Monday, May 26, 2008

Let's Hear it for the Survivors!

TO ALL THE KIDS WHO WERE BORN IN THE 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's !!

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.
As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.
Riding three up on a push bike was always great fun.
We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We ate bread pudding, white bread and real butter and drank lemonade with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because...
We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.
No one was able to reach us all day.
And we were O.K.
We would spend hours building our trolleys out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes.
After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
We did not have Playstations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........
WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.
We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.
We were given air guns for our 10th birthdays, made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.
We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!
School sports teams had tryouts and not everyone made the team.
Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.
Imagine that!!
The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!
This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned
And YOU are one of them! CONGRATULATIONS!
You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.
And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.
Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sky Flower Focal

I've been working on my chocolate theme for about a week now and continue to add pieces done in the same color combination but in different styles. This bead is approximately 2" X 1 1/2". Working on a piece that large on a Nortel Minor torch is no easy feat. You have to continually rotate and "flash" the entire piece (keep it warm) while you add the surface decoration, and as you can see there is decoration on both sides of this bead. It takes a little better than an hour of time to complete something in this size. I think this one will be staying in my collection for awhile so I can continue to satiate my appetite for chocolate. Stay tuned for more pieces...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chocolate Anyone?

Here is the newest Etsy bead set. I think I've been dreaming chocolate ever since I drove past this great chocolate boutique without stopping. What was I thinking? Just one little piece. Was I thinking like Lay's Potato Chips, "Bet You Can't Just Eat Just One!" slogan? I think NOT. Since I have no restraint with chocolate, potato chips, jewelry tools, or lampwork glass I held my head up high while traveling down Woodward from the tool shop (only one jones per day please) and have been pouting ever since. Chocolate beads...crunchy but not melt in your mouth.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Stone Setting Fun

Sanding a Hammered Bezel top and JJ with Karen Richards

High Top Stone Setting and Gypsy Settings

Back from another outstanding class session at Brighton Beads. Jiro Masuda was back and this time he was teaching stone setting. We did some tubes, prongs, hammered bezels, and gypsy settings. It was a blast and we moved at a good pace to get things accomplished. By far my favorite was the gypsy setting done from the back of the metal. I included some pictures of the class samples. I’m sure I will be doing plenty of this with faceted gemstones in the near future.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fancy Fingers

I've been working on a quick silver piece based on something similar I recently saw on Etsy. They didn't use lampwork beads and the design was very different but it inspired me to do this piece with some simple lampwork disks. All the links are soldered and the disks were riveted to the silver fingers. It feels great on and has a nice movement to it. This design's a keeper!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Teaching at the Weasel

These are just a few photos of the great students I have had in class. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch everyone and will do better next time.

From Torch-Fired Art Clay Connie Sprague, Terry Christens, and Anne who are torch firing their pieces. Connie has been doing some wonderful things from these classes and I can not wait to see what she creates from the most recent ones.

From the Garden Bracelet class are two of the bracelets Nancy Gregory made after the class (she has four total – whoo hoo!). She really went to town following the class, plus she and Wendy High were nearly complete with their first one before they even left that day. If there were a class curve for bead arts they'd throw it off!

Teaching is great fun, until things malfunction. I’ve had wonderful teachers myself and personally I love passing on the technical information of Art.

I teach, time permitting, at the Bead Weasel. It’s a gem of a bead store; owned and managed by Anne Sturtevant, in Midland, Michigan. I suspect you’ll hear more about Anne’s store as Janel Gradowski continues referencing it in her fantastic articles for our favorite “bead rags”. Within the past couple of months (in between attending some master’s classes myself) I have taught at Anne’s shop.

So far we’ve covered Viking Knit, Garden Bracelets, Simple Soldering, Resins, and Art Clay. Everything has gone swimmingly with the exception of the Art Clay where it seemed the teaching gods were conspiring against me. You name it, it happened! Art Clay is such a great material to use so I wish I had done it better justice this time around. But, I have faith in this batch of students. They’re pro’s and they will glean what was given and run with the material.

I love one of Leonardo DaVinci’s sayings, “There shall be wings! If the accomplishment be not for me, ‘tis for some other.” It suits us well to keep this in mind as we move along the art beaten path. I always want to be “superstar” at everything I do, so remembering this quote helps me to know that often being that superstar requires some practice and patience. Okay, I often lack the patience but I promise if you practice, practice, practice you can get great at anything!!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

It looks like Raindrops!

Things are just hopping on this end of the Internet. I have been teaching and trying to make beads. Here is a quick photo of some recent ones I’ve been working on. They are very much like the traditional dotted beads but I’ve made the dots a lot bigger and I’m calling then “Bubble Beads”. They look like they have frozen raindrops on them, and...they're being posted on Etsy tonight.

I think life has a way of creeping into whatever you're creating. Yesterday we lost all power for nine hours and then it rained and thundered and rained some more. It looks a lot like today will be more of the same. All of my beads are taking on a flowery colorful look like the tulips in the yard. And, I'm splashing everything with clear glass bubbles which make everything below them look like you're peering through a magnifying glass.

More tomorrow about the classes I’ve been teaching…