Monday, May 26, 2008

Book Review: Structural Metal Clay, by Kate McKinnon

After pre-ordering this a few months ago, I was ecstatic to finally receive my copy of Kate McKinnon's new book, Structural Metal Clay, in the mail last week. I took one of Kate's amazing classes a few years ago, and have been making my own fine silver clasps for my lampwork jewelry ever since.

Kate won the prestigious Rio Grande Saul Bell Design Award in metal clay in 2005, and is a prolific artist and writer in the bead industry. She has recently challenged the PMC industry to promote the safe use of this material, and to educate users about the health hazards associated with using burn-out materials such as styrofoam or other plastics in their classes. This courageous mission was supported by her own scientific research, and driven by a concern for the reproductive health of a largely young female body of PMC users.

Reading this book was just like taking one of Kate's PMC classes, with tons of tried-and-true, essential information on each page. Whether you're interested in making pendants, rings, clasps, or chain, this book will teach you how to build PMC components that are strong and stylish, while avoiding toxic chemicals and fumes.

She covers everything in this handily spiral-bound 132 page book from supplies and tools, to construction and firing, to work hardening, and to applying various patinas. In addition to the tips that will help you make better PMC creations, the photos of Kate's work in this book are amazing. Her rings are fanciful and fun, and I can't wait to adapt some of her techniques to some unique designs using my lampwork beads.

You can visit Kate's website here. I highly recommend her frequently updated, well-written blog - I visit on a near daily basis.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Work and Fire News

"Cosmic Ascent" focal lampwork bead (SOLD).

We've had a bit of excitement here lately with the Summit Fire...a little close for comfort, but we're fine. Another reminder to get the brush cleared away from the house, although one guy with a concrete home, metal roof, and 300' of cleared space lost his home to this inferno. One former Mountain Art Guild member lost his hand-built home - a very sad and touching story about this is in the local paper. Our fire season is not supposed to start until the late summer, but our lack of rain this spring has made things very dry. Be safe where you are.

I've got some new work on Etsy - the lovely focal lentil bead shown above, and some bracelets too. Come visit and shop.

"Silver Play Nugget" lampwork glass and fine silver bracelet, (SOLD).

"Industrial Lynxx" lampwork and fine silver bracelet, (SOLD).

"Verdi Bleu" lampwork and silver bracelet, now in my Etsy shop.

Have a happy and safe weekend, and please try to avoid lighting fires, unless of course you're making beads or having a BBQ.

WAIT! I almost forgot the most important news of all! There is a new canine in our lives, and his name is Bodie. Come meet him on his new blog. Can you believe that some people left him behind when their home was foreclosed on? Apparently this economy has made this an all-too-frequent occurrence these days. Fortunately the neighbors called Lab Rescue, and he's made a fresh start. I am a dog mom again (contented sigh).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Earring Explosion

Lunar Lampwork bead earrings (SOLD).

Green with blue stripe FUn cOnES earrings, now in my Etsy Store.

Tan and pink polka dot earrings, now in my Etsy store.

Green and avocado triangle earrings (SOLD).

All hell has broken loose here, and there are earrings EVERYWHERE! Earrings that match necklaces, and bracelets, and earrings that just stand out on their own two feet and say, HAPPY SPRING!

For some time now my Etsy shop has been, how shall I say, "earring challenged". No more. I am posting at least a pair a day, and will continue until order is returned to my home and studio. So bear with me, please. And if you see some you like, well, feel free to let me know. I think I have earrings to match every possible outfit in this season's episode of Project Runway, I swear.

So go. Look. Shop. Help me recover from this terrible accident.

Silver Play Series nugget style earrings, now in my Etsy Store.

Green and ivory stripe earrings, now in my Etsy Store.

Blue Desert Earrings, to match my Blue Desert bracelet (SOLD).

Juicy FUn cOnES, now in my Etsy Store.

Large Patrician earrings, to match my Patrician Skyy necklace (SOLD).

Small Patrician earrings, to match my Patrician Skyy necklace (SOLD).

Finally, an update on my first show this year - we had an incredible, warm sunny California day, and lots of folks turned out for the "new and improved" show with wine tasting and talent shows. I had a wonderful time visiting with friends and art lovers, and my new jewelry was well received. Have a look in my Etsy shop to see what you missed.

Scenes from my booth at the Saratoga Rotary Art Show, 2008

Saturday, May 3, 2008

OK, I'm Weak!

"M16 Eagle Nebula" necklace, one of my many new pieces to debut on Sunday.

While my "Show This Weekend" note to my mailing list said I would not post pictures of my new jewelry here, I have succumbed to the fatal lure of the camera and perfect light.

Here are a few of the pieces I'll be showing on Sunday, May 4, at the Saratoga Rotary Art Show at West Valley College in Saratoga. Some may survive to make an appearance in my Etsy shop after the show, some may not. The show buzz is at peak levels, and I was flattered to be mentioned by Deborah Rice, the show's chairperson, in a local newspaper article.

Come on out and enjoy the show!

"Cool Water" necklace with an amazing bicone made from
Khaos, complimented by labradorite rondelles.

"Copperopolis" neckpiece with hollow lampwork beads
and handmade viking knit copper collar.

"Industrial Lynx" bracelet with my own lampwork, handmade
oxidized fine silver chain, clasp, and charms.

"M16 Eagle Nebula" necklace featuring an amazing focal bead made
from shards, stichtite gemstone beads, and one of
my own handmade fine silver clasps.

Another in the "Cool Water" series, featuring a khaos, silvered ivory,
and clear focal, handmade fine silver bail, and aquamarine beads.


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