I changed my about page yesterday after 5 and 1/2 years. See it here.
I do know some things I am certain I am going to do.
Kelly Kilmer's classes this weekend at Maria's studio.
I'm taking an online class at "Artful Gathering" with Keith Lobue that starts on July 16th and goes for 6 weeks until August 27th. It's called "Tools of the Trade" and will be about tools and how to use them. While I probably have enough tools to build a small house, I'm sure I don't know how to use all of them to their best effect. I'm excited because I haven't ever taken a class with him and although I've been in his vicinity and talked to him a few times, I was pretty much working myself or taking some other class. THIS IS IT!
Then a great class is happening again up at the Mendocino Art Center August 6-8 with Nanz Aalund called "Custom Settings For Faceted Stones". It's an intermediate class and I think I'm ready for that. Even though I am getting millimeter by millimeter closer to the advanced setting on my abilities meter. I AM bragging, sure.
Then I'm dropping Grace off at her new school with living arrangement.
And then in September, there's a new art event happening close to me. It's up in Petaluma, California and it's called "Art is ... YOU". I'm signed up for two classes there and I'm really looking forward to that. Grace will be gone so I like having something great to look forward to after that.
Look at this picture she drew of us for Mother's Day. I LOVE it!
The first class is 2 days with Thomas Mann "Found Object Sandwich" (I've included two separate links there). I have wanted to do this class for about 5 years or so when I first heard he was teaching classes at Art & Soul but I was never able to get into any of those classes. While I know how to do many of the techniques he uses to make his jewelry, I really want to meet him because he HAS influenced my art in may ways. I couldn't really tell you how, I just know I love his jewelry and I have a bracelet, pin and a pair of earrings of his that I treasure. I've heard a lot about him but he remains someone who - is way out there - I intend to get a little closer to and absorb some of his philosophy and technique.
In the evening after the first day with Mr. Mann, I'm taking a short class from Laurie Mika, a popular artist friend I met at Artfest who works with polymer clay. I haven't taken one of her classes in all the years I've known her and it will be fun. It's called "RELIQUARIES" and her pictures are calling me!
After that it's up in the air! By that I mean I can do whatever I can ferret out that sounds good.
I've got a lot of nerve it's true but I've heard - and you've heard it too - that "life is short" . . . and I have a lot of things left to make before I stop following my dream.
I know I will keep making my rings each week and here are the latest few.
RAW 21/52 - Wind God (it just made sense to call it that)
I made this with precious metal clay in layers and the little balls are also precious metal clay. A fine silver scalloped bezel was attached with pmc paste and it was fired a second time. The sterling silver band and 1/2 bead wire were soldered on afterwards. The stone is a spider web agate - ♥. It looks like something from the orient to me and that's why the name.
on my hand
RAW 22/52 - "Unfurling, a response"
I made it in response to a friend, Misty Mawn, who just wrote a book called "Unfurling". She always made me think of birds with her art and she's inspired me for years.
It's made of precious metal clay too and collaged of layers of pieces and patterns. I fired the pieces in the kiln once and then used paste to attach them all to a PMC backing. The bezel is fine silver and I pasted that on too and fired this a second time. The small balled fine silver bits (not pmc) were soldered on as was the band that was made of pmc scraps from another project and it complemented this ring so well I put it together like a puzzle.
The stone is ruby in fuschite.
on my hand:
and the back:
RAW 23/52 - reticulated sterling band
Here is an EXPLANATION OF RETICULATION from The Complete Metalsmith by Tim McCreight:
"Reticulation is a process by which metal is made to draw itself into ridges and valleys, creating a unique texture . . . a formulation of 82% silver and 18% copper yields particularly dramatic results. The buckling is the result of different cooling rates of the two . . ."
Wanna hear my secret? I just used a narrow band of sterling silver 1 x 3mm rectangle wire and when I was soldering the seam together, because I was using hard solder and didn't know what the heck I was doing, it got really hot and my silver melted a bit. I yanked away the torch, it cooled quickly and voila! I liked it. So then I used a short piece of 22k gold wire I had leftover from an old project, I balled the ends and squiggled it and soldered it on with a tiny bit of 18k gold solder.
on my hand:
and a back view with heavy reticulation.
I really like that texture so now I will try to do this with a bigger piece and use the kind of silver the book mentions.
RAW 24/52 - big framed ring
This ring was inspired by Rosy Revolver. She makes the coolest rings, I have been obsessing over them! So I was trying to go really big here just to see if I could do it with my small butane torch.
on my hand:
I used an etched brass tag I made some years ago and it had a hole in it. I made that hole bigger so I could thread a bit of brass tubing through it that could hold that setting for my 9mm chrysocolla. It floats 1mm above the etched brass. Lots of soldered connections here - about 11! The ring measures 1.5 inches across.
I oxidized with LOS and sanded off the top of the brass, while polishing the silver with a small polish pad. I made the little tag on the back for fun but you should see hers.
This stone is 1 inch by 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch high. The ring is 1-1/2 inch wide by 1-1/4 inch wide - reminds me of those bowler hats worn by women in Peru.
I used some steel stamps with teardrop ends of two different sizes and a very sharp marking punch for the pattern on the rim.
The detail around the bezel was made from some precious metal clay that I cut with a handmade scalloped line cookie cutter, fired and tumbled and then soldered there.
Last, I soldered a thin piece of twist wire over it to hide any irregularities and make it look more finished. The band is 5/8 inch wide and was from my etched sterling stash. Because I have wide fingers and usually wear a size 9-1/2 on my right ring finger I had to make the band bigger to make allowance for it's width. It's a size 11 and it fits the middle finger of my left hand and my right ring finger . . . in the summer when it's hot and my fingers tend to retain water. In the winter when it's cold it will fit the middle finger of my right hand.
I'm at the halfway point!!!!!
26 postings, some were more than one ring because I find that if I make 2 of a style, they each turn out a little bit differently and there's something to learn from each.
As the year went along there were many rings made with this and other styles of gallery wire. It's a type of bezel strip that is already a finely detailed pattern and makes a stone look regal and elevated, special and feminine. I usually see clear faceted gems set in them or fancy pearls so I decided to use two opaque stones just as an experiment to see if they too would be elevated and taken out of their earthy context. Did that sound right?
Here I used green malachite and turquoise and I think they look pretty nice. In fact the more I wear them, the more I like them and truthfully, I wouldn't have ever chosen malachite to wear. I just never liked it. So there you have it.
If you want more ring inspiration check out the flickr group Ring a Week!