Monday, April 20, 2009

Finding My Voice... The Photography Project

The homework in this week's Finding Your Voice Workshop (by Sylvie Lansdowne, on Facebook), was to go out and discover new photos...ones that might be potential beads.

I took over 40 photographs in just an hour in the creek and came home with tons of potential lampwork bead ideas. I also played around with the settings on my camera, taking photos in black and white, vivid color, cyan and sepia tones. The things you can learn from looking at the same old thing in a limited color palette is amazing.

In the end, this sepia toned photo really captured my imagination. I thought it would be fun to play around with the limited palette in my favorite earth tones.

The bead is not an actual interpretation...more like it was inspired by the photo. I really like this monochromatic palette and hope to play with it more.

This bead will be for sale on Holly's Folly in a few more days.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's Happened....

The spammers have found me. I could understand it on my Creekhiker blog - I talk of politics and have an opinion on everything over there from movies to cake. But here...this was supposed to be for the tiny little bead community. So I didn't require comment approval.

But after an older post was hit last night, that's it, I'm done! From now on, all comments will be approved until Blogger figures out that blog authors really need a Delete comment* button.

For the record, I don't care if someone disagrees with me. However, you will not use my blog to spew filth, bigotry or to advertise something that I'm not paid for. So there... I do apologize to the few of you that do make comments for the inconvenience.


*The best way to delete an unwanted comment on blogger??? Go into the Edit post section, hit the EDIT button by the name of the old post, select the html tab, copy contents and make note of the original publication date and time by hitting the arrow next to POST OPTIONS.

Hit the CREATE link. Select the HTML tab, paste your contents.

Hit arrow next to POST OPTIONS and type in your old publication time and date. Hit SAVE NOW.

If you had comments you wanted to save... this is a little trickier. They won't appear as comments any more but they can be posted as part of the blog. Below my content, I type COMMENTS:

Working under the COMPOSE link, I make this bold and Larger.

I open a new tab and go the spammed post comment section. I copy the "good" comments and simply paste them back into the post, omitting the spammer's post.

Don't forget to tag your post. Save as a draft - this allows you to tell the good post from the bad one. Get back to the EDIT posts section. Find the bad post. It will have the same title but one will say DRAFT and one should have comments beside it. DELETE the one with comments.

Go back into the draft and publish. Voila... your original post is back, good comments mostly intact and bad comment gone forever!

In case you are wondering which post got spammed or what the final re-do looks like: Go here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Finding My Voice - The Memory Bead

So this week's homework assignment in Sylvie Landsdowne's Finding Your Voice workshop is to make a memory bead. We are only supposed to attempt this bead once but I felt so much pressure, I broke the rules and made four. I think my workshop members will forgive me when they find out why...

Two thoughts came to mind when I learned of the assignment. I've always wanted to make / own a bead made with the cremains of my beloved rottweiler, Maggie May. And I suddenly recalled a trip to Williamsburg, VA as a child where I purchased a worry stone. I loved having that thing in my pocket so much, I darn near rubbed a hole in it in less than a week!

I've always been a child who loved to collect rocks, acorns, cool sticks, etc. on my hikes. I guess I love having a bit of nature in my pocket. So I had a "shape" direction to go in.

And as for Maggie May - Maggie had been in Rottie Rescue for over a year when I got her. I actually had passed her over for another dog. When that girl died very suddenly and strangely, I ended up with Maggie. It took me months to commit to Maggie - I was still missing the first one. But in very short order, I realized Maggie was committed to me.

One winter night, I had been arranging some furniture in an office / laundry room adjacent to my bedroom. I finished and turned in. Some hours later, I slowly became aware of Maggie jumping on and off my bed - something she never did. I kept drifting back into a heavy sleep and then Mags would be tugging at my covers, then jumping on the bed.

Normally, if she needed to go out, she would go over the the blinds at the laundry room door and gently touch them. I'm a light sleeper so that would be enough to wake me and I would let her out. But on this night, she was sweeping those blinds like they were a cello. I was aware but I couldn't move.

Finally, Maggie tugged on my arm and I awoke as I was falling out of bed. Thinking she was ill, I ran to the door to open it, realizing on the way that I was overcome with nausea. As I raced inside to the bathroom, I smelled the gas! My house was full of it.

Later, as I thought about how close to death I had come and blowing up my house, I told Maggie that as long as I had so much as a shopping cart, she would always have a home. She was and is my hero. There is a good story I wrote on the Creekhiker blog as well as a bit about her ashes.

I know other beadmakers have used cremains in their beads and I've thought about having a bead made for me. But some part of me didn't want any part of Maggie going on a trip. I knew eventually, I would do it....just not this soon. This homework really made me stretch.

But I couldn't bring myself to use those ashes on something I might mess up on. So... there were four beads in this homework project.

The first, I was so worried about it breaking, I didn't melt the punty mark in well enough.
Round one: didn't melt the punty too light.

The second one, I tried to make a free-form loop but it shattered and I just made a feeble attempt at fixing it and threw it in the kiln. And I cried. It was a horrible torch day where nothing had worked and this just finished it! I literally considered selling my glass!
Round two - the loop broke, I panicked...

So I showed them to friends, artists of other mediums who give me invaluable insight. And then I went for a long hike and I realized aside from the size of the thumb grove, my biggest issue was the punty.

I fired up the torch again and puntied with clear and on the bottom of the piece. When I finished this one, I knew my idea would work and I was ready for Maggie's cremains to become part of the piece.
Round three, showing the thumb groove.

At first, I was so nervous as I poured a tablespoon of her ashes into one of my frit sifters over a shallow metal bowl. But in just seconds I was over it and actually stirred the ash to sift it better, carefully placing the chunkier bits back in Maggie's urn.

I melted some cranberry rod and dipped it in the cremains, heated and twisted and pulled a rather lumpy stringer.

The final piece was made with pastel rhubarb - my favorite for floral bases because it shifts color in the light. I'm a moody chicky - why shouldn't my memory stone be moody too???

I added leaf cane, then Maggie cane, then little flowers; got it all super hot to make my thumb hole, melted off the punty and tossed it in the kiln.

I had Maggie stringer left over and that was returned to her urn.
My final piece - the pink part contains Maggie's cremains.

I love this piece because the bits of cremains look like mica and sparkle in the sun. Just like my heroine did!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding My Voice

I've been taking a workshop on Facebook (is there anything that doesn't go on there??) on finding my voice as a beadmaker led by Sylvie Lansdowne. It's meant to encourage lampworkers to find their own path and avoid copying others.

This is week two of my class and we were to interpret a painting of Sylvie's choosing...she chose 24 for the fifteen of us to pick one. I got to pick first (thanks to my being on FB all the time!). I chose this one by Ford Smith called Serenity Rising.

And here is my interpretation (front and back):

I went for a very literal interpretation and I love the results. I went for this option because I enter a monthly contest on Art Bead Scene and this year, we are interpreting famous paintings into finished jewelry. I've longed to be able to do a literal translation in glass but the inspiration paintings there never "spoke" to me in that way. But this one did...

I was exhilarating working on this bead in the flame for over an hour, praying it didn't all turn to crap. I made a crucial mistake halfway through by putting in my treetops before finishing the water and trunks... that ruined my hope of it looking two dimensional with a flat / painted surface. But in the end, I realized that was sort of silly and I love the dimension I ended up with.

I also love how the devit on the purple makes the back look like a two dimensional version of the front.

This project was fun and eye opening for me!
I hope to be able to do more of these. I also LOVE that I have a new favorite painter!