Dear Fleisher 2018

Dear Fleisher, 4×6 Inches of Art is a biennial fundraising exhibition showcasing the work of hundreds of artists from Philadelphia and beyond. Artists submit original postcard-size works in a wide range of media and styles, each of which is exhibited anonymously and sold on a first-come, first served basis for $50.

DearFleisher2018

My contribution this year was all about repurposing.  The screen-printed fabric is an old shopping tote turned inside out.  I made the dangle from a silver candelabra I found in the trash.   I sawed off off the drip pans and milled the round metal arms into square wire that I forged into the dangle hanging from the porcelain pendant.  I added a chain and jump rings.

 

I couldn’t make it to the sale this year.  There was one piece in particular that I really wanted to buy.  Can you guess which one it was from the pictures below?

So many outstanding works of art by so many talented people.  And a great way to raise money for a wonderful institution.

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Sleeping in the Workshop

Sometimes Boris comes down to the workshop to “help” me but usually he ends up jumping into his Sleepy Box and napping.  I have two rock tumblers going at present and they don’t seem to bother him.  Nor does the soldering, sawing, hammering, banging and other assorted sounds I make.

I pulled out boxes of metal and polymer scraps and am trying my hand at making metal boxes with lids.  I am also tumbling a summer’s worth of porcelain beads and pendants that I made at The Clay Studio.  I am rooting through my tools and hardware for items to use in the mixed media sculpture class I am taking at Fleisher.  I found some 6 gauge copper wire at a house sale and I am making huge jump rings with it.  I am finishing some old projects little by little and trying a few new things.  I am not the one sleeping in the workshop!

 

E.C. Bradley’s Tactile Textures

My next stop on the POST tour was  studio 409 in the Crane Arts Building to see the the highly textured and dimensional work of E.C. Bradley who works in plaster, acrylic and resin on boards and canvas.  I find his work very attractive and calming.  Here are pictures of some of my favorites.

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“Klee Date”

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Tulips

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Watercolors!

 

 

 

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Read more about the Crane Arts Building here.

 

 

What I Made This Year

Some of the holiday gifts I made this year

imageFused glass cabochons  strung on buna with friction clasp closures.

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imageI attached pendant/pin findings on the back so the cabs can be removed from the cord and worn as brooches

    wpid-img_20141228_164559blog_wm.jpg A polymer bangle bracelet

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The beads are strung on galvanized steel wire

image with a sterling silver accent bead

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I made a necklace for Leigh who is married to Max  and the Mother of two little boys I made two sterling silver rings for the pendant which I textured and then soldered together.    I stamped the names of Leigh, Max and the boys onto the dangles that I cut from a sheet of sterling and filed into shape.  Then I made holes in them and domed them in a swage block for a more interesting shape.

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 The beads are everyone’s birthstones: opal, garnet and sapphire crystals.  I used the stones and Balinese silver beads to make wrapped loop dangles which are hung  in front of the name dangles and attached to the pendant with soldered jump rings.  I made the clasp from  sterling wire and attached it to a ready-made chain.  It fastens in the front.

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Plumpton didn’t get a present because every day is Cats’ Day.  But I made Ginger Cat cookies ( instead of gingerbread men) in his honor.

A New Twist on Viking Knit!

One aspect of creativity is combining ideas.   Finding new ways to use and combine materials is another one.   I have been interested in Viking Knit for some time and between experimenting with alternative ways to do it and alternative tools to make it,  I came up with some new ideas to give single weave Viking Knit a new look.

Cloth, Fabric

I found this beautiful fabric on a discarded window treatment. This is what it looked like after I washed and dried it. The blued and coppery hues reminded me of the copper wire I use in Viking Knit. And I love the contrasting look you get with using ribbon with stones or metal.    

Viking Knit 5 sided

Why not thread some of this luminous looking fabric through the Viking Knit?  

viking knit chain and fabric

Ok, the first thing I learned is that you do not, I repeat do not pull the chain through the draw plate before you thread the fabric through- do it before.  Just make sure the  fabric or ribbon is long enough to fill the length of the knit after its final pull through the draw plate.     The fabric does not make the chain any thicker or harder to pull.

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I’ve used 24 gauge copper here.  See the fabric inside?  I  don’t recommend using fabric inside of  double or triple weave because you really won’t see it.    Besides, double or triple weave is beautiful on its own.    

So, what can you do with your ribbon filled Viking Knit?  Here are some ideas.  Run with them.

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This is a necklace that I’ve finished with bands of flat copper wire run through a rolling mill.

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I braided the ends of the wire.  The ends are purposefully left raw and unfinished for a funky look which might not be for you.  

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These pictures are of a Viking Knit that’s around 20 inches long (excluding fabric ties) that I’ve made into a multi-strand bracelet for a  funky bohemian look.

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You can try different fabrics, add beads, finish the ends however you want- the sky’s the limit.  Make something that looks different from what everyone else is doing! Play and have fun.

 

Metal, Mixed Media, and Imagination

That’s the name of the class I am teaching at the Main Line Bead Society ‘s 2014  retreat.   I plan to teach the students some methods for using metal, fabric, paint, wire and found objects ( to name a few) to make jewelry  or anything else we can dream up.  I want the class will be a guided play session for grownups,  and the students feel comfortable enough to create with wild abandonment.  I plan on bringing a ton of tools and materials and  inspiration pieces. (see pictures below).  And I hope to learn as much from the students as they learn from me.  Wish me luck!  I’ve never done this before.

On-Line Ideas and Inspiration for Jewelry Makers

I troll the Internet in search of ideas and inspiration.  Here are some new finds and some old favorites I want to share:

Nancy LT Hamilton offers free metalsmithing videos on sawing, riveting, soldering,  making findings and other techniques.  She offers a few metal working tools and her site is full of  useful  information about tools, metal, measuring, ring sizing, drill bits and more.

Beaducation sells jewelry making tools, books. DVDs and findings.  In addition paid on line classes,  Beaducation offers  free on line classes in several mediums including metalsmithing, felting, resin jewelry making  and beading

Brenda Sue Lansdowne  sells cool  vintage jewelry supplies on her web site, B’Sue Boutique  and her  blog, Jewelry Making Outside the Box  is chock full of interesting information.   She also offers free on line videos  showing how she uses her products to make eye-catching  mixed media jewelry.  The videos and blog are great places to get ideas and inspiration.

Speaking of ideas and inspiration,  I found these silver plated serving forks at a flea market.  I plan to saw off the handles and make the serving ends into pendants. 

If you think you have seen it all when it comes to jewelry made from spoons, knives or forks, you must watch this  video  by Italian Artist Giovanni Scafuro.



Dolores Poacelli: No Relationship without Tension

I was at Art in the Open walking by the Schuylkill toward the Waterworks when I saw a woman working on this interesting piece

“How cool,”  I thought.  I went to get a closer look. . .

and met the artist,  Dolores Poacelli.   She told me the piece was composed of discarded aluminum printers plates she found in the trash.  “I’m a dumpster diver,” she said, ” and my studio is in the Italian Market.”  That’s all I had to hear to feel a connection.   But there was something else that attracted me to her work.  What?

Dolores on the right explains her process to Jeri

  The unifying factor in her body of work is an ongoing exploration of the relationship between color, shape, texture, space and tension.   Her exploration of these elements, while subtle and nuanced,  animates the  monochromatic  piece  and makes it interesting. Want to see more?  Her web site is full of  compositions  where she studies these relationships in metal, paper, collage, paint and mixed media.  Take a look!  Press here to see more of Poacelli’s work.

 Wooden Sculpture by Dolores Poacelli on the banks of the Schuylkill

 

Resin and Bezels


I have been practicing soldering and trying new projects including backless bezels and prongs.  All the pieces below are made from recycled metal.

I poured the resin into the bezel after completing the bezel.  I put packing tape on the back to keep the resin from seeping out.  The color comes from alcohol ink.  I put in a tiny bit and carefully swirled it with a tooth pick so as not to make more air bubbles.  After pouring a layer of resin, I put in another tiny drop and allowed it to spread without swirling.  I also put in some glitter and metal leaf to see what it would do.

The back.  I had a hard time cleaning the metal as you can see.  Next time it will go in the tumbler with the stainless steel shot!

I didn’t like the way the top turned out, so I sanded it and poured it again.  I think the dome is a little too high, but now the top has no dings.

The  circular pieces of metal are  scraps left after I trimmed a thin piece of metal with  tin snips.  The blue comes from blue pulver powder.  Pearlex would work, too.

There are obvious air bubbles in the resin, but I didn’t try to coax them out.  I think they give the pendant an aquatic feel.  I also floated some metal leaf in the resin.

My first attempt at prongs using Joanna Gollberg’s article “Fresh Prongs” in the July 2011 issue of Art Jewelry as a guide.  No binding wire needed!   Check out Gollberg’s book, Making Metal Jewelry for more great ideas.

I poured the resin cube in a plastic pill organizer.  They make great resin molds; the cured cubes just slip out and the surface on the top and sides are nice and shiny.  I probably poured resin in the back before unmolding because the resin will shrink and dip a bit in the curing. 

 

The prongs need to be higher, but they hold the cube securely.  I don’t think the resin cube is spectacular enough to make this a memorable necklace, but I wanted to try making a prong setting before attempting to make five or six more and using them and resin cubes to make a bracelet.  I think that would look interesting.

 

Take a look at Susan Lenart Kazmer’s DVD Exploring Resin  to learn some interesting resin techniques including how to cast resin in an open bezel.

Take a Peek into My Workshop

It’s been a while since Libby Mills  profiled my workshop in her blog’s Studio Snapshot series.  Since then, I’ve branched out into other mediums including felt,  do more metalsmithing,  and have acquired some new tools.

I am lucky enough to have a dedicated space for my work, but I live in a small house and purge regularly out of necessity.  This includes my workshop.  My current set up is the result of  regular purging and many wasted hours playing Tetris.

Here are some pictures of the ordered chaos.