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.