14 August 2009

Stone + Fiber = Cool

I've been dabbling at Kumihimo (a traditional Japanese fiber art) for about six months now and love how it looks with stone. For this cord I used some exquisite hand-dyed silk that I found at the 2007 Albuquerque Fiber Arts Fiesta to make a 12-strand braid that perfectly matches this amazing chrysocolla stone given to me by Dean and Conne of Two Cranes. I have five or six other braids finished but have been kind of stumped about how to finish the ends for jewelry. The piece above shows one way: attach a button (this one is from Sara and David of Creekmore Durham Glass, from whom I also obtained the lovely pendant at right) and make a loop on the other end. I could also try more formal, finished end caps, but they can be expensive and so far I haven't found them entirely reliable. So, more exploration on that issue.

In other crafty news, the grouting of the cross piece in the last post did not go well; the very dark grout just muddied the whole piece. So I have to decide whether to scrape out the grout, or at least the top layer of it, and try a much lighter color. *Sigh.* I guess it's all part of the learning process. Maybe my bout this week with strep throat threw off my color judgment... or just tired me out.

And in other general news, my dear friend Evelyn is now on hospice care at home and will probably leave us soon. I know she's lived a full life and has had some peace in these past few years, but it's still way too soon. I love you, Evelyn, and will come say Goodbye today or tomorrow. Also, my father is in the hospital because he needs bypass surgery, which will happen next Monday or Tuesday; this was quite unexpected (for me, anyway); he has always been healthy. AND... my mom needs another round of chemotherapy; her cancer is back. DAMN. So I may not be updating here for a while.

12 August 2009

Sacre Coeur!

This piece is now ready for grouting, after I glue back on three pieces that popped off during cleaning. (Is Versa-Flex less effective in a dry climate, or am I mixing it wrong, or what? Oh, and I just realized this pic shows two of the three loose pieces misplaced.) I think I'll use dark gray grout with shimmery black acrylic paint for a darker and slightly lustrous tint, and I'll probably re-paint the frame, too, probably a shimmery navy blue. I work the gallery tomorrow and will be able to grout this and a few other pieces, because THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL!!! And both kids are now on full-day schedules, which gives me more daylight time for my own schoolwork and a bit more leeway for projects like this one.

08 August 2009

August Flight {sold!}

I've been fancying this chain-with-danglies style lately, and even though summer is still in full swing I find myself trending toward autumn colors already. This necklace could be seen as a continuation of the mosaic dragonfly keyholder I showed a few weeks back; in fact that piece would make a perfect little holder for this necklace. I used sterling chain; a Hill Tribes Thai silver leaf and large dragonfly bead; and faceted citrine, smoky quartz, carnelian, jasper, and Hessonite and Tsavorite garnets, and then oxidized the whole thing for a darker, richer color that, to me, evokes the lengthening shadows of late summer.

In the studio this week: earrings, a few blue fluorite pieces to match the exquisite Smithsonite pendant Dean faceted for me last month, and... mosaics!!! I did prep work today for some serious mortaring tomorrow... only got four small gashes on my hands from the glass, and then I remembered I'd brought my nitrile gardening gloves after all. I also figured out a great technique for pseudo-tumbling glass to remove the worst razor edges: cut the pieces, then throw a bunch in a lidded jar with water and sand, and shake by hand for five to ten minutes. I've prepped the surfaces and glass for five pieces and hope to finish mortaring them tomorrow... grouting can happen when the kids START SCHOOL ON WEDNESDAY!!! Yippee!!!

03 August 2009

Some Like It Hot

Ah, Sonora Sunrise. This Two Cranes pendant is almost all cuprite and has wonderful color texture thanks to the flecks of chrysocolla and even some green malachite. I don't usually hang out in the orange-red range of the color spectrum but had the two small Sassy Silkies on hand and just went from there, adding in dyed pearls in several shades along with carnelian (of course), smoky quartz, brass dragonflies and Celtic knots, and a winding strand of tiny size 15 Delicas. This piece spent four months in Albuquerque at my friend Paula's gallery, but I kept thinking about it and just had to bring it home to my own gallery. August is here, and it's time to heat things up -- I have another red Sonora Sunrise pendant in the works (my very own lapidary work this time!), so I'm pulling out the red and orange again to see what happens....