Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

For Christmas this year mom, Aunt Vickie and I decided to make presents to give to each other. Mom made Aunt Vickie a Pyrex pendant necklace and I bought a two holder picture frame to hold a photograph I took and a poem I wrote.

The necklace turned out awesome. Mom made a focal twisted Pyrex pendant with smaller Pyrex pendants in the necklace with Aquamarine accent beads. Mom is becoming a lot better at making loops for the pendants and the colors of the pendants turned out wonderful.

I am choosing the photo I took of my roses after it had rained. It is a close up shot of a rose with water drops on the petals. I like how vivid the picture turned out. The other frame will hold a poem I wrote about nurses, since Aunt Vickie is a nurse.

Mom also created the following necklace for our friend Shannon for Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Getting on Each Other's Nerves

A lot of people ask how mom and I can spend so much time together and not get on each other’s nerves. Mom and I usually don’t get on each other’s nerves. It is a rare instance when that happens. Well it happened this past summer.

Mom and I usually take the summer to work in the garage to make up beads for the fall sales. Mom tells me I am pretty good about being patient on instructing her on how to make different types of beads. Well, not this day.

For some screw ball reason mom wanted to try and make this fish bead. The fish bead was a hollow bead with some pretty fancy fins going on. I told mom I would show her an easier fish bead that Sharon showed me, but no, mom wanted to try and make that fish. Now I really know where my stubbornness comes from.

So, I looked at the bead and made some modifications to the bead that I thought would be easier for her to handle. Uhmm, well no. I don’t know who was more frustrated at the end of that bead making session, mom or me. Needless to say it was disaster and I am hoping mom learned her lesson after that session. You need to learn how to crawl before you can start running!!!!!

Instruct an Enameling Class

Sharon Owens has been after me to give an enameling class at Inspired Fire. Sharon says that they receive a lot of comments from customers about our enameled pieces and that Sharon thinks that people would sign up to come in for a class.

Mom thinks I would do a wonderful job of giving a class, but I don’t believe her. I don’t feel like I know enough to give a class. Sharon says it would be easy, but of course that is easy for her to say. Sharon gives classes all the time. UGH!

Of course there is also the issue of buying supplies. We would have to have pre-cut copper pieces that students would use to learn the enamel process, and we would have to buy the enamels for the students to use. At least we can buy pre-cut shapes in the copper, so we don’t have to worry about teaching the students how to use a jeweler saw, which would be an additional expense. That would be another nightmare. Trying to teach people how to saw properly so that they don’t cut themselves with the saw blades or break umpteen saw blades. That is so much fun J

I put Sharon off this past year, but I am thinking about this coming summer maybe doing a class. If I look over my enameling book maybe I can come up with some plan of study. Who knows, maybe this could be a new thing for me. Of course that means I have to talk to people and we all know how good at that I am.

Salt Fork River Festival

This past fall our friends Dawn and Joe Taylor had their first art festival at their winery, Sleepy Creek Vineyards. They had approximately 20 artists set up booths for the two day event. Both days were nice, but I have to say Saturday was the nicer weather in regards to heat and humidity.

The atmosphere was nice and relaxed with people walking around with wine glasses full of the winery’s slushy mix or their very own wine. The clientele was different from what mom and I were use to from the craft shows we had done in the past. The clientele seemed to really appreciate the time and effort that went into the jewelry we had displayed.

We received a lot of comments and feedback from people who looked at our jewelry. We received some great ideas to try, which we have not had time to try yet, but I am looking forward to this coming summer to try them out. It’s just too cold in the garage.

I believe this festival was the most relaxed that mom and I have ever been in regards to a craft show. Of course it might have helped with all the slushy mix that we had during the course of the day. We can’t help it; the wine slushy mix is just so good!

Dawn and Joe have done a wonderful job with the winery. It was great to walk around the vineyard and see all the vines they have planted, the scarecrows (from a competition they had) that were out in the fields, and to just watch all the people who came out to enjoy the day at the winery. Link to the vineyard:

I am really looking forward to next year’s festival. I am counting down the days!

Hot Cut Buns

While I was at Penland, NC for my two-week class in combining metal and flamework, I learned how to make human torsos out of glass. I was instructed to practice making butts and thighs before moving onto the rest of the torso.

Ultimately, I had all these butt and thigh pieces lying around, and I had no idea what to do with them. So, I decided to make a bracelet out of them with the abstract enameled copper leaf pendants. I had sand blasted the glass so it was a beautiful opaque color, and I left the copper natural and connected the parts together.

The reason I named the bracelet Hot-Cut-Buns is that I had both cut and burned myself while making all the parts.

V-J-J Necklace

At the 2008 Brookston Apple-Popcorn Festival I sold the most expensive piece I have created (for sale). It was an entirely handmade necklace. I made abstract enameled leaf shapes, flameworked floral design beads, and mom made sterling silver links and a closure.

The reason I call the necklace V-J-J is that the abstract leaves reminded me of Dr. Bailey from a Grey’s Anatomy episode in which she references the V-J-J. J Of course, that is not what I call the necklace in public. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

Overall, I love how the enamel coloring turned out, and I am improving in the method of making floral design beads. I do have to pat myself on the back and say that those beads turned out really good. Yes, I am about to break my arm patting myself on the back.

A woman bought the necklace and a pair of Gingko-leaf enameled-copper earrings that mom made. Those earrings matched the necklace perfectly. Her buying that necklace and earrings made both mom and I feel great about what we were doing. - off beat jewelry names and all.

Off Beat Jewelry

Mom and I have come to the conclusion that we are not the most mainstream jewelry makers. We both like making off beat jewelry or not the run of the mill type of jewelry. As long as we both enjoy what we do, and make enough profit to pay for our supplies, that is all that matters.

Westwood Exhibit

Patty Jischke developed the Westwood Exhibit where students can submit works of art for display consideration. She or a person on her staff select from the artwork submitted and it is displayed at Westwood, the current Purdue president’s home, for six months.

I first entered in 2007, and all four of my creations were selected for display. I entered a fishscale necklace, a casted Celtic necklace, a Georgia O’Keeffe inspired enameled tile, and an enameled copper bowl.

Mrs. Jischke hosted a reception at Westwood for the winners. There was a nice turn out of students, friends and family. President and Mrs. Jischke were both present and spoke to the students and their guests. This also provided an opportunity for all the guests to walk through the first floor living area and see the work of all the artists.

In 2008, I entered again. My Abundance and Scarcity necklace and my die-formed fish necklace were chosen by President Cordova’s representative to be displayed.

Anthony, the president’s family butler, was very kind to make the comment that if the Abundance and Scarcity necklace had been for sale, there would have been several offers for the necklace. That made me feel very proud and was a confirmation that I was on the right track with my jewelry making effots.

Undergraduate Exhibits

Purdue Visual and Performing Arts encourages students to enter the annual Undergrad Exhibit. Each student enters up to three submissions in metals, painting, drawing, textiles, sculpture, or photography. The submissions are juried, and prizes are awarded to the winners. Also the submissions are retained on display in the galleries in the PAO building for two weeks following the judging of the exhibit entries.

I entered my first exhibit in the Spring semester 2007. I entered my fishscale necklace; the Georgia O’Keefe enameled tile; and the enameled bowl. None of the submissions won a prize, but, at least, I was brave enough to enter.

I entered again in the Spring semester 2008. This time I entered my casted Celtic necklace; the Abundance and Scarcity necklace; and the die-formed fish necklace. I actually won Honorable Mention in metals for the Abundance and Scarcity necklace. I received a certificate and a $25 gift certificate, which made me feel very honored that someone liked something I created.

I will enter one more time in the Spring semester 2009 exhibit. This time I anticipate entering my final project for textiles, a headdress; a goblet I made in metals class; and I am considering entering a drawing of a horse I did in one of my classes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How Evie Got Started

Evie's introduction to beads was going to Inspired Fire with Beth and watching her create beads. If I wasn't watching her create, I was cleaning the bead release (dried, baked, and caked mud) out of the bead holes with a dentist pick or spiral wire by hand - talk about tedious. Beth had been making beads and jewelry about three years before she convinced me to take the introduction class (a gift certificate from her to me). One major difference with me making beads - no more cleaning the holes by hand - I bought a Dremmel immediately with a diamond bit - cleaning was a breeze now!

Unfortunately, my eyes aren't as good as Beth's, and my hands are not as steady. I have difficulty telling how close I am to the flame, and lack the precision for extremely detailed work. I am more of the "organic - abstract" sort, but I rather like my style. It works for me.

After Beth started metalsmithing classes, I would help her in crunch times to meet project deadlines. She taught me how to use the jeweler's saw (hate to think how many saw blades I broke). I discovered I liked to do the detailed work - cutting all the little holes out in a design. It was relaxing - getting in the zone. For this, I wear headgear with magnifying glasses built in which helps immensely. Beth taught me how to enamel the copper. She also taught me how to hammer copper bowls into shape. What a stress reliever - blissfully hammering away - don't forget the earplugs. I tend to design bowls that are a bit on the wacky, slightly off-kilter style. I also prefer to make mini bowls that I call ThumBOWLinas.

I taught myself how to macrame (I still have a lot to learn) and to make Chinese sliding button knots. I find it very relaxing. I use satin cord or hemp in a variety of colors to make necklaces and bracelets to compliment our beads and copper pendants. The bright colors are popular in Grove, Oklahoma, but more subdued colors are preferred in Lafayette. I find it interesting that tastes vary from state to state, city to city, person to person. Sometimes I incorporate the satin cord, flameworked beads, and a copper pendant, all in one piece. I find that pleasing. Sometimes, I make by hand sterling silver links, closures and coils to use in the making of our jewelry. This is extremely time consuming. We save that feature for the more elaborate pieces or when want a piece to be totally handmade. Beth loves using the burr cups to finish off the ends. I like turning the ends of the wire into shape and hooking them together. It is fortunate for us that we both appreciate different aspects of the process to complete a finished product. We aren't mainstream, but that's okay.

As Beth said, she hates to draw. I don't draw, but I sketch well. Beth would tell me what she envisioned, and I would sketch it. This collaboration has worked out very well. We both have ideas, I sketch, and we both create projects from there. Don't let Beth fool you; she completed some very nice artwork in her classes and will sketch in a pinch.

Beth is more conservative in her color palette than I. I like mixing colors that unexpectedly go together well and pop. Of course, Beth would probably say it is because I can't tell what color the rods of glass are when I pick them up, and it is a surprise to all once it is fired.

I have only entered one juried competition after being nagged to death by Beth. I did win second place in the beginners' necklace category in the 2007-ISLAGA Art of the Bead competition. Frankly, I just like making things I like. If someone else likes it, I feel extra proud. Being juried is just too nerve-wracking for me. Beth says I just have to get over it. Yeah! Right!

I have woven baskets (staining/coloring my own reeds). I have created stained glass sun catchers and ran a small side business selling them. I made a large stained glass window for front door of a friend who lived in a historic home in Pennsylvania. My dad made a traveling case for it, and the gentleman drove here to pick it up. I will one day finish a very large stained glass piece of a wolf on an outcropping of a rock I started years ago for my son Brian. Beth is still waiting for her dragon in stained glass, and I want a Celtic Love Knot - one of these days. When Beth and Brian were in kindergarten I did the artwork for the holidays in their classrooms. I used to sew all my clothes and clothes for Beth and Brian. I also made their Halloween costumes, which sometimes won them a prize. My mom and I made a man's suit once (and only once - what a pain). I crocheted blankets for each of my children before they were born (only crocheting I have ever done). I started knitting recently. The only thing I know how to make at the moment is a baby hat. Beth and I are trying to get 50 of them made, and then we will donate them to hospitals. My mom would be so proud - I have learned to knit and it isn't so tight you could hold water in it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How Beth Got Started

I started working with flameworking beads in 2003. I had interviewed Sharon Owens, owner of Inspired Fire, for a class project. The flameworking seemed really neat and something that I wanted to try. Mom surprised me with a gift certificate for a beginning flameworking class. Sharon shows you how to make several types of beads, Christmas ornaments, a sculpture, and a marble. Ever since that class I have been hooked. I started going to Inspired Fire almost every weekend to make beads. After awhile Sharon asked me what I was doing with the beads and of course I said nothing. Both mom and Sharon got on me to make jewelry, so I slowly started making jewelry. It is funny looking back at photos of the first pieces I made and to realize how much I had improved.

At that time I was also still trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college. I had dropped out of Purdue because I was not happy with the majors I was taking, so I moved to Ivy Tech to figure out what I wanted to do. One day I happened to go out to the Liberal Arts, Fine Arts site and found out that Purdue offered Jewelry and Metalsmithing classes. I thought to myself this is a sign, something that you are interested in learning, now get your butt signed back up at Purdue.

The first two classes I took in art was Beginning Metalsmithing and 2-D design class. I loved the metalsmithing class, even when I set my hair on fire and burned my hand when I was soldering. I DESPISED the 2-D design class. I think I almost drove mom insane with my worrying and trying to do projects for that class.


The next metalsmithing class I took was Color on Metals, which was so much fun. We worked with epoxy and then did about two weeks of enameling. That so set me up for the next class I took which was Enameling. The enameling was so much fun except for the Cloisonné and then sanding down the enamel to get the right level you want on the copper. I did like the enamel painting on copper. I used a Georgia O'Keeffe painting for my subject.

The last two metalsmithing classes I took were 362 and 462 which were the more advance techniques in metal works. But there is still so much more I want to take. That is one thing I am disappointed about at Purdue, I want to take all my classes in metals, but of course they want you to be a well rounded student and I can take only 4 metals classes towards my degree, UGH!

I did try and be a good girl and take a couple of other classes that Purdue wants you to take towards your Fine Arts degree. I took beginning drawing, which was a nightmare; I took beginning textiles, which turned out to be alright when we got to the crocheting and the knitting part and I did like my final project; and in the spring semester of 2009 I will take a beginning ceramics class.

In regards to bead making; mom and I bought torches in 2006 and mom set up a studio in her garage. We have a kiln, a place to make beads, and of course an exhaust fan so we don't kill ourselves with the fumes.

I won a Delta Phi Delta scholarship in 2007 and went to Penland, NC the summer of 2007. It was a class on incorporating glass and metal into pieces of art. Once I got over being intimidated, because I don't consider myself an artist, I am a craftsperson; I had really good time there.

So that is how I got started with the bead and metal work. I have not regretted it all, though my checkbook has on occasion :)

Starting to Blog

I thought I would give this a shot. Several of my friends blog and I look forward to what they have to say.

This blog will mostly be about the new business mom and I just started a few months ago; our beading; metalsmithing; triumphs and failures we've had and how we got started making beads and metalsmithing.

What EB Bead & Metal Works is a mother daughter team creating one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces from handmade flameworked glass beads and enameled copper.

Our artist statement is:

Unique sculptured beads
created in a mesmerizing glow
of flowing, molten glass.

One-of-a-kind metal objects
fashioned with the soothing melody of saw blades,
and the rhythmic pounding of hammers.

May our love of glass and metal
touch your soul
with happiness, joy, and peace.
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