Saturday, June 18, 2011

Creative Company

Being very interested in creative pursuits, I am often drawn to others who share similar interests. I enjoy having a circle of friends with a wide range of talents. One of those friends is Marty, who has developed both the right and left side of her brain.
In addition to having her own law firm, she is a multi-faceted artist with a particular interest in glass.
This afternoon, I became the proud owner of one of Marty's beautiful plates which is made from recycled storm window glass. Three pieces of glass were cut, layered and placed over a form that Marty made. The assemblage was fired in her kiln, causing the glass layers to fuse and slump, taking on the shape of the form. I know I am oversimplifying the process, but the bottom line is...I now have this awesome plate (around 12" square) made by a dear friend.
I also now know that watermelon looks great in this plate.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Taking Care of Some Business

In the blogging world, I am a very teeny tiny speck of a presence.
I chose to begin my blog because of my interest in the process of design. When I see work that I admire, I always appreciate if I can also get an understanding of the inspiration and the techniques used, resulting in a unique piece of artwork or craft, a landscape.....whatever. I know that many other people share this same interest in the 'behind-the-scenes' part of creating original work.

I also appreciate purity of intention. While I do hope that interest in my blog may also result in interest in my work, I have not, at this time, set up my blog to be a point of sales. I have also chosen to keep ads off of my blog. I purposely do not want extra information cluttering the visual layout or my personal message. As my business evolves, I may change my attitude about ads but that remains a future decision.

This blog does have a small, loyal following and an ever increasing number of occasional visitors. I want to explain the reason that I have deleted messages left by some visitors. While it was nice to read the kind and complementary words that were in these deleted comments, embedded links to products were also included. Since I deliberately choose to have no ads, I also choose to be persnickety about the appearance of an ad being snuck in under the cloak of a comment.

When/if I mention specific products, it is because I value them for specific reasons and believe that others may benefit from the bit of knowledge that I have. I get no personal benefit by giving a favorable review or recommendation.

Those are my house rules.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Unexpected Treasures

I love it when I find unexpected surprises, like my dining room chandelier, during my thrift store searches for jewelry-making materials. I go to one particular store where I usually find metal trays with embossed patterns that I then cut into discs. During one visit, I found a small plastic bag filled with what appeared to be sterling silver discs. I thought it was worth the $1.25 to bring them home and investigate further.

Oh joy, to realize that these were indeed sterling and that there were 21 of them (with the current sterling pricing, the value of that many discs is over $125.00)! The discs were 24 gauge, 1 1/2" in diameter and had already been milled with various textures by the previous owner.
The scale of a 1 1/2" disc did not appeal to me, so I cut out smaller discs which were then punched and domed in my dapping block. I also did a liver of sulfur treatment followed by light sanding to better reveal the textured patterns.

Each original disc yielded 4 smaller discs which I have been turning into earrings and necklace/bracelet links. This pair of earrings features faceted carnelian beads wrapped with balled sterling wire.

This pair features freshwater pearls also wrapped with balled sterling wire and silver plated fleur de lis.

I think I did all right with my $1.25 investment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vintage Photos

Years ago when I was hunting for an apartment in the Boston area, I was feeling bitterly disappointed that nothing appealed to me and realized that I needed to change my strategy. I decided to clarify what my wishes were by writing out a list of what I hoped to find in a dwelling. I was flabbergasted with the success that followed.
My list:
1. Apartment in a big, old house on an upper floor: Got it....ended up on the 3rd floor in a huge home that originally housed local church members returning from overseas missionary work.
2. Two bedrooms so I could have a separate studio: Got it....had an extra room that served as studio/guest room.
3.Walking distance to the T (trolley/subway): Got it.....1 1/2 block walk.
4. Walking distance to shops: Got it.....2 blocks to 'downtown' Newton Center with restaurants, library, a variety of shops and possibly the best bagel place ever.
5. A place to garden: Got landlords let me have a vegetable garden and also let me plant whatever I wanted in the rest of the landscape. Irises and other perennials that I planted over 20 years ago are still growing and blooming.
6. A fireplace: Got bedroom had a fireplace. It wasn't usable, but I had not specifically wished for a working fireplace.
I loved this apartment!
Sometimes you need to declare what you are looking for in order to find it.
The manager of the Woodmere Art Museum shop, Lori, recently asked me if I was beginning to make items for the upcoming holiday. I looked at her quizzically thinking she wanted patriotic items for the 4th of July(?). No....she meant Christmas. Yikes! I can hardly think beyond my son's graduation later this week.
Lori did ask if I might be able to make a particular item for the shop to carry during the holiday season. I'm still playing with ideas, and they involve vintage images. While I have a collection of old photos, I do not have enough to create these possible items for the museum store. I began to think that I better locate a source for old photos.
And what a coincidence.....I found a treasure trove of vintage photos last week.
This 'Photographs' scrapbook is filled with many photos from the 1920's and 1930's.
I love looking at pictures from another era, appreciating the clothing and architecture and imagining the circumstances captured in these black and white and sepia toned moments.
I also found some more portrait photos, and especially enjoy those featuring babies and young children.
All of these kids have such serious expressions making them appear mature beyond their years. I do find it interesting that many of these portraits feature animal skins either on the floor or draped over the posing chair.
These two photos captured my imagination. I'm guessing that they might be from the late 40's. The photo on the left has a handwritten note on the back: 'Johnny & Harold I go with him once in a while' It's easy for me to imagine that the photo on the right was torn apart during one of those periods when "she" was not going with Johnny or Harold.
Scotch tape coming to the rescue of a young, wounded heart that is not willing to let go.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New-Old Display

I am always looking for new ideas of how to display my jewelry. I have purchased some manufactured display pieces, especially for necklaces, but as with my jewelry, I want my presentation to be unique and to reflect my interest in recycled materials. Some of my favorite display pieces have been found at thrift stores and even at the curbside.
I recently found these pieces at a thrift store where they were being displayed in ladder-like fashion. I saw the display potential and bought them for $1.00 each.
Turned on their side, these little ladders become perfect windows to highlight pairs of earrings. I bought 3/8" double point staples and hammered them in place for hanging the earrings.
This is going to work well for my display, and I will have the option of setting these 'horizontal ladders' on a table or hanging them on a wall or other vertical surface.
The one problem is I don't have enough clearance to swing my hammer when setting the staples. Finishing one ladder was more time consuming and finger-aching than I imagined it would be. I am now conducting a search for a wee, little hammer.