Sunday, May 29, 2011

Silver Class

I'm really enjoying going to someone elses studio for three hours one evening each week:) I really get to concentrate and be more productive than I do at home, having an expert brain to fire questions at is awesome too. I still typically have 3 different projects in process at once (not to mention the unfinished things at home!) but the one closest to completion is my bead tube ring.
A hammered silver band with a flap riveted tube

I suffered a small setback when this happened to the bead I was making the ring for...

 And then this...
Boo-hoo. As much as my beads are kiln annealed "for strength and durability" and generally tolerate being dropped on a concrete floor, they don't really like being hammered!
So then I had to make a new bead for the ring, which turned out brilliantly

So, next class to flare out the tube - without breaking the bead!

Today is the anniversary of Jeff Buckley passing away. I will be listening to his album Grace and remembering an amazing musician with a beautiful pure soul!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Eureka... Cab success!!

I sooo love when I come up with a solution to a problem and then my idea actually works out:)
After my cab disasters I looked online a bit for some answers without out luck, but then just letting it all percolate in my brain I eventually had an EPIPHANY in the middle of the night! I don't know if my idea is original? or if it's the way anyone else does it? or if it's actually just really simple and obvious? but it came to me seemingly out of the blue and I couldn't wait to get out to the workshop and give it a try.

I figured that maybe I could stop the centre of the beads collapsing and the holes moving up... by filling the holes with a glass stringer and allowing it to melt in. I was excited and it seemed like it would work but I wasn't sure until I gave it a try, (I thought my last experiment would work too!).

I went a lot gentler with the kiln heat too, and selected just flat beads without reducing colours.
ta da -
 They came out nicely smooth and rounded with flat bottoms and nicely tapered edges, YAY!
I still need to tweak the idea a bit, better fitting stringers and matching colours and maybe even melt a little further. I was being cautious this round so the holes are still a little open. Also the beads obviously get larger when they spread out so I need to use some smaller to begin with but I think I'm finally on the right track.
 I'm a happy girl:) So now heres's a whippet pic...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ugly slumps (or 'how not to')

I decided to try slumping some of my beads to eliminate the bead holes and turn them in to cabs for rings etc. I used kiln paper and selected some different shaped beads to experiment with, rounds, barrels, lentils, and so on, in the hope they would melt into smooth beautiful shapes like Mikelene of makes:)
My results weren't pretty.
I thought the lentils would be a good shape but as shown in those on the left below the holes gravitated upwards and scarred the surface on most of them:(
Looks like I needed to do a better job of cleaning out the bead release too:( And it seems my method of pumping up the kiln to high heat overcooked the silver colours and what were 'luminous' greens and blues came out muddy greens and grays:(
I should have taken some before shots too but I was acting on an impulsive spur of the moment! 

 There are a couple of possibly usable cabs, I do like the round one below left.
Overall not a good success rate though.
I really need to get some tips! I hope it can be done without having to split the beads in half first.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A handful...

of rings of course!
Most of these are from a while back but have been refined and 'properly' polished now, amazing the difference from what I thought was shiny to how shiny shiny can be with tripoli, dialux and my dremel, oh and a few hours spent:)
Now I need to get better at taking photos to show the shine

This is one of the newest pieces, as yet unnamed, but really much shinier in person.

I'm excited to be starting a silver-smith night class again, a repeat of the class I did 3 years ago now but the teacher was great and let the students make what they wanted at their own level. I was only just starting to make glass then and that became my obsession instead, but now I have been playing with integrating the two I can't wait to improve my metal skills and learn some new techniques with that, I might do an enameling workshop too. FUN!

Friday, May 6, 2011

April Disappeared

 Obviously I'm not a very conscientious Blogger! I'm gonna aim for at LEAST one post per month though;)
And I did make some stuff in April...
These beads were all various Double Helix silver colours over ivory, yep my favourite go-to combo. I love the names they give their colours too, I think L to R are Aurae, Gaia, Psyche, Triton, Clio and ?
My partner and son (age 13) were playing around and did some matching up with some BHB's (big hole beads) which I left on as optional/removable extras, next time maybe I'll make some that specificly match.

My Mum's been having chemo for lymphoma and claimed all these as presents for hospital staff.

I also got to Justin Townes Earle show in Wellington which was fantastic, (he won me when he opened for Wilco last year!) He's a lttle more country/old timey than I usually like, (actually I really like the term 'revivalist' !) Actually that was still late March but anyway he was great, brilliant guitar playing and his violin player Josh Hedley was equally amazing.
And Angel and Paisley are getting more used to each other, (they have new matching collars now too and I'm in the midst of recycling an old sleepig bag as Whippet coats for winter lol) and I love this pic of them mirroring each other:)