Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Text Charms

The wonderful Maureen Baranov continues to challenge our Charmsters group with interesting charm swaps. Her latest was a swap of Text Charms, as she called them. Her inspiration came from Deryn Mentock. You can check out her blog here. Her June 10 post shows examples of her text charms. She uses wire that is pounded flat into a round-ish shape, and she glues text to the back. Maureen admires other artists' work and then challenges herself (and us) to make our own versions. With much admiration for Deryn, here are our results.

Our task was to examine Deryn's charms and figure out how to make our own. I think we all started with steel wire. That was probably a first for some of us. Steel wire is one of those art supplies that you can get at a hardware store, rather than a bead or craft store, and it's much cheaper than sterling wire. It usually says it is "annealed," which is a process that returns its ductility that it lost during the drawing process. We generally used 18, 19, or 20 gauge wire. The steel wire is dark-coated with a rust inhibitor. We used green kitchen scrubbies or steel wool to rub some of this off. It gives the steel a bit of a shine and prevents the black from rubbing on your hands.

After bending the wire into a round or oval shape, we hammered it flat. This allowed the paper we adhered later to lay flat to it. I used a steel bench block and a chasing hammer to flatten my wire. To attach the paper, I poured a little white glue in a dish. I dragged the wire shape through it, then pressed the wire onto a page. When it was dry, I cut the paper around the wire.

I think everyone else used some kind of a gel product to adhere their paper to the wire. If you lay the wire loop on the page, you can pour, brush or drop a resin to cover the area within the wire. When you have 14 artists trying a technique, they'll try different products. Some used Diamond Glaze, and warned to put it on lightly and watch for bubbles. DG3, which is an art gel by Judikins, the maker of Diamond Glaze, was too sticky for one artist and stuck to her packaging. She also experimented with Glossy Accents and a resin kit, and they both worked. Other successful products used were Plaid's Folk Art Papier Glass Finish in clear (also comes in sepia or antique), All Night Media's Liquid Embossing for Paper (in Antique Glass, Clear Glass or Sepia Glass), and Golden's Soft Matte Medium.

What you did with your text charms was your choice. Some added beads, some made them in leaf shapes or wing shapes. I attached two to a yarn tassel. The yarn is wrapped in wire with some extra wire curled down. The close up picture looks a little hairy -- I think the tassel looks better in real life!

So, thank you to Deryn Mentock for inspiring us, and thank you to Maureen for challenging us. Please visit Deryn's blog called Something Sublime so you can admire the jewelry of this very talented artist.

Jewelry of the Week

I made this necklace when I was experimenting with velvet ribbon as an addition to jewelry. A friend doesn't like the feel of chain on her neck, so I came up with this soft ribbon as an alternative. I used all sterling silver accents, wrapping a 24 gauge wire around the ribbon to attach it to jump rings. The focal point is a free form wire pendant with a beautiful glass bead. I think I used 18 gauge for it. The long dark beads are actually silk ribbon wrapped around silver, with a 22 gauge wire and beads wrapped around to hold the ribbon in place. Some artists call these "cocoon beads." This necklace was fun to make.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Becky's Hearts

You know how you go to someone's website, click on a link, and are pleasantly surprised to find someone else's wonderful site? That happened to me a few months ago. Now stay with me while I tell you this round-about, degrees of separation story.

I live in Florida. My brother and his wife live in Portland, Oregon. His wife told me their neighbor recently moved down the block, and they really loved having her as a neighbor. She has an internet company that sells socks. Imagine that -- she loves socks so much, that that's what she sells now. Talk about following your dreams. In fact, she calls it Sock Dreams. I found it on the internet, and you can check it out here. The site is wonderful, full of color and fun descriptions. (I even ordered a few!)

It led me to the Sock-Dreams blog. I scanned down a few posts, a lot where customers write in as guest-bloggers describing their yummy socks. The owner posted her own note about a guest-blogger who loved to write in, yet she discovered that she had recently passed away. How sad! Here's the post, and if my link doesn't work, just look for the September 12, 2008 entry.

Becky Jones was an artist who also loved her socks, and loved to write about them. And I love how she included some of her artwork in the photos of her socks that she added to the sock blog. Anyway, I found Becky's blog, and if you check it out, you'll probably be struck by her beauty, as I was. And then you go down and look at her art -- how wonderful! She has such a use of color that makes the subjects jump right out.

I was so moved by her paintings, I emailed her brother, who passed it on to her mother, and through her glorious generosity, I am now an owner of four of Becky's paintings. I just love having them. How giving of her mother to share them with me. Here they are. Maybe you can take a moment to check out her blog and marvel at what a wonderful and prolific artist she was.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wellington Art Society Show

A couple weeks ago I showed my jewelry at the Wellington Art Society's spring show. And for the first time, I showed some paintings, too! This was a big step for me. I've dabbled in collage and acrylic painting for a couple of years now, but only recently got into it full force. I took a collage class with Eydi Lampasona at the Boca Raton Museum of Art in January. Well, her multitude of techniques, plus her enthusiasm really helped me to connect everything I've learned about collage with acrylic painting. Since then, I've made a couple dozen paintings. I decided to show 11 of them, and here they are.

By the end of the day, I had sold one!

Of course, I displayed and sold my jewelry as well. Here's my jewelry table, complete with a couple of rocks for display. I could make buckets of money if I would just sell my rocks, but they're not for sale.

Friday, June 5, 2009

More Necklace Swaps

Maya Macauley, a friend from my Charmsters group, created a necklace with a wonderful bezel, and eight of us will be adding to it. We're about halfway through the artists, and here's what it looks like so far.

Her theme was "heart and home." Her focal piece is a house-shaped bezel with a red heart surrounded with resin in the middle. I added a piece that has a house-shaped brass piece, that I textured by hammering it against wire mesh. Then I cut out a heart shape from an old dictionary page, painted the back of the metal red, and glued down the heart. In front of the brass piece is an oval copper piece with a stamped sunburst on the front. In front of that is a dangle with beads and a silver charm on the end.

Kim Boehm made a necklace with a white theme. So far, there is a white bird, a white polymer clay disk with a black wave design, and a fringe dangle made with various beads. I added a glass bead that has white on the inside and a swirl of gray/black throughout. I made a free form silver swirl around the bead and dangled a white tear-shaped bead below it. There will be four more creations added to these necklaces before they are done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Necklace Add-ons

I'm continuing in two nine-month-long necklace round robins. Ellen Hagood began this creation, and we're about halfway through adding charms to it. She chose a bird/wing theme. I had an old metal cookie tin that was decorated in a paisley pattern. I snipped out one part of the paisley design, because I thought it looked like a wing. I used Diamond Glaze to place mini seed beads along the edge. On the back, I used StazOn black ink to rubber stamp a small bird. I blotted some distress ink over that to give it some color. I added a bead dangle to it and attached it at two points to the chain. I sent it on its way so the rest of the group could add to it.

Gena Houghton created this next necklace. She made a charm holder where each artist could add her own charm. I love the cocoon bead and the heart cut out of mica.

I added the tassel charm. I used thin wire threaded with seed beads wrapped around the yard to hold the tassel together. I connected a glass bead dangle to it using a jump ring. Obviously I made this while I was finishing my tassel charms for the text charm swap you can see in my blog post below.