Friday, December 28, 2012

My Goals for 2012 Revisited


Copper Bell using Hadar's Clay


Last January I listed my goals for year 2012 as:
I will have fun doing whatever I am doing.
I will experiment with new techniques and share them.
And I’m very pleased to say I accomplished them.  In fact, I think I will continue them for 2013!
Having fun doing whatever I’m doing is pretty easy.  I’m at the age that “If it isn’t fun, why would I do it?  And if I have to do it anyway, I might as well make it fun.”
Experimenting with new techniques turned out to be a mixed bag.  I experimented with polymer clay and became known as the “Button Baroness”.  (I laugh about that).  I have several mixed metal, silver metal clay and polymer pieces on consignment in two cities.  (Amazing myself).  New tools have made experimenting easier and fun. 
The copper bell really tinkles!
 And somewhere this year I signed up to take Hadar’s  artinsilver.com/ class in Tucson in February 2013 using her powdered clay and learning new techniques.  I also belong to a metal clay group on Facebook and everyone shares their experiences and concerns.  As I read artist’s progress, problems and set-backs with the clay, I got scared.  I know that sounds a little silly but it is true.  So I put off learning to use Hadar’s clay.  With my less than enthusiastic mindset, reading her manual several times did not help.   I just kept putting the whole thing off.  Well, here it is late December and I have no choice but to take the clay by the horns (so to speak) and start.  After all, I’ve paid for the class and it is non-refundable!
I cannot tell you how many times I have said to students, employees and friends, “Whatever it is, it will not be as bad as you think it will be!”  It wasn’t.  In fact, I followed Hadar’s directions and video exactly.  The copper powder clay mixed beautifully.  The two step firing worked and yes, I still had trepidation.  But I followed the manual and it worked! 
Copper Clay Pieces Ready to Fire

Fired Copper Clay Pieces with center disc polished.

Finished Necklace with Hadar's copper clay
 2013 continues experimenting with new techniques and sharing them! Next I’m trying steel and bronze!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Untold Stories

Over the years and many moves later, I’m cleaning out my current master closet.  It is a long narrow closet with shelves and more room than I’m used to having.  That is where the ‘family boxes’ were stored when we moved to this house.  Those boxes have not been opened for a number of years for one reason or another.  Now I have time,  a vintage etsy store and not many family members who are interested in the contents. 
http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

Last month I came across the box of ladies handkerchiefs.  This week I opened a box of crocheted and knitted children’s clothes.  Not many items, but enough to revive the stories in my memory.  
My mother had a pen-pal in England and they shared letters, stories and sent gifts.  This brown hand-knitted dress was one of those gifts for me as a little girl.  The pen-pal in England was a woman, a wife, a mother who had twin boys and I wonder what my mother sent to them.  I also wonder how the friendship started and where those boys are now.  There are so many stories untold in everyone’s families.  It seems like such a good time of year to ask questions and share those untold stories. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

A Polymer Clay Framed Mirror

Several years ago I took my first polymer clay class from Lisa Pavelka.  I was so excited about the things I learned that I looked for ways to use polymer in my professional work as an interior designer. 
A client needed a large mirror for a niche area over her fireplace and there was my opportunity!  I explained my idea and she was almost as excited as I was.  She would have a unique mirror and I would be able to make it.  I’ve always liked large but repetition is not a strong point of mine.  My small toaster oven would get a work out with this large mirror.  Better get started. 
The back was a composite board cut to her dimensions – approximately 30” x 40”.  The Mirror was attached and the entire piece was on my work table.  I ordered a box of Kato copper clay and started making 10” strips that would ruffle to 6” and fit into the oven – one at a time.  At the time, I had three employees and they all started to help.  It became apparent that we each had a different style and that a composite group was not going to work.  Phyllis, the best ruffle maker, and I finished all the pieces and I glued them to the board as a frame for the mirror. 
The wholesale floral shop in Tucson, Askren’s and Sons, sold me copper rope the perfect thickness and that went on the outside and inside of the ruffles.  The finishing touches were a few beads skillfully tucked in the rope.   
The mirror turned out great and the client still has it after two moves.  I’ve never made another!  I still have some of the clay and yes, it is still good!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's Take a Road Trip


One nice thing about being retired is the ability to say, “Let’s take a road trip!”  This one was a short two day trip to Lake Havasu AZ.  There was a Nutting’s Flycatcher, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Scoter, White-winged Scoters and a Surf Scoters lurking around the area.  Yes, they are all birds and we like to track them! 


We left early one sunny morning and drove the back roads for about 4 hours looking for birds as we talked about life.  We were looking for Planet Ranch Road is a primitive bumpy dirt road that had survived two big storms.  Don’t take campers on it!  My 4-runner was a good choice for finding the elusive Nutting’s Flycatcher.  We think we saw it….but to a birder that statement means little.  Birders have to really get a good look at the shape, the color, the field marks and they are delighted if they get a picture.  Well we think (maybe) we saw the bird!


There were scenic hills with caves that made me wonder who or what lived in them; splits in the rocks with plants growing out of them and holes in the rocks where you could see the sky on the other side.



The riparian area along the road was beautiful with the sun shining through the lacy leaves.  That’s the part I love about birding.  Sure, it is great to see the birds but experiencing the colors and shapes of nature is why I’m really participating.  And I get to take pictures and be with Peter in nature! 





 This trip was not all that productive finding the elusive birds.  Weather was lovely and the National Wildlife Refuge had many ducks including two pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eye candy for birders! 
Barrow's Goldeneye
We also drove across London Bridge.  I’m always a little disappointed that there are no English pubs and that the area really does not look at all like London.    We had a great meal at Casa Serrano’s restaurant.
Lake Havasu
On the way home, we went to Parker Dam and stopped for the wild burros.  Too cute!
Parker Dam

Wild Burros
Road trips are full of adventures and surprises.  We’ll have another soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Making a Black and White Statement



Black and white makes such a striking statement and I am ready for a statement!  Experimenting with combining black and white polymer clay, I stacked alternating layers into stripes and swirled them.  Then I cut the swirls into little pieces and compressed the pieces into a one-inch ball in my hands.  Sometimes I cut those balls into 4 pieces and reassembled them into another one-inch ball. 




I combined my finished beads with volcanic stone beads about the same size.  It became obvious that I created two basic designs and they would not go together.  Some of the black and white balls reminded me of zebra stripes and some were much more abstract.  I had to make a decision! Two statements - one now and one for the future! 
 
I used smaller black matt beads for the back of the necklace with a silver toggle.
And this is the happy result!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Celebration of a Family Holiday

  Holiday’s always remind me of the big family celebrations that my mother gave.  Christmas was the big one. 

Mom loved family celebrations!

 

The Austrian embroidered tablecloth and napkins came out along with the red and white dishes.  The crystal with the gold rims and the silverware were just the start.  I always helped set the table correctly.  At a very young age, I knew the knife and spoon were on the right of the plate and the two different sized forks were on the left.  There was always a flower arrangement or centerpiece and candles.
Austrian tablecloth, red and white dishes, centerpiece and a grandson!
Everyone’s favorite foods were made and there would not have been a celebration without ‘Mom’s Denver Biscuits’.  I can still smell the hot potato based yeast rolls.  Several of us make them now or at least know how.  Somehow they are not quite as good as hers were but they bring her back to us with memories.  They also take a lot of work.  In fact, the Christmas celebration took a lot of work and mom loved it.  All the kids and grandkids brought their news and gifts.  There was laughter and talk and good cheer.

I was going through some old things (besides the handkerchiefs in last week’s blog) and found a booklet a friend sent me years ago.  “The Post-Intelligencer’s Women’s Department presents Table Fashions of 1949” designed by Helen chamberlain.  (I was 2 years old.) 
The pamphlet is not very big but it is full of  rules, suggestions and stories that Mom used in her celebrations!  It has table setting drawings for each meal and combines a little history with advice.  “Catherine the Great ordered one dinner service of 952 pieces, but it could never have given her the thrill that a bride of today feels when she acquires her first place setting of fine china,…” 
The last paragraph says, “Setting a table is like baking a pie… once you acquire the knack, repeat successes are easy.”  Mom certainly got that part right!  She also taught me that if the table was pretty the food would taste better.  She was also right about that!
As the family got smaller and more spread out, the celebrations have changed.  The memories remain.






Friday, December 28, 2012

My Goals for 2012 Revisited


Copper Bell using Hadar's Clay


Last January I listed my goals for year 2012 as:
I will have fun doing whatever I am doing.
I will experiment with new techniques and share them.
And I’m very pleased to say I accomplished them.  In fact, I think I will continue them for 2013!
Having fun doing whatever I’m doing is pretty easy.  I’m at the age that “If it isn’t fun, why would I do it?  And if I have to do it anyway, I might as well make it fun.”
Experimenting with new techniques turned out to be a mixed bag.  I experimented with polymer clay and became known as the “Button Baroness”.  (I laugh about that).  I have several mixed metal, silver metal clay and polymer pieces on consignment in two cities.  (Amazing myself).  New tools have made experimenting easier and fun. 
The copper bell really tinkles!
 And somewhere this year I signed up to take Hadar’s  artinsilver.com/ class in Tucson in February 2013 using her powdered clay and learning new techniques.  I also belong to a metal clay group on Facebook and everyone shares their experiences and concerns.  As I read artist’s progress, problems and set-backs with the clay, I got scared.  I know that sounds a little silly but it is true.  So I put off learning to use Hadar’s clay.  With my less than enthusiastic mindset, reading her manual several times did not help.   I just kept putting the whole thing off.  Well, here it is late December and I have no choice but to take the clay by the horns (so to speak) and start.  After all, I’ve paid for the class and it is non-refundable!
I cannot tell you how many times I have said to students, employees and friends, “Whatever it is, it will not be as bad as you think it will be!”  It wasn’t.  In fact, I followed Hadar’s directions and video exactly.  The copper powder clay mixed beautifully.  The two step firing worked and yes, I still had trepidation.  But I followed the manual and it worked! 
Copper Clay Pieces Ready to Fire

Fired Copper Clay Pieces with center disc polished.

Finished Necklace with Hadar's copper clay
 2013 continues experimenting with new techniques and sharing them! Next I’m trying steel and bronze!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Untold Stories

Over the years and many moves later, I’m cleaning out my current master closet.  It is a long narrow closet with shelves and more room than I’m used to having.  That is where the ‘family boxes’ were stored when we moved to this house.  Those boxes have not been opened for a number of years for one reason or another.  Now I have time,  a vintage etsy store and not many family members who are interested in the contents. 
http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

Last month I came across the box of ladies handkerchiefs.  This week I opened a box of crocheted and knitted children’s clothes.  Not many items, but enough to revive the stories in my memory.  
My mother had a pen-pal in England and they shared letters, stories and sent gifts.  This brown hand-knitted dress was one of those gifts for me as a little girl.  The pen-pal in England was a woman, a wife, a mother who had twin boys and I wonder what my mother sent to them.  I also wonder how the friendship started and where those boys are now.  There are so many stories untold in everyone’s families.  It seems like such a good time of year to ask questions and share those untold stories. 



Friday, December 14, 2012

A Polymer Clay Framed Mirror

Several years ago I took my first polymer clay class from Lisa Pavelka.  I was so excited about the things I learned that I looked for ways to use polymer in my professional work as an interior designer. 
A client needed a large mirror for a niche area over her fireplace and there was my opportunity!  I explained my idea and she was almost as excited as I was.  She would have a unique mirror and I would be able to make it.  I’ve always liked large but repetition is not a strong point of mine.  My small toaster oven would get a work out with this large mirror.  Better get started. 
The back was a composite board cut to her dimensions – approximately 30” x 40”.  The Mirror was attached and the entire piece was on my work table.  I ordered a box of Kato copper clay and started making 10” strips that would ruffle to 6” and fit into the oven – one at a time.  At the time, I had three employees and they all started to help.  It became apparent that we each had a different style and that a composite group was not going to work.  Phyllis, the best ruffle maker, and I finished all the pieces and I glued them to the board as a frame for the mirror. 
The wholesale floral shop in Tucson, Askren’s and Sons, sold me copper rope the perfect thickness and that went on the outside and inside of the ruffles.  The finishing touches were a few beads skillfully tucked in the rope.   
The mirror turned out great and the client still has it after two moves.  I’ve never made another!  I still have some of the clay and yes, it is still good!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's Take a Road Trip


One nice thing about being retired is the ability to say, “Let’s take a road trip!”  This one was a short two day trip to Lake Havasu AZ.  There was a Nutting’s Flycatcher, a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black Scoter, White-winged Scoters and a Surf Scoters lurking around the area.  Yes, they are all birds and we like to track them! 


We left early one sunny morning and drove the back roads for about 4 hours looking for birds as we talked about life.  We were looking for Planet Ranch Road is a primitive bumpy dirt road that had survived two big storms.  Don’t take campers on it!  My 4-runner was a good choice for finding the elusive Nutting’s Flycatcher.  We think we saw it….but to a birder that statement means little.  Birders have to really get a good look at the shape, the color, the field marks and they are delighted if they get a picture.  Well we think (maybe) we saw the bird!


There were scenic hills with caves that made me wonder who or what lived in them; splits in the rocks with plants growing out of them and holes in the rocks where you could see the sky on the other side.



The riparian area along the road was beautiful with the sun shining through the lacy leaves.  That’s the part I love about birding.  Sure, it is great to see the birds but experiencing the colors and shapes of nature is why I’m really participating.  And I get to take pictures and be with Peter in nature! 





 This trip was not all that productive finding the elusive birds.  Weather was lovely and the National Wildlife Refuge had many ducks including two pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye - Eye candy for birders! 
Barrow's Goldeneye
We also drove across London Bridge.  I’m always a little disappointed that there are no English pubs and that the area really does not look at all like London.    We had a great meal at Casa Serrano’s restaurant.
Lake Havasu
On the way home, we went to Parker Dam and stopped for the wild burros.  Too cute!
Parker Dam

Wild Burros
Road trips are full of adventures and surprises.  We’ll have another soon!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Making a Black and White Statement



Black and white makes such a striking statement and I am ready for a statement!  Experimenting with combining black and white polymer clay, I stacked alternating layers into stripes and swirled them.  Then I cut the swirls into little pieces and compressed the pieces into a one-inch ball in my hands.  Sometimes I cut those balls into 4 pieces and reassembled them into another one-inch ball. 




I combined my finished beads with volcanic stone beads about the same size.  It became obvious that I created two basic designs and they would not go together.  Some of the black and white balls reminded me of zebra stripes and some were much more abstract.  I had to make a decision! Two statements - one now and one for the future! 
 
I used smaller black matt beads for the back of the necklace with a silver toggle.
And this is the happy result!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Celebration of a Family Holiday

  Holiday’s always remind me of the big family celebrations that my mother gave.  Christmas was the big one. 

Mom loved family celebrations!

 

The Austrian embroidered tablecloth and napkins came out along with the red and white dishes.  The crystal with the gold rims and the silverware were just the start.  I always helped set the table correctly.  At a very young age, I knew the knife and spoon were on the right of the plate and the two different sized forks were on the left.  There was always a flower arrangement or centerpiece and candles.
Austrian tablecloth, red and white dishes, centerpiece and a grandson!
Everyone’s favorite foods were made and there would not have been a celebration without ‘Mom’s Denver Biscuits’.  I can still smell the hot potato based yeast rolls.  Several of us make them now or at least know how.  Somehow they are not quite as good as hers were but they bring her back to us with memories.  They also take a lot of work.  In fact, the Christmas celebration took a lot of work and mom loved it.  All the kids and grandkids brought their news and gifts.  There was laughter and talk and good cheer.

I was going through some old things (besides the handkerchiefs in last week’s blog) and found a booklet a friend sent me years ago.  “The Post-Intelligencer’s Women’s Department presents Table Fashions of 1949” designed by Helen chamberlain.  (I was 2 years old.) 
The pamphlet is not very big but it is full of  rules, suggestions and stories that Mom used in her celebrations!  It has table setting drawings for each meal and combines a little history with advice.  “Catherine the Great ordered one dinner service of 952 pieces, but it could never have given her the thrill that a bride of today feels when she acquires her first place setting of fine china,…” 
The last paragraph says, “Setting a table is like baking a pie… once you acquire the knack, repeat successes are easy.”  Mom certainly got that part right!  She also taught me that if the table was pretty the food would taste better.  She was also right about that!
As the family got smaller and more spread out, the celebrations have changed.  The memories remain.