Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The California Condor - A Success Story



Marble Canyon

On a recent visit to the Grand Canyon, we stopped to see how the California Condors were doing in Marble Canyon.   These birds can have a wing span of 9 ½ feet and weigh up to 26 pounds.  They are BIG and magnificent in flight.  I spotted two on a ledge and watched them take off down the canyon. 








It started to rain as I saw three fly under the bridge below me. 
I hung (more than leaning!) over the sides to see if I could get a picture.  The birds hopped from strut to strut keeping dryer that me. 
They mate for life, lays a single egg every other year, and can live 60 years.   A wildlife recovery program brought the California Condor back from the brink of extinction.
The last time a wild California Condor was spotted in the wild in Arizona was 1925.  By 1982 the total in California and Arizona had dropped to 22 birds.  They were all captured and a captive breeding program was started.  You will notice the numbers on the wings that identify the birds.  It was so successful that in 1992 in California and in 1996 in Arizona, the condors were released back into the wild.  Now there are 58 birds making Arizona their home and the goal is to have 150 birds in each Arizona and California.
Lead ammunition is the biggest problem encountered in this recovery program.  The birds ingest the lead when they scavenge dead animals that have been shot.  Treatment is expensive and previously involved travel by vehicle to cities with testing and treatment facilities.  Recently a treatment center in the Vermillion Cliff area was built and that speeds up the treatment and saves the birds’ lives.  Lead bullets fragment when an animal is shot.  Since condors feed in groups. large numbers of the birds can be poisoned by the lead bullet fragments.  Copper bullets do not fragment and it is more likely that only one bird would be poisoned by the copper bullet instead of the group.  That becomes very important when the total Arizona population is only 58 birds!  Fish and Game teamed with big game hunters offering free non-lead ammunition.  Incidents of lead poisoning declined 40%.
The California Condor is still one of the most endangered birds in the world but it seems that the recovery program is working.  There is a spectacular National Audubon Society documentary describing the recovery program and it is worth seeing the extent of work and danger the volunteers of this program went through.  http://www.mtv.com/movies/movie/40221/moviemain.jhtml

September seems to be my vacation month and it is going into October!  I’ve had short trips one right after the other and I want to share some with you…but they aren’t over yet and it takes time to write about them the way I’d like to.
So upcoming posts will be about:
  • California Condors in Marble Canyon
  • The beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Learning to survey birds with Sky Island Alliance
  • Rancho Esmeralda in Mexico   
  • Visiting my brothers in Kansas City MO
  • Tucson’s Reptile Show

Yes, I know there is nothing about jewelry or techniques but we all know that our everyday experiences influence the work we do.  My jewelry posts will show up with influences from these trips.  Count on it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning as I Go

Finished!  After 2 days of trying several techniques, this necklace is finished!  I started out thinking it would be cool to make links from polymer clay with some brownish clay, some cutters for the links and complete a quick project.  Cutting the links was the easy part.  Deciding how to attach the links and what to combine with them was more difficult. 
The links were baked.  I drizzled Sculpey Bake and Bond and dabbed Pearlex Powder on the baked links to add interest and baked again.  Holes were drilled for metal rivets and the links are ready.   Later I realized I needed to put color accent on the back sides and again drizzled the Bake and Bond and Pearlex Powder.  Baked the links a third time. 
Next came stringing the group of beads with flex  wire and using crimp beads to attach the group to 18 g jump rings.  Testing by pulling the flex wire parted the jump ring.  GRRRR!  Maybe soldering the jump rings closed would solve the problem.  When I tried that I burned the polymer clay link.  Getting a little smarter but this was no longer a quick project!
 I decided to make groups of 3 beads using wire and looping each end.  The cylinder center bead is also polymer clay and the two flanking beads are ceramic.   Then I used the jump rings to attach the beads to the links.  I love the textures and colors together.  Each time I do one of these projects I get a little smarter and plan a little better!
Things I learned: (again!)
.Plan ahead and think it through
.Have an extra piece to test
.Be patient
.Pearlex powder is effective and fun to use
.Attend to the front and BACK of the components
.Take my time

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Labor Day Weekend Project

I made cages!  Tiny cages!  While practicing some of the steel wire techniques I learned from Keith Lo Bue’s http://www.lobue-art.com/ online class, I realized that my collection of tumbled stones just might be the start of a new line of jewelry…..Caged Stones! 



 
So here is my first necklace.  Watch for the new series on my Etsy store www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign  
First I made spirals and turned them into tiny cages. 
Then I made ‘s’ links and jump rings and combined everything.   I brushed and buffed them, waxed them and inserted the dyed turquoise.  I need more practice to really control the consistency but I like the first piece!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The California Condor - A Success Story



Marble Canyon

On a recent visit to the Grand Canyon, we stopped to see how the California Condors were doing in Marble Canyon.   These birds can have a wing span of 9 ½ feet and weigh up to 26 pounds.  They are BIG and magnificent in flight.  I spotted two on a ledge and watched them take off down the canyon. 








It started to rain as I saw three fly under the bridge below me. 
I hung (more than leaning!) over the sides to see if I could get a picture.  The birds hopped from strut to strut keeping dryer that me. 
They mate for life, lays a single egg every other year, and can live 60 years.   A wildlife recovery program brought the California Condor back from the brink of extinction.
The last time a wild California Condor was spotted in the wild in Arizona was 1925.  By 1982 the total in California and Arizona had dropped to 22 birds.  They were all captured and a captive breeding program was started.  You will notice the numbers on the wings that identify the birds.  It was so successful that in 1992 in California and in 1996 in Arizona, the condors were released back into the wild.  Now there are 58 birds making Arizona their home and the goal is to have 150 birds in each Arizona and California.
Lead ammunition is the biggest problem encountered in this recovery program.  The birds ingest the lead when they scavenge dead animals that have been shot.  Treatment is expensive and previously involved travel by vehicle to cities with testing and treatment facilities.  Recently a treatment center in the Vermillion Cliff area was built and that speeds up the treatment and saves the birds’ lives.  Lead bullets fragment when an animal is shot.  Since condors feed in groups. large numbers of the birds can be poisoned by the lead bullet fragments.  Copper bullets do not fragment and it is more likely that only one bird would be poisoned by the copper bullet instead of the group.  That becomes very important when the total Arizona population is only 58 birds!  Fish and Game teamed with big game hunters offering free non-lead ammunition.  Incidents of lead poisoning declined 40%.
The California Condor is still one of the most endangered birds in the world but it seems that the recovery program is working.  There is a spectacular National Audubon Society documentary describing the recovery program and it is worth seeing the extent of work and danger the volunteers of this program went through.  http://www.mtv.com/movies/movie/40221/moviemain.jhtml

September seems to be my vacation month and it is going into October!  I’ve had short trips one right after the other and I want to share some with you…but they aren’t over yet and it takes time to write about them the way I’d like to.
So upcoming posts will be about:
  • California Condors in Marble Canyon
  • The beauty of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
  • Learning to survey birds with Sky Island Alliance
  • Rancho Esmeralda in Mexico   
  • Visiting my brothers in Kansas City MO
  • Tucson’s Reptile Show

Yes, I know there is nothing about jewelry or techniques but we all know that our everyday experiences influence the work we do.  My jewelry posts will show up with influences from these trips.  Count on it!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learning as I Go

Finished!  After 2 days of trying several techniques, this necklace is finished!  I started out thinking it would be cool to make links from polymer clay with some brownish clay, some cutters for the links and complete a quick project.  Cutting the links was the easy part.  Deciding how to attach the links and what to combine with them was more difficult. 
The links were baked.  I drizzled Sculpey Bake and Bond and dabbed Pearlex Powder on the baked links to add interest and baked again.  Holes were drilled for metal rivets and the links are ready.   Later I realized I needed to put color accent on the back sides and again drizzled the Bake and Bond and Pearlex Powder.  Baked the links a third time. 
Next came stringing the group of beads with flex  wire and using crimp beads to attach the group to 18 g jump rings.  Testing by pulling the flex wire parted the jump ring.  GRRRR!  Maybe soldering the jump rings closed would solve the problem.  When I tried that I burned the polymer clay link.  Getting a little smarter but this was no longer a quick project!
 I decided to make groups of 3 beads using wire and looping each end.  The cylinder center bead is also polymer clay and the two flanking beads are ceramic.   Then I used the jump rings to attach the beads to the links.  I love the textures and colors together.  Each time I do one of these projects I get a little smarter and plan a little better!
Things I learned: (again!)
.Plan ahead and think it through
.Have an extra piece to test
.Be patient
.Pearlex powder is effective and fun to use
.Attend to the front and BACK of the components
.Take my time

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Labor Day Weekend Project

I made cages!  Tiny cages!  While practicing some of the steel wire techniques I learned from Keith Lo Bue’s http://www.lobue-art.com/ online class, I realized that my collection of tumbled stones just might be the start of a new line of jewelry…..Caged Stones! 



 
So here is my first necklace.  Watch for the new series on my Etsy store www.etsy.com/shop/lindabrittdesign  
First I made spirals and turned them into tiny cages. 
Then I made ‘s’ links and jump rings and combined everything.   I brushed and buffed them, waxed them and inserted the dyed turquoise.  I need more practice to really control the consistency but I like the first piece!