Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Teaching Classes

Last week I taught two classes at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton, NY.  This has been an annual event for me for about 10 years.  Clayton is a very picturesque town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River. The community is very interested in the arts so it is a wonderful place to teach. 
In the morning I taught a tubular herringbone bangle class.  The picture above is of the rocaille beads that I purchased from Shipwreck Beads for the class.  Colors to die for, I think.

Here is one of the models I made for the class.  I used size 8 seed beads for the darker part of the bracelet and size 6 for the turquoise.  Changing bead sizes in herringbone stitch has a dramatic effect.  Here the turquoise almost looks like a bead.  I made the copper rings to give the bracelet a bit of a tribal feel.  They move all around but never come off since it is a bangle.  

In the afternoon I taught a metal fold forming class and had a record number of students:  12.
They were all wonderful to work with and were so enthusiastic.  Luckily the class takes place in the pottery studio which is its own building.  The pounding of 12 hammers at once can be quite a racket and we didn't disturb anyone.
We used copper and brass 26 gauge sheet metal which I purchased from Rio Grande Jewelry Supply.  Prior to the class, I cut and annealed all the pieces we would use.  I planned on a pair of earrings and two pendants for each person and made extra in case more than the 10 expected showed up.  Good thing I did. During the class I annealed each fold the students made with my Lenk 500 LPT torch.  It held up very well and I only had to refuel one time.
I taught two kinds of folds.  A simple fold using a vice and the more involved Romero T Fold.  We are all indebted to  Charles Lewton-Brain for such accessible instructions on how to do these beautiful, organic folds in metal.  As you can see they are quickly learned and the results are beautiful.  All the pictures below are student work from the class that day.  I think each and every one cane out great!!

Two pairs of earrings in copper

A copper heart pendant

Copper earrings
Super heat patina on this pendant
A pair of earrings and a pendant

Copper earrings

Copper earrings

A brass heart and two copper pendants

One of the very special things about this day for me was meeting one of my on line friends, Andrea Ross from Canada.  Since Clayton is just across the river from Canada it was possible for her to come.  Since I had never met her before nor seen a picture of her I had no idea who she would be.  Just about 10 minutes before  the class began a number of students arrived.  One of them was wearing an incredible necklace and I commented on how wonderful I thought it was.  She responded by saying don't you recognize your bead??  And all I could say was ANDREA!!  I was blown away.  What a treat for me that she thought to make a necklace with one of my beads to wear to my class.  I am still so touched. 

Thank you to all of my students for such a wonderful day.  You all are so creative and fun to be with.  I look forward to returning next year.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Simple Truths Celebration Blog Hop

Today is the reveal for Erin Prais-Hintz's Simple Truths Celebration Blog Hop.  I was pleased to be invited to participate by Erin at the time she sent me her Woodsy Owl.  He is dear to my heart since we have had a resident owl in our trees for many years.  He hoots mostly on cold winter nights. I believe he is spending the summer somewhere cooler and near water since I haven't heard him lately.  When we signed up for this blog hop Erin asked to let her know our favorite quotation and I chose this one:

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have."  ~Maya Angelou

I love this quote from Maya Angelou and every time I enter a blog hop or other creative event I validate this idea.

close up view of part of my necklace showing the copper sticks I used

From the beginning I wanted to use these copper sticks I have been creating in my studio.  

I came upon them accidentally and really enjoy making them.  Here is how it happened:  I mismeasured a piece of 14 gauge copper wire for a project in Deryn Mentock's Boho Bliss class that I am taking on line this summer and made these little shorties.  I liked them so much that I just kept on making more whenever I used the torch for other work.  After awhile I had quite a collection and decided to use them for this Blog Hop.  To me they seem like the same color as the reddish bark, dried needles carpeting the forest floor and pine cones of  the pine trees in our woods  ( White Pine, mostly).  When I added the Woodsy Owl to the chain I was so pleased with the way he fit right into the color scheme.  Almost like a camouflage, and I thought of the necklace as a Habitat. 

I love the way he is looking a bit puzzled.  I hope you aren't as well, by my zigzag  logic here as I tell you how this necklace came about.

Once I had the chain and the sticks and Woodsy laid out I was pleased but I wanted a fuller necklace so I added this Herringbone stitch necklace that I was working on to the mix and the colors together got even better.  So really my piece is two necklaces in one.  They have separate clasps but they are measured out to be worn as one.

Woodsy Habitat   Necklace by Mary Harding

Please visit Erin and the other participants in this blog hop and see what they made.  It will be a great treat for you, I am sure.  Here is the list:
Erin Prais-Hintzhttp://treasures-found.blogspot.com
Sharon Misuracohttp://goinoffthebeadinpath.blogspot.com/
Tanya Goodwinhttp://pixiloo.blogspot.com
Alice Petersonhttp://www.alice-dreaming.blogspot.com
Melissa Trudingerhttp://beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Lori Bowring Michaudhttp://artfullyornamental.blogspot.com
Rebecca Andersonhttp://songbeads.blogspot.com
Chris Whitehttp://dzeyenrstudio.blogspot.com
Cherrie Fickhttp://designsinthelight.com
Rosanne Garvisonhttp://fabfibers@blogspot.com
Shelley Turnerhttp://www.shelleygrahamturner.blogspot.com
Marlene Cupohttp://amazingdesigns-marlene.blogspot.com/
Mary Hardinghttp://www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com
Lola Surwillohttp://www.beadlolabead.blogspot.com
Michelle Burnetthttp://reverieandrevival.blogspot.com
Kirsi Luostarinenhttp://kirsiluokorut.blogspot.com
Paige Maximhttp://pmaximdesigns.blogspot.com
Kristen Faganhttp://www.creativestash.com
Cynthia Riggshttp://cynthsblog.blogspot.com/

Sunday, July 01, 2012

My First Metal Bead Follow Up

copper bead soldered with copper paste solder and copper wire solder

I found some of the copper metal paste solder at Lowes and tried it.  The solder has a very low melting temp---about 450 degrees which makes it hard to work with since it easily catches on fire and also will unmelt when you use a higher melting temp solder such as the copper wire solder that I have been using.  Nevertheless with many attempts I was able to create this bead pictured above.  I also made a couple more but am not sure I will use much more of that low temp paste,.  Turns out you could use charcoal grill lighter as a heat source and it would melt. Maybe that is the way to go with it after using a higher temp solder for some of your other attachments.  It does seem to make a good strong bond, as the package claims it will do.

Another metal bead soldered using the copper metal paste and copper wire solder
This is the product I purchased from Lowe's and used with the copper solder wire.  Again, it has such a low melting temp that it can catch on fire with your torch so you need to be very careful. Not recommended.

My next attempt will be with regular solder sold in hardware stores.  My husband had an old kit lying around so I am going to try it and  meanwhile will send away to Rio for some copper solder wire.  I will let you know how I do.  Hopefully I can still get the bronze age look.
                                                  HAPPY CANADA  DAY!!!!

Raku Bead Video Part III