Saturday, May 17, 2014

Murrini Magic - I hope.

I've been back at the torch but haven't exactly gotten the results I'd like to get.  I'd really like to make some honking big focal beads in an organic style but they're just not coming.   They will.  I pulled out some murrini to work with.  Some of these are by Lori and Kim.  They're fantastic murrini makers.  Personally I've always had a bit of trouble laying murrini down on a project - maybe I'm just to anal about it.  Jeri Warhaftig taught me a trick to get around this since all of my murrini end up looking squished.  She uses a flat lap and takes them down thinner.  It's hard to imagine murrini thinner than they are but it seems to work.  Here's the lap I'm using and my now less than a 1/16" thick murrini.  I'll post the results of this little experiment in a few days.

How do you deal with these slices of heaven?

Friday, May 16, 2014

It's just past giveaway time I'm going to try this random number generator.  But I can't get it into the screen via HTML no matter what I do.  But, I did generate a winner via their site and came up with a random winner for the goodies being given away at the end of the Bead Soup Blog post.

Drum Roll - - - -

and the winner is:

Becky Pancake
Contact me Becky and I will send these out pronto
and add a few other goodies too!
Thank you everyone for visiting during the blog hop and especially taking
the time to leave your comments.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Welcome to Lori Anderson's Annual Bead Soup Blog Party

Welcome to the Bead Soup Blog Hop. 

My main piece (using the Melanie Brooks focal) from Shannon turned out great.  I made the breast plate with "Home Tweet Home" to pull it all together in a flourish of silver to go with the clasp Shannon made and added my own lampwork beads to compliment the colors and theme.  It was a great challenge and, as always, fun.

This montage might be easier, than having to go back in posts, to see my original soup and what I did for earrings.  I'll leave the browsing for some time when you have a leisure moment.  And considering the largesse of this hop that might be a while.  These are my components from Shannon LeVart German (Miss Fickle Media).  She was my partner for this hop.  In all there ended up being only a small amount of my soup I didn't use.  Even as I took the theme I created for myself - Home Sweet Home - because of the house shaped ceramic focal, I found a dozen ways to accomplish this challenge within that theme. 

You can see from the drawings I was working on several ways to use some of the components for earrings.  Shannon gave me the greatest ear wires I've ever worked with and although I make ear wires I have to say I wouldn't hesitate to buy more.  I used them for the alternative earrings because I knew they wouldn't go easily on these hunky sized ceramics (that's what's cool about ceramics - they can be large and weigh nearly nothing!). 
Since the theme (for me) was re-invented to "Home Tweet Home" (see a previous blog post on Creativity) I decided these earrings might benefit from staying with the same theme.  For the longest I couldn't figure out how to do that and then in a late night lack of sleeping escapade it came to me as I was drawing. There is a saying in Latin - Alis Volat Propriis  which translated is: She Flies With Her Own Wings.  It was perfect.  I stamped the sayings on silver. One saying for each ear. 
This ceramic is thick so I made ear wires especially for the earrings by soldering an earring sized wire to a large silver ring.  I threaded the ring through the hole in the ceramic, closed it, and bent the ear wire.  I like the length - they're definitely statement earrings but needed the pearls to break up their length just a bit.  It never hurts to add something smaller to a large piece, or vice versa.  It breaks up the space and gives the eyes a bit of a pause.
That left some extra pieces - like those great ear wires, two nice chunks of squared and hammered PMC and more pearls.  I love working with tin and had some roman glass from last years foray to Bead and Button that I knew was close in color but funky enough to go with the tin.  These earrings are another good example of size without weight.  Two pieces of tin topped with the PMC square (to use as a reflector for the glass), the roman glass, a piece of Bali, Shannon's head pin to thread it together.  I decided to go fancy on the top and rolled the tin several times over a matching piece of silver I bent and hammered into submission and hung them from those ear wires Shannon sent.  Didn't I say they were great?
Both of these earrings are listed on Etsy at Right Turn ArtWerks - proceeds will go into the bank fund for Daisy's Hip replacement.  I kept the price reasonable despite the fact they are full of silver.  So if you are interested my Etsy is listed to the column to the right.  (Sorry, they are sold!)
I know this list of participants is substantial - take your time and try to visit us as you can.  I'd be delighted to have more friends so if you have time - please join my list of followers.  I love blogging and passing on as much artsy info and tips as I can.   Enjoy the hopping...Sharon
Here is the permalink to the list of participants for the blog hop -
The End  :-)
Happy 8th Bead Soup Blog Hop

Well, not quite the end...
I'm going to take Shannon's lead on this and add a sweet giveaway to my post.  These pieces are the orphans I didn't use in the creation of these pieces.  If you leave a comment you will be automatically entered.  Don't forget about Daisy either...and a personal thank you to Lori Anderson for both pushing through her illness to get this years hop going for us and for her generous support of Daisy's cause.  Yes, in all her pain and agony she was thinking of others and I was one of them.  Bless you Ms. Anderson and may your trials soon be behind you. 

And I could be persuaded to add a bird to this mix if you asked :-).
Drawing will be on May 15th.

Best Wishes - Sharon

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Andrew Thornton is Having a "Rad" Giveaway

Really, it's Rad.  By Impress Art.  Not that Andrew isn't also rad but this really looks like a fun set of stamps and even if I don't win or you don't win they are available at a great price.  And I've paid up to $200. once upon a time for a set of stamps.  Uh, that was "back in the day" when they weren't making such great sets of stamps and finding small ones was an impossible task so these sets at $60 are such a deal....and styling too.

Here is a quick link to Andrew Thornton's blog - or you can get to it in my side bar because he's always listed there too!

Best of Luck!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bead Soup Is Coming...

I've been working my little butt off getting my pieces ready and I thought you might like to see what I did.  First, I couldn't sleep last night - really, it was a total loss.  I was up until 5:30 am.  I wasn't obsessing about anything but when I get a lot of creative things on my mind I really have a problem turning off the juice to my neurons.  How about you - does that happen to you too? It really begins to run amuck up there in my head - but at least it was productive and I'm sure I'll sleep like a baby tomorrow  This is my 3am drawing spree and a set of earrings that came out of it all.  They're for the Bead Soup Blog Hop.  Looking good, huh?  Sorry, they'll have to stay as scrambled as my poor brain was last night until Saturday's reveal but they'll be worth the wait.  They're in that drawing....really they are.

It's like it's written in Sharon shorthand - LOL

It will make a lot more sense on Saturday's reveal when you can go back and see which piece looks like which drawing - hahahaha.   Right now it's pretty cryptic but you'll see the method in my madness.  I was wondering how you decide on your jewelry details.  Do you draw it out, just go for it, what's the preferred work method?  You can kind of see what I do - The squares represent the ceramic squares by Melanie Brooks that Shannon sent.  I kept drawing the square with the intention of decorating each one and then inspiration hit and off it went.  I do that frequently - redraw the shape of something in repetition and if an idea doesn't hit I go back and start decorating the drawings with possibilities.  And mostly then an idea will hit and it won't fit into the doodles and I'll be all over the page.  You're seeing the pattern in my scribbles, right?  All of my drawings kind of look like this, in a way.  Scribbles and notes to myself....I wonder what this is all a sign of and if I gave all of my drawing books to a psychologist what they'd make of it all.  Probably sincerely nothing but if they'd discover some secret super power it would make my day.  Uh, maybe I have to quit watching Marvel, Agents of Shield and get some sleep.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Daisy Day!

So what has Daisy been up to.  Mostly, laying around.  We took to her to my darling daughter and son-in-law's for an overnight stay so I could coddle my new grandbaby AJ.  The car trip - well, she doesn't travel as well as I would like.  She is obviously excited - almost insanely so.  My job is to keep her stable and quiet until we can accomplish surgery and recovery.  It's not like spitting in the wind with a retriever under a year old, but it's darn close I'll tell you.  After a car ride my arms hurt and I swear (each and every time) I'm going to find a better way to corral her.

Kate, DD, says - "Well, let's see if I can walk some of that energy off of her."  Their immediate yard is a small fenced area - smaller than Daisy is used to and comfortably deals with daily necessities.  She put on a short leash and took her for a walk to the back of her yard....think two block walk.  We thought it might go easy, it's grass/ flat/ no distractions.  Kate is experienced at dog handling.  She has Maverick (think Pitbull/ Bull Mastiff mix) and Penny (Pug/ Boston Terrier).  Kate can handle weight and speed.  It all looked great and Daisy took better to the leash than ever - little and no tug or pull, which puts terrible strain on her hips.  But dang - later that night the moaning began and we upped a single dosage of meds to curb the pain and possible inflammation we caused by that walk.   I'll say it - I felt like shit.  We are so careful to limit Daisy's play area.  We make sure she's got plenty of toys and chew things - anything that encourages brain play and fun without physical over exuberance.  It's a balancing act. 

Thank goodness one night was all it took and she was a-ok as soon as the dose hit and normal in the morning.  Whew!  No more long walks with Maverick, Penny, and Trudy.  Someday - just not yet.

What are we going to write about this time Mom?
In the meantime her and I will stick to writing this blog - she's getting pretty good at it.  Likes to look at the screen and then look up at me and give me a big slurp.  LOL, it makes me feel like I must have written something good.

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Creative Process

Don't worry Bead Soup Blog Hoppers - No finished piece here until reveal day and I'm not so sure which components I'll use.  And, for sure none of those red beads are going into the finished piece.
What to do what to do - I've made some progress but am still undecided on so many fronts.  I was originally stuck for awhile.   I put everything away and let it gel (or let it fall completely from my mind for a couple of weeks until I was feeling some pressure).  Either one of those creative situations usually works pretty good for me.   I find getting some pieces together and leaving them under your nose after they've been put away for a bit tends to reboot the computer.  Then comes the drawing pad.  I don't just use it for drawing but also free word association - just all kinds of notes/ quotes/ anything that smacks of setting my creative side afire. 
Home - home - home.  There was that odd ceramic shape - so much like my home...but what was I to do with that?  Uh, let's see....and here is where the free association can come in, plus some down and dirty Internet searches. 
1.  Home Sweet Home
2.  No Place Like Home
3.  Home is Where the Heart Is
4.  My Old Kentucky Home
You get the idea.  You can find the key to your theme within your focal.  Be it a word association - color Segway - poem - chorus to a song - you get the picture.  I'll bet that plenty of those phrases up there brought out visuals for you.   No place like home led me to think of ruby slippers and since it was obvious from my soup that I was going to be working in blue I quickly ruled that out.  Kentucky is a beautiful state for sure but all I could think about what the Derby and horses and for sure that shape was not a barn, it's my house.   Now home is where the heart is appealed to me as I love making glass hearts...but then it hit me.  I've seen Home Sweet Home twisted around every which way but loose and had recently created a bead batch which included a bird - Bang - Wham - there it was:
"Home Tweet Home"
You've seen the drawings so I guess this post is the prequel to the Blog Hop story I've previously posted since you've already seen the drawings that came after the angst of hiding (uh, storing) my soup and then re-revealing it to myself.  So when in doubt (for me) it's:
Lose the objects of frustration to your creative energy (bead closet for me)
Reintroduce the components and leave them where you can see them in passing
Start some free association with the focal component and decide your theme (loosely)
Start your drawing and note taking
Look through your stash for "go with items" (hunting and gathering)
Tighten that theme and the drawings
Begin to create but keep in mind nothing is written in stone (see my experiment with finger weaving)
Experiment with techniques (what haven't you done - how safe do you want to play it?)
Think about this - do you just want to string that piece? Take into consideration how much time you've left yourself for the completion of this project.  But remember - you want people to notice the consideration you've given to that Blog Soup gift and visit your blog again...notice your work and your talent.  Right?  Don't kill yourself - for sure - but use your talents to the best of their abilities.
Make your final decisions - Techniques, Design, Color, Accessory Components, etc.
Create your additional components and finish that piece.
For me - this is the process for Bead Soup creation with gift pieces - it's meant to be a challenge but not an agony.  It's never been easy and I always like to throw in an extra curve for myself.  One year it was waxed linen and a spiritual theme, another it was more of a knotting project and a very full necklace but its always been fun.  I'm excited to have an extra week but not happy that Lori's been sick.  I can't wait to see what Shannon has done, but to be honest I was a little "tight" in my color selection and should have thrown her a bigger curve ball - she could have easily handled it.  And now that I've worked my process a bit I'm excited to show what I've done too.  I hope you'll like it.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I've been drawing and drawing for the Bead Soup Blog Hop.

What Shannon (Miss Fickle Media) didn't realize was that she gave me a challenge of the first order without even knowing it, blue's aren't exactly my color.  I'm a warm red - orange - kind of girl.  then, there is the shape - Hmmmmmm.

I love the pieces - the color the material (clay - pearls - silver).  The artist who made the pieces is a divine person and artist.  How can you go wrong with that....I was given Melanie Book's ceramic pieces and an absolute pile of pearls to match and Shannon's hand wrought silver.  Not just a piece or two but and small handful full of it.  I did many a happy dance.

After I looked at the pendant I was in shock.  It's a house.   It's not just any house.  It's MY house.  Well, my house isn't luscious blue/ brown and raku-ish but the shape is unmistakable..  It's a hard shape to miss in a neighborhood.  It's a saltbox style house.  We aren't a big house but we are tall and have lots of open ceilings and sunlight.

I'm working fairly fast on the actual piece now but I drew out plenty of drawings - this is one of the pages and since the finished idea isn't totally represented on these pages I thought I'd let you go ahead and look at how I process these challenges.
My ceramic piece evoked those feelings so quickly I just had to go with the "Home Sweet Home" theme.

This is about as far as I can take you through the process for now so I do hope you will all stop  by on Saturday (we are postponed until May 10th - oh thank goodness!) and take a look at what I've completed for the hop.  There are over 500 members hopping around this year - what an incredible amount of willing and wonderful artists.  
So while you are hopping around and get to Lori's don't forget to tell her what a wonderful person she is...because that is oh so true.  Lori has also lent her assistance to Daisy's problem with her hips.  Now think about that!  With that is going on in the Anderson household (Lori fighting Lyme disease with all of her strength/ being in the hospital/ being in bed/ being in flux with her life) she took the time to read our family story - she responded to me personally - made a donation and then took the time (while ill) to pass the information on via Facebook.  There are many people in the world like Lori - and Mallory Hoffman, Jean Wells, Mary Ransom, and so many many more that I know I am forgetting so many names to put here. Forgive me if I've forgotten to add yours.

They've taken time - money - they've cheerlead me around so I could post in more places....and they've all reposted many times when I have been stalled. I feel confident that Daisy is going to get this hip and that she has gained an extended family of animal lovers from around the world.  She's a lucky pup and we feel blessed - truly blessed.

Sleepy girl resting on the recliner...she loves the recliner.  Home Sweet Home :-)
Back to work on my project - I'll get it - I promise.