Friday, October 12, 2012

Give it a new life...

I like to make things pretty. I don't like spending a ridiculous amount of money to make that happen so I try to come up with a way to do it on my own.

I had an old lamp with an ugly shade, it was the wrong shape, color & it was just outdated in general. I searched for a shade with a different structure & something inexpensive, which of course is easier said then done.

After trips to numerous stores, I found the perfect shape and size, but it had a stain on it. Worked out fine since I got an extra 10% off and I was going to recover it in something else anyways. 

Shade in "before" form

I went to the fabric store & wandered around for something to inspire me. I came across this navy blue lace & knew instantly it was perfect. I only needed about 1/2 a yard, so it was only around five bucks.

Came home, hot glued the fabric around the interior edge of the shade and also had to make a trip to Home Depot for new hardware since the existing components were no longer compatible (very annoying).

Shade in "voila" form
I am very satisfied with my new lamp. Probably spent $20.00-$25.00 total, but still significantly less than if I were to buy this in the store. Plus I just like to try & be crafty, it makes me happy.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It only took a decade...

It's sweet how a simple object can hold so much emotion. Many years ago my mom had this brown chair when we lived in San Francisco. She loved it, had it for years, but when our little family of my brother at 16 months, us twins at 2 months, & cat moved across the country in my mom's red mustang, the chair sadly did not make the cut. We settled in Providence so my dad could complete his MFA at Rhode Island School of Design. 
Mamma & The Boy
The Original Chair
It must have been destiny because my Grammy found a similar chair, had it reupholstered & gave it to my mom as a present, remembering how much she loved that chair. 

Kara or me? I have no idea
The New Chair (a few decades ago)

Luckily, the next several times we moved, my mom was able to keep the chair. This simple object has some of my fondest memories. My mom read to us every night, often sitting in that chair. One book just for my brother, another for Kara & me. She read us novels from that chair, we would sit at her feet, climb up over the back, hang off the arms or nestle in her lap. 

There was another fateful move from New Mexico back to New Hampshire & a decision had to be made, keep the chair or let it go. The springs were poking out, the fabric worn thin, it was a hot, miserable day of packing up the truck & emotions were running high. I couldn't bare to see it go, I quickly said "MINE" before any further decisions could be made. In order to make it fit, I took out the screws, removed the arms, did whatever I had to in order to make it into the truck. 

The chair remained in that condition for years, made it from New Hampshire to Arizona with me, sat in my room for another few years, unusable, but I was so consumed with school I didn't have the time to fix it. I brought the chair with me when I moved to Oregon where it sat idly for yet another few years. One fateful day, I stumbled upon the perfect fabric & the chair's new destiny started to emerge. Granted it took another year of finding supplies, figuring out how to reupholster and many, many curse words, our beloved chair has new life.

The process...

Sorry state of affairs
Unfortunately I have no idea how to upholster a chair. My parents raised us to be creative and we were always creating things so I enjoy taking on new projects. I do it all incorrectly and most of it is rigged at best, but it's mine and I love it.

Found the basic supplies (I think) for the foundation of the upholstery project

I stripped everything off 

The base of the chair is complete, new springs, burlap and arms are secured back on

Finished Project
New stuffing, a ridiculous amount of staples, cursing & wine...but it's done

Back Detail
I glued on a trim fabric to cover the staples at the back and add contrast around the edges of the chair
The brown chair has a new life. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A hole in my...

I love enamel. The results give you instant gratification.  These earrings are a simple design with just an iridescent blue directly over the copper so the oxidation from the kiln shows along the edges. 

The detail is more evident in the close up view. I hung these from fine silver chains so they would dangle more and the enamel could catch the light.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Koi swimming through the water...

I love screen printing.  You can acheive vibrant results in a short amount of time. (Especially when you compare it to the lithography printing process!). This print is on my Etsy site as well. For the basic screen printing process, there isn't any acid to deal with or etching to master.  The printing process is simultaneous with the creation process so it's instant gratification!
Our print teacher taught us the reduction process. You start by laying out your lightest color ink over your entire paper (except where you have already stopped out if you wanted to keep it white). As you transition to darker colors, you "stop out" what you don't want covered if that makes any sense.

So I did the light orange/yellow ink first.  Then whatever I wanted to remain that color I applied a resist to my screen so those areas I wanted to remain that color wouldn't be hit with ink.  Since you're printing an edition of at least 10, and a few extra for consistancy, you need to apply your ink to each piece of paper before stopping out your color. It's tricky to make sure your registration is consistant so all your layers of ink line up correctly.  It makes much more sense in my head, it generally does.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Miss Mary

Print making is a passion of mine.  I miss being in the studio, I miss Dave Williams, probably the best print teacher in existance. Part of the beauty of print making is that it's remained the same for centuries.  Products, inks and tools may evolve, but the basic concept and techniques remain true. 

Although Lithography isn't my favorite, I still appreciate the art form.  We are given a giant limestone, which are no longer even quarried so whatever is left in circulation is all you get.   These are like gold, if you drop, chip and/or break one, you will feel horrible.

I tend to use photographs for inspiration which are close to my heart. My dad is an amazing photographer and I use a great deal of his work for sources to draw from.  This one is of my mom as a little girl, I love this picture. I have it framed in my house too.

my mom
One of the techniques is drawing on the stone with a grease pencil, giving the print a crayon like quality. The result isn't as appealing for me, but the process is incredible.  So many unique steps.  Preparing the stone with 3 different carbide sand grits, stopping out the borders, drawing on your design, the acid etching where you use varying strengths of acid washes. 

The print process takes hours, preparing your stone again with various washes and gummy liquids, mixing your ink to the perfect consistancy, wetting the stone, rolling on the ink, then wetting the stone again, roll it from a different angle. I've had my hands bleed from the process.  When you run the stone through the printing press, you need to have it adjusted so it gives the stone the right amount of pressure, too much and it'll crack your stone in half, not enough and the entire time you just spent inking your stone is wasted because the ink won't transfer properly. 

To create an edition of 10 will take you hours. For a novice, you generally make 15 prints because the edition needs to be consistant, printed the exact same every time. The extra are the ones with the variations which are noticible enough to not fit into your edition.

Monday, August 29, 2011

love hate relationship

I have a completely irrational fear of bees. I cannot control myself if there is one in the slightest vacinity to me. I will scream and run. I can't help it.  When my sister and I were younger I remember these tiny little terrors getting caught in our hair. Thankfully my mom would always remove them.

Despite my disdain for bees, I like their imagery. This necklace below obviously isn't a very true reproduction, but the form inspired me. I was looking at a bottle of tequilla and the emblem was so appealing that I started to sketch variations of it.  This is my emblem, I have it as my Avatar for my Etsy site.  It was my main piece in my BFA Show show when graduating from Northern Arizona University.

etched sterling silver, lemon quartz and pearls

I photographed this piece on a bar stool in my apartment. My sister helped me arrange the chain by using a pair of tweezers and meticulously manipulated the pearls and silver.  It took longer than one would imagine to get the right feel and positioning of the chain, but she did a splendid job.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

put a bird on it?

I absolutely love this piece.  I wish I had an occasion to wear it for. These are my Egyptian inspired birds, for some reason they remind me of my brother.

I created a stencil from paper and cut out each bird separately. I then soldered them together at two points, one at the beak and at the base of the talons.

As many of my pieces, I used nitric acid to etch in my design.  Since the pieces are so large, it takes a while for the acid to etch evenly.
I wove a Roman Chain, which takes hours.  I started with 26(ish) gauge fine silver, wrapped it around a tube, and cut the "spring" looking form to create tiny hoops. Since it's fine silver, you can fuse the hoops closed without solder and without the metal oxidizing. 

After ruining at least 30% of them, each hoop is stretched using a special pair pliers you can get at an auto supply store. It elongates them so you can weave them together. I used 3 links, I thought 4 would be too large. 

After you have a desired length, you need to anneal the metal, then pull it through a series of holes drilled into wood, or a metal plate.  This gives a streamline look, pulling all the "threads" tight.  Anneal the piece again, then run it over a dowel so it becomes more pliable and will fall better across your neck. I soldered on spiculums to hide the ends of the chain.

Next time I go grocery shopping I'm going to wear this anyways.