People live in rowhouses in South Philadelphia and they decorate their front windows and doors when someone has a baby, someone gets married, someone graduates, someone gets paroled or the Flyers win the Stanley Cup. In other words, people here don’t need much of an excuse to decorate. You can keep your fancy suburbs with your large expanse of lawns, triple car garages and gabled roofs. We’re just fine with our flat roofs, front stoops and double parking. The constraints just make for more creativity, as you can see from the pictures I took on one frozen night. Heathen’s Greetings.
I make lamp worked beads; sometimes with scrap glass and I fuse glass, too. I was pondering whether to toss the little odd scraps. ugly beads and fused pieces that didn’t come out quite right. Then I decided to try something new. I started playing with the materials and ended up making Christmas ornaments using the copper foiling method. Here’s what I came up with. I will give them away as gifts. They might make nice sun catchers when the tree is taken down.
Santa’s Workshop-South Philadelphia Branch
Here are some more very simple ideas for for Christmas ornaments. The one on the left is a hollow paper mache ball covered with black, copper and pearl clay and metal leaf. I covered the ball in black clay, ran the pearl copper and black clay through the pasta machine with metal leaf, and then tore the metal-leafed clay and arranged it on the black clay. The tassel is made of scraps of eyelash and novelty yarn threaded though a base metal bead and the top of the ornament is finished with a base metal and glass bead.
The second ornament is made from the leaf cane I first learned from Leigh Ross. I applied the leaves from the bottom up, in an overlapping pattern over a hollow paper mache form and inserted a beaded tassel (bought at an after Christmas sale) through the end of the ornament and up through the top where I finished it off with beads. I applied small red balls of clay to the ornament to make it resemble holly.
You could cover cheap glass ornaments with clay, and glue or embed a wire on the bottom to hold your tassel. These would be great projects for kids, especially the first one becaus0e you can use any color clay and yarn, and left your imagination run wild.
It took a long time for this necklace to come together. My friend Jeanne gave me the amber after her husband died. I got the coral, turquoise and Balinese beads at an outside art show in Portland, Oregon. I bought the red disc beads-actually made in Africa from old phonograph records-at a bead show.
The beads spoke to me one day and I put together the necklace below. I couldn’t find the right clasp to save my life, so, with some basic wire skills I learned in a glass from my Beading Yoda Jeri Schatz, I made a clasp. And then I made more clasps. And then I wrote an article on how to make clasps which is in the latest edition of Step By Step Wire Jewelry.