Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Rabbit with Attitude


Once in a while, we get to create something that really makes us smile.  I wanted to make something for a very good friend while she was in surgery.  It kept me busy and I sent her all kinds of healing energy.  I love the attitude that this Easter Rabbit displays.  A little wild eyed with great staying power!


He was so cute that I just had to find a container for his home.  Obviously my Emu eggshell was the answer.



I got my polymer canes out, found several coordinating colors and patterns. Then I sliced the eggshell in half with my flexshaft.  Next came the hinge application.  I glued it on the two shell halves and started planning the design.  After the canes were smooth, I cured it carefully laying one half on baking powder for support.  When I picked it up, I forgot the glue would be soft and yes! one half dropped on the concrete floor.  Only the inside shell broke - not the polymer.  I bet I never forget that again!
I repaired the hinge and glued fabric on the inside of the egg. Finished!





















This was a great way to use up old canes while playing with color and movement in the design.  And the rabbit has a house.  Of course, I had to make a stand, put it in a shipping box and send it to my friend before Easter.  I think I made it!

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sea Stars







Sea Stars!  I think I like the romance of 'sea stars' rather than calling these fascinating creatures 'Starfish'.  They are not fish.  They do not have gills, scales or fins. They have tube feet to help them move.  They can have more than 5 arms and can regenrate arms.  They resemble the shape of a star and may appear smooth or with spines on their top side and are soft on the bottom. 




I've been looking through some of my photos and found several of starfish.  I'm once again surprised and inspired by the diversity in nature.  The range of size, shape, color and texture intrique me and give me food for thought to use in my jewelry creations.  I thought you might enjoy seeing the variety also.



Friday, March 22, 2013

The Value of Tutorials




One of the best things about Facebook is being in a special interest group.  I belong to a polymer clay group and a metal clay group.  The polymer clay tutorials are listed and I always look.  So when Emma Ralph’s (EJR Beads) tutorial was recommended, I looked at it on her etsy site.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/113890791/polymer-clay-tutorial-by-emma-ralph
I thought it was expensive and so I looked several times before I decided to buy it.  Wow! Was it worth the money.  It was well written and documented with many interesting pictures, techniques and tips!  In this blog, I want to show you some of what I learned and the ‘Illuminare’ beads I made.

I followed her directions and took a couple of side trips!  The Thistle Medallion was one of the side trips. http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2013/02/thistle-medallion.html   This bracelet was another.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/124530104/dragonfly-bracelet

I made the flat clay sheets and embellished them as she suggested.  It was so much fun to layer with the foil.   I placed the flat clay sheets around a log of scrap clay and cut the log into sections.  Before this project was over, I was pretty good at forming consistent beads.
After the beads were baked on my bead rack, I tumbled them with sandpaper and then buffed them.  Next was the dipping and drying.  Emma’s book gives extremely detailed directions about this process.  I found that placing the beads on toothpicks and drying them in Styrofoam or the edges of cardboard boxes worked well. 
 
Arranging and stringing the beads with tiny striped glass beads as spacers was so much fun!  Thank you Emma Ralph for sharing your knowledge!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birds! The Birds are ready for Spring!


Mourning Dove
My first hummingbird of the season came to the feeder yesterday!  The Stellar Jay and the Acorn Woodpeckers are here along with the Pine Siskins, House Finches, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches and White-breasted Nuthatches. 
When we were in Sedona AZ there were plenty of birds getting ready for Spring with our warmer weather.  I’m sharing a few of my photographs with you.

House Finch

House Sparrow --nesting place?

House Finch

Scrub Jay

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mixed Metal Necklace from Hadar’s Class

Finished Piece

Back of finished piece
This is the last and 6th piece of jewelry I created in Hadar Jacobson’s Architexture Jewelry Class.  As you can see that was a very busy intensive class that was worth every minute and dollar!  There was so much to learn and Hadar was so willing to share. 
This project focused on layering different metal clays.  I rolled out and textured a layer of brilliant bronze, a layer of copper, a layer of steel and another layer of copper for the backing.  Each layer had a different texture.  I cut out the top layer of bronze and placed it over the copper layer making sure I had the amount of copper showing that I wanted.  Those two layers were placed over the steel and then onto the copper back layer.  This was an interesting way to build a piece as it provided support for each layer.  And as you can see it really produces nice depth. 

Before Firing

I made a long cylinder on a straw for the bail before finishing and firing (this got 2 firings).  I get loads of compliments on this piece! 
1st Firing

2nd Firing (door was really closed)
 To see my other pieces from Hadar's Class, click on
Feb and March archives. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steel and Copper Hollow Ring


 
Yet another project from Hadar’s Architectural Jewelry Class!  This is a knuckle buster of a ring and believe it or not it is really comfortable to wear!  Great jewelry armor!
This project was about building a hollow ring using a form.  Indentations for the fingers each side of the ring made it comfortable to wear.  I combined steel and copper to make a ring I love!
I used a stainless steel oval soap for my ring’s form.  Several years ago someone gave me a rectangular piece of stainless steel to use after I cut onions or garlic.  I rubbed it in my hands like soap and sure enough…it took the smell away.  When I saw the oval bar in class, I had to use it!  http://www.focalprice.com/HJ135S/Hand_Odor_Smell_Remover_Stainless_Steel_Soap_Bar_Silver.html?utm_source=CS&utm_medium=GM_US&utm_campaign=CS_GM_US_HJ135S&gclid=CMeX9KCC67UCFY8WMgodZzwA_QSomeone else used a flat stone. 
We put the 4 card thick clay halfway on the form making sure there was a way to slip it or cut it off after the clay dried.  The trick was to make sure the form was large enough to cut the hole for your finger and to cut the hole evenly on both sides so the actual ring portion of clay connected the two sides.  After that was accomplished, the top of the ring was attached and dried.  Then I added the decoration.
I carved the indentations for the fingers each side of the ring adding clay to fill the holes.   Carving away enough clay for fingers was a little scary but worth the effort.  
 After the ring was dry, it was sanded.  I did not have time to fire this ring in class so I brought it home and quickly fired and finished it before I forgot how!
The steel clay was so easy to work with and the steel XT quick fire just takes one firing.  Yea!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Day Trip in Flagstaff AZ

Thunderbird Supply is one of my favorite suppliers.  They have 3 stores (Gallup NM, Albuquerque NM and Flagstaff AZ).  My dad and brothers ordered from them also.  When I saw they had an in-store semi-annual sale, I put the date on my calendar and just had to go see it. 
Saturday I asked Luana, my quilting and walking buddy, to go with me.  It’s a 2 hour drive from Prescott and we thought it would be a great outing!  We left about 8:30 a.m. and Thunderbird was our first stop.  As you can see it is a very clean well organized store.  They had all the things on my list and Kevan was very helpful showing me what I needed.  But it was one of those times where the picture story in my head was based on no reality.  I was expecting a big warehouse with people stumbling over themselves to get the best deals.  Maybe, I spent too much time at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show! 
Kevan
My Purchases
I’m glad I went, met the people, saw the supplies and know that I will continue to order from their large catalog and website! 
We also went to a large quilt shop and had a great lunch at Charly's in the Weatherford Hotel.  Of course we checked out art galleries and sweet shops!  It was a fun day trip!
 




Friday, March 1, 2013

Cracked Earrings

Sharing my work from Hadar’s class with you is making me remember and document what I learned.  It’s a really good thing!  Details can be so easily forgotten.

 In between assigned projects, I made a pair of earrings from a slab of copper and a slab of brilliant bronze.  When you really look the top layer of one earring is plain copper and the back layer of the other is textured bronze.  The pieces on the top layer started out as a single shape and I cut them to look like cracked mud.  (At least that is what dried cracked mud looks like here in the Southwest). 
Since the two materials have a slightly different shrinkage rate the cracks became a little wider.
 
After I sanded and fired them, I polished them and made them into earrings.  These were fun and I’ll make other earrings in a similar style.  I also tried my square pliers and love what I can do with them.
This pair of earrings sold before I could get them in my etsy shop!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Rabbit with Attitude


Once in a while, we get to create something that really makes us smile.  I wanted to make something for a very good friend while she was in surgery.  It kept me busy and I sent her all kinds of healing energy.  I love the attitude that this Easter Rabbit displays.  A little wild eyed with great staying power!


He was so cute that I just had to find a container for his home.  Obviously my Emu eggshell was the answer.



I got my polymer canes out, found several coordinating colors and patterns. Then I sliced the eggshell in half with my flexshaft.  Next came the hinge application.  I glued it on the two shell halves and started planning the design.  After the canes were smooth, I cured it carefully laying one half on baking powder for support.  When I picked it up, I forgot the glue would be soft and yes! one half dropped on the concrete floor.  Only the inside shell broke - not the polymer.  I bet I never forget that again!
I repaired the hinge and glued fabric on the inside of the egg. Finished!





















This was a great way to use up old canes while playing with color and movement in the design.  And the rabbit has a house.  Of course, I had to make a stand, put it in a shipping box and send it to my friend before Easter.  I think I made it!

 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sea Stars







Sea Stars!  I think I like the romance of 'sea stars' rather than calling these fascinating creatures 'Starfish'.  They are not fish.  They do not have gills, scales or fins. They have tube feet to help them move.  They can have more than 5 arms and can regenrate arms.  They resemble the shape of a star and may appear smooth or with spines on their top side and are soft on the bottom. 




I've been looking through some of my photos and found several of starfish.  I'm once again surprised and inspired by the diversity in nature.  The range of size, shape, color and texture intrique me and give me food for thought to use in my jewelry creations.  I thought you might enjoy seeing the variety also.



Friday, March 22, 2013

The Value of Tutorials




One of the best things about Facebook is being in a special interest group.  I belong to a polymer clay group and a metal clay group.  The polymer clay tutorials are listed and I always look.  So when Emma Ralph’s (EJR Beads) tutorial was recommended, I looked at it on her etsy site.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/113890791/polymer-clay-tutorial-by-emma-ralph
I thought it was expensive and so I looked several times before I decided to buy it.  Wow! Was it worth the money.  It was well written and documented with many interesting pictures, techniques and tips!  In this blog, I want to show you some of what I learned and the ‘Illuminare’ beads I made.

I followed her directions and took a couple of side trips!  The Thistle Medallion was one of the side trips. http://www.lindabrittdesign.blogspot.com/2013/02/thistle-medallion.html   This bracelet was another.  http://www.etsy.com/listing/124530104/dragonfly-bracelet

I made the flat clay sheets and embellished them as she suggested.  It was so much fun to layer with the foil.   I placed the flat clay sheets around a log of scrap clay and cut the log into sections.  Before this project was over, I was pretty good at forming consistent beads.
After the beads were baked on my bead rack, I tumbled them with sandpaper and then buffed them.  Next was the dipping and drying.  Emma’s book gives extremely detailed directions about this process.  I found that placing the beads on toothpicks and drying them in Styrofoam or the edges of cardboard boxes worked well. 
 
Arranging and stringing the beads with tiny striped glass beads as spacers was so much fun!  Thank you Emma Ralph for sharing your knowledge!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Birds! The Birds are ready for Spring!


Mourning Dove
My first hummingbird of the season came to the feeder yesterday!  The Stellar Jay and the Acorn Woodpeckers are here along with the Pine Siskins, House Finches, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy Nuthatches and White-breasted Nuthatches. 
When we were in Sedona AZ there were plenty of birds getting ready for Spring with our warmer weather.  I’m sharing a few of my photographs with you.

House Finch

House Sparrow --nesting place?

House Finch

Scrub Jay

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mixed Metal Necklace from Hadar’s Class

Finished Piece

Back of finished piece
This is the last and 6th piece of jewelry I created in Hadar Jacobson’s Architexture Jewelry Class.  As you can see that was a very busy intensive class that was worth every minute and dollar!  There was so much to learn and Hadar was so willing to share. 
This project focused on layering different metal clays.  I rolled out and textured a layer of brilliant bronze, a layer of copper, a layer of steel and another layer of copper for the backing.  Each layer had a different texture.  I cut out the top layer of bronze and placed it over the copper layer making sure I had the amount of copper showing that I wanted.  Those two layers were placed over the steel and then onto the copper back layer.  This was an interesting way to build a piece as it provided support for each layer.  And as you can see it really produces nice depth. 

Before Firing

I made a long cylinder on a straw for the bail before finishing and firing (this got 2 firings).  I get loads of compliments on this piece! 
1st Firing

2nd Firing (door was really closed)
 To see my other pieces from Hadar's Class, click on
Feb and March archives. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Steel and Copper Hollow Ring


 
Yet another project from Hadar’s Architectural Jewelry Class!  This is a knuckle buster of a ring and believe it or not it is really comfortable to wear!  Great jewelry armor!
This project was about building a hollow ring using a form.  Indentations for the fingers each side of the ring made it comfortable to wear.  I combined steel and copper to make a ring I love!
I used a stainless steel oval soap for my ring’s form.  Several years ago someone gave me a rectangular piece of stainless steel to use after I cut onions or garlic.  I rubbed it in my hands like soap and sure enough…it took the smell away.  When I saw the oval bar in class, I had to use it!  http://www.focalprice.com/HJ135S/Hand_Odor_Smell_Remover_Stainless_Steel_Soap_Bar_Silver.html?utm_source=CS&utm_medium=GM_US&utm_campaign=CS_GM_US_HJ135S&gclid=CMeX9KCC67UCFY8WMgodZzwA_QSomeone else used a flat stone. 
We put the 4 card thick clay halfway on the form making sure there was a way to slip it or cut it off after the clay dried.  The trick was to make sure the form was large enough to cut the hole for your finger and to cut the hole evenly on both sides so the actual ring portion of clay connected the two sides.  After that was accomplished, the top of the ring was attached and dried.  Then I added the decoration.
I carved the indentations for the fingers each side of the ring adding clay to fill the holes.   Carving away enough clay for fingers was a little scary but worth the effort.  
 After the ring was dry, it was sanded.  I did not have time to fire this ring in class so I brought it home and quickly fired and finished it before I forgot how!
The steel clay was so easy to work with and the steel XT quick fire just takes one firing.  Yea!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Day Trip in Flagstaff AZ

Thunderbird Supply is one of my favorite suppliers.  They have 3 stores (Gallup NM, Albuquerque NM and Flagstaff AZ).  My dad and brothers ordered from them also.  When I saw they had an in-store semi-annual sale, I put the date on my calendar and just had to go see it. 
Saturday I asked Luana, my quilting and walking buddy, to go with me.  It’s a 2 hour drive from Prescott and we thought it would be a great outing!  We left about 8:30 a.m. and Thunderbird was our first stop.  As you can see it is a very clean well organized store.  They had all the things on my list and Kevan was very helpful showing me what I needed.  But it was one of those times where the picture story in my head was based on no reality.  I was expecting a big warehouse with people stumbling over themselves to get the best deals.  Maybe, I spent too much time at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show! 
Kevan
My Purchases
I’m glad I went, met the people, saw the supplies and know that I will continue to order from their large catalog and website! 
We also went to a large quilt shop and had a great lunch at Charly's in the Weatherford Hotel.  Of course we checked out art galleries and sweet shops!  It was a fun day trip!
 




Friday, March 1, 2013

Cracked Earrings

Sharing my work from Hadar’s class with you is making me remember and document what I learned.  It’s a really good thing!  Details can be so easily forgotten.

 In between assigned projects, I made a pair of earrings from a slab of copper and a slab of brilliant bronze.  When you really look the top layer of one earring is plain copper and the back layer of the other is textured bronze.  The pieces on the top layer started out as a single shape and I cut them to look like cracked mud.  (At least that is what dried cracked mud looks like here in the Southwest). 
Since the two materials have a slightly different shrinkage rate the cracks became a little wider.
 
After I sanded and fired them, I polished them and made them into earrings.  These were fun and I’ll make other earrings in a similar style.  I also tried my square pliers and love what I can do with them.
This pair of earrings sold before I could get them in my etsy shop!