Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June's Journey

Well, today is the last day of June and I managed to squeeze in this entry into Erin's June Challenge: using a paper crafting item in a piece of jewelry. The copper metal plate is from K & Company - very nice and flat for a scrapbook page. I layered it on top of a slice of noreena jasper that I got at the Bead & Button show, and it is strung very simply on some copper chain and leather cording.

I just realized today, as I was taking more photos of it, that it could also double as a wrap bracelet!
Since I am a scrapbooker, I thought this was a great challenge and I wish I had more time to dabble around with some scrapbook elements. I have made several pieces of jewelry in the past that incorporated scrapbook items, and I have many more ideas for the future. But, June is always a terribly busy month for me! I was getting back from Belize early in the month, then Bead & Button and the Art Fair I do every year take up the next couple of weeks. I had the Raku party I previously posted about on my calendar as well.
But the good news is, Jon and I are off work this week and are having a wonderful "Staycation"! In addition to daily walks and swims, we have been getting things done around the house. I am just about finished with moving my studio - an idea I've had in mind for a while now - and it seemed like the perfect time since things were already half torn apart from needing tables and displays for the art fair. I can't wait to show the new studio here on the blog, and even more so can't wait to make my first piece of jewelry in there!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Raku Party

Raku-yaki (楽焼), or Raku ware, is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally and primarily used in the Japanese tea ceremony in Japan, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is traditionally characterized by hand-molding of the clay as opposed to turning it on a potter's wheel, resulting in each piece being "one-of-a-kind"; low firing temperatures (resulting in a fairly porous body); lead glazes; and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese firing process, the fired Raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and put directly into water or allowed to cool in the open air. Raku techniques have been adopted and modified by contemporary potters worldwide.

You might remember earlier this year, that the Art Center I am involved with had a fundraiser. For my part of giving, I auctioned off some jewelry pieces. Another Board Member (and ceramic instructor there) - Dallas Shoesmith - decided to have a Raku party at his home this summer. People who wanted to participate would donate a certain amount to the Art Center, and then at his party you would watch the Raku firing process and get to select a vessel to take home with you. It has been many months leading up to the party, which finally happened last night! It was so much fun!

Dal, and his wife Carol, have the most beautiful gardens. They had wonderful food and wine for the group to enjoy while we waited during the different intervals of the firing process. Dal is most known for the figures you see here in one area of his garden. The little pots they are holding are oil burning candles!
Gorgeous copper fountain.....
Dal fired a total of 8 pots while we were there, and here are the first trash bins ready for their pots. The trash bins are filled with shredded newspaper and lighter fluid. When the glowing red pot gets put into the bin, it catches fire. And at just the right moment, Dal knows when to put the lid on.
So cool.... I could sit and watch this all day long!
The first pot, now coming out of the trash bin. Look at those colors! Dal creates/mixes his own glazes, but the Raku process is very unknown - meaning, it's always a surprise to see what comes out!
The one he has in his hands right now, is the one I ended up choosing.
A little bit of water to really bring out the details.
And now for the second batch.

Dal formed all of the pots by hand, and I would describe his look as very rustic. Everyone in the group had a hard time choosing their pots, since each one is so different and beautiful. He did a lot of work on the inside too - reminds me of coral. It is so hard to capture how truly beautiful the colors are on camera - the pictures do not do it justice. This was so much fun, and the Art Center is truly blessed to have Dal as an instructor and Board Member.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Art in the Park

Yesterday was the annual Art in the Park fair that the Art Center of Battle Creek puts on, and quite often is the only show I do every year. I love doing it! My parents come over from Wisconsin every year to help me out, and I really needed their help especially this year since my husband is traveling for work.

During the week, I was interviewed by our two local newspapers here for articles they wrote up on the Art Fair. The interest it generated was awesome and I really appreciate the press! Many people mentioned it when they visited the booth.

Here is a pic of me and my Mom right before we left for the fair. We have coordinated our outfits for years now, and we found these dresses when I was in Wisconsin last weekend for the Bead & Button Show. When we park in downtown Milwaukee, we often walk through a department store called Boston Store. We found matching peacock tops last year, and these dresses this year!
Mom's matching necklace is made of a glass peacock bead and dyed howlite from Bead & Button (along with a dichroic bead and purple pearls I had).

Since there is only a week between Bead & Button and the Art Fair, I often find myself hurrying around trying to make a few new pieces with what I purchased at B & B. Here is a necklace made with a polymer pendant from Humblebeads and some purple stones I bought at the show.

Also from the show, I layered one of the new "family" charms from Green Girl Studios with a ceramic house from Earthenwood Studio. What goes better together than family and home?

Here are a few new bracelets....... the peace beads I got at B & B with the Diane Hawkey peace bead I already had in mind.

Dad's toolbox that he gifted to me was a new addition to the display. We had a lot of nice comments and conversations about it. It held all of the necklaces I made out of the Noreena Jasper I got at B & B.

Here is a closer look at some of the Noreena Jasper pieces. It's such a pretty stone, that it really can stand alone in a simple design. I think I was able to make 8 necklaces and each one was different. Here is one layered with a Tim Holtz charm and strung on labradorite.

One layered with a copper scrapbook tag, on chain with leather up the back.

Here, I alternated the Liverstone and Goldstone I got at B & B. I think this one was my favorite.

And here is a long one with a Lisa Peters dream connector and Liverstone around the back.

Setting up.....

Just like last year, a terrible storm rolled through on Friday night. So I remembered from last year the grass was wet - and muddy in some areas. What a great opportunity to wear my peacock rain boots! They were quite the talk of the day with everyone!!!

Thankfully, the weather all day Saturday was wonderful!

Thanks Mom & Dad!!! I couldn't have done it without you!

It was a great show! I am very happy with the results of what I sold, and the comments from everyone that I talked to. Whew, time to relax now!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Finishing Touch

A few months ago, we decided to replace all of the appliances in our kitchen. I had some before pictures, but I don't know what happened to them. The dishwasher had stopped working so it was always hanging open as a "drying rack" for the dishes I was hand washing. There were several pieces on wall mounted microwave (the vent thing on top, the handle) that were broken that my husband had re-attached with ugly screws. The gas range was finicky about lighting, and the fridge was making weird noises. So, it all got replaced with beautiful stainless steel versions.

If you've ever done a home project, you know it never stops with what you had originally planned to do. Replacing the appliances led to replacing all the cabinet hardware. We previous had these large black ceramic knobs that we referred to as the "clown" knobs. They weren't horrible, but they were quite "in your face" bold. So those are all now nice brushed nickel and what a difference that made!!!

Then, it turned into new wall art, and replacing our tiny round bistro set with a square pub height dark wood set.

Lastly, we wanted to get a new sink and faucet. I wanted a single basin sink, as the sink I previously had was divided. But not divided down the middle, it was more like 1/4 and 3/4 and the faucet was offset to the left. That 1/4 section was hardly ever used - a waste of space.

You are probably wondering what in the world any of this has to do with jewelry. Well, for one, projects like this are time consuming. Time that is taken away from me getting to make jewelry. Hee. Hee. It takes a lot of time to pick things out, clean out old stuff, help with arranging, etc....

Secondly, I ended up buying this sink because of a jewelry challenge! In May, Erin of TesoriTrovati had a challenge that was inspired from wedding flowers. You can read all about the set I entered into the challenge here in this post. Well, lucky me, I won!!! And the prize was a $100 gift card to online store CSN Stores.

It didn't take me long to figure out that I was going to purchase this sink. The price CSN was offering it for was less than Lowes and Home Depot. Shipping was very reasonable I thought. I ordered it on a Tuesday and it was on my doorstep on Thursday! How's that for customer service! I couldn't be more pleased with my purchase from CSN. So thank you Erin and CSN for offering this prize.

This just proves that you never know what creating jewelry will bring into your life! I love creating jewelry and I would certainly continue to do it even if it would never bring another penny into my pocket. But it is nice that the extra income I make from it can help sustain our home, or be donated to worthy causes, or go into buying more supplies. I like participating in different challenges as well because it always pushes me to design something I might not have ever thought of.

Now that this lady has a good working sink and dishwasher, she is sure happy it will free up more time to bead!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bead & Button!

Well, I am back from Bead & Button and I had a great time as usual. I met some new friends, connected with friends I already knew, and walked away with a great stash and lots of inspiration!

Here I am with Erin Prais-Hintz of TesoriTrovati. She was working at the Humblebeads booth and it was so great to meet her after being online friends for so long. She shared some purchases she had made, and was working on a beautiful necklace. We talked about one of the classes she took in etching, and I do hope she will blog about the new tools and technique she learned.
And here I am with Heather Powers herself. I am so glad she had her Humblebeads booth there! She's originally from Michigan, but came a long way from Texas for the show. I know she wants to get back to Lake Michigan someday though.
Here is what I scored at Humblebeads - a new branch tube bead, pretty egg, pinky/purple willow bead, and a couple of starfish pendants. Oh, and Erin shared those pretty mottled glass beads with me from her stash! How sweet of her!
I had a great time visiting with the dear Andrew Thornton at his family's booth Green Girl Studios. I now know the story behind his "I want that" posts, and will forever hear his voice saying that when I see them.
I was able to get a lot of the new goodies Green Girl is offering - new bird and fish clasps, kitty charm, floral charm. I was excited that they had some of the hollow glass beads (as featured in Cynthia's Enchanted Adornments book) and their new end caps that fit with them perfectly. I can't wait to fill mine up!
Of course some peacock dream pieces from ceramic artist Lisa Peters.
A polymer clay pendant from Heather Wynn. I am really itching to make some beachy jewelry inspired by my trip to Belize.
Some essentials from Bello Modo - brass wire and some new resin I am going to try that is ready to use (no 2 part mixing) and it cures in the sun/UV light.
How could I pass up this deal from Bead Liquidator LLC: 2 strands of Noreena Jasper for $20!
Their booth also had a table where I got 20 strands of beads for $30. The mustard yellow ones are called Liverstone and I got them, along with some Goldstone, to go with the Noreena Jasper. Also got some nice Labradorite in there.
So happy to find this peacock pendant at Clay River Designs with some matching beads.
I'm going to have to dig for a business card for this booth, but I got some dyed howlite, and some purple stones that remind me of aqua terra jasper. That rusty little bell just had to go home with me, and I have a project in mind for the peace sign beads.
Jill McKay had some really cool components that I couldn't pass up. A great little orb pendant to fill with special treasures. A cool magnetic clasp that is perfect for ending a piece made with leather or cotton cord. I plan to rivet a special component onto the leather bracelet, layered with the colored leather pieces - I hope it turns out how I picture it.
Gorgeous pearls from Talisman Associates. The golden ones are for the Noreena Jasper too, and the graduated color ones could really just be strung as is to make a striking necklace! Too good to pass up at buy one, get one.
I got these unique pieces from Melanie at Earthenwood Studio. We talked about some shows and classes that she is going to teach in the Detroit area. Hopefully, I will see her again soon!
And across the isle was her friend and traveling partner - another Detroit girl - Diane Hawkey. I got this skull and twig from her. I think the skull would look really cool with some ancient roman glass beads!
My only glass purchase this year was a couple of peacock beads from Chase Designs and a flower from Susan Sheehan.
Whew! What a day! I wish I could have gotten more pictures at the show, but my camera started acting up on me. I think it's time for a new one...... Anyway, I am full of ideas and busy getting ready for the Art Fair that I do every summer coming up on Saturday. I hope to turn some new pieces out by then using some of my new pretties!