Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me

Sorry I've been away but life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have been crazy lately.....But I'm back and happy to share my birthday gift, from me to me, with tons of help from my wonderful friends.

The wonderful texture is a, one of a kind, collaboration between myself and my friend and fellow artist dona D. It was worked in the computer and "printed out" with a cool new toy of Michelle R's, which I wont talk about here because she is going to do a demo for our Metal Clay guild this year and I don't want to steal any of her thunder, but I will say, this toy is super duper cool.

Michelle gave me the piece of copper, how super nice was that, and we ran it thru her rolling mill with the the "print out" of the design. The stone in the center is chrysocolla and malachite. It's from Cabs by Mitch, my favorite online cab maker. I've had the stone forever and I'm so happy to have finally used it. I had to use both my torches to attache the stones bezel cup to the copper bracelet, wow was that fun. The little round guy is an amazonite. I love the way the blue and the copper look together, they just pop pop pop.

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out and I may never take it off.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Filigree Crown

This is just a quick post to share my new filigree crown. I made it from sterling silver wire and bezel cups. The focal bead is a Blue Lace Agate and the smaller stones are all Moonstones. The dangles are sapphire Swarovski crystals.

I love how delicate and romantic it is and of course I wanted it to feel vintage, which I think it does. This was my first large scale filigree project and I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I've added this crown to my newly re-opened etsy shop. I don't have much in there at the moment, but I really love what I do have in the shop. Thank you for sharing my journey with me.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Barter is Better!

I love trades. I love the idea of them, the spirit of them, and I love getting goodies in the mail. I recently made a trade with a fellow Enchanted Doll Forum artisan and I got my wonderful goodies yesterday.

I don't have a doll, but Ms. Bunny was nice enough to join me for a Tea Party.

Aren't these goodies just the most amazing things you have ever seen? I really am thrilled to have these little beauties. I hope she is as happy with the Jewelry I sent. Here's one of the necklaces. Sterling Silver filigree and chain with a 5x7 Rodalite and a 4mm Moon Stone.

Friday, July 9, 2010

To Build a Head Dress: Done

I'm so happy with how this set of Warrior Elf Queen Antlers turned out. The person who ordered this pair wanted a wider stance on the antlers and I love love love how they look like this. They seem more "wild" somehow with this wider stance. I find it so interesting to see my work re-interpreted by someone else. It was a joy to work on this project and I hope their new owner is as happy with them as I am.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To Build a Head Dress: Part two

So the next little step was to build the Pedicle for the head dress. What's a pedicle you ask? Excellent question. The pedicle is the bony growth that connects the antler to the head bone of the animal. In our case they attach the antlers to the head piece.

They start out as cute unassuming little things. Then they are connected to the head piece and become down right adorable.
The last step is to attach the antlers to the cute little pedicles. And I'll show you the completed antlers hopefully on Friday.

Monday, June 28, 2010

To Build a Head Dress

I just wanted to share a little of the process I use to build the Elf Queen Warrior, head dress. I use Silver Metal Clay and roll out snakes to create the shape. I create this shape flat.
This piece goes into the kiln at 1650 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. When it comes out I carefully bend it into the head shape. And hammer a bit to work harden it.
Next I'll show you how I add the horns.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Marie's Shoes: little change

I've sent off my first pair of Marie's Shoes. And in getting them ready to go I discovered a little design flaw. The shoes wouldn't stay on the "feet" unless they were touching the ground. This really would have limited the posing that could have been used for the shoes. So I did a little redesign and added a strap across the back of the shoe. I really love how it looks.
The strap is satin with Freshwater pearl embellishment and button closure. I think it looks really cute and period accurate to boot.
I'm sure that if I had a doll I would have caught this problem a long time ago. But because I've never "played" with my shoes I didn't bump into this issue until I was photographing the shoes with the "feet" in them. So all I can say is; I obviously need a doll...Right?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Goes to Show, You Never Know

I love silver. Not as an alternative fine metal, but for itself, I love silver. So when I design I always gravitate towards silver. I made my original Elf Queen Antlers in, what else, silver. And I love them. But... someone ordered a set of antlers in bronze and when I got them from the casters I was shocked to find that I am torn between my beautiful silver pair and these new bronze ones.
The bronze is so beautiful. They look so natural and timeless. I really didn't think I would be so blown away, but I am. And it just goes to show you, you have to be open to new materials and techniques as an artist, or you could be missing out.

I'm actually a lot farther along on the bronze antler headpiece, but I wanted to share the pleasant shock and awe I experienced working with bronze. I'll share more pictures soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

So Very Anthropologie

As you know I have a love, bordering on obsession, of Anthropologie. I refer to all Anthropologie stores as the "Mother Ship" that's how obsessed I am. That said, the story can begin...My honey (I mean very manly man) found a fire engine red dresser outside our house a few nights ago, brought it in the garage, and set to work. Finally he called me into the garage to ask what I thought and I was blown away.

How Anthropologie is this dresser?
We went to the 3rd Street Promenade "Mother Ship" and got two amazing knobs for it. Can you guess which ones they are? The rest of the knobs we got at Home Depot at a much more down to earth price.
I still smile every time I look at it. It's so wonderfully urban shabby.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Surprises From Across the Sea!

I got home this afternoon to the most exquisite surprise. A rather large box from Paris on my doorstep. What could it be? Well it was a box full of the loveliest Enchanted Doll Gifties I have ever seen, from Biscuitbear. This was a wonderful surprise to come home to, it's made my day. Thank you so much.

I've read my beautiful book three times.
I've decided my little acrylic Enchanted dolls are going on my tree this holiday season.
And I'm dreaming of ways to use my lovely Laduree box.

The only problem is, now I want a macaroon but I gave up sugar seven years ago, so no macaroon for me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Elf Queen: Antler's Final Phase

The Elf Queen Warrior Antlers are done and I couldn't be happier with them. They have taken about twice as long as I thought they would, but it's like they say "Good things come to those who wait."

They turned out beautiful and even better than I imagined.

The antler's are sterling silver and the head piece is fine silver. My initial hope was that the antlers could be removable but their weight made that impossible. A patina has been applied to help highlight the details in the carving. Thank you for your patients and I hope you have enjoyed the journey of this piece as much as I have.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Elf Queen: Phase II

My plan for the Warrior Elf Queen antler headdress (seen here and here) was to take the original models to a caster and have them cast in sterling silver. to some unexpected costs, ie: the molds were wicked expensive, I decided that I'd have to do the whole project myself. At first I was worried about this, but I can say now that I'm really happy I did. I learned a lot about the mechanics of casting and this new information will help my design work in the future. So definitely a lemonade moment here.

Anyway... the next step in the process then became making molds of the antlers for lost wax casting.

Here are my babies in the mold frames and getting ready to be covered in two part, pepto-bismol pink, silicone.Actually the pink brick in the pictures holds one of the antlers already. They had to be molded in two separate molds because of their size.

And here's how they came out.
Amazing right? They are so cool. There was a lot of clean-up at this stage but because they are wax it wasn't too hard. I was also able to make some fun modifications to the horns at the same time. The waxes have the same wonderful texture that I was so happy with in the originals and obviously the shape is the same. So I really couldn't be happier.

This week I will be able to make my plaster investment, next week I will pour my first vacuum cast ever, and then I'll have sterling silver antlers. I hope. Cross your fingers for me and check back next week if you want to see how things went.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marie's Shoes

I knew that making shoes was going to be hard. Let me rephrase that, I thought, I knew making shoes was going to be hard. But really I had no clue how difficult this project was going to be. But in the end it was so rewarding. They turned out just as I envisioned them.
I love construction and engineering and it's a good thing because this project was all about construction and engineering. I wanted every part of this shoe to be special. So I tried to add as many one of a kind details as I could pack into these small shoes. The exterior texture has the feel of a vintage textile, which is exactly what I wanted. I love it. I also gave the sole of the shoes a cute little bird detail. Is it possible to have to many details in a Marie Antoinette shoe? I didn't think so.
And I'm in love with the heels. They were difficult to get right, but I'm glad I redesigned them a couple times and never compromised, because I really love the way they turned out.
The decorative trim is a ribbon flower I found in a fantastic embroidery book, an amethyst and opalized Swarovski crystal, and an amethyst briolette. I'm also designing a little Fleur de lis dangle that I'm really excited about.

I'm so happy with how these little shoes turned out. And if the crown and necklace turn out half as good as these little beauties, this Marie Antoinette set is going to exceed my wildest exceptions.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Wow it worked!

I'm so excited to show how the antlers have progressed. They look exactly like they looked in my head. That doesn't happen often, so I'm over the moon with joy.

Front View
Side ViewBack View

It's hard to see in the pictures but the texture of the antlers is really nice, all rough and organic feeling. I know I have some more work to do when I get the wax castings back but I'm just so happy with how they are coming along. I'll keep you posted.

And if you are asking yourself how are these antler going to stay on the doll's head? This is a question I have grappled with also. In the sketches you see that one drawing shows a head band with what appears to be the antlers broken off. That is going to be a structural head band that the antlers attach and unattach to. Cool ha! Here's my first run at the head band, in copper.

I like the shape so I'm going to move onto building it in silver. For all kinds of reasons the copper snapped when I tried to bend it to fit on the head model, but that was all user error, so I feel confident to move onto silver.

And if that's not enough, I was busy all weekend at an amazing jewelry workshop with a fabulous teacher. I'll tell you all about it later this week. I made the funnest "Alice in Wonderland-ish" pendant. So stop back later in the the week.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What is with me?

I'm usually the kind of person that has serious tunnel vision. I get an idea in my head and I can't do anything until I complete it. Because of this, I have a little guilt that I haven't progressed on my Elf Queen project very much. But I have been designing, designing, designing. It's so strange for me. The minute I get the idea on paper, I have another idea I need to get on paper. So here's what I've been up to...

I designed about 10 pairs of shoes and I seriously could have done 10 more. Shoes are super fun to design. But I really like this one, it's clean and looks good both embellished and not embellished, so that makes me happy. I didn't want to create a shoe that would only look nice half covered by ribbons, tassels, and beads.

The crown can be either pearls or gems and I haven't decided which I like better. The pearls and gems are both very pricey so that's a factor. I could do pearls and Swarovski Crystals and that would look beautiful and keep the price reasonable. But I can wait to make up my mind until I have all the metal work done. So no pressure there. I really love the look.

And the necklace is very simple by comparison but I think it will look fantastic with the crown. It will be solid silver with a pearl or gem that matches the crown. It's kind of a cuff necklace. It will be form fitting and rest around the shoulders. Very cool.

I also got some great pictures back from one of my fantastic models Iðunn. She's a modeling sterling silver, rose quartz and freshwater pearl choker. It fits just where I had hoped, so I'm really really happy. And I love her in this blushing pink color. She is so beautiful any color would look good, but I think the pink really enhances her blond coloring. I sent some earrings as a thank you giftie but Iðunn doesn't have the kind of pierced ears that can wear french hooks. Boo Paige. But I really love this picture so I wanted to share it.Well I'm back to the drawing board, literally, for more design work. Seriously what is with me these days? What ever it is, I'm going with it. And I have permission from my good friend and amazing artist M, to just let it happen. So I'm pushing back the guilt and enjoying the design time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And I'm off

Because "why not take off running the second you learn to stand?", I have started working on a Warrior Woodland Elf Queen set. Why? Because I want my doll, when I get her, to be a Warrior Woodland Elf Queen of course. So she has to have horns/ antlers and a staff. So I've done some sketching and I created my first ever wire armature.
I'm so thrilled with how they turned out. Now full disclosure, the antler armature came before the sketch, because I couldn't sketch them until I had them in front of me 3D. I'm just not that good of a sketcher. But I'm glad I've been sketching the rest.

And I've set a goal for myself to spend a lot more time in the paper design phase from now on. With all the issues of size and scale, not to mention just working smaller than I'm used to, I feel like I need to be more disciplined if I want to continue on this path. And I really want to continue on this path. So from now on you'll see sketches, sketches, and more sketches.

And then............

as if to confirm that I'm going to be fine, I had two more big wins this morning. First we have Arya with a swirl necklace that I just love. I made the earrings also. They have the cutest little ear wires.
I love it so much. I'm so happy the size issues are worked out on this design. The necklace is Sterling silver hammered and shaped by hand with a tourmaline and Swarovski crystal dangle.

Then if that weren't enough Nayana arrived wearing this little crown. Sterling silver and Amazonite. I'm so happy with this crown. The thing I'm most excited about is, I can get away with using a much larger stone in the next design. These dolls are so exquisite that you can really push the design elements without over powering them. I love it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Put one in the win column!

Actually make that two, and they both fit. Yaaaa!!!

The first is modeled by the beautiful Amalie and is 2 2mm opal Swarovski's, 4mm Garnet and Sterling silver chain and hook clasp.

The second necklace is modeled by Firenze and is 3mm picture jasper, Freshwater pearl, and Sterling Silver chain and clasp. This necklace is the test piece for a roaring twenties look I'm currently dreaming about.
In order to put this information to the best use I created a new bust, sense I don't own one of these lovely dolls, to check size and fit in the future. The bust is aluminum foil packed and shaped to 3mm-5mm under the dolls measurements. Then I rolled out polymer clay to a thickness of 2 playing cards and covered the foil structure. Double checked the measurements and baked. So far it works great.