Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Military Images on Thrown Bowls

This semester, in my ceramics class, I really wanted to incorporate images from my time in the military. I have gone out and downloaded images of my unit patches, rank, unit crest, MI crest, grenades, combat boots and M-16.
I thought it would be cool to incorporate my love of nature with images related to my time in the military.
These are my trial pieces because I want to see what they look like and what changes I want to make to future thrown pieces.
My dog tags with a fore-get-me-not flower

M-16 Rifle with daisies coming out of the barrel

A grenade with an explosion of daisies

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Art Bead Scene Challenge

Well I did it. I entered my necklace into the January bead challenge. I am excited and scared at the same time. There are some really nice entries out there. I love the way the necklace turned out, but I am not happy with the way the photos turned out. I tired to use mom's sun lamp, while I was taking photographs, but that didn't help out all that much. I really need to get the instructions out on how to make a light box and go from there.
The necklace consists of grey/white freshwater pearls and mother of pearls as accent beads. I then made glass beads. The five larger beads are grey/purple and the smaller beads are a combination of white/grey and transparent grey/transparent purple that I have acid etched to give the beads a muted look. I wanted to convey the idea of snow and the shadows on the snow from the Magpie painting.
Two more images of the necklace.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ceramic Studio and Sleepy Creek Vineyards

Saturday morning mom and I went over to the ceramics studio to work on drawing on several cylinders I threw. This semester I am learning how to throw in porcelain (like throwing toothpaste) and I am still throwing in stoneware. I wanted to draw on the shapes I have thrown and then bisque fire them after our greenware critique on Thursday. I have images of two porcelains shapes I threw and an image of a stoneware shape I threw. I have several other bowls that I drew on and on those bowls I used images from my time in the military with nature images. I didn't get a chance to take photographs yet, but I will try and get images posted after I have finished coloring the images.
Porcelain - Butterfly Image
Porcelain - Cherry Blossoms
Stoneware - Water Lily

After we left the studio we went home, to mom's, to prepare a few pieces of inventory to take to Sleepy Creek for Valentine's Day. Mom also wanted to take her plastic form, for the 4th annual Sow's Ear Challenge up since we had no idea when the next time we will be able to make it to the vineyard. The theme for this years Sow's Ear Challenge is plastic containment devices. You must take used and discarded plastic bottles and other plastic containers headed to the landfill and re-fashion them into something artistic, beautiful and/or functional. The People's Choice Award winner receives $100.
Full Image of the Tide's of Hope Luminary (Held together with glue and lots of hope)
Close Up View
Looking Down at the Latern
While at the vineyard mom and I sat around drinking slushie and working on Viking Knit. While we working on the Viking Knit we received a commission for a Sterling Silver Viking Knit necklace with one of our beads; which was awesome! To bad we didn't have more Viking Knit in the inventory because I think a few more pieces would have sold. Guess what I am working on now, more Viking Knit!
Display of Jewelry

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cold, Cold, OMG Cold!

This is mom all bundled up working out in the garage. I think the garge was about 40 degress while we were working.

Mom and I wanted to work in the metals studio but when we got over there the building deputy must have re-set the lock scanners for the new semester. So now I have to wait until they add me back into the scanner so I can have access to the studio. So that meant we went onto Plan B, work in the garage and make beads.

We got back to mom's house and we got her car out of the garage and then turned the heaters on to warm up the garage. We decided to let the garage heat up for about a hour. During that time mom was going to show me how to do Viking Knit.

I already know how to weave the copper around the dowel rod but I was not sure about how to add new strands of wire when I finished up the previous strand. Mom and I did Viking Knit and then headed out to garage.

OMG was it cold. The heaters blew the fuses so we flipped the fuses, turned the heaters back on and just started to work. It was a little cold out there but I was bound and determined to make those beads for the January Art Bead Challenge.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Donating Chemo Caps

Mom and I are finally donating 27 Chemo caps that we have knitted. Mom knitted the majority of the caps and she is getting better with each cap. Though mom says she will die of shock when she knits one of the caps without some sort of mistake in the cap. I tell mom it doesn't matter about the mistakes, we are doing something for someone else!
The caps on the right are from yarn that we buy from JoAnn fabrics. This yarn is so nice to knit with. It is a pleasure to feel as you are knitting. The other yarn is from Hobby Lobby or River Knits. I think mom is addicted to buying yarn. Her new nickname is "Yarn Whore". I really don't think we need to buy yarn anytime soon.
Handwash Chemo Caps
Machine Wash Caps

Friday, January 8, 2010

Excited About a Challenge

I have started reading a lot of jewelry blogs recently. It is so interesting reading what other people write about their passion; jewelry making, beads, bead making, etc., ad it is all related to art. It is inspiring and really pushes me to want to create, which is good. For awhile there I was in a funk and I didn't want to do anything at all.

I think what made me really realize that I loved what I was doing was when I went into the ceramic studio in December. I was having a really bad day at work and when I went to ceramic class everything was better. The minute I walked into the studio I felt calm. Just being there, and this may sound corny, totally enhanced my Chi. I feel that same calm when I am throwing on the wheel or I am sawing or enameling or making beads. The world just disappears and it is just me creating something.

Currently I am really excited about doing a project. On the Blog Art Bead Scene they are having a January Monthly Challenge. The inspiration is Claude Monet's painting, The Magpie.

The artist must create something using an art bead that fits within their monthly theme. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.

I told mom, yesterday, I really wanted to do this challenge and I felt I really had to do it. I must have been stewing about ideas all day long because last night, as I was about to fall asleep, the ideas for the beads came to me, my pink and grey Fishscale necklace. I made this necklace in 2008 and the necklace finally sold in 2009 at the Salt Fork River Art Festival at Sleepy Creek. I loved that necklace, but I know it went to a very deserving daughter because her father spent a long time looking at that necklace. He left, after we talked, and later came back and purchased the necklace for her.

Instead of pink and grey I want to use greys, purple's and some white which are the colors that are in the painting. I also want to try and acid wash the beads because I don't want the shiny look of the beads; I want more muted tones. I want to use silver links, but I need to see how much silver we have left. I might have to rethink the necklace and instead make the beads into a bracelet.

I really hope that the garage is warm enough to work in there this weekend.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Too Cold For the Garage

On Saturday, 2 Jan, mom and I wanted to work on cutting out bowls, pendants, and the gift I want to give to a friend. We went out to the garage and it was 21 degrees. We both looked at each other and said, "On to the Metals Studio". I for one love my craft but I was not going to freeze to do it!

Mom and I have to work on building up our inventory because we are pretty well cleaned out from last years sales. We also want to start going to art shows and that means getting an art portfolio ready to send out and cross our fingers that the jury likes our work.

On Saturday we worked on cutting out bowls (lots and lots of bowls). I left the hard ones for mom to do. Mom likes cutting out the intricate designs and I rather cut out the outside of the bowl, which she hates. It is a good thing we compliment each other or we would be in a world of hurt.

Here is the progress so far:
The outside of the bowls that have been cut out. Some of the bowls still need their designs cut out, formed and enameled
The bowls I cut out in the upper left hand corner and a something I am working on is located on the bench pin

Mom cutting out flames for a bowl

The finished product after all the cutting and breaking of saw blades. Mom sure has a lot more patience than I do. I am really looking forward to seeing how this turns out after we enamel it.

December 2009 - Commissioned Pieces

Mom and I went to Sleepy Creek Vineyards (located in Fairmount, IL) for their Christmas Bazaar. There were around 8 vendors set up in the building. Mom and I love going to Sleepy Creek and support Joe and Dawn. If we sell anything, it is a bonus. We enjoy going to the winery to sit and knit or mom trying to teach me how to Viking Knit and drink the wine slushies.

While we were there a woman stopped at the table asking if we could make her a shorter copper Viking Knit necklace. She had bought a necklace at the Salt Fork Art Festival, from us, and wanted another necklace.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photograph. I am still trying to improve in my photo taking skills.

We also had a request for several pieces from the woman who sat across from us. She has Newfoundlands and wanted a Newfoundland pendant. She also wanted a Viking Knit bracelet with a large flameworked bead. Mom came up with two Newfoundland pendants; I made the flameworked glass bead for the bracelet; and mom made the bracelet and a necklace to go with the glass bead pendant the woman bought.
A full body Newfoundland

Head of a Newfoundland

The Viking Knit bracelet

Then we had one more commissioned piece that was going to be a Christmas gift. One of the guys from work requested a Five Decade Rosary. He gave me the birth months for the parents and the four kids and that is what I based the color of the beads on. I made the Pater beads of the parents birth stones and the Ave beads were the children birth stones. I made the cross with all the birthstone colors combined. I really like how the rosary turned out.

Ceramics 342 - Fall 2009

I am finally posting the pictures of the pottery I threw in ceramics 342 during the fall semester of 2009.
During this semester Siggy showed us how to pull handles, for cups, make a lidded container, throw bowls, plates and shaped cylinders and the last thing we threw was a tea pot. We also learned how to make our own glazes.
Siggy also had me find recipes on how to make Egyptian Paste. You roll the paste into a bead, poke a hole through the bead, and then you kiln fire it. The bead comes out in the colors you made the paste in. I think I did white, blue/copper/ and red.
I like throwing the bowls and plates. I did not like pulling the handles or making the lidded containers. I know Siggy said it takes practice, but there is only so much practice before you realize you aren't very good at it! I lost count on how many lids and lidded containers I threw away.
I did have fun drawing on the plates and bowls. But there was a problem in the firing of some of the bowls and plates that was drawn on. Siggy is going to try and re-fire those bowls and plates during the spring semester. Siggy thinks that the firing was to low. Oh well. It is a crap shoot on what your stuff is going to look like when you take it out of the kiln anyway. Plus this semester was a learning experience.
I am going to post some examples I hope you enjoy!
One of the first bowls I threw. Bottom layer is Angel Eyes with wax resist and Tenmoko on top
The last bowl I threw. The design is a Celtic design. I based the bowl off a casted enameled necklace I made in a metals class.

One of the better cups I made. The glaze is Angel Eyes, wax resist design, Angel Eyes

This is the inside of a bowl and this is one of the glazes I made. It is called John's Oil Spot. I LOVE IT. The bowl also has a nice shape to it.
This is a plate I threw and then drew a design of flowers on the inside. I first painted white slip down and then used color slips for the flowers. I then used Celedon for the high fire glaze.

One of the tea pots I threw. I used Strawberry Blue glaze on the whole tea pot.
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