Monday, October 18, 2010

read ~ view ~ do

Information and inspiration are not anything without implementation.
Any endeavor, be it fitness, financial, relationships or artistic, you need to actually experience it. You can read books, blogs, websites - listen to podcasts or YouTube videos - view peer efforts on facebook and flickr - but if you don't make time to execute your thoughts ~ you haven't achieved anything. There is so much information and inspiration available it can be overwhelming. And if you're like me, time is a limited commodity - it's hard to sit back, digest and let all the information mull around your head and then - execute, do, CREATE!
That's one of the many reasons I take classes and workshops. I consider it forced studio time. I try to go into my own studio as much as possible, but with everything around me, it's sometimes hard to focus. I had the opportunity to take a few classes this Fall. A workshop by Lisa Bebi, organized by Collage Sisthar, Linda (thank you!) A stylized way to paint over black and white pictures.
And of course, I tried to get more done than possible - so neither are quite finished yet. Hopefully I'll post the completed piece soon.
Suzanne: spoiler alert, just in case you haven't received your package just yet ;)

oh, but the above fun perpetuated further experiment - a card for my dear friend who recently had a baby.
As I've confessed many times before, I have many passions. One started long ago. Bookbinding! Here are a few books from Cheryl Mahowald's book binding class at the Fine Line. I especially love coptic binding, which allows the inner pages to lay flat. We learned binding on tapes, a single needle coptic and then a multi-needle coptic (the big one). This one utilized 8 needles (well nine, if you consider the one that broke!) Here are the treasures from that 4 week class.
And I combined the techniques learned from both classes, plus the ideas I've read in many of my favorite books, including these: (by Corey Moortgat, Karen Michel and Kelly Rae Roberts)
to make this wee little artistic Momma journal. ahhh... isn't she sweet?
And sometimes I just do things on a whim. Like attending the Beckoning of Lovely event on 10.10.10 at 10:10 pm in Millennium Park! I walked a way with a heart a bit more full, a little note reminding me to live for today and penny wishes for clarity for tomorrow.
Wow, that's quite a bit of sharing for one post. And I have quite a few Metal Clay and Jewelry experiments to share also, but that's for another day. Needless to say, I've been busy. Hope the colder weather is helping your carve out a bit of time for you to create and do things your passionate about.

Friday, October 8, 2010

fall into inspiration

A few weeks ago I attended the Cusp Conference and like last year it did not disappoint. Listening and learning from some of the brightest, talented people is always inspiring, encouraging and humbling. And as instructed I emersed myself, letting it all flow over me and through me.  I found most of the speakers very insightful, and others just some "ear/brain" candy.  I couldn't begin to give an accurate synopsis, but  did manage to jot down a few snippets that I thought were inspiring, hope some inspire you also:

"All design is an act of optimism"
- Sean Adams talked at length about the whole design and experience of Disneyland.

"Sustainability is a series of informed trade offs"
- Natalia Allen, is an textile designer creating eco-friendly products, including a textile that is reflective based on her need for something to wear while running at night while still in college. 

"Work your best, for you." 
"Live life and make art at the same time."
- Olivia Bee, a 16 year old photographer from Portland, creating authentic images  for Converse and Nike.

"Recognize conflict and work through it"
-Maggie Breslin observes, researchs and designs efforts around decision making for patient-centered hospitals. 
"We have what we need – no more, no less."
- Frank Chimero a graphic designer that created intrigued with the infinite potential of every little bit. 

Words + Pictures = more comprehensive learning
-Josh Elder who gave a explicit speech on how comics let the reader fill in the sequence creating more active and imaginative learning.  

"Resources + Passion + Confidence + Abiltiy = Change"
"help create the fearlessness"
-Liz Gerbers, a change agent in academia, believes confidence is the main ingredient to evoke learner to make a difference.

"Recognize conflict and work through it"
-Maggie Breslin observes, researchs and designs efforts around decision making for patient-centered hospitals. 

"Our largest untapped resource is the time of creative people and their disposalable income "
-Mark Hatch, CEO of the Tech Shop in Raleigh, NC. - a dream workshop with all the tools a inventor would need, a Maker Space - I so want to visit the Shop. 

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
-Mickey McManus CEO of Maya, insisting that the next big leap for innovation is not at the peak, but on a whole new mountain. 

"I like to make things"
-Amy Kouse Rosenthal who will be at the Bean in Chicago at 10.10.10 at 10 pm. THIS WEEKEND, who will go with me? Last time she did this was 08.08.08 at 8 pm. here's the video.  
WHO's IN?  

But whenever I take in so much information, it takes a while to digest it. Then slowly, patterns emerge. There was so much, but I hope some of these quotes inspire you to make something, do something, be something to evoke change - because change is good.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

on the rocks

I must share these little gems I scored at a craft show in Eagle River recently. A beautiful raw citrine geode and a laguna rock. A few real bargins! Hopefully I'll get some sketches started for these pieces soon.
I tend to just keep my little lovelies around rather than set them.
I swooned over this little raw crystal (shown next to the citrine) - a major splurge from my first Bead and Button show - still waiting for the perfect setting.
I guess my obsession with rocks and organic inclusions started with an amazing family trip what I was eight - three weeks exploring the wonders of US national parks. Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Yellow Stone National Park, Old Faithful and the Petrified Forest.
Mother nature ~ truly the master artist.
I have quite a few geodes and rocks that are waiting for the perfect setting. But here are a few finished pieces waiting to be adorned.
This geode sits in organic fine silver prongs with etchings on the back.
Oh, and this darling pair, no larger than a half inch, reminded me of tiny muted mellons with the simpliest pearl tacked inside. I guess it's safe to say, with jewelry, as with other things, I like it on the rocks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

artistic playdate with ditto

my preschooler is on a new schedule. which is working out fondly. starting later gives us time to slowly get the morning rolling. Including some art time. Artist play dates with the little one are a bit frantic - she's a bit of a high maintenance artist. But it allowed a bit of time for washing out some of the madness of the weekend in my journal. Well, at least until the water spills over. And I look up to find the glitter glue everywhere. Oh, well can't cry over spilled watercolor water.
image above: a birdhouse with birds marching to it.  via L.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

studio ~ in a constant state of organizing

So I must admit, if you didn't suspect already - I rarely put away "my toys." Indeed I try to straighten and organize my space, but one good evening in my studio and everything is a muck. Oh well, I've always worked better in organized chaos. And I prefer all my pretties to be visible for inspiration. Sometimes all the "inspiration" becomes a bit overwhelming - and that's when I start putting things away. Or grouping them in ways that make sense for a project. Well here's a few pictures of my studio in somewhat order.
it's a small space in my basement - but I love the natural light and my fun colorful tile pattern.
and when it gets a bit tight, I spill out into "workshop" area. The space is a work in progress, but at least I have room to spread out.
you might not believe this, but his is really organized. it's a shame I usually forget where the proper place is ~ and spend too much time trying to find that one thing that will make my project just perfect. And then, while looking, I'll get distracted and start yet another new creation. Hmmmm... and I wonder why I have so many UFOs.
Here's a bit of my inspiration area, with bullentin board, wall of paper and many little treasures behind the sign that says "create" between the two open shelves. You can barely read it.
So what does your studio look like - how do you keep it organized. And when it is indeed organized, is it harder or easier for you to find the inspiration. I'm thinking "I must be normal" ---- right?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

unlikely conversations of a mixed media artist

I sometimes forget that not everyone's mind works in weird ways, like mine. I realize I have a habit of sometimes starting my stories in the middle, but still a little befuddled when the intended recipient doesn't follow. I also find great amusement in seemingly normal questions or conversations in my mixed-media artist mind are met with a little cock to the head - like the RCA dog -- and huh? Thinking you might relate or have a chuckle too - here are a few recent conversations:
Hardware store clerk :
do you have any thinner barbed wire - I was looking for something a little more bendy.
This is one my favorite sayings. I just finished this piece a few weeks ago. I really wanted the roses to be bound in barbed wire -- but in the end the scaled just wasn't right. So I ended up making my own barbed wire.

me : Can you help me put feet on this box?
hubby: Why does a box need feet?
Linda, one of the collage sisthars, had a great presentation on making things rusty. I took this one a bit further - adding dimension and some color. And pegged feet. I'm so happy with how it turned out. It's all ready to sit on a table to hold a remote, cell phone or maybe your most precious letters.

Wings! oh my! I was so excited to find a petrified bumble bee in my studio, this Spring. Many were concerned that I was excited about this treasure, questioning while shaking their head - that's what you thought of?---  yes, of course the wings screamed to be plucked off to make ear wings. And since that day, I've had a more winged creatures happen my way -- all waiting to be encapsulated and shown for their true beauty and mystic charm.

Hubby, again: I need 10 gauge copper.  No I can't just use your stripped electrical wire.

What cracks me up the most is the times when there is no question. Like late on a Friday night when everyone is enjoying their Friday fun and I was in the studio creatiing my mixed media scupture, called Perfectly Imperfect. -- I come out and say "hey, can you cut this Barbie in half for me? just right here try not to crush the torso." Which didn't evoke a question at all. Guess my eccentric behavior and requests have started to become normal. hmmm... think I'll have to go to the hardware store for my dose of puzzled looks.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

gypsy bangles

I spurged this summer and bought a good bracelet mandrel and 2 chasing hammers. Been loving pounding out the bangles lately.

Monday, August 16, 2010

every show has a silver lining

Blame it on the stifling heat one day and the gale force winds taking out tents the next, the low traffic, lack of advertising or dismal sales - this weekend’s show was the most disappointing yet. But instead of having a pity party (no one will attend) it’s much more productive to look at the bright side. 

Oh, the people you meet! And the support of fellow artists, friends and family that make you think! Since it wasn’t that busy Saturday, I got to talk to a lot of the artists - actually there were three of us that did PMC work. I was next to Monica from Delia’s Delight Jewelry. Small world, I took a interesting wire wrapping class from Monica many years before. Congratulations to Franki Martin for winning best of show. Franki Martin’s was delight to meet with her PMC pieces as bold and beautiful as she was. It was nice to see how each of us jewelry artisans had a different spin on the material. Hopefully we will be able to meet up for a play date soon.

Congratulations also to 1st place winner, Denise Riesen Photography. Thanks, ladies for the humor and all the help to keep my tent grounded. Denise is also involved with the Andersonville Galleria, an unique concept, 90 artist shops under one roof. I really want to get downtown to check it out. I also met an acrylic artist, June Blunk, whose whimsical colorful pieces were very inspiring. This was her first show after being out of it for a long time. The fun letter photography of Tonya Bestor. She framed your word right there on the spot - instant custom design - impressive. Teresa's displays of Topaj was inspiring. I felt bad that she came down all the way from Greenbay, WI - so the fact this show was very local for me was a blessing, I guess.

I had visits from some artist friends and a few Art for All members. A surprise visit from my Mom. One of the collage sisthars, Cindy, stopped by to keep me company. We had a long discussion on how it’s hard doing shows, especially not profitable ones. And that an artist is an artist, no matter if you sell or not. It’s hard to not need the monetary validation of selling your work. And I think in the last few weeks I felt that I “worked” so hard to produce, but this show also reminded me that for me, being an artist is more about the process, the creating and idea generation - which is work, but it’s fulfilling.  And just today, I read Mati Rose’s blog post - and was reminded once again to honor myself and my work.

So all in all. I guess this was a lesson I needed to relearn. I’m glad I had other artist and friends around for support. Hey, thanks.
I've been busy so, I promise to post some of my new creations soon. In the meantime, I should take my own advice, like in this piece.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

local show - local cause ~ this weekend

If you live in the Fox Valley area, come visit me and many other artists for the Algonquin Commons Art Show.  Download a flyer here.
There will be music, raffle and free art project's for children. I'm especially proud to be part of this event because all proceeds from the show will be donated to the District 300 Foundation providing grants to all District 300 Schools.

Algonquin Commons
Randall and Countyline Roads, Algonquin
Saturday, August 14
10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday, August 15
11:00am- 5:00pm

Friday, August 6, 2010

perpetually grateful

Reflections of a lovely weekend. Sharing artwork. Collaboration and swapping. Gifts of gratitude. And inspiration and positive creative energy. I love purchasing artwork from artists I admire. But, like many, my economic state just doesn't accomadate frivioulous buying. But when an artist suggests; we swap. I'm all for it! This bartering makes the transaction so much more personal. When Debbie suggested the possibility, I jumped at the chance. I fell in love with this little Bear Lady Momma and her daughter at first glance.

I think it's so sweet and endearing. Reminding me of the bond I share with my daughter. What I loved even more was Debbie's inspiration for the piece. She said the Bear Women was what she envisioned Goldilock's might be from the Bear's point of view. Silly fun, huh? Love creative, smart people and a glimpse into their thoughts.

On Friday, one of my most endearing customers, K, came by first thing in the morning ~ swooning, chatting, admiring all the hard work of everyone and buying plenty. Pretty much making my day ~ and my ego big and fat, like that's really possible. She is always wearing the greatest pieces, so I'm so flattered and humbled that I'm in her overflowing jewelry collection. I've heard many stories of her wearing the pieces she buys, giving them good energy, then passing them on to her friends. She nonchalantly asked if I wear anyone else's jewelry, other than my own. I reply that I mostly wear pieces of artists I admire and know personally. And she takes off the piece she is wearing and gives me this:
Isn't this lovely. I'm wearing it today. I love how it feels - it's so different than I ever wear. It's like having a rock garden massage on my neck. Here is the artist's shop, LaTouchables. She has so many intriguing pieces in her shop. Including feminine cuffs - a recent obsession.
And the last bit of news: While at the Circle of Life Studio during the Northwoods Art Tour, there was a reporter, Leah Gernetzke from The Lakeland Times, taking pictures and chatting with us. Well, during our conversation, a certain thing I said caught her attention, honestly it sounds like me but I don't remember:
"Art is not just a hobby. It's a passion that's fueled from within."
She used the thought as a thread throughout the 2 page article highlighting a few of the artists on the tour including a great picture of Debbie, ending the article with a write up on me. What a pleasant surprise. I'm perpetually grateful for my fellow artisians, family, friends, customers turned friends and random people along my path to my creative aspirations.
Thank you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

creative kinship - positive energy

Ever meet someone for the first time but feel like you've know them for much longer. Or felt a smile so genuine, it seeped in and touched your soul? Yesterday I was at the Circle of Life Studio with the lovely Debbie exhibiting with a talented group of artists.

It was my day to "work" the show, but it was not work at all. It was more like a wonderful day with fellow artists, enjoying the experience of the studio - insightful conversations, lovely lunch (thanks Greg), enjoying plentiful gardens, with thoughtful surroundings and such positive energy.
 Here are a few of her creations. These lovely women each with a personality of their own.
And today will be spent with my little artist again at the studio. We will create tree rings for a collaborative installation for the Tree Whispers project. We will continue our creative experience with imaginations inspired by the Enchanted Festival. So looking forward to watching my little Sprite join in the Fairie fun -- and me, without my wings -- oh well!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

where, when - an artist's whereabouts

I know I have shared my Etsy Shop and Flickr page. But for me, nothing is more fun than meeting an artist in person - listening to their inspirations and seeing their artwork up close. So hey, if you would like, come visit me. Here's a few places I'll be:

} This Weekend! July 23-25
Circle of Life Studio and Gallery in  Eagle River, WI for the Northwoods Art Tour
} Saturday, August 14th and Sunday, August 15th
Algonquin Commons Art Fair Algonquin Commons off of Randall Road
benefiting D300 Foundation - providing grants to all District 300 schools
} Sunday,  October 17th
Uncommon Threads  One of a Kind Wearable Show and Luncheon
an annual show by Fine Line Creative Arts Center at Stone Gate in Hoffman Estates, IL 
 } Saturday,  November 13th
Naperville Country Club Holiday Boutique
not only for members, peaceful setting for holiday shopping
} December 3rd - 11th (Opening night Friday at 7:00)
Christmastime at the Fine Line  A holiday season must
an annual show of local artists at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center in St. Charles
Wow, seems like quite a bit when I list it out. And I'll most likely sneak in a personal show too. Hopefully I'll see you soon.

Monday, July 12, 2010

new beginnings

I'll take a fresh start anytime possible. A Monday morning - fresh start to a new week. First day of the month - a fresh start on the budget.  February - a fresh start on fitness. Spring - a renewed growth in my gardens. A new year - life resolutions, like being diligent.
Or a new birthday year triggering a recomittment to business goals and artistic aspirations. Since it seems that I don't deliver on my goals unless I write them down and have deadlines (even self inflicted), here they are:
{ create and upkeep a facebook fan page ~ DONE! If you are on FB and not already, become a fan.
{ re-open my etsy shoppe ~ well, it never really closed, but it severely lacking ever since my hard drive crashed about a year ago. My goal is 3 new pieces listed each week, with an insightful description, well thought out tags and intriguing photos
{keeping up with my artistic journal therapy
{following my heart, listening to my thoughts and acting on this thread of interesting creations just waiting to get out of my head ~ into metal clay, mixed media and on paper.

I'd better get to it. A lot of business to do ~ the business of sharing, not just creating. Because my art doesn't do any good, if no one sees it!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

39… and letting go

I remember vividly the months before my 30th birthday, I was 29 and holding - thinking of all the things I should have/could have done before becoming "middle-aged". Like a bee before the dooming frost. But as I approach 39, I have a renewed sense of who I am and what I want to become. I'm letting go of any preconceived notions and expectations and welcoming possibilities fearlessly. Knowing each day I'll try to make better than the last. Trying to make choices that will allow myself to be more free. Concentrating on the here and now - not the past or what might be. It's in the here and now I will create my future. I'll take care of today, so my tomorrows can take care of themselves.

Monday, July 5, 2010

feeling privileged - the northwoods art tour

This is Debra Ketchum Jircik. I was fortunate to meet her last year at the Art on Main Show in Three Lakes, WI. It was an honor to be among such talented artists. Then I had the opportunity to spend the day at Debra's studio - papermaking last Fall. She has regular papermaking workshops to inspire. Circle of Life Studio will be part of the Northwoods Art Tour   July 23th, 24th & 25th. And she asked me to be part of the tour! So excited! I'll be at the studio (4 miles from Eagle River, travel south 3 miles on Hwy 45 to Evergreen Road. Left on Meta Lake Road, first right on Gaffney to 3720) on Friday, if you would like to see me in person. But my pieces will be at the studio all weekend. If you are in the Northwoods stop by Circle Life Studio or one of the many other studios open for the tour.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

lingering butterflies

So I've been noticing butterflies have been taunting me - following me lately. My first recollection was a dreary, cool day in early Spring. It was morning and my daughter was being especially defiant. I started yelling, correction I have to admit I was screaming at her. We were late, she didn't want her hair combed, wouldn't eat her breakfast, the usual arguments. But then she said, "look Mama, a butterfly" and indeed on the screening drape there was a butterfly. I gently scooped it up and placed my cupped hands outside and opened - letting go. And in that moment, I was reminded of the importance of gentleness, independence and flight - keeping life in balance, especially through challenges. Since that morning, I have had many encounters of the flittering beings. I know it's the season, but I believe they are more than just flittering past. When they appear, they follow me, lingering about, like a friend that wants to say something  - sensing, but will not probe or condemn. Well, I'm listening - trying.
from Wiki Answers: There are many links with butterflies in mythology from all over the world, many of which, in particular Greek mythology, link butterflies to the human soul. The Ancient Greeks also considered butterflies as the souls of those who had passed away.
 The butterfly is a reminder to make changes when the opportunity arises.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

and today...

Dew Drop Bracelet with Janice Berkebile--- great silver fusing class.
Janice was a fun teacher - with a lot of one on one attention. So if you are planning on coming up this weekend, you should consider taking one of her classes, I think there is still room in a few. And if you can't be here, there is online learning at Beaducation - some classes even free! So get to it! And learn something new.
I definitely got my workout today. I'm so happy I finished these two bangle bracelets. Some of the "dew drops" were being a bit stubborn. But I fixed them - just breathe - and think... BALLS!  ;) I wire wrapped a heart bezel charm on the one, all ready for mixed media and resin when I get home.
The show floor opens in 5 minutes, but I did quite a bit of shopping yesterday at the Meet the Teachers - so I'm sure my funds will run out way before my interest will! And gosh, 3 days, I think that is all I can handle of all this fun and frolick. I'm exhausted, but energized. So grateful for the days here. Oh, time's up! Better get to the trample zone - these women are ruthless ;)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

on the bead and button show front

I've been here less than 24 hours but it has done wonders for my soul.
I jumped right in with Cristi Friesen's Steampunk Heart-o-Rama. Here are a few hearts I created - destined to be embellished a bit further and made into pins or pendants.  Her personality is very much intune with her quirky book, constantly encouraging and making us laugh. She showed so much in the little 3 hour time frame, her energy is contagious and is fuel by her "drug" of choice - CHOCOLATE.

Today was a Polymer Plates and BronzClay Bell with Louise Duhamel. I'll post pictures later - they will take all night to fire.
{ update Thursday :  will NOT have my Bronze pieces to take home, fuse blown on the kiln - not sure where it was in the cycle, or if my pieces were even in there - but either way, it possible that it might be an epic failure and turn the bronze to dust. But, I'll think positive thoughts on their safe arrival in my mailbox soon }
I love BronzClay, but it's not quite as instant gratification like PMC. One of the main reasons I take classes is to learn how others teach - Louise was very patient, methodical and orgainzed. The class was a bit much for one day, but we fit it in. I was happy to try the polymer plate process first hand, especially after my team member Kelly Fehr, recently demystified the process with her YouTube video. I look forward to practicing this technique this summer and teaching the process in the fall at the Fine Line Creative Arts Center.

And speaking of the Fine Line, if you are in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by for Raku Day this Saturday. It is my favorite event at Fine LIne. Paint a pot, watch the demos and the Emerging Artist's Show in the Gallery is breathtaking.

student work - PMC Rings

Here are a few of the creations from my PMC Ring class last Saturday. Hand model Sherri was new to PMC and did a great job jumping right in. And Marian, one of my PMC addicts created some beautiful pieces also. Thanks for a great day, ladies. See you soon.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

creative retreat

Heading up to the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee.
Going tonight!
Plenty of fun and creative time to be had.
Tonight's foolery is with Christi Friesen.
I normally don't work in polymer clay, but the steampunk style, mixing up the norm and character creating really intrigues me.
Her book is chock full of techniques - witty and light-hearted.
Check it out, it is sure to make you smile.

Monday, May 31, 2010

gone fishing

We were Up North this holiday weekend, enjoying some unseasonable warm temperatures. Leisure weekends at the Lake, how do I love thee, let me count the ways
{ a little girl, rapidly gaining independence, knee deep in the water. the edge of her favorite sundress saturated. as she practices casting and reels in another plastic butterfly
{ generational bonding and idle prattle
{ blue skies with creative clouds - fighting dragons, begging dogs and silly penguins
{ a drought - creating a beach where there used to be a shoreline
{ dragonflies dive bombing without abandon - eractically changing directions and erotically joining mid-flight
{ a crane gracing the water in clear view so we can witness it's huge prehistoric beauty
{ long shadows and rose highlights on the water just as the spark is started in the fire
{ bouquet of water lillies picked with the instructions that I should wear it in my hair
{ visiting - coffee with one of my favorite people in the Northwoods - customer, friend, confidant ~thank you
{ fruitful trip to the local bead store - a buying precursor to my Bead and Button adventure - just over a week away
{ a bit of creating, but mostly recharging and taking it all in
ahh... xoxo

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

wise eyes charm - the process

LOOK! THEY'RE HERE! I love to receive surprises in the mail, so when my self-address package arrived I wasn't even in the house before I opened it.
Here are my characters, right before I sent them out.
I love combining mixed-media with my Precious Metal Clay especially with a swap, it's a bit like sending a little extra piece of me.  I shared some of my inspiration a previous post and I had quite a few ideas, but I guess I'll just have to save them for the next swap. But all my ramblings seemed to kinda "poof" come together one day. And like most of my ideas, they always seem a bit clearer on paper. Even with a few set backs, I'm so happyto have a wonderful team to challenge me and make me see my ideas through.
So, if you are interested here is my process:
I found this hinge at a scrapbooking convention. I really liked the femine shape. I used it as a template for my original piece. I started with rolling out a chunk of PMC Standard 6 cards thick. Standard shrinks 30%, so that would help me achieve the final "charm" size. I put the hinge on the rolled out clay and with a needle tool started to cut around the shape. I wanted it a bit shorter, so I did the top first than moved the hinge slightly to achieve the squatter appearance. To create the bezel, I used coiled clay around the perimeter. So in the pic above there is the original hinge, the original fired shape and then I made a mold of the original. PMC3 was used for the actual charms which shrinks about 10-12%. The final charm is shown in the foreground (which I think makes it look a bit bigger than it is? But you get the idea.)

After pressing the clay into the mold, I gently took it out, pinched it back into shape, let it dry and added any syringe to the bezel to make the inside a bit more deep. Honestly this mold process was not as smooth as I hoped, I think the bezel was just to shallow. But hey, there was a deadline to meet! Here are a few all sanded and ready for the kiln.
I patinaed the fired pieces to give it a bit more definition. But realized early on, that buffing 24 charms in the time allowed was just not possible. Once again a bit of stress comes over me. But I instead just fire the patinaed pieces in my kiln again and it takes of most the black. I proceed to tumble while getting the ready for the "fun part" - Mixed media.
Using Golden's fluid acrylics: Naples Yellow, Raw Umber and Titanium Buff I start the backgrounds and let dry. Then, I got ready for the drawings.

I first set up a sheet with guides, so my illustrations weren't too big for the charm. I tested different pens - pitt pens, rapidiograph, extra fine sharpie, really sharp pencil, even thought my hand carved birdie stamp might work, but no. Then I took out my favorite drawing pen - an extra fine ball point - and that worked like, well, a charm.
Placing a tissue over the guides, I started to doodle. Little scapes, cute roses, sun, pebbles, then eyes, tons of eyes. The children's book, Ping came into my head. Ping, the little lost duck was looking for his home "Their home was a boat with two wise eyes on the Ynagtze River..." It really wasn't until I did all this random doodling that I knew what would actually go into my fine silver frames. Doodling in the sunshine, just letting my head wander and all these little characters started to appear.
Since the tissue paper would turn clear once resin is applied, I painted the back of the eyes white, so they would pop. Then added color to each eye from the front with watercolor and a bit of acrylic. (I tried color pencil, but it kept ripping the tissue.)
I cut or in some cases tore out the eyes and placed them in their frames. I started to like the look, but they didn't have as much impact as I thought they would. Then another ah ha moment - thinking back to figure drawing. They needed a highlight. That twinkle of white made all the difference I think.

Placing the charms on plastic material (in this case a plastic bag) would help if any of the Ice Resin seeped out. And before pouring the resin, I used a small cotton swab saturated in resin to gently burnish down the tissue, then using a toothpick, I dropped resin in the bezels and guided the fluid into each corner. They took about 3 days to fully cure, then I attached the jump rings.
Here are a few of my favorite characters. I think it's interesting how much unique expression is in each one. Sometimes I ask myself, why do I force myself to do these collaborative projects? The stress, the deadlines? It's to help work out my ideas, to focus, to actually FINISH and share my ideas with wonderfully talented artists. I truly hope their wise eye creative charm always helps them find their way home to where they are the most creative.