Friday, August 29
Thursday, August 28
Butterfly wings, and some beetles, have a sheen to them, that shows their glistening color in the light. Refracting and reflecting back the light that lands on them. Dragonfly wings have that look.
Very ancient japanese porcelain vases and cups used for the tea ceremony have that characteristic too, of translucence. The play of light on the surface, the color like the sky or deep pure water. The light goes through the crackled glaze, bounces off the whiteness of the porcelain clay body underneath, and goes back to your eye, making the porcelain surface appear to glow with an internal colored light.
These little heart shapes are more color test tiles, deliberately sanded and buffed with wear, to bring out the light and sheen.
The newest colors. The elusive, transient colors.
Azure, like the ocean in the tropics.
Like the sky after a rain storm.
Wednesday, August 27
The backing was shaped and rounded in the dapping block, then the sterling silver was attached for the earwires.
They are earrings, wrapped and encased in darkened patina metal.
I didn't want the part that goes through the ears to be darkened, so it's bright sterling color.
They look like tiny machine gears, capped with clear glass. Preserved. Faux-tique.
Say goodbye to one of my favorites - Walden Necklace has gone to its new owner - I sold it. I was happy to see someone loving it and wanting to wear it, and kind of sad to see it gone. It was a one of a kind piece, I can do something in a similar style, but those elements were kind of unusual.
Sometimes I'm stumped on how to use beads or focal elements, but that necklace just came together. Almost as though it knew how I should make it, and I just had to listen to the suggestions.
Magical. Does that ever happen for you? Where the design just happens in front of you?
Tuesday, August 26
I love color. I'm enjoying mixing and testing these colors.
Don't these little hearts in a circle look like flowers?
When I travel, I take a little plastic pouch with a child's set of watercolor paints, an inexpensive plastic brush, and colored pencils. To be able to draw or paint something, if a stunning image or fun design shows up, but not so fancy that my ideas dry up against the stunning whiteness of the page, unable to make any marks.
These little colorful hearts remind me of that paintbox. Very unsophisticated, pure colors. Luminous.
Butterscotch. ginger, claret, merlot.
Candy apple, persimmon, toffee, cinnamon.
Coffee, rum, cocoa, licorice, mint.
The words bring up memories of the colors, smells and tastes.
That's what I think of when I see these little colored hearts. The colors of the insides of a candy store.
The researchers say that the sense of smell is directly linked to memory. When I see these colors, I experience the memory of scents.
Monday, August 25
Gray green, bright green, and blue-green. Grass green, jade green. Mint.
I think I will make a hole in one side and put them on a ring.
Still trying for turquoise, robin's egg and sky blues. Denim and indigo. Periwinkle. Elusive colors.
Don't know why I'm having such a hard time with getting the blues.
Sunday, August 24
I put the two little enameled fused glass pendants next to a ruler, to give a better idea of their size.
When I first peeked into the kiln when the firing was almost over, at first I thought the hole had completely closed up, but this morning I could see that it had just tapered in and was smaller.
So I re-drilled the hole, to open it up more.
They look like slabs of frozen time, like they are made of ice with the image frozen inside. Like glacier beads. Makes my imagination go rambling with ideas of a lost polar expedition and these are the artifacts, a skeleton key and a pocketwatch image.
So I have a decision to make, maybe you can help me out. I can attach the wire wrapping and make the sterling silver toggle to turn these into clasps for a front closing design. Or I can leave them like this, for a wire wrap at the top, maybe even make a bezel for them, and they can be pendants, focal beads for a necklace.
I'm having trouble making up my mind. These beads are one of a kind, so if I grind their edges to turn them into a clasp and attach the hardware it's a one-way trip for them. I could make another later as a bead but it wouldn't be exactly the same look.
So what do you think? Glass Pendant Bead? or Glass Toggle Clasp?
Saturday, August 23
And the grinder for the glass. Noisy, wet, messy - but lots of fun. To watch solid glass shaped right in front of you. Very exciting.
Today the glass for the next group of clasps is being shaped and ground and the hole drilled for the toggle to go through. That is nerve-wracking, and there is a deep breath taken before plunging into the hole drilling process. And whoosh - a big exhale when it works out okay.
This photo show the fronts of the glass clasp pieces after grinding and beveling. See the scuff-marks and rough edges? That's why they go back into the kiln for a fire polish, to smooth them out and make them all glossy again. They have three firings, in all, to make the finished glass clasp.
You can see the back of the key design clasp here, and the front of the clock glass clasp. The backs have very faint writing designs on them, very subtle. These are substantial pieces of glass even after I shaped and ground down the edges, 2 7/8" x 1" wide.
The grinder I use has a beveling station on top of it, so I can put an angled edge on the glass.
When the glass comes out of the kiln from the second firing (capping the enameled image with clear glass) it's not very square on the edges and sometimes the clear cap slides around a little. That's one reason why I fuse the enamel design on the glass in the first firing, so it won't smudge if the clear glass slips or flows in firing to a full fuse at 1500 degree F.
When I use the grinder the glass has to be kept wet, to protect the diamond carbide grinding bit, and to keep the heat from building up in the glass. The glass might crack if it gets too hot during grinding. And it creates a kind of soupy glass particle spray that can't help but go everywhere. I always put on a heavy vinyl wrap-around apron to keep from getting soaked, and to keep the glass particles off my clothes.
Most important of all - I wear these glasses. To protect my eyes from little shards of glass getting anywhere near them. I can feel the grinder spray on my face sometimes, so I know it's getting up that high. The safety glasses aren't good looking and I look like a geek wearing them, but they are ultra-super-important!
What do you think of them?
Friday, August 22
I wanted to thank all of you who have voted in the poll, it really does help me focus my time in the studio - and it makes me grin to see that there's no one thing that's way ahead in the polling. We have so many other polls going on in this season, it's fun to have a jewelry poll where you can vote and have immediate effects.
Made this little heart link, textured and lined, out of fused fine silver.
Hanging on an oval link, it moves when you wear it, and is fun to fiddle with, if you are a jewelry fiddler and fidgeter like I am. I play with my jewelry, and this one is a great fun to play with.
I can see it as a dangle on a charm bracelet, or groups of them joined with jump links or small fused links to make a chain. If you want to see how it's done and the process, the photos and descriptions on fusing fine silver will show up if you use this link. Or check out the label for 'Fused Silver Links' to see more posts about fine silver chain, it facinates me how silver can be made into such useful little charms and links.
Have been playing around with the two-hole zephyr beads, to make a design. This is the first, it's a zephyr cuff bracelet. I used some of my hand dyed costume pearls and bicone acrylic beads, they matched and coordinated very well. It reminds me of some of the costume jewelry from the 1930's that my grandmother had, stored in a drawer in one of the chests.
It's easy to make and quick, looks very vintage. You can make one with any of the colors of the zephyr beads and it would be beautiful, I have dyed costume pearls to match most of the colors. I used an oval and two square zephyr beads, but you could choose all small squares, or one of the big round zephyrs.
I like the cuff style bracelet because it doesn't go all the way around the wrist, so I can easily write or use the mouse with the bracelet on my right arm. I try to make my jewelry the way I prefer to wear it - comfortable, lightweight and easy to get on and take off.
I know some of you like to make the jewelry, and some just want to buy it made up, so you have both options. I'm thinking of making up a kit with all the things needed for the design, to make it easy.
Made up larger, this would also be a great design for a choker necklace, with a big merlot zerphyr round bead and some of my hand dyed deep costume pearls. Pretty for the holidays for parties, or for gifting.
Just got another idea - could use the zephyr beads to make sets of drink charms, to identify wine glasses during a party.
Can you think of other ways to combine these things to make gift and jewelry ideas? Post them!
So what'll it be - more hearts, more charms, or all of the above?
Tuesday, August 19
When you think of jewelry designs, you might think of pearls, silver and gold, beads and chain. When you think of 'found object' jewelry, you might conjure mental images of game pieces, skeleton keys and ceramic doll components, all of which can make interesting and unique wearable jewelry art.
But if you observe the world in an even more unique way, you could also see jewelry design opportunities in wooden rulers, computer resistors and pieces of regular No. 2 pencils.
Amy creates beautiful, distinctive and unique jewelry, with the intention to use materials in a way that recycles, salvages or makes and maintains a positive impact on the environment.
Making jewelry since 1996, her work reflects her love for functional objects and a wonderful balance and sense of design. She believes in the iconic power of the object, reasserted in a new incarnation as decorative object.
Using cold connections with sterling silver, she converts the ordinary into an ornament. Nothing is out of bounds, including guitar picks, toothbrush handles and wooden chopsticks. Would you recognize the objects in the photo on the right as sections of colorful toothbrush handles, converted into a necklace?
Based out of California, her emphasis is on recycled or sustainable materials for jewelry designs, and her work is featured here in Saint Louis at the Saint Louis Art Museum and in Kansas City, Missouri at Temple Slug. You can find a gallery listing in your area on her website.
Her jewelry art designs also have a tremendously humorous sense of fun, as she uses slices of colored pencils, pieces cut from aluminum knitting needles and groups of test tubes to create visually colorful, lovely and stimulating jewelry designs.
She takes ordinary materials and transforms them, by cutting them into smaller pieces or reorganizing them to disguise their original functions, and creates gems from everyday objects like resistors and teddy bear eyes.
Taking everyday materials, like coffee beans and alphabet pasta, she makes molds with them and casts their shapes in sterling silver to create beads that convey the original purpose of the object but converts them to lasting objects that have a different purpose. See the organic and streamlined shape of a coffee bean in the earrings in the photo to the right?
So as you walk around the house or around the block, keep your eyes and mind open to design ideas and look at things in a whole new way.
Go to Amy's website for additional information and inspiration, check out her work, you won't believe your eyes! (photos from her website at amyjewelry.com - photo credits Jack Gescheidt)
Here's a follow up question for you, if you want to post a reply or comment - what's the most unusual item you have used in your jewelry designs?
Monday, August 18
She had access to a saw and files, and we would cut the bowl part off, and bend the handle to make it round like a cuff bracelet.
I still have one of those old bracelets we made back then.
After that time, rings made from silver spoon handles became popular.
This little bead reminds me of those times, the design on it looks like the end of an old silverware spoon handle like the kind we looked for; only this one is made as an oval 3-way connector bead.
But when I look at it, it's a trip back in time for me. I think I'll go dig out that spoon bracelet we made years ago, and wear it again.
Sunday, August 17
Made some 5-link fine silver chain, will put that on expeditionD later today, it's in the tumbler being polished right now. The sound of the silver rolling around in the tumbler is kind of soothing.
Making the beads and chain take a tiny bit of time here, a little smidge of time there, and I can work it into a few minutes during the day.
Making a finished jewelry piece seems to take longer, finding just the right other pieces to go together with the beads, trying out things together. Assembling, coordinating. Testing.
I don't know how all you jewelry designers do it, finding the time to make all the fabulous and unique combinations.
But not everyone who likes beads has tools or other components to make a bead up into jewelry on their own, so I try to put some finished pieces on the lynndavis.etsy site for people who want something they can give or wear right away.
The stylized tulip with its three petals is a dominant feature in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. It is referred to as the Trinity Tulip and it symbolizes the Trinity as well as faith, hope and charity.
The heart is religious in its representation of the heart of God, the source of all love and hope for a future life. The colors are used to give them additional meaning; red symbolizes strong emotion and the white background symbolizes purity.'
Saturday, August 16
The kiln has to be free from the fired glass before I can fire some silver metal clay. This is the reason some folks have more than one kiln, I just wait and turn to something else while I wait.
So while I waited, I did get a pile of beads ready for the expeditionD site, and some for jewelry pieces on the lynndavis etsy shop.
They have a dark patina metal wrap and loops. Some are matched sets and some are single beads. There are whimsical beads, and spiritual beads. Some look like folk art, and others like ancient artifacts. There are glass flower power beads, and gear earrings. I will get them on the Etsy site soon.
But I wanted to play with these first, to get them ready to use. I enjoy looking at them, thinking about ways to use them with beads or chain.
And I pulled together some of my hand dyed acrylic bicone and costume pearl beads in a golden yellow color, some seed beads, and some of the zephyr bisque colored beads.
I put the zephyr bisque heart on steel wire wrap with dyed bicone acrylic beads and little glass seed bead dangles
Want to use memory wire with the seed beads, to make a bracelet using the oval and square zephyr beads.
I loved reading all your comments about the two little giveaway beads, it's always fun for me to hear the thoughts and funny stories you post in the comments.
Here's an announcement! TA DA - the bomber leather tooled book cover buffalo indiana jones dark chocolate beads were won by ..... AMANDA!
Wednesday, August 13
They are small but strong, ready to ride. I hear engines in the background revving, when I look at them. Silently telling their story from history.
They look like ceramic tiles in a deep, deep brown with a scuffed glossy shine.
Like they washed up from a shipwreck off the coast and were found in the sand, half buried.
Or like survivors of an inferno, the tiles found in the ash, from a ceramic tile factory in ancient times, in Italy below Vesuvius.
Like they went down in the wreck of a steamboat on the Mississippi river, and came up in the mud of a farmer's field as he was hoeing his corn, to mull over the crusty beads in his work calloused hand.
What story do you see, when you look at these rough and ready bomber jacket beads? Tell me a tall tale, post a story comment and win them if you are selected, winner announced on Saturday.
Monday, August 11
The two lovebird beads at each end are a bronze gray-green color.
The middle lovebird bead is a rusty iron color.
Color is unpredictable. I was working on some greens and blues. I did get one sort of yellow-green color. Turquoise is a hard color to mix. Kind of a yellow blue-green color. If I get it to come out, it will be an exciting thing. Periwinkle, gray-blue, eggplant blue. Indigo.
Friday, August 8
And tomorrow it's my day to do Studio Saturday for the Art Bead Scene blog. The theme for August is 'Something to Say' - if you have beaded words or worded beads, be sure to enter them for consideration as the Designer of the Week.
Considering combining the Zephyr Stone beads with Wordiness and having a Talking Zephyr bead. If I get that worked out I'll share it on the Art Bead Scene blog.
Historically ceramic porcelain, litophanes were not colored but were creamy ivory bisque ceramic. The photo on the right of the Zephyr Round Bisque is the first bead lithophane replica that I made, with the creamy color and the deep detail. When I read more background about lithophanes I learned that some of them were hand-colored, like old photograhs, with the pale colors on top of the images, ghostly and faintly pastel.
So I mixed up some colors of deep rose, merlot wine color, chestnut brown and a mossy green, to use and give them that antique vintage color feeling. Next is to mix up some blues, teals and deep turquoise colors.
Thursday, August 7
In old times, paper was made by hand, and parchment from sheepskins. The ink was made using the galls or bolls on oak trees.
The colors on this replica ceramic bead remind me of the dark, rich colors of ancient ink. The interesting thing about ink made from oak gall is that the color of the writing, instead of fading with time, actually deepened and got darker, as the oak gall oxidized with age.
Ancient maps and historical documents have this sense of antiquity in the color, like the swirls, knots and columns in this chestnut brown zephyr bead.
That's what I decided to call them, in spite of the facinating suggestions in the comments to the previous post. Love the ideas and the rhythmic sounds of some of them - lithophane legerdemain being one of them.
I was walking down a hallway thinking of nothing in particular, when I thought about the word 'zephyr' and wasn't certain of the definition. Zephyr - Something that is airy, insubstantial, or passing [Middle English Zephirus, Zephyrus, from Latin Zephyrus, from Greek Zephuros].
That seemed appropriate for the idea of the image stone that a lithophane is - the image is fleeting, insubstantial, only visible when backlit. Lithophane \Lith`o*phane\, n. [Litho- + Gr. fai`nein to show, reveal.] Porcelain impressed with figures which are made distinct by transmitted light, as when hung in a window, or used as a lamp shade; ceramic piece with intaglio design; a piece of thin translucent porcelain or china with an intaglio design
An insubstantial design, revealed in the depths, enhanced by the color of chestnuts, the color of oak gall ink on parchment. Zephyr Round Chestnut Stone.
Wednesday, August 6
A lithograph is a type of printing that uses a lithography stone and drawings with a type of pencil or crayon with grease that the inks cling to.
A dagguerotype is also a vision in metal, etched into copper or zinc.
Any name ideas for the tiles, squares, ovals and disks?
Tuesday, August 5
Yesterday I talked about an historical type of porcelain.
Here are the beads inspired by the lithophane.
Not backlit like the porcelain but with a polished glow.
The light shades glow, after sanding, polishing and buffing.
The dark mahogany reddish browns, the coppertones, ambers and the deep ivory cream tones.
Some with a matte finish, some polished to a bright reflective sheen. Like enameled copper or maroon glassy tints. Interlocking knots, floral swirls and delicate patterns in the beads, highlighted by the color in the depressions.
My interpretation of the lighted lithophane, in circular and oval disks, in large and small square tiles.
Ornamental, decorative, very vintage looking style. Like ceramic porcelain disks and squares.
Looking time-worn and much-handled.
They would be great set into findings, or as an oversized button closure on a knit bag.
Both front and back are patterned and colored, to make them reversible in a design. All of them have double horizontal holes side-to-side for stringing or wire work. Maybe for two strands of dyed costume pearls, or hand dyed bone beads. For two strands of seed beads, or ceramic rondelles. To use as a clasp for a closure, or the focal bead in a design.
Deep brown, amber, ivory and cream. They remind me so much of old leather bound books, the kind with the tooled leather designs on the front. Brown and aged, smooth from handling. The deep toned ones in old libraries.
What do you think?
Monday, August 4
I saw an episode a while back about David Jefferson of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who re-created the art of making porcelain lithophanes (episode MAS-508) and I was enchanted by the images backlit in porcelain.
There's a museum in Toledo, Ohio with a huge collection of them and lots of information on their website about them.
I'm not interested in creating the actual lithophanes, it seems very time consuming and tricky, but I love the look of them. For a while I've been thinking about how I could get that look in beads.
An actual lithophane has to be backlit for the image to show, so it's impractical for beads unless you favor holding your necklace up to the window to see the image. (No, I don't want to do that)
So I've been trying to find a way to capture the spirit of the ornate, light and beautiful lithophane images, without using the actual technique. No wax carving, mixing porcelain slip, plaster molds, firing porcelain.
Something must be in the air, a recent blog post by Caroline ( 'Caroline's Miscellany') just had a post about lithophanes and her cup collection with lithophanes in the bottom. So there are lots of collectors of this art form from history.
So, what's a lithophane? The Greek origin of the word means "light in stone" or to "appear in stone". An article in the Toledo Blade has a lot of background, but here's some basic information.
The two images at left show a lithophane panel of porcelain, the top one is not back lit. It just looks like a lumpy white fired clay panel.
The second one is the same panel with a light behind it. The thickness of the porcelain determines the amount of light that shines through, setting the picture's white, medium and dark areas. A lithophane can be very detailed, almost photographic.
Aren't they warm and lovely, like looking through a magic window into a lost vision of the past. This sconce was made by David Jefferson, the panels are lithophanes.
A lithophane is a three-dimensional porcelain plaque with sweet, romantic, literary or religious themes. They were made into lampshades, sconces, or put into stained glass panels and put into doors or windows. They reveal their image when backlit by sunlight, candles or electric lights, and were popular from 1830 to 1870 all over the world. Collectors have versions from Japan, China, Germany, Switzerland and England.
The image starts with a sheet of beeswax on a backlit glass panel, and an artist uses precision tools to carve the image. Where the wax is thin, more light will shine through. Some are very complex and have images of landscapes, characters, even The Last Supper by Leonardo was reproduced as a lithophane.
From the wax model after carving by the artist, a plaster cast or mold is made for pouring the fine grain liquid porcelain into. Porcelain is made with very fine particles and when fired is almost like glass. The images have a subdued, light night-like quality, like old engravings.
When the dry porcelain is pulled from the plaster cast, it takes up all the fine details from the wax carving made by the artist, to be fired in a kiln up to 2,300 degrees. Only about 40% of those made survived all the steps to final creation, either cracking in the mold, breaking when pulled from the mold or warping and shattering during firing. (Now do you see why I don't want to take up making actual real lithophanes?)
I've been experimenting, and later I'll show some beads that I made this weekend, in the spirit of the old porcelain lithophanes, but wearable and very vintage-looking, now that I've explained - what's a lithophane. I'll show my version, interpretation of the look. They can't require backlighting so they aren't exactly like a real lithophane, but I think they might capture the idea and feeling of them.
Sunday, August 3
Swoop and Soar
The storms came in the early morning, the heavy rain and thunder that makes the dog nervous.
The cool air after the storm didn't last long, but the sun was a welcome sight after the darkening morning passed.
Have been making beads all morning, finally took some time out to put together another 'Wings' dangle. Had two feathered wing beads made up and someone else needed them, so just got one made for this piece today.
The brass charm says 'Wings, and there's a little bird charm on a handmade chain, made from gunmetal color wire. I don't make a lot of tiny chain like this, it's very time consuming to make from scratch using handmade jump rings, but I had it around and decided to use it for the dangle.
I'm trying out a new kind of bead based on a historical porcelain style, I'll put some information about it here later. Right now I need to go back to polishing and buffing beads so I can show them.