Not much to say this week. Just some pictures of a lovely mosaic installation I encountered one afternoon on my way to the Post Office at 10th and Dickinson Streets in South Philadelphia.
I taught a wire class at for first Greater Philadelphia Polymer Artists Meetup on March 15. I was actually substituting for Olivia Surratt, who developed the class, chose the tools and materials, and provided excellent handouts (illustrated by Trish Pfaff) for the students. I have learned a great deal about wire working from Olivia and also from Beading Yoda Jeri Schatz who introduced me to working with a torch and fine silver wire. But I have not taken any other classes and am basically self taught. And I know that not everyone has access to good teachers or the time or money to invest in a class. So here are links to information and tutorials I have found helpful. Wig Jig University has hundreds of free wire tutorials. This is the site I turned to when I became interested in working with wire. Connie Fox is another person whose web site I turned to again and again when I first started. She does not do much wire work anymore, so the gallery on her web site does not have a lot of examples. Fortunately, you can see several examples on Pinterest here and here. Along with the wire skills tutorials on her web site, you can check out her Garden Bangle Tutorial on Polymer Clay Central. Sharilyn Miller is another one of my favorites. Check out her free tutorials here. Miller has made four DVDs that are well worth the investment. (I wrote about the Ethnic Style DVD in an earlier post.). The other titles in the series are Tribal Treasures, Rings of Beauty and Bohemian Bangles. Each DVD contains more than three hours of information. You can purchase them here. Be sure to check out her blog here. Wubbers, the people who keep designing new wireworking tools that you never knew you needed until you tried them, have set up Wubbers University. You have to register for the site, but it is so full of free information that it’s totally worth it. Connie Fox, Sharilyn Miller and Olivia Surratt all studied with Lynne Merchant whose work is probably most responsible for the popularity of wire art jewelry today. See examples of Merchant’s work here and here. And watch this video of her demonstrating how to make a spiral.
I traveled down to Maryland last week, first to Polymer Clay Express to see Rob and Wilma Yost and their new digs in the charming town of New Market Maryland. From there it was on to Olivia’s for the night because we were both taking a class with Connie Fox called Make Jewelry You’ll Love in Five Steps.
This was not a “jewelry making class, ” and I didn’t have any idea of what to expect. There are not many people with whom I would take a class under these circumstances. But I have followed Connie’s work for years and have always admired her sense of design. And she had always been so generous with information, posting free articles on-line and on her website. So I took the plunge and I’m glad I did.
Connie provided a lot of food for thought. She led discussions on how to evaluate our work styles and personalities. We spent a lot of time looking at and discussing the work of other jewelry artists. We looked at one another’ s work to examine the intent behind it find ways to improve the design. Doing the exercises Maggie Maggio and Lindly Haunai’s book Polymer Clay Color Inspirations has improved my work and I am always striving to improve my craftsmanship. But I came away from Connie’s class with a better idea of my sense of design and what I am attempting to achieve with my jewelry. I know I like to mix media and use found objects, but I am also a story teller and a lot of my pieces tell stories. And so the process continues.
Since peeking into another person’s studio is always such fun, here are some pictures from Olivia’s workshop
For interesting takes on Metalsmithing and Metal Jewelry, check out the work of David Paul Bacharach, Barbara Briggs and Connie Fox’s wonderful site, Jatayu
To learn to make just about anything, check out Instructables and the Ready Made Magazine web site.
No matter what kind of art you’re into, you’re sure to find something that interests you on Wet Canvas.