Sunday, October 30, 2011

Episode 1 Technical Notes

As promised, I thought I'd share some of what I learned in creating these challenge projects.
Afterall, that's the whole point of this silly experiment.


Probably my favorite skill learned this week was working with wood. I've never made wood beads, so it was great fun to try. I used my band saw to cut the curtain rod into 1.5" segments and then use the belt sander to sand off the paint and "facet" the edges. The edge of belt sander was used to draw lines into the surface of the wood before drilling a hole with the drill press. My inspiration was from some photos I saw by Laura Bowker. She does AMAZING faceted glass beads and shared how-to photos at the recent Northwest Bead Society bead bazaar.


The pendant was cut from some tin, a piece of the red styrofoam pear was cut in a shape of a cabochon, and it was riveted together using Crafted Findings riveting tool.

The first thing I learned was that tin is actually too soft to use with the riveting tool. The hole stretched as I riveted and the rivets kept popping. This is one of my favorite new tools and it performs perfectly every time, so I was surprised. But, placing a tiny washer on the back of the rivet before riveting did the trick.

Second, I was happy to use a new trick I developed at the Bead and Button show while helping a student who struggled making a frame for a domed piece of plexiglass. She had work-hardened the metal quite a bit, so when it came time to flare the hole to create a "bezel" for the dome, we could not get it to flare without collapsing the whole frame in the dapping block (we did not have any torches available to anneal the metal). Now, whenever I create a frame for any type of dome or cabochon, I screw it between two of the new Faux Bone donuts so that the outside edge of the frame stays flat while we use a dapping punch to flare the inside of the frame. This trick was inspired by a class with Nancy Megan Corwin, where she taught us how to saw out hydraulic press forms. (The photo will give you an idea of what I am talking about, but when making a frame, the metal disc would have a center hole cut out that is just larger than the center hole of the Faux Bone donut - this photo is from another project.)

This is an example of how photography can make things look better than they are...truth be told...this belt is hideous! I think I'll name it the Thunderdome Utility Belt. It was created in much the same way I created Cristina's Cuff, the last project in my book, Spotlight on Wire. In fact, you can see a preview of that project on Kalmbach's website. Instead of a bead loom, I simply strung the wires between two chairs.

So, my overall lesson? TAKE CLASSES! I may not be making cutting edge glass beads like Laura Bowker, or doing world-class chasing work like Nancy Megan Corwin, but both of these women taught me something that helped me in my work. So thanks ladies!

I had promised my daughter she could watch the show the next day after school. After watching it, she immediately said "I want to do that!" She spent 15 minutes gathering her items and... here she is with what I think is a pretty cool bracelet from a rubber gasket, zip ties, wire and a piece of a basket. She also started a felt purse using her new sewing skills...but a 6 year old has only so much attention span!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Project Create Recklessly - Episode 1

Welcome to Project Create Recklessly!

With the premier of Project Accessory my own challenge begins! Each week (hopefully) after watching Project Accessory (Lifetime, Thursday at 10pm ET/9pm C) I'll try to repeat the challenge at some point before the next episode and then blog about it here.

I'll likely post 2 blogs per to show you what I've done, and another that explains what I learned in regards to techniques/materials/etc. that worked or didn't work. Lets make this a learning experience for us all...and don't worry, I'm laughing with you!

Care to join me? Post your Project Create Recklessly photos on my Facebook page for all of us to see! Be sure to share this blog with you friends...afterall, only all of you can judge whether I'm in, or out!

Enjoy and thanks for visiting!

Create a necklace, belt and one other item from items scavenged from a 15-minute visit to a storage unit.

Create a necklace, belt and one other item from items scavenged from a 15-minute visit to my basement storage room.

After 15 minutes, this is what I had collected:

Windshield wiper, 2 plastic and 2 tin boxes, kids science kit, CD, Wood shelf, baseball glove (which hubby promptly removed from my pile), knee pads, swim noodle, misc phone and computer cords, 3 mice and one keyboard, 2 large washers, basket, non-skid tape, plastic tap light, can light fixture, ceiling light fixture, misc small pipes, plastic kid ball toy, red styrofoam pear, coat hooks, wood curtain rod, security camera, glass bear music box, sponge, flower bulbs and garden rock.



Wood beads made from the wood curtain rod, metal pendant and flowers from the metal tin, red "cabachon" cut from the styrofoam pear, ball clasp from the security camera, strung on computer keyboard cord.

Other items:Bolts and nuts, rivets, Gilder's paste (gold)


Phone and computer cords, large washer

Other items used: Gilder's Paste (gold)

I created this in much the same way I created "Cristina's Cuff", the last project in my book Spotlight on Wire.


Created from non-skid tape, can light fixture, computer keyboard cord, phone cord

Other items: Nuts and bolts, Gilder's paste

More detail about the items/techniques used will be posted this weekend...thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art and Soul...Filled My Soul

Just got back from Art and Soul in Portland and had a fabulous group of students. Thought you might like to see some their work (below). I wish I had gotten photos of them all! I do have some more on my Facebook page.

Although I am really happy to be out of the retail business, two of my students (you know who you are girls) reminded me of the one thing I do miss....witnessing the connections that get formed. To be creative, you have to be new ideas, new processes, new ways of thinking about things. Otherwise, your work becomes stagnant, your creativity is stifled. So, when we put ourselves in an environment that in its nature requires this openness, we also invite the opportunity to connect with people in different ways than we might normally.

This was something I watched happen often at the shop. It was not an unusual occurrence for students to form friendships that were clearly going to last a lifetime. I think two of my students this week did just that. And, although the jewelry made this week was beautiful and inspiring, the beauty of the connection by these two new friends by far surpassed it all. Thanks for letting me be part of that.

(Left to right: Susan, Marsha, Karen. Bottom: Stephanie, Lori, Kathy, Shawn)