Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hallowe'en!

My "look" for Hallowe'en 1974. No one bought costumes back then... don't think there were many to buy. You simply poked around the closets for something to throw together. I think I was aiming to be a "hobo", whatever that is (hope that's not too offensive). Always wore my North Stars (running shoes)!

Happy Hallowe'en everyone... brush your teeth :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

New in the shop!

Mission accomplished! I finally listed a couple of new pieces in my Etsy shop yesterday. Sure took me long enough.

These new necklaces are a little dressier than my regular chiyogami pendants; the added dangle and sterling chain add a little movement and sparkle, dontcha think?

I'll be making more of those this week!

Having a little bit of hard time with scattered energy this fall... I so enjoyed that glass lampworking class a couple week-ends ago that I had a hard time getting back to my production for the coming months (I'm easily side-tracked, and as many of you know, the QUEEN of Procrastination). Oy.

My lampworking intensive scheduled for this coming week-end has been postponed, so I'll probably do it in the new year since they're supposed to have two choices of dates. I was so disappointed when I got news of the cancellation yesterday, but I got to the bright side right away, in that I would not be distracted yet again from my work at hand, which is definitely more important.

Here's my finished ring that I worked on in the intro to jewellery making class. Most people opted for a highly polished look with the heavy duty polishing weel, but I used steel wool to finish mine, which gives it a kind of dull, matte finish. Pretty clunky, but I like it.

Off to heat up some soup and I'll then get back to work.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My intro to lampworking...

Yesterday's post had lots of pics of the process of lost wax casting; I was free to take photos of that whole process since there wasn't time to learn how to do all that in a mere 20 hour jewellery basics class.

This past Sunday I took my first lampworking class, learning the basics of how to make lampwork beads. With the heat of a propane and oxygen torch, glass rods are melted around a mandrel to form little works of art that can strung up and proudly worn. Well, uh... the "little works of art" will come with tons of practice, along with proudly wearing them! Right now I'm still working on how to get the perfect flame from the torch. Yup, the basics.

I am so glad I took this class, after having become totally obsessed with looking at and buying these handmade beads. After just one 7-hour class, I can totally see how you can get obsessed with MAKING these beads too.

So I'll get it over with, I present to you... my first homely beads (didn't clean the holes out yet, so they're a little dusty from the plaster from the mandrels).

hee hee heeeee! Ok, stop laughing. Stop.

I have go back and practice making evenly shaped beads first. Since this was just a one day class, the instructor wanted to give us the basics on a few embellishing and decorating techniques that we could try right away so we didn't focus much on getting a good evenly shaped bead form. Hence the wonky shapes. Yes, yes, and ugly, I know.

One of the wonderful things about working with glass is that it is so forgiving, which is great particularly for a beginner, since you can totally transform something you're not happy with or make a mistake into something not so knee-slappingly hilarious. The way the glass melts in the flame is truly hypotic.

I'm taking another lampworking course next week-end at a place called Espace Verre, which, like the place where I took my metal working classes, offers a college diploma in glass work. I'm looking forward to this week-end intensive, 17 hour course that includes beadmaking, small sculptures and glass blowing. Can't wait! After the holidays I want to start renting studio time and practicing the beadmaking.

Ok, gotta get to my present production now. There's still the holiday hump to get over!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Making a ring...

A couple of posts ago I wrote about taking some jewellery classes at the Ecole de joaillerie de Montréal, an excellent school that offers a college diploma (CEGEP DEC, here in Québec) in jewellery making. The facilities and teachers are wonderful and they offer open studio time for students, even old adult students like me ;)

In that other post I showed you the first step of the lost wax casting technique, often used in ring making, where you shape your ring from a block of wax that is then melted away, with plaster taking its place. Rather heartbreaking when you've spent so much time working on the ring's design. There are ways to make molds too, if you want to make a series of pieces. Lots of info and videos on this technique on the internet.

Here is our instructor, Jocelyne, at the centrifugal or spin caster, preparing the crucible for the silver that will soon be dropped in.

Melting the silver...

Pushing the silver around a bit...

And we let 'er rip! The molten silver is pretty much flung into the container housing our plaster molds.

The molds are cooled in water and then the plaster is cleaned out with picks and small brushes.
These black bands are actually sterling silver! Can you see mine?

Ummm, not sure how they got from black to white, but they did...

Here's my ring with the leaf carved into it. It weighs a ton. Silver is a lot heavier than wax!

This is after the last of the plaster has been cleaned off - it still has to be properly cleaned and smoothed out. I think I might leave it kind of rough looking for a more natural look.

Taking this class has given me a real appreciation of all the work the jewellers put into their pieces; I'll be looking at handmade jewellery with a different eye now. I'm also really glad to have learned how to use many tools of the trade, that can also be applied to my clay work. Yesterday I bought some files that work great with polymer clay, so I'll be filing everything I can get my hands on - outta my way, unless you want your edges smoothed out!

I now want to take a class with metal clay, so I may do that in the new year. Lots of ideas a brewing, but I need to focus on holiday season production now. Too much stuff in my head, must-turn-it-off...

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'll be at Marché Duluth!

Marché Duluth is a farmer's market in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood, whose goal is to get locally grown produce to the local community. They run every Sunday and even have a chef on site cooking up a meal for sale from whatever's fresh and on-hand. Mmmm, I'm looking forward to that, and to buying local! There's also live music; this Sunday, Metro Trio and Lake of Stew. Here are some photos from their website.

I want this crepe!
The market takes place in the schoolyard of l’École Arc-en-Ciel, at 4265 avenue Laval, corner of Marie-Anne. Click here for a map. This week-end, as the market season comes to an end, they've planned a small craft fair alongside the usual food kiosques. It looks like the weather might be a little icky and chilly, so it seems we may be indoors, in the school gym, if it's raining. Hope it's nice enough to stay outdoors with the food, music and the action!

I'm working on making more cards since they already have several jewellery sellers and they asked me to focus on the paper goods. I'll still be bringing some jewellery though, just in case.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another week...

Has another week gone by already... sheesh.

The Puces Pop marketplace went really well last week-end. Tons of people, good sales, and great pierogi (this event is housed at a Polish church) - not much more you could ask for. Oh yeah, the excellent prune-filled donuts (might not sound so yummy, but if you've had one of these Polish tasties from Patisserie Rosemont you would be a prune donut devotee) were there too. And oh yeah, how could I forget the vegan cupcakes! My apologies, didn't get any pictures of the food or the show. Pooh.

My table next to glass artist, Vanessa Yanow, whose amazing work you can see here on her website. I got one of her zipper necklaces and I am thrilled with it. Here is a shot from her website.

The one I finally settled on (I tried on a few) was an avocado green zipper with a wee peacock feather in it. Love it!

Had a really nice chat with Vanessa and I know she'll do well at the upcoming Salon des métiers d'art in December, I can just feel it. And she deserves it. Her parents came to see her - so supportive and sweet. It gave me a little lump in my throat when she asked about my parents, but I know they'd both be supporting me if they were still here. I know they are in some way and I do take comfort in that, but selfishly, I'd sure like to see them again and hear their voices. Sigh. Sorry, didn't mean to get weepy, but it happens.