Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A few words about Grace

Grace, that's the name I chose for this new piece in my Elegance collection when she was about 90% complete (or I thought she was about 90% complete).  My intention was to name her after Grace Kelly, also known as Her Serene Highness Princess Grace.  I wanted to name her this because she is "blonde", lovely, and graceful… like Princess Grace.  It was a bonus that I considered this to be a "serene" piece, and that Princess Grace was known as "Her Serene Highness".

And then… when I had finished all the sanding, buffing, polishing, and stone setting… and all I had left to do was attach her chain (99.9% complete)… disaster struck…  You see the little rings on the top that connect the chain, one of the original rings had a faulty solder joint - it had looked & felt strong, but when I went to twist the ring slightly to straighten it out the joint failed… Argh!!  I tried to repair while leaving the stone in place (I have a couple tricks that I tried), but the thickness of the metal she's made of prevented me from being able to get the solder to flow without heating the whole piece… so…  I had to remove the stone, solder a new ring on, etc...

Those who don't know the processes & time involved with making handmade jewelry may not appreciate the work involved… lets just say that I was set back several hours…

Then, when I was reworking it (2nd attempt) I again got to about 85% complete, had done quite a bit of prep buffing/polishing, was placing the stone in… and that same little ring fell off again… ARGH!!

On the 3rd attempt to finish her I had an equipment failure… my torch nozzle suddenly wasn't behaving… switched nozzles & the new one tried to work, then failed… changed tanks… finally some sticky yellow "goop" came out of the torch handle when I tried opening up the valve without a nozzle attached… that explained a lot… so I had to clean & dry my torch tips (drying involved leaving them setting in uncooked rice for a couple days)…  But… I finally got that ring attached… and I decided to set her aside for a while…

The first failure occurred on April 3rd, I had started her a couple days earlier on April 1st, and I finally finished her today - April 24th.

Pardon me while I get a bit wistful…

I am a person of prayer (apologies if this offends, but this is who I am), a Christian with a very real vibrant relationship with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ.

When this piece broke the first time it was heartbreaking, and I cried out to God.  I begged & pleaded for His help to keep from having to do so many extra hours of work - after all I wanted the hours of work already invested to pay off.  That was when God got my attention, He reminded me what His Grace is about, His Grace is not earned by any work - it is a gift, plain & simple.

The timing of the struggle was also telling, it was as I was trying to finish the piece before getting to Church for Choir practice (I was running a bit late), it was just before I got a call from my husband telling me he had been injured in a hockey game (not serious), and it was the evening before my one day of the week (Thursday) that I devote to preparing my Bible Lesson for a group I teach; this provided me with ample opportunity to reflect on how God has blessed me, and how I shouldn't let a "thing" cause me so much anguish.

Like that solder joint that looked & felt strong, but failed more than once, I also had (to others) looked & seemed strong, but fell apart when a little pressure was applied - ugh.  But what a beautiful reminder that God's Grace means I don't have to be strong, I don't have to be perfect, I'm accepted and loved just how I am.

So this is "Grace", a solid piece that reminds me of Grace Kelly but is also a solid reminder of God's Grace.

Yes she's for sale… you can find info on how to buy here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Show Mom Your Love!!

How better to show Mom your Love than with one of these Playful Hearts pieces!

Give Mom a Hug each time she wears this with Encircled By Love:

Remind Mom of that Artwork she hung on the Fridge, or of her favorite Picture of you with A Picture Of Love:

Tell Mom you'll Love her Forever & Ever with Enduring Love:

Let Mom know that no matter how tangled up your life gets she's always special with Entangled By Love:

Is Mom a Gardener?  Tell her that her plants aren't the only thing that get more beautiful over time with Love Grows:

Check back from time to time as I plan on adding even more to the Playful Hearts collection before Mother's Day.

Love Grows...

I'm still playing with my enamel hearts… have a couple more in the works, but finished this one today…  Another for my Playful Hearts collection.

A Green Heart, torch-fired enamel on copper, hangs from leafy-vines of Sterling Silver…

The vines hang from a sturdy piece of 1/2-Round Sterling Wire… simple little vine earrings complete the set...

The small heart-shaped leaves closest to the central heart actually come forward a bit, the detail can be seen in the photo below.

This item is available for sale here.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Entangled by Love...

Oh the sweet tangle of Love… lives joining and twisting together in sweet harmony… that was the inspiration for my latest completed piece… part of my Playful Hearts collection.

Sterling Silver vines and heart-shaped leaves, themselves forming a larger heart… The pendant is supported from above by a piece of heavier gauge 1/2-round wire.

This item is available for purchase, info can be found here.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Just a tease...

…that's all I can give you here… and there's so much more!!

What am I going on about?  The American Craft Council Show!!  If you've not been you really should try to go to one of their shows (they are in at least 4 US cities through the year).  The one in St Paul continues through this weekend at RiverCenter.

Here's just a glimpse… there's so much more… and WOW!!
So Wonderful… So Inspiring… Some pictures (and links) to some wonderful artists, and I'm just scratching the surface (of artists & especially of their work)…

A lot of the fun was getting to speak to the artists about their work…

Ceramic by James Leslie of My Nature Ceramics.

Jewelry made of all sorts of unique materials by Tova Lund.   The piece above has tin, a stone that she carved, and I'm not sure what else.

Amazing glass sculptures by Cody Nicely, a young artist that does amazing work.

Wood with embedded broken glass wall art & other items by K. Daphnae Koop of Follow The Muse.  We had a nice conversation about "happy accidents"...
Light & airy jewelry by Beverly Tadeu, it was her birthday today… and she was very nice!

Amazing fun sculptures by Kent Epler of The Laughing Boy.  The picture above shows the artist with some of his work… he's a very fun character!!

Jewelry work by Keith Lewis, who encouraged me to find my own expression & have fun with it.  He also told me about "Sign Foam" - a recycled material that is lightweight & can be carved.

Crazy sea-life ceramics by Mary O'Malley.  She claims you can eat/drink from her items but I wouldn't… I can't imagine getting them dirty or trying to get them clean again… her work is very intricate...

Beautiful and unique jewelry, some using Coral Skeletons, by Janine DeCesenzo. We had a nice chat about materials & textures.

Copper masks that were other-worldly by Kest Schwartzman of Vagabond Metals - a very friendly young artist, I really enjoyed talking with her.

Ceramics by Andy Rogers… had fun chatting with him.

Up-cycled and unique jewelry by Gabrielle Gould, the artist (like her work) is a very approachable & friendly.

Amazing layered ceramic & metal jewelry by Beth Novak of Beth Novak Enamels, she was very encouraging & interesting to chat with.

Cloisonné by Frances Kite, she's been a jeweler for a long time, her work is exquisite - she took quite a bit of time to talk to me & was very sweet!!

And of course the amazing work of Jewelry Designer George Sawyer - I got to chat with his wife today - I've visited with them before (they're local) & always enjoy chatting with them.

Braving the elements...

…and heading to the American Craft Council Show!!

Yes, it's finally here!!  But this is what I have to go through to get there :(

This all fell yesterday & overnight (still coming down this morning)… we got about 6", some areas got more than twice that much…

But I'm waiting until after the morning rush is over then heading down… just didn't want to fight traffic…

I'll be sharing about the show later, my instructor is in the show this year, it will be interesting to hear his take on the show / storm / etc…

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Back in the Studio...

After a long time away, to ensure I got over the Sinus crud, I'm back in the studio… but… alas, no pics today…

I'm actually working on a couple things, I'm trying to get "Grace" rebuilt - that's the piece that fell apart when I was making the last connection (look back a few posts)… and I'm working on a couple new things in my Playful Hearts collection…

So why no pictures???  Well… it seems it wasn't my imagination, I was having some equipment issues… my torch to be precise…  Come to find out there was "gunk" clogging in the hose and/or nozzle… I think I may have the problem resolved, but as you can imagine a malfunctioning (or non-functioning) torch makes for difficulties… and fixing it took time… in fact it's not completely fixed yet - I had to switch to a huge nozzle (the others are drying after being cleaned) & that makes fine work difficult.

So I'm crossing my fingers that Friday I'll be able to be back in full swing… I typically set Thursday aside for Bible Study prep, only if that gets finished early will I get in the studio tomorrow…

Until next time…

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Another Mother's Day idea...

Is Mom a Gardener??  Consider one of these "Garden Wall" pieces for her for Mother's day. Three gardens are available, all are handmade & unique, Sterling Silver with Pink Jasper: Cottage Garden, Wildflower Garden, & Estate Garden.

To access additional details & for information on purchasing click on any of the photos.

Garden Walls collection

Cottage Garden

Wildflower Garden

Estate Garden

Monday, April 8, 2013

Flowers for Mom!!

Are you planning to give the Mom in your life flowers for Mother's Day?  Why not consider giving her a flower that will last & she'll enjoy for many years…

Check out my Flores Encantadores collection for some lovely blooms… details & purchase information for these blooms can be found by clicking on any of the photos.

The collection at a glance

Miss Bubbles

Wisps of Spring

Bella Blue

Sweet Pink

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Things are on hold...

Yes, I've had to put things on temporary hold again… I'm sick, this time with a sinus infection, and to keep from irritating my sinuses more I decided to stay out of the studio… besides I'm feeling run-down, and I don't do good work when I'm run-down…

I had been working on a nice piece for my Elegance collection, her name is "Grace", I'll be posting about her eventually… I hit a snag with her, and I'm chomping at the bit to get back to her, but I'm making a point of keeping things in proper perspective so that I can get well…

I hate being sick… for now my outlet for my creativity will have to be sketches of more ideas I want to try…

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Playful Hearts - Enduring Love

I mixed hearts & infinity symbols in this piece… Sterling Silver with a center heart of torch-fired enamel on Copper.

The chain used continues the motif since it is an infinity chain (alternating ovals & infinity shapes) and has two little silver hearts inserted, one on each side of the main pendant.  The earrings are simple little silver hearts.

The top of the central pendant is made from a piece of rectangular wire, this is both decorative and structural.

This set is available for purchase, click here for additional information.