Thursday, February 24, 2011

Try Something New: Making Faces

A few months ago, I purchased a roll of plaster tape from an art supply store.  I had been wanting to make plaster casts for the longest time and I had been wanting to try out a technique I found in Kelly Rae Roberts book, Taking Flight,  where she makes a plaster cast heart pendant and embellishes it with paint and glitter. Of course, I came up with so many reasons not to go out and find that store that carries it (and later on, when I did go get it, I got surprising answers and solutions to my silly fears)  – I don’t know where it is (Google maps and my uncanny ability to find my way in a maze helped me out), it might be too expensive (the whole roll cost me less than USD2.00!),  they probably won’t have it in stock when I get there so why even bother (the lady told me they never run out of it), I don’t think I can find the space to work on something involving this material (I used the kitchen sink for like 10 minutes – and no one even noticed!).

The roll is about 6 inches wide and (at least that’s what the lady at the counter said) about 10 yards long.  You cut it up in strips, get it wet (but not too wet) and lay it on the item you want to use as a mold.  I salvaged two headless Barbie dolls and two forlorn looking doll heads (that unfortunately did not match the headless bodies) from my 7-year old niece's stash and used these.  An ample amount of petroleum jelly helped keep the plaster tape from sticking to the mold (for this one I used  a blonde Princess Barbie head) and a small shot glass provided me with just enough water to get the plaster wet.  

Three minutes and a short  “conversation” with one of the shih tzu twins later, I peeled the damp plaster off the Princess Barbie head and this is what I got: 

That did it – I was addicted.  I scrounged around my supply shelves and found a silicone mold for art doll faces.  I had tried using this before with  air dry clay (see previous post) and ended up with just a weird looking lump of clay with a protrusion in the middle that I suspect is a nose.  I figured I would try this one more time and used the silicone molds.  Well, as you can see, the nose is definitely not the only prominent feature: 

Of course I can’t stop at just popping out boring white faces from molds so I thought I’d give Princess Barbie a new persona.  I don't think Ken will recognize her now.  And the art doll faces did look a little better after a few swipes of acrylic paint and some soft pastels.

I'm thinking of doing something with these over the week-end.  Maybe incorporate them into a mixed media piece. 

And in case you’re wondering why I tried this out months AFTER I finally got the plaster tape, well, as you may have guessed, there were a million (imagined) obstacles that kept me from trying this – all of which evaporated once I set my mind to doing it.  

I think Nike's really got something there. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gaelic Forge

I just had to go look at it again -- one more time, this beautiful blue glass bead peeking at me from under its copper veil.

Blue Sphere Glass Pendant

There's something mystical about it. It's like staring right through the soul of a star.  I have never been so moved by a handmade piece until this.  Nor have I been more obsessed by a piece of jewelry!

Gaelic Forge is responsible for this.  Everything in this new Artfire shop looks like they were unearthed from an ancient site. 

Celtic Sea Glass Copper Pendant

And the manner by which these are made makes the "ancient" feel of these beautiful pieces stronger.  Inspired by Celtic design and lore, all the pieces are hand-forged from copper and the lovely patinas on the pieces are produced using methods of old. No paint is used to make the lovely colors on these distinctive jewelry -- just the natural reaction of metal to the elements, hastened by Gaelic Forge's own secret process.

Peened Celtic Nickel Earrings with a Flame Patina

Celtic Hand-Forged Copper Earrings, Flame Patina
While inspiration for the jewelry made by Gaelic Forge may come from days long gone, the pieces are very versatile and will go with that Renaissance gown  that you so carefully made based on a sketch of a lady's finery of long ago (and will wear with aplomb to an upcoming Renaissance Faire!) or with a more contemporary, more urban outfit. 

Copper Pendant with Green Verdigris
To me, many of the pieces are representative of the  processes of life, death and rebirth - a never-ending, upward spinning spiral.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Shanghai Tai

Nope, it's not the name of what I'm drinking right now. 

What it is though is a lovely shop on Artfire owned by Roxanne,  an award-winning artist who creates quality, one-of-a-kind jewelry with an Asian flavor.  Why Asian flavor? Well, she lived in Asia for a time and that was where her interest in making jewelry was developed. She says it all started with pearls -- yup, those pearls get you all the time!

Roxanne has several techniques for jewelry-making up her creative sleeve - she's into wire-wrapping, metal working, glass fusing and also works with precious metal clay. 

Take a look at some of the pretties in her shop

Faith Pendant in Fine Silver

Lovely Dichroic Pendant with Retro Flowers

And let's not forget, some choice pieces for Valentine's Day

Copper Heart Earrings   

Rice Pearl Bracelet

There are also some pieces with a cool vibe

Peace Sign Pendant

And these little Pagoda Earrings are just soooo cute!

Shanghai Tai offers a wide range of pieces in different styles so I'm sure there will be something there that you will fall in love with.  Personally, I can't keep my eyes off those earrings!  She creates pieces for the blushing bride too -- so now we know where to go after that pearl bracelet is unwrapped on Valentine's Day, right ladies? And there's a whole section in her shop that's just full of pieces with a heart-theme.

Roxanne insists she's still a "work-in-progress" and is deep in the hunt for her signature style.  Looking at all these pretties, I can definitely say her signature is:  AMAZING.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Own Space

I do not have a dedicated space for making my jewelry. I either work on the dining table -- and it's a pain to have to pack up and keep my stuff when mealtime's a-coming -- or on my bed (which is a pain to my back!).  I keep fantasizing about what my studio (I love saying this word -- it makes me feel like some bigtime, fabulously famous artist LOL) would look like.

Perched atop my house, it has to have a lot of natural light -

From Genuine Style
And an awesome view  --

From Travel Blog

 It has to be roomy enough for all my stuff (beads, wire, paint, canvass, doodads and cookies!) but not too big -- I stand 5 feet flat and I want you to find me amongst my cookie tins (getting me to share is  another matter)

From LoftLife
Furnishings will be rustic and old and will have tons of stories to tell -

Image from the book Vintage French Interiors
Photo by Tang Chan

There will be a corner for creating


      And a quiet corner for me to rest

It will be my safe place, where I go to weave dreams and make them come true.

Of course you are welcome to visit.  Look, I've already picked out a special chair for you

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