Friday, October 28, 2011

Danielle's Green Dream

So, about a year ago, Danielle (from Minneapolis, college classmate and friend of daughter Laura's) found two fused glass pieces she loved. "Make me a necklace..." she said. Now, Danielle is one of those women who are unselfconsciously stunning. She's the young wife and mother of 3 with a speaking career and the style of a super model.
Her taste in jewelry tends to the big and bold and fabulous. Huge rings. Bold bracelets. Boots. Scarves. Headbands. Birds in her hair (seriously, at a wedding!) And it wasn't a live bird.....
She has the knack of wearing the unusual or something that would look awkward or even ridiculous on most of us and making it look good. (never mind that she is half my age....and probably half my weight....I'm still slightly envious.)
So this gives my quite a lot of room to make something with her glass pieces that not everyone would wear. I finished one last night and am actually wearing it today before I mail it to her. (Got to make sure it doesn't scratch, that it sits on the neck correctly, right?)
Here's the piece of glass - a twisted green and silver dichroic fused glass figure 8. The necklace uses these colors plus black with silver wire and findings. Some beads are plastic, some glass.
Combining disparate pieces is possible in a piece like this, which includes a piece of a broken vintage rhinestone bracelet, a cracked-marble, plastic beads, green and crystal vintage Mardi Gras beads from back when they actually threw out real beads instead of the mass-produced plastics of today.

There are also some funky glass beads, a large faceted quartz bead, a silver earring, a piece of rhinestone chain and part of a restrung 60s era multi-strand costume jewelry necklace.
The base chain was once a biker chain to attach to a wallet, so the clasp is correspondingly large.
So Danielle, it might take another year to make something with the other piece since I really need to spend my studio time on items to sell......but I hope you like your creation.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Silvain - Keeper of the Forest

As an admirer of art dolls, I've been wanting to try my hand again. Silvain, Keeper of the Forest, is the most recent result.
Silvain's head was sculpted from Sculpey clay, cured and painted. I wanted to make him Elvish, so tried a mix of green acrylic paint, which I promptly tried to remove, with mixed results....which I rather liked.

Hence his blotchy, semi-painted complexion.His eyes are cobalt blue glass beads.

His body began as a bundle of willow twigs (an idea I got from seeing a doll made by Minnesota artist Brenna Busse), with twig shoulders and arms wired in place with copper. Longer twigs were added to make him stand alone and his hands were attached with wire and glue.
 Hand were sculpted over a wrapped wire armature, giving him long, thin fingers that should be break-resistant. They were also treated with acrylic color to match his face. Wire from the hands was glued and inserted into a small hole drilled into the end of his twig-arms. His tight-fitting sleeve was then over-wrapped with cord to secure.
He wears a simple tunic and a leather mantle, composed of animal skins, leaves, hair and grasses (i.e. silk leaves, velvet, leather and fiber scraps, raffia and yarn). Trims from an old pair of sandals connects the cloak in the front.
A few wooden beads, a small brass bell and some beads are hidden in the fibers.
Silvain's head was completed with a metal cap (old brass filigree earring) and feathers. He also wears small brass ear studs and has pointed, elvish ears.
He is holding a talisman made from a polished fruit seed, with a tassel of fibers, seeds and beads.
Though today he stands in Eclectics Gallery, yesterday he was outside, checking the weather, wishing it would rain in the woods soon.
He loves the autumn when he can walk through the leaves and put the trees to sleep for the winter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October Tomatoes

Yesterday, Oct 25th, was 85º in Pleasant Hill, Mo. Way to hot for October, but I'm still picking tomatoes. We've had an outstanding crop, especially of cherry and small pear tomatoes. The best plant came up volunteer from seeds dropped last summer by the tomatoes I missed!
I've picked and roasted (cut in half, tossed with olive oil, garlic and salt) a few thousand of these sweet babies this fall. Roast for several hours at 220º until nearly dry but not burned.
They look like this when picked....earlier I only needed to pick red ripe ones. Lately I've been picking green ones too, since we've had a couple light frosts. After sitting for a few days in the house, they all turn red.

After roasting, I pack them in more oil, waterbath process and put away for Christmas gifts. The roasted tomatoes are so sweet, tangy and delicious. Great on pizza or tossed with pasta!! A half pint jar holds about 1/2 cookie sheet full.
Picked this batch yesterday - could be the last ones. Now we'll see how many of these ripen - some are really green.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Creative Progeny....

Laura - my lovely daughter - the one who still at 30+ calls Mom when she needs a costume - is one of the new generation of knitters. You've seen them - the anti-craft, slightly sinister, subversive knitters who take traditional skills like knitting and crochet and use them to create their own amazing things.  It's part green-recycle-reuse-repurpose and partly a way to make something cool out of an old-fashioned technique.

This is great, because in the process, the skills of knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, and more are reviving, being passed on to more generations and being transformed in the process.

My daughter is an intuitive knitter - she never uses a pattern but comes up with her own creative designs. (Along the way she's also learning. Her first knitted animal - an orange cat for her niece, Choe, was stuffed with stray pieces of yarn - so this cat literally left yarn "hair-balls" around the house. Now she makes a neat little muslin pillow stuffed with fiberfill for each padded shape.

Now she's making The World's Ugliest Best Friends....each a quirky animal with a matching hat for the recipient to wear.

Her current menagerie (available at Eclectics Gallery in Kansas City) includes a dragon, a horse, a duck and a cat....each with a coordinating hat.

Each is unique - the first duck was made for niece Anastasia, and included a hat that looked just like the back end of a was awesome.

However, Anastasia was not thrilled about everyone laughing at her "duck butt" hat and she wouldn't wear it.

The elephant hat gives the wearer matching ears...

I love her creations....nearly as much as the Laura and Aaron dolls she made for her nieces. (Since they live  nearly 2000 miles away and rarely see each other, the girls have soft fabric character dolls dressed and coifed like Laura and Aaron. They come to visit for special occasions, like when Grandma comes to visit.

More about them another day....