Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Porcelain Artist Book

I love making little arty things like jewelry... and artist books. Last week as I was playing with my new porcelain pendants, I thought, why not shake things up a bit and use a couple of them as book covers instead of jewelry pieces?
And that's how I came to create this little book with hand-painted pages just 2˝x2˝, a fun binding technique using waxed linen thread, and an assortment of beads (naturally, I have lots of those!).
I think it came out really cute! Best of all... opens up flat, making it easy to add collage and journal entries to the painted pages. Not that you'd have room to say much! But I like it anyway. It's a book, it's a little miniature work of art, and it's my very own. I think I might make some more...

Monday, November 26, 2012

NEW class schedule at Monica's!

I just arranged my winter teaching schedule at Monica's Quilt & Bead Creations in Palm Desert, California, and I can't wait to tell you what's coming up!
On December 8, I'm offering a "Day of Earrings" from 10 am to 4 pm. We'll finish three pair of gorgeous earrings and if time permits, I'll demonstrate another pair. First, we'll tackle Cleopatra's Earrings pictured above (a tutorial on these is found in Arty Jewelry III). Next, we'll make my brand-new Squiggly-Wrap earrings (pictured below):
Finally, we'll make a pair of Winged Things Earrings (a tutorial on these is found in Arty Jewelry IV):
Are these cool or what? And remember, if time permits I'll demonstrate a fourth pair. Depends on how experienced my students are in this class, and how quickly we move things along. In any case, you'll learn lots of techniques including making your own ear wires, making beautiful spirals and wrapped eye-pin loops, hammering and texturing techniques, and lots more.
The class runs from 10 am to 4 pm on Saturday, December 8. I hope to see you there! To register for the class and obtain a supply list, call Monica's at 760-772-2400.
More classes at Monica's are lined up through the early spring of 2013:
January 17, 2013: Ethnic Coin Bracelet 10 am to 4 pm
January 25, 2013: A Day of Earrings 10 am to 4 pm
January 26, 2013: Colorful Tribal Necklace 10 am to 4 pm
February 3, 2013: Green Heart of Envy Necklace 10 am to 4 pm
February 14, 2013: Metallo del Fiore Bracelet 10 am to 4 pm
March 2, 2013: A Day of Earrings 10 am to 4 pm
March 7, 2013: Colorful Tribal Necklace 10 am to 4 pm
March 14, 2013: Ethnic Coin Bracelet 10 am to 4 pm
March 28, 2013: Metallo del Fiore Bracelet 10 am to 4 pm

Hope to see you soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wine Tasting in Temecula

My friend Susan and I drove together to the Temecula wine country today for a fun afternoon of wine tasting and lunch in one of the most beautiful rural areas of Southern California. We started at her favorite winery, South Coast Winery, Resort & Spa. The photo above shows the backside of the winery and restaurant, where we had lunch (with ice water only, because we'd been tasting so much wine!) and then took a walk around the grounds and enjoyed the vineyards.
Here's Susan, posing on the steps that lead up to the restaurant. I had one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever, simply stuffed with grilled mushrooms and a little bit of spinach, with a small bowl of tomato soup. Susan had the beef dip sandwich, and said it was delicious.
Whenever I'm in Europe, I always take lots of pix of the gorgeous ironwork fences and gates. South Coast Winery had similar beauty treatments outside and I enjoyed taking some photos for inspiration.
Roses and other flowers abounded everywhere we went, but most of them were past their prime so I only took one photo. Gorgeous, though! Here's one of the hand-carved and painted wooden doors leading to the gift shop. Amazing:
Fans of Harry Potter will love this one:
I couldn't resist taking a photo of the metal wall decor. Imagine this as a sawn and pierced brooch! But you'd have to be really good at sawing such an intricate design. Something to aspire to...
So, we tasted wine at three vineyards:
South Coast (I purchased a bottle of their sparkling wine, a bottle of Black Jack port, and a red wine that I just loved called Romanza)
Wilson Creek (I purchased just one bottle of Late Harvest Zinfandel, just gorgeous, but I would have loved to have picked up their peach-flavored sparkling wine as well; they're famous for their almond-flavored sparkling wine, which I also enjoyed but I was running out of cash)
Inn at Churon Winery (I purchased a bottle of sherry and a bottle of Chocolate Bliss desert wine)
I highly recommend taking an afternoon for wine tasting. It's a great opportunity to try before you buy, instead of taking wild guesses while shopping at Trader Joe's or Costco or Bevmo! You find yourself purchasing things you never would have believed, like sherry (I'm not a sherry drinker, but the Churon Winery's sherry is incredible), port wines... and sparkling wine. We'll be popping the cork on that baby this Thanksgiving.
Cheers, everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Green Heart of Envy Necklace

I just finished my first necklace using one of my own hand-painted porcelain pendants, and I decided to call it the "Green Heart of Envy." Something about the green and copper color combination went really well with my big turquoise beads and copper wire, and copper pipe from the hardware store...
Here's the finished necklace. Took me all day to make it, but I love it. It's very fulfilling to design a necklace around beads that you've made yourself. In the past, I've always purchased gorgeous beads made by other artists and used them in my wire-art jewelry designs. Now I have my own handmade pendants to work with, and I find that deeply satisfying.
Happy wrapping,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

New Painted Ceramic Pendants!

My first batch of high-fired porcelain pendants just came out of the kiln on Friday, and I'm so thankful that, during the second firing (after bisque firing), I fired some pendants without glaze. This made it possible for me to add permanent inks, stains, glazes, paints, and metallics to the fired clay to obtain some very cool effects...
Because I made so many pendants a few weeks ago, I was able to experiment with some different sizes and shapes. Big fat square pendants like the ones pictured above are my current favorites.
Circle-cut pendants can be cool as well, if you use stamps and other texturing tools to reshape them a bit, giving them an organic appearance.
I really love the leaves, too. They can be made to represent real leaves, or they can be designed with layers of complex abstract textures.
I also made lots of small pendants, about two inches in diameter. They're quick, and fun to make.
My favorite part of the process is probably the painting. It takes a very long time to apply so many layers of dyes and paints, but the end result is well worth the effort. Now I'm getting ready to put some of these pendants in my necklace designs... stay tuned, I'll be sure to post those when they're finished.
Happy wrapping,

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Wild Wire Women Retreat Success!

It's been a very exciting and busy weekend here in Idyllwild, where the "Wild Women" gathered for three full days of workshops. I'm tempted to say three full days and nights, because this group worked until at least 2 am each and every day after class, to finish their projects! Crazy, wild women...
The etched panels bracelet pictured above are all by my four students, who learned to saw sheet metal, file and polish all the edges, use etching mordant to create wonderful patterns, measure and punch holes for their handmade figure-8 links, and create a toggle clasp. Oh, we also dipped them in liver of sulfur and polished them again.
That was a very full day! The bracelet pictured above is my sample; it started out as an etched cuff and I later turned it into a linked bracelet that I just love to wear.
Pictured above you can see my students, all busy in the workshop. Although everybody worked really hard this weekend, there was plenty of laughter too.
Tessa made the gorgeous linked sampler necklace pictured above, and the bracelet featuring ceramic beads given to her by a good friend. We all admired Tessa's creations!
I didn't make much this weekend myself, but I do love the keychain pictured below that I made with some of my wrapped wire samples.
Here's Susan, concentrating hard:
And here is her finished Ethnic Coin Necklace, a sample of which is also featured on my DVD, Ethnic Style Jewelry Workshop:
Don't you just love this gorgeous charm bracelet that Ania made? She's a brain surgeon, by the way. For real.
Sometimes we took breaks for meals... here we are at lunch on the first day:
Nonstop laughter:
Here's a photo of Nancy's gorgeous Ethnic Coin bracelet:
And Nancy's wire charm bracelet, which came out gorgeous:
Our mascot, Sparkle, kept us company in the studio:
This is Ania's wire wrapped bracelet:
And Ania's Ethnic Coin Necklace:
We also altered pennies for earrings. Here's my sample pair:
And Ania's earrings:
This was one of the most dedicated and hardworking group of women I've ever had the privilege to teach. Fun-loving, too! I never heard so much laughter in one weekend. Together we made lots of  jewelry using wire, sheet metal, coins, beads, etchant, and copper pipe from the hardware store. We ate lots of delicious food and drank waaaay too much coffee (not to mention Campari & tangerine juice in the evening), worked into the wee hours (one night, I kid you not, the girls were up until 3 am!) and enjoyed the beautiful weather that Idyllwild enjoys year-round.
I have several more Wild Wire Women retreats scheduled through the spring of next year. If you'd like more information on my retreats, click here.
Here's the schedule:
Dec. 13-17, 2012
Jan. 10-14, 2013
Feb. 7-11, 2013
Feb. 21-25, 2013
March 21-25, 2013
April 4-8, 2013
April 18-22, 2013
May 2-6, 2013
May 16-20, 2013
I hope to meet you one day in Idyllwild!
Happy wrapping,