Friday, May 5, 2017

From the Mighty Oak

Always on the lookout for interesting textures to incorporate into my jewelry,
I recently found a well preserved white oak leaf, 
left over from last year's growing season.
Oak leaves are generally pretty tough, 
making this one a potential candidate for my rolling mill.

The leaf was sandwiched between two pieces of annealed copper
and then rolled through the mill.
Because I used a thin gauge of copper to get a good imprint,
I planned to solder the newly formed leaf 
onto a piece of metal that had been previously etched 
in order to have a finished product 
with enough substance to maintain its shape.

I tried to be smart about my soldering 
and began by sweat soldering pieces of easy solder on to the back of the leaf.
After cleaning the leaf in pickle,
it was fluxed and placed on a piece of etched nickel....
also fluxed.
While these are relatively large pieces of metal,
I wasn't overly concerned
since neither is of a heavy gauge.

I guess I should have been a bit more concerned
since things did not work out the way I had planned.
Some of the solder flowed, 
and some of it didn't.
The flux must have been burned off
because no matter how much heat was applied,
I couldn't seem to get more of the solder to do what I wanted it to do.
I know I could have taken the partially connected assembly apart, 
pickled it
and start again...
but I just didn't want to.
I made the executive decision that this would be a 
partly soldered/mostly riveted piece.
Holes were drilled in strategic locations...
and rivets were made with short segments of sterling wire.

When I first found the white oak leaf,
I thought that maybe it could inspire a necklace.
It quickly became apparent 
that the copper version was a bit too mighty to wear around the neck.
Second option...
a bracelet.

The riveted, layered leaf was formed 
with a plastic mallet and my oval bracelet mandrel.
I feared that some of the rivets might pop as the leaf 
was bent and pounded into shape,
all connections held tight.
Sigh of relief!

Back to the garden 
to search for more millable leaves!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Keeping My Reluctant Resolution

Trying to earn money as an artist/craftsperson 
requires an ongoing search for display opportunities.
Since there is no financial benefit 
from being the largest collector of one's own work, 
contact with the world outside my home studio does need to be made.
While I typically ignore the urge to make New Year's resolutions,
I did resolve to apply to more shows in 2017.

As expected, 
I'm already experiencing mixed results 
from staying true to my resolution.

My lack of confidence keeps me from painting the figure,
but I forced myself out of my comfort zone 
so I could enter a recent show, 
'Body Language', 
at Chester County Art Association.
My painting,
'Monday Morning',
was juried into the show.
It didn't sell, 
but I'll view getting into the show as a positive.

I entered the maximum allowed four paintings 
into the upcoming juried show at Main Line Art Center.
All four paintings were rejected.

I was a bit stymied when I saw that 
Beauty Art Gallery in Newtown Square 
was having a juried show with the theme 
'The Art of Music'.
How would I capture music in a painting?
I decided to go abstract and entered two pieces.
 'One Note'
'Many Notes'
Both paintings were juried into the show
and each painting received an award.

The upcoming juried show at 
Wallingford Community Art Center
has the theme
I again decided that I might best relate to the theme 
with something abstract,
and chose to work on top of a misguided mixed-media piece 
that I began years ago.
Without any idea of where I was going,
I started by adding layers of both transparent and opaque colors.
Why had I collaged a vintage image of businessmen 
in front of a Roman aqueduct?
I don't know,
but that earlier work began to disappear 
as I thought that stripes would be my answer to the show's theme.

Using acrylics, 
I kept applying paint,
adding texture,
evaluating the balance of color and shapes...
until I felt that the individual components
worked together as an implied pattern of cohesiveness.
While the aqueduct is no longer visible,
I like how the heads of the underlying businessmen
can still be detected.

The above painting, 
along with my second study of stripes
will both be entered next Monday for jurying.

Fingers are crossed.