Mimi and her girls

Mimi and her girls
Mimi and her girls

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back From A Facebook Virus

Back from a Facebook Virus

I really is sad when a social network is targeted with a virus for all of us trusting souls to "catch". I was one of the unfortunates, who seeing the "your friend X shared a link with you from facebook, opened it (no virus warnings here) and got a virus that sent my computer into a black hole. Be warned fellow FB friends, this virus won't be stopped with standard windows virus protection, you need the big guns- unfortunately those are the ones you have to buy and install. Well, now I have a new computer- loaded with virus protection and am ready to blog gain.

My big news is, I got to take a metal clay art class from Dina Alexander who won the 2008 Saul Bell Design Award in metal clay (see the picture of her winning jewelry in the new Rio 2010 tools catalogue)- at my local community college no less! Come to find out, she is a local Marylander. We had an absolute blast for 2 days, learning to roll, texture, bezel, make slip, fire and polish. I must say I was impressed with what came out of what was advertised in the couse catalogue as a "begginer" class. WOW- some of the work was just gorgeous and Dina was one of those rare souls who found something beautiful in everyone's work and let them know it. She was a real joy to have as an instructor. What an eye opener to see how versitle and flexible metal clay is and to just think about the endless possibilities of what can be done and incorporated into every type of jewelry design. I learned from making lots of mistakes, do-overs were the norm rather than the exception, but I came away feeling really good about what I had learned and how much I want to learn more about this exciting medium.

I have attached a picture of one of the larger links I made to make a necklace in the future, just to give anyone reading this blog an idea of what you can finish in just one class. I made about 12 items with my precious one ounze of clay and can't wait to buy more and take the "advanced" class in the spring.

I haven't added many new items since my computer went down, but I have been creating and will be adding next week after taking photos. I have extended free shipping in the US through Valentine's Day. Also, unadvertised, anyone who purchases from me in January through Valentine's Day gets a 15% discount on any one item in my shop over the next 6 months.

Look for more new items soon!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Work in Progress on Sawing and Piercing

My first attemp at piercing-lots more filing to do!
I have spent the week attempting to learn how to saw through metal then actually make something with my new-found skill. I use that term loosly since I now know that sawing through metal has it's own set of challenges I never imagined. I have new respect for carpenters everywhere. The rule of measure twice, cut once is now Platinum in my book. The link to my first piercing above will take you to a picture of a pair of earrings done with a slice of moon and two star cut outs in a pair of 1 inch disk earrings. I also added a little wave to them so they look more like potato chips than big round disks. I'm glad I took this picture, it shows all my mistakes! I was so excited to finish that I just took the pictures and then, low and behold, I saw all the filing I had not done, all the angles that weren't quite right. I have since fixed these, but haven't had the nerve to re-take a picture for fear of seeing even more mistakes I didn't see the first time.
I also made a copper cuff bracelet and thanks to lots of advice from Sonja at Silver River Jewelry (Artfire artisan), I at least managed to get a passable and wearable bracelet. Pix of that next time. So I am now in the process of cutting hearts out of a silver disk to solder on top of a hammered brass disk to make a pendant. Wish me luck  since I am quickly running out of silver disks from all the mistakes and just haven't had the nerve to actually order silver sheet yet.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year New Skills

I hope everone had a great holiday and a fabulous New Years. I plugged through the holidays eating, drinking and being merry, but mostly- I had a whole week off from my full time job and started working on some new skills for my metalsmithing work.  This is one of my newest! Silver Swirls Cuff Bracelet that I did with very heavy wire. I love it- it just gleams when you wear it!
 I also am learning to saw metal so that I can start piercing designs into my silver. Thank God for Art Jewelry magazine videos and youtube- they have some really great people who tell you what not to do so you don't get into too much trouble before you even start. When most people think about sawing, they think about carpenters and wood- oh no- these are teeny, tiny saw blades that like to snap in half when you do the least little thing wron. Talk about trying your patience! So, I have cut lines, squiggles and hearts and starts. Now I am going to actually try this on a piece of copper sheet and make a bracelet that I may actually wear. I'll keep you posted.
Next skill to learn will be bezel setting so I can put some of my lovely gems into a pretty setting to make a ring or pendant. I am very excited about that.
Just in case you haven't visited my shops lately- Free Shipping is still available in the US through the end of January. Sorry to say, after that I have to go back to charging a nominal fee for first class to cover postage and mailers. Visit soon, I have added quite a few new things over the holidays and you really have to do something with that Christmas money from your loving auntie! Visit me at http://www.ppennee.etsy.com/