Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Got Blog Candy?


Drop by Renee's blog and see what she's up to - she does some pretty great things with rubber stamps!!!! AND, she has blog candy!!!


I'll be back with more later...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Belated Art & Soul Goodies


My second day of classes at Art & Soul was just as much fun as the first - maybe more! It was a little more stressful, but still a lot of fun. Sally Jean Alexander taught us to make these adorable little houses. The class was called, "Little Pink Houses," and I had no intention of making a PINK house! But, LOOK! my house turned out to be a rosy pink after all! I don't even know how it got to be that color. My favorite color is blue - Carolina blue, to be exact - but, somehow, my house is not blue. When I started, I'd actually planned to do it in black and white with blue or red as accent colors. Shows how things change when you're doing art, eh?

This project was so much fun! We first had to make 6 tiny collages, keeping in mind that they had to fit the glass sides, AND that they had to be transparent. Because these houses are designed to sit over a light and glow! I wish you could see how pretty all the houses were at the end of the day, sitting over a string of Christmas tree lights - a gorgeous miniature village!
Now 6 collages, tiny or not, could have taken me the whole day!! Luckily, we had Sally Jean, cute as a button, reminding us to "just do it - tear it, glue it, don't think about it!" Every few minutes I had to put it between the glass, hold it up to the light to check everything out, work some more...
Then we put the collages between the glass, taped them with copper tape and we were ready for the big thing we had come for - learning to solder! Oh we looked so professional with all our tools all around us. We had soldering irons in stands, flux and brushes, sponges and stuff to clean the tip. We were so ready! Sally Jean and her husband, Brad - also known as Mr. Sally Jean (this was what his name tag read!) - were really great about coming around and helping us with our soldering, making sure we had smooth edges, and that our corners look nice, etc. Each piece was soldered and we were proud! Yes, we were! Then came the time to assemble the house. It was a little tricky to get started, but once we got one side attached to one end, it went pretty easily. I say that, but I WAS the last person to finish. I don't care - the key word there is "finish" because I did finish my house! I walked out of class with a completed house! Ok, Mr. Sally Jean had to help me with the roof, or I'd probably still be sitting there, but, I had a house to show for my day's work!! And isn't it a lovely little house??


The best part of this class, besides all the fun we had - We learned to solder! Now, I can make those really cute glass charms that I've been dying to make. I've already got the glass. I just wish I had the time! This is going to be my first project to do as soon as things lighten up around here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

It's Been Awhile...

It's been a very long time since I've posted. Wonder if anyone still bothers to check and see if I'm still around. I won't go into all the sordid details but when I returned home from Art & Soul I was sick with a cold that progressed to bronchitis and lasted FOREVER! During this time my shoulder started hurting and that turned out to be a nasty case of bursitis that wouldn't go away. I ended up having it injected and going through PT and everything to make sure that I didn't have to go under the knife. Did I say I wasn't going to give any details? I lied. The best part about having these things is getting to whine about them to everyone you know, right?

When I first got home and before I got too sick, I decided that I was going to reorganize my studio because I had bought so many supplies for my classes. I went out and bought a bunch of plastic bins and started moving stuff out of my studio. Then I got sick. I would do a little bit of work and have to rest. I am now sitting in a studio that is empty (well almost). All of my stuff is piled in my son's room. I have to decide how to rearrange the shelving in here before I bring everything back in here. As much as I want him to visit, I hope my son doesn't want to use his bed anytime soon! Because where, oh where! would I put everything that is on and around his bed???

On to better things - at least I think it will be better. Yesterday, I spent some time taking pictures of the things I made at Art & Soul - about time, don't ya think? I'll be telling you about them over the next couple of days.

One thing exciting about this year - I actually finished my projects! Last year I never completed anything in any class. I was a little bummed out by this, but I kept telling myself that I was there to learn the techniques and that when I got home I could take my time and finish the projects. Right! Do you think I rushed right home and finished up 6 projects??? Not! I did work on some of them and I did use the techniques that I learned, so that was the point, right? But, I have to admit, it is so much more satisfying to walk out of class at the end of the (very long) day with something to show for it. OK, let's be honest - with something to strut around and SHOW OFF to everyone you know, and those you don't even know! Because that is what happens in the lounge at Art & Soul! Everyone does a little Show and Tell of that day's class. It's so much fun to see what everyone did and to hear about the different classes and instructors.

My first class this year was "My Precious" - (Precious Metal Clay), with Melanie Shockley and her assistant, Jane. It was so much fun and since I had never worked with PMC, I thought it was MAGIC! You take what looks like clay, roll it out like cookie dough, fire it in a kiln, put it in a rock tumbler (just like the one my son had that used to drive us nuts all night long for days at a time!) and voila! it's sterling silver! We were oohh'ing and ahh'ing all over the place.
The first one is about an inch square, and is 1/16 inch thick. I used a dogwood rubber stamp to make the design. Yep, it was that easy! I borrowed a small square cookie cutter to cut it out, and I used a coffee stirrer to make the hole for the jump ring.

This second one is 7/8 inch diameter and thick - over 1/8 inch thick. I used a metal button to create it and I needed to be sure that it didn't poke through. It has a nice heavy feel to it. I also created a bail on this one by draping a piece of clay over a drinking straw. The bail is attached and basicly glued to the charm with more clay, using a paint brush and brushing, brushing, brushing it until the connection point is smooth. I wanted to be sure to learn to make a bail before I left this class. I wish I'd had time to make one of Melanie's beautiful fancy, "snake" bails, but I did good to get this one attached before these had to go into the kiln. After the PMC is fired and tumbled, it comes out very shiny sterling silver. You can leave it that way or use various things to change the look. I wanted mine to look a bit aged, so I used "Black Max" (I think that's right) to help age it and to highlight the lines.

Tomorrow, I'll show some more of my beautimous projects...
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