Friday, December 20, 2013

Hold Your Fire Cold Connections Boot Camp Blog Hop LMAJ

Close up of  HOPE  Toggle Clasp constructed with cold connections by Mary Harding

Love My Art Jewelry has been doing  a series of Jewelry Boot Camps. The idea is to promote and teach skills for making handmade jewelry with handmade components:  an idea I fully support.  The current Boot Camp  is called  Hold Your Fire which  is about learning how to put metal together without using a torch.  Instead of soldering two pieces of metal together, we learned alternatives that do not require a torch, such  as screw rivets, tube rivets, metal eyelets, escutcheon pins, and nail head rivets. For my project, I used 1/16 inch short and medium brass eyelets that I purchased from Objects and Elements.  They are a bit tricky to use without splitting them, so it is a good idea to used the rounded side on the front of your piece.  I used my center punch and a very light tap with my chasing hammer on the punch and then used the ball  head of my hammer to gently tap around the edges until they curved and formed a tight bond with the metal.  

The toggle bar is also designed with brass eyelets and one of them has a balled head end pin threaded through it and wired wrapped into a loop on the underside.  I like this way of making the loop since it doesn't allow any escape route for the stringing material.

Close up of wrapped wire loop made through the tube of the brass eyelet.  You can also see what an eyelet should not look like when it gets split by heavy hammering,.

You can see what others made by following this LINK and scrolling down to the inlinkz list of participants.  I look forward to the next Boot Camp on Love My Art Jewelry. Thank you to all of you who work so hard to provide us with your wonderful ideas and techniques.

Monday, December 02, 2013

4th Annual Challenge of Color Hosted by Erin from Treasures Found

This is the 4th Annual Challenge of Color hosted by the gracious, very talented and generous Erin Prais-Hinz on her blog TreasuresFound; my second yearof participating and a wonderful feast for the eyes blog hop. This year we were asked to pick a palette from ColourLovers. We could also play a word game with the palette to give it a name.  I chose to pick an already created palette.
Here is the palette I chose from the ColourLovers web site.  It is called  Southwestern Sunrise.
seems my color brain still gravitates to the land of my childhood:  the southwest
This marvelous palette was created by Sunmeadow
You can view it in its full glory on ColourLovers here

With this bright and varied palette I made what I call a free form herringbone stitch double wrap bracelet.  I say free form since there is no specific color pattern to my piece.  I randomly stitched the bracelet with my Southwestern Sunset palette of  seed beads and twin beads strewn on my beading tray.  Some years ago I found little lazy susans that had a cloth surface that is perfect for containing seed beads and for picking them up with a beading needle.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find any like them since, but I have quite a few since I  bought up a bunch for beading classes I teach.

Although peyote stitch is my favorite off loom beading stitch, I really enjoy the challenge and symmetry of herring bone stitch.  It is always worked in pairs which means you can do some fun things when you think in pairs.  For example it was fun using some of the new twin beads on this bracelet since one twin is equal to 1 pair of seed beads. 

Twin Beads I used in my bracelet

I also enjoyed the challenge of making the clasp an integral part of the bracelet since making the external button hole always puts me in a stitching tizzy and usually ends up too tight!! The pair structure of the herring bone made it easy to use this as a way of creating a negative space for the button.
integrated button hole and my handmade copper button

Overall the bracelet also reminds me of a Persian carpet and rich colors of exotic lands.  
Here is a picture of it all finished up with one of my handmade buttons.
finished double wrap bracelet

Thanks so much Erin for organizing this fun event.  Please visit the other participant by heading over HERE,

Friday, November 29, 2013

Shop Handmade For This Black Friday Cyber Monday Weekend

Donut Focal by Mary Harding

I am participating in the Art Walk Etsy Team and the Love My Art Jewelry SHOP HANDMADE on Etsy Promotion this Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend by offering a 25% discount in my Etsy Shop with coupon code CYBER25 .  Use it at checkout to get the discount.

You can find the many other shops that are participating by visiting  these Blogs for a list of links

Some pictures of new work in my shop that is part of the 25% discount
Use coupon  code CYBER25 at checkout to get the reduced price
large donut focal  by Mary Harding
Dragon Fly Toggle Clasp by Mary Harding

Copper Tiny Daisies Pendant by Mary Harding

Tree Leaf Pendant by Mary Harding 

I hope you enjoy your Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend shopping for Handmade on Etsy sales.
Thanks so much for stopping by,.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club October: My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me Edited By Kate Bernheimer

Inspired by Reading Book Club October 2013 selection

Bats, a black cat, a full moon, mournful howling sounds and a young newly wed bride fill out this Hansel and Gretel inspired story by Francine Prose, who in turn inspired me to make my necklace for this month's blog hop.  A necklace I have titled The Messenger.

The Messenger  Necklace by Mary Harding

For Andrew Thornton's  Inspired by Reading Book Club October selection we read from My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me edited by Kate Berheimenr.  What a treat!!   And I surely would have missed it if I had not been part of this reading group.  Thank you Andrew!!  I don't usually like short fiction but reading modern Fairy Tales is very different from reading  modern short stories I found out: mind blowing and uplifting rather than grim and depressing.(over generalization, I am sure.)  From the first story, titled Baba Iaga and the Pelican Child by Joy Williams, I knew I was in a new and wonderful world.
Of  the stories I have read so far, I liked Tim Shepard's  Pleasure Boating in Lituya Bay , based on Italo Calvino's Fairy Tale Jump Into My Sack, the best but I could not get any ideas of a something I would want to create.
It wasn't until I tried out Hansel and Gretel by Francine Prose, a favorite author of mine, that I got some images and ideas for a piece.  That story seemed to march right into my imagination and tell me what to do. Lots of reasons for that, the setting is the hills of Vermont,  the narrator is 21 and after 10 days already unhappily married,  visiting a possible evil witch,she thinks, who is the mother of her new husband's  past "love of his life" .  She wonders if this is what it would be like if Hansel and the witch are in cahoots  when they are served a dinner of wild mushrooms and kid around about watching to see if she shows signs of being poisoned before they begin eating.

I got my idea for the title of this necklace from the 20 years later part of the story.  I decided that it would be a kindness to poor Polly if she could know, at least on some level, that things would turn out all right and that she would not be be subjected to such emotional cruelty by her husband for too long and that she would go on to lead a very full and productive life.  I hid messages to Polly within the necklace in the long copper tube beads.  They are stamped into the metal but disguised as beads-- which fits in with the other theme in the story.

             closeup of necklace showing the long hidden message tubes, disguised as beads

The skirt shaped pendant is made from polymer clay and was completed in part in Christine Damm's Art on
Farm Intensive workshop earlier this month.
                                               close up of the skirt pendant by Mary Harding

 I did the coloring when I got home, added the wire wrapped stones, the bail and then made the metal message beads just this week. I used one of  Cindy Wimmer's tutorials in her new book, The Missing Link  to construct  the wire wrapped link, called Whirligig, to suggest the large eyes of fear our Gretel must have had that night they spent in the barn with the spooky sounds of bats and a black cat.  Halloween come early!!

All in all, story by story, and bead by bead I had a wonderful time with My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me.  My thanks to Andrew Thornton for introducing us to this marvelous book and to Kate Bernheimer for collecting the stories under a single cover so that we could read them.

I hope you will check the other participants.  Here is the list of blog hop participants!!

Ptaszynski Diana . Vintage blue studio
Andrew Thornton  Our host!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Art on the Farm: A Calling to Explore and Create

I have just been home one full day since I attended Christine Damm's Stories They Tell Intensive workshop.
I felt called to Art On the Farm by Christine's vibrant, creative and distinctly original art work which I have been following for some time.  She is a strong voice.  I wanted to spend time learning from her.

And so I packed up and went to Central Vermont at the peak of the Fall LeaF season and had a wonderful experience.

Christine arranged for us to stay in this lovely 1830's home.

View of the landscape in  Full Fall Color in Vermont

Christine's medium is polymer clay. Mine is ceramic clay.  I had never had any experience with polymer before I entered the doors of her classroom.  It was my thought and Christine's too that her teachings can be transferred across many mediums.  

We learned about FORM

work created by me in Christine Damm's workshop

Form in polymer is much more spontaneous than in ceramic clay due to the fact that the curing is so fast and the ability to add on is so easy.


pendant colored by me in Christine Damm's workshop

Polymer is a color lover like myself's heaven
All these colors were added to the surface of the polymer. 

supplies table at Christine Damm's workshop

Christine demonstrating color applications to polymer
at her Art On the Farm Intensive Polymer Clay workshop

AND Assembling

Polymer is so easy to add on to that it really appeals to my way of thinking.   None of what is here in the picture was pre-planned.  I added on the loop to hang to the pendant by affixing it to the back after it had been cured and colored.  I then decided it needed the flower in the center so I made that and added it by drilling a little hole and affixing it with a balled end head pin I had brought along to the class.  The bead and tassle at the bottom, also an afterthought, as well as the colorful silk tie.  I liked the fact that I could build on and change directions at almost any point in the process.

How do I plan to transfer all this new knowledge to my ceramic clay work?  I am not sure.  Am I going to switch mediums and give up ceramic clay?  Not that I know of.  But  I do know that this workshop has been a very freeing, eye opening experience;  that I see ceramic clay differently than beforehand; and that I am artistically richer for having  been in Christine Damm's Intensive Polymer Workshop. 
Christine encouraged us to keep a journal of ideas and I know that I have been busily writing down and drawing out new ideas spawned by the workshop. I am excited to try them out soon.

When the workshop was over, we spent some time hanging out.  We visited  a charming cafe in the old train depot for breakfast where we could have talked for days and then went to some of Christine's favorite antiquing spots.
I love this wall of rust at one of the places 

And then it was time to say  "Goodbye."

Thank you Christine for everything!!!!

I highly recommend Christine's tutorial in Cynthia  Tinapple's Polymer Clay Global Perspectives.  Her work is cutting edge!!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Sale 15% off to Welcome in First Friday Art Walk for October

New copper clay pendants in my Etsy Shop today to kick off  The Art Walk Etsy Team First Friday Weekend. I am having a 15% off sale with coupon code ARTWALK15 to be used at checkout to get the discount.  Many of the Art Walk Etsy Team will also be having specials.  You can check them out HERE.
Coupon Code good until Sunday October 6 at Midnight.

                                             Copper Clay Pendant  Red and Iridescent leaves

                             I also have some new ceramic pendants, beads and cabs in my shop:

Ceramic Cabochon

Large ceramic cabochon with Ultrasuede backing 

Fall  Colors  Tree Leaf Pendant

Daisy Pendant Bold and Bright

NEW 2 hole beads

Fern Frond Pendant

Thanks so much for stopping by,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club The Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn

The Inspired by Reading Book  Club selection for  September is The  Dogeaters by Jessica Hagedorn.   This book takes place in Manila roughly during the time of the dictator Marcos.  It is a very dense, film like pastiche of life in post colonial Philippines.  Not an easy book to read for several reasons.  It can be confusing and it does display many graphic images of the violent and sad lives of those less fortunate, especially women.

I have personal reasons for wanting to know more about the Philippines since my grand children's maternal grandfather emigrated to the US from Manila.  I also have been quite intrigued by Jessica Hagedorn's writing.  I loved the movie references and  meta texts of those movies throughout the book adding depth of meaning to many aspects of the novel, as well as referring to the Philippines' importance in movie making in that part of the world.  I especially liked the part about the German film director visiting.

I was inspired to make my necklace by the character of Abuelita Socorro.  Here is Hagedorn's description of her:
"Abuelita Socorro has silver hair.  She drenches herself in "Maja" perfume, wears her perpetual black widow's dress with sheer black stockings and black suede pumps. She has thick ankles, a thick waist and always wears two strands of pearls."

I decided to dress her in  more traditional Filipino jewelry and made a necklace that features the filigree of the Tamborin jewelry and the butterfly that symbolizes the dream of freedom from colonial repression/rule.

This picture shows the simple filigree of a chain that actually comes from Mexico but harkens back to the Spanish filigree tradition.  The toggle clasp that I made has a lone butterfly on a background of copper turned black by patina.  The goldish color of the brass is suggestive of the original filigree that would have been made of gold plated silver.

The pendant I made is also made with brass pieces to suggest gold.  The butterfly itself is stamped into silver soft solder and the flower and border are brass stampings that have been soft soldered to the base. 

                                                      A necklace for Abuelita Socorro

Sadly the dream of freedom from colonialism, also expressed with the butterfly symbol, by the poet, writer and martyr Jose Rizal, did not bring a better life to the Philippines.  The novel the Dogeaters deals with the complex subject of being Filipino in the late 20 the century.  Abuelita Socorro is one  part of this multifaceted identity.
Andrew  Thornton is the leader of the wonderful Inspired by Reading Group.  I am always challenged by the books he has chosen for us to read and to be inspired by to make a creation.  Thank you once again Andrew for a remarkable read and the chance to express my take on it  in jewelry.   I hope you will check out what others have made this month.  The list follows:
Mary Harding    you are here
Mary K McGraw
Jeanne Billeci Steck
Andrew ThorntonLaurel Ross , Connie Parsons , and Allison Smith

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Inspired by Reading Book Club The Cookbook Collector Blog Hop

This month for Andrew Thornton's  Inspired by Reading Book Club we read The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman.  I really like this book. It is well written, and has a great story to tell.  And of course I liked all the tech details and the old books.  A perfect combination for my reading taste.
When it came to thinking about what I would make, I knew I wanted to make some peach beads.  There is a spectacular scene/section in the book about a peach. I won't tell more so as to be sure you also enjoy it when you read the book.  Once I began planning to make the peach beads, I noticed that the cover of the book had a picture of peaches on it.  Funny that I hadn't seen that before.  Since making peach beads is a new experience for me, I bought some peaches and took a very nice one to my studio. 

A real peach

I studied it carefully to see what makes a peach look like a peach.  By the time I got the beads made, sponged and bisque fired, it was time to replace the over ripe  peach in my studio with another one to help me figure out the colors I would need to glaze my beads.  It is surprising to me that I used so many different colors: red of course, yellow, orange, brown, and blue.  All those colors turned into this handful of peach beads.  Since they are made of porcelain clay they were fired to over 2200 degrees F.  I was so excited that the colors came true.
Handmade porcelain ceramic peach beads by Mary Harding

My second inspiration came from Andrew, our group leader.  He posted a picture of a computer motherboard to our Pinterest Boards  and that gave me the idea to use some techno pieces in my necklace.  I immediately looked up my Art Walk Etsy Team friend Patricia Johonson's  Etsy shop and found just what I needed.

There were quite a few of these in my order of Techno Trash from Patricia L Johnson GlassArt on Etsy

These little guys needed some altering to make them into beads.  I clipped off the tops and re-wrapped the copper wire and carefully pulled it through the middle of the piece so that it would not surface and be sharp. Then I wire wrapped them with lots of wire since the  "holes" are not round but little rectangular slots.

Techno trash from PLJohnsonGlassArt  Etsy shop

For the pendant, I made a soldered bezel and filled it with electronic resistors from PLJohnsonGlass Art and then covered them with resin which magnified and intensified their color.  

Recycled Electronic Supply. Computer Scrap. Techno Trash Art Supply. Rust Tan Orange mix. RRCD-1
Electronic resistors, capacitors and diodes from PLJohnson GlassArt on Etsy

I hung some additional resistors on the bottom of the pendant.  To me these resistors under resin look like some kind of text.  The copper wire spools look like scrolls:  all references to written language and ancient texts which the cookbook collector  and book collecting in general bring to mind.  

Close up of pendant.  The light at the end of the dangle is a nod to Diogenes who carried a lantern around in daylight looking for an honest person and a reference to the theme in the story of the characters looking for their authentic selves.

This is a full photo of the necklace which is quite long.  No clasp.  Prayer or mendicant style.

a closer look at some of the necklace elements

I had a wonderful time bringing all of these techniques, alterations, and creations together to make a necklace.  For me this book club is such a rewarding experience because I am introduced to new reads, and get a chance to experiment with new techniques and bring them all together into a piece of jewelry.  Andrew this is such a brilliant idea that just keeps on inspiring.  Thanks so much for organizing and hosting this book club.

Please join in on this blog hop and visit the other participants.  Thank you so much for stopping by.

Mary Harding  you are here

Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Amy Roadman, Terri Greenwalt, and Connie Parsons

Raku Bead Video Part III