Friday, August 21, 2015

Making Sun Catchers



Don’t you just love seeing colors change when sunlight makes the color sparkle?  When I decided to play with translucent polymer clay and use alcohol inks to make color, I had no idea where that would lead me.  I just started conditioning the translucent Pardo polymer and passed it through the pasta machine.  My alcohol inks were lined up ready to be brushed on the flat surfaces.  They dried and I started blending the colors.  Then I made shapes, all kind of shapes, stacked colors, made designs and cured them in the convection oven. I sanded and polished and arranged them in groups – still not knowing how I would use them. 
   
Before curing
After curing

Holding the pieces to the light fascinated me by the color changes.  The more I looked at them in the light the more convinced I was that they needed to be hung by themselves and not worn as beads.  Sun Catchers!  Perfect use of shape and color and light.  I drilled holes and used glass beads and jump rings.  Bought small suction cups and started hanging them at my window.  What fun. 


       


I gave one to a friend who used it on her patio door to stop people from bumping into it.  I gave another one to my friend, Jay, who stuck it on her truck window.  I have three of them in my display case and some will be on my etsy site. 

Thanks for the picture Jay!
 I had such a good time making these!  Some are on my etsy site.  www.etsy/shop/lindabrittdesign

Friday, August 14, 2015

Another Year of Learning at Art Unraveled



August in Phoenix means that it is time for Art Unraveled!   Once again my good friend/artist Judi Dalton (http://www.artplaylaugh.com/) and I attended 2 classes at Art Unraveled in Phoenix.

For those of you who are not familiar with this conference please take a look at their website.   http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/AUindex.htm 

Judi and I have been going since it started and have taken an array of art classes.  There is also a Shopping Extravaganza that should not be missed!  Every August we sign up for some new class and time to spend catching up with each other’s news.

This year I opted for the class ‘Dremel After Dinner’  http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/Workshops/Dremel%20After%20Dinner.html  Thomas Ashman is a mixed media artist http://www.blacksheepartist.com/ and had lots of solid information to share.  I learned the difference between and how to use diamond drills and carving tools.  I have all my attachments for flexshaft and dremel in a plastic box.  When I try to find one and have to sort through all of them.  After this class and after understanding that tools are to be used for which jobs, I’m looking for a way to separate the attachments by job.  Seems like such a common sense way to organize and I’m amazed I’ve never thought of doing it!  Might be worth the price of the class just for that insight! 
Dremel 4000 Series 39-Piece Variable Speed Rotary Multipurpose Rotary Tool Kit with Hard Case

The second class was taught by Mary Hettsmanberger http://www.maryhetts.com/  
This year’s class ‘Unique Ways to Connect with wire’ http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/Workshops/UniqueWays.html 
The class reinforced a lot of the learning from last year’s class. I really like having Mary for a teacher. She shares her knowledge freely and obviously enjoys teaching. She has written several books and my favorite Heat, Color, Set & Fire has many of the techniques used in her class. http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Color-Set-Fire-Surface/dp/1454700165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439320342&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+hettmansperger

This was the first time that I did not come home with several finished pieces of jewelry.  Instead I tried different techniques, torched and textured pieces of copper and silver, cut shapes for 5 pieces, balled the ends of copper wire for the pieces I would make when I got home.  I made netting, practiced weaving, reviewed patinas and generally had a great day in the classrooms.

After I came home this week I’ve finished several of the pieces and wanted to share them with you.  

Three layers of torched copper, three 16 gauge wires and a druzy bead woven with 28 gauge copper wire.

Back of the above piece.  Pattern made with rubber stamp and Gel Flux

Two layers of copper, three 16 gauge wires and a porcelain bead woven with 26 gauge copper wire.

Back of above piece.  Enameled disc attached to back plate of copper

Wire netting woven over the curved cone of copper.

Back of above piece.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Grinding and Polishing - Mojave Stone and Opals


 This is my JoolTool.  I first saw it demonstrated at "Metal Clay by the Bay" and thought about buying it for a day.  I bought it with the metal clay kit and was delighted with both the time saving and the finished product.  Then several months later I bought the polymer clay package.  I was equally happy with the time saving and the end product.
For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it has a variety of sanding and polishing discs that easily screw on the vertical spike.  The discs have slots evenly spaced and when they turn you can see what you are working on.  Less mistakes and less time spent sanding and polishing.

Last February I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  Since I had been to Australia I wanted to find some black opal from there.  The finished pieces proved too expensive for my budget.  Fortunately a friend and I found a booth with rough unfinished Black Opal.  I decided to buy some (having no idea how to select the better quality).
Australian Black Opal in the rough

I bought 4 pieces and thought that sometime I would buy the lapidary kit for my JoolTool and polish them myself.  That's what I bought myself for my birthday in May!  It took until now to get my courage up and try the lapidary kit.  I started with some broken cabochons of Mojave Stone that my dad and brothers had mined in the Mojave Desert.  After a little practice I ground the one with both ends broken to make a bead.  I still have to drill the hole!  But the piece came out really well.
broken both ends
ground and polished both ends!


I also ground and polished the end of this broken cabochon and plan to make a silver cap for it.  Then it will be a pendant.


Since that went so well, I started on the opals.  I had lots to learn having only watched my dad make cabochons many years ago.  I did not know the matrix for the opal was mud like.  I also did not know who to really shape a piece or what to look for in selecting an area for jewelry.  I decided to take out the mud-like filling and see what was left of the stone.  The first piece was small and I basically ground it to dust.  It was a good learning piece!  The second piece  was flat and once the mud was gone I could shape it into a piece that would work for a pendant.  I like the pattern and the color on it.

Second piece - for a pendant
The third piece was fun to work on as it had caves and crevices that appeared as the mud was removed.  I've decided to keep it natural and enjoy the shape and colors as they are.

Third piece - one view

Third piece - another view
The fourth piece stole my heart!  As I removed the 'mud' this heart began to take shape.  It has lots of color and shapes made with fractures and it has a cave like indentation in the center.  I'm not sure what will become of this piece.  Should I leave it and enjoy it or should I set it and have a pendent?  Ideas?  Comments are welcome!

Fourth Piece- my heart



Friday, August 21, 2015

Making Sun Catchers



Don’t you just love seeing colors change when sunlight makes the color sparkle?  When I decided to play with translucent polymer clay and use alcohol inks to make color, I had no idea where that would lead me.  I just started conditioning the translucent Pardo polymer and passed it through the pasta machine.  My alcohol inks were lined up ready to be brushed on the flat surfaces.  They dried and I started blending the colors.  Then I made shapes, all kind of shapes, stacked colors, made designs and cured them in the convection oven. I sanded and polished and arranged them in groups – still not knowing how I would use them. 
   
Before curing
After curing

Holding the pieces to the light fascinated me by the color changes.  The more I looked at them in the light the more convinced I was that they needed to be hung by themselves and not worn as beads.  Sun Catchers!  Perfect use of shape and color and light.  I drilled holes and used glass beads and jump rings.  Bought small suction cups and started hanging them at my window.  What fun. 


       


I gave one to a friend who used it on her patio door to stop people from bumping into it.  I gave another one to my friend, Jay, who stuck it on her truck window.  I have three of them in my display case and some will be on my etsy site. 

Thanks for the picture Jay!
 I had such a good time making these!  Some are on my etsy site.  www.etsy/shop/lindabrittdesign

Friday, August 14, 2015

Another Year of Learning at Art Unraveled



August in Phoenix means that it is time for Art Unraveled!   Once again my good friend/artist Judi Dalton (http://www.artplaylaugh.com/) and I attended 2 classes at Art Unraveled in Phoenix.

For those of you who are not familiar with this conference please take a look at their website.   http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/AUindex.htm 

Judi and I have been going since it started and have taken an array of art classes.  There is also a Shopping Extravaganza that should not be missed!  Every August we sign up for some new class and time to spend catching up with each other’s news.

This year I opted for the class ‘Dremel After Dinner’  http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/Workshops/Dremel%20After%20Dinner.html  Thomas Ashman is a mixed media artist http://www.blacksheepartist.com/ and had lots of solid information to share.  I learned the difference between and how to use diamond drills and carving tools.  I have all my attachments for flexshaft and dremel in a plastic box.  When I try to find one and have to sort through all of them.  After this class and after understanding that tools are to be used for which jobs, I’m looking for a way to separate the attachments by job.  Seems like such a common sense way to organize and I’m amazed I’ve never thought of doing it!  Might be worth the price of the class just for that insight! 
Dremel 4000 Series 39-Piece Variable Speed Rotary Multipurpose Rotary Tool Kit with Hard Case

The second class was taught by Mary Hettsmanberger http://www.maryhetts.com/  
This year’s class ‘Unique Ways to Connect with wire’ http://www.artunraveled.com/ARTU15/Workshops/UniqueWays.html 
The class reinforced a lot of the learning from last year’s class. I really like having Mary for a teacher. She shares her knowledge freely and obviously enjoys teaching. She has written several books and my favorite Heat, Color, Set & Fire has many of the techniques used in her class. http://www.amazon.com/Heat-Color-Set-Fire-Surface/dp/1454700165/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439320342&sr=8-1&keywords=mary+hettmansperger

This was the first time that I did not come home with several finished pieces of jewelry.  Instead I tried different techniques, torched and textured pieces of copper and silver, cut shapes for 5 pieces, balled the ends of copper wire for the pieces I would make when I got home.  I made netting, practiced weaving, reviewed patinas and generally had a great day in the classrooms.

After I came home this week I’ve finished several of the pieces and wanted to share them with you.  

Three layers of torched copper, three 16 gauge wires and a druzy bead woven with 28 gauge copper wire.

Back of the above piece.  Pattern made with rubber stamp and Gel Flux

Two layers of copper, three 16 gauge wires and a porcelain bead woven with 26 gauge copper wire.

Back of above piece.  Enameled disc attached to back plate of copper

Wire netting woven over the curved cone of copper.

Back of above piece.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Grinding and Polishing - Mojave Stone and Opals


 This is my JoolTool.  I first saw it demonstrated at "Metal Clay by the Bay" and thought about buying it for a day.  I bought it with the metal clay kit and was delighted with both the time saving and the finished product.  Then several months later I bought the polymer clay package.  I was equally happy with the time saving and the end product.
For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it has a variety of sanding and polishing discs that easily screw on the vertical spike.  The discs have slots evenly spaced and when they turn you can see what you are working on.  Less mistakes and less time spent sanding and polishing.

Last February I went to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  Since I had been to Australia I wanted to find some black opal from there.  The finished pieces proved too expensive for my budget.  Fortunately a friend and I found a booth with rough unfinished Black Opal.  I decided to buy some (having no idea how to select the better quality).
Australian Black Opal in the rough

I bought 4 pieces and thought that sometime I would buy the lapidary kit for my JoolTool and polish them myself.  That's what I bought myself for my birthday in May!  It took until now to get my courage up and try the lapidary kit.  I started with some broken cabochons of Mojave Stone that my dad and brothers had mined in the Mojave Desert.  After a little practice I ground the one with both ends broken to make a bead.  I still have to drill the hole!  But the piece came out really well.
broken both ends
ground and polished both ends!


I also ground and polished the end of this broken cabochon and plan to make a silver cap for it.  Then it will be a pendant.


Since that went so well, I started on the opals.  I had lots to learn having only watched my dad make cabochons many years ago.  I did not know the matrix for the opal was mud like.  I also did not know who to really shape a piece or what to look for in selecting an area for jewelry.  I decided to take out the mud-like filling and see what was left of the stone.  The first piece was small and I basically ground it to dust.  It was a good learning piece!  The second piece  was flat and once the mud was gone I could shape it into a piece that would work for a pendant.  I like the pattern and the color on it.

Second piece - for a pendant
The third piece was fun to work on as it had caves and crevices that appeared as the mud was removed.  I've decided to keep it natural and enjoy the shape and colors as they are.

Third piece - one view

Third piece - another view
The fourth piece stole my heart!  As I removed the 'mud' this heart began to take shape.  It has lots of color and shapes made with fractures and it has a cave like indentation in the center.  I'm not sure what will become of this piece.  Should I leave it and enjoy it or should I set it and have a pendent?  Ideas?  Comments are welcome!

Fourth Piece- my heart