Monday, July 29, 2013

Fold Forming Transformation

I love taking a sheet of 20 gauge brass...
cutting it into pieces...
filing, sanding and annealing those pieces
and making...
and this...
and this.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Cicada Invasion

If you live in the northeast, you undoubtedly heard news reports earlier this year regarding the impending cicada invasion.
With 2013 being a banner year in the 17-year life cycle of these wonderfully noisy bugs, swarms of cicadas were predicted.
I remember one cicada season of my childhood in northern New Jersey.
Driving with my 5 siblings and parents in the family Volkswagen bus on the Garden State Parkway, the sound of the cicadas was all we could hear.
Even the noise of the highway traffic couldn't compete.
I was both curiously amazed and somewhat creeped out by the spectacle.
I was looking forward to this year's invasion because I had a plan...
a jewelry plan.
I was going to collect the hordes of cicadas and do something with those beautiful wings.
This was the 'hordes of cicadas' that descended on my property.
That's, lonely, singular cicada that I found as it lay belly-up on my back yard patio.
How disappointing.
So...I had the wings of one cicada to implement my jewelry plan.
The wings were carefully removed.
I had no idea until I began my dissection that cicadas have two sets of wings- the large ones that you can clearly see in the photo, and a smaller set below.
I sandwiched one large wing between two pieces of annealed copper and passed the cicada wing sandwich through my rolling mill.
The wings appear delicate but this one withstood the pressure of the rolling mill surprisingly well.
A light imprint of the wing was left of each piece of copper.
Using metal shears, I cut out the wings and then treated them with liver of sulfur, hoping to better highlight the patterning.
 The copper wings were riveted with sterling wire to bases of sterling silver and etched brass, drilled and wire wrapped to become pendants.
I initially thought I would only be able to make eight pieces using the four wings of my lonely cicada.
Lucky sister's friend paid her neighbor's little son to collect cicadas from their yard and pluck off the wings for me.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Thrift Store Find Meets Ceramic Find

The only thing better than a great thrift store find is a great thrift store find that  costs a whopping
75 cents. often can you expect to find something wonderful for less than a dollar?
I had that rare, lucky day recently when I found this small, textured brass tray at a local thrift store.
The carnage began almost immediately.
Using metal shears, I cut out sections that could then fit into my disc cutter.
Yes, I saved those dimpled pieces of rim....who knows when they might come in handy.
Once some discs were cut, I sanded all surfaces.
Some were drilled with top/bottom holes to later become links or earring components.
Others were center drilled to become bead caps.
When using large beads, I often like to use caps to help the beads 'sit' securely, both functionally and visually.
The caps also present an opportunity to introduce additional texture to a piece.
Bead caps from my thrift store tray were used in a newly completed necklace that features another great find....
this beautiful raku pendant by local ceramic artist, Joy Kerschner.
I purchased this pendant at the Wayne Art Center Annual Ceramics Sale.
The colors and textures of the raku pendant spoke to me (loudly spoke to me), and I knew that I wanted to make an equally colorful and textured necklace to properly complement Joy's inspired work.
The necklace that I made includes the recycled glass beads and bead caps, carnelian, amazonite, discs from a silver plated thrift store platter and a handmade clasp.
I am lucky to be living in an area that has a very active arts community.
With three art centers and many galleries near my home, I have the opportunity to take part in classes, workshops, exhibits and festivals.
I also have the opportunity to meet a nice variety of people who share a similar passion for creating a life filled with artistic expression.
Joy and I plan to meet soon to talk about the possibility of future collaborative efforts.
I am so looking forward to this meeting!