Stargazing Rabbit, Copper Art Jewelry

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This piece posed one of my biggest challenges.  But my friend Beth had the solution which, simply put, was to punch two holes instead of one.  Wire wrapping dominated the project, and I wound up making two sets of these wires.  I got so frustrated with the first set, I destroyed them in a crafting meltdown.  One thing I learned was that I need glasses when wrapping.  It’s close-up work and requires two tools in two hands at once.  Hum…  But I like the effect.

The backgrounds are both embossed with normal scrapbooking embossing powders and then sealed.  Champagne for the top and black and white mix for the bottom.  I used two different texture stamps.  I tried enameling in class but found that enameling cracks when the metal is bent.  I’ll stick to this embossing method until I get more experience.

The rabbit is another charm from the cross stitch stash, and it appears I won’t be running out of these any time soon.  Perhaps I’m photographing these too closely (on my macro setting) so that you can see the detail.  But in fact, they look much better hanging around my neck.

I’ve worn two of my creations out, and each time I received multiple compliments, comments, and questions about where I got them.  I love being able to say:  “I made this!”

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A Bee in a Box, Copper Art Jewelry

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Not having a square punch was not a deterrent for me.  I simply took a small sharpened chisel and after marking the square on the copper, I placed the metal on a wooden block and pounded out the square. I used the natural indentation from the chisel to pull and smooth the interior edges of the square toward the back.  Two sterling eyelets stabilize the top piece and then both pieces of copper were connected with tabs cut from the back piece and pounded around the edge of the top piece.  The shiny silver panel is melted heavy-duty aluminum foil, an inexpensive and yet attractive alternative to sterling.

The textures were done with a texture hammer, and the 20 gauge wire across the top was shaped into a curve using a specialized pair of pliers while the tips were torch fired to bring out the red balls on the end.  26 gauge silver wire was wrapped around the copper wire to bring down the silver color into the piece from the silver chain.  I used a tiny bronze bee from the cross-stitch stash and buried it in non-yellowing crazy glue.

All this might seem pretty easy, but this piece took me over a day to complete.  And worth every minute.

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Two Easy Pieces: Copper Art Jewelry

 

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Putting a square on a square is one of the basics in making art jewelry.  And while it would sound incredibly simple, it’s not as easy as you think. There are logistics involved, and I have found that making a template out of paper is the first thing you must do.  From there I make a mock piece, finding out before it’s too late where to add the rivets and tuck the ends of wire.  I’ll make numerous configurations with charms, textures, colors, and metals before I actually make a pendant.

I had the good fortune the other day to find a box of at least fifty gold-plated and sterling silver flat charms in my stash of cross-stitching stuff.  Back in the 80’s, cross stitch patterns often came with these little add-on’s to bring more dimension to the stitching.  Apparently I had more charms than projects, so now I can add these to my jewelry.

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SOLD!

Getting the right bail or jump ring, and the right chain is important to the outcome, and recycled chains from old jewelry will be my major source.

The piece to the right has a brass background. I found the brass at a junk shop for $1.  It was the solid brass kickplate of an exterior door, which was a find because now most, if not all kick plates, are brass plated.  At 14 guage, it’s difficult to work with, but it makes a strong and weighty foundation for any design once you figure out how to punch holes through it.

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Art Jewelry Class with Mary Hettmansperger

First Completed Piece

First Completed Piece

My friend Beth and I hit the road last Sunday and spent a week in Gatlinburg, TN making jewelry under the tutelage of Mary Hetts {sic}.  The week was full of surprises and fun, including a birthday gift from Mary, pictured bottom right.  The photo at left is the first piece I finished, and I brought home many more.  But beyond my new jewelry, I learned so much in this one week.  It was like a year’s worth of watching videos.  If you click on the above link, you will see a representation of every technique she taught us.  I can now make any of these pieces with the knowledge I gained.

Arrowmont is an “immersion” experience.  You live on campus, eat in a dining hall, and sleep in dorms.  Well, that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but my heater was broken and it got cold at night.  There were no more rooms, so Beth and I stayed at the gorgeous Fairfield Inn down the street and didn’t mind one bit the TV, telephone, new beds, and those little chocolates on our pillows.  We even had connecting rooms.  Given the comments about Arrowmont’s accommodations, we feel we lucked out.

We kept our meal tickets and enjoyed the experience of meeting many new people.  There were seven different programs this, the last, of Arrowmont’s 2016 season.  The campus is on the side of a steep hill right downtown, but it was incredibly quiet at all times.  The fall leaves were peaking, though there was some smoke in the air which didn’t seem to diminish the bright blue skies and 65 degree weather we had every single day.  Except for a head cold, the experience could not have been better.

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A gift from Mary

I will post again about the techniques and more pictures of what I accomplished.  But let me say this now:  If you ever get a chance to take one of Mary’s classes, DO IT.  Even though I am prone to hyperbole, I can not overstate the value of her instruction and the fun you will have in the process. We had students from across the country, including Oregon and San Diego.  She’s that worth it!

Posted in Assemblage Art, Jewelry, OMG!, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia | 3 Comments

Yet Another Addiction (Rust Printing on Paper)

Book cover on Tyvek

Book cover on Tyvek

On a whim I signed up for a two-day class of Rust Dyeing on Paper with the option of creating a book out of my experiments. This was in Asheville at Bookworks, and I had no idea what to expect.  But what I didn’t expect was to be almost immediately hooked on the teacher, the process, and the final product.

Mostly steel, some brass

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Unlike regular eco-dyeing on fabric, you can complete many pieces in under a day, all dry and ready to be stitched into a book.  I brought home around 40 pieces.

There’s both little and much to learn; it’s your choice.  And it is easy to get started in this with almost instantaneous results, but I’m one of those people whose mind spontaneously ignites with “what if’s” and I can’t seem to stop.  I now find myself looking at everything everywhere and questioning if it will rust and whether I can print with it.

So here are some examples of my foray into this new-to-me art form.  I am very pleased and full of wonder about what a little tea, iron, vinegar, clorox, lye, some watercolor paper and a collection of rusty metal pieces can produce.  If you’re not into this kind of thing, I imagine you’ll merely see the top of an old coffee table covered in water marks and stains.  I on the other hand see splendid chemical reactions and wondrous art surprises.

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You have GOT to be kidding!

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CLICK TO ENLARGE

Seriously.  I know I’m getting old, and there is a cultural issue in play here, but if you read this tag, really read it, and get the point, perhaps you can explain it to me because I am mystified.  And did I mention that the reverse of the tag reads:  “$58”

It’s a simple striped pullover.

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Joined the Army at 12

My husband joined the Army at 12 years old.  Not the American Army, but rather Arnie’s Army.  It was an exhibition at the Country Club of Virginia James River Course in Richmond where he could not contain his excitement, and he ran up to Arnie, who was walking up to his fairway ball, and asked for his autograph.  Instead of being accosted by one of those red-shirted pole-carrying volunteers who keep order with the spectators, Arnie, walking with Lanny Wadkins, simply put his arm around this young man’s shoulder and said “Not now son.  But find me later.”  …or something to that effect.

arnold-palmer-thumbs-up-731x411-1And later, true to his word, Arnold Palmer gave my future husband an autographed photo and some more kind words, shook his hand, and made a consummate golfer out of yet another fan.

Somehow, and this is the way of life, that photo, which hung on his bedroom wall until he went off to college, went missing.  Did his mom pack it away or inadvertently throw it out? She was a golf fanatic herself so the latter seems incomprehensible.  But missing it went, and missing it stayed.

Through the years, having heard this story multiple times, I more than once wrote it on my”to-do” list to write to Arnie, remind him of that event, tell him about the missing photo, and ask for another one.  But, and this is yet another one of those “way of life” things, I did not and now I can’t.

To me Arnold Palmer is like Atticus Finch, someone I would love to have had as a father. That is the highest praise I can give anyone.  I am profoundly touched by this man’s passing.

Hit ’em straight, Arnie.  We will all miss you.

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Definitely Not a Weed

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I have a pot of old herbs at the end of my driveway.  I don’t harvest them, or prune them, or feed them for that matter.  And I’ve been meaning to pull them out and start over since they’ve been coming and going for about three years.  Mostly a weed has taken over; at least I thought it was a weed until this morning it bloomed. And with the bloom came the most deliciously weird fragrance.  It was vaguely familiar, and well it should be. I drink it in my Earl Grey decaf tea every night before bed.  It’s bergamot.

It’s beautiful in the wild, and even prettier on my dining room table.  And the fragrance, not unlike the effect of lavender, is calming.

I’m going to set this plant free this fall or next spring to spread out in a new herb garden.  (If you click this photo three times slowly, it enlarges so much you can really see the detail in these flowers!)

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Baby Owl Painting

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Will be offering this little owlet as class number two in the series later in the summer.  But right at the moment, I’m noticing that my cats keep looking at this painting.  Maybe they look at all my paintings, and I just haven’t noticed that.

Where have my watercolors gone?  And why is it so much easier to paint with acrylics????

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FINGERPAINTING (a class is born)

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This is being offered locally as a quick class in fingerprinting.  I’ve found that placing the background and much of the bird’s body on the canvas with my fingers cuts down on prep time.  It also allows more latitude in highlighting and shadowing without showing the brush strokes… which is how I discovered this.  When painting large areas I realized I was using my hands to smooth things out and diminish the look of the stroke work.  So why not just start out that way, I thought.  And it worked well.

The class is May 21st, a Saturday.  It starts at noon and runs until we’re finished; about four or five hours.  All materials will be provided, and the cost is $45.  Anyone local who is interested may contact me though this website or call me if you know my number.  Former students will receive an email with instructions.  Thanks for looking.

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