Tuesday, March 30, 2010

queen kathleen is a five star queen, but i've only given her three....

.....can't have her getting a big head!  five stars is a weighty responsibility.  this tiara was custom made for kathleen and is actually glued instead of soldered.  i've used e 6000 which holds anything to anything.  the silicone is more flexible than solder. but, the big advantage is that i don't have to reheat my beautiful leaves.   they have such lovely patinas, that i hate to change by applying heat.  of course if this solution doesn't work as well as i think it will, all my pieces are lifetime guaanteed!

Monday, March 29, 2010

a plethora of pieces and parts

i just couldn't resist taking a photo of my ever accumulating 'component' pile.  every day i look at the pieces and play with them for a while, adding the new ones from the kiln...  moving them here and there, studying color weight and shape.  trying to decide which ones belong together.....but so far....it's still...... just a pile of parts.  soon to become.....a new line of earrings!  and a few necklaces!

Friday, March 26, 2010

seeking out new territories

i seem to be in an accumulating stage....making components and waiting for the inspirations that will put them all together.  my facination with leaves and natural forms continues, and i'm trying a new material, copper clay, which will expand my options in color and texture in my work.  too much fun!  these are the new leaves i made in copper, the only metal clay that i had not tried.  i cut out the leaves three cards thick, and dried them over short lengths of drinking straws.  i used the imbeddable eyelets made for bronze clay, and hoped for the best.   following the firing instructions on the clay package, as i could not find much other information, i held my breath and fired up the kiln.    the leaves came out beautifully, the bronze inserts worked just fine.  whooo hoooo!  i am so excited by all the possibliities before me  ...........................i'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 22, 2010

a princessleigh success.....

as i was saying, about the wonderful gift from my parents....they taught me that there was nothing i couldn't do, if i wanted it bad enough.  "where there's a will, there's a way", they always said, and that has been my motto, my entire life.  if i can imagine it i can make it.  so, i always forge ahead, never thinking i could fail, even when i've bitten off more than i ought, by rights, to be able to chew.  truth is, it almost always works.  so here we are.....coronation time.  every girl should have one! 
i crown me, the princess of leaves!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

developing interesting headgear.....

......i worked and worked all day to develope a base for my leafy tiara.  first i started with a curved sheet of brass.  i worked and shaped it until it fit comfortably on my head.  i go for the 'princess diana' style of tiara.  hers were always molded to her head rather than the fifties rhinestone prom queen models.  those were always on a straight foundation of flat wire, and sat rather precariously on the head.  tiara engineering is very important if you are a princess and destined to wear decorative headgear for more that 1/2 hour for a costume party.  when i had what i wanted, i began soldering leaves to the brass band, beginning from the outside edge of the design.  when the right and left sides were done, i was very pleased.  my leaves were getting a nice patina with the extra heat of soldering, and the design was going together well.  at last it was time to put in the three center leaves, including the one with the stone.  i clamped everything together, fluxed and placed the solder, then added heat with my little micro-torch......held my breath and the solder melted.  nothing had fallen off, and i was home free!  ready to buff and polish and prepare the final finish.

BUT....there's always a but...it was late in the day by this time, and i was tired.  i had been concentrating on this almost without coming up for air for three hours solid.  BUT, as i said, but..... the solder didn't hold and two of the last three pieces fell away when i unclamped everything.......  oh well........  time to quit and start again another day.  never fear.....the princess in me will prevail!  what my mother and father taught me over and over, is, that "where there's a will, there's a way!"  what a great life lesson.  and a wonderful gift.  for this reason, i have never doubted that if i could dream it......i could DO it.  more later.....the picture is of the unpolished tiara.............with a steel clamp holding the last pieces into place!

Friday, March 19, 2010

mother forgive me.........it's been two weeks since my last confession.....

i've been really remiss about reporting, and i have made lots of discoveries in the last couple of weeks.  first of all, i had a class, with one actual student, and we made ' my heart has wings'. (not pictured here)  we had cracking of the bronze, and sintering falure in the part around the dicroic glass stone, and i've been trying to figuring out why. sometimes i think it's the luck of the draw, but..... my piece pulled away from the hole cut for the glass, a bit, but, my student's completely pulled away, and failed to sinter properly.  i now think lavender oil is essential when making paste, especially if you are adding a fair amount of water in the construction process.  and, lavender oil in the clay as i condition it, seems to make the bronze stronger after firing, especially when i'm firing at a lower than recommended temp.  i know alot uf us are superstitious about this, but i did not have good experience with olive oil, highly recommended though it is.  i used olive oil in the clay for 'penrod and the windy day' (pictured above), and had some sintering failure there, too.  i find i like to fire at a lower temperature.  at about 1490, i get lovely irridescent, and tetallic patinas, and at the recommended 1550 for three hours i get mostly black.

next up......a leafy tiara in the making!  these are bronze clay leaves, before firing.   and.........

Thursday, March 4, 2010

again and again....and again

........now for the rest of the story.... after a couple of tries, i finally reproduced the accidentally 'broken wings' pendant.  i learned a few things on the way:  don't be in a hurry.  when i cut the clay for the new 'broken wings'  i didn't stop to pay attention to the thickness of the whole piece, thus when i broke off the part to be 'broken', i didn't notice that that part was thinner than the main.  the small piece shrank much more than the rest of it, and so was not usable.  back to the drawing board.  the second piece i fired turned out a much better size, and since i did have the forsight to drill holes for the 'stitches' in the clay while it was in the unfired stage, assembly went much quicker.  here is the finished piece along with the original, it's inspiration.  so next time i'm faced with the question, 'can you recreate an accident?'   i'll be able to say, yes.....yes you can....ifyou think twice! 
 here's one of my poems that seems to go with this. 

sky blue woman

 sky blue woman thought she'd never be whole,
the wind knocked out of her earth-strong soul
.......but when the dust cleared and she shook our her wings,
 she was grateful to find they were still useful things.

  when sky blue woman is brought to her knees,
 the mother earth whispers to the wind in the trees,
 and the trees rise up to speak to the sky
 that bends over the Woman with the visioned eye. 

 the wind and the trees and the sky embrace,
 to dry all the tears from the Woman's face