Lately I've been experimenting with vermeil, which is a thick plating of gold over sterling silver. The result, in this case with 18k, is rich and luscious and I love it. I've also been playing with some stones, inspired by some rutilated quartz I picked up from a gem dealer that the lovely and talented Lauren Ramirez of Quercus invited me to meet. I've really been enjoying the beautiful flash and color variations of labradorite and am currently speculating on some moonstones as well. I never used stones much in the past as I haven't been trained in classic stonesetting techniques but I realized the tab settings I've been making for my enamels for years could be interesting when adapted to stones. I'm very pleased with the results so far!
Working on stepping up my game photo-wise.
Working on getting more disciplined about updating this website.
Working on preparing for a hopefully busy holiday season!
Not working out at the gym. Need to work on that.
Trying to work out how things got the way they are these days and how to cope with it.
Work in progress. As per usual.
This series of rings and earrings really opened up some opportunities for me to use my miniature forging, filing, and fabricating skills- the 3 F's!- such as they are, as well as some new color combinations in the form of 14 karat yellow and rose gold-filled elements. I had been wanting to come up with some designs for post earrings and stacking rings since both are so popular and I enjoy the challenge of trying to fit my personal aesthetic into what's trendy now and then to see what develops. From this effort I learned many things:
*I LOVE the understated elegance of small post earrings and studs. And the color of 14K gold. I have always been a dangly earring and silver only wearer- times they are a-changin'!
*Gold-filled is not as bitchy to work with as some purists would have one believe! (That being said I'm looking forward to stepping up to solid gold when funds and demand allow it!)
*Optivisors are awesome (and sadly necessary at this point) no matter how Krazy Kraft Lady they look- those cube studs are 4mm across and now I'm making them out of 2mm as well!
There's more to be said about this new line; I'm looking forward to where it takes me next! But for now I'll just say it with pictures. Hope you enjoy!
I'll say it again: sandcasting!
In April of 2016 I had the privilege of taking a sandcasting class at Penland School of Crafts with Cat Bates, an incredible craftsman from Maine. The image to the left shows a (not entirely successful) sandcasting mold after pouring and cooling. The cast piece is still in the mold, and the original model, or pattern, is sitting in front of the frame. In this case the pattern I used was a beautiful cuff forged by Nicholas Downing, the class assistant and also a very talented maker. This technique solves a dilemma with which I have struggled over the years regarding my stone pieces, namely a way to make multiple pieces from a one of a kind stone. I have begun casting stones in earnest, playing with alloys and patinas to emulate or enhance the qualities of the stone originals.
See photos below for some of the results!
These were the first series I cast in class at Penland from one of my favorite stone pendants. The model already had a hole drilled through it and a tube rivet so the castings reflect that. I had to try to drill the hole again exactly through the raised areas that the rivet made which wasn't always possible.
Here are the five castings with the stone pattern. The metals range from almost solid sterling to bronze with some copper thrown in here and there. The true colors of the metals can be seen in the drilled out areas and in the filed off areas above the holes. This is where the excess metal was cut off. I prefer to show the process rather than try to cover it up so I left very obvious filed areas where the excess had been removed and where the parting line, or "seam", was showing.
This is the second Penland series- apparently it was important to me to make five of each- alas the poor chinless guy in the middle was an incomplete pour and was remelted recently. Another lesson learned- don't scrimp on the material! There needs to be enough excess weight to push the molten metal fully and quickly into the cavity to get a nice casting. These were poured upside-down, the widest part at the bottom of the mold, hence the file marks on the bottoms, or chins as I see them, where the excess metal was cut off. Again I had the challenge of redrilling the holes exactly- not successful every time but I'm ok with these results.
This is a tintype I had made with some hot guy I found on the street. The image was made by a man from Austin TX named Adrian Whipp (which is really fun to say if you imitate John Candy ordering orange whips in the Blues Brothers movie- "Adrian Whipp? Adrian Whipp? Three Adrian Whipps!") who goes under the professional moniker of Lumiere Tintype and tours around the country taking these amazing photos. This one is pretty fascinating on many levels (the black mark coming out of Hot Guy's ear is called a comet and is caused by an irregularity in the plate or in the coating- we liked it), one of which was how lovely the necklace looks in this medium. That pendant is almost all silver (upper right in above photo) and hangs from a handmade steel and silver chain. The photo session was held at a most interesting store in Raleigh NC
called Holder Goods & Crafts.
The following gallery contains mostly photos of cast stones with some of obvious exceptions, notable among them a piece of bark which has now turned out beautifully three times and a magnolia pod which I have yet to cast successfully but is still pretty cool to look at. There are some process photos and some works in progress as well as finished pieces, Hope you enjoy!