Saturday, September 17, 2011

productive days

Ocassionally, I have bursts of speed and creativity that completely engulfs my day. I love days like this. I have more ideas than time, so I try to work as fast as possible. The benefit is all the work that gets finished, which feels pretty satisfying. The downside is that everything else kind of falls to the side. The house is a wreck, emails are piling up and I loathe leaving my bench. The idea of leaving for a few hours is almost painful. Sessions like this require a lot of time management, breaking up chores in chunks so things get finished and my family doesn't rebel.

My friend Bob Burkett helped me design and construct this little slider turtle, showing me tricks with wax to get clean results. Its really small, about an 1 3/4" long and 1" wide. The shell is cast in shibuichi, the body in sterling, set with onyx cabachon eyes. I love it.

After completing the turtle, I couldn't seem to get enough of wax, so I started this doll. She's about 5 1/4" tall, perfect for 1/12 scale dollhouses. I'm planning on making her into a little pixie, dressed as if she found her outfit from items found arond the house. Maybe I'm influenced by 'The Borrowers" from my childhood!

I'm really happy with how she looks and especially her jointing. It was a real challenge to get the elbows and knees to bend, with a full range of movement, but also look like accurate human joints. We're in the process of molding her now, so hopefully she will cast well in resin.

I made this ring while working on the turtle. Its a study in setting cabachons, using a large rose cut sapphire and two rose cut garnets. I really enjoyed learning to use wax to make bezels (thanks Bob!). Now I can use all those stones I've been hoarding. I told Bob he should make videos to teach his innovative techniques in wax work, but I don't think he thinks there's enough interest.

I have another 5 - 8 pieces on my bench that are in different stages of completion. I usually work in groups, shifting between carving in tight detail to loose, gestural lines. This gives my hands and eyes a break and its also good to step away from a piece, to really see it. This mermaid pendant is destined to be cast in bronze, shibuichi and sterling. Hopefully we'll have some ready to send to Andrew to debut at his store and a few to sell in Hawaii next week. This time it will be just me and my friend Jessica Wiesel, which will be fun, but probably hard since I've never been away from little family. I'm looking forward to soaking in the ocean and eating loads of tropical fruit and masubi (teriyaki spam on rice- love it!) not to mention all the other hard to find asian foods I grew up with.

If you're on Oahu next week, come down to Honolulu for the SoftFlex Bead Show! Stop by and say hello, check out our limited edition pieces (I'm working on some mechanical owls and another mermaid!) and maybe give us some tips on where to eat. Show starts on Friday, see you there!

where do the days go?

The days seem to rush by, one minute I'm cleaning up the breakfast dishes, the next its midnight and the house is quiet and I have a few short hours to work before its time to start again. Sometimes it scares me, this passage of time, seeing my children changing before my eyes, limbs lengthening, slimming, losing the plumpness of babyhood. Its times like this that I'm bursting to stop everything, to stay in those perfect moments.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time on etsy, since I have the store now and its doing surprisingly well. I picked up these labradorite pendant from a store called SilverFound. They are very beautiful, about the size to fit in a quarter, very luminous and reasonably priced. I think they'd look amazing with some faceted briolettes and handmade chain (my fave combo).

This is a custom felt animal I ordered from Pentip, also on etsy. She makes adorable felt animals like dragons, foxes, griffins and unicorns that are also poseable. This kitty was designed to look like my beloved Paddy. I think she captured his debonair charm and sweet expression.

My sister Sheila and her boyfriend Steve came for a visit and we had the best time at a little rock mining store called Elijah Mountain in Hendersonville. We love searching for rocks in creek beds and along streams, so this was a nice excursion only twenty minutes away. Basically you buy a big bucket of dirt and rocks culled from various areas where gemstones are found (along rivers usually) and shift through it with strainer and water. When the dirt washes away, what's left is rough stones like rubies, sapphires, citrines, amethyst, quartz and garnets. Sometimes there are fossils and unusual stones like kyanite and emerald. They are pretty rough, but we plan to use our yield on the lapidary grinder and smooth them out to make pendants. Azalea had the best time shoveling through the buckets and discovering the treasures. I think we'll have to make some of these strainers so we can pan along some of the rivers nearby. You never know, we might find gold.