Friday, July 6, 2012

Play Time

I'm sitting on my back porch this evening enjoying a cold beverage, watching the squirrel acrobatics in the bird feeders and thinking about what a fun time I had at Debbie Keen's house the other day. She is mainly a lampworker, but uses some metal clay in her work and we get together every once in a while to try new things or to help each other with projects. 

We set up on the bar in the kitchen of her gorgeous log cabin home because that's where the light is the best. 

One reason it's fun to work at Debbie's because she has different shape cutters and texture mats than I do and I can count on making something that's different than my normal.

 Debbie had orders for a few more of these pearl necklaces, so we worked on them for a little while.

 We looked through the information I brought back from the conference to find the details of Barbara Becker Simon's demonstration of mixing enamels directly with silver clay. No luck. So we decided to just go for it and see what happens. (That's why Debbie's wearing the respirator - you do not want to breathe in the enamels. They're powdered glass, after all.) We mixed some blue and  some green and then we each made a piece and used the colored clays as accents. Who knows how they'll end up? All I remembered from the demo is that you mix the enamel and clay approximately 50-50 and that only the cool colors will work. I thought the handout would be on the disk that came in our conference goody bag, but it wasn't.  This is one of the joys of having a "Play Date" with Debbie. No information? "Aw, hell, let's just go for it and see what happens." we've had some interesting results from these experiments. I'll post pictures after mine is fired - I have a few more ideas from the conference that I'm working on and want to fire at the same time. 

Before the day was done we were in Debbie's glass studio making tiny glass dots for me to embed in metal clay. She's made these for me before, but again, we couldn't remember how she did it. She cut tiny pieces of stringer and when we tried to melt them with a torch, they were so light that they blew away with the torch flame. So, I just brought them home and I'll melt them all at once in my kiln one of these days.

Above are some of Debbie's finished beads, and below one of her colorful bracelets. She's a very talented artist!

We had a fun day and decided to get together again in a few weeks, this time at my house. In the meantime I'll be thinking of projects we can work on and experiments to try.


Jean Skipper said...

What fun! Your play date left me pining for the mountains and the company of good friends. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Zoe! Just recently, at the age of 59, I discovered I AM a PMC jewelry artist. I had no idea. I love your pieces very much. Christine from Seattle

Zoe Nelson said...

Jean, your wish may come true sooner than you think.

Christine, good for you! It's never too late.

Alice Walkowski said...

Ah, play days are always fun. I too like to get together for the very reasons you do. It's fun to get to try out different textures (with out having to buy them) Looks like it was a good time.