Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pumpkin's have personality too!

I couldn't wait to show you how this turned out so I took a down and dirty photo with my handheld camera Tah Dah - my pumpkin - still on the mandrel with some of the goober of pulling a quick stringer still on it. I like him. HHmmmmm, now what...ideas anyone?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Noodling Ideas

Brainstorming, noodling, doodling, sketching, journaling (whatever you want to call it) is necessary if you want to be creative in your work. Over the past couple of days I've been doing just that. I always draw or sketch - sometimes it's just a quick note so I don't forget that "great idea" I had. Today for inspiration I used a magazine. Stampington and Company puts out some great selections. One of my favorites is Art Doll Quarterly. I don't collect dolls but have had a fascination with them since I was little. Now I look back at their ability to express the times we live in and I'm shocked at the social commentary or mimicry of society they portrayed.

Okay, maybe there IS a story here. When I was little my Grandmother thought I should appreciate Madame Alexander Dolls. Uh, I didn't but I had a bunch of them. They were probably better for us than what came along next....Barbie! I didn't have one for quite a while and that wasn't all bad. I still didn't want to play "dolls" but I did enjoy designing clothing for her - and GI Joe (I lived in a neighborhood full of auto workers/ and Warrant Officers). After that Cabbage Patch came along. Come to think about it there have been some interesting "milestones" in the history of dolls since I was a kid. Who can forget the stir that Chatty Cathy caused, babies that wet themselves (what a mess they were), and then babies that were anatomically correct. Firestorm!

I like the possible narratives that dolls can bring about. You can use a facial expression to convey all kinds of emotion that might otherwise be considered a taboo. Today I found my inspiration on the cover of Art Doll Quarterly. The Fall and Halloween season have come and those pumpkin dolls just trip my trigger. Hopefully what comes out of the kiln will be half as cool as that cover is.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crocheted Beads

One of the neat booths that was at the Gathering this year and a perennial favorite of mine from Bead and Button is Jane's Fiber and Beads. This year what caught mine and Lillian's eye were these oddly shaped beads that Jane had used on bead crochet necklaces. She made these incredibly long necklaces and added BHB's (Big Holed Beads) to them. Fabulous. And, she always has this great selection of goodies. This is the necklace I've been working on. I want to do two lengths of this crochet because I'd like to have the "fins" all pointing down to the focal bead. Yet to be made - - - - that's all I need - - - - another UFO (unfinished object!).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Floral Inspiration

You can feel Fall in the air around here. Warm days bordering on muggy followed by cool nights that make sleeping easy. I've taken the last photos of the gardens - petals are falling off the flowers now. I'm thinking I ought to make some floral beads pretty soon...but where am I going to find some pink like those lilies? I'm guessing not in a Effetre' color - maybe in some Reichenbach.

Twice this year I’ve weeded….well, probably more than that. For my efforts and due to an incredible installation job of a sprinkler system I had a bumper crop of perennial flowers. My mother would be proud – her gardens were always great and some of the flowers were transplanted from there.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fish on the Brain

I've been doing quite a few fish inspired pieces lately so I though I'd show someone else's fish inspired art. This is just to much fun for words so I thought I'd just let the photos do the talking!

Friday, August 20, 2010

From Wax Model to Silver Casting

These are pics of the casting I made from the wax model I showed in an earlier post. I should have taken a photo with all of the wax sprues on this piece after I took the cabochon out of it. It was a mess of wax sticks going here and there and looked like a tree on the back with roots going to all of the appendages. Once it was cast there was a small loss of some of the seaweed in the bottom of this piece (see the wax model in an earlier post) but, I can either fabricate a new piece to attach or alter what I have left.

The photo is pre-polish and still rough. I threw it in the tumbler for a couple of hours this afternoon so I could see where I stood for hand polishing and finishing but haven't taken any photos of it. I'll just wait and post it when it's finished. There is a second similar piece (created for a smaller square cab)that's already done in wax and waiting to be cast in September. So, maybe when I complete this piece I'll list it in my Etsy.

Onward and upward!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Out Of Order

Well, I'm not out of order but the last post is. I'm not sure how to change the date of the post. The "Class Fruits" post was begun a couple of days ago but I never had time to take the photos to add to it. So, if you are seeing the Silly Sunday post and wondering where the newest one went - scroll down. Sorry about that!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Silly Sunday

We are off to an Art Show - No, not participating....just browsing and having fun. It's just a local festival. When I mean local it's about a 40 minute drive from here. If no one minds me taking them I'll post a few photos tomorrow.
And on the topic of mooning - Have you mooned anyone lately? I bet my buns look a lot like Maxine's but it would be fun to cut loose once again....hmmmmm. And, if I got arrested? Isn't that part of the excitement! This could be truly an indecent exposure. Maxine and I certainly aren't members of the bikini tribe anymore. It's not that I would want to go to court or anything. I can't imagine what defense my son might give on my behalf...but I'd sure like to hear it.
"Your honor I humbly apologize for my Mother's behavior. She's been like this since I was a child and it just seems to be aggravated by her age. She got a tattoo - she sleeps in and stays up to all hours. Oh forget it your honor - just book her Danno!"
Hahahaha - the judge's name is Dan. Off to the art show....

Class Fruits

In the space time continuum Sharon's been busy. The local art show was fun. Where else can you get pot holders and a painting? I love these kinds of fairs. Not that I don't like the artsy fartzy ones too but there is something to be said for the ones that have something for everyone. Sorry, forgot the camera - drats!

I thought I'd back track just a little because I mentioned the class with Cindy Moore but never showed you what we did. As class techniques go these were good ones. I'll be using the hinges again but working in silver, once I work out my glitches. This is a great class for anyone who's never made hinges before. I've done a lot of hinges but never this way. They work really great and the design is extremely adaptable. The one here is out of copper and it isn't going to take any awards for clean workmanship but the next one will, now that I've got the techniques down.

One of the cleaver things Cindy used (maybe it was a Nancy Garber/Brighton Beads find - I'm not sure) was a Mini Cut Off Saw (Harbor Freight) for the hinge tubing. Now this is no precision tool but it sure beats the heck out of sawing the little buggers by hand. You will have to remove the bur left behind from the saw but considering you have to file everything anyway I think it's a find. As a metalsmith I'm used to working with tools that can be dangerous if you are not careful. This tool definitely falls into that category. Despite it's size and price ($27.99) it's still a cut off saw and it doesn't have any major safety devices so keep your fingers firmly attached to your hands and out of the way of the rotating blade. It has a vice so that is easily accomplished but be forewarned - this blade can cut, metal and skin. Stay focused.
I think the cut off saw will also work nicely for cutting ring bands, tiny tubes for tube set gemstones, and for those who love lining beads with tubes it will make short work of it. A must buy for your tool collection if you don't have one.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Somedays you just have Tuutuu much fun.

Yesterday I went to Brighton Beads (nearly fours hours away) and had a great time in a class taught by Cindy Moore. Cindy traditionally comes to Michigan once during the summer and teaches for Nancy Garber. How lucky can a girl get - since she was teaching a weeks worth of classes she went ahead and taught this one anyway even though there were only three of us in the class. It was like a private lesson. Cindy travels around the country and teaches at John C. Campbell Folk School and William Holland - and many other places so if you get a chance you'll enjoy her classes. Lots of links to check out today!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dirty Bench - Clean Mind

I love how when you get your bench dirty your mind clears out. All of what has been pinging around in your head is suddenly focused on the task at hand. This is what I've been doing with some of the goodies from the Gathering. That is a tide pool bead flattened out to fit a square mandrel. You'll have to use your imagination on the wax. I used soft pink modeling wax and a medium hard red wax to make the sculptural setting to use for the lost wax casting. I'm hoping it casts well because I'm going to like the new cab set in a silver setting. Keep your fingers crossed. You should have seen it with the sprues on it after I took the wax off of the cab. It looks like a fish caught up in a tangled branch. Fantastic or flub I'll post it next week after it's done being cast.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Battery Muncher

I've been working on a casting to go around a new cabochon I just finished. I'll take a pre-cast photo for tomorrow and hope it casts when it's time. The casting part is out of my control so you never know whether you're going to hit the lottery or have that losing ticket. To make a wax model you have to heat the wax to apply it to what ever you are modeling. A max-wax or an alcohol lamp is a must if you do this type of work. I learned how to use one from Ann Davis when I was learning how to electroform. They tend to eat batteries if you do a lot of this type of, what doesn't use up batteries. While surfing around I found this:

The Battery Eater, by David Dear, sucks the remaining juice from AA batteries. He's magnetic, so you stick him on the fridge, throw in a battery, and his eyes blink with zinc-carbon ecstasy until he's munched all the power. They cost $12.85 from

Since my wax-max tends to gobble juice all by itself I don't really need one but the blinking in the studio would be fun!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gathering Goodies

Maybe I just shouldn’t be allowed in the vendor area of the Gathering. Besides the glass purchase (despite my desire to squelch that- insert here that I lost that inner battle) I bought several other wonderful things. Wonderful to me, at least until the charge card bill arrives!

I truly think there has never been a tweezers I didn’t love. Marcie Lamberson was in Malcolm’s ARTCO booth at the same time I was and recommended the tungsten tipped tweezers. I’ve wanted them since last year so off the shelf they flew!

Then there were the ones at Arrow Springs. Those with the angled tip were listed as leaf tweezers - ? I don’t know about that but the tips on those could easily be used to pluck something off of a bead that you did not want there….or maybe to pull those points on the tips of those little leaves (hence the name?). I remember an ancient class (as a long time ago) I took with Kim Fields and she used these absolutely minute tipped tweezers to grab up glass and pull it off. I think they were stamp tweezers. I can’t tell you the number of tweezers I ruined practicing how to do that. Sounds easy now – but when I was a newbie it sure wasn’t.

Then there are the “use the glass to the last nub” tweezers. Not a bad idea I think. I am trying to do that by attaching old rods to new rods as I go but often I don’t have the same color handy and that leaves bunches of little bits sitting here and there on the bench waiting for the identical color to arrive. Maybe they will help.

Last, but not least. I purchased some square, round, and an oval mandrels plus some Asian beadmaking tools. Now, do I think I will be able to make those wonderful floral beads that so many of our Asian counterparts are famous for – absolutely not! But, the tools were too intriguing to pass up and the trowel (another Marcie recommedation she kindly showed me how to use) was wrapped in a Japanese newspaper which I find fascinating. I think I’ll squirrel away the paper in my resin box for a later project.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Silly Saturday Post

You know how Saturday's are - To little time, to much to do to catch up! Enjoy the "Maxine" comic. I'm beginning to think Saturdays should be for silliness. If you're going to be insane trying to accomplish all of the things you should have done during the week you might as well have a silly time doing it. Now where is that pink sequin tiara Susan and I wore at the bead bazaar last year?? Oh, and Susan has a great idea so this cleaning up thing won't send you totally over the edge. Every hour you only have to pick up ten items. You can do those ten as fast or as slowly as you want - but the rest of the hour is yours. It works!!! But now Susan is counting the items as she goes....hahahaha, I think I always was.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Keep Voting!

You still have time to vote! Beads of Courage is in the running for the Pepsi Refresh Challenge and can win money for their worthy cause if you continue to vote through August….please keep voting for the children!

At the Gathering well over 1000 beads were collected to distribute between the hospital programs. Make beads – vote – send money - Help wherever you can!

Click Here to Vote!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

African Beads, Part Two

Here is the second part of Mr. Cedi’s explanation of how the African powder beads are formed. Now you can see the clay crucible in which the powders are layered. In the first photos you can see how much denser the glass is now that it has melted and the Casaba stick is now burnt out of the bead. Here is where the steel rods are used to pull the glass from the form and shape it into a round bead by tugging and pressing it against the sides. After the forming is done and the bead is allowed to cool completely it’s taken out of the mold and the outer clay washed off by gentling rolling them against a water filled granite bowl.

This set of photos shows a fish pendant being formed. It’s really an interesting process and Mr. Cedi teaches this around the country. Here is a link to Mr. Cedi's U-Tube Video so you can see the process yourself: Cedi Bead Factory

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

African Beads

A presenter at the Gathering this year – as he was in Lowell, Mass was Mr. “Cedi”- Nomoda Djaba. He is from Ghana and runs a successful African bead business. Used glass bottles are gathered from restaurants and bars, cleaned, smashed with rocks, and pounded by mortar and pestle into powder. They add pigment to this powder for extra color. His presentation was quite amazing and I snapped a few photos of the process. The photos show how glass powder is sifted and manipulated with a skewer around a Casaba leaf stick. A glass was used so the color stacking could be seen but this normally done in a clay mold that is later placed in a wood heated kiln. This heating fuses the glass together. The bead mold is removed from the kiln when it is hot and where the stick was a strong steel rod is used to shape the bead into its final form. It is then cooled and washed with other beads against a granite bowl which removes the other layer of kaolin clay (that keeps the glass from sticking to the mold). I’ll add more photos tomorrow so you can see how the beads are formed when they are out of the kiln.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Convention Fun

We are down to wire now and the convention is winding down. Saturday night was the banquet and auction and today we had our last presentations and visits to the vendors area. My eyes are bulging out and my pocket book is empty. I shot some photos from the balcony of the convention center. It's by the river and the weather has been beautiful. We even got to see the annual Puerto Rican pride parade which was winding down Main Street. Everyone loves a good parade.

This was the how it looked from our table at the banquet. There were plenty of bidders on the donated items. I sure wish I needed the Orton controller because it was sold for $200. and they are worth nearly double that - shucks, what are you going to do! But, it was all great fun and the money goes for many worthy causes within the ISGB.

We also had a presentation by Margaret Zinzer, who stepped in for Lori Greenberg to talk about Beads of Courage. Although the voting has passed for this month it looks like we have another chance for the month of August and are currently in third place so keep those votes coming!!!

It's off to the bead trade and closing party. If I get a chance tomorrow, although I am leaving Rochester for the drive back to Michigan I'll post some photos from the last presentations...have a great evening - I know I will.

Just a few pieces from the Nan Miller Gallery of the many that were juried into the Convergence show. Tonight we had a great meeting and then the banquet dinner and auction. They did a great job this year. The dinner was entirely wonderful and juicy - and the fresh chocolate cake was to die for. The auction; hilarious as usual, had Mike Frantz as the auctioneer. He did a good job for the ISGB and should feel proud for the amount of money he helped to raise on their behalf. Tomorrow it's back to the demos and regular conference "Stuff"....yipppeeee!