Sunday, May 30, 2010

emc charm swap

The wonderful group of artists that I am a part of (etsy metal clay team) recently had a charm swap.  22 artists participated and each of us created 24 identical charms (or close to identical) made from any kind of metal clay.  The swap means that each of us got each others charms and we have enough left to make 2 additional bracelets which will be auctioned off for charity.
When I received my package of charms I was overwhelmed at the talented group that I was a part of.  Each charm showcases the artists spirit and unique technique. I wanted to make a bracelet that reflected the handmade charms.  Luckily, Catherine Witherell, posted a great tutorial on the emc blog so I followed the directions and made this fine silver fused link bracelet.  I made it exactly like the tutorial except I used heavier 16 gauge wire.  I really loved the way it turned out.  It looks great with all the charms. 
I loved the look so much I decided to make more chain so that I could them attach the bracelet to it and turn it into a necklace.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

triple flower earrings

I've added additional flowers to my periwinkle earring to make this chandelier style.  It makes a real statement! Check them out on Etsy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

special gifts

I was honored to make some personalized yads last month. I've made yads (pointers used to read from the torah) before, for Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts. This is a unique way to honor the event and if given before the service the Bar Mitzvah can use it while he reads from the Torah. Adding the name of the child and the date of his or her Bar Mitzvah make it a very special keepsake.
This month I was ask to create a yad for the "teacher" of the Bar Mitzvah. What a beautiful gift to give a teacher. The customer chose to personalize the yad with the name of the teacher with gratitude and love from his student. I am told that the teacher was extremely touched by this very special gift. It was for him one of the most favorite gifts he had received from a student. I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful journey.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

kate mckinnon-sculptural metal clay

Just received my signed copy of Kate Mc Kinnon’s new book, Sculptural Metal Clay, so I thought I’d write some of my thoughts I have about this book.

As many of you know, I first learned about metal clay from Kate when she was living here in St. Louis.  The book is set up much like a workshop you would take from the artist herself, the emphasis being on techniques and not on projects.  This is the real difference that I see between this book and most other metal clay books on the market.  Most books have set by step instructions on how to make a ring, pendent etc.  Instead, Kate describes the techniques she uses to make components, which you can incorporate into your own jewelry designs.  She discusses, among other things, ring bands, rivet posts, prongs and box building, 19 elements in all, a wealth of information. 

There are also 10 projects in the book, but even if you were to copy these projects exactly, they wouldn’t turn out exactly the way they are in the book.  Kate used her favorite beads from other artists in the projects and it makes them easy for you to personalize.

As with any book or class with Kate you are going to hear a lot about safety.  She feel it is her duty to warn others about the dangers of firing metal clay incorrectly and working with it without respecting safety issues.  Personally I think the beginning of the book is a little preachy, but that is Kate’s way.  She works very clean, advises artist to make clean cuts and never sands or uses slip.  When I first started working with metal clay, I was so nervous about handling the clay too much I swear my heart pounded the whole time.   I have since experimented myself and worked with other artists and therefore I am not freaked out about rehydrating or sanding from time to time.  But if you have never tried it Kate’s way, I suggest that you give it a shot.  If you work the way she suggests not only are you handling the medium safety, but your pieces will look more organic, they will look like metal clay pieces, not like refined silver that mass produced jewelry looks like.   Why not take advantage of the possibilities of this incredible medium. Embrace it. 

I wish that she would have added even more information of work hardening and finishing pieces.  Although Kate writes more than most authors do on the subject, there is never enough information for me on this subject.

In conclusion, this book is a welcome addition to every metal artist’s library.  The beginner will learn to basics and safety issues and the novice will get the opportunity to learn an important metal clays artist’s point of view and pick up some great techniques along the way.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

the mezuzah project- May

This month's mezuzah is a variation on some of my past designs.  It featured the Hebrew scripture texture with a ribbon "tied" around the scroll to reference the way the torah is tied when it is stored in the ark.
As usually the mezuzah is solid fine silver and is available in my Etsy shop.