Monthly Archives: May 2012

Rondelle challenge reveal!

A few weeks ago, readers of Sue Kennedy’s blog were offered a chance to participate in her enameled rondelle bead challenge. She randomly drew 5 names from the list of respondents and guess who was one of the ones to be chosen? Sue sent beads to each of us and we had about 3 weeks to come up with a design.

This is my first blog hop and challenge. I thought it would be easier than it was. I thought about it a lot and then decided to make earrings. I’m surprised I didn’t wear out the enamel on the beads with all of my attempts to put something together and then take it apart when I changed my mind! I finally settled on making this mix of dangles to hang from the beads. The pattern on the beads is so delicate, I did not want to create anything that would cause a distraction by being too heavy, visually.

I hammered and drilled pieces of 20 gauge Argentium sterling for the silver dangles.  I added tiny freshwater pearls and small labradorite beads at opposite ends of silver plated Beadalon. In the right light, the labradorite has a wink of blue that is close to the color of the enamel.

Please be sure to click on the links below to see the excellent work by the other challenge participants. (That is the “blog hop”  part.) Thanks for the opportunity, Sue. This was fun!

Sue Kennedy

Erin Prais-Hintz

Holly Westfall

Jen Judd Velasquez

Kristi Harrison


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Tonight’s reveal…

Fresh pineapple pie with coconut crunch topping. One was a dessert for dinner tonight at Karen and Hugh’s. The other two are for tomorrow’s bake sale to benefit the Islesford Library. And I bet you thought I was revealing my project for Sue Kennedy’s rondelles challenge! That will be tomorrow morning, before the bake sale…


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Work headed to Alone Moose

My friends Sherry and Ivan Rasmussen are opening their gallery  Alone Moose tomorrow at noon. This is their  37th season in Bar Harbor. They have one of the best collections of work I have ever seen. Not to be missed! When you go to Bar Harbor be sure to check out all of the changes going on on West Street as you head over to the gallery. My little beach rocks are in very good company at Alone Moose!


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Copper beads

The results of more scratch form texture plates. I can’t wait to try some different patinas on these. But this has been one crazy week so far and it’s only half over.

Copper beads before firing:

Beads after firing and after tumbling:

I like the rich brown color of these without doing anything to change the patina., but I also used a polishing pad to see what would happen:

I’m anxious to try some verdigris patina and some russet red on these babies. Currently, all of my supplies are in little piles scattered through the basement. Bruce is building a new bench for me in my basement studio so I’ll have room for a second torch for some glass/enamel work. Right now all of my soldering, rock drilling and patina applying activities are on hold.

I like the primitive look of this little design I made on the scratch foam. I can’t wait to make a necklace using these beads.



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First attempts at scratch foam texture plates

In March, my friend Holly sent me this link to Wanaree Tanner’s blog. I love learning about any technique for creating texture in metal clay and this idea from Wanaree is quick, clean, effective and inexpensive. If you are unfamiliar with her work, take some time to explore her site. You will be blown away by what she makes. I certainly am!

Holly told me not to order any scratch foam myself because she had just ordered more than enough for the two of us, from Dick Blick. We had it on our list of things to try during our one day studio get-together in April, but we ran out of time. She gave me a bunch of the scratch foam sheets to take home. I got around to trying them last week, starting with some simple earring designs. Thanks Holly!

I had my usual “I-can’t-draw-for-beans” paralysis when I tried to think of what to do first with the foam. You literally draw on the stuff with a ball point pen. The indentations will come out as raised patterns when you press metal clay into your foam texture sheet.

I plan to make a whole batch of saucer beads in silver, bronze and copper clay. I’ll be applying patina to the copper after it’s fired. The high spots from this kind of texture will show up really well against the patina background.

I was drawing a blank on ideas for the beads when I started with these earring designs. Probably the best thing I could do for myself, to keep moving forward, would be to make a bunch of large circles in my sketch book, and start making doodles within the circles. Eventually I’ll come up with the design I’m looking for.


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Fidgety earrings

The one-hole bead on each fine silver earring is suspended from a wire with a balled end. The two sides of the beads have different textures. Because of the pivot action on the wire, the beads on these earrings move around a lot as you wear them. Fun to play with when you wear them, but even if you don’t touch them, they like to fidget on their own!

They’re in the mail right now on their way to Red Dot Gallery on Deer Isle. Opening for the season on Friday, May 18.


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I love my new lights!

And the photo cube.  Before I priced pieces to send off to Red Dot Gallery on Deer Isle, I took the time to experiment some more with my new photo set up. I love having so much light available at the flick of a switch. What a concept.

It was interesting to see how different background colors and prop colors  affected the feel of the photos, especially when the pieces were more colorful. (as opposed to being all silver) Here are just a few of the shots I took today:

Translucent Pardo polymer clay, colored with alcohol ink, embedded silver.

Stick or plexiglass rod? Which do you think works better? I waffle….

More translucent Pardo with embedments.

Same plexiglass rod, but different background colors. Bronze and copper metal clay.

Seaham Beach sea glass, fine silver PMC beads, Sue Kennedy lamp work beads:

Cedar print fine silver PMC beads on silver plated Beadalon™ with sterling silver and nephrite jade:


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Birthday present and learning curve

I am always a bit “squirrely” around the time of my birthday.  I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I don’t enjoy being the center of attention, and any celebration of my birthday puts me there. One of my least favorite questions is, “What would you like for your birthday?” I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but figuring out what someone could give me for a birthday gift is uncomfortable work. I like gifts, but I’d rather not think about them and then be pleasantly surprised.

Bruce usually doesn’t ask, but this year he said, “Well, do you have any ideas of what you would like because the guys and I are drawing a blank.” (Last year my husband and sons gave me a new 3 speed bike for the island. That’s a hard act to follow!) I was actually prepared, thinking of something I might not buy for myself, but that would be great to have.

I wanted really good lights and a pop up photo cube so I could set up an area to take photos of my work. I have managed to do okay so far, with a variety of arrangements by the large window in our dining room, but it would be great not to have to wait for the right kind of sunny day to take photos.

Thanks Bruce, Fritz, and Robin. No more chasing sunlight through the house, or frustrating myself by waiting until too late in the afternoon to start taking photos. I have to confess it took me a week to unpack the lights. I get a little stuck by my lack of self confidence when I face a learning curve.

Tonight I gave everything a try and I know these lights will make a big difference. Just being able to set something up and leave it to resume tomorrow, regardless of the weather, will be a big improvement in time management for me.

I started with photos of earrings I made from some of the translucent polymer clay components. I didn’t think I would like the plain white background that came with the photo cube, but with the colors in the polymer clay, it seems to work the best. (Good thing it detaches. I’ll take an iron to it tomorrow.)

So much to learn, but at least I got started. The ability to take photographs at night, instead of stopping work to catch the light in the middle of the day, is a birthday present I’m going to enjoy for a long time.


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