Sunday, February 27, 2011

RAW 9/52

Week 9: Beach Stone Blues

Here, in the Northeast, we take our summertime seriously. We are desperately waiting for warmer weather here in Massachusetts, so this week's ring offers a taste---- A stone picked up from a beach and sterling silver prongs.  Something to contemplate on these cold days and to remind us that change is coming...

 It is my first successful attempt at prong (or is it claw?) setting. This is not a traditional prong setting that you would see on a faceted stone, but made with 1.6 mm sterling square wire. I like that the prongs are really reaching around and gripping the stone. I may give this to my sister, who lives in Colorado and misses living near the coast and her time at the beach.

C'mon Summer, hurry up and get here!

Old Lyme Shores, CT

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Etsy Listings

This year, I was accepted to an Etsy team, Etsymetal. It is a group of very skilled metalsmiths and entrepreneurs who have very successful shops on Etsy. It has inspired me to make some real improvements on my shop. I have been on Etsy for a few years, but it has never been a great money maker, and I feel that the few sales I have made were the result of dumb luck...

One of the things I am working on this year is to take my Etsy shop more seriously and try to get noticed in that huge abyss of crafting.I have been working hard photographing and listing some work on Etsy.  

Here are some recent listings to the shop:

What is the secret to get attention on Etsy? Who knows. I know my photography needs help, and I have been trying to make improvements to it.  I am determined to figure this out!

Monday, February 21, 2011

RAW 8/52

Ring a Week:  KAPOW!!!
This week's ring is made from a fossilized dinosaur bone and sterling silver. I think the color, size, and origin of the cabochon speaks of power and strength. I made a simple bezel to contain the fossil, then embellished it with some cast elements that I usually use as necklace parts. After making them, I wear my Ring A Week pieces to school for a day (I am a high school teacher), and this one has garnered the most notice and comments from my students. I think all of the elements work really well together.

The bezel settings are pretty easy and quick for me to make now, and I have attempted some prong settings. Not going so well, but I am figuring it out and hope to show a big, fat prong setting in a ring next week.

RAW 2011 Blog Carnival

The topic for the first RAW 2011 Blog carnival is: 

"What was your inspiration for participating in RAW?"

I joined RAD last year, because I was in a creative funk and needed some motivation. I wanted to change the direction of working and think more about process, less about product. I also needed to develop new skills and sharpen my old ones... I thought that the rigor of having to be so prolific would benefit me in many ways.

Some of my RAD rings from 2010

I had never done anything like that before, sharing work, comments, and interests with complete strangers. I found it very inspiring to see so many people from all over the Earth sharing a common passion (obsession) to create. Even though I could not keep up with RAD, and lasted only 5-6 weeks, I continued to follow the crowd, so to speak.

I was pleased to join RAW because it is more manageable with my busy schedule. I am also teaching myself some stone-setting techniques, which has opened up a whole new way of working. It is a good practice for me to keep a schedule to make new, one-of-a-kind work and to document it. I work better with a deadline and discipline. My flikr 'contacts' make some amazing work and it is great to trace their progress. Such variety and quality and LOVE for the materials!  The following mosaic shows my most recent flickr faves:

1. OJ ring, 2. r.a.w 4 {this won't hurt a bit ~ wedding ring}, 3. Anillo Folium, 4. Collar Metal Naïf, 5. RAW 1/52 - Chartres, 6. r-a-w 1{wee walnut box}, 7.RAW 1/52, 8. RAW52-1, 9. "Birth" RAD #365, 10. RAd 142 The Last Waltz, 11. it's loosely laying in there, 12. white04, 13. hemimorphite06, 14. R-A-D #361 12/27/2010 "Carnelian Cone Ring", 15. Worrying about Worry Beads Coming Undone© 1997 Harriete Estel Berman, 16. Recycle Bracelet Two Orange © 2010 Harriete Estel Berman

Looking forward to another year of creative discovery in 2011!!!

Please check out what other members of Ring A Week have to say about what inspires them to participate:

Marcie Abney -
Joanne Harrill -
Thomasin Durgin -
Amy Nicole -
Janice -
Aleksandra Micic -
Lana Chu -
Evelyn Markasky -
Kerry Alice-Twigs and Heather -
Lorena Angulo-
Maria Apostolou-
Sarah Small -
Rebecca Bogan -
Elaine Luther -
Rebekah Timlin Meddles -
Laura M (Zoeowyn)-
Kimberly (bahamadawn) -
Erin Austin -
Catherine Witherell -
Michele Grady-
Joan Furilla -
Kathryn Cole- 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RAW 7/52

Ring a Week 7:
This week's ring is actually two, as I made them both at the same time. I absolutely love these stones, which are two different types of jasper. They have such a rich carmel color which is very warm and comforting.   All Jasper is believed to produce longevity, fertility, serenity, wisdom, balance, moderation, perspective and stability.

I will post these one-of-a-kind rings on my Etsy shop in a few days when I can get brighter photos.

Next on my list for my stone setting education are prong settings, I have many irregular shaped druzy and large beach stones to practice with.   Look for these and others on my flickr page in the next few weeks! 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 

February Topic: Non-Metal/Jewelry Creativity 

Tell us about other kinds of art and craft you do. What other media do you work and play with? How often do you get to create? Does it relate to or inspire your metalworking?

Although metalwork is my comfort zone, I enjoy working in other media as well. I don't think that most artists really limit themselves to particular media. It is all about the need and desire to work through the creative process of designing and making things.
 Between my job as a teacher and being a mother to a two-year old, I have to be somewhat obsessed with finding time, usually at night.  There is always work in progress, as sometimes things take me months to finish, and I work on MANY projects at once. It doesn't really matter to me how long it takes to finish the 2D work, as I don't exhibit or sell it, it is for me.

 I am interested in organic and anatomical structure, and the perfect design and pattern found in nature. These natural forms and networks can speak about the fragility/strength of the human condition. This is a mixed media (collage, acrylic, pastel) on board: 
structure, 2010

I love printmaking processes, as they are very tactile and material based, much like metal. I do woodcut, etching, and some lithography. At work, I am lucky to have use of a  printing press.   This is a lithograph portrait of my husband, Jim:

jim, 2008

This is another mixed media piece, (collage, acrylic, ink, on paper). I was experimenting with mixed media techniques and enjoying the process of letting go--hard to do with metal. Sometimes it is nice to not have an idea of where something is going, but I am still drawn to the same types of forms, not matter what media I am working in. 

landscape, 2010

As a high school art teacher, I make exemplars for many lessons that I assign my students. It gives me an opportunity to understand the issues that they may face as they work through the processes that I assign. I enjoy going back to observational drawing practice, as it helps to inform any artist. It is all about SEEING, after all. 
It is important to my teaching practice that I serve as an artist exemplar, so that they can see that being an artist is a life-long pursuit. The following self-portraits were done alongside my students as an assignment on blind contour, looking at details of the subject, only peeking minimally at the paper.  This convinced the students to trust the hand-eye coordination to record details accurately, as these look quite a bit like me.  When I do an assignment with them, it also diminishes the hierarchy of the teacher/student relationship, and we relate to each other as fellow artists. I wish I had the time in my workday to do this more often. 

modified blind contour self, 2010
modified blind self, 2010

Check out the other members of the Etsy Metal Team to see their response to this month's Blog Carnival:

RAW 6/52

Week 6 of Ring a Week (RAW):
This week's ring is a continuation of my new fascination with setting stones. I am not really sure why I never set stones in the 15+ years that I have made jewelry, but I am getting much satisfaction from designing, setting, and shopping for stones!  The vast majority of the jewelry I have made has been production jewelry, using castings as the main components. It is really nice to get back to making things that are completely fabricated and one of a kind. 

This week's ring is sterling silver and amethyst sage agate. I love its asymmetry. It will be listed on my etsy shop.

It is fortunate that I rarely clean up my workspace, because I do a lot of designing and figuring out right at my bench, in the middle of process. This ring came into being by using the scraps of wire and spare castings laying about the bench.

Check out the flikr RAW group to see what the other members have created this week!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Massart MADE


Massart has a retail site, MADE,  that will open soon. They have been in the planning stages for quite a while, and it looks like they are doing it right. I am excited to be a part of this exciting retail venture, as they have chosen a collection of my work for the store. This is going to be an authentic representation of the creativity that Massart spawns, MADE is selling everything from fine art, craft, fashion, and even the game 'Guitar Hero', all created by Massart people.

When they get a proper website, I will post the link. For now, you can friend them on Facebook:
Look for the grand opening in March or April!

Massart MADE
1st Floor, Kennedy Building,
Huntington and Longwood Aves, 
Boston, MA