Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Extra Upload

I just listed all of these rings in my Extra shop and will now be working on getting all the hearts up as well. It's times like these when you realize how painfully slow Etsy's photo uploading is. Very painfully slow.

Anyhoo, the upcoming (May/June) Step By Step Beads magazine features a necklace by Lorelei Eurto that uses one of my porcelain rings. She is the queen of the toggle! (everyone bow down:)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Full Circle

I have a major hoarding problem. Anyone who steps foot in my house can see that. This problem carries over into my work as well. I make porcelain pieces by the dozens and I hoard them away as though they were food in a time of famine. Sometimes I hoard because the pieces are just so beautiful that I think I will never be able to replicate them. So I have a pile of stunningly gorgeous pieces that no one will ever be able to enjoy - except for me. When I am 89 I can lovingly look upon my stash (if I can still see it) and perhaps at that time it will occur to me just how ridiculous and useless all this hoarding is/was (especially if I can't see it. And if I can't see it is it still beautiful? - I mean, if a tree falls in the woods and there is no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound?).

But I digress.
Yesterday I dug out some of those pieces and made this bracelet. Granted, these pieces aren't in the "so incredible I could never recreate them" category, but I had been hoarding them nonetheless. I made them specifically to be a bracelet but I was never satisfied with using standard jump rings to connect them so off they went into my stash.

I have been playing around with different kinds of rivets and connections for a long time now. Some of the experiments have gone nowhere and have only resulted in many broken pieces and much foul language. But the ball rivet has been nice to me thus far. Melting the end of a piece of sterling silver wire is fun and thankfully that fun can translate into something that actually functions. Yay! So I took the ball rivet further and made longer pieces that I then wrapped around the pieces to secure them. It worked like a charm! The result is a very light and airy bracelet with a modern feel. I am so please with the end result that the pang of separation anxiety I felt when I pulled these pieces from my hoard has nearly dissipated. Baby steps. :)

This bracelet can be found in my Etsy shop.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hoot!

This is for all my owl-crazy friends - I have just stocked my Extra shop with a rainbow of porcelain owl pendants! Aren't they funny? They look kind of like zombie owls in this photo. (Be careful - don't stare into their eyes for too long...)

I have also listed these pretty connectors beads in several colors and a pile of new toggle-type rings. Some of the glazes are true one-0f-a-kind deals (like the one pictured below) for that extra special specialness. :)

I'll be adding many more things in the Extra shop over the weekend so keep your eyes peeled. :)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Charity Elise

The fifth package of fun that I received in my creative exchange came from Charity Elise. Though I have never met Charity in person, I have a feeling that she must be a very happy, upbeat person just based on her incredibly colorful and fun pottery. I mean, how can you not smile just looking at her whimsical work?!

Charity sent me a very generous package with two little heart dishes, two flower magnets and a fun pair of earrings - all in her signature glazing technique.

On more than one occasion Charity and I have managed to create very similar pieces or have nearly identical ideas. It's always amusing when this happens and just goes to show how there is such a thing as coincidence. Two great minds can think alike. ;)

Thanks so much, Charity, for participating in my exchange and for the wonderful goodies! Everyone be sure to check out her Etsy shop and maybe, if everyone bugs her enough, she would get blog up and running. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Seedy

Yesterday I was supposed to be at a pottery workshop in Syracuse. Instead I was home feeling under the weather. So I did what I have been putting off - I planted seeds. Alllllllll day long. And I'm still not done. This year I am focusing on vegetables rather than flowers. I have always been a flower girl but I decided to veg out this year. We have raised beds under construction and I am determined to actually plant them. (In previous years I have made these same plans with no follow through - this year will be different. I think.)

Anyhoo. I got a good start and will finish up the rest tomorrow. Today I am off to catch the second day of the workshop. :)


Friday, March 20, 2009

Challenge - The Goldfish by Henri Matisse


This month's challenge theme over at the Art Bead Scene is the painting The Goldfish by Henri Matisse. I continue to be thrilled by the art history aspect of the challenges this year. It's such a great idea!

I gave the painting the old squint test (you know, where you squint your eyes until all you see are the boldest shapes) and noticed the large black circle with another circle inside and the many repetitive aspects such as the green dots, the pattern of the wicker chair and the four goldfish. So, needless to say, circles and repetition became my focus. I find that when working with asymmetrical pieces, such as the porcelain focals I used, repetition serves to unify and give balance to the overall design.

Since I started with three fairly bold, large porcelain pieces I needed to bring in the other colors in a way that would compliment but not overwhelm. So in keeping with the circle theme I took two heavy copper rings and wire wrapped them - one with vintage green glass beads and the other with lemon serpentine. Then I made eight copper rings which I threaded with pink rhodonite beads and soldered closed (the Stephani Lee way - I am obsessed with these rings). I really love these little links - the beads move around freely and have that clustered look like the clusters of flowers in the painting.


The final touch was adding the red/orange glass beads to the center to represent the goldfish. Believe it or not, this was the hardest part for me. I really wasn't sure how to bring in the red without disturbing my peacefully organized and slightly anal necklace. I had to dig around to even find any red beads - blues, greens and aquas dominate my bead stash - so I was thrilled when I found them and even more thrilled when I realized that they were the perfect shade of red. After staring at the piece for an eternity it finally hit me to place the red beads in the dead center. After all, the goldfish are dead center in the painting. Duh. So I secured them to the porcelain and called it a day.

This necklace can be found in my Etsy shop here. And if you would like to see more photos and a breakdown of components please see my flickr photos here. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Newness all over

Whew! What a busy day! I am so ready for my tea and cookies and sleep time. But first...

How do you like the new look of my blog? I tried at least 138 different backgrounds before finally settling on this one. I think it's a nice change for spring. I need to lighten my mood and get out of this Winter funk. Perhaps this will help. Be sure to check out Cristi's Creations for excellent FREE blog backgrounds. (Lorelei has one of her backgrounds as well - check it out!)

OK, so I made some new earrings today. Yet another version of my discus series and I am particularly tickled by them. I call them Industrial Discus though they aren't really that industrial looking. But I needed a name and that is what came to mind as I was listing them. So there you have it. Anyhoo, I made two pairs which feature a mix of copper and sterling silver - my favorite combo. I soldered copper wire into rings with a nice drop of silver-bearing solder and drilled it to provide a hole to hang from the sterling earwires. The soldered ring was inspired by Stephanie Lee. I was particularly excited to be able to apply one of her techniques to my own work. I find her so completely inspiring.
Both pairs are listed in my Etsy shop at this very moment. :)



In other exciting news... I have been etching like a freak again but this time I made some nice, big pendant pieces. You guys asked for some different shapes so I am starting with these - let me know what other shapes and styles you want!

I am not entirely thrilled with my photos (I thought turquoise would showcase the copper better, but it just looks extra blah to me) but I am COMPLETELY thrilled with the pieces. In fact, as I was making them I had a major epiphany and came up with a jewelry idea that I can't wait to execute. (I'm smiling and kind of giggling just thinking about it)

These pendants, and a whole bunch more, are listed in my Extra shop.

How cute is this bunny? Very.
And speaking of bunnies - one last thing... Maureen of The Jeweled Rabbit was sweet enough to interview me for her Heros of Handmade column so if you have a burning desire to learn a little more about me and how I work be sure to check it out here. Thanks so much, Maureen!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Porcelain fruitloops for breakfast!

I just put these fun porcelain washers in the Extra shop. I made them with no real purpose in mind - just using up some scrap clay - but now as I play around with them I can think of a zillion things to do with them. I think they may have to make a guest appearance in my own jewelry. :)

I also wanted to thank everyone for their very supportive and encouraging comments about my new Sticks and Stone earrings. Your opinions mean a lot to me and I can't tell you how good it made me feel to read such nice things from such wonderful, talented people. :)

Have a great Sunday, everyone! I am off to the studio with work list in hand and a pot of green tea!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Summers Studio Pottery

The fourth package I received from my creative exchange came from LeAnn of Summers Studio Pottery. This was a fun little box full of things I just love! A little dish (I obsessively collect little dishes - must have around 50 all over the house filled with various piles of tiny things), a beautiful pendant featuring LeAnn's own porcelain beads, and a sweet little assortment of beads and a button. I've been running my fingers through this little pile of goodness thinking of just the right things to make with them. Though, to be honest, I love to just keep them in their dish and fondle them now and then. (does that make me a bead pervert?)

LeAnn has a wonderful blog where she shows some great behind the scenes photos of her work in progress (I always love to see that!). And her Etsy shop is chock-full of irresistible beads, buttons and various jewelry components. If you are a jewelry maker you will certainly want to pay her a visit and load up on some lovelies.

Thanks so much, LeAnn!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sticks and Stone

A few weeks ago I had an idea. The kind of idea that gets cozy in my brain and hounds me until I do something about it. So I did and here it is. I call it Sticks and Stone. Not the most original name but it seems to fit.

As you can see these pieces consist of porcelain and sterling silver which I have balled at both ends. The "sticks" can slide around freely which gives off a bit of a sculptural vibe. There are many variations on this theme (as in rings, necklaces more earrings) to come so stay tuned!



These three pairs will be in the shop first thing in the morning. Just as soon as I get some much needed sleepy dream time. :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Extra Update!

I am loading my Round Rabbit Extra shop with some fun goodies, including some porcelain rings/toggles that everyone has been asking about. (see Lorelei's blog post here)

These are some fun charms/components that I will be making more of in many different colors. They feature a design that I have retired from my own line of jewelry and rather than put it out to pasture (they are just so pretty!) I thought it would be nice to make them for everyone else to use. I have more designs from my own line that will be retired in the near future so keep your eyes peeled. :)

A frosty purple heart pendant.

Here are some interesting little connector thingys. I am sure someone will come up with some amazing way to use these. I can't wait to see!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Laura Frantz

The third exciting creative exchange package I received in the mail came from Laura Frantz. As it turns out I actually know Laura but in my typical can't-remember-a-name-to-save-my-life fashion I was clueless until she gave my memory a poke. She's a regular at the Syracuse Farmers' Market where I used to sell every weekend and we do the waving thing on a regular basis. Duh.

Laura is one of those Super Moms who home schools her two adorable children and manages to be super crafty on the side. Her blog is quite contagious - trust me, once you start reading you won't be able to stop. And though her Etsy shop is a little empty at the moment I think it has great potential to kick some major crafty rear if she wanted it to.

Case in point. Laura sent me this cute little purse and felt bookmark. I have already loaded the purse up with lip balm (can never have enough of the stuff) and the bookmark is living happily nestled between the pages of a Bret Easton Ellis novel (a little harsh for such a nice, calm bookmark but it is dealing with the situation like a trooper).

I just had to include this photo from Laura's sold items in her Etsy shop. How perfect is this children's apron and why doesn't she make them in big people sizes??? I am pretty certain I need one of these for the pottery studio. Hint hint. :)

Thanks so much for the goodies, Laura, and for participating in my exchange!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lean and Long

I've been holed up, working my arse off for what feels like an eternity, thus my absence these past few days. I tend to get into a zone, or just plain zoned out, when I work obsessively. This week has been about new forms (you will see very soon), glazing like a freak and making earwires until my fingers bleed.

The top photo is of a new pair of earrings involving the oval form of my Discus series. When I originally made these pieces several months ago I had a completely different idea in mind for them. I was going to stack them like stones. Well, things change and some ideas don't look as good in real life as they do in your mind's eye. So scrap that idea and move on to the next. I am quite happy with the way these smooth disks spin freely on the extra long earwire. They tend to fall however they want which means that they have an asymmetry to them that is quite pleasing to this wonky, asymmetrical girl.

I drew on the pair above with an underglaze pencil which looks just like a graphite pencil and that equals very cool. Once fired it forms a permanent, unsmudgeable surface. The possibilities are endless with this type of glazing so stay tuned for some major scribbling in the near future. :)

This pair is the result of not wanting to waste my clay. I had some extra scraps so I quickly cut out some rings. I was going to put them in the Extra shop as jewelry components but I liked the way they looked on the long earwires, so here they are. Ta da!

A fun aspect of all of these earrings is that they are completely reversible! All of the porcelain pieces can be slid off the earwire and turned around to show the beautiful unglazed, smooth, white porcelain. I just love that! (see the listings in my shop for a photo of just how awesome this looks:)

And finally, I just had to share this gorgeous glaze with you. I never tire of this combination.

Tomorrow I will resume featuring the folks that participated in my creative trade. I have received some fantastic stuff (thanks so much everyone!) and can't wait to share it all with you. :)