Friday, June 22, 2012

And the Winner of my Asparagus Pendant is...

And the Winner of this Asparagus pendant is......
 chosen by

                        Alice  of Alice Dreaming  

Please contact me with your address and I will put your pendant in the mail.

Thank you to everyone who participated.  I loved all your comments about veggies.  They were so wonderful and full of fun ideas for how to serve them up.  Again, thanks so much to all of you for playing along.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Marsha Neal Studio Silk Color Challenge

First Spears of Spring Palette

My Silk Palette has been inspired by the incredible range of subtle colors in an asparagus stalk as it is growing in  the garden.  I have named my palette First Spears of Spring 
Close up shot of the asparagus tips just picked

Still Life with Asparagus

I think I see all of the colors I chose.  What do you think?

Friday, June 15, 2012

My First Metal Bead

I just made this metal bead and I am so excited about it.  I have no idea of how to do this so I am just playing around with some copper pieces that I have and some copper solder wire I bought quite awhile ago. I was very lucky that it worked out.  First several tries and I found that the pieces were not really soldered together.  So I added some regular copper wire between the layers and then the copper solder wire and that seemed to work better.

I love the crusty Bronze Age look of the bead

You can see the balled end pin I used to make a wire wrap on the back and turn this bead into a clasp.

Since I made this I discovered Copper Solder paste in a syringe at Lowe's.  I will be trying that out this weekend and will let you know how it works.  

I have been inspired by a book I recently acquired called Making Metal Beads by Pauline Warg

and Shannon LeVart's Tutorial Hand Forged Links.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Inspired by Asparagus GIVEAWAY

Inspired by Asparagus   (from my veggie garden)

I have long wanted to make a pendant about my favorite, most beautiful garden vegetable, Asparagus. I just love the way it is designed.  A little like an artichoke.  A little like an exotic flower.  An always the loveliest shades of green. This year, on probably the hottest day of summer, I decided I needed yet another patch of Asparagus.  It takes about 3 years to get one going well and the one I planted that long ago seems kind of barren to me so I found some great asparagus shoots and started digging the trenches.
Meanwhile in my studio I was making a ceramic mold from one of my asparagus spears.

Asparagus roots purchased from a Nursery ready to plant

This is how the roots look when they come from the Nursery.  This one already has some shoots ready to grow so I figure these will be a vigorous bunch and give me a productive new patch.

When my mold came out of the kiln, I could see that it was going to be a good, clear impression. 

asparagus roots laid out in the trenches I dug which are 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide

My asparagus mold came out well and I began making some trial pieces.  They came out well but were too big.  So I tried a small pendant, and I am so pleased with how it came out.

When I planted these, I spread the roots out like an octopus with the little shoots heading upwards.  As they grown I will gradually add the soil that is mounded around the trench.  At planting I put in some rich compost and some soil over the roots.  The deep trench is to encourage the roots to stay deep in the soil so they can weather the cold winter.

my not too productive asparagus patch
I will still keep this patch and we have gotten some great pickings from it but it should be more productive, I think.  I may have planted it too close to our raspberry patch.  Or the soil may be too  dry.  Not really sure what is going on with these.

asparagus pizza we made about to be cooked
One fun way to eat asparagus in on a homemade pizza.  I found a great recipe for pizza dough in the  Spring issue of Fine Cooking.  This is the first recipe that every helped me make good homemade pizza. 

So that is my story of Asparagus love and how it came to be that I made these ceramic Asparagus Pendants.  To celebrate the new patch and the pendants,  I am having a giveaway. I hope you will enter and I wish everyone the best of luck!!

The Giveaway

You can win an Asparagus Pendant like this one.

You can win an asparagus pendant like one of the ones below by leaving a comment on this blog post.  I would love it if you would tell me which veggie you love the most, but you don't have to to enter the giveaway.  Just a comment and a way to contact you is all you need to do.  I will pick a winner on Wednesday ,  June 20, the first day of Summer.  .  So be sure to enter by midnight Tuesday, June 19.  Thanks so much for reading this post.

Ceramic Asparagus Pendant in my Etsy shop
Ceramic Asparagus Pendant in my Etsy Shop

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Art Bead Earring Swap

Today is the reveal of the  Art  Bead Earring Swap.  Diana Ptaszynski from Suburban Girl Studio has organized this fun event.  Each of us has been randomly assigned 2 partners to swap earrings with..  The only requirement is that each pair of earrings would be made with at least one Art Bead.  I had the good fortune of receiving 2 beautiful pairs of earrings from my partner Patti Vanderbloemen.  You can see her blog post for today here.
Both pairs of earrings arrived in these charming star studded little bags.  This pair features art beads by MarshaNealStudio--the cool black tiles-- and lampwork beads by  artist Maryse Fritzsch-Thillens  from Luxembourg.
Patti wrote me a lovely letter telling the details of each pair.  For these she handmade the ear wires from sterling silver and did all the exquisite wire wrapping with sterling silver as well.  What a beautiful pair of earrings.  And they are fun to wear.  Thank you so much Patti.
The second pair of earrings Patti sent me feature bronze charm art beads from  Lesley Watt (TheaToo).

These mirrored butterfly images are stunning set against the Canyon Red lampwork beads by Kelley Ford Wenzel of Kelleys Beads.  And very special indeed are the handmade Vintaj wire ear wires made by Patti.  I just adore the way she added the extra swirls to them.

I have certainly enjoyed this earring swap.  I hope you will visit the other participants.  The links follow:

Diana Ptaszynski
Patti Vanderbloemen
Lesley Watt
Jenny Davies Reazor
Melinda Orr
Cilla Watkins
Stephanie Haussler
Sally Russick
Susan Kennedy
Cheryl Brown

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Bronze Wire Golden Tips

I found this wire in my studio yesterday and decided to try it out for making balled end pins.  I had bought it some time ago from Objects and Elements.  As you can see it is 20 gauge so it could make some nice ear wires or be used to make some wrapped loops.
They balled up quickly and the colors are quite nice.  A kind of golden pink--a little different than copper.  This wire has copper in it.  There are a couple of bronze type wires on the market so I am not sure which one this is.
Here is another pic of them showing all the colors the wire turned in the heat of the torch.
Then I buffed them and took off most of the black and they turned a golden brass color--quite lovely.

And here is the little butane torch that did all the work.  A Lenk 500.  A real pleasure to use this little guy and get big torch results for drawing a bead on wire.  (I got mine from Amazon but it is also carried by many local Ace Hardware stores and can be ordered from Sears.)

Raku Bead Video Part III