What I learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer at Beadfest

Some Yoga breathing and stretching before you start the class sets a good tone for the rest of the day. I love Yoga but it can be tedious torture in the wrong hands.  Susan’s warm-up exercises lasted just long enough, and were very effective.  The soldering gods were with me the entire day.

AAclassroom
Our Classroom

I have never before taken a class at Beadfest.   I made an exception this year because the prices were attractive, ($165.00 for an all-day  metal class with a great teacher like Susan Lenart Kazmer is  a bargain) and because I needed to pull myself out of a slump.  I knew the class would be great because I took a wonderful class with her a few <ahem> years ago.

AAAmyworkstationandtools
My jumble of tools

There were only 8 people in the class (most people took classes earlier in the week) which meant it was easier to get help if you needed it.  But Susan’s demos and explanations were so good that I didn’t need much assistance.

Susanatthetorch
Susan Demonstrating

The class was on box making.  Only the boxes didn’t open.  Instead, you could write on the boxes or leave a hole to slip a message inside the box and only the maker and wearer would know what it was. A kind of talisman or prayer box.  I liked that idea.

Oneof Susan's box pendants
Here’s a side view of one of Susan’s boxes.

Here are some process pictures of my box as I assembled it.  We could elect to make earrings or a pendant and I went with the pendant although I started on a pair of earrings that I didn’t finish.

mybox
Here’s my finished pendant

I tried hanging the pendant from a silver chain.  That didn’t seem right.  The pendant demanded something a bit more substantial.  It is, after all, a box.  Then I remembered the fabric necklaces I have been making. Check my Instagram feed for some pictures.

 

BlueNecklace

I pulled out three fabric ropes I’d made from silk, fabric I’d screen printed, and  part of an old curtain.  I think I’ll use the box pendant with these.  I am in the process of deciding whether I want to make sterling end caps or fiber end caps.  But I think I already have the perfect clasp.

I learned many more things in the class but I don’t want to post them on-line out of respect for the teacher’s work product.  But there is something I will share and believe me, if I had learned nothing else from the class, it would have been worth it to learn an incredible bezel-cutting tool.   I am not ready to throw out my miter jig, but I will never again use it to cut bezels.

The Whaley Precision 90 Degree Bezel Cutting Shears have a guide attached to one of the blades that insures  you cut a straight edge every time.  Eurotool makes this incredible tool, and you can buy them here.   For a video of the shears in action, press here.

MiracleBezelCutters.jpg
Miracle Bezel Cutters!!!

 

Thank you Susan Lenart Kazmer and Beadfest!!!

Sights of Summer 2019

DWe’re getting to the end of the Summer.  In the olden days (before I got married)  I would camp with friends at the Philadelphia Folk Festival  I usually volunteered so I could get in for free and always ended up on a work detail that involved patrolling the campgrounds all night.

Beadfest Philadelphia  is a good way to mark the end of Summer these days.  I have never taken a class there, but this year I am taking one with Susan Lenart Kazmer.  I took a class with her some time ago and  it was a wonderful experience.    It will be interesting to see what I can do given that I have been having major hand problems and am scheduled for surgery.  But I didn’t want to cancel the class.  Worse come to worse, I’ll watch.

Here are some late late summer pictures from my recent wanderings in  Seaview at the Jersey Shore.

Seaview20193151401
Boardwalk food is about all that’s bad for you.  That’s what makes it so good.
Seaview20190518581
No shore amusement park is complete without a Ferris Wheel

Seaview4312608

Seaview20193143242
View from the cable car

 

Seaview3722434
Sunset

 

 

And last but not least a great polymer video from Fiona Abel-Smith that not only covers construction of kaleidoscope canes, but does it using six different clays.  Check it out.

Earrings from the Seashore

When I was a kid, we would challenge one another with tongue twisters.  One I remember is “she sells sea shells by the seashore.”  I often wondered how anyone could make money selling seashells near a beach.  That was then and this is now.  Shells are harder to come by on the beach nowadays.  Still, a friend did manage to find some seashells which she asked me to make into earrings for her.

The shells looked like small mussels to me and were pretty delicate so I decided to give them a reinforcing coat of epoxy resin after I drilled tiny holes for jump rings.  2DrilledCoatedShells

My new dehydrator came in handy for drying the shells after I coated them because the weather is humid around here.  By the way, this dehydrator was $24.99 when I bought it on Amazon a couple of months ago to use with metal clay.  Now it’s selling for three times as much and  I have no idea why.  But there are plenty of dehydrators to be had for under $40.00 if you shop around.

6 Dehyrator

I like to weigh my resin on a gram scale.  I put a silicone egg cup on the scale, calibrate  to zero, and pour in equal parts resin and hardener.  When I am done,  I let the remaining resin resin cure in the cup, pop it out and throw it away.  Voila!  The silicone cup is clean for the next resin project.

 

I used real 24 K gold leaf for one pair of shells and fine silver foil for the inside of the second pair.  I attached the leaf with sizing and coated the shells with Pebeo varnish. I laid the shells on an old silicone pot holder to dry and sanded off any blobs before I applied the leaf.

 

 

 

And here are the finished earrings: gold filled wire for one pair and sterling wires for the pair with the silver leaf undersides.    The earrings are extremely light and a lot more durable because of the resin coating.

Earrings

 

 

A Favorite Book and a New(ish) Video

Years of metalsmithing, pot throwing, beading, fabric cutting and general crafting mayhem have have taken their toll on my hand and wrist. I am having surgery in a few weeks. No hitch hiking for me until the bandages are off and the therapy is over. I would like it if Boris could act as my studio assistant, but I am afraid he sleeps too much.

I have been working with fabric lately and have revisited one of the classics of fabric surface design,  Complex Cloth by Jane Dunnewold.  Complex Cloth covers  dyeing, stamping,  stenciling, screen printing, and almost any other fabric surface alteration technique you want to know.   There are newer books out there covering more techniques, but if you are just getting started and need an intro to the basics, grab a used copy of Complex Cloth and get started.  You can get it here.

51nvff26b1l._sx355_bo1204203200_

Polymer Artist Ana Belchí’s videos never cease to amaze me.  This one is not exactly new-it’s seven months old-but her demonstration of six variations on the lentil swirl bead is fascinating and makes me wonder what other polymer techniques I could try, change one small thing, and get a completely surprising result.    But that’s what it’s all about isn’t it?  The “What If?”

Flower Challenge

I am delighted to be taking part in the Art Elements Blog Hop for July.  The theme is one of my favorites: flowers.  I’ve written about flowers on my blog many times.   But  I usually photograph flowers instead of trying to make them (unless you count my felt flowers).

I took the opportunity of the July Flowers theme to complete a project I’d left unfinished for some time.   I had fired a batch of bronze clay and had been making rings and embellishments from 10 gauge bronze wire I was annealing and shaping in my rolling mill.   I had some bronze clay flowers I made in molds that I wanted to attach to milled rings.  I have been a bit challenged in the hand department lately because of some kind of tendonitis or impaction and can’t do much with my right hand.  But I was able to finish some gentle shaping of the wire that I had previously hammered into shape and to solder it on to the flower.    Here is a brief explanation of the process:

The bronze wire is  stiff and hard when it’s 10 gauge thick but I love the look of thick wire and the versatility a thick gauge gives me.  You have to anneal it often as you pass it through the rolling mill.  I changed it to a square shape.raw materials Bronze Clay

The bronze clay behaves very much like ceramic clay in its unfired state, so I was able to push a bit of it into a silicone mold to make the flower. I had to let the flower dry and refine any cracks and sharp edges before firing it in activated carbon.  The firing was successful and I got metal which I then soldered to the bronze wire ring I had previously made.Flower

 

ring2

The ring is fun to wear.  Not too flashy and it looks at home next to the stack of bronze and silver rings I wear every day.

 

terra cotta flower magnets

 

And here are some fun flower magnets that I made from Terra Cotta clay and a press mold.  I painted them with underglazes and finished with a glossy clear glaze.

If you are interested here is some of my flower  photography from past travels.  Mendocino, and Singapore,

Please visit all the artists participating in the Art Elements Blog Hop for July:

Visiting Artists:
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Kathy
Linda
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy
Alysen
Cat
Divya
Evie and Beth
Jill
Kathy
Linda
Martha
Melissa
Michelle
Rozantia
Sarah
Sarajo
Tammy

and the Art Elements Blog contributors:
Caroline
Cathy
Claire
Jenny
Laney
Lesley
Marsha
Susan

 

 

 

 

 

More Adventures with Fiber

I have put away the metal clay for awhile and have resisted firing up the kiln until  the hottest days of Summer are behind us.  I also have a load of Cone 6 porcelain to do but I think that one is going to have to wait for the fall.  In the meantime, I am taking a pottery glazing and surface design class (more on that later) and and continuing my work with cloth and fiber in the coolness of my basement workshop.  I have been screen printing on fabric and here are some of the results

ScreenPrint1

ScreenPrint3

ScreenPrint5

The idea is to combine this fabric with other elements and make some wearable jewelry.

Here is some fabric I sewed around welting with the idea of making a multi-strand necklace.

 

necklace

Here’s the necklace I came up with.    I  wrapped the solid color ropes with some reclaimed silk yarn that I love.  I don’t have enough of it to make anything but a few strands of it adds a lot of interest. I am not sure if I like the copper rings and the dangle.  The colors are right but the shapes might not work.

dangle

I am looking for something other than welting to fill the cloth.  I tried nylon-filled rope, but it’s tricky to shape.  The necklace has to drape the right way and nylon fiber can be stiff and uncooperative.

necklace2

I am also looking at various closures.  I am not that fond of lobster clasps for necklaces.  They can be fiddly to open and close.  I think a secure hook of some kind would make getting in and out of the necklace much easier. And it would be easy to make.

 

The necklace happens to be made from recycled materials.  The fabric  came from old clothes and remnant bins, the wire is stripped electrical wire, the yarn is reclaimed from a hat I bought in a thrift shop and the chain is from a trash-picked necklace.  The only “new” part of it (aside from the Czech beads I have had for years) are the crimp ends  holding the ropes.

 

 

My Head Is Exploding

My head is exploding this week.  I have been working with bronze metal clay and making bigger pieces and hollow forms. unfiredBronzeClayBead I am going to have to rethink my firing methods and schedules.  The folks on the Metal Clay Now Facebook group have given me lots of great advice.  Stay tuned on this one.

I went to Baltimore last week to play with  friends and to go to a sale at Maja, one of the most incredible bead stores I have ever encountered.  I treated myself to an incredible sterling bead decorated with dragonflies.  (When I manage to take a decent photo, I will post it. ) The next day, we went to the stores in the Village of Cross Keys and I saw the most incredible fiber jewelry in The Store LTD,  the very same store that Betty Cooke owns and from which she sells her marvelous modernist jewelry.

I was so inspired that when I came home, I got out the fabric stash and began dyeing and cutting silk that I’ve recycled from thrift shop finds I bought on a former fabric frenzy.

Then I got out the drop spindle  and started to make knittable fiber (could I even call it yarn?) from  strips of fabric sewn together.

Fabric of spun yarn

My aim is to ply this fiber with ribbon or cord and make something from it.  Stay tuned on this one too.

Fleisher Young Artists Exhibition

I have always loved children’s art. This years’ Young Artists Exhibition at Fleisher Art Memorial is a must see for any Children’s art aficionado.

K-1st grade Mixed Media

2
Work by Winner Ella King Torrey Young Artist Prize Charlotte Rohland

 

5
4th and 5th Grade painting and drawing
9
Photography
1
Masks and Collage

84

6

        The Young Artists Exhibition runs through August 2, 2019.  To learn more about the exhibition, press here.  To learn more about about Ella King Torrey press here.

Happy Fourth of July!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


For some interesting facts about fireworks, press here.

Making a Box

Continue reading “Making a Box”