Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays to all.  May you enjoy time with friends and family and have good health and a creative New Year.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Making of a Red Hot Chili Pepper

Mold being made from a real jalapeno pepper

the ready mold

ceramic clay impression from the mold
Earthenware ceramic version

Stoneware  ceramic Cone5 glazed version
Both available in my Etsy shop

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Thank You For Blog Hopping

Thank you ALL who stopped by my blog for Lorelei's Michaels Blog Hop on Friday.  I really appreciate every one of your super supportive and helpful comments.
I have posted a picture of my necklace as if it were being worn.  I am not quite up to a self portrait photo shoot today.  LOL

Yesterday we visited St. Lawrence University's Library Browsing Room collection and I brought home this pile and my husband another pile.  I plan on some quiet reading time this vacation.  Currently I am enjoying every word in Lorrie Moore's recent book A Gate at the Stairs.

I found a full set of Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series at the SLU bookstore and am trying out the first volume.  Thank you Gaea for the suggestion.

I would love to hear what you are reading and liking.
Have a great Sunday!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lorelei's Michaels Challenge 2

This is my second time participating in Lorelei's Michals Challenge.  It went more smoothly for me this time.  I can't count the number of hours I put into the last necklace.  This time from the very beginning, I knew I would do wire wrapping because of the color palette and because I really like to use my hands the way wire wrapping makes them feel.  I used 22 gauge annealed steel wire for all of the wire except the beaded bar that carries the focal pendant.

I start my photos with a picture of the clasp which is one of my own ceramic toggle clasps.  I used a Bali style silver plated bar for it.  I had thought of making a bar from steel wire but didn't as I ran out of time.  I got into this very late because of the Lake Effect Snow Events that separate me and our nearest Michaels store.  But I made it.

This picture is of the wire wrapped glass beads, a lone pearl and a heart.  I used this cluster to decorate and  color the overhand knot I made in the second row of chain.

This picture is of the beaded bar that carries the focal pendant.  The pendant is of chives flowering in late Spring.  I used the idea of the chive plant to title the piece Perennial.  Also, chives begin to grown in the Spring when nothing else is growing and the landscape looks like it does now.  Wintry. The pendant is made from earthenware ceramic clay. 
I used purple ceramic beads as one of the components that I added to the mix.  The  necklace seemed to call for that color.  Luckily the Chive pendant also had purple in it.  The other component I added is some of my little hearts.

This is a picture of the necklace in progress.  I had the usual design problems that I encounter.  Things didn't look right for quite a while.  You can see from this picture some of the changes I made along the way to improve things. 

Here is a picture of the necklace all put together.  I think it flows better when worn than in the picture.  I am quite happy with it.

Here are the beads that we worked with.  I substituted the light lavender ovals for the faceted beads in the photo since I couldn't find them at Michaels.  I really loved working with this chain.  The glass beads are such fun to wire wrap and they look so good with the steel wire, I think. 
Thank you so much Lorelei for doing this.  It is always such an amazing experience.

Please check out the other participants.  These links do not seem to be live so please go here

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New necklace

I recently completed this beaded bezel and bail for one of my ceramic cabochons.  Is is amazing to me how well the seed beads blend with the ceramic stains and glazes.  I used ultrasuede and glued it to the back of the cabochon and then did a button hole stitch around the edge to attach the first row of beads and went on from there with peyote stitch.  Because of the ultrasuede  the back of the cab is a lovely forest green and is soft and comfy on the skin.  I also beaded a bit around the back to secure the initial rows of beads. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

New in My Etsy Shop Today

This is a larger toggle.  I especially like the color and the bar.  This is a new kind of bar for me and it seems to go well with this smoother surface toggle.  The bar is also made of ceramic clay.

This is a different color for one of my thistles.  And it is a little smaller--only 1 5/8 inch tall.

This is a small 3/4 inch square toggle.  The colors came out in a way  that seems to be made for this hand wrought bar custom made for me by MissFicklemedia

This toggle is inspired by Queen Ann's Lace seed pods but who could tell from this.  But I like the cheerful way it came out.

Thank you for looking.  Hope all is well in your world.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Second Saturday State of My Studio: Cait and Ellie

This is a pic of my ArtBeadScene Ornament Blog Hop entry in progress

I have gradually been getting into the habit of writing a 2nd Saturday State Of My Studio Post to compliment MarshaNealStudio's Beads-of-Clay blog post by the same title.  Hers is an interactive post whereby we can  post a picture link of our studio and then anyone reading the blog post can travel around blog land and see lots of studios, if lots of folks participate.  So that is how this got started.  And this time I have lots to report on since it has been a wonderfully busy time.

Photo of my kiln opening after I fired my 100 hearts order.

Here is a picture of the 100 plus hearts on a plate. 

Here is a good closeup of the buttons and molds Cait made

The highlight of my studio happenings in the last two weeks was having friends over to play in my studio playground.  My friend Cait, known on Etsy as the BarefootWeaver made buttons from clay, her first clay experience since High School.  We used that two part  plastic molding material with buttons from my  collection and she came up with some real  beauties.

This is a picture of one of Cait's gorgeous scarves from her Etsy Shop.
a closeup of some of Cait's stoneware buttons drying in the food dehydrator

After all the clay work, Cait was intrigued by Ellie's stamping and pounding and wanted to try metal.  Guess what?  It is her  new passion.  She has fallen in love with metal.  Loves the release of pounding the hammer.  Loves the color of copper.  Loves words and letters.  Can you blame her?  She made all of those copper pendants  for her kids and daughter-in-law.

My  friend, Ellie, an artist in her own right, came over to learn how to rivet.  We watched my copy of Susan Lenart Kazmer's video on making rivets and then got to work.  I have a drill press and we used a 1/16 inch drill bit to make the holes and 16 gauge copper wire to make the rivets.  Copper is quite soft so the rivets kept bending over.  But eventually we got them to work out.  She made a lovely copper pendant.  But I am not sure she fell in love with riveting.

Piture of my friend Ellie's pendant.  She riveted the two smaller pieces of copper togther and then riveted them to a large piece of copper.  I love the way she wrapped the wire around the copper washers to attach them to the pendant. 

This is a picture of my custom toggle clasp order for a customer. I made several versions of a toggle clasp to go with this Tall Clover Pendant and then made this photo so she could pick out which one she wanted.  Actually I could have just sent her the one I l iked best, as that was her choice too.  But I love to have options and choices. Some of the ones she didn't choose are in my Etsy shop on sale, along with some other new toggles.

Ellie had to leave early and I forgot to get a picture of all of us.  Cait decided to take one of the two of us and put her camera on delay and set it on a table.  Pretty good results considering....  Me on the left and Cait on the right.

So these are the highlights of what has been happening in my studio since last time I did this.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

ArtBeadScene Holiday Ornament Blog Hop

Good Morning.  Here is my picture of my ornament for the ArtBeadScene Ornament Blog Hop. I have had a great time doing this and thank ArtBeadScene for making it happen.  I hope you will enjoy all of the other ornaments that are on display today.   Below I have included a tutorial for making my  ornament, in case you are wondering or want to try it out.  I don't seem to be able to get the links I copied to be live so please click on the banner at the right which will take you back to the Art Bead Scene where all the participants links are live.  Thanks so much for stopping by.
Creative Impressions in Clay

Diva Designs
Elysian Studios
Fab Fibers
For the Love of Beads
Island Girl's Insights
Jeannie's Blog
Lampwork Diva/Cindy Gimbrone
Mary Harding
Michelle Mach
Spirit Rattles
Wondrous Strange Designs

Holiday Ornament Tutorial

2  5/16 inch copper washers
1 7/16 inch copper washer
2 copper or brass jump rings about 8mm
4 inches of antiqued copper chain ( links should be able to be opened up, not soldered)
Design Stamps
2 inches 16 gauge copper wire
Sharpie Marker
000 Steel Wool
1 Christmas Tree Charm/Pendant  MaryHarding

Metal stamps (decorative,or letter or both)
Chain nose pliers
Flush cutters
Tumbler or Polishing cloth
Ball peen hammer

1. Use decorative or letter stamps or both to decorate the surface of the three  copper washers.  I used a leaf pattern but you could also use letters to stamp seasonal words like Joy, Noel, etc.
2.Use the Sharpie marker to blacken your stamped impressions by going over them and pushing down on the marker to make sure all the impressions are colored.  (This is a quick and simple way to get the look of Liver of Sulphur.)  Let the marker dry thoroughly 10-15 min.  It will smear if not really dry.  You could use a hair dryer to speed it up a bit.

3.  Use the 000 Steel Wool to polish off the extra marker.  Then go over it with a polishing cloth.
4.  Make 1/16 inch holes in the 3 washers with your drill.  Put your holes at the 10AM and 2PM point on the 7/16 inch washer.  Drill one hole anywhere you want on each of the 5/16" washers.
5.  Cut a short piece of the 16 gauge wire, put it in your vise and make a nail head rivet.  Repeat 1 time.
6. Assemble the washers by putting the first rivet, nail head on the front of the 5/16 inch washer, and attaching the 7/16 inch washer behind it.  You will need an additional washer to support this uneven surface when you hammer the back of the rivet assembly.
7. Repeat step 6 for the second rivet washer assembly.
8. Tumble assembled washers for 30 minutes with a drop or 2 of Dawn Dish Detergent to polish it.

Assembly of Ornament
1.  Attach the Fir Tree ornament to the center ring  of the three ring washer assembly with a jump ring.
2. Attach each end of your chain to the smaller washers by opening up the chain links.
3. Find the center of the chain and attach a jump ring./ ( I had to put 2 links of the chain together on the jump ring to make it balance evenly.)
4.  Attach a Christmas Tree hook.
5.  Hang it on your tree or wreath and ENJOY

Thank you so much for stopping by. 
I wish you all very happy holidays.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

New Product Previews in Step By Step Wire Jewelry

handmade earthenware ceramic toggle with ceramic toggle bar

small heart charms
stoneware toggle with hand wrought toggle bar custom made for me by Miss Ficklemedia

These pieces of mine are included in the December   Step by Step Wire Jewelry  Magazine .  This is their annual product preview issue.  It's available on newsstands now.

I have quite a few one of a kind new toggle clasps in my Etsy store.  They are on sale for 25% off.  Listed price is the sale price.  I am listing new pieces each day and the sale has been extended to Dec. 24. Hope you have time to stop by.

Raku Bead Video Part III