Saturday, February 28, 2009

Fun Photo of the Week (or maybe not ...)

This is what we lovingly refer to in these parts as a 'string of pearls' ... but actually it's a collection of spiderling cases. Once they hatch, each of these 'pearls' will release literally thousands of baby spiders. Not a happy thought for someone who is as afraid of spiders as I am. And there are zillions of these throughout the mangrove swamp. Wait 'til I show you a photo of the adults ... the arachnids in Florida are H-U-G-E.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hot off the workbench today ...

... is my one-of-a-kind, insanity-inducing Sea Anemone necklace.

I labored long and hard over this one. Studded with fine silver seashells including my favorite scotch bonnet shell plus a keyhole limpet, tiny scallops and a precious wentletrap surrounding a beautiful borosilicate cabochon, I added lots of casting grain to represent air bubbles. The necklace itself is strung on a double chain ... one is a textured and oxidized sterling silver open link chain; the other a strand of borosilicate beads and impression jasper rondelles. I added sterling silver bead caps with a wavy pattern and finished the necklace off with a sterling toggle clasp. I like it! :D

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The benefits of adding a torch patina to bronze ...

... can be quite apparent. This has to be the best patina I've achieved on a bronze piece. I managed this by waving my butane torch beneath the piece in selected areas using a slow, circular motion and then quenching the pendant in water. This particular necklace is part of my 'Catch the Wave' series.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Living on the fringe of a wildlife sanctuary ...

... can have its rewards, if you're as much a nature lover as I am. Where we live in Florida, we're separated from the beach only by a mangrove swamp that's part of a 500-acre privately-maintained wildlife refuge. This beautiful area is called home by egrets, osprey, ibis, pelicans, roseate spoonbills, blue herons, eagles, alligators, turtles, otters, raccoons, owls, snakes, some very exotic spiders and more.

From time to time, I'll bring you some interesting shots taken during my ritual morning walks through the mangrove swamp (via a boardwalk, where I'm safe from the gators!) and along the beach. Here's the first ... a brand new nest-in-progress being built by a mated pair of osprey. This nest, amazingly, is being constructed within 20 feet of the boardwalk at the top of a gnarled old mangrove tree.

Monday, February 16, 2009

What's on my workbench right now ...

It's a gorgeous day here in Southwest Florida ... but we've got people crawling all over our kitchen installing granite so I'm stuck inside. Not one to allow an opportunity to slip through my fingers, I've been experimenting with some new techniques today ... weaving and making seamless chains.

I'm happy with the texture of the woven pieces, but thinking they'll become embedded centers in pendants once they're dry and I've sanded them down. What I'll do is create frames for them. The links? Wow ... necklace? Bracelet? I like these. What do you think?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My dollhouse miniature Variegated Rubber Tree

To this day, I believe this was one of the finest miniatures I ever made. It was a commission for a collector who was one of my best customers.

I regret not having placed an object in this photo to show its scale ... it's only about five inches tall! Each leaf was freehand-cut, veined and painted, and it's 'planted' in my own faux potting soil mixture in a gorgeous wheel-thrown, glazed pot by my friend Carol Mann of England. Carol is both a miniature and full-size potter, and she does both equally well.

The real challenge in this piece was to create three separate stalks branching out from the plant's main stem without having the base look thick and clunky.

Fun Photo of the Week

Thought it might be fun to begin a weekly feature of fun photos I've taken in my travels or around town. The first of this series is my favorite cat door. I found this clever cut-out in the side of a house in Key West's historic district. Note the detail, right down to the whiskers!

Friday, February 13, 2009

My newest necklace, titled Coral ...

Every once in a while, I create a piece for myself. I built this one around the borosilicate glass cab at the center, which looks like an underwater chunk of coral. Warm colors look good on me (I'm a Spring, according to Color Me Beautiful, lol!) and this piece matches lots of items in my wardrobe. Plus, because I made the fine silver tube beads that run all the way around this piece, it became too labor-intensive for me to feel I could part with.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2009 Show Schedule

Going to be on Cape Cod this summer or fall? Please stop by and say hello! I'll be at the following Artisans' Guild of Cape Cod shows:

July 3/4 Nauset Middle School Lawn, Orleans

August 29/30 Chatham Community Center, Chatham

Oct. 10/11 Nauset Middle School, Orleans

Nov. 27/28 Nauset Middle School, Orleans

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

And here's a photo of a few of my dollhouse miniatures. The fully accessorized potting bench was a project I taught at the IGMA Guild School in Castine, Maine, a few years back. Students learned to make all the plants on the bench, which was custom built for the class by my husband, who's a mechanical engineer and a fairly accomplished woodworker. The other plant is my spathiphyllum. The X-Acto knife shows the scale of these items.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My very first blog post ...

Let's begin with my work ... they say a picture is worth a thousand words. So here's an example of one of my jewelry pieces, which is titled Sunrise. This has just been returned to me after being on loan to Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine, where photos of this necklace plus a few others will appear along with my PMC and fused dichroic glass tutorial in the Spring '09 issue. It should be on newsstands on or around March 1st.