Monday, October 12, 2015

Tiny Earrings

They're small silver circles.  A fairly popular style with the jewelry community and I figured it was a good place to start with a small collection.  I'll maker some bar earrings next and maybe a few domed styles.  I've already begun to set some rose beveled cabs. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Off, Cruising....

We took a short ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway today. 
It's the fall color season in the south and it has finally stopped raining.  Wow, everyone was out riding around and picnicking.  Loved it! Aren't the views beautiful?

Monday, October 5, 2015

New Clay

While I continue to work on the heart necklace I've been puttering with some new clay components.  Since I can work with the clay while I'm upstairs it makes a nice break in the studio action.  The necklace is very nearly ready to string up.  There's still a clasp, oxidizing, and some crimp covers to purchase for assembly and I'll be ready to go with the heart/litho necklace.  It seems like forever since the goal was a finished piece of jewelry rather than components.  They are both lofty goals and I've never viewed either as the more vital endeavor.

I guess I look at each little component as its' own complete piece.  I give each such careful consideration while I'm working on it - pumping them out was never a plan so I get to caress each piece, smooth the edges, pick out just the right bail (not to big a bend - not to small - call it a goldilocks obsession).  Instead of stamping them out I form each little clay piece by hand, stamp them, roll the edges and reform it....anyway, you get the idea, LOL. Clay components created by an artist with a perfectionist goldilocks obsession.  That about describes it - and why I'm so slowwww.....

As soon as this clay is glazed I'll be posting these in my new Etsy "PartsWerk" site.  And I say that with great enthusiasm like I actually think that will be tomorrow.  Sharon, you silly dreamer!  I've both lampwork and clay components to get listed.  All finished jewelry pieces will now be in the original RTAW site (the poor empty Etsy site you see here).  Slowly, but surely I'm working towards it.  It may take me a few more months for the unveiling but since I'm a one foot in front of the other kind of gal I'll get there - later than sooner, but I'll get there. (Smiles from ear to ear!). 

Here's a small sampling of the clay pieces waiting to be fired.  One batch has already gone in the kiln and I've bisque to get glazed while I wait for this batch to dry.

What have you been up to?  Fall always make me feel more productive.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Happily Working Along

I've been working on one of the litho square pieces and have expanded it to include a heart and hang from a two strand necklace with silver spacers. 

On one of the jewelry sites someone was using these great little tooled ends - my friend sent me the reference and I got some.  Today I pounded out a few designs and decided to make fancy headpins from them.  I needed an interesting one for the heart anyway.

     My friend, Susan asked me how I soldered the wires
     into the backs of the little buggers so I decided I'd post                                                            it here too.  After the designs are hammered in the front
the piece is removed the design steel by hammering a nail setting tool into the back of it.  It also leaves a mighty nice indentation on the back of the molded silver dot.  I push the silver form into a soldering board and use self locking tweezers to hold the wire in place.  I solder with easy solder since you don't need anything stronger.  You aren't going to be adding any other pieces so why use hard solder.  

For the ones in the top picture I had added a silver sheet round to the bottom and it covered up my center hole.  The best way to handle that is to then make your own divot in the sheet.  That divot is easily accomplished with a round burr that is either a cutting or grinding burr.  The burr shown in the picture happens to be a diamond coated grinder. 

           See the larger head pin on the heart?
In this last picture are two of the smaller head pins.  They will be great with bead earrings.  I haven't yet explored all of the possibilities but I'm off to a great start and it's wonderful to be back in the studio again.

Have a

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Newest Petite Litho Gem Necklace.

I've been working on some petite litho steel necklaces as a series.  Three variations are nearly finished.  I really ought to finish one of them at a time but it just never seems to work that way.  I prefer to do the patinas and setting at the same time.  This is the next one.  On the whole they really are on the petite side - see the photo of the folded tin pieces in my hand.  I will need to bend the silver tubing to make this work.  I've a tutorial on how to do that so I'm looking forward to trying it.

And before I got this posted I was working and found the instructions for bending tubing.  Check out: Art Jewelry - September 2015 Issue - Tube Hoop Earrings.   I found a suitable sized tubing in my old stash that I figured would work pretty good.   I bent the steel rod - not an easy task - into a curve I thought would give me what I wanted in the final piece and gave the whole thing a steady yank through the drawplate.  Hallelujah, I got that nice gentle curve I was after and cut my 5/8" piece off for my pendant.


Not quite done yet and I'm debating the merits of the ball on top of the tube but I think I'll go ahead and solder one on there since I think it mimic's the ball I want to add below the bead I've yet to create for the bottom.  The repetition of the round form won't hurt a thing - even on a little piece.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Antique Tobacco Barn

While our son Bob was here visiting after the trip from Michigan we decided to do a little antique shopping.  We only made one stop - The Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville.  It was huge.  Here are a few shots.  I will go back - - - - again, and again, and again.   And, of course, we will go to others in the area - but after a thorough look through this one we were pooped.
What fun stuff - It seems liked miles of it.  I love the glove molds/ white gates/ and so much more.

Look at the wonderful textile bobbins.  A great nod to NC's fiber history.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

I'd say it was a busy month - but when aren't they?

As usual, things have been busy here.  We took a quickie trip back to Michigan to get what is the last major load of household items.  Mostly it was Brian's studio.  All of his tools from woodworking.  From being The Countree Toy Shoppe.  Only the greatest organic, wooden, recycling, toymaker in Michigan and beyond!  And yes, I am definitely prejudiced on that one.

The tools are now safely in his new area in the basement - a beautiful spot to work - even if there never will be a toy business again.  And, the overflow of regular household maintenance stuff (caused by the tools coming down) will move out to the new storage building in the next few months - after it's built.  Won't it be wonderful - a new deck and small building.  I can't wait.  What I can wait for is the bill on all of this - I so wish the house in Michigan would sell.  Fingers and toes crossed./

Below is a new pendant.  Not yet finished - stones need to be set, dangles figured out, and the square piece gets set a lot lower than it's showing here..  It's a variation from the drawings I showed in a previous post.  It's nice to be back to work.

Our oldest son drove his truck down here with a huge trailer.  While he was here we went to the Antique Tobacco Barn in Asheville and did some shopping.  Between there and a couple of thrift stores I scored a bunch more tin to work with.  Now for the cutting and storage - - -


Monday, August 3, 2015

On The Bench...

These are the designs I'm working on.  I'm trying to get as many of the mediums as I can into the piece without it looking overworked.  Can I do it?  I'm thinking YES.

Bezel for the top of the first design in all of its' gory glory before it's pickled and the backing cut. I'm planning to set an onyx in the bezel.  This one is going to be a black and tan piece.  I'll go for colorful in the second one.

Note the wonderful soldering aid the bezel is sitting on.   We used similar ones in Chris Darway's class at Wildacres.  It's just that old hardware store annealed steel wire.  Wrap a coil around a dowel, remove it, and fan it out into a soldering prop.  It sure is nice not to have to set up the tripod every time you want to solder.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Did I move to Heaven?

We live outside of Asheville, North Carolina.  I don't mean in a suburb - I mean in a different town but only about a half an hour away.  If that weren't fun enough, we are 18 miles away from Spruce Pine.  Spruce Pine is known as Mineral City.  It's not far from Penland.  They also have lots of Gem mines, a cute as a button town, and so on.  It is "up" the mountain.  You know, one of those switch-back road drives that motorbike riders love and truckers cringe over.  It used to make me cringe too but it's getting to be no big deal.  You just have to pay attention and go slower.  For an expressway driver from the Detroit area it's been a challenge to get used to the slower drives.  Even their expressway is 10mph slower at the top speed but I do think that the slower pace is better - and I'm growing to love it. 

So today we decided to check out the NC Mineral and Gem Show in Spruce Pine.  I figured it would be a little local show - nothing big.  The GLW had been in Franklin, NC a couple of weeks ago so how big could this be after that?  Uh, well count me bowled over.  There wasn't one little show - there were three pretty big shows.  Where was I, Tucson? 

We made it through two shows and I skipped the GLW since I'd been to Franklin.  Town was packed! The shows were fairly busy and it was only the first day and mid-afternoon.  Wow, what a shocker.  I feel like I've been dropped right into a jeweler's heaven.  Here is my loot - I was very careful.  I got everything, including my T-shirt for under 100 - what a deal.  It must be how everyone feels shopping in Tucson.  Now I'm a lucky ducky too.  I'm not sure what I'll set the gems into but they'd look great in some castings.  Hugs to all of you - and have a great day. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Bead Show!

 Inside what seemed like the never ending tent at the GL&W Show in Franklin, NC

When I left Michigan I left behind a batch of wonderful friends.  We used to attend this show in Michigan.  Like all shows, not all vendors attend all of this promoters shows.  Not that it mattered one bit.  The shows in Michigan were WAY down - my friends were disappointed by what they saw.  I knew one of my favorite shops - Archy's Rock Shop - was going to be down here in NC so we took a chance and drove on over there.  Whew, was I pleasantly surprised - shocked even.  It was a wonderful show with some vendors I hadn't seen since Bead and Button. 
I miss my friends - we went to this show together....but, have I told you how excited I am about our move?  (Smile)  It just keeps getting better and better.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Lucky Me

Look at this bounty of yumminess!  How lucky am I - We have chosen a home that is surrounded by blackberry bushes just off of the lawn.  They're huge and they very nearly surround the yard.   This is the first batch of jelly and I sure hope in the next couple of days, with all of the rain, more will ripen up and I can do it all over again. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Halleujuah - Some "ON TARGET" designing advice

I've always loved Connie Fox's work.  I've followed Jatayu for as long as I can remember.

Unfortunately I've never been around where Ms. Fox has taught to take a course for myself so when someone mentioned her book, Maker Magic I decided to look it up and get one before I went to Wildacres.  Unfortunately, I am a techno weenie.  It is what it is.  When I can figure something out on the computer I can do it well - when I can't it all goes to hell in hand basket really quick.  I tried to down load the pdf - nope, nada, zilch.  Trust me - it was NOTHING on the Fox end of the sale.  This was all Sharon fumble fingers.  But the Fox team, not to be outdone by an artist who can't handle a computer, dug in and tried many alternatives.  They quickly decided that the best alternative for me was to send me a CD.  Really, who goes to this length?  I am always humbled and appreciative of artist/teachers who will go to every length so you understand or "get" the information they are trying to relay into your hot little head or hands.  I thank and bless you Fox team - you're the best!

And, as if that wasn't Wildacres, Chris Darway mentioned the book, out of the blue.  Maybe it was an initial conversation I missed but he stopped the class and brought it up.  He asked the class how many had heard of Connie Fox's book, Maker Magic.  I raised my hand, dutiful student I am, but admitted that the book had just arrived and I hadn't gotten to dig in yet.  He highly recommended it to the class.  Cool beans, an endorsement - as if I weren't already hot to read it and do the exercises.

If you've followed along with this blog you know I've spent a lot of time in art school/s.  I guess you could call my talents "well rounded" or like a squirrel - bouncing around from medium to medium since I sincerely enjoy them all with a few rising like crème to the top of my milk cup.   Uh, and the point of that declaration?  Well, I have a hard time explaining my aesthetic.  What makes Sharon tick off this art - where is the binding theme, the body of work?  You know where I am going.  When you look in an artists booth you see a vein of cohesiveness.  And if you don't - - well, don't you just kind of wander away?

I can be cohesive again, I think.  If I only understood where I was going, why (maybe), answered all of those questions that might be rattling around in my brain.  I have no problem drawing out a design - hundreds of them actually - but often that is as far as it goes.  In my head, they're done - they have no more secrets to tell me.  I've worked out all of the technical aspects on paper and I feel satisfied.  To my defense, there have been times (years) while working, caretaking, or healing, that the sketchbook was my primary body of work.  For that skill, I am delighted.  Excuses are like noses, we all have one.

unless there are little appreciative art critics running around my sketchbooks - or brain minions reading my thoughts and applauding my creative genius this is no way to make art.  It is a great way to document it - work out the kinks - but if you're drawing jewelry or sculpture, or whatever - it's not the end's part of the process.

Anyhoo, realizing you need help is the first step to getting it.  Right?  I've known this for a long time.  Ask a friend to define your body of work....if they hem haw around chances are you are without a definition, or you're not doing a very good job projecting one.  And, if you don't have some grip on that, no matter how tenuous it is on what you are creating (or why) - probably the viewing pubic isn't getting it either.  Which also begs the question, who are you creating this for?  You, or someone else, or both?  What is it you want to do with this art?  Keep it - sell it - what?

My answer to my own question is this:  IF I want to go public again.  Do art shows or galleries then I need guidance.  Maybe not a mentor in the traditional sense but some parameters to work in and a way to figure out where to start this dialogue with myself.  It's never as easy as, "I said to myself, Self, what do you think?"  I don't know about you but my usual answer to that question is - How the heck should I know.  Which usually leaves me frustrated and more confused than ever.  It also leads me to making "parts".  Don't get me wrong - I'm a parts person.  I love my little bits of flotsam.  Each one of them I make or collect I go at it with a total commitment to the process to make the best little perfect "part" that I can.  Call it my Grandma's button box work.  But this is NOT a body of work.  It's time to reconnect the dots - or pieces as it may be.  If I put them all together what are "they". 

This is getting to be a long story, albeit I'm guessing pretty relatable or Ms. Fox wouldn't have written this book for all of us who are looking for a direction.

I'm 30 pages into 173.  I love it already and haven't even scratched the surface.  Chris was correct.  It's good - excuse me - but it's DAMN good.  And when I finish the book I'm going to click my heels together like Dorothy and find Sharon's truer path again.  She's (Sharon's) my Kansas, sturdy, well-defined, and artistic.  And, she's going to better understand her "vision".   If you're having similar issues, or others - check out this book.  I know you're going to like it.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Studio Progress

Look at the glass rack! Once all the glass was dug out and put in one spot it began to look like a pretty amazing collection. I even ended up with a great nook for the library reference section, photography, and storage. 
I think maybe I just need a little more light and to get the air exchange system set up.  Maybe a cork board wouldn't be bad either.  Check out Trudy's head in the picture.  LOL - studio dogs!

Metals area.  It's ideal.  From that chair I can do everything....solder, fabricate, tumble, whatever.  The Ikea tables are absolutely the best - heavy, solid, and sturdy.

The studio area is in a well lit and finished basement area.  The basement is divided by steps into two areas.  One is the laundry and my husbands workshop (each in its own room) and the other is my area. attached to a storage area. where I have conveniently stored household stuff, excess studio stuff, and the casting equipment is being set up there.  The dogs love it for the painted cement floor and love to come downstairs with me.  So far, so good.  Everything is getting set up and put away and I'm beginning to work again.  I'll get a "works" in progress photo soon.
Enjoy the day!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Best of the Fourth

I feel like I'm on vacation.  It's a staycation, for sure, but it doesn't feel like it because when we moved here to North Carolina we decided that we'd be having new experiences.  It was a conscious choice to "enjoy" - - get more ZEN with the moment at hand, whatever it may be.  Here is our July Fourth Zen.  It couldn't have been more American and I doubt more enjoyable.  Cowboys, cowgirls, music, a rodeo, national anthem, and fireworks!  Pure, unabashed, unapologetic, patriotic, family bliss.

Having this much fun ought to be illegal!

Friday, July 3, 2015

A few Examples/ Chris Darway's class

I hadn't taken this picture yesterday so I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of the mechanisms we made in Chris's class.  So here are three of the 7 pieces I completed.  A cable bracelet with a great spring clasp, a hidden key clasp, and a great twist release clasp.   If Chris were to offer another mechanism class I'd be there in an instant.     


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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feeding the Art Urge

I can't speak for anyone else but when I'm away from creating for any amount of time I get edgy.  Do you get like that?  To help stave off that feelings and keep from creeping everyone else around me out I held back my wax tools from the packing frenzy around here.  I thought of leaving back some clay but figured that would be wrought with problems without a kiln at hand to fire the green ware once I sculpted it.

To do casting you need a heck of a lot of equipment too - but to make wax pieces to cast you need very few tools.  Old dental probes or needles, an alcohol lamp, and wax.  And, in my case some Optivisors.  So it was as easy as leaving a bag back packed with essentials. 

Luckily I can still cast at the Art Center with my friends.  That was as easy as signing up for class. 

I have a few large pieces I'd like to finish while I'm packing and a couple of small pieces.  I've been making earring castings and I'd like to make a whole lot more.  Parts.  Parts that I'd like to use with lampwork or clay beads at a later date.  At least that's the plan...oh, everyone look out, Sharon might have a plan!
The earring here is actually upside down.  It's how I sprued it.  Eventually it will have a stone in it.

Three variations on the tree. 
Regardless of all the boxes it's such a release to be able to do something while this transition is taking place.  Casting more than fits that bill : - ).