Thursday, 27 November 2008

Competition Beads!!!

Finally - I have settled on which beads I will enter for the Beads & Beyond Competition. Its a good job too seeing as I'm off away tomorrow and the deadline is the 1st December, it was a case of enter tonight or not at all! These pink rounds are not my entry (I havent nailed the shape yet) but they similar in theme to my entry. They took me AN AGE to make but I loved making them. I'm far from expecting to win this competition, there are some seriously talented lampworkers around, but I have enjoyed giving thought to my entry and pushing myself to try something new to me.

So once I have hit the send button on the e-mail to the magazine I need to pack! I'm going on an exciting new course called Red Hot Minx. Its a collaboration with Lampwork Artist Sally Carver and PMC Artist Leigh Armstrong. We'll spend two days playing with pmc, glass beads and also working with them together. I plan to spend my time experimenting with making a glass bead directly onto a metal clay core. Its been something I have wanted to try ever since I discovered Barbara Becker Simon. Her beads feature in this stunning necklace above. I'll take my camera and promise to post lots of pics when I get back! I cant wait!!!!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Reconstituting Metal Clay

One of the great things about metal clay is that there is no waste. Even if your clay dries out completely you can reconstitute it back to workable state. Here I have outlined the method I use for reconstituting my clay - I'll talk through it step by step.

* Put all your dried clay into a pestle and mortar and grind it right down.
* This part isnt photographed - but pour your dust into a glass and get a stocking and pull it as tight as you can over the neck of the glass and SIEVE the dust back into the pestle and mortar. (Do this over a large piece of paper to allow you to catch any wayward clay that does not sieve where you want it to - just pour back in once you are done).
* Now you should have separated the fine power from any lumps which will be left behind in the glass.
*I take a double layer of clingfilm and depending on how much clay I am working with pop it into a little pot or dish.
* SLOWLY add water drop by drop and mix in to the powder. And Mix it all up.

I added a little too much water here so its sitting next to me open and as it dries a little I'm giving it a massage and folding the dried parts on the outer parts of the cling film INTO the clay. By tomorrow I should have a nice big ball of clay to play with. I'm a lazy reconstituter - it comes from the habit of just sticking holes into a lump of clay, adding water, covering and leaving it for a while, massaging, adding more water etc - It could take DAYS! So I dont mind that this method takes a day. I'm hoping it will be ready for me to use tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Metal Clay Masters Registry

Its been a hectic few days but at the back of my mind all the time has been the Metal Clay Masters Registry I am working towards. I have a sketch book full of designs, and I think I am about ready to mock up my first pieces. If you havent heard of the Registry yet then rest assured you will - its the highest qualification in Metal Clay in the world. With 51 projects to complete in groups of 10, its a real challenge. Anyone can register, and its not tied to any one metal clay brand. It really is all about the art!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

New Course Dates

LinkI've been busy setting dates for 2009. Here are our regular diet of Metal Clay Classes, from left to right: UV Resin, Fingerprint Charms, Capturing Nature, The Magic of Art Clay, Ring Making, Hollow Lentil Bead, Silver Rose and the Level One Certificate. You will find the dates and more information on these courses here. We have still to set more Bronze Clay course dates and as if that wasnt enough I'm planning other brand new courses too. Any body got a cloning machine?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Chameleon Designs Swap

I think I may have mentioned before - one of the things I love about what I do is being able to give things away and participate in swaps. Yesterday I received this beautiful paperweight from Becky of Chameleon Designs. She took a shine to my Bronze Lentil Bead, and I to this pink glassy ball :) All of Becky's work is stunning. I only hope she like the Bronze Lentil Bead once it arrives!

Monday, 17 November 2008

Hadar's Book Arrived!!!!

Hadar Jacobson's new book :"Silver and Bronze Clay; Movement and Mechanisms" is GREAT!!! Full of lots of great designs split into different sections, Dangles, Hinges, Spinners etc. It has a full chapter on Firing Silver with Bronze and is simply overflowing with great projects!! I cannot recommend this book highly enough!! Get your copy here.

Friday, 14 November 2008

New Skill ? New Beads!!!

Well, I got my beads through the post following my lesson with Mindy Macgregor of Moogin Beads. She has the patience of a saint!!! Over and over again I tried with the hair thin stringer and over and over again I hashed it up! We practiced on a clear bead so I could just melt my mess in and start over. Eventually it seemed I was getting a little better until FINALLY It clicked!!! My euphoria was maybe a little over the top - I have a long way to go - But I HAD never ever had much success with stringer - and this stringer was SERIOUSLY thin! My beads from the lesson are above.

Since my lesson I've been practicing a little, first by pulling stringer so thin I find it hard to pick up and then decorating my beads. I've managed to produce these. I am quite chuffed. I love the colour too - CIM Glacier if you are interested!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Rainbow Petal Tutorial

How pretty is this bead!!! I was reading some of the great discussions over on the Lampworking Forum that is Lampwork Etc and came across this tutorial by Amy Trescott. I just had to buy it. If you think its just as pretty as I do then you can check it out on Amy's web site here.

Monday, 10 November 2008

New Book - Silver and Bronze Clay

I'm really excited about this - Hadar Jacobson's second Metal Clay book - "Silver and Bronze Clay - Movement and Mechanisms" is available for sale!

I have ordered mine and cannot wait to get it. If her first book "The Handbook of Metal Clay: Textures and Forms" is anything to go by then this book will be excellent. Hadar has immersed herself in experimenting with BronzClay for months and now we can all benefit from her experiments and findings. Find out more about Hadar and her work here.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

This and That

LinkThis and That

1. New Silver Core, 2. More Pansies, 3. Organics4. Not available

I was desperate to come and give you all the news from my lesson, but a photo says more than a 1000 words, well - a photo of the beads I made at the lesson will anyway - so we'll just have to wait until I get my them some time next week! Lets just say for now though that I had a great time!

Until I get my new beadies I thought I'd share with you a bit of this and that. First up is my newest and second Silver Core. I think this is an imprvoment on the first more rounded core and yet some people at my silver smithing class preferred my first attempt. Second is some more Pansy Beads with 5 petals this time rather than 3 in my last sets. These are not so dark in real life - I like them so much they may be keepers. Next up is a set of my recent organics. They are a mix of silvered ivory and my beads that feature on the Creation Is Messy Web site. I tried to ban myself from making them - but I cant help myself. And lastly is the beautiful necklace that Lynda Cheney made from the set of Beads I gave her. She has paired them with some stunning pure silver beads (that she made) and a lovely Byzantine Chain. This photo does not do this piece justice, but was the best I could do!

Friday, 7 November 2008

My Turn for a Lesson

These beads are the very first beads by Lynda Cheney from her wee lesson with me last week. I was very impressed! Well today its my turn to be a student as I'm off for a lesson this afternoon with Mindy MacGregor of Moogin Beads. Mindy is such a talented artist I cant wait to even just watch her work. With any luck I'll return with a new skill - the ever elusive Stringer Control :)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

New Stuff!!

My creation

Well, it was a hectic week last week - but amazingly I still have some work to share with you. On the photo mosaic you can see the BronzCLay heart I made that shows how true it is that a mistake can in fact become a feature. It had a little embellishment on it that fell off in firing leaving a hole, but I rather like it! I managed to finish off my Byzantine Chain that Lynda Cheney kindly taught me how to make, and I think it looks great with my large core beads! And finally there are some pictures of my new "Pansy" beads. I adore making these so expect more in the coming weeks! If you would like to read a little summary off the BronzClay weekend class then you can do that here.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Its all over and we LOVED IT!

Its 11:15 pm and I'm just about starting to wind down from all the excitement of the weekend! It was incredible and though I have played with the BronzClay before I saw it do things I have NEVER seen before! I'm also much wiser about how to etch safely and cannot wait to make lots of my own texture plates! I'll be sure to come back and tell all tomorrow, but for now check out the photos I have added to Flickr!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

What a Great Day!

Well, I'm home and have had such a great day! Sherri is as ever a wonderful and generous teacher and I am so lucky to have the opportunity to work with her again! Tomorrow her husband Dan will take over a little as we cover the etching process, so its really like two classes rather than one. I promise to pop back tomorrow with all my photos but in the meantime here is one which shows all our hard work on my hot plate! I have never seen it so full!!!

The Day Has Come

Well, time flies. . . . the day has come, its the weekend of our workshop in Bronzclay with Sherri Haab!!! I've written so many lists, ticked things off, written more lists, and still think I have forgotten something! But - there is a rather nice room in a very nice hotel awaiting several lucky class participants to join Sherri and her husband. We'll be learning how to make our own copper etched texture plates and play with Bronzclay! What a great way to spend the weekend

I'm going soon armed with only my imagination and my camera!!! Expect LOTS of photos later on!!!