Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ceramic Flower Disc Beads and Organization

I love that I have my creative studio space in my house.
I dream of having a secondary building somewhere where I can run my business and hold artist retreats, but right now with young kids, it's just not something on my horizon.

I try to sneak in an hour or two of clay time a week.
I remember those days where I could work all day and night on my work, but having kids, those days are long (LONG) gone. And even though I miss it sometimes, I really enjoy where I am right now in life...

And sometimes when I work on new pieces in series, I should listen to my brain that says:
"Hey! WAIT!!! Now that these are drying in groups, you should immediately sort them into smaller bisque containers for the bisque firing NOW instead of having to sort through all of these pieces after the bisque firing!"

Did I listen to my brain?
Not at all... (kicking myself)
So I had to spend (waste) an extra 20 minutes to sort through this entire 6" x 8" container full of my new flower disc beads.
Truth be told - I think my brain ignored itself because it somehow knew that I needed that 20 minutes of extra bead fondling once these were out of the bisque firing.

Now that they are fired and sorted, when I get to the glazing point, I can easily pull out the plastic drawer (I use the ones from the hardware store that stack high and have 30-50 drawers in each) and pick pairs. 
I like to work in pairs from the glazing point. If they make it out of the kiln with a matching mate, then it was meant to be. 
If not - then well - independence is theirs!
I have some in my Etsy Shop, and will be glazing more in early May for a shop update and for stock for Bead and Button (booth #610 with Nikki Thornburg Bead Studio).
And to send to Darlene of D7Studio where she represents Marsha Neal Studio.

And I am taking a little bit of time here and there to tend to the garden and spring clean up.
I just love these Hellebores...
First time this one is really blooming!
Curious to see about the cross pollination of this double blooming head with some of the others in the garden (they take 5 years from seed to blooming mature plant).

And a little educational treat for myself...
I adore felting, and have had two opportunities to take classes with the very talented Sara Renzulli of Sarafina Fiber Art, where we have been needle felting structural creatures.
This one is the Bunny Puff Kit (she has all kinds of critters as fibers are available and restocks often).

I love these for my house, and learning about creating structural fiber work is really going to help me take the next steps towards where I want my body of work to end up...

If you have ever wanted to learn needle felting you should check out her shop and her SarafinaFiberArt You Tube channel for a bunch of tutorials.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Whoops--Almost Missed This

So, it's 4:30AM and I'm feeding baby parrots when it hits me....Do I have a post due today for LMAJ????  Well, yes, I do.  Crap. 
I'm a bit distracted, we are entering into the busiest time of the year for us here at the Rare Species Conservatory Foundation, the organization my husband founded and where I work and live.  Our South Florida 30-acre breeding and research facility is home to some of the world's rarest and most endangered animals.  One of our many programs involves breeding endangered South American parrots, and right now we are hatching this year's crop of Red-browed Amazon parrots.  Native to Brazil, less than 500 of these beautiful birds remain in the wild, and we have the entire captive breeding population in North America.  So, every egg is incubated and every chick is hand-reared to ensure the species survival.  Right now I have three babies I'm feeding every 90 minutes around the clock, with several more eggs in the incubator ready to hatch.  A totally different take on Easter eggs...seriously.
They may not start out very pretty, but they sure do end up GORGEOUS!
 So, forgive me almost missing this post.  Sleep deprivation will do that to you.  THANK GOD FOR STARBUCKS DOUBLE SHOT EXPRESSO IN THE CAN.
I will say that baby season is sometimes my most productive design time as well.  I often create some of my best work while trying to stay awake between feedings through the night.  Last night I finished the ring you see here and LOVE IT.  Imperial Jasper, sterling silver, copper and a dot of 14K gold.  I'm not quite in the groove yet, these are only the first babies of the season.  In a couple weeks I should be really rocking the studio between midnight and 6:00AM!  Of course the rest of the day I am a scene from the Walking Dead, but...whatever.
So, in lieu of one of my usual fabulous posts (snort), I will instead share a FANTASTIC tutorial recently posted by one of my favorite artists, Kharisma Ryantori Sommers of Popincute.  She is an AMAZING designer, I love her works, and she just recently started creating wonderful YouTube tutorials she posts for FREE.  This copper tube cuff tutorial rocks...and makes me, once again, long for a real torch so I can anneal with ease.  I am so appreciative for artists willing to share their techniques--so generous and her video is fun, detailed and easy to follow.  So, take a look and then go bang some metal.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Fine Finishings Boot Camp : Copper......AND a giveaway winner!!!

                                                                                           by Kelli Pope

Copper is a WONDERFUL metal to work with. Probably my favorite.  Although left untreated, it can be very bright, AND will turn skin green.   NOT a good selling point for jewelry. 

It takes patina wonderfully!

It's beautiful when "flame painted"

And one of my favorite finishings is Liver of Sulphur. 

(I prefer the gel form)

 LOS gives it a rich, rustic, dark, aged look.  

Most importantly though, once your copper component is completed,  make sure you seal it.  MissFickleMedia turned me on to Permalac years ago.  It's the only lacquer I use now.   

It's available in gloss or matte. *Make sure you use LOS and lacquer in a well ventilated area.*

What are some of your favorite finishing products?   

and now for the winner of Stacie's 4/17/14 giveaway...........


(winner picked via

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Special Request....

MaryAnn Carroll
Happy Easter to all of you who celebrate this special day.

Today, I would like to ask that you take a moment to think about what you can do to help someone that you have never met. There is a good chance that you may have never heard his story.

I connected to this story for many reasons and I would like to do what I can to help with his defense. He does not belong in prison.

I am offering earrings to purchase and ALL money collected minus PayPal and shipping fees will be going to the Charles Erickson Defense Fund.  

You can learn more about donating/purchasing the enameled copper earrings of your choice by clicking HERE.  There are 4 different sizes with 4 different donation amounts.  There is one size pendant.

When you get there, please read the entire post and visit the links that I shared.

What you do and how we bond together to do what's right will make a difference.

Please join me in the Circle of Support for Charles Erickson.

Samples of what you will receive. Click HERE to see sizes available.

I made a range of sizes of the earrings pictured. I chose to make hoops (circles) in one common color, which is symbolic of the "Circle of Support" that Charles is receiving by so many people through online connections. It is a color that goes with many outfits, but I like to mostly wear them with my jeans since that is the color they remind me of. All ear wires are made with silver-filled wire. If you would like anymore information, just ask.

Thank-you, MaryAnn
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