Saturday, June 27, 2009

Wedding Rings

Miles and Clare picked up their wedding rings last night. Luckily, I remembered to get a quick photo before they left. The rings are fine silver from metal clay with a moonstone set into them. They were headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway to watch the sunset and renew their vows. So cute! (Notice the blank check at the top of the photo.... Thank you so much! ) I wish you two many years of happiness.

Friday, June 26, 2009

What's Going On?

I don't know what's going on with me. This has been the most unusual spring and summer and it has be a bit baffled as to what to do. One of my greatest joys is gardening and this spring and summer have been so wet that there's not a lot of that going on, except between showers. All the rain paid off, though, because the gardens are lush and gorgeous. (So are the weeds, but they're easy to pull out.) Now it's hot and dry and that's nice for sitting on the porch or drying laundry on the solar clothes dryer, but not for getting much else done.

I've also been at odds because I'm not doing a series of Art/Craft shows again this year. Art in the Park in Blowing Rock, NC happens once a month from May through October. I had done it for many years, considered myself a "regular", and last year I wasn't accepted. Oh well, that's the breaks, you never get any feedback from the show promoters as to why you didn't get in. But, I didn't get in again this year and that blow went straight to my ego. "They don't love me any more!" I've applied to some other shows and hopefully I'll be doing one in August, September and October. October, definitely, but I haven't heard from the other two yet.

Last year I got along OK without that income, but this year is different... you all know that... So I'm getting along by being very frugal and it kind of worries me some. I've been in the business long enough to know that when you're flush you need to put some away for times like these, but every time I pull money out of my savings I wonder how much longer I'll have to do this and how long it will last. I've done very well so far staying positive and being grateful that I have some savings. I've been tring not to add any negative energy to this recession, but c'mon folks! This has been long enough. Get out there and spend some money!

That brings me to the other odd thing. I haven't been making any jewelry, other than class demos. I have boxes and boxes of finished work so I don't feel pushed to make more right now. And I'm trying to conserve my supplies. So I've used this time to cross things off my "to do" list that have been on there for a very long time. I cleaned out my shed, washed all the windows in my house, took down the curtains and washed them and shampooed the carpet in a couple of rooms. This house hasn't been so clean since I moved in! I'm venting my creativity by painting a table. I have the base coat done and a design for the top sketched out. When that's done I'll start cleaning out my studio. Right now I think I'll go update my Etsy Shop. Maybe there's someone out there who will see something they can't live without!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Luna Moth Blessing

As I was out this morning looking at my garden and pulling a few weeds, I found this Luna Moth on the side of a tree...

Oh! Isn't she gorgeous? I hadn't seen one in many years and consider it to be a blessing. The Luna Moth represents intuition, hightened awareness and knowledge of the otherworld. Some think they embody the soul of a loved one. I'll be interested to see how this pans out over the next few days.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Here are some images from last week's PMC class at Appalachian State University's Craft Enrichment Program. We're making rings here. On the left is Peggy Wertz and the right is Cheryl Hagevik. They're so serious and focused...

Except for Megan Miller, who's just having fun! Also in this photo is Jim Rice, who is my helper. He teaches the metals fabrication class and knows where everything in this lab is and how it all works.

Below is (left to right) Sally Atkins, Anna Ulery and Susan Congelosi. Kim Miller had to miss this class because she went to the beach. We're all jealous of that! Cathy Seiler must have stepped away when I was photographing.

We'll probably repeat this class in the fall, so keep checking the website for this listing if you're interested. Or, email me if you have any questions.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kelley Livingston Is Trying To Swell My Head

Kelley Livingston gave me the One Lovely Blog Award. Thank you so much, Kelley! She also featured me on her blog today and I really appreciate that , too. All this attention on the same day is a little head-swelling. Kelley also lives and works in here in the mountains of NC and has an Etsy shop . She makes the most beautiful Eco Bags out of interior design fabric samples. If I went shopping with one of these, I'd feel very special. She also makes greeting cards and jewelry and she paints. A very talented woman, indeed! She will donate a percentage of her profits to animal-related charities and uses recycled materials where possible, so go shopping in her store.
The One Lovely Blog Award must be passed on. Here's how to do it: To accept the award, post it on your blog and give props to the person who awarded it to you. (Just did that...) Now, pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you have discovered and contact them to let them know they've been chosen. (Doing that now...)
Here's the 15 that I chose:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The shed is done, now on to the next project.

Well, today I finally cleaned out that shed. I opened the door and threw things out onto the lawn, swept it out and put back only what I knew I wanted to keep. And, I organized everything. I disturbed a mouse nest, but I didn't come across any snakes. I did get stung by a wasp, though. There's a small area where the wasp nest is that still needs to be done, but I'll wait until I get some of that spray that kills them from 25 feet. Tomorrow it's off to the Re-Store and the dump! Whew. I'm glad to have that done.

My next project is going to be painting a table. It's a really cheap table that looks like it could have been some kid's high school shop project. The edges are rough and the finish is terrible. I think it will look good painted a solid color, and I might do some designs on it. I really like the folk art furniture that you can find in the southwest, and maybe I'll try something like that. I'll take pictures and show you.

I haven't been making much jewelry lately. I've been teaching a class on Monday nights and I've made a few demo projects. I'll get back to that soon, but I want to do things that can be done outside now that summer is here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Knotted Necklaces Are Going Online

Many of you have asked why I don't sell my knotted necklaces online. You know, the ones I've been making and selling for about 100 years? Well, your prayers have been answered because I started adding them to my Etsy shop today. Since there are eight colors, three sizes, on either black or white thread, it will take awhile to get them all up there. Be patient, and in the meantime, you can always email me and I'll get one right out to you. The price has remained the same for the last two years: 16 inch is $23, 18 inch is $26 and 20 inch is $29.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

An Unexpected Dreary Day

I thought it was supposed to be sunny today! For the last week I've been psyching myself up to clean out my shed. That chore has been on my list for a looooong time and I was sure that today would be the day. Well, I certainly can't throw everything out into the yard to be sorted when its this wet.

I took this picture last summer. I'm sure that if you saw it today it's sides would be bulging out! A few years ago I downsized into an 1,100 square foot house and needed someplace to store gardening equipment, my show display things and tent, and other miscellaneous odds and ends. It got filled up with things that "I might use someday for something". Why do we collect so much STUFF? During my psyching up period, I noticed that there's a lot of things that can go to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and probably a couple of car loads to go to the county dump. And, I need to find a place that will recycle plastic flower pots. It's certainly not a chore that I'm looking forward to, but it really needs to be done so that you can walk into it. Darn! I was ready! Maybe tomorrow... or the next day....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What do you do when your slip pot is full?

Before metal clay is metal, while it's still clay, it ACTS just like clay. And, since it's silver, and silver prices are in the stratosphere right now, I save every little teeny tiny piece and filing and make slip out of it. (Slip is watered-down clay used to stick parts together, like a glue.) Since I'm meticulous about sanding edges smooth to be sure my finished pieces look their best, I generate a lot of dust and therefore a lot of slip. Well, my little brain has been working overtime trying to figure out what to do with all this slip, besides trying to re-constitute it to a clay state. I've tried that before and it's just not the same. My brilliant idea was to spread out a blob (technical term) of thick slip with a palette knife onto a tefflon sheet and see what happens. After it was dry I sanded the edges (again) to form the shape I wanted. The one above was supposed to be a circle, but a piece broke off. I just left it that way, added a bail and some embellishment and fired it. Voila! A whole new way to use slip! I like the texture that was left with the palette knife and it seems to be a strong piece. So... I did it again, this time pressing a fine silver bezel cup into the blob. The finished piece got a black onyx cabachon and black onyx beads for a chain.

And again!

I also had some shavings from when I carve dry clay and pressed them into the wet blob of slip. That made a very cool texture! And I embedded a small lab aquamarine in the one below.

Of course, all of the sandings that came off the blobs will go back in the slip pot. It's a never-ending cycle. What do you do when your slip pot is full?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ready to Fire

Here's a kiln shelf of metal clay jewelry ready to be fired. There are some domed pendants in the dish of vermiculite (the vermiculite supports the shape and keeps them from slumping). Also several other pendants and beads. I'm experimenting with some copper tubing wrapped in meal clay to use as beads... we'll see how they come out. There's some pieces and parts that will be used to embellish on other things. I make those kinds of things when creativity is elusive and I just want to make something.

This is what everything looks like after its been fired, wire brushed, tumbled, patina'd with stinky liver of sulphur, then polished to bring out the texture. The copper tube beads came out great. I don't have any idea how I'll use them yet, but that will come to me. I'll show some of the finished jewelry in a later post. Stay tuned!