Sunday, March 28, 2010

I can't pin it down......

I've been a moody artist of late. It almost always happens this time of year. I don't know if it's the lack of sunlight (which is certainly getting better the last few weeks! I could live without snow and sunless days for the rest of my life!), getting ready for shows, running out of money to buy new toys or beads or if I'm just moody all the time and I only notice it this time of year! It might be as simple as I get burnt out and need to recharge my batteries. Sometimes during this time of year I have to force myself to work in the studio... and when I do make things I feel like it's awful, icky or crappy. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't- but nothing kills creativity like negativity! I really do need to restock on pieces for the upcoming shows! But I don't try to force it. I have 5 weeks until my first show ( Downtown Farmer's Market in Des Moines May 1st) so I'm not in panic mood yet.

So a couple of weeks ago when I had the sudden hankering to make pins, well, I wasn't going to tell myself no... All of these are in 18GA copper wire. Technically pins like this are call fibula pins or broaches. The kewl thing about this style is that it's ancient, literally! You can find Fibula pins in ancient Greece and other countries starting in the late bronze age. (approx. 1550 BC) Fibula pins were practical as well as decorate.. they were used to fasten clothing and cloaks.

Today they are for decoration.. they look great on coat lapels or a sweater, or even fastening a scarf around your neck.

I love them.. especially as they kicked my butt out of my moody, and I've been booking as much studio time as I can since!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

bead stash enhancement....

Today was the annual Rings & Things annual trunk show in Des Moines. I got together with a good friend and as usual, spend more money than I should have. Then we ate lunch at Olive Garden and traded beads and generally had a great time.

After I got home I was talking to some fellow beady buds on facebook and they wanted to see proof of my great new treasures...
Well OK, my friend Julie thinks she bought better goodies than I did.. so I had to take pics to prove her wrong!
LOL it's all in good fun. I love these little devil guys!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I love how this one turned out!


This is what you call a very happy accident! The base is a lovely bit of dichro, the top a very neato glass blown shard that was nearly flat. My last kiln run I had 2 levels.. one full fuse on the bottom closest to the elements. The top layer was for fire-polishing. I accidentally put this in the top load instead of the bottom, but because it's only 2 layers of glass, I got a partial fuse. The 2 layers of glass didn't completely melt together, and it left a channel between the 2 pieces...

Now some fusers actually grind channels in glass cabs, it can aid in wire wrapping.. it gives someplace for the wire to grab on. The wire-wrapping I do is on the outside surfaces, so I don't need a channel for a nice, secure wrap. But who am I to deny what a cab wants to be when it grows up?? It had a channel, so I channel wrapped it.

You can see the channel here...

To top it off, both sizes are very nice looking. Usually in a glass fused piece it's pretty definitive which side is "front" but I could make arguments for either side, so I wrapped it very simply, which allows someone to wear it either way. To spice it up just alittle bit, I used 21GA twisted sterling wire.

I love happy accidents!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Better days, traveling beads and oh my! one more kewl cab!

I love stuff like this!! Heather Powers, a formidable jewelry artist in her own right, and daughter of Beverly Herman (beloved old Internet friend who is also a jewelry artist of extraordinary talents!) is having a Sisterhood of the traveling beads:

This is where you amass a wonderful stash of beads, findings, and other jewelry making goodies and then ship it off to some stranger to pick out items, to replace with her own and then ship it off again. Eventually the box ends up back with the original sender, hopefully filled with treasures from across the country and all different than what it started out with.

What's fun is I remember doing these years and years ago, off old news-net groups. ( do they still have news-net? does anyone under 25 even know what I"m talking about? ) It's a great idea and I'm very pleased it's been revived. I hope I get to be picked for it!! If not maybe I will have to start one of my own!!

As you can see I'm in a much better mood. Part of this is Sunday made up for blah Saturday by being wonderful! Jerry and I took Little Bit to see Cirque De Soliel in Cedar Rapids as her spring break treat. The weather was fabulous.. low 50's, sunny, we ate at a nice little local Italian place, walked to the Stadium and the show was really fabulous. I saw some stuff I've never seen before, at least live. We had pretty good seats, and Jesscera got to see the clowns up close and personal.. and some of the Performers waved at here.. she broke into the biggest old grin! fun fun fun and worth every penny, even with ticketmaster's huge surcharges!!!

Drove home, and just hung out as a family. Very good day!
Since this blog is mostly about the jewelry I make, here is another recent wrapped cab. The depth on the Dichro on this one is hard to see in the pic, but this one turned out so very lovely! Wrapped in sterling 21GA square and 20GA half round, I took my time on the wraps and it shows. I'll be posting new shows on my website soon... stop by to see this and others in person if I'm in an area near you!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

ever have one of those days??

yep, you know what I mean. You wake up from a nightmare. No hot water for your shower. The kids are starving and screaming for pancakes, you make 20 and they eat - each - half a pancake.


I could go on... but I won't.

So of course my plan was to make a pendent in PMC today. I should have known better, the way the day was going. I shan't go into details, but nothing turned out right, and I gave up later than I probably should have.

So, in the spirit that things will be better another day, here a glass donut I made a few weeks ago that turned out like it was suppose to! I used a frit mold, but left the middle empty and then prayed it wouldn't flow back and cover the blank spot. it worked! I love wrapping donuts, so many great possibilities in that, so learning how to make them in glass is a major goal of mine. I liked how this turned out so I'm sure I'll make more, but I've got a few other ideas on how to make glass donuts. Since today is not my day, I don't think I"ll try them today, but soon...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I hate hate hate being sick.....

which is what I've been the last several days. Some sort of mutant cold/chest thingie. I hate when it goes to my chest. I have Asthma and a life-long history of respiratory problems, so whenever a cold goes chestward, I get scared. But several days of extra rest and drugs and today I actually start to feel human again. Today I actually feel like going up to the studio and doing something besides coughing, wheezing and staring at the walls! I don't want to push it, so I set up a load in the kiln. This is a frit mold, ready to go. The purple stuff is kiln wash, which keeps the glass from sticking to the mold. When these are done, I'll take a picture so you can see what it looks like. So far the molds are just the first cycle in the kiln. I often end up with little sharp bits, which I break off or grind off, and then I do other run in the kiln to smooth these out. Sometimes the cab doesn't look quite right to me, and then I'll add something and run through the kiln again. This is why glass is sooo much fun.. the possibilities are endless! Most of the cabs I make end up in the kiln at least 2 times.. I think the most I've done is 4.

I'm doing some wire rings today, and maybe pins. Little Bit (aka the 13 year old daughter) gets home early today for spring break, so we have plans to be lazy and watch a movie together. Life is good, if not completely cough free yet!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

March means the year is march-ing on.....

The CoffeeHouse art show yesterday was fun just like the first on in February. I made 3 pendants while selling jewelry, talking with friends and fellow vendors. I really think this venue will grow with time as the word gets out! I just found out today though that the April one will be the 10th, and I'll be out of town that weekend... (Omaha Bead Show, WOOT!) and at the end of April my normal show schedule starts! Wow, the year is flying by, and there is soooo much I want to get done.

I want to play with glass, play with metals, play with PMC, and of course I need to start really thinking about my stock for summer shows. I'm working on getting my anklet stash up and running for the summer. I sell anklets by the bucket-load, and I always try to get a reasonable stock up and running before shows start so I don't run out. I always have my bread and butter standbys, but each year I like to do a few different styles just to keep things fresh and interesting. The photo above shows anklet designs, including 2 new ones for this year. I love the pearls & swirls.. I'm thinking a necklace version of that, maybe 2 strands would be absolutely yummy! I wonder what would look good as matching earrings.... hmm......

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Glass Fused Pendants!

OK these might not be the best photos, but I was trying to capture the wonderful dichroic effect of these cabs! Top is a white opal cab with wonderful bumpy texture. This was completely unplanned but I love it. I take notes on most of my glass runs, so I"m hope full I can recreate this again in the future! Wrapped with sterling silver, naturally!

This pink guy is several smaller pieces of clear dichro on a opal pink background, done as a full fuse. I did a fancier more silver intensive wrap on this one, it just called for it. I love the layers on this one!

Last is this blue/green cab. Now this one takes alittle explanation. I've been recycling broken blown-glass pieces in several of my cabs. They start out as broken sharp bits, many with burnt parts and icky overcooked brownish spots. I grind or sand off the icky bits, and then use them as a base to add other colored glass and dichro effects to them. I love them because of the unexpected colors and patterns they come in, once you get rid of the ick. I also love the fact that this broken glass is getting recycled and not thrown away! My sister's pendant a few weeks ago started out life like this.

Now on some of the larger pieces, I melt them down alittle first for easier handling. This one was a large piece that just turned out so very kewl just from the little meltdown!! I fire-polished it to get rid of all the sharp bits and then wrapped it with matching color crystals. I just love how this looks!
More cabs will be coming soon!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Pendants, come see them in Person on March 6th!

These pendants were made on my trip to visit my South Dakota friends, and will be at their very first show this Saturday March 6Th at the LivingRoom Coffee house in Valley Junction, Iowa. Stop by say hi, and maybe make this the last show for these guys! Pendant #1 is done with Sterling Silver and a vintage crystal, pendant #2 is one of my own handmade fused glass pendants wrapped in sterling, and pendant #3 is Sterling wire with crystals. I'll post more new stuff in the next few days and I'll have all of my newest creations at the show!