Friday, March 25, 2016

Figuring out Jewelry Design Solutions


Seedpods are a secret love of mine.  I collect them and many different kinds line my window sill.  I love to make them out of metal clay

This bronze seedpod started out with bronze clay wrapped around a wax shape that was covered in saran wrap.   After the clay dried, I pulled out the wax through a hole I made for the bale.  The center seeds are thin steel circles that were placed over the bronze layer.  I painted veins on the sides and back with bronze slip (thinned bronze clay), sanded and let the piece dry. 




The bronze clay was fired in activated charcoal in a 2 stage process and I always hold my breath when I remove a fired piece from the kiln several hours later.  Did the clay sinter (did it fuse into metal?)  or will I need to fire it again?  This time the clay did sinter except for one steel circle which got lost in the charcoal.


After polishing my seedpod, I reviewed my choices.  I could leave the hole open or I could make another circle to fill the hole and fire the whole thing again.  I could figure out another way to fill the hole.  I waited and I thought and I experimented.  Then I ordered a silver stone setting, took another deep breath and soldered it to the open space hoping it would give the appearance of a special seed.  It worked!  I was so surprised and pleased, I did a happy dance!  Into the setting went the orange faceted CZ and I love the result. 





What do you think?  

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Walk to the Beach


The beach at Aptos CA

Peter and I just returned from a quick 4 day trip to Aptos CA near Monterey CA to pick up a beautiful blue harpsichord he bought on E-bay.  Early keyboard instruments are a love of Peter’s and we both are learning to play.

Our Flemish Moermans 1583 Hubbard Copy Harpsichord

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that area and I knew there were two things I wanted to do. One was to take a walk to the beach and the other was to have dinner at Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola. I still remember the first meal I had there 30 years ago!

When we arrived in Aptos, we got the chance to walk to the beach from the seller’s home.  Walking through the forest to the beach offered so much texture and color that I thought I would share that walk with you.  I’ve always found the beach and the sand to be calming.  In fact, I could spend hours watching it. 


Red-breasted Sapsucker was working on his tree!  Those are his holes for hiding food!
All kinds of plants and flowers caught my interest.  I love the shape of this edible Miner's Lettuce

The Ice Plants were blooming.

The delicacy of this flower makes me want to use it as inspiration for earrings!

And here I could sit for hours.
After the walk we packed up the harpsichord and drove to Capitola for a wonderful dinner at Shadowbrook.  The walk down to the restaurant was lovely with all kinds of tropical flora and places to stop and enjoy the area.  The food was just as good as I remembered and the tram ride to the street level was fun!   If you get the chance, be sure to visit them.  http://www.shadowbrook-capitola.com/ 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Gift Book for Michelle – Memories of Ecuador



Last week I started sharing my vision of a book for my friend, Michelle, who helped me press and collect the flowers from our 2008 trip to Ecuador. 

My next step was to visit my neighbor who is a talented bookbinder.  I took my finished pages (at least I thought so at the time) and hoped he would have some suggestions for putting the book together.

We discussed making an accordion of folded paper to hold each page or making a box to hold the loose pages.  I took home two books on bookmaking to read and experiment. 

One of the requirements I had was to make sure I could open the pages fully without damaging the dried flora.  That presented challenges of protecting the flowers and I used a translucent paper to cover the dried flower cut smaller that the floral page.  It would be easy to lift the translucent cover to see the actual flower.


Somewhere about this time I realized that I had 2 different widths of pages.  That would never do!  To solve that issue I made folded strips of paper and added the strips to the side of the pages making sure the finished pages measured 6 ½” in width. 


Getting the pages to lie flat when they were open eliminated many choices.  I made several samples using different techniques – gluing the edges of pages to a flat piece of paper, sewing the edges together – to no avail. 


Finally I decided to punch holes and tie the pages loosely together with narrow ribbon.  There would be enough play to open each page.  I tested that idea and yes, it would work but the paper could tear at the punched holes.  The holes needed to be reinforced.  Leftover vinyl wallpaper (from my interior design days) would be strong enough.  After cutting strips an inch wide, punching matching holes and gluing the strips to the floral pages, I threaded the ribbon and tied it.  It worked!
The pages opened just like I wanted. 


Next the cover - A fabric belt/scarf woven in a South American pattern would be perfect.  After playing with it, I decided to leave the fringe on one end and make a pocket for maps and paper from the trip.  The fabric, pressed and starched, was glued on each side of cardboard with a solid piece of fabric connecting the front and back covers. 


The cover is not attached to the pages and is just protection when the book is closed.  This also allows controlled movement of each page when viewing.



 This project really made me think about the importance of designing and implementing the materials to achieve my vision.  I can’t wait to give the book to Michelle!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Figuring out Jewelry Design Solutions


Seedpods are a secret love of mine.  I collect them and many different kinds line my window sill.  I love to make them out of metal clay

This bronze seedpod started out with bronze clay wrapped around a wax shape that was covered in saran wrap.   After the clay dried, I pulled out the wax through a hole I made for the bale.  The center seeds are thin steel circles that were placed over the bronze layer.  I painted veins on the sides and back with bronze slip (thinned bronze clay), sanded and let the piece dry. 




The bronze clay was fired in activated charcoal in a 2 stage process and I always hold my breath when I remove a fired piece from the kiln several hours later.  Did the clay sinter (did it fuse into metal?)  or will I need to fire it again?  This time the clay did sinter except for one steel circle which got lost in the charcoal.


After polishing my seedpod, I reviewed my choices.  I could leave the hole open or I could make another circle to fill the hole and fire the whole thing again.  I could figure out another way to fill the hole.  I waited and I thought and I experimented.  Then I ordered a silver stone setting, took another deep breath and soldered it to the open space hoping it would give the appearance of a special seed.  It worked!  I was so surprised and pleased, I did a happy dance!  Into the setting went the orange faceted CZ and I love the result. 





What do you think?  

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Walk to the Beach


The beach at Aptos CA

Peter and I just returned from a quick 4 day trip to Aptos CA near Monterey CA to pick up a beautiful blue harpsichord he bought on E-bay.  Early keyboard instruments are a love of Peter’s and we both are learning to play.

Our Flemish Moermans 1583 Hubbard Copy Harpsichord

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that area and I knew there were two things I wanted to do. One was to take a walk to the beach and the other was to have dinner at Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola. I still remember the first meal I had there 30 years ago!

When we arrived in Aptos, we got the chance to walk to the beach from the seller’s home.  Walking through the forest to the beach offered so much texture and color that I thought I would share that walk with you.  I’ve always found the beach and the sand to be calming.  In fact, I could spend hours watching it. 


Red-breasted Sapsucker was working on his tree!  Those are his holes for hiding food!
All kinds of plants and flowers caught my interest.  I love the shape of this edible Miner's Lettuce

The Ice Plants were blooming.

The delicacy of this flower makes me want to use it as inspiration for earrings!

And here I could sit for hours.
After the walk we packed up the harpsichord and drove to Capitola for a wonderful dinner at Shadowbrook.  The walk down to the restaurant was lovely with all kinds of tropical flora and places to stop and enjoy the area.  The food was just as good as I remembered and the tram ride to the street level was fun!   If you get the chance, be sure to visit them.  http://www.shadowbrook-capitola.com/ 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Gift Book for Michelle – Memories of Ecuador



Last week I started sharing my vision of a book for my friend, Michelle, who helped me press and collect the flowers from our 2008 trip to Ecuador. 

My next step was to visit my neighbor who is a talented bookbinder.  I took my finished pages (at least I thought so at the time) and hoped he would have some suggestions for putting the book together.

We discussed making an accordion of folded paper to hold each page or making a box to hold the loose pages.  I took home two books on bookmaking to read and experiment. 

One of the requirements I had was to make sure I could open the pages fully without damaging the dried flora.  That presented challenges of protecting the flowers and I used a translucent paper to cover the dried flower cut smaller that the floral page.  It would be easy to lift the translucent cover to see the actual flower.


Somewhere about this time I realized that I had 2 different widths of pages.  That would never do!  To solve that issue I made folded strips of paper and added the strips to the side of the pages making sure the finished pages measured 6 ½” in width. 


Getting the pages to lie flat when they were open eliminated many choices.  I made several samples using different techniques – gluing the edges of pages to a flat piece of paper, sewing the edges together – to no avail. 


Finally I decided to punch holes and tie the pages loosely together with narrow ribbon.  There would be enough play to open each page.  I tested that idea and yes, it would work but the paper could tear at the punched holes.  The holes needed to be reinforced.  Leftover vinyl wallpaper (from my interior design days) would be strong enough.  After cutting strips an inch wide, punching matching holes and gluing the strips to the floral pages, I threaded the ribbon and tied it.  It worked!
The pages opened just like I wanted. 


Next the cover - A fabric belt/scarf woven in a South American pattern would be perfect.  After playing with it, I decided to leave the fringe on one end and make a pocket for maps and paper from the trip.  The fabric, pressed and starched, was glued on each side of cardboard with a solid piece of fabric connecting the front and back covers. 


The cover is not attached to the pages and is just protection when the book is closed.  This also allows controlled movement of each page when viewing.



 This project really made me think about the importance of designing and implementing the materials to achieve my vision.  I can’t wait to give the book to Michelle!