A Bee in a Box, Copper Art Jewelry

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

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.

Posted in Jewelry, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Easy Pieces: Copper Art Jewelry

 

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

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.

Click to enlarge

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.

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

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.

imgp5392

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

Click to Enlarge

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.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Posted in A Day In My Life, OMG!, Uncategorized, Watercolor, Whimseytopia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Definitely Not a Weed

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

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!)

Posted in A Day In My Life, Gardening, Phototopia | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Baby Owl Painting

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

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????

Posted in Painting, Sketching, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

FINGERPAINTING (a class is born)

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Got Milk?

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Been working in acrylics again because I’m getting ready for two teaching opportunities this summer.  This cow is a composite of several cows I found on the Internet.  I think animals are easier than anything, and acrylics are far easier than watercolors.  But as soon as I get all my plants in, I’ll be outside with my little watercolor box, painting some flowers before they turn.

Posted in A Day In My Life, Painting, Whimseytopia | 6 Comments

But this is….about art.

breeI have a friend who’s been very kind to me.  He’s a policeman in my small town, and he works the night shift.  He knows I live alone, and I see him drive by my house often.  He looks out for me.

And he has a dog that he loves.  Another of my friends who is his neighbor took a picture of the dog and I did the painting.  It was a struggle not making each side match.   The light source was very bright and the colors were difficult and not uniform.  It seemed like pieces were missing and some lines were too … linear … to be on a dog.  But this is what I saw, so this is what I painted.

I gave it to him tonight and he said his wife would be thrilled.  It is actually her dog.

It feels so good to be able to do something for someone who seems to always be doing something for me.

Posted in Painting, Sketching, Whimseytopia | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Chicks Painting Chickadees

Chicks with their Chickadees

Chicks with their Chickadees

When I left Virginia in 2004, I left many former decorative painting students behind.  While I knew I would miss them, and the fun we had in class, I was ready to cross  over to watercolor. But the immutable fact is that I’m just not good enough to teach watercolor, so I’m back to teaching decorating painting. Since I have dozens of prepared classes and samples painted, starting  over has been easier than I expected.

Our first class went three nights over three weeks for 3 hours each night.  Most of these students are true beginners, yet all of them grasped the stroke work quickly, and I believe all of them are happy with their pieces.  At least happy enough to sign up to another project, an acrylic sheep on canvas to start the end of March.last night painting

I LOVE being in a room of creative people, whether I am teaching or learning.  I really enjoy sharing what I know about this art form, and the camaraderie was evident at the introduction of the first class.  Everyone made new friends.   Painting partnerships formed.

I’ve interviewed at the new Hobby Lobby in Statesville and have been hired to teach all-day Saturday classes of my choosing.  The jury is out on the Hickory store, and I’m still waiting to hear.  But in the meantime, I’m putting those classes together as well; one class for two stores; one half the prep work.  Got to love that.

last night paintingI’m in a “window show” at the local record store on Main Street for the month of March.  I have photos and will post about this soon.  But the biggest news is that I’ve decided to take some private lessons from a very seasoned artist in Asheville by the name of Jason Rafferty

I have asked for still life instruction, with a focus on composition and drawing.  I could also use more color theory as I find in my own work the most difficult part is finding the right colors.

Check out his website, especially the “Heirloom Tomatoes” and “Farmers Market Gourd” that you’ll find if you scroll nearly to the bottom of his first page.  It was these two paintings that attracted me most.  Wish me luck!

Posted in Painting, Uncategorized, Whimseytopia | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments