Friday, August 28, 2009

TGIF

Gabe did community service today from 7:30am to 6:00pm in San Francisco with some of his school mates (this coming Monday is their first day of school). Mon and I will already be gone by the time he gets home. We're off to San Jose for dryland and practice.

Tomorrow is Redwood City then Belmont and Sunday is San Jose… where I might get to have brunch with Alex. Yay!

I hope I find time this weekend to do some silver stuff. I think if I got good, that's the kind of stuff I could trade for Alex beads. Lord knows the poor woman doesn't need any more of my jewelry. Ha ha ha!

Dang, just remembered I still have to pick up some PMC standard if I don't make it out to Hadar's any time soon... I gotta finish that one piece I made.

I guess I can at least finish polishing my leaves and see if I can string them together into a necklace the way I envisioned. If they flip over constantly, I'll consider making them into something else… bracelet or earrings.

I am of the ilk that: A piece can look stunning in a photograph, but if it's not practical to wear then don't refer to it as jewelry.

I still have to decide if I want to rework my "Use the Muse" creation before listing it. Maybe I will use my silver pendant in place of the shell piece (which was the muse).

Well, gotta go…

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

A few new pieces of jewelry

Finally saw Slumdog Millionaire. I enjoyed it. We also have To Kill a Mockingbird… will probably try to sneak that in sometime this weekend.

Mon's got a 3-on-3 tournament on Sunday and practice on Saturday. That means she better be finishing up her "summer homework assignment" today because she's running out of time.

Gabe also has his to finish, but he doesn't have hockey this weekend (unless he does pick up).

I'm finding no place to fit Hadar classes into the schedule now that hockey has started.

Next weekend taking Mon down to a Valencia tournament while Gabe's team has a tournament up here (San Jose). I hope someone texts me after each game.

I haven't ordered the things I need from Rio yet. Ugh!

So as you can see, I still have nothing interesting to say.

I listed a few things… and a wonderful person bought most of them.

Monica has started doing chain maille again. (Click a pic for more details)

Here's an all sterling bracelet …



Here's some wire work I did with an Alex bead…



More chain maille, copper this time…



Here's a lovely lampwork necklace…



And a special occasion set…



This is the bronze clay leaf pendant I made (that sold)…



These are chain maille sections we're getting ready to list…



Okay, that's about it. There've been some good LOL's lately so I'll show you my faves now...

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Monday, August 24, 2009

More Silver Clay (PMC) Testing

I’m afraid I haven’t had anything interesting to say lately. The kids are doing their hockey practices. Mon’s team had their first scrimmage. Gabe goes to the DMV tomorrow to try to get his learner’s permit.

I did do some experimenting with Silver Metal Clay. If you want to see the results, go to Going Green Jewelry.

My Chinese copper and bronze charms were a flop. I seem to be going downhill when it comes to copper inlay. Which means (stubborn thing that I am) I’ll keep trying until I figure it out.

I’m at a bit of a stand-still with the metal clay at the moment because I’m out of mini fiber wheels (abrasive buffs for the dremel). It’s okay, there’s other stuff to work on. It just means I have to put all my metal stuff away and then make a new mess on the coffee table with whatever my next project is (probably just making beaded jewelry… I think I’m a bit behind).

Later tonight I’ll try to photograph.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PMC Silver Leaves in Progress

My big dilemma this weekend is what setting to use on the kiln to fire my PMC standard.

As you may recall, when I followed the “optimal” firing schedule for my first batch of PMC+ (1650 F for two hours), I killed the silver.

I took the other half of what I’d made (but hadn’t yet fired) and fired it at a lower temp (1110 F) for 45 minutes. Pretty drastic change, I know… but once you’ve obliterated half a package of silver metal clay, you become fairly cautious.

If the melting point of Bronze is 1743 and I fire at 1480, that means I’m firing at 263 degrees below the melting point. So if the melting point of fine silver is 1760, I should be able to fire at 1497.

But there’s another way to look at it. If I’m supposed to fire Bronze at 1540, then I’m dialing down by 60 degrees. With that reasoning, I’d want to fire my silver at 1590 (60 degrees below the normally recommended schedule).

I think maybe I’ll test fire a piece before putting my “goodies” in the kiln.

So I made a tiny little snake and put him in at 1590 F for two hours. Wish me luck!



Okay, the snake came out appearing fine. So fine, in fact, I didn’t have the heart to break him open and see if I can recognize a “sintered” versus a “not fully sintered” piece. I took the other thing I’d been working on—a piece of plastic from the throat guard of Monica’s helmet… that broke off when a hard shot came at her earlier this year… and she wanted to keep the piece rather than throw it away… so I filed it down and smoothed it out and drilled a hole in it. I put the snake on top of the plastic pendant and put both onto a sterling silver chain to be worn as a necklace.

I just realized I can’t fire my silver pendant because I need a smidge more clay to finish it and I don’t have a smidge. That will have to wait, then, until I pick up some more PMC Standard. As for the leaves… I drilled my holes (after making a quick decision whether they’d hang or be used as connectors) and stuck ‘em in the kiln.

A few hours later and they’re out. They don’t appear as white as the snake was. They actually seem rather dark gray (like that first, burnt batch), but they seem to have retained their shape. Next is cooling them, then rinsing and burnishing to see what I have.



Then I took one leaf and burnished it.



Then put a patina on it.



Then polished off most of the patina… but I have to clean up now and get ready to photograph ‘cause I have to go to Mon’s scrimmage at six and I’m going to swing by X-Sport first to get her a stick (she broke her only stick during last night’s practice).

Next steps are working on my peacock and putting together my silver leaf necklace.

I have a small set of charms to give away, too… just one Chinese pendant and two leaf charms that could be earrings.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A bunch of Bronze Clay Items and My First Package of PMC Standard

Went to Hadar's last night and used an entire package (20g) of silver clay. How nerve-wracking!

I made a "quilted" pendant and five leaves.



I still need to file, add a tube bail to the pendant, and drill holes in the leaves. Then I'll fire it all and hope for the best.

I have to leave the apartment later this afternoon (to take Monica to hockey), so I really have a lot to do this morning. I hope I have time to finish my silver and get it fired before I have to leave.

The rest of today's post is copied from my Laura Bracken blog, so if you've already read it there, no need to continue.

So here’s a mish-mash of results, in no particular order…

Sorry for the blurry photo. Can’t remember if I mentioned it out loud or not, but I wanted to revisit the charms I made in this bracelet…



… but this time polish them up. Here’s how they are straight from the kiln, except for the top one which I’ve begun to polish…



And here are the tube ribbons out of the kiln (the top two are semi-polished).



I started to run out of some of my dremel bits. I am on my last mini fiber wheel (will have to stock up on those). So I tried a different tool in its place…



… I’m afraid I have no clue what this tool is for. It did absolutely nothing on my metal clay. Ha!

Now here are two bronze bead caps straight out of the kiln.



Then I polished them, one more than the other. I prefer the one on the left (semi-polished), but again I don’t know how long the natural kiln patina will last.



Here’s Mr. Peacock right out of the kiln. His eyeball fell out. I’m guessing that once the cork form burnt out there was nothing to hold the eye in so now it’s mixed in with my charcoal (needle in a haystack).



Here’s Mr. Peacock after a first go-over with a couple dremel bits.



Here’s a leaf pendant. I made this at Hadar’s class last week while I was waiting for my charms to dry.



Here are two charms (I made these when I made Monica’s earrings... did I ever get a photo of those?) straight from the kiln.



I have since polished them up and put them on chains as small pendants. I’ll photo and list them, along with another copper/bronze piece that I’ve apparently forgotten to take a quick photo of.

A Day at the Beach and Lots of Metal Clay Projects

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So here’s a mish-mash of results, in no particular order…

Sorry for the blurry photo. Can’t remember if I mentioned it out loud or not, but I wanted to revisit the charms I made in this bracelet…



… but this time polish them up. Here’s how they are straight from the kiln, except for the top one which I’ve begun to polish…



And here are the tube ribbons out of the kiln (the top two are semi-polished).



I started to run out of some of my dremel bits. I am on my last mini fiber wheel (will have to stock up on those). So I tried a different tool in its place…



… I’m afraid I have no clue what this tool is for. It did absolutely nothing on my metal clay. Ha!

Now here are two bronze bead caps straight out of the kiln.



Then I polished them, one more than the other. I prefer the one on the left (semi-polished), but again I don’t know how long the natural kiln patina will last.



Here’s Mr. Peacock right out of the kiln. His eyeball fell out. I’m guessing that once the cork form burnt out there was nothing to hold the eye in so now it’s mixed in with my charcoal (needle in a haystack).



Here’s Mr. Peacock after a first go-over with a couple dremel bits.



Here’s a leaf pendant. I made this at Hadar’s class last week while I was waiting for my charms to dry.



Here are two charms (I made these when I made Monica’s earrings... did I ever get a photo of those?) straight from the kiln.



I have since polished them up and put them on chains as small pendants. I’ll photo and list them, along with another copper/bronze piece that I’ve apparently forgotten to take a quick photo of.


Day Off

I took Wednesday off because Dad and Helene were coming for a visit for the afternoon. The five of us (and Bear) went to Half Moon Bay, walked the shore, and collected sand dollars.




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Friday, August 21, 2009

More Etsy Ranting and My Thoughts on an Art Fair

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Okay, where did I leave off? Had a couple of swamped days in a row… and my poor peacock is sitting unattended. Hm…

Anyway, Sunday Monica was at a team function for five hours, but it was in Los Gatos and it wasn’t worth me driving home and back so my good buddy agreed to meet me there and have lunch with me. Dang, she’s nice.

Had a great lunch. Got some fabulous beads and got to show my new silver caps as well as Monica’s latest creation.

After lunch, we headed over to an art festival that was going on that weekend. Unfortunately, we could only find a parking spot for my car, so Alex and I said our goodbyes and I proceeded to blow off the next two hours until it was time to pick up Mon.

Aside from trying to keep my shoe heels from sinking in the grass as I went from booth to booth, I discovered that I was interested in looking almost any booth that wasn’t a jewelry vendor. A lot of the vendors sold “highest quality materials from artisans around the world” pieces… which basically meant nicely designed bracelets and necklaces made from mass-produced imported glass beads.

There was one jeweler whose work intrigued me. I could not afford the prices, even though I felt they were fair.

But then I found a booth with something that really caught my eye… they were Japanese-looking things, earrings mostly, made from colorful… “things”… and designs that were really nicely laid out. I asked the vendor about her products and it turned out she did make them all (yay… not selling someone else’s work). She said the colorful “things” were fabric. I asked if they were coated in resin or… She told me it was a process of six finishes with sanding between each time. I realized then that maybe she thought I was trying to figure out her technique so I could steal it. What’s funny is that I was asking her technique so I could find out if she really made these herself. Ha ha ha!

We ended up talking a bit. I adore her work. She was telling me about a show in SF every year for women who make art and it’s juried, but the art can’t be assembled… you have to MAKE the components in whatever it is you’re presenting.

Anyway, that was that day.

Then it was work and hockey on Monday and work and hockey on Tuesday and today I took the day off and we went to the beach. Yay!


More Etsy Ranting

Do an Etsy search on by category:
Home > Buy > Categories > Supplies > Handmade > Bead >
... then if you type in "caps" (as though you want to see only bead caps that were handmade by the Etsy seller...


… and be disgusted when you see how many NON handmade items they allow into this handmade category and tagged with handmade. I can’t, can’t, can’t buy anything at Etsy because I can’t search for what I want.

Damn!


I have a lot of metal clay stuff to show you in my next post… stay tuned…

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jewelry Progress and Eco-Friendly Musing

Jewelry Progress

Nada, really. I plan to work on my peacock tonight and then bake him, possibly along with the things in my last post (that look like turds in a box).

Monica made a necklace that I'll add a clasp to. She also made her first chain maille bracelet… I can photo that. We both made some copper chain maille components. Maybe I'll get those photographed.
There are so many projects I want to work on (and have the materials for!), but time is the culprit. I must carve some time out of my days (or nights) to do my creative stuff.


Eco-Friendly Musing

So I'm thinking yesterday about our world. Other than the stray meteorite, nothing new comes to this world, and very little leaves permanently. So… other than the rare exception, what we have on this planet is the same stuff we've had on this planet for thousands of years and will most like have for thousands of years to come.

People, animals, plants, insects… we are all born and we all die. Every THING that we make or create comes from "stuff" from this planet and becomes other "stuff" on this planet… and it never leaves… it just changes how it looks, maybe how it functions… and then maybe also it has potential to become something else… or not.

So maybe what I'd like to do, art- and otherwise, is to make choices in my life that don't harm the environment. I know that's a very broad way of saying it, so let me think of some examples (of harming and of not harming).


The Ozone Layer

Most of you know what the ozone layer is and more importantly what it does (absorbs 93-99% of the sun's ultraviolet light… the stuff that can damage life on earth).

One of the biggest contributors of the desctruction of our protective ozone layer is chlorine in the stratosphere… and currently human activity accounts for 75-85% that.

Wanna see something scary? Check this out… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:160658main2_OZONE_large_350.png
That's NASA's projection of stratospheric ozone concentrations if chlorofluorocarbons hadn't been banned back in the 70's.

Ozone levels in the northern hemisphere have been dropping 4% per decade.

Some of the specific things that harm the ozone include:
-- Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)… now banned
-- Carbon dioxide (car exhaust, coal burning, etc)
-- Methyl bromide: Used extensively as a pesticide until being phased out by most countries in the early 2000s… In 2004, over 7 million pounds of bromomethane was applied to California vegetation… A court order mandated that farmers had until Jan 1st of 2008 to meet the standards, but California farmers were given a reprieve until 2012… why is methyl bromide getting annual exemptions? Money is, apparently, more important than health because farmers in southern California seem to be fine using a chemical that rids their soil of pests so long as they get their $386 million a year for strawberries. "Farmers say without a viable alternative, their businesses will go under." But what about the bigger picture? Since Methyl bromide is still used on about half the strawberry crops in California, my personal take on the issue is this: in order for me to eat strawberries not contaminated with this chemical for interest in my own personal health as well as to not support the farms that use the chemical, I will only buy locally grown, certified organic strawberries. I can't stop farmers from using it, but I can make my own personal decisions on the part I play (yes, miniscule though it may be) in the big picture.

A word (from Wiki) about the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. It is believed that if the international agreement is adhered to, the ozone layer is expected to recover by 2050.

Kudos to Indonesia, who imposed a ban on the import of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide in January 2008, putting the country two years ahead of the 2010 schedule for phase-out of ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol.

So that's some info about our depleting ozone layer and what we, as individuals, can do or not do to try to help our planet, even if that help seems like a drop in the ocean.



Chemicals that Harm the Environment

-- Industrial waste
-- Agricultural processing waste
-- Industrial and car emissions cause acid rain which poisons fish and affects the ability of soil to support plants
-- Carbon dioxide causes greenhouse effect and climate changes
-- Chemical fertilizer run-off causes build-up of toxins in rivers.
-- Dioxins: a by-product burning PVC, of manufacturing organochlorides, of paper bleaching, of volcanoes, etc. Dioxins cause serious health problems and only radioactive waste is more toxic. Dioxin was in Agent Orange. It is virtually indestructible and our bodies have no defense against it. Dioxin is the most potent synthetic carcinogen ever tested in laboratory animals. When we incinerate items made with plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC), we release dioxins into our environment. "They settle on pastures and crops and get eaten by cows, pigs and chickens. They get into lakes, streams, and ocean and are taken up by fish. They go through the food chain and appear in meat and milk and accumulate in the fat cells of our bodies." PVC is used is so many of our daily items… and when these items are disposed of an incinerated, we are poisoning the environment.

Kudos to Electrolux for creating policies to phase out the use of PVC in their appliances.

I'm going to start looking for Totally Chlorine Free (TCF) products.

I will go out of my way to use biodegradable products whenever possible.
I will avoid chlorine bleach.
I will try to use unbleached paper products.
I will try to only print things when really necessary and I will print on recycled paper whenever possible.
I will try to reduce our family's use of single-use or "disposable" products and/or containers.
Now the sad part… polymer clay is PVC. I'm not saying anything about this other than if I choose not to use it that is a personal choice, not a social commentary. No judgments.

I know someone who won't use gold in their work because of the way it's mined. I don't recall now if it was the dangerous labor conditions or if it was that the method for mining is harmful to the environment… or both. But I think each of us who wants to create art does need to decide about the products we use and what it says about us.

I can't change the world, but I can change what I do in this world. I will continue to make choices that sit right with me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Metal Clay (Silver this time) and More from the Dartmouth Trip

Metal Clay

I have class with Hadar tonight. I know it will shock the heck out of you, but I don't have a clue what I'll be working on. I guess I'll take my peacock and finish his bottom (the backside of him… I mostly finished the front… just need to touch it up a bit. I have to figure out how, exactly, I want to do the tail.

I had much (totally unnecessary) attention last night at the rink during Gabe's practice as I disemboweled five feather dusters in order to get the exact feathers I wanted for this piece.

Did I already show you the body (so far)?



Remember these?



After oxidizing and polishing, here they are...



Just a quick snapshot, but they look okay to me.

And remember these?



That photo was, like the other one, after tumbling. Then I added patina, buffed the top layer, and made a quick bracelet for Monica (the beads weren't good enough to try to sell)…




More from the Dartmouth Trip

Finally forwarded the photos from my phone to my email, where I was able to upload them. If the quality looks sub-par, remember, I took these from my phone.

I shot a couple of the campus buildings…








Here's the outside of the hockey arena...




Here's a house that was near campus...




Anyway, I'm kind of mentally tired today so I don't have much to write about. Well, maybe I do, but it's not going to come out. Getting home at midnight on Tuesdays and Thursdays is going to be a drag.


Comments

Mike B. said... You're way overcomplicating the exercise thing. While exercise is good for you, the reality of weight loss is that it's like 90% diet, 10% exercise. In fact, there was a recent study (one that I don't entirely agree with) that said exercise is actually almost counterproductive for weight loss because people tend to eat more when they work out (most people have no clue how many calories exercise burns or how many calories they consume).

You'd start losing weight by simply adjusting your diet and practicing portion control. You don't eat a regimented diet (or you never used to) and you don't really seem to consider the caloric intake of what you are eating.

How much walking do you do per day already? Adding more exercise to that probably isn't going to help you lose weight (although, walking is honestly a terrible way to get lean). If you really want to shed pounds you'll have to take a good hard look at what you're eating and how you can eat better. I'm happy to help you with that since I've got a little experience with it.

Oh and Randal is the best. That's not my favorite Randal quote by a long shot, but he's arguably the best character Kevin Smith has ever created.


Yeah, I'm sure I am overcomplicating everything. In a way, it's like pricing jewelry, though. Some people think they're doing a fine job until I have them add up their materials' cost, their time, and their overhead… then they realize they've been practically GIVING their stuff away.

So if I can just SEE what a day of 1500 calories is like, I can SEE that I've been inputting way more than I need to survive. Wish I didn't like the TASTE of food so much. The other problem is that my lifestyle is a bit hectic so if I don't plan ahead, I'm caught in a bad situation. Need to learn to have healthy foods on-hand at all times.

Like tonight… I walked to work… I'm at the office all day… I walk home, pee the dog, get in the car, and go to class. I get home at 10pm… blah! I'm not going grocery shopping at ten at night. Yesterday I got home around midnight. Shrug. The days when I do get an hour or two at home… I'm usually to tired to move. Ha ha ha!

Total walking per day is a minimum 50 minutes. But I don't walk to "get lean"… I walk because I don't want to pay $120 per month to park my car near the office.


Melanie-Pearl said... haha. love Clerks.

also love your dietspeak. am doing the same calculating these days.

have a new pact going with myself until my 34th birthday in Nov: can't do any art stuff (includes jewelry tinkering) until i've worked out for the day.

have decided i'd like to be around to create for a long time. isn't going to happen with me just sitting in the studio.

still. ugh.


Melanie, let me know how your diet thing works. BTW, I love the painted tummy on your blog. I've always thought pregnant women were really gorgeous… now even moreso, eh? :-)

BTW, your copper pieces are amazing! My hat's off to you for doing such a great job… so far I'm finding copper to be the most difficult to work with (of the three). Ugh! Where are you buying your copper clay?


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