Thursday, November 29, 2007

Etsy Metal!!!

I just found out the other day that I have been juried into Etsy Metal! Yay!!! I am very much looking forward to being part of this bright, wonderful, supportive group. Here is the Etsy Metal website, their blog, and their members. Below are a few of their artists that have caught my eye.

Anticlastic ring with a touch of bling by Alphabettispaghetti



Willow Bangle by honeybee


Hardware Hoops by gemmafactrix



Butterfly Wing Pendant by simonewalsh

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More color!



I have done enameling before, and know how trying it can be. When I came across marstinia's work on Etsy, I was amazed. The beautiful colors that are infused in her jewelry and enameled dishes are lovely, and well executed. Here are some favorites...enjoy!


Briget M. Bird


While taking a break between soldering jobs, I found this lovely artist on Etsy! brigetmbird's creations are full of beautiful color and texture, and would make a lovely addition to anyone's jewelry collection. Here are some of my favorites:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Felt Play Food from Katie Made Goods' Etsy shop.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! Dave and I are heading out to Hood River today for the feast later. Luckily, the roads are dry and the skies are clear :)

Here are some things I am thankful for:

1. Good Health
2. A good mind
3. Family and friends
4. Dave
5. Sammy and Amber (our cats)
6. 23 years with my Father
7. People who have shown me how NOT to be
8. Metalsmithing!
9. Australia
10. Growing up both wealthy and poor
11. Fallen Leaf Lake
12. Betty Boezinger
13. Adaptability
14. Patience
15. Happiness
16. Turkey and pumpkin pie!


And many many other things....I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!!!


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Frustrations!


I am a damn good metalsmith, and one of the things that I absolutely love is using my hydraulic press. I am currently working on a commission for three thorn brooches, to be finished in January. The picture above was of the test piece. I use a very thorough technique for making hollow forms like these, but after scrapping my test piece, and starting on what should be one of the actual brooches, I am beginning to realize that my problems are not my technique--it's the shape! After pressing, I usually make sure the sides are flat, so the two halves will fit together, by chasing around the edges of the piece. However, because this piece has certain curves, that top pointy section bends up, instead of going flat. SIGH. But, as frustrated as I am, I am more determined. Right now the two halves are in the pickle. I'll try again by chasing, and if that doesn't work, out come the steel clips for soldering. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Productivity

Even working 6 days a week, and house sitting, I was able to be productive. While house sitting, I was able to complete a grant proposal for the Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant (fingers crossed). After house sitting, I "banned" myself from metal until I finished both my Towson University application, and the one for University of Oregon. Those were both sent off yesterday, fingers crossed again.



I was finally able to clean up my first casting, which I think turned out pretty well. It is modeled after floral lace that was my great Aunt Dodo's. Another one is in burnout tonight, and will be cast tomorrow. Can't wait to see it too!

'Tis The Season!!!


Oh I had so many plans for this season! And yet, life happens, and suddenly all those plans for creation change, or get put on the back burner. I have been working 6 days a week for the past 6 weeks or more. Luckily, that changed this week and I now have time to work on my jewelry again! I have a feeling I'm going to have to start saying "no" to a lot of people who want my time :( Guess you can't please everyone! I feel like now is "my time" to rock my jewelry and get it out there (finally).

The things I wanted to do:

create ornaments to sell
create some stock to sell at one or more galleries
Work on my commission!!!
start work on my conceptual pieces
send out "I'm thankful for..." cards!

All of these things are possible. I just have to learn how to say NO to many many people :)

Aside from that, I am really really really looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! As much as I don't like the cold of winter, I absolutely LOVE decorating for Christmas. It's one of the happiest, most beautiful times of year for me, and it's hard to believe how much I used to hate Christmas decorations. Of course, I still don't like the pairing of red and green together (blech!), but I love to have color and sparkles and lights.

Last year, Dave and I inherited the fabulous fake tree (above) from one of my bosses, and I bought some purple ornaments and lots of lights. I think this year I might either buy or make some sort of a skirt for it.


And as much as I want to buy handmade things this year (really, we have no money to buy ANYTHING), I am lusting after the beautiful stockings at Pier 1. They have heels!!! And fabulous patterns and fabric. It's really too bad I don't have a sewing machine. I'd probably have 10 stockings for myself though!!! I do have a really great one that my stepmom made me years ago, which is beautiful and rustic, with lots of buttons that have meaning and memory for me. It was a really wonderful gift and I can't wait to break it out (starting to think how cool a wall of stockings would look)....oh my, I must stop before I get carried away!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Free Rice


Just came across this on notcot.org...it's a game where you answer the right definitions to words in a multiple choice format, and for every word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to people in need. A good way to pass the time, play around, and do something good for others at the same time! View http://www.freerice.com/ for more information and to play.


Elodie Barker


Small Chick
(image from Urban Cow Studio)

On the subject of birds, I was reminded of an artist from Australia who I absolutely fell in love with while living there. Elodie Barker was born and raised in Adelaide, and studied at the University of South Australia (my alma mater) to obtain a degree in ceramics. Some of her most memorable pieces, which I will always love, are her chicks and chickens.

While living in Adelaide, I could not afford her chooks or chicks, but was able to purchase one of her mugs that has a wonderful platypus on it. Below are some of her wonderful graphics that can be found on plates, bowls, and mugs.

Lets Eat! Oblong Platter
(image from Urban Cow Studio's website)

In addition to chickens and graphic tableware, Elodie creates great sculptures of dogs, which are a large part of her signature collection. They have won multiple awards and are charming and wacky.



Funky Dog Ceramics
photo by Danielle Lyonne of Animax Photography

Good places to find Elodie's work for purchase are the Urban Cow Studio off of Rundle St. in Adelaide, and the Jam Factory on North Terrace in Adelaide, as well as Bowhouse.


Another Wonderful Find


"The White Deer"

I have always loved paper sculptures and books, but have never really been paper/book-minded (as far as crafting goes). I did, however, run across SanFran67's lovely creations on Etsy today. These are beautiful paper creations that bestill my heart. My absolute favorite is The White Deer (pictured above). I love the depth, bold lines, graphic images, and shades of white, grey, and black.

"The Deers Holiday Card"

I am also loving The Deers Holiday Card (above), for its 3D quality and beautiful lines, as well as the feeling of partnership between the two deer.

"Cherry Blackbird"

Another favorite is the Cherry Blackbird, which is gorgeous with its depth, shades of grey, and stark blasts of color. I love the imagery of the Cherry blossoms--they are a favorite of mine in spring.


Cotton Bird Designs




I have just discovered Cotton Bird Designs, from Shropshire, England, on Etsy! The designer creates beautiful little birds out of vintage textiles or paper, along with little potting sheds and tea cottages. I have been surrounded by birds since I was a child, as my stepdad owns a game bird ranch, and have always had an affinity for cute little bird sculptures like these.

"Old Map Paper Bird"

"Love Birds"


"Cotton Potting Shed"

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Kara Burke

Kara Burke, a transplant from San Francisco, is like many transplanted artists in Portland. Working a day job, part time or full time, and trying trying trying to create a market for herself outside of that. I work with Kara at Equinox Jewelers, and outside of our time there, she is an artist, painter, illustrator, and jeweler. I love the pieces she has come up with, as well as her overall creativity. Check out her website, karaburke.net, and the many illustrations, paintings, and cards she has to offer. My absolute favorite image so far is the flowers in the painting below.


And who wouldn't love some lovebirds?



Monday, November 5, 2007

Growth


Yesterday and today have been days of some growth for me. Yesterday, I created this pendant for a friend. This is actually the back view of the bezel set stone. It's some sort of Agate that my friend Katrina gave me to set for her at some point, and I finally got around to it yesterday. I learned a few lessons along the way:

1. bezel walls need to be much thinner
2. prong set unusually shaped stones, or modify the bezel so there are no buckles
3. patience.

I think it turned out alright, and I think Katrina will enjoy it. I have another, more angular, stone that is similar which she entrusted to me as well, and that will be prong set with wires that sit on the back kind of like this: )( and come around the front.

In addition to practicing my setting skills, my boss allowed me to watch him do some burnish settings today on a beautiful 22KY ring with a number of different small (1.3mm) sapphires (various colors). It was pretty interesting. He also gave me some flexshaft tools to help clean up my casting (which I will post soon I promise), but I realised when I got home that I don't have the right mandrel for them! I'll have to get it next week.

I'm finding that I've fallen in love with pearls, as well. I just love how luminous they are. As a compliment to my flower earrings, I created a flower necklace today, with small pearls coming out of the center of the pendant. I almost gave up, but determination reigned and won.

Images coming soon!