Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas in L.A. and More Mixed Media

Hope you have been having a wonderful Holiday! Much fun was had by all when we went to Los Angeles to celebrate Christmas with my brother-in-law, his wife, and their three children. The four cousins caught up on play time (with some major negotiations being made over taking turns with the new Christmas toys), while adults drank, dined and had some great conversations. 

A cousin train led by my Brother-in-law.

My sister-in-law made a delicious ice box pie.
Upon our return, I got back to work on my Of Towers and Turrets workshop lesson about building towers on top of my painted background. I did not like my original background, so I painted a layer of white plus Gesso to cover it up and begin again. I ended up with more purple tones (purple being one of my favorite colors). I am equal parts worried and excited about the next lesson, which is adding a face to the image.

We have another trip coming up, but I will be back to normal posting once 2012  is underway. Until then, I am wishing each of you a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Love Affair with Miriam Haskell Jewlery

My work for Of Towers and Turrets continues. I have been slightly sidelined by back problems (again!). However, I should be back to painting and building my mixed media backgrounds tomorrow.
Some of my work. Don't these remind you of Sari fabric?
If you have been following my posts, you will know that I have been continuing to discern my jewelry-design style. One thing that I am certain of is my deep adoration for the designs of Miram Haskell. Actually, the designs have had five different designers from the 1920s until the present day. Haskell's business began in 1926 as a gift shop in the McAlphin Hotel in New York City.*

I just used a gift card toward the purchase of a book entitled, Miriam Haskell Jewelry by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff. What a feast for the eyes! I love the slightly over the top pairing of strongly colored beads with gold tone metals. Plus lots of sparkle to satisfy my need for bling.

The blue beads cascade over gold findings. This picture is from Miriam Haskell Jewelry.
Haskell's designs are extremely popular, and some original pieces fetch a lot of money in the present day market. The enduring demand for Haskell pieces is a reflection of strong style and technique. Of course, I think there is also a strong element of nostalgia to purchasing or viewing her jewelry- like afternoons spent looking through my Great Aunt or Grandmother's jewelry boxes.

*Information on the History of Miriam Haskell Designs comes from Miriam Haskell Jewelry  by Cathy Gordon and Sheila Pamfiloff.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Of Towers and Turrets

Mixed media and mixed metal? Could I ask for a better combination? I think not.

The first half of the Of Towers and Turrets workshop focuses on the mixed media/collage elements. We eventually use these skills to create collage images that we encase into hand crafted pendants. This will include making our own bezels- a technique I have been very curious about learning.

My palette today.
Today, I worked on some of the background elements for collages. All of this work with paper is really bringing back memories of my scrapbooking past. Vellum writers and brands like Sakura are all extremely nostalgic for me!

I got this texture by painting over/through burlap.
Although it is sort of trendy, and at times I wonder if it is overdone, I really do love doing mixed media work. I have been trying to think through ways I can make mixed media pieces that express what might be my unique style.

Speaking of style . . . my sister-in-law, Karen, promises to help me figure out what my style is and to construct a style guide while we are in Los Angeles for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Soldering Along

As I posted previously, I have been trying out a soldering technique new to me. After choosing an image and cutting it to size, I sandwich it between glass and wrap it in copper foil tape. I brush on gel flux, and then use a soldering iron and solder to create a framed metal charm.

I am doing a lot better than my former attempt. I finally understand the amount of heat I need from my particular soldering iron. I also finally have figured out the way I need to hold the iron against the charm and let the solder melt and flow on the surface of the copper tape.

Images from antique Holy Cards
However, as you can see, I still used a bit too much solder. I was using a lot less than before, and thought it was the right amount, but I guess a tiny bit goes a long, long way.

Keep an eye out for upcoming posts about the online workshop, Of Towers and Turrets, that begins in two days. I am enrolled and the workshop has a very strong mixed media element to it that I am anxiously anticipating.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Copper Mine Field

Today I wanted to try out a new technique. It involves sandwiching an image between two pieces of glass, lining that glass with copper foil, and then using a soldering iron to seal the copper. I love the look of these types of charms and pendants and was very curious about trying to construct one.

I cut the image from a photocopied, antique Holy Card, then wrapped it in copper foil. 
First, this technique uses an soldering iron, not a torch. An iron uses lower temperatures than a torch and is commonly used in stained glass art. You still apply solder and flux to the copper tape before soldering with a hot iron.

Here I use my soldering tweezers to hold the piece before soldering.
Yikes! A very bad soldering job.
As you can see, my soldering turned out very badly! I believe part of my problem may be figuring out the correct temperature to have my iron set to. Sigh. I am determined to figure this out, though, and vow to try this again this weekend. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas is Coming

We put up our Christmas tree today. We all love trimming the tree, and Liam especially enjoys being the one to put on almost every ornament. He also loves helping with the lights as well. I always play Christmas Carols as we add our many sentimental decorations to the tree.

I was also very excited because an art piece I ordered arrived today. I used some money I received as a Birthday gift to purchase some beautiful art by Karen Downs. She was in my Build Zone  jewelry making workshop, and I fell in love with her unique fused glass art as soon as I laid eyes on it. I suppose the fact that she tends to focus a lot on Madonna and Child subject matter may have something to do with my attraction!

I now have her piece in a window in my studio. It looks like it was made for that very space. Now, if that isn't inspiration, I do not know what is!