Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Low Tech Casting

Over the weekend I took part in a class based on low tech ways to cast metal here at Arrowmont. Elizabeth Hake was our instructor. She is a former Arrowmont resident artist and lives in Asheville, where she teaches and makes lots and lots of jewelry. You can find her work in a few different books about recycled jewelry, and the 500 Series from Lark. We explored cuttlebone casting, in conjunction with mat board and ceiling tile, broom casting, and more. We used pewter, bronze, and silver...It was a blast! Here is a taste of what the weekend was like:

Lots of molds!

Elizabeth Bray, casting silver

Elizabeth Hake, Kent, and me

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

ACC 2009

Last weekend I had the privilege to attend the American Craft Council's 2009 conference in Minneapolis. I was excited to be there to hear speakers like Sonya Clark, Richard Sennett, Faythe Levine, and Natalie Chanin to name a few. I was also glad to be there with friends, and had the pleasure of making many new friends. The Minneapolis art community was stellar- lots of great things going on at the Northrup King Building and the Northern Clay Center, wonderful people and lots of treats for the eyes.
The conference was fast paced, lots of information- that which was being blogged live by two metalsmiths for SNAG. The official SNAG bloggers were Harriete Estel Berman and Emiko Oye. Click their names to read their takes on things. I am still soaking it all in. So many new aspects to consider, books to read, people to talk to! One thing I can say, and I think many will agree, is that I was surprised at the amount of time spent on Martha Stewart and DIY. Will craft ever be defined? I liked one man's response to the question- Just keep making!
room with a view!
...another room with a view: Richard Sennett speaking Friday morning.
me and Judy!
Lynette, Barbara Smith, and myself

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tea Infusor

Just a little something I have been working on in the studio... This is my first attempt at anything related to the table- its a tea infuser. I fabricated this piece to enter an exhibition that will show during the 2010 SNAG Conference in Houston. I know the competition will be fierce, so I'm not getting my hopes up, but had to try!
I wanted the piece to be simple, and carry on the same designs and techniques I usually use in my work-marriage of metals, mokume gane... The parts swivel on a wire rivet, but I think I will change this to a tube rivet, for strength and appearance.
Now I just need to decide on the blend of tea to try it out with! (and the right mug, all my ceramicist friends!) You can click on the images to get a better look...

5 x 1.25 x 1.25"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Torch-fired Enamels

What a great week! Our class with Marjorie Simon flew by, but not before she could share a variety of skill sets with us. She shared torch firing enamels, fold forming, embossing and the hydraulic press, solderless pin backs, and a variety of cold connecting techniques. We had such a great group, some who had never touched metal, gallery owners, even the vp of the Enamelist Society. And we all come away with new knowledge, and pieces to show for it!

Marjorie even brought some of her own work with her, to show examples of the ways that she uses the skills she was sharing. They were just gorgeous.

And student work a plenty:

Vicki Mathieu

Diane Howey

Robin Lathroum

Cynthia Hicks

...and these were my samples, which you probably recognize from the last post. I fold formed everything and used etching creme galore. I really liked the effect of the matte finish on such vibrant colors.
The last thing I tired was embossing in conjunction with enameling. I used steel binding wire, then some blues. I also used the solderless pin back Marjorie taught us. It was a good solution to making a lightweight, wearable piece. I donated this brooch to Arrowmont's silent auction, which took place the Friday evening. Auctions at Arrowmont are a lot of fun, and support the student scholarship fund. I was happy to see this brooch go home with Bill!
This week long class was incredibly enriching, and I will have a lot to think about in the studio! It was great learning from Marjorie and I know enameling will be showing up in my work from here on out!