It’s really late. Actually it’s really early Monday morning and I have to get up in a few hours to spend the day off island. So here’s what I worked on today. (That would actually be yesterday, Sunday)
I gathered my silicone molds of beach rocks:
I rolled out silver PMC and pressed it into the rock half molds to make matching bead halves:
Once the clay dried enough to pop out of the mold without losing its shape, I finished drying the pieces on my cup warmers.
I made the edges smooth and flat and fit the two bead halves together, dried them again, and drilled holes for stringing.
They will need to be fully dry before I fire them in the kiln. Then they will come out as pure silver hollow beads that are shaped like the beach rocks I love to collect.
Mixing Keith O’Connor‘s raku beads with my own silver beads, I finally figured out what I wanted to do for my first necklace using some pieces of English sea glass that I spent the last few days drilling.
The whole time I was drilling I imagined combining these greens with freshwater pearls. I strung and restrung a series of combinations, but nothing seemed right. Surprisingly, a necklace of all sea glass seemed too “blah” this afternoon. I ended up going back to my asymmetric comfort zone, and included some of the ceramic beads I’ve had on hand.
I just love this sea glass and can’t wait to drill more and come up with more designs. I know I’ll find a way to use the pearls with it; today just wasn’t the day.
The necklace I worked on today is a combination of handmade lampworked beads, (bought from *artists on Etsy) local beach rocks, my own fine silver PMC beads and some local bits of sea glass.
Lampworked beads by Sue Kennedy and Leese Mahoney.
At last! It’s not like I’ve been waiting for a repair, or anything like that. Summer is just so full of good things that there is hardly room to work or breath. But, I’ve managed to do both lately.
While firing a batch of silver clay pieces, I got out the bronze and copper clay for the first time since June. With the current high price of silver clay, I felt less constrained with the base metals. My goal this week, with all three kinds of clay, was to come up with some birds for a little show on Sunday at the home of my sister-in-law Karen and her husband Hugh. Birds play a big part in our lives and it’s going to be fun to see what several friends have made for “Island Birds,” at the Smallwood’s house on Sunday, August 8 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome to come and the various birds will be for sale. Jim Bright has bird carvings, Karen and Hugh have paintings, Rick Alley has paintings, Joy Sprague has photographs, Jeri Spurling has bird-inspired floor cloths, and I will have some birdy beads on necklaces and earrings. This could be the year I start my Christmas shopping early!
Silver pieces out of the kiln and headed for the tumbler:
Bronze and copper pieces ready for the kiln. It’s such a different firing process from silver. Everything above went easily into one load. Whereas the pieces below required two loads. My fingers are crossed that the first batch wasn’t too crowded, and will have sintered properly.
…did I travel to Bar Harbor for groceries, two days before the 4th of July. Holy instant crowded summer scene! The trip was tempered by a very manageable number of customers in the hardware store, and by scoring some 6 packs of annuals on sale at Sunflower Farm on route 3.
There are plenty of activities happening on the island tomorrow and Monday, so I’m not sure when I will get a chance to further explore the possibilities of the goodies I bought from Kate McKinnon’s excellent sale last week.
I know exactly what I want to do with some of those triangular Thai silver beads. The rectangular earwires will convert to earrings in minutes with some of my own silver dangles. As for the other bits and bots, who knows how they will come in handy, but they will.
Could I have made these pieces myself? Yes, of course. But sometimes it stirs up the creative energy to add someone else’s components to the mix. One of my all time favorite beach rock necklaces has three fine silver beads that were made by Kate. Though I make plenty of beads myself, Kate’s beads were just the shape and size I needed at the time to complete this particular necklace. (This is not the greatest photo, but you can spot the beads at about 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock, and 8 o’clock.) I’m glad my friend Donna Isaacs ended up with this necklace, because I get to see it quite often. And I’m going to toot my own horn here (not comfortable for me to do) and say that the necklace looks FABULOUS on her!
I have a batch o’ things I plan to patina, next week, including these brass paddles.
Kate added little surprise goodie bags to the orders she sent out from this recent sale. Eventually I’ll use the seed beads, and there are plenty of other little treasures in there that I haven’t even taken out of the bag.
Below, a seed beed mix in a blue and gold colourway. These are for a project sometime in the fall. (After our son’s wedding on the island in September which is a whole ‘nother story of future doings.)
I’m just not quite sure what to think about the word “colourway.” It reminds me of the word “henway” and a lame joke.
Henway? What’s a henway?
Oh, about 5 pounds.
I am always looking at leaf textures and considering which ones to use with metal clay, but the leaf I use most often is that of the bunchberry dogwood. The back side has raised veins that recreate the lines of the front, when pressed into fresh soft clay. I guess you could say the bunchberry is my “go to” leaf.
I’ve been looking for bunchberry plants in shady areas on the side of the road. Where are they? I thought they would be out by now, but they are not in their usual spots. Maybe I am looking for them too early in the season. The only leaves to be found, where I usually find bunchberries, are the wild lily of the valley.
(Pretty little flowers, but the smooth leaf texture = boring.)
In my road side search, today, I remembered to look for old goldenrod stems from last fall. Since making my silver pod bead from the mold of a triple stem gall, I wanted to find a single stem gall to make a mold for single pod beads.
Though they were well-camouflaged in all of the dead grass and sticks on the side of the road, I was able to spot a few. I may still be waiting for the bunchberry plants to show up, but at least I didn’t have to wait until fall to find these.
I bought this handmade glass bead at the first PMC conference I attended in 2006, at Purdue University. I wish I could remember who made it. It has bounced around my studio for 5 years, as I have thought about ways to use it in a necklace. When I started making more asymmetrical necklaces and had a new supply of drilled beach rocks, I brought out the glass bead for another try.
I’m happy with the way the silver PMC beads, the cream colored beach stones, the patinated copper, and the discs of turquoise echo the colors in the glass bead.
Today’s post is a short one. I’m visiting my friend Susie in New York and we spent the day looking for a dress for me to wear to my son Robin’s wedding in September. (Hey, after watching the royal wedding we were in the mood!) I scored at the third store we tried. But now we are both tired. Tomorrow, some shopping for lamb sausage, fresh mozzarella, etc. on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. We may nip into Manhattan for a few hours at the Museum of Arts and Design. We’ll see….