to make!  Between the Market and a lovely Trunk Show that my friend Jamie hosted the night before and my Etsy shop, I'm quite low on work.  So, I should probably stop writing and get to it.  More soon though... I promise!