Amulets, Talismans, Polymer and Wire

There are two new books that will enhance the library of anyone creative.  Both  show you how to elevate non precious material into art imbued with special meaning.

The first one is  Amulets and Talismans by Robert DancikI took Dancik’s class on cold connections last year  and put the book on pre-order as soon as I could.  I was not disappointed.  The book is crammed with information on cold connections techniques,  and full of ideas on how to take ordinary objects and showcase them in original, one of a kind pieces of jewelry that  tell a story that could be about the wearer, maker or materials themselves.

If you are a tool junky like me, you will relish Dancik’s ideas for making custom tools.  He shows a nifty little jump ring cutting gizmo you can make yourself.  I made one.  There are no directions, but one look at it is all you need. (If Truman Capote had met me when he first came to New York, his book would have been entitled Breakfast at Harbor Freight.)

The next gotta have it book is Ancient Modern: Polymer Clay + Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman.

Weltman’s  designs have an inimitable   primitive sophistication that’s fresh and inspiring.  Her projects and instructions will stoke your creativity and have might change the way you think  about polymer clay and wire.

This time last year

Art News Philadelphia and Beyond

art-survey

Calling all artists: Take Part in the Artists & Art Materials USA 2009 Survey and Help the Art Community! Raise money for visual-arts scholarships, help advocacy for art education and funding, and gain a chance to win one of five $100 art materials store gift certificates by completing the survey online at http://www.ArtistSurvey09.net

The results of this survey will be compiled as part of the landmark report on art materials and artists in the United States : “Artists & Art Materials USA 2009,” to be announced in Fall 2009. An executive summary will be made available to all survey participants. The consumer survey is open to artists working in all areas, including oil paintings, acrylic paintings, watercolors, pastel drawings, pencil, ink, or marker drawings, mixed media or collage, murals or wall art, handmade books, cards, or scrapbooks, functional art, three-dimensional art, conceptual or installation art, communication art or graphic design, digital art, quilting arts, fiber arts, and more.

Survey for Art Materials Suppliers
Survey forArt Materials Retailers
 
NAMTA  is donating $1 for the first 2,000 completed surveys to visual-arts scholarships through the NAMTA Foundation for the Visual Arts.  Survey participants will be eligible to win one of five $100 gift certificates to an art materials store. Participants must register to receive the executive summary and to enter the sweepstakes by clicking on the link on the thank you page after submitting their completed survey. The sweepstakes and executive summary sign-up is separate from the survey to keep the survey
anonymous. All survey responses will be kept anonymous .

Philadelphia Open Studios Tours is on again for the fall. If you didn’t apply May 1, your studio can’t be on the tour this year.   If you can’t open your studio to the public, be sure to attend in the fall.  It’s lots of fun. Press here for more information.

fIf you want to see what’s cooking  for the summer at Philadelphia’s Fleisher Art Memorial, press  here.

While you’re at it, check out one of my favorite Internet art sites, Wet Canvas.

Make Your Own Jewelry Tools

About a month ago, I put up a post about how I made a small jeweler’s bench from a small desk and scrap wood. Since then, I have been trolling for tool making directions and tutorials.

I recommend two excellent articles from Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. The first one is on how to make a swage block from hardwood by Tom and Kay Benham. lj11071 It’s in the November 2007 issue which you can order by pressing here. You can find other tips on making swage blocks here. The authors used a Fostner drill bit set and a drill press to make their swage block. Since I don’t have access to tools like that, I used a spade drill bit set and hole saws to make mine. I got pretty good results. You can buy hole saw and spade drill sets from Harbor Freight or your local home center.

 

T409he other article from the April 2009 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist is about how to make a hammered wire cuff bracelet. Author William Fretz throws in a nifty side bar on how to construct a jig so you can get consistent curves in heavy gauge wire. Press here to order the back issue.

 

 

Ganoksin is a treasure trove of jewelry making information. Be sure to check out Charles Lewton-Brain’s article on making chasing tools and Tina Wojtkielo’s article for tool junkies. It’s full of tips for making and using tools that she collected from several jewelry artists.

The last item comes from a great Internet resource, the How-To-Make-Jewelry Blog. It’s a useful bracelet sizing template you can download for free. The video that shows how to use it is below.

 

What I Learned from Susan Lenart Kazmer

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Mike Models Susan’s Bracelet

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.slk4
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.

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Now every day the sidewalk holds more treasure than ever before.

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Thanks Susan for teaching this class and Terri for telling me about it and giving me a ride! 

Make Your Own Clasps!

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It took a long time for this necklace to come together.  My friend Jeanne gave me the amber after her husband died.  I got the coral, turquoise and Balinese beads at an outside art show in Portland, Oregon.  I bought the red disc beads-actually made in Africa from old phonograph records-at a bead show.

The beads spoke to me one day and I put together the necklace below. I couldn’t find the right clasp to save my life, so, with some basic wire skills I learned in a glass from my Beading Yoda Jeri Schatz, I made a clasp.  And then I made more clasps.  And then I wrote an article on how to make clasps which is in the latest edition of Step By Step Wire Jewelry.     n

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martha-aleo-clasps

Dancik with the Stars

 
 

 Dancik was Riveting

 

I mentioned last week that I took a two day class called Forming Lasting and Meaningful Attachments with Robert Dancik and sponsored by the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild. We learned all about cold connections in jewelry making including riveting, tabbing, gluing, fold forming, and fastening with miniature hardware. We also learned about different types of resins, epoxies, alternative art materials, and how to use them.

Want to learn more about cold connections? Some of my favorite books on this topic are Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet by Mary Hettmansperger, Making Metal Jewelry by Joanna Gollberg, Making Connections by Susan Lenart Kazmer and a book on the Godfather of cold connections, Alexander Calder, Calder Jewelry by Mark Rosenthal.

And here’s a good illustrated article on how to make rivets by Patty Fleishman.

To see more pictures from the Dancik class, go to the Philly Area Guild’s Flickr site.

Plumpton Says Patina

I have been experimenting with patinas on metal. You can buy patina chemicals, but you can also use things from around the house, like salt, rust, and ammonia.  My feline companion Plumpton  and I sometimes collaborate on artistic projects.   Here are two examples of copper buried in Plumpton’s litterbox.  

Why buy iron oxide when it grows wild everywhere? Yes, iron oxide is another name for rust. Take a rusty object and put in into a plastic bag with a few drops of water and the metal object you want to have a rust patina. Here is a what a steel washer looks like, before and after.   

The next items are salt and ammonia and the process is called fuming. I cleaned brass and copper with a wire brush and wiped it clean with alcohol. Then I filled a small jar with white ammonia and put in inside a big jar. I sprinkled salt in the big jar (not in the ammonia), put in the metal, and screwed on the lid.

At first, the brass started turning black from the edges and I didn’t think anything interesting was going to happen.    

Then I got this.  Kewl!

Here is the same process repeated on copper.

More experiments to follow . . .

A final note – I took “Forming Lasting and Meaningful Attachments” with Robert Dancik last weekend with the Philadelphia Area Polymer Clay Guild last week. The class covers cold connections and is one of the best classes I ever took. I didn’t make a thing, but I don’t care. I learned so much it will take time to process it all. Take this class if you have the chance.

Earrings Earrings Earrings!

    
Here are some polymer clay earrings I’ve made over the years.  The techniques include screen printing, stamping, geometric caning, mica shift and the use of inclusions and washi paper. The lantern earrings with the copper dangles are hollow, light and comfortable to wear.

I’ve started to make my own ear wires and I recommend that you try it.  You’ll save money and will be able to fashion a custom wire that compliments your design.

McFarland Designs offers an excellent tutorial on how to make round ear wires. To learn how to make fish hook ear wires, check out this video from My Daily Bead on YouTube.

DVD’s from Kato, Miller and a Calder Article


 

Donna Kato Presents: Tips, Tricks & Techniques for Polymer Clay  is three and a half hours of Donna Kato demonstrating caning, transfers, mica shift, finishing techniques and more. The gals at video night (you know who you are) gave it a five (out of five) pasta machine rating. A bargain at $34.95. To order, press here.

I love everything Sharilyn Miller. (To see my review of her Tribal Treasures video, press here.) I just got finished watching her Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop video, and all I can say is “Wow!” Another three and one half hours of valuable information on wire working, and instructions for making four bracelets and two necklaces. A steal at $39.95. To order it, Press here.

I wrote about the Alexander Calder Jewelry Exhibit at the Philadelpha Museum of Art in an earlier post. The latest issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist has an article on Calder’s jewelry well worth reading: “Calder’s Mobile Jewelry” by Cathleen McCarthy.