Monday, March 31, 2008

The Jamie Knot and Silver Sticks

I decided on one quick post before I finish packing. For those of you familiar with Nina Bagley and the "Nina Knot", you will appreciate this. In preparation for my class with Nina on Saturday, I lovingly picked out scraps of vintage material to wash on the delicate cycle in cold water inside of a zippered bag. I took extra care and made sure the machine was set to delicate, used the cold water detergent for delicate items, etc...

I even checked in on the scraps while they were washing to see how they were coming along. It all looked good until I went to pull the bag out of the washer. Lawdy, law...I have NEVER seen such a wad!

This is what I call "The Jamie Knot"...

Too funny. It took me a good 45 minutes or so of snipping threads and unwinding material all the while fending off the cat who was very eager to 'help'.

I also fired another handful of beads today. These are my first attempt at making hollow beads with an organic core. I used twigs for the long ones and wood clay for the round ones.

Before they went into the kiln:

After they were fired and scrubbed with a brass brush:

And finally after they were dunked in the LOS patina:

I brushed parts of the round beads with steel wool and burnished the high points to bring them back to a shiny silver but I left the twigs as they were. I must say that I love how the twigs came out. I'm hoping to use them in a piece of jewelry I will make at ArtFest. Ok, that's really all for now. Clothes are packed but tools and other random art supplies are strewn about the house in four different rooms.


It's down to the wire, literally because I am out of wire. I'm leaving in the morning for Seattle, then it's off to Port Townsend for ArtFest. I've still got to pack all of my art supplies and some wool socks. These are some of the charms I finished. This year's ArtFest theme is "Woodland Forest" so I added a few mushrooms in for good measure. The rest of the charms are loosely based on that same theme with impressions of leaves and flowers and such in the silver. I've also got 20 special "Festal Virgin" trades that aren't in the photos. I'm sure I'll have lots of fun stuff to tell about when I return. Woo-hoo! I hope I can sleep tonight...

You can click on the photo to get a closer view. Not the best but you'll get the picture. All that work for a handful of charms.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fired, Brushed, Tumbled, Tarnished & Polished

Here are 45 of the charms I finished today in all of their imperfect handmade glory. "Finished" as in, fired, brushed, tumbled, tarnished and polished. Now comes the real fun part - matching them up with beads and wire wrapping each one to attach to my moo cards for ArtFest trades.

First thing I did after making coffee this morning was set up my Ventilated Patination Station. That's what I was calling it anyway. It's actually just small dishes set out on the back porch with Liver of Sulphur and water. I had it set up from right to left: hot water to heat the silver, then the LOS in warm water to patina the silver and finally, a cool bath of water to stop the chemical process. I used a piece of wire and dipped each charm in all three dishes. Some I left lighter than others. The darker ones were dipped a few different times.

I was so excited and jumped right in to the patination process that I almost forgot to take photos of the shiny charms before they changed colors. Here are a few of the shiny ones with some I had just tarnished. They are bright and shiny because I put them in the rotary tumbler with mixed steel shot last night for about 40 minutes.

More tarnished ones. I like how some of them got that iridescent mixed color. I don't know what it's called but it sort of looks like the top of oil in a parking lot after it rains. You know the look I am talking about? Is there a word for that other than iridescent?

Here's a handful of them after I had polished the high points with a very very very fine steel wool. I would have used my Sunshine Polishing Cloths if I could have found them. Yes, my studio is still a mess! Reminds me of a cross stitched pillow that my mom has: "A Clean House is the Sign of a Misspent Life."

I realized that I didn't have anything in these photos to show size relationship so here's a shot my husband took of me laying them out on a stool outside.

(Pssst...BIG, one of your photos made it onto my blog! Thanks for helping me. You're the best husband but I won't let it get around to your friends. ;-) )

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Got Trades?

My art room is trashed (as usual) but I've been having fun! I've got about 60 charms in the works for ArtFest. I leave one week from today so I'm feeling pretty good about being ready in time.

Here's the first round I made the other night. 25 fine silver charms, all stamped, dried, cleaned up and ready to fire. That's my new Moo Card sitting with the charms. I had 200 printed special for ArtFest.

A couple other shots from my studio. Wolf Trap Radio has been keeping me company on iTunes. It's under the Eclectic genre on iTunes Radio. I think you can also stream it from their website if you don't have iTunes. Who doesn't have iTunes though?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

What the Hail?!

We survived the storms yesterday after spending much of the day in the downstairs hallway. Each time the tornado sirens went off, we moved down to our sudo camp spot. It got old after a while but better safe than sorry.

I watched the storms on the doppler radar using my laptop since our cable has been out for a few days. Today the sun is shining, the cable has been repaired and I think I actually see some new grass sprouting up where there was just mud a day ago.

The photos are of some of the hailstones that fell from the sky and landed in our yard yesterday. I can't remember ever seeing hail this big! I heard they were much larger further east of us.