Thursday, March 29, 2012

Snowballs Make Good Snowmen

You know the saying “it snowballed?” That saying comes into play in my life often. One example is with the recent Art Jewelry hardware store jewelry call for entry. I always love a good challenge, so my 7-year-old daughter and I went to my local Ace hardware and picked out items I could envision incorporating into jewelry. She carefully recorded all the counts and costs onto the plastic bag in the hardware section (and really deserves a shout out for her patience as mom entered her creative zombie state).

Among the items we picked up were nylon spacers. I had just finished testing fabric dyes on Faux Bone (see previous blog) and was curious as to how they would perform on nylon. The acid dyes worked so well that I immediately ran out and bought more colors and start dying batch after batch. I made a few bracelets for the call for entry, settling on one (above), made one for my friend Kristi's blog hop (see previous blog), and then stumbled upon a necklace design I fell in love with (left - soon to be in the hands of it's new owner Lisa D). From this, I created my first jewelry line to sell, a goal I had wanted to set for myself this year but, frankly, didn't think I'd accomplish! 

So those snowballs...well, they stacked up to be a pretty good snowman! Thanks Art Jewelry for pushing me down the hill.

Be sure to check out the online Art Jewelry hardware store jewelry gallery. There are some AMAZING pieces...and check back soon for more photos of my new Rhythm series of jewelry.

Friday, March 2, 2012

To Everything Turn, Turn, Turn

So, as you may have read in my last blog...last week was a disaster as far as real work getting done. But I DID turn a dradle, or a top, er, something that resembles one of those things.

It started out two weeks ago when I made a necklace out of a nylon sink part to submit to an Art Jewelry call for submission for harware store jewelry (the piece didn't get accepted, but another did! Thanks folks! Look for their online gallery in the coming month).  It had holes in it, so I filled the holes with wool (after dying the nylon piece brown) and felted it before adding some other embellishments. I've been wearing it ever since. It has become one of my favorite new designs. Then I got the itch to make it in other materials. So off to Woodcraft in downtown Seattle. Surely, I could make these out of wood. While there I picked out some beautiful wood and learned the best way to make spheres was on a lathe. I was referred to an instructor who I called immediately.

Mr Jack Wayne was happy to help and we set up a time for a class. Turns out his first project ever was a sphere, so this told me it was meant to be. Often times when I am learning a new skill, I learn just as much about teaching as I do the skill. This was one of those cases.

I was struggling to turn a round form, not giving up, but struggling. It is all about holding the tool at the right angle and I just couldn't get it. Poor guy kept having to resharpen his tools, which I am sure was because I was holding them wrong. I kept thinking it must be like giving someone who has never driven a manual transmission keys to your sports car. It was clear he valued his tools and took good care of them. But he didn't say a fact he even taught me how to resharpen tools (I suspect because he knew I'd be doing a lot of that!)

He was very patient and just kept reloading new pieces of wood on the lathe, gently repositioning my tool and reminding me not to be scared of the loud noises they'd make now and again when I turned at too harsh of an angle.

Then he suggested I try a different tool and BAM...I got it. It reminded me that, as a teacher, sometimes we need to teach students not in the way WE want them do it, but the way THEY need to do it.

Sadly, I forgot to take my last, slightly oval bead off the lathe, but here are my first tries (the two on the right)...and his (the two on the left). He made that sphere in under 2 minutes. He made the top from my most miserable bead. That took him 1 minute.

But with a new rusty old lathe bought from an estate sale (complete with tools)...I am on my way to making a bead!