Sunday, June 30, 2013

Metal Sculpture-Artist Ricardo Breceda

My friend Patti Bullard and I took a road trip today to the South Coast Winery for wine tasting and lunch. We were trying to beat the heat, by spending a few hours driving to my favorite Temecula winery and then a couple hours more in the air-conditioned restaurant, where we enjoyed some delicious salads.
Well, on the way to our destination we had to pull over and stop at the Vail Lake Resort where metal-artist extraordinaire Ricardo Breceda has a studio that is open to the public. Pictured above you can see Patti posing in front of one of Mr. Breceda's enormous metal sculptures. The photo below shows the entrance to the studio area; it kind of reminds me of Narnia:
Mr. Breceda loves dinosaurs, and he's built and sculpted a lot of them! He uses fine-gauge steel sheet in small plates which are attached to a heavy-gauge wire armature. The steel rusts over time, giving his pieces an otherworldly patina:
Here's another dinosaur:
And another one:
I love this guy; his teeth are sharp:
Not quite sure what this little guy is, but he's kinda creepy (in a good way):
Mr. Breceda also sculpts beautiful animals, like this gorgeous larger-than-life-size running horse:
Here's a group of metal animals, including a bull, horses, deer, bison, and giraffe:
Love this dragon:
El Toro:
The bison is covered with layers and layers of thinly sliced metal strips that resemble a shaggy coat of hair:
If you didn't notice in the previous picture, the bison is being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger:
A closeup of the bison's eye gives a more detailed view of the long metal coat of "hair," and even a fringe of lifelike eyelashes:
The artist also enjoys sculpting flowers and plants, like this cactus:
I love this torso! Totally WANT it:
Here's another dinosaur, prancing on a hill above Mr. Breceda's studio:
And a pair of dueling horses; very realistic, wouldn't you say?
I'm sure the artist had a lot of fun with these three amigos:
And finally, I leave you with this image of a huge T-Rex hanging off the wall in the artist's warehouse-size studio. I hope you enjoy it, if it doesn't give you nightmares!
To learn more about Mr. Breceda and his work, visit his web site here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My Artist Books in PAGES Magazine!!!

This is so exciting for me! My article on using beverage coasters to make cute travel-journal style artist books is found on page 50 of PAGES magazine, a terrific periodical from Interweave Press. To order your copy of the Summer 2013 issue, click here.
My project is really simple and easy to do, but you will need to reinforce your beverage coasters with gel medium or something similar because coasters are rather fragile. But aren't they fun! I also love embellishing them with Czech glass button closures.
I also provided detailed step-by-step instructions with photos for binding up these little books using the traditional Coptic stitch. Since the publishers couldn't find room for this part of the project in their magazine, they posted a free tutorial online; to access it, click here.
I hope you enjoy my article!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Teaching for the Rocky Mountain Bead Society!

I had the great honor last weekend of teaching a workshop series for the Rocky Mountain Bead Society! What a terrific group of enthusiastic women, who love beading and working with metal, wire, beads, fibers, and more to make jewelry. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and for several days I was treated like royalty.
Pictured above you can see a bunch of us showing off our Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelets, one of my most popular classes. I think everyone was well pleased with their creations! Works-in-process are pictured below:
Here's a particularly outstanding bangle, made by Terry Evans, Program Chairperson for the RMBC and my gracious hostess throughout my stay in Denver:
Another gorgeous bangle, made by one of my students in class:
Here's another one:
I just LOVE the button on this bangle:
Here's a nice shot of a trio of bangles; we didn't have the best photography conditions to work in so we just made the best of things!
My sample bracelet is a bit creepy due to the wonderfully gothic style of the hand button I used from JHB (check out their web site here):
On Saturday, we switched gears and explored fold-forming with 24-gauge copper sheet metal:
Here's another student sample:
A whole bunch of creative foldforming was going on in class:
We also did a lot of texturing with hammers and creative "painting with fire" to turn our foldformed creations into stunning pieces:
Everyone really loved this pendant:
Here are some more samples; note that two students scratched into the liver-of-sulfur treatment on their foldformed pieces in a sgraffito style:
Still more student samples:
And more:
This gorgeous kite-shaped pin was also heat-treated to turn it a gorgeous blue-purple. Love it!
On Sunday, I taught a class using copper tubing from the hardware store to make textured ethnic-style beads, which we then turned into beautiful bracelets and necklaces. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of those pieces to share on my blog but trust me, the ladies from Denver are TALENTED and they made some beautiful jewelry out of hardware-store finds.
I already miss the RMBC so much and want to thank them for putting on such a terrific event. Everyone was very kind and patient and cooperated beautifully together to make this workshop series a big success for everybody. A special thanks to Jan and Terry, who worked together very hard before the series began to organize the event, and later helped me get to and from the workshop venue from my hotel. I really appreciated how generous everyone was! It was one of those magical moments in life that will not be forgotten.
Happy wrapping,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Workshops in Denver next week!

This post is a repeat from last May, when I announced that my workshop series in Denver on June 21-23 is taking place. I'm teaching three fantastic full-day workshops for the members of the Rocky Mountain Bead Society, beginning with my super-popular Metallo del Fiore bangle bracelet (student bracelets pictured above) on Friday, June 21.
We'll spend half the day working on metal arts (sawing, filing, texturing with hammers, engraving metal), and half the day making a wire-based bangle bracelet with handmade clasp.
Tons of techniques will be shared, and this workshop results in a fabulous jewelry piece!
On Saturday we switch gears just a bit and focus on foldforming metal to make a pin like the one pictured above (made by my student, Sharon Nodelman, during a Wild Wire Women retreat), or a pendant, plus a pair of foldformed earrings.
In this workshop, you'll learn a lot about metal including sawing, filing, forming and shaping, texturing, punching, and lots of annealing and pickling with the torch.
Exciting and fun, especially for women who love to hammer and torch!
We wrap up on Sunday, June 23, with another full-day workshop focused on wire techniques. We'll learn ways to turn copper tubing beads (that we make ourselves) into ancient-looking artifacts, wrap them with wire, twist wire to make gorgeous jump rings, make wire clasps, and create a variety of different wire charms including spirals, hearts, and more.
Foreign coins, old buttons, and other found objects will be tortured with our hammers until they resemble antiques, and added to our bracelets. Ambitious students who work fast may even make a necklace instead of a bracelet...
If you'd like to participate in these workshops, you can join by contacting the Rocky Mountain Bead Society or by registering on their web site; click here.
Classes are $55 each for members or $110 each for nonmembers, so I recommend joining for a $25 fee. Membership to the RMBS has many benefits besides my workshop series, so check it out!
Students will need to bring their own tools (supply list provided to participants upon registration), but some materials will be provided. I hope to see you in Denver next month! This is the one and only time that I will be teaching outside Southern California this year.
Happy wrapping,