Wednesday, July 1, 2015

It's July, Really? I'm unpacked and spreading my wings!

I'm thinking one post a month probably isn't going to cut it on the blog....sorry about that. 

Since the last post I've purchased 28 yards of material for front room/dining room curtains.  They're not done yet but check this out: View Along the Way.  I used these instructions to make curtains for the bedroom that turned out great.   I see a whole lot of sewing in my future but at least it's a whole lot less expensive and better than trying to find some to match your furniture.  And, with straight seams, well, how can you go wrong!

Also I took an incredible class with the very wonderful Chris Darway through the Florida Society of Goldsmith's at Wildacres.  I'm pretty sure you are familiar with the first two things, Chris and the FSG...but maybe not Wildacres.   Wildacres is a retreat facility for "creatives" near Little Switzerland in North Carolina.  Uh, may the heavens be blessed - it is just up the mountain from where I live.  What an environment to work in.  Is it the worlds best studio - no (is there one?) - but they supply more than enough equipment, individual places to work, and we were supplied with a list of goodies we would need that were specific to our classes. 

This is Wildacres: My bench, the Dining Facility, the VIEW!

This last one is from the FSG site and this is actually what it looks like...heaven, huh? And there we a lot more rockers than that!
Now, this is a very limited view of the acreage - as it is 1600 acres backed up the Pisgah National Forest.  This was a view from the incredible porch that lies between the two dormitories.  That beautiful stone porch is full of rockers to sit in and enjoy the sunsets, a glass of wine, art "talk".  The studio's themselves were open three of the evenings we were there - until 10pm.  Ideal?  You bet it was.  I feel renewed.  What a way to break in my new home and get ready for the future.
I had signed up for Chris Darway's Mechanism class.  Since "closing the deal" (a great looking clasp) has always been a failing of mine, IMHO, I thought it the best choice for me.  Indeed it was.  Chris's clasps are masterful and I learned a lot about springs.  Also there were John Cogswell, Patricia Tschetter, Andrea Kenning and NC Black Co., and Tom and Kay Benham.   The classes were varied and wonderful - I never heard anyone complain about their class.  Meals were on site and good - so it was work, eat, and visit.  Immersion - - as much as you wanted or needed. 
Would I do it again?  Absolutely!  I can't afford to do two a year or I'd sign up for the Modern Master's Retreat in October.  I can't - but maybe you can.  Join the FSG - they accept out of state carpet baggers like me.  Thank goodness.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Where's Sharon?

It's been a month.  So far, so good.  I've been unpacking and getting that studio straightened around...I've nearly got the house arranged and unpacked but little in the way of decoration on the walls.  Ah, except for the beautiful gift given to me by my friend Sharon Dent and an incredible slate Michigan mitt for notes and a reminder of my friend Eileen.  I'll include a photos later as everything gets a home.  We've been scoping out a new chair for Brian - so far I like this, LOL:

Candy chair at the Hickory Furniture Mart

"The girls" are adjusting nicely - Daisy and Trudy seem happy with the new digs.  Daisy spent a week swimming in the creek at our sons and her hip and leg are holding fast.  She even fronted off a horse or two but slipped back under the fence quickly when Zohan took her up on the challenge.  Constant muscle building and fitness work - slow and steady.

We are loving North Carolina - we miss our two adult children and our newest Grandson, Abel, but we will get up to Michigan often.  We went to the Liver Mush Festival with our children, who live here, and our new granddaughter, in Marion.  Yup, you heard me correctly - up north I guess we don't know squat about liver mush but here they fry it up and serve it in a sandwich.  My mother and father would have loved it.  Me, not so much.  But the festival was fun.  Down home, lots of families, plenty of happy and music - and let's not forget that mush!

I've been making some blown beads - trying to get my hands back in working order.  I'll get them posted soon.  I'm getting myself back in gear - gears are good, slow but accurate.

More to come - and more often too!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Eye Candy

Most of you read Jewelry Artist by lapidary Journal.  I love the new article in there by Cathleen McCarthy, Work Local, Market Global, so I decided to look up her site.  Great eye candy and articles so I thought I'd share.  I've added it to the blog sidebar and here is a link too:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Great Glass Stash

It's not exactly a glass store but it's pretty good.  We glass artists buy glass in increments of a quarter pound or more.  Usually it's because some odd new color came out and we just had to try it so we bought the minimal amount.  That tactic usually leaves us with a couple of rods of the stuff left over - and then we're telling ourselves - 'Uh, it really doesn't handle like this other orange it "looks" like so I probably shouldn't mix it in the same bin '.   That means we keep it labeled and try to keep it separated.  In which case you end up with one heck of a lot of bins half full of glass.  LOL

At least it makes for an excellent selection when I want to work.  I'm not working yet.  I don't think I will be working on any glass until fall.  As you can see by the photo the torch isn't even out yet and we've still a propane line to put in for it.

One step at a time.  Looking better though, huh?

And just for giggles - these are my new casting goggles.  They've #5 welding lenses in them.  I thought Daisy looked much better modeling them than I do.  No, I won't wear the steam punk part when I cast - they just unclip from the goggles : - ).

Sunday, April 26, 2015

So many things to discover!

We've almost landed in NC.  At this point we are working on the NC end of things - unpacking all of those household and studio items that were packed up months ago.  I'm surprised that it's all beginning to fit in well and get dispersed throughout the new home.   The Michigan house is up for sale and we've one, maybe two trips to make back to move Brian's tools from the studio to least the vital items we might be able to use here. 

Trudy and Daisy are adjusting well.  They love the new yard and are enjoying all of the new smells.  We understand there is a river path close, our son showed us how to get there yesterday where we can walk the dogs and Trudy can play in the water.  We can't wait.

Yesterday when we were with the kids we decided to drive up the mountain to Spruce Pine.  They were having a blacksmith show there and I wanted to see what Spruce Pine was like.  It's been nearly 20 years but some of first beads were made from Spruce Pine Batch.  I still have that strand of beads.  It was the cullet used in the glass furnaces of Al Young in Michigan.  We made beads in a class taught by Toby Upton and occasionally Al when Toby was absent with pulls from the furnace that were leftover from glass blowing.  Maybe it was prophetic that I ended up here in some way. 

This area of NC was always some mythical place to me.  It's where Penland (it's such a great art school) is located - where that huge castle called The Biltmore is - where Spruce Pine Batch was/ is still made.  I remember it was my first introduction to glass cullet and I was shocked to think that glass could come in 50# bags that were stacked like potatoes.  Whew, young and dumb!

I was a lot more romantically inclined back then but I find the mountains and the towns tucked in between them very magical.  Whether it's the artist in me or the youngster resurfacing for a long overdue play date, it doesn't make any difference.  It's rejuvenating and there are so many things to discover. 

The Blacksmith show was fun.  I don't think I've ever seen so many portable furnaces in one spot.  It seemed like every booth had a demo going on.  Children were aided in hammering on red hot metal - huge anvils were everywhere.  I felt star-struck, talkative with strangers, light-headed, and giddy. 

Live Demo at the Blacksmith's Festival

Spruce Pine downtown (the constant live demo is under the tent) but there were at least four others we saw along the street.
I'm going to like this move.  I bought a small coat rack for the hall.  It will be hard missing two adult children back in MI but great to be re-bonding with the one here.  They're all wonderful and I'll travel back to Michigan frequently, but home base from now on will be NC and all it's new adventures.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter All You Good Eggs!

Don't worry - back in Michigan, still moving.....but we are getting down to the end and getting the house listed next week.  Whew, what ride! 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Unpacking...New Studio Here We Come!

How time flies when you’re moving…whew!  It’s been like a respite from the arctic.  When we left Michigan it was 30 degrees below zero and that was without the wind chill factored in.  We packed in a big hurry because we picked up a trailer on a Thursday and then they announced one of those big weather fronts was going to come through after the cold spell.  The one that dumped all that ice and snow on the Midwest and up through Boston and New York.  We decided we needed to “get outta Dodge” before it hit or we’d have to wait another four days for it to be cleared away. 
This is how the new studio looked before I started moving boxes, floor protection (flashing and fire retardant carpet), tools, boxes, and equipment into place.

Looking pretty bare here
It’s not the permanent move yet – but the third load…and a nice stay in North Carolina while we arrange some furniture, make decisions, even ordered an actual new to us kitchen table.   We had a good chuckle with many a clerk here while we shopped as they apologized for it being so cold…LOL, really?  On our one day sprint ahead of the storm the temperature changed by a whopping 60+ degrees.  From minus 30 to 32 above.  For us, even that felt like a virtual heat wave.  And now, a mere 10 days later we’ve enjoyed many a day of 60 degrees.  And sun – hurrah for the sun! 
So far, so good.  We had this head high pile in the lower level storage area that is beginning to dwindle down as we move boxes into their proper rooms.  And thank the heavens for the help as on this end of the trip are one son and my delightful daughter-in-law who are helping to settle us in….and moving many a hefty item.   Between all of the kids helping they’ve made this physically and emotionally bearable – I’m a lucky mother.
What attracted us to this area was the climate, the close proximity to family, and the artistic community.  We are very close to Asheville.    The cons were obvious – we are also leaving two grown children and family in Michigan too.   But grown was the operative word – grown and busy.  We can pretty much travel at will back to MI for visits so there were many more pros than cons in this decision.

Starting to move things into place.  I won't unpack the majority of the boxes until everything to store it all in is set in place.  But it's nice to be making such progress and seeing this nice bright studio take shape.  I've even got a nice nook for photography and books.
Even Daisy and Trudy are benefitting from the warmth and getting exercise.  Since there is no fence here Daisy is getting hers via a harness and lead (Trudy is happy to come when called and stick close by).  This is something we’ve needed to do for a while and although it was a rocky start she is beginning to come around.   Rome wasn’t built in a day but she’s improving quickly to the idea of walking on a leash.  Hip hip hurrah, one step closer to surgery.  Another pro – our daughter back in Michigan lives 15 minutes away from MSU Veterinary College – which is where Daisy was evaluated for hip replacement so we will not have to change surgeons either when the time is right.  And finally and not the least of the issues we faced in Michigan, with the lack of snow and ice, a major hurdle to either Brian falling or me with these titanium knees the lessons can finally commence. 

Well, enough posting for now.  Back to unpacking things.  I can't wait to get back to work.  LOL - I locked the rolling tool cabinet and left the keys in Michigan.  DUH.  It certainly made it safely here but now I just look at it and long to pull a drawer open.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lover's Locks


The history of love padlocks dates back at least 100 years to a melancholy Serbian tale of World War I, with an attribution for the bridge Most Ljubavi (lit. the Bridge of Love) in spa town of Vrnjačka Banja.[2] A local schoolmistress named Nada, who was from Vrnjačka Banja, fell in love with a Serbian officer named Relja. After they committed to each other Relja went to war in Greece where he fell in love with a local woman from Corfu. As a consequence, Relja and Nada broke off their engagement. Nada never recovered from that devastating blow, and after some time she died due to heartbreak from her unfortunate love. As young women from Vrnjačka Banja wanted to protect their own loves, they started writing down their names, with the names of their loved ones, on padlocks and affixing them to the railings of the bridge where Nada and Relja used to meet.[3][4]
In rest of Europe, love padlocks started appearing in the early 2000s.[5] The reasons love padlocks started to appear vary between locations and in many instances are unclear. However, in Rome, the ritual of affixing love padlocks to the bridge Ponte Milvio can be attributed to the 2006 book I Want You by Italian author Federico Moccia, who made a film adaptation in 2007.[6][7]

Good old Wikipedia!

Happy Valentines Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Onward and Upward on both fronts!

The tree pendant is in the investment cabinet awaiting next weeks pour when all of the students are done.   It's time for me to create a bail for the pendant and go back to working on a set of ravens I have.  In the meantime I managed a tree full of possible earring parts.  They're flirty to me - a suggestion of spring.  I wish I had my equipment here to finish them but it's in NC waiting for me to unpack it.  Soon little tool shop...soon.

These are my spunky earring parts.  Waiting to be parted from their sprues and get cleaned up and polished.  That wax work is keeping me moving in the right direction while I continue on this quest to get all things packed and moved in a reasonable manner. 
I've shown these in the directions that the earrings will go.  Hard to tell this is silver before it's polished.
LOL - is there anything about packing and moving that's reasonable when you're doing it yourself?  Oh why oh why didn't I work for a big company that would send in a team of people to do this.  Experts in packing who will say, "Stand aside little woman (hahahahha) and let me get that for you!"

Thank goodness for imagination.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finishing up a complicated wax carving.

Today I had to go and have my left eye lasered clear.  the new lens from the cataract surgery is just fine - but the capsule it has been placed in has grown cloddy and a bit like cellophane to look though.  That is so not fun when you are using needles as wax tools.  You really need to know where to place that point so you can redefine some places and gentling nudge others into position.  thank the heavens, the cloud has been in lifted in that eye - the worst.  Maybe next week we can get the right eye done too.  Fingers crossed please.

I had to say it certainly had the desired affect.  I finished the things that were bothering me about this wax.  My tree spirit was missing an eye....and personality.  Now I think it's back in order.  I still have two branches to straighten out and the left hand corner to square off again but after that I can go ahead and sprue this piece and get it cast.  Whoot   whoot.  Thursday it's back to the packing!

In this one you can see the varieties if waxes I have uses t sculpt this piece,  each, is a different color and has different properties.  Maybe I can do a blog post of why I've chosen them for this piece.

Changing the picture to black and white always helps me notice any of the little things that are "off" in the design or execution of the wax.  You aren't distracted by the variety of colors in front of you so I often stop and get a quick phone photo.

By tomorrow I should be sprueing this piece and getting it ready to be cast next week.  There is a bail at the top created with the branches but I think I need to make a different type of bail and attach that to it.  I'll be working on that tomorrow.