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Monday, January 05, 2015

A Scumble? A Scrumble? I Don't Know!

I kept seeing these amazing freeform crochet pieces on the Internet, and finally got out some yarn and tried it myself. 

I found a tutorial  here and messed around with that. It didn't turn out the way the picture did, but that's okay I like how it looks! If you remember, a couple of years ago my favorite book was "Knitting for Anarchists." I was intrigued by the idea of knitting bases on what the result looks like, as opposed to only following rules. I love intuitive painting, a la Flora Bowley, and I guess I love intuitive fiber work, too! I'll have to post a picture of the freeform quilt I'm making for Katie--

Anyhow, this has been very fun. My friend Karen said, "Beautiful! And what will it turn into, 
eventually?" Haha. Eventually it will probably be a throw, although I've seen amazing pieces
 of clothing made like this. I'm not sure I'm up to crocheting clothing ;)

If you've been doing any work like this, please please please leave a comment and a link, so 
I can go "ooh-ahh" over your stuff, too!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

Can't believe it's 2015. I remember when my sister and I were little and we'd imagine how OLD we would be at the turn of the century--37 and 36, respectively, haha. And now I'm 51 and well, wow.

Katie and Jenny are huge "Back To The Future" fans, and Katie's big comment was that this is the year they have to invent hover boards!

Went to a New Year's Eve dinner at my friend Jacquie's last night. We've been friends since we met in MOMS Club when Jacquie was expecting Madison, who is now a senior. There are five of us moms who still hang out together, sometimes with our kids, but more often without now that they're more grownup. After Madison graduates, I'll be the only one left with a kid in high school...

Got some cool stuff at Jacquie's church bazaar in November, and Jacquie had set some cool stuff aside for me. There were a set of pictures that I told her I'd buy if no one ended up buying them. There are four, two large and two small, solid brass with CURVED glass! So today I worked on one of them, taking it from this

To this:

I used Looking Glass spray paint--the same stuff I used to make faux mercury glass--I haven't decided whether I'm going to age this 'mirror' or not. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rebar Wire Chain

I've been experimenting over the last year or so with making my own chain. I love brass, but have found myself completely in love with blackened steel. Another name for blackened steel is REBAR WIRE.  How can you not love this stuff? It's super affordable and readily available. It's another example of what I love to do best: take an everyday item and make it into something unique and special. 

These are a couple of examples of chain I've been making lately using rebar wire. Regular rebar wire, like I've pictured here, is available at Home Depot, Lowe's, or at your local hardware store. It comes with a thin coating of oil on it--you can actually make it more silver-colored by running it through a scotch brite pad or a piece of sandpaper, or you can just wipe it off using a heavy piece of paper towel like I did here. I wipe it with a paper towel until no more blackish oil comes off. 

Drawbacks to rebar wire from the hardware store include the fact that it is relatively heavy (16 gauge) and therefore can be tough to cut with lightweight cutters. I've ordered 19 gauge blackened steel on Amazon--the 19 gauge is much easier to cut and to bend, but is also not nearly so cheap.

Joel is on the train coming home from Sacramento. Katie got home from Cal State Long Beach last Friday. It'll be nice to have our whole family here for Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

New Year's Resolution

I've run into too many people lately who have said, "You never post on your blog anymore!" (I'm looking at you, Dorothy!) so I'm promising myself that I will start posting on my blog AND commenting/visiting other people's blogs. I used to enjoy it so much, and for some reason I let it fall by the wayside...

But--my back is finally really feeling more normal (the six month mark seemed to be a really turning point after the surgery, FYI) and I'm going to have the girls bury a new ethernet cord for the studio (old one got run over by lawn mower) and I'm not going to let myself make excuses. I even can post from my phone!

I did not do the biggish art show that I normally do in October. I didn't think my back was up to it, and I probably was right. I did, however, do a Christmas Boutique on December 6-7 that was held here in Springville. Amazingly enough, I did very well there, selling both jewelry and paintings and making over $800 over two days! Plus I've had three more sales as follow-ups, which added another $100 to the total. So all in all a very productive December!

I've been trying to post the jewelry I had left over to my etsy shop. It's a long slow process, primarily because writing the description for each individual item takes so much time.

I'm including a picture of my front yard from this afternoon. Everything's very green--we've had some good doses of early rain. Need lots more snow in the mountains over the course of the next four months to make any kind of dent in our drought, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

More Beads

More beads from my experiments. The house is approximately 1/2 inch thick. I've highlighted it with gold gilders paste (one of my new favorite things!).

The top left bead is hollow, like a pod would be. I twisted up tin foil and formed the clay around it. I removed the tin foil after baking. I texturized it with some seed beads I had that were on wire.

I intended that the bottom bead also look very organic, like a seed or a nut. I wrapped the clay in some crepe paper that I stole from the girls' stash of party supplies. I've decided that I don't like the gold gilders paste highlighting the white clay, so that's going to change. I may use black, or dry brush it with some burnt umber acrylic,,,

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Making My Own Chain


I've been working with rebar wire a lot lately. I like that juxtaposition between rough/unpolished/rusty and shiny/pretty. Regular rebar wire (the kind that you buy at Home Depot in a big giant roll) is usually 16 or 16.5 gauge steel. It's a little too big to fit through most beads, although it works perfectly with some of my old buttons, as you can see above. I found some 19 gauge wire, which is a little thinner, on Amazon. That seems to work with most beads.

I've also been experimenting with making my own beads using polymer clay, as you can see on the top right. I'm playing with translucent clay mixed with colored clay, trying to get some depth to the beads.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Back Again, Post Surgery (Or, Post Again, Back Surgery)

I'm back. I had surgery (on my back!) three weeks ago, and so now I'm just recovering. Turned out, when I finally had an MRI, that I'd been having all the back pain because there was a disk extrusion the size of a pinky nail, sitting on my sciatic nerve. So all the waiting and stretching in the world wasn't going to make the horrible pain go away.  

I'm much better. The shooting pain down my leg is almost completely gone, thank goodness. The doctor said that there was probably some permanent nerve damage, so ill have to wait and see. For now, no Bending Lifting or Twisting (BLT is the mnemonic,which doesn't seem necessary until you are a physical therapist talking to a drug-addled woman who is about to be released from the hospital less than 24 hours after having back surgery.)

The problem now is that if I follow doctor's orders for some walking and more resting then I feel good (!) and THEN do too much unintentional BLTing (as my college roommate puts it) and THEN get all sorts of uncomfortable nasty painful swelling. 

I'm still taking some pain meds and apparently will have them available as needed for awhile. I still can't drive, but I'm getting used to that--haven't driven since December, anyway. Worst of all, can't really make art, although I've been doing some jewelry stuff and some work with clay since I can do those while sitting or lying down. I've been doing loads of eBaying and Etsying and pInteresting on my phone (two of which are very dangerous--and don't even get me started on Amazoning!).

I got a kindle fire from my wonderful family for Mother's Day, so now I can read and write as well as the above-mentioned activities. Katie just came home from Cal State Long Beach for the summer, and Joel is done with college classes too, so we are all five of us home! Jenny has eighth grade graduation in a couple of weeks, and thank goodness for Katie, who helped her find a gorgeous dress to wear and bought her a pair of silver pumps on sale in Long Beach that are every petite sized fourteen year old girl's dream (though not what her mamma would pick out ;)

So I'm going to try and make a commitment to posting more often, including pictures of what I'm working on and thinking about. 

Back to Art, I say!