Sharing my passion for handcrafted jewelry, paper making, and living a creative life.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Of Bees and Trees - The paintings

One last catch-up post because I said I would blog about my art show and then I didn't and 2014 is almost over. 

I had a show of my encaustic paintings, Of Bees and Trees, at the Smithers Art Gallery from Oct 28 - Nov 26 so much of the year was spent either painting or stressing about the paintings that I needed to get done.  It was kind of scary to put myself out there like that but I got lots of positive feedback and sold a few paintings, too.  Here are a few pieces from the show.

Sunflower, Good Morning, Encaustic, 24x24"
White Rose, Encaustic, 24x24"
Poppies I, Encaustic, 8x24"
Poppies II, Encaustic, 8x24"
Yellow Lily in Red Bowl, Encaustic, 24x24"
One with the Sun, Encaustic, 24x24"

Autumn Beauty, Encaustic, 8x24"

Now I am putting away my encaustic paints until next summer when I can work outside or in my studio with the door wide open.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Of Bees and Trees!

Two weeks until my show!  I will be having a showing of my encaustic paintings at the Smithers Art Gallery from October 28th through November 26th.  I'm nervous and excited!  I'll be sharing the gallery with feature artist, Leif Ostlund, a magnificent oil painter!  I'm looking forward to seeing his work in person.

My work will be shown in the part of the gallery known as the mini gallery.  It's in the main gallery room but it's a dedicated space that is a bit less intimidating to fill than the larger display area.  We'll be hanging the show on the 26th.  I have lots of new works ready for this show and now I'm working on some smaller pieces and some encaustic cards.  I'll share what I've been doing once the show has been hung and I can breathe again.

Opening night is Saturday, November 1st from 7-9 pm.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

60 in 60 Days 47-60!!

Well, true to my nature, I managed to procrastinate through the blogging part of this entire self-challenge.  I don't have to challenge myself to do something creative every day because that's just how I live.  It's like breathing.  I don't have to think about it or plan for it, I just do it.  Now, blogging about it, that's another story.

I want to be a good blogger but not if I have to commit to making time for it on a regular basis.  If there is one thing that I have learned in 60 years it's this; I don't like committing my time.  It's so easy to say I'll do something that involves a future time but, procrastination being what it is, that future time becomes the present and then it's panic time!  So I can either be a mediocre blogger on a regular basis or a good blogger when I feel like it.

So, today is the big day and I am just now posting about Days 47-60.

I worked on encaustic paintings for a show this fall at the Smithers Art Gallery. 

Sunflower, Encaustic on cradled board, 24x24
I worked on a lot of different earrings and other jewelry pieces for my table at a summer music festival. 

Earrings made from obsolete Canadian copper pennies
And I took hundreds of photographs! 

This young buck stopped to pose for me before he ran off into the trees.
I'll be back again sometime soon-ish, or a bit later, but eventually I'll post again and I hope you'll be back, too!  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 11, 2014

60 in 60 Day 46

What a beautiful, sunny summer day!

I spent as much time outside as possible today making paper, staining deck rails, and drifting on my floaty chair with a beverage and a couple of jewelry magazines.

Handmade willow bark paper.  I mixed the processed willow bark with recycled kraft paper pulp.  For more info on how I make my paper see my previous papermaking tutorials.

Here are the earrings I made today from re-purposed Canadian copper pennies.

These ones are textured using a hammer and a brass plate from my scrapbooking days.  The stones are a greenish turquoise.

Folded with ammonia and salt patina and turquoise nuggets.

Textured in the rolling mill and patina added with a torch.
I'm not sure how some people manage to do a blog post every day but I'll do my best to keep it up for the remainder of this self-challenge. 

60 in 60 Day 44 and 45

I am having a booth at an upcoming music festival so most of my creative efforts in the next week will be going into finishing up jewelry projects.

I finished these pieces in the past two days.  All these earrings are made from repurposed copper pennies and use some of my favourite patinas - oven heat, torch with peanut oil and ammonia and salt.

I stopped to take some pictures of this Mama Duck and her little one (Common Goldeneye) on my way into town.  I always pull over and let the ferry traffic pass me on my way to town so it's easier to stop for any photo ops.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

60 in 60 Day 43

Due to many different reasons (excuses?) and way too much procrastination, my challenge to do something creative every day for the 60 days leading up to my 60th birthday this summer, and to post about it, was drastically derailed.  I'm not going to even try to catch up now on posting  for Days 14 through 42 but I gathered and processed lots of plant fibre, made paper, did two encaustic paintings, made a few bracelets, took lots of photos, and taught a mosaic workshop.

Today I restored order to my studio to get ready for a creatively productive summer.  Keeping things tidy with so many different interests is an ongoing battle.

I love this old dental cabinet for jewelry making supplies.

And printer trays for beads.

I keep my tools handy in vintage wooden boxes.

I finished one pair of earrings today but got started on several more.  Busy day tomorrow!

Made from copper pennies and freshwater pearls with sterling silver ear hooks.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

60in60 Days Nine to Thirteen

I haven't posted for a few days because, even though I did meet my challenge to do something creative every day, I didn't have anything completed to show for it.

I started a wrap bracelet on Day 9.  On Day 10 I was away all day so my creative effort was a photograph of the sunset at the end of the day.  More hummingbird photos on Day 11.  Day 12 and 13 were the weekend so I spent lots of time in my studio jumping from one project to another.

I played with resin for awhile and also got some pennies ready for making more earrings but those will be done another day.

I made pulp for papermaking and I spent about 5 frustrating hours on an encaustic painting on Saturday that became something completely different on Sunday!  Finished the wrap bracelet and made a pair of earrings.

  Posting my challenge is more challenging than the challenge itself!  My life would be so much simpler if I would just stick to one thing but I don't seem to be wired that way...or my wiring is loose!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

60in60 Day Eight

I spent a little more time with the hummingbirds when I got home from work today (and the ants and wasps that also seem to enjoy the feeders). 

 I finished this wrap bracelet and used another cool button from my collection as the fastener.

I got a whole bag of vintage metal buttons at my local antique shop a couple of months ago and now  I'm waiting for some silicone putty to arrive so I can make molds of some of the more interesting designs before I use them all.

Monday, June 2, 2014

60in60 Day Seven

It's a good thing I had this little project already set up to go cause I was in the perfect mood to procrastinate, and it's only Day 7 of this challenge.  Once I get started I enjoy making these wrap bracelets cause the repetitive motion of weaving back and forth through the beads is quite meditative.

Leather wrap bracelet with vintage button and assorted dyed glass and stone beads.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

60in60 Day Six

I spent a little bit of the day in my studio and a huge part working outside and all I want to do now is sleep.  I am making these little pendants as thank you gifts for some volunteers from CAAT who will be in Burns Lake doing free spaying and neutering for low income families.  If you would like to know more, check out the Lakes Animal Friendship Society website.

I am using copper pennies as the base for the pendants.  Some are enamelled and some are just the copper. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

60in60 Day Five

I spent a couple of hours with the hummingbirds this morning before getting down to work in my studio.

This isn't a perfect photo but it's pretty cool nonetheless.  I caught this one as it was dive bombing another hummingbird that was infringing on its territory.

Back in the studio, I made some sterling silver earrings out of an old bracelet that my sister found in some junk jewelry.  After annealing the bracelet to soften the silver, I rolled it through the mill and then cut out the earrings.  They are textured with a hammer.  On one pair I used vintage beads that I bought several years ago from a seller on Etsy.


Both are listed in my Etsy shop.  My goal was to have 100 listings in my shop by May 31st but I only made it to 42.  I tend to set lofty goals for myself that I have no hope of meeting.  Maybe by the time I reach 60 I'll know better!

Friday, May 30, 2014

60in60 Day Four

What a beautiful sunny afternoon to come home to on the start of my weekend!  I spent about 4 hours out on my beach trying out different settings on my camera, taking photos of hummingbirds.  I wanted to stop the wing action but the really fast shutter speed also made the photos grainy.  I'll have to work on finding the right balance.  I should probably get out the tripod, too.  And some good bug repellant.  The black flies were beastly!


Thursday, May 29, 2014

60in60 Day Two and Three

Yes, I know, behind already!  I had the day at home yesterday due to a temporary closure at my work place so I spent the day in the yard doing hard labour.  While I was doing some tidying up, I spotted some ficus branches that I had pruned from my plant and thrown off the deck in the winter.   I noticed that a good amount of fibre was showing under the bark and it had just the perfect amount of moisture to come off easily so I stopped to strip all the branches for papermaking.  Now my live plant is in danger of severe pruning!

Day 2 Creative Act - stripped fibre from Ficus branches for papermaking

Today, I made some Boho style earrings.  I hammered these copper pennies to flatten them and then used a brass embossing template from my scrapbooking days and the ball end of my hammer to create the hearts.  The patina is from a gas torch.  Banded Agate, Tiger's Eye and copper beads on sterling silver wire and sterling silver ear wires complete the pair. 

Day 3 - copper earrings with sterling silver wire
These will show up in my Etsy shop in the next day or two.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Counting Down - 60 in 60 Day One

In 60 days (as of yesterday but I ran out of time to post), I will be 60.  On the one hand, I'm really pleased that I'm getting older cause you know what they say about the alternative!  On the other hand, I'm feeling very aware that I don't have a lot of time to waste, which is bad news for a born procrastinator.

Fellow artist and friend who I have never met in person but greatly admire, Violette Naranjo Clark, recently started a personal challenge of creating 60 cartoons (which she calls 'uptoons' for their uplifting messages) in 60 days in honour of her upcoming 60th birthday.  She invited other friends to join her for their special milestones.  This seemed like a good challenge to conquer my own procrastination challenges and celebrate who I am, turning 60.

My personal challenge for 60 in 60 is to do one creative thing each day, and to post about it on my blog, for the next 60 days until my 60th birthday on July 26 .

Day one (which was yesterday):  A triple wrap adjustable leather and bead bracelet with vintage button.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Warming Up for a Show

I've been accepted into a gallery show at the Smithers Art Gallery next fall with my encaustic paintings so I'm going to have to be more efficient with my time to be ready for the show and still have time to work on other things, like jewelry.  Deadlines can be a good thing.

Yellow Pear - encaustic on cradled board - 6x6"
Here's a small warm-up piece I completed in my studio today.  I love the colours.  Not a combination that I would normally use but that's why I decided to use them together.  One of the best things about an obligation that requires me to produce a lot of work over a relatively short period of time, is that I find myself reaching in different directions, sometimes deliberately and sometimes accidentally.  Encaustic in particular has a way of taking you off course just because of how the medium moves.  Sometimes the final result doesn't have even a germ of the idea I started with.  Sometimes it makes me laugh, and sometimes I cry.  I like laughing more.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

More Patina Play on Copper

I'm trying to get into the habit of posting on my blog more regularly but life has a way of getting in the way and that's okay cause it's all good.  All I have to do is schedule myself a bit better.  Ha!!

I had a bit of time to play in my studio this weekend so I spent some of it playing with some more patina on copper penny earrings.  The first one, Liver of Sulphur, is pretty common.  I used the gel so all I had to do was stir it into some hot water (1 tsp of the Liver of Sulphur to 12 ounces of water).  I heated the copper a bit with the torch first so when I immersed the earrings in the solution, the colour developed very quickly and got quite black.  After rinsing and drying, I sanded the high points lightly for some contrast.
Copper earrings with Liver of Sulphur patina
On this next pair I decided to try layering a  couple of different techniques.  First I did a heat patina using peanut oil and the MAPP gas torch.  I lightly oiled the copper with peanut oil on a paper towel and then heated the earrings just until I got some colour variation - shades of brown and orange mostly.  Then I cleaned off the oil partially and spritzed the earrings with water, sprinkled with some salt, and left under a glass cake topper overnight with a small dish of ammonia.  This added some lovely turquoise blue colour to the mix.  Perfect compliment to the turquoise nuggets I added to these earrings.  If I had scrubbed more of the peanut oil off, I would have had more blue.  Maybe next time.  I love how they turned out anyway.
Copper earrings with peanut oil and MAPP gas patina topped with patina made with ammonia and salt
Jewelry making is so much fun!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Playing with Patina

I've been having fun playing in my studio with different patinas on copper.  These are the humble Canadian pennies that I start from.  They have to be 1996 or earlier (American pennies have to be 1982 and before).  The newer pennies don't contain enough copper and they just kind of explode into a molten mess when you heat them.
I found an awesome tutorial for making leaves in the Spring 2012 issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.  Thanks, Lisa Weber!  Lisa's leaves were exquisitely done in silver but I have a copper budget and a few pennies that I have hoarded since the Canadian penny became obsolete.

I started by rolling the pennies flat in my rolling mill (a recent acquisition).  Then after a few more steps: annealing, quenching, folding, cutting, texturing, annealing, quenching, pickling, unfolding, filing, bending, sanding and cleaning, they were ready for the patina. And after making more than a dozen leaves, so was I! 
MAPP gas torch 
The flame from the MAPP gas torch is comparatively hot (hotter than propane or butane).  This lovely patina is just from waving the flame gently over the copper but not too long or you'll get fire scale. 
Peanut oil and MAPP gas torch
These ones are also done with the MAPP gas torch but first I coated the leaves with a thin coat of peanut oil using a paper towel.  They turn a lovely golden colour with a dark brown mottled effect.
Propane torch
Using the propane torch the same way as the MAPP gas torch, I got a little more variety in the colours.  I find that some of the lovely colours I get with either torch kind of disappear when I apply wax after the patina.
Ammonia and salt
This was my favourite patina.  I spritzed the copper with water and then sprinkled salt over the pieces.  Then I filled a small dish (about 1/4 cup) with household ammonia and set the earrings, right side up, beside the dish.  I then covered everything with a glass cake topper to keep the ammonia fumes contained next to the copper.  I left it overnight and the next morning I gently rinsed and wiped away the salt before waxing the earrings.
Novocan Black
For this pair I used Novocan black patina which is a chemical used on stained glass copper foil after soldering for a nice black finish.  I brushed some of the patina on the copper and, as it started to blacken, I sprinkled salt over it and got these lovely speckles.
This is the green colour one normally associates with aged copper.  This was the fiddliest patina so I plan to try a few other methods to see what will work the best.   For these earrings, I soaked a paper towel in vinegar and sprinkled it with salt.  I wrapped the earrings in the paper towels and set them under a small halogen lamp (about 6 inches away but be careful not to leave it unattended as the lamp can get really hot).  I left them for about 2 hours to get this green.  I gently wiped away the salt before applying the wax but I didn't rinse them as some earlier attempts had washed away the green patina. 
I did these ones in a toaster oven for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.  They turned kind of a golden brown with a hint of burgundy.  I think I'll try them in a slightly hotter oven next time...maybe a conventional oven.

I tried some other experiments that didn't give any noticeable results, such as lye, urea, and sodium bisulphate.  But I'll keep playing and share the results here....eventually.

I finished my pieces off with a coat or two of Renaissance Wax.  You can also use S100 which is a wax available at your local Harley dealer for polishing the metal on motorbikes.  It's a mix of carnauba wax and beeswax.