Colors of Singapore

I had the good fortune to visit Singapore last week. On my first trip to Asia (Tokyo) some years ago, I learned that Eastern color sensibilities are different from those we have in the West.  You’ll see buses painted in lime green, bubblegum pink, lemon yellow and blue, brightly colored doorways, and construction equipment in shades of orange, red, green and other colors that look out of place to Western eyes. Asian color schemes make even mundane items like packaged food look exotic.

I had time to explore Singapore on foot and took these pictures at the Harbor, in the business district, in Chinatown and in the Kampong Glam neighborhood.

Kampomg Glam Boutique

Kampong Glam Cafe

Arab Street

 Public Housing


Office Building

Port of Singapore


Want to learn more?  Check out Pantonemyart, Japanese Streets, Pantone Japan,  and  Pantone China.

Philadelphia Area Jewelry Tool Suppliers

Many people who are ready to graduate from bead stringing to more complex jewelry projects, and who need to pick up a few tools, often end up buying them at bead shows.  I’ve done this myself, and 99.9% of the vendors at these shows charge a fair price.  And if they take a little premium, that’s OK with me.  I am getting the convenience of finding mostly everything in one place.

But it doesn’t always work that way. I was at a local bead show a few months ago and saw a Solderite soldering board that I bought for $8.25 from Rio Grande on sale for $22.50.  The very same item, and it wasn’t a mistake.  And yet, the beginning metal smith  who might not realize that this price is out of line, is often too intimidated to go to  Jeweler’s Row on Sansom Street in Philadelphia to buy supplies, thinking that the stores there are for “real” jewelers and not them.  That’s not true.

For those of us from the Philadelphia area, Hagstoz is a treasure both for buying supplies and for selling scrap metal.  I have always gotten excellent service there.

Another store I highly recommend is Pamma Jewelry Tools and Supply, located at 809 Sansom Street.  It is a tool paradise and they have almost everything out where you can see it. They carry economy brand pliers like Beadsmith and Eurotool and high end brands Such as  Lindstrom.  They sell all types and sizes of hammers, rotary tool and flex shaft accessories, stainless steel shot, pickle, patinas, soldering supplies (and several kinds of soldering surfaces including charcoal blocks), displays, boxes and packaging.  They carry used tools, too. The last time I was there I saw hole cutters, rolling mills and ring stretchers among the items they had for sale.

One of the best places to shop for everything related to jewelry making is Beadfest Philadelphia.  The shopping bazaar runs from August 19 to August 21.   For a list of vendors, press here.  You can even download a floor plan.  Just remember that the Beadfest  venue has changed to the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center this year.  Maybe I will see you there!

Learning to Make Metal Beads

I’ve spent some time this summer learning how to make metal beads.  The above bead is a copper lentil about 2.5 inches across.  I etched the metal I used on the front before I made the bead and I patinated it afterwards.   Theresa Mowery of The Patina Studio who commented on an earlier post, suggested that I try Miracle Gro as a patina agent.  What a GREAT TIP!  I ended up using African Violet food because I didn’t have to mix any powder, but the principle is the same.  This stuff works fast!  I got the patina you see above after a couple of days.  I sealed the pendant with Sophisticated Finishes sealer and then gave it a buff with Renaissance Wax.   Here are some more pictures:

The glass beads in the last picture are hollow lampwork.  The beads are lengths of copper pipe that I cut from found scrap.  I pounded them (after annealing) so they looked wrinkled,filed and sanded the ends smooth and soldered  copper disks (with holes in center) to the ends of the pipes.  More filing and sanding followed.  I have a way to go with these.  I found the lentil beads went together with less effort; maybe because it’s easier to sand the edges to get flat surfaces for soldering, so they clean up much more easily.  And the metal is thinner than the pipe metal so it’s easier to work with.  An addendum:  forging can damage your joints including your elbows and wrists.  A safer way to make the wrinkled beads is through use of a hydraulic press. 

Here’s the part of the post where a recommend a book!    Making Metal Beads by  Pauling Warg is a fabulous book on how to make all kinds of metal beads, not just soldered ones.   Be warned that there is no Precious Metal Clay in this book, but Warg does have directions for using cold connections to fabricate unique beads that will catch everyone’s eye as well as tutorials on how to alter ready made beads  into something that looks unique and totally hand made.

Here’s a video featuring Pauline Warg:

Crosstalk, Crack Pots and Stories

What do these three things have in common?  Philadelphia artist Jim Brossy has his hand in all of them.  

Crosstalk is a show on Philadelphia’s long-awaited public access channel.  It features Richard Boudreau sitting at one of the tables in front  of the Bean Exchange Coffee House  on Bainbridge Street  working on crossword puzzles.  What makes it interesting is that Richard is not above asking perfect strangers for help (in A thick Boston accent which stands out in Philadelphia), and engaging them in all sorts of humorous conversations.  And it doesn’t take much to get Richard to share a story from his past. (You should hear him tell about  the time  his mother, angry that his brother failed French in college, boarded the Professor’s  ship  as it was about to sail for Europe and kept the ship with all the passengers on board  in port until the Professor agreed to give Richard’s brother a passing grade.)

Crosstalk  airs on Philadelphia Access Television Comcast 66/966 & Verizon 29/30 Saturdays at 7:30 pm. Or you can watch it by clicking here and  selecting Crosstalk from the menu.

Crosstalk is the brainchild of Jim Brossy  who also  films and directs the show.  I think Jim is the only man who has ever been able to direct Richard  to do anything since Richard’s father  passed.  Jim is an excellent painter and belongs to the school (for all you art history majors)  of Crackpot Realism.  Jim appears  in this video:

Which brings me to  back to Stories.  Ken Baskin,(who I married in a weak moment some years ago) and David M. Boje co-edited a book of essays called Dance to the Music of Story.  The book examines the penchant we humans have for relating our  experiences in stories, through the lens of complexity theory.   The goal is to provide a different way to understand human behavior.  No, no, it’s not full of that touchy-feely stuff and,  while most of the essayists are academics, there are actually some interesting, concrete articles.  One is  Ken’s essay, “Gangsta Rap’s Narrative Context.”  If you think you understand Gangsta rap, think again.  It tells a story that most people would rather not hear.  But  Gangsta rap tells a story that’s entwined with the social and economic changes that drove it.  Understanding the story will give you a new way of looking at Gangsta rap.  No, it won’t make you feel warm and fuzzy and you still might not like it, but you will better understand it and you will probably have a lot more respect for it.
They say that every picture tells a story;  the book cover (below) certainly does.   It’s a painting  by Jim Brossy, called “No Dancing.”