February 25, 2007

Susan Tuttle over at Ilka's Attic posted a photo last week and a challenge to create something with it. I used it as my canvas per week photo.
I decided to give the little girl a happy face, that of my little Laura. I guess as she will be hanging in my house I wanted to have someone cheerful to look at!

February 20, 2007

SPC - Momma me

This is the real me at this 'mother of young' season of life. Everything I do is done through the filter of my children. It is a time of constant movement, with no time to linger on my thoughts, I am pure action.... where's the Ergo?, do you have your shoes? no, you must wear real clothes, just a minute kids, momma is checking emails, here let me help, bedtime, storytime, Latin songs, time for math, have you done your literature?, lunch, no we are having turkey/cheese today peanut butter tomorrow, where is Laura... please get down from there, do you need to go potty? 'I need you momma', Mom Matthew won't let me have it, share please, do I have clean socks?....

Through all of this noise I have had to steel myself to get art done. There is no time to think. I have to be ready to craft when the time comes... usually late in the evening or perhaps a half hour in the afternoon. I can't do research, I just jump in. I can't plan the perfect collage, or pendant... I just do it. This is a good thing, I am really being me.

More SPC's here.

February 19, 2007

I usually paint my backgrounds, so this is a little new angle for me - I used a photo that I worked on in photoshop as the 'art' in this pendant. My son took the photo a while back and I played with it in photoshop.

I am pretty happy with the image, but not so with the solder. I have determined to try yet another type of solder, the one Sally Jean Alexander recommends... Canfield Silvergleam... if I could only get my hands on it.

February 16, 2007

More Somerset Studio

A while back myself and 4 other artists were sent a stamp and asked to make some art work with the stamp. It was a stamp of a woman by Paper Artsy Stamps. I had such fun with this project. I made a bunch of stuff, but sent Somerset the 9 pieces that I had completed by the deadline. They have included 6 of them in the March/April 2007 issue of Somerset Studio. I am so excited! (Look out for the May/June issue, I have an article in that one, and one in July/August... but I am getting ahead of myself!)

Many artists create best with freedom and openness. Art can come when we are free to choose any theme, any color, with tons of free time to do work. I can do that when I just want to enjoy the creating process and am making something just for me. But I also love to create within deadlines and rules - such as use 'just this stamp', or 'use just this color' or 'illustrate this idea'. Sometimes my creativity is squeezed just right by parameters set by others. A blend of both is what I seek and at the moment have. Some days I make whatever I want, other days I work on the specific deadlines I am facing. It is a good balance.
Other artists who's work I admire are in this issue are Lisa Guerin and Claudia Roulier and Kristen Robinson is on the cover. Enjoy! And Pam Garrison has a great article on arty blogs. I am going to check her site out this weekend.

February 14, 2007


Joyfully Home asked me what do you need to start beading. I am by no means a professional jeweler. I use stuff that I find at the craft store, nothing fancy. I the same beads & tools for my necklaces and for my canvas wall hangings.

Here are some suggestions:
This is a great starter tool set: the 3 Piece Mini Tool Set . It includes a Chain Nose Pliers, Round Nose Pliers and Wire Cutter. It is around $10.

Wire comes in different gauges, the smaller the number the thicker it is. I use 20, 24, 26 and 28 gauge the most, they are about $1-2 a spool. You can get wire in different colors, but I like the silver the best. Wire is good for making individual parts for a necklace, but if you want a full beaded necklace you will need Nylon coated stainless steel stringing wire. It is tough like wire but very flexible.

You will need what is called 'findings'. You can get a starter box of findings for about $6-8. Findings are the earing wires, clasps, spacers, head and eye pins - all the bones of making jewelry. You will also need crimping beads if using the stringing wire.

Of course you will need beads. Beads of all sizes come in little packets, on strings or in boxes usually in coordinated colors. Fancy beads are more expensive and you don't get many in the packet. Beads are often glass, stone or plastic. I like glass beads best, they are bright colors which appeals to me. I like to buy beads in assorted packs, which are good for finding random beads, but not so great if you find a size/color you want to repeat in a necklace.

You may need a bead storage tray once you get lots of beads. They are about $2 a piece. I buy the little packets of beads and then pour them into the trays, I am up to 5 trays! Buying beads can become an addiction :) When I am about to bead I pull these trays down and spread them around the table with the lids up so I can see what my choices are.

If you are working with wire you need First Aid tape to protect your fingers :)

I am sure there are lots more tools and supplies you can buy, but this has worked for me so far.

February 13, 2007

Just my cup of tea

Somerset Studio has a new book coming out, one I am definately going to buy. It is called Somerset Life.

Here is the by-line:

'The publisher’s dream for Somerset Life, a new annual publication debuting April 2007, is to encourage readers to make every day extraordinary: by infusing daily life with simple pleasures, art, romance, creativity and beauty. It will capture the imagination with stunning photography, insightful and entertaining articles, and imaginative ideas. Somerset Life will show readers how attention to the little things in life can lead to an inspired and artful way of living.'

February 11, 2007

Today I stayed home from church with a sick child. Mark took the others, so in the quiet of my house, in the daytime, in the real daylight :), I always do art things at night, I painted papers.

I covered bunches of white paper in Golden's gesso, which dries super fast, and then slopped on the paint - crafty, cheap acrylics and Golden's expensive fluid acrylics. I made monoprints of the sheets, let them dry and then painted over them. I sketched fruit and hands and eyes and painted over them. I scraped the paint and splattered the paint. I stamped with some of my new stamp carvings. No direction, no project in mind, just paper covering for the sake of it. It was fun and now I have over 40 new background options. Yeah!

February 05, 2007

Self Portrait Challenge - Black & White (2)

SPC 'Give and Take'. This represents to me the relationship I am building with my friends and fellow artists. I have given and taken from some special girlfriends these past few months. We are together in this life to learn from each other, to share ideas, friendships and inspiration. It is how we were designed to live. We give to eachother, we take from eachother, we are in community together. It is a beautiful thing.

February 04, 2007

Creating with kids

This book is a mother daughter collaboration! My almost 5 year old, Lily, decorated all the pages (9 pages per signature, 3 signatures) over a number of days. When the signatures were ready I sewed the pages together and cut out the cardboard for the cover. Lily chose the cover paper and glued it on. We used rubber cement for the binding.

Lily was so proud of her little book, she put it beside her bed so she could look at it. (I messed up a little by scoring the cover paper, so when it folded around the backbone the paper tore. I have to work on it some more).

We followed the direction for bookmaking from the book 'The Essential Guide to Making Handmade Books' by Gabrielle Fox.

February 03, 2007


Turquoise Cro asked me if soldering is easy. Well, here is my long answer:

When I first started I was delighted with the process, as it is a pretty fast learning curve. You can make soldered pendants the first time you try them that look pretty good. I couldn't believe how awesome it was to watch the solder melt! It truly felt like I was making something from nothing.

But now I have been doing pendants for 7 months I am struggling to get better at it. I assumed that I would improve, that my pendants would look like they do in Sally Jean Alexander's book 'Pretty Little Things', all shiny and smooth. But they don't. They don't really look much better than my first attempts. This is frustrating.

My pendants have grit or little black burnt bits and sometimes seams. (I made this tonight and am unhappy with it)

I have attempted to solve my problems by buying better/different tools & supplies:

1) I have tried 4 different solders. Jean recommends Canfield Silvergleam. I have not found it in the store, but I have Canfield Lead FreePewter, which of course won't be shiny, but still is not smooth. I have tried Mastercraft 60% Tin/40% Lead. I tried Oatey Safe Flo Laed Free Silver. I tried DGS Lead-Free solder. None of them have been any better than the other. I guess I will keep hunting for Canfield's Silvergleam.

2) I have used different gel fluxs, made no difference.

3) I have bought 4 soldering tools, 3 cheap ones, the last one was $70. Each tool was awesome the first 3 times I used them, but then the tips got dirty and put little black burnt bits on the solder that I can't remove. I don't know if it cause the glue from the copper tape is burning, or if my tip cleaning methods are poor.

4) I have tried using a sal ammonic block. I followed the directions, but all it does is leave a sandy grit on the tip that then gets left in the solder on my pendant.

5) I have tried wiping the tip on damp paper towels and on a specially designed sponge. Neither kept the tip clean after 3 uses.

Well, on the more expensive tool it looks really clean, but still there are burnt bits, grit and rough seams.

6) I have tried cleaning the tip frequently and infrequently, neither made any difference.

7) Temperature control - I thought that the cheap tools were getting too hot, so I got one with a temperature gauge. Doesn't help.

The only thing that helps is changing tips or getting a new tool, as I said the first few pendants I make with a new tip or new tool look great - shiny, smooth free from burnt bits and lumpy joins. After that they look rough. I can't keep buying more tips.
Should I try different copper tapes? using more solder? using more or less flux? give up? Relax and live with it? What would Sally Jean say?


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Search This Blog