Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Buggin'

UPDATE
This blog entry was featured for the day (Friday, Sep. 30, 2011) in the stories category on The Beading Divas Daily. I'm so glad Lois, of Copper Wire Jewelers and A Beaded Affair (her shop), wrote to tell me about it! I've never been to the site before, but I like it. Lots of variety and things to see. Check it out!
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I had some play time. I grabbed some spare household wiring (14gauge) and started stripping it, thinking of what I might do with it. It occurred to me that I have NEVER wrapped a focal bead with the bead wired in. I have used beads as cabs, but never as beads. So, I grabbed some of the freshly skinned wire and started aimlessly playing with this big bead I bought a few years ago (some kind of jasper). I had no real ideas in my head, I just played around with it and before I knew it, I had a bug. Stylized, yes, but a bug. I had to put some antennas on him when I was finished. Hee heee! I showed it to everyone in the house and they all saw the bug. This isn't my usual thing, but I really like it, probably because I like praying mantises and this reminds me of them for some reason. It's big, though- almost 4 inches long, the necklace is 20" and the bead alone is 2 1/4". I couldn't get the whole piece in the camera frame. The necklace is nice and works real well with the piece. The "head" bead photographs more blue than it is, it is green. I added some faceted goldstone to the wings. The focal is real secure on the frame with 2 sections of  22gauge. For my first wired focal and with no design in mind, I think it came out pretty good. :)
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For anyone wondering about Cat with our new family additions- he's loving life! I worried that he might just run off and find another home with all the commotion going on here now, but he has found a new friend in my grandson. They are best buddies. My grandson has a classic case of ADHD. He was real quiet one day for like a half hour. I asked him what he was doing. He said he was just chillin' on the couch petting Cat. They are very good with each other. :)


Cat still refuses to use a box and goes out at night. He got in a horrific fight the other night and came in with a pretty bad bite/puncture wound. I don't know which cat got the losing end of that fight, but it was a pretty bad one. My daughter is training to be a vet assistant and put her skills to good use. He's healing fine. He surprises me all the time. I really didn't think he would sit for her to clean and medicate his wound, but he did. What a good kitty he is. I'm glad he chose to stay with us. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Let There Be Light!

I finally had some quality wire time. I sat down ready to go and even had an idea I wanted to try. The table was well lit- or so I thought. I put together a piece with a marvelous 30x40mm malachite. I based the piece on an older cameo piece that I had made for my granddaughter- her first cameo. As I was putting the last beads on, someone hit the dimmer switch and lo and behold there was MORE light. And, by God, my beads no longer worked on the piece. ARRGGGHHHH! Lesson learned. (I have a hard enough time with some shades of blue and green!)

I've been trying to replicate a ring I rescued from the Land of Misfits. I didn't succeed but I did come up with a nice turquoise ring. :) I'll remember how to do the other one eventually.

I also got a piece done in silver with the wrap I have been working with gemstones. This one is a NATURAL green quartz- rare as hen's teeth and gorgeous. This gem is not at all like the heat treated prasiolite. I love the clear green color, almost khaki or light olive but much more crisp and clean looking. The photo does it no justice.

 
I didn't bother with a bail. It's going to be taken apart.



Rare Natural Green Quartz Sterling Silver Handcrafted Pendant
Clicking opens image in a new tab.
Pink conch, antique cameo and swarovski crystals with pearls. Doesn't photo as nice as it is. It's really sweet.
11mm, hi dome, round turquoise cab and copper

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Quick Beaded Project

First, I want to explain how the feedburner works, in case you don't know. If I don't post by 8am my time, the burn will not be sent till the next morning around 8. I thought I would explain that because of the lagtime on some of the blog entries. I've had a hard time meeting that deadline lately :) Also, if you have signed up for the feedburn via email you need to answer the verification email to fully subscribe.

Now that the business stuff is out of the way... I'd like to share a small project I managed to get done with a house full of people yesterday. (All the kids, grandkids and brother!)

Never in my life had I thought that I would work with seedbeads. The idea never appealed to me. But, this year, I made a commitment to myself to learn and try doing some. I was greatly encouraged by Renate and Dawn at JL, who shared tips and patterns with me. Although beading is in no way my first love, I have grown to like many aspects of it. Even though I am not very accomplished, I have learned a few stitches and those can be done while watching something or hanging out talking. I thought it would take forever to learn the peyote stitch especially the start of it, but as my block and reservations about beading wore off, the stitches got easier.

I have posted at JL a few of the chains that I have made, here, here, here, here and here. They are terribly time consuming but oh so gorgeous. I made one necklace that I gave to my daughter, the daughter who just moved back into town, and then made matching earrings. I didn't get any pictures of the earrings before I gave them to her. But, since I had to make my other daughter a pair, I got pictures of those.

A little while back Jackie, at JL, posted some earrings that I adored. I thought they were a great idea and had to make some. I had some glass tube beads that I got super cheap, but didn't like much, so I made a peyote fabric to zip up around the tube. That provided a way for the bead fabric to stay inflated. When I was done, I just added some brick stitch borders and big, glass rondelles to the ends, then added wire. The beads are #11 delicas and they are FABULOUS! I love the iridescence of them. For me, earrings always have to play with light in some way and these are gorgeous with the hitting them at different angles. The tubes are about 3/4 inch long.

MY SIMPLE PROJECT

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time

I got in from the trip to get the kids on Sunday afternoon. Monday and Tuesday we were unpacking and settling in. Every spare moment, I thought I could grab my pliers and and work something out real quick. NOT!!

Now that time is at a premium, I realize just how long the birth of design takes. I always knew that the design stage was the longest, but this crunch on my time brings in a whole new perspective. I need a good block of quiet, quality time with music wafting in to do my best design work. With kids around again, I realize those times will be few and far between. Of course, those of you with kids already know what I mean.

When I started making jewelry, the 2 kids left in the nest were in highschool and certainly didn't want to hang around. They were never a bother for time. The two grandkids are pretty self sufficient as far as grabbing their own cereal etc, but they are still underfoot or watching something loud on Netflix. So, I will have to work out a schedule and teach them that I value my time, as well. This is going to be fun, I can tell already :) LOL!

Last night after the kids' bedtime, about 10 loads of laundry and a sink full of dirty dishes, I ventured to pull out my tools. I tried to work out a design idea I had and gave up, maybe a little too soon, but slightly frustrated grows to a block- so I quit that.

What had really been bugging was the gem wrap that I did with the citrine. I had mentioned that I thought the sides looked like beads. I have been dieing to try doing just that. So with this new piece, I added some super, #11 silky luster, DB Delicas to the sides. It doesn't photograph as nice as it looks in person. The beads really add something to this. The color and rolling flash compliment the large smoky quartz and meld nicely with the copper. They don't stand out, they just add frosting to the cake.

Did I mention that I lost my photography room? Well, I found a new place that seems to be working out well. BUT, I broke my tripod!!!! Damn. I found that I have a pretty steady hand after one cup of coffee, but not two. LOL!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why the Block?

There are times when I feel like the worst wire artist on the planet. I look at the work of other artists and I get an inferiority complex. I really would like to do the beautiful coiling that some do or the intricate spiraling work. I would love to do perfect, incredibly intricate, mirror image earrings. I'd like to weave more. I'd like to do everything that I see others doing. But, then I'd like natural brunette hair and green eyes. I'd like longer legs and perfect teeth, too.

I started this entry weeks ago when I was in a creative crisis. I have tried and tried to put what I felt into words. I have erased far more than you will read here. Even now, I feel like I'm rambling- even though I have a good idea what I want to say, just not how to say it. I guess that's why they call it a creative crisis.

The Block

The block manifests itself in many confidence crushing ways. Artists pull their hair in turmoil when the block comes screaming in. Just as we have endearing names for our muse, we have not so nice names for "the block". We all recognize the block and talk about how miserable it is but, how did we get it and why?

Having gone through a recent crisis, I gained a little insight through much frustration and soul searching. I think I have identified the main culprits, for me at least, that summon the block.

Voices

Sometimes, I want to capture in my own work what I love so much in the work of others. It is the language of a piece that draws me in. It has to "speak" to me at some level. I want to speak back in the same language. When I try, I fail miserably. The more I try, the more I feel the block coming on. I get tongue tied. I don't want to mimic others, I want to communicate.

We all bring our own history with us to present to the world our own story. It is easiest to understand this concept when viewing paintings and painterly voices. However, we, as wire or bead artists, are just as unique and singular. We all tell our stories piece by piece. I bring to life, with my artistic voice, my view of the world. I am an open book. All one needs to do to understand me in my world is to study my work.

I have been making wire jewelry for a long time now. I try new ways of doing things. I learn new styles and new techniques. I'm even pretty good at most that I try. But, they aren't me any more than brunette hair and green eyes are. I walk my own walk. I talk my own talk. As my hands and mind speak with my wire, the conversation is smooth, friendly, relaxing, satisfying, rewarding and often times even challenging. It is productive. When I try to speak a language that I don't have the words for I get into trouble with the Block.

What I have come to realize and have to remind myself of is that I need always to speak in my own artistic language. Every artist has one. Every one is unique.

Boredom

I am guaranteed a visit by the Block when I am sick to death of my own voice. After all, you can only hear your favorite CD so many times in a row. Sometimes... I just bore me. I'm desperate to hear something different- to SAY something different; to change the channel. The more I reach for something new, the more solid the block becomes. I try to reinvent the wheel. I rage that there HAS to be something new to SAY; to DO. These are the times that try my artistic soul! These are also the times when I search for new and interesting stories; new visions in jewelry and techniques. The block then comes when I can't find a way to translate what I find into my own language.

If I am making any sense at all and if you can relate in any way, then you may understand that these two dilemmas go hand in hand, and are, in fact, circular. So which comes first? Do I get bored and then lost in a chorus of voices? Or, does the world of possibilities make me feel boring? I don't really know. But, I rarely have one without the other.

For many years, I tried to avoid looking at what other people were doing. I didn't want to be influenced by others. I think that that was good for me. It allowed me time to develop my own voice. Now that I am more secure as an artist, I feel more confident about incorporating new things into my work. What I need to do is to remember is to have faith that my hands will guide me in creating a new vocabulary for myself. My voice will be strengthened rather than being lost, refreshing rather than boring.

Rereading this again and again, I wonder should I even post such a ramble. On some level, though, I'm sure that many artists can relate even if I have great difficulty putting a finer point on it. It seems, I could sum it all up quite nicely and just say, as someone more eloquent and succinct than myself has said, "To thine own self be true." While that seems evident, it doesn't quite explain the angst in arriving at it or the turmoil when forgetting it. 



(No, I'm not having a block. I'm just reflecting on the last horrible one that I had :) )

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Life's Changes, Forgotten Pieces and Glenda's Free Tute

I have a hella busy week coming up. My single father son and grandkids are coming back to the roost. :) I wouldn't mention it, but it seems a lot of us lately are experiencing kids moving back home or leaving home. This new chapter in my life will bring huge changes. I took my grandkids in once before, years ago. When I did, I put away all my jewelry things. This time, I'm not going to. I think I will need the outlet. The kids are older, too and need me less. I'm also hoping one or both will show some interest in some facet of my hobby.

I'm planning to keep up the blog. There will be a time of adjustment for my family. If I miss a block or two of time, don't worry, I'll be back.  :)

I was rearranging, getting ready for a full house when I found a container with some forgotten pieces. They are all pieces that I didn't like for one reason or another or ones that I planned to revisit and redo. After a fresh, critical look, I decided two of them are actually pretty ok- better than I thought they were when I put them away, anyway. :) Sometimes, a little distance makes for a miraculous improvement.

Fellow wire artist and friend, Glenda, of the UK has posted a wonderful, free tutorial on her blog. Check it out! As useful and beautiful as her project is, it is also very informative. ;)
 

Very small, gemmy lapis cab in copper weave


Small, beautiful green flash, white opal ring in copper (test piece)


Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Cool Technique to Share

I'm always cruising the web looking at different things. Not too long ago, I found a free tute posted in a forum by Cynthia Newcomer Daniel aka cynmarbil for a faceted stone setting. I played around with it and came up with a different take on it for a larger stone with no jump ring and a "basket back" to lift the stone.  

Go ahead and try the tute out. It's a great idea and a good springboard for other techniques. Thank you Cynthia for your generosity! It's a wonderful design and a great tute! :)

The pendant is wrapped with a 6.5 ct citrine. I like how the sides have that little bit of interest- almost like beads. I also include yet another picture of the other stone setting I've been working on. It's a huge and deep 22 ct rutililated quartz. I like that the straight lines in the settings kind of relate to the lines of rutile. 














Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bad Cat

I didn't get much in the way of jewelry done yesterday. But, I do have a jewelry related story to tell. If you are easily grossed out or squeamish, just skip this.

Cat, my cat, was homeless for most of his years. But, at some point someone had him neutered, so we feel ok that he goes outside to relieve himself. He never strays far. He also refuses to use his new expensive catbox, so we don't have much choice but to make him go out. Well, when we were gone on our recent 3 day trip, my brother was here to let him out to do his business. Sometime between visits, though, Cat had to go. Apparently, my new larger wire tool bin makes a much nicer cat box than his own, because when we got home, I found my tools, papers and Sunshine cloths laying in a smelly, wet puddle!!!! That was fun to clean. (NOT!)

On the up side, he was really happy to see us, so I know he isn't around just for the food. :)

It has been pointed out to me by two people that his naughty, little act was because he was angry that I left. I don't know, either he was angry or he really just HAD to go.

His Favorite Spot in the Sun  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Thank You!

I installed a counter to my blog and was pleasantly surprised to see that the blog has now surpassed 5000 views. There are almost 50 followers and counting email subscribers, even more. I have to say, I never expected this little endeavor to take off. The amount of people interested in this has made me want to do a better job with it.

This blog began as a way to share my jewelry experiences, in my own way and in my own time. I had been doing it at JewelryLessons.com and Copper Wire Jewelers but I wanted something more personal. I thank you all for following along and for those who found your way here in other ways, thank YOU, as well.

I have been trying to update the look of the blog and made a few changes, including links to some of the blogs I like to look at. If you have a blog to share, leave the addy in the comments section. I'd love to have a look. :) I can't find a few of my favorite artists. Maybe they read this.

To the person who posted a link to my blog from Gothise:  I would LOVE to know who you are! I tried to find you, but couldn't.

To celebrate these milestones, I am trying to come up with something special. I would like to do another tutorial. I know some people do giveaways, but I don't really know how to go about that, so a free tute would be a fair giveaway, I think.

I just got in from a very long and quick roadtrip. (Yet another Real Life jewelry intervention!) I should be settled back into the jewelry swing tonight. I'm going to put a lot of thought into a tute and begin it as soon as I can. 

Again, THANK YOU ALL!