Friday, August 31, 2012

A Peek in the Kiln

Well it's actually not a peek in the kiln at all. More like a peek at what came out of the kiln this week. Lots and lots of beads. A big bowl of beads. Some I love and some are just not at all what I anticipated. Some of those stinker beads are in that photo above. I'm not telling you which ones though. Because like as not, in a few days I will change my mind and then I'll think they are the most wonderful beads in the world. I'm fickle that way.

Big bowl of pendants too. There were some true stinkers in that lot. Ones that I definitely will not fall in love with. It's like first dates. Sometimes you just know that this is not going to work out. Unlike some of those dates, stinker pendants are easy to get rid of. The just go under the hammer in a very satisfying crunch and chink.  Not something that is every acceptable to do with first dates.

Well I gotta run. I have a date this weekend with my grand daughter. She's turning 5 this month and there is a birthday celebration. I snagged the last Tinkerbell wings and tutu set at the toy store. I see a bit of dancing and twirling in my future. Probably not in a tutu. But I do have a fairy wand. My grandson is now 2 months old and I'm told that he is very interested in his hands and feet and shiny objects. So I'm thinking there may be a bit of on the floor with the little one's tummy time. Gawd, I hope that someone will help me get back up.

Have a fantabulous weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BTW - The episode where win the bead glaze marathon

freshly glazed beads drying 

The bead glaze marathon was a pretty easy win given I was the only one competing. I like a good challenge like that. I've been glazing beads, pendants, connectors and such like a mad woman for the last couple of days.  Last count 153 beads. Yes, I counted them. I did not count any thing else. While I am easily amused, it does not go so far as counting every thing in sight.

So my work table is once again in complete disarray. Cleaned it up on Sunday and by Monday night a big fat glaze bomb had gone off.

beads skewered and ready to glaze

I like glazing. It's a time when I get to think big thoughts and ponder questions of great significance to society. Things like that peanut butter Snickers bar at the Kangaroo Express looked good. I wonder if I should go out and get one? Why is a convenience store chain named Kangaroo Express?  To my knowledge there are no species of kangaroos native to North Carolina. What is a group of kangaroos called? Maybe I should go google that. Ice cream sounds good. I wonder if there's any Ben and Jerry's Heath Bar Crunch in the freezer? See? Immensely important thoughts and questions. None of which I actually have an answer to.

This morning I am waiting for the kiln to cool off enough to see what's in there. It's always a bit like Christmas. Anticipation, excitement, oh I never ever get tired of opening a kiln. Always a bit of  good stuff. Like I'm hoping I'll get some more of these melon beads out. But then there is always the well intentioned gift Aunt Jane sent. Great size but the color is all wrong. Had some of those a couple of weeks ago. Only problem with the the beads is that I haven't got a receipt to return them.

Want to see what's on other peoples bead tables? Just click that photo and it will whisk you away.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Are you going?

To Art Bliss, that is? I am. And I am very very excited. What? You want to know what that naked clay unfired bead has to do with Art Bliss? Well I'm taking a workshop that will need a pair of side drilled beads. Search my stash and I couldn't find a thing that appealed to me for this particular project. Then the light bulb clicked on and I said, hey I make beads, couldn't I just make a pair, or two, or three? So obvious I know but sometimes it's matter of forest for the trees kind of vision. I just didn't like any of the ones I was currently making for this project and middle of the night (I have my best ideas at 4 am) I figured a flattish mellon bead would work perfectly. So yesterday I made approximately  164 of the little guys. (Sometimes I exaggerate, but trust me it was a lot).

Kind of cool even on top view down. Bit like a patty pan squash which is, I think, technically in the mellon family.  I might be making that up for the sake of continuity with the melon bead idea. I have a million ideas or at least two more ways that I'd like to use these.  And a rainbow of colors that I can see them in.

Ahh, the class, now we get down to the meat of things. I'm taking an earring class with Stacie Florer. I have drooled over her work for some time now. See that earring at the bottom? That's what I needed a pair of beads for. Gorgeous stuff, eh?

There are some terrific instructors on board for the weekend retreat. It was really hard to choose. It's September 21-23, Washinton DC. Just click that photo down there and you can see what's up. Still time to register and from the skinny I've heard, this is a lovely weekend and organized by two fantastic hosts, Cindy Wimmer and Jeanette Blix. I'd love to see you! I'll even bring some patty pan squash beads for you too.

Happy weekend all. I'm off to the garden to wrestle with the weeds and pick a peck of tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

BTW - The old porcelain is back

It's Bead Table Wednesday and here's a little peak at mine.

This might be a bit of cheat because you are not really going to see my bead table. Every surface of my studio is currently covered with porcelain pieces in various states of undoneness. I went a wee bit off track of the schedule this week and immersed myself in the new/old porcelain clay. When we moved here a year ago, I decided to go with a more local porcelain. Why ship clay so far. It's heavy. It's good to support local. I tried to love this new porcelain. I tried for a year. But you know, when you have had many dates over a years time and you haven't fallen head over heals in love, well, it's time to say good bye. So bye bye.

My new porcelain, which is the old one I started out with, is back. I love you. I am sorry I flirted with the other one. I don't mind your gooey-ness. I forgive for your penchant for warping and cracking in ways that I don't anticipate. I crack a mental now and again myself. You are beautiful in your own unique way and I'll never leave you.

OK, enough of the lovey dovey stuff. You can't see my work tables because it's a wicked hot mess in there. Piles of stuff. That photo up there is just a tiny glimpse of the gazillion pendants and such I made over the last couple of days. There's a new design in there at the top. A happy looking variation on a traditional Korean design of a chrysanthemum. I've got happy colors in mind for these. Maybe some moody ones too.

And along with the new/old porcelain the old owls have come back. Look at that. There is always one joker in the crowd that wants to go it's own way. Sheesh, I have never been able to get these little guys to behave. There's a largish pile of birds who are not really behaving much better.

They'll all be much better behaved when they grow up to be versions of these guys. Hey, couldn't leave you without one colorful photo, could I? Because really, naked clay is not that interesting to look at so the birdies and owls are a little color treat.

What's on your bead table? Any tawdry secrets that you'd care to share?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Beads Coming Soon

Shop update tonight, Thursday 16 August, at 8 pm EST. Lots of new beads!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Mountain of Beads

There is a seriously large pile of beads on my work table right now. Lots of new shapes and glazes. I'm actually sort of surprised by the assortment and just a wee bit pleased with myself. Here's a little sample of what's coming up.

I love making birds and now there are birds in new colors. Colors that aren't necessarily found in real birds and that seems just fine to me. OK, the coral salmony one isn't new but hasn't been around for a while. And the black one isn't really new but this one came out with these wonderful little gold specs that I'm infatuated with. There's a new chocolate brown one that makes me hungry for brownies. Then there is  my brand new favorite sort of copper verdigris green. Yes, a green again. I am on a green binge these days now that I've discovered that I like green. What happened to my purple love?

Does this look like an amoeba? I always thought amoebas were kind of cool but didn't actually start out making an amoeba shaped bead. Because, really, who would wants to wear an amoeba. Maybe we should just think of this as a fluted coin bead shape. Boring description yes, but probably beats the heck out of amoeba in terms of palatable aesthetics. Note this bead is green,.... again. There are in fact other colors of beads in this lot. Like blue. Which is closely related to green.

I seem to have been obsessed with pairs lately. Maybe because I've been obsessed with earrings lately. These ones called out to have copper bead caps so I whipped out the sheet metal yesterday and went at it with a hammer. There is just something so very therapeutic about pounding metal and making a huge amount of noise.

The old Bob dog was completely unaffected by the racket from the metal pounding. He just spent most of the day sprawled out on my bed. Helps being a bit deaf, I imagine. Clearly, Alice was less than pleased with the interruption to her daily (all day) quiet nap. But rest assured she perked up when I put on her favorite Lucinda Williams album and played it over and over and over again. She's happy. I want to listen to something else.

About those beads....ETA Etsy shop Thursday evening. Maybe around 7ish, 8ish EST.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Beads, Authors, Workshops, and more

Whew! This summer has flown by. So much to do, so much done. A little pile of beads waiting to be sorted.

I had the great fortune to be able to meet Erin and Lorelei a couple of weeks ago for their book signing at Ornamentea. And my very own copy of their beautiful book, Bohemian  Inspired Jewelry, is signed by the both of them. Really I can't tell you just how much I love this book. Great projects but even better is that it is a wonderful spring board for new ideas. Erin and Lorelei are really good at this and if you don't have a copy you should put it high up on your wish list. Better yet, you should just go out and get one today. You don't even have to leave your home. You can order one here.

It is always lovely to meet the people behind the blogs I read. This was a real treat for me. Erin and Lorelei are two of the very first people I met when I started my own blog. To finally be able to meet them in real time is pretty much indescribable. So I won't try, except to say they are even more wonderful in person than I could ever have imagined.

But I haven't just been galavanting around to book signings and bead shops. No siree, Bob. I have been a little worker bee out in the studio. Beads, beads, beads. I think there are a gazillion of them in various states of doneness. After months of doing so very little it feels so very good to get out there in the studio and make big piles of beads.

A few glaze tests happened too. Some kind of exciting first results with these new combinations. The big kiln is firing away right now and the little one is ready to go in the morning. Progress!

Oh, and, I just got back from a metal casting workshop at Silvera Jewelry School
in Berkley. If you ever get a chance to take a class from Joe Silvera, you should do it. He's a great teacher and so very generous with his knowledge. Wax modeling may be one of his favorites but he's a great metal smith as well. You don't have to go to Berkley. He teaches around the country at bead shows too. But a trip to Berkley is pretty fun! He and his wife Anat are fantastic hosts.

No that's not my ring. That's Joe's ring. I did make a ring. But you can't see it. I didn't finish it because I was too busy making wax models. I love that stuff. Will I be casting? Don't know. It's tempting.

Life is full. Life is good!