I signed up for Lori Anderson’s 7th Bead Soup Blog party and my reveal date us April 13. My partner is Miranda Ackerley who runs MirandackArts. Miranda obviously takes these bead swaps seriously because she sent me SO MUCH STUFF. I mean, they had to drive a truck up to my house (only kidding).
Lots of stones
Some beautiful crystals
Chain and some metal stampings
Some semi precious beads
Some glass and shell beads
And a lovely focal and clasp.
Here’s what I sent Miranda
A sterling clasp I made
Some vintage buttons, leaf dangles and chain
Some of my small lamp worked beads and tumbled glass shards
And a focal set I made from glass my friend Sandeye gave me.
And that’s not all; I was interviewed by a new on-line called line magazine A Garden Life, about the jewelry I made from sidewalk finds and found objects.
Click on the image to open the article in Adobe Reader. Or you can view the web page here.
I was thinking about signing up for Lori Anderson’s Memories and Thanks Blog Hop. My friend Susan died earlier this year and I wanted to make something in her memory. She called me one Sunday last March and said she wanted get together to play with beads. By this time, her left leg was huge from lymphedema and I didn’t think she should drive. I told her I would come to her house.
But no. Susan did things her way. She wanted to be in my workshop with me and play with beads. She got herself down the steps to my basement workshop while I held my breath. We played and chatted for two hours. I had given her lots of jewelry over the years and made beads for her too. She brought the beads over and a sack of her broken jewelry. We tried out jewelry designs, looked at beading books and forgot she had cancer. We talked about the future. Before she left, she gave me some beads and broken jewelry so I could use them in a new piece. The next time I saw her, she was very sick. She died two weeks later.
When I read about the Memories and Thanks Blog Hop, I went on a tear through my workshop looking for the items she gave me on that last visit. But this story is not going to end up like you think. I could not find that jewelry even though I tore the place upside down. I know she was hiding it from me. As I resigned myself to giving up, I pulled out a box full of beads that I bought in South Africa a few years ago to make a necklace for Shari. When Shari died before could make her anything, I put the beads away and didn’t look at them for a long time.
I found myself staring at the beads and heard Susan’s voice, “You weren’t really looking for me, Lamb Chop. You’ll get to me when you’re ready.”
And so I will. In the meantime, I unexpectedly find that I am ready to make Shari’s necklace.
Now and then I like to share the blogs and web sites that are current addictions or on my must check out list. Here’s what’s currently playing my computer screen:
fauna is my latest addiction. Blogger Paxon is a naturalist and writes mostly about zoology and biology. His creative prose and acerbic wit make these subjects even more fascinating (I know-your high school science teacher murdered them forcing you to major in the humanities.) Paxon can be flip (don’t read this post if you are easily offended) but he is hooked on fauna (sorry- but I couldn’t be the first. . .) He even invites questions (with a few conditions). You will learn and be endlessly amused. Your high school biology teacher should thank him.
If you are the artsy type and think you are not interested in science, the pictures alone justify a look at fauna. Besides, nature is the most elegant and economical designer. And it’s all connected.
Graftgawker Crafty projects from blogs all over the Internet
Inspirational Beading is chock full of beading tutorials.
Brandigirl Blog A Life Inspired by Color – another great beading blog
Linda Peterson Designs – Polymer clay, mixed media, news and tutorials
Barbe Saint John -Saint John is a mixed media artist who writes for Belle Armoire Jewelry , and is a member of Susan Lenart Kazmer’s creative team for Objects and Elements .
Object Fetish – Look at jewelry until your eyes go blurry
Top Ten DIY Fashion Blogs – Stripes and Sequin’s picks for 2012. Something is sure to interest you here.
For those of you who loved Domino Magazine, check out Lonny Magazine. But wait! A special edition of Domino, Quick Fixes, hits the news stands on April 17!
Finally, here’s a picture of my contribution to the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild’s Spring Fundraiser. I made the bezel (for the bezel challenged) and the cabochon. I hope someone likes it enough to buy it.
A dear friend died in May, 2010. He was so supportive when his close friend and our friend Ray died and during Shari’s illness and death soon after. The fact that he died so soon after they did seems surreal. But he loved to laugh and he loved the outdoors. He took to the Appalachian Trail in Spring of 2009. He sent out the pictures you see here when he returned.
There remains the matter of the skunk. Before he died, he gave me permission to post the video (see below) on this blog, provided that I identified him by his stage name, Raoul McCool. He sent out the video to friends who knew his secret identity with this note:
“Please recall that, among the photographs of his Appalachian Trail hike that he sent to you in May , were several that clearly showed [Raoul] in close conversation with a small black and white striped creature that many of you correctly identified as a skunk. Unfortunately, [Raoul] was profoundly saddened to learn that some of you expressed doubt as to the authenticity of the said skunk. Some of you went so far as to opine audaciously that the said skunk was, in fact, a stuffed skunk that [Raoul] had carried with him for some 50 treacherous miles over the mountains. Some of you even stated that you would not be convinced of [Raoul’s] near supernatural ability to psychically commune with our little tuxedoed terrorists of the terai unless you saw a video of him conversing with an real independently moving skunk.
Well, you nattering nabobs of negativity. Cast your doubting eyes upon the attached video file, oh ye of little faith, and thence go forth and doubt no more.” -Raoul McCool
Goodbye Raoul. You were a good friend and you made us laugh. We will all miss you terribly. Especially the skunk.
If you read this Blog last week, you know that I was heading down to Damascus, MD to take a class with Susan Lenart Kazmer at Polymer Clay Express. The two-day class was fantastic. Here’s some of the things I learned:
I learned how to drill a hole in a stone.
I learned how to fabricate a cone out of metal.
I improved my torch enameling skills.
I learned how to make and use different kinds of rivets.
I learned a cool way to put a red patina on copper.
I learned how to preserve found items like paper and twigs with resin and incorporate them into my jewelry.
I saw an ingenious way to make hinges that I’m going to try because now I am more confident in my sawing skills and I think I can do it!
I saw how to make dapped forms to turn into cool rings and pendants.
I learned new ways to incorporate fiber with beads and metal.
Now every day the sidewalk holds more treasure than ever before.
Thanks Susan for teaching this class and Terri for telling me about it and giving me a ride!
I’m off to Polymer Clay Express at The Artway Studio to take a class in Creating Objects and Elements in Jewelry with Susan Lenart Kazmer. If you’re not familiar with Kazmer, she wrote Making Connections A Handbook of Cold Joins for Jewelers and Mixed-Media Artists.
I’ll let you know about the class in a later post. In the meantime, check out Kazmer’s Blog and her on-line store, Objects and Elements where you can buy her remarkable book, supplies, and watch her great instructional videos.
Robin Milne introduced her fellow members of the The Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild to a brand new clay at our last meeting! Robin had been tapped to introduce Pardo Jewellery Clay manufactured by German Company Viva Decor at the Winter CHA Show in Anaheim, and she came back with clay samples and brochures. What could be better?
Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in gumball-sized pieces packaged in 2.7 oz jars. Robin said it has no odor when raw or baking and it’s easy to condition. It uses beeswax as a plasticiser in place of phthalates.
But is it durable? Robin was able to run it through her pasta machine on the thinnest setting without tearing and, when it was baked, she could tie it in a bow. She could bend a cured bookmark-shaped piece of clay in a circle without breaking it. Although the clay is on the soft side, she could produce decent canes with it. And she was able to sand and buff it to a high shine.
Pardo Jewellery Clay comes in a beautiful range of jewel-toned colors, and the metallics contain plenty of mica. The manufacturer, Viva Decor, says it can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay without a problem.
Poly Play Clay, is the only retail supplier I know of at the current time. They don’t carry all of the 64 colors of Pardo Jewellery clay yet. Owner Trish Hodgens says that eventually, however, they plan to carry every color Viva Decor makes available to the United States Market.
Robin also recommends another Viva Decor product: Precious Metal Paints. She’s tried thse high quality paints on raw and baked clay; they don’t scratch off and cover beautifully. When the paint is applied to raw clay, allowed to dry, and run through the pasta machine, it crackles like metal leaf. The mica in the pain is so small, you can use the paint for screen printing. And, Robin says, “the colors are amazing!”
If you want to see what Robin has done with Pardo Jewellery Clay and Precious Metal Paints, press here.
I don’t know if anyone in the United States currently selling the Precious Metal Paints, but you want more information on them, check out U.K. supplier The Fruit Pixie.
My cousin Ken Bloomhorst sent me some pictures of his newer work recently, and I love it! My last post about him talked about his art as a product of the Midwest. His new work comes from a vivid imagination probably stoked by embellishing stories for grandchildren. Or maybe we have a fantasy gene in our DNA.
Ken is at an age where no one can tell him, “Don’t you know elephants don’t wear glasses and rattlesnakes don’t have pink and orange stripes?” We all need to get to that place, no matter what the calendar says.
I love to make faux beads from polymer clay and have been obsessed with it lately. Here are four of my favorite books. They contain plenty of recipes for making every kind of faux substance you can imagine.