Saturday, June 30, 2012

Little things matter ...

It is true little things can make all the difference - to your day, your mood,your work. Of course usually when you think of little things that make a difference you think of a smile from a stranger or the perfect cup of coffee in the morning. I wanna talk about things that are literally small that make a big difference. Behold the necklace below ...

It looks ok so far right? Well the pendant part is good but that bead chain leaves a bit to be desired if you ask me. And I did. Ask me I mean. It is a little bland and dahlings we simply don't do bland. I knew I had to create something a little more dramatic to be in keeping with the pendant but I really wanted to use those blue glass beads. I decided to add beadcaps. That meant making the little suckers of course. sigh.

Here they are cut out and domed. Next they need to be filed. And drilled. And then polished. All by hand of course. more sighing.

Nice and shiny and tidy - now they are ready to use.

See how the caps enhance these lovely lapis coloured vintage beads? They look quite substantial.

And see how they add to the overall style of the piece? It was worth all that fiddling about I reckon and just goes to show that little things can make a big difference.

I am very happy to say that all the components on this piece are 100% handmade by moi. I have used reclaimed pewter (hand cut and some cast), vintage glass beads, recycled sterling silver, carnelian and vintage tin. It makes me think of Scheherazade and her tales. 
Now with regard to other little things - here is a little poem for you. It was penned by Julia Fletcher Carney in 1845.

Little Things.
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean
And the pleasant land.
So the little moments,
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
Of Eternity.
So the little errors
Lead the soul away
From the paths of virtue
Far in sin to stray.
Little deeds of kindness,
Little words of love,
Help to make earth happy,
Like the Heaven above.

... and good coffee really helps too!

Friday, June 29, 2012

"Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind: and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind." 
William Shakespeare 

Hearteyes, reclaimed pewter, tin,brass.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Creativity = Mess. Bigtime.

Just now life is kinda messy around here ...

My kitchen table is a hotbed of creativity - "hotbed" - get it - cos I am melting and soldering all over it? Never mind it wasn't that funny anyways. Oh and that is an etching station lurking at the back of the pic. Yay for ferric chloride with dinner!

My banging-stuff-about area is messy. And a little rusty on account of some seriously cold weather/condensation. sigh

Ack - my workbench is especially messy. Who can work like that? It's a disgrace!

Even my drawing space has been invaded.

And there are little bowls of half started projects all over the place. What on Earth is going on? Well it seems this is how I work - well it is when I am working towards creating a body of work. For an exhibition. In five weeks. (don't panic - exhale!) I am choosing to believe that this is my modus operandi - lotsa mess, minimal stuff to show for it followed by a massive sprint to the finish line. Uh huh. Maybe a tidy up is in order - but then again from chaos beauty is often born. Not sure who said that but I am putting my money on the idea!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cast offs ..

I am planning to cast some resin soon - waiting for a warmer day - but my molds need a jolly good clean. I use them mostly for pewter and they get bits of metal and so forth stuck in them. I thought it would be nice to cast a few more metal things before the clean - there is something completely irresistible about melting pewter. It is like quicksilver - and so shineeee ...

Well, it is shiny when it melts but is pretty dull once it sets. So,I have to make them shiny. Here they are cleaned up, sanded and filed.

Next I grunge them up a bit - get them looking good and crusty (except the moustache 'cos he looks good shiny!). Sometimes it seems a bit of a shame to make them so dull but it is all part of the process ...

Now the patina is cleaned up a bit so that the pieces have good tonal contrast. I like this look a lot.

Same thing - just a little closer!

I  put a lot of texture on the bird this time . I haven't made it like that before but I like it - kinda organic huh? Now I really do have to give those molds a scrub so I can get the resin thing happening! Fingers crossed for a nice warm day ....

Sunday, June 24, 2012

This was the week that was ..

not really worth talking about! On the plus side I caught up with some awesome women I had met earlier in the year and I got to hang out with my daughter and 2 little great-nephews. Sadly the week was pretty much downhill from there but I will spare you the Moaning Mona routine. Suffice to say that at the end of it I was undergoing root canal treatment and leave it at that shall we?! I have spent today engaging in a far more pleasant undertaking - I have been in my little studio thrashing out some ideas and actually making something. Not a completely complete something, but something nonetheless. I have shared so little this week I am gonna take you through the process ... Lucky ol' you!

I started out with a spoon, a copper ring cut from some plumbers pipe I found in the shed (please don't tell the ManBeast - I remain hopeful that it wasn't anything terribly important) and a dolls eye. And yes, I did indeed pluck that peeper right out of a dolls head. She was forlorn. A previous owner had given her the haircut from Hell so it was a mercy that I cut her face off. Really. Hhmm - does that sound a little creepy?

Okay so this is stage one - making a bezel cup. After cutting off the handle and bashing the spoon about a bit I soldered on the copper ring and a cool milagro. The milagro has come from Mexico and is made from sandcasted pewter. Now a little clean up is required.

It takes a reasonable amount of elbow grease and tenacity to clean off all that fire-scale. I was reluctant to put it in my pickle pot 'cos it might have contaminated it. That could be bad. So I stuck to steel wool and emery paper. Nice and shiny now and a tube rivet added to the bottom.

Then of course I had to go and make it grubby again - with patina this time which is much easier to tidy up.

And here is the almost-but-not-quite finished piece! I am hunting up a crystal or somesuch to hang off the bottom. For some reason I want to call her "Lady of the Lake Protector". I learned a thing or two making this because I haven't soldered like this before. Creating a semi-proper bezel for the eye is a new trick too! Soldering the milagro was a gamble as I had no idea how it would respond to the heat but it has held up beautifully. I am looking forward to finishing it of as soon as I can. I think it deserves a pretty chunky kinda chain to swing from don't you? I do believe there could be more "eye jewellery" yet to come which means I get to cut more faces off of more dollies and pluck out their sparkly baby blues ... mwhahahaha!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Flea Market Finds

Well this week certainly flew by! Perhaps because we had a holiday Monday? Perhaps because I had a massive clean up in my studio which is a brain-altering experience in itself? I did find time to hunt up some pretty baubles on an op shop excursion with a lovely friend (which makes it even more fun!) early in the week.

Lots of lovely blue things to reclaim this week.

Glossy cobalt coloured vintage glass beads.

Afghani style tumbled glass beads.

It is a hard to tell here, but these amazing bean beads are in fact navy blue!

Of course there were some shiny things to be had as well. The little cut steel beads on the bracelet are super scrummy and I reckon I can put that rhinestone medal to good use too.

This is a handwrought bracelet which has been enameled with sunshine y yellow. I reckon it was kiln fired because the enamel is so even. I could not resist the cheerfulness although I do intend to re-pupose it ...

This crusty, rusty chain has oodles of potential.

And after weeks of not finding any pewter mugs I hit the jackpot - a set of 6 in one Salvos!
The very best "thrifting" I did for the week was with two pals on the public holiday. We went for a bracing walk along the beach ...

and found lots of sun-bleached bits and pieces. Crab claws, lacy coral, sea glass and even a bone or two. Lovely. I also brought home an-almost-but-not-quite dessicated puffer fish but I will spare you images of that! It was a lovely day - yummy soup and 'smoffins' (think scone marries muffin of the savoury variety) followed by a clamber over rocks and sand in the company of the besties - it doesn't get much better than that.
I had almost forgotten about the give-away I was hosting ....

I asked Rex the Wonder Dog to choose and he sat on Vintage Sweetheart. Okay so he didn't literally sit on her, he parked his arse on the piece of paper that had her name on it! Congrats - a copy of the Swarovski Elements mag will be on its way soon. Hope everyone is having a great weekend. To see what the cool thrifting community is up to, head over to Sophies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Finally ...

I have updated my etsy store! Yay! I had another go at taking photos of the jools and bit the bullet as the saying goes. Or took the bull by the horns as the saying also goes. Anyhoo - there is new stuff!

A little "Day of the Dead" inspiration going on here.

Oh and who had fun reclaiming and reforging some metals huh? And I am sharing some of my most treasured seed beads - ininti seeds are incredibly lovely.

A collection of Victorian symbols all jumbled together.

I have had a lovely time fossicking about on my bead collection and making some new pieces. I have added a few more than shown here so if you are in the mood head on over to the shop and have a squizz.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The beads were calling me today. I haven't made much beadie jewellery lately so it was lovely to sift through all the pretties and have a play. If only taking pics of the finished product (to put on etsy) was as much fun. I am hopeless at it!

Ok so it is possible that I have  over-edited the photos. Just goes to prove that a crap shot is, and always will be, a crap shot. No way does the above pic do justice to this piece which has lots of fun elements - including a ceramic hand and a diamante encrusted skull! wtf?

Here I was getting my macro on - well it seemed a good idea but again, I haven't pulled it off. Hanging my head in shame.

These are very cool asymmetrical ear-rings but here they just look blah.

And this was my favourite piece of the day. Glorious ininti seeds and a handcrafted heart made from reclaimed brass (tray) and pewter from a beer mug. It is long and lovely but how am I ever gonna convey its beauty to a discerning etsy crowd with pics like this? I seem to manage halfway decent pics for this blog but as soon as I want to shoot the jewels to list on the web, I screw up. sigh. I have had a whinge. Off to look up photography tutes on Google!

Flea Market Finds

It has been so cold this week that the temptation to go treasure hunting has been taken over by the temptation to stay indoors and drink hot Milo. I did venture out a couple of times for essential items - food and the post - and ducked into a couple of local oppies.

I fell in love with this lushy velvet jacket and since the op shop was having a "Everything $1 Sale" I decided I would risk it! Maybe I can team it up with a skirt and red boots? I wear such a lot of black and greay - it is nice to own something in such a lovely colour.

I actually found this gorgeous glass bowl stand a week ago. It is a bit wonky but I am pretty sure I can fix that. 

As luck would have it I also found a box of jewellery bits. It had heaps of those weird rubbery bangles in it and a few other dodgy plastic things but when I excavated the junk, some lovely bits and pieces were revealed.

Shiny things, carved things and useful little things - Heaven!

Lovely odd vintage ear-rings. I can't seem to get enough of these! Hope you had a good thrifting week. Joining in with Sophie to share the love.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Funny how things come about ...

Collagraphs are a fun and accessible printmaking method. Essentially you create a printing plate using strong cardboard or similar and glue a collage of different stuff on it, varnish the whole lot and then print it. I have been doing a small research project on the method this semester and up until this very last minute have been a tad bored. I should have approached the subject differently but I trudged along in my set little way making small and boring test plates - no images at all- dolt! Then, I discovered Sara Amos. Do yourself a favour and have a squizz at her work - it is beautiful. Sara was also generous enough to answer a heap of questions that I posed, via email. I love it when artists share. For anyone in the vicinity, Sara will be having a show at The Art Vault, Mildura, August 15 - Sept. 3rd. So, feeling a bit more ramped up about collagraphs after Sara's input I decided to create a plate out of the materials I love to work with - metals and found objects. I came up with this ...

I used lots of different scraps of tin and metal, some cogs and strong cardboard. I riveted the whole lot onto some mdf. Being mindful that this fella had to go through a press I made all the rivets beautifully round. You could wear him if he wasn't so large! Which got me to thinking ...

A wearable version made of reclaimed pewter and watch bits.

I learned alot making this doggie - I am not gonna show you the back for that very reason!

I plan to take that new-found knowledge and revisit this idea ...

This might help a bit with scale. I did in fact print this plate - there were a number of issues though ...

And I had a few goes to get it almost right ...

I have one more session in the printmaking studio left this term so I hope to get a good print this week. Now what to name my new pooch ...?