Sunday, June 24, 2007

Plays with Dogs

Jess left today, but not after a parting photo shoot with Bella & Hannah. I think Hannah wanted to leave with her. Jess and Hannah have always had a special bond, ever since Jess let Hannah sleep with her when she was a wee pup of only 6 or 7 weeks old. She still gets crazy excited when Jess comes for a visit and is always a bit sad when she leaves.

Check out the gorgeous necklace Jess is wearing! We went to a bead shop and she chose the lovely stones for her necklace. I taught her how to put it all together...and then I taught her how to string pearls. She's always been such a good student. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Summertime, continued...

Once the frame was formed, the next task was to either solder or fuse it to the thin metal sheet (33 gauge). I chose to solder.

Jean then taught me how to twist wire by hand, which is far easier to control than when twisting in a flex shaft. I carefully laid the wire around the form and soldered. It was finally time to begin placing the enamel into the cells. The fun part begins!

I had tried a lot of different combinations of red transparent enamel, ruby transparent enamel and flux, and chose this color as my favorite. I also added some blue for contrast. Once I had fired on about 4 or 5 coats of enamel into the cells, it was time to sand (yucky part). When I was finished, we gold plated it in 24 karat gold. This is how it all came out:

As soon as I returned home, I ordered more enamels and cannot wait to get started on another project. It's an entirely different medium to work in and I'm lovin' it (except for the sanding part). I can't wait to return to Wildacres next year!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hot Fun in the Summertime

Here I am up in Wildacres in Little Switzerland, North Carolina...just a short drive from Asheville, NC. On the left is a photo of some of the pieces my teacher, Jean Stark, has done in the past, and what we are trying to duplicate in this class by using fine silver and enamels.

This place is heavenly. The mornings and evenings are cool and the days are pleasantly warm. We wake up to a bell ringing somewhere on the grounds at 7:30. Breakfast is served family style between 8 and 9:00. Everyone then heads off to their workshops. We have an engraving class going on, a writer's workshop (science fiction writers), a form-folding workshop with John Cogswell, Intarsia, Wax Forming and even a beginning metalsmithing class. We work until the bell rings to let us know it's time to head to the dining area for lunch at noon. Then we're back to work until the dinner bell rings. After dinner, we usually go BACK to our studios and are free to work until 10:00 pm, which we all do! We're loving it. No phones ringing, no television, no interruptions. In fact, to get phone coverage, I have to walk into the woods and find a place where my phone suddenly picks up a Cingular signal and I can't budge from that spot to call home.

The pic on the left is my "sample" of different kinds of red that I made. The pic on the right is the beginning form of what I am beginning to make in this class. I am learning SO MUCH and really loving it here. Just hanging out with all these people who love doing the same thing I do is a great experience. And I got super lucky with my roommate! She's from Michigan and I couldn't ask for a nicer person to room with. Here are a couple of my classmates - Robert (Rowbear) and Karen.

More later! I'll be home soon and will show you the finished piece as soon as I can.