Friday, January 29, 2010

Sock It To Me

My friend Margaret (not to be confused with my daughter Margaret, or my mother Margaret) came over and we made sock monkeys.
She's going to be teaching a class on making them and used me like a canary in a coal mine.
I am not a skilled seamstress and if there is a sewing mistake that can be made - I will make it.
Her teaching was, as always, flawless.
I adore my new sock monkey and as you can see have already knit him a nice cozy wool scarf to match his eyes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

American Robin #9

Yes, the big oil still gets worked on almost everyday.
At this point, as layers and layers of detail are being added, the going gets a bit slow.
I am adding lots of paint but it just doesn't look that different at the end of each day.
The past few days I have merrily been adding veins to the leaves.
Not mush to get excited about - but I thought you might like an update.
Tonight - more veins and maybe a little farting around with the nests.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wondrous Strange

I found a Wondrous Strange place while wandering around in Vlad the Bat's Attic.

Wondrous strange also has an etsy shop of the same name.
And when I walked through that door I found these ceramic raku fired wings.
in red -
lustrous teal -
and white.
I snapped them up. When they came in the mail I was beside myself - aren't they lovely? Tomorrow I am going to make some beads to go with them and then wire up some earrings.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Berry, Berry Cute

Look! Someone sent me a photo of a munchkin sporting one of my berry hats.
I don't have any more berries right now but their is a rosebud in my Belvedere Etsy shop.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Winter Marches On

It's cold but the sun was shining. We bundled up and headed to the public market. Something we like to do every Saturday, no matter what the season.
This time of year there is not much local produce to buy, some apples, gnarly carrots and mountains of cabbages. Cabbage is my personal vegetable. Huh? If you were a vegetable what would you be? I would be a cabbage.

The gloves that have been on my needles are finished and they made their first trip to the market today. Soft, snug and woolly toasty. When we got home I took an outdoor snapshot of them. Everything photographs so much nicer in natural light.
And while I was fussing with the glamor shots of my mittens - Miss Kiki struck a pose. Look how long the mid-day shadows are here in the Upstate New York tundra. Winter, sigh, I just loathe it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

American Robin #8

I have not abandoned my big painting - some days I just sit and stare at it. Wondering what to do next.
Yesterday I painted for several hours. Adding a few more layers of translucent paint and straightening out a few of the asymmetrical problems.
The birds are coming along nicely.
A picture of it on the easel, which should give you some idea of scale.

Testing 1 - 2 - 3

Lots of new glass means lots of new sample beads.

I torched for two nights just trying out color combinations, fiddling the glass into new shapes and general futzing around and having fun.

These are all from the first night.
These little raked seed pods are Cim's Kryptonite, Peacock and and Double Helix Gaia. I wish the photo showed the wispy green violet iridescence of the Gaia - they're going to make lovely earrings.

A pillow bead - this was made from a lentil that I spot heated and stretched out then pinched the corners with my tweezers. More of this shape to come.
The bead has a core of Cim's peacock that was rolled in aventurine frit and then encased in pale Amethyst.

A few 'pollen' beads - DH Gaia on White, DH Aurae on Poi, Aurae on Mink and Aurae on Kryptonite.
Have you tried Double Helix glass on top of plain old white? It magically turns the white a pale, caramel, honey, butterscotch tinged white. It's a gorgeous reaction.

A lentil, the base is dark Ivory, with raked bands of Raku and Fossil.
Five or Six of these would make a great bracelet.

Ooh, I like this one. It's DH Psyche raked over Cim's Sangre.
Cim's Sangre is one of my all time favorite colors. And the photo doesn't even come close to showing how metallic the blue is.

A hollow pod made of transparent, striking orange.
Striking orange is far superior to striking red. The red is always seems too dark and murky.

This one is hard to get the full effect in a photograph. It has a core of Petroleum Green encased in Pale Green Apple, then topped with drippy threads of orange all over the place. The opaque orange casts shadows down onto the dark green which shift around as you handle the bead, the effect is very cool.

The second night of playing at the torch was all about using my handmade murinni. The beads are still on their mandrels waiting to be cleaned - more show and tell soon.

Glass Stash

I've been bad - very, very bad.
Two big glass orders in as many weeks.
My stash is bursting, but it is in perfect order. So there.
Where do you get your glass?
I get mine from the most wonderful vendors - Donelle & Bill Thornton of Moretti & More.

Their service is incredible, their shipping fast and cheap, and you can buy by the single rod if you just want to give something a try before you lay in a big bundle of a color. Oh, and their website is easy to use for ordering or they love to talk on the phone in case you would rather do your ordering with a live, pleasant, fun person.

I placed my last order on Sunday night, and the glass was here early Wednesday morning. How is that even possible when I live in NY and they're in Washington state and Monday was a federal holiday?
s.a.b.l.e. stands for stash amassed beyond life expectancy.
My stash is certainly not that large but still respectable.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

All Seeing Earthly Delights

New beads, new necklace.
Earth tone beads with big dots on dots - or eyes of protection.
Working with steel wire instead of my usual sterling silver.
A bit hard on the fingers, but I like the final product.

The beads were wound with lots of Cim's Khaki and Canyon de Chelly with some Fossil wrapped on for good measure. The decorative dots are Black and Ivory.

Today I managed to get in a few very productive hours at the torch. Yes.
Tomorrow cannot come soon enough, I want to unpack the kiln and see how they turned out. I made some red hollow beads that are huge, more big heart focals and tried out Double Helix Kronos. There was even some messing around with gold leaf and my homemade murrini.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back & Forth

We drove Miss Margaret back to college today. So absolutely nothing got done in the studio other than a few beads got taken off their mandrels and cleaned late this evening.

Alfred University is a beautiful campus, even when covered in icy glaciers of dirty snow.
Below is the side door to 'the Brick' a venerable old dorm.

I have a lot of plans for tomorrow, but right now I am feeling rather blue that my little bird has gone off again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti, Always

Steph, of Vlad the Bats Attic, has made a new necklace and placed it for sale on Etsy.
Proceeds from the necklace will be donated to Doctors Without Borders for Hatian relief.
She has used one of my glass hearts in the piece, which made my heart skip a beat.

Her blog is here
and here Etsy shop is here.

On the Needles

I ought to be painting, I ought to be beading or making new jewelry - but what am I doing?
Soft wooly gloves made with Noro yarn from a Louisa Harding pattern.
They're knit on size 6 needles, which means I get to use my favorite pair of vintage green celluloid needles - see them there on the half finished cuff - they're jadite green.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

American Robin #7

Now we're getting somewhere with this monster sized canvas - almost all of the under-painting is done and most of the basic shapes are where they should be.
Some areas of the surface even have a second layer of paint.

I love this part of the process when translucency and color play begin to happen.
I haven't had much time to paint the past couple of days.
There were beads to be made and I assisted in teaching a beginning bead making class tonight. What an extraordinarily gifted group of eight new bead makers.

On days when I don't get a chance to paint I do go in and look at it and plan what I am going to do next. That way when I do have time I just get right down to it. Several people have asked if it is almost done. Done? No, I am at least a month away from completion. There are dozens of layers of paint still to be applied and lots of dancing with the brush yet to happen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

American Robin #6

Progress has been slow the past few days.
It was a fun filled weekend and we threw a nice big dinner party for friends in from Los Angeles.
As you can see I did get a lot of deep yellow ocher onto the canvas and today's plans are to add some rich, earthy greens. Most of the black ground should be gone by the time I take some snapshots tomorrow morning.

If you look closely at my little work table on the right, in front of the painting, you can see one of my dirty little secrets. Yes, that's the tv remote. I listen to the television while I am painting. It's not very artsy intellectual and high brow of me. And what's even worse? It's usually not some PBS educational nature show, but odds are I am tuning in to some old episode of NCIS. I know, you're shocked.

Seeds of Change - Not

There are no 'seeds of change' being sown here - I am still on my seed pod kick.
A huge long seed pod pendant, the bead measures almost 3" long. I have it wired up with freshwater pearls and strung on a brown leather cord.

More seed pod earrings.
The glass is a golden caramel color with raked stripes of iridescent blue black around their middles. The bead caps are freshwater cornflake pearls and the findings are gunmetal.
You can find the earrings in my Belvedere etsy shop, but the necklace is all mine.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Raku & Black Glass

Some glass color combos are classics -
Raku and Black - it's the peanut butter and jelly of the lampmaking world.
In case you're a flameworker and you don't know the secret of Raku. The way to get the best, most vivid colors from your Raku decorations is to 'chill' it. And by that, I mean, touch it with a cold metal when you're done shaping the bead, the colors just bloom. Brass works exceptionally well.
Earrings with raked Raku and black glass. These are a pair of hand-pressed lentil beads, wee little green freshwater pearls and sterling silver findings.

They're available in my Belvedere etsy shop.

Friday, January 08, 2010

American Robin #5

Still working away at it - blocking in the under-painting and refining basic shapes.

A detail.

The next layer? Ocher.

E Pluribus Unum

My studio chair - an estate sale find of the highest order. Mint condition, excellent quality and way weird.

It's a lovely 1970's era, probably 1976, vintage tapestry fabric emblazoned with American Eagles and one of our national mottos - E Pluribus Unum.
It's marvelously cozy - the wings sort of wrap around you and keep out the cold. Or maybe it's just the overly decorative patriotism giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

American Robin #4

Working details from American Robin - after Audubon.

When you work a painting this large the whole house begins to smell wonderfully of of linseed oil and oil paint. It's a very comforting smell, like fresh baked bread. Ok, well maybe for me it's as nice smelling as fresh baked goods. Not everyone likes the odor of paint - but for me it's a very happy scent and my family seems to like it too.
Laying in a base color on some of the leaves. Yes, I did work on the robins but only a wee bit.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

American Robin #3

A snapshot of yesterday's progress on the new, large oil painting.
All the background is finally blocked in.
Now, do I go straight for the robins or start working on the leaves? The birds are the juiciest bits, so I better save those for later - when I start getting bored with the whole mess.

Orchids in the Storm

Just for a minute let's get back to beads. This is, after all, Belvedere Beads isn't it?
A raked focal bead of Cim's Gelly's Sty pink, Double Helix Aurae, a bit of goldstone and clear.

It's still snowing here - 100 continuous hours of precipitation and counting.
We try to keep flowers in the house this time of year - it really helps with the cabin fever. Right now I have a stalk of satiny pink and pale green orchids. They were one of my favorite gifts this Christmas. They still scent the whole dining room - two weeks later.
Our forecast for the next five days?
Snow - every day.