Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spirit of Doves

Just the one pic today- a mock up of a 'fringe charm' pendant. That's my name for a cluster pendant that hangs from individual holes rather than clustered on one hoop. I can make shit up- I'm an artist! Our job description practically reads 'make shit up'.

Things in here include antique buttons, citrine, quartz, howlite, shell, fish vertebrae and carved bone. I like the way the gold triangle on the center pendant echos the little citrine triangle on the left. That was an accident! I'm awesome that way. I might swap that fat cowrie over with the citrine triangle drop, so there's a balance of white oval things.

Monday, July 9, 2012

ghost of ideas

I missed a day! Probably for the best, things might be starting to look a little repeatitive lately, what with me working on the same bloody pendant clusters for the whole week. Really though this just goes to show you how long these things can take sometimes. It's a heavy process meditating on what goes where. Even some of these pictures show things that have since changed.

Here's some unfamiliar bits- (l to r) cattle charm from a few posts ago, a big gumnut from down the road, long strips of hemp cord (which is going into the quill tip off the feather, as seen in the first image), a carved-down bead on bronze stick, howlite with 18k gold triangle and a clay pipe head from the Thames.

Look at that giant feather! I'm using it to figure out weight and drop and just how large I can make these things. It's one from my Dad's 1970s collection, from the peacock in residence during his time at Coal Creek (the ghost town I was caretaker of a couple years ago). Actually since Dad's feathers and mine have been in one pot for about 15-20 years, it might actually be one I found from the peacock in my time!

Here's something interesting- sometimes when I'm stuck on something I like to draw out what I feel it needs by just sketching right near the piece; it gives me a ghost of the idea fitting and then I can work on finding it in my stash. I'd tried rings, driftwood chunks and that hulking great lump of shell to the left before I stopped to sketch and figure out the shape I needed.

I dummied up a shape from some bangle scrap that was laying about- didn't take me a minute to realise this wasn't going to work, the shape had to be solid.

A quick mock-up with some leather scrap...yep, needs to be solid. So tomorrow when Mr.Sun comes back I'll get to sawing and carving to make a plate in that shape, maybe a lighter colour and set a stone in the middle...then I can get to making a 'chain' for this piece which at this point will be antique cotton sheeting and suede leather.

Anvil, so funny that you said my work desk is really clean, Fanci is always marvelling over that. Admittedly it's because that particular surface was only a couple of days old. Now it looks like this (above) and that's about as mad as I can take it! I'll probably clean it tomorrow and lay out some earrings- I need a break from these charm clusters. Incidentally the Georgian lass on my laptop there is telling me all about the history of the bathroom in Le Olden Dayz. Here's the first part- she does bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom from the Middle Ages right up till now. I've only watched bathroom so far but it's fantastic! Very lively and well-paced.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Revving up the Muse

I think I might have what Fanci calls 'over-supply panic'. This is just two of my boxes of beads, there are at least 6 more, then a tin for the half-done earrings, a tin of the super-chunky things that don't fit in bead boxes, 3 boxes of smaller beads, 2 of charms, a tin for wire, a tin for bangles... I can see where she comes from with the supply overload, it's hard to stick to one project without getting a headache from your brain trying to make 32 things at once.

This is a little something I made to get the juices flowing- I find it helps to make something you don't have great expectations for in order to get the Muse 'revved up'. At some point this will go in Sparrow Salvage, when I'm ready to open there. It's true purpose though was just to get me in the swing of things to work on the bigger pieces.

This evening found me snug and warm at my desk, meditating on cluster pendants and watching YouTube documentaries. I found a lovely 1988 doco called The Victorian Kitchen Garden, it has such a relaxing medatitive quality to it with the soft English voices and wild ruins of grand estates. I've only watched the intro but I'm hooked already! Moppet enjoyed it too- I'm sure she's just as excited as I am about all the other ones down the side bar as well.

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm the Indoorsy type

Well guess what, there's no supply lust photos to share today! No, I spent all afternoon moving my jewelry desk inside. It used to be out on the back porch, with the upside that this was my view:

But as lovely as the view is, it wasn't exactly peaceful now that next door have decided to wack a jolly great extension on their house and do rather a lot of hammering about 100 feet away from where I'm sitting (where I'm doing enough hammering for all of us, thank you). Also it's the middle of winter here, and to put it bluntly- bloody freezing. So back porches are no place for sensitive artists with a recovering collapsed lung, especially if they want some peace and quiet to get in the zone.

I've still got a small desk out there where I can do all the noisy/smelly/messy stuff like hammering, painting, drilling, enamelling, soldering, painting etc, but inside is for quiet contemplation and re-arranging of elements. And warm lungs.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mail Day Madness

Here's today's photo dump. Is this gunna get boring? Personally I think the answer is NO NEVER. Because everyone loves studio shots and supply lust. 

Here's the textile rope I made yesterday- I'm pretty sure it won't end up like this, I'd like to do some wrapping and some beads n stuff, maybe dye it so it's more brown and less blue/grey. It's a pretty big piece, hung with some kind of super-chunky cluster pendant.

This is me mucking around with cluster pendant ideas. Big ol' iron ring from under the ground in Eastern Europe, Russian deer antler, African cattle pendant, tropical ocean shell, various beads of a rustic nature.

I had a huge mail delivery today (everything comes at once!) so right now, my desk is covered in all these gorgeous big tribal rustic chunky things. Vintage pit-fired clay beads of exceptional size, deer antler tips; those brown and white mega-chunks are sea pottery fragments, they're destined to be statement necklace plates, warrior stylee.

Giaaaaant beeeeeeeeeead!! 

Here's some suuuuper awesome cattle charms from Ethiopia- these are the real deal, proper old; not the thin replicas you get from everywhere. To be honest I don't think the people who sold them knew what they were. They're all grungy and thick and wonky. Perfect. 

The flat bluey things are slates, from the shores of a Scottish ocean. I imagine these are fragments of cottage shingle. I love stuff like this- the secret history that lies within this object...what was the building it sat on? What scenes played out under these stone slices? How did they come to be in the sea?

I like the way their chalky blue sits with the textile rope, so I might end up making a pendant from them for this rope instead of dyeing it to match the spear/shell set-up. The slates make a glorious tinkling noise when they hit each other, like a windchime. They're pretty tough too, having bobbed about in the ocean for so long, losing their fragile layers and smoothing off their fissures so they're just a solid core. You could almost say these were the bones of slate.

Do you know what these are? Bone! No. Fossil? No. These are....... omg omg omg.... 

TEAPOT SPOUTS!! For reals, yo. I bought them from the same shop as the slate; the girl who runs it is really sweet, and she lives in an area of Scotland that produced a lot of ceramics. She finds her stuff on the shoreline. Apparently the area made a lot of teapots...but I especially love how these have a faux bois pattern on them, it's perfect for my ideas about place and primitive versus advanced culture. I'll tell you about that in another post.

Just some cute bits, cause little things still count. The bird is carved from horn, I think it's native American.  

Fly like an eagle... (good name for a song!) 

And it was while photographing all this junk that I found my new background for listing pics. I don't think I'm going to list these earrings (there's a crack in the driftwood I want to deal with) but I do love the antique tribal contrast of knackered cloth book cover and woven grass. 


 So that was my day -well the creative portion. I did some extra domestic stuff so that tomorrow is free to tinker. I am actually looking forward to it, when I have nothing to do except sit at my desk and make things. I am finally, finally...finally...happy to be making things again.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Halfway out of the dark

Okay so I spent all day in bed today, which is massively rare for me, but has to happen on occasion right now in order for my brain not to fall down. I still worked- made a textile rope and watched Dr.Who and Top Gear. I'll show you the rope tomorrow cause the sun has gone away now and I refuse to photograph in artificial light.  

So in lieu of a picture of WIP, here's some wise words from one of my spiritual guides:


Seriously though- I feel something has changed within me this week. Perhaps no coincidence that we recently came through midwinter here, but I have felt that this last week or two have been the lowest point. Things are expanding, growing- reawakening. Even though today was an official doona day there was a spark of energy in me. And because the universe likes a laugh, I selected a random Dr.Who episode from the computer to watch earlier while I worked. The episode chosen was a double whammy of synchronicity - that being A Christmas Carol (using Dickens to get to me! Genius!) and the theme of midwinter itself. Or as the good Doctor put it- simply as being 'halfway out of the dark'. Hey- good title for a post!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Drifting Ashore

Yes I'm back- I'm trying a new method of working that involves documenting my process every day, I don't think it really counts as 'documenting' when you're just taking pictures and leaving them on your camera. So I'm resolved to blog every day, even if it's short. Yay daily jewelry porn! Even better- making of jewelry porn. I assume you think it's better- I do, but then I'm one of those nerdy types who usually enjoys the behind-the-scenes featurettes on DVDs more than the actual movie.

Let's get on!

Today was about remembering I bought a new Dremel a while back and that I should try it out, which is professional speak for 'drill holes in everything!!' I scored a massive gallon sized jar of shells at a local junk shop not long ago, so I've started fishing out some of them to drill up for pendants. Actually it had more than just super-cool shells in it, there were also some amazing seed pods, volcanic glass chunks, bits of driftwood, fossils, coral fragments and something that I'm pretty sure is a lion's tooth! I'll photograph it one day- can't show you the fossils and the big shells cause they're already in the fish tank in the lounge.

Anyway- back to drilling holes in everything. Here's this afternoon's effort- not bad considering I sat at my desk for the sum total of an hour. (Better than nothing!) The big gold ring is some hammered 10g bronze wire which is excellent for stress release as it's tough as nails. When it's raw like this it has a beautiful warm tone that I think looks nicer than gold; when it's oxidised it goes that delicious melty brown like chocolate.Everything here is pretty big- the long orange shell is about 3-4 inches in length. I'm lookin' to make some serious statement pieces with these!

Here's a close up - the big cowrie has been tied with an amethyst chunk and some kind of natural twine- it's either jute or hemp, I bought it from the local thrift in the form of fringing, I think it's 70s macrame supply. One of the good things about living in an old arty/hippy town is that the thrift has a ton of cast-off artist things, there's always something 70s and earthy to snap up. (As a result I have a steadily-growing studio pottery collection now.)

This buckle was made somewhere between Medieval and Tudor times, I'm pretty sure it's bronze. I bought it from Alchemyshop where I also scored this little deer antler:

Okay that's it for today's reportage. Thank you (as always and ever!) for the comments on the last post, it's nice to know the people I missed also missed me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Deeper Well

My GOD she's bloggin! Yes kids it's me, finally peeking my head out from under the blanket of midwinter. It's been cold and dark and miserable here, not just the weather but my mental state as well. My PTSD has finally arrived (I'm late for everything, even trauma!) and I've been weathering the storm by curling up into my shell and sitting as still as a car under a tarp on a council estate. 

I've had not much to blog about you see, not wanting to have post after post of misery and whining, not wanting to have entries where there aren't any photos. I haven't made much at all since I moved, certainly nothing worth taking pictures of. On top of that I've not been the most talkative egg in the carton, preferring to sit on my bed and do lots of thinking about art and where I want to go with my work (and life, to be a post-traumatic near-death cliche). And playing a shit ton of Mario Kart. 

But now I'm back! Because I've started to thaw in the creativity department, and because I missed you all terribly. For reals! And I shall prove it by showing you some perdy pictures.

Here are some amazing chevron amethyst beads from the local crystal shop- I though they were just your average new age shop, but it turns out the walls were covered with strings of gorgeous crystal beads, many of them in stones and cuts I'd not seen before. Serious A-grade stuff. I bought them about 3 weeks ago, and since then the shop has been gutted by fire which broke out in the shop next door. In a strange way I am more attracted to them because of this, they narrowly survived fatality- I guess I can relate. 

This is a necklace I bought from the thrift, then I wore it for a bit before I decided that wasn't my thing. Then I had a go at smashing them cause they're metal. The top one is smashed with the hole facing up, the bottom one is smashed with the hole on the side, so the bead splits halfway through and you start swearing and then think 'wait this is good' cause it ends up being this kewl Pac-man roadkill deal. I tried to burn it with my torch but my torch is a pathetic cigarette-lighter fuelled thing and it didn't do much. I plan to get a butane torch soon.

Here are some earrings I made and have since decided I don't like. The rose quartz stones are from the shop up the road. Amazing little inclusion in them, they don't look like pink glass like most rose quartz you get. Want more rock porn? From the same shop:

 astounding ginormous labradorite fatties- these are thumbnail sized- super chunky! Fab inclusions, colour variation and flash too. 

 Double terminated quartz beads, clear and strong.

These are the first earrings I made since I moved- I liked them okay till I got a little trigger-happy with the gold paint and put those stupid crosses on them. Why'd I do that?! Also this was the first time working with 18k gold wire. I don't know...real gold looks so cheap. Think I'll stick with bronze.

 Two focal pieces- both in hammered rusted steel wire I salvaged from a bin outside a thrift shop (I have heaps of it!) - again the stones are from up the road, an agate and a chevron quartz that I wrapped in copper solder tape and then coated in gold leaf in a lame attempt to avoid soldering it. I don't know why I'm so keen to avoid soldering, I have all the stuff and it's a guaranteed way to get a lot of the look I want. Weird brain.

 There's those smashed beads again- the middle thing is just random tinkering. The sticks on the left are facet-cut rings I got from the thrift shop: 

I just cut them open and hammered them. Dunno if you can tell on the photo but the light catches the cuts really well. Sparkly!

Ooh here's something fun- these beads were from the thrift as well- big chunky old macrame things. I carved one down to make it look more pod-shaped; the left bead is what the right bead used to look like.

After I carved it down, I stained it darker then drilled it across and hung it on some 14g wire:

I'm pretty happy with it, but I don't know if I'll use it in something. It might be too mechanical looking as it is. I like the wood part, I think the metal part needs more organic-ness.

Here are some chunky chaps I made up just because I wanted to make something. Picasso once said 'inspiration will come but she has to find you working' so every day I try to knock around with something, even if it's just stacking beads like this.

So that's my world right now. I'm still on the path, still strong, still upright. I don't know when I'll be listing new work again, whenever the Muse wakes. I can sense her stirring but there's still a lot to work out- I have certain ideas I want to explore and new skills to develop. I'm evolving again- and my pieces as a result are coming from a deeper well.

Incidentally enough, this was one of the songs I listened to over and over again in hospital; I found it an excellent counter to the morphine grip of my painkillers. That trip's another tale entirely.