Monday, November 30, 2009

More than just owls......

Yep, I promised ya that I was dreaming up more than owls in the metal studio. Of course, creating owls is a lot of fun so I definitely see more of them in my future. But here are some other fun pieces I've made.

Here we have.... a peacock of course!!! This started out with a flattened fork I found in a parking lot probably back in the Spring. I knew I wanted to upcycle the fork into jewelry somehow, and this occurred. Bending the fork was quite a task - man that sucker was tough! I worked on it during one of the open studio nights at the Art Center with my teacher's advice. We annealed it twice and it still did not want to move! So, I had to be happy with what I got. There were no markings on the fork, so I don't know what it was made out of.

I cut his body and head shape out of copper, and etched the border and eye on it. I sawed the fork head off of it's handle. I knew I wanted to use several rivets, curved like a wing, to attached the fork to the body and my initial idea was to have the fork on top. Then my husband came down to the basement and suggested putting it on that back. Yeah, that looks better. He also picked up one of my little silver spacer beads and said that would look good for an eye, rather than the etched one. Thanks honey, that does look good! I tried a technique on the rivets - almost like doubling them. I first did a hollow brass tubing rivet, then I did a solid copper rivet in the middle of the holes. A pin was attached to the back and I wore this to work today! It's funny the reactions you get in the corporate world.... when you tell some people it was a fork they respond by saying "wow! cool!" and then you tell others and you can just tell they "don't get it". Like, whoa, that's just too artsy fartsy for me. Or, OMG, I would never wear an eating utensil as an accessory. LOL!
Here, I used one of my heart shaped tea strainers to make butterfly wings! I created an etched copper body to attached them to. Then I formed antennae out of silver wire and hammered it flat. Coordinating copper chain and a silver toggle clasp pull this statement necklace together. And here's an example of when I didn't take my husband's advice: he said the chain was too plain. I told him that is because I wanted the focus to be on the butterfly and since it was such a large piece already, it didn't need anything else. I am thinking of bringing this one to the Art Center to sell.

I also made some pieces that were Christmas presents, but I won't be able to show them until after they are received!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Owl Family

I want to introduce you to my new owl family! Ever since completing the class I took at the Art Center, I have been so inspired to work with the metal techniques I learned. I probably shouldn't even say that I have fallen into a routine again, because every time I talk of routines something comes along and throws a wrench in the plans. But, I am going to jinx myself anyway. The last 2 weekends I have spent most of my Saturdays in my metal studio in the basement and then on Sundays I will take photos, blog, make completed jewelry, take care of other online tasks, clean (and lately decorate for the holidays) and whatever else my heart desires. The perfect weekend for me is feeling like I have gotten a lot of things done that I want to get done, along with a little bit of relaxation. If I don't have that, I don't feel as satisfied.

Anyway, the hours that I spend working on metal just fly by! However, it is rough on the hands, and sometimes body if you are contorting yourself in one position for too long. So for now, doing a day of it a week is just enough for me. I have learned to multi-task quite well - planning pieces I want to etch ahead of time so that they can be soaking while I assemble other things. Well, enough about all that - let's talk about these owls!!!

All of the owl heads were cut out of copper, and then etched with different features. Then, I riveted a variety of objects onto them for eyes and noses. They will have bails attached to them and will be strung on leather. I am planning on listing 2 on Etsy and then sell 2 at the Art Center's gift shop.

This first guy is similar to the first owl I completed after the class. What's different about this one is that I actually interlocked the gears this time and left the rivets loose so they will move! I have just been taking my thumbnail of my right hand and turning the right eye every chance I get! As with any mechanical object, I am starting to see wear (circles) on the copper as the gears go around. I think that is so cool and will give this piece more character as years go on!
For this next guy's eyes, I used 2 carved bone beads that I had. I really like how he turned out!
Here's Mr. Button Eyes...... riveting buttons is tricky because they break so easily!
What a classy fella with dimes for eyes! The rivets I used here are from Vintaj. It wasn't until after I completed the class, that I came across Vintaj's nail head rivets. I just couldn't wait to order some and try them. The difference between the Vintaj rivets and the rivets I had been using is this: the Vintaj rivets already have the "nail head" on one end, so you only have to hammer down the other end. They are also already cut in 1/4" and 1/2" lengths (which you can cut down even further). The way I was taught to do rivets was by using a tube of metal about a foot long, and cutting how much material you needed with your saw. Then, on those, you have to hammer out both ends to hold to connection. No matter what though, you will always need a variety of rivets depending on your project, size holes, etc.... so there aren't any that are better than others.

Stay tuned as I have made some other metal projects that aren't owls!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Owls & Wine

I recently made this necklace with one of my etched copper pieces, and I just love how it turned out! I love the dark navy blue stones I used mixed with the goldstone. With the dark patina on the metal, it just was meant to be.

I am happy to report this necklace found a home today on Etsy. When I saw the address, it intrigued me so I did a little research. It is on it's way to a lady at Owl Creek Vineyard in Cobden, Illinois. I really enjoyed looking around on their website, and finding out more about their wines. The owl artwork that goes on the bottle labels would certainly make the empty bottle a collectible item for me! Next time I am going through Illinois, I might just have to make a stop at the vineyard - or at least go to one of the retailers that carries their wine!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

About Dad

I took a quick trip to my home town last weekend, and while there I got to admire some new garden art my Dad made. He made these modern looking trees by upcycling copper trays he found at work which I am assuming were destined for the garbage. He said he has since made one for me and I am thrilled - I really like them!
I also had the honor of taking a family heirloom home with me. My Dad is a tool & die maker and he bought this wood toolbox for himself when I was 2. He wanted me to have it for my jewelry business. He refinished and cleaned it up - here is the leather handle with his name on it.
Here is a view of the box from the front.
Once the top comes down, it reveals lots of drawers!
The felt in the bottom of the drawers is original and I plan to keep it that way. Not only can I store my tools/beads in here, I immediately knew I was also going to use it as a display at shows!
Eventually, when a baby comes our way, I plan to move my studio to the sunroom right off our living room. But for now, I didn't want to hide this pretty box in my spare bedroom studio upstairs, so it has earned a spot in our living room.

I know my Dad reads my blog...... thanks Dad!!!! Love you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wood Beads in Action!

One of my morning rituals includes searching Etsy for peacock items. It was so great this morning to discover one of my peacock feather wood burned components made into a bracelet! I asked Brittany of Bella Beach Jewelry if I could brag up her design on my blog and she agreed! I love that she used peacock colors (blues and greens) with the wood.
Take a minute to look at her Etsy shop - she has lots of pretty things!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stuck in the Horizon

Lately, I have been stuck on creating focal pieces that are horizontal. I'm not complaining - it's just how ideas are coming to me. First, the felted beads on the wood - then the Peacock Fairy dream necklace in my last post - and now this cute little forest inspired necklace.
Here, I used an actual twig that I drilled holes into. I wired Humblebeads cute gnome and mushroom beads onto it (the mushroom came only as a top so I made a stem for it out of polymer clay). The chain has simple Czech glass beads wired into it in even intervals.
I think I might submit this for the ABS challenge too - I am sure I see some gnomes (or little people) in the one corner of Richard Dadd's painting. Also, I think the colors here go perfectly with the painting - the dark grey of the twig, the touch of red, the muted olive green........

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November ABS Challenge Entry

It has been awhile since I have entered one of the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenges, but I am so excited with the necklace design I was able to come up with today to submit! This month's painting is The Fairy Fellers' Master-Stroke by Richard Dadd.

I guess I will start at the beginning of my design process. The first piece I picked up was a ceramic pendant from Lisa Peters ART. As soon as I saw it on Etsy last week, I snapped it right up! Isn't it funny how a particular component becomes your favorite for a while and you end up coming up with so many design ideas for it? Well, that is what has been happening with these 10 hole wood bars I recently got at Hobby Lobby. At first, I thought I would hang the pendant from the wood bar all centered and perfect. But after I looked at it awhile, I decided to do it asymmetrical with the addition of a peacock feather on one side.

Okay, so I had my focal ready to go, now I had to decide what to use for stringing it. I started to search though my beads. Nothing was really grabbing my attention. I happen to look over to my shelf of jewelry and saw a choker I had made years ago with fancy jasper and a Green Girl Studios clasp. It was a really simple design that I loved, but the more I thought about it I couldn't remember the last time I wore it. I started to wonder why I didn't wear it - did I not like chokers? Did I think my long hair hid most of the pretty beads? Hmmmmm. In the end, I decided to use it in this necklace. My original thought was to start stringing the jasper up each side of the pendant and then putting the fairy clasp off to one side. But the more I looked at it, I discovered how cool it looked to separate the fairies so that they looked like they were holding each end of the pendant! Of course, the one that has the hook does still serve as the closure. The best part about it though: I didn't have to take the necklace apart at all!
I am absolutely in love with this necklace now! It embraces everything about me and my business name: peacocks and fairies!

Oh, if you'd like to see the choker in it's before state, I blogged about it here in my very early blogging days!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Warm & Fuzzy

I've had these little felted balls from Hobby Lobby for quite some time now. I love the color combo, and especially the fact that they also have tiny seed beads sew onto them. I knew I wanted to use all four colors together and finally, this design came to me. It is quite modern and funky! I made 3 necklaces, but strung them with different colored seed beads in coordinating hues. This way, I can put one of each of these at all 3 outlets I sell at: Etsy, the Art Center, and another local store. It will be a competition of sorts, to see where one sells first!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Component, Two Ways

I must have been in a really pink, feminine mood when I made these! I was playing around with some filigree plates that I had gotten at Hobby Lobby a while back. They feature a butterfly and some flowers. Just goes to show how versatile these pieces can be! In this first necklace, I mimicked the shapes in the metal by wiring the same shapes onto it - a porcelain butterfly from Round Rabbit Extras and some lucite flowers. The colors seemed to work out in my most favorite combo - pink and green - to use these pretty dyed jade rounds I recently got at Michael's. They are some of my most favorite new beads - I have almost bought out my local Michael's!
For this bracelet, I bent the filigree a bit to fit the curve of a wrist. Then I went back to the first beading technique I learned (peyote stitch) to make the strap of this cuff out of pink hex beads. I also wanted to use the end findings I've had for years, specifically made for ending flat bead work (I think they are from Designer Findings). A pink ribbon allows the closure to fit any size wrist.

These are both listed on Etsy.

Sorry, I didn't put any links to the supplies in this post - I am too tired since I also listed 2 other necklaces and 3 pairs of earrings on Etsy. Go check 'em out!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jewelry Class - Completed

I had meant to post weekly updates about the jewelry class I was taking, but boy did those 4 weeks fly by fast! So, I will take the opportunity to do it now. First, I'd like to introduce you to our cool teacher Emily Wohlscheid. You can see her blog here and check out her Etsy shop here. Not only does she work in metal, but she also works with fiber. She joins the 2 to make lovely jewelry creations! She does several shows during the year and also sells in the Art Center gift shop. She taught us many cool things and I enjoyed chatting with her about displays, doing shows, Etsy, where to shop for tools, etc.....

I set up a better little metal studio in my basement since I wanted to keep it all separate from my jewelry studio. Working with metal can be loud and messy so it really wouldn't have worked with all of my delicate bead trays and such. Having an organized/designated space will prompt me to keep up with these skills.
Since my first post, I have added a few more tools to my collection: a die set that punches different size circles and a dapping set. I am looking forward to making my own bead caps now!
Among the many techniques we learned, one was roller printing. Similar to etching, it creates a raised pattern on your metal. With roller printing, you first have to anneal the metal and then as long as your image is dry and flat, it will work. I used a stencil I had to create these peacock feathers. I am not sure what I am going to do with them yet - I can always cut them into different shapes from here - but I did put a patina on them to bring the pattern out more.
And, I am happy to report that I do have a completed project and it did come from my original inspiration during our first class: to somehow use the rivets as owl eyes. You can see my sad little first try here. I am glad that I was able to expand on this idea and cut out a better owl head. I then etched an outline on him to give him a more finished look and to add interest. Then pantina of course. His eyes and nose are scrapbook elements (the gears are from Tim Holtz). I am so thrilled with how he turned out, and I am excited to do more! Perhaps an entire owl series! I have collected many cool objects that can be used as eyes and noses. I didn't want to compromise his design by poking any additional holes in him for stringing, so I adhered a bail since I took this picture. I think just suspending him from a simple chain or leather will be perfect. Be on the lookout for more of these owls - hopefully coming soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Ahhhhh, Sunday.

With the added bonus of an extra hour!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! Ours was pretty low key this year, and that was okay. But since Halloween is my favorite holiday, I really do like going all out from time to time with a really cool costume and going out somewhere. But, not this year. However, I do dress my dogs up every year - they are just too friggin' cute not to! I love them so much and they just crack me up!!!
This year, Biscuit was a Pimp!
And Mocha was a Rasta Dog!

(Both costumes courtesy of Petco!)
Then, we went to the Art Center for their Day of the Dead celebration. We got to paint skull masks!
Here are the completed masks. Jon's is the yellow one and mine is the white one. I attempted to do very traditional Day of the Dead, but still snuck a peacock feather on the forehead! They both turned out great!

Then, we came home and did our traditional watching of two of our favorite Halloween movies: The Corpse Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas (both from Tim Burton). It was a really enjoyable day!