Thursday, April 29, 2010

Metal is Magic

PMC/Art Clay is fun stuff – I’m a non-practicing certified instructor. But, I like working with wax and doing lost wax casting a whole lot better (FOR ME) than working with the PMC. They are both gloriously wonderful mediums but the wax sculpting prior to casting just trips my trigger.

If you were to make lists of pros and cons I would think they’d both equal out. It just depends on what type of immediacy you want with the finished product – and what type of sculpting you are in to. Since I like to work, and then rework a piece the wax is ideal. For someone else, my friend Susan Lambert (Susan’s Arts) for example, Art Clay or PMC fills a need for her technically and quickly. She works it for all it is worth.

Right now I’m working on some bead caps I can have reproduced, some funky disc’s fronts, and some handmade keys. Attached is a photo of lots of unfinished pieces I just recently cut off of the “tree” that was full of these little bits of silver to finish.

What I need are faeries who like finish work! Maybe the clay does have an advantage in that, after all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hey Mr. Postman They're Beads!

I mail out beads all of the time. This package went to a good customer in Missouri. It is a non-crushable (uh, maybe they ought to reconsider that claim) folding white box. Inside are beads that I wrapped in bubble wrap and tissue paper. My good friend Cherie said she can hardly believe that the beads actually made it and are okay - the box certainly isn't!

Finally, a bead post!

New beads….Not that this qualifies as my technique. These are all an interpretation of Michael Barley’s baleen technique which is so popular right now.

I’ve used some Double Helix glass (Khaos or Clio) under the clear (Aether) for the baleens, SIS stringers and some dicro shorts from ABS. I love the depth of these beads. It’s like looking into a flame or a galaxy. Reminds me of the best part of some of the Star Trek shows where you are flying through the universe and passing planets. I want to take that ride.

Top decorations (dots) were done with clear, ivory, or Oxblood with some murrini I made (those Loren Stump classes are grand). These beads are going to with me to Bead and Button for the Southeastern Michigan Beadmakers Guild (Glass Act) booth. I’m trying to make about a dozen to take with me.

I find these beads are challenging to do since I want to control the outcome and not let too much serendipity happen. To me, the solid rules I used drawing or painting continue to apply. It’s just a smaller canvas area, and if it doesn’t balance well within that area, or isn’t as coordinated in color/ or swipes of color as I want then it’s a bust. And then, I’m keeping in mind where I might want to put some surface decoration to pull some areas into others. It’s kind of like using discreetly placed trees to tie in sky and ground. Without them the horizon line can just be plain boring.

I don’t know if I managed the outcome the way I want but I certainly am trying.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More from Faerie Central...

Aside from the photos I’ve already posted I thought you might enjoy hearing a little more. I don’t know if you can easily see any in the previous photos but something that was “big” at the conference was ears. Yup, you heard it! All pun intended….faerie ears.

We were sitting next to a very interesting man named Mitchell. Mitchell was a body painter and ear proprietor. I’ve included Mitchell with one of the lovely ladies he was painting for the Medieval Ball or the Dark Carinivale Ball. You could purchase faerie ears in six different sizes and he would paint them to match your skin coloring. I love those things~ they stick on your ears pretty darn good without anything but also come with spirit gum for longer wear.

This is me in side view with faerie ears (See, I’m already working toward that tooth fairy costume). One of the other things I just could not do without – Fhairy Strands. I mentioned it in the previous post. This stuff just rocks. There was this striking lady with gray hair that was nearly to her waist. Her name was Dancing Hands – her Native American name. In her hair was this amazing flicker of silver. I know, I live in Michigan – Northern Michigan – and it’s not like we are going to take any “trendy” awards up here. They count the Kirtland Warblers for fun around here. I was fascinated by it, entranced actually. Half the day I watched ladies saunter past the booth one way and return from Dancing Hands booth, their hair aglow with color. Not just silver/ mocha/ pink/ black/ green/ rainbow. I was blown away.

Adding pink steaks to my hair was fun (and long gone)….this was better.

After Dancing Hands had passed by several times on her own breaks – and Wendy Froud had stopped by to ask directions to the Faerie Hair booth I couldn't resist any longer.

Did I say I love this stuff ?

Dancing Hands was as gracious as she was stunning. She let me watch her and repeated the steps of what she was doing patiently….and it did seem as if her hands were dancing. Her Fhairy Hair is beautifully dyed and altered silk strands. They are very thin and attach to an existing hair. She very carefully lifts a section of hair, looks for a thick strand and with a tiny rug hook looking tool attaches one silk to one strand with a small knot. The strand flows, just like your hair. You can brush it, wash it, blow dry it, curl it, and so on until eventually the hair it is attached to falls out. Some of those ladies had fhairy hair’s that had been in their heads for a year or more. I had five strands put in – they’ve been in for a couple of weeks. You can even purchase a kit on-line.

Did I say I love this stuff?

I don’t feel it in my hair. I do, however get a kick out of the people at the local Walmart who notice it. So far, not many have had the courage to ask (and I know they don’t sell Fhairy Strands at the Walmart). Do you know who does? The older clerks – the one’s with the twinkle in their eye. Old enough not to care who might stare or ask questions – bold enough to ask. Mostly, I think, because they have the “been there/tried that life” and would enjoy a strand or two themselves. I sure know I have enjoyed the experience of RenCon and I have the Fhairy Hair and memories to prove it.

Okay, so tomorrow I'll post some beads.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Lost in Action - but having a great time!

This is a Woodland Faerie. This costume was fantastic and she was a darling. Writes beautiful children's books about Faerie's. Every day she had a new costume.

(Let her happen - Captain!)

What action you say-(none on this blog, for sure)! So, let's not even go into turning in my taxes on April 14th to the accountant. It is a good thing she likes me. I've been running for weeks.

What I want to show you is where I have been - besides doing the absolutely boring stuff. A good friend of mine, and artist, Sharon Berkan-Dent (Mystic Swan) was going to drive to Maryland alone for a conference. Well, this was not your usual conference us glass artists are used to. This was a meeting of the Guilds - The faeries and the renaissance groups. I decided to ride along.

What a blast. Not a small good time - a major one. What wonderful people. I'm not just talking about the presenters - Wendy and Brian Froud and others - but the vendors, conference attendees, the people from Faerie Magazine and Renaissance Magazine. I've done a lot of regular art shows in 29 years (and always enjoy them) but these people were fabulous.

It was like Halloween but better - no spooky stuff. A joyous array of costumes like I have never seen other than in the wonderful imagination and illustrations of the likes of the Frouds, Amy Brown, and others. And, they were everywhere - on almost everyone. Every place you looked was eye candy. Did anyone mind me taking photos? - absolutely not! They were delighted to pose. How unusual and wonderful.

If I get lucky enough to go again I'm making my own costume to wear. Now mind you, remember I am not like the lithe flighty faerie type - BUT - a friend and customer of mine, Cherie Smith (GlitterBug Originals) asked me to make teeth one year for her daughter's Halloween costume. Uh huh, you're getting the picture, right? Her lovely daughter Sophie was the tooth fairy. Cherie worked at patterning it after the Coinstar tooth fairy. And a lovely fairy she is. I think I could pull this off. I need Faerie Hair - lots of it (another story for tomorrow). A crown like Sophie's with teeth attached. A wand. A tooth bag. And, for me, a blackened front tooth. Oh, and the rest of the costume with wings too.

Are you digging this yet? Send me some ideas....

Look at this great costume above - She was a Steampunk Faerie. The wings were leather and the skirt and bodice had ornate brass cutouts. It was a beautiful work of art. And the bustier? You should have seen them all......I've never seen so many this side of a Victoria's Secret.

So enjoy the photos - I'll post more soon.

And beads too.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Feeling Square - Me Too!

Lately I've been working on my first tutorial. It's not that I don't have like a gazillion folders of information I could pass on. I teach fairly regularly at my favorite bead haunt - the Bead Weasel. But, this one is special so I'm going to offer it up for the world in a few weeks. I was a metalsmith long before I was a lampworker and I've never stopped making jewelry but these cross a line that both like. So attached is the teaser photo. Yes, changeable rings! Not necessarily these square rings but a full course in making rings AND making them changeable.

Stay tuned to MY ETSY! The universe willing it should be posted in about two weeks.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Glasses For Lampworking

I am known for my style and taste - I have to look great while I make beads and never wear pajamas at the torch or while soldering jewelry...and, if you believe that I have an old lottery ticket that might bring you luck. In keeping with my innate sense of design and mastery of safety goggles I'm wondering if I should be wearing this pair more often. I'm not sure they have the required UV protection - but, I'm sure I'll never get a shard of glass in my eye.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Flying the Coup

I know, it seems like a long time since I've blogged....ooops! Didn't mean to ignore anyone but I've been working on a line of jewelry and a huge wax piece for casting. Over the next couple of days I'll get some photos taken and get them up for everyone to see. In the meantime I thought I'd turn you on to one of my favorite place to look at skulls. Everyone know I love making sugar skull beads and Brad Pearson told me about this blogspot for skull lovers. So go forth and check it out. Skull A Day.
I used to decorate cakes about 30 years ago....but I'd sure love to dig out the old equipment and decorate a few of those skulls in that photo. I'm not sure I'd want to eat them but they'd be fun to decorate. Gosh, I even used to do those sugar Easter eggs.