Friday, August 26, 2011

In The Beginning

I'm reposting one of my early blogs from two years ago since I know many of you viewers hadn't found me yet.

Let's go back a few years ago to when my crafting first took wings.

My mother who had had a good liberal arts education was determined to have artistic children or at least provide us with every opportunity to express ourselves artistically. We had family projects at the round clawfoot kitchen table.

  Whether it was playdough, clay or paints and paper, we were given free range to create. She didn't feel particularly artistically talented herself but she always seemed to be involved in crafts too. I think she knitted over 200 sweaters during my teen years. She crocheted and did the ubiquitous 70's crewel embroidery on burlap. She was more comfortable following other's patterns and then she became a veritable machine at cranking out items.
 We entered into a business relationship as I would bring her crocheted rug yarn purses to high school to sell. They were $4 each and I got $1 for every one I sold. (Record albums or concert tickets ran about $5 each those days!) Frank Zappa, Jethro Tull, here I come!

 It was then that I began my first hobby of embroidery. Embellishing jeans was all the rage. I had one pair of super bellbottoms that I got at age 13 that I started on as the wear began. Layers upon layers until we had to add side panels as my 107 lb body shaped into a tad more womanly shape. (Well, I was pretty much a stick even after I filled out another 10 lbs. I was sometimes still mistaken for a boy as a teenager) I also didn't have much confidence in my own drawing abilities and used other people's images as my patterns for my patches.

 What I really liked to do was make patches for my friends for their jeans. I would work on my patches for several days after school and give them as random gifts to people that I thought were special. (usually boys, I think)

 What you see here is my first real body of work. They are better preserved since there's not a chance that I could fit in them these days. These jeans are over 40 years old now although the embroidery is a young 39 year old or thereabouts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just when I thought I was caught up

Bali Silver and Aquamarine

I seriously thought I could kick back and play in the studio since I was feeling that I had substantial inventory floating about out there and could just wait for the checks to roll in from my summer seasonal shops. In actuality soon I'll be getting packages back from a few galleries containing everything they didn't sell.
Most of the places I sell my jewelry are on consignment so when a gal that works at the University of Alaska Museum approached me at market telling me that they needed more of my work I was quite happy since they pay up front. I also had been approached by another shop owner that I had done wholesale with and she also needed more.
...So back in production I was.
Fortunately making jewelry is my default these days. It tends to be a tidier venture and I like nothing better than to high-grade my own stash of beads for my very own designs.

It always seems that when I set out to do some photographing of my work it turns out to be a rainy day.
Still haven't used my newly decoupage-ed bust for a photo shoot yet.
I'll have to make do with scans today.
I believe the stones on this one are adventurine and a green quartz.
If you look closely at the focal bead you can see that every once in awhile I employ dichroic subtley.

Another problem I've been having lately is remembering the names of the stones I'm using.
These rough nuggets are a very pale green with a kind of black rutilation (ooh, technical word that spellcheck doesn't like)
When in doubt it's probably some sort of quartz.
The faceted crimson rondels are crystal.

The roundy Czech beads on this I put through an etching bath.
I've been influenced by Fanciful Devices on that count I must say.
The blue stone beads I can't vouch for as being a natural color but I did like that particular color to mix with my beads.

These carnelian beads are rough cut on one side and smooth on the reverse.
The shimmery rounds in between are sunstone.
I'm particularly fond of this one. 
I went through some of my oh-so shiny-vermeil findings (that's gold on silver, thicker than gold plating)
for those of you not familiar with vernacular. I find that I'm not using gold tone so much in my designs these days so I oxidized them with Patina Gel.
I'm liking the oxidized look these days....(also influenced by Fanciful Devices among others)

We headed toward fall rapidly here, leaves are turning and it's getting dark at night again.
Just hoping for some good Indian summer before I take off for New England.
I'm looking forward to my very first mixed media art workshop retreat at Squam.
I'm meeting up an rooming with my good blog and IRL friend Corrine from Dosfishes
before heading north to help out my folks at their summer place in Maine.
It's one way to extend the summer!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Old supplies and revisiting an old idea

Every once in awhile I drag out some old supplies that I've accumulated and revisit old ideas.
I had found some enameled copper tube beads a long time ago and wondered if I could make some myself.
I already had the enamel and the kiln.
I bought some copper tubing from the hardware store and a tube cutter. The tubing I bought has pretty thick walls and I soon realized that it was too tedious and hard on my wrists to cut the tubing in any kind of semblance of production. I abandoned it after just a few beads although I liked how they came out.
Then I found some thinner walled copper tube beads especially made for enameling in my lampworker's supply catalog and also realized that you need a special mandrel to keep the bead in place so you can work it. I went out and bought one of those and those supplies have been sitting around for over ten years now.
Yesterday I got them out and went to town on making a bunch. I also had some copper beads that I had picked up at  an African booth at the gem show years ago that weren't quite making it with my designs. I dedicated them to the project. This strand represents a couple of hours of work  rolling and heating the enamel and frits onto the copper.
They have a great feel to them  and while I seem to have a hard time designing with tube shaped beads these work well as a bunch together and I'm wearing them right now.
I invite you to zoom in on this photo to getter a closer look at the vivid enamels.

Now I'm off to the big city of Fairbanks for chiro &  car appointments, a concert and market day on Saturday.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Glass Tile Inchie Magnets- A Tutorial

This is my first ever attempt to do a tutorial.
It's for some simple glass tile magnets using Adirondack alcohol inks.

I purchased a square of glass tiles from the big box hardware store
(Lowe's,  for those of you in the states)
They have a choice between greenish tint and a light beige tint. Half of them are frosted and the other half are glossy.
Cut them apart from each other and peel of any of the paper than you can off of the back.

I pick out three frosted and three glossy for my magnet set

I used self sticking business card magnet cards a whole load of them for a good deal at a garage sale.
Cut to size using some trash scissors

Stick to the back of the tiles and cut away any excess  

Pick out some alcohol inks and squirt a small amount on the little cotton pad in a corner

Dab it on the tile

I like to use two or three colors. The alcohol ink reacts to the base color in interesting ways

Many possibilities

I package them up in sets of six and was able to sell them for $10 a set at our local Farmer's Market
( That's about 7 Euros or 6 British pounds)
That's it!
* Things I learned making this tutorial
     need better lighting
    wash ink off of fingers before taking photos

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy-tos and the voles

My first clue that we had uninvited guests in the Garaj Mahal was when our friend Julio from Bisbee reported that there were some little turds in his bed out in the garage.
He even felt some scurryings as he turned down the sheets one night.
Then I found some lovely rodent confetti in my paper ephemera drawer. It was comprised of some shiny silver bits tastefully combined with specks of color. I wasn't sure of its source until today when I dug deeper into my drawer and found this. I had saved this bag of "Happy-tos" from a trip to Bali years ago and apparently there was still enough oily salty goodness to attract a little vole.
For those of you who aren't familiar with voles, they are a tube of brown fur that can fit through a crack narrower than you could ever believe and they are little black sesame seed factories that particularly seem to be attracted to my silverware drawer.
They can be problematic. I once found dried mushrooms in my bed after being gone over a weekend. Even more disturbing, I once felt one scurry across my legs in my own bed.
The most bold one I ever witnessed was in my liquor cabinet feasting on some dried up Creme de Menthe that had spilled and crusted up. When I opened the door it just looked at me and kept munching away.. the little addict!

I had meant to do a post about my marathon salmon fishing trip but now I've mislaid the disk that my fishing partner so thoughtfully made up for me.
I just know you wanted to see those photos and even a short clip of the fishwife in action
My husband returned home to 39 Copper River Red salmon that were already filleted  that I had caught by dipnetting which is hard enough work as to make my wrist swell up for the past two weeks.
It seems to be healing now and my husband Archaeology Man is back out in the field for another couple of weeks so I'm hoping it will be productive for me.

We're waving goodbye to the little bit of summer we had here in Alaska. Leaves are turning and the blueberries in the low-lying area are showing signs of having been through a frost already.

Here's some of my wild blueberry harvest to tide you over til the next post.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Purse Winnings

 I'm taking the plunge back into blogworld. Summer grabbed me and took me for a ride lately with multiple trips to the market to sell my wares 100 miles away and a marathon fishing trip that netted (quite literally) 39 Copper River Red salmon which I promise to post more about when I get my pictures uploaded
I wanted to show you this purse that I won in a giveaway from lovely Lorna from Artymess
She's just opened a new store on Etsy which I recommend you visit. Her stitch work is so detailed and fun. She's using recycled fabrics on this piece. This is side B.

 She included one of her fabric brooches inside
 And some other goodies.
This beautiful felted purse I won from Marilyn Rock in a giveaway many months ago and I have been meaning to show it off here as well.
Thank you gals, They are prominently displayed on my bureau along with several other gorgeous winnings I seem to be accumulating along the way from all you generous giveaway hostesses.
I want to thank you all for being such a supportive and fun and generous community. I do appreciate it!