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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!

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Soldering Heart-shaped Bezels

Decided to start posting from my iPhone instead of waiting for all the stars to align so that I can get my studio computer back online!

These are soldered brass-- They will have pieces of book/dictionary pages in them with resin over the top--and just in time for Valentine's Day!

Seriously, that did not occur to me until I had made three!!!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Faux Mercury Glass

I love mercury glass. I've collected some (not real) mercury glass candleholders over the last five years or so, during the post-Christmas sales.

Recently I stumbled on a recipe for faux mercury glass and I've been experimenting (in small doses since I'm still fighting sciatica :(

This is one of the many insulators my dad got for me over the years. I love love love the blue insulators, but the clear ones don't do that much for me. I thought it was a perfect piece of glass to experiment on.

I'm fine-tuning the technique, since, just like with cooking, I can't simply follow a recipe--I always have to tweak it.

So, next post I'll talk about making faux mercury glass!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Experimenting with Simple Rings


I actually went down to the studio today for a little while! Felt sooo good. I just played with wire a little bit, did some soldering--Made this little ring, actually two of them, so that Jenny could have one and her friend Makenna, who is spending the night, could have one, too. 

I've got pages and pages of sketches for jewelry ideas, so maybe I can start making some of them. 

It just occurred to me that I need to remember that the jewelry is a side thing, not my main focus. But it is so fun!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A Word About "No Pin Blogs"

I keep seeing badges in the sidebars of blogs, proclaiming the blog to be a "No Pin Blog," and I  keep thinking about it and wondering "Why?"

Pinterest is a wonderful, amazing way to share the things you love. I am so excited every time a piece of my art gets pinned to someone's board! Someone likes my work enough to share that love with everyone else...

It's a wonderful way to get more people to visit my blog or my Etsy shop and share in my creativity. No one is stealing my work, just saying "Wow! Look at how cool Karen's painting/piece of jewelry is!" The link leads the person back to my blog or website or Etsy shop, which is exactly what I want.

One day, someone pinned a painting from my Etsy shop to their board, and I had SEVENTY-EIGHT visits to my shop that day, most of them originating from that pin (and all the pins that followed that). It's exponential exposure, and isn't that what we are all shooting for when we write a blog?

The only thing I will say is that you need to make sure that the images you put on your blog are small enough that no one could print them out and use the image as their own. Generally, resizing an image to 4 inches wide at 72 pixels per inch solves that problem. Viewers can see the image on their computer screen, but if they tried to print it out the quality would be very poor. But this caveat has nothing to do with Pinterest, specifically. This is something we all need to be aware of every single time we post a picture to our blogs--

So, in summary: if you are going to share your images online at all, I highly recommend that you allow people to pin them using Pinterest. It allows many more people to see your work, and as long as you are resizing your images correctly, no one can "steal" them.