Come stop by my booth at the Mesa Arts Center Holiday Arts Fesitval! I will have lots of new jewelry for sale, and hopefully some Christmas ornaments too (depends on how much work time my little girl allows me this week:). Which reminds me, its been a while since I posted a picture of her on here. We recently moved, and she now has a backyard to play in...which she loves:)
Mesa Arts Festival
When:Saturday, December 8 - Sunday, December 9, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: Mesa Arts Center
The 2012 Mesa Arts Festival is the
premier place to find unique gifts for the holidays! The annual festival
will feature original works of art for sale from local, regional and
national artists in various mediums; live entertainment showcasing local
and national talent on two stages; live artist demonstrations; the
Bookmans Family Activity Area and an array of culinary delights.
Kick off the holidays at Mesa Arts Center and experience this fun and exciting community event!
Next weekend I am teaching a workshop on Earrings down in Tucson. We will spend two full days exploring the ins and outs of all different types of earring findings from traditional fishhooks to hinged loops.
Styles of earwires covered include
several variations of traditional fishhooks, kidney wires, posts, hinged
hoops, forged hoops, swing hoops, extended earwires, and more. I am really excited about this workshop because there really is SO MUCH you can do just with simple earrings!! And its in my hometown, which is great. I love having excuses to go home (and Eegees!!) :)
Unfortunately, the workshop sold out pretty quickly so there are no open spots left, but...
I will also be presenting a "FREE and Open to the Public" lecture entitled "Invented Heirlooms". The lecture will be held on Friday, October 12th from 7:00-8:30pm at the Randolph Center Photo Lecture Room, Bldg #2, 200 S Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711.
If you are in Tucson, I would love to see you there. Talking in front of a crowd is scary but its less scary with friendly faces in the audience!!
The weeks and days are rushing by so fast...faster than EVER. I am so busy teaching this semester I have yet to find balance. My little girl grows bigger and more beautiful every day, while all I can do is watch and hope that each and every day she knows that she is loved. My baby is gone and a child has taken her place.
Like I said, this semester is a little crazy with how much I am teaching. But its good. I love my job. Truly I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love. I know how lucky I am.
That's all for now, just wanted to let you all know that I am still here:)
I am participating in the upcoming "Metals and Jewelry Invitational" at West Kentucky Community and Technical College: Paducah School of Art. The Show opens September 21st and is a way for the school to boost interest in their new Metals and Jewelry program. See more info in the news article (Paducah Sun) below. I am honored to be a part of this exhibition and have several friends participating as well whose work I really admire. I wish I could see the show in person but unfortunately will not be making the trip to Kentucky. If you are in the area, be sure to check it out!
A few years ago I did a little post about when I made shibuichi for the first time. My friend Victoria Altepeter taught me how to make it. I get tons of hits on this post and tons of people are directed to my blog when they do a google keyword search for "shibuichi". I have google analytics, which is how I know how people find my blog. Its a cool and creepy thing.
Anyway, I thought since I get so much traffic to my blog from people looking to learn how to make shibuichi, that I should do a more detailed post on the matter. So, here we go.
How to make your own shibiuichi!
Shibuichi is a Japanese alloy of silver and copper. It can range anywhere between 5% silver to 50% silver with the rest being copper. Shibuichi is a beautiful pinkish white metal that can take a wide range of patinas to change to many colors from blues and greens to deep reds and oranges. It works wonderfully, reticulates to amazing textures, and casts well. Oh, and because of its high copper content, its cheaper than sterling! I prefer a 70-80% copper and 20-30% silver alloy.
First you need to decide what precentage you want your alloy to be. Once you have determined that, cut your scrap metal into small pieces and weigh it out (separately by metal). Keep in mind that if you are using sterling instead of fine silver you have to account for the fact that sterling already is 7.5% copper.
Your next step is to decide what kind of ingot you are going to pour (sheet or wire). Then make sure you carbon coat the ingot so your metal will not stick to it. Do this by lighting just the gas on your oxy/acetylene torch and running the flame over your ingot mold. The smoke that comes off the gas only flame is dark dirty and will totally coat your mold in carbon.
See how black it is?
Then its time to preheat your crucible. Make sure your crucible is large enough to hold the amount of metal you are going to pour. You should have a crucible designated just for shibuichi (although depending on your alloy, it may be ok to use your sterling crucible). This is so you do not cross contaminate your metals. Light your torch and heat up your crucible until it is slightly glowing with heat. Also make sure to give it a coating of flux (borax). Make sure you always wear protective eyewear when working with the torch, and other appropriate safety gear.
Now you are ready to start melting metal. This is where it gets fun! I always start with my higher melting temperature metal first (so in this case, copper). Put your CLEAN copper scraps into the crucible and heat with the torch until they are completely molten to a liquid state. Then add your silver and heat until it is melted. Add a little more borax and scrape any junk off the surface of your liquid metal. Make sure to stir with a carbon rod so you know the metal is completely molten.
When all your metal is liquified, you are ready to pour into your ingot. This takes coordination and practice. I am not coordinated and almost always spill some out. Luckily any spills are recoverable!
Try to pour continuously and quickly. If you go to slow or have breaks, you may not end up with one solid piece when it cools.
Wait until the metal is no longer red hot before opening the ingot mold, or taking your metal out (depending on which type of mold you are using). Then you can open it up, take the metal out, quench in water and then pickle.
After pickling I take my ingot to the belt sander and grind off any sharp edges or flashing. When rolling your metal down in the rolling mill these sharp edges can cause cracks. If you do see any cracks when rolling out your metal, make sure to grind them completely away right away, otherwise they will just get bigger and bigger each time you feed your metal through the rolling mill.
As you can see from the picture below, I poured too slowly and got a separation of the metal in my ingot. This part needs to be cut off or it will just crack.
After grinding and rounding all edges, you are ready to mill your metal down to whatever form you want it in (sheet or wire). You don't have to anneal yet, because when pouring the ingot the metal definitely reached annealing temperature! Set your rolling mill for the thickness of your ingot, and then tighten just slightly. You dont want to force the metal too fast. Each time you feed your metal through the rollers, you can tighten them down a little. All mills are different, but I usually tighten between and eighth and a quarter of a turn.
Once you feel more resistance, its time to anneal. I usually only roll my ingot through the mill 4-5 times before annealing. Just keep annealing and running it through the mill until you get the thickness that you want!
I recently finished up a bunch of custom spinning rings. These rings are a little challenging to make...there is an interior silver band, then the outer spinning band, and then two "caps" that are basically silver rings that slide over the inner ring and solder in place so the center spinning ring is held in place. Its a challenge because they are all one of a kind, and because getting everything to fit tightly for soldering, while not soldering the spinning band in place (otherwise it wouldn't spin) is a little tricky. But I enjoy making them and they seem to be a high demand item. The one pictured above was my favorite, just because of all the meaning this couple put into the symbols and text on the ring.
Usually people like the spinning band to be copper because they enjoy the color contrast from the silver, but this client choose nickel and I love how this ring came out. The color difference between silver and nickel is very subtle but very nice.
I also really like how these last ones turned out. People always want text but this couple just wanted a simple hammer texture and I think they turned out great.
Here's whats on my plate for fall...sign up now, classes start soon! I'll be at Mesa Art Center, Central Arizona College, and doing a few weekend workshops all over the place(more details on those to come).
My baby girl turned 1 last week. I don't know where the time has gone...I only know that it has flown by faster than ever before. She has changed my life so drastically and so permanently its hard to even remember what life was like before she came.
We had a little carnival party to celebrate and Ellie had so much fun. She is one LOVED and SPOILED girl.
Daddy and his little lion cub:)
With the grandparents!!
We are so lucky to have this girl, and so lucky that she has so many people who love her.
This past weekend I gave a workshop at Tempe Center for the Arts. They asked me to give a workshop that would be available to families coming in to visit the gallery. It was hard for me to come up with an idea for a workshop that would be interesting and easy for people of all ages and backgrounds. But, after much thought, I pitched the idea of doing old fashioned paper cut silhouettes. I felt that it related to my personal work, and the theme of the exhibition and would be something that could reach a diverse audience. The curator loved the idea and really took off with it. She had the museum preparator build a modern take on the old fashioned silhouette chairs popular in the 18th century.
Just wanted to share a recent article/interview about my work in the East Valley Tribune. The article can be read here. Its so great to have some publicity for the eleMEnTAL show. I promise I will be posting installation pics soon!
A couple of weeks ago I took a Damascene, or Nunome Zogan, workshop down in Tucson with Fred Zweig. Damascene is a technique of inlaying fine silver and gold into a steel background. I had seen the technique demonstrated by Bruce Clark while I was in college, but never actually tried it out. The workshop was a nice opportunity to see the technique again and actually try it out myself this time. I had a great time and can't wait to use this technique in a new piece!
You can see a short youtube video from the class here.
The first thing we did was finish off some chisels that Fred made for us. They were made from a relatively small sized tool steel. See Fred below showing us the proper angle for the shape of the chisel.
Then we began chiseling the texture into our steel plates. Above you can see I am just getting started, and below I am about halfway through my third round of chisel marks.
This is the start of my sample, just inlaying some fine silver scrolls.
Fred has an amazing (and HUGE!!) collection of damascene pieces from both Japan and Spain. He was nice enough to let us all touch and photograph his collection!
This piece (above and below) was pretty cool because it was actually marriage of metals rather than damascene, so the design could be seen from both the inside and the outside.
This was a copper box with silver and shibuichi inlaid.
This case was also marriage of metals, rather than damascene.
Coolest matchbox I have ever seen (above)
We used small paper punches to cut out our foil designs for inlaying.
Here are my samples in progress.
And this piece below was something I actually picked up while I was in Japan a couple of years ago. I love it, and now its even more special to me because I understand the time and practice that goes into creating these beautiful damascene pieces!
Like I said, the workshop was great and I can't wait to work the technique into a new piece!
I am a metalsmith, educator, wife, and mother, living the life of an ex-pat in Doha, Qatar. I moved to Doha from Arizona, where I had previously spent most of my life. I earned a Bachelors of fine art in metals in 2006, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Metals in 2010. I was the resident artist at the Mesa Art Center from 2010-2013, and an adjunct professor in metals at Central Arizona College. I am currently trying to balance navigating/living in a foreign country with being a mother and a practicing artist. My blog is a place for me to share my thoughts, experiences, successes and failures with you.