Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Inspired by Books Reading Club with Andrew Thornton

Today is the day we share our creations inspired by the book, Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik, as part of Andrew Thornton's Inspired by Books Reading Group.


Back in March Andrew Thornton came up with the idea of an Inspired by Books Reading Club.  He developed  a wonderful list of books and the plan that we would read them, discuss them and make "something" inspired by the book. Of course I had to join in.  I had just finished  6 mysteries by Fred Vargas and needed  some real reading inspiration.
Here is the list of books he chose for us to read:

April 2013 -  "Paris to the Moon", Adam Gopnik
May 2013 -  "A Rumor of Gems", Ellen Steiber
June 2013 -  "The Bucolic Plague", Josh Kilmer-Purcell
July 2013 -  "The Cookbook Collector", Allegra Goodman
August 2013 -  "The Infinities", John Banville
September 2013 -  "Dogeaters", Jessica Hagedorn
October 2013 -  "My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me", edited by Kate Bernheimer
November 2013 -  "Bridge of Birds", Barry Hughart
December 2013 -  "The Journey to the East", Hermann Hesse
January 2014-  "The Enchantress of Florence", Salman Rushdie
February 2014 -  "Difficult Loves", Italo Calvino
March 2014 -  "An Irish Country Doctor", Patrick Taylor
April 2014 -  "Interpreter of Maladies", Jhumpa Lahiri

Our first book to read has been Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik.  I was inspired to read the book because I love Paris' literary past and present but especially the time when Gertrude Stein lived there.  Malcom Crowley's book  Exiles Return, A Literary Odyssey of the 1920's was a formative book for me as a teenager.  So of course the parts of Paris to the Moon I liked best were about writers.  I was especially taken about his piece on the Two Cafes as Les Deux Magots was the cafe where Sartre, Camus and Simone de Beauvoir hung out.  So that was part of my inspiration.  The other was the ongoing theme of change in the French way of life and their resistance to it.  Entirely understandable.  So I decided to make some beads about these two themes.  I have called them Wrapped Up in the Past.  My inspiration for how to make the beads was an article in Belle Armoire Jewelry ( Autumn 2012 page 44) by my friend Sharon Borsavage of Live Wire Jewelry.  In this article she made some absolutely knock out gorgeous resin paper beads with some of her lovely ephemera.  She gave instructions how to make them and so that is how I got started.

I wanted to make beads about the past at  Les Deux Magot cafe.  So I got together some pictures of Sartre, Camus and deBeauvoir and made tall collages that I could tear into strips and coat with resin.

Here is how my table looked when I was making the beads.

                                           Here is a picture of the beads drying on the straws
The process of making these beads involves coating strips of paper with resin and then wrapping them around a straw.  Then let them dry for a couple of days.  To hold the wet resin strips around the straw you use rubber bands.  The directions call for small ones but I only had regular so they were hard to remove when dry but gave the beads some serendipitous color!!  Needless to say, Sharon Borsavages beads were so much more elegant than these.  But I grew to like mine as I added to them.  Like these cool bead caps,
the rounds of copper wire and finally beads at the bottom.

I also experimented with coating strips of linen with resin
 In order to keep the linen beads around the straw mandrel, I tied them with waxed linen instead of rubber bands.

 This one I wire wrapped with two black raku beads.  I like its rustic look.  I added all these beads together and used a piece of copper I cut out to hang them  from for the necklace I made.

This is a short necklace.  The toggle clasp was also fun to make.  I wanted to make a specific reference to  at least part of my inspiration so I stamped the three names of Sartre, Camus and deBeauvoir on the clasp.

                                   Toggle Clasp for my necklace entitled  Wrapped Up in the Past

I have had so much fun trying out new techniques and adapting them to a specific theme/idea.  Each step of the way was like an adventure and I am pleased with the result.  But truthfully, the best part for me was the excitement of discovery and doing something new and different..  Thank you Andrew for giving us such an open ended  challenge and a list of books to read to spark our creativity.  I am having a ball!!
Here is the list of other participants .  I hope you will check out their creations.HERE   I know I will!!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Focus on Life: Week 17 Color

This week in Sally Russick's Focus on Life Project we were give the prompt to find color.  I was out of town last weekend (and didn't post) at a used book sale and found a book titled Venezuelan Vernacular.  It is mostly photos of houses in Venezuela with a lot of history about how they were developed architecturally.
I was excited when I opened it up because it had so many color pictures of house facades and how they were painted.  Having grown up in the Southwest, I seem to be a sponge for color.  I just loved what I saw and decided to purchase the book( very reasonably since it was used).   I knew I would use it in my studio for color references and for the blog post for today.  Below I will share a few of the marvelous colors plates in this book.

We were asked to tell how these colors make us feel.  I think these colors are my comfort zone, my comfort food and where my heart lives.  I love the warmth and vibrancy of these Southern Hemisphere palattes.  I feel energized and welcomed when I look at them.

I hope you will visit the other participants in this project and see what colors they  found in their lives HERE

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

New in My Etsty Shop

Copper Clay Bracelet Bar    Rosemary in my Etsy Shop

I have been adding new pieces to my Etsy shop and here are few of the new ones.  Some in ceramic clay and some in copper clay.  I have been enjoying working with the copper clay and some of my own molds.
Copper clay is not as easy to manage as ceramic clay but the firing is shorter and no glazing required.
Shamrock bloom pendant in my Etsy shop

This is a ceramic clay pendant of a Shamrock bloom.  This sweet flower was hiding out with the Rosemary that I brought in for the winter.  Both doing fine inside.  Some years Rosemary does not do well but this has been a good one.  I will be taking it back outside in about a month.
Lilac  Blooms Bracelet Bar in my Etsy shop

 Copper Clay Daisy Pendant in my Etsy Shop
 Antiqued Holly Leaf in Copper in my Etsy Shop
 Copper Clover Leaf Toggle Clasp in my Etsy Shop
Copper Bird Charms in my Etsy Shop

Copper Clay Toggle Clasp in my Etsy Shop

Ceramic Toggle clasp with a brass toggle bar in my Etsy shop

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Focus on Life Week 15 Aged Beauty

Childhood gift of a Chinese Charm bracelet

This week our prompt for the Focus on Life was Aged Beauty.  The first picture that came into my mind was a charm bracelet I was given as a child by my good friends Anne and Carla.  Sisters.  Their parents parents were in the foreign service and they had lived in China.  They brought back this bracelet at some point and later it was given to me.  I have saved it all these years because I always loved these intricate bamboo carvings.
close up one of the hand carved charms 

 They held a special magic for me back then and still do now.  Once I thought of this bracelet I remembered another piece of jewelry in my childhood jewelry box.  It is a necklace my grandfather made out of silver that he had wire wrapped with Lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli necklace made by my grandfather

 I wore this necklace for many years before I ever even thought of making jewelry.  It is very long--about 46 inches--so I wrapped it around my neck several times.
                                                    detail of my grandfather's  wire wrapping

                                                detail of the lapis and wire wrapping

 My grandfather died very young so I never met him but I always have held him in high regard and believed that his artistic work was a sign that I should be an artist.  He also made leather book bindings with intricate tooled designs. He was an American but lived in Florence, Italy where my mother was born.
I am always surprised that Sally's prompts lead me into wonderful paths of discovery.  Thank you once again for this wonderful journey Sally.
Now let us see where everyone else has been transported this week.  HERE

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Focus on Life Week 14 Up Close

Our prompt this week for the Focus on Life is to get up close with our camera.  Take a micro shot.

I used my Droid phone to take this shot.  I have been curious about this piece of lichen that I found out by the wood pile.  I did not realize that it would look this beautiful up close until I saw this picture.  Wow!!

I love  it.  In fact so much I made a mold of it for future use. I'll share what I make with the mold in a later post.  Thanks so for stopping by today.

Please check out what the others have seen up close HERE

Raku Bead Video Part III