Tag Archives: metal

This and that and Industrial Sunshine.

25 Jan

CitronOriginally uploaded by CleverGirlBek Eeep. None of my format is keeping…. So this looks like it came straight from my brain! (I’m the queen of the run-on… I had a prof in college tell me I was “comma-tose”….) Sorry :-)  My love of juxtaposing opposites is endless….Even when the differences are more subtle or cerebral…I love mixing natural and manmade materials (silver and plastics)…. Different textures…. Different colors and shades…. Old and new…. Most of my pieces have a marriage of opposites – it’s part of who I am and has always been a part of my art… I would say that less than a handfull of my pieces that have this dynamic were intentional at the get-go… Often the details that comprise the contrasts, are only revealed to me at the very end or close to the end. On occasion, I’ll have a piece that is technically finished but I’m not getting that giddy, goofy jumble of excitement fluttering around my belly. That lack of feeling is a sure sign that a piece is not done. Around a quarter of my more intensive pieces (those that demand bezel settings and handmade chain) are put in a tin to await additional inspiration….There’s no rush. These are typically not custom or made to order pieces.These are typically new designs and they just need a little push from me… I like to explore and I love the way this scenario works my brain. I also like to follow my pieces wherever they want to take me during “the build”… Often I’ll have a satin, semi-satin, brushed, or completely matte finish in mind when working on a piece but when I get to that point my gut pushes me on- I want to make sure I’ve made the best creative choice for a piece- so most piece in the finishes I’ve mentioned above have actually been brought to that finish and then painstakingly finished to a mirror shine- which for me acts as a blank canvas for whatever final finish I come to… I apply the tiny scratches and rub with sandpaper a little bit at a time- like a painter laying paint and pushing it around a canvas… The picture here is of my Citron earrings- which I also make in other colors…. This is one of those pieces of contrast- matte and shiny, light and dark, sunny and cloudy… A little industrial sunshine for all of you….This style is near and dear to my heart because it required a whole bunch of problem solving…The problem? How to make sterling silver chain where one link was glass and not have the glass shatter or become weak from thermal shock on the way up (torch soldering) or the way down (just cooling) without a kiln…. Hmmmm….Sure I could have just left the rings open- even a paper thin gap in the ring closures would have held the glass ring secure, but that would have been too easy… I’m in this to learn, to explore, so I pressed on…Tried a few different ideas (top secret, of course) and finally a durable answer (durable in regular wear…the yellow rings are glass after all…a sharp smack onto a marble floor is not considered regular wear…although I did drop my pair on tile and they were fine)…And I think the look is pretty fantastic… Links of hammered sterling silver (in a heavier gauge than usual- your lobes won’t notice the extra weight- it’s more visual than anything…Wires are still standard gauge) with a link of fabulous glass (yellow! green! cobalt! a milky carnelian that is just fabulous! gray! black!)…. Ok. Enough of my babble for today… Going to run to the store for some mini-ravioli’s for boy’s dinner…. (I put a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a pan, heat it a little bit, and then gently slide in some frozen mini raviolis (mini- seriously less than 1cm square) -carefully so there is no splatter…. then cook until they start to brown/toast….let cool slightly…. mmmm. yummy. it’s pretty much the one food boy requests aside from chocolate milk…) Oh and there are a few new pieces in the shop  Happy Friday!B 

Advertisements

Rainy 4th…

4 Jul

It has been raining on and off all day. We desperately need the rain down here in SW Florida to hopefully keep anymore gigantic fires at bay. I hope people use their melons tonight and are more on the safe side of things as far as fireworks go (but I’m not holding my breath :-)

Alex is so excited about seeing fireworks that I’m amazed he’s sleeping right now but we had a busy morning/afternoon visiting with my folks (my dad is in town for the week) and going to the little eatery and shopping area near their home… There was a “Most Patriotic Dog” costume contest so the place was a mix of the usual folks we know from Mom and Dad’s development and then people who are obviously “dress up your dog like a small child and parade them around in hopes of winning a prize” veterans (complete with camping chairs and coolers and outfits to match what they’d decked out the dogs in)…

It was interesting. It was mostly a bunch of chihuahuas in denim. There were a few older dogs (including a 14 year old poodle who I was cheering for), a beautiful leggy great dane (they painted his white spots in blue and red…yeah. pretty disturbing.), but then out of nowhere comes this sweet cottonelle commercial yellow lab puppy. Cuteness in a little furry package. Wagging his tail. An American flag on a stick in his mouth. Sunlight glinting off his blond fur.

Yeah. The cute blond won. Like I didn’t see that coming from a mile away. Sheesh.

Anyways- made these last night… I made a similar pair in February and it just blows my mind how much my style and skill set has changed since then. These are completely different earrings from the original set (I’ll find a pic of the old ones when I get a moment)…. Spent some time on these yesterday and had a ball. It was a long (napless for Alex and me) day and I definitely was in the mood to play with my doming set and my mallet and a weight was lifted as soon as I fired up the torch…

I’m back from outerspace…

20 Jun

Ok. So not *actually* outerspace, more like innerspace (and no, Dennis Quaid was not there and I was not stuck in the 80’s :-)

June 14th, Flag Day here in the US, is always a “holiday” in our home. It is the anniversary of my diagnosis with Type 1 (“juvenile”) diabetes and each year we celebrate (Jeff takes the day off and there is usually cake or chocolate involved- kind of a way to safely give the big D the ol’ stinkeye….) . Some folks just don’t understand and think it’s sick that we’d celebrate another year of such a shitty, all consuming disease. We call it D-Day in our home and we definitely celebrate- we aren’t trying to make light of such a serious disease (although I do make plenty of corny diabetes jokes) -we are actually celebrating another year of my hard work to keep this disease from maiming or killing me. It’s a big Hip-hip-horray! for another year without complications.

This year was different.

Despite a lot of hard work after 14 years of ups and downs and strange happenings this was the first D-Day where I couldn’t celebrate another year being complication-free. In the past couple of weeks my docs have all agreed that it seems that I have autonomic neuropathy. Basically it means that the nerves that regulate my heart rate, breathing, digestion, balance, etc are crapping out. Actually, it’s not just my autonomic nervous system either. My hands shake and detailed work is a challenge- a challenge I happily take on but yeah, there are tears and a lot of frustration. I’m glad this didn’t happen when I was younger. I’m more levelheaded now. I’m also more bullheaded- but it’s a focused bullheadedness. I don’t just lower my head and strike whatever is in front of me, these days I aim and focus all that energy at appropriate (most of the time) targets.

With creating/crafting/metalwork/jewelrymaking this means that I’m modifying tools and techniques where I can. I’m using a pistol grip rotary tool instead of a traditional flex shaft. I’m learning to push myself less physically – I can no longer work until the muscles in my hands and wrists go numb or cramp up because that means I can’t even pick up a pencil for at least a week. So I’m pushing myself more creatively. I’m reading a lot more. I’m languidly playing with materials and discovering as many of their possibilities as possible – sometimes without the intention of actually making anything with a largish scrap of silver- sometimes I just hammer and play. Melt and play. It’s meditative. It keeps me out of trouble. And I’m writing down everything and instead of spending hours figuring out a new piece I’m actually keeping a sketchbook fairly regularly. That way I’m being smarter with the little time I have to fabricate. I’m learning to take baby steps again and once the initial frustration passes (and the little patches of residual frustration!) I’m finding it to be calming and centering. It’s like I’m letting go of the material (the finished product to introduce to the public…keeping up with listing new stuff on venues such as Etsy) and just enjoying the process, the experience…. The interesting thing is that by reaching this meditative point of creating I’ve also found myself to be more productive than before I got my big news… I’m also finding the materials to be more malleable and creating with metal is less a recollection of what I’ve learned in the past (I’m self-taught and learn by doing and experimentation, if I don’t do it that way everything escapes me) and more of a natural motion- as natural as breathing in and out. As natural as the rhythmic pumping of a heart. As natural as standing up without blacking out. I’m focusing on my creations to work through this but also as a reminded of what I do still have control over.

Ok now a little poll/survey question thingy:

If you have arthritis/carpal tunnel/hand tremors/structural issues- what mods have you made to your crafting tools/equipment or are there any tools and/or accessories you have found particularly helpful?  Thanks in advance!

Wickedly Chic!

13 Jun

Yay! I just got a note from Liz over at WickedlyChic.com that my Starlight Mint earrings are being featured in their Daily Ditties column today!

starlight mints

This is a huge honor for me and I’m all giddy and bouncy right now!

Yay!

Please visit WickedlyChic when you have a moment! It’s a thorough, fun, and of course wickedly chic place for hints on where to find some fabulous treats. From skin care to jewelry and artists/craftspeople they cover a fabulous range of goodies.

How it comes out in the end…

27 May

I have been hard at work writing an official business plan. One of the puzzle pieces is coming up with a mission statement, which can be difficult when you have a big case of craftsperson A.D.D.

So I decided to look at the Etsy mini gallery of my art to see if anything came to mind and I am completely floored by how chipper my creations are. Seriously. My personality can be summed up this way:

Annie & Alvy have a kid. Lisa Simpson & Ralph Wiggam have a kid.

The offspring of these two couplings meet and have a bizarre one night stand involving a small and amazing folk rock show and a wood paneled station wagon.

Somehow Wednesday Addams gets involved in a weird genetic alteration/mutation kind of way and adds a bit of herself to the formula.

And that kid. That neurotic, scientific, whimsical, lighthearted, overthinking, paste eating (yummy minty paste!), dark humored and sometimes funny (intentionally or not!) kid is me.

So I’m thinking that my art:


Keep Your Sunny Side Up, Spring Day, and Cheep Pink Earrings

just comes out as sunshiny, happy goodness because it is being filtered through the better parts of me: the strong will, the need to make people smile, the joy of sometimes taking things at face value and not overanalyzing them (I over think. I obsess. I can’t fall asleep at night.), and a pure and basic love of handling the materials and forming them into good cheer. I love what I do. The process of making stuff, the physical and the emotional aspects, are all for me. The finished piece is for you – the light at dusk, the first buds pushing through the snow, the circus without the scary clowns- those I want you to have.

I bought a little painting on Etsy a few months ago because in the wee hours of the morning it made me smile when I really needed to smile as things were frighteningly serious inside the old squash. I thought it would be a fun addition to Alex’s bathroom. Now I realize that it is pretty symbolic of the relationship between my temperament and my art.

The pooping cloud by freebird aka Claudia Crespo

%d bloggers like this: