Monday, April 28, 2008

Etsy Love

It is finals week and I definitely shouldn't be blogging when I am not even sleeping buuuuut...I just sold my 100th item on Etsy! It is so exciting!
Sadly, I have been really bad the last several months about posting or making jewelry for my shop. I finish up with school this week and plan on putting some serious TLC into my shop then! Fear not, jewelry will come soon:)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Studio Crawl

This Saturday I will be participating in a school wide graduate studio crawl. Feel free to stop by and check out my studio/work (and also the work of other ASU grads). I'll be in the art warehouse from 3:30-4:15!

Awesome New Stuff

Recently I traded etsy seller anatomyofaskirt for these AWESOME items. New Vinyl purse and New Vinyl Robot pouch = bliss!
I LOVE them and LOVE trading!
Check out her shop here!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Earth Day

Just wanted to wish you all a Happy Earth Day. I taught art for a year at a boys and girls club before I started grad school. When you work with kids you get to see lots of funny things. I've been saving this one to share for a while now. The artist was a 13 year old boy who thought art was very uncool. I thought this was hilarious and was just glad I got him to do something! He spelled toot wrong, but I think that makes it even more endearing. Enjoy your earthday and don't pollute!:)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Evolution of a Disaster

Well, this is what my disaster has evolved into. I am making 16" round wall pieces that are tufted and come out of the wall about 4". Each tuft has a brooch centered in it. These aren't resolved yet, but I am happy with the progress I have made from the original piece I did!!!
This is what the fabric looked like before I cut it up. I discharge printed the designs from a commercial fabric.
This is the inside of the little cushions... thick foam and a wood backing. The tuft is held in with a nut and bolt. I am not sure how many of these I will make. I made 22 brooches so I could make that many and then fill a whole wall with them, but I'm not really sure about that. I think I am going to put this project on hold for a while and move onto something else. Hopefully I will have an epiphany on how to finish...These are some of the brooches. They are sterling silver and brass. I soldered all the "filigree" together to the silhoette and then cold connected it to the brass backing.
At first I didn't like how different the patinas came out, but now I think I am happy about the individuality it gives them.

The brooches are all individual portraits of family members or close friends. The idea came from this family photo (my husbands grandparents and children) that I came across...

The little boy in the middle is my father in law when he was a child.

I have also been doing a lot of research on Victorian Era mourning and sentimental jewelry lately. I think I will do a post soon on more inspiration, but this is all for now...

P.s. Please feel free to critique me and give feedback in comments. I can use all the help/opinions I get!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cuttlefish Casting

Last week I taught my 3D Design class how to do cuttlefish casting. I had them carve their own molds and then we cast them in pewter. All but one of them worked out, but it was definetly a trial and error experience. Pewter melts at such a low temperature and stays liquid for so long! If we poured it right when it was molten it would just pour right through the mold. We had to get it molten and then let it cool for like 5 minutes before we poured it. That was the only way it would stay in the mold! Luckily we were able to pour multiple times in order to get a good cast. My students seemed to really enjoy it, mostly because they got to play with fire! I now have a better understanding of why most metalsmiths don't enjoy working in pewter. Enough said.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Disaster = Valuable Learning Experience

For weeks now, I have been working on the largest piece I have made in a very long time. I have been working on a 4 foot by 2 foot wall panel. This may not seem very large, but for someone who makes jewelry, this is huge!
This semester I am taking a printed textiles class from well known fiber artist and surface designer, Clare Verstegen. For this wall piece, I printed my own fabric (to give you an understanding of the dimensions, you are looking at 2 yards of fabric)...
The design is silhouettes of members of my family, and Victorian era ornamental circles.
I just can't get enough of the Victorian era stuff right now, jewelry, furniture, design, clothing, I love looking at it all!
Anyway, so the wall panel was going to be tufted like this image below. Instead of having buttons, I made 22 brooches that replace the buttons, but can be removed from the panel to be wearable and functional.
Tufting is where the fabric is pulled down and held in place with a button of some sort, to create little pillowy puckers on the surface. Tufting is usually used in furniture applications.
A friend (thanks Tony!) helped me build a 4'x2' frame with plywood backing to be the support for the wall piece. I then put a layer of 2" foam over the top and stretched my fabric. The fabric was just stapled to the back of the frame. I had planned on sewing the tufted parts, so I pre-drilled holes in the frame, and then once my fabric was in place, I pulled my needle and thread through and tried to pull the fabric tight to create the tufts. Well, that is when disaster first struck. The thread was so tight that it just wanted to pull and rip right through the fabric, which was a BAD thing!
Just then, an angel (the angel was named Mike and had a strong affinity for sculpture) descended from Heaven to be my saving grace. He and another friend (thanks Ellie) patiently brainstormed options with me. One of which was using buttons on the top of the fabric, so the thread could not rip it. I thought this was a great idea and tried it. It worked, but didn't have the appearance that I wanted. The fabric didn't pull and pucker like it had in my dreams. So, back to the drawing board. Oh, and I should mention that this was about midnight on the night before my critique. I promise I didn't procrastinate, I have been working massive amounts of time on this piece and there are only so many hours in the day (and only so many days in the week...). Anyway, so Mike geniously suggested that I use nuts and bolts (thanks Mike, I owe you one!).
It worked fabulously!
So, I spent hours pushing the nuts and bolts (that were too short) that I ran to get at Walmart at like 1 am, through my fabric, 2" foam and half inch plywood. My fingers hurt so badly I wanted to cry! My wall panel has 22 tufts, but it may have well as been 200!
Anyway, I got it put together for critique (sorry I don't have an image of it yet). It ended up looking like a couch, or like the top of this children's storage chest...
Which I hated!
Yes, this storage chest may have a purpose and place in the world, but it has no place in my artwork! Do you ever have those projects that just look so awesome in your imagination, but when you bring them into reality they are just so off?! This was definitely one of those...I was not happy at all with the final product, but was given many great suggestions in critique on how to make it better. The suggestion that I liked best was to make smaller circular and oval forms with one little tufted pucker as opposed to a large square or rectangular panel with several. I plan on getting this project done by Friday, in order to submit it to the Graduate MFA Summer Juried Exhibition. The work for the show is being selected by Dennita Sewall, Curator of Fashion Design at the Phoenix Art Museum. I am really excited to enter and am going to do everything in my power to get this done in order to make that happen! I will put up images when I am done, until then, wish me luck!
Through this disastrous project, I learned many important things, these just being a few...
-School is a great place to be (there are always people around at 2 am to help you figure things out.)
- No matter how much you plan something, you never really know how it is going to work until you actually do it
- You learn much more from your failures than you do from your successes
-Fabric is very forgiving.
-Time management is super important.
-Critiques are imperative and priceless. If you aren't in school, make friends with other artist who can critique your work. I think this will be the hardest part of not being in school anymore...
So, I will keep you updated, until then, think of me when you sit on your pretty little tufted sofas and chairs and imagine the process behind that small object!