If Dr. Evil Made Jewelry, Would He Use A Laser?

When I read about a class where you could learn how to make jewelry with a laser cutter, I had to give it a try.  Not that I know much about this <ahem> cutting edge technique.

My limited expertise on lasers comes from a few people I know who have had laser surgery,  watching a friend run a laser light show years ago at the Sheraton Valley Forge, and from the Austin Powers movies in which the villain, Dr. Evil, tries to take over the world with an army of sharks who have laser beams attached to their heads.  He fails and the sharks  look uncomfortable.

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The Intro to Lasercut Jewelry class was sponsored by the incredible and wonderful  DEPARTMENT OF MAKING + DOING and was held at their workshop in West Philadelphia.

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There was a laptop computer all ready for each us. No waiting!

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Teacher Emily Cobb showed us how to use Adobe Illustrator to alter design motifs from the Internet (or to create our own) and to  integrate them into a design.

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Here’s my design on my computer.  Most of the people in the class decided to make brooches and earrings, but I thought it would be fun to try a bangle bracelet.

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Here’s the laser cutter.

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After an assistant fed your design into a computer attached to the cutter, you could watch the laser do its work.

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You could tell the program to “etch” the material or to cut it out.

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We used wood and plexiglass.

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Here’s my bracelet as it is being cut out.

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The bracelet after it came out of the laser cutter.  The edges were sharp and in need of sanding.

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Here is the finished bracelet with gently beveled edges.  Check out some more work from the class here.  Thanks to Emily Cobb who is a wonderful teacher and to  DM+D Philly.

My Summer of Jazz in Philadelphia

Jazz and Philadelphia have always gone together in my mind.  One of my fondest Philadelphia memories is attending a Sun Ra concert on Halloween night many years ago. Sun Ra and his Angel Arkestra played on the altar of a church in West Philadelphia (I forget which). We all wore costumes. I was probably a gypsy-that’s my all purpose go to getup for Halloween except for the Halloween when I got married.  But I remember one boy who was dressed in a marching band jacket, and had painted a red heart on each cheek.  He informed us that Vladimir Mayakovsky was also known for painting hearts on his face.  I would not be surprised.

Sun Ra and his Arkestra were masterful.  They could get into a piece by Coltrane and transition seamlessly into a Bag Band Standard like “Take the A Train.”  At the end of the night, Sun Ra led his musicians in a kind of conga line down the middle aisle of the church and the audience rose from the pews and joined in dancing and chanting around the church.  Space is the Place!

Philadelphia City Hall

It has been a difficult summer for me, but Philadelphia did not let me down.  There were free Jazz concerts all over and I was lucky enough to be able to attend many of them.  Here are some pictures and links from two wonderful series of music, one in City Hall and one  in South Philadelphia.   The artists have videos on YouTube and I encourage you to sample all of them.

Jazz in the Gallery

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Monnette Sudler, guitar

Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble

Blackbird Society Orchestra

Bethlehem & Sad Patrick

The Jost Project 

Diane Monroe, violinist

Jazz Bridge in Hawthorne Square

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Goodbye my friend.  I’m glad you enjoyed the music.

Bohemian Style Bracelets

 

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I learn more stuff from blogging than I ever would have guessed.  Case in point: I am obsessed with the trendy bohemian style.  I know that the region known as Bohemia is in Central Europe.  I know that people labeled “bohemian” in this country are supposed to be individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy and have a flamboyant sense of style.

 

BohoB (5)What I did not know is that the hippy, beatnik bohemians got the name from the French who associated with this type of personality and style with Gypsies to wit, the “roving Romani people they called “bohemians” because they were believed to have arrived from Bohemia.” (Think La boheme). We don’t know there the Romani people originated, but medieval French referred to the Romanies as Egyptiens from which we get the English word Gypsy.

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So, to recap, a real Bohemian is likely to be Czech.  An individualistic, eccentric, artsy-fartsy person with a  flamboyant sense of style is a bohemian and would have probably been known as a romani (small “r” because not referring to an ethnic group)if people had been more familiar with geography.  But hey!  There have been periods in European history where people went to bed in one country and woke up in another. (If they were lucky enough to wake up.  Watch this video to see what I mean.)

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I am fascinated with bohemian-style jewelry and the opportunities it gives for layering chains and ribbon and cloth and metal with charms, beads and Milagros.  For these bracelets I have pulled out some ceramic beads I made years ago and have combined them with lamp worked and polymer beads and other components I have had lying around waiting to be used.

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You can add as much or as little wire work as your like and make custom clasps that integrate nicely with the designs. For a tutorial on making the clasps you see in these bracelets press here.

And last but not least, two links to share:  my favorite blog for all things bohemian style, ThatBohemianGirl.  And here’s a find!  Watch Lynne Merchant demonstrate how to make a perfect wire spiral here. 

Summer’s End in Bob’s Garden

Bob’s urban oasis is still going strong into September.  A new turtle has taken up residence in the above-ground  koi pond along with two smaller deputy turtles who paddle around furiously.    Bob has put a few catfish in the bottom of the pond to keep it clean.  The dahlias and gardenias have stopped blooming but the banana tree has started to sprout little babies.  

The water lilies have always been my favorite of the flowers but I am partial to the papyrus that grows in the pond.  It looks so elegant!  

Here are some pictures. 
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BG Sept 2015 (17)

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And how could I have forgotten Turtle?wpid-wp-1441221231691.jpeg

For prior posts on Bob’s garden, press here.