Friday, February 25, 2011

Piece a Week #8: Dragonfly (by Lisa)

(Music playing while in the studio. Peter Gabriel Live and Paula Cole.)

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but I really love to make dragonflies! I love to take pictures of dragonflies and I love to wear dragonflies. I have made all kinds of dragonflies the past few years - flat fold form dragonflies, wild wire dragonflies, beaded on and so forth.

This week I challenged myself to make a more "planned" dragonfly  - and one that is a bit more approachable.
(My one regret is that the final picture of this dragonfly is not so good...). I have been working in a newly discovered style and wanted to make a token dragonfly in this particular way.

The backplate is in the shape of an aspen I am sawing out this shape.

A chunk of sterling silver quivers in anticipation...ok, I am the one quivering. I LOVE molten metals. Metalsmithing tip: the outline of the shape is from the black sharpie...once you introduce the flame, the black sharpie ink will disappear when the copper is annealed (soft and pliable).

My absolute favorite part...melting the silver.

While the copper and melted silver is in the pickle (acid compound used to clean the metal), I'm back at the workbench shaping the wire. This is layed on the piece and I heat the silver up again. Tricky...copper wire can melt too...I have to watch out for "the signs."

The piece is pickled again, and then I go back through and de-burr and smooth out any rough edges. This part of the process makes the studio sound like a dentist's office!

The entire piece is polished with tripoli (a pourous, decomposed siliceous rock which results from the weathering of chert and siliceous limestone...glad you wondered?). The piece is tossed in a tumbler with steel shot and soapy water. The tumbler runs through out the night.
Final piece...and it really does look more impressive than this!!!
The Aspen Dragonfly is now located at A-RARE-Ity...and yes, while each piece will be unique because of the flow of silver, it is one that I can actually re-create.

For the next few weeks I am giving myself a very interesting challenge...designing pieces SPECIFICALLY for face shapes; oval, square, round,, eh?

And btw...Sponge Bob Ol' Yeller Chunk of Opal...still sits there. It will happen. One day.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Piece a Week #7: String Theory (work by Lisa)

First, the inspiration:

Raphael Delgado

I have loved Raphael's work for several years now. His "String Theory" work inspires me. What follows are my first attempts to explore my fascination with lines as movement...lines as possible meaning...abstract, yet oddly familiar. These shapes are everywhere in our lives.

When I started out, I had different intentions for this piece. But the "mistake" took on a life that I could not ignore.

Taking what I learned from my "mistake", I made this piece with "purpose." Even added a pretty agate. I call this piece "Fire Within."

This piece has been around for awhile. It has the same stringy feel. Silver is reticulated. Silver wire is fused on...some granulation balls for fun. Little garnet tucked in at the bottom. I call this one "Waiting to Bloom."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Piece a Week #6 - Display/Booth Project and a Super Genius at Work

Today Josh declared himself a Super Genius. Here are some shots of Super Genius Man at work.

Super Genius Man at work.

Stalking Super Genius Man...what makes him tick?
This week our focus has been on redoing our booth display. The challenge has been to do the re-do with limited finances. Some cool finds...tin cans that once packaged alcohol - Frangelica, Jack Daniels...etc. Nice tall tin cans that can serve as pedestals. (ready made pedestals can run $10-70 EACH depending on the style). Our pedestals may be, at the most, $2 each).

Another great find...FOR FREE...are the cardboard innards that fabric is wrapped around. I saw one at JoAnns, and ask the clerk if they recycled? or threw them away? "We just throw them away..." "DUDE...can I have them?" (yes, I said "DUDE.") She had several ready for the I claimed them.

Took our tins and cardboard innards (what ARE they called???) home, picked up some spray paint... VOILA! The cardboard is strong and sturdy and perfect for hanging jewelry. Tin cans, also spray painted, make incredible pedestals.

Here are some little peeks at our new display:

The "green" in the center is a tin can with round one of spray paint.
More flowers, lots of earth tones with purple and cream highlights...and some new work I have not shown yet!
The bamboo backdrop is supported by one of those fabric cardboard innards...a jewelry tree picked up at Goodwill for a dollar...a brown can peeks in (lower left corner)!
The entire display, and the new work will make its debut at Vintner's Cellar for Ladies Night, Wednesday, February 23.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On Harmonicas and Finding Opportunities in Unexpected Places

The other day, while setting up our shop on Art Fire ( I came across an area called "Forge." Being a metalsmith, I could not resist a tab with a name like that. It turns out that "Forge' is a for people to post special requests...Looking for a bear sculpture sitting like a laughing Buddha...or...lampwork beads shaped like roses...or this one: I am looking for crafters to create a case/box to hold my harmonica.

For some reason this last one caught my attention. A case for a harmonica? Really? Turns out, the musician's name is Robert Hoffman and he has a collection of more than 300 hand crafted harmonica cases. Apparently it is a passion in his life. There is even a you tube video: 

Intrigued, I sent Mr. Hoffman an email and after a bit of correspondence he commissioned me to make a harmonica case. Today I received a letter in the mail with a check and a harmonica. The former is a down payment, the latter is to assist me in making the case. Cool!

I guess the lesson here is to always be alert to opportunities. You never know from where they might come.

Peace. Love. Happiness.

Joshua Kewish

Friday, February 4, 2011

Piece A Week #5 - PieceS, Actually And a Really Long Thank-You

This was a productive week in the studio for both of us! All kinds of metallic thingies sprung forth...meanwhile, "Ol'-Yeller-Sponge-Bob-Yellow-Opal" still sits there.

Ol Yeller Sponge Bob Opal
Fine. Sit there.

I made nine rings all in this style (some of you who are friends of mine on Facebook have already seen this shot)...

What you see are actually two rings that I stacked. Lots of lucious silver on copper...twisted, turned and polished to a bright sheen.

I am keeping those two for myself.

Here is a stash of rings that are now at Fire and Rain Gallery.

(yes, they are sitting in a bed of uncooked rice) ... smaller sizes, but lots going on.

Also - I wanted to share some of Josh's latest work...some really cute critters:

Teeny Tiny Critters - dragonfly, seahorse with opal and a butterfly.
These little sweeties can also be seen/purchased at Fire and Rain Gallery.

All in all an extremely productive week. :)


I wanted to publically thank an individual (who shall remain private) who sent me a very touching chat message this morning.

"I go back & read that facebook msg you sent a while ago every once in a while. Thank you. You two inspire me."

That is what I woke up to this morning and I have been thinking about it all day. The message is poignant because it came to me at a rather stressful time (will that check clear today? We really need that money to pay did by the way). Should we ONLY do these particular shows? Or should we add some others in? Should we have made more hearts for Valentine's Day? Or stay true to my personal beliefs that most holidays are commercial money-making driven days and I will not make things 'just because' it is "Fill In The Current Holiday" time. If I make a heart (and I have) it is because I am probably thinking of things of the heart and am expressing something I am feeling. I make abstract fine art jewelry. I work from the right side of the brain. The shapes, lines just "happen" and I go with it. Yet, sometimes I wonder if I am shooting myself in the foot for not plugging in to the current month and making something to just fit in. These thoughts cause stress. These thoughts freezes the ability to express and create.

I have done many things to "fit in." seems I have more potency as an individual when I become selfishly authentic and go with my own flow. This is called personal power. It is not an easy adventure. It is not for the faint of heart. I am realizing that I am a Wayshower...and am being watched. This is also not for the faint of heart. (I think I like that as a title for a piece; "Faint of Heart.")

My friend who sent that chat message - Thank you. I am humbled and empowered by your words. You are also an amazing artist and I have been watching and waiting for your own emergence. You have an incredible gift to give to the world. I continue to say: If there is anything I can do for you to help with your launch, let me know.