A Studio in Retrograde?

I am in the process of tearing my studio apart and doing a major purge in preparation for replacing my kiln.  I have had a Jen-Ken Bead Annealer for years and have used it for bead annealing and glass fusing.  I have been very happy with it.  A few years ago, I got a great deal on  a programmable remote controller  to go with the kiln.   And then I started to use the kiln to fire copper clay which necessitated resetting the controller to handle metal firing schedules which go to a higher temperature than glass.  So my kiln will now reach a maximum of 2000 F which is suitable for low fire ceramic clays.  (cone 04)

Except I love porcelain and stoneware  which fire at cone 6.  (Some porcelain fires at cone 10 but I am interested in working at cone 6. ).  My work space is relatively small but I do a lot of things in it including sewing, polymer, beading, lamp working, fusing, mixed media and metal smithing.  I have a couple of enameling kilns that I don’t use that often but that I want to hold onto.  

So now that I have done a major purge and rearrangement, I plan to install ventilation for soldering and lamp working  and for a new kiln so I can do luster firing and cone 6 firing.  And I have to figure how to either sell the old kiln or trade it towards a new model.  We’ll see

In the meantime, I really wanted to show you some of the new pottery I’ve  been working on. But WordPress is buggy tonight (as it sometimes is-hey I love WordPress but sometimes it’s buggy!)

 

Instead of uploading  pictures of eight different pieces, I have managed to upload one picture eight times.  I am utterly baffled at how things like this can happen.  This is the second time I have tried to upload the pictures with the same mystifying result.  My friend Toni would say that Mercury is in retrograde.  But in retrograde in my computer?

I hope you enjoy my picture.  🙂

 

119 Years is a Long Time

That’s how long the Fleisher Art Memorial  has been holding its annual adult student exhibition.  At the time of the first show, the US was at war with Spain.  The average yearly salary was around $450.00.  There was no income tax.  Pennsylvania Hospital offered a horse-drawn ambulance service.  City Hall and the Broad Street Subway were off in the future and the Fleisher Art Memorial opened and started offering art classes to the people of Philadelphia.   The Annual Exhibition closes on March 24.  It’s worth a visit.

For more information, press here.

Tesla Necklace with a Nod to Cynthia

I love big beads.  Big hollow beads.  Doesn’t matter whether they’re made of glass, metal or polymer.    Maybe because it’s a challenge to figure out how to make them and probably because people are always surprised at how light they are.   And I have made a boatload of hollow beads over the years.  

Which brings me to last week when I brought a strand of big polymer beads into the pottery studio and someone was interested in buying it which was a problem because it was only temporarily strung and I had not figured out an appropriate clasp.  But it got me thinking.  

I have always admired the perfectly integrated polymer covered barrel bead clasps on Ford and Forlano’s big bead necklaces.  I wanted to make an integrated clasp myself but I did not want to use barrel bead – I wanted to use a hidden magnetic clasp.  Which brought up two problems.  First, it would have to be a very strong magnet. Big hollow bead necklaces still have some heft after all. And you cannot bake a magnet without diminishing its magnetic properties.   People used to bake their magnet clasps all time time. But we have learned that  baking weakens the magnets.

So I had to find a strong magnet and a way to integrate it into polymer bead halves without baking.  I was surprised to learn that there was a paucity of information on using magnets and polymer clasps.  I mean there are some old tutorials that instruct you to bake the magnet into the clay but as we have discovered, that’s a no-no.  

Then I discovered Mag-Lok magnets and found this video  from Cynthia Tinapple.  I put my own twist on Cynthia’s technique and  made a necklace with the Tesla beads and a magnetic clasp.   How very appropriate. 

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I will share how I make hollow polymer beads and magnet clasps at the next meeting of the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild.   Thank you Nikola Tesla and Cynthia Tinapple!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Some of) What I Made (Last) Year

Made in the pottery studio, that is.  I experimented with hand-built forms, screen printing and  textures, and made glazed ceramic beads for the first time.

 

 

 

But now it’s next year and I am off in new directions.  I think I’m finally finding my way. I will post pictures of my newer work soon.

 

In The Sanctuary

I did something a little different this week.   I attended the Wednesday night In The Sanctuary series at the Fleisher Art Memorial where my figure drawing teacher   Bernard Collins joined  DJ Razor Ramon and artist/activist Priscilla Anacakuyani for a collaborative spoken word/live painting/music  performance.

 

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Bernard and DJ Razor Ramon.  Bernard read-rapped-sang his poetry while Ramon kept the beat.

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Bernard and Pricilla painting.

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5-4Bernard invited a member of the audience to come up and sing.  Her strong dynamic voice to everyone by surprise.

 

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The rear of the sanctuary.

 

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To read more about Bernard Collins and his work press here.

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