Saturday, January 29, 2011

Feeding the Tool and Supply Fetish

It is taking much longer than I had hoped to collect enough equipment to embark on my enameling adventure. Fortunately, thanks to our friend Grady, I have a nice kiln to borrow. It is front loading with a smooth action door and a pyrometer, it isn't programable, but I think I can work around that! I am working on getting my nerve up to try it out. PMC silver will probably be first since I am somewhat familiar with it and know that it's more straight forward. It will be my first attempt, just to get my feet wet. I am still needing some kiln furniture and kiln wash. I have so many things to experiment with, bronze clay, copper clay, and enameling! Will I be able to focus long enough to pick just one and go through with it? I'll put up some pictures of my studio space and what happens in it.

The internet has been a great resource and inspiration. Yesterday, further inspiration came from Ryan at Pouncing Rain. She encouraged me to be brave and try out the sometimes problematic copper clay. So many have given up on it, but then again, there have been some beautiful results. I think the cost of admission is worth it and it fits in with my desire to experiment. I am really hoping to have some nice pieces to use with enamel. It's hard being patient, even when I am usually a pretty patient person. I've only been waiting for over 30 years to get my hands on this stuff!!

The results will be posted, successful or not. Maybe my first pmc firing will be ready tomorrow. I need my Lortone working and tumbling shot and pins! Will have to order those from Rio Grande!! In the waiting are two scented geranium leaves that I painted with slip last year. I can't wait to see how they turn out!

'Til Later!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A new creative passion, Beaded Beads!

I have made beaded peyote beads in the past, hallow cylinders for making toggles or decorative beads, but recently I have been creating beads that use a ladder stitch and a netting type stitch to create a hallow bead that feels like a solid bead. The bead color and shape I choose determine the design and style. I am working on giving them a more up-to-date feel, but I really like their vintage and even Art Nouveau look. The original directions for these beads comes from The Art and Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells. I bought the book at a great bead store in San Luis Obispo, Naturally Jennifers. They have a great selection of Japanese seed beads in unique colors and finishes. Naturally Jennifers sell their beads in little clear boxes with a flip top for easy pouring and storing. Their online catalogue is great!

So far I have only completed several pairs of earrings and strung a bracelet. The first beads I made in this technique have been waiting for almost a year to find their home in a necklace whose design is kicking around in the back corners of my mind.

There are so many different variations of beaded beads and I have challenged myself to try more techniques. Anacortes Beads and Crafts will be offering a class in April in which I'll share this technique.