Saturday, October 31, 2009


Football Saturday again today. It was a blustery day, 50 degrees and 35 mile an hour wind gusts. Iowa did it again. That crazy 4th quarter dance that they seem so fond of doing. The wind, the jitters, Halloween hexes? Who knows, but we looked like we'd blown it. By the half it was 21-7 with Indiana on top. In the 4th quarter Iowa scored 28 points. Yes, 28 points. Iowa has come from behind to win 8 of their last 9 games. These boys are going to be the death of me. And I wouldn't trade an afternoon in Kinnick Stadium for anything. Happy Halloween everybody!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Hand-carved bronze "shields" waiting to be made into earrings.

Well, another Fall Open House at Bead Haven has come and gone. I want to thank all who came out and made it such a success. Friday night there were so many people that I didn't get a chance to talk to you all. I'm always sort of sad when the open house is over. I really work hard to get ready for it and I look forward to it a lot. Thank you to Cindi for having me and working so hard to make it special, and to Suzi for all your help, you really are a good friend. And a special thank you to Susan, who bought my favorite necklace. I know it will have a good home with you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Cindi, at last year's Halloween Open House.

I will be at Bead Haven in Cedar Rapids this Friday and Saturday for their Fall Open House and Trunk Show. Lampworker, Melissa Rediger and Metalsmith, Anne Mitchell will be there as well. It's sure to be lots of fun. If you are free on Friday and/or Saturday please stop by and see us. The hours of the show are 4-7pm on Friday and 10-5 on Saturday.

Monday, October 19, 2009


A Japanese Maple from my yard.

I have always loved fall. Crisp air, impossibly blue skies, fires in the fireplace, football and the beautiful changing leaves. The leaves are changing beautifully right now in my part of Southeast Iowa. I'll try to take some photos in the next couple of days and post them here. The fall colors are one of those things that even the most grumpy of people tend to enjoy, but have you ever thought much about why the colors occur. I really hadn't given it more than a passing thought, choosing instead to just enjoy them. I did know that individual trees have certain colors programmed into their DNA, but I never knew why. Today I read a fascinating article on Discovery Channel's internet site about how the brilliant colors are actually a survival mechanism that trees have evolved over millions of years to fight predator insects. And here I thought it was just pretty! Read about it here.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Just a few of my carved charms, made into permanent master copies.

Some time ago, I started carving and sculpting my own molds and textures in order to have unique designs for charms and pendants. I model some molds from polymer clay which is then baked and others I carve from a white eraser-like material called Master Carve. In both cases I then make molds of finished pieces using silicone molding compound. Those molds last a long time, but I have started to notice that the ones that I use a lot are beginning to deteriorate. Not wanting to have to re-carve molds, I decided that I would make permanent copies of my favorites out of bronze metal clay. The bronze clay is relatively inexpensive and when fired correctly, very hard and sturdy. If a mold becomes unusable or if you lose it as I recently did, you always have a copy from which you can make a new mold. If you make your own molds and textures, I think this is a good practice to get into if you want to preserve your designs for future use.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Fidosaurus 2 (from the Max-Cast website).

I've been remiss in my blogging lately. My camera seems to be broken, leaving me with just my Iphone to take pictures. The phone takes pretty good photos, but I never think to take pictures until night time and without a flash they don't always come out so well. I think there is an app for a flash, but I haven't seen it yet.
Yesterday, I took a little road trip south of Iowa City with Cindi to visit a friend. On the way back, we stopped in Kalona to get a treat in the bakery and to wander around a bit. While wandering, we came across a gallery and workshop that seemed quite out of character with Kalona's quilt shops and antique stores. It was a gallery called Max-Cast. The artists are metal casters Stephen Maxon and Doris Park. I was really impressed by their work. Some of it was truly bizarre and darkly whimsical, coming from a wonderfully twisted imagination. While still other pieces were based on forms found in nature, realistically and wonderfully executed. They work in bronze, cast iron, and aluminum. I found a piece there that I think I'm going to go back and buy. While I was on their website, I got very excited when I found that they offer workshops in lost wax casting, a skill that I have always admired and longed to learn. I think I'll go back down soon to buy the little piece that I'm thinking about and talk to the artists about a workshop. More on that later!
If you'd like more information on Max-Cast, click here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Lily, on her toilet paper bed.

Sophie and Lily together on their Lily-proofed chair.

1. No matter how much money you spend on a heated, orthopedic foam cat bed, said cat will always prefer to sleep in a basket of toilet paper rolls.

2. Just because a kitten weighs only 2 pounds, don't think that you can clip her toe nails without an extra pair of hands (and maybe a pair of oven mitts!). If you do decide to do this alone, have some Band-Aids on hand. Seriously.

3. The cuter you are, the easier it is to get your way.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Photos from last Saturday's enamel class.

More enamels.

Calla Lily Pendant.

Resin Hearts.

I had a busy week. I taught three classes (enameling, a metal clay calla lily pendant and a resin class), helped Cindi put together enamels for Bead Haven's enameling kits, picked and canned the last of the tomatoes from my garden, did a bunch of paperwork (which I hate more than I can say), started the daunting task of cleaning the studio. Oh yeah, and then there's the new kitten. She's so sweet and hilarious, but I had forgotten about the energy of kittens. Sophie was already almost full grown when we got her. We got Maxie when he was 7 weeks old, but that was 20 years ago and time hazes over all of the wildness. Actually, she's been very good so far, but you have to keep an eye on her. She's already pried open the door of an access panel in the bathroom and climbed into the wall. I could hear her meowing from very far away. Luckily she's highly motivated by food and that's how I coaxed her out. Then she crawled beneath a cabinet and nearly got her head stuck (I had visions of crowbars!). She's a little Houdini. So, I'm tired and there is a football game tomorrow (GO HAWKS!) and I am teaching an all-day enameling workshop on Sunday at Bead Haven. I think i should go to bed. Any bets on how long Lily will let me sleep in?