Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mad Floppy Hatter

I thought I was impervious to the ploys of advertisers.  Alas, I have been greatly influenced by a beautiful photograph which possibly plays to my dreams of youth.  I am much happier now than I was at 16 so realistically, I suppose it's not the years of my youth but the skin and hair of my youth I yearn for which  I obviously did not appreciate then since I baked in the sun with no remorse.   I wish I had paid more attention to sunscreen.  Nevertheless, I have been brainwashed by a company selling shoes. But, it's not the shoes I desire, it's the hat in the advertisement which they do not even sell!  I have Googled high and low to bring you the Cole Haan ad but it's NOwhere to be had.  Nevermind the fact that no one in my town ever wears winter hats, the problem I have now is to decide which color I want. So, I bring you these lovely chapeaus to ponder.....  Ivory, camel, white, brown, khaki, red, black, taupe ..... hmmmm......

"Grab your coat, and get your hat, 
Leave your worry on the doorstep.
Just direct your feet,
To the sunny side of the street"
~ Dorothy Fields ~

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Workstatte Wonders

My class in metalsmithing three weeks ago at Precious Metal Arts in Santa Monica was really fantastic.  They have a great facility and the teachers, Peter and Nancy, are lovely.  Just getting a taste of basic metalsmithing (sawing/cutting sheet metal, soldering, polishing, hammering)  has me motivated to learn more.  And luckily there are more classes!

I am also inspired by the metalsmith artistry of early twentieth century artist Josef Hoffman from the Weiner Workstatte in Vienna.  I just had to share some images with you all.  The Weiner Worskstatte was born in 1913 out of the Arts and Crafts movement in England of the late 19th century by artists who were rebelling against the machines that displaced artisans during Industrial Revolution. The artistans wanted to show that a machine cannot produce the same beauty and quality in an item as a person can.  And they definitely proved their point!  

There is an interesting article about the Workstatte in the New York Times, called Rage Against the Machine with Artisans and Beauty.   
And, a book I've been dying to purchase, Weiner Workstatte Jewelry.

"Industry has operated against the artisan in favor of the idler, and also in favor of capital and against labor. Any mechanical invention whatsoever has been more harmful to humanity than a century of war."
Remy de Gourmont ~

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Playing with Aura 22 Gold

The price of gold is at an all time high ... $1,855. today!  But, with the invention of Aura 22, I can still play with gold and not have heart palpitations if I make a little mistake!  My cousin commissioned me to create a necklace for her thirteen year old daughter, who saw the crystal druzy and fell in love but wanted my PK touch with it.  I finally found a moment to get my act together and finish it.  I made a few pieces, along with the custom order, so I could practice my guilding.  I made the extra tear drops in case the custom one didn't come out right... luckily they all came through with flying colors. 

The process is fairly easy. You make your fine silver metal clay piece, fire it like normal, then without touching it or polishing it, you paint several thin layers (I did four layers) of the liquid 22k gold clay paste.  The liquid gold has a small percentage of silver clay mixed in so it will fuse with the metal clay piece.  So, after applying the gold, it goes back in the kiln at only 850 degrees for 15 minutes (or you can fire it with a torch).  The first time I used it, I had a difficult time as the clay didn't want to stick to the silver after firing....  it flaked off while I burnished/polished it.  I read that it sticks better if you take it out of the kiln while still warm (but NOT hot) so I tried that approach. Seems to have worked!  Though from the first try, I learned not to polish with a polishing pad with any grit or it will rub the gold off. Best to use a burnisher.  I haven't tried the tumbler yet.

The first photo show the teardrop metal clay pendant without any oxidation. The whiter area is the silver without the gold overlay. The following photo shows the same teardrops as earring WITH oxidation.... a completely different look.  The last photo is a fine silver metal clay pendant with Aura 22 gold painted only on the granulation and floral detail, then oxidized.

 This symbolizes the purity of the spiritual aspect of "All That Is". It is symbolic of spiritual development in the realm of complete understanding, allowing one to both attain and maintain communion with the source of all being. It emits an energy to prompt one to allow beauty to come forth from the inner being as one travels through the world of experiences. It assists one to activate, to mobilize and to actualize the intrinsic potential of the self. The energy of gold can assist one in the elimination of ego conflicts and feelings of futility. It balances the heart chakra and amplifies thought forms. Gold has been used to open the third-eye and is an excellent mineral for purification of the physical body. 

~ Chinese Proverb ~