Sunday, September 29, 2019

September Theme Challenge: Foliage

Leaf that was on our driveway with water droplets

This month's Art Elements Theme is Foliage.

Well, I have to say this is the most prolific mom and I have been for the Art Elements Theme Challenges. Mom and I like leaves - so there will be a lot of them.

I actually made some sketches for ideas - they suck - but gives me something to show mom what I am thinking of.

This image was actually a leaf pattern we use for our bowls, a house pattern we used for a cuff bracelet we made years ago - and then I just threw some trees on there for ideas (mom said no to the trees - which I agreed with - but needed ideas for her to see what I was envisioning).

I actually did some sawing - since these were easy enough for me to saw out. Mom is the intricate saw master - give me the easy!!!!

These are the leaves as they are being enameled. With the leaf bowls, or any bowls, I like to enamel the interior first and then the back. The leaf pendants I like enameling the backs first and then enamel the fronts. That is just my preference - I am sure everyone does it slightly different.

Mom and I actually finished the bowl and pendants two weeks ago - for us that is really good. But we had a show last week and I wanted to make sure we were done before the reveal date. The above picture is the one I shared when I completed enameling everything.

So - here are the finished pieces:

I actually made this bowl a few months ago - I used crackle enamel on this bowl and I LOVE how it turned out. So, I had to sneak it in with the pieces I actually made for this month.

This is the bowl based on the two patterns I incorporated into one. Mom made some modifications and I am really happy with the way it turned out. I am so glad mom and I can work together on ideas!

These are the leaf pendants I sawed out. These pendants will be listed in our Etsy store after I open it (hopefully tomorrow). We do have three listed already, but it will be nice to add  more of the leaf pendants. The purple leaf and the brown/yellow leaf have frit on them for a different look. These pendants always put a smile on my face!

This last piece was a last minute piece today. I have had the sketch done for a couple of years and we have had the components for longer. The pendant is one of our abstract/oblong enameled copper leaf pendant and the polymer clay I can't remember who mom bought from. They were a St. NicklausTag gift because I just loved the way they looked. If you know the artist please let me know because I would like to make sure they are named as the artist who made the pods/bird polymer clay.

I laid out the components and then said, "MOM-HELP!". Mom figured out how to add the bird (used a headpin to connect it to the bottom) and then created a loop with the pod at the top of the enameled copper pendant. I then used our lampwork glass beads and poppy jasper as accents to make the necklace. At the top is a seed pod with a jump ring, so I used it as my clasp.

Should have assembled when not tired - I assembled one side wrong.
Going to have to tear apart and reassemble - oh well. Gives me

Overall I am happy with the way my idea turned out.

Thanks for sticking until the end.

I hope you head on over to all the other wonderful artists participating in this month's challenge.


Beth & Evie  (you are here)

AE Team


Saturday, August 31, 2019

August Theme Challenge: Octopus

It is that time again - the reveal for the Art Elements Theme Challenge - Octopus.

This month's theme was pretty fun. I had a lot of fun looking at images on Pinterest and adding pictures to my Art Elements Theme Idea board. Of course the hard part was narrowing down ideas because mom also was looking at octopus images. So, more ideas might be coming in the future. I know I would like to make an octopus necklace (hey mom - I want to make an octopus necklace)!

A picture of mom sawing out the octopus.

Mom has the easy stuff sawed out - now she has to saw out around the tentacles.

Video of mom sawing on our Facebook page.
If you want to see a 10 second video of mom sawing out one of the tentacles - head on over to our EB Facebook page. If you wait to the end - you will hear mom give a big sigh.

Mom has finished sawing out the piece, filed and sanded. Now it is my turn to enamel.

This is one of several layers of enamel I put on the piece. All those circles are some of the places I need to clean out the enamel.

You can see a video of my cleaning out holes with the dental pick.

Here is a closeup of the dental pick I use - this belonged to my grandpa. He was an engineer and he always had cool tools on hand. You can go to our EB Facebook page to watch a video of me cleaning out the holes. 

For the octopus it took me about 20 minutes to clean out all the holes. I have to do this on each layer of enamel I do on a piece. 

I was lucky this time - no holes filled during the making of this plate :)

After each firing - I would take the octopus out of the kiln and then lay it flat on the bricks we have. I then used an iron to place on the plate to make sure the piece lays flat. This picture always makes me giggle - smushed octopus with tentacles waving.

So - here is our piece. I took the picture outside when it was really sunny. The plate will go into a shadow box for display. But, I wanted a good picture of the octopus plate before it went into the shadow box and then you have reflection off the glass.

Mom wanted to go with pinks and purples. I found some pictures of octopus that I used as reference. But I mostly just played with the enamel and crossed my fingers and hoped it turned out.

Mom had a great idea of adding black around the eyes and some of the details. I knew there is reason I keep her around!!!

I hope you enjoyed our tour of how we created the octopus plate.

Here is a list of those participating in this month's theme:

Guest artists:
Evie and Beth (you are here)

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

July Theme Challenge: Flowers

Photo by my nephew Skyler.
It is that time again - the reveal for the Art Elements monthly theme - Flowers.

Mom and I LOVE flowers. If you are friends on Facebook with mom - then you know she loves to post pictures of the flowers from her gardens.

We also love going to a little hort park located near where I work. We have thousands of photos of flowers from that little park. We have even put some of those flower photos on metal prints.

Mom and I love to make flower plates, bowls, pendants and jewelry. I have pictures posted on Flickr, Pinterest and our EB Facebook page. I have been a little lax on posting pictures and I also need to make sure all the photos are out on all of the sites.

Grandma showing Skyler how to saw. I also had Skyler help me enamel.
This past month mom and I have had my niece and nephew for a visit. My niece was able to stay two weeks before she had to get back to work and we have had my nephew for a little over three weeks. We only get to see the kids once a year (they live in Oklahoma) and we only maybe able to see them two more years before they start college. So, we are trying to enjoy as much time with them as we possibly can. If you follow me on Instagram - you can see some of things we did while the kids were here.

So - we didn't fully complete the piece for this month's theme.

The piece is ready to be strung - but we actually have a few more enameled pendants we want to add in. I didn't get them enameled - so waiting on those to be completed.

Mom found the pattern for a sunflower and she sawed it out. I know I took pictures of her sawing out the piece, but now I can't find those pictures (sorry!).

Mom then wanted to form the pendant. I have a dapping block I bought a year ago, but haven't done anything with. I haven't domed anything for over 10 years, so I need to watch some YouTube videos - but mom just winged it.

Mom did a really good job of winging it :)

Once she was done with that - it was onto enameling (after mom found the image she used so I knew what colors she wanted the pendant to be).

Before going into the kiln

After being taken out of the kiln
Here is the final look at the sunflower pendant.

And these are the smaller pendants that mom is sawing out to add to the necklace and also make a bracelet from.

Mom sawing out the little suckers that I will have
fun enameling

Mom finishing up the filing and sanding

Completed pendants that need to be enameled
A look of the beads we are using in the necklace:

We are using some of our lampwork glass beads, with pearls in between the beads and I think we are adding some seed beads too.

Thanks for sticking it out with me until the end.

Now it is off to see what everyone else has created. Here is the list of those participating:

Here is a list of our Visiting Artists:
Evie and Beth - you are here

And our Art Elements Blog Contributors:

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Plastic, Plastic, Plastic Everywhere You Look - Trying to Change That in My Life

This is a picture of my shower - lots and lots of plastic. I don't know why it took a 2x4 to hit me upside the head to see this. I can't believe how much plastic has invaded my life. I know I didn't always use plastic - what the heck happened. I know - convenience.

I am trying to change this.

Produce Bags

Grocery Bags
Mom and I do use recycle bags and produce bags when we grocery shop, but there is still soooooo much plastic in the store. We also use biodegradable trash bags, stainless steel straws, glass jars for water, glass containers for leftover foods. But I still want to make more changes.

In our area a new grocery store opened - we walked into the store on Sunday and it was a sea of plastic. There was a lot of produce that was not in plastic. I did go to the cheese and meat counter to ask if I brought in my own containers will they put the food in there. They said yes, so that can help out. And they do have some bulk items you can put in your containers - but they still had plastic tubs for peanut butter and plastic bags for the bulk items.

I crocheted this soap keeper sack
At our last show, the end of June, I did buy handmade soap. All fresh ingredients, but they package it in plastic. This past Saturday I went to our local market and there was a woman who made her own soap. It was at least wrapped in one piece of cardboard with her shop name. So, I think I will buy from her.

I want to get away from my loofah - still trying to remember when I started using it. I think I bought my first one from Bath and Body in the mid-90s. So, I found a YouTube video on how to crochet a soap sack. She did a very good job and I crocheted my first one.

The soap by a local woman. Smells divine.

I love how it turned out. I have got rid of my plastic loofah and I am now using this soap sack and I just crocheted a washcloth last night. I found another YouTube video and followed it.

I loved how it turned out. I was not able to use it yet because a co-worker wanted to see it today at work. She would like me to teach her how to crochet dish cloths/wash cloths for her to give as gifts. So, when I get back from vacation we are going to meet at lunch so I can show her how to crochet these.

I did find a couple of YouTube videos on how to crochet a loofah. I think I am going to give that a try tonight. I will post how well it worked when I finish.

This past weekend I also spent a lot of time on Etsy looking for handmade shampoo bars, deodorant, makeup and toothpaste. I was looking for bamboo toothbrushes, but didn't find a lot made in the United States - most were made in the United Kingdom or Canada.

I have ordered shampoo bars, foundation and powder, toothpaste, deodorant from several Etsy stores. They all should be arriving this week. I will let you know how they all worked out. The one thing I am worried about the shampoo bars is the pink in my hair. I tried to find bars that were for color treated hair.

I also looked for Etsy stores that used all natural resources and did not use plastic in shipping. Those were my big things for searching.

Once I receive everything I plan on documenting how they arrived and how well they work. And will let you know if I will buy them again from those sellers.

I have also joined a Facebook groups for plastic free: 1 Million Women, Plastic-Free July Support Group, and Zero Waste Cartel. There are really some good ideas on these Facebook groups.

I think the next thing I am going to look for are bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable tampons, reusable razors. Though the razors scare me - I am really good at cutting myself when shaving.

If you have any good ideas about recycling, buying non-plastic, or already have things you use and love - please let me know. I really want to do better in my life!

Thanks for sticking around for my rant.
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