Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two for one

I missed blogging last week.  I had the crud that has been making its way around our work place. Here I had congratulated myself on NOT getting it.  Shoulda kept my mouth shut. Oh well, at least I got it after I visited my mother.

And I had to spend most of today getting ready for my first real teaching gig next weekend. I am going to be teaching a class on domino art at Letter's of Joy, a yearly conference sponsored by Write On Calligraphers held at Edmonds Community College.  This will be my first time attending and I am really nervously looking forward to it. I am not a Calligrapher, but the person who approached me about teaching there tells me that they are always looking for new art mediums to apply calligraphy to. I can completely understand that. i know PC artist that put it on everything that doesn't move.  I have seen pictures of PC on furniture, splash guards, fireplaces and even cars.  But I do worry, as I am not a teacher.  I think I will try to Channel some of Christi Friesen's teaching technique ... can't go wrong if I try to emulate her.

I am also two weeks behind in my posting in the 52 Earrings Project.  I haven't had the engery to make any new beads so picked through my stash for some to make up.
These are a pair of beads that I made by just elongating a round bead covered with a small bullseye cane.  The background color was obtained by mixing left overs for bead guts. I kinda liked the color and used it as background.

These beads were made using an extruder and bead roller technique.  I am thinking about posting a tut on my blog on how to make them.  I have not tried doing that before but getting ready for my up coming glass has me wondering if I shouldn't  be expanding my horizons more. What do you think?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Twigs Revisited

I really like the Square Twig earrings I made a few weeks ago for the 52 earring project.  So when my latest shipment of round metal blanks arrived from Bello Modo, I just had to repeat the design.  This time I made a few changes.
Again I used Pebeo Vitrea to simulate an enameled look.  This time, in order to get a more pronounced color on the painted portion, I used my sanding block and lighted the brass.  That got me thinking about the back of the disc.  What would happen if I used the sander on it?
As you can see, it produced a really nice effect.  I almost like this side better than the front.  They look good coming and going.  In order to preserved the highlighted color, I glazed them using the Vintaj metal glaze. It is supposed to protect the metal from oxidizing.
Front and back 

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Weekend that was

I spent the last weekend visiting my family in Eastern Washington.  Took the train over.  I usually enjoy the ride. The scenery in going over mountains is breathtaking.  When we hit Wenatchee, the sun had gone down and the full moon had risen.  It was a vivid golden moon, peeking out of the clouds.  Then it burst out in all its beauty over the top of the buttes of central Washington.
   Fortunately I had taken my MP3 player with me. I used it to drown out the total rudeness of some of the passengers.  There was a man who thought he was Washington's answer to Larry the Cable Guy.  Don't get me wrong, I like Larry and the rest of the Blue Collar Comedy team... but there is a place for it and it is not with a captive audience.  The conductor had to warn him several times to tone it down.
   But I side track.  What I wanted to talk about is my sister's work in her theater group. She has been involved for years with the Masquers, a group out of my childhood town of Soap Lake.  She is currently involved with the set decoration for their upcoming play, Chapter Two. Usually she is acting or directing  in the plays, but with Mom's health issues, she is taking a backstage role that is less demanding on her time.  I got to help with part of it and discovered first hand that it is hard work.  The set is being divided into two side by side apartments.  She wants to simulate a wood floor in one of the apartments. The color of the floor that was left over from the last play (on the left in the picture) is a brick red.  So first, half the stage floor was painted brown.  After it dried overnight, we mixed three lighter colors (yellow, light green and blue-grey).  I walked in front of her, splattering paint drops on the floor while she used a broom sweeping side to side to spread the colors out.  After this layer dries, she will be on her hands and knees with a magic marker making the lines to simulate the wood planks.
  I didn't have my camera so had to use my cell phone to snap a pix of the stage.
Work in progress  (whole floor used to be red). Imagine lines drawn in to resemble wood grain.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To UTEE or not to UTEE...

I told you last week that I had ordered some of the new Vintaj Patina metal paints from Bello Modo.  Well, they arrived and I finally had a bit of free time to try them out.  I am impressed. I really like the color choices and the blendable aspect of the paint. The only downside is that they dry a little too fast.  I am not as quick with the brush as I used to be.  In the past, I probably could have done both blanks at the same time. Now just one at a time.
   I had gone on line and watched a couple of the YouTube videos showcasing this product.  On one of them, the demonstrator finished her pieces of using a melting pot and UTEE.  I have had a melting pot for years and never used it! (I KNEW I would have a used for it some day... ).  So after little digging around in the cupboard, I brought it out into the light of day.
   I am not sure I like using UTEE for this application.  My first blanks were a disaster.  I put on too much and the UTEE flowed over the edges of the blanks and got on the back and made a big mess.  I am not even going to show that - too ashamed.
  I got the hang of it better on the second set.  I did have a bit of a problem with the pre-made holes. The UTEE kept filling them.  Had to rim and remelt 3 or 4 times before the holes would stay open. This is the same folder design I used for the Twig earrings last week.
This set went a bit better.  I found there is a slight slant to the melting pot even after I propped it up on the lid .  I found this could be advantageous with controlling the flow of the melting UTEE around the hole.
Then I wondered how UTEE would work with alcohol inks.  It is interesting.  I *think* the inks are still dispersing under the UTEE. Take a look at the picture above.  See the tendrils of blue ink that are laying across the raised part of the embossed swirls near the sides of the discs?  I could swear they were not there when I finished them, but were there when I took the picture the next day.  And I just looked at them again - the tendrils are more pronounced and in more places.  I think this is because I failed to seal the ink before applying the UTEE.  I also noticed that UTEE scratches VERY easily. That is OK for me, as I can just pop them back in the pot and remelt to smooth the scratches out, but I could never sell them.
  I have ordered some Glaze especially made for this product so will wait till it gets here before trying more experiments with the Patina's.