Sunday, May 30, 2010


Bronze ammonites, waiting to be bezeled.

It's Bead and Button time again. It takes me a ridiculous amount of time to get ready to go to this thing. I'm not even a vendor this year, though I think I might try to do that next year. It's hard for me to decide about that because it's fun to just go and see my friends and soak in new techniques. I really do carry the inspiration that I gain there all through the year. I'm in 4 classes this year. I'm stepping out of my box a little, which I think is good. I'm taking a glass casting class with Susan Lenart Kazmer. The only glass work I've done ever done (outside of an extremely ill-fated lampworking class and a stained glass class) is fusing and enamel work. It should be fun. I think it's good to do things that are out of the realm of normal for you. Two of my very good friends, Gail and Karen are in that class too, so perhaps nothing will be accomplished except for laughter and burned carpet (you know who you are Gail!). And that would be ok too. I'm taking another class from Susan as well, Relics, Rivets and Staples. More up my alley for sure, but since it's Susan I know I'll leave with a lot of inspiration. I'm also taking a class on reticulation, texturing of silver with heat in a controlled manner. It looks a lot like a topographical map when done correctly. I've wanted to try this on my own for a long time, but I believe there's a fine line between a beautiful texture and a puddle of silver and with the price of silver these days, well, you get the picture. My last class is a traditional bezel setting class. I've done this before, but it's been a while and I'm looking forward to a refresher. I'm not as good at this as I wish I were, so this should be really helpful. That's what the ammonites are for. I decided that I'd like to try setting something other than a stone cabochon. Plus in an email the teacher told us that we should chose cabs that aren't too fragile. I'm pretty strong, but I don't think even I can crack a bronze cab!
I made a list yesterday of all of the tools I'm supposed to bring for these classes and it is a long and ponderous list. That's not even counting all the stuff I'll want to bring that's not on the list. How do people fly to this thing? Thank goodness my lovely Sherpa, Paul is coming along!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Micro-fold earrings (design by Jack Berry).

My first ever attempt of a star-folded form.

The back of my fold-formed piece.

Well, yesterday I was supposed to be cleaning the studio. Honestly, I think if I don't clean it soon, it may collapse under it's own weight and become a black hole. Cool....
Anyway, I was supposed to be cleaning when I became distracted by some 24 gauge copper sheet that I had lying around. A couple of years ago I took a class from Jack Berry on a technique that he created called micro-folding. Micro-folding is a variation on fold-forming, developed by Charles Lewton-Brain in 1985. In Jack Berry's class I made 2 pairs of these earrings and then never made another pair. Yesterday, I made a pair in silver and a pair in copper. After I rivet them together, I post pictures of the finished earrings. After I made those, I was putting books away and found my copy of Foldforming, by Charles Lewton-Brain. I've had this book for a while and had only tried to made one form, a leaf. I decided to try a star-fold. It was great fun! I can see a lot of potential copper projects in my future. I've always wanted to take a fold-forming class from Charles Lewton- Brain. I notice that Mr. Berry is teaching his micro-fold class at the Bead and Button Show again this year, as well as a couple of other classes. I love the technique and he's a very meticulous instructor. If you ever get a chance to take his class, I know you'd enjoy it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Bleeding Hearts, one of my 2 favorite flowers (the other is Fox Glove).

Crab Apple trees by my fountain.

Cats on the porch watching the bird feeder are a sure sign of spring.

The brightest double rainbow I had ever seen, in front of Starbucks (my 2nd home).

Baby Robins in a one of my sister's hanging baskets.

Mr. Toad who lives in the stone wall by Mom and Dad's patio.

Our moss covered fountain in the backyard.

Columbine in my front yard.

Irises, so impossibly pretty.

Lilac, one of the nicest smells on the planet.

Another columbine.

I love spring. It's a little sad this year without my Mom though. Even so, it's so beautiful this time of year. Spring in the Midwest usually starts a little slow and then suddenly bursts forth in color and warm breezes and noisy birds. We are in the height of spring now and I thought I'd share some photos of scenes from my and my Mom and Dad's yard.


A really old photo of pieces ready for the kiln.

Tomorrow I will at Bead Haven all day (it's a good thing I like the place!). In the morning I have a very rare weekday session of the All Day Metal Clay workshop. The workshop runs from 10 am to 4pm. The idea behind this workshop is that if you have an idea that you need help with or a project that you don't know how to approach and you'd like help from someone with a lot of metal clay experience, I'm here to help you figure it out. And if you're not really sure what you want to do, we can figure that out too. It's a class with no set agenda, which I think is really fun and truly promotes creativity. The times that we've done this before everyone, including me, has learned a lot and had a great time.
In the evening I'll be teaching a PMC and Mold Making class at 5:30-7:30. This class is good for beginners as well as people with metal clay experience. If you're interested in either class, please give the store a call at 319-247-2323.