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