Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gold and Sapphires Revisited

I had purchased a couple new display pieces specifically for photographs, and they just arrived; so I had to give this necklace one more try. They work much better than the black display devices, which seem to suck up all the light and mess up the white balance. I have to admit, the necklace looks a bit better against the white ... but ya still have to get up close to really see this piece. And it's tough to get up close in a shot like this. So .. double click on either pic ... and get up close.

Gold Rain

Here's another one that really needs to be seen close up .. I haven't done a double strand necklace in a looooong time. Don't know what got into me, but I really like the outcome. It's made with pearls and 14k gold filled tube spacers (called "liquid silver" when done in sterling) and ends in a circular filigree box clasp.I have a tendency to favor bracelets and silver when new ideas hit. So I've been pawing through my gold and gold filled materials lookin' for something to trigger the light bulb phenomenon. I'd forgotten I had those tubes .. and gold and pearls always look great together.I spied some smoky topaz briolettes that I might dangle from some 14k gold (read: not gold-filled) chain next .. warm and elegant comes to mind. Gold is like that. Stay tuned.

Studio on the Weir

A denizen of the area stopped to chat with me at the Remington Museum on June 14 during the Festival on the St. Lawrence and upon seeing the address on my business card asked where, exactly, I was "out there". We're about five miles south of Ogdensburg and while still close to the "city" (and I use the term loosely), we are most definitely "out there. So I told him we were the big brown place that could be seen from the bridge over the Oswegatchie River. "The big A-frame", asks the denizen? Well .. yes, but no. Not an A-frame, exactly. So I suggested to Denizen to keep an eye on the URL shown on the card and I'd post a couple photographs of the place from the side (from the bridge it does look like an A-frame). The one below was taken last fall .. from the other side of the river. The one above was from last summer .. that's Cara in the lower right .. keeping the river safe from any Amish daring to float their fishing boats close enough to the shore to trigger her territorial sense. My studio is beneath the deck on the left .. that two-pane horizontal window looks right in on my soldering area. I get a great view of the River year 'round .. which is very nice summer or winter. The door is on the other side. On a dry summer day, I'll open it and get a wonderful breeze .. on a hot, hazy, humid day all I get is rust on my tools. Sad, 'cuz I like the fact that fragrance floats deliciously on the air on days like that .. but when I bought that gallon of Evapo-Rust a year or so ago, it wasn't my intention to empty it. Small concession for such a great location though.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cluster Bangle

And now for something completely different ... well, sorta. It's still a bangle, which I love doing, but a whole lot different, design-wise.

Once again, it was a lampwork bead that got me started. They're perfect for this application because they tend to have larger holes. I loved the colors in this one and was easily able to find several beads to echo the purple and soft blue green shades .. and there's about 8' of fine-gauge wire keeping all those little beads on. I used amethyst, aquamarine and amazonite and popped on one of my logo charms as a signature. There are a LOT of beads in this .. the piece ended up costing out at about $225, but it's definitely a one-of-a-kind piece!

Another funky entry ..

This bracelet echos the bracelet posted a few weeks ago called Gold Coast. As it often happens, someone saw the gold version and asked "do you make one in silver"? Story of my life .. if it'd been this version out there, someone would have inquired about a gold one. But they're fun to make, and it pumps up the inventory volume everytime I follow up on a remark like that .. so here we go.

I call it Sweet Summer Folly .. dunno why. It began with that very cool little round lentil lampwork bead and just moved on from there. The hand faceted purple stone is, of course, amethyst and the glowing pea green round bead is resin .. I just love those resin beads. They really do glow!

I made this one with 18 gauge rather than the 16 gauge I used for the gold version .. it's about the same length as the gold bracelet, but just a tad lighter. The "garage springs" and the eye pins running through the coiled beads use half hard wire, which is a whole lot more springy than the dead soft version I normally use .. the half hard wire makes up for having used a smaller gauge. I'm really liking the coiled wire clasp embellishment. It's been fun coming up with new ways to use those wire skills!

Like snowflakes and fingerprints ..

I got a slow start this spring with the PMC leaves .. I thought the thing to do was to catch 'em as they came out; but it seems leaves (for my purposes, anyway) are just a tad too tender at that stage. The thing that's most important to me besides size and shape is veining. There are a vast array of really interesting looking leaves out there that have absolutely no veining, (at least not protruding veining) and so are useless to me for this purpose. And new spring leaves kinda fall into that category. Just not fully developed enough for the clay. So, I had to wait. And within a very short period of time, the thing that becomes apparent is that a good chunk of your best specimens have been destroyed by critters. Then the hunt begins in earnest! As I found a lot of great samples in August in September last year, I know they're out there. But you do have to search a little harder.

With the exception of the larger birch in the center - which was sent to me via the US postal service on a damp paper towel inside a ziplock baggie as a memento gift from a tree with a sentimental connection to the gift recipient - these leaves all came from the three-acre property where we run Cara leash free. It boasts mostly maples - and in so many varieties I can't even identify the specifics with a good tree book - but has an interesting variety of oak as well. And then there are all the cool little things springing up among the honeysuckle, or popping up right in the middle of an open, grassy area. There's a nice mix and a large enough area to find some attractive little possibilities.

But even with all I have available to me there (not to mention the additional three acres on which our home sets), I now find I'm much more aware of the flora when I find myself in a place where an intriguing variety presents itself. Cara and I accompanied Ed to the Remington Museum Saturday morning while he took care of some minor chores there; and I and found myself looking at the incredible garden at Kid's Place next door with new eyes. All kinds of possibilities .. though with Cara in tow, I didn't have the chance to take a closer look at that time. Perhaps this week when I'm out running errands ..

But, back to the leaves at hand. These were just cut and dried .. nothing else. If you click on the pic, you can see the rough edges. I think I might patinate these, so I may not spend as much time cleaning them up as I normally do. And the slightly darker leaf in the upper left corner is clay .. clay clay, I mean, not metal clay. A local potter gave me a huge hunk of the stuff to play with, and we thought we might collaborate on the leaf thing in a slightly different medium (have I mentioned this before?!?) I also went out and found a LARGE oak leaf and cut out what would end up being a sort of "trinket leaf" rather than something you wear around your neck. A little something to put next to a bathroom or kitchen sink for rings or on your dresser for loose change. But after I'd draped it over a large plastic ball of Cara's to dry .. and got very excited about the possibilities .. I broke off a segment when cleaning it up with a piece of fine sandpaper. I broke off a chunk of that very funky red maple in the lower left corner, too, during the same process ... but I discovered that metal clay repairs much better than clay clay. So .. I have a large hunk of useless dried leaf with nothin' for it but to maybe pulverize it down to powder and make slip with it. Hate to waste it.

I'll make the bails this week .. I have a really cool informal, don't-know-what's-gonna-happen Art Fest at Mare's Wares Pottery on July 1, and I'd like to have them completed by then. If you're actually in the north country and are around on Tuesday, July 1, stop by! She's right on Route 37 in Morristown (you can't possibly miss her big brown sign!!) .. and she's hired a band, a great food vendor, a brand new porta potty (she was very excited that it was not only a new unit, but that it boasts a sink!! .. it's the little things, folks) and there'll be 15 or 20 artisans on board trying to make a living and having a ball in the process. In case you're wondering, it's Canada Day. And we get a lot of Canadian traffic up here on the border with our northern neighbors. Plus, a lot of folks with homes along the St. Lawrence River take that week off for the July 4th holiday and come up early. If the weather cooperates, I think we're gonna have a major event on our hands! Come on up!!