Thursday, November 17, 2011

work in progress

A few weeks ago at Artful Bead with Mary, I couldn't resist this 2" disc of scenic jasper. Since then I have been contemplating it and trying to figure out how to put it together with maille, without it seeming altogether too solid and heavy.

Then a couple of days ago one of the Chainmaillers Guild on Etsy asked my advice about what rings to use to do a necklace like this. I gave my opinion, and also thought "that's it!" about the jasper disc. I have some 1/4" brown aluminum rings that I have used very few of, because, well, they're brown. So not "ooh, shiny!" But this is their project.

So now to make a couple hundred 1/8" 20-gauge bronze rings, and heat-treat them to iridescent dark colors. Then I'll assemble it, and see how well the result matches my sudden inspiration.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

new stuff for Oxide

Warren is trying to rejuvenate the jewelry case at Oxide with some new “funky, fresh, and artsy pieces.” So I broke out the anodized aluminum scales I have had for a while and not done much with. The assorted pack of 100 had enough for one or two five-petaled flowers in several colors, and a whole mess of black ones. So I made a necklace with a whole row of pendant scales, including the two red ones I got as asymmetric accents. Mostly just assembling, not major artistic fabrication. But it came out really pretty, I thought, and Warren liked it too. If I had had more time, I might have made the back of the strand byzantine weave. But I was pulling as close to an all-nighter as I am capable of these days, as it was, so it got a quick 2-in-2 chain.

The pendant, that I hung on the helm chain that I already had, involved more fiddling. The pattern for the 5-merous flowers is all very well, but I wanted to put 5 green sepals behind the five blue petals. I managed it, after considerable fussing. When I have more scales I have some ideas to make it work better, notably a sort of flat washer behind the whole thing to keep the sepals from flopping backwards.

Then I had a couple of flowers done pretty closely as the original directions, if not with the clunky machine-cut bright aluminum rings that came with the kit. There were only enough pink scales and silver scales for one flower each. But I thought, after I used pink jump rings on the silver one, that they would make an acceptable pair of earrings.

Warren has, in the past, rejected the rubber o-ring stretchable bracelets, but I think he is missing a bet here. So I entered two of them, and we’ll see what his jury decides. (Whoever they are.)

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

origami for the tree

I am partway through teaching a three-week class on origami ornaments at the public library, which is quite a bit of fun. Our tree has had origami on it for decades, but I have found some new beauties that were not invented back then. And I have even invented one of my own.

In the first week, we covered some of the classics. The crane, of course -- any tree can benefit by having a flock of colorful cranes, or perhaps ones made from gold wrapping paper.

The crane has always been a symbol of health and good wishes, but since the time of Sadako Sasaki they have become a symbol of world peace, making them particularly appropriate for the Christmas tree.

Other classic designs we covered, from my 50-year-old Japanese-language origami books, were the pinwheel and the Chinese lantern. The lantern can be modified to a cross form, with four pockets that can serve as photo corners. In this way a promissory photo of a gift that hasn't arrived yet (common in our family) can be decoratively presented.

The cootie-catcher, familiar to most second-graders, can be jazzed up with foil paper and small Christmas balls. Also, if your tree has good stiff twigs, it can be used to hold little treats like Hersheys Kisses.

Another design familiar to many grade-schoolers, the water-balloon or paper ball, makes a nice three-dimensional unbreakable ornament.

Moving to more modern creations, tomorrow we will do Tomoke Fuse's beautiful Espiral. This is remarkably easy to do. The four modules are quite simple and straightforward to make and combine, and what looks like a really complex spiral is just a bit of repetition of a simple fold.

Next week we will do the Artifact, the three-color embellished cube that shows in the first two photos. As I was trying to learn this last spring, and kept having it fall apart on me, I developed a simpler octahedron made from only two of the six pieces used in the Artifact, which we will practice tomorrow. Made out of foil, these are pretty striking. But they are actually more difficult than the Espiral, because the paper crumples where it isn't supposed to. I think I will see how it works in cardstock. It's never thicker that two layers, so this might work well. But the foil is awfully pretty. Shiny!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

off to Galveston

Not me, but some of my jewelry. Rhonda is heading for the Texas Art Educators Association conference this week. She and some other Denton artists have a sale table there, and she offered to see what she could do with some of my things.

I didn't get a picture of my display construction before I handed it off to her. I was pretty pleased with it. I used two layers of matte-board and some blue velvet to make a stiff velvet-covered board the size to fit in a display tray (7-3/4" x 14"). Some of my 8-gauge copper wire and a brass tube formed a sturdy easel. I made an 8" length of black oxidized copper chain, fastened at a slant across the board near the top. 10 hooks in the chain support neck-chains and bracelets, and half a dozen pairs of earrings go across the top. It gets lots of chain pretty well-displayed in a small space. I'll make a couple more before the DHS show in December.

I'm hardly going to make my fortune selling one pair of earrings a month at Oxide. Still, one pair beats no pairs. The blue and silver dragon-scale pair found a buyer at the Gallery Night last Saturday. Yay!