Today’s photo shows another pin turned pendant from the same family as the dog shown in an earlier post. Although these pins, given to me for creation by the owner of Dovetails of Wimberley, presented considerable challenge, I’m pleased to understand how to alter a pin and will be more open minded about the pendant possibilities that other pins offer. In case you didn’t read the earlier post, the process involves making and gluing a wire finding to the back of the pin which turns it into a pendant. Thankfully, I’m no longer “out on a limb” regarding this technique.
I was explaining to my younger friend, Dr. G, how I was trying to keep things in balance, indicating that perhaps this is more necessary as we grow older. For example, we might work at the computer until the backache sets in, then move to the jewelry making until that arthritic hand hurts, go to clean the kitchen, etc. and then start that cycle all over again. Hopefully, by the end of the day things all come together and reached closure (or nothing does!).
Today’s balance involved stopping in the middle of baking to go round up cows who for some reason wanted to stay in the shade rather than coming to the barn to receive their shots (go figure – - who’s smarter on that one?). Is it true that if you put your cookie batter in the refrigerator while you round up cows, it will actually taste better? I don’t really think so.
Design balance can also involve a little bit of this and that. I used to try to create asymmetrical pieces without much regard for balance. They either hung crooked because there was too much weight on one side or were not very attractive. You can always tell when people who normally look at your neck to see what jewels you are wearing suddenly start looking you straight in the eye. Something must be amuck with your jewelry piece and even the face looks better than the asymmetrical design. That means it’s time to go back to the design drawing board.
I recently received the Wee People Newsletter from my friend, the doll maker. She has wonderful artistic taste and her newsletters are a feast for the eyes, ears, and spirit. I hope she will forgive me for including the U Tube video below which she shared with her readers. The photos are by Hans Silvester who also offer a book of similar title available on Amazon. Although I might dub this video with many titles, today it shows me balance. The stills that start part way through the piece show marvelous artistic balance achieved by individuals as they have decorated their faces and bodies. Often the Omo people shown used earth objects to form asymmetrical beauty. The photos offer a lesson in balance for designers. I’m hoping that if I watch it enough, I’ll begin to “see” better and transfer that to my designs. At the very least, the music and photos of the video together present a peaceful aura.
As for the balance from computer, to design table, to cows . . . I can only hope for the best.
Today, I watched a video on www.cooltools.us demonstrating how to patina metal. Although it was likely designed to introduce customers to their new Patina Gel, the two part video was informative and did what good lessons should. It both confirmed things I already knew while also adding new information. Of course the video also did what it was designed to do; it caused me to want to order their product. Yet, I resisted and used some of my remaining liquid liver of sulfur to patina the above pictured earrings.
It’s interesting to view how various factors effect the look achieved from the patina process. It seems to me that its a bit like getting a suntan. The longer the metal remains in the liver of sulfur solution, the darker it becomes. That works for most people who are getting a suntan and get darker the more time they spend in the sun. That’s true unless you overdo it and turn red. Then you wait for that sunburn to peel before getting your natural color back. If you leave the metal in the patina too long, it turns so dark that you have to sand and polish (peel) until you recognize the metal again.
At my age, the word suntan congers up pictures of dry, wrinkled skin and reminds me of the threat of skin cancer. While giving metal a suntan also has unpleasantries, (the liver of sulfur smells bad) it’s the only type tanning I’ll be doing this summer. Isn’t it nice that in this 106 degree weather we can tan indoors?
Finished! I’ve been working on this piece for several days and it finally came together this afternoon. It was ordered by a store in Fredericksburg that sold one in similar colors earlier this summer. I’ve always thought of the browns and blacks for Fall, but mixed with the light teal and a touch of yellow and gold, this seems to work for summer. This peyote necklace has a nice Turquoise Jasper cabachon (Magpie Gemstones) in the center and I backed this stone with ultrasuede. I also added an extra row of beads completely around the neckline at a right angle to the peyote stitches. This should help the piece keep it’s shape while it remains supple and comfortable. The piece is stitched with 6 lb test Fireline fishing line.
It was amusing that as I was finishing this piece, the ping of my computer alerted me that I had received an email. It was from Barry at Caravan Beads. This is my main source for wholesale seed beads (Miyuki) and the vendor from whom I purchased the beads for the above necklace. He was offering to trade the cloudy, rainy northern weather in his neck of the woods for some sunshine. I offered to take the deal and said I would throw in some feral hogs from my pasture to boot. He replied that he wanted the weather, but not the hogs. While both he and a store I deal with in Maine were sharing that customers were hard to come by due to their too-wet summer weather. The merchants I talked with close to San Marcos and the Hill Country had much the same concerns with our too hot summer weather. Either way, I guess it’s summer and we’re all dealing with one thing or another.
Just as I’ve had to keep an open mind about those dark colors and their appropriateness for summer, I’ve got to keep an open mind about the weather. When it changes (for the better) people will be ready to get out and will definitely need to shop. I plan to have plenty of options for them to see. As I’ve heard Suzie from Aunties Beads say “you’ve got to have product!”
I enjoyed attending the Bead Jamboree in San Antonio last weekend. Being a bit of a home body, I tried to talk myself out of going several times, but finally went ahead. I currently purchase most everything from www.magpiegemstones.com and really didn’t need to go to the show. Yet, I wanted to support my friends who were vending and teaching at this venue.
Luckily, I met a “new-to-me” vendor and enjoyed exploring the possibilities her merchandise provided. (www.acharmcollection.com) The cross necklace at the left resulted from the use of her metal products and I have several other pieces that will evolve from visiting this vendor. She sells metal charms, etc. such as those shown in the picture below. While it may not be a new technique, she talked with me about layering gemstones on her pieces. Prices were quite reasonable and I’m trying some of her ideas. The first few customers who saw this cross wanted it and I’m hoping the designs will be pleasing.
Economically speaking, the price point for these plated silver and gemstone pieces will be very affordable for customers. While I didn’t use expensive turquoise in the necklace shown, it is still pretty and Mother says it will be meaningful to those who see it. (She was sure that I had made it for her . . . hint, hint.)
I’m pleased to find another helpful, pleasant vendor, but I still want to support those suppliers who have been good to me. This “new find” simply adds one more possibility to design options.
Today’s writing is a diversion from thoughts about designing. As you read this entry, you’ll realize why no pictures of today’s jewelry can be shown.
If anyone reading this is a Father, I hope you have had a great day. I’ve always felt we should do more for Fathers, but it seems that Mothers Day is often a bigger event. Maybe it’s because Mothers really enjoy attention, written accolades and emotional gush more than most Fathers. Do they really or do men just refuse to admit they like it too? We’ll probably never know the answer to that one.
Today, my husband and I arose with expectations of a nice day. I had nice meals planned, all the ingredients for his traditional chocolate cream pie and presents from his children. So much for good planning.
Following his full morning of feeding cattle at two locations, moving irrigation machines, giving shots to appropriate animals and fixing broken things, the day should have been his. Unfortunately, the phones began to ring about 11 AM regarding a “cow and calf” of ours that was out. Trips back and forth through pastures, across roads, and over neighboring properties lasted throughout the afternoon; yet our efforts to find the escapees proved fruitless and although others had seen the pair, we had not. By 4 PM I had donned my rally cap and promised to finish making that chocolate pie, but of course the phone range . . . “please don’t answer that,” I yelled. Finally about 5:30 PM we located the pair out on the main road and sure enough . . . they were NOT our animals. Of course in the meantime we had several calls about our baby goats that were also on the loose. We DON’T have any goats!
When the animal escapades ended and the pie was still warm, we realized that there were two cows to be bred TODAY. If you’re not a rancher, you may not realize that we had to breed them today or wait for another cycle which would put their breeding too late in the summer for our purposes. Then we learned our AI technician was on his way to Dallas. Now what? No person wants to be drug to a ranch to breed someone else’s cows on Fathers Day, but after numerous calls, we found a willing sole. Therefore, on what should be his day, my man is down at the barn at 8:20 PM to help breed the cows and will not return for several hours since the irrigation machines have to be reset. His chocolate pie is still waiting.
Earlier in the day, I called my son-in-law on his very first Fathers Day in hopes that his day was going well. I learned that he has a sick wife and sniffling baby. As the sick wife, my daughter, said, “we’re going to need to have do-overs next week.” I totally agree!
So, what can I say about Fathers Day? Is it just about the celebration and the day’s activities? Is it really for the Father? Mostly, I believe its for us to take the time to think about all that Fatherhood means and how important the men in our lives are. As we think about what food they might like to eat or gift they might enjoy, we truly focus on them. I’m thinking I should do that much more frequently than just one special day and that “do-overs” should occur often. Does that mean more chocolate pies??? My husband certainly hopes so.
Here’s hoping all your “do-overs” are happy!
I’m still “gone to the dogs” today. Dovetails sent the dog in the picture home with me to use for a necklace. The dog is a pin and we thought it might be cute in another design. Sherry, from my wire work group, showed me how to create a wire coil with loops that will fit around the pin for attaching it. Thanks Sherry!
After finishing the doggie necklace, complete with handmade copper wire dog bones, I donned it to be sure it would hang correctly. OOPS! That silly little dog wanted to flip over and lay on it’s stomach. Now What?
I had been to the Bead Jamboree in San Antonio and talked with a vendor selling plated charms, etc. She showed me how she glued filigrees on to the back of the charms that didn’t have holes in order to make a hanger. I more or less disregarded her suggestion thinking I would just drill a hole for the hangers I needed. But, when that puppy did its flip, I realized that her idea might be golden. Using E 6000 glue, I attached the dog pin to the handmade filigree and “hurray” now he’s a dog on his feet.
While I can’t proclaim that this is a major “aha” and some would say it was obvious all along, I do know that we must remain open to connections. Although I often disregard a technique someone it showing me, I do try to pay attention and store it in the back of my mind. You just never know when someone’s idea can be adapted to your own problem.
I guess that’s really what listening is all about – making connections for the now or for the future. Part of listening is honoring the person who is talking by giving him or her your attention. I’ve always thought it was my job to applaud the person for their discovery even if I didn’t value it for myself. Yet, someone else’s idea may later combine with your own adaptation when you least expect it.
Just think about the Wright Brothers who could fly their plane, but couldn’t make it turn. Watching an eagle tip its wings one day while making a turn is said to have provided them with the idea for making that first airplane turn. I’m sure glad they were paying attention or we all might be flying straight into mountains were it not for that great connection.
I’m looking forward to using this technique again on the bird pin that’s next on the queue. We’ll see what hatches.
By the way, you’ll soon find these necklaces at Dovetail of Wimberley just waiting to be adopted.
It’s hot, really hot and although I’ve made a cool spot for my blue heelers to lie in, they still think it might be better in the house. Today, after each of the three received their customary brushing in the laundry room, the fattest one refused to go outside. She did NOT get the “I’m a human, you’re a dog” thing at all. Finally I relented and Cheyenne got to stay indoors.
As I worked diligently on a copper bracelet and began to hammer, the dog became very annoyed. She actually appeared to squint one eye as if the pounding hurt her head. When staring directly at me did not cause me to quit hammering, she finally left the studio as shown in the right picture. She didn’t go far but just went to the hallway where she could continue her stare. Finally, I gave in and quit hammering. No, I wasn’t finished, but just look at her sad eyes.
When I put down the hammer, she came back into the studio as if to say “thank goodness you’re finished.” She did her cutest, lay on my foot and look sad act and all was well until she discovered the cat looking in the studio window. Racing through the baskets of wire and tools on my floor to get nearer the cat, she left jewelry components strewn all around. That did it! I put her OUT and will not be such a sucker next time.
Here’s the question, “if a dog is this annoyed by my hammering midday, what does my husband think about it in the late evening hours?” Should I ask him? Probably not, because I don’t think I want to hear the answer. I’ll just continue to think I have a very sensitive dog!
Most of us are well aware that things come in spurts. There are growth spurts that are usually good for children and bad for adults. There are spurts of energy that may result in good things such as getting that closet cleaned out or rearranging the desk.
It seems lately that the jewelry designs I sell come in spurts also. For example, I first made the peyote necklace in the picture shown and a similar bracelet about five years ago. At that time, I sold several, more bracelets than necklaces, and then the sales slowed. Now, after about three months of not making any, I’ve filled three requests in the last two weeks and have another on the queue. Since there is no pattern for the pieces, each of these is different, yet, the technique and colors remain stable. Some of these pieces have more browns and golds while others, like the one shown, use black as the dominant color. All of them, however, use turquoise and red/coral. It’s rewarding to know that a design can endure for several years.
There has been another spurt of folks wanting the wave bracelet. I use recycled copper for most of this piece. Sometimes I embellish it with turquoise and pearls as shown here. I’ve also used turquoise and carnelian and think a variety of other choices would work.
Spurts are certainly welcome in the jewelry design business. I just wish I could predict what the buying spurt will be in time to more quickly meet the demand. Unfortunately, sometimes by the time I round up the needed supplies, the spurt has passed.
Oh well, if I could predict the future I might be tempted to enter some less reputable occupation.
Here’s hoping all your spurts are good ones.
I was pleased to hear from several readers after my last post which showed pictures of my grandboy. Summer is definitely the time for family visits and time with children. After the initial excitement of the visit wanes, children may be left wondering what to do.
My daughter shared a blog, http://artfulparent.wordpress.com/ , wherein the author talks about things she does with her child and the neighborhood/friends craft group. It’s interesting to see the author’s excitement over involving the children in artful activities. She provides links to other blogs that may be of interest to you.
I remember planning art activities for my children. We would go to the library and pick up books on how to make your own glue, paper mache, etc. I distinctly remember a recipe for making glue out of dryer lint. It made a horrible mess, but we did it!. I think the biggest mess we made was when we tie dyed. One of my piano students happened by that afternoon and she took off her tennis shoes and dyed them. I was a bit concerned when her Mom came to pick her up, but she took it better than I would have.
My initial concern about children’s art projects stems from a deep belief in the power of creative thinking. I believe we must take care in nurturing children and involving them in artful activities without curtailing their own ideas. If the art activity teaches a technique rather than a product, I’m all for it. Yet, if the goal is the production of a slightly varied piece like the example provided for the child, then I might be against it. We want children to think for themselves rather than merely copying. That’s why a blank piece of paper is so much better than a coloring book. While there is nothing wrong with copying to learn how to do something, let’s don’t call it creativity. (By the way, if the purpose of working in a coloring book is to learn small motor coordination, it’s a good thing.)
Research tells us that creative thinking is alive and well in young children until about first grade when it begins to wane a bit. We see it ebb and flow throughout their years, but know that it must be nurtured in order to thrive and become valued by the child. Adults who tell the child they want him or her to think creatively and then give them a pattern and color chart to follow are not modeling what they are saying. I remember when my son was four and his teacher gave him a pilgrim to color for the classroom bulletin board. When he colored it purple, she grabbed it and threw it away telling him that pilgrims can’t be purple. “Mama”, he said, “I’ve never seen a pilgrim and I didn’t know.” I don’t think that teacher had ever seen a young, irate Mother like me before, but we did get things straight!
Amabile says that creative thinking results in that which is novel and appropriate. That purple pilgrim probably wasn’t appropriate, so we might not call it creative in our adult schema. For a child, however, who had never seen or colored a pilgrim before, it may have been.
It seems that the bottom line is clarity. Let the child learn a technique, such as paper mache, by copying, but call it copying or replication. Then ask the child to think creatively and use the paper mache technique to create something new and different. Call this creative thinking. AND if the child isn’t interested, let him be. Creative thinking can be developed in many ways that do not involve arts and crafts. Some kids just don’t want to make things and that’s OK. Out future creative scientists may just be out working on their bikes rather than inside handling tempera paint!