Friday, August 29, 2008

Look at Paddy doing a fine job as a pillow prop! Greg and Azalea passed out on the couch while watching 'Children of Dune' while Andrew and I stared transfixed at the t.v. - I love Dune. We've been crafting and making plans, drinking lots of good coffee and watching fun movies. Ok, my secret news is still under wraps, but I can assure you I am not pregnant. Greg wants five babies, but I'm not that productive! I have been busy making horns, because we are headed back to Philly in October for Faery Con and I need more costumey goods on my table. Maybe I'll make wings out of paper. Ok, back to work!
*Does anyone know the rules of freeze tag? We are arguing like crazy and running around demonstrating how we think it should be played. I know, we're dorks.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Another shibuichi bezel filled with a tiny sculpture. I used lots of sparkly pigments and foils in this one and they will really pop when its filled with resin.

This glass necklace was made by Stephanie Maddalena, a charming glass artist we were set up near at the Interweave Bead Fest in Philadelphia. Azalea made fast friends with her daughters and they played all day long behind the tables. The show was a success and loads of fun to shop, many of my favorite vendors and artists were there, like Joanne Zekowski and Gail Crosman Moore. We had a lot of fun in Philly, but its nice to be home. Andrew rode home with us and will be making stuff like crazy until he has to go back to NY in a couple of weeks. We have been planning projects and working on dolls out of polymer. Sheila arrived yesterday from LA and it has been so nice to have a full house. Today we went downtown to get lunch at The Green Sage, then picked up some chocolates at The Chocolate Fetish. So its been busy around here, but relaxed. I have some big news...but I have to wait before I can share it. Stay tuned to find out what it is!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

small things

New bezels. The heart shape was made by Candace Wakumoto - my job is to fill it with something nice. Its still in progress. The bird girl and centaur lady just need resin to protect them. The centaur is for Jean, because she is so good at making my day. So far that means one new one for the show in Philadelphia this weekend. I can't believe how slow I am- these tiny things take a long time make.

I made this polymer baby turtle bead for Azalea, she loves them and was deeply saddened when I told her how few survive to adulthood. She is pleased with her prize. I have so much to do tomorrow! Yet I feel like baking madeleines and reading my books ( treehouse manuals, Jane Austin's complete works and The Alchemyst). I have no desire to pack up the van and get things ready to go. I'm in nesting mode and haven't left the house in days, except to walk the dog or plant toad lillies. I for one am happy that way, Azalea on the hand gets cabin fever and can't wait to go on a walk and talk to people. She is so outgoing and I'm almost a hermit, what a pair we are! Thankfully, both of us love to be in the studio making things and spend hours working (she on her paintings and clay roller and me on my small things) its happiness.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Look at my girls panda drawing! Already an artist.

That baby enjoying ice cream after a hard day of playing. Well, I'd like to say that I've been hard at work on new designs or sketching the new catalog, but...I've spent the past few days playing. We have made feasts and stayed up late watching movies, reading books and dressing dolls- with the occasional break to clean. I did try out my new gemstone watercolors and I love them. They are subtle, glimmery- exactly how one would think paint made of powdered semi-precious stones would be. The pallette I chose is limited, so I will be using them with regular watercolors and gouache. There is something special about them, the colors seem so different, even if the turquoise is only a little lighter than cerulean blue and the equivalent of burnt sienna, bronzite, shimmers beautifully.

Another thing I adore, the movie 'Penelope', with Christina Ricci and James McAvoy. Its a charming retelling of beauty and the beast, with the roles reversed. I loved her clothes, her green mary janes and especially her room! The best thing about the film was the message of accepting yourself and embracing who you are as an individual, rather than focusing on trivialities like image. A nice concept for a world obsessed with botox and perpetual youth. Azalea also really enjoyed it and remained interested throughout, which was nice; sometimes she doesn't always like mama's choice of tv (Bizaare Foods, Iron Chef or Project Runway). I'll get to work tomorrow, hopefully finishing up some news bezels for the Philadelphia show.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Flower girls

Hi! Look how sweet these flower girls are! We just returned from Fayetteville, WV after enjoying a beautiful wedding. My girl had the best time wearing her dress and crown and playing with her new friends. The crowns came out nicely- I was going to buy them and realized I could make them myself, using better materials and cheaper. I used vintage glass pearls, swarovski crystals,wire, silk flowers and loads of floral tape. Everyone was pleased.

We were happy to get out of the house and take a road trip to enjoy the last days of summer. I found the drive up really beautiful and slightly scary in some places, especially where it seemed super high up with only a little railing between us and a sharp drop. Luckily I was jacked up on lots of Red Bull, so my eyes barely blinked. I rode up with some friends and the drive seemed short, what with all our stories and jokes!
We had a great time, but I wished Greg could have been there with us. He has been in California the last few days doing the glass convention in Oakland and will be staying until next for the show in Pasadena. He is staying with our friends from Bead Trust so it will be fun for him. Me and Azalea have been occupying ourselves by walking Kitsune down the street to pester our neighbors who have a really sweet treehouse (I want one) and a trampoline. I haven't done anything on my things-to-do list except vacuum and that list is mighty long. Its also probably unrealistic, with things like: landscape the yard, carve a new bead everyday, re-design the porch to include a japanese soaking tub and teach Kitsune to balance 200 dog biscuits on her nose like those pooches on you tube. Well, better get to it.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

New Clasp!

Hello! Here is a new clasp cast in shibuichi (will also be available in silver) its about 1 1/4" across. This piece was sculpted twice, once out of wax, which was ruined in the mold and second out of pmc - which is awesome for masters, since its already metal, it can't be messed up. I like this clasp, it feels sturdy and secure and I don't mind if it flips to the front of a bracelet, its so fancy. I've spent the weekend working on Stringing submissions. The deadlines always seem to sneak up on me, luckily most of the hard part was finished last week, so all I had to do was string. It takes me forever to come up with projects I'm happy with, I'll have half a dozen possibilities laid out, then they are agonized over for a long time. Half the problem is I like imagining who would wear the piece and make up stories about them and how the jewelry is magical (like a teleportation device, or the power of being amazingly charming). I've been reading The Mistress of Spices and Howl's Moving Castle, so magic and fairy tales are on my mind. Well, its time to write instructions!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sheila finally has a blog!

Hey everybody! Look at this, my sister, the painter/world traveller finally has a blog! She will be documenting her travels with watercolor and oils and sharing them with the world, donating a portion of the sales to a worthy cause. I think this month is Doctors without Borders. She probably got tired of hearing us ask "What exactly do you do when you're sitting around in the Phillipines?" This will be nice, I can keep up on her activities and not feel like she has disappeared into the world for months at a time.

Bronze clay

Hi! Here are some samples of bronze clay. I found it difficult to work with - the texture was like grainy stoneware and it dried fast! This small yield took about 3 hours to make - a long time, considering how long it would usually take in silver pmc. I still have to fire them, so I will make more pieces to make it worth the effort. I'm disappointed with it. I was hoping the clay would have a different texture, it is very difficult to keep the clay moist, as it dries almost instantly. It is possible I got a dry or defective pouch. I opened the pouch and it was already almost leatherhard - to begin I had to soften it up with water (which made a muddy mess). I'm not giving up yet, as you can see, I got it to work. It was just very frustrating, as I was expecting it to be more like pmc, something I use all the time. I'm determined to master this challenging product!
To cheer myself up from my puny yield, I bought two new books 'Alabama Stitch Book' and 'Martha Stewerts Cookies'. I love that sewing book so much! I'm dying to make the reverse aplique corset! The projects feature hand sewing and beading, using recycled t -shirts, so the look is modern, yet classic. The cookie book is so good. I made the Pistachio Chocolate Biscotti and was surprised how easy it was to make and how delicious the results. Well, I'm off to mess with that clay, maybe I'll have better luck after my chocolate fix.

Friday, August 01, 2008

My first bronze pieces done in '99.
Necklace with opals, herkimer diamonds, silver and crystals.

Gifts from Carter Seibels! I could just eat them up! I am so pleased. I especially love the cute pouch, I think green ones would suit my goods.
I've got bronze on my mind, see my first pieces? My caster didn't make any masters of these pieces, so I had to re- carve the ones I wanted to keep, the rest are, shall we say 'limited edition'. I spent the last several days making tools for bronze clay (remember: cross contamination) and new molds to try out. I carved four: a tree, a fancy bird, an owl and a mermaid. I am very curious how these molds will look in bronze. Hopefully they look really good and I can have them for the upcoming California shows. I'm going to try to make bezels as well, to add to my pile of empty ones, ready to be filled with little sculptures. I love making them, its like 3-d painting. Speaking of paint, I picked up a Daniel Smith catalog and found watercolors made with gemstone pigments: turquoise, lapis, sugilite, bronzite and many others. I can't wait till my order gets here! I am a rock hound and watercolor tester ( I have quite a collection of tubes and cakes) what a combination! I tried making lapis powder (to make egg tempera) and I must've been a little over enthusiastic about grinding and completely bruised the color. It didn't look great. But this does, I bet I could gesso the interiors of the bezels and paint inside. I tried mounting watercolor paper and pouring resin on top, it bubbles like crazy! Too porous. Well, I feel like a mad scientist tonight, all ready to experiment, yet also ready to enjoy a cream soda float.