Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Tomorrow I send off (over night delivery of course) a necklace I entered into the Fire Mountain Gems polymer clay competition.
Three years I have entered, and three years I have made it to advanced judging.

Im excited and nervous.

This up coming year I plan on entering the metal clay competition.

I need some other contests and such to enter......

Sunday, December 18, 2011

uhm really no excuses

Ive been MIA, the joys of being a grad student.
Its still no excuse
Ive done very little art in the mean time, a few pieces here and there and everything under deadlines
I let my ring a week habit slip by the wayside and Ive been constantly 4 to 5 weeks behind since October

Not exactly living the dream there.

Im going to do better

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Finger "painting" from 30 thousand years ago

Art school has been around as long as art! Archeologists have found evidence where paleolithic children were given work space and encouragement from adults to practice finger painting.

The original story here:

Friday, September 30
by Jessica E. Saraceni

A gallery in France’s Cave of a Hundred Mammoths seems to have been set aside as a place for palaeolithic children to practice finger fluting, or creating decorations in soft clay with their fingers. “It shows collaboration between children and adults, and adults encouraging children to make these marks. This was a communal activity,” said Jessica Cooney of Cambridge University. See more of “the world’s first finger paintings” in this video at BBC News.

Video here:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hey Im vending this Saturday

Saturday October 1
I will be vending at Art in the Park in Springfield TN.

Saturday 10 to 5
at J. Travis Price Park
4155 Wilkes Road
Springfield, TN 37172

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sea Urchin inspired

Coral Reef Necklace

I found this beauty on flickr yesterday.
I love her write up and inspiration for creating it, what a gorgeous piece.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Handmade pricing

This post does a great job breaking down costs, I think its important for all hand made items, jewelry or clothing or furniture....

Lovely art work

I know tattoos aren't for everyone, but I think this is really pretty, found it on a google search, sorry no website address

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Building blog traffic tips

What Chef Gordon Ramsay Can Teach You About Building a Highly-Trafficked Blog

worth the read, of course how do I implement?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Polymer Clay "Master's" Project List

I present my PC Mastery List

I've been thinking ever since I posted this idea just exactly HOW would this work. Ok first of all I am not suggesting that I take over the world of polymer clay and decide what qualifies for a master level polyclay artist. And Im not suggesting that I am going to run a "certification" registry where I judge the quality of another person's work. Heck I'm not even an active guild member for any polymer clay at the moment, so this is just an idea.
An idea of what would make for a well rounded skill set for a polyclay artist. We all have our niches, some of us rock the cane world while others avoid canes like the plague. Some of us are queens of image transfer while others have never managed to get it to work.

But if someone suggests this to one of the guilds I want my name mentioned--I want my "skinner blend" moment --well don't we all?
end disclaimer

What would this consist of? Using the Metal Clay Master's Registry as my model I suggest there be several main categories, and several specific projects. Unlike the Metal Clay Registry I think there are no levels, just do all of the projects on the list. Right now I have 5 to 6 projects per category , 5 categories, and one capstone (show off) project. I've integrated specific projects into the different categories.

I want to make sure I include the following objects:
light bulb
bead set
inro or box of just clay
These I think are important objects to work on in the development of a polyclay artist's skills.

MY category suggestions are:

Color, this would look at how to alter color in polymer clay:
1. creating sampler with repeatable color recipes-6 minimum
2. surface patina using alcohol inks or acrylic paints
3. integrating alcohol inks into the clay
4. use of mica pigments in the decorative covering of a lightbulb
5. metal leafing
6. skinner blend

Canes, canes are such an integral part of the polymer clay world I think it is important to be able to demonstrate caning skills, even if they "aren't your thing":
1. create simple geometric cane
2. create complex cane of choice
3. cover a smooth ornament or egg with seamless cane tiles
4. dimensional use of cane slices
5. integration of a ghost cane technique

Structure, this is a great medium for building forms, but its important to be able to control them:
1. free form sculptural jewelry
2. sculpture with armature
3. matching shape and size bead set
4. Inro box pendant
5. high gloss finish from polishing only (no coating)

Media, polymer clay mixes with other media very well
1. integrate materials (semi precious stones, pearls, fibers, glass, crystal)
2. integrate metal
3. integrate findings to add beads to after firing
4. resin to create a high polish
5. usable handle, or cover a pen

Effects, so much can be done
1. Image transfers
2. tear away technique
3. faux materials sampler- 6 minimum
4. mokume gane incorporated into a covered tin design
5. mica shift

Capstone project
This is a super show off your skills project, this would be your "Im going to win the competition" piece, the culmination of your skills. This is the piece if you could only show one thing that demonstrates your mastery of polymer clay. It should integrate multiple techniques.

I have tried to make this comprehensive, I have not only included items I am familiar with or have "mastered." There are definitely projects on this list that will require work.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
And here is the finished bracelet!

Chithuly= I thought it looked like a Chihuly chandelier, my husband thought it was overly Chuthulu.....

This is a completely over populated bracelet with a center piece jeweled octopus made from polymer clay.
Im very proud of myself because I figured out how to solder all the links together.

one center piece octopus,
10 gradation silver to pearl tentacles
4 spirals
4 pearl trumpets
6 stick pearls
4 glass beads with spirals
8 bicone crystals
6 large firepolished glass beads
2 polymer beads
6 pearls with polymer bead caps
10 bead caps
20 shell disks
Im not counting how many jump rings or how many seed beads

octopus bracelet

My first soldered jump ring

My first soldered jump ring
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
I felt the need to learn to solder today, right this minute.
Actually its a need thats been growing, after all Ive owned the equipment for a while. I just never really had the need. Until the bracelet I wanted to wear started to fall part under its own weight. The links just pulled away from each other at their closing points.

Well I did not want to have all the work on the piece be for naught, so I decided I would solder all those pesky links together. And I did!

It wasn't nearly as hard as I had anticipated. of course developing skill and getting nice clean joins will take practice. But I can totally see how this soldering thing can be so addictive. The way the metal flows, its really nifty.

I was good I did purchase an iron stand for today, and I did wear my googles.

from the top
I'm soldering
one of my joints
theres an octopus in the middle
all the links

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My work space

a before pic
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn

art room cleaned
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn

I have a very interesting work space.
I can only do so much in it. I share a room with my mother. She paints. she has half the room and I have the other half. And since it used to be the formal dining room Im not exactly allowed to put up shelving or anything.

I realize I am lucky to have a dedicated space. Since before my space was the living room table, and that stopped when I had kids.

The current space is a room right off the entry and hall, and on the way to the garage. So it has become a weigh station of things coming in and going out, and unfortunately becomes a dumping ground for stuff other than art (like my book bags, things that need to transition down to the garage, stuff like that).

Im working on maintaining it clean, but that require hours a month. It tends to look more like a disaster area than it does a tidy work space.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Bronze urn-lessons learned

bronze urn
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
I was thrilled to learn about bronze clay, I immediately thought about making little vessels. I LOVE making silver urns. And just figured bronze urns would be so much more appropriate, especially when I do all sorts of greek design elements.

The more I learned about bronzclay and having to fire it embedded in carbon the more intimidated by the process I became. A two step firing process? yikes.

And then to add to that the fragile state the pieces would be in during transfer to the carbon.

And then all of my failed attempts at making good quality slip.

Well I just didn't go there. Until this past week.

I got ballsy with my bronze!
I put some in a syringe.
I made slip.
I did a burn out firing.

I completely messed it up, and learned soooo much!

Lessons learned:

• don't bother with essential oils and clay, to make slip just use water and a truly air tight container. The oil goes funky--I have a small pot of almost slip, and its funky smelling, and its oxidized, the slip in the water, no oxidation.

• the syringe is a b*0tch if there is too much air in it. It doesnt flow as easily as clay in a syringe. Make it goey-er and more slip like for the syringe.

• two phase burn out, not so intimidating. It needs to burn out at 900° for about an hour. In my case I still had to scoop out the cork, so next time Im going for a longer burn. And dont freak out by all the black on the piece, it fully sinters to a lovely color.

• Steel mesh is a must for open vessels. I think one of the reasons my urn broke so much was how much carbon got into it before it shrank.

• and Bronzclay really wants to be thicker. This urn would have been fine in silver form, but it was too delicate for the bronze, broken vines and such would be better if thicker.

I can't wait to make some more and try again!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Hunger Games

We "do" costumes at our house. My daughter is thinking that she might want to be Katniss. Last year I made a necklace for her waterbender costume, this year, looks like Im making a mockingjay pin

Master's Registry

I was explaining to my children what I'm considering doing. I was telling them about the patina sampler, and thats why I was making plain bronze tags. Well I now have 2 helpers. They are all about the science experimentation.
We began hypothesizing what if we used xyz chemicals or food products.
I explained that i don't think anything that is a cleaner or acidic will work, but in the name of science and experimentation we will go for it.

Tag one: FINALLY got my ammonia jar set up. I have a bronze tag that has been fired tumble burnished, then polished with wendol. I then re-fired the tag, so it has a matte finish. The top half of the tag has been hand burnished and polished. I do not think the initial burnishing and polishing will have any impact on the ammonia results, just want to provide and accurate history of the tag.

I was contemplating if I should do the glass panels or skip them, then I realized, I've already done them--sort of. When I first got my kiln, I made several pages of glass tests to see what glass bits that were available at the local craft shops at the time would do what. Now that dicroic supplies are available at Hobby Lobby I might just do that as well.

Also time to put the funds aside to pay for this. I've got $5 in a box as of today.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Things that make you go hmmmmm

If polymer clay had a Master's Registry list of accomplishable tasks for certain skill levels, I wonder what would be on that list?
Any ideas?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Developing my skills

When I first got into metal clay, it was awesome, I was addicted. My husband bought a class for me for valentine's day, he knew I wanted to try it. We were very strapped for cash, but he saved lunch money and did it (he is amazing at doing stuff like that for me). He also did it knowing I would probably be hooked.

My obsession gradually led to certification classes (ok they were actually the only classes happening in town, so of course...)

And lots and lots of various projects.....

I want to be more than just hooked, and making lots of "stuff." I want to be good. I want to make sure my skills are where they need to be.

This has led me to the Master's Registry.
At this point Im not sure if I want to financially commit, or if I just want to work myself through the projects and develop my skills and knowledge base.

I've already begun work on the patina sampler, and Im researching what I want to do for my votive figure.
This will be interesting, and fun.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What does 100 grams look like?

my latest 100 grams
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
This is my latest batch of bronzclay. This is everything I made with 100 grams, not including the scrap bits left over to make slip.

Some of the pieces I made polymer clay prototypes. I cant say I've actually ever done that before. I definitely need to do that again!

I have a few toggles, they are easy to make, and having my own clasps Im finding I enjoy incorporating into my work.

Several molded things for future bracelets or pendants, and at least 1 future ring (the maltese cross--Im making a Templar ring, going to fauxnamel the cross red).

I haven't worked in a few months with lump clay--painting slip on leaves isnt the same. Its such a wonderful feeling, and then the results. Im amazed every time. And more than half the time I fall in love with the kiln patina. Silver doesn't do that!

I made a gauge so I can remember where the best butter yellow color occurs and the best rainbowing with in the carbon. Its fun to play with that, and then again its also fun just to see what happens.

So half of this stuff is in the tumble burnishing up, the other half Im not sure what Im doing with it, and the unfired half, well (hey thats 3 halves, oops I guess I meant to say thirds) well the last bits, Im ready to dive right in and work on more today!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Bronze spiral ring of the week

Bronze spiral
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
I joined ring a week for several reasons.
Read my previous posts here, and here.

But as I slam together rings just to meet my weekly deadlines I sort of wonder: am I meeting my original artistic expectations?

I don't think I am. ( I am playing with the "big kids," I am being inspired, I am not improving my skill set)
I think I am producing more bleck. I need to fix this. I need to focus. I need to realize Im not going to produce a work of art if Im struggling to keep up, or spend 20 minutes slapping something together.

I started this year with sketches and ideas. I need to go back to those ideas. I need to have some more challenging designs and know that I will take a month to complete some designs. And that means I need some more simplified ideas to fill in the gaps.

I am almost caught back up, and this spiral ring was my easy quick ring for this week, while I continue to work on the fish ring. Fish ring= big fancy skill reminder.

I think Im going to go for one big time consuming ring to be proud of a month, and throw in some fast little intermediate design.

Icons as jewelry

This icon from world of warcraft I think this would make an amazing center piece for a big chunky necklace.
It needs turquoise and amethyst beads

Friday, July 8, 2011

Revamping the website!

Im revamping my web site. Dont want to be embarrassed when the ad goes live.
Currently its a links resource for my stuff.
The goal is to have this blog feed show up at that location , probably a frame set issue, and to have a really nice gallery collection.
As well as have the etsy site show up at that location, again a frameset issue I believe.

Yesterday i sat down to do this, and everything I new about CSS and Dreamweaver ran away to the north pole. Fortunately I was able to coax back that knowledge and revise my home page.

You can take a look at it here:
Feed back is welcome!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Am I good enough...for you?

Art Impostor
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn

This is a creative whinge.
Artistic whine.

You might need some crackers and cheese to go along with it.

I know I am not the only artist to ever feel this way: like all my creativity has drained away. I have no more good ideas, and I possibly never had any to begin with.
I am surrounded by some AMAZING artists and I produce detritus.

And all of this is happening while I am in the middle of what should be the most amazing artistic high.
My ad for Fire Mountain is about to be released on the back of Polymer Cafe. Im still in awe and shock. I did that accomplishment.
How on earth did I manage that? Me, when I feel barren of good ideas.
I know I worked hard on my little hat, but I've worked hard before without recognition or reward.

Impostor Syndrome is a term to describe the condition of not feeling qualified or deserving of the work one is doing, or a sense of inadequacy even though facts indicate the opposite. Apparently it is something that artists supper from. I think I am fully in the throws of it now.

Please don't think Im fishing for complements, I'm not (I do love them and appreciate them). Im not trying to drum any up for and ego fest. I'm trying to recognize the creative slumps come with creative highs, and how to get away from them. How does one maintain a certain level of creativity. I don't expect everything I do to be amazing, but wouldn't it be nice to be able to create at such a high level consistently.

Tomorrow a friend and I are going to make some creative destruction journals. She has one she acquired from the book store. We are going to make modified ones for our kids. And one for me. Im hoping that the pressure of completing competition pieces, being turned down to vend at a local arts festival, can be resolved by the creative destruction of a journal.

And then Im going to find my personal reserve of awesome sauce. I'm going to make some nifty cool pieces. Im going to stop making pieces that I find to be mediocre or just enough to get by with. Im going to realize that just because a style is popular with artist does not mean I need to work that way, and I don't need to "make something like that." Im going to start technically and creatively challenge myself. I am good enough for someone, what I need to be is good enough for me!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I love this ring on sew many levels.....

Perri Jackson is an amazing wire artist. She makes some of the most amazing wire wrapped rings. But this one....

POD on a Hand
Originally uploaded by ShaktipajDesigns

This one I LOVE!

Let me tell you a little story that might explain why:

Once upon a time a crazy girl went to the movies and there was a poster for an upcoming movie. A revisit of a classic by a wacky film maker. Some nice gentleman in the line to see the next movie offered to take a picture of the crazy girl and her friend. And thats how it all started.

Here is the picture, as you can see there I am, and there behind me is the Mad Hatter hat. And look its a mini, and notice how my hair matches his hair?

Well thats where the idea came from: I need a girly mad hatter costume! Can you see it? a mini hatter hat, a corset instead of a vest, a plaid tutu instead of the kilt at the end? Of course Im built a little more like the Tweedles (Dee and Dum) so Im going really sssslllooooooowwww on the construction of this costume.

Step one: theHat

here I am in my finished mini version of my polymer clay hat--its heavy but it works

Now back to the ring.....

Here we have Johnny Depp in full costume. And almost impossible to find is a picture showing him with the pin cushion ring.

See? The Mad Hatter wears a pin cushion ring!!!
But his ring is not nearly as awesome as the ring by Perri!
Heres a link to her Etsy shop:
and a link to her blog

And because I love this ring so much, I need to wrap up this post with another picture of it

Plain POD
Originally uploaded by ShaktipajDesigns

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


this is totally random, and only mildly linked to art, but...
I am totally intrigued by captcha words
you know those words or randomness that you have to type in when you leave a comment on some one's blog.

They make me think of futuristic alien words, or maybe they are secret hidden words of power, like the lost symbol from Dan Brown's book.

today's word was: playsa

and now I am thinking of beaches in tropical and mythical places.

Words can influence our art, or does our art influence the meaning we give to words?

Dumbo Octopus

Isn't he cute

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


"The Spitting Gargoyle" perches above Paris from the Galerie des Chimères of Notre Dame Cathedral, keeping watch over the denizens of the city far below. Technically a chimera and not a gargoyle (gargoyles typically act as ornate gutter spouts), the half-man, half-beast may unnerve some, but millions of visitors have been enchanted by this stony guardian of the City of Lights. (

Whether you’re channeling a gothic vibe, looking to add a touch of Old Europe to your décor, or just delight in eclectic art pieces, gargoyles and chimeras are interesting, conversation starting additions to almost any decorating style. Find our complete collection of art featuring gargoyles and chimeras at

Gargoyle on Notre Dame, Paris, France Art Print
item #: 10374457A

reposted from,

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

There has to be an easier way

I am finding the process of taking pictures, and getting them out of my camera and uploaded to be a bit of a bear.
There has to be a better way to do this.

i havent gotten my vacation pics uploaded yet, and I haven't gotten my rings uploaded for several weeks. The last ring I have in my flickr set for RAW 2011 is week 17, and its week 23. But I actually have the rings made, so now its feels to me and looks online like Im a slacker.

Ok time to stop whining about technology and go see if I can get the pictures from my camera to my computer.

This picture is too cute:

I was just looking for some clip art, and found an actual bear looking at a camera. This is from National Geographic, trust them to have this type of image

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Steam Punk

More random notes from that random notebook. A few years ago I was interviewed to explain what Steam Punk was. This was JUST before all the books hit the shelves. I mean within weeks. From my notes it looks like I was starting to gather some resources, and possibly come up with a book on my own, or more likely just write an actual article.
Probably just as well that I did not.

But, I really don't want those notes to go to waste notes, a bit cleaned up

Steam Punk is a genre that has been around for quite a while. The name however, was coined in the 1990s by K. W. Jeter to label a type of Victorian-era futurism.

Stylistically its very big in video games and anime and manga.

Why is it all of a sudden popular? Popular culture takes time to catch up with trends in sub-cultures. Steam punk even has some of its own sub culture groupings:
clock punk, diesel punk, goth
Diesel punk is like Steam punk, but with more of a 1920's Art Deco type of origins as opposed to Victorian era origins.

The look in crafts relies heavily on gears and watch parts.
Brass filigree stamps, the combination of industrial and lacy.

Think vintage science fiction, fantasy mechanics, vacuum tubes, dirigibles, steam power, gears and cog wheels

Who has components:,, hardware store, Tim Holtz (ok that was then now you can get Lisa Pavelka gears at Hobby Lobby).

That cell phone: waay cool, but cell phones are not steam punk. Any way found that image from this blog post
Which is great because my book list was a bit shorter-all books on my list are on this list, I just didn't have as many. Of course NOW there are a ton!

My TV and movies list however was a bit more fleshed out.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Around the World in 80 Days (specifically the one with Jackie Chan)
Wild Wild West
Van Helsing
Young Sherlock Holmes
Steam Boy
Atlantis (Disney animated)

TV shows
Wild Wild West
Brisco Country Jr
Secret Adventure of Jules Vern (which I LOVED)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Totally inspirational

This is where I was last Wednesday.
Croydon Plantation to be exact.

Very inspirational, ive already made and broke (boo-hoo) a pineapple ring for the RAW challenge.

Taxes, notes, vending

I had to do yet another round of annual taxes yesterday. The joys of running a small business.
I noticed that at one fair I did pretty darn good as far as sales were considered. Especially when I counted in the follow up purchase from a shop.
Maybe I should go back to that festival, I thought as I continued to number crunch.

Today cleaning out a random notebook with random notes (trying ever so hard to minimize this whole "where did I put that?" situation I live in) I found my notes from said craft show.
I found how much I paid to vend. I also found notes on how much it cost me in gas, and how much it cost me in hotel fees and food.

Oh yeah, now I remember why I'm not going back. My vending costs were almost as much as I made. Not worth it.

Oh well, off to look at more random notes from this notebook.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Feed ME!

Feed ME!
Originally uploaded by Zoeowyn
Ring a who?
Technically I am behind by only 1 week, but I feel so much further behind.
Im going to crank out two mediocre rings at best just to catch up. But I have been so overwhelmed with stress from the day job its hard to focus. Also why is my art area also a dumping ground? The living room got vacuumed, yet its my art area that gets ALL the floor stuff moved to, and not moved back. Not happy. I only have so much time to do stuff, cleaning up after other people's dump into my art area is not something I want to do, so it then puts me off art, which makes me cranky, and then Im ready to be fed a dentist.... (reference to Audry II the ring pictured here).
I need to stop whining and get creating!

Monday, May 9, 2011


Fire Mountain Gems-Your Jewelry Design is Now Showcased

Dear Laura

Congratulations !!

Your Jewelry Design “Chapeau de Nemo” will be featured as our Magazine Advertisement in Polymer Café Magazine the August 2011 Issue.

When we receive this publication we will send you a copy for your enjoyment.

Here is a link to the magazine’s web site

On behalf of myself and the Jewelry-Making Contest Team, we would like to thank you for making every day extraordinary by sharing your unique designs in our Jewelry-Making Contest, and allowing us to showcase your individual creativity

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why I have an assignment like this....

It annoys some students, because they don't get "it," but I actually assign a "Project Runway" type project in Art History. They spend all semester studying a specific artist of their choice, at the end of the semester they have to create an illustration of a fashion design, as if it was created by their artist. An interpretation of that artists thoughts and techniques, applied in a very different medium.

Thank you Mattel and Barbie for providing me with a bang up example to show the students.
Hey guys THIS is why you need to be able to make these mental leaps.
THIS is why you study art history, so that when you are creative director for some company you can push for cool projects like this!

BTW I LOVE the Klimt doll, but I think the van Gogh dress really takes it to the next level!!
Look at the details, the shoes!

Article at If Its Hip Its Here Mattel Releases New Fine Art Dolls. The DaVinci, Van Gogh & Klimt Barbies.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Its done!

Well after a long process, that was longer than I thought it should be I finished this ring.

This ring serves many purposes:

• I wanted to up my skill level in what I was presenting and working on with the RAW challenge

• I wanted to play with shapes, there are a lot of really cool geometric rings out there, I wanted to try one

• I felt the need to make a commemorative ring

Lets start with the commemorative part:

I am a dorky fan girl. I have accepted this, its just part of who I am, and I currently have a huge crush on Peter Steele.

I have a thing for tall dark broody guys with long black hair and green eyes. (This basically describes my husband--I've already admitted Im fairly shallow and have a limited "type" of guy I will look twice at--and my husband finds this all completely amusing.) Peter Steele was the epitome of tall dark and handsome. He was 6'8"ish, had traffic-light green eyes, and long long black hair. He wrote, sang , and played bass for Type O Negative. His voice was like dark chocolate, deep and resonating, and he was built like Conan the Barbarian. Unfortunately he died last year.

I was actively sketching ideas for a commemorative piece to mark the anniversary of his death. I was not originally playing with geometric shapes (I was looking at artistic representations of a penis, heck the man's stage name was Peter Steele and he was the first model for Play Girl to pose erect). I then sort of ditched the idea, and thought I had moved on to just working out some geometric ideas--not related to a commemorative piece--when I realized I was recreating the Type O Negative logo. I ran with that idea (and I could wear it around my kids with out having to explain why mommy has a penis on her finger).

I admit Im not some long time fan of the band, they had minimal impact on my life. Yes I heard their music, heck I even remember the video for Black No. 1 (Its really hard to forget a guy who can play a stand up bass like a guitar) but I didn't really know who they were. I was more familiar with Peter's face because he would show up on websites for some of my favorite authors as an example of what character X, who just happened to be a vampire or a werewolf, would look like. Yes Im a huge paranormal smut- I mean romance- book reader. For some reason Peter Steele's death has turned me into a fan, and artistically has impacted some projects in very interesting and good ways. So, no, I originally wasn't out to make a band fan-girl ring. But now I have I am glad I have.

The original design was plain silver, the second version involved green stones in the center part and an enamel channel, I love the look of enamel and stones.. well that was a disaster. The enamel has actually always been "fauxnamel" I found the PERFECT finger nail polish color. After I finally gave up on the stones, I made a new band with a channel for enamel.

The fauxnameling process was easy, and I took it slow in layers. It looks pretty good, and Im just not really an enamel kind of gal.

I've learned a bit more about ring making with PMC on this project:
• Even if you plan on doubling up the shanks eventually, make them 5+ cards thick
• The standard 2 hour 1650 firing schedule will shrink PMC+ even more, and it makes for a stronger ring
• no matter how thick and dry a pile of slip looks, its still not going to be as structurally sound as if it were made from lump clay
• if the project looks like it would work better using traditional metal smithing techniques, thats probably the case--this ring probably would have been easy breezy with cut pound and solder
• I need more tools- a circle template is a must, now I have to go digging thru my old art school tools, since I know I have one
• planning ahead helped a lot. Making the cardboard mock up to see how it would go together was a project saver.
• drying forms are a must, I made some U shaped drying forms for box rings, and I am really glad I did.
• I need to work on my finishing skills. Yes I made this ring for me, but from a technical stand point and construction, its a mess. Its embarrassingly bad for a level 2 PMC artisan.
• If you do use the standard firing schedule, make the ring more than 2 sizes up. I made this ring size 11 to fit my chubby 9 finger, it shrank even further and fits my pinky.

I would do a whole lot of things differently if I were to do it again. Would I? If I do it will be in bronze or copper, and then I have to use a whole different set of construction techniques from the silver. This may not be a bad thing.
Honestly if I were ever to try to do it again, I would learn how to do it with traditional methods.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Need I say more?
And I have no idea why I couldn't find this poster in English, but hey just proving its a world wide thang!

Time to make more piratical hair clips and lanyard pulls

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ring Woes

Ive been working on this ring for a bit now.

I designed it on paper-yes it all started with a sketch.
I made a paper board mock up.

And then I started to make it in metal clay. Its taken a bit longer than I had anticipated also. Bummer.
The idea was simple, the mock up a breeze, the actual execution

I decided this needed to be silver, and not use bronze, its based on a logo for a dark metal band (yes I am a fan girl). And the inset of green enamel will work best against silver.
That and the silver clay is "easier" to work with--yeah right.

The U easy
the top circle with a channel, not so bad, but not perfect
the main shank: EVIL!

The original intension was to set 3 green stones
the shank kept breaking, the setting breaking
That piece broke and was fixed 5 times. I "finally" had it right, one last clean up of the stones and it disintegrated.
It broke in 4 places, then one sectioned crumbled.

Ok that shank with stones needed to be redesigned.
I was going to simplify.
So simple shank, with a basic rectangular channel for enamel.

let the 3 components dry.
Wash of slip and squish them together.

So far so good, then the shank breaks, just where it separates and goes solo.
Slip squish fix fix fix
add more clay

A little filing, everything is good.
So into the kiln it goes.

YAY! not yet....

The whole thing shrunk just a tad bit more than I intended, thats actually ok, since work hardening would stretch it just enough. so I started to tap it back into shape. And I do mean tap. then snap, and pop

The shank broke, and the top circle popped off the U.

Fixed, this time lots and lots and lots of slip and clay.

It survived being refined, it all looked good. In the kiln, it came out looking great. Back on the mandrel and tap tap tap pop.


Well its all slipped up again, lets hope third times a charm.

I will share what I've learned, when this is finished.