Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fish Finished!

It's been a merry ride with some setbacks, but I have learned alot from this project.  The pin stem assembly was the most challenging, but I think I have it right, with just a slight springyness and a satisfying snap when it fits into the catch.  On to the next one -- and possibly a series of smaller ones, the males of the species, who are much plainer and don't have the lightbulb out front.  And then there are all the other wonders of the deep deep abyss, some yet to be discovered!

Friday, June 27, 2014

An Experiment With Tin

I am experimenting with Deb Karash's way of coloring metal with Prismacolor pencils, only on tin. If it works, it will be faboo, if not, then I have made pretty garbage, but it's worth a try.  One of the limitations of working with tin is finding just the right print for the piece you want to make.  Again, if this works, that'll be one less limitation.  This piece failed the first time I tried to assemble it because the pin stem wouldn't stay put.  I redesigned that to go on with rivets, and will be careful to locate it where it doesn't bump up against the top layer when everything goes together.  This is Abyssal Anglerfish No. 3.  It takes multiple tries to get something just right, and anyway, I want to make a whole series of them.  I'll post the result when it's finished.

PS:  Did I mention no-solder, only-cold-connections?  If you want the straight skinny of rivets, turn to the man I call "Maestro," Keith LoBue, who is doing an online class on just that subject.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Starfish Lighthouse Assemblage Ring

I am really worried about the starfish -- they are suffering from a wasting disease of unknown origins, and there is a die off happening north of here in Puget Sound waters.  So, I thought of them when I started this ring made with a bottle stopper found on a Scottish beach, and decided to make five prongs in the setting, remembering the ancient five-fold symmetry of their species.

It's available in my Etsy store.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Finally, a Use for the Thimble

I never got used to using a thimble, but now at last have found something to do with my collecton of old brass ones -- rings.  This one's set in a jeweler's bronze ring, resting on a copper half dome, made of a size to fit one's pinky.  For the steampunk seamstress?  It is rather comical, but somehow, just right.  It will be available soon in my Etsy shop.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sawing Shapes from Tin

I am in love with the #7/0 Herkules saw blades!  They can actually cut the tiniest details from tin, once you get the hang of it.  Here's my latest -- doves cut from a floral tea tin, riveted onto a blackground (also tin), and collaged on the back with a beautiful French handwritten letter, possibly a love letter; I saw the word "coeur" which I do recognize, although I don't speak French, more's the pity.  These are really pretty on; the doves flutter.  They're available in my Etsy shop.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Kevin Coates Goldsmith

Take a look at the studio and works of an extraordinary goldsmith, Kevin Coates.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Old Ring

'Just finished this ring with an ancient Roman coin in a rustic bronze setting. I have to admit the soldering gave me fits since the supplies I had on hand were from a non-US source, and the solder is super-hard and quite reluctant to flow.  I'll fix that, by purchasing something better from my favorite supplier, Unkamen Supplies, on Etsy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Love a Parade!

Time to get your geese in a row!

Forward, march.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Noble Trash

You  just MUST go see this artist's work; she's Kim Alsbrooks, and she is painting neoclassical style portraits on smooshed beer cans, with a truly iconic and philosophically deep result.  The are adorable, singly or in groups.  Crave!  Rave!  Just lovely.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Denizen of the Deep Deeps

The first die formed tin piece is now finished.  I am pleased with it, considering that it is a prototype for a series I am designing.  The flashy lure is moveable on one axis -- it swivels around the setting rivet.

Here's the abyssal anglerfish all finished. All the metal is recycled tin, except for the copper rivets and the memory wire pin.

These little nasties lurk in the deepest, darkest part of the sea, gaping wide and dangling a bioluminescent lure that just dazzles dinner, who swims up to investigate, unaware of the dark predator behind the pretty light.  Then SNAP, it's all over.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Die Formed Tin Experiment Work in Progress

Victoria Takahashi kindly coached me on the making of matrix dies and using the die press.  My first try was with recycled metal from the bottom of a cake tin, using 6,000 lb. of pressure, padded with multiple layers of Z-foam.  The die was made of cast polycarbonate, drilled (low speed) and cut with a jeweler's saw frame and spiral blade.  I am planning to assemble with rivets and add a stainless steel wire pin to the back to make a brooch.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Studio Improvement

I just got a portable jeweler's bench top to add to my worktable.  At last!  A bench pin that doesn't wiggle, and the ability to get close to the work without bending my poor old neck.  Isn't it spiffy? Next project: replace the tables with a sturdy wooden built-in.  On my tools to get list:  drill press, EZ Torch from Otto Frei, and when it rains dollar bills and roses, a hydraulic press.  The craving for tools seems to be bottomless.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cheating the Well of Nonbeing

My first work with silver in quite a while began yesterday, as I decided to use some old failed pieces of silverwork that came to me from flea market leftovers.  The ring shank was a nice, solid half dome sterling wire, with a battered, unsuccessful split at the top, most likely meant to hold a bezel.  I opened that, trimmed it, and spring fit four prongs to a silver salt shaker lid, intending to rivet an ancient carnelian bead inside.  After an hour of dinking around with tiny rivet components, they of course rolled off my bench and into the Well of Nonbeing on my floor.  I did find one, and decided to proceed without the rest.  Setting the rivet resulted in another trip into the Well of Nonbeing; the whole thing was not happy with its parts and it failed to come together, preferring to fly apart and separate into the Well.  After a few monosyllabic remarks, I began looking for a solution.  That's when the magic happened -- an old mirrored glass sugar button with a broken shank begged to be tried in the shaker lid, and it fit like pure destiny, with just the right amount of silver above the edge to burnish over it and set it like a precious stone.  Happy, happy, happy.  This is so sweet; the button loves the shaker lid and vice versa -- they tell a story the dear old bead could not have told.

So, Well of Nonbeing, 0, Maker, 1.  I win (this time).

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I get a kick out of doing my own packaging. It's all from recycled cardboard and 1912 magazine pages. The paper is long past its use-by date, so it cracks and tears and makes for a great shabby look. The fragments of old poetry and ad copy often come together in unexected, funny ways. I have an old sea trunk full of ephemera destined for this use and for collages. Well, I see the little boxes as a great exercise in construction, but also as 3D collages.

Here's an order, wrapped and ready to package for the post.

There's an added satisfaction:  this is entirely post-use recycling, not plastic, and won't end up in the carcass of an albatross or a fish's belly.

In the background is a sachet that I like to include as a lagniappe, filled with patchouli leaves, rose petals, red cedar shavings, lavender and balsam fir.  It makes for a good, natural, sweet-smelling way to repel insects and scent your closet all at once.